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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible
Deuteronomy 22

 

 

Verses 1-30

LAWS THAT TEST TRUE DISCERNMENT

(vs.1-12)

The laws in this section require a proper consideration of God's creation, whether of humans, animals, birds or even inanimate things. This involves our discernment of things from God's viewpoint. If someone's ox or sheep went astray, then one who saw this was responsible to see that it was brought back to its owner (v 1). If the owner was not known, the finder was to keep the animal until he found its owner (v.2). This is just as proper today as it was then. The same was to be true of any animal or with anything else belonging to another (v.3).

If a donkey or an ox should accidentally fall on the road, then it was only right that one who witnessed this should help to get the animal on its feet again, irrespective of who the owner was (v.4).

Verse 5 forbids a woman to wear man's clothing or a man to wear women's clothing, for it is an abomination to thus try to pass as a member of the opposite sex. If God has created one as a man, it is an insult to God for him to outwardly take the place of a woman, and similarly for a woman to take a man's place. Let us rather be thankful for what God has made us and seek to bear faithfully the responsibilities of that place as well as to enjoy the blessings of it.

We may not understand why the eggs or young birds of a mother bird could be taken from her, but the mother not taken, but this must have a spiritual significance which escapes us (vs.6-7).

In a land of flat roofs, on which people commonly walked, the law required a parapet to protect anyone from falling (v.8). This is proper concern for the safety of others. We should be concerned also that they be protected from spiritual dangers.

In sowing a field, seeds were not to be mixed, but kept distinct (v.9). This reminds us of such truths as that of 2 Corinthians 6:14 : "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers." Mixtures, whether of people or of principles, are not scriptural and will lead to confusion.

Verse 10 is similar, forbidding plowing with an ox and a donkey together. Thus, a believer is not to join with an unbeliever in doing the Lord's work. Verse 11 refers to the garments worn, that two kinds of cloth were not to be used together. Garments speak of habits. Let them be clear and distinct, not compromised in any way.

The tassels on the four corners of one's garment (v.12) are more fully explained in Numbers 15:38-40. The tassels were to have a blue thread in them. These were evidently on the lower edge of the garments, so that when one looked down, he has reminded to look up, for the blue speaks of heaven. The word "tassel" evidently means primarily a flower bud, speaking of fruitfulness and beauty in contrast to the drab desolation of the wilderness world through which we pass.

LAWS CONCERNING SEXUAL CONDUCT

(vs.13-30)

If a man had married a woman and afterward charged her with not being a virgin when he married her, the case was heard in the gate (the place of judgment). If her parents brought the clear evidence before the court that she had indeed been a virgin, so that her husband was falsely accusing her, then the man should be punished, being fined one hundred shekels of silver, which was given to the father of the young woman. But he would be required to keep her as his wife and was forbidden to divorce her (vs.13-19). We should naturally question, Was this fair to the wife? But this is one of the results of being under law. The wife would have to wait for eternity to balance this matter. How different is the case under grace, where believers have received the grace of God, so that they may show grace to one another. In the world today there are cases far more unfair than this one, but what a difference will be made if only souls are saved by faith in the Lord Jesus!

On the other hand, if the wife had been guilty of fornication and had hid this from her husband, she was to be stoned to death (vs.20-21). This was solemn judgment, but again, this was under law, and the same judgment cannot be carried out under grace, though the crime is abhorrent to God. But grace seeks to restore rather than to condemn.

In the case of a man committing adultery with a woman married to a husband, both the guilty man and the woman were to be put to death (v.22). This is justice. If such a sentence were carried out today, how many people would die! But too many people, taking advantage of God's patient grace, think they can get away with much evil. What a shock it will be for many who have not actually received the .grace of God by faith, when they find themselves faced before God with all the evils they have so lightly practiced!

A young woman might be engaged to be married, yet consent to have sexual intercourse with another man. If the man enticed her, being in a city, she could cry out for help (vs.22-23). If she did not, then she was implicated in the guilt of adultery, and both were to be put to death.

In contrast to being in the city, where a woman's cries for help could be heard, a man may have, in the country, forced a betrothed woman against her will in spite of her cries for help (v.25). This was rape, for which the man must die and the woman be held innocent (vs.26-27).

If a man and woman who were not married nor engaged were guilty of having sexual intercourse, the man must pay fifty shekels of silver to the woman's father and keep her as his wife, being forbidden to ever divorce her (vs.28-29). In all of these things God shows the seriousness of having sexual relationships. He intended this only within the marriage bond, and those who today violate this can expect unpleasant consequences, as well as the displeasure of the Lord.

Finally, a man was not to take his father's wife, that is, his stepmother. Whether his father had died or not, this was forbidden. Even among the Gentile nations this was recognized as thoroughly wrong (1 Corinthians 5:1). How much more so for Christians! Yet a man in the Corinthian assembly was guilty of this evil and had to be excommunicated (1 Corinthians 5:1-13).

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 22:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/deuteronomy-22.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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