Deuteronomy 25:1-10 (A Brother In Israel)

Deuteronomy 25:1-10
A Brother in Israel

When I started typing this sermon on Monday morning, I had the same thought I have every Monday – “How am I ever going to get anything out of this passage that will be edifying to the church?”

The first verses seem very lawish, and other than knowing that they are directly or indirectly referenced in the New Testament, I wasn’t sure how doctrinally edifying they would be for you. The last six verses are obviously typologically anticipating something, but I had no idea what.

Eight plus hours later, I still had no idea. I had to sit and really try to think things through. Unfortunately, the phone rang – right on Monday when I wish people would leave me alone – and I lost 20 or 30 minutes of thought.

It was getting time to walk the dogs and so I did that. In coming in, I got back to thinking and eventually developed what I feel they are telling us. It is a lesson said many times already in various ways. And that should not be surprising. Paul explains this lesson many times and in various ways as well.

And yet… people still do not get it, and they keep trying to merit God’s favor apart from what He has done in Christ. What a sad place to be! God does the work, God offers the reconciliation, and we keep trying to do better than what He has done. Indeed, what a sad place to be.

Text Verse: “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.” Galatians 2:16

Along with some thoughts about the law and grace, a couple other rather incredible doctrines are seen in our ten verses today. Maybe some of you, hopefully all of you, know what imputation means. There is another similar, but lesser-known, subject that we will mention today as well, impartation.

Do you know the difference between imputation and impartation? Is the difference that substantial? If so, how and why? Trust me on this, people will write volumes about which they believe Paul is referring to at times in his writings.

Just a little bit off in one’s analysis, and all of a sudden you are heading down the completely wrong theological path. When that happens, everything else goes askew as well. We won’t go into any great detail on this, but it’s good to be aware of the difference, so pay heed.

The Bible is a wonderful treasure filled with the most precious of doctrines for the faithful student. So, pick it up and read it! Learn to love this beautiful masterpiece of God’s wisdom. Great, great things are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Forty Blows He May Give Him (Verses 1-4)

“If there is a dispute between men,

The NKJV rightly places this first verse as conditional. Verse 1 is the condition, while verse 2 is the concluding matter based on the condition – In other words, “If this, then this.”

The word riv, or dispute, comes from a root signifying “to toss,” as in grappling. Two people are contending or quarreling over a matter as people do. If such is the case, and no remedy has been found, then the matter is elevated…

1 (con’t) and they come to court,

v’nigesu el ha’mishpat – “and they come unto the judgment.” The idea here is that of seeking out a set and recognized tribunal for a decision. This would first be at the gates of the city where such matters were to be judged.

Wherever the case ultimately is decided though, the point is that there is a disagreement. Either both think they are right, or one knows that he is wrong, but he thinks he can effectively win the case. As in any such matter, to know you are wrong and to know that you could not win such a case, it would be pointless to go to the judges. Jesus speaks of such a situation in Matthew 5:25, 26 –

“Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.”

Such is not the case here. Neither side will budge, and so the matter is taken to the judgment to be settled. This is so…

1 (con’t) that the judges may judge them,

u-shephatim – “and they have judged.” The condition of the first verse continues. The dispute was taken to the judges, and the judgment has been rendered upon them by the judges. When this occurs…

1 (con’t) and they justify the righteous and condemn the wicked,

The translation is correct. The word ha’tsadiq, or “the righteous,” and the word ha’rasha, or “the wicked,” are terms referring to the state of the individuals in relation to the case. One is just in his case while the other is not. Charles Ellicott is thus right when he says –

“It should be noticed that justify is here used forensically, not meaning to make righteous, but to treat as righteous.” Charles Ellicott

It is what the Lord said in Exodus 23 concerning judgment –

“You shall not pervert the judgment of your poor in his dispute. Keep yourself far from a false matter; do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked.” Exodus 23:6, 7

This may be more clearly seen in the Proverbs –

“He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just,
Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.” Proverbs 17:15

It is obvious from Solomon’s words that he is speaking of treating a wicked man as righteous. Thus, it cannot mean “making righteous,” even if the person who is justified deludes himself into believing this.

This is an important point for us to consider. In Christ, we are justified before God. We are “treated as righteous,” but that does not mean that we are now righteous in and of ourselves, even if the arrogant Christian acts as if he is.” Adam Clarke then rightly evaluates this in relation to Paul’s words in his epistles –

“The word צדק tsadak is used here precisely in the same sense in which St. Paul sometimes uses the corresponding word δικαιοω [dikaioó – to show to be righteous; declare righteous, C.G.], not to justify or make just, but to acquit, declare innocent, to remit punishment, or give reasons why such a one should not be punished; … using the same word with St. Paul when he speaks of a sinner’s justification, i. e., his acquittance from blame and punishment, because of the death of Christ in his stead.” Adam Clarke

This highlights the difference between imputation and impartation. To be imputed righteousness means to ascribe as righteous. To be imparted righteousness means to bestow the quality of righteousness. The difference is worlds apart for the believer.

We are treated (imputed) as righteous by God because of what Christ has done, we are not righteous (imparted) in and of ourselves now because of Christ. Hence, we cannot look down on others because of our own righteousness. We can only pity them in relation to Christ and strive to bring to them what we have now been granted.

In such a case as is being evaluated now, whoever is decided in favor of the case is righteous while the one who lost the decision is unrighteous – in a legal, not necessarily a moral sense. Such is the case with humanity before God. When a decision is made for those in Christ, we are deemed legally righteous. When we are not in Christ, we are legally unrighteous.

As for the one not justified, in this case in Israel…

then it shall be, if the wicked man deserves to be beaten,

The Hebrew bears an idiom: v’hayah im bin hakot ha’rasha – “and it shall be if son of beating, the wicked.” In other words, it is as if he is a son deserving of being beaten. In such a case, it shall be…

2 (con’t) that the judge will cause him to lie down and be beaten in his presence,

The Hebrew reads l’phanav – “to his face,” and thus before the face of the judge. The GNT incorrectly translates this as, “If the guilty one is sentenced to be beaten, the judge is to make him lie face downward and have him whipped.”

In other words, they take the words “to his face” as meaning, “with his face to the ground.” That is not the intent, even if that is what the man does. The words “to his face,” mean “before him,” or “in his presence.”

The judge was to personally watch over the beating to ensure that it was carried out as determined. Otherwise, he could be overbeaten, mistreated in how the beating was given, not punished enough, and so on. With it conducted before him, and because he was the one who made the judgment, it would be…

2 (con’t) according to his guilt,

kede rishato – “according to sufficiency of his wickedness.” In other words, enough to punish but no more and no less. One might say, “exactly as he deserves.”

2 (con’t) with a certain number of blows.

b’mispar – “in number.” This is the “sufficiency” of the previous clause. The number is to be in accord with his wrongdoing. However, the judge was to be limited in how much he determined what “in number” could be…

Forty blows he may give him and no more, lest he should exceed this and beat him with many blows above these,

The Hebrew is very precise, saying, “Forty blows he may give him, no he add lest he add, to beat him above these blows great.” In other words, anything beyond forty would be considered too great a punishment for any offense.

It obviously became an accepted rule in Israel to take away one blow as the maximum penalty in order to ensure the law was never violated. In other words, if the maximum of forty was the sentence, and the punisher miscounted, he would violate the law. Hence, the maximum number of thirty-nine was set to avoid this ever occurring.

Although this precept is not stated explicitly in Scripture, it is to be inferred from Paul’s words of 2 Corinthians 11:24, where he says, “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.”

With this stated, and with the precept understood from the New Testament, we find hints of the work of Christ. Forty, according to Bullinger is the number associated –

“…with a period of probation, trial, and chastisement… It is the product of 5 and 8, and points to the action of grace (5), leading to and ending in revival and renewal (8).” EW Bullinger

This is obviously the case with the man being punished. He is chastised. The maximum number set by the law is grace, and it is intended to lead to his renewal within the community for justice served. The removal of one blow would then be the maximum punishment, leading to renewal.

And this is what the Bible reveals in the coming of Christ. The body of law, the Old Testament, is thirty-nine books. That leads to the fortieth book where Christ is introduced.

The law, with its provisions for reconciliation to God, is grace leading to revival and renewal in Christ. Thus, the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament, meaning the law, are as blows to Christ in His fulfillment of them.

God gave Him that, and no more, to complete His work. If one adds in the fortieth book which first reveals His completion of them, then He has perfectly fulfilled the period of probation, trial, and chastisement. It is a beautiful picture of God’s grace, leading to and ending in revival and renewal.

As far as the law itself for the disobedient man, any more than what the law prescribes would result in something quite negative…

3 (con’t) and your brother be humiliated in your sight.

v’niqlah akhikha l’enekha – “and dishonored your brother in your eyes.” The idea of calling him a “brother” here is that of shared humanity. This is a person and to beat him beyond a set measure would be comparable to treating him like an animal. It was not to be condoned.

Before going on, it needs to be noted that this precept of the law is not the punishment given to Christ during his Passion. The scourging He received was at the hands of Romans who were not bound to the precepts of the law. He would have been beaten relentlessly by them before He was led to the cross.

So, in a sense, Christ took much more of the humiliation spoken of here for His people than God would ever have allowed for them under their law. What God was willing to do for us in Christ goes far beyond that. Thank God for Jesus.

And more, it must be remembered when looking at the typology that Christ did no wrong. The wicked one in this passage is us, and yet Christ is the one who took the blows on our behalf. Our guilt; His punishment. With that, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us. Thank God for Jesus.

With this matter now complete, Moses turns to a new precept…

“You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.

lo takhsom sor b’disho – “No you shall muzzle ox in his treading.” Two new words are found here, khasam, to stop up or muzzle, and dush, meaning to tread or thresh.

A question arises as to why this is stated here at all. A friend of mine sent me an analysis of this verse quite some time ago from Justin Taylor of the Gospel Coalition. I saved that until arriving here. The title was, “Do Not Muzzle the Ox: Does Paul Quote Moses Out of Context?

The reason this is an important matter to settle is because Paul does, in fact, quote this verse two times. In his quoting, he says –

“Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.’ Is it oxen God is concerned about? 10 Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? 12 If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more?” 1 Corinthians 9:8-12

“Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 18 For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,’ and, ‘The laborer is worthy of his wages.’” 1 Timothy 5:17, 18

Paul says that this was written for our sakes. If this is so, then as the analysis notes, it brings up all kinds of questions. They give examples –

  • Is Paul saying that Moses never meant this to be applied to literal oxen?
  • Is he merely referring to the ultimate intention of the passage?
  • Is he focusing on contemporary application rather than original meaning?
  • Is he quoting this verse out of context?

Based on this, and in order to show that the law is still to be taken literally, and yet also to justify that Paul is right as well, Mr. Taylor goes into lengthy analysis of showing that this must be speaking of a borrower of an ox.

To simplify the entire article, my friend brought it down to its basics, and then he paraphrased the intent, saying –

“In the case of an owned ox, it would be in the interest of the owner to have the ox eat some of the grain as it’s threshing the floor — so that the ox stays healthy and well fed.

But in the case of a borrowed ox — the borrower might not care for the ox as much, and wants to have maximum grain yield. So, he might put a muzzle on the ox so that it does not eat his grain. But in such a case the ox might get weaker and will not be in a good condition. But the borrower wouldn’t care because it’s not his ox.”

As my friend neither agreed nor disagreed with the analysis, but simply sent it on, I am sure I won’t offend him by disagreeing with it. The logic from that analysis is that all of the surrounding verses deal with human rights, and as this suddenly introduces the care of an ox, it doesn’t fit. Therefore, Paul must be right.

As he is, then it must be speaking of the rights of the owner of the ox, and hence, the ox is owned by another. As such, the passage is still referring to human rights – meaning, taking care of the owner’s property.

I disagree, and that does not logically follow. And, if it was the case, Moses would have identified it as a borrowed ox, just as the law speaks of such things elsewhere like in Exodus 22 –

“And if a man borrows anything from his neighbor, and it becomes injured or dies, the owner of it not being with it, he shall surely make it good. 15 If its owner was with it, he shall not make it good; if it was hired, it came for its hire.” Exodus 22:14, 15

If one has to infer a precept in the law of Moses in this manner, then the law is not clear. But clarity of the law is the absolute intent for the people. We have seen that time and again. Things are both repeated and restated to ensure there is nothing vague or ambiguous in the law.

Having said that, the precept is set. It is for the protection of the ox. And yet, it is still a precept dealing with human rights, just not the rights of an owner of an ox that the law never refers to.

Rather, the reason it is placed here is because it adds importance to the law just stated in the previous verse. If an ox is to be tended to, even though it is an ox, how much more should a man not be degraded as if he were an animal by beating him beyond what is decent.

Understanding that, and then understanding the context of Paul’s words, both the law as written, and what Paul says in the epistles, come into clarity of focus.

Paul takes an actual verse about an ox, a matter of law – but which is placed carefully after a passage about human dignity – and he then says that it is not the ox that God is concerned about, which is true. It is the state of the brother of the previous verse that He cares about. Paul then elevates the precept of the ox to that of human dignity in his epistles, exactly as the passage about the ox intends.

You shall beat Him with forty blows and no more
It is sufficient to the offense at hand
Anymore and everyone knows – ‘forshore’
He will be dishonored more than I had planned

And you have done right by making it forty minus one
It is proper to not go beyond that, so I say
There are thirty-nine blows laid upon My Son
Thirty-nine books filled with debt that He would pay

And in the fortieth, there is now fellowship so sweet
The grace leading to revival and renewal is found
In Him, all that was necessary is now complete
In Him restoration with Me is found

II. To Raise Up a Name to His Brother (verses 5-10)

“If brothers dwell together,

The stipulation here does not necessarily mean “in the same house.” This is evidenced from the same use of the term in Genesis 13:6 and 36:7 where it refers to dwelling together in the same land. The matter is one of what is reasonable concerning proximity. As such is the case…

5 (con’t) and one of them dies and has no son,

The translation is literally correct, son. But the passage is cited in the New Testament and there it refers to offspring –

“The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, 24 saying: ‘Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 25 Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. 26 Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. 27 Last of all the woman died also. 28 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.’” Matthew 22:23-28

The son is the one to carry on the name of the father, but a provision was made in Numbers 27:1-11 for it to continue through daughters as well in a certain circumstance. Regardless of this, it is generally the son that carries the name of the father.

For now, the man died having no offspring, therefore…

5 (con’t) the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family;

The word zur, or stranger, means anyone who is another. In other words, the brother has already been identified in the first clause, and thus anyone else is “another.” The focus is on this brother and the widow of his brother. In this case…

5 (con’t) her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife,

Here is a new noun, yavam, meaning a husband’s brother. It is only to be found here and in verse 7. The verb form, yavam, was seen in Genesis 38:8 and it is then only seen again here in Scripture (in the next clause) and in verse 7. This was a cultural precept as carefully detailed in Genesis 38 and which is now being written into the Mosaic code.

The code is silent on whether this brother is already married or not, and so reading into it that he must be single is therefore not a reliable thought. It simply states as a point of law that a brother in such a matter is to perform this function.

Although there may be an exception, such as is found in Ruth concerning a near kinsman, it appears that the wording here refers to an actual brother in this passage. No matter what, it next says…

5 (con’t) and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her.

In this, there is the requirement that such a brother is to perform the duty (yavam, the verb) of a husband’s brother. This is with the explicit intent of giving her a child.

As this same verb was used in Genesis 38, it shows that the precept was already a custom in Israel, but it is now being codified into the law to ensure it would continue. The purpose of this rite is next stated…

And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother,

The Hebrew reads that the firstborn son: yaqum al shem akhiv ha’met – “shall rise over name brother, the dead.” The verse says nothing of a female child. It is certainly referring to a firstborn son who will rise to be over the name of the father who had died, thus being in charge of (over) his inheritance.

The same general phrase is used in Ruth 4:10, saying l’haqim shem ha’met al nakhalato – “to raise name the dead over his inheritance.” All of this is so…

6 (con’t) that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.

This is the purpose of the rite – the perpetuation of the name of the dead. Thus, it is the genealogical record that is being highlighted. The estate of the dead would obviously be involved, but it is the name that is given first consideration.

Despite this being a precept of law, Moses does not make it mandatory. On the other hand, he does make the consequences for not following through with it repugnant enough so that a person in such a position would carefully consider the repercussions…

But if the man does not want to take his brother’s wife,

Here is another new word, yebemeth, meaning a sister-in-law. It will be seen three times in this passage and only twice more, in Ruth 1:15. As can be seen, the law clearly makes this a voluntary action. He can turn down the duty he is called to according to the law.

The brother has no delight to take her as his wife. The word used, khapets, means to be pleasing or to delight in. He is not so inclined to fulfill this law. If such is the case…

7 (con’t) then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate to the elders,

It is the place of judgment. She will argue for a judgment against him because he is unwilling to perform the duty as directed by law. There at the gate, she will come to the elders…

7 (con’t) and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.’

In this, she uses both the noun and the verb form of the word yavamyevami (my husband’s brother) will not yavemi – (perform the brother-in-law’s duty).

