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Deuteronomy 21:1-22:30; Luke 9:51-10:12; Psalms 74:1-23; Proverbs 12:11 (Contemporary English Version)

Deuteronomy 21-22

Unsolved Murder

Moses said to Israel:

21 Suppose the body of a murder victim is found in a field in the land the Lord your God is giving you, and no one knows who the murderer is. The judges and other leaders from the towns around there must find out what town is the closest to where the body was found. The leaders from that town will go to their cattle herds and choose a young cow that has never been put to work.[a] 4-5 They and some of the priests will take this cow to a nearby valley where there is a stream, but no crops. Once they reach the valley, the leaders will break the cow’s neck.

The priests must be there, because the Lord your God has chosen them to be his special servants at the place of worship. The Lord has chosen them to bless the people in his name and to be judges in all legal cases, whether property or injury is involved.

The town leaders will wash their hands over the body of the dead cow and say, “We had no part in this murder, and we don’t know who did it. 8-9 But since an innocent person was murdered, we beg you, our Lord, to accept this sacrifice and forgive Israel. We are your people, and you rescued us. Please don’t hold this crime against us.”

If you obey the Lord and do these things, he will forgive Israel.

Marrying a Woman Taken Prisoner in War

Moses said to Israel:

10 From time to time, you men will serve as soldiers and go off to war. The Lord your God will help you defeat your enemies, and you will take many prisoners. 11-13 One of these prisoners may be a beautiful woman, and you may want to marry her. But first you must bring her into your home, and have her shave her head, cut her nails, get rid of her foreign clothes, and start wearing Israelite clothes. She will mourn a month for her father and mother, then you can marry her.

14 Later on, if you are not happy with the woman, you can divorce her, and she can go free. But you have slept with her as your wife, so you cannot sell her as a slave or make her into your own slave.

Rights of a First-Born Son

Moses said to Israel:

15-17 Suppose a man has two wives and loves one more than the other. The first son of either wife is the man’s first-born son, even if the boy’s mother is the wife the man doesn’t love. Later, when the man is near death and is dividing up his property, he must give a double share to his first-born son, simply because he was the first to be born.

A Son Who Rebels

Moses said to Israel:

18 A father and a mother may have a stubborn and rebellious son who refuses to obey them even after he has been punished. 19 If a son is like that, his parents must drag him to the town gate, where the leaders of the town hold their meetings. 20 The parents will tell the leaders, “This son of ours is stubborn and never obeys. He spends all his time drinking and partying.”

21 The men of the town will stone that son to death, because they must get rid of the evil he brought into the community. Everyone in Israel will be afraid when they hear how he was punished.

The Body of a Criminal

Moses said to Israel:

22 If a criminal is put to death, and you hang the dead body on a tree, 23 you must not let it hang there overnight. Bury it the same day, because the dead body of a criminal will bring God’s curse on the land. The Lord your God is giving this land to you, so don’t make it unclean by leaving the bodies of executed criminals on display.

Helping Others

Moses said to Israel:

22 If you see a cow or sheep wandering around lost, take the animal back to its owner. If the owner lives too far away, or if you don’t know who the owner is, take the animal home with you and take care of it. The owner will come looking for the animal, and then you can give it back. That’s what you should do if you find anything that belongs to someone else. Do whatever you can to help, whether you find a cow or sheep or donkey or some clothing.

Oxen and donkeys that carry heavy loads can stumble and fall, and be unable to get up by themselves. So as you walk along the road, help anyone who is trying to get an ox or donkey back on its feet.

Don’t Pretend To Be the Opposite Sex

Moses said to Israel:

Women must not pretend to be men, and men must not pretend to be women.[b] The Lord your God is disgusted with people who do that.

Don’t Take a Mother Bird

Moses said to Israel:

6-7 As you walk along the road, you might see a bird’s nest in a tree or on the ground. If the mother bird is in the nest with either her eggs or her baby birds, you are allowed to take the baby birds or the eggs, but not the mother bird. Let her go free, and the Lord will bless you with a long and successful life.

Put a Wall around Your Flat Roof

If you build a house, make sure to put a low wall around the edge of the flat roof.[c] Then if someone falls off the roof and is killed, it won’t be your fault.

Laws against Mixing Different Things

Moses said to Israel:

If you plant a vineyard, don’t plant any other fruit tree or crop in it. If you do plant something else there, you must bring to the place of worship everything you harvest from the vineyard.

