Deuteronomy 21 Modern English Version (MEV)
Atonement for Unsolved Murders
21 If someone is found slain in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess, lying in the field, and it is not known who has slain him, 2 then your elders and your judges are to come forth, and they must measure how far it is to the cities which are around him who was slain. 3 And it must be, that the city which is closest to the slain man, that is, the elders of that city shall take a heifer which has not been worked, that has never pulled in yoke, 4 and the elders of that city must bring down the heifer to a valley with flowing water, which is neither plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer’s neck there in the valley. 5 Then the priests, the sons of Levi, must come near, for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister to Him, and to bless in the name of the Lord, and by their word every controversy and every assault will be settled. 6 And all the elders of that city, which is nearest to the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley. 7 Then they must answer and say, “Our hands have not shed this blood, and our eyes have not seen it. 8 Be merciful, O Lord, to Your people Israel, whom You have redeemed, and lay not innocent blood in the midst of Your people Israel.” And the blood guilt will be forgiven them. 9 In this way you are to remove the guilt of innocent blood from among you when you do that which is right in the eyes of the Lord.
Marrying Female Captives
10 When you go forth to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God has delivered them into your hands, and you have taken them captive, 11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her to have her as your wife, 12 then you are to bring her home to your house, and she is to shave her head and trim her nails. 13 She must also discard the clothing of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and her mother for a full month. After that you may have relations with her, and be her husband, and she will be your wife. 14 It will be, if you are not pleased with her, then you must let her go wherever she pleases, but you may not sell her at all for money, nor are you to make merchandise of her, because you have humbled her.
The Right of the Firstborn
15 If a man has two wives, one beloved and another unloved, and both have borne him children, both the loved one and the unloved one, and if the firstborn son is hers that is unloved, 16 then it must be, when he gives his sons the inheritance which he has, that he may not make the firstborn son of the loved come before the son of the unloved, who was indeed the firstborn. 17 On the contrary, he must acknowledge the son of the unloved for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength. The right of the firstborn is his.
Dealing With a Rebellious Son
18 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son, who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have disciplined him, will not listen to them, 19 then his father and his mother are to lay hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. 20 They shall say to the elders of his city, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not listen to us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” 21 Then all the men of his city must stone him with stones, until he dies. In this way you are to remove the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.
22 If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and is executed, and you hang him on a tree, 23 then his body must not remain all night on the tree, but you must bury him that day (for he that is hanged is accursed of God) so that your land may not be defiled, which the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.