1-5: The book of Deuteronomy is a collection of speeches Moses delivered after wondering in the wilderness for 40 years, and the book takes place when Israel was were camped in a valley east of the Jordan river. While Leviticus explained the Law to priests, Deuteronomy focused on explaining the Old Covenant laws to the people (Deuteronomy 1:3-5).
6-8: Israel;s time in the wilderness’s was over, and God commanded them to take possession of the Land he promised to Abraham.
9-15: God’s promise to greatly multiply Abraham’s descendants was fulfilled, making it impossible for Moses to personally lead everyone. He had to delegate responsibilities to others.
16-18: Judges in Israel were commanded to judge righteously and without partiality. All people had to be judged fairly regardless of their nationality, immigration status, or class. Judges weren’t allowed to intimidate people, and the more difficult cases would be brought directly to Moses.
19-33: God commanded them to take possession of the hill country of the Ammonites. Israel sent spies, who were intimidated because the Ammonites were large and their cities were fortified. Israel was afraid even though God promised to fight for them.
35-40: Their sin of unbelief angered God because He performed so many miracles that should’ve gave them confidence in His promises. God promised that this generation of Israelites would fail to enter the land. Only Caleb, Joshua, and their children would enter and conquer God’s enemies in the promised land.
41-46: The Israelites mourned at this news and decided to go up and fight the Ammonites out of shame. God warned them not to go or they would be defeated, which happened. God already made his promise that they wouldn’t see the land, and they rebelled against his words by trying to conquer the enemy and get in.
1-23: Moses gave a brief recap of their time in the wilderness. As they turned northward toward the promised land, God didn’t allow them to take the land from Esau or Lot’s descendants.
24-25: God commissioned Israel to begin conquering the Canaanite kingdoms. God used Israel as a tool of judgement to these nations who committed idolatry, child sacrifice, and many sexual sins. Their defeat of king Sidon would put fear into other nations as they heard of the victory.
26-32: Since this nation deserved judgment, God hardened the kings heart to bring it about. As with Pharaoh, God didn’t violate the King’s volition but allowed it to run it’s evil course in his response to the peaceful request of the messenger. King Sihon responded by attacking Israel rather than let them pass through.
32-37: Israel defended itself and carried out the judgment God commanded to inflict upon the ammonite cities. Anyone who stayed in the city in defiance was destroyed as a direct judgment from God. God’s judgement included the punishment of non-combatants such as the women and children who rebelled against Him. This may seem harsh to us, but the women and many of the children were just as guilty as the men for committing the atrocities listed in Leviticus 18:1-30. God doesn’t withhold judgment based on gender or age. God was justified in taking the lives of the children because He has the authority to do so, and in His foreknowledge He knew these particular children would lead Israel into idolatry, which is the worst sin according o the Bible. It would cause many future generations to repeat the evil practice of burning their children at the altar of false Gods, and Israel would be judged just the same. That said, none of the Ammonites had to die if they just didn’t attack Israel and the non-combatants didn’t have to die if they simply fled, according to Israel’s war code. Israel was commanded to drive them out, not hunt them down and kill people who fled. God didn’t allow them to take the land of the sons of Ammon.
1-11: The King of Bashan attacked Israel, so they defended themselves and carried out God’s judgment by destroying all inhabitants who didn’t flee the city.
12-17: Moses divided the land God divided it among the 12 tribes of Israel.
18-22: As Israel moved closer to the promised land, God used the warriors in Israel to judge Canaan. God promised to sovereignty bring Israel to victory.
24-29: God denied Moses’ request to enter the land because of his public display of disobedience and lack of faith in Deuteronomy 32:51-52.
1-4: Israel’s obedience to the law directly impacted God’s blessings and curses on them. This was a feature of the old covenant system under God’s direct rule over his people. Those who worshipped Baal at Peor were destroyed by God through Moses and the judges (Numbers 23:28, 25:3-9). We aren’t promised the same blessings and curses today, but God does bless and discipline his children as He sees fit (Hebrews 12:6).
