1 »This is what you must do if you find a murder victim lying in a field in the land that Jehovah your God is giving you. If no one knows who committed the murder,
2 your elders and judges must go and measure the distance from the body to each of the neighboring cities.
3 »When it is determined which city is nearest the body, the elders from that city must choose a heifer that has never been put to work and never worn a yoke.
4 »The elders of that city will bring the heifer down to a river, to a location where the land has not been plowed or planted. At the river they must break the heifer's neck.
5 »Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near. Jehovah your God has chosen them to serve him and to bless in the name of Jehovah. They will settle every dispute and every assault.
6 »All the elders of the city that is nearest to the slain man shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley.
7 »They will answer: Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did we see it.
8 »Forgive your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, O Jehovah. Do not hold us responsible for the murder of an innocent person. Forgive them of bloodguilt.
9 »Remove the guilt of innocent blood from your midst. Do what is right in the eyes of Jehovahs.
10 »When you go to war with your enemies and Jehovah your God hands them over to you, you may take them captive.
11 »If you see a beautiful woman among the captives and your heart is set on her, you may marry her.
12 »Take her to your home. She should shave her head and cut her nails.
13 »She should no longer wear the clothes she was wearing when you captured her. She may live in your house and mourn the loss of her father and mother for one month. After that you may marry her.
14 »Later if you are not happy with the woman you may divorce her. She may go free. But you have slept with her as your wife, so you cannot sell her as a slave or make her into your own slave.
15 »If a man have two wives and loves one more than the other. The first son of either wife is the man's first-born son, even if the boy's mother is the wife he does not love. A man near death and dividing up his property must give a double share to his first-born son. This is because he was the first to be born.
16 »The day he wills his possessions to his sons, he should not put the firstborn son of the loved wife before the firstborn son of the unloved wife.
17 »He should acknowledge the firstborn son of the unloved wife. And give him a double portion of all that he has. He is the beginning of his strength. The right of the firstborn belongs to him.
18 »If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not listen or obey his father or his mother when they chastise him,
19 »His father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown.
20 »They shall say to the elders of his city: This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious! He will not obey us! He is a glutton and a drunkard.
21 »All the men of his city shall stone him to death. In that way you will remove the evil from your midst. All Israel will hear about it and fear.
22 »If a man commits a sin worthy of death and he is put to death. You hang him on a tree stake.
23 »His corpse must not hang all night on the tree stake. Be sure to bury him the same day for he who is hanged is accursed of God. You do this so that you do not defile your land Jehovah your God gives you as an inheritance.