Deuteronomy 21:1-9

Rules about murder

1 In the land that the Lord your God is giving to you, you may find someone's dead body lying in a field. Someone has killed him but you do not know who the murderer is. 2 Your leaders and your judges must then go to the field. They must measure how far the place is from the nearest towns. 3 Then the leaders from the town that is nearest to the body must do this: They must take a young cow that has never done work on a farm. 4 They must lead the cow down to a valley where no one has ploughed the ground or planted seed. There must be a stream of water in the valley. There they must break the cow's neck.

5 The Levite priests must go there too. The Lord your God has chosen them to serve him and to ask him to bless his people. They also decide as judges what is right. 6 After the leaders of the town have broken the cow's neck, they must wash their hands over it.

21:6When an Israelite washed his hands in clean water, he was showing something to everyone: He had not done the bad thing. And he had not agreed to it.

7 Then they will say, ‘We did not kill this person. We did not see who killed him. 8 Please Lord, accept this animal from your people, Israel, that you have rescued. Do not say that we are guilty of this murder. This person did not deserve to die like this.’

When they do that, the Lord will accept their gift and he will forgive you. 9 In this way, you not be guilty of the murder. You will remove this evil act from among you. You must do what the Lord says is right.