Evening Bible Study
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.
19:1-13 Cities of
:1 “When the LORD your God has cut off the nations whose land the LORD your
God is giving you, and you dispossess them and dwell in their cities and in
:2 you shall separate three cities for yourself in the midst of your land
which the LORD your God is giving you to possess.
:2 three cities
These are the
cities of refuge.
already set up three cities of refuge on the eastern side of the Jordan River:
Golan, Ramoth Gilead, and Bezer.
When they came
across the Jordan and conquered the rest of the land, they were to set up three
more cities: Kedesh, Shechem, and
This was to
stop the “blood feuds” that developed in these ancient times.
If you killed a relative of mine, even if it was an accident, I would be
bound by my family’s honor to kill you.
The killings went back and forth.
Instead, when a person was killed by accident, they were allowed to flee to
the nearest city of refuge (never more than a good day’s run away). As long as
it was truly an accident (determined by a trial), then you were allowed to stay
there and be protected from the “blood avenger”, which was a member of the dead
:3 You shall
prepare roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your
land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, that any manslayer may
:4 “And this is the case of the manslayer who flees there, that he may
live: Whoever kills his neighbor unintentionally, not having hated him in time
:5 as when a man goes to the woods with his neighbor to cut timber, and his
hand swings a stroke with the ax to cut down the tree, and the head slips from
the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies—he shall flee to one of
these cities and live;
:6 lest the avenger of blood, while his anger is hot, pursue the manslayer
and overtake him, because the way is long, and kill him, though he was not
deserving of death, since he had not hated the victim in time past.
avenger of the blood
This is the guy out for revenge for you accidentally killing a member of his
:6 while his anger
If there weren’t any hot heads in the world, something like this wouldn’t
be necessary. It’s our anger that gets
us into trouble.
Anger is a dangerous thing.
—19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to
speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness
In his autobiography, Number 1, Billy Martin told about hunting in Texas with
Mickey Mantle. Mickey had a friend who would let them hunt on his ranch. When
they reached the ranch, Mickey told Billy to wait in the car while he checked
in with his friend. Mantle’s friend
quickly gave them permission to hunt, but he asked Mickey a favor. He had a pet mule in the barn who
was going blind, and he didn’t have the heart to put him out of his misery. He
asked Mickey to shoot the mule for him.
When Mickey came back to the car, he pretended to be angry. He scowled and
slammed the door. Billy asked him what was wrong, and Mickey said his friend
wouldn’t let them hunt. “I’m so mad at that guy,” Mantle said, “I’m going out
to his barn and shoot one of his mules!”
Mantle drove like a maniac to the barn. Martin protested, “We can’t do
that!” But Mickey was firm. “Just watch
me,” he shouted.
When they got
to the barn, Mantle jumped out of the car with his rifle, ran inside, and shot
the mule. As he was leaving, though, he heard two shots, and he ran back to the
car. He saw that Martin had taken out his rifle, too. “What are you doing, Martin?” he yelled.
Martin yelled back, face red with anger, “We’ll show that son of a gun! I just killed two of
Anger can be dangerously contagious. As Proverbs puts it, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered
man ... or you may learn his ways” (Prov. 22:24-25).
What do we do with anger?
Jefferson said “When angry, count to 10; when very angry count to 100.”
Twain changed it and said, “When angry, count to 4; when very angry, swear.”
(Eph 4:31–32 NKJV) —31 Let all
bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with
all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one
another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
It’s not a matter of learning to count, swearing, or
breaking things, it’s a matter of learning to put anger away and learning to do
the kind things. It’s learning not to
hold on to bitterness, but to deal with the anger.
In 1958, Johnny Cash came out with a number one hit song:
“Don’t Take Your Guns to
Put the bitterness away.
Leave your guns at home.
:7 Therefore I
command you, saying, ‘You shall separate three cities for yourself.’
