The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Deuteronomy
When, in this land of thine, a dead man’s body is found and there is no knowing who slew him,
elders and judges must betake themselves to the spot where he lies, and find by measurement which of the neighbouring cities is nearest at hand.
It is for the elders of the nearest city to do what must be done. They will choose out from the herd a heifer that has never borne yoke or ploughed furrow,
and in some wild and rugged glen, that was never ploughed or sown, this heifer must have its neck broken.
Priests must be there, of Levi’s race; these are the men whom the Lord thy God has chosen to minister to him, and give their blessing in his name, and also to decide between right and wrong, clean and unclean.
And the elders of this neighbouring city, close to the dead man,✻ will wash their hands over the heifer that lies slain in the glen,
protesting, Not ours the hand that shed this blood; our eyes never witnessed the deed;
be merciful, Lord, to Israel, the people thou hast claimed for thyself; do not charge Israel, thy own people, with guilt because it is stained with an innocent man’s blood. So shall they be quit of all blame for the murder.
Do my bidding, and the guilt of blood wrongfully shed shall never rest upon thee.
When the Lord gives thee victory over thy enemies in battle, and thou bringest back prisoners,
dost thou see among them a woman so fair that she wins thy heart, and thou wouldst marry her?
Take her, then, into thy house; and there she must shave her head and pare her nails close,
and lay aside the garb of a captive, that she wore till now. Let her have a month, dwelling in thy house, to bewail the loss of her father and mother; then thou mayest take her to thy bed and make her thy wife.
But if, afterwards, she does not answer thy mood, she must go free; thou hast no power to sell her or exercise lordship over her, when once thou hast robbed her of maidenhood.
If a man twice married loves one wife and is weary of the other, and has children by both, but his first-born by the wife he spurns,
how shall he divide up his possessions between them? He shall have no power to make the son of the loved wife his heir, in preference to that other.
Recognize the first-born he must, though of the mother he be weary; a double share of all his goods belongs to the son that was engendered first; the birthright is his.
Is there a son so rebellious and unmanageable that he defies his parents’ bidding, and will not brook restraint?
Such a son they must bring by force to the city gate, where the elders are assembled,
and make complaint to them, This son of ours is rebellious and unmanageable; he pays no heed to our remonstrances, but must ever be carousing, ever at his wantonness and his cups.
Thereupon the citizens shall stone him to death, so that you may be rid of this plague, and every Israelite that hears of it may be afraid to do the like.
When a man is guilty of a capital crime, and his sentence is to hang on a gallows,
his body must not be left to hang there on the gibbet, it must be buried the same day. God’s curse lies on the man who hangs on a gibbet, and the land which the Lord thy God gives thee for thy own must not suffer pollution.
The Holy Bible