You Shall Put Away the Evil
On Monday the 14th of June, I was struggling with motivation. I was in the ninth of ten days of antibiotics for a wound I had in my foot, and I was dragging. By 9am, I wasn’t sure if I could make it through this sermon, so to get some pity points from my friend Sergio, I sent him a message:
Do you have any motivation? For what? For me. I am completely lacking. If you have some to spare, I could use it.
About ten minutes later, I got an email with a folder to unzip. When I did, there was a short movie from Sergio. He and Rhoda had written out sticky notes and pasted them all over their house. They were little notes of motivation accompanied by some great, great spunky music as he went from one to another.
Eventually, the music came to a climax as the last sticky note took me to their refrigerator and a note about how soon the day would end and I would get a nice treat at that time. It’s just what I needed. If it had ended with a sticky note on their cat, I would not have survived the day. I thank them for getting me back into the groove. The sermon got done and so may the Lord be magnified!
As far as the sermon passage, it follows in the same general theme as the verses from the previous weeks – of purity, holiness, and that which is fair and just. The people were to abstain from sexual immorality, and there were to be consequences for those who failed to measure up.
Even today, in the church, we are to conduct ourselves properly in regard to the main issue set forth in our verses. Paul, Peter, and James all refer to adultery. At times, it may be speaking of the physical act. At others, it refers to spiritual adultery. But this shows us how intimately connected the two are in the mind of the Lord.
Text Verse: “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4
The thing about adultery is that nobody ever goes unscathed from it. We may think we did, but eventually, even those who did so in this life must face the Lord who judges all such things. And so, we need to be attentive to the covenant in which we exist – be it with our spouse or with our God.
For those who fail, and we all do at some point, the mercy of the Lord covers our failings. Thank God for Jesus Christ who took the penalty and the punishment that we deserve upon Himself. We are freed from this body of death, once and forever through His cross.
Because of this, shouldn’t we be more willing to be obedient to the word? Grace is granted, but it doesn’t offer us license in the process. That is contrary to the whole tenor of Scripture. And so let us live in purity and holiness in gratitude for what He has done!
Once again, such lessons as this 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. Cases of Adultery (verses 22-27)
22 “If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband,
ki yimatse ish shokev im ishah beulat baal – “When is found man lying with woman married to husband.” As so often is the case, rather than a possibility – “If a man,” the words are set forth as a positive proposition – “When a man.” The words presuppose the wickedness of man and that such a thing will, in fact, occur. When it does, action to correct the infraction must take place.
Further, instead of the word ish, or man, the word baal, or master, is used. Both are translated as “husband,” but with baal there is conveyed the sense of ownership rights. The words therefore subtly convey the idea that a violation of property rights is a part of the crime. One is taking that which belongs to another.
Both the verb and the noun form of baal are used. The verb signifies to be master over and the noun signifies master or owner. Thus, to paraphrase this for understanding, we could say “a woman under the authority of her master.” To see the difference, Hosea 2 uses both words, thus making a play on the word Ba’al, meaning the heathen god of that name –
“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.” Hosea 2:16-18
As far as the contents of this verse, the words substantially repeat, but rephrase, the thought of Leviticus 20:10 –
“The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.” Leviticus 20:10
As in Leviticus, Moses now repeats the command…
22 (con’t) then both of them shall die—
u-metu gam shenehem – “and shall die also two of them.” One violated the rule of authority over her, and the other violated the principle of mastership belonging to his neighbor. In such a case, and because of the intimate nature of the act, they both are to die…
22 (con’t) the man that lay with the woman, and the woman;
ha’ish ha’shokev im ha’issah – “the man the layer with the woman.” One might wonder why the same thing as the previous clause is repeated in a different way. The explanation may be as simple as the wickedness of the human heart, and the faithlessness of the judge of the case.
The nearest antecedent in the first clause is the master of the woman, not the man who lay with her. Therefore, the man who lay with the woman might say, “The law says that the woman and the husband are to die.”
As stupid as that sounds, the general rule of language could be twisted in this way – especially if the man who lay with the woman was best friends with the judge.
Also, the word ish is used here to describe the man rather than baal. The man has no right to authority over this woman. Moses is being direct, precise, and unambiguous in his words. It is something that, unfortunately, is needed because of the black heart of man. Removing these offenders serves a good purpose as well…
22 (con’t) so you shall put away the evil from Israel.