:8 “Now if the LORD your God enlarges your territory, as He swore to your
fathers, and gives you the land which He promised to give to your fathers,
:9 and if you keep all these commandments and do them, which I command you
today, to love the LORD your God and to walk always in His ways, then you shall
add three more cities for yourself besides these three,
:10 lest innocent blood be shed in the midst of your land which the LORD
your God is giving you as an inheritance, and thus guilt of bloodshed be upon
:11 “But if anyone hates his neighbor, lies in wait for him, rises against
him and strikes him mortally, so that he dies, and he flees to one of these
:12 then the elders of his city shall send and bring him from there, and
deliver him over to the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.
:13 Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall put away the guilt of
innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with you.
:11 if anyone hates
This would be premeditated murder.
A murderer was not allowed refuge.
The trial would take place in the city of refuge.
If a person was guilty of murder, then the avenger of blood would be
allowed to put you to death.
:14 “You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old
have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the LORD
your God is giving you to possess.
Up to this point, the Israelites are just a bunch of wandering slaves. They haven’t dealt with owning property for
hundreds of years.
This is not
about moving your neighbor’s pink flamingo or lawn gnome.
It’s about changing property lines. Property
lines were based on landmarks. Moving
that pile of rocks was like changing the property lines, stealing your
:15 “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or
any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter
shall be established.
:16 If a false witness rises against any man to testify against him of
:17 then both men in the controversy shall stand before the LORD, before
the priests and the judges who serve in those days.
:17 before the
The priests would serve as judges.
:18 And the
judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is a false
witness, who has testified falsely against his brother,
:19 then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so
you shall put away the evil from among you.
:20 And those who remain shall hear and fear, and hereafter they shall not
again commit such evil among you.
:21 Your eye shall not pity: life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for
tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
:19 do to him as he
thought to have done
If you testify that your neighbor killed someone, and it was found out that
you lied, then you would receive the punishment that a guilty killer would
It’s a good deterrent against false witnesses.
:21 eye for eye
These are civil
laws. These laws are about how a society ought to govern itself.
These principles are what our civil laws ought to be based upon.
The whole principle of the cities of Refuge were to keep people from taking
the law into their own hands.
This is known as the “law of
talionis, provided for exact justice, not revenge, and concerned
public justice, not private vengeance.
When it comes
to how we as individuals should treat one another, Jesus gives us another law:
(Mt 5:38–42 NKJV) —38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye
for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil
person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40
If anyone wants to sue you and take away
your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one
mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to
borrow from you do not turn away.
20:1-20 Laws for
:1 “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and
chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the
LORD your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.
:2 So it shall be, when you are on the verge of battle, that the priest
shall approach and speak to the people.
:3 And he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of
battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do
not tremble or be terrified because of them;
:4 for the LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against
your enemies, to save you.’
:4 the LORD your
God is He who goes with you
The army was encouraged by the priests to trust in God, not their weapons.
The size of your fear and the size
of your God.
It’s not like we intentionally forget how big God is, but it seems that the
more we focus on the size of our problems, the less we are aware of the size of
When Jehoshaphat was surrounded by an overwhelming force of enemy armies,
he was scared,
(2 Ch 20:3–6 NKJV) —3 And Jehoshaphat
feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all
Judah. 4 So Judah gathered together to ask help from the LORD; and from all the
cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. 5 Then Jehoshaphat stood in the
assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new
court, 6 and said:
“O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over
all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might,
so that no one is able to withstand You?
Jehoshaphat’s prayer starts with talking about how
powerful God is, not because God needs reminding, but because Jehoshaphat needs
Isaiah says that God measures the universe by the span of His hand.
Play “The Known
:5 “Then the
officers shall speak to the people, saying: ‘What man is there who has built a
new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he
die in the battle and another man dedicate it.
:6 Also what man is there who has planted a vineyard and has not eaten of
it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another
man eat of it.
:7 And what man is there who is betrothed to a woman and has not married
her? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another
man marry her.’
:7 return to his
These laws helped establish a good morale among the troops.
If your army is filled with men who would rather be home fixing up their
new house, harvesting their vineyard, or marrying their girlfriend, you’re
going to have a bunch of soldiers who don’t want to be there.
