Deuteronomy 21 (The Law for the Captive Bride)

Deuteronomy Chapter 21

The Law for the Captive Bride
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Atonement for the sake of the unknown slayer

1 And if one be found slain with the sword in the land, which the Lord thy God gives thee to inherit, having fallen in the field, and they do not know who has smitten him; 2 thine elders and thy judges shall come forth, and shall measure the distances of the cities round about the slain man: 3 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 laboured, and which has not borne a yoke. 4 And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer into a rough valley, which has not been tilled and is not sown, and they shall slay the heifer in the valley. 5 And the priests the Levites shall come, because the Lord God has chosen them to stand by him, and to bless in his name, and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be decided. 6 And all the elders of that city who draw nigh to the slain man shall wash their hands over the head of the heifer which was slain in the valley; 7 and they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed his blood, and our eyes have not seen it. 8 Be merciful to thy people Israel, whom thou has redeemed, O Lord, that innocent blood may not be charged on thy people Israel: and the blood shall be atoned for to them. 9 And thou shalt take away innocent blood from among you, if thou shouldest do that which is good and pleasing before the Lord thy God.

The law for a captive bride

10 And if when thou goest out to war against thine enemies, the Lord thy God should deliver them into thine hands, and thou shouldest take their spoil, 11 and shouldest see among the spoil a woman beautiful in countenance, and shouldest desire her, and take her to thyself for a wife, 12 and shouldest bring her within thine house : then shalt thou shave her head, and pare her nails; 13 and shalt take away her garments of captivity from off her, and she shall abide in thine house, and shall bewail her father and mother the days of a month; and afterwards thou shalt go in to her and dwell with her, and she shall be thy wife.

14 And it shall be if thou do not delight in her, thou shalt send her out free; and she shall not by any means be sold for money, thou shalt not treat her contemptuously, because thou hast humbled her.

The law for the inheritance of the first-born son of the hated wife

15 And if a man have two wives, the one loved and the other hated, and both the loved and the hated should have born him children, and the son of the hated should be first-born; 16 then it shall be that whensoever he shall divide by inheritance his goods to his sons, he shall not be able to give the right of the first-born to the son of the loved one, having overlooked the son of the hated, which is the first-born. 17 But he shall acknowledge the first-born of the hated one to give to him double of all things which shall be found by him, because he is the first of his children, and to him belongs the birthright.

Disobedient sons are to be stoned

18 And if any man has a disobedient and contentious son, who hearkens not to the voice of his father and the voice of his mother, and they should correct him, and he should not hearken to them; 19 then shall his father and his mother take hold of him, and bring him forth to the elders of his city, and to the gate of the place: 20 and they shall say to the men of their city, This our son is disobedient and contentious, he hearkens not to our voice, he is a reveller and a drunkard. 21 And the men of his city shall stone him with stones, and he shall die; and thou shalt remove the evil from yourselves, and the rest shall hear and fear.

22 And if there be sin in any one, and the judgment of death be upon him, and he be put to death, and ye hang him on a tree: 23 his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but ye shall by all means bury it in that day; for every one that is hanged on a tree is cursed of God; and ye shall by no means defile the land which the Lord thy God gives thee for an inheritance.

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