5-8: God’s laws and chosen people served the evangelistic purpose of showing the world God’s righteous character, making a clear distinction between the God of Israel and the evil, manmade gods of the surrounding nations. Israel’s civil, moral, and purity laws drew a clear line so pagans wouldn’t confuse Yahweh with their gods such as Baal and Molech. For example, the pagans worshipped through temple sex and child sacrifice, but Yahweh commanded Israelites who did so be put to death. Israelites couldn’t even enter the temple for a period of time if they had an emission of semen to avoid thinking God was blessing them because of ritual sex. It seems extreme and odd to us, but it was necessary in that culture at that time.
9-14: Mount Horeb is synonymous with Mount Sanai, where God have the Law to Israel through Moses. The Israelites were called to remember these miraculous events and the rules given to teach them to future generations. It was important they remember and obey the Law in the land God gave them. If they disobeyed, they would be “vomited out” the way the Canaanites were (Leviticus 18:28).
15-24: It was extremely important for Israelites to remember they didn’t see and image of God, but only heard his voice. The reason is that no earthly image can accurately represent God. All graven images modeled after created things causes worshipers to have a false image of God in their mind. The result is they end up praising a false version of God. God is separate and above creation—not part of it. Pagan religions always worshipped material gods that were part of creation (animals, stars, planets, human leaders). God is spirit and cannot be seen.
25-31: Israel’s idolatry would eventually lead to being conquered and scattered throughout the pagan nations where they would continue to worship false gods. The Babylonian captivity described in Daniel was part of this judgement. Yet despite their rebellion and breaking the Mosaic covenant, God would keep is unconditional covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, which was that their descendants would become a great nation and all the world would be blessed through them. The blessing that came through Israel was Jesus’ sacrifice for the sins of mankind, bringing gentiles into God’s kingdom.
32-40: Moses pointed out Israel’s unique experience that proved they worshipped the one true God. He challenged them to see if any of the false pagan gods ever spoke to them, performed miracles, delivered them, or drove evil nations out of a land for them. Only a God that truly exists could carry out the miraculous signs they witnessed. If they obeyed God’s law, they would be blessed in the land.
41-43: These cities of refuge were given for people who committed involuntary manslaughter. It allowed them to live in safety and peace, without the risk of someone trying to avenge the death of the person they killed.
44-49: Moses is about to list the commandments God gave Israel when they renewed the covenant, after they defeated the Ammonites and lived in the land God gave them.
1-21: God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, who mediated between God and Israel. The first 4 commands were ways to love God, and the last 6 were ways to love their neighbor. Jesus said the Law could be summed up as loving God and loving neighbor; doing so natural leads to obeying these laws.
22-33: When Israel encountered God at the mountain, they had an appropriate fear and respect for Him. God gave Moses the rest of the Law on the mountain in order that Israel could obey the law while in the land that God gave them. Breaking the laws would result in expulsion from the land.
1-3: Israel regularly forgot God and worshipped idols. Because of this, they were commanded to have a proper fear of God that would lead them to obedience to His law. Their fear was grounded in God’s promise to drive them out of the land the way He drove out the Canaanites.
4-13: Israel’s fear was to be accompanied by love for the one and only God. This command to love should’ve come natural since God had done so much for them. Loving God should have lead them to a desire to understand God’s laws, post the laws throughout their cities, and teach future generations.
14-19: The Israelites tested God at Massah (which was also called Meribah), by demanding a miracle of water and accusing God of bringing them out to the wilderness to die.
20-25: The high level answer to "What is the meaning of the commandments?" is that Israel had to obey for their preservation, their good, and their righteousness.
1-5: God judged the Canaanite nations for sacrificing children and worshiping false gods. God would use Israel as His tool of judgment to defeat, slay, and drive them out of the land. Only Canaanites who chose to flee wouldn’t be executed. In God’s foreknowledge, He knew these pagan nations would lead Israel into worshiping their false Gods, perpetuating the evil practices idolatry, burning children alive, beastiality, incest, and temple prostitution. God’s command to kill the Canaanites was a judgement for their sins and a way to preserve Israel from following the evil practices of the Canaanites.
