Deuteronomy 21-23

Let’s just set the scene.  Moses is sitting with the Israelites that are about to enter the Promise Land.   When God gave Moses the 10 commandments and the Book of the Law, the Israelites sat there for almost a year studying it.    Deuteronomy is the “retelling” of their history to the next generation (since they weren’t there in person).  In chapter 5, Moses read the 10 Commandments.  When the Israelites enter the Land they need to APPLY the Law.  In today’s terms: don’t go to church and say “Amen” and then go about your life without APPLYING IT.  Sorry, I had to yell at myself for a moment.

The past few chapters Moses has discussed the Commandments that refer to our relationship with the Lord.  Now, we are continuing the read about how to apply these laws in relation to others.  Here is your quick reference:

Image result for 10 commandments

Chapter 21:  You will clearly see Commandments 5, 6, 7.   You know I want to break down EACH verse but I will spare you a long post.  If you have already read, stop here.  Go to comments and talk about the Scripture that you stopped at or made your eyebrows move.  THEN come back and read some of the ones I underlined.

21: Then all the elders of the town nearest the body shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley, and they shall declare: “Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it done. Accept this atonement for your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, Lord, and do not hold your people guilty of the blood of an innocent person.” Then the bloodshed will be atoned for, and you will have purged from yourselves the guilt of shedding innocent blood, since you have done what is right in the eyes of the Lord.

Image result for pontius pilate washing his hands

(That is Pontius Pilate)

Matthew 27: 24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

As you continue to read you have to keep in mind that God’s Law was not the first time a set of Laws was enforced.  In general, the Code of Hammurabi was the law.  God’s laws were written so that EVERYONE could understand them just like the Code of Hammurabi.  The codes were always written in “If this….then this…” Example:  If my kids leave one more dish in the sink, I am going to lose my mind”.

Chapter 21: Atonement for an unsolved murder, marrying a captive woman, the rights of the firstborn, and rebellious children.  If you were not with us in Genesis, I want you to know the rights of the firstborn are huge…(Yes, I said that in my Trump voice…Yuge!”  BUT remember the first born may receive a double portion but that is not the blessing.  If you are confused Genesis 25, (Jacob and Esau) the Bible talks about selling his birthright, but that was small potatoes compared to Jacob stealing the blessing!

As you read chapter 22 it continues the application of these laws: keeping ourselves holy (set apart) from the Canaanites.  Do you look like the world or do you look set apart?  I can break down each one for you if you need, just comment on the one that you did not get.  Each one is significant..proof of virginity, wearing clothes, mixing fabrics, sleeping with your father’s wife…Rueben!

Chapter 23:  If you are old like me, the names may be familiar but you cannot remember who they were.  I will recap some of them:

  • Ammonites and Moabites- first find them on your genealogy. Click here.  They were the sons (tribes) that were born after God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.  In Genesis 19, Lot took his daughters to the high land, and his daughter planned to get their father, Lot, drunk and have children.
    • Then in Numbers 22– the Ammonites and Moabites did not allow the Israelites passage through their land.  Balaam was the scorer they hired to curse them.  But we know that would never happen because of God’s Covenant
    • “I will make you into a great nation,
          and I will bless you;
      I will make your name great,
          and you will be a blessing.[
      I will bless those who bless you,
          and whoever curses you I will curse;
      and all peoples on earth
          will be blessed through you.”
  • Edomites: were Esau’s descendants, (Esau was Jacob’s brother).

Please be humble and comment on ANY scripture you do not understand.  We could have a fun day of breaking them down.

9 thoughts on “Deuteronomy 21-23

  1. I was asked “who were the captive women”. In verse 10 it says: “When you do to war”. Israelite men could marry women from distant conquered cities taken as prisoners of war (provided they did not already have a wife). This woman had to “shave her head” and “trim her nails.” These were rituals of purification customary in the ancient Near East. She received one “full month” to mourn her parents (v. 13). She had to shed her “old” life, that is why she changed her clothes after being purified.

    Ephesians 4:20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.


  2. If you freak out about commenting because you think it’s not a good question, you can text me your question 😁 I won’t throw you outside the camp. 615-418-9377 Trust me, they are ALL good questions!


