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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 22

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-12

The Eighth Commandment

Deuteronomy 22:1-12

1Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case [rather thou shalt bring them again unto thy brother. 2And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and [then] thou shalt restore it to him again. 3In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost things of thy brother’s, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest [canst] not hide thyself. 4Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely [much more shalt thou] help him to lift1 them up again. 5The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man [a man’s utensils, dress], neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do [every one that does] so are abomination unto the Lord thy God. 6If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting [rests, broods] upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with 7the young: But thou shalt in any wise [Rather shalt thou] let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days. 8When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement [inclosure, railing] for thy roof, that thou bring not blood [blood-guilt] upon thine house, if any man fall from thence. 9Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers [two sorts of] seeds: lest the fruit [marg.: fulness] of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit [ingathering, produce, harvest] of thy vineyard, be defiled. 10Thou shalt not plough with an ox and an ass together. 11Thou shalt not wear [draw, put on] a garment of divers sorts [of mixed textures] as of woolen and linen together. 12Thou shalt make thee fringes [tassels, laces] upon the four quarters of thy vesture [cover, mantle] wherewith thou coverest thyself.


1.Deuteronomy 22:1-4. How profound is Moses’ comprehension of the command as to the possessions of our neighbor! How thoughtfully he goes down into the very nature of things, into their peculiar properties, which should be preserved among the people of God! Deuteronomy 22:1-4. In the first place the property of our neighbor, from which, according to the eighth command, they should remain far off, and yet not far off! Deuteronomy 22:1. The case of a stray animal, either great or small, from the herd, even only one, when one might think that the brother could afford the loss, especially when his want of care or neglect might lead to the reflection that it was driven (Deuteronomy 4:19) from him (Exodus 23:4). Comp. 1 Peter 2:25. [Wordsworth connects the following note with this reference; “that as Christ came to seek and save the one that was lost, and laid down His life first, there seems to be a spiritual connection between this precept and that which has just gone before concerning Him who became a curse for us, and so saves us from the curse.”—A. G.] To take is expressly forbidden, but also to see, not merely in order to take, steal with the eye, but more profoundly: see, and not at once lead back (עלם, to hide, shun). In the circumstances referred to in Deuteronomy 22:2, one should even guard it, as if it was his own. No objective distance nor subjective uncertainty (as to whose it is, or to whom it belongs) can be a ground of excuse. אסף, literally, to separate, thus to separate the separated one from that state, to remove his separation, to remove it in any case as quickly as possible—thus to draw to himself, in love to his neighbor, to join it with thine own in the most secure place in thy house (Deuteronomy 21:12). The cost of the case should not be counted, although truly the right of use in the mean time was not forbidden, or the final appropriation, if no owner was found. Every thing (Deuteronomy 22:3) which could be lost by our neighbor belongs in the same category whether living or dead (Exodus 22:8). As with the preservation and return, so also, Deuteronomy 22:4, a helping hand with the owner concerned (Exodus 23:5). Riding, draft or farm animal.

2.Deuteronomy 22:5-7. Passing from the property of his neighbor to the peculiar in nature, we come, 1) Deuteronomy 22:5, to the peculiarity of the sexes, and indeed according to the peculiar manner of appearance to that which each has, wears. כלי (כלה), something prepared, made; raiment, weapons, utensils; not barely clothing, which is emphasized immediately afterward. The concrete expression exemplifies the idea that every invasion of the natural peculiarities of the sexes, every mingling of sexual differences, as it may be rated less in reference to our neighbor than an injury of property, is by so much the more to be regarded in reference to God. It is too narrow a view to regard it as a mere precaution against unchastity, and too wide as an opposition to practices at idolatrous festivals. [The distinction between the sexes is natural and established by God in their creation, and any neglect or violation of that distinction, even in externals, not only leads to impurity, but involves the infraction of the laws of God.—A. G.]—2) Deuteronomy 22:6-7, treat with respect to the irrational creation, the peculiar mother-relation, through which the sexual distinction in nature is realized. The casual meeting excludes of course any designed search. The mother with (over) the young. (It speaks in a human way of the young as children.) To take the mother thus, betrays an inhuman feeling in contrast with the sight presented, is in fact a robbery of nature generally, as it is expressed in the relation specified, but specially because it is precisely the bird. Proverbial expression, Genesis 32:11; Hosea 10:14; comp. Deuteronomy 14:21; Leviticus 22:27-28. Deuteronomy 22:7. The significance of the mother in this direction is still more clear from the like promise as Deuteronomy 5:16 (Deuteronomy 4:40; Deuteronomy 5:26; Deuteronomy 5:30).

