20:1 When you go to war against your enemies and see chariotry 1 and troops 2 who outnumber you, do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, is with you. 20:2 As you move forward for battle, the priest 3 will approach and say to the soldiers, 4 20:3 “Listen, Israel! Today you are moving forward to do battle with your enemies. Do not be fainthearted. Do not fear and tremble or be terrified because of them, 20:4 for the Lord your God goes with you to fight on your behalf against your enemies to give you victory.” 5 20:5 Moreover, the officers are to say to the troops, 6 “Who among you 7 has built a new house and not dedicated 8 it? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else 9 dedicate it. 20:6 Or who among you has planted a vineyard and not benefited from it? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else benefit from it. 20:7 Or who among you 10 has become engaged to a woman but has not married her? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else marry her.” 20:8 In addition, the officers are to say to the troops, “Who among you is afraid and fainthearted? He may go home so that he will not make his fellow soldier’s 11 heart as fearful 12 as his own.” 20:9 Then, when the officers have finished speaking, 13 they must appoint unit commanders 14 to lead the troops.
20:10 When you approach a city to wage war against it, offer it terms of peace. 20:11 If it accepts your terms 15 and submits to you, all the people found in it will become your slaves. 16 20:12 If it does not accept terms of peace but makes war with you, then you are to lay siege to it. 20:13 The Lord your God will deliver it over to you 17 and you must kill every single male by the sword. 20:14 However, the women, little children, cattle, and anything else in the city – all its plunder – you may take for yourselves as spoil. You may take from your enemies the plunder that the Lord your God has given you. 20:15 This is how you are to deal with all those cities located far from you, those that do not belong to these nearby nations.
20:16 As for the cities of these peoples that 18 the Lord your God is going to give you as an inheritance, you must not allow a single living thing 19 to survive. 20:17 Instead you must utterly annihilate them 20 – the Hittites, 21 Amorites, 22 Canaanites, 23 Perizzites, 24 Hivites, 25 and Jebusites 26 – just as the Lord your God has commanded you, 20:18 so that they cannot teach you all the abhorrent ways they worship 27 their gods, causing you to sin against the Lord your God. 20:19 If you besiege a city for a long time while attempting to capture it, 28 you must not chop down its trees, 29 for you may eat fruit 30 from them and should not cut them down. A tree in the field is not human that you should besiege it! 31 20:20 However, you may chop down any tree you know is not suitable for food, 32 and you may use it to build siege works 33 against the city that is making war with you until that city falls.
21:1 If a homicide victim 34 should be found lying in a field in the land the Lord your God is giving you, 35 and no one knows who killed 36 him, 21:2 your elders and judges must go out and measure how far it is to the cities in the vicinity of the corpse. 37 21:3 Then the elders of the city nearest to the corpse 38 must take from the herd a heifer that has not been worked – that has never pulled with the yoke – 21:4 and bring the heifer down to a wadi with flowing water, 39 to a valley that is neither plowed nor sown. 40 There at the wadi they are to break the heifer’s neck. 21:5 Then the Levitical priests 41 will approach (for the Lord your God has chosen them to serve him and to pronounce blessings in his name, 42 and to decide 43 every judicial verdict 44 ) 21:6 and all the elders of that city nearest the corpse 45 must wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley. 46 21:7 Then they must proclaim, “Our hands have not spilled this blood, nor have we 47 witnessed the crime. 48 21:8 Do not blame 49 your people Israel whom you redeemed, O Lord, and do not hold them accountable for the bloodshed of an innocent person.” 50 Then atonement will be made for the bloodshed. 21:9 In this manner you will purge out the guilt of innocent blood from among you, for you must do what is right before 51 the Lord.
