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Deuteronomy 17; Deuteronomy 18; Deuteronomy 19; Deuteronomy 20 (Good News Translation)

1 "Do not sacrifice to the Lord your God cattle or sheep that have any defects; the Lord hates this. 2 "Suppose you hear that in one of your towns some men or women have sinned against the Lord and broken his covenant 3 by worshiping and serving other gods or the sun or the moon or the stars, contrary to the Lord's command. 4 If you hear such a report, then investigate it thoroughly. If it is true that this evil thing has happened in Israel, 5 then take them outside the town and stone them to death. 6 However, they may be put to death only if two or more witnesses testify against them; they are not to be put to death if there is only one witness. 7 The witnesses are to throw the first stones, and then the rest of the people are to stone them; in this way you will get rid of this evil. 8 "It may be that some cases will be too difficult for the local judges to decide, such as certain cases of property rights or of bodily injury or those cases that involve a distinction between murder and manslaughter. When this happens, go to the one place of worship chosen by the Lord your God, 9 and present your case to the levitical priests and to the judge who is in office at that time, and let them decide the case. 10 They will give their decision, and you are to do exactly as they tell you. 11 Accept their verdict and follow their instructions in every detail. 12 Anyone who dares to disobey either the judge or the priest on duty is to be put to death; in this way you will remove this evil from Israel. 13 Then everyone will hear of it and be afraid, and no one else will dare to act in such a way. 14 "After you have taken possession of the land that the Lord your God is going to give you and have settled there, then you will decide you need a king like all the nations around you. 15 Be sure that the man you choose to be king is the one whom the Lord has chosen. He must be one of your own people; do not make a foreigner your king. 16 The king is not to have a large number of horses for his army, and he is not to send people to Egypt to buy horses, because the Lord has said that his people are never to return there. 17 The king is not to have many wives, because this would make him turn away from the Lord; and he is not to make himself rich with silver and gold. 18 When he becomes king, he is to have a copy of the book of God's laws and teachings made from the original copy kept by the levitical priests. 19 He is to keep this book near him and read from it all his life, so that he will learn to honor the Lord and to obey faithfully everything that is commanded in it. 20 This will keep him from thinking that he is better than other Israelites and from disobeying the Lord's commands in any way. Then he will reign for many years, and his descendants will rule Israel for many generations. 1 "The priestly tribe of Levi is not to receive any share of land in Israel; instead, they are to live on the offerings and other sacrifices given to the Lord. 2 They are to own no land, as the other tribes do; their share is the privilege of being the Lord's priests, as the Lord has promised. 3 "Whenever cattle or sheep are sacrificed, the priests are to be given the shoulder, the jaw, and the stomach. 4 They are to receive the first share of the grain, wine, olive oil, and wool. 5 The Lord chose from all your tribes the tribe of Levi to serve him as priests forever. 6 "Any Levite who wants to may come from any town in Israel to the one place of worship 7 and may serve there as a priest of the Lord his God, like the other Levites who are serving there. 8 He is to receive the same amount of food as the other priests, and he may keep whatever his family sends him. 9 "When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, don't follow the disgusting practices of the nations that are there. 10 Don't sacrifice your children in the fires on your altars; and don't let your people practice divination or look for omens or use spells 11 or charms, and don't let them consult the spirits of the dead. 12 The Lord your God hates people who do these disgusting things, and that is why he is driving those nations out of the land as you advance. 13 Be completely faithful to the Lord." 14 Then Moses said, "In the land you are about to occupy, people follow the advice of those who practice divination and look for omens, but the Lord your God does not allow you to do this. 15 Instead, he will send you a prophet like me from among your own people, and you are to obey him. 16 "On the day that you were gathered at Mount Sinai, you begged not to hear the Lord speak again or to see his fiery presence any more, because you were afraid you would die. 17 So the Lord said to me, "They have made a wise request. 18 I will send them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will tell him what to say, and he will tell the people everything I command. 19 He will speak in my name, and I will punish anyone who refuses to obey him. 20 But if any prophet dares to speak a message in my name when I did not command him to do so, he must die for it, and so must any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods.' 21 "You may wonder how you can tell when a prophet's message does not come from the Lord. 22 If a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord and what he says does not come true, then it is not the Lord's message. That prophet has spoken on his own authority, and you are not to fear him. 1 "After the Lord your God has destroyed the people whose land he is giving you and after you have taken their cities and houses and settled there, 2 divide the territory into three parts, each with a city that can be easily reached. Then any of you that kill will be able to escape to one of them for protection. 