You may be larger than your enemy, but you might not win your battles.
:8 “The officers shall speak further to the people, and say, ‘What man is
there who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, lest
the heart of his brethren faint like his heart.’
:9 And so it shall be, when the officers have finished speaking to the
people, that they shall make captains of the armies to lead the people.
:8 who is fearful
Before the battle, send home those who are afraid.
Again, this is a principle to ensure that you have a strong, courageous
I think you could make a case that fear is contagious.
Gideon did this before facing the Midianites. When he first began to gather an army to
challenge the Midianites, he had 32,000 men respond.
When he asked all the fearful ones to go home, 22,000 left! (Judg. 7:2-3)
Sometimes we try a little too hard to motivate people.
We can get quite good at twisting people’s arms into doing things. We can make them feel guilty and try to get
them to do what we think they ought to do.
The danger is that you’ll fill your army with weak soldiers.
If you are going to war and there are not enough men in the army, either
God’s going to do a Jonathan kind of work (saving by many or by few, 1Sam.14), or else perhaps you’re
in the wrong battle.
:10 “When you
go near a city to fight against it, then proclaim an offer of peace to it.
:11 And it shall be that if they accept your offer of peace, and open to
you, then all the people who are found in it shall be placed under tribute to
you, and serve you.
:12 Now if the city will not make peace with you, but war against you, then
you shall besiege it.
:13 And when the LORD your God delivers it into your hands, you shall
strike every male in it with the edge of the sword.
:14 But the women, the little ones, the livestock, and all that is in the
city, all its spoil, you shall plunder for yourself; and you shall eat the enemies’
plunder which the LORD your God gives you.
:15 Thus you shall do to all the cities which are very far from you, which
are not of the cities of these nations.
:15 cities which
are very far
This was how they were to treat distant enemies, not those who are living
in the land they would soon occupy.
These cities were to be offered a peace treaty first.
If the city declined the peace treaty, then only the men were to be killed,
and the rest were spared.
:16 “But of the
cities of these peoples which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance,
you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive,
:17 but you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite and the Amorite and the
Canaanite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, just as the LORD
your God has commanded you,
:18 lest they teach you to do according to all their abominations which
they have done for their gods, and you sin against the LORD your God.
:16 the cities of
The Hittites, Amorites, etc. are the people living in the land that would
become the land of Israel.
God wants these people wiped out.
Israel’s war on them is an act of judgment by God upon their wickedness.
:18 lest they teach
These people were not going to reform.
God was concerned that the Israelites might end up learning their evil
Don’t learn the world’s ways.
God doesn’t want His people living like those in the world.
(1 Jn 2:15–16 NKJV) —15 Do not love the
world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the
Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh,
the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the
(Mt 5:27–30 NKJV) —27 “You have
heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’28 But
I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already
committed adultery with her in his heart.29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it
out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your
members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand
causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable
for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast
Jesus isn’t trying to teach us to mutilate ourselves. He’s saying we ought to be willing to do
whatever is necessary to stop our sin.
You can usually judge how serious a person is about their
sin by seeing how far they are willing to go to correct things.
When a unmarried couple is living together and they begin
to realize that this isn’t pleasing to God, I’m curious to hear how they
respond to that information.
“Oh, we can’t afford to live in separate apartments”. Can you afford to keep in your present
When a married couple is having difficulty, and I suggest
that they get some professional counseling, it’s not uncommon for me to hear
them say, “Oh, we can’t afford professional counseling.”
How much is your marriage worth?
Isn’t it worth a serious investment?
:19 “When you
besiege a city for a long time, while making war against it to take it, you
shall not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them; if you can eat of
them, do not cut them down to use in the siege, for the tree of the field is
:20 Only the trees which you know are not trees for food you may destroy
and cut down, to build siegeworks against the city that makes war with you,
until it is subdued.
:19 its trees
This was a common practice among conquering powers, destroying the fruit
trees so as to totally conquer a land.
