Deuteronomy 22-24

Sunday Evening Bible Study

September 30, 2001


The name Deuteronomy means “second law”. It is Moses’ final address to the people. It covers the last 1˝ months of Moses’ life. He’s 120 years old. It’s God’s “review” for the people to make sure they understand His ways before they go into the land.

Deuteronomy 22

:1-4 Returning lost property

:1 thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother

In God’s law, there is no such thing as “finders-keepers”. If you find something that belongs to someone else, you are to return it to them or else keep it until you see them again.

God doesn’t want His people to “not be involved”. He wants us to help others.

:5 Cross dressing

:5 for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God

abominationtow‘ebah – a disgusting thing, abomination, abominable

God doesn’t want anyone confused about your sexuality.

God isn’t confused about your sexuality. He wants men to be men and women to be women.

Does this mean that a gal can’t wear pants?

The issue isn’t what specific clothes you wear, it’s about whether people will confuse you for a guy or a gal.

We might think that it’s difficult in our modern times because guys and gals wear so much similar clothing. But it was just as hard in those days, to be able to tell a man’s robe apart from a woman’s robe.

:6-7 Kindness to birds

:7 But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go

dam – mother bird

If you were out for a walk and come across a mother bird and her chicks, you were not allowed to take and eat the entire family, but only the chicks.


Some have suggested that it was a way of teaching kindness to the Israelites. Instead of wiping out the entire family, they at least spared the mom.

Others have suggested that it was more a practical thing, of protecting a food source. If you take only the young birds but leave the mother bird, then the mother bird can live on to produce more offspring, more food.

:8 Building codes

:8 thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof

battlement –a parapet. On a flat roof, a parapet is a small wall around the outside of the roof, a way to keep people from falling off your roof. People on those days used their roofs as a type of patio. A parapet was just common sense.

Here we have the beginning of building safety regulations! It was like having a fence around your backyard pool. Your home should be a safe place. People should not be hurt at your home because of your negligence.

:9-11 Sending Mixed Signals

:9 Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds

Here the Israelites were prohibited from mixing certain things together.

They were prohibited from sowing wheat or barley in between the rows of their vineyards. Also, not to plow with different animals together or mix different types of cloth in a garment.

Why weren’t they to mix stuff?

Do any of your kids ever try to mix up new kinds of foods like mine do? Perhaps I should think about using these verses!

This may have had a symbolic function in teaching the Israelites something about the created order.

There is also a sense in which some of these mixtures are reflective of certain pagan practices. The ancient Zabians, or fire-worshippers, sowed different seeds, accompanying the act with magical rites and invocations. Some of the idolatrous priests wore garments of this mixture, thinking it to be magical.

God doesn’t want His people mixed up in Satanic, magical arts.
I am concerned over the “Harry Potter” books and movie. We are being taught that “magic” is “good”. It is not.

There may be some practical reasons as well.

Apparently there can be a degradation of certain grains and grasses when you mix them in the same field. A cross pollination occurs and the result is a type of plant called “chess” by farmers, a plant of inferior quality from the original plants.

:12 Fringes

:12 Thou shalt make thee fringes

This comes from Numbers 15:37-41, where God commanded the Israelites to sow fringed borders on their garments. These fringes were to be a way of reminding them to obey the Law of the Lord.

(Num 15:39 KJV) And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:

When the woman grabbed the hem of Jesus’ robe, it was probably the fringe on His robe.

Jesus didn’t need a reminder to obey the Law of the Lord, but He was demonstrating that He was living His life according to the Law of the Lord.

Sometimes we have a hard time remembering the right things –


Two elderly couples were enjoying friendly conversation when one of the men asked the other, “Fred, how was the memory clinic you went to last month?” “Outstanding,” Fred replied. “They taught us all the latest psychological techniques, like visualization, association, and so on. It was great. I haven’t had a problem since.” “Sounds like something I could use. What was the name of the clinic?” Fred went blank. He thought and thought, but couldn’t remember. Then a smile broke across his face and he asked, “What do you call that flower with the long stem and thorns?” “You mean a rose?” “Yes, that’s it!” He turned to his wife, “Hey Rose, what was the name of that memory clinic?”


Remember to obey.

