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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Deuteronomy

(Return to Old Testament Contents)



Part 4: Ch.21-25 Moses lays out Relational Laws

Ch. 21 – Misc. Administrative Laws

Ch. 22 – Civil Laws, Marriage Laws & Abuse Laws

Ch. 23 – Holiness & Righteousness in the Nation

Ch. 24 – Relational Laws for a Holy Community

Ch.25 – Sentencing, Succession, Misc. Laws



FRAMEWORKS: Deuteronomy 22: Civil Laws, Marriage Laws & Abuse Laws


v.1-12 Misc. Civic Laws

v.13-21 Marriage Violation Accusations

v.22-25 Wrong Consensual Sex

v.25-29 Consequences of Rape



v.1-12 Misc. Civic Laws


v.1-4 Caring for the live property of one's neighbour

v.1 If you see your fellow Israelite's ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to its owner.

v.2 If they do not live near you or if you do not know who owns it, take it home with you and keep it until they come looking for it. Then give it back.

v.3 Do the same if you find their donkey or cloak or anything else they have lost. Do not ignore it.

v.4 If you see your fellow Israelite's donkey or ox fallen on the road, do not ignore it. Help the owner get it to its feet.


v.5 God has ordered gender and the Law sought to maintain His order

v.5 A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.


v.6,7 Simple compassion and care for nature

v.6 If you come across a bird's nest beside the road, either in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the young.

v.7 You may take the young, but be sure to let the mother go, so that it may go well with you and you may have a long life.


v.8 Ensure care of those who come on your property

v.8 When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof.


v.9-11 Requirements to maintain the natural order of God's creation

v.9 Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled.

v.10 Do not plough with an ox and a donkey yoked together.

v.11 Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.


v.12 A Reminder of God (see Num 15:37-41)

v.12 Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear.


[Notes: It seems that behind various of these civic laws is the concept that God has designed this world in certain ways with boundaries between species etc., and we are not to cross such boundaries but maintain the purity of His design as a way of honouring Him.]



v.13-21 Marriage Violation Accusations


v.13-19 Found FALSE

v.13 If a man takes a wife and, after sleeping with her, dislikes her

v.14 and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,”

v.15 then the young woman's father and mother shall bring to the town elders at the gate proof that she was a virgin.

v.16 Her father will say to the elders, “I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her.

v.17 Now he has slandered her and said, ‘I did not find your daughter to be a virgin.' But here is the proof of my daughter's virginity.” Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town,

v.18 and the elders shall take the man and punish him.

v.19 They shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give them to the young woman's father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives.


v.20-21 Found TRUE

v.20 If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman's virginity can be found,

v.21 she shall be brought to the door of her father's house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done an outrageous thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father's house. You must purge the evil from among you.


[Notes: The laws are straight-forward if not somewhat quaint by today's rather loose standards, but the objective in each case is truth and integrity.]



v.22-25 Wrong Consensual Sex


v.22 If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.

v.23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her,

v.24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man's wife. You must purge the evil from among you.


[Notes: Adultery is seen throughout scripture as an attack on the basic building block of civilization – the family unit. These laws applied where both were consenting parties.]



v.25-29 Consequences of Rape


v.25 But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die.

v.26 Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbour,

v.27 for the man found the young woman out in the country, and though the betrothed woman screamed, there was no one to rescue her.

v.28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered,

v.29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.


[Notes: Rape is quite different – absence of consent – only the offender is guilty and the laws apply that.]