6-16: God made a covenant with Israel so they could be distinct from the nations because of the pagan religions associated with them. This separation of God’s chosen people was necessary for the evangelistic purpose of accurately revealing himself to these lost nations. Ultimately the Messiah would come through Israel and bless the world, fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3). Israel wasn’t[ chosen because they were numerous or special—God chose Abraham before Israel (Jacob) was born.
Built into the Mosaic Covenant was the promise that there would be blessings for obedience and punishment for rebellion. These promises to Israel don’t apply today because Jesus and the new covenant changed the way God interacts with humankind. God may bless or discipline us in this life, but it’s not necessarily related to our behavior.
17-26: Israel was to trust in God to defeat nations that were greater then themselves. By remembering how God delivered them from Egypt, they could have confidence that He would intervene in a way to bring Israel victory over these nations.
1-10: God reminded Israel that their time in the wilderness was to test and humble them. They were unfaithful to God, but God was faithful to them. He provided them with food, water, and allowed them to survive 40 years of wandering. Although these passages are specifically for Israel, we know God still disciplines and humbles His children today because the principle is repeated in the New Testament (Hebrews 12:6). God commanded Israel to remember His Law while they were in the new land, which would allow them to continue living in it.
11-20: God warned Israel not to forget that their wealth, power, and everything they had came from Him. When we’re comfortable and materially blessed, we have a tendency to forget that every good thing we have comes from God. Verses 19-20 were conditional statements for Israel while they were under the Old Covenant. If they forgot their Lord and served other gods, they would perish and be driven out of the land the way the Canaanites were.
1-5: God made it clear that Israel wasn’t superior to the nations being driven out of the land. Israel was often rebellious and did nothing to earn the privileged position of being God’s chosen people. Atheists commonly accuse the Biblical God of being xenophobic because he favors Israel and commanded the destruction of other nations. Aside from the logical problems with claiming an all powerful God could fear a finite nation, these passages show that the accusation of xenophobia fails. God drove out the Canaanites because they were exceedingly wicked, while fulfilling His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
6-29: God spoke through Moses and reminded Israel of how they rebelled the entire 40 years in the wilderness and were almost destroyed for worshipping the golden calf. Moses interceded for Israel by fasting and pleading with God. He appealed to God’s promise and reputation, mentioning how it would look to the nations if God wiped out His own people. Moses didn’t really have a strong case because God would’ve been completely justified in destroying them. Even if God destroyed Israel, His promise to Abraham would’ve still been fulfilled through Moses. However, God graciously answered Moses’ prayer and spared Israel. Moses’ intercession for Israel was a shadow of how Christ would intercede for His people in the future, fulfilling the role as a "better Moses" (Hebrews 3:1-6).
1-5: Just as Moses broke the old tablets when Israel broke the covenant, God created new tablets to renew the covenant. Moses placed them in the ark of the covenant.
6-9: Aaron died and the Levites were commissioned to carry the ark. They didn’t receive a portion of land because as priests, their portion was God.
10-11: After pleading with God again for 40 days and nights, Moses was commanded to lead Israel into the promised land.
12-22: God renewed the covenant, and Israel’s appropriate response was fear, obedience, and love for their God. Anyone who truly understands God’s unlimited power, holiness, and justice will fear Him when contrasted with our wickedness. This fear of God is not a negative thing; it appropriately ascribes respect to one who deserves it. Despite Israel’s rebellion, God graciously allowed them to fellowship with Him by providing a sacrificial system to atone for sin. Part of obeying God is carrying out His commands to care for the poor, orphans, widows, and foreigners in the land.
1-7: In addition to keeping God’s commands, He wanted Israel’s to reflect on all the miracles they witnessed during their time in Egypt and the wilderness— the judgements He poured out on Egypt, Dathan and Abiram, and the discipline of their nation.
8-32: God’s covenant with Israel included blessings and curses. This means that if they obeyed God by following his commandments, they would experience blessing: prosperity, land, military victory, and many descendants. If they disobeyed God and worshipped idols, they would experience curses. He uses two mountains (Gerizim and Ebal) as symbols—Gerizim as obedience and blessing, and Ebal as disobedience and curses. The promise of blessings and curses based on obedience only applied to Israel in the old covenant, and doesn’t apply today. However, this doesn’t mean our actions don’t matter. Everyone will be judged for what they’ve done at the end of the age.
