Administration of Justice

17 (A)You shall not sacrifice to the Lord your God an ox or a sheep which has a blemish or any [a]defect, for that is a detestable thing to the Lord your God.

(B)If there is found in your midst, in any of your [b]towns which the Lord your God is giving you, a man or a woman who does what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, by violating His covenant, and that person has gone and (C)served other gods and worshiped them, (D)or the sun, the moon, or any of the heavenly [c]lights, (E)which I have commanded not to do, and if it is reported to you and you have heard about it, then you shall investigate thoroughly. And [d]if it is true and the report is trustworthy that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then you are to bring out to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil deed, that is, the man or the woman, and (F)you shall stone them to [e]death. (G)On the [f]testimony of two witnesses or three witnesses, the [g]condemned shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the [h]testimony of only one witness. (H)The hands of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. (I)So you shall eliminate the evil from your midst.

(J)If a case is too difficult for you to decide, between [i]one kind of homicide or another, between [j]one kind of lawsuit or another, and between [k]one kind of assault or another, that are cases of dispute in your [l]courts, then you shall arise and go up to (K)the place which the Lord your God chooses. So you shall come to (L)the Levitical priests or the judge who is in office in those days, and you shall inquire of them and they will declare to you the [m]verdict. 10 Then you shall act in accordance with the [n]terms of the verdict which they declare to you from that place which the Lord chooses; and you shall be careful to act in accordance with everything that they instruct you to do. 11 (M)In accordance with the [o]terms of the law about which they instruct you, and in accordance with the verdict which they tell you, you shall act; you shall not turn aside from the word which they declare to you, to the right or the left. 12 But the person who acts (N)insolently by not listening to the priest who stands there to serve the Lord your God, nor to the judge, that person shall die; so you shall eliminate the evil from Israel. 13 Then all the people will hear and be afraid, and will not act (O)insolently again.

14 “When you enter the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and you (P)take possession of it and live in it, and you say, ‘(Q)I will appoint a king over me like all the nations who are around me,’ 15 you shall in fact appoint a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses. One (R)from among your countrymen you shall appoint as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves, anyone who is not your countryman. 16 (S)In any case, he is not to acquire many horses for himself, nor shall he (T)make the people return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since (U)the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’ 17 And (V)he shall not acquire many wives for himself, so that his heart does not turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.

18 “Now it shall come about, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this Law on a scroll [p](W)in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read it (X)all the days of his life, so that he will learn to fear the Lord his God, [q]by carefully following all the words of this Law and these statutes, 20 so that his heart will not be haughty toward his countrymen, (Y)and that he will not turn away from the commandment to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may [r]live long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.

Portion for the Levites

18 (Z)The Levitical priests, the whole tribe of Levi, shall not have a portion or inheritance with Israel; they shall eat the Lords offerings by fire and His [s]property. (AA)They shall not have an inheritance among their countrymen; the Lord is their inheritance, as He [t]promised them.

(AB)Now this shall be the priests’ portion from the people, from those who offer a sacrifice, either an ox or a sheep: they shall give the priest the shoulder, the two cheeks, and the stomach. You shall give him the (AC)first fruits of your grain, your new wine, and your oil, and the first fleece of your sheep. (AD)For the Lord your God has chosen him and his sons from all your tribes, to (AE)stand to serve in the name of the Lord always.

“Now if a Levite comes from any of your [u]towns throughout Israel where he (AF)resides, and he comes [v]whenever he desires to the place which the Lord chooses, then he shall serve in the name of the Lord his God, like all his fellow Levites who stand there before the Lord. (AG)They shall eat [w]equal portions, except for what they receive from the sale of their fathers’ estates.

Spiritism Forbidden

“When you enter the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to [x](AH)imitate the detestable things of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone (AI)who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, a (AJ)soothsayer, one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts a spell, (AK)or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who consults the dead. 12 For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and (AL)because of these detestable things the Lord your God is going to drive them out before you. 13 (AM)You are to be blameless before the Lord your God. 14 For these nations, which you are going to dispossess, listen to (AN)soothsayers and diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so.

15 (AO)The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen; to him you shall listen. 16 This is (AP)in accordance with everything that you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Do not let me hear the voice of the Lord my God again, and do not let me see this great fire anymore, or I will die!’ 17 And (AQ)the Lord said to me, ‘They have [y]spoken well. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and (AR)I will put My words in his mouth, and (AS)he shall speak to them everything that I command him. 19 (AT)And it shall come about that whoever does not listen to My words which he speaks in My name, I Myself will [z]require it of him. 20 But the prophet who speaks a word (AU)presumptuously in My name, a word which I have not commanded him to speak, or (AV)which he speaks in the name of other gods, [aa]that prophet shall die.’ 21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How will we recognize the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 (AW)When the prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, and the thing does not happen or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it (AX)presumptuously; you are not to be afraid of him.

Cities of Refuge

19 (AY)When the Lord your God cuts off the nations whose land the Lord your God is giving you, and you dispossess them and settle in their cities and in their houses, (AZ)you shall set aside for yourself three cities in the midst of your land which the Lord your God is giving you to [ab]possess. You shall prepare the [ac]roads for yourself, and divide into three regions the territory of your land which the Lord your God will give you as an inheritance, [ad]so that anyone who commits manslaughter may flee there.

(BA)Now this is the case of the one who commits manslaughter, who may flee there and live: when he [ae]kills his friend [af]unintentionally, [ag]not hating him previously— as when a person goes into the forest with his friend to cut wood, and his hand [ah]swings the axe to cut down the tree, and the iron head slips off the [ai]handle and [aj]strikes his friend so that he dies—he may flee to one of these cities and live. Otherwise, the avenger of blood might pursue [ak]him [al]in the heat of his anger, and overtake him because the way is long, and [am]take his life, though he was not sentenced to death since he had not hated him previously. Therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall set aside for yourself three cities.’

“And if the Lord your God (BB)enlarges your territory, just as He has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land that He [an]promised to give your fathers— if you [ao]carefully follow all of this commandment which I am commanding you today, (BC)to love the Lord your God, and to walk in His ways always—(BD)then you shall add three more cities for yourself, besides these three. 10 So innocent blood will not be shed in the midst of your land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and (BE)guilt for bloodshed will not be on you.

11 “But (BF)if there is a person who hates his neighbor, and waits in ambush for him and rises up against him and strikes [ap]him so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities, 12 then the elders of his city shall send men and take him from there, and hand him over to the avenger of blood, so that he may die. 13 [aq](BG)You shall not pity him, but (BH)you shall eliminate the guilt for the bloodshed of the innocent from Israel, so that it may go well for you.

Laws of Landmark and Testimony

14 (BI)You shall not displace your neighbor’s boundary marker, which the ancestors have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to [ar]possess.

15 (BJ)A single witness shall not rise up against a person regarding any wrongdoing or any sin [as]that he commits; on the [at]testimony of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed. 16 (BK)If a malicious witness rises up against a person to testify against him of wrongdoing, 17 then both people who have the dispute shall stand (BL)before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days. 18 And the judges (BM)shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has testified against his brother falsely, 19 then (BN)you shall do to him just as he had planned to do to his brother. So you shall eliminate the evil from among you. 20 And (BO)the rest of the people will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. 21 So [au](BP)you shall not show pity: (BQ)life for life, (BR)eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, and foot for foot.

Laws of Warfare

20 “When you go out to battle against your enemies and see (BS)horses, chariots, and people more numerous than you, (BT)do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you. When you are approaching the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people. He shall say to them, ‘Hear, Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. (BU)Do not be afraid, or panic, or be terrified by them, for the Lord your God (BV)is the One who is going with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’ The officers also shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Who is the man that has built a new house but has not (BW)dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would dedicate it. And who is the man that has planted a vineyard but has not [av]put it to use? Let him go and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man [aw]would put it to use. (BX)And who is the man that is [ax]betrothed to a woman and has not [ay]married her? Let him go and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would [az]marry her.’ Then the officers shall speak further to the people and say, ‘(BY)Who is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, so that [ba]he does not make his brothers’ hearts melt like his heart!’ And when the officers have finished speaking to the people, they shall appoint commanders of armies at the head of the people.

10 “When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall [bb]offer it terms of peace. 11 And if it [bc]agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your (BZ)forced labor and serve you. 12 However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. 13 When the Lord your God gives it into your hand, (CA)you shall strike all the [bd]men in it with the edge of the sword. 14 However, the women, the children, (CB)the animals, and everything that is in the city, all of its spoils, you shall take as plunder for yourself; and you shall [be]use the spoils of your enemies which the Lord your God has given you. 15 This is what you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not of the cities of these nations [bf]nearby. 16 (CC)Only in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave anything that breathes alive. 17 Instead, you shall [bg]utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, just as the Lord your God has commanded you, 18 so that they will not teach you to do [bh](CD)all the same detestable practices of theirs which they have done for their gods, [bi]by which you would (CE)sin against the Lord your God.

