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Commands of God

God delivered all these commandments: "I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their parents' wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation, but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain. For the Lord will not leave unpunished those who take his name in vain. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord, your God. No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter or your male or female slave, or your beast, or by the alien who lives with you. In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord has blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you. You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or donkey, nor anything else that belongs to him.

Thus says the Lord: observe what is good, do what is just, for my salvation is about to come, my justice about to be revealed. Defend the lowly and the fatherless, render justice to the afflicted and needy. Rescue the lowly and poor; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

My son, rob not the poor man of his livelihood; force not the eyes of the needy to turn away. A hungry man grieve not, a needy man anger not; do not exasperate the downtrodden, delay not to give to the needy. A beggar in distress do not reject; avert not your face from the poor. F rom the needy turn not your eyes, give no man reason to curse you. For if in the bitterness of his soul he curses you, his Creator will hear his prayer. Give a hearing to the poor man and return his greeting with courtesy. Deliver the oppressed from the hand of the oppressor; let not justice be repugnant to you. To the fatherless be as a father; and help their mother as a husband would; thus will you be like a son to the Most High, and he will be more tender to you than a mother.

Do not be discouraged, my child, because of your poverty. You will be a rich man if you fear God, avoid all sin, and do what is right before the Lord your God. Be not impatient in prayers, and neglect not the giving of alms. Laugh not at an embittered man, be mindful of him who exults and humbles. Plot no mischief against your brother, nor against your friend and companion.

To the poor man also extend your hand, that you blessing may be complete. Be generous to all the living, and withhold not your kindness from the dead. Avoid not those who weep, but mourn with those who mourn, neglect not to visit the sick -- for these things you will be loved. In whatever you do, remember your last days, and you will never sin. Give alms from your possessions. Do not turn your face away from any of the poor, and God's face will not be turned away from you. Son, give alms in proportion to what you own. If you have great wealth, give alms out of your abundance; if you have but little, distribute even some of that. But do not hesitate to give alms, you will be storing up a goodly treasure for yourself against the day of adversity. Almsgiving frees one from death, and keeps one from going into the dark above. Alms area worthy offering in the sight of the Most High for all who give them.

The poor man's wisdom lifts his head high and sets him among the princes. Praise not a man for his looks; despise not a man for his appearance. Least is the bee among winged things, but she reaps the choicest of all harvests. Mock not the worn cloak and joke at no man's bitter day for strange are the works of the Lord, hidden from men his deeds. The oppressed often rise to a throne, and some that none would consider wear a crown. The exalted often fall into utter disgrace, the honored are given into enemy hands.

Give to the hungry some of your bread, and to the naked some of your clothing. Whatever you have left over, give away as alms, and do not begrudge the alms you give. No matter the wrong, do no violence to your neighbor, and do not walk the path of arrogance. Odious to the Lord and to men is arrogance, and the sin of oppression they both hate. Dominion is transferred from one people to another because of the violence of the arrogant. For I, the Lord, love what is right, I hate robbery and injustice; I will give them their recompense faithfully, a lasting covenant I will make with them.

You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has taken refuge from him with you. Let him live with you wherever he chooses, in any one of your communities that pleases him. Do not molest him. You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt. You shall not wrong any widow or orphan. If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry. My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword; then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans. If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors among my people, you shall not act like extortioners toward him by demanding interest from him. If you take your neighbors cloak as a pledge, you shall return it to him before sunset; for this cloak of his is the only covering he has for his body. What else has he to sleep in? If he cries out to me, I will hear him, for I am compassionate.

You shall not repeat a false report. Do not join the wicked in putting your hand, as an unjust witness, upon anyone. Neither shall you allege the example of the many as an excuse for doing wrong, nor shall you, when testifying in a lawsuit, side with the many in perverting justice.

You shall not deny one of your needy fellow men his rights in his lawsuit. You shall keep away from anything dishonest. The innocent and the just you shall not put to death, nor shall you acquit the guilty. Never take a bribe, for a bribe blinds even the most clear-sighted and twists the words even of the just. You shall not oppress an alien, you well know how it feels to be an alien, since you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt. For six years you may sow your land and gather in its produce. But the seventh year you shall let the land lie untilled and unharvested, that the poor among you may eat of it and the beasts of the field may eat what the poor leave. So also shall you do in regard to your vineyard and your olive grove. For six days you may do your work, but on the seventh day you must rest, that your ox and your donkey may also have rest, and that the son of your maidservant and the alien may be refreshed. Give heed to all that I have told you.

