24 1If a man marries a woman and then it happens that he no longer likes her because he has found something wrong with her, he may give her divorce papers, put them in her hand, and send her off. 2After she leaves, if she becomes another man’s wife 3and he also comes to hate her and this second husband also gives her divorce papers, puts them in her hand, and sends her off, or if he should die, 4then the first husband who divorced her can’t marry her again. She has made herself ritually unclean, and her remarriage would be an abomination in the Presence of God and defile the land with sin, this land that God, your God, is giving you as an inheritance. 5When a man takes a new wife, he is not to go out with the army or be given any business or work duties. He gets one year off simply to be at home making his wife happy. 6Don’t seize a handmill or an upper millstone as collateral for a loan. You’d be seizing someone’s very life. 7If a man is caught kidnapping one of his kinsmen, someone of the People of Israel, to enslave or sell him, the kidnapper must die. Purge that evil from among you. 8Warning! If a serious skin disease breaks out, follow exactly the rules set down by the Levitical priests. Follow them precisely as I commanded them. 9Don’t forget what God, your God, did to Miriam on your way out of Egypt. 10When you make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, don’t enter his house to claim his pledge. 11Wait outside. Let the man to whom you made the pledge bring the pledge to you outside. 12And if he is destitute, don’t use his cloak as a bedroll; 13return it to him at nightfall so that he can sleep in his cloak and bless you. In the sight of God, your God, that will be viewed as a righteous act. 14Don’t abuse a laborer who is destitute and needy, whether he is a fellow Israelite living in your land and in your city. 15Pay him at the end of each workday; he’s living from hand to mouth and needs it now. If you hold back his pay, he’ll protest to God and you’ll have sin on your books. 16Parents shall not be put to death for their children, nor children for their parents. Each person shall be put to death for his own sin. 17Make sure foreigners and orphans get their just rights. Don’t take the cloak of a widow as security for a loan. 18Don’t ever forget that you were once slaves in Egypt and God, your God, got you out of there. I command you: Do what I’m telling you. 19When you harvest your grain and forget a sheaf back in the field, don’t go back and get it; leave it for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow so that God, your God, will bless you in all your work. 20When you shake the olives off your trees, don’t go back over the branches and strip them bare—what’s left is for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow. 21And when you cut the grapes in your vineyard, don’t take every last grape—leave a few for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow. 22Don’t ever forget that you were a slave in Egypt. I command you: Do what I’m telling you.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About