1 If an ox or sheep has something wrong with it, do not offer it as a sacrifice to the Lord your God. He would hate that. 2 A man or woman in one of the towns the Lord gave you might be found doing something evil and breaking the Agreement. 3 That person may have served other gods and bowed down to them or to the sun or moon or stars of the sky, which I have commanded should not be done. 4 If someone has told you about it, you must look into the matter carefully. If it is true that such a hateful thing has happened in Israel, 5 take the man or woman who has done the evil thing to the city gates and throw stones at that person until he dies. 6 There must be two or three witnesses that it is true before the person is put to death; if there is only one witness, the person should not be put to death. 7 The witnesses must be the first to throw stones at the person, and then everyone else will follow. You must get rid of the evil among you. 8 Some cases that come before you, such as murder, quarreling, or attack, may be too difficult to judge. Take these cases to the place the Lord your God will choose. 9 Go to the priests who are Levites and to the judge who is on duty at that time. Ask them about the case, and they will decide. 10 You must follow the decision they give you at the place the Lord your God will choose. Be careful to do everything they tell you. 11 Follow the teachings they give you, and do whatever they decide, exactly as they tell you. 12 The person who does not show respect for the judge or priest who is there serving the Lord your God must be put to death. You must get rid of that evil from Israel. 13 Then everyone will hear about this and will be afraid, and they will not show disrespect anymore. 14 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, taking it as your own and living in it, you will say, "Let's appoint a king over us like the nations all around us." 15 Be sure to appoint over you the king the Lord your God chooses. He must be one of your own people. Do not appoint as your king a foreigner who is not a fellow Israelite. 16 The king must not have too many horses for himself, and he must not send people to Egypt to get more horses, because the Lord has told you, "Don't return that way again." 17 The king must not have many wives, or his heart will be led away from God. He must not have too much silver and gold. 18 When he becomes king, he should write a copy of the teachings on a scroll for himself, a copy taken from the priests and Levites. 19 He should keep it with him all the time and read from it every day of his life. Then he will learn to respect the Lord his God, and he will obey all the teach- ings and commands. 20 He should not think he is better than his fellow Israelites, and he must not stop obeying the law in any way so that he and his descendants may rule the kingdom for a long time.
1 The priests are from the tribe of Levi, and that tribe will not receive a share of the land with the Israelites. They will eat the offerings made to the Lord by fire, which is their share. 2 They will not inherit any of the land like their brothers, but they will inherit the Lord himself, as he has promised them. 3 When you offer a bull or sheep as a sacrifice, you must share with the priests, giving them the shoulder, the cheeks, and the inner organs. 4 Give them the first of your grain, new wine, and oil, as well as the first wool you cut from your sheep. 5 The Lord your God has chosen the priests and their descendants out of all your tribes to stand and serve the Lord always. 6 If a Levite moves from one of your towns anywhere in Israel where he lives and comes to the place the Lord will choose, because he wants to serve the Lord there, 7 he may serve the Lord his God. He will be like his fellow Levites who serve there before the Lord. 8 They all will have an equal share of the food. That is separate from what he has received from the sale of family possessions. 9 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, don't learn to do the hateful things the other nations do. 10 Don't let anyone among you offer a son or daughter as a sacrifice in the fire. Don't let anyone use magic or witchcraft, or try to explain the meaning of signs. 11 Don't let anyone try to control others with magic, and don't let them be mediums or try to talk with the spirits of dead people. 12 The Lord hates anyone who does these things. Because the other nations do these things, the Lord your God will force them out of the land ahead of you. 13 But you must be innocent in the presence of the Lord your God. 14 The nations you will force out listen to people who use magic and witchcraft, but the Lord your God will not let you do those things. 15 The Lord your God will give you a prophet like me, who is one of your own people. Listen to him. 16 This is what you asked the Lord your God to do when you were gathered at Mount Sinai. You said, "Don't make us listen to the voice of the Lord our God again, and don't make us look at this terrible fire anymore, or we will die." 17 So the Lord said to me, "What they have said is good. 18 So I will give them a prophet like you, who is one of their own people. I will tell him what to say, and he will tell them everything I command. 19 This prophet will speak for me; anyone who does not listen when he speaks will answer to me. 20 But if a prophet says something I did not tell him to say as though he were speaking for me, or if a prophet speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must be killed." 21 You might be thinking, "How can we know if a message is not from the Lord?" 22 If what a prophet says in the name of the Lord does not happen, it is not the Lord's message. That prophet was speaking his own ideas. Don't be afraid of him.