3.Deuteronomy 22:8-12. As what is peculiar in nature, appointed by God, is as it were His property, so now finally He considers property in its remaining third relation, namely as the property of the person himself. As to the newly built house, Deuteronomy 22:8, he does wrong who makes no enclosing and protecting railing to the flat roof often serving for a residence; he takes away security from the house. It is spoken of nearly as if it were a person. Comp. Deuteronomy 7:15; Deuteronomy 19:10. [Tradition fixes the height of the battlement as at least two feet.—A. G.] In Deuteronomy 22:9 as to the vineyard he robs himself, if he does not respect the nature of things with regard to the seeds sown, since each kind should remain by itself, for in the design of securing a mixed product from the different kinds (Dual from כלא) of seeds, the whole profit of the vineyard for the year in question falls to the priest at the sanctuary.—Lest the fruit (fulness) (i.e. the fully matured, as the application shows) of thy seed be defiled; and thus is to be understood as referring peculiarly to the grain-filled granaries of which the seed was indeed the literal cause. It is not only on account of the two kinds of seed, but also because the vineyard, garden, is treated as a tillable field; a supplement to Leviticus 19:19 (Matthew 13:25). The sowing leads to the field, Deuteronomy 22:10; also an emphatic supplement to Leviticus 19:19. The unequal strength and step of the two kinds of animals unfit them for use at one plough, and thus it would be only unprofitable to the owner; the ignoring of the distinction between the clean and the unclean animals avenged itself upon him practically, and hence there is nothing further than the mere prohibition. Others regard as the reason “an abhorrence of violence done to the brutes,” or of the mingling used by the Canaanites. The spiritual application, 2 Corinthians 6:14. [Wordsworth is peculiarly rich in the spiritual application of all these directions, finding analogies everywhere, which although sometimes fanciful and forced, are striking and instructive: e.g., in the restoration of the stray, to 1 Peter 2:25, and Christ’s seeking and restoring the lost; in the injunction to help, to 1 Thessalonians 5:14; in the precept as to the clothing of the sexes, a warning against the Church’s usurpation of the place and authority of Christ, Ephesians 5:2; Ephesians 5:24; in the law against cruelty to the dam with the young, to Matthew 23:37, and the conduct of the Jews toward Christ, and to the fact that the mother bird was taken and the brood left; in the direction as to the battlement, to the obligation as to our Christian walk, in the seeds of the vineyard, to the sowing of truth and error; and here as above, to 2 Corinthians 6:14.—A. G.]. Lastly, in Deuteronomy 22:11, the law as to our own in property is closed with a reference to raiment. Here also the mere prohibition is sufficient, as Leviticus 19:19; for the coat makes the man, in this case at least, declares that the Israelite in question does not walk in simplicity, has thus robbed himself of his spiritual character. שַׁעַטְּנֵז, according to Leviticus, raiment out of two divers sorts, here more exactly; woolen and linen together; from the plant and animal kingdoms. Sept. κίβδηλον (unclean, ambiguous, adulterated). Ges.: probably a Hebraized Coptic word. Meier: Semitic word: mingling, double texture. שעט compact, make firm. Coptic: shontness, i.e. (byssus fimbriatus). Talmud: hetcheled and smoothed, spun and twisted, woven or hooked (upon hooks), stitched. Others: It designates a more costly Egyptian texture decorated with idol figures. Josephus: which only the priest could wear. The foreign and heterogeneous materials—even the strange expression—agree well with the prohibition. (Comp. Keil, Arch. I., p. 80 sq.). Deuteronomy 22:12. The direction here joins itself positively to the foregoing prohibition, and at the same time throws light upon its meaning. גְדִלִים (גדל Hiph., to make great). The Pharisees may have taken occasion from the meaning of the word to introduce their custom. Matthew 23:5.—The צִיצִת, Numbers 15:38, from צוּץ, the splendid bloom, with which the deuteronomic designation fundamentally agrees, for the blooming is at the same time the increasing. The mantel, or overcloak, formed out of a four-cornered piece of cloth, should have at its wings, i.e., corners, thus as if growing out from it, tassels, symbolizing the one aim of life, reminding the doer of the commands of God, taking himself out of the world, (number four), with heart and eye to have his conversation, his life in heaven, Numbers 15:39 sq. Comp. the similar ordinances, Deuteronomy 6:8 sq. Schultz regards the direction as promoting decency [and holds also that it is a bed coverlet, and not wearing apparel, which is here referred to. His view, however, is hardly consistent either with the passage in Num., or with the actual Jewish usage.—A. G.].


