Practical commandments in Deuteronomy 21-25


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Parashah: Ki Tetse” (when you go out) DEUT 21:10-25:19

In this Parashah we see a lot of common-sense mitzvoth that are for today, and we can also see some mitzvoth that we need to take a good look at to see how we can apply them, perhaps not so much literally, but spiritually and morally. In some cases, both. According to some rabbis, there are about 74 commandments (27 positives, 47 negative) within these 5 chapters, many are still for today. (we need to look at the “big picture”)

But before we proceed, I know a lot of people hold fast to the "we're not under the law but under grace" concept. True, yet we need to clarify "law" The way it is presented, it is known as "legalism". Many believe that the commandments that are in the Old Testament don't have to be followed because Messiah brought "grace" into being. Yet the truth is that there has ALWAYS been "grace" and there has always been "Torah" (instruction). The two go side by side. Our sins and the curse of death were nailed to the cross, not the Torah!. One can choose to either obey or ignore the commandments in these chapters. It doesn't affect our salvation experience in any way. We are saved by grace and grace only, and NOT following God's commandments, yet He has his commandments listed to lead His children (you and me) in a righteous life-style, because we are all part of His family through Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ).

But I would like to take a look at the first verse that says; “When you go out to war against your enemies…” the word “enemies” in the original Hebrew is “o’y’Veykha” in the English, we see two “y” s y the Hebrew, those are two “yods” In the ancient Hebrew, the “yod” was a “hand”. A hand holds a weapon to fight in a war, such as a knife, sword, spear, bow and arrow, sling, etc.

The rabbis of old comment that the reason for two “yods” is that we fight against two kinds of enemies, the enemy from without, meaning another person who wishes to do us harm, or harm our families, or fight against our country, and the enemy from within, meaning the “Yetzer Hara” the sin nature, perhaps even bodily diseases. Since we all have that sin nature, it is a constant fight against the enemy inside, and only through the Holy Spirit can we put it under foot. Like the meaning of the word; “Tzadik” (one who hunts or controls his monkey) the “monkey” symbolizes the sin nature.

Verse 10 talks about taking a captive woman from the enemy and making her your wife. Well, I wouldn’t recommend that very much, you might end up with your throat cut when you are sleeping. In Biblical times an Israelite soldier has the right to take a woman who was from an enemy city, once captive, and makes her his wife if he chose to do so. We might ask ourselves why? Well, the soldier just might like the way she looks, but what is the “bigger picture?” The Israelite soldier shows the captive woman “compassion”. She has lost her family, her city is in ruins, and her “gods” have abandoned her. All she has now is this “soldier” who is from the nation of Israel who has brought her to his camp, his tent, and to his “One God”. Soon she will see the difference between the false gods she left behind and the one and only God; Adonai-Elohim.

Perhaps she was ill-treated in her city and perhaps even by her husband if she was married. But here she is shown compassion. She is allowed to mourn her loss, and in time, she will learn about Adonai and perhaps even to love her Israelite husband. At first, it seems to be a bad thing, but in time, it turns into a good thing.

Many US soldiers have returned home with foreign wives, perhaps some who worshipped idols. Once with the soldier and in the USA, she would give up her idol worship and embrace Yeshua. We would certainly like to hope so.

Looking at this from another standpoint, we were at once a time in the enemy’s camp. We were in the camp of HaSatan, and our “bridegroom” (Yeshua) paid the price of ransom and bought our freedom with his own blood. Now he takes us “his bride” to his encampment. All believers are part of the “bride of Messiah” Baruch HaShem! And we will be HIS OWN for all eternity.

Vs 18 talks about the “wayward son” in that, if he is rebellious and defiant, refusing correction, his parents have the right to take him to the “shoftim” (judges) and they would order him to be stoned. Rebellion had a death sentence connected to it. We never read in scripture that this actually happened, but it was still written down as a commandment “in case” family rebellion occurred.

Try to stone a rebellious child today and you will definitely be standing before the man! (and off to prison you will go). If, as parents, we train up a child in God’s Word, read him or her Bible stories instead of fairy tales about ghosts and Boogiemen, then, when the child grows into a youth, he or she will have a solid foundation before him/her. It is not about being stoned with rocks, it is all about following the ROCK of ages!

Vs 22: Those that have received the death penalty could not be left “hanging around” from neither a rope, a cross, nor a stake. They had to be taken down and buried. In ancient times, a person who received the death penalty many times was displayed to the public, hanging from a rope for all to see. The dead person was taken and left hanging but had to be taken down and buried before the end of the day. Yeshua was taken down from the cross and buried in a tomb. We see many crucifixes today with Yeshua still on them, the fact is that he did NOT remain on the cross, but was buried and arose the third day. We worship a risen Savior, and not one who is still on the cross.

