Exodus 21-22 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
21 The Lord gave Moses the following laws for his people:
2 If you buy a Hebrew slave, he must remain your slave for six years. But in the seventh year you must set him free, without cost to him. 3 If he was single at the time you bought him, he alone must be set free. But if he was married at the time, both he and his wife must be given their freedom. 4 If you give him a wife, and they have children, only the man himself must be set free; his wife and children remain the property of his owner.
5 But suppose the slave loves his wife and children so much that he won’t leave without them. 6 Then he must stand beside either the door or the doorpost at the place of worship,[a] while his owner punches a small hole through one of his ears with a sharp metal rod. This makes him a slave for life.
7 A young woman who was sold by her father doesn’t gain her freedom in the same way that a man does. 8 If she doesn’t please the man who bought her to be his wife, he must let her be bought back.[b] He cannot sell her to foreigners; this would break the contract he made with her. 9 If he selects her as a wife for his son, he must treat her as his own daughter.
10 If the man later marries another woman, he must continue to provide food and clothing for the one he bought and to treat her as a wife. 11 If he fails to do any of these things, she must be given her freedom without cost.
Murder and Other Violent Crimes
The Lord said:
12 Death is the punishment for murder. 13 But if you did not intend to kill someone, and I, the Lord, let it happen anyway, you may run for safety to a place that I have set aside. 14 If you plan in advance to murder someone, there’s no escape, not even by holding on to my altar.[c] You will be dragged off and killed.
15 Death is the punishment for attacking your father or mother.
16 Death is the punishment for kidnapping. If you sell the person you kidnapped, or if you are caught with that person, the penalty is death.
17 Death is the punishment for cursing your father or mother.
18 Suppose two of you are arguing, and you hit the other with either a rock or your fist, without causing a fatal injury. If the victim has to stay in bed, 19 and later has to use a stick when walking outside, you must pay for the loss of time and do what you can to help until the injury is completely healed. That’s your only responsibility.
20 Death is the punishment for beating to death any of your slaves. 21 However, if the slave lives a few days after the beating, you are not to be punished. After all, you have already lost the services of that slave who was your property.
22 Suppose a pregnant woman suffers a miscarriage[d] as the result of an injury caused by someone who is fighting. If she isn’t badly hurt, the one who injured her must pay whatever fine her husband demands and the judges approve. 23 But if she is seriously injured, the payment will be life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, cut for cut, and bruise for bruise.
26 If you hit one of your slaves and cause the loss of an eye, the slave must be set free. 27 The same law applies if you knock out a slave’s tooth—the slave goes free.
28 A bull that kills someone with its horns must be killed and its meat destroyed, but the owner of the bull isn’t responsible for the death.
29 Suppose you own a bull that has been in the habit of attacking people, but you have refused to keep it fenced in. If that bull kills someone, both you and the bull must be put to death by stoning. 30 However, you may save your own life by paying whatever fine is demanded. 31 This same law applies if the bull gores someone’s son or daughter. 32 If the bull kills a slave, you must pay the slave owner thirty pieces of silver for the loss of the slave, and the bull must be killed by stoning.
33 Suppose someone’s ox or donkey is killed by falling into an open pit that you dug or left uncovered on your property. 34 You must pay for the dead animal, and it becomes yours.
35 If your bull kills someone else’s, yours must be sold. Then the money from your bull and the meat from the dead bull must be divided equally between you and the other owner.
36 If you refuse to fence in a bull that is known to attack others, you must pay for any animal it kills, but the dead animal will belong to you.
The Lord said:
22 If you steal an ox and slaughter or sell it, you must replace it with five oxen; if you steal a sheep and slaughter it or sell it, you must replace it with four sheep. 2-4 But if you cannot afford to replace the animals, you must be sold as a slave to pay for what you have stolen. If you steal an ox, donkey, or sheep, and are caught with it still alive, you must pay the owner double.
If you happen to kill a burglar who breaks into your home after dark, you are not guilty. But if you kill someone who breaks in during the day, you are guilty of murder.
5 If you allow any of your animals to stray from your property and graze[e] in someone else’s field or vineyard, you must repay the damage from the best part of your own harvest of grapes and grain.
6 If you carelessly let a fire spread from your property to someone else’s, you must pay the owner for any crops or fields destroyed by the fire.
7 Suppose a neighbor asks you to keep some silver or other valuables, and they are stolen from your house. If the thief is caught, the thief must repay double. 8 But if the thief isn’t caught, some judges[f] will decide if you are the guilty one.
9 Suppose two people claim to own the same ox or donkey or sheep or piece of clothing. Then the judges[g] must decide the case, and the guilty person will pay the owner double.
