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A Person Found Murdered

21 Suppose ·someone is found murdered [L a corpse], lying in a field in the land the Lord your God is giving you as your ·own [possession], and no one knows who ·killed [L struck] the person. Your elders and judges should go to where the ·body [L corpse] was found, and they should measure how far it is to the nearby cities. The elders of the city nearest the body must take a ·young cow [heifer] that has never worked or ·worn [L pulled] a yoke, and they must lead her down to a ·valley [wadi] that has never been plowed or planted, with a ·stream [wadi] flowing through it. There they must break the ·young cow’s [heifer’s] neck. The priests, the sons of Levi, should come forward, because they have been chosen by the Lord your God to serve him and to give blessings in the Lord’s name. They are the ones who decide cases of ·quarreling [accusation] and attacks. Then all the elders of the city nearest the ·murdered person [L corpse] should wash their hands over the ·young cow [heifer] whose neck was broken in the ·valley [wadi]. They should declare: “·We did not kill this person [L Our hands did not spill this blood], and ·we [L our eyes] did not see it happen. Lord, ·remove this sin from [make atonement for] your people Israel, whom you have ·saved [redeemed; ransomed]. Don’t ·blame your people, the Israelites, for the murder of this innocent person [L place the guilt of innocent blood in the midst of your people Israel].” And so the murder will be ·paid [atoned] for. Then you will have ·removed [banished; purged] from yourselves the guilt of ·murdering an innocent person [innocent blood], because you will be doing what ·the Lord says is right [L is right/virtuous in the eyes of the Lord].

Captive Women as Wives

10 When you go to war against your enemies, the Lord will ·help you defeat them [L give them into your hands] so you will take them captive. 11 If you see a beautiful woman among the captives and ·are attracted to [desire; fall in love with] her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home, where she must shave her head and cut her nails 13 and change the clothes she was wearing when you captured her. After she has lived in your house and cried for her ·parents [L father and her mother] for a month, you may marry her. You will be her husband, and she will be your wife. 14 But if you are not pleased with her, you must let her go anywhere she wants. You must not sell her for money or make her a slave, because you have ·taken away her honor [humiliated; exploited her].

The Oldest Son

15 A man might have two wives, one he loves and one he ·doesn’t [L hates; dislikes]. Both wives might have sons by him. If the ·older son [firstborn] belongs to the wife he ·does not love [L hates; dislikes], 16 when that man wills his property to his sons he must not give the son of the wife he loves what belongs to the ·older [firstborn] son, the son of the wife he ·does not love [L hates; dislikes]. 17 He must agree to give the ·older son [firstborn] two shares of everything he owns, even though the ·older son [firstborn] is from the wife he does ·not love [L hates; dislikes]. That son was the first ·to prove his father could have children [L of his virility], so he has the rights that belong to the ·older son [firstborn].

Sons Who Refuse to Obey

18 If someone has a son who is stubborn, who ·turns [rebels] against his father and mother and doesn’t obey them or listen when they ·correct [discipline] him, 19 his ·parents [L mother and his father] must ·take [grab] him to the elders at the city gate [Ex. 21:15; Lev. 20:9]. 20 They will say to the elders, “Our son is stubborn and ·turns [rebels] against us. He will not obey us. He ·eats too much [is a glutton], and he is ·always drunk [a drunk].” 21 Then all the men in his town must ·throw stones at [stone] him until he dies. ·Get rid of [Banish; Purge] the evil among you, because then all the people of Israel will hear about this and be afraid.

Other Laws

22 If someone is guilty of a sin worthy of death, he must be put to death and his body ·displayed [hung] on a tree. 23 But don’t leave his body hanging on the tree overnight; be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone whose body is displayed on a tree is cursed by God [Matt. 27:57–58; Gal. 3:13]. You must not ruin the land the Lord your God is giving you as your ·own [L inheritance].

Atonement for an Unsolved Murder

21 If someone is found slain, lying in a field in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess, and it is not known who the killer was,(A) your elders and judges shall go out and measure the distance from the body to the neighboring towns. Then the elders of the town nearest the body shall take a heifer that has never been worked and has never worn a yoke(B) and lead it down to a valley that has not been plowed or planted and where there is a flowing stream. There in the valley they are to break the heifer’s neck. The Levitical priests shall step forward, for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister and to pronounce blessings(C) in the name of the Lord and to decide all cases of dispute and assault.(D) Then all the elders of the town nearest the body shall wash their hands(E) over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley, and they shall declare: “Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it done. Accept this atonement for your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, Lord, and do not hold your people guilty of the blood of an innocent person.” Then the bloodshed will be atoned for,(F) and you will have purged(G) from yourselves the guilt of shedding innocent blood, since you have done what is right in the eyes of the Lord.

Marrying a Captive Woman

10 When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands(H) and you take captives,(I) 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful(J) woman and are attracted to her,(K) you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head,(L) trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month,(M) then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.(N)

The Right of the Firstborn

15 If a man has two wives,(O) and he loves one but not the other, and both bear him sons but the firstborn is the son of the wife he does not love,(P) 16 when he wills his property to his sons, he must not give the rights of the firstborn to the son of the wife he loves in preference to his actual firstborn, the son of the wife he does not love.(Q) 17 He must acknowledge the son of his unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double(R) share of all he has. That son is the first sign of his father’s strength.(S) The right of the firstborn belongs to him.(T)

A Rebellious Son

18 If someone has a stubborn and rebellious(U) son(V) who does not obey his father and mother(W) and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” 21 Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death.(X) You must purge the evil(Y) from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.(Z)

Various Laws

22 If someone guilty of a capital offense(AA) is put to death and their body is exposed on a pole, 23 you must not leave the body hanging on the pole overnight.(AB) Be sure to bury(AC) it that same day, because anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse.(AD) You must not desecrate(AE) the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

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