Deuteronomy 20-22New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Laws of Warfare
20 “When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you. 2 When you are approaching the battle, the priest shall come near and speak to the people. 3 He shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, 4 for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’ 5 The officers also shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Who is the man that has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would dedicate it. 6 Who is the man that has planted a vineyard and has not [a]begun to use its fruit? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man [b]would begin to use its fruit. 7 And who is the man that is engaged to a woman and has not [c]married her? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man [d]would marry her.’ 8 Then the officers shall speak further to the people and say, ‘Who is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him depart and return to his house, so that [e]he might not make his brothers’ hearts melt like his heart.’ 9 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 [f]offer it terms of peace. 11 If it [g]agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall 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, you shall strike all the [h]men in it with the edge of the sword. 14 Only the women and the children and the animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall [i]use the spoil of your enemies which the Lord your God has given you. 15 Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not of the cities of these nations [j]nearby. 16 Only in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 But you shall [k]utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the Lord your God has commanded you, 18 so that they may not teach you to do according to all their detestable things which they have done for their gods, so that you would sin against the Lord your God.
19 “When you besiege a city 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, and you shall not cut them down. [l]For is the tree of the field a man, that it should [m]be besieged by you? 20 Only the trees which you know [n]are not fruit trees you shall destroy and cut down, that you may construct siegeworks against the city that is making war with you until it falls.
Expiation of a Crime
21 “If a slain person is found lying in the open country in the land which the Lord your God gives you to [o]possess, and it is not known who has struck him, 2 then your elders and your judges shall go out and measure the distance to the cities which are around the slain one. 3 It shall be that the city which is nearest to the slain man, that is, the elders of that city, shall take a heifer of the herd, which has not been worked and which has not pulled in a yoke; 4 and the elders of that city shall bring the heifer down to a valley with running water, which has not been plowed or sown, and shall break the heifer’s neck there in the valley. 5 Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near, for the Lord your God has chosen them to serve Him and to bless in the name of the Lord; and every dispute and every [p]assault [q]shall be settled by them. 6 All the elders of that city [r]which is nearest to the slain man shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley; 7 and they shall answer and say, ‘Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it. 8 [s]Forgive Your people Israel whom You have redeemed, O Lord, and do not place the guilt of innocent blood in the midst of Your people Israel.’ And the bloodguiltiness shall be [t]forgiven them. 9 So you shall remove the guilt of innocent blood from your midst, when you do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.
10 “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take them away captive, 11 and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself, 12 then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and [u]trim her nails. 13 She shall also [v]remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go [w]wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not [x]mistreat her, because you have humbled her.
15 “If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other [y]unloved, and both the loved and the [z]unloved have borne him sons, if the firstborn son belongs to the [aa]unloved, 16 then it shall be in the day he [ab]wills what he has to his sons, he cannot make the son of the loved the firstborn before the son of the [ac]unloved, who is the firstborn. 17 But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the [ad]unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that [ae]he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn.
18 “If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, 19 then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city [af]at the gateway of his hometown. 20 They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear.
22 “If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is [ag]accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.
22 “You shall not see your [ah]countryman’s ox or his sheep straying away, and [ai]pay no attention to them; you shall certainly bring them back to your countryman. 2 If your countryman is not near you, or if you do not know him, then you shall bring it home to your house, and it shall remain with you until your countryman looks for it; then you shall restore it to him. 3 Thus you shall do with his donkey, and you shall do the same with his garment, and you shall do likewise with anything lost by your countryman, which he has lost and you have found. You are not allowed to [aj]neglect them. 4 You shall not see your countryman’s donkey or his ox fallen down on the way, and [ak]pay no attention to them; you shall certainly help him to raise them up.
5 “A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.
6 “If you happen to come upon a bird’s nest along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young; 7 you shall certainly let the mother go, but the young you may take for yourself, in order that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days.
8 “When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, so that you will not bring bloodguilt on your house if anyone falls from it.
9 “You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, or [al]all the produce of the seed which you have sown and the increase of the vineyard will become defiled.
10 “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together.
11 “You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen together.
12 “You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself.
Laws on Morality
13 “If any man takes a wife and goes in to her and then [am]turns against her, 14 and charges her with shameful deeds and [an]publicly defames her, and says, ‘I took this woman, but when I came near her, I did not find her a virgin,’ 15 then the girl’s father and her mother shall take and bring out the evidence of the girl’s virginity to the elders of the city at the gate. 16 The girl’s father shall say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man for a wife, but he [ao]turned against her; 17 and behold, he has charged her with shameful deeds, saying, “I did not find your daughter a virgin.” But [ap]this is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.’ And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. 18 So the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him, 19 and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give it to the girl’s father, because he [aq]publicly defamed a virgin of Israel. And she shall remain his wife; he cannot [ar]divorce her all his days.
20 “But if this [as]charge is true, that the girl was not found a virgin, 21 then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her [at]to death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father’s house; thus you shall purge the evil from among you.
22 “If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.
23 “If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her, 24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them [au]to death; the girl, because she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated his neighbor’s wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.
25 “But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die. 26 But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, so is this case. 27 When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her.
28 “If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days.
30 “[av]A man shall not take his father’s wife so that he will not uncover his father’s skirt.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
It looks like you’re already subscribed to Bible Gateway Plus! To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings.
Now that you've created a Bible Gateway account, upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus, the ultimate online Bible reading & study experience!
Bible Gateway Plus equips you to answer the toughest questions about faith, God, and the Bible. There's no software to install; it's all integrated seamlessly into your Bible Gateway experience. Try it free for 30 days!
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.