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, 2 qyou shall set apart three cities for yourselves in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess. 3 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.
4 “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— 5 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 dies—he may flee to one of these cities and live, 6 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. 7 Therefore I command you, You shall set apart three cities. 8 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— 9 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 ways—wthen 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.
14 a“You 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. 2 And when you draw near to the battle, kthe priest shall come forward and speak to the people 3 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, 4 for the Lord your God is he who goes with you lto fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’ 5 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. 6 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. 7 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.’ 8 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.’ 9 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.
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, 2 then your elders and your judges shall come out, and they shall measure the distance to the surrounding cities. 3 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. 4 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. 5 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. 6 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, 7 and they shall testify, ‘Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it shed. 8 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.’ 9 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,5 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.
Deliver Me from My Enemies
To the choirmaster: according to xDo Not Destroy. A yMiktam1 of David, zwhen Saul sent men to watch his house in order to kill him.
59 aDeliver me from my enemies, O my God;
2 deliver me from dthose who work evil,
and save me from ebloodthirsty men.
3 For behold, they flie in wait for my life;
fierce men gstir up strife against me.
hFor no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord,
4 for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.
iAwake, come to meet me, and see!
5 You, jLord God of hosts, are God of Israel.
Rouse yourself to punish all the nations;
spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah
6 Each evening they kcome back,
howling like dogs
and prowling about the city.
7 There they are, lbellowing with their mouths
with mswords in their lips—
8 But you, O Lord, olaugh at them;
you hold all the nations in derision.
9 O my Strength, I will watch for you,
for you, O God, are pmy fortress.
God will let me slook in triumph on my enemies.
11 Kill them not, lest my people forget;
O Lord, our ushield!
12 For vthe sin of their mouths, the words of their lips,
let them be trapped in their pride.
For the cursing and lies that they utter,
13 wconsume them in wrath;
consume them till they are no more,
that they may xknow that God rules over Jacob
to ythe ends of the earth. Selah
14 zEach evening they come back,
howling like dogs
and prowling about the city.
15 They awander about for food
and growl if they do not get their fill.
16 But I will sing of your strength;
I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been to me ba fortress
17 O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
for you, O God, bare my fortress,
ethe God who shows me steadfast love.