In other words, there is a responsibility attached to who he is in relation to the dead. The reason why he won’t fulfill the duty is irrelevant. He may not like her, he may not want the child she bears to have his brother’s name, or whatever.

This is similar to what Judah’s son Onan did in Genesis 38, but not the same. He did take his brother’s wife, but he didn’t allow his seed to pass onto her. The proposition set forth here is that he simply will not take her as his wife. She wants this, but he refuses it. And she has a right to this, even if it cannot be forced. As such…

Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him.

The law is written, the culturally accepted norm has been codified into the law, and the terminology given to describe him in this fashion lays weight on the matter that this is his obligation, even if he can turn it down. This is what they convey to him, asking him to be reasonable in the matter…

8 (con’t) But if he stands firm and says, ‘I do not want to take her,’

He uses the same word as was just described of him, khaphets. He does not delight to take her. In refusing the taking of her, he is refusing to take delight in the law which instructs him to do this thing. As such, the law now gives her a right to humiliate him…

then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders,

The man has been counseled by the elders, he still refuses to agree to accept the responsibility of the custom, and thus he has disgraced both his brother and her. Therefore, she is given the right to bring disgrace upon him for failing to accept his responsibility. In this, she is to…

9 (con’t) remove his sandal from his foot,

The sandal is a symbol of authority over the place where it rests. This is seen, for example, in Psalm 60 where David claims authority over Edom –

“Moab is My washpot;
Over Edom I will cast My shoe;
Philistia, shout in triumph because of Me.” Psalm 60:8

In the casting of his shoe (it is the same word translated as sandal here) David was demonstrating that he delighted in taking possession over Edom. In Ruth, the near kinsman handed his shoe to Boaz as a resignation of the right to take possession of Elimelech’s estate.

However, here the woman is given the right to forcibly take off his shoe, demonstrating first that her hand now has the power over his right. Secondly, it is a contemptible way of saying that he no longer has any claim to, or right in, the matter henceforth.

And more, to be unshod is a sign of a miserable and shameful existence. This is seen several times elsewhere –

“In the year that Tartan came to Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him, and he fought against Ashdod and took it, at the same time the Lord spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, ‘Go, and remove the sackcloth from your body, and take your sandals off your feet.’ And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.

Then the Lord said, ‘Just as My servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and a wonder against Egypt and Ethiopia, so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as prisoners and the Ethiopians as captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.’” Isaiah 20:1-4

“So David went up by the Ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up; and he had his head covered and went barefoot. And all the people who were with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went up.” 2 Samuel 15:30, 31

Along with this degrading act, she will…

9 (con’t) spit in his face,

The word is yaraq, to spit. This is its third and last use. It was used twice in Numbers 12:14 where it is clearly recognized as a sign of derision –

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘If her father had but spit [spitting, had spit] in her face, would she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward she may be received again.’”

Due to his unwillingness to perform his duty, he would thus be degraded before the elders by a woman. Along with that is one more note of unworthiness…

9 (con’t) and answer and say, ‘So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother’s house.’

The actions speak for themselves, but after performing them, she then has the right to make him a comparative form of execration. In essence, “What I have done to him is what any person unwilling to perform this duty deserves.” Upon completion of this, the man would never be released from the shame of that act. As it says…

*10 (fin) And his name shall be called in Israel, ‘The house of him who had his sandal removed.’

v’niqra shemo b’yisrael beit khaluts ha’naal – “And shall be called his name in Israel house him who had removed the sandal.”

The word shemo, or “his name,” is explained by the words “the house of him.” In other words, his house and his legacy are together one of disgrace. It is both a symbol of his disgrace, and it is also a continuous reminder of it. The idea is, “Because he would not build up his brother’s house, his house is one of disgrace.”

It is your job and your duty to perform this law
Without it, there will be no heir for the name of your brother
Don’t shirk your responsibility; don’t have such a flaw
Don’t pass on what you should do to another

You are counseled to perform as is expected of you
And if you will not, your authority you will lose
Do that which is your responsibility to do
But… you also know that you can refuse

What woman would ever want something of you
When you would fail to act as you are told
By the woman, you will be rejected – so she will do
Any integrity of yours will be forever sold

III. The Unwilling Brother

The precept here predates the Law of Moses. A brother was to step in and to perform the duty of the yavam, the brother-in-law. What we have here is a short review of the inability of the law to bring forth children.

Man, once connected to God, is the dead husband, typified by Adam. The woman represents humanity. A son in this, would indicate a spiritual reconnection to God. Adam, the man who was once spiritually alive, died and left her no such children.

Even prior to the law, the precept of the yavam was already seen. The purpose of Genesis 38 was to set that idea as a precedent. The story there is one which anticipates the restoration of this spiritual connection to God. That is presented in a manner as clearly as it could be, as was shown in that particular sermon.

As this is so, life under the Law of Moses is typologically given as this brother. It is, ostensibly, available to give children to the woman as a yavam, or brother-in-law. As it says in Leviticus 18 –

“You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 18:5

However, “being under law” does not delight in the woman, and is – in fact – a state that is at enmity with her. Paul states that explicitly in Ephesians 2 –

“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.” Ephesians 2:14, 15

In this case, life under the law typologically will not perform the duty to give the woman a son. Hence, she performs the rite of disgracing him and stripping him of any authority to ever have right to her again. However, Christ is of the woman, meaning humanity. And of Him, it says in the law itself –

“Then I said, ‘Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight [khapets] to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart.’” Psalm 40:7, 8

Because life under the law would not perform the duty, as is evidenced in the 1400+ years of it bringing no one to restoration with God, Christ came to do it. He delighted to do the will of God, and He performs what life under the law was unwilling to perform.

In this, He – as a member of humanity – took away the authority of the law and brought it to its end. Thus, life under the law is “The house of him who had his sandal removed.”

This is certainly indicated in Paul’s words to those at Corinth, saying, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45). God in Christ is the nearer brother who could, and who did, give a Son, His Firstborn, to the barren woman. From there, life is restored to any who come to Him.

The lesson: There are no born-again children in humanity through life under the law, not before, nor will there ever be. Only in Christ is there a delight in bringing children to God through humanity. In this Son then comes a new family, among whom Christ Jesus is the Firstborn.

It is a beautiful passage, found in the law, that conveys to us the insufficiency of the law, apart from Christ, to do what it was given for. That thought is perfectly expressed by Paul in Romans 3 –

“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.” Romans 3:21, 22

The law itself witnesses to what God was going to do in Christ. Righteousness is now imputed to those who simply reach out to God through Him, by faith, and accept what He has done.

If you have friends or family stuck in some law-observant church, keep pecking away at them. Their time is short, and they have an infinitely high hill to climb going that route. They won’t make it. For anyone listening today, I ask you to trust in Christ, rest in Christ, and put away your futile attempts at pleasing God through any other avenue except Jesus Christ.

He is the answer to the problem that separates us from God. And surprisingly, the law itself testifies to that fact. Thank God for Jesus Christ.

Closing Verse: “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.” Romans 3:32

Next Week: Deuteronomy 25:11-19 Use your brain cells; be sure they are set… (You Shall Not Forget) (72nd Deuteronomy Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

 A Brother in Israel

“If there is a dispute between men
And they come to court, that the judges may judge them
And they justify the righteous
And the wicked they condemn

Then it shall be, if the wicked man deserves to be beaten
That the judge will cause him to lie down; ground facing nose
And be beaten in his presence, according to his guilt
With a certain number of blows

Forty blows he may give him and no more
Lest he should exceed this, something not right
And beat him with many blows above these
And your brother be humiliated in your sight

“You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain
How does this law fit with the other laws? Can I ask again?

“If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son
The widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger
———-outside the family
Her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife
And perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her; so shall it be

And it shall be that the firstborn son
Which she bears will succeed to the name, as to you I tell
Of his dead brother
That his name may not be blotted out of Israel

But if the man does not want to take his brother’s wife
Then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate to the elders, and say
“My husband’s brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother
———-in Israel
He will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother
———-to this very day

Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him
But if he stands firm and says, ‘I do not want to take her
———-so he does convey
Then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the presence
———-of the elders
Remove his sandal from his foot, spit in his face
———-and answer and say

“So shall it be done to the man
Who will not build up his brother’s house; so he shall be reproved
And his name shall be called in Israel
‘The house of him who had his sandal removed

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“If there is a dispute between men, and they come to court, that the judges may judge them, and they justify the righteous and condemn the wicked, then it shall be, if the wicked man deserves to be beaten, that the judge will cause him to lie down and be beaten in his presence, according to his guilt, with a certain number of blows. Forty blows he may give him and no more, lest he should exceed this and beat him with many blows above these, and your brother be humiliated in your sight.

“You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.

“If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. But if the man does not want to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate to the elders, and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.’ Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him. But if he stands firm and says, ‘I do not want to take her,’ then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and answer and say, ‘So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother’s house.’ 10 And his name shall be called in Israel, ‘The house of him who had his sandal removed.’

Deuteronomy 24:5-22 (Remember What the Lord Your God Did)

Deuteronomy 24:5-22
Remember what the Lord your God Did

As in other parts of the Mosaic Law, the passage today is filled with laws and commands. And yet, a main premise of what is stated here hinges on the idea of faith. You might ask, “How can that be so? Paul says the law is not of faith but of works.

Yes, he did, and yes, it is. But that does not negate that faith is involved in what is stated here and in almost all the rest of the code that has been, and will be, set forth. If you don’t understand, we will go over that at the end of the sermon. For now, trust me on it.

Until we get there, we have much to evaluate… lots of rules and precepts to consider. Moses continues to lay out precepts for the people of Israel to guide their lives and conduct during the time of the law. And it is during the time of the law that many of the “elders” mentioned by the author of Hebrews lived when he refers to their faith…

Text Verse: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.” Hebrews 11:1, 2

The author of Hebrews says by “faith” those elders obtained a good testimony. Who are those elders? Well, he refers to Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. “But those were all before the law! What you said doesn’t apply to them, Charlie.”

It’s true, they were not under the law. But Hebrews 11 continues with Moses, the destruction of Jericho, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets, and a host of others in a brushstroke of the time of the law. He notes that they were all people of faith.

So being under law doesn’t exclude faith. Rather, for the law to mean anything at all of value to a person, it necessitates it. Otherwise, there would be no reason to name and highlight these people, would there?

If boasting is excluded by the law of faith (Romans 3:27), and if works are a point of boasting, then these people of faith had only one place to glory – meaning in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:31). Try to remember this as we wind through the verses today.

What is it about what Moses says that tells us this is true? For the most part, Israel missed the most important point of all concerning the law. In missing it, they missed what stands as the fulfillment of the law – Jesus Christ.

The law versus faith, where will you place your hat? Be sure to choose the right path, and then develop it in your life. Nurture this precious gift of God to its fullest and to His glory. It’s all to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. So You Shall Be Careful to Do (verses 5-13)

“When a man has taken a new wife,

ki yiqah ish ishah khadashah – “When has taken man wife new.” The previous section, verses 1-4, dealt with marriage and divorce and the prohibition of remarrying a woman who was defiled through being married to another. The words now do not necessarily follow after that, as if it is referring to such an instance. However, they do not negate that either.

What is being proposed here is simply a protection and a blessing for a new wife, regardless as to any previous circumstances. Further, there is no qualifier here. It doesn’t say, “a first wife,” “a virgin,” or anything else. It speaks of a man taking a new wife.

If he already had one wife, it can be assumed that it doesn’t negate the provision now being stated. This is because it is the wife that is being considered in the matter. In whatever case, if a man takes a new wife, then…

5 (con’t) he shall not go out to war

lo yetse ba’tsava – “no he shall go out in the war.” The explanation for this only comes later, but it can already be assumed that this is so that he doesn’t head out and get killed in a battle. But more…

5 (con’t) or be charged with any business;

v’lo yaabor alav l’kal davar – “and no shall pass over upon him to all word.” Not only was he not to be charged with soldiering, but he was not to be conscripted for any service that may arise, such as serving in a government tasking and so on. Any edict that went out upon the land that imposed duties on the people was to not pass over upon him. Rather…

5 (con’t) he shall be free at home one year,

naqi yihyeh l’beto shanah ekhat – “clear he shall be to his house year one.” In other words, there shall be nothing imposed upon him. He is to remain clear of any external obligations. With this understood, the reason for the words is finally stated…

5 (con’t) and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken.

The KJV says “cheer up” his wife. That assumes she is first down, something not implied. Rather, her marriage is already a time of happiness, and it is stating that he is to bring cheer to her during the year. Any external tasking would deprive her of the happy state she should continue to be blessed with.

“No man shall take the lower or the upper millstone in pledge,

The Hebrew reads, “No man shall take in pledge millstones and rider.” In other words, “Do not take a pair of grindstones or even the upper millstone as security for a debt” (CSB). The rider would be the top millstone. Taking it would be no different than taking both.

6 (con’t) for he takes one’s living in pledge.

ki nephesh hu khovel – “for soul he takes in pledge.” Here, the thing (the millstones or the rider) is equated directly to the soul of the person. To deprive him of his millstones is to deprive him of life because the grain was ground each day for bread. In taking the means of making bread, the bread would be denied him.

As this is a precept of the law, and as the law has come from the Lord by inspiration through Moses, it is actually a note of eternal salvation. In other words, the Lord would not impose upon the people something He would fail to provide.

Just as nobody was to be deprived their source of life, the Lord will not deprive any of their Source of life. For those who come to Christ, the Bread of Life, they will never be deprived of Him. The precept can be reasonably presumed from this verse.

“If a man is found kidnapping any of his brethren of the children of Israel,

Again, the focus is on the life of the person, using the word nephesh, thus tying the thought to the previous verse: ki yimatse ish gonev nephesh meekhav – “When is found man kidnapping soul of his brothers.” The words follow after and expand upon Exodus 21:16 –

“He who kidnaps a man and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, shall surely be put to death.”

7 (con’t) and mistreats him or sells him,

The word used is amar. It means “to bind sheaves.” Thus, it gives the sense of mistreating because of piling on blows. The person is either abused or sold off…

7 (con’t) then that kidnapper shall die;

The words are emphatic: u-met ha’ganav ha’hu – “and shall die the kidnapper the he.” No provision for mercy is granted. He is to be a goner…

7 (con’t) and you shall put away the evil from among you.

Again, Moses uses the word ba’ar – to burn or consume – as he has numerous times in Deuteronomy. The evil is to be purged from the land, thus ensuring that such will never be considered again. Paul uses the same expression from the Greek translation of these words in 1 Corinthians 5:13, taking them and applying them in a moral context concerning the sexually immoral.

“Take heed in an outbreak of leprosy, that you carefully observe and do according to all that the priests, the Levites, shall teach you; just as I commanded them, so you shall be careful to do.

The words of the previous verse were in the singular, “You Israel shall put away the evil from among you.” Now, they are in the plural, “shall teach you (all),” and “you (all) all shall be careful to do.” Each person is to be responsible to heed. But what is being conveyed? There are two separate and completely distinct translations –

“Take heed in an outbreak of leprosy.” NKJV
“Observe diligently that thou incur not the stroke of the leprosy.” Douay-Rheims

The first and most common translation is that when a plague of leprosy occurs, the people were to then do what the priests instructed. The second is a warning that if one does not obey the priests, a plague of leprosy would result

The Hebrew reads: hishamer b’nega hatsaraat – “Take heed in outbreak the leprosy.” One can argue either translation from that.  Further, the priests, the Levites are the teachers of the law. Thus, either translation could be acceptable.

As will be seen, the next verse appears to side with the latter interpretation – as a warning. Also, 2 Samuel 20:10 uses the same construct (“in the sword”) in the same sense. Further, the change to the plural, speaking to every individual, favors the latter as well. Each person is to be accountable for his conduct. To fail in it could easily end in being plagued with leprosy.

What is also of note is that Moses says, “just as I commanded them.” In much of the law, the word went from the Lord to Moses. In Deuteronomy, the word goes from the Lord through Moses. Either way, Moses is the lawgiver to the people in this regard.

And more, it is the law that takes precedence. The priests, the Levites, were to teach according to the law. If what they said conflicted with the law itself, it was not to be obeyed. The precept holds true for the church. Nothing is to be done, even if instructed by a teacher or pastor, if it is not in accord with the word.

Q: How can you fulfill this precept if you do not know what the word says? A: You can’t. Learn the word!

To see the most likely translation of the previous words, we read…

Remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam on the way when you came out of Egypt!

The Hebrew jumps from the singular to the plural: zakor eth asher asah Yehovah elohekha l’miryam ba’derek b’tsetekhem mimitsrayim – “Remember what did Yehovah your (singular) God to Miriam in the way in your (plural) coming out from Egypt.”

It is a warning to each person. Miriam spoke against Moses and was punished with leprosy. As such, it appears most likely that the previous verse is a warning. Pay heed to this law, taught by the Levites, or you (individual) may receive an outbreak of leprosy. To further solidify this, two examples of someone becoming leprous for disobedience are given in Scripture –

“Then he said to him, ‘Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants? 27 Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever.” And he went out from his presence leprous, as white as snow.’” 2 Kings 5:26, 27

&

“But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17 So Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him were eighty priests of the Lord—valiant men. 18 And they withstood King Uzziah, and said to him, ‘It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed! You shall have no honor from the Lord God.’
19 Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the Lord, beside the incense altar. 20 And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the Lord had struck him.” 2 Chronicles 26:16-20

In these, the Bible explains the precept. Both disobedience to the law (lying to the prophet) and disregarding the instruction of the priests who were upholding the law, resulted in leprosy.

