Exodus 19:18-23:33 Good News Translation (GNT)
18 All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord had come down on it in fire. The smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace, and all the people trembled violently. 19 The sound of the trumpet became louder and louder. Moses spoke, and God answered him with thunder. 20 The Lord came down on the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. Moses went up 21 and the Lord said to him, “Go down and warn the people not to cross the boundary to come and look at me; if they do, many of them will die. 22 Even the priests who come near me must purify themselves, or I will punish them.”
23 Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up, because you commanded us to consider the mountain sacred and to mark a boundary around it.”
24 The Lord replied, “Go down and bring Aaron back with you. But the priests and the people must not cross the boundary to come up to me, or I will punish them.” 25 Moses then went down to the people and told them what the Lord had said.
The Ten Commandments
20 God spoke, and these were his words: 2 “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, where you were slaves.
3 “Worship no god but me.
4 “Do not make for yourselves images of anything in heaven or on earth or in the water under the earth. 5 Do not bow down to any idol or worship it, because I am the Lord your God and I tolerate no rivals. I bring punishment on those who hate me and on their descendants down to the third and fourth generation. 6 But I show my love to thousands of generations[a] of those who love me and obey my laws.
7 “Do not use my name for evil purposes, for I, the Lord your God, will punish anyone who misuses my name.
8 “Observe the Sabbath and keep it holy. 9 You have six days in which to do your work, 10 but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to me. On that day no one is to work—neither you, your children, your slaves, your animals, nor the foreigners who live in your country. 11 In six days I, the Lord, made the earth, the sky, the seas, and everything in them, but on the seventh day I rested. That is why I, the Lord, blessed the Sabbath and made it holy.
12 “Respect your father and your mother, so that you may live a long time in the land that I am giving you.
13 “Do not commit murder.
14 “Do not commit adultery.
15 “Do not steal.
16 “Do not accuse anyone falsely.
17 “Do not desire another man's house; do not desire his wife, his slaves, his cattle, his donkeys, or anything else that he owns.”
The People's Fear
18 When the people heard the thunder and the trumpet blast and saw the lightning and the smoking mountain, they trembled with fear and stood a long way off. 19 They said to Moses, “If you speak to us, we will listen; but we are afraid that if God speaks to us, we will die.”
20 Moses replied, “Don't be afraid; God has only come to test you and make you keep on obeying him, so that you will not sin.” 21 But the people continued to stand a long way off, and only Moses went near the dark cloud where God was.
Laws about Altars
22 The Lord commanded Moses to tell the Israelites: “You have seen how I, the Lord, have spoken to you from heaven. 23 Do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gold to be worshiped in addition to me. 24 Make an altar of earth for me, and on it sacrifice your sheep and your cattle as offerings to be completely burned and as fellowship offerings. In every place that I set aside for you to worship me, I will come to you and bless you. 25 If you make an altar of stone for me, do not build it out of cut stones, because when you use a chisel on stones, you make them unfit for my use. 26 Do not build an altar for me with steps leading up to it; if you do, you will expose yourselves as you go up the steps.
The Treatment of Slaves
21 “Give the Israelites the following laws: 2 If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay anything. 3 If he was unmarried when he became your slave, he is not to take a wife with him when he leaves; but if he was married when he became your slave, he may take his wife with him. 4 If his master gave him a wife and she bore him sons or daughters, the woman and her children belong to the master, and the man is to leave by himself. 5 But if the slave declares that he loves his master, his wife, and his children and does not want to be set free, 6 then his master shall take him to the place of worship. There he is to make him stand against the door or the doorpost and put a hole through his ear. Then he will be his slave for life.
7 “If a man sells his daughter as a slave, she is not to be set free, as male slaves are. 8 If she is sold to someone who intends to make her his wife, but he doesn't like her, then she is to be sold back to her father; her master cannot sell her to foreigners, because he has treated her unfairly. 9 If a man buys a female slave to give to his son, he is to treat her like a daughter. 10 If a man takes a second wife, he must continue to give his first wife the same amount of food and clothing and the same rights that she had before. 11 If he does not fulfill these duties to her, he must set her free and not receive any payment.
Laws about Violent Acts
12 “Whoever hits someone and kills him is to be put to death. 13 But if it was an accident and he did not mean to kill him, he can escape to a place which I will choose for you, and there he will be safe. 14 But when someone gets angry and deliberately kills someone else, he is to be put to death, even if he has run to my altar for safety.
15 “Whoever hits his father or his mother is to be put to death.
16 “Whoever kidnaps someone, either to sell him or to keep him as a slave, is to be put to death.
17 “Whoever curses his father or his mother is to be put to death.
18-19 “If there is a fight and someone hits someone else with a stone or with his fist, but does not kill him, he is not to be punished. If the one who was hit has to stay in bed, but later is able to get up and walk outside with the help of a cane, the one who hit him is to pay for his lost time and take care of him until he gets well.
20 “If a slave owner takes a stick and beats his slave, whether male or female, and the slave dies on the spot, the owner is to be punished. 21 But if the slave does not die for a day or two, the master is not to be punished. The loss of his property is punishment enough.
22 “If some men are fighting and hurt a pregnant woman so that she loses her child, but she is not injured in any other way, the one who hurt her is to be fined whatever amount the woman's husband demands, subject to the approval of the judges. 23 But if the woman herself is injured, the punishment shall be life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
26 “If someone hits his male or female slave in the eye and puts it out, he is to free the slave as payment for the eye. 27 If he knocks out a tooth, he is to free the slave as payment for the tooth.
The Responsibility of Owners
28 “If a bull gores someone to death, it is to be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten; but its owner is not to be punished. 29 But if the bull had been in the habit of attacking people and its owner had been warned, but did not keep it penned up—then if it gores someone to death, it is to be stoned, and its owner is to be put to death also. 30 However, if the owner is allowed to pay a fine to save his life, he must pay the full amount required. 31 If the bull kills a boy or a girl, the same rule applies. 32 If the bull kills a male or female slave, its owner shall pay the owner of the slave thirty pieces of silver, and the bull shall be stoned to death.
33 “If someone takes the cover off a pit or if he digs one and does not cover it, and a bull or a donkey falls into it, 34 he must pay for the animal. He is to pay the money to the owner and may keep the dead animal. 35 If someone's bull kills someone else's bull, the two of them shall sell the live bull and divide the money; they shall also divide up the meat from the dead animal. 36 But if it was known that the bull had been in the habit of attacking and its owner did not keep it penned up, he must make good the loss by giving the other man a live bull, but he may keep the dead animal.
Laws about Repayment
22 “If someone steals a cow or a sheep and kills it or sells it, he must pay five cows for one cow and four sheep for one sheep. 2-4 He must pay for what he stole. If he owns nothing, he shall be sold as a slave to pay for what he has stolen. If the stolen animal, whether a cow, a donkey, or a sheep, is found alive in his possession, he shall pay two for one.
“If a thief is caught breaking into a house at night and is killed, the one who killed him is not guilty of murder. But if it happens during the day, he is guilty of murder.
5 “If someone lets his animals graze in a field or a vineyard and they stray away and eat up the crops[b] growing in someone else's field, he must make good the loss with the crops from his own fields or vineyards.
6 “If someone starts a fire in his own field and it spreads through the weeds to someone else's field and burns up grain that is growing or that has been cut and stacked, the one who started the fire is to pay for the damage.
7 “If anyone agrees to keep someone else's money or other valuables for him and they are stolen from his house, the thief, if found, shall repay double. 8 But if the thief is not found, the one who was keeping the valuables is to be brought to the place of worship and there he must take an oath that he has not stolen the other one's property.
9 “In every case of a dispute about property, whether it involves cattle, donkeys, sheep, clothing, or any other lost object, the two people claiming the property shall be taken to the place of worship. The one whom God declares to be guilty shall pay double to the other one.
10 “If anyone agrees to keep someone else's donkey, cow, sheep, or other animal for him, and the animal dies or is injured or is carried off in a raid, and if there was no witness, 11 the man must go to the place of worship and take an oath that he has not stolen the other man's animal. If the animal was not stolen, the owner shall accept the loss, and the other man need not repay him; 12 but if the animal was stolen, the man must repay the owner. 13 If it was killed by wild animals, the man is to bring the remains as evidence; he need not pay for what has been killed by wild animals.
14 “If anyone borrows an animal from someone else and it is injured or dies when its owner is not present, he must pay for it. 15 But if that happens when the owner is present, he need not repay. If it is a rented animal, the loss is covered by the rental price.
Moral and Religious Laws
16 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, he must pay the bride price for her and marry her. 17 But if her father refuses to let him marry her, he must pay the father a sum of money equal to the bride price for a virgin.
18 “Put to death any woman who practices magic.
19 “Put to death any man who has sexual relations with an animal.