10 Suppose a neighbor who is going to be away asks you to keep a donkey or an ox or a sheep or some other animal, and it dies or gets injured or is stolen while no one is looking. 11 If you swear with me as your witness that you did not harm the animal, you do not have to replace it. Your word is enough. 12 But if the animal was stolen while in your care, you must replace it. 13 If the animal was attacked and killed by a wild animal, and you can show the remains of the dead animal to its owner, you do not have to replace it.
14 Suppose you borrow an animal from a neighbor, and it gets injured or dies while the neighbor isn’t around. Then you must replace it. 15 But if something happens to the animal while the owner is present, you do not have to replace it. If you had leased the animal, the money you paid the owner will cover any harm done to it.
Laws for Everyday Life
The Lord said:
16 Suppose a young woman has never been married and isn’t engaged. If a man talks her into having sex, he must pay the bride price[h] and marry her. 17 But if her father refuses to let her marry the man, the bride price must still be paid.
18 Death is the punishment for witchcraft.
19 Death is the punishment for having sex with an animal.
20 Death is the punishment for offering sacrifices to any god except me.
21 Do not mistreat or abuse foreigners who live among you. Remember, you were foreigners in Egypt.
22 Do not mistreat widows or orphans. 23 If you do, they will beg for my help, and I will come to their rescue. 24 In fact, I will get so angry that I will kill your men and make widows of their wives and orphans of their children.
25 Don’t charge interest when you lend money to any of my people who are in need. 26 Before sunset you must return any coat taken as security for a loan, 27 because that is the only cover the poor have when they sleep at night. I am a merciful God, and when they call out to me, I will come to help them.
28 Don’t speak evil of me[i] or of the ruler of your people.
29 Don’t fail to give me the offerings of grain and wine that belong to me.[j]
Dedicate to me your first-born sons 30 and the first-born of your cattle and sheep. Let the animals stay with their mothers for seven days, then on the eighth day give them to me, your God.
31 You are my chosen people, so don’t eat the meat of any of your livestock that was killed by a wild animal. Instead, feed the meat to dogs.
Matthew 19 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Teaching about Divorce
19 When Jesus finished teaching, he left Galilee and went to the part of Judea that is east of the Jordan River. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed their sick people.
3 Some Pharisees wanted to test Jesus. They came up to him and asked, “Is it right for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
4 Jesus answered, “Don’t you know that in the beginning the Creator made a man and a woman? 5 That’s why a man leaves his father and mother and gets married. He becomes like one person with his wife. 6 Then they are no longer two people, but one. And no one should separate a couple that God has joined together.”
7 The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Why did Moses say that a man could write out divorce papers and send his wife away?”
8 Jesus replied, “You are so heartless! That’s why Moses allowed you to divorce your wife. But from the beginning God did not intend it to be that way. 9 I say that if your wife has not committed some terrible sexual sin,[a] you must not divorce her to marry someone else. If you do, you are unfaithful.”
10 The disciples said, “If that’s how it is between a man and a woman, it’s better not to get married.”
11 Jesus told them, “Only those people who have been given the gift of staying single can accept this teaching. 12 Some people are unable to marry because of birth defects or because of what someone has done to their bodies. Others stay single for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who can accept this teaching should do so.”
Jesus Blesses Little Children
13 Some people brought their children to Jesus, so that he could place his hands on them and pray for them. His disciples told the people to stop bothering him. 14 But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and don’t try to stop them! People who are like these children belong to God’s kingdom.”[b] 15 After Jesus had placed his hands on the children, he left.
A Rich Young Man
16 A man came to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?”
17 Jesus said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? Only God is good. If you want to have eternal life, you must obey his commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” the man asked.
Jesus answered, “Do not murder. Be faithful in marriage. Do not steal. Do not tell lies about others. 19 Respect your father and mother. And love others as much as you love yourself.” 20 The young man said, “I have obeyed all of these. What else must I do?”
21 Jesus replied, “If you want to be perfect, go sell everything you own! Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and be my follower.” 22 When the young man heard this, he was sad, because he was very rich.
23 Jesus said to his disciples, “It’s terribly hard for rich people to get into the kingdom of heaven! 24 In fact, it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into God’s kingdom.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly surprised and asked, “How can anyone ever be saved?”
26 Jesus looked straight at them and said, “There are some things that people cannot do, but God can do anything.”
27 Peter replied, “Remember, we have left everything to be your followers! What will we get?”
28 Jesus answered:
Yes, all of you have become my followers. And so in the future world, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, I promise that you will sit on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 All who have given up home or brothers and sisters or father and mother or children or land for me will be given a hundred times as much. They will also have eternal life. 30 But many who are now first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
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