Breakdown Parashah Shofetim is the 48th weekly portion, the 5th in the book of Deuteronomy. It covers Deut. 16:18 – 21:9. It contains 5,590 letters (in the standard Masoretic Text), 1,523 words, and 97 verses, and generally takes up about 192 lines on a Torah scroll. The title of the portion, Shofetim, means "judges."
Overview Shofetim begins with the command to appoint judges (shofetim) and officers (shoterim) in all the walled cities throughout the tribes' land. They were to be honest, not taking bribes, not being partial, not perverting the words of the righteous. Chapter 16 also gives the command not "to plant […] and Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of YHWH." Chapter 17 contains some specific laws in the event of legal disputes. It requires going before the judges and priests, and having them declare judgment on the matter. Anyone who does not obey the ruling of the priest or judge, must be put to death (17:12). Chapter 17 further contains instructions for Kings, when they would eventually set a king over themselves. Chapter 18 contains rules about the portion of the tribe of Levi, as well as the forbidding of detestable practices. These practices include witchcraft, divination, sorcerers, necromancers, mediums, and those who sacrifice their children to idols. Chapter 18 (vss. 15-22) also contain a Messianic prophecy of Yeshua. Chapter 19 contains laws about the cities of refuge, as well as loves regarding property lines. It also repeats the requirement to have two or three witnesses, and states that an investigation must be made into the claims of any witness against someone. If the witness be found to be false, then what is done to him is the same as what he desired be done to the accused. Chapter 20 discusses what is to be done in times of war; and 21:1-9 explains what to do when a man is found dead, and the responsible party is not known. For this article, we will be focusing on two primary points of interest. Chapter 17's discussion of priests, judges, legal disputes, and kings; and Chapter 18's discussion on the "Prophet like unto Moses." There is, to be sure, much more to be said in conjunction with this portion, as it lays out the foundation of society and, in a way, a constitution of sorts, for Israel in their own land.
Chapter 16:18-22 18 You shall make judges and officers in all your gates, which יהוהyour Elohim gives you, according to your tribes; and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. 19 You shall not distort judgment: you shall not respect persons; neither shall you take a bribe; for a bribe does blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. 20 You shall follow that which is altogether just, that you may live, and inherit the land which יהוהyour Elohim gives you. 21 You shall not plant for yourselves an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of יהוהyour Elohim, which you shall make for yourselves. 22 Neither shall you set yourself up a pillar which יהוהyour Elohim hates.
Chapter 17:1-7 1 You shall not slaughter to יהוהyour Elohim an ox, or a sheep, in which is a blemish, or anything evil; for that is an abomination to יהוהyour Elohim. 2 If there be found in your midst, within any of your gates which יהוהyour Elohim gives you, man or woman, who does that which is evil in the eyes of יהוהyour Elohim, in transgressing His covenant, 3 and has gone and served other elohim, and bowed down to them, or the sun, or the moon, or any of the army of the heavens, which I have not commanded; 4 and it be told you, and you have heard of it, then you shall inquire diligently; and behold, if it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is done in Yisra'el, 5 then you shall bring forth that man or that woman, who has done this evil thing, to your gates, even the man or the woman; and you shall stone them to death with stones. 6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he who is to die be put to death; at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. 7 The hand of the witnesses shall be first on him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.
Chapter 17:8-20 In-depth 8 If there arises a matter too hard for you in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within your gates; then you shall arise, and go up to the place which יהוהyour Elohim shall choose; 9 and you shall come to the priests the Levites, and to the judge who shall be in those days: and you shall inquire; and they shall show you the sentence of judgment. 10 You shall do according to the tenor of the sentence which they shall show you from that place which יהוהshall choose; and you shall guard to do according to all that they shall teach you: 11 according to the tenor of the Torah which they shall teach you, and according to the judgment which they shall tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside from the words which they shall show you, to the right hand, nor to the left. 12 The man who does presumptuously, in not listening to the priest who stands to minister there before יהוהyour Elohim, or to the judge, even that man shall die: and you shall put away the evil from Yisra'el. 13 All the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously. 14 When you come to the land which יהוהyour Elohim gives you, and shall possess it, and shall dwell therein, and shall say, "I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me"; 15 you shall surely set him king over yourselves, whom יהוהyour Elohim shall choose: one from among your brothers you shall set king over you; you may not put a foreign man over you, who is not your brother. 16 Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Mitsrayim, to the end that he may multiply horses; because יהוהhas said to you, "You shall not go back that way again." 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart not turn away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. 18 It shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this Torah in a book, out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 19 and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear יהוהhis Elohim, to guard all the words of this Torah and these statutes, to do them; 20 that his heart not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he not turn aside from the command, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the midst of Yisra'el.
