On-Line Bible Lessons

Deuteronomy - Chapter 21, Lesson 1

Pastor Ovid Need

Now we come to a combination of five laws. 1. The unresolved murder. 2. The woman taken in warfare. 3. The man with two wives. 4. The rebellious son. 5. The burial of the law breaker. In these five, Moses is stressing the importance of life. It is worthy of note that in the law a person is not referred to as a criminal. He is identified as a law breaker, (a thief, a murderer, etc.) and a sinner.

1. Verses 1-9, we have the first lawless act in this series. What is the guilt here?

a. How is responsibility determined, v. 2? ___________________________________________

b. What is to be done by the authorities, vv. 3-7? ___________________________________

c. Why was this to be done, v. 9? ___________________________________________________

d. In this, who is put to death for the guilty party? ________________________________

There are several important principles presented here. Of course, the activity of vv. 3 and 4 is no longer done today because of Christ, yet these principles are still just as valid.

The first thing we would see is that all sin is against God. Sin is in terms of His Word, not man's, v. 9. Sin must be answered to before God. David made this plain in what verse, Ps. 51? Secondly, here is a principle of restitution. That sin must be paid for before God. Now, of course, if the guilty party is ever identified he must pay the price. Third, we see that restitu­tion is a community affair. The whole of the local community must be concerned that justice is done. The attitude of our day of, "It doesn't concern me, so I'll stay out of it" is not scriptural. By this, we are talking of public lawless acts against God. Abortion would be a good example here, as well as pornography. The local community must get involved against wickedness. God will hold the community responsible. Notice that the courts uphold the standards of the local com­munity when things such as pornography are brought before them. Our job as Christians is to change the standards of the local community through the power of the gospel of grace.

Our nature wants to avoid these acts against God's Word so we don't have to get involved. Also, in this we have the responsibility for godly restitution toward the victim and his family by the community whether the guilty is found or not. Here the Lord holds the community responsible and restitution MUST be made to avoid His judgment. Our God is a God of Justice, Holiness and Righteousness and He does not let sin just slip by even when the guilty party cannot be accounted for.

Verses 10-14. Now, the next section, and, again, the Lord shows us the great value He places upon life and the dignity of the individual. Here God shows His concern for a woman taken cap­tive in warfare. As we look at this, keep in mind our lessons on chp. 20, the only warfare which God condones. Therefore, this captive was taken in accordance to the laws governing warfare.

2. This captive could not be from where, Deut. 2:34; 3:6; 7:1-3; 20:16-18?

a. Among those nations which could be united with by marriage, what was the restriction in regards to these captives, Num. 31:17- 18?


As usual, God shows His grace in allowing even those who are under the condemnation of the law to be pardoned and become members of His covenant people. We see this as soon as the people move into the land as Rahab, the Canaanite, desires to be united with the God of Israel. Of course, this is a beautiful picture of the grace of God towards us. We who were under the con­demnation of death under the law, God placed within us the desire to be united with Him and His Son. We came to His Son, thereby escaping the just recompense of our sin under the law. Read Eph. chp. 2-- Christ saw us and desired to have us as His bride apart from any good on our part. We were under the death sentence. We were a captive to sin, yet He desired us. What beauty did He see in us? We will never know, but for His own reasons and for His own glory He chose us. Notice what Paul's desire for the people of Corinth was, II Cor. 11:2. As we see with David (II Sam. 12:13), only God can pardon the guilty and this pardon is freely offered to, "Whosoever will."
There are at least a couple of reasons for these restrictions as given in the law. We have already mentioned them. One was the Canaanite's commitment to their false gods which would draw away the hearts of God's people from their God. The other would be the uncontrolled disease among the Canaanite people. Remember, one of the main methods of Canaanite worship was im­morality of every kind imaginable.