21:10 When you go out to do battle with your enemies and the Lord your God allows you to prevail 52 and you take prisoners, 21:11 if you should see among them 53 an attractive woman whom you wish to take as a wife, 21:12 you may bring her back to your house. She must shave her head, 54 trim her nails, 21:13 discard the clothing she was wearing when captured, 55 and stay 56 in your house, lamenting for her father and mother for a full month. After that you may have sexual relations 57 with her and become her husband and she your wife. 21:14 If you are not pleased with her, then you must let her go 58 where she pleases. You cannot in any case sell 59 her; 60 you must not take advantage of 61 her, since you have already humiliated 62 her.
21:15 Suppose a man has two wives, one whom he loves more than the other, 63 and they both 64 bear him sons, with the firstborn being the child of the less loved wife. 21:16 In the day he divides his inheritance 65 he must not appoint as firstborn the son of the favorite wife in place of the other 66 wife’s son who is actually the firstborn. 21:17 Rather, he must acknowledge the son of the less loved 67 wife as firstborn and give him the double portion 68 of all he has, for that son is the beginning of his father’s procreative power 69 – to him should go the right of the firstborn.
21:18 If a person has a stubborn, rebellious son who pays no attention to his father or mother, and they discipline him to no avail, 70 21:19 his father and mother must seize him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his city. 21:20 They must declare to the elders 71 of his city, “Our son is stubborn and rebellious and pays no attention to what we say – he is a glutton and drunkard.” 21:21 Then all the men of his city must stone him to death. In this way you will purge out 72 wickedness from among you, and all Israel 73 will hear about it and be afraid.
21:22 If a person commits a sin punishable by death and is executed, and you hang the corpse 74 on a tree, 21:23 his body must not remain all night on the tree; instead you must make certain you bury 75 him that same day, for the one who is left exposed 76 on a tree is cursed by God. 77 You must not defile your land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.
22:1 When you see 78 your neighbor’s 79 ox or sheep going astray, do not ignore it; 80 you must return it without fail 81 to your neighbor. 22:2 If the owner 82 does not live 83 near you or you do not know who the owner is, 84 then you must corral the animal 85 at your house and let it stay with you until the owner looks for it; then you must return it to him. 22:3 You shall do the same to his donkey, his clothes, or anything else your neighbor 86 has lost and you have found; you must not refuse to get involved. 87 22:4 When you see 88 your neighbor’s donkey or ox fallen along the road, do not ignore it; 89 instead, you must be sure 90 to help him get the animal on its feet again. 91
22:6 If you happen to notice a bird’s nest along the road, whether in a tree or on the ground, and there are chicks or eggs with the mother bird sitting on them, 94 you must not take the mother from the young. 95 22:7 You must be sure 96 to let the mother go, but you may take the young for yourself. Do this so that it may go well with you and you may have a long life.
22:9 You must not plant your vineyard with two kinds of seed; otherwise the entire yield, both of the seed you plant and the produce of the vineyard, will be defiled. 99 22:10 You must not plow with an ox and a donkey harnessed together. 22:11 You must not wear clothing made with wool and linen meshed together. 100 22:12 You shall make yourselves tassels 101 for the four corners of the clothing you wear.
22:13 Suppose a man marries a woman, has sexual relations with her, 102 and then rejects 103 her, 22:14 accusing her of impropriety 104 and defaming her reputation 105 by saying, “I married this woman but when I had sexual relations 106 with her I discovered she was not a virgin!” 22:15 Then the father and mother of the young woman must produce the evidence of virginity 107 for the elders of the city at the gate. 22:16 The young woman’s father must say to the elders, “I gave my daughter to this man and he has rejected 108 her. 22:17 Moreover, he has raised accusations of impropriety by saying, ‘I discovered your daughter was not a virgin,’ but this is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity!” The cloth must then be spread out 109 before the city’s elders. 22:18 The elders of that city must then seize the man and punish 110 him. 22:19 They will fine him one hundred shekels of silver and give them to the young woman’s father, for the man who made the accusation 111 ruined the reputation 112 of an Israelite virgin. She will then become his wife and he may never divorce her as long as he lives.
