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English Standard Version

Deuteronomy 20:1–22:30

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Laws Concerning Warfare

20 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and see ihorses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is jwith you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And when you draw near to the battle, kthe priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you lto fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’ Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Is there any man who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it. And is there any man who has planted a vineyard and has not menjoyed its fruit? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man enjoy its fruit. nAnd is there any man who has betrothed a wife and has not taken her? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man take her.’ And the officers shall speak further to the people, and say, o‘Is there any man who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go back to his house, lest he make the heart of his fellows melt like his own.’ And when the officers have finished speaking to the people, then commanders shall be appointed at the head of the people.

10 “When you draw near to a city to fight against it, poffer terms of peace to it. 11 And if it responds to you peaceably and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you. 12 But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. 13 And when the Lord your God gives it into your hand, qyou shall put all its males to the sword, 14 rbut the women and the little ones, the livestock, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you sshall take as plunder for yourselves. And tyou shall enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the Lord your God has given you. 15 Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not cities of the nations here. 16 But uin the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, 17 but vyou shall devote them to complete destruction,1 the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the Lord your God has commanded, 18 that wthey may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you xsin against the Lord your God.

19 “When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, yyou shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human, that they should be besieged by you? 20 Only the trees that you know are not trees for food you may destroy and cut down, that you may build siegeworks against the city that makes war with you, until it falls.

Atonement for Unsolved Murders

21 “If in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess someone is found slain, lying in the open country, and it is not known who killed him, then your elders and your judges shall come out, and they shall measure the distance to the surrounding cities. And the elders of the city that is nearest to the slain man shall take a heifer zthat has never been worked and that has not pulled in a yoke. And the elders of that city shall bring the heifer down to a valley with running water, which is neither plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer’s neck there in the valley. Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come forward, for the Lord your God has chosen athem to minister to him and to bless in the name of the Lord, and bby their word every dispute and every assault shall be settled. And all the elders of that city nearest to the slain man cshall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley, and they shall testify, ‘Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it shed. Accept atonement, O Lord, for your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, and ddo not set the guilt of innocent blood in the midst of your people Israel, so that their blood guilt be atoned for.’ So eyou shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from your midst, when you do what is right in the sight of the Lord.

Marrying Female Captives

10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, 11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, 12 and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. 13 And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and flament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. 14 But if you no longer delight in her, you shall glet her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you htreat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.

Inheritance Rights of the Firstborn

15 “If a man has two wives, ithe one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him children, and if the firstborn son belongs to the unloved,1 16 then on the day when jhe assigns his possessions as an inheritance to his sons, he may not treat the son of the loved as the firstborn in preference to the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn, 17 but he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is kthe firstfruits of his strength. lThe right of the firstborn is his.

A Rebellious Son

18 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, 19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, 20 and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 mThen all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. nSo you shall purge the evil from your midst, oand all Israel shall hear, and fear.

A Man Hanged on a Tree Is Cursed

22 “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 phis body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for qa hanged man is cursed by God. rYou shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.

Various Laws

22 “You sshall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep going astray and ignore them. You shall take them back to your brother. And if he does not live near you and you do not know who he is, you shall bring it home to your house, and it shall stay with you until your brother seeks it. Then you shall restore it to him. And you shall do the same with his donkey or with his garment, or with any lost thing of your brother’s, which he loses and you find; you may not ignore it. tYou shall not see your brother’s donkey or his ox fallen down by the way and ignore them. You shall help him to lift them up again.

“A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, ufor whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.

“If you come across a bird’s nest in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs and the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, vyou shall not take the mother with the young. You shall let the mother go, but the young you may take for yourself, wthat it may go well with you, and that you may live long.

“When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring the guilt of blood upon your house, if anyone should fall from it.

x“You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, lest the whole yield be forfeited,1 the crop that you have sown and the yield of the vineyard. 10 You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. 11 You shall not wear cloth of wool and linen mixed together.

12 y“You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of the garment with which you cover yourself.

Laws Concerning Sexual Immorality

13 “If any man takes a wife and zgoes in to her and then hates her 14 and accuses her of misconduct and brings a bad name upon her, saying, ‘I took this woman, and when I came near her, I did not find in her evidence of virginity,’ 15 then the father of the young woman and her mother shall take and bring out the evidence of her virginity to the elders of the city in the gate. 16 And the father of the young woman shall say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man to marry, and he hates her; 17 and behold, he has accused her of misconduct, saying, “I did not find in your daughter evidence of virginity.” And yet this is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.’ And they shall spread the cloak before the elders of the city. 18 Then the elders of that city shall take the man and whip2 him, 19 and they shall fine him a hundred shekels3 of silver and give them to the father of the young woman, because he has brought a bad name upon a virgin4 of Israel. And she shall be his wife. aHe may not divorce her all his days. 20 But if the thing is true, that evidence of virginity was not found in the young woman, 21 then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and bthe men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has cdone an outrageous thing in Israel by whoring in her father’s house. dSo you shall purge the evil from …

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