DEUTERONOMY CHAPTER 22.
Additional Precepts, Especially Concerning the Sixth Commandment.
VARIOUS MINOR REGULATIONS — V.1. Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them, by acting as though one did not see and knew nothing of the matter, Ex. 23, 4; thou shalt in any case, most certainly, bring them again unto thy brother. V.2. And if thy brother, the member of the Israelitish nation, be not nigh unto thee, if he does not live in the immediate neighborhood, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it, the lost animal, unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again. During this time it was to be guarded most carefully, in the most secure place of the house. V.3. In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment, with all the property of the neighbor, no matter where it might be found; and with all lost thing of thy brother’s which he hath lost and thou hast found shalt thou do likewise; thou mayest not hide thyself, attempt to evade the obligation of this duty. V.4. Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass or his ox fall down by the way, under an excessive load, and hide thyself from them, try to ignore the happening; thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again, Ex. 23, 5. V.5. The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, literally, “Not shall be the vessels, the clothes, of a man upon a woman,” neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment; for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord, thy God. The vessels and clothing referred to include all the special articles of wear and use peculiar to the one or the other sex; for the Lord did not want the children of Israel to ignore the difference of the sexes, as it had been fixed in creation. V.6. If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee, if a person just happens to strike it, in the way in any tree or on the ground, whether they be young ones or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young, Lev. 22, 28; v.7. but thou shalt in any wise, by all means, let the dam go, and take the young to thee, that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days. The mother relation was to be respected also among the irrational beasts. To take the mother-bird thus betrays an inhuman attitude in contrast with the sight presented, and is an unwarranted interference with the course of nature. V.8. When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, a parapet, or railing, along the edge of the flat roof, as they are customary in the Orient, that thou bring not blood upon thine house if any man fall from thence; for in the absence of a parapet the blame for any accident would strike the owner of the house. V.9. Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds, lest the fruit of thy seed, literally, “the fullness of the seed,” the fruit as fully matured, which thou hast sown, and the fruit of the vineyard be defiled, namely, by securing a mixed product or hybrids. V.10. Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together, probably on account of the unequal strength and step of the two kinds of animals, which made the attempt both inhumane and unprofitable. V.11. Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together, Lev. 19, 19. V.12. Thou shalt make thee fringes, blossoms, tassels, upon the four quarters of thy vesture wherewith thou coverest thyself. “The mantle, or over-cloak, formed out of a four-cornered piece of cloth, should have at its wings, i.e., corners, thus as if growing out from it, tassels, symbolizing the one aim of life, reminding the doer of the commands of God, taking himself out of the world, with heart and eye to have his conversation, his life, in heaven, Num. 15, 38 ff.” 2) By keeping all these precepts, the children of Israel were to prove themselves the peculiar people of the Lord.
VARIOUS SINS AGAINST THE SANCTITY OF HOLY WEDLOCK — V.13. If any man take a wife and go in unto her, in the act which God restricts to the married estate, and hate her, regard her with loathing after the gratification of his fleshly lust, 2 Sam. 13, 15, V.14. and give occasions of speech against her, literally, “set upon her deeds of words,” that is, reports without foundation, scandal, 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, an unpolluted virgin, v.15. then shall the father of the damsel, the designation leaving the matter of a probable guilt open, and her mother, the parents being very decidedly concerned in this accusation, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity, as it was supposed distinguishable by spots of blood, unto the elders of the-city in the gate, for it was the custom to save this evidence for just such an event; v.16. and the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; v.17. and, 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, as proof positive that the accusation was a lie. V.18. And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him, pronounce upon him the judgment of punishment by whipping; v.19. and they shall amerce him, sentence him to pay money, in an hundred shekels of silver (about $64), and give them unto the father of the damsel, to atone, in a way, for the slander brought upon that family, 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, the right of divorce was taken from him. V.20. But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel, when the supposed proofs of her virginity could not be produced; v.21. then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, for a testimony against it, because the parents were considered as participants in the guilt through defective discipline, oversight, and, perhaps, even deliberate deceit, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die, because she hath wrought folly in Israel, the shamelessness of unchastity, to play the whore in her father’s house; so shalt thou put evil away from among you. So much Israel’s dignity, its character as the holy people of God, demanded. V.22. If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, under his rule, restricted to him in fleshly intercourse, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman and the woman, for it was a plain case of deliberate adultery; so shalt thou put away evil from Israel. V.23. If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, in a rightful betrothal, as it was customary among the Jews, where the consent of the parents on either side and that of the girl had been secured, and a man find her in the city and lie with her, v.24. then 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, did not call for help, for such cries would certainly have been heard in the city, whence it followed that she consented to the act; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbor’s wife, for a betrothed woman is a married wife in the eyes of God; so thou shalt put away evil from among you, by the summary punishment of the offenders against! the holiness of marriage. V.25. But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, overcome her by main strength, and lie with her, then the man only that lay with her shall die; v.26. but unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death, the penalty should not be carried out where it was not deserved; for as when a man riseth against his neighbor and slayeth him, violently takes his life, even so is this matter; v.27. for he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, called for help, and there was none to save her. It was a plain case of rape. V.28. If 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, v.29. then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver (about $32), as an atonement for the disgrace inflicted by his act, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days. Cp. Ex. 22, 15. 16. Of course, the father had the right to deny his daughter to the man in such a case. V.30. A man shall not take his father’s wife, his stepmother, nor discover (uncover) his father’s skirt. Incestuous lust is self-injury and a transgression also against the father, by the defiling of his bed. Cp. Lev. 18, 6; Ezek. 16, 8; Deut. 27, 20. The Lord wants only such servants as are pure and unspotted before Him, members of a people consecrated to His holiness.