:13-21 Marriage Laws

:14 when I came to her, I found her not a maid:

The man’s complaint and reason to divorce his wife was that when they got married she was not a virgin.

:17 the tokens of my daughter's virginity.

On a couple’s wedding night, there is a portion of a gal’s anatomy that can be often broken that first night of the honeymoon. This was preserved in a piece of cloth and kept by the gal’s father as proof that she was a virgin on the night of her wedding. This was the “tokens of her virginity”.


Parents have a responsibility

In this culture, the father was the “protector” of his daughter’s virginity. We may not have the same customs in our society, but I think the principles should be similar. Parents ought to pass on to their children the proper values concerning sex.

:18 shall take that man and chastise him;

In other words, whipping him, probably with 40 lashes.

:19 And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver

He is fined 100 shekels, about 48 oz. of silver. This is twice the normal price paid to the father originally to marry his daughter.

:19 and give them unto the father of the damsel

The father of the gal kept the silver.

:19 because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel


Virginity is a treasure

Our society doesn’t even get it.
God is the creator of sex, and He created it to be enjoyed within the boundaries of marriage. He designed it to function at it’s best when it is between two people who truly love each other. And God’s idea of love in marriage is a life long commitment and trust.
Because of this, maintaining virginity until marriage is a great, great blessing to that marriage.
I’ve heard Dr. Dobson explain it as if a person’s sexual nature was worth a million bucks. Every time you have sex with another person, you are taking half of your treasure and giving it to them. When you are married to that person, the treasure stays within the family. But when you are not married to that person, you’ve just lost a half of your fortune, and the value of your sexual nature is now worth a half a million. When you have sex with another person, it’s now worth a quarter of a million dollars. And when it goes on and on, sex becomes something cheap and filthy, instead of priceless and beautiful.
Virginity is a treasure. Faithfulness to your marriage is priceless.

:19 and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.

If his wife was proven to have been a virgin, this guy couldn’t get out of the marriage by having lied about his wife’s virginity.

:21 the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die

If the gal was found to have not been a virgin, then she was put to death.

:22-30 Sexual sins

:22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband

The penalty for adultery was death. In Mesopotamia, an adulterous couple were tied together and thrown into a river to drown. In Israel, the death sentence was originally done through stoning, later they changed to strangulation. (I imagine the man’s wife probably did it … just kidding)

There is no such thing as a “casual affair”. God calls it “evil”.

:23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband

Engagement was just as serious as being married.

:24 because she cried not, being in the city

The implication is that if she had been raped against her will, she would have cried out and have been heard by others. A woman wasn’t punished because she was raped. She was only punished if she was a willing participant.

:24 so thou shalt put away evil from among you.

Could you imagine what this country would be like if everyone who had an affair was put to death?

In our society, we deal with these things by writing about it in “Romance Novels”, producing TV shows and calling them “Soap Operas”, and by making movies.

:27 the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her

There would be no way of proving whether or not she did it willingly or not. Only the man was put to death.

:29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife

Fifty shekels – the normal amount a man would pay his father in law to marry his daughter.

If the gal was not engaged or married, then a man who had intercourse with her was going to get to marry her.

There is no place for what the world calls “casual sex”. God’s design for sex is that it be done within the bounds of marriage.

:30 A man shall not take his father’s wife

A form of incest. Not necessarily your own mother, but perhaps a different wife of your father.

:30 nor discover his father’s skirt.

This doesn’t mean that your father might be hiding a skirt and you shouldn’t look for it! J

It refers again to having intercourse with your mom or stepmom, to “discover” or better, “uncover” the skirt was a polite way of talking about sex, specifically with someone that was married to your father.

Deuteronomy 23

:1-8 Qualifications for congregation

:1 He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.

wounded in the stones – a eunuch.

It is thought that this was referring to some of the pagan practices of castrating their priesthood. These men were not allowed to come into the Tabernacle (or Temple).

:2 A bastard shall not enter into the congregation

bastardmamzer – bastard, child of incest, illegitimate child; born of a Jewish father and a heathen mother or visa versa

:3-6 Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD

God did not allow an Ammonite or Moabite to worship at the Tabernacle because of how they had treated Israel in the wilderness.

