Deuteronomy 21:4
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New International Version
and lead it down to a valley that has not been plowed or planted and where there is a flowing stream. There in the valley they are to break the heifer's neck.

New Living Translation
They must lead it down to a valley that has not been plowed or planted and that has a stream running through it. There in the valley they must break the young cow's neck.

English Standard Version
And the elders of that city shall bring the heifer down to a valley with running water, which is neither plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer’s neck there in the valley.

New American Standard Bible
and the elders of that city shall bring the heifer down to a valley with running water, which has not been plowed or sown, and shall break the heifer's neck there in the valley.

King James Bible
And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The elders of that city will bring the cow down to a continually flowing stream, to a place not tilled or sown, and they will break its neck there by the stream.

International Standard Version
and are to lead the heifer to a flowing stream in a valley that has never been tilled or planted. They are to break the heifer's neck there.

NET Bible
and bring the heifer down to a wadi with flowing water, to a valley that is neither plowed nor sown. There at the wadi they are to break the heifer's neck.

New Heart English Bible
and the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer to a valley with running water, which is neither plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer's neck there in the valley.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The leaders of that city will bring the heifer down to a river, to a location where the land hasn't been plowed or planted. At the river they must break the heifer's neck.

JPS Tanakh 1917
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.

New American Standard 1977
and the elders of that city shall bring the heifer down to a valley with running water, which has not been plowed or sown, and shall break the heifer’s neck there in the valley.

Jubilee Bible 2000
and the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which has neither been plowed nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley.

King James 2000 Bible
And the elders of that city shall 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:

American King James Version
And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer to a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley:

American Standard Version
and the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a valley with running water, which is neither plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer's neck there in the valley.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And they shall bring her into a rough and stony valley, that never was ploughed, nor sown: and there they shall strike off the head of the heifer:

Darby Bible Translation
and the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto an ever-flowing watercourse, which is not tilled, nor is it sown, and shall break the heifer's neck there in the watercourse;

English Revised Version
and the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a valley with running water, which is neither plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer's neck there in the valley:

Webster's Bible Translation
And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer to a rough valley, which is neither tilled nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley;

World English Bible
and the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer to a valley with running water, which is neither plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer's neck there in the valley.

Young's Literal Translation
and the elders of that city have brought down the heifer unto a hard valley, which is not tilled nor sown, and have beheaded there the heifer in the valley.
Study Bible
The Atonement for an Unsolved Murder
3"It shall be that the city which is nearest to the slain man, that is, the elders of that city, shall take a heifer of the herd, which has not been worked and which has not pulled in a yoke; 4and the elders of that city shall bring the heifer down to a valley with running water, which has not been plowed or sown, and shall break the heifer's neck there in the valley. 5"Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near, for the LORD your God has chosen them to serve Him and to bless in the name of the LORD; and every dispute and every assault shall be settled by them.…
Cross References
Deuteronomy 21:3
"It shall be that the city which is nearest to the slain man, that is, the elders of that city, shall take a heifer of the herd, which has not been worked and which has not pulled in a yoke;

Deuteronomy 21:5
"Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near, for the LORD your God has chosen them to serve Him and to bless in the name of the LORD; and every dispute and every assault shall be settled by them.

1 Samuel 6:7
"Now therefore, take and prepare a new cart and two milch cows on which there has never been a yoke; and hitch the cows to the cart and take their calves home, away from them.

Ezekiel 36:9
'For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you will be cultivated and sown.
Treasury of Scripture

And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer to a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley:

a rough valley As the word {nachal} signifies both a {torrent}, and the {valley or glen} through which it flows, {nachal aithan} may be rendered a {rapid torrent} Many torrents in Judea are dry during a great part of the year; when not only their banks but their beds may be ploughed, and yield a crop. Hence there is no impropriety in specifying that such a place should be one that `is neither cared nor sown;' while the circumstance that the elders were to {wash} their hands over the heifer, whose head had been struck off into the stream, confirms this interpretation. The spot ground where this sacrifice was made must be {uncultivated}, because it was considered as a sacrifice for the atonement of murder, and, consequently, would {pollute} the land.

