Deuteronomy 25 includes one of the more troubling passages of the Old Testament: "If two men fight together, and the wife of one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of the one attacking him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; your eye shall not pity her" (vs. 11-12). Perhaps you have read these verses and found them troubling. Do not be disturbed any longer - find out how to understand them in the greater setting of the Law of Moses in this study.
In addition to a few miscellaneous matters, the most difficult issue of Deuteronomy 24 deals with divorce and remarriage under the Law of Moses. In this study, a few ideas are presented for you to consider and as always, we encourage you to investigate the Scriptures that you might fulfill the charge of the apostle Paul: "Test all things; hold fast what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
Deuteronomy 23 features a variety of prohibitions for Israel including rules about the assembly, maintaining purity, dealing with runaway slaves, and properly applying the eight commandment: you shall not steal. These rules continue the dominant themes of Deuteronomy as God molds His people to reflect His own care for the needy and suffering.
The Bible is replete with principles. A principle is a generic rule which governs behavior. In the second half of Deuteronomy 22, the dominate principles are: men and women must honor their covenants, especially the covenant of marriage, and God maintains high standards of chastity. To elaborate on applying this principle, Moses enumerates several examples where Israel may be guilty of violating God’s standards.
A number of miscellaneous commands make up the first portion of Deuteronomy 22 including this prohibition: "A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God" (vs. 5, NASB). Find out what this strongly-worded statement means and how it fits into the greater context of God's rule in this exciting post.
There are a number of difficult issues addressed in Deuteronomy 21 including unsolved murders, the treatment of women captured during war, and how parents were to handle rebellious children. All of these matters reflect a number of concerns God consistently demonstrated throughout the Old Law such as the sanctity of life, the protection of the vulnerable, and the administration of justice.
Deuteronomy 19 revisits the cities of refuge and the strictness of landmarks. Chapter 20 is all about warfare. Within both of these ancient law sections God’s high and holy standards of justice shine forth in his care for properly prosecuting criminals, executing judgment on heathen nations, and treating foreign countries and Jewish soldiers with graciousness.
They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. The question before the ancient Hebrews was, who will you imitate? The Lord warned: "When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations" (Deuteronomy 18:9). He followed this warning with a list of abominable practices which God detests. The antithesis, however, is presented next: "The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to Him" (Deuteronomy 18:15). Who will you heed and imitate?
Rumors of paganism, rulings of judges, and restrictions for kings are among the topics of Deuteronomy 17. Of special interest are the regulations the Law placed over the monarchy, especially since there was no King in Israel at this time and there wouldn't be one for over four hundred years. Moses, however, looking forward through time, knew that eventually the people would desire to be like other nations, and men would reign in Israel, so the Lawgiver sought to rein in potential abuses and ground the Monarch in righteousness.
Religious unity was of paramount importance to God for Israel. To help ensure union among the people, the Lord commanded annual festivals where worshipers would gather at the Tabernacle/Temple from across the land. These occasions were times of praise and thanksgiving, as the Law said, "you shall rejoice in your feast" (Deuteronomy 16:14). Giving back to God was a highlight of the feast day celebrations: "Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you" (Deuteronomy 16:17).