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Jehovah’s Witnesses

Online Bible

NEW WORLD TRANSLATION OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES (2013 REVISION)

Deuteronomy 21:1-23

OUTLINE OF CONTENTS

  • Unsolved murders (1-9)

  • Marrying captive women (10-14)

  • Right of the firstborn (15-17)

  • A stubborn son (18-21)

  • A man hung on a stake accursed (22, 23)

21  “If someone is found slain in a field of the land that Jehovah your God is giving you to possess and it is not known who killed him, 2  your elders and judges+ should go out and measure the distance from the dead body to the cities that surround it. 3  Then the elders of the city nearest to the body should take from the herd a young cow that has never been put to work, that has never pulled in a yoke, 4  and the elders of that city should lead the young cow down to a valley* running with water where no tilling or sowing of seed has been done, and they should break the neck of the young cow there in the valley.+ 5  “And the priests, the Levites, will approach because Jehovah your God has chosen them to minister to him,+ to pronounce blessings in the name of Jehovah.+ They will declare how every dispute involving violence should be resolved.+ 6  Then all the elders of the city who are nearest to the dead body should wash their hands+ over the young cow whose neck was broken in the valley, 7  and they should declare, ‘Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it shed. 8  Do not hold this against your people Israel, whom you redeemed,+ O Jehovah, and do not let guilt for innocent blood remain among your people Israel.’+ Then the bloodguilt will not be held against them. 9  In this way you will remove the guilt of innocent blood from your midst by doing what is right in Jehovah’s eyes. 10  “If you go to war against your enemies and Jehovah your God defeats them for you and you take them captive,+ 11  and you see among the captives a beautiful woman and you are attracted to her and you want to take her as your wife, 12  you may bring her into your house. She should then shave her head, attend to her nails, 13  and remove the clothing of her captivity, and dwell in your house. She will weep for her father and her mother a whole month,+ and afterward you may have relations with her; you will become her husband and she will become your wife. 14  But if you are not pleased with her, you should then let her go+ wherever she wishes.* But you may not sell her for money or treat her harshly, since you have humiliated her. 15  “If a man has two wives and he loves one more than the other* and both have borne sons to him and the firstborn son belongs to the unloved one,+ 16  on the day that he gives his inheritance to his sons, he will not be allowed to treat the son of the loved one as his firstborn at the expense of the son of the unloved one, the firstborn. 17  He should recognize as the firstborn the unloved one’s son by giving him the double portion of everything he has, for that one is the beginning of his procreative power. The right of the firstborn’s position belongs to him.+ 18  “If a man has a son who is stubborn and rebellious and he does not obey his father or his mother,+ and they have tried to correct him but he refuses to listen to them,+ 19  his father and his mother should take hold of him and bring him out to the elders at the gate of his city 20  and say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, and he refuses to obey us. He is a glutton+ and a drunkard.’+ 21  Then all the men of his city must stone him to death. So you must remove what is bad from your midst, and all Israel will hear and become afraid.+ 22  “If a man commits a sin deserving the sentence of death and he has been put to death+ and you have hung him on a stake,+ 23  his dead body should not remain all night on the stake.+ Instead, you should be sure to bury him on that day, because the one hung up is something accursed of God,+ and you should not defile your land that Jehovah your God is giving you as an inheritance.+

Footnotes

Or “wadi.”
Or “according to her soul.”
Lit., “two wives, one loved and one hated.”