Having dealt with many of the aspects of worship in the Promised Land, Moses now turns to the institutions of governance. He begins with the overarching imperative of justice: there must be courts, judges, and officers in every city.

Justice must be accessible and impartial. Procedures must be followed for the prosecution of idolatry, and there is to be a supreme court to deal with hard cases. There are to be three main types of leader: a king, priests and Levites, and prophets. Warnings are issued against sorcery and witchcraft, and against false prophets. Cities of refuge are to be provided as sanctuaries for those who kill accidentally or unintentionally. Conspiring witnesses who testify falsely are to be punished.

Moses then turns to the laws of warfare. The parsha concludes with the atonement procedure to be followed in the case of an unsolved murder.