The words are in the singular: u-biarta ha’ra miyisrael – “so you (singular) shall purge the evil from Israel.” Israel is collectively responsible, as a single entity, to purge away its evil.
Again, as he repeatedly has, Moses uses the word baar which gives the sense of consuming by fire, and thus purging. Without such an action, the nation would quickly devolve into greater and greater wickedness.
A moment ago, I gave a possible explanation for why Moses repeated the same thought in a different way. As incredible as it may sound, such a violation, or another type of violation of the law is not only possible, it should be considered inevitable. In fact, such a scenario is recorded right in Scripture, in John 8:2-11 –
Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. 3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
11 She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
The law is clear and unambiguous, and yet when these people brought the woman before Jesus in an attempt to trap Him, they violated the very law they were attempting to set Him up with.
There are all kinds of ideas as to what Jesus wrote on the ground, but it may be as simple as Him writing out the words of law that He had spoken through Moses approximately 1400 years earlier. In realizing that they had broken the law, they could not claim that they were without sin.
A heavy weight is associated with the law. In the end, every person there stood as guilty as the woman they brought forward. But more, the Lord defined the law in a completely unexpected way when He spoke to them on the Mount of Beatitudes –
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27, 28
Jesus could rightly say this without anyone challenging Him because the Tenth Commandment already set the standard. In saying, “You shall not covet,” the law thus noted that the heart was being evaluated by God. Coveting is something internal, known only to the coveter and God. And yet, the command is given.
Thus, adultery which is in the heart produces guilt, even if it is not acted upon. But more, for Israel who was as a wife to the Lord, there was the added guilt of national apostasy. The Lord addresses that time and time again in Scripture.
One such example is found in Ezekiel. It shows the deserved punishment for the people, and yet it also reveals to us the faithfulness of God who gave them less than they deserved –
‘Now then, O harlot, hear the word of the Lord! 36 Thus says the Lord God: “Because your filthiness was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your harlotry with your lovers, and with all your abominable idols, and because of the blood of your children which you gave to them, 37 surely, therefore, I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved, and all those you hated; I will gather them from all around against you and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness. 38 And I will judge you as women who break wedlock or shed blood are judged; I will bring blood upon you in fury and jealousy. 39 I will also give you into their hand, and they shall throw down your shrines and break down your high places. They shall also strip you of your clothes, take your beautiful jewelry, and leave you naked and bare.
40 “They shall also bring up an assembly against you, and they shall stone you with stones and thrust you through with their swords. 41 They shall burn your houses with fire, and execute judgments on you in the sight of many women; and I will make you cease playing the harlot, and you shall no longer hire lovers. 42 So I will lay to rest My fury toward you, and My jealousy shall depart from you. I will be quiet, and be angry no more. 43 Because you did not remember the days of your youth, but agitated Me with all these things, surely I will also recompense your deeds on your own head,” says the Lord God. “And you shall not commit lewdness in addition to all your abominations.” Ezekiel 16:35-43
From the notion of adultery by a wife, next, a new scenario that is in line with it is addressed…
23 “If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband,
Again, the word isn’t so much “if” as “when.” The circumstance is where a virgin is betrothed. The word is aras, signifying a betrothal or engagement. This was a formal acknowledgment that a woman now belonged to a man with the same regard as if she was already married to him. If such is the case…
23 (con’t) and a man finds her in the city and lies with her,
The reason at this point is irrelevant. However, the union came about. All that matters is that the betrothed wife of the man has been violated by another. This is the position Joseph was in concerning Mary. Until he was alerted to the truth of the matter, this is certainly what he thought –
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.” Matthew 1:18, 19
For Joseph, there were surely two and possibly three reasons for being called “a just man.” The first is that he is of the tribe of Judah, and thus could possibly be a father of the Messiah. This would have been the hope of anyone of the line of David, and this scandal would damage any such hopes.
A second possible reason is that if he was one to adhere to the law and/or who understood the lessons of the books of wisdom, having a woman like this into the future would only increase his grief and turn out to be a thorn in his side. In this, it would not be wise to hold on to such a wife.
