Deuteronomy – Chapter 24

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The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 24


1 2 «When a man, after marrying a woman and having relations with her, is later displeased with her because he finds in her something indecent, and therefore he writes out a bill of divorce and hands it to her, thus dismissing her from his house:


if on leaving his house she goes and becomes the wife of another man,


and the second husband, too, comes to dislike her and dismisses her from his house by handing her a written bill of divorce; or if this second man who has married her, dies;


then her former husband, who dismissed her, may not again take her as his wife after she has become defiled. That would be an abomination before the LORD, and you shall not bring such guilt upon the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you as a heritage.


«When a man is newly wed, he need not go out on a military expedition, nor shall any public duty be imposed on him. He shall be exempt for one year for the sake of his family, to bring joy to the wife he has married.


3 «No one shall take a hand mill or even its upper stone as a pledge for debt, for he would be taking the debtor’s sustenance as a pledge.


«If any man is caught kidnaping a fellow Israelite in order to enslave him and sell him, the kidnaper shall be put to death. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst.


«In an attack of leprosy you shall be careful to observe exactly and to carry out all the directions of the levitical priests. Take care to act in accordance with the instructions I have given them.


Remember what the LORD, your God, did to Miriam on the journey after you left Egypt.


4 «When you make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, you shall not enter his house to receive a pledge from him,


but shall wait outside until the man to whom you are making the loan brings his pledge outside to you.


If he is a poor man, you shall not sleep in the mantle he gives as a pledge,


but shall return it to him at sunset that he himself may sleep in it. Then he will bless you, and it will be a good deed of yours before the LORD, your God.


«You shall not defraud a poor and needy hired servant, whether he be one of your own countrymen or one of the aliens who live in your communities.


You shall pay him each day’s wages before sundown on the day itself, since he is poor and looks forward to them. Otherwise he will cry to the LORD against you, and you will be held guilty.


«Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children for their fathers; only for his own guilt shall a man be put to death.


«You shall not violate the rights of the alien or of the orphan, nor take the clothing of a widow as a pledge.


For, remember, you were once slaves in Egypt, and the LORD, your God, ransomed you from there; that is why I command you to observe this rule.


«When you reap the harvest in your field and overlook a sheaf there, you shall not go back to get it; let it be for the alien, the orphan or the widow, that the LORD, your God, may bless you in all your undertakings.


When you knock down the fruit of your olive trees, you shall not go over the branches a second time; let what remains be for the alien, the orphan and the widow.


When you pick your grapes, you shall not go over the vineyard a second time; let what remains be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow.


For remember that you were once slaves in Egypt; that is why I command you to observe this rule.

1 [1-4] This law is directly concerned only with forbidding divorced couples to remarry each other, and indirectly with checking hasty divorces, by demanding sufficient cause and certain legal formalities. Divorce itself is taken for granted and tolerated as an existing custom whose evils this law seeks to lessen. Cf ⇒ Deut 22:19, ⇒ 29; ⇒ Malachi 2:14-16. Christ gave the authentic interpretation of this law: «Moses, by reason of the hardness of your heart, permitted you to put away your wives; but it was not so from the beginning» (⇒ Matthew 19:8, 9).
2 [1] Something indecent: a rather indefinite phrase, meaning perhaps «immodest conduct.» At the time of Christ the rabbis differed in opinion concerning the sufficient grounds for divorce; cf ⇒ Matthew 19:3.
3 [6] Since the Israelites ground their grain into flour only in sufficient quantity for their current need, to deprive a debtor of his hand mill was virtually equivalent to condemning him to starve to death.
4 [10-11] The debtor had the right to select the pledge that the creditor demanded as a guarantee for his loan.