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scripture

 

CHAPTER 23

1A man shall not marry his father’s wife,* nor shall he dishonor his father’s bed.a

Membership in the Assembly. 2* No one whose testicles have been crushed or whose penis has been cut off may come into the assembly of the LORD.b 3No one born of an illicit union may come into the assembly of the LORD, nor any descendant of such even to the tenth generation may come into the assembly of the LORD.c 4d No Ammonite or Moabite may ever come into the assembly of the LORD, nor may any of their descendants even to the tenth generation come into the assembly of the LORD, 5because they would not come to meet you with food and water on your journey after you left Egypt, and because they hired Balaam, son of Beor, from Pethor in Aram Naharaim, to curse you. 6The LORD, your God, would not listen to Balaam but turned his curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD, your God, loves you. 7Never seek their welfare or prosperity as long as you live.e 8f Do not abhor the Edomite: he is your brother. Do not abhor the Egyptian: you were a resident alien in his country. 9Children born to them may come into the assembly of the LORD in the third generation.

Cleanliness in Camp. 10When in camp during an expedition against your enemies, you shall keep yourselves from anything bad. 11g If one of you becomes unclean because of a nocturnal emission, he shall go outside the camp; he shall not come back into the camp. 12Toward evening, he shall bathe in water; then, when the sun has set, he may come back into the camp. 13Outside the camp you shall have a place set aside where you shall go. 14You shall keep a trowel in your equipment and, when you go outside to relieve yourself, you shall dig a hole with it and then cover up your excrement. 15Since the LORD, your God, journeys along in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to give your enemies over to you, your camp must be holy, so that he does not see anything indecent in your midst and turn away from you.h

Various Precepts. 16i You shall not hand over to their master any slaves who have taken refuge with you from their master. 17Let them live among you in any place they choose, in any one of your communities* that seems good to them. Do not oppress them.

18There shall be no temple prostitute* among the Israelite women, nor a temple prostitute among the Israelite men.j 19You shall not offer a prostitute’s fee or a dog’s pay* as any kind of votive offering in the house of the LORD, your God; both these things are an abomination to the LORD, your God.k

20l You shall not demand interest from your kindred on a loan of money or of food or of anything else which is loaned. 21From a foreigner you may demand interest, but you may not demand interest from your kindred, so that the LORD, your God, may bless you in all your undertakings on the land you are to enter and possess.

22m When you make a vow to the LORD, your God, you shall not delay in fulfilling it; for the LORD, your God, will surely require it of you and you will be held guilty. 23Should you refrain from making a vow, you will not be held guilty. 24But whatever your tongue utters you must be careful to do, just as you freely vowed to the LORD, your God, with your own mouth.

25When you go through your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat as many grapes as you wish, until you are satisfied, but do not put them in your basket. 26When you go through your neighbor’s grainfield, you may pluck some of the ears with your hand, but do not put a sickle to your neighbor’s grain.

* [23:1] Father’s wife: stepmother.

* [23:2] Exclusion of an emasculated male may have had to do with association of emasculation with the practices of other peoples, or it may have been rejection of someone with a significant blemish who was thus not suitable for participation in the sacral assembly.

* [23:17] In any one of your communities: from this it would seem that the slave in question is a fugitive from a foreign country.

* [23:1819] Temple prostitute: Heb. qedesha, lit., “holy one,” a title of the goddess of fertility. The role or function of the qedesha is debated; some see this as simply a term for a prostitute (Heb. zona). Others see it as designating a cultic role but not necessarily one involving sexual activity. The evidence is insufficient to give a final answer.

* [23:19] Dog’s pay: “dog” is a derogatory term for a male temple prostitute.

a. [23:1] Dt 27:20; Gn 9:2027; 49:4; Lv 18:619; 20:11; Ez 22:10.

b. [23:2] Lv 21:1624.

c. [23:3] Gn 19:3038; Lv 18:618.

d. [23:46] Nm 22:124:25; Ru 4:917; Ezr 10:1044; Neh 13:13, 2327.

e. [23:7] Ezr 9:12.

f. [23:8] Dt 2:28; 26:5; Gn 12:1020; 25:1926; 36:69; 46:57; 47:27.

g. [23:1112] Lv 15:1617.

h. [23:15] Dt 1:30; 20:4; 31:6, 8; 2 Sm 7:6.

i. [23:1617] 1 Kgs 2:3940.

j. [23:18] Gn 38:2122; 1 Kgs 14:24; 15:12; 22:46; 2 Kgs 23:7; Hos 4:14.

k. [23:19] Dt 7:2526; Is 23:1718.

l. [23:2021] Dt 15:111; 24:1013; Ex 22:25; Lv 25:3538; Ez 18:8, 13, 17; 22:12; Lk 6:3435.

m. [23:2224] Gn 28:2022; Nm 21:23; 30:115; Jgs 11:3040; 1 Sm 1:11; Ps 56:1213; 66:1315; 132:15; Eccl 5:35.




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