A third, and obvious, reason is seen in the words “not wanting to make her a public example.” The reason for that is explained in the next verse…
24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city,
The words in this and the next clause are in the plural – “You all are to do this thing.” The gate is the place of judgment. In the disclosing of their actions, the judgment is determined already. As such, punishment is to then be meted out…
24 (con’t) and you shall stone them to death with stones,
Stoning is the set penalty for adultery, and this is to be considered adultery, even if the woman is only betrothed. She was promised to a man, the agreement was made, and nobody else, including her, had the right to violate the agreement. But she did implicitly, even if she was forced. As it says…
24 (con’t) the young woman because she did not cry out in the city,
Cities in Israel at this time were small, normally enclosed in walls, and the houses would be closely arrayed. If she had been raped, there is no doubt that it would have been heard. Even if he had his hand over her mouth, eventually his hand would be removed. Thus, it is implied that she consented to the act. For this, she is to die. Also…
24 (con’t) and the man because he humbled his neighbor’s wife;
The word eshet, or wife, is used. Thus, it is made explicit, in the law itself, that a betrothal carried the same weight and responsibility as after the marriage took place. Like the man in verse 22, he has taken a man’s wife that did not belong to him, and for it, he must die.
24 (con’t) so you shall put away the evil from among you.
Now, the words return to the singular – “so you (singular) shall put away the evil from among you (singular).” The nation as a whole is directed to take the action that is necessary to remove the evil.
And again, it is the same expression as in verse 22, except there it said, “put away the evil from Israel.” Here it says, “put away the evil from among you.” The evil in Israel was to be purged away, as if by fire. Thus, there is a purifying nature to the stoning of such offenders.
25 “But if a man finds a betrothed young woman in the countryside,
Here the state of the woman is the same as the previous verse, but instead of ba’ir, or “in the city,” it emphatically says v’im ba’sadeh, or “But if, in the field.” Thus, it signifies that they are outside of the city walls. If it is in such a place…
25 (con’t) and the man forces her and lies with her,
v’hekheziq bah – “And forces her.” Unlike such a case in the city where no such action is assumed, the woman in this case is presumed to have been raped. As such…
25 (con’t) then only the man who lay with her shall die.
A separation is made between the man and the woman, and she is given the benefit of the doubt that it was completely beyond her control. Moses makes this law and states it explicitly. The people cannot go beyond what is written unless other evidence is available. As he next says…
26 But you shall do nothing to the young woman;
Here, the words are in the singular again, “But you (singular) shall do nothing.” The woman, by stated law, is not to be stoned. Thus, Israel the people, as a whole, are restrained from taking action against her. The assumption of innocence is given to her, and it must be maintained. As Moses next says…
26 (con’t) there is in the young woman no sin deserving of death,
The Hebrew reads no “sin-death.” There are sins, and there are sins. In the case of adultery, the sin is a sin where death is the expected and mandated punishment. In order to impress upon them that this is expected, Moses gives a real-life example for them to consider…
26 (con’t) for just as when a man rises against his neighbor and kills him, even so is this matter.
This takes the reader back to Deuteronomy 19:11-12 –
“But if anyone hates his neighbor, lies in wait for him, rises against him and strikes him mortally, so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities, 12 then the elders of his city shall send and bring him from there, and deliver him over to the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.”
Such a person is deemed a murderer and is not to be spared. He purposefully waited for him, came upon him, and struck him. Likewise, the woman was preyed upon and had no chance to flee from her assailant. The man is as guilty as one who commits murder, and the woman is free from the stain of guilt.
With even that stated, Moses goes further to ensure that the woman is considered innocent and cannot be harmed, speaking in advance of how the law is to deem such a situation…
27 For he found her in the countryside,
The first protection: Moses overlooks any hint of impropriety in the woman. In saying, “For he found her,” it implies that she was as prey to him. The fact is that she could have gone out into the field and met a man, but that is not entertained here.
As this is the law, it must then be adhered to as it is written. Next, Moses continues to anticipate the circumstance…
27 (con’t) and the betrothed young woman cried out,
tsaaqah hanaarah hamorasah – “cried out the young woman, the betrothed.” The second protection: Moses anticipates the situation for the woman, thus giving any woman in such a circumstance the benefit of the doubt. The weight of the law is on her side.
27 (con’t) but there was no one to save her.
The third protection: Moses, in advance of entering Canaan, speaks on behalf of a woman in such a situation. Not only was she preyed upon, and not only did she cry out, but she also had no one to save her from the man’s attacks, including herself. She was defenseless and totally subjected to him.