But Israel was to keep the fruit trees because they were going to live
:1 “If anyone is found slain, lying in the field in the land which the LORD
your God is giving you to possess, and it is not known who killed him,
:2 then your elders and your judges shall go out and measure the distance
from the slain man to the surrounding cities.
:3 And it shall be that the elders of the city nearest to the slain man
will take a heifer which has not been worked and which has not pulled with a
:4 The elders of that city shall bring the heifer down to a valley with
flowing water, which is neither plowed nor sown, and they shall break the
heifer’s neck there in the valley.
:1 it is not known
who killed him
Before the days of CSI, murder cases weren’t always solved.
There was still the unresolved issue of guilt.
The city closest to the dead body was responsible to take care of the guilt
through a sacrifice.
:4 neither plowed
The Jews didn’t take this to mean a valley that had never been plowed
before, but that it would be a valley that would never be plowed again. In fact, they were to take a plot of land
that was currently being used for farmland and once the ritual was performed,
the land was to never be used again. The
rabbis taught that this was to help encourage the people to pay closer
attention to goings on so that there would be no murderers running loose. If another unsolved murder took place, more
land would have to be lost from usability.
:5 Then the
priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near, for the LORD your God has chosen
them to minister to Him and to bless in the name of the LORD; by their word
every controversy and every assault shall be settled.
:6 And all the elders of that city nearest to the slain man shall wash
their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley.
:7 Then they shall answer and say, ‘Our hands have not shed this blood, nor
have our eyes seen it.
:6 wash their hands
A demonstration of their innocence in the matter
:8 Provide atonement, O LORD, for Your people Israel, whom You have
redeemed, and do not lay innocent blood to the charge of Your people Israel.’
And atonement shall be provided on their behalf for the blood.
:9 So you shall put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you when
you do what is right in the sight of the LORD.
:9 put away the
We don’t seem to be even aware of the fact that God has been offended and
our land has been defiled.
Sin pollutes the land
I tend to think that we as a nation have no concept of this.
For some reason, when a murderer is convicted and sentenced, there always
seems to be a group of people who are trying to protect the murderer.
There’s a sense as with Abel’s blood, that the blood cries out for justice:
(Ge 4:8–10 NKJV) —8 Now Cain talked
with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that
Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. 9 Then the LORD said to Cain,
“Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And
He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me
from the ground.
With 40+ million abortions having been performed in America over the last
forty years, could it be that our land is a bit “polluted” in God’s eyes? I believe so.
21:10-14 Female Captives
:10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and the LORD your God
delivers them into your hand, and you take them captive,
:11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and desire her and
would take her for your wife,
:11 a beautiful
This could not be a gal from one of the cities of Canaan, it would have to
be one of the cities that were far away.
It was against the Law for an Israelite to marry an Canaanite (Deut.7:1-4).
This was contrary to standard accepted practice for soldiers in ancient
days. Typically, a soldier would pillage
and rape. The Israelites were commanded
:12 then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her
head and trim her nails.
:12 she shall shave
her head …
Ladies, aren’t you glad you didn’t have to prepare for your wedding like this?
Actually, the cutting of hair, nails, etc. was a way of her cutting herself
from her old way of life, preparing her to become an Israelite.
:13 She shall put off the clothes of her captivity, remain in your house,
and mourn her father and her mother a full month; after that you may go in to
her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.
:13 mourn her
father and her mother
The soldier had to wait a month before marrying her. He had to give her time to grieve over the
loss of her family.
:14 And it shall be, if you have no delight in her, then you shall set her
free, but you certainly shall not sell her for money; you shall not treat her
brutally, because you have humbled her.
:14 set her free
The assumption is that they would divorce.
This again would be a little different from what other cultures of the day
would do. Other cultures wouldn’t think
twice of selling the woman into slavery.
In Israel, she was to be a freed woman.
:15 “If a man has two wives, one loved and the other unloved, and they have
borne him children, both the loved and the unloved, and if the firstborn son is
of her who is unloved,
:16 then it shall be, on the day he bequeaths his possessions to his sons,
that he must not bestow firstborn status on the son of the loved wife in
preference to the son of the unloved, the true firstborn.