10 “When you lend your brother anything, you shall not go into his house to get his pledge.

The words of the verses of this subject (10-13) return to the singular, but it is not the singular “you Israel.” It is obviously to each person who would be in such a situation. It may or may not come about, but if it does, Moses, through the law, speaks directly to the individual.

A new word is found here, mashshaah, a loan. It is found only here and in Proverbs 22:26. Being a noun, the words more correctly read, “When you make a loan of anything.” In this, the loaner was restricted in his actions.

It reads: la’avot avoto – “to take in pledge his pledge.” The pledge is not the thing lent. Rather it is the thing that is used as surety for the thing lent. A person was not to go into another’s house and decide, “This is what I want as a pledge for the fifty shekels I lent you.” And this is for several reasons.

First, it is presumptuous to enter into another man’s privacy in order to secure a pledge. Secondly, what the person had in his house was not the lender’s business. And thirdly, if he went in and took whatever he wanted, it may be the one thing that the man needed and could not spare. Because of this…

11 You shall stand outside, and the man to whom you lend shall bring the pledge out to you.

The idea here is of common courtesy, respect, and acknowledging that as the lender, you have voluntarily lent. To go into another’s house would imply that the loan granted rights that actually did not exist. As I said a moment ago, it is presumptuous. Moses forbids such an action in advance. But he then even goes further…

12 And if the man is poor, you shall not keep his pledge overnight.

The next verse shows us that the pledge is a garment. As such, Moses says, “you shall not lie down in his pledge.” This then is a restatement of words found in Exodus 22 –

“If you ever take your neighbor’s garment as a pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down. 27 For that is his only covering, it is his garment for his skin. What will he sleep in? And it will be that when he cries to Me, I will hear, for I am gracious.” Exodus 22:26, 27

The people of Israel were found guilty of exactly this, as is recorded in Amos 2:8 –

“They lie down by every altar on clothes taken in pledge,
And drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god.”

It is a great crime because if a man is poor, he has just one thing to cover himself at night. If that item is taken as a pledge, then…

13 You shall in any case return the pledge to him again when the sun goes down,

The words are emphatic: hashev tashiv lo eth ha’avot k’bo ha’shemesh – “returning, you shall return to him the pledge according to going the sun.” If the sun is going down, it is time to sleep. There is nothing to be gained by holding the pledge of a sleeping man. Further, the sleeping man needs to keep warm with the coming of night. Thus, the pledge is to be returned…

13 (con’t) that he may sleep in his own garment and bless you;

The Bible clearly indicates that words have power. This is but one of innumerable examples of the precept. The obvious notion is that if he is not blessing, he may be cursing, or at least crying out. In such a case, the Lord will hear and repay. However, in his warmth, he will, instead, speak forth a blessing. As such…

13 (con’t) and it shall be righteousness to you before the Lord your God.

This is not speaking of justifying righteousness, as if doing a good deed under the law resulted in a declaration of righteousness. Rather, it speaks of the righteousness of the law being expressed in right action, just as there is unrighteousness in not obeying the law. The sentiment was already stated by Moses in Chapter 6 –

“Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us.” Deuteronomy 6:25

Lord God, we have offended You in so many ways
We have defiled ourselves in Your sight
In this, we have continued on for countless days
Who can purify us and make us right?

We have not treated others as we should
We have forsaken Your law, not doing what is right
We have taken the wrong path, forgetting the good
And we have not be faithful in Your sight

The poor has been mistreated
The widow and the orphan are shunned as well
Your righteous law, we have unseated
What a sad story to tell

Help us to turn and do what is right
For Your marvelous mercy let our voices ring
In faith we call out, so restore us in Your sight
 And to You our praises we shall forever sing

II. Therefore I Command You to Do This Thing (verses 14-22)

14 “You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether one of your brethren or one of the aliens who is in your land within your gates.

The word translated as “oppress” bears the sense of defrauding. The idea of being a hired servant is that he lives off his wages. He is not a servant in the household entitled to the food and drink of the house. If one is poor and needy, and regardless as to his affiliation – be it one of Israel or a stranger – he was not to be extorted. This precept has already been stated in Leviticus –

“You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning.” Leviticus 19:13

Such perverse conduct is what Jeremiah, Malachi, and James each write about. As for James, he says –

“Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.” James 5:4

15 Each day you shall give him his wages,

The Hebrew reads: b’yomo – “In his day.” In other words, in the day he worked, he is to be paid…

15 (con’t) and not let the sun go down on it, for he is poor and has set his heart on it;

Rather than “set his heart,” the Hebrew says, “lifted (or carried) his soul.” In other words, this is what he needs to simply continue on with. His existence is tied up in the wages.

The going down of the sun was the start of a new day. To say, “I will give it to you in the morning,” was to deprive him of his food and maybe even his bed in the night. What was owed was to be paid. This is seen still in practice at the time of Jesus as is reflected in the parable of the workers in the vineyard in Matthew 20:1-16.

15 (con’t) lest he cry out against you to the Lord, and it be sin to you.

This is the exact opposite of the previous lesson. The person who had his garment returned would bless the lender. Moses uses the opposite thought now concerning withholding wages to show that instead of righteousness there would be sin.

16 “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin.

This is a precept of the law to which the people were bound. The civil authorities had no right to bring the parents into the judgment of their children, nor the children into the judgment of the parents. The precept is not something that the Lord as Judge of Israel was bound to.

If he determined an entire family was to be destroyed, as in the case of Achan in Joshua, that is what was to happen. Ezekiel 18 addresses this issue from the Lord’s perspective as He says, “All souls are mine.” As for the law itself, this exact verse is cited in 2 Kings 14:5, 6 where Amaziah faithfully followed the precept –

“Now it happened, as soon as the kingdom was established in his hand, that he executed his servants who had murdered his father the king. But the children of the murderers he did not execute, according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, in which the Lord commanded, saying, “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; but a person shall be put to death for his own sin.”

17 “You shall not pervert justice due the stranger or the fatherless, nor take a widow’s garment as a pledge.

The words here are similar to those of Exodus 22 –

“You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
22 “You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. 23 If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry; 24 and My wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.” Exodus 22:21-24

The addition of not taking a widow’s garment as a pledge is a note of common decency. As a widow, it might be the only possession she had. It is a most tender note of an already tender and caring set of words from Moses. And there is a reason for these terms…

18 But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this thing.

Moses has said this same basic thought again and again in Deuteronomy. Each time, the words are carefully chosen to fortify the words of the surrounding thought. In this case, he calls them to remember the slavery in Egypt and the Lord’s redeeming of them from there.

The word padah, or “to ransom” is used. Israel was in misery, and the Lord rescued them from it. These people he now mentions are in misery and Moses thus commands that they be treated by Israel in the same manner that the Lord treated them. They are to be rescued from their misery.

The precept, in type, must hold true for us. Egypt pictures bondage to sin. We could not rescue ourselves from that state, but the Lord acted and did so. Therefore, we are to act in the same manner towards the lost. It is utter folly to think that we deserved our redemption, but others do not.

19 “When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow,

This sentiment has been seen twice before, in Leviticus 19 and Leviticus 23. As for Leviticus 19 –

“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:9, 10

Both Leviticus 19 and 23 refer to the poor and the stranger.  Here, Moses refers to the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. The idea is that whatever is dropped during the reaping process is to be left where it lies. It is not to be picked up, but it is instead reserved for these classes of people.

In this, the poor and the stranger could follow after them and gather the gleanings. To understand this more clearly, and to see it in practice, take a few minutes to read the book of Ruth. What is said there is exactly in accord with Moses’ words now, but the champion of the story, Boaz, goes above and beyond the law in this regard. As always, there is a reason for precepts such as this…

19 (con’t) that the Lord your God may bless you

l’maan yebarekha Yehovah elohekha – “to end purpose may bless you Yehovah your God.” Not only is it morally right to obey the law, but in following the precepts as set forth, the end purpose is to receive a blessing from the Lord. As such, obviously, to fail to do so would then result in both sin and the Lord’s disfavor. As far as the blessing, it is to be…

19 (con’t) in all the work of your hands.

The idea is that of abundance and prosperity. Such a blessing of the Lord will rest on the one who willingly complies with the precept. This is stated by Solomon in the Proverbs –

“He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord,
And He will pay back what he has given.” Proverbs 19:17

&

“He who has a generous eye will be blessed,
For he gives of his bread to the poor.” Proverbs 22:9

As with the harvesting of grain, so it is with that of the olive…

20 When you beat your olive trees,

ki takhvot zetekha – “When you beat your olive trees.” Here is a new word, khavat, to beat out or thresh. The purpose of this is to knock the olives from the tree. The practice, using a different word, is described in Isaiah 23 –

“When it shall be thus in the midst of the land among the people,
It shall be like the shaking of an olive tree,
Like the gleaning of grapes when the vintage is done.” Isaiah 23:14

One would climb into the tree and shake the limbs by hand or by foot, or he would take a rod and beat on the branches. To see this done both by beating and by shaking, you can watch the YouTube video “How to Pick and Pickle Olives in Nazareth” on the “Sergio and Rhoda in Israel” channel. Either way, the practice caused the olives to fall. During such a process…

20 (con’t) you shall not go over the boughs again;

Once the tree had been beaten, any olives that did not come off because they were missed on the first whacking, or for whatever other reason, they were not to be sought after. Rather…

20 (con’t) it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow.

Again, for the second time, the same three categories are mentioned. They are in need, the need can be met by leaving what is commanded, and therefore, the precept is given. And yet again, Moses next says…

21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard,

It reads, “When you cut off the grapes.” They are cut off in clusters and placed into baskets. From there, the baskets are taken down the rows to carts that are then filled with the grapes.

21 (con’t) you shall not glean it afterward;

Here it says, “you shall not glean after yourself.” In other words, once the cutting has been done, the cutter is not to glean anything that was missed. The smaller clusters and single grapes that were missed were to be left alone. Thus…

21 (con’t) it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow.

This is the third time in a row these words have been conveyed. Those who did not have their own fields would have no way of tending to themselves, thus the provision is stated again. They were to be tended to as if the Lord was carefully watching over them. As they are words of law, the Lord was – in fact – doing so.

These precepts follow logically with what the Lord will do after the church age. There will be a time when the harvest has come, but he will leave His witness and His testimony for the people of the world. Those who are left behind will be provided for by Him, if they are willing to seek Him out.

Moses finishes with the same thought he expressed only a few short verses ago…

*22 (fin) And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this thing.

The stranger, the fatherless, and the widow were in their own type of bondage. They were at the mercy of those among whom they lived, and they were in bondage to their physical needs. The Lord, through the law, provided for them just as He provided for Israel’s relief from their bondage, and just as He will continue to provide for those in bondage after the church age.

There is no time when the Lord’s mercies are not on full display and there is no time when He is not attentive to the plight of His people – those who will submit to Him through faith in His provision.

It must be remembered that the law is not of faith, but of works. Paul repeats that in various ways in Romans and Galatians. However, there could still be a sense of faith even for those under the law. One had to believe that the Lord is truly God in order to even care in his heart about observing the law.

Said differently, a person may observe the law because he was scared of the repercussions of not doing so – being arrested, stoned, or whatever, and yet he might not believe that the Lord was actually the Lawgiver through Moses.

On the other hand, a person may honestly believe – without the evidence of seeing the Lord – that the Lord truly is the Lawgiver. In this, he would delight in the law, and he would pursue fulfilling the law because of the faith he possessed in the Lord. In this, his works would be works of faith.

This is no different than us today. There are countless people that go to church who don’t really believe in the Lord. They do the things they were told by the church, and they are obedient to the precepts, but they are not living by faith.

In the end, they may do really wonderful things – for whatever reason – but they will receive no approval from the Lord for their actions. In our verses today, we have seen the following statements spoken forth by Moses –

Remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam on the way when you came out of Egypt!
…and it shall be righteousness to you before the Lord your God.
…lest he cry out against you to the Lord, and it be sin to you.
…and the Lord your God redeemed you from there
…that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands

All five of these, although being said by Moses in the law, are statements that require faith to be believed. Unless a person truly believes that the Lord is God, everything about the accompanying precepts is simply a body of law that governs the society and “the Lord” is simply inserted into what is said for intimidation.

Remember this as you read the Old Testament and mentally interact with the words and people the Lord has placed in there. Which are people of faith? Which are people lacking faith?

And then, of those who had faith, which acted on that faith, and to what degree was it so? As you read the gospels and Acts, do the same. Think on the actions of the people, observe their attitudes, and then consider which are acting in accord with the will of the Lord, and to what measure are they doing so?

And then, when you read the epistles, place yourself into what is stated. These are our directives for life under the New Covenant. How are your life’s actions being conducted in accord with what those writers present? Are you more of a David or more of a Manasseh? Are you more like Nicodemus or Caiaphas?

Gauge yourself according to what is presented and then develop what is lacking. The closer you are to the Lord, the more intently you will seek to please Him. The closer you are to the Lord, the more you will desire to see Him glorified.

And the closer you are to the Lord, the more fearful you should be of disappointing Him – not because He might cast you into hell. If you are in Christ, that will not happen. But fearful that you will discredit Him and His glory through your actions and in the eyes of others.

What is it that you truly believe? Whatever you believe about the Lord, develop that. Moses presents his laws to the people, but he did it under the authority and inspiration of the Lord. This is the word of God. Though the law is of works, the fundamental truth is that faith is a dividing line of people even under the law.

How much more is that so for those in Christ! Let us be people of faith. When Genesis 1 says the Lord created in six days, what is your reason for accepting or denying that as literal truth? When Genesis 7 and 8 tell us of a worldwide flood, do you take that as literal history or simply a fairytale?

The Bible says Christ Jesus came. Do you believe that? Do you believe Him? He speaks of a literal creation and a literal flood. So, what “Jesus” are you following? Be people of faith and be people-pleasing to the God who has presented Himself to you in the pages of Scripture. This is what I would ask of you today.

Closing Verse: “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” Hebrews 11:7

Next Week: Deuteronomy 25:1-10 What a wonderous story he has to tell... (A Brother in Israel) (71st Deuteronomy Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Remember what the Lord your God Did

“When a man has taken a new wife
He shall not go out to war or be charged with any business
———-to his wife care he shall be makin’
He shall be free at home one year
And bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken

“No man shall take the lower or the upper millstone in pledge
For he takes one’s living in pledge, that is his financial hedge

“If a man is found kidnapping any of his brethren
Of the children of Israel
And mistreats him or sells him, then that kidnapper shall die
And you shall put away the evil from among you, so to you I tell

“Take heed in an outbreak of leprosy, that you carefully observe
And do according to all that the priests, the Levites who…
Shall teach you; just as I commanded them
So you shall be careful to do

Remember what the LORD your God did to Miriam
———-(for she was to blame)
On the way when out of Egypt you came!

When you lend your brother anything
You shall not go into his house to get his pledge, to this precept
———-you must be true
You shall stand outside
And the man to whom you lend shall bring the pledge out to you

And if the man is poor, you shall not keep his pledge overnight
You shall in any case return the pledge to him again
———-him you shall not defraud
When the sun goes down, that he may sleep in his own garment
———-and bless you
And it shall be righteousness to you before the LORD your God

“You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy
Whether one of your brethren among whom you live
Or one of the aliens who is in your land within your gates
Each day you shall him his wages give

And not let the sun go down on it
For he is poor and has set his heart on it
Lest he cry out against you to the LORD
And it be sin to you; sin you did commit

“Fathers shall not be put to death for their children
Only the offender shall be a has-been
Nor shall children be put to death for their fathers
A person shall be put to death for his own sin

“You shall not pervert justice due the stranger or the fatherless
Nor take a widow’s garment as a pledge; guilt that would bring
But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt
And the LORD your God redeemed you from there
———- therefore I command you to do this thing

“When you reap your harvest in your field
And forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it
———-such you shall not do
It shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow
That the LORD your God may in all the work of your hands
———- bless you

When you beat your olive trees
You shall not go over the boughs again, so I say
It shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow
For their sustenance after that day

When you gather the grapes of your vineyard
You shall not glean it afterward
It shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow
As you have now heard

And you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt the land
Therefore I command you to do this thing
———-therefore you must understand

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken.

“No man shall take the lower or the upper millstone in pledge, for he takes one’s living in pledge.

“If a man is found kidnapping any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and mistreats him or sells him, then that kidnapper shall die; and you shall put away the evil from among you.

“Take heed in an outbreak of leprosy, that you carefully observe and do according to all that the priests, the Levites, shall teach you; just as I commanded them, so you shall be careful to do. Remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam on the way when you came out of Egypt!