This all sounds pretty grim and harsh. But God’s not totally inflexible. There is some grace here as well:

Ruth, a Moabite, married into the tribe of Judah. Her descendants included David and Jesus.


(Isa 56:3-8 NLT) “And my blessings are for Gentiles, too, when they commit themselves to the LORD. Do not let them think that I consider them second-class citizens. And my blessings are also for the eunuchs. They are as much mine as anyone else. {4} For I say this to the eunuchs who keep my Sabbath days holy, who choose to do what pleases me and commit their lives to me: {5} I will give them—in my house, within my walls—a memorial and a name far greater than the honor they would have received by having sons and daughters. For the name I give them is an everlasting one. It will never disappear! {6} “I will also bless the Gentiles who commit themselves to the LORD and serve him and love his name, who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest, and who have accepted his covenant. {7} I will bring them also to my holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices, because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations. {8} For the Sovereign LORD, who brings back the outcasts of Israel, says: I will bring others, too, besides my people Israel.”

In Deuteronomy, it may look here like God is against certain races of people.  Nothing of the sort.  It’s just that in Moses’ day, these people as a whole had hearts as far from God as could be.  But the true measuring stick isn’t what race you are, it’s where your heart is at.  If your heart is for seeking the Lord, God will accept you.
Jesus said,
(John 6:37 KJV)  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

:7-8 Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother

Edom was the land of Esau, who was the brother of Jacob or Israel.

:9-13 Cleanliness is next to godliness (don’t need to read it!)

God wanted the Israelites warriors to practice good hygiene in their battle encampments. Keep things clean.

:14 For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp

God appreciates it when we keep things clean.


A clean life

Sometimes we get the idea that it doesn’t really matter to God what kind things we talk about or what kind of jokes we tell.
Sometimes we get the idea that God doesn’t really care what shape our lives are in, after all we’re going to go to heaven and that’s all that counts, right?
He cares. He walks in the midst of the camp.  Clean up your messes.

:15-16 Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped

Israel was to go against the custom of the nations around them. Instead of returning a runaway slave to its master, they were to find refuge in Israel.

I wonder how those in the south during the Civil War handled verses like this.

:17 There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.

whore … sodomite – female and male prostitutes

:18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD

dog – another term for a male prostitute.


God doesn’t want illegitimate profits

From time to time you hear about someone who was a prostitute giving their money to the church. Or somebody from the mafia giving to the church to ease their conscience. God doesn’t want it.
A few weeks ago, there was an e-mail being sent out to pastors across the country from a guy claiming he wanted to give millions of dollars to our ministries. I received one of the e-mails. The guy claimed to be from Nigeria, and when he was in the military, he claims to have embezzled millions of dollars from his government. Now he claims he’s a Christian and claims that his pastor told him to use the money for ministry, and he wants to bless us with his money. How does that sound?

First, it’s a scam. Many of the Calvary pastors got a form of the same e-mail, but with names and phone numbers all different. Apparently the FBI is investigating it, and these people will get the bank account numbers of churches and end up stealing church funds. Secondly, and more importantly, even if it was true, the church shouldn’t be taking money like this. If the money is stolen, it needs to be returned.

:19 Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother

Don’t charge interest to other Israelites when you loan to them.

:20 Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury

You could charge interest to those who were not Israelites.

:21 When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.

Don’t make promises to God that you don’t keep. God considers it a sin if you break a promise to Him.

:22-23 But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee.

But it’s okay not to be making promises to God.

The point: Keep your promises. Be a person of your word (as much as you can)

:24-25 When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour’s standing corn.

This was called “gleaning”. You were allowed to go into a field and pluck grapes or grain to keep you from starving. But you were not allowed to take advantage of the “gleaning laws” by going in and outright harvesting your neighbor’s field.

Deuteronomy 24

:1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.

uncleanness – ‘erva – nakedness, nudity, shame, indecency, improper behaviour

This section has been the subject of much controversy over the ages. Just what is the definition of “uncleanness”? What is allowable in divorce?

For some people, this is talking about marrying a woman who is not a virgin. They claim that the only allowable reason for divorce is when the other person was previously involved in premarital sex. The problem with this view is that this has already been dealt with back in Deut. 22:13-21.

