March 11th Deuteronomy 21
Unsolved murder in the field
1: If one be found slain in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who hath slain him: 2: Then thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is slain: 3: And it shall be, that the city which is next unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take an heifer, which hath not been wrought with, and which hath not drawn in the yoke; 4: And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley: 5: And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them the LORD thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of the LORD; and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried: 6: And all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley: 7: And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. 8: Be merciful, O LORD, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel's charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them. 9: So shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the LORD.
Law of family life
10: When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, 11: And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; 12: Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; 13: And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. 14: And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her. 15: If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated: 16: Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn: 17: But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his. 18: If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 19: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20: And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21: And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
Various laws of modesty
22: And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: 23: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
1: Thou shalt not see the brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother. 2: And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again. 3: In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother's, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself. 4: Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again. 5: The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. 6: If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young: 7: But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days. 8: When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence. 9: Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled. 10: Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. 11: Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together. 12: Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself.
Various laws of sexual matters
13: If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, 14: And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: 15: Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: 16: And the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; 17: And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. 18: And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him; 19: And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days. 20: But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: 21: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you. 22: If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel. 23: If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; 24: Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you. 25: But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die: 26: But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter: 27: For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her. 28: If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; 29: Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days. 30: A man shall not take his father's wife, nor discover his father's skirt.
Deuteronomy 23 People banned from The Lord
1: He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD. 2: A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD. 3: An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever: 4: Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee. 5: Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee. 6: Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever. 7: Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land. 8: The children that are begotten of them shall enter into the congregation of the LORD in their third generation.
Purity before battle
9: When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing. 10: If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp: 11: But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash himself with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the camp again. 12: Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad: 13: And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee: 14: For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.
Various laws regarding property
15: Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: 16: He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him. 17: There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. 18: Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God. 19: Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: 20: Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it. 21: When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. 22: But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. 23: That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth. 24: When thou comest into thy neighbour's vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel. 25: When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour's standing corn.
In the next three chapters the Law of Moses is expounded in various issues. We have unsolved murder in the fields, laws regarding family life, modesty, sexual issues, people who are banned, purity before battles and laws concerning property. But first we will look at murder in the fields. Every thing begins with the discovery of a murdered body in the open field. The elders and judges are summoned and they measure the distance to the surrounding cites. The city that is nearest is the city that is responsible to take action in the case. The first thing is that a sacrifice it to be made. A young heifer that is perfect is brought to a low valley nearby by the elders of the city and they will kill it by cutting off its head. The priests of the LORD will come and they will judge the whole issue. They will be the final word on every issue. Next the elders will wash their hands over the head of the heifer in the valley. Then they will swear that they know nothing of the case and have not seen the murder and they will say to the LORD, be