The Bible in Its Traditions

Deuteronomy 21:1–9

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If one be found slain in the land which YHWH thy God giveth thee to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who hath smitten him;

“When there will have been found in the land, which the Lord your God will give to you, the corpse of a man who has been killed, and it is not known who is guilty of the murder,

IF a person is found slain in the land which the LORD your God gives you to possess, lying in the field, and it is not known who has slain him;

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then thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is slain.

thine elders and thy judges shall come forth, and shall measure the distances of the cities round about the slain man

your judges and those greater by birth shall go out and measure, from the place of the corpse, the distance to each of the surrounding cities.

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And it shall be, that the city which is nearest unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take a heifer of the herd, which hath not been wrought with, and which hath not drawn in the yoke.

And in whichever one they perceive to be closer than the others, the elders shall take a calf from the herd, one which has not pulled with a yoke, nor tilled with a plow.

And the elders of the city which is nearest to the slain man shall take a heifer which has never been used for work nor has pulled in the yoke,

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And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which may neither be plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer's neck there in the valley.

And they shall lead it into a rough and stony valley, one which has never been tilled or sown. And in that place, they shall cut the neck of the calf.

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And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near--for them YHWH thy God hath chosen to minister unto Him, and to bless in the name of the YHWH; and according to their word shall every controversy and every stroke be.

And the priests the Levites shall come, because the Lord God has chosen them to stand by him, and to bless in his name, and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be decided.

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And all the elders of that city, who are nearest unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley.

And those greater by birth of that city, nearest to the one who was slain, shall go and shall wash their hands over the calf that was killed in the valley.

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And they shall speak and say: 'Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it.

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Forgive, O YHWH, Thy people Israel, whom Thou hast redeemed, and suffer not innocent blood to remain in the midst of Thy people Israel.' And the blood shall be forgiven them.

Be merciful to your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, O Lord, and do not charge them with innocent blood in the midst of your people Israel.’ And so the guilt of the blood will be taken away from them.

Pardon, O LORD, thy people Israel, whom thou hast saved, and lay not innocent blood upon thy people Israel. And the guilt of blood shall be forgiven them.

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So shalt thou put away the innocent blood from the midst of thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in the eyes of YHWH.

And thou shalt take away innocent blood from among you, if thou shouldest do that which is good and pleasing before the Lord thy God.

Then you will be free from the blood that was shed against the innocent, when you will have done as the Lord has instructed you.