1-28: God commanded Israel to destroy all idols and altars when they entered the land. They were to build a temple where they could offer sacrifices to the one true God. The destruction of everything associated with false Gods was important because of what these gods represented. Israel was very prone to false religion because it appeals to human desires like greed and lust. The fertility cults encouraged orgies, prostitution, and drunkenness, while God commanded them to abstain from these things.
29-32: God warned the people when they entered the land not to adopt the false religions out of curiosity, or modify the way God commanded he be worshipped.
1-11: During God’s covenant with Israel, anyone who worshipped false God’s or encouraged others to do so were put to death. This high standard was necessary during this key time of development in God’s plan of redemption. If Israel had become completely corrupt and replaced the true temple with a temple to idols, the message would be lost and there would be no way for millions of people to be saved before Messiah came. The tests of a prophet’s authenticity was to see if what they said came true, and that they only encouraged worship to the one true God. Even if a prophet’s predictions came true, they weren’t a true prophet if they encouraged worship of false gods (Deuteronomy 13:1-5). There would’ve been temptation to altar the rule of capitol punishment for family members and loved ones, so these verses specifically address the situation
12-18: If Israel’s cities became universally corrupt with idolatry, they would face the same judgments as Canaan and be destroyed. Killing idolaters may seem harsh to us since God tells us to love even our enemies and now forbids killing (cite). But it’s important to remember that idolatry and leading others astray are perhaps the worst sins a person can commit according to God. Idolatry gives other things the glory that only God deserves and causes people He loves to be eternally condemned.
1-21: Verses 1-2 explain why God gave all of the strange sounding clean and unclean laws to Israel. The purpose of these laws was to make God’s people distinct from all the pagan nations of the earth and their false religions. "Baldness for the dead" and "boiling a goat in it’s mother’s milk" were pagan rituals to false gods that Israel wasn’t supposed to be associated with. The unique dietary restrictions were also designed to contradict the way neighboring nations ate, making it clear that Israelites were different if they dined with them. The descriptions of these foods as "an abomination" was only in the context of God’s people eating them and blurring the boundaries of the one true religious system. We know there was nothing moral about the food itself since it wasn’t a sin for foreigners to eat them. The only moral element of dietary and purity laws was the distinction it caused between Israel and pagan nations, and to make sure Israel interacted with God correctly.
22-29: The word tithe means "tenth". Israelites were to use a tenth of their material wealth to feast and rejoice in God, sharing it with the Leviticus priests, orphans, widows, and foreigners.
1-11: Every seventh year those who lent money to another Israelite citizen were to forgive the borrowers debt. Foreigners didn’t have the privilege of being a part of this unless they were converted into God’s covenant people. During this time, being part of Israel was the only way to worship the one true God. If Israel obeyed Him, He promised they would prosper among the nations and no poor would be in their land. However, verse 5 is a conditional statement to the promise in verse 4, and verse 1 prophetically told them they would fail in eradicating the poor through obedience. Because of this, the poor would always be among them to some degree.
12-15: God allowed a heavily regulated form of slavery in Israel that had to be a voluntary contract for 6 years, and on the 7th year the slave was to be released and "furnished liberally" with material possessions. Slaves only got paid half of a hired servant, but for people in poverty it was worth it because they received food, room and board, and we given a large sum of material goods the 7th year.
16-18: If a slave was well off in his work/life situation and wanted to work for his master forever, the master would pierce his slave’s ear against the doorpost as a symbol of the lifelong contract. This decision was completely up to the slave. It may sound weird to us for someone to want to continue being a slave, but there were benefits in the Hebrew system. This would give them the security and provisions of a wealthy person during a difficult time in history. And unlike American slavery, they Hebrew slaves had freedom and were treated like human beings created in God’s image.
19-23: The firstborn male animal of their herds and flocks were to be sacrificed and eaten as a offering to the Lord. The blood was forbidden to be eaten and had to be poured out like water. This is probably because the blood represented atonement for sins in the Mosaic covenant.
