Next read in the Diaspora on 22 August 2015. Parashat Shoftim is the 48th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading.
18 Judges and officers(25) shalt thou appoint to thee in all thy cities which the Lord thy God will give thee throughout thy tribes, and they shall judge the people with true judgment. 19 Thou shalt not pervert judgment, nor have respect to persons, nor receive a gift;(26) for a gift blindeth the eyes of the wise, and depraveth right words. 20 Thou shalt follow that which is surely true, that thou mayest live and inherit the land which the Lord thy God will give thee. 21 Thou shalt not plant thee a grove, nor any tree beside the altar of the Lord thy God that thou makest thee, 22 nor erect a statue which the Lord thy God abhorreth.
2 If, in any one of the cities which the Lord thy God will give thee, there be found a man or woman who hath done evil before the Lord thy God in transgressing his covenant, 3 and going to do service to the idols of the Gentiles, or to the sun, moon, or all the host of the heavens, in worshipping them, which I have not commanded; 4 and it be told thee, and thou hast heard; thou shalt inquire fairly, and if such word be true that this abomination hath been wrought in Israel, 5 thou shalt bring forth that man or woman, and stone them with stones that they die. 6 On the word of two witnesses or of three shall he die who is guilty of death: he shall not die on the word of one witness. 7 The hands of the witnesses shall be upon him first to kill him, and the hands of all the people afterward; and thou shalt put down the doer of evil from among you.
8 If a matter for judgment be extraordinary(27) to thee, between blood and blood, between cause and cause, or between plague and plague, of leprosy, they being matters of divided judgment in thy cities,—then thou shalt arise and go up to the place which the Lord thy God shall choose, 9 and come to the priests, the Levites, and to the judge who may be in those days, and inquire; and they will show thee the sentence of decision. 10 And thou shalt do according to the word of the sentence which they will show thee from the place which the Lord will choose, and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they will teach thee. 11 Upon the word of the law which they teach thee, and upon the judgment they tell thee, thou shalt act; thou shalt not swerve from the word they will have shown thee, to the right or the left. 12 And the man who doeth wickedly in not receiving from the priest who standeth there to minister before the Lord thy God, or from the judge, that man shall die; and thou shalt put down the evil doer from Israel. 13 And all the people will hear and be afraid, and do wickedly no more.
14 When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God will give thee, and dost possess and dwell in it, and thou mayest say, I will appoint a king over me, like the nations who are about me; 15 thou mayest verily appoint over thee a king whom the Lord thy God will choose, from among thy brethren thou shalt appoint the king over thee. Thou shalt not have power to set over thee a foreign man, who is not thy brother. 16 Only he shall not multiply to him horses, nor cause the people to return to Mizraim for the purpose of multiplying horses; for the Lord hath said to you, Ye shall no more return by that way. 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to him, that his heart be not turned away; nor shall he increase silver and gold for himself greatly. 18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this Law in a book, out (of that which is) before the priests, the Levites. 19 And he shall have it with him, to read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear before the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law, and these statutes, to perform them: 20 that his heart may not be lifted up from his brethren, nor swerve from the precepts of the Lord to the right or to the left, and may prolong (his days) in his kingdom, he and his sons in the midst of Israel.
DEUTERONOMY 18 (ONKELOS) — 1 For the priests and Levites, (even) all the tribe of Levi, there shall be no part or inheritance with Israel; they shall eat the oblations of the Lord and his inheritance, 2 but have no heritage among their brethren: the gifts presented unto the Lord they are his heritage, as the Lord hath said to him.
3 And this is what shall appertain to the priests from the people, from them who offer a sacrifice, whether bullock or lamb; they shall give to the priest the shoulder, the cheeks, and the maw. 4 The first of thy corn, wine, and oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, thou shalt set apart for him. 5 For the Lord thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes to stand to minister in the Name of the Lord, he, and his sons, all the days.