19 “When you besiege a city for a long time, to make war against it in order to capture it, you shall not destroy its trees by swinging an axe against them; for you may eat from them, so you shall not cut them down. For [bj]is the tree of the field a human, that it should [bk]be besieged by you? 20 Only the trees that you know [bl]are not fruit trees you shall destroy and cut down, so that you may construct siegeworks against the city that is making war against you until it falls.

Footnotes

  1. Deuteronomy 17:1 Lit bad thing
  2. Deuteronomy 17:2 Lit gates
  3. Deuteronomy 17:3 Lit host
  4. Deuteronomy 17:4 Lit behold, true
  5. Deuteronomy 17:5 Lit death with stones
  6. Deuteronomy 17:6 Lit mouth
  7. Deuteronomy 17:6 Lit one dying
  8. Deuteronomy 17:6 Lit mouth
  9. Deuteronomy 17:8 Lit blood to blood
  10. Deuteronomy 17:8 Lit lawsuit to lawsuit
  11. Deuteronomy 17:8 Lit blow to blow
  12. Deuteronomy 17:8 Lit gates
  13. Deuteronomy 17:9 Lit word of decision
  14. Deuteronomy 17:10 Lit mouth
  15. Deuteronomy 17:11 Lit mouth
  16. Deuteronomy 17:18 Lit from before
  17. Deuteronomy 17:19 Lit to keep all...to do them,
  18. Deuteronomy 17:20 Lit prolong days
  19. Deuteronomy 18:1 Or inheritance
  20. Deuteronomy 18:2 Lit spoke to
  21. Deuteronomy 18:6 Lit gates
  22. Deuteronomy 18:6 Lit with all the desire of his soul
  23. Deuteronomy 18:8 Lit portion like portion
  24. Deuteronomy 18:9 Lit do as
  25. Deuteronomy 18:17 Lit done well what they have spoken
  26. Deuteronomy 18:19 I.e., hold him responsible
  27. Deuteronomy 18:20 Lit then that
  28. Deuteronomy 19:2 Lit possess it
  29. Deuteronomy 19:3 Lit road
  30. Deuteronomy 19:3 Lit and it shall be for everyone who committed manslaughter to flee there
  31. Deuteronomy 19:4 Lit strikes
  32. Deuteronomy 19:4 Lit without knowledge
  33. Deuteronomy 19:4 Lit and he was not hating him previously
  34. Deuteronomy 19:5 Lit is put to the
  35. Deuteronomy 19:5 Lit wood
  36. Deuteronomy 19:5 Lit finds
  37. Deuteronomy 19:6 Lit the one who committed manslaughter
  38. Deuteronomy 19:6 Lit while his heart is hot
  39. Deuteronomy 19:6 Lit strike him in the soul
  40. Deuteronomy 19:8 Lit spoke
  41. Deuteronomy 19:9 Lit keep all...to do it
  42. Deuteronomy 19:11 Lit him in the soul
  43. Deuteronomy 19:13 Lit Your eye
  44. Deuteronomy 19:14 Lit possess it
  45. Deuteronomy 19:15 Lit in any sin, that he sins
  46. Deuteronomy 19:15 Lit mouth of two witnesses, or by the mouth of three
  47. Deuteronomy 19:21 Lit your eye
  48. Deuteronomy 20:6 Lit treat(ed) it as common
  49. Deuteronomy 20:6 Lit treat(ed) it as common
  50. Deuteronomy 20:7 A betrothed couple was considered legally married, but did not yet live together
  51. Deuteronomy 20:7 Lit taken
  52. Deuteronomy 20:7 Lit take
  53. Deuteronomy 20:8 As in LXX and other ancient versions; MT his brothers’ hearts do not melt like
  54. Deuteronomy 20:10 Lit call to it for peace
  55. Deuteronomy 20:11 Lit answers peace to you
  56. Deuteronomy 20:13 Lit males
  57. Deuteronomy 20:14 Lit eat
  58. Deuteronomy 20:15 Lit here
  59. Deuteronomy 20:17 Or put them under the ban
  60. Deuteronomy 20:18 Lit according to all the detestable
  61. Deuteronomy 20:18 Lit and you would
  62. Deuteronomy 20:19 Read as interrogative with ancient versions; MT the tree of the field is man
  63. Deuteronomy 20:19 Lit come before you in the siege
  64. Deuteronomy 20:20 Lit that it is not a tree of food