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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Deuteronomy 22

Verses 1-3

DEUTERONOMY - CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

Verses 1-3:

Compare this text with Exodus 23:4. Both passages set forth the same principle: that of genuine concern for the property of another, and strict honesty in all inter-personal relations.

"Go astray," nadach, "to be driven or forced away." The term means more than merely wandering away, as an animal is wont to do. It implies that the animal was led or enticed away.

In such an instance, many do not want to "become involved." They look the other way, and allow the questionable activity to go unchallenged. The text expressly forbids this.

"Brother" in this text is not limited to blood-brothers. It denotes a fellow-Israelite. But Exodus 23:4 also applies this principle to one’s enemies, who may hate him, see Proverbs 25:22; Romans 12:20; Matthew 5:43-47.

The principle applies in every age. In a real sense, the child of God is his "brother’s keeper." He is to concern himself actively for his brother’s welfare.

The principle embodied in this text applies to all lost articles. When found, they were to be put up for safe keeping until the rightful owner should call for them.

"Finders keepers - losers weepers" is not the spirit of this text.

Verse 4

Verse 4:

Compare this text with Exodus 23:5. Like the preceding text, this applies not only to one’s "brother," but to one’s enemy as well, Matthew 5:43-47.

Verse 5

Verse 5:

The text teaches that Israel was to maintain a clear-cut distinction between the sexes. It was thus necessary that the clothing, as well as other things, which pertained to one must not be utilized by the other.

"Pertaineth," from the noun keli, "instrument, vessel," also translated "armor, wares, weapon, jewel, stuff, thing, tool." The term denotes not only clothing, but also implements, tools, utensils, and all such items as are commonly used by a man.

This is a regulation which pertains to morality. Anything which tends to remove the distinction between the sexes is an abomination unto God.

Customs of dress differ from one era to another, and from one country to another. But orderly societies of all ages and countries have clear-cut distinctions between the sexes. In these countries it is unnatural and immoral to obliterate the man-woman roles. Those societies which do eliminate these roles are generally licentious.

The modern "uni-sex" look and "liberated society" are evidence of a declining morality which is contrary to God’s righteous principles.

Some object to the fact of distinction between the sexes. They say it implies that one is better than or superior to another. But nothing in Scripture, or in the natural world, teaches that "different is better."

Verses 6-7

Verses 6, 7:

This text commands humane treatment for lower creatures. It recognizes the principle of affection between parents and offspring, which God Himself established among living creatures. Compare this text with Exodus 23:19; Leviticus 22:28; Proverbs 12:10.

Verse 8

Verse 8:

Oriental houses had flat roofs, which the inhabitants often used for a variety of reasons, see Joshua 2:6; 2 Samuel 11:2; 2 Samuel 18:24; Acts 10:9. The precept in this text mandated that safety measures be taken to insure that none would fall from a roof and sustain injury.

"Battlement," maaqeh, "a restraint," or railing, in this case around the edge of the roof, to prevent anyone’s falling from the roof.

Verses 9-11

Verses 9-11:

Nature itself reflects the fact that God has made distinctions throughout the realm of created beings. These distinctions are not to be ignored or altered by the mixing of things which are distinct. The text lists three areas in which this principle applies:

(1) In the sowing of fields and vineyards with mixed varieties or species of seeds. For example, wheat was not to be planted in the same field with grape cuttings, etc.

(2) In cultivating of fields: by the yoking of an ox and an ass together. They differed in ’size and strength; thus it would be cruel and inhumane to yoke them to the same plow.

(3) In textile manufacture: a "garment of divers sorts," shaatnez, denoting a fabric of threads of wool and linen interwoven. Some suggest that in certain instances the mixing of fibres in a garment produces adverse effects upon the wearer.

Verse 12

Verse 12:

The garments worn by Israeli men were to be of distinctive design, different from those nations about them.

"Fringes," gedilim, "wreaths" or tassels.

"Quarters," kanaph, "wings," also translate "corner," Isaiah 11:12; Ezekiel 7:2.

"Vesture," kesuth, "a covering," probably the outer tunic or robe which was worn over the "coat" or undergarment.

The outer robe or tunic appears to have been so made that a tassel was attached to each of the four corners, in front and in back.

Verses 13-21

Verses 13-21:

This precept was for the protection of a wife against false charges made by a husband who no longer wanted her as a wife.

One grounds for divorce was that the woman was not a virgin at the time of the marriage consummation. If a dissatisfied husband sought a divorce by charging that his wife was not a virgin when he married her, the woman’s father could come before the magistrates and furnish proof of her virginity.

"Tokens of virginity," bethulim, denotes a certain means of proving that a woman was a virgin. This was a "cloth," simlah, or a garment of some kind. Scripture does not define this further, although tradition offers various explanations of this "cloth" and why it was considered proof of the woman’s virginity.

If the parents produced this "cloth" in response to the man’s charge, the court considered it as evidence that their daughter was a virgin when she came to the marriage bed. In this event, the man was fined one hundred shekels of silver, to be paid to the father as compensation for the damage done to his reputation. It was the father’s responsibility to guard the moral purity of his daughters. In addition, the man must retain the woman as his wife, and he was never allowed to divorce her.

If the charges of pre-marital immorality were proven true, and the parents were unable to produce proof of the woman’s virginity, then the woman was to be brought to the door of her father’s house, and there be put to death by stoning.

Verse 22

Verse 22:

Sexual relations between a man and a married woman, who are not married to each other, is a violation of the Seventh Commandment, Exodus 20:14. This was a sin punishable by death.

Verses 23-24

Verses 23, 24:

This precept applies in the case of an engaged woman who is assaulted while in the city, where she had opportunity to cry out for help, but did not. Both the woman and the man who assaulted her were to be taken outside the city gate and stoned to death. She, because she could have cried out for help but did not; he, because he had violated his neighbor’s wife. Both were punished as adulterers.

Verses 25-27

Verses 25-27:

This precept concerns a case of forcible rape of an engaged woman, in a "field," or away from human habitation. In this case, the man only was to be put to death. The woman was considered innocent, for had she cried out her cries would have gone unheard. The crime was regarded on a par with murderer.

Verses 28-29

Verses 28, 29:

This law deals with premarital sexual relations between a man and a woman not engaged or married. In this case, the man was required to marry the woman, and to pay a fine of fifty shekels of silver to her father. He was forbidden ever to divorce her, for any reason.

Verse 30

Verse 30:

Compare this text with Leviticus 18:7-8. It is a prohibition of all incestuous relations.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 22". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/deuteronomy-22.html. 1985.