10 “When you lend your brother anything, you shall not go into his house to get his pledge. 11 You shall stand outside, and the man to whom you lend shall bring the pledge out to you. 12 And if the man is poor, you shall not keep his pledge overnight. 13 You shall in any case return the pledge to him again when the sun goes down, that he may sleep in his own garment and bless you; and it shall be righteousness to you before the Lord your God.

14 “You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether one of your brethren or one of the aliens who is in your land within your gates. 15 Each day you shall give him his wages, and not let the sun go down on it, for he is poor and has set his heart on it; lest he cry out against you to the Lord, and it be sin to you.

16 “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin.

17 “You shall not pervert justice due the stranger or the fatherless, nor take a widow’s garment as a pledge. 18 But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this thing.

19 “When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. 21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it afterward; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. 22 And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this thing.

 

 

 

Deuteronomy 24:1-4 (A Certificate of Divorce)

Deuteronomy 24:1-4
A Certificate of Divorce 

A bit more than a year ago, a member of the congregation sent me the sermon, “God’s Divorce From Israel” given by Chuck Baldwin. I was asked to address it as Baldwin claims that the divorce of Israel means that the people in the land of Israel today are not God’s people, and that they are no longer a part of what God is doing in the world.

As his sermon is openly posted on YouTube for all the world to see, I will not be as gracious as I might otherwise have been. Unsound theology is to be called out – openly and publicly – as Paul reveals in Galatians 2.

To his credit, Baldwin does acknowledge that Jews are a part of the church, but that is as obvious as the nose on one’s face. Any person on the planet who trusts in Jesus is a part of the church, which is the Bride of Christ.

Other than this one sermon, I know nothing about the guy, but this sermon clearly reveals a faulty hermeneutic that completely misses what God is doing in and through Israel in redemptive history. I can’t hold back my disdain for his theology, nor will I.

Such doctrine as his reveals a God that is not faithful to His covenants, and His word is not to be taken at face value. We must remember that man’s unfaithfulness does not negate the faithfulness of God.

In his sermon, Baldwin cites the verses used in today’s passage – well, actually he miscites them – in order to come to an erroneous conclusion concerning Israel of today. He says that these verses in Deuteronomy 24 were as a protection for the women.

That has nothing to do with what Moses is saying. The entire basis for what is said is found only in verse 4, and it has nothing to do with that. He then says that the Lord through the prophets (Isaiah and Jeremiah) is basically saying –

“As you used divorce against your wives, I am using divorce against you. You and I are through. This marriage is over.”  Chuck Baldwin

In saying that, he is then implying that the Lord is the wrongdoer because He has divorced His wife who is supposed to be protected as he is noted as saying earlier. The thought process is unclear and convoluted.

If the Lord is the Husband, and the purpose of the law is to protect the wife, then one could only conclude that the Lord failed to protect his wife by divorcing her.

This is the problem with not studying the law properly and, instead, relying on life application and topical sermons. There is no understanding of what the Lord is actually conveying in really important passages of Scripture.

The doctrinal statement on his church’s website says, “LF opposes Socialism, Neoconism and Zionism. Accordingly, we do not support the socialistic Welfare State or the Neocon Warfare State. Neither do we believe that the modern Zionist State of Israel represents either historical (Biblical) Israel or prophetic Israel. Accordingly, we reject Scofieldism and dispensational futurism.”

In other words, the prophetic words of Ezekiel, Daniel, Revelation, and etc. are not to be taken literally when they speak of Israel the people, and they have no part of God’s redemptive plans for the future. That means, 100% and for sure, that he does not believe our text verse for today…

Text Verse: “I will bring back the captives of My people Israel;
They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them;
They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them.
15 I will plant them in their land,
And no longer shall they be pulled up
From the land I have given them,”
Says the Lord your God.” Amos 9:14, 15

There is no time in human history where this has been literally fulfilled. Israel was pulled up, twice, and so if you don’t believe that the people in the land today are who the Lord is speaking of, then you either don’t believe the word, or you must say that these words mean something other than what they say. Thus, with his theology, the Bible (the word of God) concerning these verses is 1) wrong, or 2) it must be spiritualized.

This is true with countless other Old Testament (and New Testament) verses which clearly indicate that God is not through with Israel, and that He has planted them back in the land of Israel for His sovereign purposes.

In one of his statements during the sermon, and speaking of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, he says that “the destruction of Jerusalem was God’s writ of divorcement from Israel.” I’d love to find where in Scripture he gets that idea. But… it’s not there, so he won’t.

He was saying this in relation to the words of Jeremiah 3 (which we will cite today). Jeremiah 3 is at a time prior to the first temple (along with Jerusalem) destruction, not only the second… oops.

So how can the “divorce,” that Baldwin is speaking of, be the Roman “divorce.” Obviously, the temple destruction does not mean – as he arbitrarily and incorrectly claims – a “divorce.” If it did, there would have been two divorces… oops.

Secondly, as you will see in our words today, the Lord never divorced Judah… oops. That is actually rather important because Judah is the land, and the people group, where the temple (and Jerusalem) is… oops. The Lord was speaking about a divorce with the northern ten tribes (Israel)… oops. But even they are called back by the Lord to Himself, as is clearly stated elsewhere in Scripture… oops.

There are lots and lots of oopsies in his 22 minute and 41 second sermon. So many that I am personally embarrassed for him. A little less golfing (or whatever) and a bit more study will help resolve this. A reliance on a literal interpretation of the word of God, when it calls for it, will help resolve this too. And, learning the context of what is being said is always a giant help.

In that sermon, his thoughts are confused, his handling of Scripture is appalling, and his conclusions make no sense at all. As this is the only sermon I have ever seen of his, I will chalk this up to a really bad week, no time to prepare for his sermon, and temporary loss of memory involving important Bible verses as he was speaking.

Otherwise, if this is indicative of his normal theology, those who sit under him are being instructed in a very poor manner by someone who probably should take an extended vacation and do nothing but read the word again and again until it sinks in.

Wonderful truths, such as pleasing God through sound doctrine and proper theology are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. When a Man Takes a Wife (verses 1-4)

The first four verses comprise one sentence, the main subject of which is not found until the fourth verse. Everything before that is given to bring the reader to understand what is forbidden there. Moses’ words are stated precisely and with a logical purpose and intent. With that in mind, verse 1 now begins with…

“When a man takes a wife and marries her,

ki yiqah ish ishshah ubealah – “When takes man wife and has dominion over her.” The word baal, signifying to marry or rule over, is used. The idea of being a wife or being married has been seen many times since Genesis 2:4, but the verb baal has only been used twice so far, beginning in Genesis 20:3. In both instances, it referred to the authority of the man over the woman.

The noun form, baal, has been used a couple times in the same manner. Moses’ use of it now shows that he is referring to rule of a man over a woman. In the use of this now, it implies an unequal footing. This is seemingly at odds with what Genesis 2 states –

“And Adam said:
‘This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.’
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:23, 24

In the words of Genesis 2, it can be argued that it implies an equalness displayed in mutual interaction. There may be differing roles, but they would seemingly work harmoniously together. Only in Genesis 3 does this appear to change –

“To the woman He said:
‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.’” Genesis 3:16

Nothing was said of rule until that point, but from that point on it is taken as an axiom that the man will rule over his wife. Even if a oneness is still what occurs, it is a oneness with an authority and rule within the union. As for this rule of the man over the woman in marriage, in such a state, Moses’ continues with…

1 (con’t) and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes

v’hayah im lo timsa khen b’enav – “and it shall be if no she finds grace in his eyes.” This is a conditional clause leading to the purpose stated in the main clause.

Further, Moses is not saying that such will ever happen, but he is simply noting that if it does happen, what actions can be taken, and what things are forbidden based on such action.

The man has assumed authority over a woman through marriage, and now she fails to find grace in his eyes. Grace is getting what one does not deserve. In other words, there is something wrong, and the husband is unwilling to overlook that thing. His favor does not extend to such a point. If this is the case…

1 (con’t) because he has found some uncleanness in her,

ki matsa bah ervat davar – “when he has found in her nakedness thing.” In other words, there is something in her that exposes her as unclean, blemished, having some shame, or so on.

The actual meaning is hard to pin down. As such, different sects within the nation arbitrarily decided what it meant, even extending it to any reason at all.

In this, they leaned more on the precept provided now than on the implication of Genesis 2:24, which was the binding of two as one. In other words, they took the union as one being made of two, rather than the union of two as being one. In this, Moses says…

1 (con’t) and he writes her a certificate of divorce,

v’katav lah sepher kerithuth – “and writes to her scroll divorce.” Here, the word kerithuth, or divorce, is introduced. It is from karath, to cut off or cut down. Thus, it is a cutting of the bonds of marriage.

The word will be seen just four times, twice in this chapter, and then in Isaiah 50:1 and Jeremiah 3:8. All four of these instances are to be cited as we continue in our words today. Divorce will be referred to in the New Testament as well. For now, he…

1 (con’t) puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house,

v’natan b’yadah v’shilekhah mibeito – “and gives in her hand, and sends her out from his house.” It is an obvious set of words. The man determined that the woman wasn’t right for whatever reason the law tolerated. As the authority over her, the certificate is written, he then puts it in her hand and sends her away.

The woman, because of the bill of divorce, is “presumably” permitted to be married to another. As noted above, the idea of a certificate of divorce is also found in the New Testament. Jesus more perfectly explains this troubling matter –

“Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.” Matthew 5:31, 32

Jesus, quoting Moses now, does not say that what Moses said is inappropriate. Rather, he shows that the result of what is written can lead to that which is inappropriate. In other words, He does not say that the divorce itself is sin, but a divorce can lead to sin. Paul further clarifies what this means, saying –

“Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.”  1 Corinthians 7:10, 11

Paul shows that a departure means the woman is to remain unmarried or to be reconciled to her husband. And more, he says that in the New Covenant a believing husband is not to divorce his wife. He provides no exceptions to this.

He does, however, provide more guidelines and an exemption to one married to a nonbeliever –

“But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?” 1 Corinthians 7:12-16

In all cases, the onus to protect the marriage is placed upon the believer. As far as Jesus’ words, it is only later in Matthew that He explains the meaning of His earlier words –

“The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?’
And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?’
He said to them, ‘Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.’” Matthew 19:3-9

Jesus shows that what the law permitted does not abrogate what the original intent for marriage is. Despite this, Moses has permitted divorce and the sending away of a woman. Thus…

when she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man’s wife,

v’yatseah mibeto v’haleka v’hayetah l’ish akher – “And she goes out from his house, and she has walked, and she becomes to man another.” This is still a conditional clause. Nothing has been mandated. There is simply a proposition set forth.

The woman has been given a bill of divorce, she has been sent out, and in her being sent out, she has become wife to another man (ish, not baal – man, not master). As such, a new dynamic has arisen for the man who sent her out which begins to be revealed next…

if the latter husband detests her

u-seneah ha’ish ha’akharon – “and hates her the man, the latter.” The woman has become a wife to another man (ish, not baal – man, not master), and he now hates her. As this is still a proposition set forth as a possibility, if such is the case…

3 (con’t) and writes her a certificate of divorce,

v’katav lah sepher kerithuth – “and writes to her scroll divorce.” It is word for word and letter for letter exactly the same as what was said of the first husband. The latter husband has written her a scroll of divorce. It is still a proposition of possibility. If such is the case, and he then…

3 (con’t) puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house,

v’natan b’yadah v’shilekhah mibeito – “and gives in her hand, and sends her out from his house.” Again, it is a word for word and letter for letter copy of what was said in verse 1. She has been given a scroll of divorce, it has been placed in her hand, and she has been sent out of his house. If such is the case…

3 (con’t) or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife,

o ki yamut ha’akharon asher leqahah lo l’ishah – “or when dies the latter who took her his to wife.” A second possibility that ends the marriage is set forth. The latter husband (ish, not baal – man, not master) dies. If either of these occurs in this hypothetical situation…

then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife

lo yukal balah ha’rishon asher shalekha la’shuv leqakhtah lihyot lo l’ishah – “No is able her master the first, who sent her, to return to take to be to his to wife.” There is no allowance for the first husband (baal, not ish – master, not man) to retake the woman as his wife again.

This is the purpose of the entire set of verses. The conditional statements in the proposition set forth have been laid down in order to form a point of law. That is now stated, explicitly. But the reason is not yet given. That only comes in the next words…

4 (con’t) after she has been defiled;

The Hebrew is precise here. It is a form of verb known as a Hithpael. It is a causative reflexive verb. In other words, there is causation (being defiled), but the action of the verb is both committed and received by the same entity. It says: akhare asher hutamaah – “after which she has allowed herself to be defiled.”

It is the woman who has gone astray. This is exactly in line with the words of both Jesus and Paul as seen earlier –

“Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.” Matthew 5:31, 32

“Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.”  1 Corinthians 7:10, 11

Jesus says that when the woman remarries, she has committed adultery. A man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. In both cases, the woman is the cause of the adultery. Paul (speaking of believers) says the same thing.

This is why the term baal has been used of the first husband, but ish was used of the latter husband. The authority remains with the first husband, because she was one flesh with the husband as the head. In remarrying, she has caused herself to be defiled.

Of these verses, John Lange correctly states –

“The pointing in the original makes it clear that Moses does not institute or command divorce. The pointing in our version implies that he does so. He is merely prescribing limitations or regulations to a prevailing custom, which was not in accordance with the institution of marriage, and was only permitted there in this limited sense, and under these restrictions, ‘for the hardness of their hearts.’” John Lange

In fact, in following the words set forth by Moses, it is clear that the first husband was the head of that woman, even when she marries another. Her obligation remains to him, and in her having another man, she then is the one who brings defilement on herself. As she is defiled at that point, he cannot take her back…

4 (con’t) for that is an abomination before the Lord,

ki toevah hi liphne Yehovah – “for abomination she before Yehovah.” It is a feminine pronoun indicating “it” or “she.” Most translations say, “for it (meaning “that”) is an abomination before the Lord.” Only the Douay Rheims gets it right saying, “because she is defiled, and is become abominable before the Lord.”

The question for translators is, “Is this referring to the act of the man taking her back – ‘it is an abomination” – or is it referring to the woman who has been defiled – ‘she is an abomination?’” The subject is the act, but the nearest antecedent is the woman. The answer is clearly, “she is an abomination.”

The unusual construction of the verse helps clue into the meaning. It says, “before Yehovah,” not “before Yehovah your God.” In her defiling of herself, she is an abomination before the Lord. Because of this, the action is still wrong because of her state. As such, it will be sin, as Moses next says…

4 (con’t) and you shall not bring sin on the land

v’lo takhti eth ha’arets – “and no shall you bring sin on the land.” By joining again to a woman who has allowed herself to be defiled, the guilt of sin will be brought upon the land. And with that in mind, Moses again reminds the people that it is the land…

*4 (fin) which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

The land is given to Israel. They are to remain pure, undefiled, and holy before the Lord. In sending away a wife, the woman can – in fact – marry another. However, in doing so, she brings defilement on herself. However, it is the man who allowed this to occur.

The law, through Moses, is not condoning divorce. Rather, it is speaking against it while still permitting it. That could not be any clearer from the context of Moses’ words. He has shown that the original husband is the one to whom she is obligated, even when she goes to another man (baal as opposed to ish).

If the first husband was to take her back after being defiled by another man, then guilt would be brought upon the land.

What is it that the Lord expects of us?
To marry and to stick it out through and through
Let us fix our eyes on the Lord Jesus
And in our times of trouble, He will carry us through

Just as the Lord is merciful and forgiving
So should we be to our own husband or wife
Together we should be united in holy living
And let offenses go; not living in strife

Just as the Lord has forgiven His people
When they turn and repent at His feet
Let us forgive the spouse we joined ‘neath the steeple
And remain united in the bond of love so sweet

To the glory of the Lord who died for us
Let us live in harmony before the Lord Jesus

II. Pictures of Christ

To establish the relationship of the Lord to Israel, one must go back to the covenant made between them – the covenant at Sinai. In that covenant, Israel agreed to the terms – whatever they may be – that the Lord spoke forth.

In those terms as found in Leviticus 26, the Lord promised that Israel would be punished, even to the point of exile, for disobedience. Israel (the northern ten tribes) was exiled by the Assyrians. Eventually, Judah was exiled to Babylon.

Despite the northern ten tribes being exiled, none of those tribes can be considered as “lost.” People from most of those tribes are mentioned later in Scripture, after the record of the exile of those tribes. As long as there are members of those tribes, the tribes cannot be considered as gone.

In fact, Jesus, Paul, and James refer to the twelve tribes of Israel. Both Paul and James refer to them in the present tense, clearly indicating that there were twelve tribes at their time. This is scripturally indisputable.

In Ezekiel 4, the Lord used Ezekiel as a living metaphor for what he would do in regard to the exile of the people. He tells the prophet to lie on his left side for 390 days, in order to bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. He then told him to lie on his right side for 40 days to bear the iniquity of the house of Judah.

It is to be noted that Ezekiel’s prophecy is dated at or after the supposed “divorce” of Israel in Jeremiah 3:8. It is a huge and unexplained problem with Mr. Baldwin’s theology.