shall strike

1 Peter 2:21-24 For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for …

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, …

Verse 4. - A rough valley; literally, a stream of perpetuity, a perennial stream (cf. Psalm 74:15, Authorized Version, "mighty rivers;" Amos 5:24); but here rather the valley or wady through which a stream flowed, as is evident from its being described as neither eared - that is, ploughed (literally, wrought, tilled) - nor sown; a place which had not been profaned by the hand of man, but was in a state of nature. "This regulation as to the locality in which the act of expiation was to be performed was probably founded on the idea that the water of the brook-valley would suck in the blood and clean it away, and that the blood sucked in by the earth would not be brought to light again by the ploughing and working of the soil" (Keil). Strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley; rather, break the heifer's neck. As this was not an act of sacrifice, for which the shedding of blood would have been required, but simply a symbolical representation of the infliction of death on the undiscovered murderer, the animal was to be killed by breaking its neck (cf. Exodus 13:13). The elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley,.... Cities being generally built on hills, and so had adjacent valleys, to which there was a descent; but here a rough valley, or the rougher part of it, was selected for this purpose. As a valley is low, and this a rough one, it may be an emblem of Christ's being brought into this lower world, from heaven to earth, to do the will of his Father, which was to work out the salvation of his people; and of his coming into the lower parts of the earth, the womb of the virgin, at his incarnation, and to the grave at his death, Psalm 139:15, and of the low estate he came into by the assumption of human nature; through appearing in the form of a servant, being in indigent circumstances, and ministered to by others, and needing the assistance of angels in the wilderness and garden, by which it appeared he was made lower than they; by his being despised of men, and forsaken by his Father; all which are proofs of the low estate he was brought into, fitly signified by a valley, and which was a rough valley to him; in which he was roughly treated, his life being sought after in his infancy by Herod, which obliged the flight of his parents with him into Egypt; and being not received, but rejected by his own, as the King Messiah, whom they would not have to reign over them, and loaded with opprobrious names by them; and who often sought and attempted by various ways to take away his life; and when apprehended and examined before the high priest, and in Pilate's hall, was used in the rudest manner, being spit upon, buffeted, and scourged; and when led out to be crucified, was treated in the most barbarous and scornful manner, and was put to death in the most painful and shameful way; and, above all, was severely handled by the justice of God, being numbered among the transgressors, when the sword of justice was awaked against him, and he was not in the least spared, but wrath came upon him to the uttermost for the sins of his people; so that this world he was brought into proved a rough valley indeed to him. This some take to be an emblem of the hard heart of the murderer who had committed such a barbarous and cruel action as to kill a man; or of the hard heart of a sinner, into which Christ is brought through the ministry of the word; or of the infamous place, Calvary, where Christ was brought to suffer death; but the former is best. Some interpret it, a "strong stream" (q), or "rapid torrent"; so Maimonides (r) and others; and indeed in valleys there are generally streams or brooks of water, but this seems not so well to agree with what follows:

which is neither cared nor sown; that is, neither ploughed nor sown, but quite an uncultivated place; and this the Jews understand not of what it had been, or then was, but what it should be hereafter; that from henceforward it should never be manured, but lie barren and useless; so it is said in the Misnah (s), the place is forbid sowing or tilling, but is free to dress flax in, or to dig stones out of it: so R. Joseph Kimchi (t) interprets this of a fat and fruitful valley, which was not to be tilled nor sown from thenceforward for time to come; the reason of which he thinks was, that they might be the more careful of their countries and borders, and how they encouraged bloody minded men to dwell among them; that no slain person might be found there, and so they lose a choice part of their possessions; and to the same purpose Maimonities (u): and this became true of the fruitful land of Judea and Jerusalem, after the sufferings and death of Christ there, Luke 21:24.

and shall strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley; with an axe, on the back part of it, in the midst of the valley, as the Targum of Jonathan, and the same is said in the Misnah (w): in this it was a type of Christ, who was put to death at the instigation of the elders of the Jewish nation, Matthew 27:1 and without the gates of Jerusalem at Golgotha; see Hebrews 13:11.

(q) "ad torrentem fortem", Montanus. (r) Hilchot Rotzeach, c. 9. sect. 2, so Abarbinel in Muis. & Ben Melech. (s) Ut supra. (Sotah, c. 9. sect. 5.) (t) Apud D. Kimchi, Sepher Shorash, rad. (u) Moreh Nevochim, par. 3. c. 40. (w) Ut supra. (Sotah, c. 9. sect. 5.) 21:1-9 If a murderer could not be found out, great solemnity is provided for putting away the guilt from the land, as an expression of dread and detesting of that sin. The providence of God has often wonderfully brought to light these hidden works of darkness, and the sin of the guilty has often strangely found them out. The dread of murder should be deeply impressed upon every heart, and all should join in detecting and punishing those who are guilty. The elders were to profess that they had not been any way aiding or abetting the sin. The priests were to pray to God for the country and nation, that God would be merciful. We must empty that measure by our prayers, which others are filling by their sins. All would be taught by this solemnity, to use the utmost care and diligence to prevent, discover, and punish murder. We may all learn from hence to take heed of partaking in other men's sins. And we have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, if we do not reprove them.
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