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Deuteronomy 22The Message (MSG)

22 1-3 If you see your kinsman’s ox or sheep wandering off loose, don’t look the other way as if you didn’t see it. Return it promptly. If your fellow Israelite is not close by or you don’t know whose it is, take the animal home with you and take care of it until your fellow asks about it. Then return it to him. Do the same if it’s his donkey or a piece of clothing or anything else your fellow Israelite loses. Don’t look the other way as if you didn’t see it.

If you see your fellow’s donkey or ox injured along the road, don’t look the other way. Help him get it up and on its way.

A woman must not wear a man’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing. This kind of thing is an abomination to God, your God.

6-7 When you come across a bird’s nest alongside the road, whether in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, don’t take the mother with the young. You may take the babies, but let the mother go so that you will live a good and long life.

When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof to make it safe so that someone doesn’t fall off and die and your family become responsible for the death.

Don’t plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard. If you do, you will forfeit what you’ve sown, the total production of the vineyard.

10 Don’t plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.

11 Don’t wear clothes of mixed fabrics, wool and linen together.

12 Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you use to cover yourself.

13-19 If a man marries a woman, sleeps with her, and then turns on her, calling her a slut, giving her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I slept with her I discovered she wasn’t a virgin,” then the father and mother of the girl are to take her with the proof of her virginity to the town leaders at the gate. The father is to tell the leaders, “I gave my daughter to this man as wife and he turned on her, rejecting her. And now he has slanderously accused her, claiming that she wasn’t a virgin. But look at this, here is the proof of my daughter’s virginity.” And then he is to spread out her bloodstained wedding garment before the leaders for their examination. The town leaders then are to take the husband, whip him, fine him a hundred pieces of silver, and give it to the father of the girl. The man gave a virgin girl of Israel a bad name. He has to keep her as his wife and can never divorce her.

20-21 But if it turns out that the accusation is true and there is no evidence of the girl’s virginity, the men of the town are to take her to the door of her father’s house and stone her to death. She acted disgracefully in Israel. She lived like a whore while still in her parents’ home. Purge the evil from among you.

22 If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both must die. Purge that evil from Israel.

23-24 If a man comes upon a virgin in town, a girl who is engaged to another man, and sleeps with her, take both of them to the town gate and stone them until they die—the girl because she didn’t yell out for help in the town and the man because he raped her, violating the fiancée of his neighbor. You must purge the evil from among you.

25-27 But if it was out in the country that the man found the engaged girl and grabbed and raped her, only the man is to die, the man who raped her. Don’t do anything to the girl; she did nothing wrong. This is similar to the case of a man who comes across his neighbor out in the country and murders him; when the engaged girl yelled out for help, there was no one around to hear or help her.

28-29 When a man comes upon a virgin who has never been engaged and grabs and rapes her and they are found out, the man who raped her has to give her father fifty pieces of silver. He has to marry her because he took advantage of her. And he can never divorce her.

30 A man may not marry his father’s ex-wife—that would violate his father’s rights.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Deuteronomy 23The Message (MSG)

23 No eunuch is to enter the congregation of God.

No bastard is to enter the congregation of God, even to the tenth generation, nor any of his children.

3-6 No Ammonite or Moabite is to enter the congregation of God, even to the tenth generation, nor any of his children, ever. Those nations didn’t treat you with hospitality on your travels out of Egypt, and on top of that they also hired Balaam son of Beor from Pethor in Mesopotamia to curse you. God, your God, refused to listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing—how God, your God, loves you! Don’t even try to get along with them or do anything for them, ever.

But don’t spurn an Edomite; he’s your kin.

And don’t spurn an Egyptian; you were a foreigner in his land.

Children born to Edomites and Egyptians may enter the congregation of God in the third generation.

9-11 When you are camped out, at war with your enemies, be careful to keep yourself from anything ritually defiling. If one of your men has become ritually unclean because of a nocturnal emission, he must go outside the camp and stay there until evening when he can wash himself, returning to the camp at sunset.

12-14 Mark out an area outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourselves. Along with your weapons have a stick with you. After you relieve yourself, dig a hole with the stick and cover your excrement. God, your God, strolls through your camp; he’s present to deliver you and give you victory over your enemies. Keep your camp holy; don’t permit anything indecent or offensive in God’s eyes.

15-16 Don’t return a runaway slave to his master; he’s come to you for refuge. Let him live wherever he wishes within the protective gates of your city. Don’t take advantage of him.

17-18 No daughter of Israel is to become a sacred prostitute; and no son of Israel is to become a sacred prostitute. And don’t bring the fee of a sacred whore or the earnings of a priest-pimp to the house of God, your God, to pay for any vow—they are both an abomination to God, your God.

19-20 Don’t charge interest to your kinsmen on any loan: not for money or food or clothing or anything else that could earn interest. You may charge foreigners interest, but you may not charge your brothers interest; that way God, your God, will bless all the work that you take up and the land that you are entering to possess.

21-23 When you make a vow to God, your God, don’t put off keeping it; God, your God, expects you to keep it and if you don’t you’re guilty. But if you don’t make a vow in the first place, there’s no sin. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Keep the vow you willingly vowed to God, your God. You promised it, so do it.

24-25 When you enter your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat all the grapes you want until you’re full, but you may not put any in your bucket or bag. And when you walk through the ripe grain of your neighbor, you may pick the heads of grain, but you may not swing your sickle there.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Deuteronomy 24The Message (MSG)

24 1-4 If a man marries a woman and then it happens that he no longer likes her because he has found something wrong with her, he may give her divorce papers, put them in her hand, and send her off. After she leaves, if she becomes another man’s wife and he also comes to hate her and this second husband also gives her divorce papers, puts them in her hand, and sends her off, or if he should die, then the first husband who divorced her can’t marry her again. She has made herself ritually unclean, and her remarriage would be an abomination in the Presence of God and defile the land with sin, this land that God, your God, is giving you as an inheritance.

