Monday, December 18

Deuteronomy (The Second Copy of The Law) Chapters 16-20

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     16[1-4] Keep the Passover to Yahweh your God in the month of Abib (March-April); for in the month of Abib Yahweh your God brought you out of Egypt by night. Sacrifice the Passover offering to Yahweh your God, out of the flock and the herd, in the place where Yahweh chooses for God’s name to be. You’ll eat no bread made with yeast with it; for seven days you’ll eat bread made without yeast, even the bread of trouble because you came out of the land of Egypt in a hurry, so that you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt as long as you live. There will be no yeast seen with you wherever you live for seven days; nor will any of the meat, which you sacrifice the first day at evening, be left over until the morning.

     [5-8] You may not sacrifice the Passover where you live, which Yahweh your God gives you; but at the place which Yahweh your God chooses for God’s name to be, you’ll sacrifice the Passover at evening, at sun set, at the season that you came out of Egypt. You’ll roast and eat it in the place which Yahweh your God chooses: and in the morning, go back to your tents. Six days you’ll eat bread made without yeast; and on the seventh day will be a sacred assembly to Yahweh your God, in which you’ll do no work.

     [9-12] Count seven weeks from the time you begin to cut the grain. You’ll keep the feast of weeks to Yahweh your God with a gift of a freewill offering of your hand, which you’ll give, according to how Yahweh your God blesses you. Then you’ll be happy before Yahweh your God, you, and your children, and your workers, and the Levite who is where you live, and the foreigner, and the orphan, and the death survivor, who are with you, in the place where Yahweh your God chooses for God’s name to be. Remember that you were workers in Egypt, so keep and do these laws.

     [13-17] You’ll keep the feast of tents seven days, after you’ve gathered in your harvest and made your wine: and you’ll be happy in your feast, you, and your children, and your workers, and the Levite, and the foreigner, and the orphan, and the death survivor, who are where you live. Seven days you’ll keep a feast to Yahweh your God in the place which Yahweh chooses; because Yahweh your God will bless you in everything you grow, and in all the work of your hands, and you’ll be altogether joyful. Three times a year your males will go before Yahweh your God in the place which God chooses, in the feast of bread made without yeast, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tents. You won’t go before Yahweh empty-handed, but everyone will give as you’re able, according to the blessing Yahweh your God has given you.

     [18-22] Make judges and officers where you live that Yahweh your God gives you, according to your family groups. They’ll judge the people with good judgment. Don’t be unfair. Don’t think about who a person is, nor take a bribe from anyone; for a bribe closes the eyes of the wise, and changes the words of the good. Do only what is fair so that you may live, and inherit the land which Yahweh your God gives you. Don’t plant a grove of any kind of tree used for false worship beside the altar of Yahweh your God, which you’ll make, nor set up any false god, which Yahweh your God hates.

     17[1-7] Don’t sacrifice to Yahweh your God a bull, or a sheep, which has something wrong with it, because that’s wrong to Yahweh your God. If there’s found with you, where you live which Yahweh your God gives you, a man or woman, who does what’s evil in the sight of Yahweh your God, in disobeying the promised agreement, and has gone and served other gods, and worshiped them, or the sun, or the moon, or any of the heavenly bodies, which I’ve not told you to do; and it’s told you, and you’ve heard of it, then you’ll carefully ask about it; and see, if it’s true. If you’re sure that such wrong was done in Israel, then you’ll bring forth that person, who has done this evil thing, to your courts, and you’ll put them to death with stones. At the word of two or three witnesses, will the one who is to die be put to death; at the word of only one witness they’ll not be put to death. The witnesses will be the first ones to put them to death, and afterward all the rest of the people. So you’ll put the evil away from you.

