Bible study 178 – Deuteronomy 26

The Israelites are commanded to make some sacrifices to God once they get into Canaan, and then to say some prayers.

Deuteronomy 26:5
(…) “A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down in to Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. (…)”

Full text.


Bible study 177 – Deuteronomy 25

Judges can sentence criminals to no more than 40 lashes.

Be nice to oxen.

If a husband with a cohabiting brother dies, the brother must marry the dead husband’s wife (and break Leviticus’ incest laws in the process).

Don’t use forged weights when trading.

Oh, also:

Deuteronomy 25:11-12
If men get into a fight with one another, and the wife of one intervenes to rescue her husband from the grip of his opponent by reaching out and seizing his genitals, you shall cut off her hand; show no pity.

Full text.


Bible study 176 – Deuteronomy 24

No one can remarry their former spouse.

Newlyweds are exempt from military service for one year.

Millstones are not acceptable as loan collateral.

Kidnapping or enslaving Israelites is a capital crime (although Hebrew slaves were recognized in chapter 15. Perhaps Moses wants to not create new slaves, slowly outphasing the Hebrew slave system?).

Follow Leviticus to avoid skin disease.

Be reasonable when giving poor people loans.

Don’t withhold wages.

Families should not be punished collectively.

The oppressed retain legal rights.

When harvesting crops, the remains should be left out so the needy have something to eat.

Deuteronomy 24:5
When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be charged with any related duty. He shall be free at home one year, to be happy with the wife whom he has married.

Full text.


Bible study 175 – Deuteronomy 23

People who cannot be part of the “assembly of the Lord” (which according to the Oxford Bible is a kind of legislature): Those with crushed testicles; descendants (to the tenth generation) of “illicit” unions, Ammonites, and Moabites. The Edomites are only banned until the third generation, since they are the descendants of of Jacob’s brother Esau.

Soldiers in military camps are to make clean latrines, and must wash themselves after “nocturnal emissions”.

Escaped slaves shouldn’t be returned to their owners. I think this only applies to slaves who escaped from other countries, or else the whole slavery system would get really complicated.

Israelites should never become prostitutes, though again, someone clearly are.

Israelites should never charge interest on loans to other Israelites (Exodus 22 prescribed the same, but only for poor people).

Be careful when you make vows to God.

Children would love ancient Israel, since it is allowed to go into other people’s gardens and steal their fruit and other produce, as long as you eat it on the spot.

Deuteronomy 23:13
With your utensils you shall have a trowel; when you relieve yourself outside, you shall dig a hole with it and then cover up your excrement.

Deuteronomy 23:24
If you go into your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes, as many as you wish, but you shall not put any in a container.

Full text.


Bible study 174 – Deuteronomy 22

Many of the rules in this chapter are modified versions of earlier rules scattered all over Pentateuch.

Wandering or incapacitated animals must be returned to their owner.

Do not cross-dress.

Do not capture a bird together with its eggs (God probably wouldn’t have approved of oyakodon).

Build a parapet (wall) on your roof, so that noone falls down from it.

Do not mix different crops, draft animals or fabrics.

Make cords (“tassels”) on your clothes.

If a husband claims that his wife was not a virgin when they married, the parents must produce the cloth on which the couple first had intercourse. If it is not blood-stained, the wife is executed. If it is blood-stained (presumably from the hymen breaking) and the husband was lying, he must pay a fine. (If Moses meant what he said about bearing false witness in chapter 19, though, he should clearly have had the husband executed as well.)

Adultery carries the death penalty, although the woman is spared if she was raped. Raping an unmarried woman, however, only forces you to marry the woman.

Do not marry your father’s wife.

Deuteronomy 22:5
A woman shall not wear a man’s apparel, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment; for whoever does such things is abhorrent to the Lord your God.

Full text.


Bible study 173 – Deuteronomy 21

If there is an unsolved murder, a cow must be sacrificed outside the nearest town.

Female war captives can be taken as wives, but can then not later be divorced and treated as slaves.

Firstborns are to be given twice as much inheritance as other children (instead of the whole inheritance, which was implied in Genesis).

Sons who do not obey their fathers shall be brought to the town gate by their parents and stoned to death.

Executed corpses hung on trees must not hang out all night.

Deuteronomy 21:20
They shall say to the elders of his town, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.”

Full text.


Bible study 172 – Deuteronomy 20

Moses asks his military officers to give their troops the least encouraging battle muster I’ve ever seen: Any warrior who has basically anything undone in their lives (unmarried fiancés, unharvested vine ranks), or who is just scared, should go home, since there is a large chance they will die.

Enemy cities that sue for peace shall “only” be subject to forced labour; cities that resist shall be annihilated. But the Israelites must take great care not to cut down trees bearing fruit during a siege, for, as Moses rhetorically asks: “Are trees in the field human beings that they should come under siege from you?”

Deuteronomy 20:14
You may, however, take as your booty the women, the children, livestock, and everything else in the town, all its spoil.

Full text.