When a man takes a new wife, he is not to go out with the army or be given any business or work duties. He gets one year off simply to be at home making his wife happy.

Don’t seize a handmill or an upper millstone as collateral for a loan. You’d be seizing someone’s very life.

If a man is caught kidnapping one of his kinsmen, someone of the People of Israel, to enslave or sell him, the kidnapper must die. Purge that evil from among you.

8-9 Warning! If a serious skin disease breaks out, follow exactly the rules set down by the Levitical priests. Follow them precisely as I commanded them. Don’t forget what God, your God, did to Miriam on your way out of Egypt.

10-13 When you make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, don’t enter his house to claim his pledge. Wait outside. Let the man to whom you made the pledge bring the pledge to you outside. And if he is destitute, don’t use his cloak as a bedroll; return it to him at nightfall so that he can sleep in his cloak and bless you. In the sight of God, your God, that will be viewed as a righteous act.

14-15 Don’t abuse a laborer who is destitute and needy, whether he is a fellow Israelite living in your land and in your city. Pay him at the end of each workday; he’s living from hand to mouth and needs it now. If you hold back his pay, he’ll protest to God and you’ll have sin on your books.

16 Parents shall not be put to death for their children, nor children for their parents. Each person shall be put to death for his own sin.

17-18 Make sure foreigners and orphans get their just rights. Don’t take the cloak of a widow as security for a loan. Don’t ever forget that you were once slaves in Egypt and God, your God, got you out of there. I command you: Do what I’m telling you.

19-22 When you harvest your grain and forget a sheaf back in the field, don’t go back and get it; leave it for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow so that God, your God, will bless you in all your work. When you shake the olives off your trees, don’t go back over the branches and strip them bare—what’s left is for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow. And when you cut the grapes in your vineyard, don’t take every last grape—leave a few for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow. Don’t ever forget that you were a slave in Egypt. I command you: Do what I’m telling you.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Galatians 4The Message (MSG)

1-3 Let me show you the implications of this. As long as the heir is a minor, he has no advantage over the slave. Though legally he owns the entire inheritance, he is subject to tutors and administrators until whatever date the father has set for emancipation. That is the way it is with us: When we were minors, we were just like slaves ordered around by simple instructions (the tutors and administrators of this world), with no say in the conduct of our own lives.

4-7 But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.

8-11 Earlier, before you knew God personally, you were enslaved to so-called gods that had nothing of the divine about them. But now that you know the real God—or rather since God knows you—how can you possibly subject yourselves again to those paper tigers? For that is exactly what you do when you are intimidated into scrupulously observing all the traditions, taboos, and superstitions associated with special days and seasons and years. I am afraid that all my hard work among you has gone up in a puff of smoke!

12-13 My dear friends, what I would really like you to do is try to put yourselves in my shoes to the same extent that I, when I was with you, put myself in yours. You were very sensitive and kind then. You did not come down on me personally. You were well aware that the reason I ended up preaching to you was that I was physically broken, and so, prevented from continuing my journey, I was forced to stop with you. That is how I came to preach to you.

14-16 And don’t you remember that even though taking in a sick guest was most troublesome for you, you chose to treat me as well as you would have treated an angel of God—as well as you would have treated Jesus himself if he had visited you? What has happened to the satisfaction you felt at that time? There were some of you then who, if possible, would have given your very eyes to me—that is how deeply you cared! And now have I suddenly become your enemy simply by telling you the truth? I can’t believe it.

17 Those heretical teachers go to great lengths to flatter you, but their motives are rotten. They want to shut you out of the free world of God’s grace so that you will always depend on them for approval and direction, making them feel important.

18-20 It is a good thing to be ardent in doing good, but not just when I am in your presence. Can’t you continue the same concern for both my person and my message when I am away from you that you had when I was with you? Do you know how I feel right now, and will feel until Christ’s life becomes visible in your lives? Like a mother in the pain of childbirth. Oh, I keep wishing that I was with you. Then I wouldn’t be reduced to this blunt, letter-writing language out of sheer frustration.

21-31 Tell me now, you who have become so enamored with the law: Have you paid close attention to that law? Abraham, remember, had two sons: one by the slave woman and one by the free woman. The son of the slave woman was born by human connivance; the son of the free woman was born by God’s promise. This illustrates the very thing we are dealing with now. The two births represent two ways of being in relationship with God. One is from Mount Sinai in Arabia. It corresponds with what is now going on in Jerusalem—a slave life, producing slaves as offspring. This is the way of Hagar. In contrast to that, there is an invisible Jerusalem, a free Jerusalem, and she is our mother—this is the way of Sarah. Remember what Isaiah wrote:

Rejoice, barren woman who bears no children,
    shout and cry out, woman who has no birth pangs,
Because the children of the barren woman
    now surpass the children of the chosen woman.

Isn’t it clear, friends, that you, like Isaac, are children of promise? In the days of Hagar and Sarah, the child who came from faithless connivance (Ishmael) harassed the child who came—empowered by the Spirit—from the faithful promise (Isaac). Isn’t it clear that the harassment you are now experiencing from the Jerusalem heretics follows that old pattern? There is a Scripture that tells us what to do: “Expel the slave mother with her son, for the slave son will not inherit with the free son.” Isn’t that conclusive? We are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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