Deuteronomy 22
Contemporary English Version

Helping Others

Moses said to Israel:

1 If you see a cow or sheep wandering around lost, take the animal back to its owner. 2If the owner lives too far away, or if you don't know who the owner is, take the animal home with you and take care of it. The owner will come looking for the animal, and then you can give it back. 3That's what you should do if you find anything that belongs to someone else. Do whatever you can to help, whether you find a cow or sheep or donkey or some clothing.

4Oxen and donkeys that carry heavy loads can stumble and fall, and be unable to get up by themselves. So as you walk along the road, help anyone who is trying to get an ox or donkey back on its feet.

Don't Pretend To Be the Opposite Sex

Moses said to Israel:

5Women must not pretend to be men, and men must not pretend to be women.+ The Lord your God is disgusted with people who do that.

Don't Take a Mother Bird

Moses said to Israel:

6-7As you walk along the road, you might see a bird's nest in a tree or on the ground. If the mother bird is in the nest with either her eggs or her baby birds, you are allowed to take the baby birds or the eggs, but not the mother bird. Let her go free, and the Lord will bless you with a long and successful life.

Put a Wall around Your Flat Roof

8If you build a house, make sure to put a low wall around the edge of the flat roof.+ Then if someone falls off the roof and is killed, it won't be your fault.

Laws against Mixing Different Things

Moses said to Israel:

9 If you plant a vineyard, don't plant any other fruit tree or crop in it. If you do plant something else there, you must bring to the place of worship everything you harvest from the vineyard.

10Don't hitch an ox and a donkey to your plow at the same time.

11When you weave cloth for clothing, you can use thread made of flax+ or wool, but not both together. 12 And when you make a coat, sew a tassel on each of the four corners.

When a Husband Accuses His Wife

Moses said to Israel:

13Suppose a man starts hating his wife soon after they are married. 14He might tell ugly lies about her, and say, “I married this woman, but when we slept together, I found out she wasn't a virgin.”

15If this happens, the bride's father and mother must go to the town gate to show the town leaders the proof that the woman was a virgin. 16Her father will say, “I let my daughter marry this man, but he started hating her 17and accusing her of not being a virgin. But he is wrong, because here is proof that she was a virgin!” Then the bride's parents will show them the bed sheet from the woman's wedding night.

18The town leaders will beat the man with a whip 19because he accused his bride of not being a virgin. He will have to pay her father 100 pieces of silver and will never be allowed to divorce her.

20But if the man was right and there is no proof that his bride was a virgin, 21the men of the town will take the woman to the door of her father's house and stone her to death.

This woman brought evil into your community by sleeping with someone before she got married, and you must get rid of that evil by killing her.

Laws about Illegal Sex

Moses said:

22People of Israel, if a man is caught having sex with someone else's wife, you must put them both to death. That way, you will get rid of the evil they have done in Israel.

23-24If a man is caught in town having sex with an engaged woman who isn't screaming for help, they both must be put to death. The man is guilty of having sex with a married woman.+ And the woman is guilty because she didn't call for help, even though she was inside a town and people were nearby. Take them both to the town gate and stone them to death. You must get rid of the evil they brought into your community.

25 If an engaged woman is raped out in the country, only the man will be put to death. 26Do not punish the woman at all; she has done nothing wrong, and certainly nothing deserving death. This crime is like murder, 27because the woman was alone out in the country when the man attacked her. She screamed, but there was no one to help her.

28 Suppose a woman isn't engaged to be married, and a man forces her to have sex with him. If he is caught, 29they will be forced to get married. He must give her father 50 pieces of silver as a bride-price and+ can never divorce her.

30 A man must not marry a woman who was married to his father. This would be a disgrace to his father.


22.5 pretend to be men … pretend to be women: Or “wear men's clothing … wear women's clothing.”
22.8 flat roof: Houses usually had flat roofs. In hot dry weather, it was cooler on the roof than in the house, and so roofs were used for sleeping and living quarters, and for entertaining guests.
22.11 flax: The stalks of flax plants were harvested, soaked in water, and dried, then their fibers were separated and spun into thread, which was woven into linen cloth.
22.23,24 engaged woman … married woman: An engaged woman was legally married, but had not yet slept with her husband or started living with him.
22.28,29 talks her into sleeping with him … bride-price and: Or “talks her into sleeping with him. 29 Then if they are caught, he will have to marry her. He must give her father fifty pieces of silver as a bride-price and.”

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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