In Jesus’ day, things had deteriorated to the point where “uncleanness” could be just about anything. Burning the toast. Bad breath. You name it.


Put A Sock In It
A young couple decided to wed. As the big day approached, they grew apprehensive. Each had a problem they had never before shared with anyone, not even each other. The Groom-to-be, overcoming his fear, decided to ask his father for advice. “Father,” he said, “I am deeply concerned about the success of my marriage.” His father replied, “Don’t you love this girl?” “Oh yes, very much,” he said,” but you see, I have very smelly feet, and I’m afraid that my fiancé will be put off by them.” “No problem,” said dad, “all you have to do is wash your feet as often as possible, and always wear socks, even to bed.” Well, to him this seemed a workable solution. The bride-to-be, overcoming her fear, decided to take her problem up with her mom. “Mom,” she said, “When I wake up in the morning my breath is truly awful.” “Honey,” her mother consoled, “everyone has bad breath in the morning.” “No, you don’t understand, my morning breath is so bad, I’m afraid that my fiancé will not want to sleep in the same room with me.” Her mother said simply, “Try this. In the morning, get straight out of bed, and head for the kitchen and make breakfast. While the family is busy eating, move on to the bathroom and brush your teeth. The key is, not to say a word until you’ve brushed your teeth.” “I shouldn’t say good morning or anything?” the daughter asked. “Not a word,” her mother affirmed. “Well, it’s certainly worth a try,” she thought. The loving couple was finally married. Not forgetting the advice each had received, he with his perpetual socks and she with her morning silence, they managed quite well. That is, until about six months later. Shortly before dawn one morning, the husband wakes with a start to find that one of his socks had come off. Fearful of the consequences, he frantically searches the bed. This, of course, wakes his bride and without thinking, she asks, “What on earth are you doing?” “Good grief,” he replies, “you’ve swallowed my sock!”

:2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.

In other words … remarry.

When a divorce meets God’s requirements for divorce, it is allowable for a person to remarry. That’s the whole purpose behind divorce, to end the marriage and allow a person to remarry.

:4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife

If you’ve been divorced, remarried, and then divorced again, you were not to go back to the original spouse. God calls it an abomination.


God’s ideas about divorce

Jesus was questioned about these verses because of the strange opinions on divorce in His day:
(Mat 19:3-9 KJV) The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? {4} And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, {5} And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? {6} Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. {7} They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? {8} He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. {9} And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
:6 What therefore God hath joined together ...
Jesus’ teaching on divorce argument is based on Genesis 2, and He quotes from there in verse 5.

Genesis 2:22-AV And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23And Adam said, This [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Note: It was God that brought the woman to Adam. It was God that put them together.

Jesus is saying that the model marriage is found in the first marriage, the one that God created.

In the first marriage, God made one man and one woman.

They were married when they cleaved together and became “one flesh”

If God has joined two people together into one flesh, then no human should be trying to split up what God has made.

In other words, Jesus is saying, “In the beginning, there was no divorce”.

God wants permanence in marriage.
:7 Why did Moses then command ...
The Pharisees are responding to Jesus.

If Jesus is saying there should be no divorce, then how come Moses gave permission for it?

They are referring to our passage in Deut. 24.

:8 because of the hardness of your hearts
It was by way of concession that God, through Moses, allowed man a way out of a marriage. But originally, God intended man and woman to stay married.
Even today, God’s best is still for husband and wife to stay married.

Even when there’s been unfaithfulness in a marriage, God would rather have the offending party confess and repent, and the offended party to forgive, rather than for divorce.

God Himself, as shown in the life and writings of the prophet Hosea, has put up with all our unfaithfulness, and He still takes us back.

Hosea was told by the Lord to marry a prostitute. After they got married, she went back to work. Hosea had to buy his own wife, he had to pay for her like her other customers. God said that His relationship with Israel was a lot like that.

But if a person just can’t handle the unfaithfulness, God allows for divorce.

(Prov 6:32-35 KJV) But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. {33} A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. {34} For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. {35} He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.

God understands when a person gets to the point where they can’t get over the hurt. God understands and allows for divorce.