Together, they total 430 days. In that state, the Lord tells Ezekiel what to do in order to mirror what He would do to Israel. In this, the Lord told Ezekiel that he would be a sign to the people. They would bear punishment a year for every day that Ezekiel lay on his side.

The exile of Judah (that included people of the twelve tribes), lasted for seventy years. In this, there would thus be 360 years (a day for a year) of punishment left. However, in Leviticus 26, the Lord said to the people, “And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins” (26:18).

The correction of exile and punishment did not change the people. In this, the remaining 360 were to be multiplied by 7, thus equaling 2520 years. The decree of King Cyrus, which allowed the people to return to Israel from the Babylonian exile, came in May 536BC.

Using the biblical calendar of 360 days per year and adding 2520 years (907,200 days) to that, one arrives at May 1948, the year Israel was reestablished as a nation. If one accepts this dating, it is obvious that there is yet a purpose for the reestablishment of Israel as a nation.

Countless other dates and events could be added to this list, but that alone is sufficient to demonstrate that the prophecy of Ezekiel has merit in relation to the people of Israel today.

Along with that, another prophecy from Daniel 9 has a bearing on the dating of the coming of Messiah, the second exile of Israel for rejecting the Messiah, and the reintroduction of the law by Israel for another seven years.

It is another study for another time. But it clearly demonstrates that both the dispensation of the law for seven more years, and then final establishment of Israel in the New Covenant, lie ahead for them. In fact, Leviticus 26 refers to exactly this as it closes out –

But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me,
41 and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies;
if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt—
42 then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember;
I will remember the land.
43 The land also shall be left empty by them, and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them;
they will accept their guilt, because they despised My judgments and because their soul abhorred My statutes.
44 Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, nor shall I abhor them, to utterly destroy them and break My covenant with them;
for I am the Lord their God.
45 But for their sake I will remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God:
am the Lord.” Leviticus 26:40-45

The Lord first appeals to the covenant with Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham (verse 42). It is a land covenant to the people of Israel. However, the Lord continues by appealing to the Mosaic Covenant in verse 45.

That covenant continues beyond Sinai (Horeb) to the words of Deuteronomy. In that covenant are words already seen that speak of a Prophet like Moses whom the people are to hear, lest the Lord cut them off. That Prophet like Moses was clearly seen to be Christ Jesus.

As that is a part of the Mosaic Covenant, and as the Mosaic Covenant is what the Lord appeals to, then it must be that in appealing to the Mosaic Covenant, the Lord is also referring to the acceptance of the Prophet like Moses – Christ Jesus.

Jesus, speaking to Jerusalem – the leaders of Israel and representative of the nation – even told them that this would be the case, stating that He would return to them when they acknowledge Him as this One Moses spoke of –

 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! 35 See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” Luke 13:34-35

Christ will return only when they acknowledge Him as Lord (meaning Yehovah). Confusing though it may be, this needed to be laid out in order to understand what is being pictured in the passage today.

The Lord took Israel as a wife under the Old Covenant. That is explicitly stated in Jeremiah 31 –

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord.” Jeremiah 31:31, 32

In the sermon by Chuck Baldwin, and in an attempt to deny any connection of Israel today to the Lord as His people, he cites Isaiah 50, claiming it demonstrates that the Lord divorced Israel –

“Thus says the Lord:
‘Where is the certificate of your mother’s divorce,
Whom I have put away?
Or which of My creditors is it to whom I have sold you?
For your iniquities you have sold yourselves,
And for your transgressions your mother has been put away.
Why, when I came, was there no man?
Why, when I called, was there none to answer?
Is My hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem?
Or have I no power to deliver?
Indeed with My rebuke I dry up the sea,
I make the rivers a wilderness;
Their fish stink because there is no water,
And die of thirst.
I clothe the heavens with blackness,
And I make sackcloth their covering.’” Isaiah 50:1-3

Unfortunately, Baldwin completely misunderstood what is being conveyed there. First, the Lord is speaking to Judah, not Israel, but more he never says that he divorced their mother. Isaiah is speaking to the people in the plural about the state of their mother, Judah, whom they issue from.

She had sold herself, putting herself away. The Lord – typologically the Male in the agreement – had not issued a certificate of divorce. That is evidenced in the words –

“Where is the certificate of your mother’s divorce,
Whom I have put away?”

It is a rhetorical question demanding a negative answer. Judah had put itself away, but that was not with the Lord’s direction, and thus it could not be binding. This is also what Israel did. The Lord says in Jeremiah 3:1 –

“They say, ‘If a man divorces his wife,
And she goes from him
And becomes another man’s,
May he return to her again?’
Would not that land be greatly polluted?
‘But you have played the harlot with many lovers;
Yet return to Me,” says the Lord.” Jeremiah 3:1

As Jeremiah 3 progresses, the Lord shows that Israel had, in fact, received her certificate of divorce for her transgressions –

Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. 10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the Lord.
11 Then the Lord said to me, “Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say:
‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the Lord;
‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you.
For I am merciful,’ says the Lord;
‘I will not remain angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your iniquity,
That you have transgressed against the Lord your God,
And have scattered your charms
To alien deities under every green tree,
And you have not obeyed My voice,’ says the Lord.
14 “Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. 15 And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. Jeremiah 3:8-15

The Lord speaks to the people individually (it is plural). Though Israel had received her certificate of divorce, this did not negate individuals returning to Him, which He clearly calls out for them to do, saying, “Return, O backsliding children,” says the LORD; “for I am married to you (plural).”

How would this come about? By bringing them to Zion. Thus, Israel would now fall under the umbrella of Judah. Not understanding this, and lumping Israel and Judah together as one, Baldwin said, “…and actually, we ought to say, ‘Israel divorced God’ because it was the sins of Israel that broke up the marriage.”

He is wrong. But more, there is no provision for this in the law. It is the man who issues the certificate. The law never says a woman could do so, and the typology must be maintained.

The entire point of Deuteronomy 24:1-4 is based on the conclusion found in verse 4. But that did not occur between the Lord and Judah. This is why the alternating terms baal and ish are used. The use of baal is directed toward the first husband. He is the head of the woman.

Before getting to that, Baldwin makes a point of saying that the Lord placed upon the people of Israel the name lo ami (not my people). He then uses that to justify that Israel is no longer God’s people.

When saying that, he doesn’t say where the term lo ami comes from, but it is from Hosea 1:9. Citing that as a stand-alone thought completely ignores the rest of Hosea, such as Hosea 2:13-23. It is there that the Lord makes a play on these words that Moses stresses in our sermon verses (baal and ish). First, he uses the term Baal when speaking of foreign gods, saying –

“I will punish her
For the days of the Baals to which she burned incense.
She decked herself with her earrings and jewelry,
And went after her lovers;
But Me she forgot,” says the Lord.” Hosea 2:13

However, the Lord notes that after their punishment, they would be restored, using the name Baal (the false god) in 2:13 to make a pun on the word baal (Master, referring to the Lord) thus showing the intimate connection between the Lord and Israel –

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Will bring her into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to her.
15 I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope;
She shall sing there,
As in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
16 “And it shall be, in that day,”
Says the Lord,
That you will call Me ‘My Husband (ishi),’
And no longer call Me ‘My Master (baali),’
17 For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals,
And they shall be remembered by their name no more.
18 In that day I will make a covenant for them
With the beasts of the field,
With the birds of the air,
And with the creeping things of the ground.
Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth,
To make them lie down safely.
19 “I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me
In righteousness and justice,
In lovingkindness and mercy;
20 I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
And you shall know the Lord.” Hosea 2:14-20

In this, He said –

That you will call Me ‘My Husband (ishi),’
And no longer call Me ‘My Master (baali),’

He is returning to the state in Eden where the man and woman would be as one, no longer calling the Lord Master, but Man. As far as the term lo ami, or “not my people,” Baldwin completely missed the context of Hosea and of what is stated in the New Testament. In the next verses of Hosea, the Lord says –

“Yet the number of the children of Israel
Shall be as the sand of the sea,
Which cannot be measured or numbered.
And it shall come to pass
In the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’
There it shall be said to them,
You are sons of the living God.” Hosea 1:10

Anyone can make the Bible say anything if verses are arbitrarily picked out and cited. But when taken in context, they will inevitably bear a completely different meaning. As far as the New Testament, Paul first cites that verse as pertaining to the Gentiles in Romans 9 –

“As He says also in Hosea:
I will call them My people, who were not My people,
And her beloved, who was not beloved.’
26 “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.” Romans 9:25, 26

However, Peter then uses that same thought when speaking to the Jews (meaning after the church age as is in accord with the dispensational model and the layout of the books of the Bible. Peter, the apostle to the Jews, has his epistles placed after Paul’s. Paul is the Apostle to the Gentiles). That is found in 1 Peter 2 –

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9, 10

Peter’s letter is addressed not to the Gentiles, but to “the pilgrims of the Dispersion,” meaning Jews. Even Hosea gives us this insight as is laid out in a chiasm –

Hosea 1:9-2:23 – “But Me she forgot,” says the LORD.
A Chiasm of Contrasts – Our Unfaithfulness and God’s Unlimited Mercy (11/23/07)

a 1:9  You are not my people, I will not be your God.
—–b 1:10  Jezreel (God will sow.)
———-c 2:3  Dry Land, thirst.
—————d 2:5  Wife departs from her husband.
——————–e 2:7  Wife returns to her husband.
————————-f 2:9  Take away the new wine.
——————————g 2:10-12  God punishes Israel.
——————————h 2:13  God will punish her.
———————————–x 2:13  “But Me she forgot,” says the LORD
——————————h 2:14a  God will allure her.
——————————g 2:14b  God comforts Israel.
————————-f 2:15  Give vineyards.
——————–e 2:16  LORD says, “That you will call me ‘My Husband.’”
—————d 2:19  Husband betroths wife.
———-c 2:21, 22  Grain, new wine, oil.
—–b 2:22  Jezreel (God will sow.)
a 2:23  You are my people; You are my God.

While Israel was a people, the Gentiles were without the Lord. When Israel rejected their Messiah, the Gentiles – along with any believing Jews – became the people of God. When the church is raptured (yes, a pre-tribulation rapture is the proper doctrine of the church), the focus will again be on Israel.

The issue of Israel as a nation is separate, but it is still relevant. For Israel, there is individual salvation, and there is collective (national) salvation. Each Jew who is to be saved must come to Christ individually.

However, God made promises to Israel as a nation as well. For Israel as a nation to be saved, they must call on Christ nationally. That will happen when they (the leaders representing the people) call out, just as Jesus said they would and as was cited in Luke 13 earlier.

Who is the Lord’s bride? The answer is not a simple “Here she is.” The idea of being a bride of the Lord is not a literal Man with a woman next to Him dressed in white. It is a concept of being brought into a right covenant relationship with Him.

The idea of a single betrothal/marriage is not all there is in the redemptive narrative. Believers are individually betrothed to Christ when we believe the gospel.

The church will be presented as the Bride of Christ as stated in Ephesians 5. This will occur at the rapture of the church. Israel was united to the Lord as a bride under the Old Covenant, and they will nationally be again united to the Lord as a bride as is indicated in the many Old and New Testament passages referred to in our sermon today. Finally, there is the general thought of being united as a bride to Christ as is described in Revelation 21.

How is Israel who had (and still has) rejected the Lord brought into a right relationship with God? It is through the death of Christ on their behalf. They are the wife who made herself an abomination before the Lord.

According to the law (the Old Covenant), they could not be brought back to Him once they had been defiled as they were, but through Christ and the New Covenant, it is not only possible, it will come to pass. The New Covenant, the Christ Covenant, was established not with the church but with the House of Israel and the House of Judah.

That is stated, explicitly, in Jeremiah 31, and again in Hebrews 8. How could this come about when both Israel and Judah had been an unfaithful spouse? How could the Lord say to Israel, “Return to Me!” after they had been given a certificate of divorce?

It is because Christ Jesus, the Lord, died to pay their sin-debt. In His death, a New Covenant was established with them. The divorce of Israel by the Lord occurred under the Mosaic Covenant. The renewing of the betrothal to Israel and Judah occurs under the New Covenant in His blood.

Gentiles are not what is going on here. Gentiles are grafted into what is going on here. We merely share in the commonwealth of what God has bestowed upon Israel. How preachers can stand in the pulpit and question the word of God, the promises of the Lord, and the integrity of His covenants is utterly astonishing.

When theology becomes about “us,” it is improper theology. When we reject what God has explicitly stated, we reject Him. His word is a reflection of who He is. For whatever perverse reason, the past two thousand years have been filled with a theology that essentially says, “God cannot be trusted because God has divorced these people and they are no longer His people.”

Yes, Hosea calls that out, but then Hosea turns around and says exactly the opposite only a moment later. God is not fickle, but we are lazy. We form our opinions, and we stop when they are formed, rejecting anything else that will stand in the way of what we have decided. But God has revealed to us what He is doing… and it is marvelous. Christ! It is all about Christ and what He had done for Israel, Judah, and indeed all of the world.

“Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
34 ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?’
35 ‘Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?’
36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:28-36

Closing Verse: “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:33, 34

Next Week: Deuteronomy 24:5-22 And don’t forget it, kid! (Remember what the Lord your God Did) (70th Deuteronomy Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

A Certificate of Divorce

“When a man takes a wife and marries her
And it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes
Because he has found some uncleanness in her
And he writes her a certificate of divorce, so to you I apprise

Puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house
When she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes
———-another man’s wife
If the latter husband detests her
And writes her a certificate of divorce, thus ending
———-their married life

Puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house
Or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife
Then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back
To be his wife after she has been defiled by her remarried life

For that is an abomination before the LORD
And you shall not bring sin on the land
Which the LORD your God is giving you
As an inheritance, so you shall understand

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

“When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, when she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man’s wife, if the latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife, then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

 

Revelation 23:15-25 (Holy Conduct Before the Lord, Part II)

Deuteronomy 23:15-25
Holy Conduct Before the Lord, Part II

There is a lot of similarity in what is said here and what Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians. Much of that is found in 1 Corinthians 6. Moses writes about holy conduct before the Lord, and Paul writes about the same, even mirroring particular points that Moses makes at times.

The idea of holiness is that of being set apart. In the case of holiness to the Lord, it speaks of being set apart to Him in life, conduct, and action. The more we move towards Him, the less our life will be affected by the flesh. And it is the flesh that wages war against the spirit.

This is a struggle all of us have had and will continue to have to some extent. But the grace of God is there to cover over our failings if we are in Christ. Thank God for Jesus Christ. It is He who came to do God’s will in order to bring us into a better hope than the law could ever provide. It is a marvelous and blessed thing God has done for us through Him.

Text Verse: “Previously saying, ‘Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’ He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Hebrews 10:8-10

While typing up this sermon, I noticed a decidedly chiastic structure to the verses we will look at today. Rather than specifics, for the most part it deals with generalities, but it’s pretty evident when you see it laid out –

The first section, verses 15 and 16, deals with the rights of a slave who had escaped from his master. At first, it might not make much sense, but in looking at the details, it all comes into focus. As far as slavery, I’m sure I’ve mentioned my ancestor Thomas Garrett before.

He is who my grandfather, Thomas Garrett was named after. He devoted his life’s energy to freeing the slaves in America. As this passage deals with not returning an escaped slave, and as I need an introduction that will fit with the theme, I’ll tell you just a little about him once again.

From a Wikipedia page on him, we’ll read just a short passage –

“Garrett was also a friend and benefactor to the noted Underground Railroad Conductor Harriet Tubman, who passed through his station many times. In addition to lodging and meals, Garrett frequently provided her with money and shoes to continue her missions conducting runaways from slavery to freedom. Garrett also provided Tubman with the money and the means for her parents to escape from the South. (Both were free people at the time Tubman rescued them, but Tubman’s father faced arrest for secreting runaway slaves in his cabin.)”

“The number of runaways Garrett assisted has sometimes been exaggerated. He said he “only helped 2,700” before the Civil War put an end to slavery.”

“In 1848, however, he and fellow Quaker John Hunn were sued in federal court for helping the Emeline and Samuel Hawkins family of seven slaves owned by two owners escape, although their lawyer colleague John Wales had managed to free them from imprisonment the previous year when a magistrate granted a writ of habeas corpus. However, the two slaveowners sued Hunn and Garrett. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney presided at the trial in the New Castle Court House, and James A. Bayard, Jr. acted as prosecutor. Garrett and Hunn were found guilty of violating the Fugitive Slave Act by helping a family of slaves escape. As the ‘architect’ of the escape, Garrett received a $4,500 fine, later reduced to $1,500. According to Kathleen Lonsdale, referencing the American Friends Service Committee, ‘The fine was so heavy that it left him financially ruined, yet Thomas Garrett stood up in Court and said Judge thou has left me not a dollar, but I wish to say to thee and to all in this courtroom that if anyone knows a fugitive who wants a shelter and a friend, send him to Thomas Garrett and he will befriend him.’ A lien was put on his house until the fine was paid, and although Hunn ended up losing his house in a sheriff’s sale, with the aid of friends Garrett continued in his iron and hardware business and helping runaway slaves to freedom. By 1855, traffic through Garrett’s station had increased, and Sydney Howard Gay noted that in 1855 to 1856 nearly 50 fugitives whom Garrett had helped arrived in New York.”

