Deuteronomy 21

Deuteronomy 21

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1 "Suppose someone is found murdered in a field in the land the LORD your God is giving you, and you don't know who committed the murder.

2 In such cases, your leaders and judges must determine which town is nearest the body.

3 Then the leaders of that town must select a young cow that has never been trained or yoked to a plow.

4 They must lead it to a valley that is neither plowed nor planted with a stream running through it. There they must break the cow's neck.

5 The Levitical priests must go there also, for the LORD your God has chosen them to minister before him and to pronounce blessings in the LORD's name. And they are to decide all lawsuits and punishments.

6 "The leaders of the town nearest the body must wash their hands over the young cow whose neck was broken.

7 Then they must say, `Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did we see it happen.

8 O LORD, forgive your people Israel whom you have redeemed. Do not charge your people Israel with the guilt of murdering an innocent person.' Then they will be absolved of the guilt of this person's blood.

9 By following these instructions and doing what is right in the LORD's sight, you will cleanse the guilt of murder from your community.

10 "Suppose you go to war against your enemies and the LORD your God hands them over to you and you take captives.

11 And suppose you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you are attracted to her and want to marry her.

12 If this happens, you may take her to your home, where she must shave her head, cut her fingernails,

13 and change all her clothes. Then she must remain in your home for a full month, mourning for her father and mother. After that you may marry her.

14 But if you marry her and then decide you do not like her, you must let her go free. You may not sell her or treat her as a slave, for you have humiliated her.

15 "Suppose a man has two wives, but he loves one and not the other, and both have given him sons. And suppose the firstborn son is the son of the wife he does not love.

16 When the man divides the inheritance, he may not give the larger inheritance to his younger son, the son of the wife he loves.

17 He must give the customary double portion to his oldest son, who represents the strength of his father's manhood and who owns the rights of the firstborn son, even though he is the son of the wife his father does not love.

18 "Suppose a man has a stubborn, rebellious son who will not obey his father or mother, even though they discipline him.

19 In such cases, the father and mother must take the son before the leaders of the town.

20 They must declare: `This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious and refuses to obey. He is a worthless drunkard.'

21 Then all the men of the town must stone him to death. In this way, you will cleanse this evil from among you, and all Israel will hear about it and be afraid.

22 "If someone has committed a crime worthy of death and is executed and then hanged on a tree,

23 the body must never remain on the tree overnight. You must bury the body that same day, for anyone hanging on a tree is cursed of God. Do not defile the land the LORD your God is giving you as a special possession.

Read Deuteronomy 22

New Living Translation Bible and Notes used with permission Tyndale House Publishers.

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