1. “Because the love of our neighbor, the more unavoidably and universally it must be recognized as a duty, on account of our indolence and ease, must be more vividly and persuasively presented, Moses finds it necessary for the true representation to descend to particular circumstances, and the lesser relations of life.” Baumgarten.

2. Since the mine and thine in the world, as to the right, lie in continual perplexity, are very questionable, not seldom want their moral legitimation on account of sin, love, which seeks not her own, and has the same measure and energy to thy neighbor “as to thyself,” is here also the fulfilling of the law.
3. The idea of “brother” is so prevalent among the people of God, that here in Deuteronomy, the reference to the hater, i.e., enemy, is not so much to a natural adversary, but to one who is such through personal acts of hostility (Exodus 23:4-5), and indeed is not further regarded here. It is self-evident among the people of God that evil must be overcome with good.

4. Since love to our neighbor is so inculcated, it is clear that from his nature, man would never come to the thought, not to speak of the deed, of love to his neighbor; for this is the natural condition of men through the fall. The inclination in the natural man is to hatred of his neighbor; hence in society the might of the physically strongest is decisive, and through wisdom and will, prudence and activity, this natural enmity becomes potent in hostility, so that the man finds his pleasure and happiness in evil tricks and acts. Schelling, indeed, asserts that the love of an enemy is an irrational love.

5. As a certain angularity, one-sidedness, exaggeration is peculiar to the proverb,which gives it a striking character, so the directions Deuteronomy 22:5 sq. have an externality, nearly symbolical, which will allure beyond the mere letter, to the apprehension of the idea, and one not confined to the immediate case. Thus Baumgarten remarks upon Deuteronomy 22:5, “that it forbids the manifestation of the primitive unnaturalness and anti-godliness;” “that man (the husband) as the original man (human being) should obey the voice of his wife, the derived man;” thus arose “the first sin.” He says further: “In the measure in which man persists in his estrangement from God, this fundamental error will ever make itself felt. Romans 1:26-27. Such unnatural conduct has found its way in the cultus (Creuzer’s Symbol. II., 34 sq.). But still the wrath of God reveals itself from heaven against every perversion of the sexes, in the perplexing and disturbing results of that wide-spread and ever-spreading female dominion, and male servitude.”


Deuteronomy 22:1. Starke: “Should we not leave the straying animal of our neighbor unrestored, how much less can we leave our neighbor himself to lie in his sins. James 5:19-20; Galatians 6:1; Romans 15:1.” (1 Corinthians 9:9-10). “Love of our neighbor must be practiced on the ground of grace, thus with the needed strength and with all sincerity.” Berl. Bib.: “God appoints us, with respect to His great benefits to us, to show the like to our neighbor in return, since God is neither injured nor profited by us.” “There is no such impelling cause of love, as love.” “Did not the Son of man, and therefore even our brother, come to seek and save that which was lost?” Luke 19:10. Deuteronomy 22:5. Luther: “This does not prohibit what may be done to avoid danger, remove pain, or deceive the enemy, but generally requires that a woman should tend to her own concerns, and a man his; in short, that each one should be satisfied with his own.” Berl. Bib.: “But a teacher who does anything which does not become him, is as one who has exchanged his garments. It is also unfit that a man should imitate the ornaments and dress of the woman. 1 Peter 3:3.” Tueb. Bib.: “Masks and the changing of dress give occasion to many sins. Ephesians 5:4.” (1 Corinthians 11:4 sq.).