He was adamant that the slaves he helped would not be returned to their master. Whether you agree with his position or not, he was a man of principle and he did what was right in regard to this great issue that plagued his time in history.

As for the slave who escaped from his master that Moses refers to, and concerning several other interesting issues laid down in our passage today, they will be looked at in detail as we continue.

Great things are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

Various Laws (verses 15-25)

15 “You shall not give back to his master the slave who has escaped from his master to you.

The pronouns are all in the singular, “you Israel.” It is a national mandate that the escaped slave is not to be returned to a master outside of Israel.

The words here need to be taken in the fuller context which is inclusive of the next verse. This is referring to a non-Hebrew slave that has escaped into a town of Israel. The words lo tasgir, or “no you shall give back,” speak of being shut up, as if in confinement. A paraphrase might be, “you shall not re-confine slave to his master.”

He has escaped, obtaining his freedom, and he should be allowed to continue in that state. In modern Hebrew, the words lo tasgir mean “to not rat out.” In the end, to rat out a slave would result in the same thing happening, and so the meaning hasn’t changed that much, at least in this regard.

The unusual thought of not returning a slave being included here is rather perplexing. This is so much the case, that some scholars tie it to the idea of warfare that was mentioned in the previous verses (9-14) of the last sermon.

However, those verses – though dealing with an army – were not really speaking of warfare, but of purity and holiness. The same idea will be seen in verses 17 and onward, and so it is unlikely that this is simply referring to a slave who escaped during war. Instead, Moses must be conveying the idea of purity, holiness, and/or what is just here as well.

What seems to be the case is that the thought of him being a slave is secondary to the larger principle being set forth. In other words, it says this in Leviticus 19 –

“And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. 34 The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:33, 34

The same principle is being stated here in Deuteronomy. Israel was a slave-nation to Egypt. Each person was an individual slave as well. But they had been brought out from that. However, there is the truth that being brought from slavery in Egypt they had been brought into the bondage of the law. Paul explains this to us –

“Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— 26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written:

‘Rejoice, O barren,
You who do not bear!
Break forth and shout,
You who are not in labor!
For the desolate has many more children
Than she who has a husband.’” Galatians 4:21-27

Israel was brought out of slavery to Egypt and brought into the bondage of the law. The escaped slave was to not be returned to his master out of the same principle by which the Lord freed Israel.

The idea now being set forth is that everyone is a slave to someone or something. One must choose who he will be a slave to. This principle continues on for those in Christ. As Paul says –

“Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. 21 Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. 22 For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called.” 1 Corinthians 7:20-24

For the escaped slave now being referred to, Moses next says…

16 He may dwell with you in your midst,

The words continue in the singular, demonstrating that this is the slave of an alien, not one who was enslaved in Israel. He is allowed to dwell within the midst of Israel. No restrictions are placed upon him in this regard, as is seen in the next words…

16 (con’t) in the place which he chooses

These words further express his freedom. He is given complete freedom as to where he will reside. He is not restricted from any tribe of Israel, nor is he mandated to reside in a particular tribe of Israel. He is to be considered accepted in whatever tribe he settles in, which is…

16 (con’t) within one of your gates,

Not only is he not restricted to, or from, any tribal inheritance, he is also not restricted from the security of living within a city in any given tribal inheritance. He is to be accepted into the gates of whatever city he chooses.

One must remember that this is a matter of law. Moses has penned it, and therefore, the people must comply in the same manner as any other law. This cannot be denied without violating the very law and covenant that has established them as a people.

To ensure the precept was fully fleshed out, and to avoid any ambiguity at all, he next says…

16 (con’t) where it seems best to him;

ba’tov lo – “in the good to him.” The decision is at his pleasure alone, and no person was to interfere with it. In essence, he has all the rights of a member of the nation to determine his own place and circumstance. Anything else would be considered a hindering influence upon him, and Moses forbids that, saying…

16 (con’t) you shall not oppress him.

lo tonenu – “no you shall suppress him.” The word is yanah. Most translations say “oppress.” That would mean, “you shall not keep him in subservience.” And that very well may be the meaning. He was a slave, and you shall not place him back into that state.

However, the previous clauses speak of his freedoms in choice: 1) He may dwell with you in your midst; 2) in the place he chooses; 3) within one of your gates; 4) where it seems best to him.

Because of this, I would suggest that this is referring to suppression rather than oppression. They are not to suppress him or stop him from making the choice that suits him best.

Regardless of this, one can see Israel as a type of life in Christ. Outside of Israel, the person is in bondage. A person that comes to Christ (as we saw in 1 Corinthians) is the Lord’s freedman.

However, and having that in mind, a person who comes to Israel from slavery is then made a slave to the law. Likewise, a person that comes to Christ, even if the Lord’s freedman, becomes a slave to righteousness, as Paul says, “And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:18). As already said, one must choose who or what he will be a slave to.

The verse here speaks of eternal salvation as clearly as it can be stated. A person who comes to Christ is to never be sent back his previous master, the devil. As a slave to Christ, he is so forever. He is forever free from the bondage he has been brought out from.

That an escaped slave who comes to Israel becomes a slave to the law is seen in the very next words because they are words that apply to all in Israel, and they are binding upon them…

17 “There shall be no ritual harlot of the daughters of Israel,

Here it refers to the qedeshah, or harlot. The word speaks of a female devotee. The word is closely tied to the word qodesh, meaning “holy,” “sacred,” “set apart,” and so on. The reason is that such a person is set apart to prostitution, quite often in relation to temple prostitution.

No daughter of Israel was to be forced or allowed to be set apart in this manner. It is contrary to purity and holiness, and thus it is forbidden.

The law is holy and righteous, and it says that no person may participate in such unrighteousness. Just as a slave who has joined to Israel is not to engage in such an act of unrighteousness, no person who comes to Christ is to seek after the flesh. Thus, the thought of a Christian being a slave to righteousness is the same as what is seen here.

This does not mean that a person in Israel cannot actually do what Moses forbids here. There are examples later in Scripture of them doing just this. And it does not mean that a Christian cannot do what is forbidden in the epistle. We all know Christians who have followed after the flesh. But the precepts are given. Moses next continues with…

17 (con’t) or a perverted one of the sons of Israel.

Here it speaks of the qadesh. It is the masculine of the word just used in the previous clause. It signifies a male who is in the same position. He is set apart to prostitution, and thus a sodomite. As it is closely tied to that which is sacred, it is translated at times as a temple prostitute or cult prostitute.

Just as these were forbidden in Israel, the same is true with what is written in the New Testament epistles.

18 You shall not bring the wages of a harlot

Here it speaks of the ethnan zonah, or wages of a harlot. The word ethnan is new, coming from tanah, signifying “to hire,” but with reference to hiring a prostitute. Thus, the ethnan is the wages spent when hiring her out. Along with that…

18 (con’t) or the price of a dog

u-mekhir kelev – “and price dog.” This is not speaking of an actual dog. Rather, it follows on with the thought of the previous clause. That spoke of the wages of a harlot. Here, a new word, mekhir, or price, is joined to that of a dog, meaning the male prostitute of the previous verse. Moses is using parallelism –

ritual harlot (qedeshah) / wages of a harlot
perverted one (qadesh) / price of a dog

The idea is then the doglike manner in which the perverted one presents himself. This term is later used in Revelation 22:15 –

“But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.” Revelation 22:15

Having said this, because such a person is equated to a dog, it is certain that no price of an actual dog was to be included in this prohibition of being brought…

18 (con’t) to the house of the Lord your God for any vowed offering,

The idea here is that of the necessity to pay ones neder, or vow as was already explained in Numbers –

“Then Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.” Numbers 30:1, 2

All of Numbers 30 details the subject of vows. Once the vow is made and confirmed, it became an absolute obligation to pay it. However, one could not then use the excuse that the necessity of paying a vow to the Lord would excuse obtaining the means of paying the vow through such sexual perversion. The reason is…

18 (con’t) for both of these are an abomination to the Lord your God.

The sale of a woman’s or a man’s body is, in itself, abominable to Yehovah. As Yehovah is Israel’s God, it cannot be considered acceptable to pay a vow to Him with money that was obtained in a manner which is contrary to His moral nature.

The general tenor of this thought is found in Romans –

“You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? 24 For ‘the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,’ as it is written.” Romans 2:21-24

This could also be lumped into the thought of Romans 3:8, “Let us do evil that good may come.” As Paul says of those who would say such a thing, “Their condemnation is just.” As such, it is not acceptable to sell oneself (commit evil) in order to bring forth a vowed offering (do what is proper).

19 “You shall not charge interest to your brother—

Here the verb nashak is used. It signifies “to bite.” As such, it speaks of interest or usury. In other words, by adding on to the original cost for repayment, it is as if one is biting another. Thus, the words lo tashik akhikha could be paraphrased as, “You shall not bite to your brother.” With that, Moses next explains it using the noun form of the same word…

19 (con’t) interest on money or food or anything that is lent out at interest.

The idea of lending without interest has already been stated in Exodus 22 and Leviticus 25. In both instances, it speaks of lending to the poor and not charging interest. For this reason, some scholars see this as only pertaining to the poor.

However, Moses does not qualify it as such. Rather, he says “your brother” without any other qualifications. And more, for strong emphasis, the Hebrew repeats the noun neshek, or interest, three times, and then follows up with the verb form: neshek keseph neshek okel neshek kal davar asher yishak – “interest silver, interest food, interest anything which is lent on interest (lit: which bites).

The words, if considered in relation to Christ, show the enormity of what He did for us. Not only does He not charge interest on such things, He offers them without any cost at all –

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money (keseph, silver),
Come, buy and eat (food).
Yes, come, buy wine and milk (anything)
Without money and without price.” Isaiah 55:1

Israel is given a standard, because it is a shadowy anticipation of the greater provision found in Christ towards His people, because they are His people. On the other hand…

20 To a foreigner you may charge interest,

The word translated as “foreigner” is nokri. It signifies a stranger or something out of place. It is something that does not belong because the nature of the thing is foreign.

As traders came into or through the land – by ship, by camel, or whatever – they would naturally be willing to lend at interest. As such, it would make no sense to forbid the same towards them. The prohibition is, therefore, only one that pertains to a brother, meaning a fellow Israelite. As Moses again repeats…

20 (con’t) but to your brother you shall not charge interest,

Moses turns around the words already said. “No shall you charge interest to your brother” / “and to your brother no you shall charge interest.” In this, there can be no manipulation of the law. It is clear and unambiguous. And there is a reason for this…

20 (con’t) that the Lord your God may bless you

l’maan yebarekha Yehovah elohekha – “To end purpose may bless you Yehovah your God.” There is an end purpose in not charging interest which is to receive the blessing of the Lord. The implication is that in charging interest, such a blessing would be withheld. For the obedient, the blessing is one which will be…

20 (con’t) in all to which you set your hand in the land which you are entering to possess.

Moses uses the word mishloakh, an outstretching. A more literal reading is “in all which you stretch forth your hand upon the land.” One can think of everything prospering and each time the hand reaches out, it brings back abundance.

Thought through logically, it is essentially a promise that in not asking for extra from one’s brother, the Lord will – in turn – provide more than would have been obtained by asking for extra.

This is the third time that Moses has made a contrast between the nokri, or foreigner, and akhikha or “your brother.” The first was in Deuteronomy 15 concerning the release of debts in the seventh year –

“Of a foreigner you may require it; but you shall give up your claim to what is owed by your brother” Deuteronomy 15:3

The second was in Deuteronomy 17 in relation to setting a king over themselves –

“you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.” Deuteronomy 17:15

This third is in relation to interest –

“To a foreigner you may charge interest, but to your brother you shall not charge interest.” Deuteronomy 23:20

It is of note that Israel violated all three of these. The first is recorded as being violated in Jeremiah 34 –

“Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘You have not obeyed Me in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother and every one to his neighbor. Behold, I proclaim liberty to you,’ says the Lord—‘to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine! And I will deliver you to trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth.’” Jeremiah 34:17

The second is recorded as being violated in John 19 –

“But they cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!’
Pilate said to them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’
The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar!’” John 19:15

The third is recorded as being violated in Ezekiel 22 –

“In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take usury and increase; you have made profit from your neighbors by extortion, and have forgotten Me,” says the Lord God.” Ezekiel 22:12

The precepts, clearly laid out by Moses and yet violated by Israel, show the stark contrast to the greatness of Christ who perfectly fulfilled and exceeded these (and all) precepts of the law.

21 “When you make a vow to the Lord your God,

The words more precisely read, “When vowing a vow to Yehovah your God.” This is a voluntary act and the guidelines for it are laid out in (as noted earlier) Numbers 30. When a vow is made and confirmed, it becomes binding. It must be paid. But more, Moses says…

21 (con’t) you shall not delay to pay it;

There are, as in any debts or vows, reasons why such things should be paid in a timely manner. There is the possibility that the vower might not be able to pay later.

If he was the victim of an accident, theft, other obligations arising, and so on… suddenly, the priorities may change. But one’s primary responsibility is to personal integrity before and towards the Lord.

It could be that the person will forget the vow was made. It may be that regret creeps in. It may be that the person dies before paying it. But, again, one’s primary responsibility is to personal integrity before and towards the Lord.

The impetus of the law is that any vowed vow should be treated as a priority in one’s life. Solomon, certainly thinking of this law now laid down by Moses, says –

“When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it;
For He has no pleasure in fools.
Pay what you have vowed—
Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.” Ecclesiastes 5:4, 5

As a vow is voluntary, the obligation rests in a very firm manner upon the one who made it to also perform it without fail. Should he fail in this, it shows a deep lack of integrity before the Lord. Thus…

21 (con’t) for the Lord your God will surely require it of you,

The Hebrew is emphatic – “requiring, He will require it of you.” The vow has been uttered, and it must be performed. To delay brings in the possibility, and likely state, of nonperformance. In this, Moses then says…

21 (con’t) and it would be sin to you.

The idea of sin is that which brings a curse. This is what the Lord rebuked Israel for in the making of a vow –

“But cursed be the deceiver
Who has in his flock a male,
And takes a vow,
But sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished—
For I am a great King,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“And My name is to be feared among the nations.” Malachi 1:14

To make a vow and then to sacrifice that which is blemished is to not fulfill the vow. The reason is because nothing blemished was to be offered to the Lord in a vow (Leviticus 22:17-23). In all vows, performance was expected, and it was expected in accord with the law.

22 But if you abstain from vowing, it shall not be sin to you.

Paul says, in Romans 4:15 that “the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.” As there is no law mandating a vow, there can be no transgression in not vowing. However, there is a law concerning vows. As such, in vowing and not performing, sin is imputed.

In this, one can see how the law works against a person every step of the way. It is a form of bondage even if it is good and holy. The problem is not in the law, but in man who does not perform the requirements of the law – whatever they may be. As such…

23 That which has gone from your lips you shall keep and perform,

When the vow is made, and when the lips have uttered forth their words of obligation, then tishmor v’asita – “you shall keep, and you shall do.” It is a matter of law and therefore to fail to perform is to sin. And to sin is to thus incur guilt…

23 (con’t) for you voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth.

The person, in making a vow, places himself under law. This was, like Israel’s commitment to the Lord concerning the Mosaic Law, a voluntary act. Until they agreed to the law, it was not binding on them. But upon their agreement to it, they were no longer free from it.

A vow is no different. It is not a point of law until it is spoken with the mouth. But once it is spoken, it becomes a point of law, the stipulations of which must be fulfilled accordingly. And this is what Christ did.

First, He voluntarily placed Himself under the law. God was under no obligation to enter into the stream of humanity and fulfill the Mosaic code. But He did so –

“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire;
My ears You have opened.
Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart.’” Psalm 40:6-8

The author of Hebrews, as seen in our text verse today, uses these words to show that Christ voluntarily placed Himself into this position in order to fulfill the law, take it away, and thereby establish the New Covenant.

But while under the law, the Lord made His own voluntary vows. That is prophesied in the 22nd Psalm –

“I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from Him;
But when He cried to Him, He heard.
25 My praise shall be of You in the great assembly;
I will pay My vows before those who fear Him.
26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
Those who seek Him will praise the Lord.
Let your heart live forever!” Psalm 22:22-26

The Lord made vows and promised to pay them, making Himself the surety for their accomplishment. The author of Hebrews explains their fulfillment in Hebrews 2 –

“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying:
‘I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.’
13 And again:
‘I will put My trust in Him.’
And again:
‘Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.’” Hebrews 2:10-13

Thus, where Israel is shown to have failed in their performance of the code, Christ both kept and performed that which He spoke with His mouth.

24 “When you come into your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes at your pleasure,

The final two verses of the chapter convey the same thought. In the first one, it deals with the vineyard. Anyone in Israel was allowed to walk upon the cultivated land at will, even onto someone’s property. It is the Lord’s land, and He – through Moses – indicates as much.

While there, the person is allowed to eat anavim k’naphshekha saveekha – “grapes according to your soul your satisfaction.” In other words, there is no prohibition on eating as much as one desires, even to filling, while in another’s field. However…

24 (con’t) but you shall not put any in your container.

