ImmerseBeginnings NLT - Page 310


Lord without a gift for him. All must give as they are able, according to
the blessings given to them by the Lord your God.
“Appoint judges and officials for yourselves from each of your tribes in all
the towns the Lord your God is giving you. They must judge the people
fairly. You must never twist justice or show partiality. Never accept a bribe,
for bribes blind the eyes of the wise and corrupt the decisions of the godly.
Let true justice prevail, so you may live and occupy the land that the Lord
your God is giving you.
“You must never set up a wooden Asherah pole beside the altar you build
for the Lord your God. And never set up sacred pillars for worship, for
the Lord your God hates them.
“Never sacrifice sick or defective cattle, sheep, or goats to the Lord your
God, for he detests such gifts.
“When you begin living in the towns the Lord your God is giving you,
a man or woman among you might do evil in the sight of the Lord your
God and violate the covenant. For instance, they might serve other gods
or worship the sun, the moon, or any of the ­stars—­the forces of ­heaven—
­which I have strictly forbidden. When you hear about it, investigate the
matter thoroughly. If it is true that this detestable thing has been done in
Israel, then the man or woman who has committed such an evil act must be
taken to the gates of the town and stoned to death. But never put a person
to death on the testimony of only one witness. There must always be two
or three witnesses. The witnesses must throw the first stones, and then all
the people may join in. In this way, you will purge the evil from among you.
“Suppose a case arises in a local court that is too hard for you to d­ ecide—
­for instance, whether someone is guilty of murder or only of manslaughter,
or a difficult lawsuit, or a case involving different kinds of assault. Take
such legal cases to the place the Lord your God will choose, and present
them to the Levitical priests or the judge on duty at that time. They will
hear the case and declare the verdict. You must carry out the verdict they
announce and the sentence they prescribe at the place the Lord chooses.
You must do exactly what they say. After they have interpreted the law and
declared their verdict, the sentence they impose must be fully executed; do
not modify it in any way. Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of
the judge or of the priest who represents the Lord your God must die. In
this way you will purge the evil from Israel. Then everyone else will hear
about it and be afraid to act so arrogantly.

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