Deuteronomy Chapter 24
Verses 1-4: This passage does not command, commend, condone, or even suggest divorce. Rather, it recognizes that divorce occurs and permits it only on restricted ground. The case presented here is designed to convey the fact that divorcing produced defilement.
The law of divorce is defined and described. “When” is best translated “if” and begins the conditional sentences. “Then let him” should be translated “and he writes her”. It continues the conditional element of the sentence and is not a command. “Uncleanness” seems to be a technical term (literally, (“nakedness”), but the meaning is no longer clear. (In 23:14), the same word is used to designate something “unclean”. However, other usage may mean “inadequate”. Whatever the problem, it was not adultery, since this was punishable by death (22:22). That the couple in view is married, not merely betrothed, is clear from the context, as is the possibility of divorce and remarriage. If the wife was sent out (“divorced”), by her husband she was free to marry another man, but was not permitted to divorce her second husband in order to return to her first one. To take her back would be a “abomination before the Lord”. Such un-chastity would then cause the land to sin (Lev. 18:25, 28; 19:29).
The purpose of this law was to prevent hasty divorce, discourage adultery, and preserve marriage. The people of Jesus’ day took this permission to divorce as a promotion of divorce but Jesus reminded them that such was not God’s original plan (Matt. 19:4-6), and that divorce was allowed by Moses only because of the “hardness of your hearts” (Matt. 19:8).
Although laws in ancient codes attempted to regulate divorce, in this particular text a new limitation was placed on remarriage. A divorced man was prohibited from marrying his original wife if one of them had wed someone else. The man needed to present his first wife with a “bill of divorcement” to legally protect her against further exploitation. Jesus spoke about this in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:31-32; Mark 10:4).
Verses 1-4: Where the providence of God, or his own wrong choice in marriage, has allotted to a Christian a trial instead of a help meet. He will from his heart prefer bearing the cross, to such relief as tends to sin, confusion, and misery. Divine grace will sanctify this cross, support under it, and teach so to behave, as will gradually render it more tolerable.
Deuteronomy 24:1 “When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some unclean in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give [it] in her hand, and send her out of his house.”
That is, when a man has made choice of a woman for his wife, and has obtained her consent, and the consent of her parents. And has not only betrothed her, but taken her home, and consummated the marriage.
“And it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes”: Is not agreeable to him, he takes no delight in her person, nor pleasure in her company and conversation. But, on the contrary, his affections are alienated from her, and he cannot bear the sight of her.
“Because he hath found some uncleanness in her”: Nakedness, or shamefulness, or filthiness of a thing. I.e., some filthy or hateful thing, some loathsome distemper of body or quality of mind, not observed before marriage. Or some light and unchaste carriage, as this or the like phrase commonly signifies, but not amounting to adultery, which was not punished with divorce, but with death.
“And give it in her hand”: Which was to be done before witnesses, and which is one of the ten things that were prerequisite to a divorce. Though it made no difference whether it was delivered by himself, or by a messenger. Or whether to her, or to her deputy, appointed by her before witnesses. Or whether it was put into her hand, or in her bosom, so be it that she was but possessed of it. With which agrees the Jewish canon,” if he casts a bill to his wife, and she is within the house, or within the court, she is divorced. If he casts it into her bosom, or into her work basket, she is divorced”.
“And send her out of his house”: Which was a visible token and public declaration of her divorce. Besides, were she to be continued in his house afterwards, it would give suspicion of cohabitation, which after a divorce was not lawful.
Jesus spoke of divorce as being for the hardness of men’s hearts. There are reasons that make divorce permissible, but divorce is the breaking apart of a family unit that God intended to be forever. Spiritual or physical, adultery is grounds for divorce. The uncleanness is not revealed to us. Whatever it is, can be assumed a shameful thing. In a marriage, they two become one flesh. In a divorce, they two must be divided. He has removed her from his life, and sent her home.
Deuteronomy 24:2 “And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s [wife].”
With her bill of divorce, by which departure out of his house it is notified to all.
“She may go and be other man’s wife”: It was permitted her to marry another man, she being by her divorce freed from the law of her former husband. And who indeed, in express words contained in the divorce, gave her leave so to do. Which ran thus, “thou art in thine own hand, and hast power over thyself to go and marry any other man whom thou pleases. And let no man hinder thee in my name, from this day forward and for ever. And, lo, thou art free to any man” (see note on Matt. 5:31).
The bill of divorcement makes her a free woman. She may re-marry, under these circumstances.