merciful to us O LORD and to your people Israel, who you have redeemed and do not lay the charge of innocent blood on the elders. By this means the elders are forgiven. In this way the guilt of blood is put away from the leaders of Israel. This is the right thing to do. Next the Lord describes the law regarding war. If a man of Israel sees a beautiful woman of his enemy then he can bring her home to wife but she is to be shaved on her head and her nails cut short. She takes off the clothes of her captivity and her family will mourn for her for a month. After that she may be married to the man. however if at this stage the man does not wish to have her as a wife she is to be set free and must not be sold as a slave. Next the Lord describes the situation of a man who has two wives. (Having more than one wife was more common in Israel than people think. It was not specifically forbidden but not recommended) So if a man has two wives, one is loved and the other hated and both have children, And if the firs son if of the hated wife then he must not make the son of the loved wife to be firstborn. The firstborn son – even of the wife he hates is to be the one who has the double portion of the inheritance. Another case is that if a couple have a son who is always rebellious and will not listen and obey his parents then he is to be brought to the elders of the city and they are to stone him so that evil will be put away from Israel. The particular crimes of the young man might be gluttony or drunkenness. If a man is executed by hanging from a tree then his body is to be be exposed all night on the tree but he is to be buried that day. The man who dies executed on a tree comes under the curse of God. In this way Christ suffered and died becoming the object of the wrath of God in our place. This removal of the body prevented the land from coming under the curse of God. Then the Lord turns to other less serious laws. If a man sees his brother’s sheep or ox going astray he is not to keep it secret but he will bring the sheep home to his brother. But if his brother lives a long way away then he will look after them until he can arrange to deliver them. The same will be true of any of his brother’s possessions. Then Lord says that a woman is not to wear anything that belongs to a man and a man must not put on female clothes. All those that do this are an abomination to the LORD. If a man is out hunting birds he must not take the mother sitting on her eggs. The mother bird is to be free but the young eggs or birds can be taken and reared. When building a house the roof must have a wall around the flat roof to prevent accidental falls. A vineyard must not be sown with differing seeds. An ox and a donkey must not plow together in the same yoke. A garment must not be made of mixed cloth between wool and linen. The vesture or outer coat is to have tassels on it. Then the Lord specifies matters concerning sexuality. The first has to do with divorce. If a man marries a wife but later turns against her in him heart and speaks against her saying she was defiled before her marriage. Then the father and mother of the girl will bring the tokens of her virginity to the elders of the city who sit in judgment in the gate. The father will bring his complaint to them and show the tokens of her virginity. The elders of the city will take the man and punish him. They will also fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give it to her father because he has brought shame on a virgin of Israel. She still remains his wife and he may never divorce her all his days. However if the tokens of her virginity cannot be found then they will bring her out of the door of her father and they will stone her to death. She has been like a whore in Israel and her sin is put away forever. In this way virgins were prevented from unjust allegations by hardhearted husbands. They have to be hardhearted to allow their young wives to die when they are innocent. Next we have the law of adultery. If a man and women are found lying together they are to be stoned together, both will die. In John 8 the Lord meets a young woman who is accused of adultery ‘in the very act’ yet there is no man brought with her. This is a set up. Christ dismisses the crowd by insisting that only a man who is in a state of ‘peace’ with the Lord can execute her. A man is in a state of ‘peace’ when his conscience lays no sin against him because he has offered a sin offering covering all known sin. The same execution is enacted for the married, betrothed and the unmarried. If a man rapes a young woman she must cry out to prevent accusations of complicity. If no-one comes to her aid she is not to be executed because she is innocent. The rapist of a virgin is to pay the father fifty shekels of silver and he is to take her as his wife for all his life. Lastly a man must not have sex with his mother. Next the Lord gives specific instructions concerning those people who are unable to became members of the congregation of the LORD. Those who are castrated in any way. A bastard, an Ammonite or a Moabite may not come into the congregation of the Lord forever. There is to be no peace with them forever. However the children of Israel are not to hate them because they are brethren. The Egyptians are to be respected and their children may only enter the congregation after three generations. Next the Lord talks about uncleaness. If a man finds himself unclean before the LORD then he must leave the camp of the Lord. But when evening comes he may wash and reenter the camp. From this we see that the Children of Israel lived constantly in a state of cleanness before the Lord. Every man and woman are to toilet themselves outside the camp burying all waste below the ground. If a servant runs away from his master then he is to return to his master. (This is the subject of the NT letter Philemon) The children of Israel are not to oppress the strangers who live with them. Prostitution and homosexuality were completely forbidden in Israel. The proceeds of prostitution and the cost of a dog is never to be allowed to be given to the Lord. Both are an abomination to the Lord. No man will charge his brother interest on a loan. When a promise is made to pay in the Lords name then the money must be paid. However it is not a sin to not promise to pay without calling on the LORD’s name. What a man promises to do in the LORD’s name that he must do. If a man visit’s his brother’s vineyard he may eat all he can but he cannot put anything into a container for later. In a similar way a poor man may eat his neighbour’s corn but only by hand, he must not use a sickle to gather corn.
- How does the Lord judge unsolved murder in the field?
- What are the laws of family life?
- What are the forbidden sexual practices?