1-8: During the Passover and month of Abib, it was important that Israel not eat leavened bread, that God choose where they offered the sacrifice, that it be done at the time they came out of Egypt. The point of these odd rituals was to remind them of how God delivered them out of Egypt and spared their firstborn sons from the plague of the Passover. Abstaining from leaven reminded them of how they had to leave so quickly they didn’t have time to leaven their bread. The sacrifice was a reminder of the lamb that died in the place of their firstborn son. The importance of God choosing the place is probably related to God choosing the promised land.
9-12: The feast of weeks was to take place seven weeks after harvest. They were to give a free will offering and celebrate with a feast which included their family, friends, sojourners, widows, orphans, and servants.
13-17: The feast of Booths was to be celebrated for seven days when they gathered their produce. All native born males were commanded to give according to how much God has blessed them.
18-20: Justice is extremely important to God, and he wanted his people to carry it out by appointing judges that treat everyone equally and didn’t take bribes. Israel’s commitment to justice was also tied to their blessings and curses in the new land under the old covenant.
21-22: God forbade idolatrous forms of worship that were practiced by other nations.
1: In order for a sacrifice to mean anything, it had to have value. Sacrificing an animal that wasn’t useful missed the point of the practice. Furthermore, the concept of a spotless lamb foreshadowed Jesus’ perfect sacrifice (1 Peter 1:18-19).
2-7: Under the old covenant, idolatry was punishable by death to "purge the evil" among Israel and differentiate them from pagan religions and nations. Everyone is Israel agreed to these terms of the covenant and were bound to them. No one had to be part of Israel and could be considered sojourners held to a different standard. We don’t execute idolators today because we’re under a new covenant and God deals with the sins of His people differently. These extreme measures were necessary because they didn’t have the Holy Spirit to guide them the way we do today.
8-15: When specific cases in law were too difficult to be resolved, they had to consult the judges and Levitical priests. Since these men represented God’s law in the old covenant theocracy, anyone who consulted them and rejected their decision faced capitol punishment.
14-19: If Israel desired to have a king they could have one, but there were restrictions. The king couldn’t live in excess by seeking material wealth ("many horses and gold") or commit adultery by having many wives. He had to be well versed in scripture and be a man of strong moral character. Obedience would lead to longevity in the land for the king and his family.
1-8: The tribe of Levites were the priests in Israel, and they didn't receive an inheritance of land like the other tribes. Their portion was to serve the Lord and receive provisions through the tithes and offerings of the people.
9-14: Israel was forbidden from the immoral practices of the nations who were driven out of the land (child sacrifice, divination, fortune telling). If Israel did these things, they would be driven out of the land as well.
15-19: God promised to raise up another prophet like Moses to mediate for the people. When they were in Horeb (also called Sanai), they asked for a mediator because they were afraid to speak with God directly.
20-22: One of the ways to test wether a prophet speaks for God is to see if what they prophesied comes to pass. The other test was to see which gods they said to worship. If they encouraged worship of gods other than the God of Israel, then they were a false prophets (Deuteronomy 13:1-3).
1-13: God commanded they have cities of refuge to protect people who commit unintentional manslaughter from those who want revenge. If a murderer tries to flee to these cities, they were to be taken out and executed.
14: Moving land markers is a sin because it’s stealing land.
15-21: When dealing with legal accusations there had to be multiple witnesses. False witnesses would be sentenced in proportion to the punishment they wanted their victim to face. These laws were to prevent false witnesses and keep the society just. Israel’s legal system under the old covenant was the "eye for an eye" principle, where punishment was issued in proportion to the crime.
1-9: If any soldiers were too afraid to fight or haven’t experienced the blessings God gave them (vineyard, house, wife), they were excused from battle.
10-12: These warfare laws are only referring to just wars that Israel fought against aggressors. If the war wasn’t just, God caused Israel to lose (Deuteronomy 1:42-44). Before resorting to violence, Israel had to offer terms of peace to their enemies. If the enemy surrendered, they had to provide labor for Israel as part of the agreement. This sounds harsh, but these were guilty nations who threatened to conquer Israel. They were given the option to became prisoners of war rather than be destroyed. It’s similar to the way the U.S. keeps prisoners of war and forces them to work, only Israel’s prisoners likely weren’t locked in cells. There would be way to many prisoners from an entire city to keep them all contained.
