Deuteronomy 20:10–21:9

10 “When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall 1offer it terms of peace.

11 “If it 1agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your aforced labor and shall serve you.

12 “However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it.

13 “When the Lord your God gives it into your hand, ayou shall strike all the 1men in it with the edge of the sword.

14 “Only the women and the children and athe animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall 1use 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 of the cities of these nations 1nearby.

16 aOnly in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes.

17 “But you shall 1utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the Lord your God has commanded you,

18 so that they may not teach you to do aaccording to all their detestable things which they have done for their gods, so that you would bsin against the Lord your God.

19 “When you besiege a city a long time, to make war against it in order to capture it, you shall not destroy its trees by swinging an axe against them; for you may eat from them, and you shall not cut them down. 1For is the tree of the field a man, that it should 2be besieged by you?

20 “Only the trees which you know 1are not fruit trees you shall destroy and cut down, that you may construct siegeworks against the city that is making war with you until it falls.

Chapter 21

Expiation of a Crime

1 “If a slain person is found lying in the open country in the land which the Lord your God gives you to 1possess, and it is not known who has struck him,

2 then your elders and your judges shall go out and measure the distance to the cities which are around the slain one.

3 “It shall be that the city which is nearest to the slain man, that is, the elders of that city, shall take a heifer of the herd, which has not been worked and which has not pulled in a yoke;

4 and the elders of that city shall bring the heifer down to a valley with running water, which has not been plowed or sown, and shall break the heifer’s neck there in the valley.

5 “Then athe priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near, for the Lord your God has chosen them to serve Him and to bless in the name of the Lord; and every dispute and every 1assault 2shall be settled by them.

6 “All the elders of that city 1which is nearest to the slain man shall awash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley;

7 and they shall answer and say, ‘Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it.

8 1Forgive Your people Israel whom You have redeemed, O Lord, and do not place the guilt of ainnocent blood in the midst of Your people Israel.’ And the bloodguiltiness shall be 2forgiven them.

9 aSo you shall remove the guilt of innocent blood from your midst, when you do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.

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