Deuteronomy 24:3 “And [if] the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth [it] in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her [to be] his wife;”
Or less loves her than another woman, and she is disliked by him as she was by her former husband.
“And write her a bill off divorcement, and giveth it into her hand, and sendeth her out of his house”: As he had by this law a permission, in like manner as her former husband had (see note on Deut. 24:1).
“Or if her latter husband die, which took her to be his wife”: And she survives him; as she is then by death loosed from the law of a husband, she may lawfully marry another man, but not her former husband, as follows.
In this case, she would be free to marry again, if she desired. This is the same situation as in the first divorce. She is no longer bound as one with the second husband.
Deuteronomy 24:4 “Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that [is] abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance.”
Though ever so desirous of it, and having heartily repented that he had put her away. This is the punishment of his fickleness and inconstancy, and was ordered to make men cautious how they put away their wives. Since when they had so done, and they had been married to another, they could not enjoy them again even on the death of the second husband. Yea, though she was only espoused to him, and he had never lain with her, as Ben Melech observes, it was forbidden the former husband to marry her. Though if she had only played the whore, according to the same writer, and others, she might return to him.
“After that she is defiled”: Not by whoredom, for in that case she was not forbidden, as it is interpreted. But by her being married to another man. When she was defiled, not by him, or with respect to him, nor with regard to any other man, whom she might lawfully marry after the decease of her latter husband. But with respect to her first husband, being by her divorce from him, and by her marriage to another. Entirely alienated and separated from him, and so prohibited to him. And thus R. Joseph Kimchi interprets this defilement of prohibition, things prohibited being reckoned unclean, or not lawful to be used.
“For that is abomination before the Lord”: For a man to take his wife again, after she had been divorced by him, and married to another man. And yet, such is the grace and goodness of God to his backsliding people. That he receives them when they return unto him their first husband, and forsake other lovers (Jer. 3:1).
“And thou shalt not cause the land to sin which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance”: Since if this was allowed, that men might put away their wives, and take them again at pleasure, and change them as often as they thought fit, no order could be observed. And the utmost confusion in families introduced, and lewdness encouraged. And which would subject the land and the inhabitants of it to many evils and calamities, as the just punishment thereof.
If the first husband truly hated her enough to get the divorce in the first place, why would he want her back now? Her defilement was in sleeping with the second husband, while her first husband was living. God allowed this however, because her husband had sent her away. He would not allow her to go back to her first husband, after sleeping with her second husband.
Verses 5-13: It is of great consequence that love be kept up between husband and wife That they carefully avoid everything which might make them strange one to another. Man-stealing was a capital crime, which could not be settled, as other thefts, by restitution. The laws concerning leprosy must be carefully observed. Thus all who feel their consciences under guilt and wrath, must not cover it, or endeavor to shake off their convictions. But by repentance, and prayer, and humble confession, take the way to peace and pardon. Some orders are given about pledges for money lent. This teaches us to consult the comfort and subsistence of others, as much as our own advantage. Let the poor debtor sleep in his own raiment, and praise God for thy kindness to him. Poor debtors ought to feel more than commonly they do. The goodness of creditors who do not take all the advantage of the law against them, nor should this ever be looked upon as weakness.
Deuteronomy 24:5 “When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: [but] he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.”
During the first year of marriage, a man was not held responsible for military service or any other duty. He was to devote that year of marriage to the enjoyment and establishment of his marriage.
In a previous lesson, we saw the exemption from battle for those who had just married. This year of not being burdened by other obligations, gave the newlyweds a time to get to know each other. Their marriage would be more grounded, if they could have this time to be together and grow closer. His thoughts should be of his bride during this year long honeymoon.
Deuteronomy 24:6 “No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh [a man’s] life to pledge.”
Two millstones were needed to grind grain. Neither was to be taken in pledge because it was indispensable to one’s daily subsistence.
This just means that a person should not take in pledge the thing, that the person borrowing uses to make a living. They would not have a way to live, if this were taken.
Deuteronomy 24:7 “If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.”
The death penalty would be exacted on kidnappers who kidnaped a brother Israelite for involuntary servitude or as merchandise to sell.
In our society, that is called kidnapping. In almost every case, the person is held for ransom. We see that God established the punishment for this as death. People are made in the image of God, and should not be treated as merchandise.
Verses 24:8 – 25:4: This section relates to the ninth commandment. The concept of fairness is emphasized and all forms of mockery or belittling people are prohibited.
