Chapter 6

  1. When you have come unto the land which the Lord your God 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 about me, you shall surely set him king over you whom the Lord your God shall choose. One from among your brethren shall you set king over you. You may not set a stranger over you who is not your brother. But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to the end that he should multiply horses, forasmuch as the Lord has said unto you, You shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away. Neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. And it shall be, when he sits upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the priests the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them, that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment 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 Israel.
  2. The priests, the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel. They shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and his inheritance. Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren; the Lord is their inheritance, as he has said unto them. And this shall be the priest’s due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep: and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the stomach; the firstfruit also of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the first of the fleece of your sheep shall you give him. For the Lord your God has chosen him out of all your tribes to stand to minister in the name of the Lord, him and his sons for ever. And if a Levite come from any of your gates out of all Israel where he sojourned, and come with all the desire of his mind unto the place which the Lord shall choose, then he shall minister in the name of the Lord his God, as all his brethren the Levites do who stand there before the Lord. They shall have like portions to eat, besides that which comes of the sale of his patrimony.
  3. When you have come into the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone that makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that uses divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord, and because of these abominations, the Lord your God does drive them out from before you. You shall be perfect with the Lord your God. For these nations which you shall possess listened unto observers of times, and unto diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not suffered you so to do.
  4. The Lord your God will raise up unto you a prophet from the midst of you, of your brethren, like unto me; unto him you shall listen, according to all that you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire anymore, that I die not. And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren like unto you, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass that whoever will not listen unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. But the prophet who shall presume to speak a word in my name, whom I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken? — when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken, but the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You shall not be afraid of him.
  5. When the Lord your God has cut off the nations whose land the Lord your God gives you, and you succeed them, and dwell in their cities and in their houses, you shall separate three cities for you in the midst of your land which the Lord your God gives you to possess it. You shall prepare a way, and divide the borders of your land which the Lord your God gives you to inherit into three parts, that every slayer may flee there.
  6. And this is the case of the slayer who shall flee there, that he may live: whoever kills his neighbor ignorantly, whom he hated not in time past — as when a man goes into the woods with his neighbor to hew wood, and his hand makes a stroke with the ax to cut down the tree, and the head slips from the handle and lights upon his neighbor, that he die — he shall flee unto one of those cities and live, lest the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer while his heart is hot, and overtake him because the way is long, and slay him whereas he was not worthy of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past. Wherefore I command you, saying, You shall separate three cities for you.
  7. And if the Lord your God enlarge your border as he has sworn unto your fathers, and give you all the land which he promised to give unto your fathers, if you shall keep all these commandments, to do them, which I command you this day — to love the Lord your God and to walk ever in his ways — then shall you add three cities more for you besides these three, that innocent blood be not shed in your land which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance, and so blood be upon you.
  8. But if any man hate his neighbor, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die, and flees into one of these cities, then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him from there, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with you.
  9. 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 the Lord your God gave you to possess it.
  10. 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 the matter be established. If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong, then both the men between whom the controversy is shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who shall be in those days, and the judges shall make diligent inquisition. And behold, if the witness is a false witness, and has testified falsely against his brother, then you shall do unto him as he had thought to have done unto his brother; so shall you put the evil away from among you. And those who remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you. And your eye shall not pity, but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
  11. When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses, and chariots, and a people more than you, be not afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be — when you have come near unto the battle — that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people, and shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel: You approach this day unto battle against your enemies. Let not your hearts faint. Fear not and do not tremble, neither be you terrified because of them. For the Lord your God is he that goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.
  12. And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that 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. And what man is he that has planted a vineyard and has not yet eaten of it? Let him also go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle and another man eat of it. And what man is there that has betrothed a wife and has not taken her? Let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle and another man take her. And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and faint-hearted? Let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart. And it shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking unto the people, that they shall make captains of the armies to lead the people.
  13. When you come near unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. And it shall be, if it make you answer of peace and open unto you, then it shall be that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto you, and they shall serve you. And if it will make no peace with you, but will make war against you, then you shall besiege it. And when the Lord your God has delivered it into your hands, you shall smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword. But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shall you take unto yourself; and you shall eat the spoil of your enemies which the Lord your God has given you. Thus shall you do unto all the cities which are very far off from you, which are not of the cities of these nations. But of the cities of these people which the Lord your God does give you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, but you shall utterly destroy them — namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites — as the Lord your God has commanded you, that they teach you not to do after all their abominations which they have done unto their gods; so should you sin against the Lord your God.
  14. When you shall besiege a city a long time in making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an ax against them, for you may eat of them. And you shall not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man’s life) to employ them in the siege. Only the trees which you know 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 is subdued.