Deuteronomy 22:6 sq. Starke: “God cares even for the smallest bird, Matthew 6:25. Although man has the use, he enjoys this right only as a loan, and should not abuse it, Proverbs 12:10.” Deuteronomy 22:8. Baumgarten: “Love has a tender conscience.” Berl. Bib.: “God commands us to exercise carefulness in bodily transactions, as otherwise we tempt Him.” Cramer: “To avoid sin, we must avoid the occasion of sin; whoever does injury provokes injury.” Deuteronomy 22:9-11. Starke: “Simplicity in thought, word, and act.” Berl. Bib.: “The one fitted for the plough, but not for bearing burdens, the other the reverse: two adverse colleagues, whoever puts them together acts unreasonably. The old and new man do not agree.” Deuteronomy 22:11. Osiander: “Not half popish and half evangelical.” Starke: “No unequal marriages.” Berl. Bib.: “The robe of righteousness and the spotted garment of the flesh do not agree with each other.” (Isaiah 61:10; Judges 13:0.). [Wordsworth: “We must walk in white, i.e., we must not defile the robe of Christ’s Righteousness, in which we are clothed, by corrupt doctrine or unholy living.”—A. G.].


[1][Deuteronomy 22:4. Lifting, thou shalt lift. Perhaps the idiom in this case may include the idea of repeated helpings, as the Rabbins explain it.—A. G.]

Verses 13-21

The Ninth Commandment

Deuteronomy 22:13-21

13If any man take a wife, and go into unto her, and hate her [after that], 14And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid [not virginity in her]: 15Then shall the father of the damsel,2 and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: 16And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this Man 1:-15 wife, and he hateth her, And lo, he hath given occasions of speech [lays deeds of words] against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid [with respect to her, or in her virginity]; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. 18And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him; 19And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days. 20But if this thing be true [truth is this word], and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: 21Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die; because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.


