Reading 56/341, Deuteronomy 20-23

Mostly laws today. Some seem very reasonable for a 3500 year old law, others seem totally unreasonable. It is interesting that here in Deuteronomy, the law is not "Thus says the Lord" but just Moses speaking. Jesus suggests that Moses made up some of his own laws to suit the people. For instance, the exclusion of certain nationalities from even converting to Judaism is different than anything we saw in the Levitical law. So whereas Deuteronomy may seem better than the Levitical law in parts, it has its own problems.

..Deuteronomy...

When you go forth to battle against your enemies, and see horses, and chariots, and more people than you, you shall not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. It shall be, when you draw near to the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people, and shall tell them, ‘Hear, Israel, you draw near this day to battle against your enemies, do not let your heart faint; be not afraid, nor tremble, nor be scared of them, for the Lord your God goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’ The officers shall speak to the people, saying, ‘What man is there who has built a new house, and has not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it. What man is there who has planted a vineyard, and has not used the fruit of it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man use the fruit of it. What man is there who has pledged to marry a wife, and has not taken her? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.’ The officers shall speak further to the people, and they shall say, ‘What man is there who is fearful and faint-hearted? Let him go and return to his house, lest his brother's heart melt like his heart.’ It shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking to the people, that they shall appoint captains of armies at the head of the people.

When you draw near to a city to fight against it, proclaim peace to it. It shall be, if it makes you an answer of peace, and opens to you, then it shall be, that all the people who are found in it shall become tributary to you, and shall serve you. If it will make no peace with you, but will make war against you, then you shall besiege it, and when the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, you shall strike every male of it with the edge of the sword, but the women, and the little ones, and the livestock, and all that is in the city, all the spoil of it, shall you take for a prey to yourself, and you shall eat the spoil of your enemies, which the Lord your God has given you. Thus shall you do to all the cities which are very far off from you, which are not of the cities of these nations. But of the cities of these peoples, that the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, but you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; as the Lord your God has commanded you, lest they teach you to do like all their abominations, which they have done to their gods, so you would sin against the Lord your God. When you shall besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy the trees of it by wielding an axe against them; for you may eat of them, and you shall not cut them down; for is the tree of the field a human, that it should be besieged of you? Only the trees of which you know that they are not trees for food, you shall destroy and cut them down, and you shall build bulwarks against the city that makes war with you, until it falls.

If someone is found slain in the land which the Lord your God gives you to possess it, lying in the field, and it is not known who has struck him, then your elders and your judges shall come forth, and they shall measure to the cities which are round about him who is slain, and it shall be, that the city which is nearest to the slain man, the elders of that city shall take a heifer of the herd, which has not been worked with, and which has not pulled in the yoke, and the elders of that city shall bring the heifer to a valley with running water, which is nor plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer's neck there in the valley. The priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near: for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister to him, and to bless in the name of the Lord, and according to their word shall every controversy and every stroke be. All the elders of that city, who are nearest to the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley, and they shall answer and say, ‘Our hands have not shed this blood, nor have our eyes seen it. Forgive, O Lord, your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, and do not allow innocent blood to remain in the midst of your people Israel.’ The blood shall be forgiven them. So shall you put away the innocent blood from the midst of you, when you shall do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.

When you go forth to battle against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands, and you carry them away captive, and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you have a desire for her, and would take her as your wife, then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head, and trim her nails, and she change out of the clothing of her captivity, and shall remain in your house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month, and after that you shall go in to her, and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. It shall be, if you have no delight in her, then you shall let her go where she will, but you shall not at all sell her for money; you shall not deal with her as a slave, because you have humiliated her. If a man have two wives, the one beloved, and the other hated, and they have borne him children, both the beloved and the hated, and if the firstborn son be hers who was hated, then it shall be, in the day that he causes his sons to inherit what he has, that he may not make the son of the beloved the firstborn before the son of the hated, who is the firstborn, but he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the hated, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his. If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son, who will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and, though they chasten him, will not listen to them, then shall his father and his mother lay hold of him, and bring him out to the elders of his city, and to the gate of his place, and they shall tell the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.’ All the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones, so shall you put away the evil from the midst of you, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

