Book of Deuteronomy
Book of Deuteronomy Justice and Judgment Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"You must not move your neighbor's boundary marker, set up by former generations, on the property that will be allotted to you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess." (NRSV 19:14)
Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it. (KJV 19:14)
This law will be particularly important to the Israelites when they enter the Promised Land in the book of Joshua. They're basically saying, "don't move onto my side of the bed." Someone clearly violated this principle at one point—moving those pesky boundary stones—which led to the creation of the law.
"If you besiege a town for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you must not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. Although you may take food from them, you must not cut them down. Are trees in the field human beings that they should come under siege from you? You may destroy only the trees that you know do not produce food; you may cut them down for use in building siege-works against the town that makes war with you, until it falls." (NRSV 20:19-20)
When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man's life) to employ them in the siege: Only the trees which thou knowest that they be not trees for meat, thou shalt destroy and cut them down; and thou shalt build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee, until it be subdued. (KJV 20:19-20)
Don't get the wrong idea—this isn't some sort of proto-environmentalism. The Israelites probably just wanted to preserve the fruit-producing trees that were the rewards of their conquests.
"You shall not watch your neighbor's ox or sheep straying away and ignore them; you shall take them back to their owner." (NRSV 22:1)
Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother. (KJV 22:1)
Have you ever seen a shopping cart rolling through the parking lot and just let it go? Yeah, the same thing happened back in the day. This law is all about neighbors helping each other out and is probably designed to strengthen the Israelite community. We should totally make a shopping cart law.