Deuteronomy Chapter 22
Verses 22:1 – 26:19: While loving God was the first duty (compare 6:5), loving one’s neighbor came next (compare Matt. 22:37-40). In this section, the law of loving one’s neighbor is applied to domestic and social relationships.
Verses 1-4: “Hide thyself from them”: The Israelite must not hide his eyes from such an obvious loss. It was his duty to pursue and bring back the lost property of his neighbor.
The tenth subsection regards the law of respect for the property on one’s fellowman. The relation of this subject to homicide may be that this law sought to prevent the unnecessary loss of life through intentional oversight.
Laws about things such as caring for “thy brother’s ox” reinforced concepts of community responsibility, a part of loving one’s brother (Lev. 19:17-18).
If we duly regard the golden rule of doing to others as we would they should do unto us, many particular precepts might be omitted. We can have no property in any thing that we find. Religion teaches us to be neighborly, and to be ready to do all good offices to all men. We know not how soon we may have occasion for help.
Deuteronomy 22:1 “Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother.”
Or “driven away”; frightened and starved away from the herd or from the flock by a wolf or dog. And the ox and sheep are put for every other creature a man has, as camels, asses, etc. Which last sort is after mentioned. And a brother means not one in the natural relation of kindred only, for it is supposed, in the next verse, that he might not only be at a distance, but unknown. Nor by religion only, or one of the commonwealth or church of the Jews. For what is enjoined is a piece of humanity the law of nature requires and directs unto, and is even to be done to enemies (Exodus 23:4).
“And hide thyself from them”: Make as if he did not see them, and so be entirely negligent of them, and takes no care and show no concern about them. But let them go on wandering from the herd and flock from whence they were driven. And to which they cannot find the way of themselves.
“Thou shalt in any case bring them again to thy brother”: To his herd or flock, or to his house. And deliver them into his own hands, or to the care of his servants.
“Brother” here, is not speaking of your immediate family, but all those people of your race. This is saying that he must think enough of his brother, that he will help him get his animal back. An animal that wanders on your place, still belongs to its owner. If you can catch it, the best thing to do is take it back home. This answers that age old question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Yes, you are. We must do unto others, as we would want them to do unto us.
Deuteronomy 22:2 “And if thy brother [be] not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again.”
Does not live in the same neighborhood, but at some considerable distance. So that he cannot soon and easily be informed of his cattle, or they be sent to him.
“Or if thou know him not”: The owner of them, what is his name, or where he lives.
“Then thou shall bring it into thine house”: Not into his dwelling house, but some out house, barn, or stable.
“And it shall be with thee”: Remain in his custody, and be taken care of by him. And, as the Targum of Jonathan says, “be fed and nourished by him”. For, according to the Jewish canon, whatsoever could work and eat, that should work and eat, and whatsoever did not work and eat was to be sold. For which there was a set time, as the commentators say, for large cattle, as oxen, twelve months. For lesser cattle, as sheep, goats, etc. three months, here it is fixed.
“Until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again”: Thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, to be used like thine own cattle. Thou shalt restore it to him again, the owner, as it may be presumed, paying the charges.
Sometimes the animal is a stranger, and you have no idea who it belongs to. In that case you should care for it, until the owner comes looking for it. Then you should give him his animal gladly.
Deuteronomy 22:3 “In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; 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.”
As with his ox or sheep when astray, and found, keep it until it is owned, and then restore it. This is expressly mentioned in (Exodus 23:4).
“And so shalt thou do with his raiment”: If that is lost and found, it must be restored to the owner, he describing it. A garment is particularly mentioned, it is said, because in every garment there is a mark or sign by which the owners can inquire about it. For it is made by the hands of men, and does not come from anything common.
“And with all lost things of thy brother’s, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise”: This comprehends everything that is lost, that is properly so. It is asked; “what is a lost thing? If a man finds an ox or a cow feeding in the way, this is not a lost thing. An ass whose instruments are inverted, and a cow running among the vineyards, this is a lost thing”.
