Law of Divorce
1“When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she [a]loses his favor because he has found something indecent or unacceptable about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, 2 and after she leaves his house, she goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3 and if the latter husband [b]turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife, 4 then her former husband who [first] sent her away may not take her again as his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an outrage before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.
5 “When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out [to fight] with the army nor be charged with any duty; he shall be free at home for one year and shall bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken.
6 “No one shall take a handmill or an upper millstone [used to grind grain into bread] as security [for a debt], for he would be taking a [person’s] life in pledge.
7 “If a man is caught kidnapping any of his countrymen from the sons of Israel, and he treats him violently or sells him [as a slave], then that thief shall die. So you shall remove the evil from among you.
8 “Be careful during an outbreak of leprosy, that you diligently observe and do according to all that the Levitical priests teach you; just as I have commanded them, so you shall be careful to do. 9 Remember [with thoughtful concern] what the Lord your God did to Miriam on the road as you came out of Egypt.
10 “When you lend your neighbor anything, you shall not go into his house to get his pledge (security deposit). 11 You shall stand outside, and the man to whom you lend shall bring the pledge out to you. 12 If the man is poor, you shall not keep his [c]pledge overnight. 13 You shall certainly restore the pledge (security deposit) to him at sunset, so that he may sleep in his garment and bless you; and it will be credited to you as righteousness (right standing) before the Lord your God.
14 “You shall not take advantage of a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether [he is] one of your countrymen or one of the strangers (resident aliens, foreigners) who is in your land inside your cities. 15 You shall give him his wages on the day that he earns them before the sun sets—for he is poor and is [d]counting on it—so that he does not cry out to the Lord against you, and it becomes a sin for you.
16 “The fathers shall not be put to death for [the sins of] their children, nor shall the children be put to death for their fathers; [only] for his own sin shall anyone be put to death.
17 “You shall not pervert the justice due a stranger or an orphan, nor seize (impound) a widow’s garment as security [for a loan]. 18 But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.
19 “[e]When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf [of grain] in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, for the orphan, and for the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat [the olives off of] your olive tree, do not search through the branches again; [whatever is left] shall be for the stranger, for the orphan, and for the widow.
21 “When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it afterward; it shall be for the stranger, for the orphan, and for the widow. 22 You shall [thoughtfully] remember [the fact] that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.
- Deuteronomy 24:1 Lit finds no favor in his eyes.
- Deuteronomy 24:3 Lit hates.
- Deuteronomy 24:12 A poor man might have only an outer garment to offer as a pledge of repayment.
- Deuteronomy 24:15 Lit sets his heart.
- Deuteronomy 24:19 The divine laws for harvesting give a clear picture of how Israel was to provide for the feeding of the poor and destitute, in addition to charitable contributions which were required or expected of anyone who was able. The owner of a field or farm was entitled to everything he could harvest with a reasonable effort. God reserved any leftovers for the poor, who for their part had to put in their own efforts to glean the fields. These laws are examples of charity in cooperation with fairness and the work ethic.