Deuteronomy 19–21

1 When the Lord your God has cut off the nations, whose land the Lord your God is giving 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 the Lord your God is giving you to possess. 3 You shall prepare a roadway for yourself, and divide the territory of your land into three parts, which the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, so that every manslayer may flee there.

4 This is the word concerning the manslayer who will flee there, so that he may live: Whoever kills his neighbor unintentionally, whom he did not hate previously, 5 like when a man goes into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood, and his hand raises the axe to cut down the tree, and the axe head slips from the handle and lands on his neighbor causing him to die, then he may flee to one of those cities, and live. 6 Otherwise the avenger of blood might, while he is angry, pursue the manslayer and overtake him (because the way is long) and kill him, even though he was not worthy of death (since he did not hate him previously). 7 Therefore, I command you, saying, “You shall set apart three cities for yourselves.”

8 If the Lord your God enlarges your borders as He promised your fathers, and gives you all the land which He promised to give to your fathers, 9 and if you will carefully keep all these commandments, which I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to always walk in His ways, then you must add three cities more for yourself, besides these three. 10 Then innocent blood will not be shed in your land, which the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, and blood guiltiness be on you.

11 But if any man hates his neighbor, and lies in wait for him, and rises up against him, and mortally strikes him, causing him to die, and flees to one of these cities, 12 then the elders of his city must send and fetch him from there, and deliver him to the hand of the avenger of blood, so that he may die. 13 Your eye must not pity him, but you must remove the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, so 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 the Lord your God is giving you to possess.

15 A single witness must not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin that he sins. At the testimony of two witnesses or at the testimony of three witnesses shall the matter be established.

16 If a false witness rises up against any man to testify against him to accuse him of doing wrong, 17 then both the men between whom the controversy is must stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges, who are in office those days. 18 The judges will thoroughly investigate, and if the witness is a false witness and has testified falsely against his brother, 19 then you must do to him as he conspired to have done to his brother. In this way you must remove the evil from among you. 20 Those who remain will hear and fear, and will never again commit any such evil among you. 21 You must not show pity. But life will be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

Chapter 20

1 When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses, and chariots, and a people that outnumber you, do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. 2 It will be, when you approach the battle, that the priest will approach and speak to the people, 3 and he shall say to them, “Hear, O Israel, you approach today to do battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted. Do not fear, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them. 4 For the Lord your God is He that goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.”

5 The officers will 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 yet eaten of it? Let him also go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of it. 7 What man is there who is engaged to a woman but has not married her? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.” 8 The officers are to speak further to the people, and they shall say, “What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, lest his brother’s heart faint as well as his heart.” 9 It will be, when the officers have made an end of speaking to the people, that they must make captains of the armies to lead the people.

10 When you come near to a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace to it. 11 It shall be, if it gives you a reply of peace and opens to you, then it must be that all the people that are found within shall become slaves to you and they shall serve you. 12 If it will not make peace with you but makes war against you, then you are to besiege it. 13 And when the Lord your God has delivered it into your hands, you are to slay every male there with the edge of the sword. 14 But the women, and the little ones, and the livestock, and all that is in the city, all the spoil within, you are to take to yourself, and you will eat the spoil of your enemies, which the Lord your God has given you. 15 Thus you are to do to all the cities which are far away, which are not the cities of these nearby nations.

16 But of the cities of these people, which the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, you must not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 But you shall completely destroy them: namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, just as the Lord your God has commanded you, 18 so that they do not teach you to participate in all their abominations, which they have done to their gods, causing you to sin against the Lord your God.

19 When you lay siege to a city for a long time, in making war against it in order to take it, you shall not destroy the trees there by chopping them down with an axe, for you may eat from them, and you shall not cut them down. For the tree of the field is not a man in which to lay siege. 20 However, you may destroy and cut down only the trees which you know are not fruit trees, so that you may build siege engines against the city that makes war with you until it falls.

Chapter 21

1 If someone is found slain in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess, lying in the field, and it is not known who has slain him, 2 then your elders and your judges are to come forth, and they must measure how far it is to the cities which are around him who was slain. 3 And it must be, that the city which is closest to the slain man, that is, the elders of that city shall take a heifer which has not been worked, that has never pulled in yoke, 4 and the elders of that city must bring down the heifer to a valley with flowing water, which is neither plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer’s neck there in the valley. 5 Then the priests, the sons of Levi, must come near, for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister to Him, and to bless in the name of the Lord, and by their word every controversy and every assault will be settled. 6 And all the elders of that city, which is nearest to the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley. 7 Then they must answer and say, “Our hands have not shed this blood, and our eyes have not seen it. 8 Be merciful, O Lord, to Your people Israel, whom You have redeemed, and lay not innocent blood in the midst of Your people Israel.” And the blood guilt will be forgiven them. 9 In this way you are to remove the guilt of innocent blood from among you when you do that which is right in the eyes of the Lord.

10 When you go forth to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God has delivered them into your hands, and you have taken them captive, 11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her to have her as your wife, 12 then you are to bring her home to your house, and she is to shave her head and trim her nails. 13 She must also discard the clothing of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and her mother for a full month. After that you may have relations with her, and be her husband, and she will be your wife. 14 It will be, if you are not pleased with her, then you must let her go wherever she pleases, but you may not sell her at all for money, nor are you to make merchandise of her, because you have humbled her.

15 If a man has two wives, one beloved and another unloved, and both have borne him children, both the loved one and the unloved one, and if the firstborn son is hers that is unloved, 16 then it must be, when he gives his sons the inheritance which he has, that he may not make the firstborn son of the loved come before the son of the unloved, who was indeed the firstborn. 17 On the contrary, he must acknowledge the son of the unloved for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength. The right of the firstborn is his.

18 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son, who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have disciplined him, will not listen to them, 19 then his father and his mother are to lay hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. 20 They shall say to the elders of his city, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not listen to us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” 21 Then all the men of his city must stone him with stones, until he dies. In this way you are to remove the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.

22 If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and is executed, and you hang him on a tree, 23 then his body must not remain all night on the tree, but you must bury him that day (for he that is hanged is accursed of God) so that your land may not be defiled, which the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.

Mark 13:21–37

21 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there He is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23 But take heed. I have told you all things beforehand.

24 “But in those days, after that distress,

‘the sun will be darkened,

and the moon will not give her light;

25 the stars of heaven will fall,

and the powers that are in heaven will be shaken.’

26 “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 Then He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of the earth to the farthest part of heaven.

28 “Now learn a parable of the fig tree: When her branch is yet tender and puts out leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things come to pass, know that it is near, even at the doors. 30 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things happen. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

32 “But concerning that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Take heed, watch and pray. For you do not know when the time will come. 34 For the Son of Man is like a man leaving on a far journey who left his house and gave authority to his servants and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.

35 “Watch therefore—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, in the evening, or at midnight, or at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you I say to all: Watch!”