Deuteronomy 23

These people cannot join with the Lord's people

1 Perhaps someone has destroyed the sex parts of a man. That man cannot join with the people of the Lord when they come together.

2 No one can join with the people of the Lord unless his parents are married. None of his children or grandchildren can join with the people of the Lord when they come together. Even the tenth generation of his descendants cannot do this.

3 These people cannot join with the people of the Lord when they come together: People from Moab, people from Ammon or their descendants. Even their tenth generation cannot do this. 4 They refused to give bread and water to you when you left Egypt. And they paid Balaam the son of Beor to say very bad things about you. He came from Pethor in Mesopotamia. 5 But the Lord your God did not listen to Balaam. He changed the bad things into good things for you, because he loves you. 6 Do not agree to stop fighting with these people. Do not be friendly with them as long as you live.

7 Do not hate anyone from Edom, because he has the same ancestor as you. Do not hate anyone from Egypt, because you once lived in his country as a stranger. 8 The third generation of their children can join with the people of the Lord when they come together.

Keep the tents prepared for God

9 Keep away from everything that God would not like. Do this even when you are fighting your enemies. 10 While a man is asleep, something may come out of his sex part. If that happens, he must go away beyond the tents. And he must stay there. 11 In the evening, he must wash himself. Then at sunset he can return to the tents.

12 You must choose a special place beyond the tents. Leave the dirt that comes from inside your body in that place. 13 Always carry with you a small spade. Dig a hole and bury in it the dirt from inside your body. 14 For the Lord your God moves among you in your tents. He keeps you safe and delivers up your enemies to you. So the place where you put your tents must be always ready for God. The Lord will not see anything that is not lovely among you. So he will not turn away from you, because of it.

15 A slave may come to you to be safe. If that happens, keep him with you. Do not give him back to his master. 16 He can live among you in any place that he likes. Let him choose his own town. Do not be cruel to him.

17 No Israelite man or woman must sell his or her body for sex, in the house of a false god. 18 Some people will pay money to a man or a woman for sex. You must not bring this money into the house of the Lord. You must not use this money to buy a gift for the Lord. Even if you have promised a gift to the Lord, you cannot use this money. The Lord hates people who sell their bodies for sex.

19 You can lend money or food or anything else to another Israelite. But do not ask him to give you back more than you lent to him. 20 You can ask anyone from a foreign country to do that. But you must not do this to another Israelite. If you do not do that, the Lord your God will cause all your work to do well, in your country.

21 If you promise a gift to the Lord your God, be careful to bring the gift soon. If you do not bring it, that is a sin. And the Lord will certainly demand it. 22 But if you do not promise to do anything, that will not be a sin. 23 Whatever you say, you must be careful to do. You chose to say the words to the Lord your God. That includes something that you have promised to give to the Lord your God.

24 If you go into your neighbour's field of fruit, you can eat his fruit. You can eat all the fruit that you want. But you must not put any into your basket. 25 If you go into your neighbour's field of corn, you can pick the corn with your hands. But you must not cut his growing corn with a knife.