Chap 22; 1-4. To help someone find a lost item is a big mitzvah, being the item a lost animal such as a dog or a cat, or a wallet, important papers, etc. Unfortunately, we live in an age of worldly materialism. The ideology is “Finders keepers losers’ weepers.” That is the philosophy of the lost world, not born-again believers. If one finds a wallet with money inside, and there is an ID, we must return it to the person, money intact! Not minus the cash. Taking the cash and returning the wallet empty just makes one an ‘honest thief’ (if a thief can be called that).

Vs 5; “A woman must not put on a man’s apparel, not a man, woman’s clothing” In Biblical times, clothing was generally the same; long, flowing tunics tied with a cloth or leather belt or sash and on the feet, sandals. There was, however, a difference between men’s and women’s tunics, perhaps in the material, the color, and design being used. Today we see “unisex” clothing such as blue jeans, but even in blue jeans, there are “women’s” jeans. A man had better not put on a skirt unless he’s a Scotsman with a kilt and bagpipes. Let us abide by this commandment. Anyway, a woman looks better in a dress than in pants. (my opinion only).

Vs 8; Common sense tells us that when we build a roof, and it is the type of roof where one can go up and sit down and enjoy the coolness of the evenings, one must build a fence or a wall that surrounds the roof, to keep one from falling off in case one gets too close to the edge. The Torah can be like a roof and the commandments the fence that surrounds the roof, they keep us from “falling off into sin”

Vs 9; Prohibition of mixing seed, wool, and linen, mixing work animals. These all can be considered “unequally yoked” as an ox is stronger than an ass. It tends to pull stronger and the ass will just slow it down causing undue strain on both animals. Such is an unequally yoked marriage, it strains on both parties and causes undue stress and tension. Mixed seeds will take out more chemicals from the soil leaving the soil useless. Wool will shrink in the hot wash and linen will not. Wool comes from an animal (sheep) and linen comes from a plant (cotton). A garment made with both wool and linen will be ruined and will pull apart. An unequally yoked marriage or even business partners will “pull apart” when put in “hot water” if you get my drift. Mixing a believer with a non-believer will bring on different goals, ideas, philosophies, mannerisms, etc. One will serve God the other will serve the world. The Torah makes a difference between “Kadosh” and “Non-Kadosh” the holy and the unholy.

Vs 12: “You shall make Tzitziot (tassels) on the four corners of your garments” This is still for today and speaks about our relationship with Messiah Yeshua, our relationship with the Torah and the commandments. It also connects us with our Jewish culture. The number of windings and the blue thread is 7,8,11, and 13 which are significant. (7+8=15) (Yod + Hey) and 11 (Vav=6, and Hey = 5) YHVH and “Echad” (ONE in unity) (13). It is still customary to wear Tzitziot on garments and even on one’s belt hoops when one goes outside.

     Chap 24 addresses divorce, if a woman is found in “uncleanness” as some texts state, the man can divorce her.  This word is connected to “nudity” and could even go as far as saying, the husband finds the wife nude with another man, (adultery) the word in Hebrew is “Ervat” (uncleanness) yet Yeshua teaches that forgiveness is more important than “putting away the wife” but…the exception remains “adultery” yet even this can be forgiven, marriage is important, and Satan will do everything in his power to destroy marriages.

     24:14   “You shall not abuse a needy and destitute laborer, whether a fellow countryman or a STRANGER (foreigner) in one of the communities of your land” Very important to know, that ALL workers, including immigrants, with or without work visas, should be respected, helped, and not HARRASSED! Hello!!  The USA was founded by immigrants, let’s do our best to pray for them and respect them, and help them, vs 17 says “You shall NOT subvert the RIGHTS of the stranger…” Every immigrant has the right to the “pursuit of happiness and well-being in this country called the US of A.  If the immigrant is an unrepentant criminal, that is a different story. The chapter also talks about the farmer and his crops. He should let the needy take what they need and not consider it stealing. We should not look at everything with $ in mind, we should share the blessings that the LORD has given us and share them with others.

25:4; “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is threshing.” In other words, every employee has the right to his or her lunch break. The ox can work and eat at the same time since its work is demanding.

    25:5-10 talks about the “Levirate marriage” when a man dies and leaves no sons, the man’s brother (if single) must marry the man’s widow so as to raise up children.  Well, would this be a good thing today? There are some who would say yes, and others would say no.  I’ll let you decide, If I were single and, in that situation, if I wasn’t going with anyone, well…. maybe I’d go for it, why not? (especially if she was pretty).  I guess it would Be good because the marriage is kept within the family. What would be an exception? if the wife of my deceased brother was an unbeliever, because then it would be of "unequally yoked" marriage, not a good thing!

25:13 talks about “diverse weights” very important to conduct “honest business transactions” not crooked and unfair. Unfortunately, we live in a world of greed and there are people out there, scammers, that want to get over on you. Be careful, especially on the Net.


Ben Avraham

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