Deuteronomy 17; Deuteronomy 18; Deuteronomy 19; Deuteronomy 20

1 Suppose an ox or sheep has anything at all wrong with it. Then don't sacrifice it to the LORD your God. He hates it. 2 Someone who is living among you might do what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God. It might happen in one of the towns the LORD is giving you. That person is breaking the LORD's covenant. 3 The person might have worshiped or bowed down to other gods. That person might have bowed down to the sun or moon or stars in the sky. I have commanded you not to do those things. 4 When you hear that people have done something like that, check the matter out carefully. If it's true, an evil thing has been done in Israel. It's something the LORD hates. 5 So take the person who has done that evil thing to your city gate. Put that person to death with stones. 6 The witness of two or three people is required to put someone to death. No one can be put to death because of what only one witness says. It needs the witness of two or three people. 7 The witnesses must throw the first stones. Then the rest of the people must also throw stones. Get rid of that evil person. 8 People will bring their cases to your courts. But some cases will be too hard for you to judge. They might be about murders, attacks or other crimes. Then take those hard cases to the place the LORD your God will choose. 9 Go to a priest, who is a Levite. And go to the judge who is in office at that time. Ask them for their decision. They will give it to you. 10 They'll hand down their decisions at the place the LORD will choose. You must do what they decide. Be careful to do everything they direct you to do. 11 Act in keeping with the laws they teach you. Accept the decisions they give you. Don't turn away from what they tell you. Don't turn to the right or the left. 12 Someone might make fun of the judge. Or he might make fun of the priest who serves the LORD your God at the place he will choose. If the man does that, he must be put to death. Remove that evil person from Israel. 13 All of the people of Israel will hear about it. And they will be afraid to make fun of a judge or priest again. 14 You will enter the land the LORD your God is giving you. You will take it as your own. You will settle down in it. When you do, you will say, "Let's appoint a king over us, just like all of the nations around us." 15 When that happens, make sure you appoint over you the king the LORD your God chooses. He must be from among your own people. Don't appoint over you someone from another country. Don't choose anyone who isn't from one of the tribes of Israel. 16 The king must not get large numbers of horses for himself. He must not make the people return to Egypt to get more horses. The LORD has told you, "You must not go back there again." 17 The king must not have a lot of wives. If he does, he will be led down the wrong path. He must not store up large amounts of silver and gold. 18 When he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he must make himself a copy of the law I'm teaching you. He must write it on a scroll. He must copy it from the scroll of a priest, who is a Levite. 19 The king must keep the scroll close to him at all times. He must read it all the days of his life. Then he can learn to have respect for the LORD his God. He can carefully follow all of the words of that law and those rules. 20 He won't think of himself as being better than his people are. He won't turn away from the law. He won't turn to the right or the left. Then he and his sons after him will rule over his kingdom in Israel for a long time.
1 The priests, who are Levites, won't receive any part of the land of Israel. That also applies to the whole tribe of Levi. They will eat the offerings that are made to the LORD with fire. That will be their share. 2 They won't have any part of the land the LORD gave the other tribes in Israel. The LORD himself is their share, just as he promised them. 3 Anyone who sacrifices a bull or a sheep owes a share of it to the priests. Their share is the shoulder, jaws and inside parts. 4 You must give the priests the first share of the harvest of your grain, olive oil and fresh wine. You must also give them the first wool you clip from your sheep. 5 The LORD your God has chosen the Levites and their sons after them to serve him in his name always. He hasn't chosen priests from any of your other tribes. 6 Sometimes a Levite will move from the town in Israel where he's living. And he will come to the place the LORD will choose. He'll do it because he really wants to. 7 Then he can serve in the name of the LORD his God. He'll be like all of the other Levites who serve the LORD there. 8 He must have an equal share of the good things they have. That applies even if he has already received money by selling things his family owned. 9 You will enter the land the LORD your God is giving you. When you do, don't copy the practices of the nations that are there. The LORD hates those practices. 10 Here are things you must not do. Don't sacrifice your children in the fire to other gods. Don't practice any kind of evil magic at all. Don't use magic to try to explain the meaning of warnings in the sky or of any other signs. Don't take part in worshiping evil powers. 11 Don't put a spell on anyone. Don't get messages from those who have died. Don't talk to the spirits of the dead. Don't get advice from the dead. 12 The LORD your God hates it when anyone does those things. The nations that are in the land he's giving you practice the things he hates. So he will drive out those nations to make room for you. 13 You must be without blame in the sight of the LORD your God. 14 You will take over the nations that are in the land the LORD is giving you. They listen to those who practice all kinds of evil magic. But you belong to the LORD your God. He says you must not do those things. 15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me. He will be one of your own people. You must listen to him. 16 At Mount Horeb you asked the LORD your God for a prophet. You asked him on the day you gathered together. You said, "We don't want to hear the voice of the LORD our God. We don't want to see this great fire anymore. If we do, we'll die." 17 The LORD said to me, "What they are saying is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you. He will be one of their own people. I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him to say. 19 "The prophet will speak in my name. But someone might not listen to what I say through the prophet. Then that person will be accountable to me. 20 "But suppose a prophet dares to speak in my name something I have not commanded him to say. Or he speaks in the name of other gods. Then that prophet must be put to death." 21 You will say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message hasn't been spoken by the Lord?" 22 Sometimes a prophet will announce something in the name of the Lord. And it won't take place or come true. Then that's a message the LORD hasn't told him to speak. That prophet has dared to speak on his own authority. So don't be afraid of him or what he says.