1 When the Lord your God gives you land that belongs to the other nations, nations that he will destroy, you will force them out and live in their cities and houses. 2 Then choose three cities in the middle of the land the Lord your God is giving you as your own. 3 Build roads to these cities, and divide the land the Lord is giving you into three parts so that someone who kills another person may run to these cities. 4 This is the rule for someone who kills another person and runs to one of these cities in order to save his life. But the person must have killed a neighbor without meaning to, not out of hatred. 5 For example, suppose someone goes into the forest with a neighbor to cut wood and swings an ax to cut down a tree. If the ax head flies off the handle, hitting and killing the neighbor, the one who killed him may run to one of these cities to save his life. 6 Otherwise, the dead person's relative who has the duty of punishing a murderer might be angry and chase him. If the city is far away, the relative might catch and kill the person, even though he should not be killed because there was no intent to kill his neighbor. 7 This is why I command you to choose these three cities. 8 9 Carefully obey all these laws I'm giving you today. Love the Lord your God, and always do what he wants you to do. Then the Lord your God will enlarge your land as he promised your ancestors, giving you the whole land he promised to them. After that, choose three more cities of safety 10 so that innocent people will not be killed in your land, the land that the Lord your God is giving you as your own. By doing this you will not be guilty of allowing the death of innocent people. 11 But if a person hates his neighbor and, after hiding and waiting, attacks and kills him and then runs to one of these cities for safety, 12 the older leaders of his own city should send for the murderer. They should bring the person back from the city of safety and hand him over to the relative who has the duty of punishing the murderer. 13 Show no mercy. You must remove from Israel the guilt of murdering innocent people so that things will go well for you. 14 Do not move the stone that marks the border of your neighbor's land, which people long ago set in place. It marks what you inherit in the land the Lord your God is giving you as your own. 15 One witness is not enough to accuse a person of a crime or sin. A case must be proved by two or three witnesses. 16 If a witness lies and accuses a person of a crime, 17 the two people who are arguing must stand in the presence of the Lord before the priests and judges who are on duty. 18 The judges must check the matter carefully. The witness who is a liar, lying about a fellow Israelite, 19 must be punished. He must be punished in the same way the other person would have been punished. You must get rid of the evil among you. 20 The rest of the people will hear about this and be afraid, and no one among you will ever do such an evil thing again. 21 Show no mercy. A life must be paid for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot.
1 When you go to war against your enemies and you see horses and chariots and an army that is bigger than yours, don't be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, will be with you. 2 The priest must come and speak to the army before you go into battle. 3 He will say, "Listen, Israel! Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Don't lose your courage or be afraid. Don't panic or be frightened, 4 because the Lord your God goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies and to save you." 5 The officers should say to the army, "Has anyone built a new house but not given it to God? He may go home, because he might die in battle and someone else would get to give his house to God. 6 Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? He may go home, because he might die in battle and someone else would enjoy his vineyard. 7 Is any man engaged to a woman and not yet married to her? He may go home, because he might die in battle and someone else would marry her." 8 Then the officers should also say, "Is anyone here afraid? Has anyone lost his courage? He may go home so that he will not cause others to lose their courage, too." 9 When the officers finish speaking to the army, they should appoint commanders to lead it. 10 When you march up to attack a city, first make them an offer of peace. 11 If they accept your offer and open their gates to you, all the people of that city will become your slaves and work for you. 12 But if they do not make peace with you and fight you in battle, you should surround that city. 13 The Lord your God will give it to you. Then kill all the men with your swords, 14 and you may take everything else in the city for yourselves. Take the women, children, and animals, and you may use these things the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. 15 Do this to all the cities that are far away, that do not belong to the nations nearby. 16 But leave nothing alive in the cities of the land the Lord your God is giving you. 17 Completely destroy these people: the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, as the Lord your God has commanded. 18 Otherwise, they will teach you what they do for their gods, and if you do these hateful things, you will sin against the Lord your God. 19 If you surround and attack a city for a long time, trying to capture it, do not destroy its trees with an ax. You can eat the fruit from the trees, but do not cut them down. These trees are not the enemy, so don't make war against them. 20 But you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build devices to attack the city walls, until the city is captured.