13-15: Cities that rejected the terms of peace would be defeated. All the males were executed since they were the ones fighting or would have the ability to a revolt against Israel in the future. They had to spare the women and children and could keep livestock and their enemies possessions as plunder. Taking the women and children as plunder did not mean Israel could use them as sex slaves or abuse them. It meant that they had the option of marrying the women or taking in orphaned children in as their own. God gave strict laws against rape and abuse, which were punishable by death (Deuteronomy 22:25). He also gave many laws to protect and provide for foreigners in their land. There’s no reason to think these laws were allowed to be broken here.
16-18: Only the Canaanite nations listed were to be completely destroyed as a judgment from God in order to stop their evil pagan practices from infecting Israel. These nations were destroyed because they practiced child sacrifice, beastiality, and temple prostitution. In God’s foreknowledge, He knew that if the Canaanites were all spared then Israel would be hopelessly lead astray.
19-20: God forbade the "scorched earth" policy of war that was practiced by nations throughout history. It was a pointless and wasteful practice because it destroyed trees that provide food.
1-9: The sacrifice was meant to provide atonement to avoid judgment and demonstrate that the cities weren’t compliant in the unsolved murder. This was also illustrated with the washing of hands in verse 6 to separate themselves from the evil act.
10-14: Israeli citizens were allowed to marry prisoners of war, but just because the women were prisoners doesn’t mean they didn’t have a say in who they married. We have no reason to assume captives couldn’t decline. The point of this passage was to stop men from marrying solely on the basis of physical appearance. There had to be a month period where the woman had time to lament, and would be stripped of her beauty (hair, nails, clothing she was originally seen in). The site of the fiancé grieving and stripped of beauty would take the impulsive lust out of the man’s decision, so he could see her for who she truly is rather than just a beautiful object. "Taking of the clothes in which she was captured in" did not mean she would be naked. They key was to remove what she was wearing when she was first noticed. She obviously would put on other clothes and wasn’t supposed to be naked the entire month. If after this process the man wanted to continue in marriage, he could become her husband and have intercourse with her. However, if after this mourning process he no longer delighted in her, it meant that his motivations were lustful and he should let her go. The man wasn’t allowed to keep her as a slave or sell her because she was not his possession. Though originally a captive, she would be free to go since he humiliated her with this process and didn’t marry her.
15-17: This is a case law that prevents a man from depriving his firstborn son of inheritance rights on the basis of favoritism. This verse doesn’t permit polygamy, but addressed a situation when someone in a polygamous relationship tried depriving someone of their inheritance rights. Polygamy still happened in Israel even though God forbade it when commanded the king not to multiply wives. This was a way of saying the king is not above God’s standard for the people. (Deuteronomy 17:14-19).
18-21: As God’s covenant people, Israel was held to a higher standard of holiness than other nations. A son who refused to obey his parents and lived an evil life solely for pleasure (glutton and drunkard), then his parents had the option to have him stoned. Parents and elders had to be in agreement that it was at the level of a capitol offense or it wouldn’t happen. Since parents typically love and care for their children, it would have to be severe for them to bring their son to the elders for a trial. The elders would assess the situation and determine if the parent’s charge was legitimate. Elders were held to an extremely high standard of justice, and would make sure this was a recurring offense and not an emotional whim (Deuteronomy 16:18-19). Only when parents and elders were in agreement could the son be executed.
22-23: This verse is referred to in the New Testament when it speaks of Christ becoming a curse for us and hanging on a tree (Galatians 3:13).
1-4: These laws were a way of loving your neighbor by watching over his possessions.
5: This law forbade cross dressing; contradicting cultural norms with the intention of pretending to be the opposite biological sex. There were no legal consequences for this, but it was an abomination in God’s site because it’s a rebellion against the way he created them.
6-7: This seems to be a symbol of prolonged provision while Israel was in the land. By letting the mother bird go and only eating the eggs or young, they spared the source of future provision. Similar object lessons can be found a few verses later in God forbidding the mixing of fabrics (Deuteronomy 22:11). and in forbidding the destruction of trees with food a couple chapters earlier (Deuteronomy 20:20).