At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithes of your produce for that year and deposit them in community stores, that the Levite who has no share in the heritage with you, and also the alien, the orphan, and the widow who belong to your community, may come and eat their fill; so that the Lord, your God, may bless you in all that you undertake.

When you have finished setting aside all the tithes of your produce in the third year, the year of the tithes, and you have given them to the Levite, the alien, the orphan, and the widow, that they may eat their fill in your own community, you shall declare before the Lord, your God, I have purged my house of the sacred portion and I have given it to the Levite, the alien, the orphan, and the widow, just as you have commanded me. In this I have not broken or forgotten any of your commandments.

When one of your fellow countrymen is reduced to poverty and is unable to hold out beside you, extend to him the privileges of an alien or a tenant, so that he may continue to live with you. Do not exact interest from your countryman either in money or in kind, but out of fear of God let him live with you. You are to lend him neither money at interest nor food at a profit. I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God. When, then, your countryman becomes so impoverished beside you that he sells you his services, do not make him work as a slave. Rather, let him be like a hired servant or like your tenant, working with you until the jubilee year, when he, together with his children, shall be released from your service and return to his kindred and to the property of his ancestors. Since those whom I brought out of the land of Egypt are servants of mine, they shall not be sold as slaves to any man. Do not lord it over them harshly, but stand in fear of your God.

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not be so thorough that you reap the field to its very edge, nor shall you glean the stray ears of grain. Likewise, you shall not pick your vineyard bare, nor gather up the grapes that have fallen. These things you shall leave for the poor and the alien. I, the Lord, am your God.

You shall not steal. You shall not lie or speak falsely to one another. You shall not swear falsely by my name, thus profaning the name of your God. I am the Lord. You shall not defraud or rob your neighbor. You shall not withhold overnight the wages of your day laborer. You shall not curse the deaf, or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but you shall fear your God. I am the Lord.

You shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgment. Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty, but judge your fellow men justly. You shall not go about spreading slander among your kinsmen; nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor's life is at stake. I am the Lord. You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. Though you may have to reprove your fellow man, do not incur sin because of him. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

When an alien resides with you in your land, do not molest him. You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; have the same love for him as for yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt. I, the Lord, am your God. Do not act dishonestly in using measures of length of weight or capacity. You shall have a true scale and true weights, an honest ephah and an honest hin. I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. Be careful, then, to observe all my statutes and decrees. I am the Lord.

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not be so thorough that you reap the field to its very edge, nor shall you glean the stray ears of your grain. These things you shall leave for the poor and the alien I, the Lord, am your God. For the Lord, your God, is the God of gods, the Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who has no favorites, accepts no bribes, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and befriends the alien, feeding and clothing him. So you too must befriend the alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.

At the end of every seven year period, you shall have a relaxation of debts, which shall be observed as follows. Every creditor shall relax his claim on what he has loaned his neighbor, he must not press his neighbor, his kinsman, because a relaxation in honor of the Lord has been proclaimed. Since the Lord, your God, will bless you abundantly in the land he will give you to occupy as your heritage, there should be no one of you in need. If you but heed the voice of the Lord, your God, and carefully observe all these commandments which I enjoin on you today, you will lend to many nations, and borrow from none; you will rule over many nations, and none will rule over you, since the Lord, your God, will bless you as he promised.

If one of your kinsmen in any community is in need in the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor close your hand to him in his need. Instead, you shall open your hand to him and freely lend him enough to meet his need. Be on your guard lest, entertaining the mean thought that the seventh year, the year of relaxation is near, you grudge help to your needy kinsman and give him nothing; else he will cry to the Lord against you and you will be held guilty. When you give to him, give freely and not with ill will; for the Lord, your God, will bless you for this in all your works and undertakings. The needy will never be lacking in the land, that is why I command you to open your hand to your poor and needy kinsman in your country.