4 If you accidentally kill someone who is not your enemy, you may escape to any of these cities and be safe. 5 For example, if two of you go into the forest together to cut wood and if, as one of you is chopping down a tree, the ax head comes off the handle and kills the other, you can run to one of those three cities and be safe. 6 If there were only one city, the distance to it might be too great, and the relative who is responsible for taking revenge for the killing might catch you and angrily kill an innocent person. After all, it was by accident that you killed someone who was not your enemy. 7 This is why I order you to set aside three cities. 8 "When the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as he told your ancestors he would, and gives you all the land he has promised, 9 then you are to select three more cities. (He will give you this land if you do everything that I command you today and if you love the Lord your God and live according to his teachings.) 10 Do this, so that innocent people will not die and so that you will not be guilty of putting them to death in the land that the Lord is giving you. 11 "But suppose you deliberately murder your enemy in cold blood and then escape to one of those cities for protection. 12 In that case, the leaders of your own town are to send for you and hand you over to the relative responsible for taking revenge for the murder, so that you may be put to death. 13 No mercy will be shown to you. Israel must rid itself of murderers, so that all will go well. 14 "Do not move your neighbor's property line, established long ago in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. 15 "One witness is not enough to convict someone of a crime; at least two witnesses are necessary to prove that someone is guilty. 16 If any of you try to harm another by false accusations, 17 both of you are to go to the one place of worship and be judged by the priests and judges who are then in office. 18 The judges will investigate the case thoroughly; and if you have made a false accusation, 19 you are to receive the punishment the accused would have received. In this way your nation will get rid of this evil. 20 Then everyone else will hear what happened; they will be afraid, and no one will ever again do such an evil thing. 21 In such cases show no mercy; the punishment is to be a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, and a foot for a foot. 1 "When you go out to fight against your enemies and you see chariots and horses and an army that outnumbers yours, do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who rescued you from Egypt, will be with you. 2 Before you start fighting, a priest is to come forward and say to the army, 3 "Men of Israel, listen! Today you are going into battle. Do not be afraid of your enemies or lose courage or panic. 4 The Lord your God is going with you, and he will give you victory.' 5 "Then the officers will address the men and say, "Is there any man here who has just built a house, but has not yet dedicated it? If so, he is to go home. Otherwise, if he is killed in battle, someone else will dedicate his house. 6 Is there any man here who has just planted a vineyard, but has not yet had the chance to harvest its grapes? If so, he is to go home. Otherwise, if he is killed in battle, someone else will enjoy the wine. 7 Is there anyone here who is engaged to be married? If so, he is to go home. Otherwise, if he is killed in battle, someone else will marry the woman he is engaged to.' 8 "The officers will also say to the men, "Is there any man here who has lost his nerve and is afraid? If so, he is to go home. Otherwise, he will destroy the morale of the others.' 9 When the officers have finished speaking to the army, leaders are to be chosen for each unit. 10 "When you go to attack a city, first give its people a chance to surrender. 11 If they open the gates and surrender, they are all to become your slaves and do forced labor for you. 12 But if the people of that city will not surrender, but choose to fight, surround it with your army. 13 Then, when the Lord your God lets you capture the city, kill every man in it. 14 You may, however, take for yourselves the women, the children, the livestock, and everything else in the city. You may use everything that belongs to your enemies. The Lord has given it to you. 15 That is how you are to deal with those cities that are far away from the land you will settle in. 16 "But when you capture cities in the land that the Lord your God is giving you, kill everyone. 17 Completely destroy all the people: the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, as the Lord ordered you to do. 18 Kill them, so that they will not make you sin against the Lord by teaching you to do all the disgusting things that they do in the worship of their gods. 19 "When you are trying to capture a city, do not cut down its fruit trees, even though the siege lasts a long time. Eat the fruit, but do not destroy the trees; the trees are not your enemies. 20 You may cut down the other trees and use them in the siege mounds until the city is captured.
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