25:1 If controversy arises between people, 1 they should go to court for judgment. When the judges 2 hear the case, they shall exonerate 3 the innocent but condemn 4 the guilty. 25:2 Then, 5 if the guilty person is sentenced to a beating, 6 the judge shall force him to lie down and be beaten in his presence with the number of blows his wicked behavior deserves. 7 25:3 The judge 8 may sentence him to forty blows, 9 but no more. If he is struck with more than these, you might view your fellow Israelite 10 with contempt.
25:5 If brothers live together and one of them dies without having a son, the dead man’s wife must not remarry someone outside the family. Instead, her late husband’s brother must go to her, marry her, 12 and perform the duty of a brother-in-law. 13 25:6 Then 14 the first son 15 she bears will continue the name of the dead brother, thus preventing his name from being blotted out of Israel. 25:7 But if the man does not want to marry his brother’s widow, then she 16 must go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to preserve his brother’s name in Israel; he is unwilling to perform the duty of a brother-in-law to me!” 25:8 Then the elders of his city must summon him and speak to him. If he persists, saying, “I don’t want to marry her,” 25:9 then his sister-in-law must approach him in view of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, and spit in his face. 17 She will then respond, “Thus may it be done to any man who does not maintain his brother’s family line!” 18 25:10 His family name will be referred to 19 in Israel as “the family 20 of the one whose sandal was removed.” 21
25:11 If two men 22 get into a hand-to-hand fight, and the wife of one of them gets involved to help her husband against his attacker, and she reaches out her hand and grabs his genitals, 23 25:12 then you must cut off her hand – do not pity her.
25:13 You must not have in your bag different stone weights, 24 a heavy and a light one. 25 25:14 You must not have in your house different measuring containers, 26 a large and a small one. 25:15 You must have an accurate and correct 27 stone weight and an accurate and correct measuring container, so that your life may be extended in the land the Lord your God is about to give you. 25:16 For anyone who acts dishonestly in these ways is abhorrent 28 to the Lord your God.
25:17 Remember what the Amalekites 29 did to you on your way from Egypt, 25:18 how they met you along the way and cut off all your stragglers in the rear of the march when you were exhausted and tired; they were unafraid of God. 30 25:19 So when the Lord your God gives you relief from all the enemies who surround you in the land he 31 is giving you as an inheritance, 32 you must wipe out the memory of the Amalekites from under heaven 33 – do not forget! 34
[25:5] 13 sn This is the so-called “levirate” custom (from the Latin term levir, “brother-in-law”), an ancient provision whereby a man who died without male descendants to carry on his name could have a son by proxy, that is, through a surviving brother who would marry his widow and whose first son would then be attributed to the brother who had died. This is the only reference to this practice in an OT legal text but it is illustrated in the story of Judah and his sons (Gen 38) and possibly in the account of Ruth and Boaz (Ruth 2:8; 3:12; 4:6).
[25:9] 17 sn The removal of the sandal was likely symbolic of the relinquishment by the man of any claim to his dead brother’s estate since the sandal was associated with the soil or land (cf. Ruth 4:7-8). Spitting in the face was a sign of utmost disgust or disdain, an emotion the rejected widow would feel toward her uncooperative brother-in-law (cf. Num 12:14; Lev 15:8). See W. Bailey, NIDOTTE 2:544.
[25:11] 23 tn Heb “shameful parts.” Besides the inherent indelicacy of what she has done, the woman has also threatened the progenitive capacity of the injured man. The level of specificity given this term in modern translations varies: “private parts” (NAB, NIV, CEV); “genitals” (NASB, NRSV, TEV); “sex organs” (NCV); “testicles” (NLT).
[25:14] 26 tn Heb “an ephah and an ephah.” An ephah refers to a unit of dry measure roughly equivalent to five U.S. gallons (just under 20 liters). On the repetition of the term to indicate diversity, see IBHS 116 §7.2.3c.
[25:16] 28 tn The Hebrew term translated here “abhorrent” (תּוֹעֵבָה, to’evah) speaks of attitudes and/or behaviors so vile as to be reprehensible to a holy God. See note on the word “abhorrent” in Deut 7:25.
[25:17] 29 tn Heb “what Amalek” (so NAB, NRSV). Here the individual ancestor, the namesake of the tribe, is cited as representative of the entire tribe at the time Israel was entering Canaan. Consistent with this, singular pronouns are used in v. 18 and the singular name appears again in v. 19. Since readers unfamiliar with the tribe of Amalekites might think this refers to an individual, the term “Amalekites” and the corresponding plural pronouns have been used throughout these verses (cf. NIV, NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT).