Deuteronomy 20

Provision for Priests and Levites

18 The Levitical priests, all the tribe of Levi, nshall have no portion or inheritance with Israel. They oshall eat the Lord's food offerings1 as their2 inheritance. They shall have no inheritance among their brothers; the Lord is their inheritance, as he promised them. And this shall be the priests' due from the people, from those offering a sacrifice, whether an ox or a sheep: pthey shall give to the priest the shoulder and the two cheeks and the stomach. qThe firstfruits of your grain, of your wine and of your oil, and the first fleece of your sheep, you shall give him. For the Lord your God has chosen him out of all your tribes rto stand and minister in the name of the Lord, him and his sons for all time.

And if a Levite comes from any of your towns out of all Israel, swhere he livesand he may come when he desires3tto the place that the Lord will choose, and ministers in the name of the Lord his God, ulike all his fellow Levites who stand to minister there before the Lord, then he may have equal vportions to eat, besides what he receives from the sale of his patrimony.4

Abominable Practices

When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, wyou shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone xwho burns his son or his daughter as an offering,5 anyone who ypractices divination or ztells fortunes or interprets omens, or aa sorcerer 11 or a charmer or ba medium or a necromancer or cone who inquires of the dead, 12 dfor whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And ebecause of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, 14 for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this.

A New Prophet like Moses

15 fThe Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothersit is to him you shall listen 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb gon the day of the assembly, when you said, hLet me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die. 17 And the Lord said to me, iThey are right in what they have spoken. 18 fI will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. jAnd I will put my words in his mouth, and khe shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 lAnd whoever will mnot listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. 20 nBut the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or6 who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. 21 And if you say in your heart, How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken? 22 owhen a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; nthe prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.

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,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.

xYou 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 yYou 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 your midst.

22 eIf a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman. dSo you shall purge the evil from Israel.

23 If there is a fbetrothed virgin, and a man meets her in the city and lies with her, 24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor's wife. dSo you shall purge the evil from your midst.

25 But if in the open country a man meets a young woman who is betrothed, and the man seizes her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die. 26 But you shall do nothing to the young woman; she has committed no offense punishable by death. For this case is like that of a man attacking and murdering his neighbor, 27 because he met her in the open country, and though the betrothed young woman cried for help there was no one to rescue her.

28 gIf a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.

30 5hA man shall not take his father's wife, so that he does not iuncover his father's nakedness.6