Deuteronomy 23

Meetings to worship God

1 Perhaps a man has sex parts that someone has destroyed or spoiled. That man cannot join with the Lord's people when they meet together. 2 If someone was born when his parents were not properly married, he cannot join with the Lord's people. His descendants may not meet with the Lord's people to worship the Lord either. That will continue to the tenth generation of the man's descendants.

3 Ammonite and Moabite people also cannot join with the Lord's people when they come together to worship him. Even the tenth generation of their descendants can never do this. 4 The people of those nations refused to help you when you were leaving Egypt. They did not give you food or water. Also, they paid Beor's son Balaam to curse you. He came from Pethor in Mesopotamia. 5 But the Lord your God refused to listen to Balaam. He refused to curse you. Instead, he blessed you. The Lord your God did that because he loves you. 6 You must never do anything to help these two nations. Do not let them live in peace.

7 But do not hate anyone from Edom. The Edomites have the same ancestor as you. Do not hate an Egyptian person. You once lived as foreigners in Egypt. 8 The third generation of their descendants can join with the Lord's people when they meet together to worship him.

Keep the camp clean

9 Your soldiers may be living in tents while they fight against your enemies. They must keep away from anything that makes them unclean. 10 While a man is asleep, semen may come from his sex part. That makes him unclean so he must go outside the camp. He must stay there all day. 11 In the evening, he must wash himself. At sunset he can return into the camp.

12 You must choose a special place outside the camp. Use that place as your toilet. 13 Always carry a small spade with your other tools. When you go to the toilet, dig a hole with your spade. Then bury your dung in it and cover it with earth. 14 For the Lord your God moves among you in your camp. He keeps you safe from your enemies so that you win against them. So make sure that your camp is a holy place. The Lord must not see anything that would bring shame on you. Do not make him turn away from you.

15 Someone's slave may escape from his master and come to you. If that happens, do not send him back to his master. 16 He can live anywhere among you. He may choose to live in any of your towns that he likes. Do not be cruel to him.

17 No Israelite man or woman must ever become a prostitute at places where people worship their gods. 18 You must not bring the money that people pay to these prostitutes into the Lord's temple. Do not use it to offer a gift that you have promised to the Lord your God. He hates prostitutes, both men and women.

19 You may 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 a foreign person to pay back more, but not an Israelite. If you obey this command, the Lord your God will bless you. When you live in your new land, God will bless everything that you do.

21 If you promise to give something to the Lord your God, be careful to bring your gift soon. If you do not bring it, that is a sin. The Lord will certainly demand it from you. 22 You may choose not to promise any gift. That is not a sin. 23 But whatever you promise to do, you must be careful to do it. If you choose to promise a gift to the Lord your God, give it soon.

24 If you go into your neighbour's vineyard, you may eat some of the grapes. You may eat as many grapes as you want, but do not carry any away in a basket. 25 If you go into your neighbour's field of grain, you may eat some of it. You may pick some grain with your hands, but do not use a knife to cut it down.