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Deuteronomy 24Contemporary English Version (CEV)

A Law about Divorce

Moses said to Israel:

24 Suppose a woman was divorced by her first husband because he found something disgraceful about her.[a] He wrote out divorce papers, gave them to her, and sent her away. Later she married another man, who then either divorced her in the same way or died. Since she has slept with her second husband, she cannot marry her first husband again. Their marriage would pollute the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and he would be disgusted.

Newlyweds

Moses said to Israel:

If a man and a woman have been married less than one year, he must not be sent off to war or sent away to do forced labor. He must be allowed to stay home for a year and be happy with his wife.

Loans

Moses said to Israel:

When you lend money to people, you are allowed to keep something of theirs as a guarantee that they will pay back the loan. But don’t take one or both of their millstones, or else they may starve. They need these stones for grinding grain into flour to make bread.

Kidnapping

Moses said to Israel:

If you are guilty of kidnapping Israelites and forcing them into slavery, you will be put to death to remove this evil from the community.

Skin Diseases

Moses said to Israel:

I have told the priests[b] what to do if any of you have leprosy,[c] so do exactly what they say. And remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam[d] after you left Egypt.

Loans

Moses said to Israel:

10 When you lend money to people, you are allowed to keep something of theirs as a guarantee that the money will be paid back. But you must not go into their house to get it. 11 Wait outside, and they will bring out the item you have agreed on.

12 Suppose someone is so poor that a coat is the only thing that can be offered as a guarantee on a loan. Don’t keep the coat overnight. 13 Instead, give it back before sunset, so the owner can keep warm and sleep and ask the Lord to bless you. Then the Lord your God will notice that you have done the right thing.

Poor People’s Wages

Moses said:

14 If you hire poor people to work for you, don’t hold back their pay,[e] whether they are Israelites or foreigners who live in your town. 15 Pay them their wages at the end of each day, because they live in poverty and need the money to survive. If you don’t pay them on time, they will complain about you to the Lord, and he will punish you.

The Death Penalty

Moses said to Israel:

16 Parents must not be put to death for crimes committed by their children, and children must not be put to death for crimes committed by their parents. Don’t put anyone to death for someone else’s crime.

Don’t Mistreat the Powerless

Moses said to Israel:

17 Make sure that orphans and foreigners are treated fairly. And if you lend money to a widow and want to keep something of hers to guarantee that she will pay you back, don’t take any of her clothes. 18 You were slaves in Egypt until the Lord your God rescued you. That’s why I am giving you these laws.

Leave Some of Your Harvest for the Poor

Moses said to Israel:

19 If you forget to bring in a stack of harvested grain, don’t go back in the field to get it. Leave it for the poor, including foreigners, orphans, and widows, and the Lord will make you successful in everything you do.

20 When you harvest your olives, don’t try to get them all for yourself, but leave some for the poor. 21 And when you pick your grapes, go over the vines only once, then let the poor have what is left. 22 You lived in poverty as slaves in Egypt until the Lord your God rescued you. That’s why I am giving you these laws.

Footnotes:

  1. 24.1 something disgraceful about her: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 24.8 the priests: See the note at 17.8-12.
  3. 24.8 leprosy: The word “leprosy” was used for many different kinds of skin diseases.
  4. 24.9 what the Lord your God did to Miriam: See Numbers 12.1-16.
  5. 24.14 don’t hold back their pay: The Dead Sea Scrolls; the Standard Hebrew Text “treat them right.”

Deuteronomy 24New International Version (NIV)

24 If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord. Do not bring sin upon the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.

Do not take a pair of millstones—not even the upper one—as security for a debt, because that would be taking a person’s livelihood as security.

If someone is caught kidnapping a fellow Israelite and treating or selling them as a slave, the kidnapper must die. You must purge the evil from among you.

In cases of defiling skin diseases,[a] be very careful to do exactly as the Levitical priests instruct you. You must follow carefully what I have commanded them. Remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam along the way after you came out of Egypt.

10 When you make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, do not go into their house to get what is offered to you as a pledge. 11 Stay outside and let the neighbor to whom you are making the loan bring the pledge out to you. 12 If the neighbor is poor, do not go to sleep with their pledge in your possession. 13 Return their cloak by sunset so that your neighbor may sleep in it. Then they will thank you, and it will be regarded as a righteous act in the sight of the Lord your God.

14 Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether that worker is a fellow Israelite or a foreigner residing in one of your towns. 15 Pay them their wages each day before sunset, because they are poor and are counting on it. Otherwise they may cry to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin.

16 Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.

17 Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. 18 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this.

19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 22 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.

Footnotes:

  1. Deuteronomy 24:8 The Hebrew word for defiling skin diseases, traditionally translated “leprosy,” was used for various diseases affecting the skin.
New International Version (NIV)

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