This chapter established the protocol of what to do when you have a dispute with your neighbor. Since the priests and judges were to be above reproach, they should be able to correctly judge these disputes. Now in our modern society, we see a glimpse of this in our own judicial system. Someone cuts down a tree in their neighbor's yard, they have a dispute, they go to court. Someone borrows money and agrees to pay it back in 6 months; when 6 months arrives, the borrower claims "it was a gift." The lender then sues him. In these examples, as most of us know, the two parties go before a judge. Someone who knows the law, and can figure out what really happened. This generally requires wisdom (all politics aside) to be able to see which party is telling the truth. We see a perfect example of this played out in the Book of 1 Kings, with King Solomon. Two women come before Solomon, in the heat of a dispute.
17 The one woman said, "Oh, my master, I and this woman dwell in one house. I delivered a child with her in the house. 18 It happened the third day after I delivered, that this woman delivered also. We were together. There was no stranger with us in the house, just us two in the house. 19 This woman's child died in the night, because she lay on it. 20 She arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while your handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. 21 When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, it was dead; but when I had looked at it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, whom I bore." 22 The other woman said, "No; but the living is my son, and the dead is your son." This said, "No; but the dead is your son, and the living is my son." Thus they spoke before the king. (1 Ki. 3:17-22)
So the two women dispute over to whom the living child belongs. Solomon's response is legendary. It has been repeated in religious and secular circles alike, and is always praised as a wise response.
23 Then the king said, "The one says, 'This is my son who lives, and your son is the dead;' and the other says, 'No; but your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.'" 24 The king said, "Get me a sword." They brought a sword before the king. 25 The king said, "Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other." 26 Then the woman whose the living child was spoke to the king, for her heart yearned over her son, and she said, "Oh, my master, give her the living child, and in no way kill it!" But the other said, "It shall be neither mine nor yours. Divide it." 27 Then the king answered, "Give her the living child, and in no way kill it. She isthe mother." (1 Ki. 3:23-27)
So using logic and reason (and perhaps a bit of bluffing), Solomon was able to learn to whom the child belonged. This was why judges and such were needed. If there was no judge in the land, what would the women have done? They would have fought and fought until one of the women gave up. Still, however, that is not true justice. YHWH knew these things would happen, and so He declared the Just thing to do would be to establish judges. Now we come to a point where many tend to disagree. This chapter is the basis that some Messianic / Nazarenes use to say that the rulings of the Rabbis in the Talmud is "binding." Most, to be sure, disagree with this, and many even attack the Talmud and Rabbinic writings. I have found that most of those who do, however, have not studied and indeed the majority have not even read it in context. But verses 10-12 state that whatever the established judge (and/or priest) commands in regard to a ruling, it MUST be obeyed. If anyone disobeys it, the punishment is death. This is the basis for the following reading from the Mishnah:
"A more strict rule applies to the teaching of the scribes, than to the teachings of the Torah." (Sanhedrin 11:3). Also, "Rabha preached: […] My son, be careful in the observance of the rabbinical commandments; for while the biblical commandments are for the most part positive and negative, the rabbinical commandments, if infracted, would involve capital punishment."
This may seem blasphemous to many, but there is a specific reason for it. During the time of the rabbis, they were the ones who made up the Sanhedrin (court of judges). So according to Deut., whatever ruling they handed down on a specific case was to be followed without fail. If anyone did not listen to the judge, he was to be put to death. While certain Torah commands – if broken – require various punishments depending on the crime (death by stoning, death by burning, banishment, flogging, monetary compensation, etc.), the punishment for disobeying the ruling of the judge was simply death. In the quote above from Eruvin, it refers to "positive" commands, which are things we are commanded to do, and "negative" commands, which are things we are commanded NOT to do. So wearing tsitsiyot is a positive command (we are commanded to do so). Eating pork is a negative command (we are commanded NOT to do it). So for the various commands, when broken, there are various punishments, according to the Torah.
