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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

Deuteronomy 21

Verses 1-23

Now in the 21st chapter.

If you find a dead body out in the field and you don't know the circumstances of the death; here's a man; he's dead in the field. Then they are to measure from that dead body to the closest cities and you are to bring the elders of the city out. They are to sacrifice a bullock and they are to each one swear that they don't know how this person died. And thus, the cities would be cleared from this person who had been slain and whose body left there in the field. And so it was sort of an inquest kind of a thing for the dead, in order that there might be sort of the innocency, from the declaration of the innocency from the guilt.

Now if you go to war against your enemies,... and you happen to see a beautiful women among the captives, and you want her for your wife: You may take her for your wife, but first of all she has to shave her head, and to pare her nails; and then [for 30 days] she is to put off her robes of captivity, and after 30 days you may take her as your wife. But when you've taken her for your wife, then you find out you don't like her, then you can't sell her ( Deuteronomy 21:10-14 ),

Now in those days, of course, they had slaves and they sold people, and the captives were usually sold as slaves. But the fact you have taken her for your wife, you can put her away. You don't have to stay with her, but you can't sell her as a slave.

you can't make merchandise or money off her, now a man has two wives, and he loves one, and hates the other; if the one he hates has his first born son: [and the one he loves has the second born son. You can't reverse the inheritance.] you can't give the second son who was from the wife you loved the first inheritance ( Deuteronomy 21:14-16 ).

You can't reverse the inheritances on these sons. It doesn't matter if you didn't care for her so much, you got to give the first born son the first inheritance.

Now of course, in those days, stubborn and rebellious kids got into real trouble.

[Because] if you had a child who is stubborn and rebellious,... you spank him [you've done every thing you can to correct him], and he doesn't behave:... Then you bring him before the elders ( Deuteronomy 21:18 , Deuteronomy 21:20 ),

And say I have a stubborn and rebellious kid here and I've done everything I can to correct him. He is incorrigible. I can't handle him, then they would stone him to death.

So you would say,

My son is stubborn, he is rebellious, he will not obey; he is a glutton, he's a drunkard ( Deuteronomy 21:20 ).

So the penalty was being stoned.

Now the man is committed a sin worthy of death, and he needs to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged on a tree is accursed of God;) that the land be not defiled, which the Lord God gives you for an inheritance ( Deuteronomy 21:22-23 ).

Now this of course becomes interesting to us. Any man who was hung on a tree was cursed of God. Paul tells us that Christ became a curse for us because it is written, "cursed is he who hangs on a tree" ( Galatians 3:13 ). Paul was referring to this particular verse here in Deuteronomy.

But showing that Christ became the curse for us in that He took our sins upon Himself when He was hung there upon the tree, He took the curse of God. He bore the curse of God against sin.

When Adam sinned, Adam brought the curse of God upon man, upon woman, and upon the earth itself. God said to Adam that he would be cursed, that the earth would no longer just bring forth for him but actually with the sweat of his brow, would he earn his bread. The earth would actually bring forth thorns, and briars, and thistles. Harvesting your crops is not gonna be easy, your going to have to do it now by the sweat of your brow. Up until then the earth had been just producing, you could go out and get just whatever you want, just enjoy it. Now the curse brought the thorns, the briars, the thistles, and it brought the hard labor for a man to eke out a living from the ground.

To the woman, the curse in childbearing, the labor pains and all: To the ground the curse in bringing forth the thorns and the thistles. And thus there was sort of a three fold curse: upon man, upon woman, and upon the earth itself and of course the forth upon the serpent. It shall go in the dust of the earth on its belly and so forth.

Now Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law being made a curse for us, for it is written cursed is everyone who hangs upon a tree. So you see the law actually cursed me. Man if I was living under this thing I would be stoned to death. The law condemned me to die. But Christ has redeemed me from the curse of the law, because He became a curse for me. He bore the curse for me, because it is written accursed is everyone that hangs upon a tree. By Him being crucified there He bore God's curse.

Actually it is interesting that when the Roman soldiers made a crown for Him, what kind of a crown did they make? A crown of thorns. And where did the thorns come from? They came from the curse. So the crown that He bore upon His brow was really a sign of the curse of God against the earth because of sin. Really the crown of thorns was a very fitting crown because He came to bear God's curse against your sin, then hanged upon the tree, redeeming you from the curse of the law.


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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 21". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.