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Devarim/Deuteronomy  16:18 - 21:9

Chapter 16

18 Judges and officers shall you appoint in all your cities — which Hashem, your God, gives you — for your tribes; and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.  19 You shall not pervert judgment, you shall not respect someone's presence, and you shall not accept a bribe, for the bribe will blind the eyes of the wise and make just words crooked.  20 Righteousness, righteousness shall you pursue, so that you will live and possess the Land that Hashem, your God, gives you.

21 You shall not plant for yourselves an idolatrous tree — any tree — near the Altar of Hashem, your God, that you shall make for yourself.  22 And you shall not erect for yourselves a pillar, which Hashem, your God, hates.

Chapter 17

1 You shall not slaughter for Hashem, your God, an ox or a lamb or kid in which there will be a blemish, any bad thing, because that is an abomination of Hashem, your God.

2 If there will be found among you in one of your cities, which Hashem, your God gives you, a man or woman who commits what is evil in the eyes of Hashem, your God, to violate His covenant,  3 and he will go and serve gods of others and prostrate himself to them, or to the sun or the moon or to any host of heaven, which I have not commanded,  4 and it will be told to you and you will hear; then you shall investigate well, and behold! it is true, the testimony is correct — this abomination was done in Israel,  5 then you shall remove that man or that woman who did this evil thing to your cities — the man or the woman — and you shall pelt them with stones, so that they will die.  6 By the testimony of two witnesses or three witnesses shall the condemned person die; he shall not die by the testimony of a single witness.  7 The hand of the witnesses shall be upon him first to put him to death, and the hand of the entire people afterward, and you shall destroy the evil from your midst.

8 If a matter of judgment is hidden from you, between blood and blood, between verdict and verdict, between plague and plague, matters of dispute in your cities — you shall rise up and ascend to the place that Hashem, your God, shall choose.  9 You shall come to the Kohanim, the Levites, and to the judge who will be in those days; you shall inquire and they will tell you the word of judgment.  10 You shall do according to the word that they will tell you, from that place that Hashem will choose, and you shall be careful to do according to everything that they will teach you.  11 According to the teaching that they will teach you and according to the judgment that they will say to you, shall you do; you shall not deviate from the word that they will tell you, right or left.  12 And the man that will act with willfulness, not listening to the Kohen who stands there to serve Hashem, your God, or to the judge, that man shall die, and you shall destroy the evil from among Israel.  13 The entire nation shall listen and fear, and they shall not act willfully any more.

14 When you come to the Land that Hashem, your God, gives you, and possess it, and settle in it, and you will say, "I will set a king over myself, like all the nations that are around me."  15 You shall surely set over yourself a king whom Hashem, your God, shall choose; from among your brethren shall you set a king over yourself; you cannot place over yourself a foreign man, who is not your brother.  16 Only he shall not have too many horses for himself, so that he will not return the people to Egypt in order to increase horses, for Hashem has said to you, "You shall no longer return on this road again."  17 And he shall not have too many wives, so that his heart not turn astray; and he shall not greatly increase silver and gold for himself.  18 It shall be that when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself two copies of this Torah in a book, from before the Kohanim, the Levites.  19 It shall be with him, and he shall read from it all the days of his life, so that he will learn to fear Hashem, his God, to observe all the words of this Torah and these decrees, to perform them,  20 so that his heart does not become haughty over his brethren and not turn from the commandment right or left, so that he will prolong years over his kingdom, he and his sons amid Israel.

Chapter 18

1 There shall not be for the Kohanim, the Levites — the entire tribe of Levi — a portion and an inheritance with Israel; the fire-offerings of Hashem and His inheritance shall they eat.  2 He shall not have an inheritance among his brethren; Hashem is his inheritance, as He spoke to him.

3 This shall be the due of the Kohanim from the people, from those who perform a slaughter, whether of an ox or of the flock - he shall give the Kohen the foreleg, the jaw, and the maw.  4 The first of your grain, wine, and oil, and the first of the shearing of your flock shall you give him.  5 For him has Hashem chosen from among all your tribes, to stand and minister in the name of Hashem, him and his sons, all the days.