10 Don’t hitch an ox and a donkey to your plow at the same time.

11 When you weave cloth for clothing, you can use thread made of flax[d] or wool, but not both together. 12 And when you make a coat, sew a tassel on each of the four corners.

When a Husband Accuses His Wife

Moses said to Israel:

13 Suppose a man starts hating his wife soon after they are married. 14 He might tell ugly lies about her, and say, “I married this woman, but when we slept together, I found out she wasn’t a virgin.”

15 If this happens, the bride’s father and mother must go to the town gate to show the town leaders the proof that the woman was a virgin. 16 Her father will say, “I let my daughter marry this man, but he started hating her 17 and accusing her of not being a virgin. But he is wrong, because here is proof that she was a virgin!” Then the bride’s parents will show them the bed sheet from the woman’s wedding night.

18 The town leaders will beat the man with a whip 19 because he accused his bride of not being a virgin. He will have to pay her father one hundred pieces of silver and will never be allowed to divorce her.

20 But if the man was right and there is no proof that his bride was a virgin, 21 the men of the town will take the woman to the door of her father’s house and stone her to death.

This woman brought evil into your community by sleeping with someone before she got married, and you must get rid of that evil by killing her.

Laws about Illegal Sex

Moses said:

22 People of Israel, if a man is caught having sex with someone else’s wife, you must put them both to death. That way, you will get rid of the evil they have done in Israel.

23-24 If a man is caught in town having sex with an engaged woman who isn’t screaming for help, they both must be put to death. The man is guilty of having sex with a married woman.[e] And the woman is guilty because she didn’t call for help, even though she was inside a town and people were nearby. Take them both to the town gate and stone them to death. You must get rid of the evil they brought into your community.

25 If an engaged woman is raped out in the country, only the man will be put to death. 26 Do not punish the woman at all; she has done nothing wrong, and certainly nothing deserving death. This crime is like murder, 27 because the woman was alone out in the country when the man attacked her. She screamed, but there was no one to help her.

28 Suppose a woman isn’t engaged to be married, and a man talks her into sleeping with him. If they are caught, 29 they will be forced to get married. He must give her father fifty pieces of silver as a bride-price and[f] can never divorce her.

30 A man must not marry a woman who was married to his father. This would be a disgrace to his father.

Footnotes:

  1. 21.3 young cow. . . work: Cows and oxen pulled plows and wagons.
  2. 22.5 pretend to be men. . . pretend to be women: Or “wear men’s clothing. . . wear women’s clothing.”
  3. 22.8 flat roof: Houses usually had flat roofs. In hot dry weather, it was cooler on the roof than in the house, and so roofs were used for sleeping and living quarters, and for entertaining guests.
  4. 22.11 flax: The stalks of flax plants were harvested, soaked in water, and dried, then their fibers were separated and spun into thread, which was woven into linen cloth.
  5. 22.23,24 engaged woman. . . married woman: An engaged woman was legally married, but had not yet slept with her husband or started living with him.
  6. 22.28,29 talks her into sleeping with him. . . bride-price and: Or “forces her to have sex. 29 Then if they are caught, he will have to marry her. He must give her father fifty pieces of silver as a bride-price and.”
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Luke 9:51-10:12

A Samaritan Village Refuses To Receive Jesus

51 Not long before it was time for Jesus to be taken up to heaven, he made up his mind to go to Jerusalem. 52 He sent some messengers on ahead to a Samaritan village to get things ready for him. 53 But he was on his way to Jerusalem, so the people there refused to welcome him. 54 When the disciples James and John saw what was happening, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to destroy these people?”[a]

55 But Jesus turned and corrected them for what they had said.[b] 56 Then they all went on to another village.

Three People Who Wanted To Be Followers

57 Along the way someone said to Jesus, “I’ll go anywhere with you!”

58 Jesus said, “Foxes have dens, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man doesn’t have a place to call his own.”