     [8-13] If there’s anything too hard for you to judge as to who’s guilty in a death, or who’s right or wrong, or who hit who first in a fight, and there’s a difference of opinion where you live; then you’ll go up to the place which Yahweh your God chooses; and you’ll come to the priests, the Levites, and to the judge who’s ruling at that time: and you’ll ask; and they’ll give the sentence of judgment. Do whatever the sentence which they give you is from that place which Yahweh chooses; and do whatever they say to you. Do just what the law which they teach you means, and according to the judgment which they tell you. Don’t change from the sentence which they give you. Anyone who thinks they know better and doesn’t listen to the priest who stands to minister before Yahweh your God, or to the judge, will die; so put away that evil from Israel. All the people will hear about it, and fear God’s judgment, and won’t do this any more.

     [14-20] When you come to the land which Yahweh your God gives you, and take ownership of it, and live in it, and say, I’ll set a ruler over me, like all the nations that are around me; you’ll without a doubt set a ruler over you, whom Yahweh your God chooses. When you set a ruler over you, it must be one of your kin; you may not put a foreigner over you, who is not of your kin. Only the ruler must not have many horses, nor cause the people to go back to Egypt to get many horses; because Yahweh has told you, “From now on you won’t go back there any more.” Nor will the ruler have many wives that will turn his heart away; nor will the ruler have much silver and gold. When the ruler takes power on the throne, a copy of this law will be written in a book, from what is before the priests, the Levites. The ruler will keep it, and read it as long as he lives, so that he may learn to respect Yahweh God, to keep all the words of this law and to do these laws, so that he won’t believe himself to be better than his people, and that he won’t turn away from the judgments, and so that he may prolong his rule, he and his children, in Israel.

     18[1-8] The priests, the Levites, all the family group of Levi, will have no part, nor inheritance with Israel. They’ll eat God’s share of the offerings of Yahweh made by fire. They’ll have no inheritance among their kin: Yahweh is their inheritance, as God has told them. The shoulder, the cheeks, and the stomach muscles will be the priests’ due from the people, from those who offer a sacrifice, whether it’s a bull or a sheep that they give to the priest. Give the first part of your grain, new wine, and oil, and the first of the fleece of your sheep. For Yahweh your God has chosen these out of all your family groups, to stand to minister in the name of Yahweh for ever. If a Levite comes from anywhere in Israel, where he lives as a foreigner, and comes to the place which Yahweh chooses and wants to serve with all his heart; then he’ll minister in the name of Yahweh God, as all his kin, the Levites do, who stand before Yahweh. They’ll eat the same parts as the others do, besides what comes of the sale of whatever he owns.

     [9-14] When you come into the land which Yahweh your God gives you, don’t learn to do the wrongs of those nations. Don’t let there be found with you anyone who kills their children for a sacrifice, anyone who seeks knowledge by supernatural means, or uses witchcraft, or casts spells, or uses magic, or magic charms, a fortune teller or anyone who talks to the dead, or prays to a false god. For whoever does these things wrongs Yahweh; and because of these wrongs, Yahweh your God drives them out from before you. Be perfect with Yahweh your God. For these nations that you’ll take ownership of listen to those who practice witchcraft, and try to get knowledge by supernatural means; but as for you, Yahweh your God won’t let you do so.

     [15-19] Yahweh your God will raise up for you a great Preacher from you, out of your own kin, like me; who you’ll listen to; just like you wanted of Yahweh your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, “Don’t let us hear the voice of Yahweh God again, nor let us see this great fire any more, that we don’t die.” So Yahweh said to me, “What they’ve said is good. I’ll raise them up a great Preacher from among their kin, like you; who I’ll give My words to, and who will tell them all that I say. And whoever won’t listen to My words which are said in My name by that Preacher, will be responsible for it.

     [20-22] But the great preacher, who speaks a word in my name without knowledge, which I’ve not told him to say, or who speaks in the name of other gods, will die. If you say in your heart, “How will we know the word which Yahweh hasn’t spoken?” When a great preacher speaks in the name of Yahweh, if what is said doesn’t happen, that’s what Yahweh hasn’t spoken and that preacher has spoken it without knowledge, so don’t be afraid of him.