As far as Joseph, and what the words “a just man” means, as well as his not wanting to “make her a public example,” some reasons were given earlier, but it is still somewhat speculative. However, the account in Luke is clear. Mary lived in a city and the angel came to her in her house –
“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” Luke 1:26-28
We are not told of any conversations between Joseph and Mary, but one of them was certainly a plea of innocence – something surely claimed by many others throughout history.
Beyond this, we cannot impute any type of wrongdoing to Joseph in regard to neglecting the law as it is written. The words stand without further explanation except that it says –
“But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20, 21
With these three cases complete, there is another to consider, but one which does not involve the bonds of marriage…
The law is written, and the deed is done
There is no hope for one who has acted in this way
What was only a moment of temporary fun
Will cost you your life this very day
What value did I gain when I did this thing?
My life will surely end this very day
What I thought would make me laugh and sing
Has brought me to my end by acting in this way
It can’t be that all of them are without sin!
Why are they all leaving? They know what I have done
A moment ago, I thought I was done in
By I have been brought from death to life by God’s perfect Son
II. The Father’s Rights (verses 28-30)
28 “If a man finds a young woman who is a virgin, who is not betrothed,
Now a circumstance similar to the previous one, but with the difference of the virgin not being betrothed is given. If this was not presented as such, there would be a void in how to handle the matter.
But more, the way that the matter is handled is given to impress upon the mind the high importance of the betrothal and/or marriage of a woman. Once such an action takes place, she assumes a completely different category than a woman who is not betrothed or married.
Some may find this unfair, especially for what happens to the woman in this case, but it is given to demonstrate and highlight the immense importance of the husband/wife relationship. It is not something to be taken lightly.
In this case, a woman is a virgin, but she is not betrothed, and a man finds her…
28 (con’t) and he seizes her and lies with her, and they are found out,
It is a different word than that used in verse 25, but it is rightly translated as “seizes her.” He is forcing himself on her. This is a similar law to that already recorded in Exodus 22 –
“If a man entices a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall surely pay the bride-price for her to be his wife. 17 If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money according to the bride-price of virgins.” Exodus 22:16, 17
There, it says he entices her. The difference between enticing and seizing does not seem to be significant in regard to the overall principle and the punishment imposed. It instead appears one account is simply repeating and further defining the other.
Whether she was enticed or forced, she is not bound to another man, and she is under the authority of her father. If a man takes her in such a case, thus stripping her of her virginity…
29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the young woman’s father fifty shekels of silver,
This is the “bride price” as is stated in Exodus 22. The difference is that the Lord mandated a bride price, whatever it may be, at that time. Now, Moses builds upon that and mandates what that bride price will be.
This does not mean that the bride price for any virgin of Israel is fifty shekels of silver. It means that in this case, it is the amount set. In other words, someone may have an exceptionally beautiful daughter and require more. Or he may have one still waiting to get her beauty on, and he may require less.
However, in this case – regardless as to any other factor – this man must pay as required by the set law. He has no choice in the matter. This amount, fifty shekels, was the highest amount required for the consecration vow of a person in Leviticus 27.
It was set for a man in the prime of his life, between twenty and sixty years of age (Leviticus 27:3). In other words, this act by the man against the father’s daughter is noted as an exceptionally grievous offense. The working years of the father were, in essence, stolen from him. Therefore, the father is to receive this as fair compensation…
29 (con’t) and she shall be his wife
Although this may sound out of place, and even cruel, it is actually appropriate for the society where a woman may be betrothed even at a very young age.
In fact, the betrothal period certainly included a set age before which she could not be given away for the sake of consummating the marriage. In this case, she was not even yet betrothed, and yet she has been deflowered. As such, she would be hard-pressed to find a husband that would treat her properly as a wife. Therefore, this is actually a protection for the woman as is seen in the next words…
29 (con’t) because he has humbled her;
It is the same word used in verse 24. There, the betrothed woman has been humbled, thus depriving the husband of what belonged to him. As the betrothed didn’t cry out, her humbling was as much her fault as the man’s.
In this case, the woman is humbled in a society where her chances of happiness in marriage are significantly reduced. Therefore, the man is required to assume responsibility for his conduct and to marry the woman.
What is probable here in Deuteronomy is that the principle set forth in Exodus still applies. If the father absolutely refuses to allow him to marry his daughter, then the matter would be settled with the fifty shekels of silver.
In this, the father could possibly obtain another bride price, but not as a virgin. And further, he could also ensure that whoever married her would be a suitable husband in the process. If the father permits the marriage to the man to go forward…
29 (con’t) he shall not be permitted to divorce her all his days.
