-Various laws for societal progress and order are continued in this section. The first idea promoted by the LORD revolved around returning lost items to their rightful owner. In their agrarian culture this involved animals primarily like sheep, which do have a tendency to wander away, donkeys, and it extended to everything. Even garments were required to be returned or held until the person to whom it belonged could retrieve them. Animals that were fallen down and hurt on the way had to be taken care of. It was wrong to neglect them. They were required to help raise them back up. This was the neighborly thing to do and relates closely to Jesus’ parable in Luke 10:25-37 (Deuteronomy 22:1-4). Things like transgender dressing, which is an abomination to the LORD, and caring for birds with eggs or babies are discussed for the prolonging of days in the land which the LORD was blessing them with. Then, some practical considerations for every day healthy living were covered. Guardrails on roofs of newly built houses so people wouldn’t fall off were implemented, as were sowing with only one kind of seed in their vineyards, which could corrupt it. An ox and donkey were not allowed to plow together with the same yoke, and a material mixed with wool and linen together was not allowed to be worn. The tassels on the four corners of their garment that was their outer covering was also required (Deuteronomy 22:5-12).
-Laws of sexual morality were then outlined in further detail to the previously given commands by the LORD. If a wife was accused of not being a virgin upon becoming married, there was a just and fair process for seeing if the indictment was true or not. If a man falsely accused, he was to be chastised by the elders of the community and fined 100 shekels of silver to be given to the girl’s father because of his causing a public humiliation. But if the charge were accurate and found to be true, the girl was to be stoned to death for committing an “act of folly” in Israel by playing the harlot in her father’s house. This would “purge the evil from Israel (Deuteronomy 22:13-21).” If a man was found in adultery with a married woman, both of them deserved to die. If a man goes into a woman that is an engaged virgin inside the city and she does not cry out to protect herself, both her and the man who committed this sexual sin were to be brought out to the gate of the city and stoned to death. This betrothal period was considered to be a violation against a neighbor’s wife, and the society was required, again, to “purge the evil” from among them. This was to be a totally chaste people group. There was a practical clause for this activity that happened to occur outside the city areas in the open fields where no one was at. A rape in the desolate areas would incur guilt only on the man, since there was no one to hear the girl cry out in these types of places. She had not committed a sin worthy of death in these instances. Further, if a man takes a virgin who is not engaged and seizes her and lies with her and are discovered, then the man who did the deed was required to give the girl’s father 50 shekels of silver, and he was made to marry her without any chance of divorce all his days. Finally, a man was not allowed to take his father’s wife. This would be dishonoring and humiliating to the patriarch (Deuteronomy 22:13-30).
-*Application* The degradation of a society does not take long when courteous and practical rules for well-being are not followed. The Law restrains evil and is a necessary part of any civilization. We may disagree on the severity of punishments, but measures must be put in place to negate vile behavior. Sexual sins, which become paramount in the concluding verses of this pericope, are not innocent dabblings in taboo pleasures. They disrupt and eventually destroy the saneness of a culture. They confuse and eradicate the climate of respect, trust, and credibility so important and vital for solid marriages and secure children. For us, we must understand the consequences and stand for purity in the sincere love for our neighbor. This is the continuing commandment of the LORD (1 Corinthians 6:15-20, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8).
Verse to Memorize: Deuteronomy 22:5