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God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Monday, March 18, 2013

March 18 - Deuteronomy 21-23: Moses Reminds the People of Various Laws

Today’s Reading: Deuteronomy 21-23

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Some of the laws God gave the Israelites are higher moral laws than we have today.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

The nearest city should bury abandoned corpses.
A female war-bride could be married after she mourned. If divorced, she was freed.
Birth order must stay the same. Execute a rebellious child. Bury the executed the same day.
Be good neighbors—return lost property and do not harvest another's field.
No mixing.
Wife-slanderers must be severely punished. Execute adulterers—unless the woman had no one to protect her. A virgin raped became the man's wife forever.
God restricted entry to the Tabernacle.
Defecate outside the camp.
Israel could not bring a prostitute's wages into the temple or charge interest to Israelites.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

God protected women more than any other culture of the day.

Remember, women were thought of as property and child-bearers only by most people. If a man could not trust his wife then he could never really know if his children were his. So God's laws may not have given her equal rights to men as we would hope but God was not working with the same group of people. Let me explain through the examples given in the text.
A man could marry a slave captured in war but only after she had the opportunity to grieve for her loss. Later, if the man decided he no longer wanted her she went free. A man could not marry a slave girl, take advantage of her, and then sell her back into slavery when he grew tired of her.
A man who had two wives (often one married because of his parents' choice and one because of love) could not give the loved wife's children more than the other children. How does this protect the women? By protecting their children.
A man could not have remorse and get rid of his new wife by slandering her. The parents could protect her by showing the marriage bed's stains and prove she was a virgin.
An engaged woman who was raped would not be executed if she had no one to protect her. Protection is the reason a woman raped in a city did not have that excuse. She had the opportunity and ability to cry out and (because their walls were not very soundproof) have a protector come and save her. If she did not cry out then she must have been implicit in the act and would be executed with the man.
A virgin who was not engaged would become the man's wife. Remember, virginity is prized to these people. If a girl was not a virgin she would no longer be marriage material. A man could not use a girl and throw her out when he grew tired of her. Her virginity was lost but she forever had the protection of a man.
God protects women and will not allow men to treat them as possessions.

Parents are responsible for teaching their children. Children are responsible for obeying their parents.

God does not put the responsibility on one and not the other. Both sides must work together to make things right on the earth. God requires both parents and children to set things right in a family.

God wants His Chosen People to be good neighbors.

These seem like simple laws. However, think about this situation today. How often does lost property get returned to its proper owner? Not as often as it should. God's chosen people should be good neighbors.

God punishes the Ammonites and the Moabites for not allowing Israel to cross into their borders.

This event comes from Numbers. The people of Moab would not allow Israel to cross into their borders because they were scared and were inhospitable. God is punishing them for not allowing refugees into their land. God will punish those who are not hospitable to people in need.

God's law about taking from a field show that God is not the black-and-white god some present

God forbids stealing in the Ten Commandments, the first laws of Moses' law. Reaping a field that is not your own is stealing. However, God allows people to eat from someone else's field. How is this righteous? The person is hungry. The person is not allowed to take a bunch home or sell it to others. This is important because it shows that God is not a black-and-white god who has no exceptions to any laws. He does not want anyone to steal, but he will allow them to take some when they are hungry. God's laws are not so stiff that no exceptions can be made, but these exceptions must have a non-self-serving reason behind them.

God protects the poor from interest.

God has already told the people that if they obey Him they will not have poor in their country. So now God protects the poor who will be in the land from having to pay more than they borrow. God's Chosen People do not lend to other Chosen People and charge interest.

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