1 The LORD your God will destroy the nations whose land he is giving you. You will drive them out. And you will settle down in their towns and houses. 2 When you do, set apart for yourselves three cities in the land. It's the land the LORD your God is giving you to take as your own. 3 Build roads to those cities and separate the land into three parts. Then anyone who kills another person can run to one of the cities for safety. They are in the land the LORD your God is giving you as your own. 4 Here is the rule about a person who kills someone. That person can run to one of those cities for safety. The rule applies to all those who kill a neighbor they didn't hate and didn't mean to kill. 5 For example, suppose a man goes into a forest with his neighbor to cut wood. When he swings his ax to chop down a tree, the head of the ax flies off. And it hits his neighbor and kills him. Then that man can run to one of those cities and save his life. 6 If he doesn't go to one of those cities, the dead man's nearest male relative might become very angry. He might chase the man. If the city is too far away, he might catch him and kill him. But he isn't worthy of death, because he didn't hate his neighbor. 7 That's why I command you to set apart for yourselves three cities. 8 The LORD your God will increase the size of your territory. He took an oath and promised your fathers he would do it. He will give you the whole land he promised them. 9 But he'll do it only if you are careful to obey all of the laws I'm commanding you today. I'm commanding you to love the LORD your God. I want you to live always as he wants you to live. When he gives you additional land, you must set apart three more cities. 10 Do it so the blood of those who aren't guilty of murder won't be spilled in your land. It's the land the LORD your God is giving you as your own. 11 But suppose a man hates his neighbor. So he hides and waits for him. Then he attacks him and kills him. And he runs to one of those cities for safety. 12 If he does, the elders of his own town must send for him. He must be brought back from the city and handed over to the dead man's nearest male relative. The relative will kill him. 13 Don't feel sorry for him. He has killed someone who hadn't done anything wrong. Crimes like that must be punished in Israel. Then things will go well with you. 14 Don't move your neighbor's boundary stone. It was set up by people who lived there before you. It marks the border of a field in the land you will receive as your own. The LORD your God is giving you that land. You will take it over. 15 Suppose someone is charged with committing a crime of any kind. Then one witness won't be enough to prove he is guilty. Every matter must be proved by the words of two or three witnesses. 16 Suppose a witness who tells lies goes to court and brings charges against someone. The witness says that person committed a crime. 17 Then the two people in the case must stand in front of the Lord. They must stand in front of the priests and the judges who are in office at that time. 18 The judges must check out the matter carefully. And suppose the witness is proved to be lying. Then he has given false witness against another Israelite. 19 So do to the lying witness what he tried to do to the other person. Get rid of that evil person. 20 The rest of the people will hear about it. And they will be afraid. They won't allow such an evil thing to be done among them again. 21 Don't feel sorry for that evil person. A life must be taken for a life. An eye must be put out for an eye. A tooth must be knocked out for a tooth. A hand must be cut off for a hand and a foot for a foot.
1 When you go to war against your enemies, you might see that they have horses and chariots. They might even have an army that is stronger than yours. But don't be afraid of them. The LORD your God will be with you. After all, he brought you up out of Egypt. 2 Just before you go into battle, the priest will come forward. He'll speak to the army. 3 He'll say, "Men of Israel, listen to me. Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Don't be scared. Don't be afraid. Don't panic. Don't be terrified by them. 4 The LORD your God is going with you. He'll fight for you. He'll help you win the battle over your enemies." 5 The officers will speak to the army. They will say, "Has anyone built a new house and not started to live in it? Let him go home. If he doesn't, he might die in battle. Then someone else will live in his house. 6 Has anyone planted a vineyard and not started to enjoy it? Let him go home. If he doesn't, he might die in battle. Then someone else will enjoy his vineyard. 7 Has anyone promised to get married to a woman but hasn't done it yet? Let him go home. If he doesn't, he might die in battle. Then someone else will marry her." 8 The officers will continue, "Is any man afraid? Is anyone scared? Let him go home. Then the other men won't lose hope too." 9 The officers will finish speaking to the army. When they do, they'll appoint commanders over it. 10 Suppose you march up to attack a city. Before you attack it, offer peace to its people. 11 Suppose they accept your offer and open their gates. Then force all of the people in the city to be your slaves. They will have to work for you. 12 But suppose they refuse your offer of peace and prepare for battle. Then surround that city. Get ready to attack it. 13 The LORD your God will hand it over to you. When he does, kill all of the men with your swords. 14 But you can take the women and children for yourselves. You can also take the livestock and everything else in the city. What you have captured from your enemies you can use for yourselves. The LORD your God has given it to you. 15 That's how you must treat all of the cities that are far away from you. Those cities don't belong to the nations that are nearby. 16 But what about the cities the LORD your God is giving you as your own? Kill everything in those cities that breathes. 17 Completely destroy them. Wipe out the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. That's what the LORD your God commanded you to do. 18 If you don't destroy them, they'll teach you to follow all of the things the LORD hates. He hates the way they worship their gods. If you do those things, you will sin against the LORD your God. 19 Suppose you surround a city and get ready to attack it. And suppose you fight against it for a long time in order to capture it. Then don't chop its trees down and destroy them. You can eat their fruit. So don't cut them down. The trees of the field aren't people. So why should you attack them? 20 But you can cut down trees that you know aren't fruit trees. You can build war machines out of their wood. You can use them until you capture the city you are fighting against.
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