Witness-bearing generally, and especially false witness, has been treated already, Deuteronomy 19:15 sq., from the stand-point of the sixth command; and Moses therefore now speaks briefly as to the ninth commandment. It is rather as a supplement, corresponding entirely with the supplementary existence of the woman, and in connection with what precedes, since the wife is regarded as the property, possession, of the husband. But the ninth command goes down here—and this is the progress—from the judicial witness-bearing (Deuteronomy 19:15 sq.) to the social declaration, to slander, and this with respect to a case both disgraceful and dangerous. Deuteronomy 22:13. And go, as Deuteronomy 21:13. After the affection, at least manifested, the aversion (2 Samuel 13:15) breaking out through occasions of speech, literally, deeds (עלילה from עלל the completed, finished) of words, i.e., actions with words, in that he says, or: things which exist only in words, and his words,—or: facts which occasion the words, report, scandal. Deuteronomy 22:14. (Matthew 1:19). בתולים (בתל to separate, separated from close intimacy with men) abstract noun: virginity as it was supposed distinguishable (Sept. παρθἑνεια τὰ παρθἑνια). The parents (Deuteronomy 22:15) for the sake of their child, and for the honor of their training, their household; after them came the first-born brother as the head of the family. נער, literally, the one thrust out, of the fruit of the human body, hence: the young, as the maiden passes into the young woman. That which they take and bring out of the house (Deuteronomy 14:28) as a proof of the virginity of their daughter, is, according to Deuteronomy 22:17, the piece of clothing with the distinctive blood stains, the cloth which they had thus in preservation. Comp. further Deuteronomy 21:19. Deuteronomy 22:16. The accusation, which in this case was limited truly and designedly to the mere report, in order that the parents should quietly take back their daughter, they bring with the motive of the slander, before the public forum. Deuteronomy 22:17. (Comp. Deuteronomy 22:14). The exhibition of the slander in words, its refutation by facts. Deuteronomy 22:18. Comp. Deuteronomy 21:18. The Jews understand bodily punishment with thirty-nine stripes, which is not expressed in the words, and is scarcely supposable in the case. He was not punished as a legal witness (Deuteronomy 19:18 sq.) but as a slanderer, and of his own honor in respect to his wife. Hence the chastisement, instruction, is first of all in place. The punishment, Deuteronomy 22:19, consists in the money to be paid to the slandered father [in other cases (see Deuteronomy 22:29; Exodus 22:15-16) the fine was only fifty shekels; the Rabbins hold that if the woman were an orphan the fine came to herself,—A. G.], and in his loss for life of the right of divorce. [The distinction in the punishment here attached to the slanderer of his wife, and the penalty for false-witness, Deuteronomy 19:10 sq., is not to be explained upon the assumption “of the low position and estimation of the woman under the law,” (Bib. Com.), but by the fact above referred to that the case here is not strictly of false witness. The punishment was designed apparently to meet the motives in which the slander originated, “either a wanton desire for another marriage, or an avaricious desire for the maiden’s dowry.”—A. G.]. Deuteronomy 22:20-21. Connected with the foregoing, but the very opposite, and as to the penalty, literally a case belonging to the seventh command, where the man brings his case before the elders of the city and establishes it by the whole unmaidenly conduct of the bride generally, and not only by the fact that the proofs (Deuteronomy 22:17) could not be found. (Comp. Deuteronomy 13:15; Deuteronomy 17:4). To the slander, now follows the deceit. Deuteronomy 22:21. They, either the elders (Deuteronomy 22:18 sq.), or one shall, sq., out of the deceived husband’s house, or from some other place, but only to, before the door of the father’s house for a testimony against it, so far as it was a participant in the guilt through defective discipline, oversight, perhaps even in the deceit, in any case to suit the punishment to the guilt: the sin went out across this threshold, etc.נְבָלָה presumptuousness, shamelessness, godlessness, especially of unchastity (Genesis 34:7), which is not compatible with Israel’s dignity, and which thus concerns the body of the people in its spiritual character (1 Corinthians 6:13; 1 Corinthians 6:15 sq.; Matthew 5:32). Further comp. Deuteronomy 13:6.


1. Slander is the act, with reference to our neighbor, introduced through falsehood; here touches the neighbor next to his own life, i.e., touches his own wife, where indeed even nature requires truthfulness. Thus nature vindicates itself against the lying, slanderous husband: the nature of the maiden, and the natural protection of father and mother, become her legal representatives and defence.

2. The method of proof in this case rests essentially upon the ground that nature will not deceive, much less lie. It appears as it is; it conceals nothing; it does not even deface anything when it presents itself to view.

3. Man who deceives may lie, but should not. The veracity of a man as to himself is in the thought, his inward recognition of the truth; as to others, in word and deed, his external confession of the truth. Thus appear, Deuteronomy 22:14, deeds of words.

4. Man is free only as he maintains veracity; the lie destroys his true freedom. The Israelite should learn this with respect to the freedom of divorce from his wife granted to him (Matthew 19:8), forfeiting it in the case of the lie, the slander, against his wife.

5. Where love is presupposed, as here in the relations of man and wife, it demands first entire truthfulness. It is only lust which is followed by hatred, and thus the slander is begotten.
6. Israel must put away evil from among them, as here with respect to the deceitful and false betrothed. The Scripture elsewhere identifies the lie and evil. Here her own conscience must have been imposed upon and hardened before she represented herself to others as being what she was not.


Deuteronomy 22:13. Cramer: “We should never bring any one into reproach, nor cover them, or impose upon them with groundless suspicions.” Deuteronomy 22:15. The same: “Parents should not only care for the support, but the good name of their children, and should cheerfully defend it.” Deuteronomy 22:18. Starke: “God is the enemy of deceivers and liars, and will punish them.” Deuteronomy 22:19. Schultz: “Moses must have held a different view of unions in the face of great aversion than that prevalent among us.” Herxheimer: “In any case the great disgrace and severe punishment must have awakened in the parents great care in the preservation of modesty and purity.”

