Deuteronomy 19–20; Proverbs 8; Psalm 128

Laws Concerning Cities of Refuge

19 When pthe Lord your God cuts off the nations whose land the Lord your God is giving you, and you dispossess them and dwell in their cities and in their houses, qyou shall set apart three cities for yourselves in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess. You shall measure the distances1 and divide into three parts the area of the land that the Lord your God gives you as a possession, so that any manslayer can flee to them.

This is the provision for rthe manslayer, who by fleeing there may save his life. If anyone kills his neighbor unintentionally without having hated him in the past as when someone goes into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood, and his hand swings the axe to cut down a tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dieshe may flee to one of these cities and live, lest sthe avenger of blood in hot anger pursue the manslayer and overtake him, because the way is long, and strike him fatally, though the man did not deserve to die, since he had not hated his neighbor in the past. Therefore I command you, You shall set apart three cities. tAnd if the Lord your God enlarges your territory, uas he has sworn to your fathers, and vgives you all the land that he promised to give to your fathers provided you are careful to keep all this commandment, which I command you today, by loving the Lord your God and by walking ever in his wayswthen you shall add three other cities to these three, 10 lest innocent blood be shed in your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, and so the guilt of bloodshed be upon you.

11 But if anyone hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and attacks him xand strikes him fatally so that he dies, and he flees into one of these cities, 12 then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there, and hand him over to the avenger of blood, so that he may die. 13 yYour eye shall not pity him, zbut you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood2 from Israel, so that it may be well with you.

Property Boundaries

14 aYou shall not move your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in the inheritance that you will hold in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.

Laws Concerning Witnesses

15 A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. bOnly on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established. 16 If ca malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, 17 then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the Lord, dbefore the priests and the judges who are in office in those days. 18 The judges shall einquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, 19 fthen you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil3 from your midst. 20 And the rest gshall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you. 21 yYour eye shall not pity. hIt shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

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, oIs 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,4 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.


The Blessings of Wisdom

Does not lwisdom call?

Does not munderstanding raise her voice?

On nthe heights beside the way,

at the crossroads she takes her stand;

beside othe gates in front of pthe town,

at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:

To you, O qmen, I call,

and my cry is to qthe children of man.

O rsimple ones, learn sprudence;

O tfools, learn sense.

Hear, for I will speak unoble things,

and from my lips will come vwhat is right,

for my wmouth will utter truth;

wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

All the words of my mouth are righteous;

there is nothing xtwisted or crooked in them.

They are all ystraight to him who understands,

and right to those who find knowledge.

10  zTake my instruction instead of silver,

and knowledge rather than choice gold,

11  afor wisdom is better than jewels,

and ball that you may desire cannot compare with her.

12  I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,

and I find knowledge and cdiscretion.

13  dThe fear of the Lord is ehatred of evil.

fPride and arrogance and the way of evil

and gperverted speech I hate.

14  I have hcounsel and isound wisdom;

I have insight; jI have strength.

15  By me kkings reign,

and rulers decree what is just;

16  by me princes rule,

and nobles, all who govern justly.1

17  lI love those who love me,

and mthose who seek me diligently find me.

18  nRiches and honor are with me,

oenduring wealth and orighteousness.

19  My fruit is pbetter than qgold, even fine gold,

and my yield than rchoice silver.

20  I walk in the way of righteousness,

in the paths of justice,

21  granting an inheritance to those who love me,

and filling their treasuries.

22  sThe Lord tpossessed2 me at the beginning of his work,3

the first of his acts uof old.

23  Ages ago I was vset up,

at the first, wbefore the beginning of the earth.

24  When there were no xdepths I was ybrought forth,

when there were no springs abounding with water.

25  Before the mountains zhad been shaped,

abefore the hills, I was brought forth,

26  before he had made the earth with its fields,

or the first of the dust of the world.

27  When he bestablished the heavens, I was there;

when he drew ca circle on the face of the deep,

28  when he dmade firm the skies above,

when he established4 the fountains of the deep,

29  when he eassigned to the sea its flimit,

so that the waters might not transgress his command,

when he marked out gthe foundations of the earth,

30  then hI was beside him, like a master workman,

and I was daily his5 idelight,

rejoicing before him always,

31  jrejoicing in his kinhabited world

and delighting in the children of man.

32  And now, lO sons, listen to me:

mblessed are those who keep my ways.

33  nHear instruction and be wise,

and do not neglect it.

34  oBlessed is the one who listens to me,

watching daily at my gates,

waiting beside my doors.

35  For pwhoever finds me qfinds life

and robtains favor from the Lord,

36  but he who fails to find me sinjures himself;

all who thate me ulove death.


Blessed Is Everyone Who Fears the Lord

A Song of mAscents.

128  fBlessed is everyone who fears the Lord,

who gwalks in his ways!

You hshall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;

you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.

Your wife will be like ia fruitful vine

within your house;

your children will be like jolive shoots

around your table.

Behold, thus shall the man be blessed

who fears the Lord.

kThe Lord bless you lfrom Zion!

May you see mthe prosperity of Jerusalem

all the days of your life!

May you see your nchildren’s children!

oPeace be upon Israel!