If a man has committed a sin worthy of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him the same day, for he who is hanged is accursed of God, lest you defile your land which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance. You shall not see your brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and ignore it. You shall surely bring them again to your brother. If your brother is not near to you, or if you do not know him, then you shall bring it home to your house, and it shall be with you until your brother seeks after it, and you shall restore it to him. So shall you do with his donkey, and so shall you do with his garment, and so shall you do with every lost thing of your brother's, which he has lost, and you have found; you may not ignore it. You shall not see your brother's donkey or his ox fallen down by the way, and ignore it, you shall surely help him to lift it up again. A woman shall not wear men's clothing, nor shall a man put on women's clothing, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God. If a bird's nest happens to be before you on the road, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the hen sitting on the young, or on the eggs, you shall not take the hen with the young, you shall surely let the hen go, but the young you may take for yourself, that it may go well with you, and that you may prolong your days. When you build a new house, you shall make a railing for your roof, that you do not bring blood on your house, if anyone were to fall from there. You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, lest the whole yield become holy, the seed which you have sown, and the yield of the vineyard. You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. You shall not wear mixed cloth, wool and linen together. You shall make for yourselves fringes on the four borders of your cloak, with which you cover yourself.

If any man takes a wife, and goes in to her, and hates her, and accuses her of shameful things, and brings up an evil name on her, and says, ‘I took this woman, and when I came near to her, I did not find in her the tokens of virginity’, then the father of the young woman, and her mother, shall take and bring forth the tokens of the young woman's virginity to the elders of the city in the gate, and the young woman's father shall tell the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man as a wife, and he hates her, and behold, he has accused her of shameful things, saying, “I did not find in your daughter the tokens of virginity”, and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity.’ They shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. The elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him, and they shall fine him one hundred shekels of silver, and give them to the father of the young woman, because he has brought up an evil name on a virgin of Israel, and she shall be his wife: he may not divorce her all his days. But if this thing be true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done an outrageous thing in Israel, to whore in her father's house, so shall you put away the evil from the midst of you. If a man be found lying with a woman married to a husband, then they shall both die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman, so shall you put away the evil from Israel. If there is a betrothed virgin, and a man finds her in the city, and lies with her; then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones: the woman, because she did not cry out, being in the city, and the man, because he has humiliated his neighbor's wife. So you shall put away the evil from the midst of you. But if the man finds the betrothed woman in the field, and the man rapes her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die, but to the woman you shall do nothing; there is in the woman no sin worthy of death, for as when a man rises against his neighbor and kills him, so is this matter; for he found her in the field, and the betrothed woman cried out, but there was no one to save her. If a man finds a virgin, who is not betrothed, and lays hold on her, and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the woman's father fifty pieces of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has humiliated her: he may not divorce her all his days. A man shall not take his father's wife, and shall not uncover his father's skirt.

He who is wounded in the testicles or has his penis cut off shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord. A bastard shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord: to the tenth generation, none of his descendants shall enter into the assembly of the Lord. An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord: to the tenth generation, no one belonging to them shall enter into the assembly of the Lord forever, because they did not meet you with bread and water on the way, when you came forth out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. Nevertheless the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam, but the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loved you. You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever. You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian; because you lived as an immigrant in his land. The children of the third generation who are born to them may enter into the assembly of the Lord.

When you go forth in camp against your enemies, then you shall keep from every evil thing. If there be among you any man who is not clean through a nocturnal emission, he shall go outside of the camp. He shall not come within the camp, but when evening falls, he shall bathe himself in water, and when the sun is down, he shall come within the camp. You shall have a place outside of the camp, and you shall go out to it, and you shall have a trowel among your tools, and it shall be, when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and turn back and cover up your excrement, for the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you, and to give up your enemies before you; therefore your camp shall be holy, lest he see an unclean thing among you, and turn away from you. You shall not deliver to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. He shall dwell with you, in the midst of you, in the place which he shall choose within one of your gates, where it pleases him best; you shall not oppress him. There shall be no prostitute among the daughters of Israel, nor shall there be a prostitute among the sons of Israel. You shall not bring the wages of a prostitute, nor the wages of a male prostitute, into the house of the Lord your God for any vow, for both these are an abomination to the Lord your God. You shall not lend on interest to your brother: neither interest of money, nor interest of food, nor interest of anything that is lent on interest. To an immigrant you may lend on interest, but to your brother you shall not lend on interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you put your hand to, in the land where you go in to possess. When you shall vow a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not be slack to pay it, for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and it would be a sin in you. But if you refrain from vowing, it shall be no sin for you. What is gone out of your lips, you shall carefully do, just as you have vowed to the Lord your God: a freewill offering, which you have promised with your mouth. When you come into your neighbor's vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes at your own pleasure, but you shall not put any in your bag. When you come into your neighbor's standing grain, you may pluck the ears with your hand, but you shall not take a sickle to your neighbor's standing grain.

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