:17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the unloved wife as the firstborn
by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of
his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.
:17 the son of the
Don’t take this as an excuse to have two wives. It took Israel awhile to figure out that one
When asked about the issue of divorce, Jesus went back to Adam and Eve as the
primary example of marriage (Matt.
Two become one. Not three become
You weren’t supposed to play favorites with the kids according to who their
Jacob brought a lot of trouble to his family for playing favorites.
(Ge 37:3–4 NKJV) —3 Now Israel loved Joseph
more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made
him a tunic of many colors. 4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved
him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to
It was this hatred of Joseph that led to them selling
Joseph into slavery into Egypt.
I know that we can get a little carried away with this. There were times when one of our kids would complain
that we only spent $5.55 on him while we spent $5.95 on his brother. I think that a good way to handle this is to
explain to your children that sometimes life is going to be unfair. Period.
But when one child is constantly being favored over another, there’s going
to be major problems in the family.
One of today’s typical setups for disaster is that of the “blended
family”. This is where you are living
with step kids and your own kids. The
tendency I’ve seen is that your own kids can tend to be the favorites. It doesn’t have to be that way.
:18 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice
of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened
him, will not heed them,
:19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out
to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city.
:20 And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is
stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a
:21 Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so
you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.
:21 stone him to
Note that this was to take place
after the parents had already “chastened” the son, they had already been
Some people don’t discipline their children and expect everyone else to
discipline them. This is only what
happens after you tried to discipline them and they wouldn’t respond.
Jewish tradition has it that this punishment was never actually carried
out. I guess the threat of it was
enough. I wonder if this is why there is
a commandment with a promise:
your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the
LORD your God is giving you.
Parents, take control.
There are too many parents who are letting their children call the
shots. God has entrusted THEM to
YOU. You are to be the one in charge.
at Market” clip. It’s actually a
commercial for condoms.
As the crowded
airliner is about to take off, the peace is shattered by a five-year-old boy
who picks that moment to throw a wild temper tantrum. No matter what his
frustrated, embarrassed mother does to try to calm him down, the boy continues to
scream furiously and kick the seats around him. Suddenly, from the rear of the
plane, an elderly man in a Marine uniform is seen slowly walking forward up the
aisle. Stopping the
flustered mother with an upraised hand, the white-haired, courtly, soft-spoken
Marine leans down and, motioning toward his chest, whispers something into the
boy’s ear. Instantly, the boy calms down, gently takes his mother’s hand, and
quietly fastens his seat belt. All the other passengers burst into spontaneous
applause. As the Marine slowly makes his way back to his seat, one of the cabin
attendants touches his sleeve. “Excuse me, sir,” she asks quietly, “but could I
ask you what magic words you used on that little boy?” The Marine smiles
serenely and gently confides, “I showed him my pilot’s wings, service stars,
and battle ribbons, and explained that they entitle me to throw one passenger
out the plane door, on any flight I choose.”
They may have
learned how to manipulate you, berate you, calling you names, making you feel
insecure, but YOU are still THEIR parent.
For those of you with younger children, respect for parents is nothing to
take lightly. I know that it’s hard to
be the one disciplining your children when they’ve called you a name or yelled
at you. You feel selfish. You feel like a jerk. But it’s far worse to let your child go
through life thinking that it’s okay to rebel against authority and to mock
it. It’s far better for your child to
learn NOW that they need to respect authority, rather than have to face harder
21:22-23 Hung on a
:22 “If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to
death, and you hang him on a tree,
:23 his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely
bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your God
is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.
:22 hang him on a
This was not the mode of punishment, as in death by hanging. This was after the criminal was put to death,
the body was to be hung on a tree as a way of making a public statement that
this was what would happen to those who committed a similar crime.
Remember the whole deal with sacrificing a heifer if the crime went
Sin brings a curse.
Paul applies this verse to Jesus:
(Ga 3:13 NKJV) Christ has redeemed
us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written,
“Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),
Jesus became a curse for us so we could be made right with God.