The Bible in a Year: Day 54 (Deuteronomy 18-21)

Deuteronomy 18:14-19 — This is obviously fulfilled in Christ.

Deuteronomy 18:20 — I can’t help but think of Matthew 7:21-23 here.

Deuteronomy 19:16-21 — This is interesting. I generally think of capital punishment as just that, punishment, not necessarily a deterrent against future crime. Verse 20 seems to suggest that capital punishment is a deterrent. A couple of chapters later we read basically the same thing (21:21).

Deuteronomy 20:3 — It’s interesting how before Israel goes into battle the priest begins his speech with שמע ישראל. This of course makes one think back to Deut. 5:1 (the Decalogue) & 6:4 (the Shema). But what are the Decalogue and Shema if not statements concerning covenant. I can’t help but think that the priest begins his speech like this as a reminder of the covenant Israel has with God. This seems to follow naturally from the first verse of this chapter where they’re reminded of God’s mighty act of deliverance.

Deuteronomy 21:1-9 — This passage is intriguing for a couple of reasons. First, the heifer is to be offered outside of the Tabernacle/Temple. That in and of itself gets me thinking. Second, the heifer’s neck is to be broken rather than slit. I see no reference to the heifer being cut up and offered as a burnt offering or anything like that. But atonement is about blood, isn’t it? If the heifer’s blood is not offered then how is atonement made?

Deuteronomy 21:14 — This seems pretty messed up to be honest. I’m not quite sure how it jibes with the law concerning divorce. There doesn’t seem to be any adultery involved, but if the man simply doesn’t care for the wife, he can let her go? Sounds awfully modern.

Deuteronomy 21:22-23 — And of course this is largely what made the cross of Christ so scandalous to Jewish onlookers.



2 thoughts on “The Bible in a Year: Day 54 (Deuteronomy 18-21)

  1. We need to understand that, in casuistic law, as in Deut 21:14, the situation that arises is stated in the protasis. The actual law proscribed is stated in the apodosis. So this law actually seeks to protect the woman in this unjust circumstance (as most of the casuistic laws in Deut do). That’s why when people argue that the Bible teaches that rape or killing a child is acceptable, they’re usually misreading the law. Law codes are first and foremost concerned with order (protection from physical harm) and economic justice. Casuistic law doesn’t usually deal with morality (i.e., the whole of justice enacted upon all individuals for the punishment of wrongdoing) per se. This is true even when people are killed for abominations. It is usually for the sake of the welfare of the community more than a revenge upon the individual.

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