6 When the Levite will come from one of your cities, from all of Israel, where he sojourns, and he comes with all the desire of his soul to the place that Hashem will choose,  7 then he shall minister in the name of Hashem, his God, like all of his brethren, the Levites, who stand there before Hashem.  8 Portion for portion shall they eat, except for what was transacted by the forefathers.

9 When you come to the Land that Hashem, your God, gives you, you shall not learn to act according to the abominations of those nations.  10 There shall not be found among you one who causes his son or daughter to pass through the fire, one who practices divinations, an astrologer, one who reads omens, a sorcerer,  11 or an animal charmer, one who inquires of Ov or Yidoni, or one who consults the dead.  12 For anyone who does these is an abomination of Hashem, and because of these abominations Hashem, your God, banishes [the nations] from before you.  13 You shall be wholehearted with Hashem, your God.  14 For these nations that you are possessing — they hearkened to astrologers and diviners; but as for you — not so has Hashem, your God, given for you.

15 A prophet from your midst, from your brethren, like me, shall Hashem, your God, establish for you — to him shall you hearken.  16 According to all that you asked of Hashem, your God, in Horeb on the day of the congregation, saying, "I can no longer hear the voice of Hashem, my God, and this great fire I can longer see, so that I shall not die."

17 Then Hashem said to me - They have done well in what they have said.  18 I will establish a prophet for them from among their brethren, like you, and I will place My words in his mouth; He shall speak to them everything that I will command him.  19 And it shall be that the man who will not hearken to My words that he shall speak in My name, I will exact from him.  20 But the prophet who willfully shall speak a word in My name, that which I have not commanded him to speak, or who shall speak in the name of the gods of others — that prophet shall die.

21 When you say in your heart, "How can we know the word that Hashem has not spoken?"  22 If the prophet will speak in the Name of Hashem and that thing will not occur and not come about — that is the word that Hashem has not spoken; with willfulness has the prophet spoken it, you should not fear him.

Chapter 19

1 When Hashem, your God, will cut down the nations whose Land Hashem, your God, gives you, and you will possess them, and you will settle in their cities and in their houses,  2 you shall separate three cities for yourselves in the midst of your Land, which Hashem, your God, gives you to possess it.  3 Prepare the way for yourself, and divide into three parts the boundary of the Land that Hashem, your God, causes you to inherit; and it shall be for any murderer to flee there.  4 This is the matter of the murderer who shall flee there and live - One who will strike his fellow without knowledge, and he did not hate him from yesterday or before yesterday,  5 or who will come with his fellow into the forest to hew trees, and his hand swings the axe to cut the tree, and the iron slips from the wood and finds his fellow and he dies, he shall flee to one of these cities and live,  6 lest the redeemer of the blood will chase after the murderer, for his heart will be hot, and he will overtake him for the way was long, and he shall strike him mortally — and there is no judgment of death upon him, for he did not hate him from yesterday and before yesterday.  7 Therefore I command you, saying - You shall separate three cities for yourselves.

8 When Hashem will broaden your boundary, as He swore to your forefathers, and He will give you the entire Land that he spoke to your forefathers to give,  9 when you observe this entire commandment to perform it — which I command you today — to love Hashem, your God, and to walk in His ways all the years, then you shall add three more cities to these three.  10 Innocent blood shall not be shed in the midst of your Land that Hashem, your God, gives as an inheritance, for then blood will be upon you.

11 But if there will be a man who hates his fellow, and ambushes him and rises up against him, and strikes him mortally and he dies, and he flees to one of these cities,  12 then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there and place him in the hand of the redeemer of the blood, and he shall die.  13 Your eye shall not pity him; you shall remove the innocent blood from Israel; and it shall be good for you.

14 You shall not move a boundary of your fellow, which the early ones marked out, in your inheritance that you shall inherit, in the Land that Hashem, your God, gives you to possess it.

