Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 50

Deuteronomy 21–25, Mark 11

Bible text(s)

Concerning Unsolved Murders

1“Suppose someone is found murdered in a field in the land that the LORD your God is going to give you, and you do not know who killed him. 2Your leaders and judges are to go out and measure the distance from the place where the body was found to each of the nearby towns. 3Then the leaders of the town nearest to where the body was found are to select a young cow that has never been used for work. 4They are to take it down to a spot near a stream that never runs dry and where the ground has never been ploughed or planted, and there they are to break its neck. 5The levitical priests are to go there also, because they are to decide every legal case involving violence. The LORD your God has chosen them to serve him and to pronounce blessings in his name. 6Then all the leaders from the town nearest the place where the murdered person was found are to wash their hands over the cow 7and say, ‘We did not murder this person, and we do not know who did it. 8LORD, forgive your people Israel, whom you rescued from Egypt. Forgive us and do not hold us responsible for the murder of an innocent person.’ 9And so, by doing what the LORD requires, you will not be held responsible for the murder.

Concerning Women Prisoners of War

10“When the LORD your God gives you victory in battle and you take prisoners, 11you may see among them a beautiful woman that you like and want to marry. 12Take her to your home, where she will shave her head, cut her fingernails, 13and change her clothes. She is to stay in your home and mourn for her parents for a month; after that, you may marry her. 14Later, if you no longer want her, you are to let her go free. Since you forced her to have intercourse with you, you cannot treat her as a slave and sell her.

Concerning the First Son's Inheritance

15“Suppose a man has two wives and they both bear him sons, but the first son is not the child of his favourite wife. 16When the man decides how he is going to divide his property among his children, he is not to show partiality to the son of his favourite wife by giving him the share that belongs to the firstborn son. 17He is to give a double share of his possessions to his first son, even though he is not the son of his favourite wife. A man must acknowledge his first son and give him the share he is legally entitled to.

Concerning a Disobedient Son

18“Suppose someone has a son who is stubborn and rebellious, a son who will not obey his parents, even though they punish him. 19His parents are to take him before the leaders of the town where he lives and make him stand trial. 20They are to say to them, ‘Our son is stubborn and rebellious and refuses to obey us; he wastes money and is a drunkard.’ 21Then the men of the city are to stone him to death, and so you will get rid of this evil. Everyone in Israel will hear what has happened and be afraid.

Various Laws

22“If someone has been put to death for a crime and his body is hung on a post, 23it is not to remain there overnight. It must be buried the same day, because a dead body hanging on a post brings God's curse on the land. Bury the body, so that you will not defile the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

Deuteronomy 21GNBOpen in Bible reader

1“If you see a fellow-Israelite's cow or sheep running loose, do not ignore it; take it back to him. 2But if its owner lives a long way off or if you don't know who owns it, then take it home with you. When its owner comes looking for it, give it to him. 3Do the same thing if you find a donkey, a piece of clothing, or anything else that your fellow-Israelite may have lost.

4“If a fellow-Israelite's donkey or cow has fallen down, don't ignore it; help him to get the animal to its feet again.

5“Women are not to wear men's clothing, and men are not to wear women's clothing; the LORD your God hates people who do such things.

6“If you happen to find a bird's nest in a tree or on the ground with the mother bird sitting either on the eggs or with her young, you are not to take the mother bird. 7You may take the young birds, but you must let the mother bird go, so that you will live a long and prosperous life.

8“When you build a new house, be sure to put a railing round the edge of the roof. Then you will not be responsible if someone falls off and is killed.

9“Do not plant any crop in the same field as your grapevines; if you do, you are forbidden to use either the grapes or the produce of the other crop.

10“Do not hitch an ox and a donkey together for ploughing.

11“Do not wear cloth made by weaving wool and linen together.

12“Sew tassels on the four corners of your clothes.

Laws Concerning Sexual Purity

13“Suppose a man marries a woman and later he decides he doesn't want her. 14So he makes up false charges against her, accusing her of not being a virgin when they got married.

