Targum Torah Portions | Section 48: Shophetim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:19)

Targum | Targum: Deuteronomy

Targum Jonathan on Deuteronomy

Section 48

Chapters 16:18-21:19



UPRIGHT judges and efficient administrators you shall appoint in all your cities which Yahuah your Elohim will give you for your tribes, and they shall judge the people with true judgment.

You shall not set judgment aside, nor respect persons, nor take a gift, because a gift blindeth the eyes of the wise who take it; for it perverteth them to foolishness, and confuseth equitable words in the mouth of the judges in the hour of their decision

Upright and perfect judgment in truth shalt thou follow, that you may come to inherit the land which Yahuah your Elohim will give you.

As it is not allowed you to plant a grove by the side of Yahuah’s altar, so is it not allowed you to associate in judgment a fool with a wise judge to teach that which you are to do.

As it is not for you to erect a statue, so are you not to appoint to be a governor a proud man, whom Yahuah your Elohim doth abhor.


Chapter 17


You shall not sacrifice before the. Lord your Elohim a bullock or lamb which hath any blemish or evil in it, or which is torn or rent; for that is abominable before Yahuah your Elohim.

If there be found among you in one of your cities that Yahuah your Elohim will give you a man or woman who doth what is evil before Yahuah your Elohim in transgressing His covenant,

and, following after evil desire, shall serve the idols of the Gentiles, and worship them, or the sun, or the moon, or all the host of the heavens, which I have not commanded;

and it be told you, and you hear and make inquiry by witnesses fairly; and, behold, if this word be true and certain, that such abomination is wrought among you,

then you shall bring forth that man or woman who hath done this evil thing, unto the gate of your house of judgment, the man or the woman, and you shall stone them that they die.

Upon the word of two witnesses or of three he shall die who is guilty of death; they shall not be put to death on the word of one witness.

The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to kill him, and afterward the hands of all (any of) the people; and so shall you bring down the evil doer among you.

If there be with you an extraordinary matter for judgment between unclean and clean blood, cases of life or of money, or between a plague of leprosy or of the scall, with words of controversy in your beth din, then you shall arise and go up to the place which Yahuah your Elohim will choose;

and you shall come to the priests of the tribe of Levi, and to the judge who will be in those days, and inquire of them, and they will show you the process of judgment.

Then shall you do according to the word of the custom of the law that they will show you at the place Yahuah will choose, and observe to do whatsoever they teach you.

According to the word of the law that they will teach you, and the manner of judgment they pronounce, you shall do. You shall not turn aside from the sentence they will show you, to the right or to the left.

And the man who will act with presumption, and not obey the judge or the priest who standeth there to minister before Yahuah your Elohim, that man shall be put to death; so shalt you put down the doer of evil from Israel,

and all the people will hear, and be afraid, and not do wickedly again.

When you enter the land which Yahuah your Elohim giveth you, and possess, and dwell in it, and you say, Let us appoint a king over us, like all the nations about me,

you shall inquire for instruction before Yahuah and afterward appoint the king over you: but it will not be lawful to set over you a foreign man who is not of your brethren.

Only let him not increase to him more than two horses, lest his princes ride upon them, and become proud, neglect the words of the law, and commit the sin of the captivity of Mizraim; for Yahuah hath told you, By that way ye shall return no more.

Neither shall he multiply to him wives above eighteen, lest they pervert his heart; nor shall he increase to him silver or gold, lest his heart be greatly lifted up, and he rebel against the Elohim of heaven.

And it shall be that if he be steadfast in the commandments of the law he shall sit upon the throne of his kingdom in security. And let the elders write for him the section (pharasha) of this law in a book before the priests of the tribe of Levi;

and let it be at his side, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear Yahuah his Elohim, to keep all the words of this law, and all these statutes to perform them:

that his heart may not be arrogant toward his brethren, nor decline from the precepts to the right or the left, and that his days may be prolonged over his kingdom, his and his sons among Israel.


Chapter 18


The priests of the tribe of Levi will have no part or inheritance with their brethren: they shall eat the oblations of Yahuah as their portion,

but an inheritance in field or vineyard they will not have among their brethren. The twenty and four gifts of the priesthood which Yahuah will give to him are his heritage; as He said to him,

And this shall be the portion belonging to the priest from the people, from them who offer sacrifices, whether bullock or lamb they shall give to the priest the right shoulder, the lower jaw, the cheeks, and the maw;

the firsts of your corn, wine, and oil, the first of the fleece of your sheep, as much as a girdle measureth shall you give to him:

because Yahuah thy Elohim hath chosen him out of all thy tribes to stand and minister in the Name of Yahuah, him, and his sons, all the days.

And when a Levite may come from one of your cities out of all Israel where he hath dwelt, and come with all the obligation of his soul’s desire to the place which Yahuah will choose,

then he shall minister in the Name of Yahuah his Elohim as all his brethren the Levites who minister there before Yahuah.

