Thursday, March 25, 2010


Deuteronomy 23-26

Deuteronomy 23 addresses people who are to be excluded from "the assembly of the LORD," including those who have been "emasculated" ("he that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off" [KJV]), those of illegitimate birth (and their descendants), and Ammonites and Moabites. Edomites ("he is your brother") and Egyptians ("you lived as an alien in his country") are not to be "abhorred."

The next few verses deal with the issue of "uncleanness" when "encamped against your enemies," as the laws and regulations on uncleanness all deal with the tabernacle, and when encamped, they are some distance from it. They must set up a place outside the camp to relieve themselves, and they must keep the camp holy so that the LORD "will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you." The reset of the chapter contains some miscellaneous laws, including injunctions not to hand slaves back to their masters, not to become shrine prostitutes and not to practice usury with your "brother Israelite."

In chapters 24 and 25, the set of short and miscellaneous regulations continue, including the means and mechanisms for divorce, requirements that a recently married man "be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married" for one year, not to take millstones as security for a debt, to follow the priestly laws in the case of leprous diseases. There are a couple of these regulations aimed at protecting the "poor and needy...the alien, the fatherless and the widow. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this." Disputes must go to court and judges decide the case, flogging must not include more than forth lashes, a man who's brother dies must "take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law" and "the first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel." They must use honest weights and honest scales and "blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven."

Deuteronomy 26 is another reminder passage. First, he reminds the Israelites that the firstfruits of the harvest must be given to the LORD. They must set apart a tenth of all their produce in the third year to give to the Levite and the unfortunate. And again, he tells them of their obligation to follw the LORD's commands, "carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul."

Thoughts, questions, issues

  • Every verse in chapter 24 could be a sermon source. And probably has been at some point. There's a reason that the Talmud is much, much longer than the Torah. It's been said that God's law boils down to "love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Everything else is commentary." This section is commentary. It contains specific rules and regulations for that society in that place at that time, based on the more timeless principles of the Ten Commandments.
  • I'm sorry, this one just made me laugh.
    If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity. (Dt 25:11-12)
    What the issue is here, I really have no idea. Is it purity/uncleanness? Womanly modesty? Is it considered grossly dangerous or unfair to attack a man that way? I don't know what to make of this one at all, but it made me laugh anyway. (Remember, this is Moses, not the LORD.)

Psalms 45

Another psalm with a tune specified.

This is interesting in that it is not really a prayer. There are a couple of verses praising God, but this is, well, a wedding song. I've never noticed it before, and it seems rather odd that it's in that book.

Psalm 45
For the director of music. To the tune of "Lilies." Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil. A wedding song.
1 My heart is stirred by a noble theme
as I recite my verses for the king;
my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.

2 You are the most excellent of men
and your lips have been anointed with grace,
since God has blessed you forever.

3 Gird your sword upon your side, O mighty one;
clothe yourself with splendor and majesty.

4 In your majesty ride forth victoriously
in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness;
let your right hand display awesome deeds.

5 Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king's enemies;
let the nations fall beneath your feet.

6 Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.

7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.

8 All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
from palaces adorned with ivory
the music of the strings makes you glad.

9 Daughters of kings are among your honored women;
at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.

10 Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear:
Forget your people and your father's house.

11 The king is enthralled by your beauty;
honor him, for he is your lord.

12 The Daughter of Tyre will come with a gift,
men of wealth will seek your favor.

13 All glorious is the princess within her chamber ;
her gown is interwoven with gold.

14 In embroidered garments she is led to the king;
her virgin companions follow her
and are brought to you.

15 They are led in with joy and gladness;
they enter the palace of the king.

16 Your sons will take the place of your fathers;
you will make them princes throughout the land.

17 I will perpetuate your memory through all generations;
therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.

No comments:

Post a Comment