“Thou mayest not hide thyself”: From seeing it and taking care of it, in order to restore it to the rightful owner. Or dissemble a sight of it, and pretend he never saw it, and so entirely neglect it. In some instances, the Jews allow they were not obliged to take any notice or care of it, as, “if a man find a cow in a cow house (which is not shut). He is not obliged (to take care of it). If in a public place, he is obliged. If it is in a burying ground, he may not defile himself for it”.
It really makes no difference what the item is, if it is your brothers, you should try to get it back to him. It is not yours and you should not claim it.
Deuteronomy 22:4 “Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift [them] up again.”
And lie under his burden, not being able to rise with it of himself, nor with all the assistance about it, without further help.
“And hide thyself from them”: Cover thine eyes, or turn them another way, and make as if thou didst not see them in distress.
“Thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again”: That is, help the brother and owner of it, the ox and ass; assist him in getting them up again. And lay on their burden, and fasten them aright. Which either were rolled off by the fall, or were obliged to be taken off in order to raise them up. And if this was to be done for an enemy, then much more for a brother, as is required (see note on Exodus 23:5). Or “lifting up, thou shall lift them up with him”; that is, most certainly do it, and lift with all his strength, and as often as there is occasion. If they fell down again after raised up, help is still to be continued. Even, as Maimonides says, though it was a hundred times.
It really does not matter who the animal belongs to, you must help if you can. In Leviticus, it says you should even help your enemy.
Verses 5-12: God’s providence extends itself to the smallest affairs, and his precepts do so, that even in them we may be in the fear of the Lord, as we are under his eye and care. Yet the tendency of these laws, which seem little, is such, that being found among the things of God’s law, they are to be accounted great things. If we would prove ourselves to be God’s people, we must have respect to his will and to his glory, and not to the vain fashions of the world. Even in putting on our garments, as in eating or in drinking, all must be done with a serious regard to preserve our own and others’ purity in heart and actions. Our eye should be single, our heart simple, and our behavior all of a piece.
Deuteronomy 22:5 “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so [are] abomination unto the LORD thy God.”
“Shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man”: Found only here in the Pentateuch, this statute prohibited a man from wearing any item of feminine clothing or ornamentation. The same word translated “abomination” was used to describe God’s view of homosexuality (Lev. 18:22; 20:13). This instance specifically outlawed transvestism. The creation order distinctions between male and female were to be maintained without exceptions (compare Gen. 1:27).
This is the eleventh subsection, the law of transvestism. This passage clearly teaches the importance of maintaining a proper distinction between the sexes, the lack of which is an “abomination unto the LORD thy God”. This warning does not refer merely to clothing styles but to that “which pertaineth unto a man”, that is, “a man’s things”. This prohibition included clothing that was distinctively masculine in ornamentation, as well as other ornaments, weapons, or items distinctively associated with men. The prohibition is against transvestism which was often associated with homosexuality and fertility rites.
Men and women were commanded not to “wear that which pertaineth” to the opposite sex.
I do not believe this is speaking of women’s slacks and that sort of thing, because this was written when men wore long skirts. This is saying, a man should not try to appear as a woman, and a woman should not try to appear as a man. If a woman was the same size as her husband, she should not put on his clothes and try to be him. Women should be proud they are women, and men should be proud to be men. God made us what He wanted us to be.
Verses 6-7: The twelfth subsection: the law of protecting bird’s nests. This prohibition forbids taking both the mother bird and her young (or eggs) from the nest. This law was designed to protect the food supply for God’s people.
Deuteronomy 22:6 “If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee 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:”
“A bird’s nest”: Found only here in the Pentateuch this law showed that God cared for the long-term provisions for His people. By letting the mother go, food could be acquired without killing the source of future food.
This is telling us how to be considerate of the animals and birds around us. This would give the dam a chance to have more birds.
Deuteronomy 22:7 “[But] thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and [that] thou mayest prolong [thy] days.”
