Deuteronomy 18:1–20:9

Portion of the Levites

1 aThe Levitical priests, the whole tribe of Levi, shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel; they shall eat the Lord’s offerings by fire and His 1portion.

2 aThey shall have no inheritance among their 1countrymen; the Lord is their inheritance, as He 2promised them.

3 aNow this shall be the priests’ due from the people, from those who offer a sacrifice, either an ox or a sheep, of which they shall give to the priest the shoulder and the two cheeks and the stomach.

4 “You shall give him the afirst fruits of your grain, your new wine, and your oil, and the first shearing of your sheep.

5 aFor the Lord your God has chosen him and his sons from all your tribes, to bstand 1and serve in the name of the Lord forever.

6 “Now if a Levite comes from any of your 1towns throughout Israel where he aresides, and comes 2whenever he desires to the place which the Lord chooses,

7 then he shall serve in the name of the Lord his God, like all his fellow Levites who stand there before the Lord.

8 aThey shall eat 1equal portions, except what they receive from the sale of their fathers’ estates.

Spiritism Forbidden

9 “When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to 1aimitate the detestable things of those nations.

10 “There shall not be found among you anyone awho makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one bwho practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,

11 or one who casts a spell, aor a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.

12 “For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and abecause of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you.

13 aYou shall be 1blameless before the Lord your God.

14 “For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who apractice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so.

15 aThe Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your 1countrymen, you shall listen to him.

16 “This is aaccording to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’

17 aThe Lord said to me, ‘They have 1spoken well.

18 ‘I will raise up a prophet from among their 1countrymen like you, and aI will put My words in his mouth, and bhe shall speak to them all that I command him.

19 aIt shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.

20 ‘But the prophet who speaks a word apresumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or bwhich he speaks in the name of other gods, 1that prophet shall die.’

21 1You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’

22 aWhen a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it bpresumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

Chapter 19

Cities of Refuge

1 aWhen the Lord your God cuts off the nations, whose land the Lord your God gives you, and you dispossess them and settle in their cities and in their houses,

2 ayou shall set aside three cities for yourself in the midst of your land, which the Lord your God gives you to 1possess.

3 “You shall prepare the 1roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your land which the Lord your God will give you as a possession, 2so that any manslayer may flee there.

4 aNow this is the case of the manslayer who may flee there and live: when he 1kills his friend 2unintentionally, 3not hating him previously—

5 as when a man goes into the forest with his friend to cut wood, and his hand 1swings the axe to cut down the tree, and the iron head slips off the 2handle and 3strikes his friend so that he dies—he may flee to one of these cities and live;

6 otherwise the avenger of blood might pursue the manslayer 1in the heat of his anger, and overtake him, because the way is long, and 2take his life, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated him previously.

7 “Therefore, I command you, saying, ‘You shall set aside three cities for yourself.’

8 “If the Lord your God aenlarges your territory, just as He has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land which He 1promised to give your fathers—

9 if you 1carefully observe all this commandment which I command you today, ato love the Lord your God, and to walk in His ways always—bthen you shall add three more cities for yourself, besides these three.

10 “So innocent blood will not be shed in the midst of your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, and abloodguiltiness be on you.

11 “But aif there is a man who hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and rises up against him and strikes 1him so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities,

12 then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.

13 1aYou shall not pity him, but byou shall purge the blood of the innocent from Israel, that it may go well with you.

Laws of Landmark and Testimony

14 aYou shall not move your neighbor’s boundary mark, which the ancestors have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God gives you to 1possess.

15 aA single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin 1which he has committed; on the 2evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.

16 aIf a malicious witness rises up against a man to 1accuse him of 2wrongdoing,

17 then both the men who have the dispute shall stand abefore the Lord, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days.

18 “The judges ashall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has 1accused his brother falsely,

19 then ayou shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.

20 aThe rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you.

21 “Thus 1ayou shall not show pity: blife for life, ceye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

Chapter 20

Laws of Warfare

1 “When you go out to battle against your enemies and see ahorses and chariots and people more numerous than you, bdo not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you.

2 “When you are approaching the battle, the priest shall come near and speak to the people.

3 “He shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. aDo not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them,

4 for the Lord your God ais the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’

5 “The officers also shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Who is the man that has built a new house and has not adedicated it? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would dedicate it.

6 ‘Who is the man that has planted a vineyard and has not 1begun to use its fruit? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man 1would begin to use its fruit.

7 aAnd who is the man that is engaged to a woman and has not 1married her? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man 2would marry her.’

8 “Then the officers shall speak further to the people and say, ‘aWho is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him depart and return to his house, so that 1he might not make his brothers’ hearts melt like his heart.’

9 “When the officers have finished speaking to the people, they shall appoint commanders of armies at the head of the people.

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