  3. Texted questions: Parapet (22:8). You know in the movies when people are on a roof and there is that ledge that keeps people from falling off. That is a parapet. Construction at this time was a flat roof. If someone fell off, you would have accidental blood on your hands and you would have to flee to a “city of refuge” and stay there until the high priest died. This was a precaution for Commandment #6 Thou shalt not murder (even accidentally).


  4. Tested Questions: Chapter 22: The laws against mixing seed, animals in yoke, and fibers in clothing may have had a double significance. They taught the Israelites the importance of purity and keeping things distinct. They may have also illustrated the importance of remaining separate from the Canaanites. Two crops in the same field, only one will flourish. The weaker seed won’t grow. An “ox” and a “donkey” would not have been a good combination when yoked “together,” because they pull the plow at different rates. (this is written just before God talks about marriage, so feel free to ponder) (Not sure if I am the ox or the ass). The clothing fibers (also a double meaning I am sure) but in context, the Canaanites priests ALSO had special garments like the Levites to worship their gods. We are constantly reminded as a priesthood (all believers) that we are not to blend in with the world around us. For those who may have skimmed, you can go back to Exodus 28 on priestly garments and Numbers 15 about tassels. Our priesthood and their priesthood are different and we need to remain holy. Does that help?


  5. Is there a connection between Deut 22:4 and James 5:19-20?

    My eyebrows raised about the men wearing women’s garments and vice versa and how that is an abomination to the Lord.

    Also the “cursed is anyone who is hanged on a tree” and not leaving the body up overnite but burying the same day. That kind of makes me circle back around to the importance of being declared not guilty of the shedding of innocent blood. I also wondered about the stream and uncut field, etc the heifer (atonement) had to be killed near.


    1. Did you mean Deut 22:5? Yes, and I wasn’t going to bring it up because I didn’t want to spin out of control on the blog (I try really hard to stay on topic) but most of Galatians is directly clarifying these chapters. When Paul was going to cities like Galatia he would have to sift through what was happening culturally and theologically. In the time of satirical writing of plays and dramas, the OT was taken out of context and made a mockery of. You also had people like Lucian of Antioch picking apart the Scriptures (the Septuagint from the days of Alexander the Great) and creating their own documents. Poor Paul had a lot to weed through to teach true doctrine. (Just like us today I suppose) In Galatians 5:19 Paul sums up so many sins that are written in the law. If you meant Deut 22:4 yes it applies. “selfish ambition”. When we find something we should not say “finders keepers”, we should do the right thing and find the owner. Especially if it is donkey which is needed for work. But if you meant verse 5, yes too. This is stated for many reasons. First, and most important, men and women are created uniquely. Equal but unique. God made us for His purposes not ours. I could totally chase this rabbit but if might freak some of you out how conservative I actually am. (Never confuse my doctrine with my mission). Second, this was a practice the Philistines (and many others) practice when they worshipped the gods I spoke about yesterday. Astarte (under the gods of fertility) was actually a god during war times. Her platform was more about “sexuality and sensuality” more than fertility. Feel free to look some of them up…sadly there are many. Judges 2:12-13 is one small example…and then Solomon…oh Solomon you dog! Anyway, as we read earlier, there were many acts of worship the pagans did to please their god (just like in Sodom and Gomorrah) that includes same-gender sex acts and having sex with animals. So this warning to the Isearaletes was to cut it off at the beginning stage of wearing their clothes.


      1. Deut 21:The death was actually by stoning but the corpse was hung to show death was the curse, not the hanging. This law required that, in such “corpse-hanging” cases, those responsible had to “bury” the body the same day as the execution, to avoid “defiling
        the land”. This is why in John 19:31, the Jewish leaders were quick to bury Jesus so the land was not defiled.


  6. I read earlier today that the phrase, “Fear not,” is in the Bible 365 times. I suppose that’s The Lord giving us one for each day of the year!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The proof of virginity thing really freaked me out. That a girl could be stoned to death because, if I am reading it correctly, she didn’t bleed – because her parents would bring a cloth as proof? Is that what that means? I’m not a doctor, but I believe I have read before that not every female does this upon losing virginity, so I’m just really puzzled and saddened that those poor girls may have lived with this fear. I raised my eyebrows on many of these scriptures today, I guess my main take away is how thankful I am to be living under the grace of Jesus.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s