Marriage and divorce. Justice and charity. Helping foreigners.
VERSE 1. When a man takes a wife and marries her, then it shall be, if she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some unseemly thing in her, that he shall write her a certificate of divorce, put it in her hand, and send her out of his house.
he shall write her a certificate of divorce. Even back in those days, people got divorced.
send her out of his house. He kicks her out of the house. Now where does she go? Doubtless this was quite traumatic for the woman.
she may go and be another man’s wife. Getting divorced did not mean the person had to remain single for the rest of their life.
VERSE 3. If the latter husband hates her, and write her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house; or if the latter husband dies, who took her to be his wife;
VERSE 4. her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife after she is defiled; for that would be an abomination to the LORD. You shall not cause the land to sin, which the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance.
she is defiled. Presumably this means: after she has sex with her second husband; with regard to her first husband, she is defiled. The first husband may not marry her again.
VERSE 5. When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out in the army, neither shall he be assigned any business. He shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer his wife whom he has taken.
When a man takes a new wife. For the first year of marriage, a Jewish man was required to stay home. On a full-time basis, he was to learn how to give joy to his wife. It was a year-long sexual apprenticeship whose goal was his wife’s fulfillment. Read more »
VERSE 6. No man shall take the mill or the upper millstone as a pledge, for he takes a life in pledge.
VERSE 7. If a man is found stealing any of his brothers of the children of Israel, and he deals with him as a slave, or sells him, then that thief shall die. So you shall remove the evil from among you.
that thief shall die. Making someone your slave was so heinous that you got the death penalty.
VERSE 8. Be careful in the plague of leprosy, that you observe diligently and do according to all that the Levitical priests teach you. As I commanded them, so you shall observe to do.
the plague of leprosy. In those days they didn’t understand the nature of leprosy. So the only thing they could do was isolate the infected.
In essence, this verse is a policy statement of public safety.
VERSE 9. Remember what the LORD your God did to Miriam, by the way as you came out of Egypt.
VERSE 10. When you lend your neighbor any kind of loan, you shall not go into his house to get his pledge.
his pledge. That is, the down payment.
VERSE 11. You shall stand outside, and the man to whom you lend shall bring the pledge outside to you.
VERSE 12. If he is a poor man, you shall not sleep with his pledge.
VERSE 13. You shall surely restore to him the pledge when the sun goes down, that he may sleep in his garment and bless you. It shall be righteousness to you before the LORD your God.
VERSE 14. You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the foreigners who are in your land within your gates.
You shall not oppress a hired servant. That is, “you shall not defraud a poor and needy servant.”
In our day, many people are unemployed or under-employed. They are desperate for opportunities. They need a job.
When a “job creator” hires them and pays them scant wages, it is a form of oppression.
VERSE 15. In his day you shall give him his wages, neither shall the sun go down on it; for he is poor and sets his heart on it; lest he cry against you to the LORD, and it be sin to you.
you shall give him his wages. Withholding the wages of an employee was forbidden.
VERSE 16. The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers. Every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
Due to this verse, evil king Amaziah restrained his murdering impulses, as we see in Second Kings:
2 Kings 14:6. but the children of the murderers he didn’t put to death, according to that which is written in the scroll of the Torah of Moses, as the LORD commanded, saying, “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall die for his own sin.”
VERSE 17. You shall not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, nor take a widow’s clothing in pledge;
You shall not deprive the foreigner. That is, “you shall not violate the rights of the alien.”
The LORD God commands his people to stand up for the foreigner. This is very contrary to how the United States is treating foreigners who arrive from Mexico.
VERSE 18. but you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you there. Therefore I command you to do this thing.
VERSE 19. When you reap your harvest in your field, and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go again to get it. It shall be for the foreigner, for the fatherless, and for the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
It shall be for the foreigner. This is how Boaz ran his farm. His harvesters left the extra on the field.
A foreign woman named Ruth gleaned it. Eventually, they married. That is how they became the ancestors of King David and the One Messiah.
VERSE 20. When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again. It shall be for the foreigner, for the fatherless, and for the widow.
VERSE 21. When you harvest your vineyard, you shall not glean it after yourselves. It shall be for the foreigner, for the fatherless, and for the widow.
VERSE 22. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt. Therefore I command you to do this thing.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.