Close Associations: Deuteronomy 22:11-23:8

Deuteronomy 22:11‑23:8  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Deuteronomy 22:11-23:811Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together. 12Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself. 13If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, 14And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: 15Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: 16And the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; 17And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. 18And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him; 19And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days. 20But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: 21Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you. 22If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel. 23If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; 24Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbor's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you. 25But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die: 26But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbor, and slayeth him, even so is this matter: 27For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her. 28If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; 29Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days. 30A man shall not take his father's wife, nor discover his father's skirt. 1He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord. 2A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord. 3An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever: 4Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee. 5Nevertheless the Lord thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the Lord thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the Lord thy God loved thee. 6Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever. 7Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land. 8The children that are begotten of them shall enter into the congregation of the Lord in their third generation. (Deuteronomy 22:11‑23:8)
We have been speaking of our homes, our service to the Lord, our business, and the partnerships of life, and we now come a little closer to the very nearest associations, typified in the garments. The children of Israel must not wear a garment of woolen and linen. This came close enough to touch the very skin! There was to be no mixture of things here, and so we need to be pure in that which is nearest and dearest to us. In the very secret of our lives we are to watch against the little things that would rob of us of communion with God. The Scripture says, “Thou hast set  ...  our secret sins in the light of Thy countenance” (Psalm 90:88Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. (Psalm 90:8)). Let us learn to walk before God in the secret of our lives, for as another has said, “If we judge the little things others do not see, we will not have to judge the greater things they can see.”
Heavenly People
The children of Israel were also to have a fringe, or ribbon of blue, upon their garments. Blue is the heavenly color, and this would remind us that wherever we go, between us and the earth there is to be the constant reminder that we are a heavenly people. In everything we do there is to be the character of God our Father manifested. It is just like the boys and girls wearing their school colors; they show they belong to the school, and so we who belong to the Lord are to wear our heavenly colors, and act like heavenly people.
Guarding Against Sin
We see how God guarded His people against slander and the spreading of false reports. It is a serious thing to raise a slanderous untrue report, or to pass it on when we hear it. The man who raised the evil report was to be publicly punished and fined for what he had done. Truly, “whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue, keepeth his soul from troubles” (Proverbs 21:2323Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles. (Proverbs 21:23)). If, however, the thing he said was true, the punishment was to fall upon the evil doer. There is never to be indifference to evil among the people of God, but how wonderful the provisions of grace in Christianity, for all our failures and sins.
We find in the verses that follow the most solemn warnings against moral corruption; and the sanctity of the marriage tie is carefully guarded. There is so much lightness about marriage in these days, that we, as Christians, need to be warned against the spirit of the age in which we live. God’s Word says, “Fools make a mock at sin” (Proverbs 14:99Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favor. (Proverbs 14:9)). Let us be on guard against bad books, and not listen to evil jokes that are being told on every hand, for “when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin” (James 1:1515Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (James 1:15)). If we listen, we are sure to be defiled, and perhaps laugh, bringing dishonor upon our blessed Lord.
The people were to exercise care as to who was received into the congregation of the Lord, because the Lord dwelt among them. There were those whose background made their sincerity questionable, and there was to be no hurry in receiving such, until full proof was given of their uprightness. They were to make a difference between those who had continually opposed the people of God, and those from whom they had once received kindness. Moreover, they were not to abhor the children of Edom, for they were their brethren.
Further Meditations
1. How did God guard His people against slander and the spreading of false reports?
3. Search for “foolish talking” and you’ll find many articles that give more insight into this all too common practice.