You shall not defraud a poor and needy hired servant, whether he be one of your own countrymen or one of the aliens who live in your communities. You shall pay him each day's wages before sundown on the day itself, since he is poor and looks forward to them. Otherwise he will cry to the Lord against you, and you will be held guilty.

You shall not violate the rights of the alien or of the orphan, nor take the clothing of a widow as a pledge For, remember, you were once slaves in Egypt, and the Lord, your God, ransomed you from there; that is why I command you to observe this rule.

If a man is poor and cannot afford [the usual offering], he shall take one male lamb for a guilt offering, to be sued as a wave offering in atonement for himself, one tenth of an ephah or fine flour mixed with oil for a cereal offering, a log of oil, and two turtledoves or pigeons, when he can more easily afford, the one as a sin offering and the other as a sacrifice.

You shall appoint judges and officials throughout your tribes to administer true justice for the people in all the communities which the Lord, your God, is giving you. You shall not distort justice, you must be impartial. You shall not take a bribe; for a bribe blinds the eyes even of the wise and twists the words even of the just. Justice and justice alone shall be your aim, that you may have life and may possess the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you.

No one shall take a hand mill or even its upper stone as a pledge for debt, for he would be taking the debtor's sustenance as a pledge. When you make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, you shall not enter his house to receive a pledge from him, but shall wait outside until the man to whom you are making the loan brings his pledge outside to you. If he is a poor man, you shall not sleep in the mantle he gives as a pledge, but shall return it to him at sunset that he himself may sleep in it. Then he will bless you, and it will be a good deed of yours before the Lord, your God.

When you reap the harvest in your field and overlook a sheaf there, you shall not go back to get it; let it be for the alien, the orphan or the widow, that the Lord, your God, may bless you in all your undertakings. When 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 alien, the orphan, and the widow. When you pick your grapes, you shall not go over the vineyard a second time; let what remains be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow. For remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, that is why I command you to observe this rule.

This word of the Lord came to Zechariah: Thus says the Lord of hosts. Render true judgment and show kindness and compassion toward each other. Do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the alien or the poor, do not plot evil against one another in your hearts.

Thus says the Lord God: Enough, you princes of Israel! Put away violence and oppression, and do what is right and just! Stop evicting my people! Says the Lord God. You shall have honest scales, an honest ephah, and an honest liquid measure.

Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality.

All who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat; Come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk! Why spend your money for what is not bread, your wages for what fails to satisfy? Heed me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare. Come to me heedfully, listen, that you may have life. I will renew with you the everlasting covenant, the benefits assured to David.

Thus says the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you. Be not like your fathers whom the former prophets warned: thus says the Lord of Hosts. Turn from your evil ways and from your wicked deeds. But they would not listen or pay attention to me.

Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels. Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body.

Tell the rich in the present age not to be proud and not to rely on so uncertain a thing as wealth but rather on God, who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment. Tell them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, ready to share, thus accumulating as treasure a good foundation for the future, so as to win the life that is true life.

Seek the Lord while he may be found, call him while he is near. Let the scoundrel forsake his way, and the wicked man his thoughts; let him turn to the Lord for mercy, to our God who is generous in forgiving. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts. For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth. It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it. Yes, in joy you shall depart, in peace you shall be brought back. Mountains and hills shall break our in song before you, and all the trees of the countryside shall clap their hands. In place of the thornbush, the cypress shall grow, instead of nettles, the myrtle. This shall be to the Lord's renown, an everlasting imperishable sign.

My brothers, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if a man with gold rings on his fingers and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say, "Sit here, please," while you say to the poor one, "Stand there," or "Sit at my feet," have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs?

Listen to me: did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that God promised to those who love him? But you dishonored the poor person. Are not the rich oppressing you? And do they themselves not haul you off to court? Is it not they who blaspheme the noble name that was invoked over you?

However, if you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law, but falls short in one particular, has become guilty in respect to all of it. For he who said, "You shall not commit adultery," also said, "You shall not kill." Even if you do not commit adultery but kill, you have become a transgressor of the law.

So speak and so act as people who will be judged by the law of freedom. For the judgment is merciless to one who has not shown mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment. What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?

So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, "You have faith and I have works." Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. You have been told, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you. Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God. If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? Children, let us love in deed and truth and not just talk about it.

Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like. But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres, and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, such a one shall be blessed in what he does. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, his religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

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