Or “in letting go, let go”, or “in sending, send away”. That is, willingly, certainly, entirely, frequently, always. So the Jewish canons,” if anyone lets her go, and she returns, even four or five times, he is obliged to let her go. As it is said, “in letting go, let go”. ”Nay, Maimonides says, even a thousand times. The canon proceeds, “if anyone says, lo, I take the dam and let go the young, he is obliged to let her go. If he takes the young, and returns them again to the nest, and after that returns the dam to them, he is free from letting her go”.
“That it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days”: The Targum of Jonathan is, “that it may be well with thee in this world, and thou mayest prolong thy days in the world to come”. The same blessing that is promised to observers of the fifth command, which is one of the weightier matters of the law, is made to this. Which the Jews say is but as the value of a farthing, or of little account in comparison of others. Wherefore, as Fagius rightly observes, God, in bestowing such rewards, has regard not to the works of men, but to his own grace and kindness. For what merit can there be in letting go or preserving the life of a little bird?
This shows a caring of God’s kingdom. A cruel person would kill them all. A kind person would let the mother go and then care for the young themselves, until they are old enough to release.
Deuteronomy 22:8 “When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.”
“Battlement”: Found only here in the Pentateuch, this refers to the roof of a home in ancient Israel, which was flat and usually reached by outside stairs. To prevent injury or death from falling, a fence was to be built around the roof. This, too, expressed love for those who might otherwise be injured or killed.
The thirteenth subsection: the law of requiring parapets on homes. A “battlement” was a wall around the flat roof to keep anyone on the roof from falling off.
In many of their homes, they had celebrations upon the flat roof of their houses. Someone might step off the edge and be hurt. This is speaking of building some sort of stop around the roof of the houses to keep this from happening. It would be like a small fence.
Verses 22:9 – 23:18: This section gives seven subsections in defining the prohibition against improper mixing of dissimilar things. This was done to preserve order and distinction in society and had definite utilitarian value.
Verses 9-11: These prohibitions against planting a “vineyard with divers seeds”, yoking together “an ox and an ass” for plowing, and mixing “woolen and linen” were a part of the Laws of Distinction, just like the dietary laws and the workweek (Shabbat) laws. In all that they did, Israel had to follow separate standards because they were the Lord’s people.
Deuteronomy 22:9 “Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.”
“Divers seeds”: The aim of the legislation seems to be to maintain healthy crops by keeping the seeds separate from one another. See note on (Lev. 19:19).
This is saying, you should not put two different kinds of seed in one planting hole. A row of peas should be peas. It appears that somehow there might be some sort of crossbreeding, which God forbids.
Deuteronomy 22:10 “Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.”
“An ox and an ass together”: According to the dietary laws prescribed earlier (14:1-8), the ox was a “clean” animal, but the donkey was “unclean”. Even more compelling was the fact that these two different animals couldn’t together plow a straight furrow. Their temperaments, natural instincts and physical characteristics made it impossible. As with the seed (verse 9), God is protecting His people’s food.
An ox and an ass are of different sizes and different temperaments. They would not work well together. It really would not be fair to the animals to yoke them up with another so different in size. This refers to the following Scripture.
Corinthians 6:14 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”
Deuteronomy 22:11 “Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, [as] of woollen and linen together.”
“Garment of divers … woolen and linen” (see note on Lev. 19:19).
The Hebrews had learned their weaving of various materials from their stay in Egypt. This is symbolic of them being a separate people, not mingled with the world. God allowed them to wear linen, but it must be pure. The same is true of the wool.
Deuteronomy 22:12 “Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest [thyself].”
“Make thee fringes” (see Num. 15:38-40 for the purpose of these tassels).
Clothing was to be made of the same kind of cloth and mixed fabrics were forbidden. “Fringes” were to be worn for symbolic meaning (compare Num. 15:37-41), and served to remind the people of their obligation to the commandments of the Lord.
Numbers 15:38 “Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribbon of blue:”
When they walked and saw this blue, it was to remind them of their heavenly calling.
