Deuteronomy – Chapter 23

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 23


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


«No one whose testicles have been crushed or whose penis has been cut off may be admitted into the community of the LORD.


No child of an incestuous union may be admitted into the community of the LORD, nor any descendant of his even to the tenth generation.


No Ammonite or Moabite may ever be admitted into the community of the LORD, nor any descendants of theirs even to the tenth generation,


because they would not succor you with food and water on your journey after you left Egypt, and because Moab hired Balaam, son of Beor, from Pethor in Aram Naharaim, to curse you;


though the LORD, your God, would not listen to Balaam and turned his curse into a blessing for you, because he loves you.


Never promote their peace and prosperity as long as you live.


But do not abhor the Edomite, since he is your brother, nor the Egyptian, since you were an alien in his country.


Children born to them may in the third generation be admitted into the community of the LORD.


«When you are in camp during an expedition against your enemies, you shall keep yourselves from everything offensive.


If one of you becomes unclean because of a nocturnal emission, he shall go outside the camp, and not return until,


toward evening, he has bathed in water; then, when the sun has set, he may come back into the camp.


Outside the camp you shall have a place set aside to be used as a latrine.


You shall also keep a trowel in your equipment and with it, when you go outside to ease nature, you shall first dig a hole and afterward cover up your excrement.


Since the LORD, your God, journeys along within your camp to defend you and to put your enemies at your mercy, your camp must be holy; otherwise, if he sees anything indecent in your midst, he will leave your company.


«You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has taken refuge from him with you.


2 Let him live with you wherever he chooses, in any one of your communities that pleases him. Do not molest him.


3 «There shall be no temple harlot among the Israelite women, nor a temple prostitute among the Israelite men.


You shall not offer a harlot’s fee or a dog’s price 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.


«You shall not demand interest from your countrymen on a loan of money or of food or of anything else on which interest is usually demanded.


You may demand interest from a foreigner, but not from your countryman, so that the LORD, your God, may bless you in all your undertakings on the land you are to enter and occupy.


«When you make a vow to the LORD, your God, you shall not delay in fulfilling it; otherwise you will be held guilty, for the LORD, your God, is strict in requiring it of you.


Should you refrain from making a vow, you will not be held guilty.


But you must keep your solemn word and fulfill the votive offering you have freely promised to the LORD.


«When you go through your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat as many of his grapes as you wish, but do not put them in your basket.


When 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.

1 [1] Father’s wife: stepmother. Dishonor: cf ⇒ Deut 27:20.
2 [17] In any one of your communities: from this it would seem that the slave in question is a fugitive from a foreign country.
3 [18-19] The pagans believed that they could enter into special relationship with their gods and goddesses by having sexual relations with the pagan priests and priestesses who prostituted themselves for this purpose. The money paid for this was considered a sort of votive offering made to the pagan sanctuary. Such abominations were naturally forbidden in Israel. A dog’s price: the money paid to the pagan priest for his indecent service.