Deuteronmy 24:14 through 25:19 - Bible Study Suggesions wanted

I hope I picked the right place to post this.

I am leading Torah Study next Saturday morning, and we cover Deuteronmy 24:14 through 25:19. The text is below. Any guidance or suggesions from “the group”?

Biblical text (no copyright) below:

[INDENT=2]14] You shall not abuse a needy and destitute laborer, whether a fellow Israelite or a stranger in one of the communities of your land. 15] You must payout the wages due on the same day, before the sun sets, for the worker is needy and urgently depends on it; else a cry to the Eternal will be issued against you and you will incur guilt. 16] Parents shall not be put to death for children, nor children be put to death for parents: they shall each be put to death only for their own crime. 17] You shall not subvert the rights of the stranger or the fatherless; you shall not take a widow’s garment in pawn. 18] Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and that the Eternal your God redeemed you from there; therefore do I enjoin you to observe this commandment. 19] When you reap the harvest in your field and overlook a sheaf in the field, do not tum back to get it; it shall go to the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow-in order that the Eternal your God may bless you in all your undertakings. 20] When you beat down the fruit of your olive trees, do not go over them again; that shall go to the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. 21] When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, do not pick it over again; that shall go to the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. 22] Always remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore do I enjoin you to observe this commandment.

25:1] When there is a dispute between parties and they go to law, and a decision is rendered declaring the one in the right and the other in the wrong- 2] if the guilty one is to be flogged, the magistrate shall have the person lie down and shall supervise the giving of lashes, by count, as warranted by the offense. 3] The guilty one may be given up to forty lashes, but not more, lest being flogged further, to excess, your peer be degraded before your eyes. 4] You shall not muzzle an ox while it is threshing. 5] When brothers dwell together and one of them dies and leaves no offspring, the wife of the deceased shall not be married to a party outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall unite with her: he shall take her as his wife and perform the levir’s duty. 6] The first child that she bears shall be accounted to the dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out in Israel. 7] But if the [family] representative does not want to marry his brother’s widow, his brother’s widow shall appear before the elders in the gate and declare, “My husband’s brother refuses to establish a name in Israel for his brother; he will not perform the duty of a levir.” 8] The elders of his town shall then summon him and talk to him. Ifhe insists, saying, “I do not want to marry her,” 9] his brother’s widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, pull the sandal off his foot, spit in his face, and make this declaration: Thus shall be done to the [family] representative who will not build up his brother’s house! 10] And he shall go in Israel by the name of “the family of the unsandaled one.”

11] If two men get into a fight with each other, and the wife of one comes up to save her husband from his antagonist and puts out her hand and seizes him by his genitals, 12] you shall cut off her hand; show no pity.13] You shall not have in your pouch alternate weights, larger and smaller. 14] You shall not have in your house alternate measures, a larger and a smaller. 15] You must have completely honest weights and completely honest measures, if you are to endure long on the soil that the Eternal your God is giving you. 16] For everyone who does those things, everyone who deals dishonestly, is abhorrent to the Eternal your God. 17] Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt- 18] how, undeterred by fear of God, he surprised you on the march, when you were famished and weary, and cut down all the stragglers in your rear. 19] Therefore, when the Eternal your God grants you safety from all your enemies around you, in the land that the Eternal your God is giving you as a hereditary portion, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget![/INDENT]

[INDENT=2]

Any interpretational help is appreciated.[/INDENT]

Probably should have been in Faith and Beliefs, but this is probably OK, too. That’s a tough passage! But I think that one thing needs to be kept in mind - that the seemingly severe rules placed upon ancient Israel were a big step up from the heathen background of the peoples of that day. It seems that the passage is promoting fair treatment as opposed to unreasonable severe reprisals. At one time, probably any wrong suffered might conceivably be met with death of the person who did the wrong. And the punishment of parents/children for the children/parents’ sins were common. But I see that part of the passage deals also with compassion for the needy. As for the man taking his brother’s widow to raise up children - children and inheritance was a big issue at that time. I won’t try to put any interpretation on that. In fact, I won’t try to suggest how you should teach it. Just seek God’s help; and God bless you as you seek to do your part in presenting his word.

Thanks.

And I welcome any more input.

For my information where do I find “Faith and Beliefs”? And you can move this if you want.

Jim

I can’t move it, I’m not a mod; Faith and Beliefs is a little more than half-way down in the “RO Operations” section.

Well, this section is elaborating on the command for Justice in all things that are stated in multiple areas of the Torah.

The first section is primarily describing how the concept of Menial Labor and Charity should be embraced.
Those with the means and power to need such Labor are not to abuse the lack of means and power of those who provide this Labor.

