Read 63.) Deuteronomy 19:1 thru 22:30. As we approach the end of the 5 books of Moses, we find various laws, among all of the 613 he gave, recorded here. Chapter 19 opens with cities of refuge and the issue of manslaughter and murder. Beginning with verse 15, the chapter closes with the matters of witnesses, legal testimony and the 9th Commandment, to end with an admonition to administer justice. In our minds today, we say, “Of course!” But, understand that in ancient times, justice was a very rare commodity indeed, and this was a true elevation of society and civilization within Israel, that Her God would be so insistent upon it, in keeping with His own holy nature. With chapter 20, the subject is war, but the promise of God, found especially in verses 3 and 4, is victory! But, see even here, that certain commands are put in place that require Israel as conquerors, to show a mercy that had hardly ever existed before! Do you see that? With guaranteed victory, must come a degree of measured mercy, and neither pride nor wanton slaughter had a place among them. Their victories were to be cause for celebration and thanksgiving unto the Lord.
There are 5 parts to chapter 21, starting with the matter of unsolved murders. This must be a very difficult thing for all who experience such a loss, but even today, many killings go unsolved. Then, there is the matter of marrying a captive woman taken as a spoil of war. This, too, was a great tempering of the spirit of those times. Think about it! These dealings are to give us insight into the character and nature of God. These are illustrative of progressive grace, and God finding a people where they are, and elevating them from lower levels to higher. Many are critical of the Bible for these things, but they are totally misunderstanding of what they mean and what they represent. This is true advancement, and a lifting up of civilization. It did not stop or remain at this level. The matter taken up beginning at verse 15 is of the very same nature… it served to advance culture, by causing a man to do what was better than his own instincts might tell him to do. Catch the wisdom that exists in these laws, as they take Israel from where they were, to where God wants them to one day be. Israel is, today, one of the most advanced nations on earth, especially in direct comparison to all her surrounding neighbors! Verses 18 thru 21 go straight to the 5th Commandment. Even the last passage, verses 22 and 23 is an expression of mercy!
In the same vein, chapter 22, expresses a number of legal requirements. These often describe acts of mercy, and others are expressions of separateness and propriety. With verse 5, we even have a command that speaks to today’s transgenderism! Then, with verse 13, we see much that pertains to marriage, and goes directly to the 7th Commandment. Again, these serve to elevate the institution of marriage to levels that did not previously exist in ancient times, and were only a beginning to where God intended to take it, such as it is meant to be today. Three incredibly important prophecies concerning Israel are about to be revealed by Moses very soon. It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell