Deuteronomy 21
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Atonement for an Unsolved Murder

If one is found slain, lying in a field in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess, and it is not known who killed him, your elders and judges must come out and measure the distance from the victim to the neighboring cities.

Then the elders of the city nearest the victim shall take a heifer that has never been yoked or used for work, bring the heifer to a valley with running water that has not been plowed or sown, and break its neck there by the stream.

And the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come forward, for the LORD your God has chosen them to serve Him and pronounce blessings in His name and to give a ruling in every dispute and case of assault. Then all the elders of the city nearest the victim shall wash their hands by the stream over the heifer whose neck has been broken, and they shall declare, “Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it. Accept this atonement, O LORD, for Your people Israel whom You have redeemed, and do not hold the shedding of innocent blood against them.”

And the bloodshed will be atoned for. So you shall purge from among you the guilt of shedding innocent blood, since you have done what is right in the eyes of the LORD.

When you go to war against your enemies and the LORD your God delivers them into your hand and you take them captive, if you see a beautiful woman among them, and you desire her and want to take her as your wife, then you shall bring her into your house. She must shave her head, trim her nails, and put aside the clothing of her captivity.

After she has lived in your house a full month and mourned her father and mother, you may have relations with her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. And if you are not pleased with her, you are to let her go wherever she wishes. But you must not sell her for money or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.

If a man has two wives, one beloved and the other unloved, and both bear him sons, but the unloved wife has the firstborn son, when that man assigns his inheritance to his sons he must not appoint the son of the beloved wife as the firstborn over the son of the unloved wife.

Instead, he must acknowledge the firstborn, the son of his unloved wife, by giving him a double portion of all that he has. For that son is the firstfruits of his father’s strength; the right of the firstborn belongs to him.

If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and does not listen to them when disciplined, his father and mother are to lay hold of him and bring him to the elders of his city, to the gate of his hometown, and say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he does not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.”

Then all the men of his city will stone him to death. So you must purge the evil from among you, and all Israel will hear and be afraid.

If a man has committed a sin worthy of death, and he is executed, and you hang his body on a tree, you must not leave the body on the tree overnight, but you must be sure to bury him that day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse. You must not defile the land that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.

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Deuteronomy 20
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