Now before you stone me, let me say that I do not agree with every ruling found in the Talmud. And indeed, the rulings in the Talmud itself do not even agree on many things. In fact, much of the bulk of the Talmud is simply relating the arguments between the different opinions. Also, it should be noted, that the command in Deut. never gives the judges the authority to make new laws, nor does it grant them the authority to place restrictions on entire communities. Rather, they were to judge individual cases, and their rulings on those cases were to be carried out by those involved.
The next topic of Deut. 17 deals with the proper way to have a king. Now it should be noted that Israel was not supposed to have a human king. They only desired to have "after the nations" that surrounded them. We see this fulfilled in 1 Sam. 8.
"4 Then all the elders of Yisra'el gathered themselves together, and came to Sh'muel to Ramah; 5 and they said to him, 'Behold, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations." (1 Sam. 8:4-5)
Samuel's response, his reason for it, and YHWH's response, are all crucial here.
6 "But the thing displeased Sh'muel, when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." Sh'muel prayed to יהוה. 7 יהוהsaid to Sh'muel, 'Listen to the voice of the people in all that they tell you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not be king over them.'" (1 Sam. 8:6-7)
Because the people rejected YHWH as their king, they demanded a human king. Oh how often we do this in our own lives, rejecting the sovereignty of YHWH in favor of that which we can see and hear with a physical senses. A lack of trust. YHWH then tells Samuel to inform the people of how bad it will be for them, if they have a human king; Samuel does just that. Even so, the people continue to demand a king, and eventually Saul is chosen.
The plan was that YHWH would be their King, and that no one else would rule over them. But they refused to listen to Him. So, knowing this in advance, YHWH had already made provision for kings of Israel. However, they had specific regulations and stipulations. In fact, no one else is required to write their own copy of the Torah, only a king is. The king was also not supposed to multiple wives for himself. We see later that this lead to the downfall of Solomon's empire, as his many foreign wives led his heart stray after their gods. However, this also leads us to a very interesting point about Yeshua, our King Messiah.
The king was to be "from among your brothers" meaning an Israelite, and not a foreigner. Yeshua was indeed a king "from among His brothers."
Romans 8:29 – "29For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers."
Hebrews 2:16-17 – "16 For most certainly, He does not give help to messengers, but He gives help to the seed of Avraham. 17 Therefore He was obligated in all things to be made like His brothers, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to Elohim, to make atonement for the sins of the people."
We also know from the genealogies of Matthew and Luke that Yeshua descended from the line of David.
Next, the king shall not lead the people back to Egypt for the purpose of multiplying horses to himself. I don't think that is a problem for Yeshua, especially since He seems to already have horses when He returns.
Revelation 19:11-14 – "11 I saw the heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called 'Faithful' and 'True.' In righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has names written and a name written which no one knows but He Himself. 13 He is clothed in a garment sprinkled with blood. His name is called "The Word of Elohim." 14 The armies which are in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in white, pure, fine linen."
Yeshua returns as KING (of kings, vs. 16), and He already has horses. It doesn't specify how many (maybe 144,000?), but it is an army's worth.
Next, the king cannot multiply wives to Himself. We know Yeshua has one wife.
Revelation 21:9 – "Then one of the seven messengers who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, 'Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.'"
Note the singular "bride" and "wife." This is not "wives" plural, or "brides." No, Yeshua will have one wife, and only one, the way Elohim created it to be from the beginning (Gen. 2:24).
He also does not need to multiply silver and gold to Himself, as He is already the possessor of all things. If we know YHWH owns all things (even the cattle on a thousand hills, Psa. 50:10), and the Father has given all things to Yeshua (Lk. 10:22), then it is no stretch of the imagination to see that Yeshua the King of kings and Lord of lords, already owns everything.