:9 except it be for fornication
Biblical reasons for divorce and remarriage:
(Note: You could divorce your spouse for the wrong reasons, and if neither of you remarry or become intimate with another person, you are not guilty of adultery)
1. Immorality

Here is the reason Jesus gives for divorce – “fornication” (porneia)

porneia defined as:

1) illicit sexual intercourse 1a) adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc. 1b) sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18 1c) sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mk. 10:11,12

It’s kind of a little broader term than just moixeia (adultery), which is strictly sex with a married person.

What I believe Jesus is doing here, is defining what should be meant as the “uncleanness” in Deut.24:1. He defines it as sexual immorality.

2. Abandonment

I do believe there is one other possible justification for divorce and remarriage, and that is abandonment:

(1 Cor 7:15 KJV) But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

Some see a strict interpretation here, where the person leaving has to be an unbeliever.

Some see even a believing spouse that leaves as acting as though they were an unbeliever, and hence applicable.

The important point when it comes to whether or not you could be remarried is whether or not your spouse wants the marriage or not.

:9 whosoever shall put away his wife, except ...
So what do I do if I’ve been divorced and remarried, and it wasn’t for Biblical reasons?

1. Confess your sin to God.

Admit to God that you’ve blown it. Ask God to forgive you.

(1 John 1:9 KJV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

2. Stay with your current spouse!

According to Deut.24:1-4, it would be an abomination for you to go back to your former spouse now.

Stay in the condition you’re in when God calls you!

(1 Cor 7:20 KJV) Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

(1 Cor 7:27 KJV) Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

Why can’t I just divorce my spouse, get remarried, confess my sin, and go on like everyone else?

God doesn’t want you to commit sin.

When you commit sin, it’s like pounding a nail into a piece of wood. When you ask for forgiveness, God pulls out the nail. But the hole is still there.

There are always consequences to sin.

God would much rather you stay with your spouse, learn to love him/her like you should, and avoid the much greater pain of divorce.

Also, you’ll most likely find the same problems in your next marriage, because you’re still in the picture!

Changing spouses is no guarantee of happiness, but it is a guarantee of a lot of pain.

What if I’m separated from my spouse, or divorced for the wrong reasons, but neither of us are remarried?

Hold out for your marriage until:

1 ) Either the other spouse remarries

2) It is clear they’ve abandoned you and have no plans to come back.

But even with this, be careful that pay attention to the leading of the Lord. I have known people who had a sense from the Lord that their spouse would eventually one day come back, and they kept praying and waiting until the day it happened. For some, God will let you know that it’s over and it’s time to move on. These aren’t things that people can tell you, I think these are things that God can tell you.

:5 When a man hath taken a new wife…he shall be free at home one year

I don’t think this means to stop your ministry at the church when you get married, just don’t go to war for a year.

:6 No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a man’s life to pledge.

A millstone was one way of making a living, by grinding wheat and barley into flour. If you loaned someone money with his millstone as collateral, you don’t take the millstone if he defaults on the loan. You don’t take away his means of making a living.

:7 If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel

No kidnapping.

:8 Take heed in the plague of leprosy

Watch out for that leprosy stuff. Take care of your health.

:9 Remember what the LORD thy God did unto Miriam by the way

Miriam was struck temporarily with leprosy because she and her brother Aaron spoke against her brother Moses’ leadership.

:13 In any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down

God desires compassion in lending. If a poor man gave you his coat for collateral, you were to give it back to him before he goes to bed.

:15 lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee.

Employers should take care of their employees.


God looks out for the little guys.

If they cry to God for help, you’re in a dangerous place if you are an oppressor.
James seems to draw on this when he condemns the wealthy person who takes advantage of the poor,
(James 5:4 KJV) Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

Each person is responsible for his or her own sin.


Don’t blame your parents.

It’s too easy today to blame our sins on our parents. But God doesn’t blame them, God blames you for your own sin.
They will be judged for their sins. You will be judged for yours.

:19-21 When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward

Don’t take every last little olive, every last grape. Leave the leftovers for the poor of the land. Let them glean.

This was God’s welfare system for the poor. It wasn’t a totally free handout, the poor were to go out and work to eat.

:22 And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt: therefore I command thee to do this thing.

Don’t forget where you’ve come from.