New English Translation
16 Observe the month Abib[a] and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in that month[b] he[c] brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 You must sacrifice the Passover animal[d] (from the flock or the herd) to the Lord your God in the place where he[e] chooses to locate his name. 3 You must not eat any yeast with it; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast, as symbolic of affliction,[f] for you came out of Egypt hurriedly. You must do this so you will remember for the rest of your lives the day you came out of the land of Egypt. 4 There must not be a scrap of yeast within your land[g] for seven days, nor can any of the meat you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain until the next morning.[h] 5 You may not sacrifice the Passover in just any of your villages[i] that the Lord your God is giving you, 6 but you must sacrifice it[j] in the evening in[k] the place where he[l] chooses to locate his name, at sunset, the time of day you came out of Egypt. 7 You must cook[m] and eat it in the place the Lord your God chooses; you may return the next morning to your tents. 8 You must eat bread made without yeast for six days. The seventh day you are to hold an assembly for the Lord your God; you must not do any work on that day.[n]
The Feast of Weeks
9 You must count seven weeks; you must begin to count them[o] from the time you begin to harvest the standing grain. 10 Then you are to celebrate the Feast of Weeks[p] before the Lord your God with the voluntary offering[q] that you will bring, in proportion to how he[r] has blessed you. 11 You shall rejoice before him[s]—you, your son, your daughter, your male and female slaves, the Levites in your villages,[t] the resident foreigners,[u] the orphans, and the widows among you—in the place where the Lord chooses to locate his name. 12 Furthermore, remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and so be careful to observe these statutes.
The Feast of Temporary Shelters
13 You must celebrate the Feast of Shelters[v] for seven days, at the time of the grain and grape harvest.[w] 14 You are to rejoice in your festival, you, your son, your daughter, your male and female slaves, the Levites, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows who are in your villages.[x] 15 You are to celebrate the festival seven days before the Lord your God in the place he[y] chooses, for he[z] will bless you in all your productivity and in whatever you do;[aa] so you will indeed rejoice! 16 Three times a year all your males must appear before the Lord your God in the place he chooses for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Shelters; and they must not appear before him[ab] empty-handed. 17 Every one of you must give as you are able,[ac] according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.
Provision for Justice
18 You must appoint judges and civil servants[ad] for each tribe in all your villages[ae] that the Lord your God is giving you, and they must judge the people fairly.[af] 19 You must not pervert justice or show favor. Do not take a bribe, for bribes blind the eyes of the wise and distort[ag] the words of the righteous.[ah] 20 You must pursue justice alone[ai] so that you may live and inherit the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Examples of Legal Cases
21 You must not plant any kind of tree as a sacred Asherah pole[aj] near the altar of the Lord your God which you build for yourself. 22 You must not erect a sacred pillar,[ak] a thing the Lord your God detests.
- Deuteronomy 16:1 sn The month Abib, later called Nisan (Neh 2:1; Esth 3:7), corresponds to March-April in the modern calendar.
- Deuteronomy 16:1 tn Heb “in the month Abib.” The demonstrative “that” has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Deuteronomy 16:1 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.
- Deuteronomy 16:2 tn Heb “sacrifice the Passover” (so NASB). The word “animal” has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Deuteronomy 16:2 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” in the previous verse.
- Deuteronomy 16:3 tn Heb “bread of affliction.” Their affliction was part of the cause of why they ate this kind of bread. It could be understood as “the sort of bread made under oppressive circumstances.” The kind of bread was used to symbolize and remind of their affliction.
- Deuteronomy 16:4 tn Heb “leaven must not be seen among you in all your border.”
- Deuteronomy 16:4 tn Heb “remain all night until the morning” (so KJV, ASV). This has been simplified in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Deuteronomy 16:5 tn Heb “gates.”
- Deuteronomy 16:6 tn Heb “the Passover.” The translation uses a pronoun to avoid redundancy in English.
- Deuteronomy 16:6 tc The MT reading אֶל (ʾel, “unto”) before “the place” should, following Smr, Syriac, Targums, and Vulgate, be omitted in favor of ב (bet; בַּמָּקוֹם, bammaqom), “in the place.”
- Deuteronomy 16:6 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “he” in 16:1.
