Marriage Legislation.* 1a When a man, after marrying a woman, is later displeased with her because he finds in her something indecent, and he writes out a bill of divorce and hands it to her, thus dismissing her from his house, 2if on leaving his house she goes and becomes the wife of another man, 3and the second husband, too, comes to dislike her and he writes out a bill of divorce and hands it to her, thus dismissing her from his house, or if this second man who has married her dies, 4then her former husband, who dismissed her, may not again take her as his wife after she has become defiled. That would be an abomination before the LORD, and you shall not bring such guilt upon the land the LORD, your God, is giving you as a heritage.b
5c When a man is newly wed, he shall not go out on a military expedition, nor shall any duty be imposed on him. He shall be exempt for one year for the sake of his family, to bring joy to the wife he has married.
Pledges and Kidnappings. 6* No one shall take a hand mill or even its upper stone as a pledge for debt, for that would be taking as a pledge the debtor’s life.
7If anyone is caught kidnapping a fellow Israelite, enslaving or selling the victim, that kidnapper shall be put to death.d Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst.
Skin Diseases. 8e In an attack of scaly infection* you shall be careful to observe exactly and to carry out all the instructions the levitical priests give you, as I have commanded them: observe them carefully. 9f Remember what the LORD, your God, did to Miriam on the journey after you left Egypt.
Loans and Wages. 10When you make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, you shall not enter the neighbor’s house to receive the pledge, 11but shall wait outside until the person to whom you are making the loan brings the pledge outside to you. 12If the person is poor, you shall not sleep in the pledged garment, 13but shall definitely return it at sunset, so that your neighbor may sleep in the garmentg and bless you. That will be your justice before the LORD, your God.
14h You shall not exploit a poor and needy hired servant, whether one of your own kindred or one of the resident aliens who live in your land, within your gates.i 15On each day you shall pay the servant’s wages before the sun goes down, since the servant is poor and is counting on them. Otherwise the servant will cry to the LORD against you, and you will be held guilty.j
Individual Responsibility. 16Parents shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their parents; only for one’s own crime shall a person be put to death.k
Rights of the Unprotected. 17l You shall not deprive the resident alien or the orphan of justice, nor take the clothing of a widow as pledge. 18For, remember, you were slaves in Egypt, and the LORD, your God, redeemed you from there; that is why I command you to do this.
19m When you reap the harvest in your field and overlook a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; let it be for the resident alien, the orphan, and the widow, so that the LORD, your God, may bless you in all your undertakings. 20When you knock down the fruit of your olive trees, you shall not go over the branches a second time; let what remains be for the resident alien, the orphan, and the widow. 21When you pick your grapes, you shall not go over the vineyard a second time; let what remains be for the resident alien, the orphan, and the widow. 22For remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt; that is why I command you to do this.
* [24:1–4] This law is directly concerned only with forbidding a divorced man from remarrying his former wife, and indirectly with checking hasty divorces, by demanding sufficient cause and certain legal formalities. Divorce itself is taken for granted and tolerated as an existing custom whose potential evils this law seeks to lessen. Cf. 22:19, 29; Mal 2:14–16. Something indecent: a rather indefinite phrase, meaning perhaps “immodest conduct,” but possibly including any kind of objectionable conduct. By New Testament times Jewish opinion differed concerning what was sufficient ground for divorce; cf. Mt 19:3.
* [24:6] Since the Israelites ground their grain into flour only in sufficient quantity for their current need, to deprive a debtor of his hand mill was equivalent to condemning him to starvation.
* [24:8] Scaly infection: the Hebrew word seems to have to do with one or more skin diseases that produce scales, such as psoriasis. Its precise meaning is uncertain. See note on Lv 13:1–14:57.
a. [24:1–4] Dt 22:13–19, 28–29; Sir 7:26; Jer 3:1; Mt 5:31–32; 19:3–9.
g. [24:13] Dt 6:25; Ex 22:25–26; Am 2:8.
h. [24:14–15] Lv 19:13; Sir 34:26–27; Jer 22:13.
j. [24:15] Dt 15:9; Mt 20:1–16.
k. [24:16] Dt 7:10; 2 Kgs 14:6; 2 Chr 25:4; Jer 31:29–30; Ez 18:20.
l. [24:17–18] Dt 10:17–19; 15:15; 24:22; 27:19; Ex 22:21–24; 23:9.