Verses 8-9: Moses exhorted the people to follow the commands of the Lord regarding infectious skin diseases (see notes on Lev. 13:1 – 14:57).
Deuteronomy 24:8 “Take heed in the plague of leprosy, that thou observe diligently, and do according to all that the priests the Levites shall teach you: as I commanded them, [so] ye shall observe to do.”
The “priests” had responsibility for controlling disease such as “leprosy”. They functioned as a sort of center for disease control (Lev. Chapters 13 and 14).
The 13th chapter of Leviticus goes into great detail about the way to handle leprosy. We discovered in our study of that, that leprosy symbolizes sin. The real leprosy, or the symbolic leprosy (sin), is contagious and must be dealt with carefully.
Deuteronomy 24:9 “Remember what the LORD thy God did unto Miriam by the way, after that ye were come forth out of Egypt.”
Who was stricken with leprosy for speaking against Moses, and was shut up seven days. And they are reminded of this instance, partly to warn them against entertaining evil suspicions, and surmises of persons in power and authority, and speaking evil of them. And partly to expect that punishment would certainly be inflicted on them, should they be guilty of the same crime. Nor should they think it hard, either to be smitten with leprosy, or to be shut up for it. Since Miriam, a prophetess, and the sister of Moses, was so used; and that when;
“By the way, after that ye were come out of Egypt”: When upon their journey, and were retarded in it, and obliged to stay at least seven days before they could proceed on in it (see Num. 12:14).
Miriam became leprous and stayed that way for 7 days, when she spoke out about Moses marrying the Ethiopian woman. Her Leprosy was an outward show of the sin that was within her.
Verses 10-13: “His pledge”: This would often be a cloak, an outer garment, which was given in pledge to guarantee the repayment of a loan. God’s people were to act righteously in the lending of money. An example of a righteous lender was one who did not forcefully exact payment and who allowed a poor person to retain his pledge (cloak) overnight if it was necessary to keep him warm. Lending to the poor was permitted, but without:
(1) Interest (23:19-20);
(2) Coercion to repay; and
(3) Extension of the loan beyond the sabbatical year (15:1-2).
Deuteronomy 24:10 “When thou dost lend thy brother any thing, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge.”
Any sum of money he stands in need of, or demanded a debt of him, as Jarchi. Money he is indebted to thee, which is the sense of the Septuagint version; and he is not able to pay it, but offers something in pawn till he can pay it.
“Thou shall not go into his house to fetch his pledge”: Which would be an exercise of too much power and authority, to go into a neighbor’s house, and take what was liked. And besides, as no doubt he would take the best, so he might take that which the poor man could not spare. And indeed, according to the Jewish canons, he could not take any pledge at all. But with the knowledge, and by the leave, of the Sanhedrin, or court of judicature.
A man’s home is his castle. His home should be a very private place for him and his family. It is not a place of merchandise. The debtor must bring the pledge out of the house, and give to the lender.
Deuteronomy 24:11 “Thou shalt stand abroad, and the man to whom thou dost lend shall bring out the pledge abroad unto thee.”
Without doors, in the street, as the Targum of Jonathan. While the borrower or debtor looks out, and brings forth what he can best spare as a pledge.
“And the man to whom thou dost lend shall bring out the pledge abroad unto thee”: Now as, on the one hand, if the lender or creditor had been allowed to go in and take what he pleased for a pledge, he would choose the best. So, on the other hand, the borrower or debtor would be apt to bring the worst, what was of the least value and use. Wherefore the Jews made it a rule that it should be of a middling sort, between both, lest it should be a discouragement and hindrance to lend upon pledges.
The lender must not embarrass the man before his family, by coming in the house to take the pledge.
Deuteronomy 24:12 “And if the man [be] poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge:”
Which may be thought to be the case of everyone that gives pledges for a debt he owes, or a sum of money he borrows. Yet there might be a difference: some might be so very destitute of goods and raiment in their houses, that whatever they parted with was distressing to them, and they could not well do without it.
“Thou shalt not sleep with his pledge”: Nor keep it a night; but deliver it to him, before he went to bed, and laid himself down to sleep.
The pledge is the same thing we would call collateral. The loan is made, because there is something of value backing up the loan. In this Scripture above, God says the man may need to use it, while it is collateral. Let him keep it in his possession, if he is poor. This is probably, speaking of the man’s garment that he wraps up with at night to keep warm.
Deuteronomy 24:13 “In any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before the LORD thy God.”