Verses 22:13 – 23:2: This section deals with the laws of proper sexual conduct. Six laws of chastity are given as basic to family integrity. Violations were punishable by stoning the violators to death. Tokens of the damsel’s virginity” refer to those means by which a betrothed woman’s family proved her virginity to her husband to be. Failure to produce these “tokens” could lead to the girl’s execution for “playing the whore”. Adultery was punishable by death for both partners involved as a violation of the sacrosanct nature of the family. The passage clearly explains the Various rules that applied to women who consented to adultery and those who were raped.
Verses 13-30: This section is on family life (compare Lev. 18:1-30; 20:10-21).
These and the like regulations might be needful then, and yet it is not necessary that we should curiously examine respecting them. The laws relate to the seventh commandment, laying a restraint upon fleshly lusts which war against the soul.
Verses 13-21: An Israelite who doubted the virginity of his bride was to make a formal accusation to the “elders of the city”. If her parents gave proof of virginity showing the accusation was false, the husband was to pay a penalty and was prohibited from divorcing the woman. However, if she was found not to be a virgin, then she was to be put to death.
Deuteronomy 22:13 “If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,”
That is, marries a woman, and cohabits with her as man and wife. And after some time dislikes her, and is desirous of parting with her, and therefore takes the following wicked method to obtain it. This is to be understood of a virgin taken to wife, as the Targum of Jonathan explains it; and what follows confirms it.
This is very strange, in the fact that he had made her his wife, and then hates her. This sounds a bit like lust and not love.
Deuteronomy 22:14 “And 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:”
Among her neighbors, who by his behavior towards her, and by what he says of her, will be led in all company and conversation to traduce her character. And speak of her as a very bad woman.
“And bring up an evil name upon her”: Take away her good name, and give her a bad one. Defame her, and make her appear scandalous and reproachful to all that know her. Though the Jews understand this not of private slander, but of bringing an action against her in a public court of judicature, the substance of which follows. “And say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid”. The sense is, that he had married her, and when he came to cohabit with her as man and wife, it appeared to him that she was fraudulent, and not a pure virgin. This is the charge in court against her, the action laid by him. So Jarchi observes, a man might not say this but before a magistrate, in a court of judicature, which is thus represented by Maimonides. “A man comes to the Sanhedrin, and says, this young woman I married, and I did not find her virginities. And when I inquired into the matter, it appeared to me that she had played the whore under me, after I had betrothed her. And these are my witnesses that she played the whore before them.”
The husband is forbidden to defame the character of his wife. If this is an untrue statement he is saying, he will be severely punished for it. If it is a true statement, she will be severely punished. God does not want His people involved with sex scandals.
Deuteronomy 22:15 “Then 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:”
“The tokens of the damsel’s virginity”: Probably a blood-stained garment or a bed sheet from the wedding night.
Deuteronomy 22:16 “And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;”
Not her mother; hence we learn, says Jarchi, that a woman has not power (or is not allowed) to speak before men. That is, in public (see 1 Cor. 14:34). And it was most proper for a father to appear in court for her, and defend her. And if she had no parents living then, those that brought her up. Her guardians, that had the education of her, and placing her out in marriage, were to undertake her cause. Or, as Josephus says, those that were next akin to her. Or, as, Aben Ezra, one appointed by the court.
“I gave my daughter unto this man to wife”: And, by the Jewish canons, a man might give his daughter in marriage, but a woman might not.
“And he hateth her”: Has taken a dislike to her, and wants to be rid of her. And therefore has brought this infamous action against her.
The father acted in good faith, when he received the money for his daughter. Now he has come to elders to decide this situation. This is not something that can be decided without the help of the Lord. The father says, she was a virgin, that the man just hates her.
Deuteronomy 22:17 “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.”
In the neighborhood where they dwell. Has been the cause of persons speaking reproachfully of her, as one of ill fame.
“Saying, l found not thy daughter a maid”: So that it seems he said this not only to his neighbors, and before a court of judicature, but to the parents of the damsel.
“And yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity”: Which were brought with him, and produced in open court.
“And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city”: That they might have visual proof and evidence of the truth of what he said. By having spread before them the sheet stained with the blood of her virginity upon her husband’s first contact with her. It seems that the mother, as well as the father, were present and concerned in this action.