So pay them promptly what was agreed upon or answer to the God who is their advocate.

The second part elaborates on the concept “It is good for man to work” and “If a man will not work, let him not eat”.

The wealthier members of society are to allow the poorest to “Glean the scraps” from a field or crop of trees after the harvest so they could earn their means of survival. Any land owner who insisted on going over all his land as many times as it took to harvest every marketable scrap was ignoring the Widows, the Fatherless and the Aliens in need of sustenance and would therefore earn the wrath of the God who who watches out for them.

We are to care for the poor by providing a means for them to “earn” their provision, this preserves their dignity and does not disrespect God. This is Biblical “Welfare”.

The third part is recognizing that for Justice to be “Just” the Court must provide a means of monitoring the way a punishment is carried out. The example of counting the lashes is given but this principle would apply to making sure only the amount of a fine was demanded without Usury from an injured Party or only the actual terms of a contract were enforced and not some “extra” to satisfy a revenge desire.

The universal limit of “40 lashes” is designed to provide a means of grading an offense (all offenses are not equally destructive even though they may fall into the same category). Limiting the maximum number to a survivable amount prevents a lesser crime from ending up a “death penalty” offense and allows for a reduced number of lashes for extenuating circumstances.

Justice is always supposed to be based on Law, never revenge. Since we desire vengeance as individuals when we are wronged, the Court is responsible to see that the law and punishment fit the crime and are carried out consistently each time.

The forth part is elaborating on Justice within a family. Your brothers widow is no less a family member if your brother dies and is no less entitled to your brothers portion for her posterity. So a man is to take his brothers widow as his own wife and insure that she has offspring to continue the dead brothers legacy and position. If a family took advantage of the weak position that a widow found herself in by casting her out and taking her husbands portion as their own, the God of Israel would be her advocate and would not overlook this offense of greed and selfishness.

The public shame incurred by being tagged “the family of the unsandaled one” combined with being legally spit on by a woman in public was designed to prevent a greedy brother from avoiding the public contempt that his selfish greed deserves by being “punished” privately for his refusal to honor his own brothers house.

(The Bible calls for peer pressure in many situations as an effective deterrent to bad behavior.)

The fifth part is letting women know that disrespecting the position of authority that God placed men in by using his genitals (the defining physical difference between men and women) as a weakness to be capitalized on was a very serious offense.

In the Bible ALL people are called to submit, nobody gets to “be their own god”.
Men must submit to God or face punishment.
Women must submit to Men or face punishment.
Children must submit to Parents or face punishment.
Citizens must submit to the government and the law or face punishment.

ALL these groups are human so ALL rebel against the concept of “submission”.
Many excuses are offered for this rebellion but the root of rebellion toward the call of submission is the same root that caused the fall of man in the beginning, selfishness and arrogance.

The sixth part is an elaboration on the concept of limiting the punishment to fit the crime in the Justice system, or “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”.

The human tendency is to go overboard when we are “wronged”, like some areas of the world who would chop off a hand for stealing an apple (An apple is not worth a hand).

We are to make sure that true Justice is served by verifying that our punishments are based on sober, reasonable thought that applies equally to all and not the passion of vengeance that is applied differently in each case based on the popularity or position of the offender.

The seventh part is stating that God is watching all our interactions and that he takes notice when we intentionally misrepresent weights and measures in trade. We are to be known as trustworthy and reliable because the God we claim as our own is trustworthy and reliable. Shorting a trade partner with dishonest scales is a two fold statement that offends God.

  1. It gives the impression that our God is unreliable and dishonest.
  2. It is proclaiming that we have no faith in our Gods ability to provide for our needs so we must use dishonest means to insure our provision.

God is offended by both of these attacks on his character.

The reminder throughout the entire section that Gods people are to “remember that you yourselves were slaves once” and the repeating reminders that “The Widows, the Fatherless and the Aliens” are never far from the center of Gods concern is to make sure that all understand that these principles of Justice ARE the compassionate way to conduct ourselves and the best way we can help each other.

Attempts to embrace other principles of Justice will lead to the harming of the “Widows, the Fatherless and the Aliens” and cause all people in general to lose faith in the Justice system as a whole.

Does that sound at all familiar to what is happening in America today?

I probably did not do justice to any individual point in that simple summary, that is a LOT of ground for one study.

I would probably break up this scripture section into 4 class sessions with the fourth being a summary that tied the other 3 together.

Good luck, you will have your hands full!

[LEFT]Your input was very helpful. The session was immensely successful.

Thanks.[/LEFT]