Regulations concerning Worship
[a]“If a man’s testicles are crushed or his penis is cut off, he may not be admitted to the assembly of the Lord.
“If a person is illegitimate by birth, neither he nor his descendants for ten generations may be admitted to the assembly of the Lord.
“No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants for ten generations may be admitted to the assembly of the Lord. These nations did not welcome you with food and water when you came out of Egypt. Instead, they hired Balaam son of Beor from Pethor in distant Aram-naharaim to curse you. But the Lord your God refused to listen to Balaam. He turned the intended curse into a blessing because the Lord your God loves you. As long as you live, you must never promote the welfare and prosperity of the Ammonites or Moabites.
“Do not detest the Edomites or the Egyptians, because the Edomites are your relatives and you lived as foreigners among the Egyptians. The third generation of Edomites and Egyptians may enter the assembly of the Lord.
“When you go to war against your enemies, be sure to stay away from anything that is impure.
“Any man who becomes ceremonially defiled because of a nocturnal emission must leave the camp and stay away all day. Toward evening he must bathe himself, and at sunset he may return to the camp.
“You must have a designated area outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. Each of you must have a spade as part of your equipment. Whenever you relieve yourself, dig a hole with the spade and cover the excrement. The camp must be holy, for the Lord your God moves around in your camp to protect you and to defeat your enemies. He must not see any shameful thing among you, or he will turn away from you.
“If slaves should escape from their masters and take refuge with you, you must not hand them over to their masters. Let them live among you in any town they choose, and do not oppress them.
“No Israelite, whether man or woman, may become a temple prostitute. When you are bringing an offering to fulfill a vow, you must not bring to the house of the Lord your God any offering from the earnings of a prostitute, whether a man[b] or a woman, for both are detestable to the Lord your God.
“Do not charge interest on the loans you make to a fellow Israelite, whether you loan money, or food, or anything else. You may charge interest to foreigners, but you may not charge interest to Israelites, so that the Lord your God may bless you in everything you do in the land you are about to enter and occupy.
“When you make a vow to the Lord your God, be prompt in fulfilling whatever you promised him. For the Lord your God demands that you promptly fulfill all your vows, or you will be guilty of sin. However, it is not a sin to refrain from making a vow. But once you have voluntarily made a vow, be careful to fulfill your promise to the Lord your God.
“When you enter your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes, but you must not carry any away in a basket. And when you enter your neighbor’s field of grain, you may pluck the heads of grain with your hand, but you must not harvest it with a sickle.
“Suppose a man marries a woman but she does not please him. Having discovered something wrong with her, he writes a document of divorce, hands it to her, and sends her away from his house. When she leaves his house, she is free to marry another man. But if the second husband also turns against her, writes a document of divorce, hands it to her, and sends her away, or if he dies, the first husband may not marry her again, for she has been defiled. That would be detestable to the Lord. You must not bring guilt upon the land the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession.
“A newly married man must not be drafted into the army or be given any other official responsibilities. He must be free to spend one year at home, bringing happiness to the wife he has married.
“It is wrong to take a set of millstones, or even just the upper millstone, as security for a loan, for the owner uses it to make a living.
“If anyone kidnaps a fellow Israelite and treats him as a slave or sells him, the kidnapper must die. In this way, you will purge the evil from among you.
“In all cases involving serious skin diseases,[a] be careful to follow the instructions of the Levitical priests; obey all the commands I have given them. Remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam as you were coming from Egypt.
“If you lend anything to your neighbor, do not enter his house to pick up the item he is giving as security. You must wait outside while he goes in and brings it out to you. If your neighbor is poor and gives you his cloak as security for a loan, do not keep the cloak overnight. Return the cloak to its owner by sunset so he can stay warm through the night and bless you, and the Lord your God will count you as righteous.
“Never take advantage of poor and destitute laborers, whether they are fellow Israelites or foreigners living in your towns. You must pay them their wages each day before sunset because they are poor and are counting on it. If you don’t, they might cry out to the Lord against you, and it would be counted against you as sin.
“Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor children for the sins of their parents. Those deserving to die must be put to death for their own crimes.
“True justice must be given to foreigners living among you and to orphans, and you must never accept a widow’s garment as security for her debt. Always remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from your slavery. That is why I have given you this command.
“When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all you do. When you beat the olives from your olive trees, don’t go over the boughs twice. Leave the remaining olives for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. When you gather the grapes in your vineyard, don’t glean the vines after they are picked. Leave the remaining grapes for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt. That is why I am giving you this command.
- 24:8 Traditionally rendered leprosy. The Hebrew word used here can describe various skin diseases.
“Suppose two people take a dispute to court, and the judges declare that one is right and the other is wrong. If the person in the wrong is sentenced to be flogged, the judge must command him to lie down and be beaten in his presence with the number of lashes appropriate to the crime. But never give more than forty lashes; more than forty lashes would publicly humiliate your neighbor.
“You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.
“If two brothers are living together on the same property and one of them dies without a son, his widow may not be married to anyone from outside the family. Instead, her husband’s brother should marry her and have intercourse with her to fulfill the duties of a brother-in-law. The first son she bears to him will be considered the son of the dead brother, so that his name will not be forgotten in Israel.
“But if the man refuses to marry his brother’s widow, she must go to the town gate and say to the elders assembled there, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to preserve his brother’s name in Israel—he refuses to fulfill the duties of a brother-in-law by marrying me.’ The elders of the town will then summon him and talk with him. If he still refuses and says, ‘I don’t want to marry her,’ the widow must walk over to him in the presence of the elders, pull his sandal from his foot, and spit in his face. Then she must declare, ‘This is what happens to a man who refuses to provide his brother with children.’ Ever afterward in Israel his family will be referred to as ‘the family of the man whose sandal was pulled off’!
“If two Israelite men get into a fight and the wife of one tries to rescue her husband by grabbing the testicles of the other man, you must cut off her hand. Show her no pity.
“You must use accurate scales when you weigh out merchandise, and you must use full and honest measures. Yes, always use honest weights and measures, so that you may enjoy a long life in the land the Lord your God is giving you. All who cheat with dishonest weights and measures are detestable to the Lord your God.
“Never forget what the Amalekites did to you as you came from Egypt. They attacked you when you were exhausted and weary, and they struck down those who were straggling behind. They had no fear of God. Therefore, when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies in the land he is giving you as a special possession, you must destroy the Amalekites and erase their memory from under heaven. Never forget this!