All of this is for keeping the lives of the Israelites pure. The father presents this situation to the elders, along with the tokens of her virginity.
Deuteronomy 22:18 “And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him;”
Not with words, but blows. Jarchi interprets it of beating, and so does the Talmud. And both the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan render it, “shall beat him”. That is, with the beating or scourging of forty stripes, save one.
He shall be severely punished for defaming the good name of his wife and her family.
Deuteronomy 22:19 “And they shall amerce him in a 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.”
“Shekels”: This word is not in the Hebrew text, but the context suggests it. A shekel weighted .4 ounces, so the total fine would be about 2.5 pounds of silver.
“Amerce” is to inflict a penalty. This is like a fine to be paid to her and her family. He has not only defamed the name of the damsel, but of her family and even of all Israel. He is not allowed to put her away, but must support her as a wife all the days of his life.
Deuteronomy 22:20 “But if this thing be true, [and the tokens of] virginity be not found for the damsel:”
Which the husband of the damsel laid to her charge. That she was no virgin when married to him, and she had committed whoredom, of which there was plain proof.
“And the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel”: By her parents, or those who had the care of her. Or no sufficient reason could be assigned for the want of them, through any family defect, or any disorder of her own. Which, as Maimonides says, the judges were to inquire into.
Deuteronomy 22:21 “Then 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.”
For his greater disgrace, and as a sort of punishment for his neglect of her education, not taking care to instruct her, and bring her up in a better manner.
“And the men of her city shall stone her with stones, that she die”: Which was the death this sort of adulteresses were put to. Others was by strangling. And the daughter of a priest was to be burnt (see Lev. 20:10). Which shows that this sin was committed by her after her espousals, as Jarchi and Aben Ezra note. Or otherwise it would have been only simple fornication, which was not punishable with death.
“Because she hath wrought folly in Israel”: A sin, as all sin is folly, and especially any notorious one, as this was. And which is aggravated by its being done in Israel, among a people professing the true religion. And whom God had chosen and separated from all others to be a holy people to himself.
“To play the whore in her father’s house”: Where she continued after her espousals, until she was taken to the house of her husband, to consummate the marriage. And between the one and the other was this sin committed. And which is another reason for her execution at the door of her father’s house.
“So shalt thou put evil away from among you”: Deter others from it by such an example, and remove the guilt of it from them. Which otherwise would lie upon them, if punishment was not inflicted. The Targum of Jonathan interprets it of the putting away of her that did the evil.
We see the seriousness of the accusation here. Those who participated in sex, other than in the marriage bed, were stoned to death in those days. These harsh laws caused people to remain pure and clean. They were to uphold marriage. They were strictly forbidden to enter into any other relationship.
Verses 22-29: Adultery was punished by death of the two found in the act. If the adulterous persons were a man with a woman who was pledged to be married to someone else, this consensual act led to the death of both parties (verses 23-24). However, if the man forced (i.e., raped), the woman, then only the man’s life was required (verses 25-27). If the woman was a virgin not pledged in marriage, then the man had to pay a fine, marry the girl, and keep her as his wife as long as he lived (verses 28-29).
Deuteronomy 22:22 “If a man be found lying with a woman married to a 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.”
This law respects adultery, and is the same with that in (Lev. 20:10).
“Then they shall both of them die”: With the strangling of a napkin, as the Targum of Jonathan, which is the death such persons were put to. And is always meant when death is simply spoken of, and it is not specified what death (see notes on Lev. 20:10).
“Both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman”: They were both to die, and to die the same death.
“So shalt thou put away evil from Israel”: Such that do it, as the above Targum (see notes on Deut. 22:21).
This is adultery.
Leviticus 20:10 “And the man that committeth adultery with [another] man’s wife, [even he] that committeth adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”
Israel was to set a high moral standard for the rest of the world. They were entrusted with God’s law. They must uphold that law, as an example to others.
Verses 23-24: Because Joseph was engaged to Mary when he discovered she was pregnant (Matt. 1:18-19), he would have been justified in making a public issue out of her apparent infidelity, according to Torah (Lev. 19:20-22). The law said to “stone” adulteresses “that they die”.
