24 Moses: Suppose a man marries a woman but then isn’t happy with her because he discovers she is sexually indecent,[a] and he writes a certificate of divorce, gives it to her, and sends her away from his house. 2 Suppose she leaves his house and becomes another man’s wife, 3 and that second man also isn’t happy with her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her, and sends her away; or suppose that second man who married her dies. 4 In either case, the first man who divorced her isn’t allowed to take her back as his wife because the intimacy of the second marriage defiled her for her first husband. The Eternal would be horrified if anyone did this. It would bring sin on the land the Eternal your God is giving you to live in and pass down to your children.
5 When a man first gets married, he’s free from military service and any other civic duty for one year. He and his wife may spend that year happily together in their home.
6 A creditor is not allowed to take a pair of millstones for grinding grain, or to take even a single millstone (which would leave the other one useless) as security for a debt.
How can debtors stay alive if they can’t prepare food? When a person’s debt is due, God has instructions for Israelite life and ethic, and He always considers both parties.
7 If someone is caught kidnapping and enslaving other Israelites or selling them into slavery, the penalty is death. Expel the wicked from your own community.[b]
8 Do everything you can to prevent an outbreak of any infectious skin disease. I’ve commanded the Levitical priests what to do in these cases. Follow all of their instructions very carefully! 9 Remember what the Eternal your God did to Miriam as you were on your way out of Egypt.[c]
As the Israelites are traveling through the wilderness, the prophetess Miriam, Moses’ sister, is struck with an infectious skin disease for questioning her brother’s authority as the Lord’s representative (Numbers 12:1–15). Moses prays for her, and she is healed after a week. The allusion to this event seems intended to stress that God has complete power over diseases that cause impurity—both to strike people and to heal them—and that the Israelites therefore need to respect the authority of the Lord’s representatives, the priests, as they treat cases.
Moses: 10 If you make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, don’t go into his house to collect the security. 11 Wait outside, and let him bring it out to you. 12 If the borrower is poor and gives a cloak as security, don’t keep it overnight. 13 Give the cloak back at sunset so he can sleep in it and stay warm. He’ll bless you, and the Eternal your God will recognize your good deed.
14 Don’t exploit the poor and needy people whom you hire to work for you, whether they’re fellow Israelites or some of the foreigners who live in your cities. 15 Pay them on the same day they work for you, before the sun goes down, because they’re poor and they’re really counting on the money. If you don’t, they’ll cry out to the Eternal, and He’ll find you guilty of wicked actions.
16 Don’t put parents to death for anything their children have done, and don’t put children to death for anything their parents have done. People are only to be executed for their own crimes.
17 Don’t deny justice to someone just because he or she is defenseless, such as a foreigner or an orphan, and don’t take a widow’s garment as security for a debt. 18 Remember you were helpless slaves in Egypt, and the Eternal your God rescued you from there. That’s why I’m commanding you to do this and protect defenseless people yourselves.
19 When you’re harvesting your field, if you forget a sheaf, don’t go back out into the field to get it. Let the foreigners, orphans, and widows take it. If you do this, the Eternal your God will bless everything you do. 20 When you beat your olive tree to knock the olives onto the ground where you can harvest them, don’t shake each branch again and again to strip the tree clean. Leave some for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 21 When you cut the grapes off your vines, don’t go around a second time and get all the ones you missed. Leave them for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 22 Remember you, too, were destitute slaves in Egypt. That’s why I’m commanding you to do this and provide for the needy people around you.