In addition to paying this exceptional amount of fifty shekels, the man will be obligated to remain married to the woman for his entire life.
What is likely, but which is unstated, is that such a marriage would be subject to his treating her faithfully in that marriage. She would have the weight of the law on her side to ensure that she was not simply pushed aside and neglected.
The protections for the woman were especially strong in the Israelite society. They surely stand above the laws of other societies of the time in their treatment of such situations. With these cases complete, the chapter ends with one more verse concerning sexual relations…
30 “A man shall not take his father’s wife,
No man was to have relations with his father’s wife. This is true in any circumstance. In some Mideastern cultures, if a man had a young wife in his old age, the son would assume her as his own upon her death. Any such thing was absolutely forbidden. This point of law has already been stated as a sin punishable by death –
“The nakedness of your father’s wife you shall not uncover; it is your father’s nakedness.’ Leviticus 18:8
“The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.” Leviticus 20:11
To uncover the nakedness of a father’s wife was to uncover the father’s own nakedness. It is considered a perversion. So much is this the case that it will also be seen as worthy of a curse –
“Cursed is the one who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s bed.” Deuteronomy 27:20
*30 (fin) nor uncover his father’s bed.
v’lo yegaleh kenaph abiv – “and no uncover wing his father.” The wing signifies the hems of a garment. When Ruth offered herself to Boaz, she used the same term –
“Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled, and turned himself; and there, a woman was lying at his feet. 9 And he said, ‘Who are you?’
So she answered, ‘I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.’” Ruth 3:8, 9
It is also the same term that the Lord used in Ezekiel 16 when referring to Jerusalem –
“‘When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,’ says the Lord God.” Ezekiel 16:8
This term then signifies the rights, authority, and possessions of the father. In other words, it would extend to any woman, even a concubine. Thus, it shows that what Absalom did was a violation of this point of law –
“And Ahithophel said to Absalom, ‘Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; and all Israel will hear that you are abhorred by your father. Then the hands of all who are with you will be strong.’ 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the top of the house, and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.” 2 Samuel 16:21, 22
It is also certainly the point of law that Solomon used to convict and execute his brother Adonijah. He came with subtlety and asked Bathsheba to convince Solomon to give King David’s concubine Abishag to him.
Solomon saw through his words, knowing that he would use having her as a pretext to make a claim on the throne. Therefore, because this law forbade such an act, Solomon had a reason to execute him –
“And King Solomon answered and said to his mother, ‘Now why do you ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom also—for he is my older brother—for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.’ 23 Then King Solomon swore by the Lord, saying, ‘May God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah has not spoken this word against his own life! 24 Now therefore, as the Lord lives, who has confirmed me and set me on the throne of David my father, and who has established a house for me, as He promised, Adonijah shall be put to death today!’25 So King Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he struck him down, and he died.” 2 Kings 2:22-25
Some are meant to die, and yet they are given life
Some will die without any hope
The difference is who ends the strife
For some, total deliverance is the scope
Every debt must be paid as surely as the sun does rise
Nothing will be overlooked on the judgment day
But for those in Christ, eternal life is the prize
Those who have seen the good and pursued the right way
Only in Him does the promise hold fast
And without Him, nothing will satisfy the debt that must be paid
Until your end, the time of favor is not past
So come to Christ and the wrath towards you will be stayed
III. Pictures of Christ
Because the various scenarios follow the same theme as last week, that of honor and purity, there is no need to give minute detail in how each of these precepts anticipates the work of Christ. But, in short, it is evident when considered.
The first incident was adultery by a man and a woman. Israel has already been shown to be the spouse of the Lord last week. The Lord is said in Ezekiel 16 to be married to Jerusalem. Jerusalem stands for the people who fall under her scope.
The Lord spread his wing over them, and they became His. In their adultery with others, both should be destroyed. And, indeed, those who committed adultery with her suffered their destruction. But because of His covenant with Israel, Christ took their punishment instead.
The next two instances follow in the same thread of thought. Whether in the city or in the country, a betrothed woman is violated. In both instances, the man is to be executed. In the city, that includes the woman. In the country, it is not to be so.