15“If this happens, the woman's parents are to take the bloodstained wedding sheet that proves she was a virgin, and they are to show it in court to the town leaders. 16Her father will say to them, ‘I gave my daughter to this man in marriage, and now he doesn't want her. 17He has made false charges against her, saying that she was not a virgin when he married her. But here is the proof that my daughter was a virgin; look at the bloodstains on the wedding sheet!’ 18Then the town leaders are to take the husband and beat him. 19They are also to fine him a hundred pieces of silver and give the money to the woman's father, because the man has brought disgrace on an Israelite woman. Moreover, she will continue to be his wife, and he can never divorce her as long as he lives.

20“But if the charge is true and there is no proof that she was a virgin, 21then they are to take her out to the entrance of her father's house, where the men of her city are to stone her to death. She has done a shameful thing among our people by having intercourse before she was married, while she was still living in her father's house. In this way you will get rid of this evil.

22“If a man is caught having intercourse with another man's wife, both of them are to be put to death. In this way you will get rid of this evil.

23“Suppose a man is caught in a town having intercourse with a woman who is engaged to someone else. 24You are to take them outside the town and stone them to death. The woman is to die because she did not cry out for help, although she was in a town, where she could have been heard. And the man is to die because he had intercourse with a woman who was engaged. In this way you will get rid of this evil.

25“Suppose a man out in the countryside rapes a woman who is engaged to someone else. Then only the man is to be put to death; 26nothing is to be done to the woman, because she has not committed a sin worthy of death. This case is the same as when one man attacks another man and murders him. 27The man raped the engaged woman in the countryside, and although she cried for help, there was no one to help her.

28“Suppose a man is caught raping a young woman who is not engaged. 29He is to pay her father the bride price of fifty pieces of silver, and she is to become his wife, because he forced her to have intercourse with him. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

30“No man is to disgrace his father by having intercourse with any of his father's wives.

Deuteronomy 22GNBOpen in Bible reader

Exclusion from the LORD's People

1“No man who has been castrated or whose penis has been cut off may be included among the LORD's people.

2“No one born out of wedlock or any descendant of such a person, even in the tenth generation, may be included among the LORD's people.

3“No Ammonite or Moabite — or any of their descendants, even in the tenth generation — may be included among the LORD's people. 4They refused to provide you with food and water when you were on your way out of Egypt, and they hired Balaam son of Beor, from the city of Pethor in Mesopotamia, to curse you. 5But the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam; instead he turned the curse into a blessing, because he loved you. 6As long as you are a nation, never do anything to help these nations or to make them prosperous.

7“Do not despise the Edomites; they are your relatives. And do not despise the Egyptians; you once lived in their land. 8From the third generation onward their descendants may be included among the LORD's people.

Keeping the Military Camp Clean

9“When you are in camp in time of war, you are to avoid anything that would make you ritually unclean. 10If a man becomes unclean because he has had a wet dream during the night, he is to go outside the camp and stay there. 11Towards evening he is to wash himself, and at sunset he may come back into camp.

12“You are to have a place outside the camp where you can go when you need to relieve yourselves. 13Carry a stick as part of your equipment, so that when you have a bowel movement you can dig a hole and cover it up. 14Keep your camp ritually clean, because the LORD your God is with you in your camp to protect you and to give you victory over your enemies. Do not do anything indecent that would cause the LORD to turn his back on you.

Various Laws

15“If a slave runs away from his or her owner and comes to you for protection, do not send them back. 16They may live in any of your towns that they choose, and you are not to treat them harshly.

17“No Israelite, man or woman, is to become a temple prostitute. 18Also, no money earned in this way may be brought into the house of the LORD your God in fulfilment of a vow. The LORD hates temple prostitutes.

19“When you lend money or food or anything else to a fellow-Israelite, do not charge him interest. 20You may charge interest on what you lend to a foreigner, but not on what you lend to a fellow-Israelite. Obey this rule, and the LORD your God will bless everything you do in the land that you are going to occupy.

21“When you make a vow to the LORD your God, do not put off doing what you promised; the LORD will hold you to your vow, and it is a sin not to keep it. 22It is no sin not to make a vow to the LORD, 23but if you make one voluntarily, be sure that you keep it.

24“When you walk along a path in someone else's vineyard, you may eat all the grapes you want, but you must not carry any away in a container. 25When you walk along a path in someone else's cornfield, you may eat all the corn you can pull off with your hands, but you must not cut any corn with a sickle.

Deuteronomy 23GNBOpen in Bible reader

Divorce and Remarriage

1“Suppose a man marries a woman and later decides that he doesn't want her, because he finds something about her that he doesn't like. So he writes out divorce papers, gives them to her, and sends her away from his home. 2Then suppose she marries another man, 3and he also decides that he doesn't want her, so he also writes out divorce papers, gives them to her, and sends her away from his home. Or suppose her second husband dies. 4In either case, her first husband is not to marry her again; he is to consider her defiled. If he married her again, it would be offensive to the LORD. You are not to commit such a terrible sin in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

Various Laws

5“When a man is newly married, he is not to be drafted into military service or any other public duty; he is to be excused from duty for one year, so that he can stay at home and make his wife happy.

6“When you lend someone something, you are not to take as security his millstones used for grinding his corn. This would take away the family's means of preparing food to keep alive.

7“Whoever kidnaps a fellow-Israelite and takes him or her as a slave or sells them into slavery is to be put to death. In this way you will get rid of this evil.

8“When you are suffering from a dreaded skin disease, be sure to do exactly what the levitical priests tell you; follow the instructions that I have given them. 9Remember what the LORD your God did to Miriam as you were coming from Egypt.

10“When you lend a neighbour something, do not go into his house to get the garment he is going to give you as security; 11wait outside and let him bring it to you himself. 12If he is poor, do not keep it overnight; 13return it to him each evening, so that he can have it to sleep in. Then he will be grateful, and the LORD your God will be pleased with you.

14“Do not cheat poor and needy hired servants, whether fellow-Israelites or foreigners living in one of your towns. 15Each day before sunset pay them for that day's work; they need the money and have counted on getting it. If you do not pay them, they will cry out against you to the LORD, and you will be guilty of sin.

16“Parents are not to be put to death for crimes committed by their children, and children are not to be put to death for crimes committed by their parents; people are to be put to death only for crimes they themselves have committed.

17“Do not deprive foreigners and orphans of their rights; and do not take a widow's garment as security for a loan. 18Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God set you free; that is why I have given you this command.

19“When you gather your crops and fail to bring in some of the corn that you have cut, do not go back for it; it is to be left for the foreigners, orphans, and widows, so that the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do. 20When you have picked your olives once, do not go back and get those that are left; they are for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 21When you have gathered your grapes once, do not go back over the vines a second time; the grapes that are left are for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 22Never forget that you were slaves in Egypt; that is why I have given you this command.

Deuteronomy 24GNBOpen in Bible reader

1“Suppose two Israelites go to court to settle a dispute, and one is declared innocent and the other guilty. 2If the guilty person is sentenced to be beaten, the judge is to make him lie face downwards and have him whipped. The number of lashes will depend on the crime he has committed. 3He may be given as many as forty lashes, but no more; more than that would humiliate him publicly.

4“Do not muzzle an ox when you are using it to thresh corn.

Duty to a Dead Brother

5“If two brothers live on the same property and one of them dies, leaving no son, then his widow is not to be married to someone outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her. 6The first son that they have will be considered the son of the dead man, so that his family line will continue in Israel. 7But if the dead man's brother does not want to marry her, she is to go before the town leaders and say, ‘My husband's brother will not do his duty; he refuses to give his brother a descendant among the people of Israel.’ 8Then the town leaders are to summon him and speak to him. If he still refuses to marry her, 9his brother's widow is to go up to him in the presence of the town leaders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face, and say, ‘This is what happens to the man who refuses to give his brother a descendant.’ 10His family will be known in Israel as ‘the family of the man who had his sandal pulled off.’