If it was a night covering, as Jarchi remarks. But if it was his day clothes, he was to return it in the morning, when the sun arose. And this was to be done every day, which resist occasion a great deal of trouble, and the pledge of little use. So that it seems as though they might as well be without it as have it, and lend freely. But the Jews say, that there was an advantage by it; for it is said in answer to such a question, of what profit is the pledge? By this means the debt is not released on the seventh year, (when all other debts were released (Deut. 15:1).
“That he may sleep in his own raiment”: Have his night covering to sleep in, his pillow, and bolster, and bedding to lie on, and bed clothes to cover him. And indeed, the clothes they wore were made in such form, as would serve for covering to sleep in at night, as well as to wear in the day. And such is the clothing of the Arabs now, which they call “hykes”. The usual size of them, is six yards long, and five or six feet broad, serving the Arab for a complete dress in the day. And as they “sleep in their raiment”, it serves likewise for his bed and covering by night.
“And bless thee”: For using him so mercifully and kindly, as to return him his pledge, which is so necessary to his comfortable repose in the night. And not only will he praise him, and speak well of him for it, and give him thanks; but will pray to God to bless him in soul, body, and estate, for such kindness shown him.
“And it shall be righteousness unto thee before the Lord thy God”: Not his justifying righteousness before God, for by the deeds of the law shall no flesh living be justified in his sight. But it shall be owned and approved of as a good and righteous action, and answerable to the intention of this law. Which is, that mercy should be shown to persons in distress. In which sense the word “righteousness” is sometimes used, even for a merciful action (Psalm 112:9). So alms are called “righteousness” (Matt. 6:1), in some copies.
To keep his garment that he must have to keep warm, is extremely cruel. God will see the generosity of the lender, who lets the man wrap up in his garment at night. God will bless that lender abundantly. That man is in right standing with God, because he loved God enough to obey Him and his fellowman enough to have compassion on him.
Verses 14-22: It is not hard to prove that purity, piety, justice, mercy, fair conduct, kindness to the poor and destitute. Consideration for them, and generosity of spirit, are pleasing to God, and becoming in his redeemed people. The difficulty is to attend to them in our daily walk and conversation.
Verses 14-15: The behavior condemned here is exactly what happens today when people pursue wealth but disdain honest labor in favor of ruthless power. The practice of paying wages late or bilking the worker of his wages, and thus getting rich at the laborer’s expense, was also common in those times (15:7-8; Lev. 19:13).
Day laborers were to be paid on the day they labored because they lived day to day on such wages (compare Lev. 19:13; Matt. 20:1-16).
Deuteronomy 24:14 “Thou shalt not oppress a hired servant [that is] poor and needy, [whether he be] of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that [are] in thy land within thy gates:”
That is hired by the day, as appears by (Deut. 24:15). Though the law may include such as are hired by the week, or month, or year. Neither of whom are to be oppressed by any means, and chiefly by detaining their wages. So the Jerusalem Targum explains the phrase, “ye shall not detain by force the hire of the hired servant;” nor by fraud (as in James 5:4).
“That is poor and needy”: And so cannot bear the lest oppression of this kind, nor to have his wages detained from him any time, and much less wholly to be defrauded of them.
“Whether he be of thy brethren”: An Israelite, and so a brother both by nation and religion.
“Or of thy strangers that are in thy land, within thy gates”: Jarchi interprets this, both of proselytes of righteousness, and of proselytes of the gate. Which latter are plainly described by this clause, and the former must be included. For, if proselytes of the gate are not to be oppressed, much less proselytes of righteousness. Who were in all respects as Israelites, the same law was to them both. Jarchi says, the phrase “in thy land” is intended to comprehend the hire of beasts, and of vessels. And these in the Misnah are said to be comprehended in this precept, as well as the hire of man.
Just because you have the rule over someone, is no reason to be cruel to him. God taught us to care for the poor and needy. This would be especially true, if he worked for you. We are not responsible to help those in need all around the world, but we are responsible to help those who live around us that we know of.
Deuteronomy 24:15 “At his day thou shalt give [him] his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he [is] poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee.”
At the close of the day, when his work is done, the hire agreed for must be paid him. And, by the same rule, all such that were hired by the week, month, or year, were to have their wages paid them at the day their time was up.
“Neither shall the sun go down upon it”: It was to be paid before sun setting, or at it (see Lev. 19:13).
“For he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it”: Being poor, he cannot wait any longer for the payment of it. His personal and family needs are such as require immediate payment. And besides, he has been eagerly expecting it, and earnestly desiring it, that he may satisfy the craving necessities of himself and family. And therefore it would be a great balk and disappointment to him to have his wages detained.