However, as before, Christ took the penalty of the woman in the city. In the other instance, she is violated but not held responsible. One can easily see the church in this. The church is betrothed to Christ, and yet, she has been violated –
“For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” 2 Corinthians 11:2-4
In some cases, the violating was accepted and voluntary – in the city. In other words, choosing to allow an apostate to lead one away. In the other, the violating was involuntary – in the field. In other words, being led astray in an involuntary manner.
In both instances, the offender (represented by the man) will be destroyed. In the case of the woman in the city – as before – Christ has already paid the price for her transgression. She cannot be punished a second time. In the case of the woman in the country, believers who have been violated in this manner (beyond their control), no charge is brought against them.
The last proposition is more difficult to discern its meaning, but it is based on sexual contact with a woman who is not betrothed. Being consistent, this would mean she is not a part of the body of Christ. What seems likely is that it would refer to an apostate body, such as the JWs or the Mormons.
The number fifty is that of jubilee or deliverance. A payment of deliverance to the father is made, signifying that there is no longer the connection between the two. Further, the note that the husband must remain married to the woman forever seems to imply that an apostate body will always remain so. It has been freed from righteousness to live with the husband that defiled her.
The final verse spoke of the sanctity of the father’s bed and of that which is under his authority. Unlike the faithless son, Israel, who constantly is recorded as attempting to usurp their Father’s authority, Christ never tried to do so. Rather, He was obedient to the Father, and, through His finished work, He received His own bride through the New Covenant.
In the end, the lesson of Chapter 22 is, above all else, that of honor and purity. The individual sections involve real laws that governed Israel, but they anticipate spiritual truths in God’s redemptive narrative.
Each one is given to ensure that every aspect of the human condition, as it stands in relation to God, is covered. The laws of Israel were given to govern potential scenarios that may never have come about, but the precepts which are stated are given to cover actual scenarios that have occurred, and continue to occur, in relation to spiritual matters.
And every positive spiritual matter is covered by one overarching thought – that Jesus Christ has taken care of it. It is only through Him that such things are resolved. For those who are not a part of what He is doing, they are wedded to another.
The only way to have this corrected is to come under the wings of our heavenly Father by coming to Christ who has fulfilled these things for His people. There is no religious expression that can bring us back to Him apart from Christ.
Be wise, be discerning, and make the call. He is waiting to forgive every trespass and every failing if we simply accept that He has opened this avenue for us. He has sent His Messiah into the world. His name is JESUS.
Closing Verse: “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 2:19, 20
Next Week: Deuteronomy 23:1-14 How will you act toward… toward the Glorious One?… (Holy Conduct Before the Lord, Part I) (67th 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.
You Shall Put Away the Evil
“If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband
Then both of them shall die, so to you I tell
The man that lay with the woman and the woman
So you shall put away the evil from Israel
“If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband
And a man finds her in the city and lies with her
Then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city
And you shall stone them to death with stones, for sure
The young woman because
She did not cry out in the city, such she failed to do
And the man because he humbled his neighbor’s wife
So you shall put away the evil from among you.
“But if a man finds a betrothed young woman
In the countryside, by and by
And the man forces her and lies with her
Then only the man who lay with her shall die
But you shall do nothing to the young woman
There is in the young woman deserving of death no sin
For just as when a man rises against his neighbor and kills him
Even so is this matter; this is what has been…
For he found her in the countryside
And the betrothed young woman cried out
But there was no one to save her
No one heard her shout
“If a man finds a young woman who is a virgin
Who is not betrothed; of this there is no doubt
And he seizes her and lies with her
And they are found out
Then the man who lay with her
Shall give to the young woman’s father fifty shekels of silver
———-yes, this is what he pays
And she shall be his wife because he has humbled her
He shall not be permitted to divorce her all his days
“A man shall not take his father’s wife, as I have to you said
Nor uncover his father’s bed
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…
22 “If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die—the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall put away the evil from Israel.
23 “If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, 24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor’s wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you.
25 “But if a man finds a betrothed young woman in the countryside, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die. 26 But you shall do nothing to the young woman; there is in the young woman no sin deserving of death, for just as when a man rises against his neighbor and kills him, even so is this matter. 27 For he found her in the countryside, and the betrothed young woman cried out, but there was no one to save her.
28 “If a man finds a young woman who is a virgin, who is not betrothed, and he seizes her and lies with her, and they are found out, 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the young woman’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife because he has humbled her; he shall not be permitted to divorce her all his days.
30 “A man shall not take his father’s wife, nor uncover his father’s bed.