Other Laws

11“If two men are having a fight and the wife of one tries to help her husband by grabbing hold of the other man's genitals, 12show her no mercy; cut off her hand.

13-14“Do not cheat when you use weights and measures. 15Use true and honest weights and measures, so that you may live a long time in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. 16The LORD hates people who cheat.

The Command to Kill the Amalekites

17“Remember what the Amalekites did to you as you were coming from Egypt. 18They had no fear of God, and so they attacked you from the rear when you were tired and exhausted, and killed all who were straggling behind. 19So then, when the LORD your God has given you the land and made you safe from all your enemies who live around you, be sure to kill all the Amalekites, so that no one will remember them any longer. Do not forget!

Deuteronomy 25GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem

(Mt 21.1–11; Lk 19.28–40; Jn 12.12–19)

1As they approached Jerusalem, near the towns of Bethphage and Bethany, they came to the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of his disciples on ahead 2with these instructions: “Go to the village there ahead of you. As soon as you get there, you will find a colt tied up that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3And if someone asks you why you are doing that, tell him that the Master needs it and will send it back at once.”

4So they went and found a colt out in the street, tied to the door of a house. As they were untying it, 5some of the bystanders asked them, “What are you doing, untying that colt?”

6They answered just as Jesus had told them, and the bystanders let them go. 7They brought the colt to Jesus, threw their cloaks over the animal, and Jesus got on. 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches in the fields and spread them on the road. 9The people who were in front and those who followed behind began to shout, “Praise God! God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord! 10God bless the coming kingdom of King David, our father! Praise God!”

11Jesus entered Jerusalem, went into the Temple, and looked round at everything. But since it was already late in the day, he went out to Bethany with the twelve disciples.

Jesus Curses the Fig Tree

(Mt 21.18–19)

12The next day, as they were coming back from Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13He saw in the distance a fig tree covered with leaves, so he went to see if he could find any figs on it. But when he came to it, he found only leaves, because it was not the right time for figs. 14Jesus said to the fig tree, “No one shall ever eat figs from you again!”

And his disciples heard him.

Jesus Goes to the Temple

(Mt 21.12–17; Lk 19.45–48; Jn 2.13–22)

15When they arrived in Jerusalem, Jesus went to the Temple and began to drive out all those who were buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the stools of those who sold pigeons, 16and he would not let anyone carry anything through the temple courtyards. 17He then taught the people: “It is written in the Scriptures that God said, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for the people of all nations.’ But you have turned it into a hideout for thieves!”

18The chief priests and the teachers of the Law heard of this, so they began looking for some way to kill Jesus. They were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

19When evening came, Jesus and his disciples left the city.

The Lesson from the Fig Tree

(Mt 21.20–22)

20Early next morning, as they walked along the road, they saw the fig tree. It was dead all the way down to its roots. 21Peter remembered what had happened and said to Jesus, “Look, Teacher, the fig tree you cursed has died!”

22Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23I assure you that whoever tells this hill to get up and throw itself in the sea and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24For this reason I tell you: when you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for. 25And when you stand and pray, forgive anything you may have against anyone, so that your Father in heaven will forgive the wrongs you have done.”

The Question about Jesus' Authority

(Mt 21.23–27; Lk 20.1–8)

27They arrived once again in Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking in the Temple, the chief priests, the teachers of the Law, and the elders came to him 28and asked him, “What right have you to do these things? Who gave you this right?”

29Jesus answered them, “I will ask you just one question, and if you give me an answer, I will tell you what right I have to do these things. 30Tell me, where did John's right to baptize come from: was it from God or from human beings?”

31They started to argue among themselves: “What shall we say? If we answer, ‘From God,’ he will say, ‘Why, then, did you not believe John?’ 32But if we say, ‘From human beings…’ ” (They were afraid of the people, because everyone was convinced that John had been a prophet.) 33So their answer to Jesus was, “We don't know.”

Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you, then, by what right I do these things.”

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