Deuteronomy chapter 23

People to banish. Cleanliness. Miscellaneous laws.

 


 

PEOPLE TO BANISH

 

VERSE 1. He who is emasculated by crushing or cutting shall not enter into the LORD’s assembly.

emasculated by crushing or cutting. That is, “testicles are crushed or penis is cut off.” This is also referred to as genital impairment.

People don’t do this to themselves. It is done to them by others, and probably without consent. But the victim is disbarred for a lifetime.

 

VERSE 2. A person born of a forbidden union shall not enter into the LORD’s assembly; even to the tenth generation shall no one of his enter into the LORD’s assembly.

a forbidden union. This was traditionally understood to mean incest.

to the tenth generation. This is a severe penalty. In essence, it is perpetual.

If you were born of incest, you and your lineage will never enter the LORD’s assembly ever again. After several generations, nobody would remember why.

After ten generations, all your descendants will know is that they are outsiders.

People don’t control their birth. It is decided by parents. But the child is disbarred for a lifetime.

 

VERSE 3. An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter into the LORD’s assembly; even to the tenth generation shall no one belonging to them enter into the LORD’s assembly forever,

Ammonite or a Moabite. They are permanently disbarred.

People don’t choose to be born an Ammonite or a Moabite But the person is disbarred for a lifetime.

This goes against the theme in the Old Testament where foreigners are allowed join God’s people:

The Old Testament foresee Gentiles coming to faith in the One God of Israel and bringing gifts to Jerusalem. Here are the key Bible verses about this »

 

VERSE 4. because they didn’t meet you with bread and with water on the way when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you.

 

VERSE 5. Nevertheless the LORD your God wouldn’t listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing to you, because the LORD your God loved you.

 

VERSE 6. You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever.

 

VERSE 7. You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you lived as a foreigner in his land.

 

VERSE 8. The children of the third generation who are born to them may enter into the LORD’s assembly.

 

CLEANLINESS

 

VERSE 9. When you go out and camp against your enemies, then you shall keep yourselves from every evil thing.

 

VERSE 10. If there is among you any man who is not clean by reason of that which happens to him by night, then shall he go outside of the camp. He shall not come within the camp;

that which happens him by night. That is, “a nocturnal emission.”

go outside of the camp. A man’s unintended orgasm makes him unclean. He becomes an exile and lives outside the community for a day.

The text doesn’t mention a woman’s unintended orgasm. So presumably hers doesn’t make her unclean.

 

VERSE 11. but it shall be, when evening comes, he shall bathe himself in water. When the sun is down, he shall come within the camp.

 

VERSE 12. You shall have a place also outside of the camp where you go relieve yourself.

go relieve yourself. Presumably this means an outhouse.

Imagine the number of outhouses required for two million people!

 

VERSE 13. You shall have a trowel among your weapons. It shall be, when you relieve yourself, you shall dig with it, and shall turn back and cover your excrement;

 

VERSE 14. for the LORD your God walks in the middle of your camp, to deliver you, and to give up your enemies before you. Therefore your camp shall be holy, that he may not see an unclean thing in you, and turn away from you.

not see an unclean thing in you. This makes it seem as though the LORD God is grossed out by poop.

 

VERSE 15. You shall not deliver to his master a servant who has escaped from his master to you.

not deliver to his master. God’s people are to help slaves who escaped.

 

VERSE 16. He shall dwell with you, among you, in the place which he shall choose within one of your gates, where it pleases him best. You shall not oppress him.

 

MISCELLANEOUS LAWS

 

VERSE 17. There shall be no prostitute of the daughters of Israel, neither shall there be a sodomite of the sons of Israel.

ESV translation. None of the daughters of Israel shall be a cult prostitute, and none of the sons of Israel shall be a cult prostitute.

neither shall there be a sodomite. Jewish men are not allowed to have anal sex with a Canaanite temple prostitute.

Christians often assume this verse is against homosexuality. However, it is not.

This verse is specifically against a Jewish man having anal sex with a Canaanite temple prostitute.

 

VERSE 18. You shall not bring the hire of a prostitute, or the wages of a male prostitute, into the house of the LORD your God for any vow; for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God.

prostitute. It is sometimes translated as “harlot.” It refers to a woman. There shall be no temple harlots.

male prostitute. It refers to a man. There shall be no temple prostitutes (a man).

In the religions of ancient Canaan, people believed they could enter into a special relationship with their gods and goddesses by having sexual relations with their priests and priestesses.

Their priests and priestesses prostituted themselves for this purpose. The money paid to them was considered an offering made to the sanctuary.

In our day, this is referred to as sacred prostitution, or temple prostitution, or religious prostitution.

 

VERSE 19. You shall not lend on interest to your brother: interest of money, interest of food, interest of anything that is lent on interest.

 

VERSE 20. You may charge a foreigner interest; but you shall not charge your brother interest, that the LORD your God may bless you in all that you put your hand to, in the land where you go in to possess it.

 

VERSE 21. When you vow a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not be slack to pay it, for the LORD your God will surely require it of you; and it would be sin in you.

 

VERSE 22. But if you refrain from making a vow, it shall be no sin in you.

if you refrain. It is far simpler to make no vows.

 

VERSE 23. You shall observe and do that which has gone out of your lips. Whatever you have vowed to the LORD your God as a free will offering, which you have promised with your mouth, you must do.

 

VERSE 24. When you come into your neighbor’s vineyard, then you may eat your fill of grapes at your own pleasure; but you shall not put any in your container.

 

VERSE 25. When you come into your neighbor’s standing grain, then you may pluck the ears with your hand; but you shall not use a sickle on your neighbor’s standing grain.

 


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DEUTERONOMY

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