Lastly, we come to the king's copy of the Torah. When Yeshua returns, He will finalize the New (renewed, whatever you prefer) Covenant with His people. You see, the New Covenant has not been 100% ratified yet. It started with His death and resurrection, but it isn't complete yet. It will be complete when, as Jer. 31:34 says, we no longer have to say, "know YHWH" for everyone will know Him. Well, when Yeshua returns He will complete this process, AND (here's the cool part) He will write His own copy of the Torah. On our hearts! Jer. 31:33 says that He will write the Torah on our hearts, and that it will be placed inside our inward parts! THIS is Yeshua's copy of the Torah that He, as King, will be required to write. (That's my take, anyways).
So we see, given what we know both from the Gospels and from the end-times prophecies, we know that Yeshua WILL INDEED meet all requirements for Kings. Amein?
Chapter 18:1-14 1 The priests the Levites, even all the tribe of Levi, shall have no portion nor inheritance with Yisra'el: they shall eat the offerings of יהוהmade by fire, and his inheritance. 2 They shall have no inheritance among their brothers: יהוהis their inheritance, as he has spoken to them.
3 This shall be the priests' judgment from the people, from those who slaughter a slaughtering, whether it be ox or sheep, that they shall give to the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw. 4 The first fruits of your grain, of your new wine, and of your oil, and the first of the fleece of your sheep, you shall give him. 5 For יהוהyour Elohim has chosen him out of all your tribes, to stand to minister in the Name of יהוה, him and his sons for ever.
6 If a Levite comes from any of your gates out of all Yisra'el, where he sojourned, and comes with all the desire of his being to the place which יהוהshall choose; 7 then he shall minister in the Name of יהוהhis Elohim, as all his brothers the Levites do, who stand there before יהוה. 8They shall have like portions to eat, besides that which comes of the sale of his patrimony.
9 When you come into the land which יהוהyour Elohim gives you, you shall not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found with you anyone who makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices sorcery, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, 11 or a charmer, or a medium, or a wizard, or a necromancer who brings up the dead. 12 For whoever does these things is an abomination to יהוה: and because of these abominations יהוהyour Elohim does drive them out from before you. 13 You shall be perfect with יהוהyour Elohim. 14 For these nations, that you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice sorcery, and to diviners; but as for you, יהוהyour Elohim has not allowed you so to do.
Chapter 18:15-22 (In-depth) 15 יהוהyour Elohim will raise up to you a prophet from your midst, of your brothers, like me. You shall hear him. 16 This is according to all that you desired of יהוהyour Elohim in Ḥorev in the day of the assembly, saying, "Let me not hear again the voice of יהוהmy Elohim, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I not die." 17 יהוהsaid to me, "They have well said that which they have spoken. 18 I will raise them up a prophet from among their brothers, like you. And I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him. 19 It shall happen, that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My Name, I will require it of him. 20 But the prophet, who shall speak a word presumptuously in My Name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who shall speak in the name of other elohim, that same prophet shall die." 21 If you say in your heart, "How shall we know the word which יהוהhas not spoken?" 22 when a prophet speaks in the Name of יהוה, if the thing does not follow, nor happen, that is the thing which יהוהhas not spoken: the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you shall not be afraid of him.
In verse 15, Moses prophesies that YHWH would raise up a prophet, like Moses, "from among your brothers." As we have already noted from Romans, Hebrews, and the Gospels, Yeshua was "from among" His brothers. Now Jews in Yeshua's day were indeed looking for the "prophet like unto Moses." Consider the following:
John 1:19-22 – "19 This is Yochanan's witness, when the Yehudim sent priests and Levites from Yerushalayim to ask him, "Who are you?" 20 He declared, and did not deny, but he declared, "I am not the Messiah." 21 They asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" He answered, "No." 22 They said therefore to him, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"
Note that they looked for THREE individuals: The Messiah, Elijah, and "The Prophet." It is my belief that "The Prophet" here is the prophet that was prophesied by Moses in Deut. 18. They were looking for this Prophet, as well as the Messiah. The only thing they missed, was that The Prophet WAS the Messiah. They also looked for Elijah, whom they knew would come before the Messiah.
In Acts 3, Peter gives a speech about the prophets foretelling that the Messiah would come and die. He also quotes Deut. 18 here, and equated "the prophet" spoken of to be Yeshua.
John 5:45-47 – "45 Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Mosheh, in whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Mosheh, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"
Luke 24:27 – "27 Then beginning with Mosheh and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures."
