Care One for Another: Deuteronomy 23:9-24:5

Deuteronomy 23:9‑24:5  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Deuteronomy 23:9-24:59When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing. 10If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp: 11But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash himself with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the camp again. 12Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad: 13And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee: 14For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee. 15Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: 16He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him. 17There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. 18Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the Lord thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the Lord thy God. 19Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: 20Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it. 21When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. 22But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. 23That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth. 24When thou comest into thy neighbor's vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel. 25When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbor, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbor's standing corn. 1When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife. 3And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; 4Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. 5When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken. (Deuteronomy 23:9‑24:5)
The people were to be watchful, even in the small things, and in their contact with the enemy on God’s behalf they were to be careful that they were not tempted and led away.
Their camp, too, was to be kept clean, for the Lord dwelt among them. A dirty home or meeting room is always a poor testimony before the world. When the heart has been made clean in the precious blood of Christ, we may well expect the person, the home, the clothes, and the meeting room to be clean too. There are times when we cannot help things getting dirty, but for it to become a habitual thing is not according to God, and even the world will frown upon carelessness in these things. God’s Word is to be our guide in all these matters, and how thankful we can be for its precious instruction.
Considering One Another’s Needs
While abhorring evil and corruption among their brethren, as God abhors it, they were to consider the needs of one another. They were to be specially kind to their brethren, not charging them interest on money or other things it was necessary for them to borrow. If they made promises they were to keep them. They did not have to make vows or promises if they did not wish to, but if they made them they were to keep them. It is a fine thing to cultivate the habit of being men and women who say what we mean and mean what we say.
When they went into their neighbor’s vineyard or fields, the neighbor was not to mind them eating what was growing there, but they were not to carry any away. How lovely these instructions! How they tend to create that happy feeling of a welcome and kindness, so often lacking in the world, and, alas, even among Christians today. May we profit by all this, for God’s glory!
God’s Mind As to Marriage
God allowed an Israelite to divorce his wife, not because He approved of it, but because of the hardness of their hearts (Matthew 19:88He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. (Matthew 19:8)). He showed His mind about these things in the beginning, when He made Adam, and gave him one wife with whom he was to stay. His Word says, “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh” (Matthew 19:55And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? (Matthew 19:5)). This is His mind, and time does not change it, as this Scripture clearly shows. We know that God bore with many things in Israel, such as a man having more than one wife, and here, divorce, but such were not His mind (Acts 17:3030And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: (Acts 17:30)). Let us remember that now, in Christianity, we are much more responsible than the Israelites were. The Spirit of God now dwells in Christendom as a Divine Person, as well as in the body of every true believer, and so Christendom has been enlightened (Hebrews 6:44For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, (Hebrews 6:4)). The believer, too, has the power to live to please the Lord, and even if he should have an unhappy marriage partnership, the Lord may use it to draw him or her closer to Himself, causing such to walk more dependently upon Him. The believer is not to break that which God has joined together.
Even such matters as the loneliness of a young wife, when first married, are brought before the people of God here, for the One who made the heart knows all about its inmost feelings and the loneliness that it feels at times. May He teach us the same care one for another!
Further Meditations
1. What were the instructions when going into a neighbor’s vineyard or fields?
2.What are some of the reasons that God created marriage?
3. If you are considering marriage or are already married you would find it helpful to read or reread Understanding, Love and Respect in Marriage by G. H. Hayhoe.