59 Jesus told someone else to come with him. But the man said, “Lord, let me wait until I bury my father.”[c]

60 Jesus answered, “Let the dead take care of the dead, while you go and tell about God’s kingdom.”

61 Then someone said to Jesus, “I want to go with you, Lord, but first let me go back and take care of things at home.”

62 Jesus answered, “Anyone who starts plowing and keeps looking back isn’t worth a thing to God’s kingdom!”

The Work of the Seventy-Two Followers

10 Later the Lord chose seventy-two[d] other followers and sent them out two by two to every town and village where he was about to go. He said to them:

A large crop is in the fields, but there are only a few workers. Ask the Lord in charge of the harvest to send out workers to bring it in. Now go, but remember, I am sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves. Don’t take along a moneybag or a traveling bag or sandals. And don’t waste time greeting people on the road.[e] As soon as you enter a home, say, “God bless this home with peace.” If the people living there are peace-loving, your prayer for peace will bless them. But if they are not peace-loving, your prayer will return to you. Stay with the same family, eating and drinking whatever they give you, because workers are worth what they earn. Don’t move around from house to house.

If the people of a town welcome you, eat whatever they offer. Heal their sick and say, “God’s kingdom will soon be here!”[f]

10 But if the people of a town refuse to welcome you, go out into the street and say, 11 “We are shaking the dust from our feet[g] as a warning to you. And you can be sure that God’s kingdom will soon be here!”[h] 12 I tell you that on the day of judgment the people of Sodom will get off easier than the people of that town!

Footnotes:

  1. 9.54 to destroy these people: Some manuscripts add “as Elijah did.”
  2. 9.55 what they had said: Some manuscripts add, “and said, ‘Don’t you know what spirit you belong to? The Son of Man did not come to destroy people’s lives, but to save them.’ “
  3. 9.59 bury my father: The Jewish people taught that giving someone a proper burial was even more important than helping the poor.
  4. 10.1 seventy-two: Some manuscripts have “seventy.” According to Jewish tradition, there were seventy nations on earth. But the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament has “seventy-two” in place of “seventy.” Jesus probably chose this number of followers to show that his message was for everyone in the world.
  5. 10.4 waste time greeting people on the road: In those days a polite greeting could take a long time.
  6. 10.9 will soon be here: Or “is already here.”
  7. 10.11 shaking the dust from our feet: This was a way of showing rejection.
  8. 10.11 will soon be here: Or “is already here.”
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Psalm 74

(A special psalm by Asaph.)

A Prayer for the Nation in Times of Trouble

74 Our God, why have you
    completely rejected us?
    Why are you so angry
    with the ones you care for?
Remember the people
    you rescued long ago,
    the tribe you chose
    to be your very own.

Think of Mount Zion,
    your home;
walk over to the temple
left in ruins forever
    by those who hate us.

Your enemies roared like lions
    in your holy temple,
    and they have placed
    their banners there.
It looks like a forest
    chopped to pieces.[a]
They used axes and hatchets
    to smash the carvings.
    They burned down your temple
    and badly disgraced it.
They said to themselves,
    “We’ll crush them!”
Then they burned every one
of your meeting places
    all over the country.
There are no more miracles
    and no more prophets.
    Who knows how long
    it will be like this?

10 Our God, how much longer
    will our enemies sneer?
    Won’t they ever stop
    insulting you?
11 Why don’t you punish them?
    Why are you holding back?

12 Our God and King,
you have ruled
    since ancient times;
    you have won victories
    everywhere on this earth.
13 By your power you made a path
    through the sea,
    and you smashed the heads
    of sea monsters.
14 You crushed the heads
    of the monster Leviathan,[b]
    then fed him to wild creatures
    in the desert.
15 You opened the ground
for streams and springs
    and dried up mighty rivers.
16 You rule the day and the night,
    and you put the moon
    and the sun in place.
17 You made summer and winter
    and gave them to the earth.[c]

18 Remember your enemies, Lord!
    They foolishly sneer
    and won’t respect you.
19 You treat us like pet doves,
    but they mistreat us.
Don’t keep forgetting us
    and letting us be fed
    to those wild animals.
20 Remember the agreement
    you made with us.
Violent enemies are hiding
    in every dark corner
    of the earth.
21 Don’t disappoint those in need
    or make them turn from you,
    but help the poor and homeless
    to shout your praises.
22 Do something, God!
    Defend yourself.
Remember how those fools
    sneer at you all day long.
23     Don’t forget the loud shouts
    of your enemies.

Footnotes:

  1. 74.5 pieces: One meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 5.
  2. 74.14 Leviathan: God’s victory over this monster sometimes stands for his power over all creation and sometimes for his defeat of Egypt.
  3. 74.17 gave. . . earth: Or “made boundaries for the earth.”
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Proverbs 12:11

11 Hard working farmers have more
    than enough food;
    daydreamers are nothing more
    than stupid fools.

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