Deuteronomy 22:23 “If a damsel [that is] a virgin be betrothed unto a husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;”
But not married, not as yet brought home to her husband’s house, and the marriage consummated. For the Jews distinguish between being betrothed or espoused, and married. And generally, there was some time between the one and the other. And a wife was obtained in this way by three things: By money, which was the most usual. And by writing, which was to be done before witnesses, and with her consent. And by copulation, which, though valid, was not so much approved of. There is a whole treatise in the Misnah, called Kiddushin, or Espousals, which largely tells of this matter.
“And a man find her in the city, and lie with her”: With her consent, as might be presumed by her not crying out. When, had she, she might have been heard, being in a city. And her being there also stands against her, since, being betrothed to a man, she ought to have aboded in her father’s house till her husband fetched her home. And not to have gadded abroad in the city, where she was exposed to temptation.
Deuteronomy 22:24 “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; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbor’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.”
Where the fact was committed. The Targum of Jonathan is, “to the gate of the court of judicature, which is in that city”.
“And ye shall stone them with stones, that they die”: A man that lay with a married woman, he and she were to be strangled. But this sort of adulterers and adulteresses were to be stoned, and it is thought that of this sort was the woman spoken of in (John 8:3).
“The damsel because she cried not, being in the city, and the man because he hath humbled his neighbor’s wife”: As she was by espousal, by contract, by promise, and so was guilty of adultery, which was punishable with death.
“So thou shall put away evil from among you (see Deut. 22:21).
The woman’s sin in this was the fact that she did not cry out for help. This makes her a willing participant. In this case, they should both be stoned to death to drive this type sin out of Israel.
Deuteronomy 22:25 “But 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:”
Alone, and where she might cry out, and none hear, nor were any to help her.
“And a man force her, and lie with her”: Or “take fast and strong hold on her”; so that she is not able to get out of his hands, and make her escape. He being stronger than she, and so commits a rape upon her.
“Then the man only that lay with her shall die”: He being guilty of adultery, in lying with a woman espoused to another man. But not she, because she consented not to it.
Deuteronomy 22:26 “But 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:”
Neither fine her, nor beat her, and much less punish her with death.
“There is in the damsel no sin worthy of death”: Because what was done to her was done without her will and consent. And was what she was forced to submit unto. But the Targum of Jonathan adds, that the man to whom she was betrothed might dismiss her from himself by a bill of divorce.
“For as when a man riseth against his neighbor, and slayeth him, even so is this matter”: As when a man comes unawares upon another, and lays hold on him, and kills him, being stronger than he, and none to help. So is the case of a woman laid hold on by a man in a field, and ravished by him, where no help could be had. And depriving a woman of her chastity is like taking away a man’s life. From this passage, Maimonides concludes that impurities, incest, and adulteries, are equal to murder, to capital cases relating to life and death.
Deuteronomy 22:27 “For he found her in the field, [and] the betrothed damsel cried, and [there was] none to save her.”
Which is a circumstance in her favor, from which it might be presumed that she was forced, and did not consent. For had the sin been committed by agreement, they would doubtless have taken themselves to another place. And the betrothed damsel cried as it might be concluded from the above circumstance she did. And as she herself declared, and which he could not gainsay, or however disprove.
“And there was none to save her”: To help her against him, and deliver her out of his hands.
The man is still guilty, and must die for that sin. In this case, there was no one to hear her cries, so she is found not guilty of sin. This seems harsh in our society today, but God was trying to keep Israel pure. Thou shalt not commit adultery, is still one of the Ten Commandments of God. Our society has become immoral.
Verses 28-29 relate the situation of the seduction of an un-betrothed girl. In this case the man was forced to pay the normal bride-price (mohar, “dowry”), and marry the girl if her father consented (compare Exodus 22:16-17). Further examples refer to prohibitions against incest, eunuchs, and bastards (illegitimate children). Note that a “bastard” (23:2), could not stand in Israel until the “tenth generation” (see Ruth 4:18-22 for the 10 generation genealogy from Judah’s illegitimate son Pharez to David).