“Lest he cry against thee to the Lord”: Having none to apply unto but him, who is the patron of the poor and needy. Not being able to help himself, nor having interest in any to interpose on his behalf. And his cry, and the cry of his hire too, enter into the ears of the Lord of hosts, and is regarded by him (James 5:4).
“And it be sin unto thee”: Be imputed to him, the guilt charged on him, and punishment inflicted for it.
To hold back wages someone has earned is cruel. That would be especially true, if they were poor. The person working is depending on the money for food and raiment. This is saying, pay him at the end of each day’s work. God would punish those who do not pay their laborers.
Deuteronomy 24:16 “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”
Punishment for a crime was to be borne only by the offender (see notes on Ezek. Chapter 18). The death of Saul’s 7 grandsons (2 Sam. 21:5-9), is a striking exception of national proportion grounded in God’s sovereign wisdom, as was the death of David and Bathsheba’s first son (2 Sam. 12:14).
This speaks of each person being responsible for his own sin. The heathens around them killed whole families for the sins of the father, or the son. This was a break from that. God, on rare occasion perhaps, might inflict the sin of the father on the son. This is forbidding the judges of their land to do this.
Verses 17-22: The stranger, orphan, and widow were to be dispensed justice and charity alike. The key phrase is “remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee”: The Old Testament insists that the protection of the weak is a duty not only of kings (Psalm 72:12-14), but also of the whole of society (10:18; 27:19; Exodus 22:22; 23:6-9; Lev. 19:33; Prov. 22:22).
“Verses 17-18: The administration of law should be carried out with equity for all members of society, including those with the least power and influence, e.g., widows, orphans, and immigrants.
Deuteronomy 24:17 “Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, [nor] of the fatherless; nor take a widow’s raiment to pledge:”
Who are unable to defend themselves, and have but few, if any, to take their part. And therefore, particular care should be taken by judges and civil magistrates to do them justice, or God will require it of them.
“Nor take a widow’s raiment to pledge”: Nor anything else, as her ox or cow (Job 24:3). According to the Jewish canons, of a widow, whether she is poor or rich, a pledge is not taken. The reason given for which is, that it would raise an ill suspicion, and cause an evil report of her among her neighbors. And which is suggested by the Targum of Jonathan. “Neither shall any of you take for a pledge the raiment of a widow, lest wicked neighbors should arise, and bring an evil report upon her, when ye return the pledge unto her.” But no doubt a poor widow is meant, and the design of the law is mercy to her, and that she might not be distressed by taking that from her she needed.
We see in this, that the same rules were for everyone. The specific mention of the widow’s raiment not being taken in pledge, is because she would need it to wear. They were instructed over and over, to help the widow, the orphan, and the stranger.
Deuteronomy 24:18 “But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee thence: therefore I command thee to do this thing.”
The remembrance of which may cause sympathy with persons in distress. Particularly the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow.
“And the Lord thy God redeemed thee thence”: The Targum of Jonathan,” the Word of the Lord thy God;” which, as it was an act of great kindness and mercy in God to them. Taught them, and laid them under obligation to show favor to their fellow creatures in distress.
“Therefore I command thee to do this thing”: Not to pervert the judgment of the stranger and fatherless, nor take a widow’s raiment for a pledge. And it may be carried further into the context, and respect the laws about the pledge of the poor man, and giving the hired servant his wages in due time.
They should remember hardship. That should make them more compassionate for those who had less than they did. If you have walked in the same shoes as someone, you have more sympathy for him. God redeemed them, and they should help these less fortunate.
Verses 19-22: This law to leave some crops for the “stranger, for the fatherless”, and “for the widow” (Lev. 23:22), kept the needy from having to beg and allowed them to still work for their food. The Lord’s commands to care for the poor are tied to (10:18-19).
The practice of allowing the needy to glean in the field was grounded in the remembrance of Israel’s hard service in Egypt (verse 18).
Deuteronomy 24:19 “When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.”
Whether barley harvest or wheat harvest, when either of them are ripe for cutting, mowing, or reaping, and are cutting down.
“And hast forgot a sheaf in the field”: Jarchi says the phrase “in the field” is to include standing corn, some of which is forgotten in cutting down, and so is subject to this law as well as a sheaf. And a sheaf claimed by this name is one that is forgotten both by the workman and the owner. If by the one and not by the other, it could not be so called. The canon runs thus, “a sheaf which the workmen forget, and not the owner, or the owner forgets, and not the workman. Before which the poor stand, or is covered with straw or stubble, is not a forgotten sheaf.”