Portion for portion equally shall they eat, besides the gifts of the oblations which the priests do eat, which Elazar and Ithamar your fathers have given them to inherit.

When you have entered the land which Yahuah your Elohim giveth you, ye shall not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.

None shall be found among you to make his sons or daughters pass through the fire, nor who enchant with enchantments, or inspect serpents, nor observe divinations and auguries,

or make (magical) knots and bindings of serpents and scorpions or any kind of reptile, or who consult the oba, the bones of the dead or the bone Jadua, or who inquire of the manes.

For every one who doeth these is an abomination before Yahuah; and because of these abominations Yahuah driveth them out before you.

Ye shall be perfect in the fear of Yahuah your Elohim.

For these nations which thou art about to dispossess have listened to inspectors of serpents and enchanters. But you are not to be like them the priests shall inquire by Urim and Thummim and a Right Prophet will Yahuah your Elohim give you;

a Prophet from among you of your brethren like unto me, with the Holy Spirit will Yahuah your Elohim raise up unto you; to Him shall you be obedient.

According to all that you begged before Yahuah your Elohim in Horeb on the day of the assembling of the tribes to receive the law, saying, Let us not again hear the Great Voice {of the Word – Dibbura} from before Yahuah our Elohim, nor behold again that great fire, lest we die:

and Yahuah said to me, That which they have spoken is right;

I will raise up unto them a Prophet from, among their brethren in whom shall be the Holy Spirit, as in thee; and I will put My Word of prophecy in his mouth, and he shall speak with them whatsoever I command him;

and the man who will not hearken to the words of My prophecy which shall be spoken in My Name, My Word shall take vengeance upon him.

But the false prophet who doeth wickedly in speaking a thing in My Name, when I have not commanded him to speak, or who shall speak in the name of the Elohims of the Gentiles., that prophet shall be slain with the sword.

And if thou shalt say in your thoughts, How shall we know the word which Yahuah hath not spoken?

When a false prophet speaketh in the Name of Yahuah, and the thing doth not come to pass, or be not confirmed, it is a word which Yahuah hath not spoken; the false prophet spake it in presumption; fear him not.


Chapter 19


When Yahuah your Elohim shall have destroyed the nations whose land Yahuah your Elohim giveth you, and you possess them, and dwell in their cities and houses,

three cities shall you set apart within your land which Yahuah your Elohim giveth you to inherit.

You shall prepare a high road, and divide your limit which Yahuah your Elohim bestoweth upon you, that any manslayer may flee thither.

And this is the regulation for the manslayer who fleeth thither that he may live: Whoever shall have killed his brother without intention, he not having kept enmity against him yesterday, or the day before,

(as for example) if any one goeth with his neighbour into the thicket to cut wood, and he driveth his hand with the axe to cut wood, and the iron flieth apart from the haft and lighteth on his neighbour that be die, he may flee to one of those appointed cities, and. save his life.

Lest the avenger of blood follow after him his heart boiling within him on account of his grief, and apprehend him, if the way be long, and take his life, though he is not guilty of the judgment of death, because he had not enmity against him in time past.

Therefore I command you today that you set apart for you three cities.

And if Yahuah your Elohim enlarge your border, as He hath sworn to your fathers, and give you all the land which He Hath sworn to your fathers to give,

then shall you keep all this commandment which today I command you to do, that thou mayest love Yahuah thy Elohim, and walk in the ways which are right before Him all days; and you shall add yet three cities to those three;

that innocent blood may not be shed in your land which Yahuah your Elohim giveth you to inherit, and the guilt of the judgment of death may not be upon you.

But if a man with enmity against his neighbour shall lay wait for him in secret, to destroy his life, and he die, then should he flee into one of those cities,

the sages of his cities shall send and take him thence, and give him up into the hand of the pursuer for blood, and he shall be put to death.

Your eye shall not spare him, but you shall put away shedders of innocent blood from Israel, that it may be well with you.

You shall not remove the boundary mark of your neighbours which the predecessors did set for the limit in your possession of inheritance in the land which Yahuah your Elohim giveth you to inherit.

The testimony of one (witness) shall not be valid against a man for any crime (regarding the taking) of life, or guilt concerning money, or any sin with which one may be charged with sinning; but, by the Word of Yahuah, (to insure) retribution upon secret crimes, (while) one witness may swear to deny what hath been attested against him, the sentence shall be confirmed upon the mouth of two witnesses, or of three.

When false witnesses stand up against a man to testify wrong things against him,

then the two men between whom lies the subject of contention shall stand in the presence of Yahuah, before the priests and judges who will be in those days:

and the judges shall question the witnesses of their times fairly; and, behold, false testimony is in the mouth of the witnesses; they have borne false witness against their brother.

And so shall you do unto them as they had devised to do against their brother, and you shall put down the doers of evil from among you.

And the wicked who remain will hear and be afraid, and not add to repeat an evil thing like this among you.

Your eye shall not spare; life for life, the value of an eye for an eye, the value of a tooth for a tooth, the value of a hand for a hand, the value of a foot for a foot.


Chapter 20


When you go forth to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots, and peoples proud, overbearing, and stronger than you, fear them not; for all of them are accounted as a single horse and a single chariot before Yahuah your Elohim, whose Word will be your Helper; for He brought you free out of the land of Mizraim.

And at the time that you draw nigh to do battle, the priest shall approach and speak with the people,

and say to them, Hear, Israel, you draw near this day to fight against your adversaries; let not your heart be moved, be not afraid, tremble not, nor be broken down before them:

for the Shekinah of Yahuah your Elohim goeth before you to fight for you against your enemies, and to save you.

And the officers shall speak with the people, saying: Who is the man who hath builded a new house, and hath not set fast its door-posts to complete it? let him go and return to his house, lest through sin he be slain in the battle, and another man complete it.

Or, what man hath planted a vineyard, and hath not redeemed it from the priest to make it common? let him go and return to his house, lest sin be the occasion of his not redeeming it, but he be slain in the battle, and another make it common.

And what man hath betrothed a wife, but not taken her? let him go and return to his house, lest sin prevent him from rejoicing with his wife and he be slain in the battle, and another take her.

Yet more shall the officers speak to the people, and say, Who is the man who is afraid on account of his sin and whose heart is broken? let him go and return to his house, that his brethren be not implicated in his sins, and their heart be broken like his.

And when the officers shall have finished to speak with the people, they shall appoint the captains of the host at the head of the people.

When you come nigh to a city to make war against it, then you shall send to it certain to invite it to peace;

and if they answer you with words of peace, and open their gates to you, all the people whom you find therein shall be tributaries, and serve you.

But if they will not make peace, but war, with you, then you shall beleaguer it.

And when Yahuah your Elohim will have delivered it into your hand, then may you smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword.

But the women, children, and cattle, and whatever is in the city, even all the spoil, you shall seize, and eat the spoil of your enemies which Yahuah your Elohim giveth you.

Thus shall you do to all cities that are remote from you, which are not of the cities of these seven nations;

but of the cities of these peoples, which Yahuah your Elohim giveth you to inherit, ye shall not spare alive any breathing thing:

for destroying ye shall destroy them, Hittites, Amorites, Kenaanites, Pherizites, Hivites, and Jebusites, as Yahuah your Elohim hath commanded you;

that they may not teach you to do after their abominations with which they have served their idols, and you sin before Yahuah your Elohim.

When you beleaguer a city all the seven days to war against it, to subdue it on the Sabbath, you shall not destroy the trees thereof by bringing against them (an instrument of) iron; that you may eat its fruit, cut it not down; for a tree on the face of the field is not as a man to be hidden (put out of sight) before you in the siege.

But the tree that you know to be a tree not making fruit to eat, that you may destroy and cut down. And you shall raise bulwarks against the city which maketh war with you, until you have subdued it.


Chapter 21


If a male be found slain upon the ground, unburied, in the land which Yahuah your Elohim giveth you to inherit, lying down, and not hanged on a tree in the field, nor floating on the face of the water; and it be not known who did kill him:

then two of the sages shall proceed from the chief court of judgment, and three of thy judges, and shall measure to the surrounding cities which lie on the four quarters from the (spot where) the dead man (is found);

and the city which is nearest to the dead man, being the suspected one, let the chief court of justice take means for absolution (or disculpation). Let the sages, the elders of that city, take an heifer from the herd, not commixed, an heifer of the year, which hath not been wrought with nor hath drawn in the yoke:

and the sages of that city shall bring the heifer down into an uncultivated field, where the ground hath not been tilled by work, nor sowed; and let them there behead the heifer from behind her with an axe (or knife, dolch) in the midst of the field.

And the priests the sons of Levi shall draw near; for Yahuah your Elohim hath chosen them to minister to Him, and to bless Israel in His Name, and according to their words to resolve every judgment, and in any plague of leprosy to shut up, and pronounce concerning it;

and all the elders of the city lying nearest to the dead man shall wash their hands over the heifer which hath been cut off in the field,

and shall answer and say: It is manifest before Yahuah that this hath not come by our hands, nor have we absolved him who shed this blood, nor have our eyes beheld.

And the priests shall say: Let there be expiation for thy people Israel, whom Thou, O Lord, hast redeemed, and lay not the guilt of innocent blood upon Thy people Israel; but let him who hath done the murder be revealed. And they shall be expiated concerning the blood; but straightway there will come forth a swarm of worms from the excrement of the heifer, and spread abroad, and move to. the place where the murderer is, and crawl over him: and the magistrates shall take him, and judge him.

So shall you, O house of Israel, put away from among you whosoever sheddeth innocent blood, that you may do what is right before Yahuah.