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Law of Divorce

24 “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she [a]loses his favor because he has found something indecent or unacceptable about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and after she leaves his house, she goes and becomes another man’s wife, and if the latter husband [b]turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife, then her former husband who [first] sent her away may not take her again as his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an outrage before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.

“When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out [to fight] with the army nor be charged with any duty; he shall be free at home for one year and shall bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken.

Various Laws

“No one shall take a handmill or an upper millstone [used to grind grain into bread] as security [for a debt], for he would be taking a [person’s] life in pledge.

“If a man is caught kidnapping any of his countrymen from the sons of Israel, and he treats him violently or sells him [as a slave], then that thief shall die. So you shall remove the evil from among you.

“Be careful during an outbreak of leprosy, that you diligently observe and do according to all that the Levitical priests teach you; just as I have commanded them, so you shall be careful to do.(A) Remember [with thoughtful concern] what the Lord your God did to Miriam on the road as you came out of Egypt.(B)

10 “When you lend your neighbor anything, you shall not go into his house to get his pledge (security deposit). 11 You shall stand outside, and the man to whom you lend shall bring the pledge out to you. 12 If the man is poor, you shall not keep his [c]pledge overnight. 13 You shall certainly restore the pledge (security deposit) to him at sunset, so that he may sleep in his garment and bless you; and it will be credited to you as righteousness (right standing) before the Lord your God.

14 “You shall not take advantage of a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether [he is] one of your countrymen or one of the strangers (resident aliens, foreigners) who is in your land inside your cities. 15 You shall give him his wages on the day that he earns them before the sun sets—for he is poor and is [d]counting on it—so that he does not cry out to the Lord against you, and it becomes a sin for you.

16 “The fathers shall not be put to death for [the sins of] their children, nor shall the children be put to death for their fathers; [only] for his own sin shall anyone be put to death.

17 “You shall not pervert the justice due a stranger or an orphan, nor seize (impound) a widow’s garment as security [for a loan]. 18 But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.

19 [e]When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf [of grain] in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, for the orphan, and for the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat [the olives off of] your olive tree, do not search through the branches again; [whatever is left] shall be for the stranger, for the orphan, and for the widow.

21 “When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it afterward; it shall be for the stranger, for the orphan, and for the widow. 22 You shall [thoughtfully] remember [the fact] that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.

Various Laws

25 “If there is a controversy between men, and they go to court, and the judges decide [the issue] between them, and they judge in favor of the innocent and condemn the guilty, then it shall be that if the guilty man deserves to be beaten, the judge shall make him lie down and be beaten in his presence with a [certain] number of stripes in proportion to his offense. He may have him beaten forty times, but no more. He is not to be beaten with more stripes than these and he is not to be degraded [that is, treated like an animal] in your sight.

“You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing [to prevent him from eating any of the grain].(C)

“If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, the widow of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall be intimate with her after taking her as his wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. It shall be that her firstborn [son] will [f]be given the name of the dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out of Israel. But if the man does not want to marry his brother’s [widowed] wife, then she shall go up to the gate [of the city, where court is held] to the elders, and say, ‘My brother-in-law refuses to continue his brother’s name in Israel; he is not willing to perform the duty of a husband’s brother.’ Then the elders of his city will summon him and speak to him. And if he stands firm and says, ‘I do not want to marry her,’ then his brother’s widow shall approach him in the presence of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face; and she shall answer and say, ‘So it is done to that man who does not build up his brother’s household.’ 10 In Israel his [family] name shall be, ‘The house of him whose sandal was removed.’

11 “If [two] men, a man and his countryman, are fighting and the wife of one approaches to rescue her husband from the man who is striking him, and she reaches out with her hand and grabs the aggressor’s genitals, 12 then you shall cut off her hand; you shall not show pity [for her].

13 “You shall not have in your bag inaccurate weights, a heavy and a light [so you can cheat others]. 14 You shall not have in your house inaccurate measures, a large and a small. 15 You shall have a perfect (full) and just weight, and a perfect and just measure, so that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you. 16 For everyone who does such things, everyone who acts unjustly [without personal integrity] is utterly repulsive to the Lord your God.

17 “Remember what Amalek did to you along the road when you came from Egypt, 18 how he met you along the road and attacked all the stragglers at your rear when you were tired and weary; and he did not [g]fear God.(D) 19 Therefore when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies, in the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance to possess, you shall wipe out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget.

Offering First Fruits

26 “Then it shall be, when you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, and you take possession of it and live in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God gives you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the [h]place where the Lord your God chooses to establish His Name (Presence). You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare this day to the Lord [i]my God that I have entered the land which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us.’ Then the priest will take the basket from you and place it before the altar of the Lord your God. And you shall say before the Lord your God, ‘My father [Jacob] was a wandering Aramean, and he [along with his family] went down to Egypt and [j]lived there [as strangers], few in number; but while there he became a great, mighty and populous nation. And the Egyptians treated us badly and oppressed us, and imposed hard labor on us. Then we cried out to the Lord, the God of our fathers for help, and He heard our voice and saw our suffering and our labor and our [cruel] oppression; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with great terror [suffered by the Egyptians] and with signs and with wonders; and He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, a land [k]flowing with milk and honey. 10 And now, look, I have brought the first of the produce of the ground which You, O Lord, have given me.’ And you shall place it before the Lord your God, and shall worship before the Lord your God; 11 and you and the Levite and the stranger (resident alien, foreigner) among you shall rejoice in all the good which the Lord your God has given you and your household.