6 And if a Levite come from one of thy cities out of all Israel, where he hath dwelt, and come with all the desire of his soul, to the place which the Lord will choose, 7 then he shall minister in the Name of the Lord his God with his brethren the Levites who minister there before the Lord. 8 Portion for portion shall they eat, beside the accustomed allotment which cometh on the Sabbath, as the fathers have appointed.(28)
9 When thou hast entered into the land which the Lord thy God will give thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of these peoples. 10 No one shall be found among thee who maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, using enchantments, observing times or augury or witchcraft, nor an incantator, 11 or a consulter at a heathen oracle, or a wizard, or an inquirer from the dead: 12 for all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord; and because of these abominations the Lord thy God driveth them out from before thee. 13 Thou shalt be perfect in the fear of the Lord thy God. 14 For these nations which thou shalt possess hearkened to diviners and enchanters; not so hath the Lord given thee to do. 15 A PROPHET from among thee, of thy brethren, like me, will the Lord thy God raise up unto thee, to him shall ye hearken. 16 According to all that thou didst ask before the Lord thy God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying: Let me not again hear the voice of the Word of the Lord my God, and let me not see the great fire any more, lest I die. 17 And the Lord said to me, That which they have spoken is right: 18 I will raise up to them a Prophet from among them like unto thee, and I will put My words of prophecy upon his lips, and he will speak to them all that I shall command him. 19 And the man who will not hearken to My words which he will speak in My Name, My Word will require it of him.
20 But a prophet who shall do wickedly in speaking in My Name a word which I had not commanded him to speak, or who shall speak in the name of the gods of the Gentiles, that prophet shall die. 21 And if thou say in thy heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? 22 When a prophet speaketh in the Name of the Lord, if the word come not to pass, neither be confirmed, that is a word which the Lord hath not spoken: of the prophet who hath spoken in wickedness thou shalt not be afraid.
DEUTERONOMY 19 (ONKELOS) — 1 When the Lord thy God hath destroyed the nations whose land the Lord thy God will give thee, and you possess it, and dwell in their cities and houses; 2 three cities shalt thou set apart to thee within thy land, which the Lord thy God will give thee to inherit. 3 Thou shalt prepare for thee a way, and divide into three parts the boundary of thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess, for any manslayer to escape thither. 4 And this shall be the case of the manslayer who fleeth thither that he may live: he who shall have slain his neighbour unwittingly, he not having hated him yesterday or before. 5 As, when a man goeth with his neighbour into the thicket to cut wood, and his hand with the iron is driven aside in cutting the wood, and the iron flieth off from the handle and striketh (findeth) his neighbour, and he be killed, he shall flee to one of these cities that he may live; 6 lest the avenger of blood pursue him while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and destroy his life; he not being guilty of death, because he had not hated him in time past. 7 Wherefore, I command thee, saying: Thou shalt set apart to thee three cities. 8 And when the Lord thy God shall enlarge thy border, as He sware to thy fathers, and give thee all the land which He said to thy fathers He would give, 9 if thou wilt keep all this commandment which I command thee this day, to perform it, to love the Lord thy God, and to walk in the ways that are right before Him all the days; then thou shalt add yet three cities to those three, 10 that innocent blood may not be shed within thy land which the Lord thy God will give thee to inherit, and that the guilt of murder may not be upon thee.
11 But if a man bear hatred to his neighbour, and lie in wait for him,(29) and rise up against him, and destroy his life, and he die, and he flee to one of these cities, 12 then the elders of his city shall send and take him from thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, and he shall die. 13 Thine eye shall not have pity upon him, and thou shalt do away with the shedding of innocent blood from Israel, that it may be well with thee.
14 Thou shalt not remove the boundary of thy neighbour which he hath set for a limit in the inheritance which thou shalt possess in the land the Lord thy God will give thee to inherit.
