New International Version
Going to War
20 When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours,(A) do not be afraid(B) of them,(C) because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with(D) you. 2 When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. 3 He shall say: “Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted(E) or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. 4 For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you(F) to fight(G) for you against your enemies to give you victory.(H)”
5 The officers shall say to the army: “Has anyone built a new house and not yet begun to live in(I) it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else may begin to live in it. 6 Has anyone planted(J) a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it?(K) Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else enjoy it. 7 Has anyone become pledged to a woman and not married her? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else marry her.(L)” 8 Then the officers shall add, “Is anyone afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his fellow soldiers will not become disheartened too.”(M) 9 When the officers have finished speaking to the army, they shall appoint commanders over it.
10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace.(N) 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject(O) to forced labor(P) and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it.(Q) 14 As for the women, the children, the livestock(R) and everything else in the city,(S) you may take these as plunder(T) for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. 15 This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance(U) from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.
16 However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes.(V) 17 Completely destroy[a] them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you. 18 Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods,(W) and you will sin(X) against the Lord your God.
19 When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees people, that you should besiege them?[b] 20 However, you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees(Y) and use them to build siege works until the city at war with you falls.
Atonement for an Unsolved Murder
21 If someone is found slain, lying in a field in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess, and it is not known who the killer was,(Z) 2 your elders and judges shall go out and measure the distance from the body to the neighboring towns. 3 Then the elders of the town nearest the body shall take a heifer that has never been worked and has never worn a yoke(AA) 4 and lead it down to a valley that has not been plowed or planted and where there is a flowing stream. There in the valley they are to break the heifer’s neck. 5 The Levitical priests shall step forward, for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister and to pronounce blessings(AB) in the name of the Lord and to decide all cases of dispute and assault.(AC) 6 Then all the elders of the town nearest the body shall wash their hands(AD) over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley, 7 and they shall declare: “Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it done. 8 Accept this atonement for your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, Lord, and do not hold your people guilty of the blood of an innocent person.” Then the bloodshed will be atoned for,(AE) 9 and you will have purged(AF) from yourselves the guilt of shedding innocent blood, since you have done what is right in the eyes of the Lord.
Marrying a Captive Woman
10 When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands(AG) and you take captives,(AH) 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful(AI) woman and are attracted to her,(AJ) you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head,(AK) trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month,(AL) then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.(AM)
The Right of the Firstborn
15 If a man has two wives,(AN) and he loves one but not the other, and both bear him sons but the firstborn is the son of the wife he does not love,(AO) 16 when he wills his property to his sons, he must not give the rights of the firstborn to the son of the wife he loves in preference to his actual firstborn, the son of the wife he does not love.(AP) 17 He must acknowledge the son of his unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double(AQ) share of all he has. That son is the first sign of his father’s strength.(AR) The right of the firstborn belongs to him.(AS)
A Rebellious Son
18 If someone has a stubborn and rebellious(AT) son(AU) who does not obey his father and mother(AV) and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, “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 town are to stone him to death.(AW) You must purge the evil(AX) from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.(AY)
22 If someone guilty of a capital offense(AZ) is put to death and their body is exposed on a pole, 23 you must not leave the body hanging on the pole overnight.(BA) Be sure to bury(BB) it that same day, because anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse.(BC) You must not desecrate(BD) the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.
22 If you see your fellow Israelite’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to its owner.(BE) 2 If they do not live near you or if you do not know who owns it, take it home with you and keep it until they come looking for it. Then give it back. 3 Do the same if you find their donkey or cloak or anything else they have lost. Do not ignore it.
5 A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.
6 If you come across a bird’s nest beside the road, either in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the young.(BH) 7 You may take the young, but be sure to let the mother go,(BI) so that it may go well with you and you may have a long life.(BJ)
8 When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof.(BK)
10 Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.(BM)
11 Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.(BN)
12 Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear.(BO)
13 If a man takes a wife and, after sleeping with her(BP), dislikes her 14 and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,” 15 then the young woman’s father and mother shall bring to the town elders at the gate(BQ) proof that she was a virgin. 16 Her father will say to the elders, “I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her. 17 Now he has slandered her and said, ‘I did not find your daughter to be a virgin.’ But here is the proof of my daughter’s virginity.” Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, 18 and the elders(BR) shall take the man and punish him. 19 They shall fine him a hundred shekels[d] of silver and give them to the young woman’s father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives.
20 If, however, the charge is true(BS) and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found, 21 she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done an outrageous thing(BT) in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.
23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.(BW)
25 But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. 26 Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbor, 27 for the man found the young woman out in the country, and though the betrothed woman screamed,(BX) there was no one to rescue her.
28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered,(BY) 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels[e] of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.
- Deuteronomy 20:17 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.
- Deuteronomy 20:19 Or down to use in the siege, for the fruit trees are for the benefit of people.
- Deuteronomy 22:9 Or be forfeited to the sanctuary
- Deuteronomy 22:19 That is, about 2 1/2 pounds or about 1.2 kilograms
- Deuteronomy 22:29 That is, about 1 1/4 pounds or about 575 grams
- Deuteronomy 22:30 In Hebrew texts this verse (22:30) is numbered 23:1.