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21 “If, in the land Adonai your God is giving you to possess, a murder victim is found lying in the countryside; and the perpetrator of the murder is not known; then your leaders and judges are to go out and measure the distance between it and the surrounding towns. After it has been determined which town is the closest, the leaders of that town are to take a young female cow that has never been put to work or yoked for use as a draft animal. The leaders of that town are to bring the heifer down to a vadi with a stream in it that never dries up, to a place that is neither plowed nor sown; and they are to break the cow’s neck there in the vadi. Then the cohanim, who are L’vi’im, are to approach; for Adonai your God has chosen them to serve him and to pronounce blessings in the name of Adonai; they will decide the outcome of every dispute and matter involving violence. All the leaders of the town nearest the murder victim are to wash their hands over the cow whose neck was broken in the vadi. (Maftir) Then they are to speak up and say, ‘This blood was not shed by our hands, nor have we seen who did it. Adonai, forgive your people Isra’el, whom you redeemed; do not allow innocent blood to be shed among your people Isra’el.’ And they will be forgiven this bloodshed. Thus you will banish the shedding of innocent blood from among you, by doing what Adonai sees as right.

Haftarah Shof’tim: Yesha‘yahu (Isaiah) 51:12–52:12 [Messianic adaptation: conclude the reading at 53:12]

B’rit Hadashah suggested readings for Parashah Shof’tim: Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:38–42; 18:15–20; Acts 3:13–26; 7:35–53; 1 Corinthians 5:9–13; 1 Timothy 5:17–22; Messianic Jews (Hebrews) 10:28–31

Parashah 49: Ki Tetze (When you go out) 21:10 –25:19

10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and Adonai your God hands them over to you, and you take prisoners, 11 and you see among the prisoners a woman who looks good to you, and you feel attracted to her and want her as your wife; 12 you are to bring her home to your house, where she will shave her head, cut her fingernails 13 and remove her prison clothing. She will stay there in your house, mourning her father and mother for a full month; after which you may go in to have sexual relations with her and be her husband, and she will be your wife. 14 In the event that you lose interest in her, you are to let her go wherever she wishes; but you may not sell her for money or treat her like a slave, because you humiliated her.

15 “If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and unloved wives have borne him children, and if the firstborn son is the child of the unloved wife; 16 then, when it comes time for him to pass his inheritance on to his sons, he may not give the inheritance due the firstborn to the son of the loved wife in place of the son of the unloved one, who is in fact the firstborn. 17 No, he must acknowledge as firstborn the son of the unloved wife by giving him a double portion of everything he owns, for he is the firstfruits of his manhood, and the right of the firstborn is his.

18 “If a man has a stubborn, rebellious son who will not obey what his father or mother says, and even after they discipline him he still refuses to pay attention to them; 19 then his father and mother are to take hold of him and bring him out to the leaders of his town, at the gate of that place, 20 and say to the leaders of his town, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he doesn’t pay attention to us, lives wildly, gets drunk.’ 21 Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death; in this way you will put an end to such wickedness among you, and all Isra’el will hear about it and be afraid.

(ii) 22 “If someone has committed a capital crime and is put to death, then hung on a tree, 23 his body is not to remain all night on the tree, but you must bury him the same day, because a person who has been hanged has been cursed by God — so that you will not defile your land, which Adonai your God is giving you to inherit.

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