     19[1-6] When Yahweh your God will cut off the nations, whose land Yahweh your God gives you, and you take their place, and live in their cities, and in their houses; set apart three cities for you with your land, which Yahweh your God gives you for your own. Make roads, and divide your land which Yahweh your God gives you into three parts, that every killer may run there. The killer, who kills someone by accident, and didn’t hate them in the past, should go there to live. An example would be when a man goes into the forest with a friend to cut wood, and he swings the axe to cut down a tree, and the head of the axe flies off the handle, and hits the friend, who dies. That person will run to one of these cities and live, in case someone whose angry wants revenge and chases the killer and catches them, because it takes them too long to get there, and kills them when they weren’t worthy of death, because they didn’t hate the person who was killed in the past.

     [7-13] So I tell you, set apart three cities for you. If Yahweh your God adds to your land, as God has promised your ancestors, and gives you all the land which was promised to your ancestors; and if you’ll keep all these judgments and do them, which I tell you today, to love Yahweh your God, and to follow God’s ways; then you’ll add three more cities for you, besides these three, so that innocent blood won’t be shed in your land, which Yahweh your God gives you for your own, and so you won’t be guilty of innocent blood. But if anyone hates someone, and plans to kill them, and rises up against them, and kills them, and runs into one of these cities; then the elders of the city where it happened will send for and bring that person back, and turn them over to the one who wants revenge to be killed. Don’t pity that person, but put away the one who took innocent blood from Israel, so that you’ll be blessed.

     [14-21] Don’t remove someone’s landmark, which they’ve set up in the past, in your land which you’ll inherit, in the land that Yahweh your God gives you for your own. One witness won’t rise up against someone for any fault or sin, in any sin that’s done. Only at the word of two or three witnesses will anything be thought to be true. If a liar rises up against anyone to testify against them of wrong-doing, then both of those who are fighting will stand before Yahweh, before the priests and the judges who rule at the time. The judges will carefully ask questions and see if the person is lying, and has testified falsely against the other; then you’ll do to that person what they planned to do to the other, so you’ll put away the evil from you. Those who are left will hear about it, and fear judgment, and won’t do such evil anymore. Don’t pity them; whatever they planned to do to the other, do to them.

     20[1-8] When you go to war against your enemies, and see all their equipment, and that they’ve more people than you, don’t be afraid of them because Yahweh your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. When you go near to the battlefield, the priest will go up and speak to the people, and will tell them, “Listen, Israel, today you’re going to fight your enemies: don’t be fainthearted; don’t be afraid, nor shake in fear, nor be scared of them; for Yahweh your God is the One who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies and save you.” The officers will speak to the people, saying, “Who is there who has built a new house, and hasn’t dedicated it? Let them go home, in case they die in the battle, and another person dedicate it. Who is there who has planted a garden, and hasn’t gathered in its harvest? Let them go home, in case they die in the battle, and another gets it. Who is there who has promised to be married, and hasn’t done it? Let them go home, in case they die in the battle, and someone else marries their promised one. The officers will speak further to the people, and say, Who is there who is afraid and fainthearted? Let them go home, in case they influence the others.

     [9-15] When the officers have finished speaking to the people, they’ll appoint leaders of the troops to lead the people. When you near a city to fight against it, then try to make peace to it. If it makes peace, and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it will pay taxes to you, and will serve you. If it won’t make peace with you, but make war against you instead, then you’ll surround it. When Yahweh your God gives it into your power, you’ll kill every male, but the women, and the little ones, and the livestock, and all the stuff that’s in the city, you’ll take for yourself; and you’ll eat the food of your enemies, which Yahweh your God has given you. Do this to all the cities which are very far away from you, which aren’t of the cities of these nations.

     [16-20] But of the cities of these peoples, that Yahweh your God gives you for your own, don’t save alive anything that breathes; but completely destroy them: the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; as Yahweh your God has told you so that they won’t teach you to do the wrong things, which they’ve done for their gods; so you would sin against Yahweh your God. When you surround a city to take it for a long time, while making war against it, don’t destroy the trees around it by taking an axe to them. You may eat of them, so don’t cut them down. The tree of the field isn’t a person that it should be destroyed by you. Destroy and cut down only the trees which you know aren’t trees for food; and you’ll build towers to attack the city that makes war with you, until it falls.

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