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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Deuteronomy 23



Verses 1-25

Laws regarding admittance to the Congregation, cleanliness in the Camp, Unchastity, Usury, and Vows

1. Shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord] i.e. not merely as priests (see Leviticus 21:16-24) but as ordinary members of the nation of Israel, all of whom are 'holy unto the Lord.' The reference in this v. is probably to the self-mutilation practised by the devotees of certain heathen gods, and alluded to by St. Paul in Galatians 5:12 : cp. Deuteronomy 14:1.

2. A bastard is understood by the Jewish commentators to mean here, not one born out of wedlock (Jephthah was such, Judges 11:1), but the child of adultery or incest. Even to his tenth generation] i.e. not at all. Similarly in Deuteronomy 23:3 : see Nehemiah 13:1.

11. Evening cometh on] Anew day begins with the evening.

12-14. Sanitation and morality are both of the utmost importance for an army in camp. Cleanliness is next unto godliness: cp. 2 Corinthians 6:16 to 2 Corinthians 7:1.

15. A foreign slave is probably meant; see Deuteronomy 23:16.

18. From its connexion here the word dog seems to denote a person who practised immoral conduct as an idolatrous rite: see on Leviticus 19:29, and cp. Revelation 22:15.

19. Thy brother] i.e. a fellow Israelite. In Deuteronomy 23:20 stranger means foreigner. The Jews have always been noted as money lenders: see on Exodus 22:25.

21-23. On vows see Numbers 30, and cp. Ecclesiastes 5:4, Ecclesiastes 5:5.

24, 25. Jewish commentators limit the application of this rule to harvest labourers, thus making it analogous to that prohibiting the muzzling of the ox 'when he treadeth out the corn' (Deuteronomy 25:4). But there seems no reason for limiting the natural interpretation of the precept, which like the law of the gleaner (Deuteronomy 24:19-22) is prompted by a spirit of generosity towards wayfarers and poor persons. The restrictions at the end of Deuteronomy 23:24-25 would protect the law from abuse. The Pharisees did not accuse our Lord's disciples of the sin of theft but of working on the sabbath day, rubbing the ears of corn being equivalent in their opinion to harvesting: see Matthew 12:1.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 23rd, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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