Deuteronomy 21-24: Stone disobedient sons to death

If someone slain is lying in the open, the elders of the nearest town shall take a heifer, break its neck in a river, wash their hands over the heifer, and then request that the LORD absolve the people of bloodguilt.  If you capture a beautiful woman during wartime, allow her to lament her parents for a month; then have sex with her, and she shall be your wife.  You must accept your first-born as such, even if the mother is the less loved of your two wives.  If a son is disobedient, his parents shall bring him before the elders of the community, and the men of the town shall stone him to death.

If your fellow’s ox or sheep goes astray, take it back to him.  Cross-dressing is forbidden.  When you build a new house, make a parapet for the roof so that nobody falls from it.  You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, or plow with an ox and ass together, or wear a cloth combining wool and linen.  If a man complains that his wife is not a virgin, and he is lying, fine him 100 shekels.  If he is not lying, stone the girl to death.  In the case of adultery, both people shall die.  If a woman claims rape but did not cry for help, stone her.  No Ammonites or Moabites shall be admitted to the congregation, but you shall not abhor an Edomite or an Egyptian.  You must not return a fugitive slave.  You must not be prostitutes, charge interest to Israelites, or take a handmill as a pawn.  Do not abuse needy laborers, whether countryman or stranger; pay him on the same day.  Leave some food in your fields and olive trees for the stranger, fatherless, and widow.

Commentary:

  • These chapters are a list of many laws, in no particular order, with laws next to each other not necessarily related.
  • Divorce is explicitly allowed in chapter 24 (24:1-4).
  • 24:16 is a drastic departure from precedent: “Parents shall not be put to death for children, nor children be put to death for parents: a person shall be put to death only for his own crime.”  This directly contradicts verses such as 5:9, which reads “…For I the LORD your God am an impassioned God, visiting the guilt of the parents upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generations of those who reject Me”
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