- Deuteronomy 16:7 tn The rules that governed the Passover meal are found in Exod 12:1-51, and Deut 16:1-8. The word translated “cook” (בָּשַׁל, bashal) here is translated “boil” in other places (e.g. Exod 23:19, 1 Sam 2:13-15). This would seem to contradict Exod 12:9 where the Israelites are told not to eat the Passover sacrifice raw or boiled. However, 2 Chr 35:13 recounts the celebration of a Passover feast during the reign of Josiah, and explains that the people “cooked (בָּשַׁל, bashal) the Passover sacrifices over the open fire.” The use of בָּשַׁל (bashal) with “fire” (אֵשׁ, ʾesh) suggests that the word could be used to speak of boiling or roasting.
- Deuteronomy 16:8 tn The words “on that day” are not in the Hebrew text; they are supplied in the translation for clarification (cf. TEV, NLT).
- Deuteronomy 16:9 tn Heb “the seven weeks.” The translation uses a pronoun to avoid redundancy in English.
- Deuteronomy 16:10 tn The Hebrew phrase חַג שָׁבֻעוֹת (khag shavuʿot) is otherwise known in the OT (Exod 23:16) as קָצִיר (qatsir, “harvest”) and in the NT as πεντηχοστή (pentēhchostē, “Pentecost”).
- Deuteronomy 16:10 tn Heb “the sufficiency of the offering of your hand.”
- Deuteronomy 16:10 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “he” in 16:1.
- Deuteronomy 16:11 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “he” in 16:1.
- Deuteronomy 16:11 tn Heb “gates.”
- Deuteronomy 16:11 sn The ger (גֵּר) “foreign resident” or “naturalized citizen,” (see Exod 12:19 and Deut 29:10-13) could make sacrifices (Lev 17:8; 22:18; Num 15:14) and participate in Israel’s religious festivals: Passover Exod 12:48; Day of Atonement Lev 16:29; Feast of Weeks Deut 16:10-14; Feast of Tabernacles Deut 31:12.
- Deuteronomy 16:13 tn The Hebrew phrase חַג הַסֻּכֹּת (khag hassukkot, “Feast of Shelters” or “Feast of Huts”) is traditionally known as the Feast of Tabernacles. The rendering “booths” (cf. NAB, NASB, NRSV) is now preferable to the traditional “tabernacles” (KJV, ASV, NIV) in light of the meaning of the term סֻכָּה (sukkah, “hut; booth”), but “booths” are frequently associated with trade shows and craft fairs in contemporary American English. Clearer is the English term “shelters” (so NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT). This feast was a commemoration of the wanderings of the Israelites after they left Egypt, in which they dwelt in temporary shelters.
- Deuteronomy 16:13 tn Heb “when you gather in your threshing-floor and winepress.”
- Deuteronomy 16:14 tn Heb “in your gates.”
- Deuteronomy 16:15 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” in 16:1.
- Deuteronomy 16:15 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “he” in 16:1.
- Deuteronomy 16:15 tn Heb “in all the work of your hands” (so NASB, NIV); NAB, NRSV “in all your undertakings.”
- Deuteronomy 16:16 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” in 16:1.
- Deuteronomy 16:17 tn Heb “a man must give according to the gift of his hand.” This has been translated as second person for stylistic reasons, in keeping with the second half of the verse, which is second person rather than third.
- Deuteronomy 16:18 tn The Hebrew term וְשֹׁטְרִים (veshoterim), usually translated “officers” (KJV, NCV) or “officials” (NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT), derives from the verb שֹׁטֵר (shoter, “to write”). The noun became generic for all types of public officials. Here, however, it may be appositionally epexegetical to “judges,” thus resulting in the phrase, “judges, that is, civil officers,” etc. Whoever the שֹׁטְרִים are, their task here consists of rendering judgments and administering justice.
- Deuteronomy 16:18 tn Heb “gates.”
- Deuteronomy 16:18 tn Heb “with judgment of righteousness”; ASV, NASB “with righteous judgment.”
- Deuteronomy 16:19 tn Heb “twist, overturn”; NRSV “subverts the cause.”
- Deuteronomy 16:19 tn Or “innocent”; NRSV “those who are in the right”; NLT “the godly.”
- Deuteronomy 16:20 tn Heb “justice, justice.” The repetition is emphatic; one might translate as “pure justice” or “unadulterated justice” (cf. NLT “true justice”).
- Deuteronomy 16:21 tn Heb “an Asherah, any tree.”sn Sacred Asherah pole. This refers to a tree (or wooden pole) dedicated to the worship of Asherah, wife/sister of El and goddess of fertility. See also Deut 7:5.
- Deuteronomy 16:22 sn Sacred pillar. This refers to the stelae (stone pillars; the Hebrew term is מַצֵּבֹת, matsevot) associated with Baal worship, perhaps to mark a spot hallowed by an alleged visitation of the gods. See also Deut 7:5.