Deuteronomy 22:28 “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;”
That is, meets with one in a field, which is not espoused to a man. And the man is supposed to be an unmarried man, as appears by what follows.
“And lay hold on her, and lie with her”: She yielding to it, and so is not expressive of a rape, as (Deut.22:25), where a different word from this is there used. Which signifies taking strong hold of her, and ravishing her by force. Yet this, though owing to his first violent seizure of her. And so different from what was obtained by enticing words, professions of love, and promises of marriage, and the like, as in (Exodus 22:16). But not without her consent.
“And they be found”: In the field together, and in the act. Or however there are witnesses of it, or they themselves have confessed it, and perhaps betrayed by her pregnancy.
The only difference in this case, is the girl is not spoken for, nor is she married. The man committed an offence, but under different circumstances.
Deuteronomy 22:29 “Then 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.”
For the abuse of his daughter; and besides this was obliged to give her a dowry also. As Philo says, which is commonly said to be fifty more.
“And she shall be his wife”: If her father and she agreed to it. And in such a case the man was not at his liberty to refuse, be she what she would, agreeable or not, handsome or ugly. He must, as the Jews express it, drink out of his pot, or marry her, if she is lame, blind, or full of ulcers.
“Because he hath humbled her he may not put her away all his days”: To all the other parts of his punishment, paying a fine of fifty shekels to the damsel’s father and a dowry of the same sum to her. Obligation to marry her whether he likes her or not. This is added, that he is not allowed to divorce her as long as he lives. Which was permitted to other men, and this was wisely ordered to preserve chastity.
Silver symbolizes redemption. Of course the number 50 has to do with Jubilee, or setting of the captives free. Perhaps these two people are in love and this is a way for the man to be allowed to marry her. I cannot say for sure. He consummated the marriage, when he lay with her. They two are now one flesh. They are husband and wife. She has all privileges of a wife. He cannot put her away.
Deuteronomy 22:30 “A man shall not take his father’s wife, nor discover his father’s skirt.”
“A man shall not take his father’s wife”: In no case was a man to marry his father’s wife or have sexual relations with her. This probably has relations with a stepmother in view, although incest was certainly forbidden (compare Lev. 18:6-8).
The wife of his father could be his mother, or his step mother. Whichever she is, God forbids incest. The son would not only be defaming her, but his father as well. She belongs to his father. He should have enough respect for his father, that he would not commit this sin.
Deuteronomy Chapter 22 Questions
1. “Brother”, in verse 1, is speaking of whom?
2. What should he do with a stray animal, that he knows of?
3. Am I my brother’s keeper?
4. What should he do with the stray animal, if he does not know who it belongs to?
5. What if it is not an animal at all but, someone’s clothing?
6. In Leviticus, what is added to the statement in verse 4?
7. The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth to a _______.
8. Why does the author believe verse 5 is not speaking of women’s slacks?
9. What does the author believe this is saying?
10. What is verse 6 teaching?
11. Why was it necessary to build a battlement for the roof of the house?
12. Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with ___________ kinds of seed.
13. Why should a person not plow with an ox and an ass at the same time?
14. Where had the Hebrews learned to weave different materials together?
15. What is the message in verse 11 symbolically?
16. When they walked and saw the blue, what did it remind them of?
17. What was the complaint of the husband in verses 13 and 14?
18. What will happen, if this statement is untrue?
19. What does the father of the girl do, when he hears this?
20. Why do they come with this matter to the elders?
21. What is the husband to pay her father?
22. “Amerce” means what?
23. What is done to the girl, if the accusation is true?
24. What happens to a man and another man’s wife, if they are found lying together?
25. If the girl is a betrothed virgin, and this happens in the city, what happens to them?
26. What is different, if the virgin is in the country, and this happens?
27. If a man sleeps with a woman, who is not betrothed or married, what happens to them?
28. What amount of silver is paid to her father?
29. A man shall not take his father’s ________.