The idea here concerns that what you can eat and nothing more. Nothing beyond that was to be taken from the field. Likewise…

25 When you come into your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck the heads with your hand,

Moses introduces two new words here. The first is qataph, meaning to crop off, cut down or up, or pluck. It will be seen five times, once here, twice in Job, and twice in Ezekiel.

The second word is found only here, melilah. It refers to the head of grain. Anyone could pick the heads and eat them at will, just as with the grapes. It is what Jesus, and His disciples, did as is recorded in the gospels –

“At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, ‘Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!’” Matthew 12;1, 2

What they were doing was perfectly legal. It is not the eating that they say isn’t lawful, but the picking of the grain. As this was considered a work, the Pharisees spoke against Him for it.

In turn, Jesus defended Himself by citing accounts from Scripture to demonstrate to them that what they were doing was not without precedent, and then applying such exemptions to Himself. As far as the law of the grain, they were not in violation of the precept. The allowance is given by Moses. However…

*25 (fin) but you shall not use a sickle on your neighbor’s standing grain.

Here is the second and last use of the word khermesh, meaning a sickle. It comes from kharam which is the act of devoting something to God through destruction, exterminating, and so on.

Like filling a vessel with grapes, it was forbidden to cut down stalks of grain which could then be carried out of the field and threshed. One could only pick and eat what was in his hand.

The point of these last two verses is summed up in Jesus’ final words to the Pharisees as He responded to their accusations –

“But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:7, 8

The law set down by Moses now is one of mercy for the hungry. Though the field is the property of another, the law says that this is not stealing. Therefore, the law is given, in this case, to provide mercy to the hungry. That takes precedent over the eighth commandment. However, to take more would be a violation of the command.

As this is so concerning the law being one of mercy, then the hungry are not disobedient to the Sabbath when they eat what comes to their hand. No violation of the fourth commandment results.

Along with that, as the Sabbath was made for man (Mark 2:27), and as Christ is the ideal Man, and as there was a need to be filled for the Man, then what occurred on the Sabbath could not be considered a violation of the law.

The idea of purity, holiness, and of what is just has been the guiding thought of what is presented in this chapter. Each point was given to Israel to guide their conduct and to maintain them as a holy people before the Lord.

And yet, each point has – in one way or another – anticipated the Person and work of Christ who would come and fulfill both the legal requirements set down for Israel, and also the typology set forth by the Lord in the various precepts.

Again, and again, the law is revealing to us the greatness of what God has done in Christ by leading us to the law, through the law, and into a new place where we can fellowship with Him apart from the condemning influence of the law.

In this, He asks us to have faith in what He has done. It is this simple act of acknowledging His work that brings us into a right relationship with Him. As such, we can then live for God without the sentence of death hanging over us that has troubled man since our first father.

Let us be wise and accept the Gift of grace by receiving Christ as Savior. This is what God would ask of you today, and it is what I ask you to consider with all of your heart and mind. Reach out and be restored – to the renewing of your soul in Christ our Lord.

Closing Verse: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Romans 10:4

Next Week: Deuteronomy 24:1-4 Israel often issued these without considering the Source… (A Certificate of Divorce) (69th Deuteronomy Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Holy Conduct Before the Lord, Part II

You shall not give back to his master, this you shall not do
The slave who has escaped from his master to you

He may dwell with you in your midst
In the place which he chooses within one of your gates
Where it seems best to him
You shall not oppress him as this word states

“There shall be no ritual harlot of the daughters of Israel
Or a perverted one of the sons of Israel, so to you I tell

You shall not bring the wages of a harlot or the price of a dog
To the house of the Lord your God, such thinking
———-would be flawed
For any vowed offering
For both of these are an abomination to the Lord your God

“You shall not charge interest to your brother
This is a command and not a request
Interest on money or food
Or anything that is lent out at interest

To a foreigner you may charge interest, but to your brother
You shall not charge interest, so to you I address
That the Lord your God may bless you
———-in all to which you set your hand
In the land which you are entering to possess

“When you make a vow to the Lord your God
You shall not delay to pay it, such you shall not do
For the Lord your God will surely require it of you
And it would be sin to you

But if you abstain from vowing, if this you do
It shall not be sin to you

That which has gone from your lips
You shall keep and perform, as certainly
———-as north is north and south is south
For you voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God
What you have promised with your mouth

“When you come into your neighbor’s vineyard
You may eat your fill of grapes at your pleasure
But you shall not put any in your container
Your mouth is to be the sole measure

When you come into your neighbor’s standing grain
You may pluck the heads with your hand again and again
But you shall not use a sickle
On your neighbor’s standing grain

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 “You shall not give back to his master the slave who has escaped from his master to you. 16 He may dwell with you in your midst, in the place which he chooses within one of your gates, where it seems best to him; you shall not oppress him.

17 “There shall be no ritual harlot of the daughters of Israel, or a perverted one of the sons of Israel. 18 You shall not bring the wages of a harlot or the price of a dog to the house of the Lord your God for any vowed offering, for both of these are an abomination to the Lord your God.

19 “You shall not charge interest to your brother—interest on money or food or anything that is lent out at interest. 20 To a foreigner you may charge interest, but to your brother you shall not charge interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all to which you set your hand in the land which you are entering to possess.

21 “When you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay to pay it; for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and it would be sin to you. 22 But if you abstain from vowing, it shall not be sin to you. 23 That which has gone from your lips you shall keep and perform, for you voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth.

24 “When you come into your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes at your pleasure, but you shall not put any in your container. 25 When you come into your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck the heads with your hand, but you shall not use a sickle on your neighbor’s standing grain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deuteronomy 23:1-14 (Holy Conduct Before the Lord, Part I)

Deuteronomy 23:1-14
Holy Conduct Before the Lord, Part I

The final verses of our passage today deal with handling of human waste. It’s something I have been intimately familiar with for most of my life. In high school, dad got me into a job at the local wastewater treatment plant. I could go on all day, every day for months, telling you stories about my adventures there.

But that wasn’t enough for me, so when I came back from the military, I got back into the field for some years. Then I left it to go mine gold in Alaska. When I got back from that, I did a few other things, and then…yes, I got back into handling wastewater for several more years. I could go on and on about it.

The stories would probably never get tiring too. It is a great field to be in, the work is (to me) exciting and challenging, and it is one of those things that is actually doing a huge service for society in many ways, for the environment, and for the health and well-being of people worldwide.

Eventually, I left that to take up preaching, but I still have to take care of such things on a smaller level six days a week. Yes, I clean public bathrooms at a mall I take care of. I can absolutely assure you that it is ten thousand times worse than working at a wastewater plant… maybe a million.

No wonder the passage today says what it says. When things aren’t properly taken care of in this regard, my morning job is as distasteful as anything you could imagine. The one word I can use to really catch the scent (pun intended) for what I have to deal with is “unholy.”

Hence, the Lord told the Israelites that their war camps were to be holy. It is that simple. It is as obvious as the nose on a person’s face (and as obvious TO the nose on a person’s face), why we are to properly take care of business.

Text Verse: “But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:20-24

If I can give one general theme for all of Deuteronomy, it would be in accord with the title of this sermon – Holy Conduct Before the Lord. Obviously, each section is quite a bit different, but that is a good main theme for it.

Some of it deals with conduct towards others, some of personal conduct concerning hygiene, and so on. But one thing we need to do is to not get so carried away in our analyses of Scripture that we make the word say something wholly unintended. It is a big and not-uncommon problem though.

One of the sites I use quite often is Abarim Publications. They have the best analyses of the meaning of names in Scripture to be found anywhere. And some of their Bible commentaries are very insightful.

But their commentary on verses 12 and 13 of our passage today is so out of line with the intent of what is being said that I am actually embarrassed to recommend them lest someone read it and get misdirected down such an odd avenue.

Once we start doing what they did there, from that point on we can make anything say anything. This is not responsible theology. We need to stick closely to what the text actually says, and then consider any typological analogies based solely on how the words are fulfilled through the work of Christ or how they apply to believers based on the work of Christ.

I just thought I would say that about Abarim because I want people to be careful and not just accept what they read or hear because it sounds enlightening or insightful. I love their site, I enjoy some of their biblical analyses, but everything has to be carefully considered and not just taken at face value.

You should even do this with the Superior Word sermons. Make sure what you are taking in is in accord with the word. And guess what? The only way you can do that is to … to … know the word! Be sure to know this word! It is well worth the time you put into it.

Great things are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Assembly of the Lord (Verses 1-8)

“He who is emasculated by crushing or mutilation shall not enter the assembly of the Lord.

The variations in the translation of this verse are rather incredible. Most are paraphrases to help explain the obvious intent of what is being conveyed. The Hebrew reads: lo yavo petsua daka u-kerut shaphkah biqhal Yehovah – “No shall enter – wounded, crushing and cutting, male organ – in assembly Yehovah.”

The first words, “No shall enter,” are obviously tied to the last words, “in assembly Yehovah.” The intervening words explain who is being described. Exactly what it means to “enter the assembly” is debated. Adam Clarke may be right when he says –

“If by entering the congregation be meant the bearing a civil office among the people, such as magistrate, judge, etc., then the reason of the law is very plain; no man with any such personal defect as might render him contemptible in the sight of others should bear rule among the people, lest the contempt felt for his personal defects might be transferred to his important office, and thus his authority be disregarded.”

Whether correct, or whether it extends to something even more general, the matter was understood clearly by the people. The word qahal, or assembly, is not the same as edah, or congregation. Therefore, it may be that such a person could be a part of the congregation, but not entitled to the benefits of the assembly. That seems likely based on the coming verses.

In this verse, are three new and rare words –

Patsa. It is a verb meaning to bruise or wound. It comes from a root signifying “to split.” It will be seen only three times.

Dakah. It is a noun signifying a crushing from the verb dakah meaning to crush. This is the only time it is used in the Bible.

Shophkah. It is a noun that speaks of the male organ. Coming from shaphak, meaning to pour out, as in wine or blood. It is also only found here in the Bible.

What is being conveyed is a precept that has already been noted concerning the priests of Israel –

“For any who has a defect shall not approach: a man blind or lame, who has a marred face man or any limb too long, 19 a man who has a broken foot or broken hand, 20 or is a hunchback or a dwarf, or a man who has a defect in his eye, or eczema or scab, or is a eunuch. 21 No man of the descendants of Aaron the priest, who has a defect, shall come near to offer the offerings made by fire to the Lord. He has a defect; he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God.” Leviticus 21:18-21

But this precept now goes further. It is an expansion of the thought presented concerning sacrificial animals in Leviticus 22 –

“You shall not offer to the Lord what is bruised or crushed, or torn or cut; nor shall you make any offering of them in your land.” Leviticus 22:24

The perfection of the Lord demands that only perfect sacrifices should be presented to Him. The defects now noted in human males, are defects that have been purposefully made by man’s hands. If such sacrificial animals were unacceptable as offerings, how much more should those who are His people, who bring forward their offerings, be perfect in their physical being!

In this, it is seen that perfection is demanded when coming before God. This has already been seen innumerable times in Leviticus. Anyone who was unclean for a host of reasons could not come before the Lord.

Some instances of uncleanness, like leprosy, kept them away from Him permanently. Some, such as an issue in the night, kept them away from Him until evening. But the idea being conveyed is perfection. Only perfection can come into the presence of the Lord.

Thus, being included in the assembly of the Lord meant to be considered a member of the Israelite society with all of its rights, privileges, and responsibilities. It is seen later that eunuchs served kings in Israel, but they were not a part of Israel. One of them, Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian eunuch, received a special blessing from the Lord in Jeremiah 39:16-18 –

“Go and speak to Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will bring My words upon this city for adversity and not for good, and they shall be performed in that day before you. 17 But I will deliver you in that day,” says the Lord, “and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid. 18 For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me,” says the Lord.’”

In Acts 8, a eunuch came to Jerusalem to worship, but he was not considered a member of the assembly of Israel. Only those considered as acceptable could be a member of the society, and those who were members of the society still had to be acceptable – at any given time – to make their offerings to the Lord. Again, the idea is that nothing imperfect can come before the Lord.

In Israel, this was all typology. Like the animal sacrifices that were actually ineffectual (Hebrews 10:4), the people of Israel were actually imperfect as well. What they did and the way they were set apart, was only anticipatory of something greater. This is perfectly evident from the words of Isaiah –

“Do not let the son of the foreigner
Who has joined himself to the Lord
Speak, saying,
‘The Lord has utterly separated me from His people’;
Nor let the eunuch say,
‘Here I am, a dry tree.’
For thus says the Lord:
“To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths,
And choose what pleases Me,
And hold fast My covenant,
Even to them I will give in My house
And within My walls a place and a name
Better than that of sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
That shall not be cut off.” Isaiah 56:3-5

Isaiah prophesied of a time when those who were excluded from the assembly under Moses would actually become an eternal part of the assembly through Christ. The irony of Isaiah’s words is that “those who are ‘cut off’ in the body, would never be ‘cut off’ before God because of Christ.”

This was literally fulfilled in the eunuch of Acts 8. Though excluded from the assembly of Israel under the Mosaic Covenant, he was brought into the commonwealth of Israel through the New Covenant in Christ, thus being given an everlasting name that would not be cut off.

In other words, he was made perfect in Christ and thus made acceptable to God. The typology of the Old only anticipated the fulfillment of it in the New. But this then brings in the words of Paul who was speaking to the Galatians about those of Israel who still preached circumcision as a necessary requirement for being acceptable to God. He says –

“And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!” Galatians 5:11, 12

What Paul is referring to when he says “cut themselves off” is a step beyond what was mandated for Israel under the law. His words turn on the idea of circumcision. He is showing the utterly ludicrous nature of being circumcised in order to please God over and above what Christ had already done.

And so, he basically says, “Gee, if you can make God happy by being circumcised, then keep on cutting. Maybe He will be more pleased with additional mutilation of the flesh.” His words are both ironic and sarcastic.

If these Judaizers wanted to live out their lives under the Mosaic covenant, they would find that they were as unpleasing to God as if they had emasculated themselves.

They were still living out the typology and not entering into that which the typology anticipated. They had missed the significance of what Christ had done. In Him, we are perfected – regardless of the condition of our physical bodies.

If entering the presence of the Lord means we must be perfect, and if the Mosaic law can make nothing perfect, then no person could ever enter the presence of God. But in Christ, we are made perfect – once and forever. This is stated, explicitly, in Hebrews 7 –

“For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” Hebrews 7:18, 19

“One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the assembly of the Lord;

lo yavo mamzer biqhal Yehovah – “No shall enter illegitimate into assembly Yehovah.” Here is a new and rare word, mamzer. It is found only twice, here and Zechariah 9:6. It signifies a child of incest, or illegitimately generated.

An example of such a birth would be that of Judah and Tamar found in Genesis 38. Judah slept with his own daughter-in-law, and thus, under the law, such a child would be illegitimate. Though that happened before the time of the law, it still could be said to apply to the line of Judah that issued from that union, at least for a certain period. That is because…

2 (con’t) even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord.

Again, the word qahal, or assembly, is used. Any such person, even to the tenth generation, could not enter into the assembly of Yehovah. The number ten in Scripture signifies the perfection of divine order. It implies that nothing is wanting; that the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete.

When the tenth is arrived at, the cycle of the prohibition is thus completed. It is this verse that the author of the book of Ruth certainly had in mind when he finished the book with the words –

“Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron; 19 Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab; 20 Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon; 21 Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; 22 Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.” Ruth 4:18-22

Perez was the child born to the illegitimate union between Judah and Tamar. As such, until the tenth generation, the descendant could be considered illegitimate. Hence, those words, affixed to the end of Ruth, establish that David was – in fact – eligible to enter the assembly of the Lord and hold the office of king because he was the tenth, or completing, generation of the prohibition.

However, it is clear that his ancestors were accepted as members of the congregation of Israel, and so there is seen to be a difference between the edah, or congregation, and the qahal, or assembly. This will also be seen again as we continue.

“An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the Lord;

The explanation for this prohibition will be given in the next verse. For now, the words simply provide the precept. What is said must refer to a male, not a female. However, this is taken by Ezra as an absolute prohibition, and he forced those who married such women to divorce the wives thus also abandoning the children. Ezra must have misinterpreted the law because this cannot be the intent of the verse, as will be seen in the words ahead…

3 (con’t) even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord forever,

A literal translation of the entire verse would say, “No shall enter Ammonite and Moabite in assembly Yehovah; also, generation tenth no shall enter to theirs in assembly Yehovah until vanishing point.”

The question is, does “until vanishing point,” or “forever,” interpret the words “tenth generation,” or does it simply mean that the precept of not entering to the tenth generation is to be adhered to forever?

The answer must be the latter. In other words, “tenth generation” is not – as some scholars claim – being used synonymously with “forever.” Rather, the term “forever” is speaking of the fact that this precept is to be adhered to forever.

First, the reason this must apply to males only is because David’s great grandmother was Ruth, the Moabitess, and yet David was a member of the assembly of the Lord. Likewise, his grandson through Solomon, Rehoboam, was the son of Naamah, an Ammonitess.