We also have numerous parallels between Yeshua and Moses in their lives. The following list (courtesy of Hebrew4Christians.com) shows a striking similarity between the Law Giver and the lawgiver. Compare:
1.Just as there were 400 years of silence before Adonai sent Moses to deliver Israel from her bondage to Pharaoh, so there were 400 years of silence before Adonai sent His own Son, Yeshua the Messiah, to utterly deliver Israel from her ultimate bondage to sin and death. 2.Both Moses and Yeshua were sent from God. 3.Both Moses and Yeshua were [Israelites]. (Note: original article reads "Jews") 4.Both had faithful [Israelite] parents. (Note: original article reads "Jewish") 5.Both were born under foreign rule. 6.Both were threatened by evil kings. 7.Both spent their early years in Egypt, miraculously protected from those who sought their lives. 8.Both rejected the possibility to become rulers in this age. Moses was raised as a son in the royal family and could have enjoyed a lavish lifestyle as a powerful ruler, but he chose differently; Satan offered Yeshua the rule over the kingdoms of the world, but Yeshua rejected that offer and chose to suffer and die for the sake of the people of Israel. 9.Both Moses and Yeshua were "sent from a mountain of God" to free Israel. Moses from the physical Mount Sinai, Yeshua from a spiritual Mount Zion. 10.Both were initially rejected by the [Israelites]. (Note: original article reads "Jews") 11.Both were accepted by gentiles. 12.Both were criticized by their families. 13.Both knew God face to face. 14.Both were teachers. 15.Both revealed God's Name. 16.Both were faithful to God. 17.Both gave the people bread from heaven, and performed miracles. 18.Both were anointed as saviors of Israel. 19.Both were shepherds of Israel. 20.Both were humble servants of the LORD. 21.Both fasted forty days in the wilderness. 22.Both were mediators of a covenant of blood. 23.Both offered to die on behalf of the people's sins. 24.[Moses instituted the Passover, and Yeshua offered Himself as the Passover lamb]. 25.Just as Moses brought the "resurrection" of the children of Israel as they passed through the Red Sea, so Yeshua became the firstfuits of the resurrection as He rose from the dead. 26.Just as the Torah was given to Israel fifty days after the exodus from Egypt (on Shavuot), so Yeshua sent the Holy Spirit to form the [assembly] fifty days after His resurrection. (Note: original article reads "church") 27.Both their faces shone with the glory of heaven – Moses on Mount Sinai, Yeshua on the Mount of Transfiguration. 28.As Moses lifted the bronze serpent to heal the people, Yeshua was lifted up on the cross to heal all believers from their sin. 29.As Moses conquered the enemy of Israel, the Amalekites, with his upraised arms, so Yeshua conquered our enemy of sin and death by His upraised arms. 30.As Moses sent twelve spies to explore Canaan, so Yeshua sent twelve apostles to reach the world; as Moses appointed 70 elders over Israel, so Yeshua appointed 70 disciples to teach the nations.
To read the full list, with all associated verses, click here.
I believe there are even more parallels than these, but to continue listing them would take a long time. Hopefully this is sufficient for you to understand that there is no mistaking the similarities between Moses and the Prophet like unto Moses, Yeshua.
Chapter 19 1 When יהוהyour Elohim shall cut off the nations, whose land יהוהyour Elohim gives you, and you dispossess them, and dwell in their cities, and in their houses; 2 you shall set apart three cities for yourselves in the midst of your land, which יהוהyour Elohim gives you to possess it. 3 You shall prepare you the way, and divide the borders of your land, which יהוהyour Elohim causes you to inherit, into three parts, that every manslayer may flee there.
4 This is the case of the manslayer, that shall flee there and live: whoever kills his neighbor unawares, and did not hate him in time past; 5 as when a man goes into the forest with his neighbor to chop wood, and his hand fetches a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the head slips from the handle, and lights on his neighbor, so that he dies; he shall flee to one of these cities and live: 6 lest the avenger of blood pursue the murderer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and strike his being mortally; pronouncing a judgment of death, inasmuch as he did not hate him in time past. 7 Therefore I command you, saying, You shall set apart three cities for yourselves.
