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Jehovah’s Witnesses


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Deuteronomy 21:1-23

21  “When a man killed by violence is found lying in the open on the soil your God Jehovah gives you to possess, and it is unknown who killed him, 2*  your elders and marshals shall go out and measure to the cities around the murdered man; 3  and whatever city is nearest to the murdered man, the elders of that city shall take an unworked heifer, one that has never drawn in a yoke, 4  and the elders of that city shall bring the heifer down to an unworked and unsown valley of a permanent stream and break the heifer’s neck there in the valley; 5  and the priests, the sons of Levi, shall step up to it, because they are the ones your God Jehovah has chosen to officiate to him and to bless in Jehovah’s name, and every dispute and assault shall be judicable by their ruling; 6  and all the elders of that city, those who are nearest to the murdered man, shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck has been broken in the valley 7  and answer ‘Our hands did not shed this blood and our eyes did not see the act; 8*  purge your people Israel whom you redeemed, Jehovah, and do not let innocent blood stand against your people Israel,’ and the blood shall be purged for them. 9  And you shall rout out the innocent blood from among you when you do what Jehovah approves. 10  “When you go out to war against your enemies and your God Jehovah gives them into your hands and you carry off the noncombatants as slaves, 11  and you see among the captives a beautiful woman and you take a fancy to her and take her as wife, 12  you shall bring her indoors, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails 13  and take off the garment she had on when she was brought, and stay in your house and weep for her father and mother for a month; and after that you shall go in to her and assume a husband’s rights, and have her as wife. 14  And if she does not suit your fancy you shall let her go as her own mistress, and not sell her for money; you must not make her an object of trade, considering that you deflowered her. 15  “When a man has two wives, one that he loves and one that he hates, and the one he loves and the one he hates bear him sons, and the eldest son belongs to the one he hates, 16  on the day when he settles his property on his sons he cannot give precedence to the son of the one he loves to the derogation of the elder-born son of the one he hates, 17  but shall recognize the eldest, the son of the one he hates, giving him a double share in everything of his that can be found, because he is the firstfruit of his powers, he has the rights of elder birth. 18  “When a man has a stubborn and disobedient son, one who will not do as his father and mother say, and chastises him but he does not listen to them, 19  his father and mother shall arrest him and bring him out to the gate of his place to the elders of his city 20*  and say to the men of his city ‘This son of ours is stubborn and disobedient, will not do as we say, eats and drinks recklessly,’ 21  and all the men of his city shall stone him to death, and you shall rout out the mischief from among you, and all Israel shall hear and be afraid. 22*  “And when a man is guilty of a capital offense and is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23*  his body shall not stay on the tree overnight, but shall be buried the same day, because a man hanging is an insult to God; and you shall not defile your soil that your God Jehovah is giving you as your estate.


21:2 Var. elders and judges
21:8 Lit. do not put innocent blood among
21:20 Var. and say to the elders of his city
21:22 Or on a stake
21:23 Or on the stake