8: This was a straightforward practical building regulation that looked out for the interest of others.
9-11: These laws of not mixing things were an important object lesson and reminder for God’s people to be separate from the pagan nations around them. There’s nothing immoral about mixing fabric, seeds, or animals, but the concept it represented was very important.
12: Numbers 15:37-41 explains that these tassels were a symbolic reminder to obey the commands of God. Every time they looked down at their own clothing and saw them, they would think of God’s commandments.
13-19: Since sexual sin in a Israel was punishable by death (in this case adultery during the betrothal phase), it was a serious accusation for a husband to say his new wife cheated on hi. Only a husband who truly hates his wife would try to exploit their legal system in this way. This law was to protect the innocent wife from her dishonest, hateful husband. God provided a way to supernaturally prove her innocence with a cloak. The lying husband would whipped and fined 100 shekels of silver to the woman’s father who supported and defended her.
20-21: If the accusation of sexual immorality was true, the wife would be executed along with the man she committed adultery with according to the sexual immorality penalties in Israel.
22: All adulterers were executed in Israel under the old covenant theocracy.
23-24: Betrothal was an official engagement in Israel, and infidelity was equal to adultery, which was punishable by death. The failure to cry for help indicated that it was consensual. This would stop false accusations of rape, which an adulterer might be tempted to make to dodge the penalty.
25-27: In cases of rape, only the attacker was executed.
28-29: If a man seduced a woman and they had sex, it was a lifelong commitment of marriage and came with a bride price. Bride prices were customary in the culture and still is in some parts of the Middle East. The men of Israel had to commit themselves in marriage and couldn’t just use women and discard them as a one night stand.
30: Incest was illegal in Israel.
15-16: Slavery in Israel had to be voluntary, so if a Slave ran away it was clear they were being mistreated. Israelites were required not to turn slaves in to their masters and had to allow them to dwell in their towns. This is the exact opposite of what happened in the American slave trade.
17-18: God forbade temple prostitution, which was one of the reasons He judged Canaan. Temple prostitution was common in many fertility cults.
19-20: Interest could not be used as capital gains when lending to other Israelites. While God commanded Israel to provide for foreigners in need, they weren’t forbidden from charging interest on loans to foreigners. It was an advantage of citizenship in Israel, the way all countries have advantages to being a citizen. God never promised to bless foreigners in the land, only those who converted and became Israelites.
21-23: Voluntary vows to God had to be fulfilled. However, if they vowed to do something evil as in the case of Japheth vowing to sacrifice his daughter (Judges 11:30-40), it wouldn’t be a legitimate vow since it contradicted God’s law (Deuteronomy 12:31).
24-25: This was one of the laws God used to avoid starvation in Israel. All citizens were welcome to eat of each others gardens, but couldn’t exploit their neighbor by stocking up.
1-4:The term "finding indecency" indicates that this was something immoral such as infidelity or idolatry. If a man choose to divorce his wife and someone else married her, he had to understand that it was a permanent decision and shouldn’t be made lightly.
5: Marriage is important to God so he gave newly married men time to be with their wives before having to serve in the military.
6: This means betting your life on something. It’s referring to the practice of tying a millstone around your neck and drowning yourself (Matthew 18:6).
7: Involvement in the stealing and involuntary selling of slaves in Israel was punishable by death.
8-9: Leprosy laws served the dual purpose of quarantining the disease and teaching an object lesson through purity laws.
10-13: Lenders had to treat their borrowers with respect and couldn’t violate their privacy in the case of late payment.
14-15: These commands were to protect poor and foreign laborers. Oppression of every kind was a sin in Israel.
16: God’s standard of justice in Israel was that each person could only be punished for the sins they committed. Only God can issue punishments to entire tribes, nations, and families.
17-18: God commanded justice for orphans, widows, and foreigners in the land. His mention of their slavery in Egypt was a way of reenforcing the principle to do to others as you would want them to do to you.
19-22: Those with property and fields were commanded to help the foreigner, orphan, and widow in the land with the excess. God promised to bless people obedient in this regard.