22:20 But if the accusation is true and the young woman was not a virgin, 22:21 the men of her city must bring the young woman to the door of her father’s house and stone her to death, for she has done a disgraceful thing 113 in Israel by behaving like a prostitute while living in her father’s house. In this way you will purge 114 evil from among you.
22:22 If a man is caught having sexual relations with 115 a married woman 116 both the man who had relations with the woman and the woman herself must die; in this way you will purge 117 evil from Israel.
22:23 If a virgin is engaged to a man and another man meets 118 her in the city and has sexual relations with 119 her, 22:24 you must bring the two of them to the gate of that city and stone them to death, the young woman because she did not cry out though in the city and the man because he violated 120 his neighbor’s fiancée; 121 in this way you will purge 122 evil from among you. 22:25 But if the man came across 123 the engaged woman in the field and overpowered her and raped 124 her, then only the rapist 125 must die. 22:26 You must not do anything to the young woman – she has done nothing deserving of death. This case is the same as when someone attacks another person 126 and murders him, 22:27 for the man 127 met her in the field and the engaged woman cried out, but there was no one to rescue her.
22:28 Suppose a man comes across a virgin who is not engaged and overpowers and rapes 128 her and they are discovered. 22:29 The man who has raped her must pay her father fifty shekels of silver and she must become his wife because he has violated her; he may never divorce her as long as he lives.
1 tn Heb “horse and chariot.”
2 tn Heb “people.”
3 sn The reference to the priest suggests also the presence of the ark of the covenant, the visible sign of God’s presence. The whole setting is clearly that of “holy war” or “Yahweh war,” in which God himself takes initiative as the true commander of the forces of Israel (cf. Exod 14:14-18; 15:3-10; Deut 3:22; 7:18-24; 31:6, 8).
4 tn Heb “and he will say to the people.” Cf. NIV, NCV, CEV “the army”; NRSV, NLT “the troops.”
5 tn Or “to save you” (so KJV, NASB, NCV); or “to deliver you.”
8 tn The Hebrew term חָנַךְ (khanakh) occurs elsewhere only with respect to the dedication of Solomon’s temple (1 Kgs 8:63 = 2 Chr 7:5). There it has a religious connotation which, indeed, may be the case here as well. The noun form (חָנֻכָּה, khanukah) is associated with the consecration of the great temple altar (2 Chr 7:9) and of the postexilic wall of Jerusalem (Neh 12:27). In Maccabean times the festival of Hanukkah was introduced to celebrate the rededication of the temple following its desecration by Antiochus IV Epiphanes (1 Macc 4:36-61).
9 tn Heb “another man.”
10 tn Heb “Who [is] the man.”
11 tn Heb “his brother’s.”
12 tn Heb “melted.”
13 tn The Hebrew text includes “to the people,” but this phrase has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.
14 tn Heb “princes of hosts.”
15 tn Heb “if it answers you peace.”
16 tn Heb “become as a vassal and will serve you.” The Hebrew term translated slaves (מַס, mas) refers either to Israelites who were pressed into civil service, especially under Solomon (1 Kgs 5:27; 9:15, 21; 12:18), or (as here) to foreigners forced as prisoners of war to become slaves to Israel. The Gibeonites exemplify this type of servitude (Josh 9:3-27; cf. Josh 16:10; 17:13; Judg 1:28, 30-35; Isa 31:8; Lam 1:1).
17 tn Heb “to your hands.”
18 tn The antecedent of the relative pronoun is “cities.”
19 tn Heb “any breath.”
20 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which the translation seeks to reflect with “utterly.” Cf. CEV “completely wipe out.”
sn The Hebrew verb refers to placing persons or things so evil and/or impure as to be irredeemable under God’s judgment, usually to the extent of their complete destruction. See also the note on the phrase “the divine judgment” in Deut 2:34.
21 sn Hittite. The center of Hittite power was in Anatolia (central modern Turkey). In the Late Bronze Age (1550-1200
22 sn Amorite. Originally from the upper Euphrates region (Amurru), the Amorites appear to have migrated into Canaan beginning in 2200
23 sn Canaanite. These were the indigenous peoples of the land of Palestine, going back to the beginning of recorded history (ca. 3000
25 sn Hivite. These are usually thought to be the same as the Hurrians, a people well-known in ancient Near Eastern texts. They are likely identical to the Horites (see note on “Horites” in Deut 2:12).
27 tn Heb “to do according to all their abominations which they do for their gods.”
28 tn Heb “to fight against it to capture it.”
29 tn Heb “you must not destroy its trees by chopping them with an iron” (i.e., an ax).
30 tn Heb “you may eat from them.” The direct object is not expressed; the word “fruit” is supplied in the translation for clarity.
31 tn Heb “to go before you in siege.”
32 tn Heb “however, a tree which you know is not a tree for food you may destroy and cut down.”
33 tn Heb “[an] enclosure.” The term מָצוֹר (matsor) may refer to encircling ditches or to surrounding stagings. See R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 238.
35 tn The Hebrew text includes “to possess it,” but this has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.
36 tn Heb “struck,” but in context a fatal blow is meant; cf. NLT “who committed the murder.”
37 tn Heb “surrounding the slain [one].”
38 tn Heb “slain [one].”
39 tn The combination “a wadi with flowing water” is necessary because a wadi (נַחַל, nakhal) was ordinarily a dry stream or riverbed. For this ritual, however, a perennial stream must be chosen so that there would be fresh, rushing water.
40 sn The unworked heifer, fresh stream, and uncultivated valley speak of ritual purity – of freedom from human contamination.
41 tn Heb “the priests, the sons of Levi.”
43 tn Heb “by their mouth.”
44 tn Heb “every controversy and every blow.”
45 tn Heb “slain [one].”
46 tn Heb “wadi,” a seasonal watercourse through a valley.
47 tn Heb “our eyes.” This is a figure of speech known as synecdoche in which the part (the eyes) is put for the whole (the entire person).
48 tn Heb “seen”; the implied object (the crime committed) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
49 tn Heb “Atone for.”
50 tn Heb “and do not place innocent blood in the midst of your people Israel.”
51 tn Heb “in the eyes of” (so ASV, NASB, NIV).
52 tn Heb “gives him into your hands.”
53 tn Heb “the prisoners.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons, to avoid redundancy.
54 sn This requirement for the woman to shave her head may symbolize the putting away of the old life and customs in preparation for being numbered among the people of the
55 tn Heb “she is to…remove the clothing of her captivity” (cf. NASB); NRSV “discard her captive’s garb.”
56 tn Heb “sit”; KJV, NASB, NRSV “remain.”
57 tn Heb “go unto,” a common Hebrew euphemism for sexual relations.
58 sn Heb “send her off.” The Hebrew term שִׁלַּחְתָּה (shillakhtah) is a somewhat euphemistic way of referring to divorce, the matter clearly in view here (cf. Deut 22:19, 29; 24:1, 3; Jer 3:1; Mal 2:16). This passage does not have the matter of divorce as its principal objective, so it should not be understood as endorsing divorce generally. It merely makes the point that if grounds for divorce exist (see Deut 24:1-4), and then divorce ensues, the husband could in no way gain profit from it.
59 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which the translation indicates by the words “in any case.”
60 tn The Hebrew text includes “for money.” This phrase has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.
61 tn Or perhaps “must not enslave her” (cf. ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); Heb “[must not] be tyrannical over.”
62 sn You have humiliated her. Since divorce was considered rejection, the wife subjected to it would “lose face” in addition to the already humiliating event of having become a wife by force (21:11-13). Furthermore, the Hebrew verb translated “humiliated” here (עָנָה, ’anah), commonly used to speak of rape (cf. Gen 34:2; 2 Sam 13:12, 14, 22, 32; Judg 19:24), likely has sexual overtones as well. The woman may not be enslaved or abused after the divorce because it would be double humiliation (see also E. H. Merrill, Deuteronomy [NAC], 291).
63 tn Heb “one whom he loves and one whom he hates.” For the idea of שָׂנֵא (sane’, “hate”) meaning to be rejected or loved less (cf. NRSV “disliked”), see Gen 29:31, 33; Mal 1:2-3. Cf. A. Konkel, NIDOTTE 3:1256-60.
64 tn Heb “both the one whom he loves and the one whom he hates.” On the meaning of the phrase “one whom he loves and one whom he hates” see the note on the word “other” earlier in this verse. The translation has been simplified for stylistic reasons, to avoid redundancy.
65 tn Heb “when he causes his sons to inherit what is his.”
66 tn Heb “the hated.”
68 tn Heb “measure of two.” The Hebrew expression פִּי שְׁנַיִם (piy shÿnayim) suggests a two-thirds split; that is, the elder gets two parts and the younger one part. Cf. 2 Kgs 2:9; Zech 13:8. The practice is implicit in Isaac’s blessing of Jacob (Gen 25:31-34) and Jacob’s blessing of Ephraim (Gen 48:8-22).
69 tn Heb “his generative power” (אוֹן, ’on; cf. HALOT 22 s.v.). Cf. NAB “the first fruits of his manhood”; NRSV “the first issue of his virility.”
70 tn Heb “and he does not listen to them.”
71 tc The LXX and Smr read “to the men,” probably to conform to this phrase in v. 21. However, since judicial cases were the responsibility of the elders in such instances (cf. Deut 19:12; 21:3, 6; 25:7-8) the reading of the MT is likely original and correct here.
72 tn The Hebrew term בִּעַרְתָּה (bi’artah), here and elsewhere in such contexts (cf. Deut 13:5; 17:7, 12; 19:19; 21:9), suggests God’s anger which consumes like fire (thus בָעַר, ba’ar, “to burn”). See H. Ringgren, TDOT 2:203-4.
73 tc Some LXX traditions read הַנִּשְׁאָרִים (hannish’arim, “those who remain”) for the MT’s יִשְׂרָאֵל (yisra’el, “Israel”), understandable in light of Deut 19:20. However, the more difficult reading found in the MT is more likely original.
74 tn Heb “him.”
75 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which the translation indicates by “make certain.”
76 tn Heb “hung,” but this could convey the wrong image in English (hanging with a rope as a means of execution). Cf. NCV “anyone whose body is displayed on a tree.”
77 sn The idea behind the phrase cursed by God seems to be not that the person was impaled because he was cursed but that to leave him exposed there was to invite the curse of God upon the whole land. Why this would be so is not clear, though the rabbinic idea that even a criminal is created in the image of God may give some clue (thus J. H. Tigay, Deuteronomy [JPSTC], 198). Paul cites this text (see Gal 3:13) to make the point that Christ, suspended from a cross, thereby took upon himself the curse associated with such a display of divine wrath and judgment (T. George, Galatians [NAC], 238-39).
78 tn Heb “you must not see,” but, if translated literally into English, the statement is misleading.
79 tn Heb “brother’s” (also later in this verse). In this context it is not limited to one’s siblings, however; cf. NAB “your kinsman’s.”
80 tn Heb “hide yourself.”
81 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which the translation indicates with the words “without fail.”
82 tn Heb “your brother” (also later in this verse).
83 tn Heb “is not.” The idea of “residing” is implied.
84 tn Heb “and you do not know him.”
87 tn Heb “you must not hide yourself.”
89 tn Heb “and (must not) hide yourself from them.”
90 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which the translation indicates with “be sure.”
91 tn Heb “help him to lift them up.” In keeping with English style the singular is used in the translation, and the referent (“the animal”) has been specified for clarity.
92 tn Heb “a man’s clothing.”
93 tn The Hebrew term תּוֹעֵבָה (to’evah, “offense”) speaks of anything that runs counter to ritual or moral order, especially (in the OT) to divine standards. Cross-dressing in this covenant context may suggest homosexuality, fertility cult ritual, or some other forbidden practice.