8 If יהוהyour Elohim enlarges your border, as He has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land which He promised to give to your fathers; 9 if you guard all this command to do it, which I command you today, to love יהוהyour Elohim, and to walk ever in His ways; then you shall add three cities more for yourselves, besides these three: 10 that innocent blood not be shed in the midst of your land, which יהוהyour Elohim gives you for an inheritance, and so blood be on you.
11 But if any man hates his neighbor, and lies in wait for him, and rises up against him, and strikes him mortally so that he dies, and he flees into one of these cities; 12 then the elders of his city shall send and bring him there, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. 13 Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall put away the innocent blood from Yisra'el, that it may go well with you.
14 You shall not remove your neighbor's landmark, which they of old time have set, in your inheritance which you shall inherit, in the land that יהוהyour Elohim gives you to possess it.
15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sins: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall a matter be established. 16 If an unrighteous witness rise up against any man to testify against him of wrongdoing, 17 then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before יהוה, before the priests and the judges who shall be in those days; 18 and the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness is a false witness, and has testified falsely against his brother; 19 then you shall do to him as he had thought to do to his brother: so you shall put away the evil from your midst. 20 Those who remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil in your midst. 21 Your eyes shall not pity; being for being, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
Chapter 20 1 When you go forth to battle against your enemies, and see horses, and chariots, and a people more than you, you shall not be afraid of them; for יהוהyour Elohim is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Mitsrayim. 2 It shall be, when you draw near to the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people, 3 and shall tell them, "Hear, Yisra'el, you draw near today to battle against your enemies: do not let your heart faint; do not be afraid, nor tremble, neither be scared of them; 4 for יהוהyour Elohim is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you." 5 The officers shall speak to the people, saying, "What man is there who has built a new house, and has not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it. 6 What man is there who has planted a vineyard, and has not used its fruit? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man use its fruit. 7 What man is there who has pledged to be married a wife, and has not taken her? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her." 8 The officers shall speak further to the people, and they shall say, "What man is there who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, lest his brother's heart melt as his heart." 9 It shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking to the people, that they shall appoint captains of armies at the head of the people. 10 When you draw near to a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace to it. 11 It shall be, if it makes you answer of peace, and opens to you, then it shall be, that all the people who are found therein shall become tributary to you, and shall serve you. 12 If it will make no peace with you, but will make war against you, then you shall besiege it: 13 and when יהוהyour Elohim delivers it into your hand, you shall strike every male of it with the edge of the sword: 14 but the women, and the little ones, and the livestock, and all that is in the city, even all its spoil, you shall plunder to yourself; and you shall eat the spoil of your enemies, which יהוהyour Elohim has given you. 15 Thus you shall do to all the cities which are very far off from you, which are not of the cities of these nations. 16 But of the cities of these peoples, that יהוהyour Elohim gives you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes; 17 but you shall utterly destroy them: the Ḥittite, and the Amorite, the Kana'anite, and the Perizzite, the Ḥivite, and the Yevusite; as יהוהyour Elohim has commanded you; 18 that they not teach you to do after all their abominations, which they have done to their elohim; so would you sin against יהוהyour Elohim. 19 When you shall besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them; for you may eat of them, and you shall not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged of you? 20 Only the trees of which you know that they are not trees for food, you shall destroy and cut them down; and you shall build bulwarks against the city that makes war with you, until it fall.
Chapter 21:1-9 1 If one be found slain in the land which יהוהyour Elohim gives you to possess it, lying in the field, and it is not known who has struck him; 2 then your elders and your judges shall come forth, and they shall measure to the cities which are around him who is slain: 3 and it shall be, that the city which is nearest to the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take a heifer of the herd, which has not worked in service, and which has not drawn in the yoke; 4 and the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer to a valley with running water, which is neither plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer's neck there in the valley. 5 The priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them יהוהyour Elohim has chosen to minister to Him, and to bless in the Name of יהוה; and according to their word shall every controversy and every stroke be. 6 All the elders of that city, who are nearest to the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley; 7 and they shall answer and say, "Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. 8 Cover, יהוה, Your people Yisra'el, whom You have redeemed, and do not allow innocent blood to remain in the midst of Your people Yisra'el." The blood shall be covered for them. 9 So you shall put away the innocent blood from your midst, when you shall do that which is right in the eyes of יהוה.