1-3: This passage enforces the idea that the punishment should fit the crime and go no further. The idea of physical legal punishment seems barbaric and inhumane to us today, but it’s only because of our cultural blindness. There’s no reason to think that our current legal system of forced labor and locking criminals in small cages is any better. It could be argued that the prolonged psychological torture of isolation and captivity is more inhumane than a quick, painful punishment to deter criminals. I’m not saying we should institute physical punishment in our society, and I know some criminals need to be detained. My only point is that we aren’t in a position to tell God He was wrong in commanding this law.
4: If your animal is doing work for you, you must feed it. This principle is cited in the New Testament to teach that we should support ministers who are doing God’s work (1 Corinthians 9:9 , 1 Timothy 5:18).
11-12: "Seizing of the private parts" is describing a way of trying to prevent the man from fathering future generations. This was a serious crime since God was using Israel’s lineage to bring about the Messiah.
13-16: Having dishonest scales is a common way to scam people in barter cultures. God forbade even owning the scales as a way to prevent dishonest merchants since there’s no reason to own them in the first place.
1-11: The offering of the first fruits was Israel’s response to God for His generosity in making them into a great nation and freeing them from slavery in Egypt. It was also a reminder that everything they had belonged to God.
12-15: The tithe was used to provide for levitical priests, the poor, orphans, and foreigners in the land.
16-19: God’s covenant with His people was mutual acceptance; God accepting His people, and Israel accepting God. This came with commandments they had to follow, and God promised to prosper them and make them a separate nation for himself.
1-8: The altar on Mount Ebal was a memorial for the Law and a place for peace offerings.
9-26: Israel affirmed all of the curses for their disobedience even though most of the sins listed were punishable by death. They weren’t forced into these laws but voluntarily entered into covenant with God.
1-14: God promised to bless Israel with prosperity if they obeyed him. The purpose of their prosperity was to show the nations that Israel are a separate people blessed by God.It was an evangelistic outreach to pagans who would see that something was different about Israel and their God.
15-68: This extremely dark passage describes in detail some of the ways God would judge Israel for breaking his covenant. Many of these curses came about during the Babylonian captivity.
1-29: God renewed his covenant with Israel in the land of Moab. Moses pointed out they were God’s chosen people and that God brought them to this point. God would continue the blessings and curses of the covenant—obedience in Israel was rewarded with blessing and rebellion was met with curses. Verses 24-29 show that both the blessings and the curses of the covenant were used to inform other nations of God’s characters and attitude against sin.
1-10: Both the blessings and curses of God were meant to lead Israel to repentance (Deuteronomy 30:1-3). A similar concept is introduced in the new covenant where God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4). God promised to restore and bless Israel when they repented.
11-20: God clearly laid out the choice between blessing and curses based on Israel’s obedience to the law. If they chose good, they would blessed, and if they chose evil they would be punished.
1-8: Moses explained that he was about to die, and that Joshua would be Israel’s new leader.
9-13: Israel was commanded to read the law to the entire nation during the feast of booths every 7 years. This included sojourners who became part of Israel.
14-30: As God commissioned Joshua to lead Israel, He told Moses that Israel would break the covenant by worshipping false gods, and God would judge them. God gave Moses a song to write down for the people of Israel to remember, that one day it would be a witness against them and they would be convicted of their rebellion.
1-47: Moses song was a warning that would convict Israel when they rebelled. It would make them realize their sinfulness and return to God. The song established the righteousness of God (Deuteronomy 32:4-3), His graciousness in creating and blessing His people (Deuteronomy 32:5-6), and the rebellious nature of his people that lead to their judgment (Deuteronomy 32:16-25).
1-29: Moses’ blessing of Israel is filled with poetic imagery regarding God and His relationship with the tribes of Israel. God saved Israel both physically and spiritually. Moses asked the Lord to bless Israel with victory over their enemies and prosperity in the land God gave them (Deuteronomy 33:11).
1-10: Moses wasn’t allowed to enter the promised land but got to see it from Mount Nebo before he died (Deuteronomy 32:51-52). After Israel mourned, Joshua took his place. Though God would work through Joshua and other prophets, Moses had a unique, and very direct communion with with God. No one would mediate or perform miracles on his level until the arrival Jesus.