Therefore, it cannot be that this applied to the descendants of females from these people groups who married into Israel. And further, the word qahal, or assembly, must be specifically different than edah, or congregation.

This is because listed among David’s mighty men in 1 Chronicles 11 are Zelek the Ammonite (11:39) and Ithmah the Moabite (11:46). To be reckoned as members of his chief fighting men, they surely had to be members of the congregation, even if not members of the assembly.

Therefore, Ezra (and later Nehemiah) – though having good intentions, misunderstood the intent of Moses’ words now. Nehemiah clearly equates the words “to the tenth generation” with “forever” when he misquotes Moses –

“On that day they read from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people, and in it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever come into the assembly of God.” Nehemiah 13:1

For now, Moses next explains why the precept is mandated…

because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt,

Rather than “when,” it reads, “in your coming out from Egypt.” The Exodus happened almost forty years before this event. It was a long, extended process that includes the travels after leaving. In this, the words introduce a new thought not previously stated. The Lord specifically told Israel to not harass these people groups –

“Then the Lord said to me, ‘Do not harass Moab, nor contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land as a possession, because I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as a possession.’” Deuteronomy 2:9

“And when you come near the people of Ammon, do not harass them or meddle with them, for I will not give you any of the land of the people of Ammon as a possession, because I have given it to the descendants of Lot as a possession.” Deuteronomy 2:19

Despite the Lord’s admonition to not harm these people because they were extended family who had been given their land as a possession, these same groups did not extend any family courtesies toward Israel, not even the basic necessities such as bread and water. But more than that, they were hostile to them…

4 (con’t) and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you.

This was specifically done by Moab, as is seen in Numbers 22. A singular verb is used as well (he hired). Thus, it speaks of the people as a collective.

This could be referring only to Moab then, but in 2 Chronicles 20:1, it identifies the two people as the same stock, even if they are separate clans. They were united in action and so it appears that the guilt of hiring Balaam is imputed to both…

Nevertheless the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam, but the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you,

Balaam, who was hired by Moab, blessed Israel. However, Israel is reminded now that the original intent was for him to curse Israel. It was because the Lord intervened in the affair that the anticipated curse was turned into a blessing. Moses then explains why this is what came about saying…

5 (con’t) because the Lord your God loves you.

This is in the singular still. It refers to the nation as the object of the Lord’s affections. And that affection is for who they can be, not necessarily who they are. God is love, and it is the anticipated relationship with Israel, based on the covenant promises, that the Lord directs His love towards them. This is seen in the words of Jesus, the fulfillment of those covenant promises, in John 3 –

“The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:35, 36

The Ammonites and Moabites were not a part of these covenant promises. As such, the Lord acted for Israel. But of this same Israel, most have rejected Christ. In this, God’s wrath remains on them. Thus, the love spoken of here is one of covenant love, and it pertains to those who are faithful toward Him in that covenant standing. For Ammon and Moab, this was not true. Thus…

You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever.

The words are to Israel in the singular, meaning the nation as a whole. The aims and goals of Israel were not the same as the aims and goals of these nations. Nor would they ever fully see eye to eye. Because of this, they were not to unite as nations would in alliances and the like.

Does this prohibition extend to individual relationships as well? It is hard to be dogmatic, but it probably does because of the words of the previous verses, and because the next verse, will speak of individuals from Edom and Egypt. What is evident is that David had a friendly relationship with the king of Ammon –

“It happened after this that the king of the people of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his place. Then David said, ‘I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me.’” 2 Samuel 10:1, 2

It is hard to say if David’s friendship with Nahash was a violation of the precept now being given by Moses. But what occurred in the rest of the chapter shows that the Ammonites remained suspicious of, and at enmity with, Israel. Nahash means “Serpent,” and the son of Nahash turned around and bit at David like a serpent would.

“You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother.

Here, Moses speaks of the individual Edomite. He was not to be abhorred. This was to be the case even though Edom came out against Israel with the sword –

“Then Edom said to him, ‘You shall not pass through my land, lest I come out against you with the sword.’
19 So the children of Israel said to him, ‘We will go by the Highway, and if I or my livestock drink any of your water, then I will pay for it; let me only pass through on foot, nothing more.
20 Then he said, ‘You shall not pass through.’ So Edom came out against them with many men and with a strong hand. 21 Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his territory; so Israel turned away from him.” Numbers 20:18-20

Despite their conduct, Moses gives the explicit reason for why they were to not abhor an Edomite, saying emphatically: ki akhikha hu – “for your brother, he.” Edom was the brother of Israel; therefore, the Edomite was to be treated as a brother as well. Likewise…

7 (con’t) You shall not abhor an Egyptian,

Egypt afflicted Israel, and Egypt attempted to destroy Israel, and yet, like the Edomite, the Egyptian was not to be abhorred. And again, Moses explicitly states why it was to be so –

7 (con’t) because you were an alien in his land.

The people of Egypt had provided a home, land, and sustenance for over two hundred years. When Israel left the land, the Egyptians that they knew gave them many parting gifts. Israel was a stranger nation in their land, and yet they were cared for. Therefore, kindness was to be shown, in turn, to the individual Egyptian as well.

The children of the third generation born to them may enter the assembly of the Lord.

The Hebrews says, “sons,” rather than, “children.” In only three generations, instead of ten for Ammon and Moab, the sons of an Edomite or an Egyptian could enter the assembly of the Lord.

What can be seen here is a practical lesson that has already been seen in other examples. First, Edom can be considered near of kin, whereas Ammon and Moab – though related – were not. Secondly, Ammon and Moab had intended to curse Israel without ever having had any direct relations with them.

Edom could be seen as a near of kin, and thus in a special kinsman relationship with Israel. Egypt despite having afflicted Israel as a master to a bondservant, was also kind to him as well. The bonds between these two and Israel were stronger and more enduring than those of Ammon and Moab.

Thus, the lesson of forgetting the lesser matters and uniting on the greater and more enduring matters is being taught to Israel in these directives now.

Holiness before the Lord, to this we have been called
We are to always walk carefully in His ways
Let not our momentum diminish or get stalled
Let us press forward for all of our days

May it be so, to the honor of the Lord our God
May it be so, that we live in holiness
May it be so, every step that we trod
Onward toward the final prize, may we continue to press

He is our God and to Him we must be true
He is our Lord, our glorious Lord Jesus
Let us act in holiness in everything we do
And in this, His smiling countenance will radiate on us

II. Your Camp Shall Be Holy (verses 9-14)

“When the army goes out against your enemies, then keep yourself from every wicked thing.

For consistency, the word “army” here should be “camp.” The same word, makhaneh, is used twice in the next verse, both times translated as “camp.” It is the purity of the camp that is being focused on.

When Israel went out as a camp to fight their battles, the Lord would be among them. This has already been seen in Deuteronomy 20, saying –

“When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 20:1

Moses is noting that the conduct and purity of the people will have a direct bearing on the Lord’s attention to them in battle. Impurity of the camp would show a disdain for the presence of the Lord who is ultimately the One who would either deliver the enemy over to Israel, or who would deliver Israel over to them. As such…

10 If there is any man among you who becomes unclean by some occurrence in the night,

This is referring to a man that has a nocturnal emission. If this were to occur, it would render him unclean until the next evening. This has already been explained in Leviticus –

“If any man has an emission of semen, then he shall wash all his body in water, and be unclean until evening.” Leviticus 15:16

In such a case as this…

10 (con’t) then he shall go outside the camp; he shall not come inside the camp.

The Hebrew reads specifically in relation to the camp: v’yatsa el mikhuts lamakhaneh; lo yavo el tok ha’makhaneh – “and he shall go unto from outside to the camp; no shall he come unto midst the camp.” The purity of the camp is to be maintained. He is defiled, and he must separate himself from the camp, which is considered holy. That is to continue for a set time period…

11 But it shall be, when evening comes,

The evening is the start of the new day. It is this time that is set forth again and again in Leviticus to reflect the time when a state of defilement is ended. However, this is the only time in Deuteronomy that the term is used in this way. As such, it is right to reexplain the meaning.

As biblical days go from evening until evening, it indicates that the state of defilement lasts until the starting of the new day. Only when the old had passed away, can the new come in.

The evening then looks forward to the work of Christ. He died in the afternoon and was buried as the evening approached. With His death and burial, all defilement of man was washed away. This is seen in Matthew 27 –

“Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. 59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. 61 And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.” Matthew 27:57-61

11 (con’t) that he shall wash with water;

yirkhats bamayim – “he shall wash in the water.” He is defiled, it is evening, and he is now being purified. This typologically looks to the cleansing of Christ as is seen in Hebrews 10 –

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:19-22

Christ died, He entered the Most Holy Place, and we enter into His death and burial. In this, our spiritual bodies are washed clean.  What Israel did in the fleshly body, we participate in through Christ in a spiritual sense.

11 (con’t) and when the sun sets, he may come into the camp.

The thing about this prohibition is that it doesn’t matter if it happens just at sundown (we’ll say 7:20pm) or five minutes before the guy wakes up (at 5:50am), the state of uncleanliness only lasts until the evening.

Therefore, it cannot be that the emission is unclean, but that it is typical of something else that is unclean. So, what is it concerning an emission of semen that so renders a person unclean?

As we saw in Leviticus, this precept is actually understood by many religions. It was considered so in ancient Egypt. It is so in Islam. Babylonians, Hindus, and others considered such an emission unclean.

Judaism to this day follows the precept in a cultural sense, especially those who piecemeal adhere to the law. Other religions as well understand this. It is something ingrained in the religious psyche. But it is not something Christians consider defiling.

The reason it is so is because the precept anticipates Christ. The bible implicitly teaches that the seed of man is how sin travels to the next generation of humans.

As all people (male and female alike) are born of man’s seed, all thus all inherit Adam’s sin through the male’s emission. Religions around the world intuitively know there is inherited sin, even if they don’t understand why it is so.

It is the reason why circumcision was given to Abraham. In cutting the male member, it pictured cutting the transfer of sin in humanity. The Lord even called circumcision a sign. But a sign is something that anticipates something else.

That which circumcision anticipates is Christ. Christ came born of a woman, but with no human father. Thus, He cut the line of sin because no human seed (bearing sin) from a father was transmitted to Him. The picture is fulfilled, the requirement in the law is ended. We are cleansed when we come to Christ’s perfection and His sacrifice, pictured by the coming of the new day at evening.

For the Israelite in the camp of the Lord, after washing, he remained unclean until evening. When the sun set, he could then reenter the camp. This was merely a ceremonial defilement of the conscience that typologically anticipated Christ. Now, in Him, our consciences are cleansed. We are free from the consciousness of sin, because we are freed from all sin through the work of Christ.

12 “Also you shall have a place outside the camp, where you may go out;

The Hebrew of this and the next verse is very obscure. Here, it reads: v’yad tihyeh lekha mikhuts lamakhaneh v’yasata shamah khuts – “and hand shall have to you from outside to the camp and you go there outside.”

The word “hand” certainly is indicating a direction or location. In other words, if someone needs to go, he will ask the sentry of the camp, “Hey buddy, where do I go?” The response is with the hand – “over there.” Thus, most translations say, “place,” or “station.” In other words, a latrine.

13 and you shall have an implement among your equipment,

v’yated tihyeh lekha al azenekha – “and peg shall have to you upon your ear.” That doesn’t make must sense, does it? The idea is that a peg will be used as a handle, and the ear is being equated to something broad, or ear-shaped. In other words, Moses is describing a spade with a handle and a flat part for digging.

13 (con’t) and when you sit down outside,

v’hayah b’shivtekha khuts “and it shall be in your sitting outside.” In other words, it is repeating the thought that one is to sit (meaning you know what) outside. The repetition is to ensure that the outside is where this is to occur. The lowest soldier to the highest chief, all were to go to the designated place and do their sitting out there

13 (con’t) you shall dig with it and turn and cover your refuse.

v’khaphartah bah v’shavta eth tseatekha – “and you shall dig with it and turn and cover the coming out.” The wording, though a bit annoying to us from a literal translation, has an obvious meaning – “You are to take your spade, dig a hole, and then cover what just came out.”

In this, is another rare word, tseah. It signifies outcomings. It is found only here and in Ezekiel 4 –

“And you shall eat it as barley cakes; and bake it using fuel of human waste in their sight.” Ezekiel 4:12

Just a couple verses later, we read this –

“So I said, ‘Ah, Lord God! Indeed I have never defiled myself from my youth till now; I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has abominable flesh ever come into my mouth.’”
15 Then He said to me, ‘See, I am giving you cow dung instead of human waste, and you shall prepare your bread over it.’” Ezekiel 4:14, 15

It is cooking with the human waste that defiled the food Ezekiel was to eat. Thus, these outcomings were to be covered. And there is a specific reason for this…

14 For the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp,

The idea here is still that of typological purity. The waste from a body is putrid and it is defiling (as seen in Ezekiel 4). To do this in the camp would then defile the camp. But the camp is the fighting force of the hosts of the Lord, and thus it was to remain undefiled. In this, the Lord would be among them…

14 (con’t) to deliver you and give your enemies over to you;

The implication is that if the camp was defiled, the Lord would not be among them, and they would not be delivered. Rather, in offending the Lord, they would be delivered over to their enemies.

14 (con’t) therefore your camp shall be holy,

v’hayah makhanekha qadosh – “And it shall be your camp holy.” The camp was to be set apart from all defilement and thus holy to the Lord. This is the main purpose of everything that has been said in these verses. The Lord is holy, and He will not walk among those who are unholy. The camp was to be kept pure…

*14 (fin) that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you.

The law is what sets the standard. To not adhere to the precept would be a violation of the law. The typology of the coming of Christ must be maintained, and therefore the purity of the camp – based on the standard set forth in the law – was to be adhered to. If not, as should be obvious, the Lord would turn away from them.

It is without any doubt at all that this set of verses was on Paul’s mind when he wrote his words to those at Corinth. Though divided by a chapter, the words run concurrently from the end of one chapter to the beginning of the next –

“For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
‘I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.’

17 Therefore

‘Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.’
18 ‘I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.’” 2 Corinthians 6:16-18

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 17:1

Everything that is said anticipates something that looks forward to the coming of the Messiah and of the true cleansing that can only come from Him. All of these earthly ordinances anticipated His coming, and in Him is found the fulfillment of them all.

He either actually fulfills the precepts, or He does so through fulfilled typology. Either way, it is only through Christ that we are truly cleansed and set apart to God. As this is so, we should separate ourselves, wholly and forever, from that which defiles.

He has already set us apart as holy through faith in His work, but it is our responsibility to act in accord with the word that has now been given and to conduct ourselves in a manner which is honoring of Him.

Therefore, may it be so. May we strive from day to day to walk in holiness, to act in righteousness, and to live in the hope of that day when our full, final, and forever glorification comes to be. May it be so, to the glory of the Lord who has already fulfilled that which restores us once again to our heavenly Father.

Closing Verse: “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.” Colossians 1:9-12

Next Week: Deuteronomy 23:15-25 No way you will be bored, it is true… (Holy Conduct Before the Lord, Part II) (68th Deuteronomy Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Holy Conduct Before the Lord, Part I

“He who is emasculated by crushing or mutilation
Shall not enter the assembly of the Lord
———-this is to be a holy nation

“One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the assembly of the Lord
Even to the tenth generation
None of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord
This is to be a holy nation

“An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly
Of the Lord; even to the tenth generation
None of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord
Forever: This is to be a holy nation

Because they did not meet you with bread and water
On the road when you came out of Egypt, so they did not do
And because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor
From Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you

Nevertheless the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam
But the Lord your God turned, because He is faithful and true
The curse into a blessing for you
Because the Lord your God loves you

You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity
All your days forever, so shall it be

“You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother
You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were an alien
———- in his land
The children of the third generation born to them
May enter the assembly of the Lord so you now fully understand

“When the army goes out against your enemies for fighting
Then keep yourself from every wicked thing

If there is any man among you who becomes unclean
By some occurrence in the night
Then he shall go outside the camp
He shall not come inside the camp as is just and right

But it shall be, when evening comes
That he shall wash with water until all watered up and damp
And when the sun sets
He may come into the camp

Also you shall have a place outside the camp
———-where you may go out
And you shall have an implement among your equipment
———-so I say
And when you sit down outside
You shall dig with it and turn and cover your refuse
———-so to you I relay

For the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp

To deliver you and give your enemies over to you
———-as He has promised to do
Therefore your camp shall be holy
That He may see no unclean thing among you
———-and turn away from you

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“He who is emasculated by crushing or mutilation shall not enter the assembly of the Lord.

“One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord.

“An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord forever, because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. Nevertheless the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam, but the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you. You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever.

“You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land. The children of the third generation born to them may enter the assembly of the Lord.

“When the army goes out against your enemies, then keep yourself from every wicked thing. 10 If there is any man among you who becomes unclean by some occurrence in the night, then he shall go outside the camp; he shall not come inside the camp. 11 But it shall be, when evening comes, that he shall wash with water; and when the sun sets, he may come into the camp.

12 “Also you shall have a place outside the camp, where you may go out; 13 and you shall have an implement among your equipment, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and turn and cover your refuse. 14 For the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you.