15 A single witness shall not stand up against any man for any iniquity or for any error, regarding any sin that he may commit; according to two witnesses or according to three witnesses shall a matter be confirmed.  16 If a false witness stands against a man to speak up spuriously against him,  17 then the two men [and those] who have the grievance shall stand before Hashem, before the Kohanim and the judges who will be in those days.  18 The judges shall inquire thoroughly, and behold! the testimony was false testimony; he spoke up falsely against his fellow.  19 You shall do to him as he conspired to do to his fellow, and you shall destroy the evil from your midst.  20 And those who remain shall hearken and fear; and they shall not continue again to do such an evil thing in your midst.  21 Your eye shall not pity; life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

Chapter 20

1 When you go out to the battle against your enemy, and you see horse and chariot — a people more numerous than you — you shall not fear them, for Hashem, your God, is with you, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt.  2 It shall be that when you draw near to the war, the Kohen shall approach and speak to the people.

3 He shall say to them, "Hear, O Israel, you are coming near to the battle against your enemies; let your heart not be faint; do not be afraid, do not panic, and do not be broken before them.  4 For Hashem, your God, is the One Who goes with you, to fight for you with your enemies, to save you."

5 Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying, "Who is the man who has built a new house and has not inaugurated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the war and another man will inaugurate it.  6 And who is the man who has planted a vineyard and not redeemed it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the war and another man will redeem it.  7 And who is the man who has betrothed a woman and not married her? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the war and another man will marry her."

8 The officers shall continue speaking to the people and say, "Who is the man who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, and let him not melt the heart of his fellows, like his heart."  9 When the officers have finished speaking to the people, the leaders of the legions shall take command at the head of the people.

10 When you draw near to a city to wage war against it, you shall call out to it for peace.  11 It shall be that if it responds to you in peace and opens for you, then the entire people found within it shall be as tribute for you, and they shall serve you.  12 But if it does not make peace with you, but makes war with you, you shall besiege it.  13 Hashem shall deliver it into your hand, and you shall smite all its males by the blade of the sword.  14 Only the women, the small children, the animals, and everything that will be in the city — all its booty — may you plunder for yourselves; you shall eat the booty of your enemies, which Hashem, your God, gave you.  15 So shall you do to all the cities that are very distant from you, which are not of the cities of these nations.  16 But from the cities of these peoples that Hashem, your God, gives you as an inheritance, you shall not allow any person to live.  17 Rather you shall utterly destroy them - the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivvite, and the Jebusite, as Hashem, your God has commanded you,  18 so that they will not teach you to act according to all their abominations that they performed for their gods, so that you will sin to Hashem, your God.

19 When you besiege a city for many days to wage war against it to seize it, do not destroy its trees by swinging an axe against them, for from it you will eat, and you shall not cut it down; is the tree of the field a man that it should enter the siege before you?  20 Only a tree that you know is not a food tree, it you may destroy and cut down, and build a bulwark against the city that makes war with you, until it is conquered.

Chapter 21

1 If a corpse will be found on the land that Hashem, your God, gives you to possess it, fallen in the field, it was not known who smote him,  2 your elders and judges shall go out and measure toward the cities that are around the corpse.  3 It shall be that the city nearest the corpse, the elders of that city shall take a heifer, with which no work has been done, which has not pulled with a yoke.  4 The elders of that city shall bring the heifer down to a harsh valley, which cannot be worked and cannot be sown, and they shall axe the back of its neck in the valley.  5 The Kohanim, the offspring of Levi, shall approach, for them has Hashem, your God, chosen to minister to Him and to bless with the Name of Hashem, and according to their word shall be every grievance and every plague.

6 All the elders of that city, who are closest to the corpse, shall wash their hands over the heifer that was axed in the valley.  7 They shall speak up and say, "Our hands have not spilled this blood, and our eyes did not see.  8 Atone for Your people Israel that You have redeemed, O Hashem - Do not place innocent blood in the midst of Your people Israel!" Then the blood shall be atoned for them.

9 But you shall remove the innocent blood from your midst when you do what is upright in the eyes of Hashem.

 


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