“Thou shall not go again to fetch it”: Which supposes a remembrance of it, or some intelligence about it when at home. And after the field has been cleared, and all carried in but this sheaf. Then the owner might not go nor send to fetch it. The beginnings of the rows, they say, show when a sheaf is forgotten, or not. Particularly the adverse sheaf, or that over against it, shows it; so Jarchi.
“It shall be for the stranger”: Or proselyte; the proselyte of righteousness. Of this there is no doubt, but it seems to be for the proselyte of the gate also.
“For the fatherless and for the widow”: Which of them whosoever should first find it.
“That the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands”: In the culture of their ground the next year, and give them large and fruitful crops. They either purposely leaving the sheaf for the poor, or however suffer them to take it unmolested when found by them. The Targum of Jonathan is, “that the word of the Lord thy God may bless thee”.
The edges of the field were not to be picked. The leftovers in the field, when they harvested, were left for the poor to pick up and live off of. This was God’s way of providing for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. Their generosity to others would bring them blessings from God.
Deuteronomy 24:20 “When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.”
With sticks and staves, to get off the olives when ripe.
“Thou shall not go over the boughs again”: To beat off some few that may remain. They were not to examine the boughs over again, whether there were any left or not.
“It shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow”: Who might come into their oliveyards after the trees had been beaten, and gather what were left.
This again is saying, leave a little for the less fortunate.
Deuteronomy 24:21 “When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean [it] afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.”
Which was done much about the same time that the olives were gathered, and both after wheat harvest, about the latter end of June, or beginning of July. For they were more forward in those hot countries.
“Thou shall not glean it afterwards”: Go over the vines a second time, to pick off every berry or bunch that escaped them at first gathering.
“It shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow”: As the forgotten sheaf, and the olive berries left. These are all supposed to be poor persons, otherwise no doubt there were strangers, and fatherless persons, and widows, in good circumstances. Who, as they needed not, so neither would give themselves the trouble. But think it beneath them to go into fields, oliveyards, and vineyards, to gather what was left by the owners. These laws were made in favor of the poor, that mercy and kindness might be showed to them. And that they might have a taste of all the fruits of the earth.
We see that the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow would not go hungry. God made provision for them, when He gave Moses the law for the people. The family of Jacob had gone into Egypt, because there was a famine in their land. God provided for them, as He provides here.
Deuteronomy 24:22 “And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt: therefore I command thee to do this thing.”
When they would have been glad to have enjoyed the like favors, as small as they might seem to be, even to glean in their fields, vineyards, and oliveyards.
“Therefore I command thee to do this thing”: To suffer the poor to take the forgotten sheaf, and to come into their oliveyards and vineyards. And gather what olives and grapes remained after the first beating of the one, and the ingathering of the other.
This in a way, is paying back for the things God had done for them in Egypt. Of course, they could never completely pay Him back. This is their way of thanking God for their deliverance.
Deuteronomy Chapter 24 Questions
1. Why does the woman find no favor in her husband’s eyes in verse 1?
2. What can he do to get out of this situation?
3. What did Jesus say divorce was for?
4. Divorce is permissible, but it is really what?
5. ____________ or ____________ adultery is grounds for divorce.
6. Is the woman free to re-marry, after her divorce is final?
7. What would be her condition, after the second husband gave her a divorce, or died?
8. Would it be permissible for her first husband to re-marry her?
9. What was her defilement?
10. How long should a man stay at home with his new wife?
11. Why is it necessary for him to stay home?
12. What is verse 6 speaking of?
13. What in our society, is the instance in verse 7 called?
14. People are made in the image of God, and should not be treated as ________________.
15. Where do we find detailed information about leprosy?
16. How long was Miriam leprous?
17. What caused her leprosy?
18. What is the restriction on taking a pledge in verse 10?
19. Where shall he wait for the pledge?
20. Why should he not sleep with the poor man’s pledge?
21. What would we call the pledge today?
22. What will God do, if he lets the borrower sleep in his pledge?
23. How should you treat people who are working for you?
24. Why should you not hold back a person’s wages?
25. The father shall not be put to death for the _____________.
26. Why should you not take a widow’s garment to pledge?
27. What does verse 18 say, they should remember?
28. What should they do, when they harvest?
29. How had God made provision for the fatherless, the widow, and the stranger not to go hungry?
30. How are the Israelites trying to pay back a little for what God has done for them?