20 “Condemn to death anyone who offers sacrifices to any god except to me, the Lord.
21 “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner; remember that you were foreigners in Egypt. 22 Do not mistreat any widow or orphan. 23 If you do, I, the Lord, will answer them when they cry out to me for help, 24 and I will become angry and kill you in war. Your wives will become widows, and your children will be fatherless.
25 “If you lend money to any of my people who are poor, do not act like a moneylender and require him to pay interest. 26 If you take someone's cloak as a pledge that he will pay you, you must give it back to him before the sun sets, 27 because it is the only covering he has to keep him warm. What else can he sleep in? When he cries out to me for help, I will answer him because I am merciful.
28 “Do not speak evil of God,[c] and do not curse a leader of your people.
29 “Give me the offerings from your grain, your wine, and your olive oil when they are due.
“Give me your first-born sons. 30 Give me the first-born of your cattle and your sheep. Let the first-born male stay with its mother for seven days, and on the eighth day offer it to me.
31 “You are my people, so you must not eat the meat of any animal that has been killed by wild animals; instead, give it to the dogs.
Justice and Fairness
23 “Do not spread false rumors, and do not help a guilty person by giving false testimony. 2 Do not follow the majority when they do wrong or when they give testimony that perverts justice. 3 Do not show partiality to a poor person at his trial.
4 “If you happen to see your enemy's cow or donkey running loose, take it back to him. 5 If his donkey has fallen under its load, help him get the donkey to its feet again; don't just walk off.
6 “Do not deny justice to a poor person when he appears in court. 7 Do not make false accusations, and do not put an innocent person to death, for I will condemn anyone who does such an evil thing. 8 Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe makes people blind to what is right and ruins the cause of those who are innocent.
9 “Do not mistreat a foreigner; you know how it feels to be a foreigner, because you were foreigners in Egypt.
The Seventh Year and the Seventh Day
10 “For six years plant your land and gather in what it produces. 11 But in the seventh year let it rest, and do not harvest anything that grows on it. The poor may eat what grows there, and the wild animals can have what is left. Do the same with your vineyards and your olive trees.
12 “Work six days a week, but do no work on the seventh day, so that your slaves and the foreigners who work for you and even your animals can rest.
13 “Listen to everything that I, the Lord, have said to you. Do not pray to other gods; do not even mention their names.
The Three Great Festivals
14 “Celebrate three festivals a year to honor me. 15 In the month of Abib, the month in which you left Egypt, celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread in the way that I commanded you. Do not eat any bread made with yeast during the seven days of this festival. Never come to worship me without bringing an offering.
16 “Celebrate the Harvest Festival when you begin to harvest your crops.
“Celebrate the Festival of Shelters in the autumn, when you gather the fruit from your vineyards and orchards. 17 Every year at these three festivals all your men must come to worship me, the Lord your God.
18 “Do not offer bread made with yeast when you sacrifice an animal to me. The fat of animals sacrificed to me during these festivals is not to be left until the following morning.
19 “Each year bring to the house of the Lord your God the first grain that you harvest.
“Do not cook a young sheep or goat in its mother's milk.
Promises and Instructions
20 “I will send an angel ahead of you to protect you as you travel and to bring you to the place which I have prepared. 21 Pay attention to him and obey him. Do not rebel against him, for I have sent him, and he will not pardon such rebellion. 22 But if you obey him and do everything I command, I will fight against all your enemies. 23 My angel will go ahead of you and take you into the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I will destroy them. 24 Do not bow down to their gods or worship them, and do not adopt their religious practices. Destroy their gods and break down their sacred stone pillars. 25 If you worship me, the Lord your God, I will bless you with food and water and take away all your sicknesses. 26 In your land no woman will have a miscarriage or be without children. I will give you long lives.
27 “I will make the people who oppose you afraid of me; I will bring confusion among the people against whom you fight, and I will make all your enemies turn and run from you. 28 I will throw your enemies into panic;[d] I will drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites as you advance. 29 I will not drive them out within a year's time; if I did, the land would become deserted, and the wild animals would be too many for you. 30 Instead, I will drive them out little by little, until there are enough of you to take possession of the land. 31 I will make the borders of your land extend from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Mediterranean Sea and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give you power over the inhabitants of the land, and you will drive them out as you advance. 32 Do not make any agreement with them or with their gods. 33 Do not let those people live in your country; if you do, they will make you sin against me. If you worship their gods, it will be a fatal trap for you.”
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