Verses 22-30

Tenth Commandment

Deuteronomy 22:22-30

22If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel. 23If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find [meet] her in the city, and lie with her; 24Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled [abased] his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away 25evil from among you. But [And] if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her [seize hold of her] and lie with her; then the man only that lay with her shall die: 26But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth [standeth up] against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter: 27For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her. 28If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found [surprised, caught]; 29Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days [all his life long]. 30A man shall not take his father’s wife, nor discover his father’s skirt.


1. As the foregoing directions give the occasion for representing the coveting forbidden in the tenth command, as the lust of the flesh, so this is still more practically the case; the desire cannot be more evident. The discourse, however, recapitulates the sixth, eighth, and ninth commands, although it is directed mainly to the seventh. Deuteronomy 22:22. בעלת־בעל (Deuteronomy 21:13) married to an husband, ruled of her lord, and intimates quietly that lust is of the nature of theft, violation of the rights of property. As they lie together so they shall both die; for the adultery cries out against the one as well as against the other, Leviticus 20:10. The betrothed maiden (Deuteronomy 22:14) is placed on an equality with the married woman, Deuteronomy 22:23 (Genesis 29:21; Matthew 1:20). In Deuteronomy 22:22 as in Deuteronomy 22:23, the life, the continuous life of the neighbor in his descendants, was violated. Hence in Deuteronomy 22:24 the like punishment also as in Deuteronomy 22:22, life for life. She cried not, a closer modification of in the city, where help could be had. Thus the supposition is of fellowship in the lust. ענה (Deuteronomy 21:14) a violation at the same time of her true honor, thus a breach of the ninth command. In the case stated in Deuteronomy 22:25, the man alone is to be put to death, since Deuteronomy 22:26 presents his violence as a murderous attack upon the betrothed. No sin of death,which should be punished with death, (Deuteronomy 21:22; 1 John 5:16). Comp. Deuteronomy 19:11; Deuteronomy 19:6. The reason is stated still more definitely in Deuteronomy 22:27, either the fact, or its supposition, she cried and there was none to save her. The 28th verse is a more precise completion of Exodus 22:16-17. The law can only take cognizance of lust in the constructive deed, otherwise it would open the floodgates to the lust of slander (the ninth commandment). Deuteronomy 22:29. (Comp. Deuteronomy 22:19) the violation of the property of the father, whose right to refuse his daughter is presupposed in the fifth command, and did not need to be further guarded here on the occasion of the second table. The prohibition of lust closes in Deuteronomy 22:30, with the most aggravated case, of the injured mother (step-mother) and father. Comp. upon Leviticus 18:8 (Genesis 35:22). Incestuous lust going out from the blood reaches blood. It needs therefore only the prohibition, the specializing of all that is forbidden in this regard occurs elsewhere. Incest is self-injury. The skirt (wing, edge, corner, Deuteronomy 22:12) the paternal upper garment [Ges.: Coverlet of the bed, so that to discover the skirt was to defile the bed,—A. G.], (Ruth 3:9) covering all that belonged to the father, even his widow, bride, as it covered his own nakedness, which was uncovered with that of his wife. Leviticus 18:6; Ezekiel 16:8. Comp. Deuteronomy 27:20.


1. If the last commandment is directed against covetous desire, as the root of every sin with respect to the second table of the law; so the same was already asserted, Deuteronomy 5:18, in reference to the woman. It is not only practically continued, to bring out lust now in its application to the same reference, but as nature divides the race into the twofoldness of the sexes, presents her as the very closest neighbor, at the same time the most natural form of desire of which men are conscious, Genesis 2:20. The law must address itself the more, to this form of lust, since with its spread there occurs also the spreading of sin, the mystery of life becomes the mystery of death, and the law must not only restrain the excesses of the sinful inclination, but as its final goal must be a way-mark, a school-master to Christ, Ephesians 5:32.

