Good News Translation (GNB)
18

The Share of the Priests

181“The priestly tribe of Levi is not to receive any share of land in Israel; instead, they are to live on the offerings and other sacrifices given to the LORD. 2

18.2:
Num 18.20
They are to own no land, as the other tribes do; their share is the privilege of being the LORD's priests, as the LORD has promised.

3“Whenever cattle or sheep are sacrificed, the priests are to be given the shoulder, the jaw, and the stomach. 4They are to receive the first share of the corn, wine, olive oil, and wool. 5The LORD chose from all your tribes the tribe of Levi to serve him as priests for ever.

6“Any Levite who wants to may come from any town in Israel to the one place of worship 7and may serve there as a priest of the LORD his God, like the other Levites who are serving there. 8He is to receive the same amount of food as the other priests, and he may keep whatever his family sends him.18.8 Probable text and he may keepsends him; Hebrew unclear.

Warning against Pagan Practices

9“When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, don't follow the disgusting practices of the nations that are there. 10

18.10:
Lev 19.26
Ex 22.18
Don't sacrifice your children in the fires on your altars; and don't let your people practise divination or look for omens or use spells 11
18.11:
Lev 19.31
or charms, and don't let them consult the spirits of the dead. 12The LORD your God hates people who do these disgusting things, and that is why he is driving those nations out of the land as you advance. 13
18.13:
Mt 5.48
Be completely faithful to the LORD.”

The Promise to Send a Prophet

14Then Moses said, “In the land you are about to occupy, people follow the advice of those who practise divination and look for omens, but the LORD your God does not allow you to do this. 15

18.15:
Acts 3.22
7.37
Instead, he will send you a prophet like me from among your own people, and you are to obey him.18.15 a prophethim; or prophetsthem.

16“On the day that you were gathered at Mount Sinai, you begged not to hear the LORD speak again or to see his fiery presence any more, because you were afraid you would die. 17So the LORD said to me, ‘They have made a wise request. 18I will send them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will tell him what to say, and he18.18 a prophethimhe; or prophetsthemthey. will tell the people everything I command. 19

18.19:
Acts 3.23
He will speak in my name, and I18.19 He will speakand I; or When a prophet speaks in my name, I. will punish anyone who refuses to obey him. 20But if any prophet dares to speak a message in my name when I did not command him to do so, he must die for it, and so must any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods.’

21“You may wonder how you can tell when a prophet's message does not come from the LORD. 22If a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD and what he says does not come true, then it is not the LORD's message. That prophet has spoken on his own authority, and you are not to fear him.

19

The Cities of Refuge

(Num 35.9–34; Josh 20.1–9)

191“After the LORD your God has destroyed the people whose land he is giving you and after you have taken their cities and houses and settled there, 2-3divide the territory into three parts, each with a city that can be easily reached. Then anyone who kills someone will be able to escape to one of them for protection. 4If someone accidentally kills someone who is not an enemy, he may escape to any of these cities and be safe. 5For example, if two men go into the forest together to cut wood and if, as one of them is chopping down a tree, the head of the axe comes off the handle and kills the other, he can run to one of those three cities and be safe. 6If there were only one city, the distance to it might be too great, and the relative who is responsible for taking revenge for the killing might catch him and in his anger kill an innocent neighbour. After all, it was by accident that he killed his neighbour who was not his enemy. 7This is why I order you to set aside three cities.

8“When the LORD your God enlarges your territory, as he told your ancestors he would, and gives you all the land he has promised, 9then you are to select three more cities. (He will give you this land if you do everything that I command you today and if you love the LORD your God and live according to his teachings.) 10Do this, so that innocent people will not die and so that you will not be guilty of putting them to death in the land that the LORD is giving you.

11“But suppose someone deliberately murders an enemy in cold blood and then escapes to one of those cities for protection. 12In that case, the leaders of his own town are to send for him and hand him over to the relative responsible for taking revenge for the murder, so that he may be put to death. 13Show him no mercy. Rid Israel of this murderer, so that all will go well with you.

Ancient Boundaries

14

19.14:
Deut 27.17
“Do not move your neighbour's boundary mark, established long ago in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

Concerning Witnesses

15

19.15:
Num 35.30
Deut 17.6
Mt 18.16
Jn 8.17
2 Cor 13.1
1 Tim 5.19
Heb 10.28
“One witness is not enough to convict a man of a crime; at least two witnesses are necessary to prove that a man is guilty. 16If someone tries to harm someone else by false accusation, 17both are to go to the one place of worship and be judged by the priests and judges who are then in office. 18The judges will investigate the case thoroughly; and if someone has made a false accusation against a fellow-Israelite, 19that person is to receive the punishment the accused would have received. In this way you will get rid of this evil. 20Then everyone else will hear what happened; they will be afraid, and no one will ever again do such an evil thing. 21
19.21:
Ex 21.23–25
Lev 24.19–20
Mt 5.38
In such cases show no mercy; the punishment is to be a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, and a foot for a foot.

20

Concerning War

201“When you go out to fight against your enemies and you see chariots and horses and an army that outnumbers yours, do not be afraid of them. The LORD your God, who rescued you from Egypt, will be with you. 2Before you start fighting, a priest is to come forward and say to the army, 3‘Men of Israel, listen! Today you are going into battle. Do not be afraid of your enemies, or lose courage, or panic. 4The LORD your God is going with you, and he will give you victory.’

5“Then the officers will address the men and say, ‘Is there any man here who has just built a house, but has not yet dedicated it? If so, he is to go home. Otherwise, if he is killed in battle, someone else will dedicate his house. 6Is there any man here who has just planted a vineyard, but has not yet had the chance to harvest its grapes? If so, he is to go home. Otherwise, if he is killed in battle, someone else will enjoy the wine. 7Is there anyone here who is engaged to be married? If so, he is to go home. Otherwise, if he is killed in battle, someone else will marry the woman he is engaged to.’

8“The officers will also say to the men, ‘Is there any man here who has lost his nerve and is afraid? If so, he is to go home. Otherwise, he will destroy the morale of the others.’ 9When the officers have finished speaking to the army, leaders are to be chosen for each unit.

10“When you go to attack a city, first give its people a chance to surrender. 11If they open the gates and surrender, they are all to become your slaves and do forced labour for you. 12But if the people of that city will not surrender, but choose to fight, surround it with your army. 13Then, when the LORD your God lets you capture the city, kill every man in it. 14You may, however, take for yourselves the women, the children, the livestock, and everything else in the city. You may use everything that belongs to your enemies. The LORD has given it to you. 15That is how you are to deal with those cities that are far away from the land you will settle in.

16“But when you capture cities in the land that the LORD your God is giving you, kill everyone. 17Completely destroy all the people: the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, as the LORD ordered you to do. 18Kill them, so that they will not make you sin against the LORD by teaching you to do all the disgusting things that they do in the worship of their gods.

19“When you are trying to capture a city, do not cut down its fruit trees, even though the siege lasts a long time. Eat the fruit, but do not destroy the trees; the trees are not your enemies. 20You may cut down the other trees and use them in the siege mounds until the city is captured.