A Call for Justice
1“You must not pass along false rumors. You must not cooperate with evil people by lying on the witness stand.
2“You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you are called to testify in a dispute, do not be swayed by the crowd to twist justice. 3And do not slant your testimony in favor of a person just because that person is poor.
4“If you come upon your enemy’s ox or donkey that has strayed away, take it back to its owner. 5If you see that the donkey of someone who hates you has collapsed under its load, do not walk by. Instead, stop and help.
6“In a lawsuit, you must not deny justice to the poor.
7“Be sure never to charge anyone falsely with evil. Never sentence an innocent or blameless person to death, for I never declare a guilty person to be innocent.
8“Take no bribes, for a bribe makes you ignore something that you clearly see. A bribe makes even a righteous person twist the truth.
9“You must not oppress foreigners. You know what it’s like to be a foreigner, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.
10“Plant and harvest your crops for six years, 11but let the land be renewed and lie uncultivated during the seventh year. Then let the poor among you harvest whatever grows on its own. Leave the rest for wild animals to eat. The same applies to your vineyards and olive groves.
12“You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but on the seventh day you must stop working. This gives your ox and your donkey a chance to rest. It also allows your slaves and the foreigners living among you to be refreshed.
13“Pay close attention to all my instructions. You must not call on the name of any other gods. Do not even speak their names.
Three Annual Festivals
14“Each year you must celebrate three festivals in my honor. 15First, celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast, just as I commanded you. Celebrate this festival annually at the appointed time in early spring, in the month of Abib,*23:15 Hebrew appointed time in the month of Abib. This first month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar usually occurs within the months of March and April. for that is the anniversary of your departure from Egypt. No one may appear before me without an offering.
16“Second, celebrate the Festival of Harvest,*23:16a Or Festival of Weeks. This was later called the Festival of Pentecost (see
“Finally, celebrate the Festival of the Final Harvest*23:16b Or Festival of Ingathering. This was later called the Festival of Shelters or Festival of Tabernacles (see
18“You must not offer the blood of my sacrificial offerings together with any baked goods containing yeast. And do not leave the fat from the festival offerings until the next morning.
19“As you harvest your crops, bring the very best of the first harvest to the house of the Lord your God.
“You must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.
A Promise of the Lord’s Presence
20“See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you. 21Pay close attention to him, and obey his instructions. Do not rebel against him, for he is my representative, and he will not forgive your rebellion. 22But if you are careful to obey him, following all my instructions, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and I will oppose those who oppose you. 23For my angel will go before you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites, so you may live there. And I will destroy them completely. 24You must not worship the gods of these nations or serve them in any way or imitate their evil practices. Instead, you must utterly destroy them and smash their sacred pillars.
25“You must serve only the Lord your God. If you do, I*23:25 As in Greek and Latin versions; Hebrew reads he. will bless you with food and water, and I will protect you from illness. 26There will be no miscarriages or infertility in your land, and I will give you long, full lives.
27“I will send my terror ahead of you and create panic among all the people whose lands you invade. I will make all your enemies turn and run. 28I will send terror*23:28 Often rendered the hornet. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. ahead of you to drive out the Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites. 29But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply and threaten you. 30I will drive them out a little at a time until your population has increased enough to take possession of the land. 31And I will fix your boundaries from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea,*23:31a Hebrew from the sea of reeds to the sea of the Philistines. and from the eastern wilderness to the Euphrates River.*23:31b Hebrew from the wilderness to the river. I will hand over to you the people now living in the land, and you will drive them out ahead of you.
32“Make no treaties with them or their gods. 33They must not live in your land, or they will cause you to sin against me. If you serve their gods, you will be caught in the trap of idolatry.”