94 tn Heb “and the mother sitting upon the chicks or the eggs.”
95 tn Heb “sons,” used here in a generic sense for offspring.
96 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which the translation seeks to reflect with “be sure.”
97 tn Or “a parapet” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV); KJV “a battlement”; NLT “a barrier.”
98 tn Heb “that you not place bloodshed in your house.”
99 tn Heb “set apart.” The verb קָדַשׁ (qadash) in the Qal verbal stem (as here) has the idea of being holy or being treated with special care. Some take the meaning as “be off-limits, forfeited,” i.e., the total produce of the vineyard, both crops and grapes, have to be forfeited to the sanctuary (cf. Exod 29:37; 30:29; Lev 6:18, 27; Num 16:37-38; Hag 2:12).
100 tn The Hebrew term שַׁעַטְנֵז (sha’atnez) occurs only here and in Lev 19:19. HALOT 1610-11 s.v. takes it to be a contraction of words (שַׁשׁ [shash, “headdress”] + עַטְנַז [’atnaz, “strong”]). BDB 1043 s.v. שַׁעַטְנֵז offers the translation “mixed stuff” (cf. NEB “woven with two kinds of yarn”; NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT “woven together”). The general meaning is clear even if the etymology is not.
101 tn Heb “twisted threads” (גְּדִלִים, gÿdilim) appears to be synonymous with צִיצִת (tsitsit) which, in Num 15:38, occurs in a passage instructing Israel to remember the covenant. Perhaps that is the purpose of the tassels here as well. Cf. KJV, ASV “fringes”; NAB “twisted cords.”
102 tn Heb “goes to her,” a Hebrew euphemistic idiom for sexual relations.
104 tn Heb “deeds of things”; NRSV “makes up charges against her”; NIV “slanders her.”
105 tn Heb “brings against her a bad name”; NIV “gives her a bad name.”
106 tn Heb “drew near to her.” This is another Hebrew euphemism for having sexual relations.
109 tn Heb “they will spread the garment.”
110 tn Heb “discipline.”
111 tn Heb “for he”; the referent (the man who made the accusation) has been specified in the translation to avoid confusion with the young woman’s father, the last-mentioned male.
112 tn Heb “brought forth a bad name.”
113 tn The Hebrew term נְבָלָה (nÿvalah) means more than just something stupid. It refers to a moral lapse so serious as to jeopardize the whole covenant community (cf. Gen 34:7; Judg 19:23; 20:6, 10; Jer 29:23). See C. Pan, NIDOTTE 3:11-13. Cf. NAB “she committed a crime against Israel.”
115 tn Heb “lying with” (so KJV, NASB), a Hebrew idiom for sexual relations.
116 tn Heb “a woman married to a husband.”
118 tn Heb “finds.”
119 tn Heb “lies with.”
120 tn Heb “humbled.”
121 tn Heb “wife.”
124 tn Heb “lay with” here refers to a forced sexual relationship, as the accompanying verb “seized” (חָזַק, khazaq) makes clear.
125 tn Heb “the man who lay with her, only him.”
126 tn Heb “his neighbor.”
127 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the man who attacked the woman) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
128 tn Heb “lies with.”
129 sn Beginning with 22:30, the verse numbers through 23:25 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 22:30 ET = 23:1 HT, 23:1 ET = 23:2 HT, 23:2 ET = 23:3 HT, etc., through 23:25 ET = 23:26 HT. With 24:1 the verse numbers in the ET and HT are again the same.
130 tn Heb “take.” In context this refers to marriage, as in the older English expression “take a wife.”
131 sn This presupposes either the death of the father or their divorce since it would be impossible for one to marry his stepmother while his father was still married to her.
132 tn Heb “uncover his father’s skirt” (so ASV, NASB). This appears to be a circumlocution for describing the dishonor that would come to a father by having his own son share his wife’s sexuality (cf. NAB, NIV “dishonor his father’s bed”).