12 “When you have finished [l]paying all the tithe of your produce the third year, [which is] the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan, and to the widow, so that they may eat within the gates of your cities and be satisfied. 13 You shall say before the Lord your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion (the tithe) from my house and also have given it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan, and to the widow, in accordance with all that You have commanded me. I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments. 14 I have not eaten from the tithe while mourning, nor have I removed any of it when I was [ceremonially] unclean [making the tithe ceremonially unclean], nor offered any of it to the dead. I have listened to the voice of the Lord my God; I have done everything in accordance with all that You have commanded me. 15 Look down from Your holy dwelling above, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel, and the land which You have given us, as You have sworn to our fathers, a land [of plenty] [m]flowing with milk and honey.’

16 “This day the Lord your God commands you to do these statutes and judgments (precepts). Therefore, you shall be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul (your entire being). 17 Today you have [openly] declared the Lord to be your God, and that you will walk [that is, live each and every day] in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments (precepts), and listen to His voice. 18 Today the Lord has declared that you are His people, His treasured possession, just as He promised you, and that you are to keep all His commandments; 19 and that He will set you high above all the nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor: and that you shall be a holy people [set apart and consecrated] to the Lord your God, just as He has spoken.”

The Altar at Mount Ebal

27 Then Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, “Keep (remember, obey) all the commandments which I am commanding you today. So it shall be on the day when you cross the Jordan to [enter] the land which the Lord your God gives you, that you shall set up for yourself large stones and coat them with plaster (lime, whitewash). You shall write on the stones all the words of this law when you cross over, so that you may go into the land which the Lord your God gives you, a land [of plenty] [n]flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers has promised you. Now when you cross the Jordan you shall set up these stones on Mount Ebal, just as I am commanding you today and coat them with plaster. There you shall build an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones; you shall not use an iron tool on them. You shall build the altar of the Lord your God with whole [uncut] stones, and offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God; and you shall sacrifice peace offerings and shall eat there, and shall rejoice before the Lord your God. And you shall write very clearly on the stones all the words of this law.”

Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, “Be silent and listen, O Israel! This day you have become a people for the Lord your God. 10 So you shall obey the voice of the Lord your God, and do His commandments and statutes which I am commanding you today.”

The Curses of Mount Ebal

11 Moses also commanded the people that day, saying, 12 “These [tribes] shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people when you have crossed the Jordan: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, [o]Joseph, and Benjamin. 13 These [tribes] shall stand on Mount Ebal to pronounce the curse [for disobedience]: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. 14 The Levites shall answer with a loud voice to all the men of Israel:

15 ‘Cursed is the man who makes a carved or cast image (idol), a repulsive thing to the Lord, the work of the hands of the artisan, and sets it up in secret.’ All the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’

16 ‘Cursed is he who dishonors (treats with contempt) his father or his mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

17 ‘Cursed is he who moves his neighbor’s boundary mark.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

18 ‘Cursed is he who misleads a blind person on the road.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

19 ‘Cursed is he who distorts (perverts) the justice due to a stranger, an orphan, and a widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

20 ‘Cursed is he who is intimate with his father’s [former] wife, because he has [p]violated what belongs to his father.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

21 ‘Cursed is he who is intimate with any animal.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

22 ‘Cursed is he who is intimate with his [half] sister, whether his father’s or his mother’s daughter.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

23 ‘Cursed is he who is intimate with his mother-in-law.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

24 ‘Cursed is he who strikes his neighbor in secret.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

25 ‘Cursed is he who accepts a bribe to strike down an innocent person.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

26 ‘Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them [keeping them, taking them to heart as the rule of his life].’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

Footnotes

  1. Deuteronomy 24:1 Lit finds no favor in his eyes.
  2. Deuteronomy 24:3 Lit hates.
  3. Deuteronomy 24:12 A poor man might have only an outer garment to offer as a pledge of repayment.
  4. Deuteronomy 24:15 Lit sets his heart.
  5. Deuteronomy 24:19 The divine laws for harvesting give a clear picture of how Israel was to provide for the feeding of the poor and destitute, in addition to charitable contributions which were required or expected of anyone who was able. The owner of a field or farm was entitled to everything he could harvest with a reasonable effort. God reserved any leftovers for the poor, who for their part had to put in their own efforts to glean the fields. These laws are examples of charity in cooperation with fairness and the work ethic.
  6. Deuteronomy 25:6 Lit stand on.
  7. Deuteronomy 25:18 Or reverence.
  8. Deuteronomy 26:2 Some scholars believe this refers to Jerusalem, others suggest the tabernacle. This is not to be confused with the annual offering of the first fruits.
  9. Deuteronomy 26:3 So with Gr; Heb your.
  10. Deuteronomy 26:5 Lit sojourned.
  11. Deuteronomy 26:9 This phrase referred to the abundant fertility of the land of Canaan. Milk (typically that of goats and sheep) was associated with abundance; “honey” referred mainly to syrups made from dates or grapes and was the epitome of sweetness. Bees’ honey was very rare and was considered the choicest of foods.
  12. Deuteronomy 26:12 This is a reference to a benevolence offering given every three years (called the “tithe of the poor” by the ancient rabbis). This was in addition to the “Storehouse Tithe,” brought to the sanctuary and the “Pilgrimage Tithe” used for the expenses of going to Jerusalem three times each year. Together, the OT tithe amounted to a third of the total.
  13. Deuteronomy 26:15 See note v 9.
  14. Deuteronomy 27:3 See note 26:9.
  15. Deuteronomy 27:12 The tribes of the descendants of Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, stood together as the tribe of Joseph.
  16. Deuteronomy 27:20 Lit uncovered his father’s skirt.

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