3. We have something worth looking at here in v. 11. Notice here that the Lord, through Moses, makes a point. What kind of a woman was this? ________________________________________

a. This woman had to do what, v. 12? ________________________________________________

b. The significance of this is easily traced. What was the purpose of doing this, Lev. 14:8; Num. 8:7?

c. What else was she to do, v. 13? ___________________________________________________

(1) What are we to do as we look forward to our uniting with our husband, Eph. 4:22-32; Col. 3:8-10?

(2) Why is this so important for us, Heb. 11:15? ________________________________

(3) Another reason this is so important, I Tim. 1:18? ___________________________

(4) Another reason, II Tim. 2:4, 19, 21? ________________________________________

Therefore, here in Deut., this woman had to renounce her former "religion" and conform to the God of Israel. Of course, this is exactly what Rahab did, and this is what is expected of and re­quired of those who turn to and seek after the God of Israel today.

Back to our woman here. The man who desired her was restricted. He COULD NOT take her un­less she did these things no matter how attracted he was to her. His attraction, love, towards her had to be restricted within the Word of God. His first responsibility was to God's Word, not to his own desires. We also see this principle reflected in the NT many times. Romans 13:14 clearly points out that the lusts of the flesh ARE NOT to control us. We cannot allow what we want to do control us contrary to God's Word. Another reflection of this is found in II Cor. 6:14. We have covered this one quite extensively in a previous lesson. Let it suffice to say here, God never al­lows the yoking together of the worshipers of Him (through Jesus Christ our Lord, Jn. 4) and those who do not recognize this demand of our God . The end never justifies the means. Yet, the one who has served the heathen gods in the past can become a child of God. After their life has proved, over a period of time, their forsaking their former gods, then they are free to marry "in the Lord". Really, this is the only restriction on marriage. Rahab would have been a daughter of Ham. Judah married a Hamite girl, Shuah, Gen. 38. The son's name was Er. Judah took a bride for him, Tamar, undoubtedly another Cananite. Judah then had another son by her, Pharez. Moses' wife was a Hamite girl.

This man's desire for this woman had to be restricted within the confines of God's Word. No matter how good something (person, in this case, but this would include anything and everything the heart could desire) might look, it had to be restricted within the confines of God's Word. This would fit within the 10th commandment, "Thou shalt not covet--." This would include more things than we could mention in such a short study. Let's look at just one thing under this principle. No matter how much we might desire that material possession we see, it does not justify going into debt for it, Rom. 13:8. Only as a very last resort could an Israelite sell himself into bondage. It was strictly an emergency which permitted this servitude, Prov. 22:7. No matter how good this woman looked to this Israelite man, or how much he loved her and desired to have her, he could not violate the principles of God's Word to have her. There probably is nothing which would tempt a man to violate the principle of God's Word as much as a woman which is "at his mercy" as described here in vv. 10-11.

It takes the grace of God, dedication and commitment to our God and His Word to live above the world, flesh and the devil as they parade the beautiful things of the world before God's people. The power of God is here to live according to His Word, according to Rom. 13:14. It's available; let us claim it today.

One last thing here. This woman, once taken could not be treated as a captive any longer. She was considered free once she was taken into the covenant people.

She could sell herself into bondage, but her husband could not. This also is reflected in the NT in Jn. 8, and, especially, v.36. The Son has made us free indeed, yet all too often we sell our­selves back into the bondage of the world, flesh and the devil. The Son has made us free, yet this freedom must be claimed daily, I Cor. 15:31.

Ps. 37:4, delight theyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desire of thine heart. This will not stand alone. This Israelite man's delight had to be in doing what God's law said. That delight in His law could not be over ridden by his delight in a beautiful woman. Of course, God may give us our request (the beautiful woman, if you please), but with that will come leanness, Ps. 106:15. EVERY request, regardless how pleasing to the eyes or pleasant to the flesh, MUST be submitted to our Heavenly Father as our Example submitted His. "Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt, Matt. 26:39, etc.."