2. The twofoldness of the sexes exhibits nothing more than the necessity on the one side, and the prospect of satisfaction on the other. Marriage is the legal and proper removal of the natural contrasts, so much so that any outrage against this, may be regarded as the transgression of lust against all the commands of the second table. In marriage the neighbor is regarded as with regard to his wife, so with regard to his life, property, honor, indeed generally as the individual with respect to the species.
3. Only as the wife of her husband is she apprehended as a person who supplements, completes another person. Regard for this, chastity, preserves her from being regarded and treated as a thing. With this application of lust therefore as sexual, there is connected the apprehension of the personality, that which is the most spiritual in the one nearest, the closest neighbor.

4. The repeated and prominent allusion to the maiden (Deuteronomy 22:27-28), and as she is the betrothed, may personify chastity, as inclination and desire are glorified and taken up into affection and love. As נַעַר (Keri נַעֲרָה) she is the youth, humanity generally in its youthful being. As כְתוּלָה she appears as the sexual other being. As the betrothed she represents, in the bride, the poetry of the first love. Violence in such a case, still more the perversion and corruption when the bride-like yields consent, as over against the ideality of this relation, must be punished as the most flagrant excess and crime, (Deuteronomy 22:24-25). So also the protection and compassion of the law (Deuteronomy 22:26 sq.) in regard to the tragic fate of one involved in misfortune, helpless against overcoming violence.

5. The sexual inclination should (28, 29) through that lasting union, to which attention is called, find its purification, be glorified into love, lose its barbarous and bestial character, be elevated to its moral form and idea.

6. When now the treatment in regard to lust closes with the peculiar crying crime of incest (Deuteronomy 22:30), the man in this case has fallen entirely into the power of the inclination, of the animal man; indeed more, the sexual lust passion, appears as the very thing in view, etc. 1 Corinthians 5:1 sq. Incest is regarded here in its relation to the universal moral consciousness, for the animal, e.g., manifests no limit of blood. So here in Deut. the instance selected is not from the relation of sister; the marriage of the sister was the closest original form of marriage.

7. Since in what follows the discourse passes over to all Israel, the treatment of lust, as the sexual lust, agrees well with the connection. As the life instinct concerns the individual, his life and support, so the sexual instinct the life and existence of the whole.


As love is the fulfilling of all the commands, so lust is their transgression. Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5.Deuteronomy 22:22. Lange: “The marriage contract is very far from a mere civil one.” Schultz: “The married woman, through harlotry, is viewed in the Old Testament as an adulteress under all circumstances, the married man only, when the wife of another is concerned, as he is the destroyer of another marriage. Laxity in the law leads necessarily to a laxity in practice. The Christian Church, which has no ban for the adulterer other than that of present laws, becomes a participator in his sin.”

Berl. Bib.: “The promise and not first the actual dwelling together constitutes the marriage before God.” Deuteronomy 22:25. Luther: “The city and field represent conditions; that, in which some help might be near, this when the cry would be ineffectual because unheard.” Deuteronomy 22:26. Richter: “What a lightning flash against all unchastity is the close of this verse!” Deuteronomy 22:27. How much helplessness in the world! How many vain cries for help! In this view human statutes, in regard to many a wretched one, should be mildly enforced.—Piscator: “Uncleanness is a dreadful sin, especially among Christians whose bodies should be temples of the Holy Ghost.” Deuteronomy 22:29. Richter: “They need not leave each other, as is now repeatedly the case.” Piscator: “He who had brought her to disgrace, should now cheerfully bring her to honor again.” Deuteronomy 22:30. Calvin: “Perhaps he looks to the act of Ham, who, publishing his father’s disgrace, betrays his own godlessness.” [Deuteronomy 22:23-27. Henry: “It is presumed that she consented, if it were done in the city, where help would have come had she cried—silence implies consent; if it were done in the field, it is presumed that she cried out; charity and equity require us to do so. It may be presumed that those willingly yield to temptation who do not use the means to avoid it, etc.”—A. G.].


[2][Deuteronomy 22:15. הנער. Keri הנערה and so in Deuteronomy 22:16; Deuteronomy 22:21. Sept. παιδὸς. The Keri explains the reading: although, the text is doubtless genuine as the usage in the case is frequent, and a like idiom occurs in other Semitic languages.—A. G.].

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 22". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/deuteronomy-22.html. 1857-84.
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