15 One witness shall not rise up (alone) against a man for any iniquities or sins, or any sin by which he (may have) transgressed; but upon the word of two or of three witnesses shall the case be confirmed. 16 If a false witness stand up against a man to testify against him(30) with perversity, 17 then the two men to whom the cause belongeth shall stand in the presence of the Lord before the priests and judges who shall be in those days; 18 and the judges shall make inquest fairly, and, behold, he hath testified falsely, and the testimony is false that he hath witnessed against his brother, 19 then you shall do to him as he had designed to do to his brother, and so shall you put away the evil doer from among you. 20 And the rest shall hear and be afraid, and not do any more like this evil thing among thee. 21 And thine eye shall not have pity: life for life; eye for eye; tooth for tooth; hand for hand; foot for foot.
DEUTERONOMY 20 (ONKELOS) — 1 When thou goest out to war with thy adversaries, and seest horses, and chariots, and more people than thou, be not afraid of them; for thy helper is the Word of the Lord thy God, who brought thee up from the land of Mizraim. 2 And it shall be when you draw nigh to battle, that the priest shall approach, and speak with the people, 3 and say to them, Hear, Israel: you come this day to do battle with your enemies: let not your heart waver, neither be afraid, or confounded, or broken before them; 4 for the Lord your God (is He) who goeth before you to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. 5 And the officers shall speak before the people, saying: What man is there who hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he be slain in the battle, and another man dedicate it. 6 And what man who hath planted a vineyard, but hath not made it common (for use)? let him go and return to his house, lest he be slain in the battle, and another man make it common, (or partake of it). 7 And what man hath betrothed a wife, and not taken her? let him go and return to his house, lest he be slain in the battle, and another man take her. 8 And the officers shall yet speak to the people, and say: What man is there who is afraid and brokenhearted? Let him return to his house, and not make the heart of his brethren to be broken as his heart. 9 And it shall be, when the officers have finished to speak with the people, they shall appoint captains of the host at the head of the people.
10 When thou drawest nigh to a city to make war against it, then proclaim to it words of peace. 11 And if it be that it make thee an answer of peace, and open to thee, then all the people who dwell in it shall be tributaries to thee and serve thee. 12 But if it will not make peace with thee, but will have war with thee, then thou shalt besiege it: 13 and when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thy hand, thou mayest smite all the males thereof by the sentence of the sword; 14 but the women, children, cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil, thou shalt make booty for thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thy enemies, which the Lord thy God will have given thee. 15 Thus shalt thou do to all cities which are remote from thee, but are not of the cities of these nations; 16 for of the cities of these nations which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not spare alive any breathing thing, 17 but utterly destroy them, Hittites aud Amorites, Kenaanites and Pheresites, Hivites and Jebusites, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; 18 that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominations which they have done to their idols, and you sin against the Lord your God.
19 When thou layest siege to a city many days in making war against it to subdue it, thou shalt not destroy the trees (that are about) it, nor lift up the iron against them: for of them thou mayest eat; thou shalt not cut them down, for the tree of the field is not like a man, to come against thee in the siege. 20 Only a tree which thou knowest is not for food, thou mayest destroy and cut down; and thou shalt build bulwarks (palisades) against the city which maketh war with thee, until thou subdue it.
DEUTERONOMY 21 (ONKELOS) — 1 When in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee to inherit there may be found one who is slain, lying in the field, and it is not known who hath killed him, 2 then thy elders and judges shall come forth and admeasure unto the cities that surround the dead man; 3 and the elders of the city that is nearest to the dead man shall take an heifer of the herd which hath not been worked with, nor hath drawn on the yoke. 4 And the elders of that city shall bring the heifer down to an uncultivated valley (or field) which is not tilled nor sown, and there cut off the heifer in the field. 5 And the priests the sons of Levi shall go near,—for them the Lord thy God hath chosen to minister to Him, and to bless in the Name of the Lord, and on their word shall every controversy or stroke of leprosy (be adjudged);—6 and all the elders of that city which is nearest to the dead man shall wash their hands over the heifer which hath been cut off in the field; 7 and shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, and our eyes have not seen. 8 And the priests shall say, Forgive Thy people Israel whom Thou, Lord, hast redeemed, and let not the guilt of innocent blood be among Thy people Israel. And it shall be forgiven them concerning the blood: 9 so shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right before the Lord.