Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) February 23
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Deuteronomy 23:1--25:19

Context
Purity in Public Worship

23:1 A man with crushed 1  or severed genitals 2  may not enter the assembly of the Lord. 3  23:2 A person of illegitimate birth 4  may not enter the assembly of the Lord; to the tenth generation no one related to him may do so. 5 

23:3 An Ammonite or Moabite 6  may not enter the assembly of the Lord; to the tenth generation none of their descendants shall ever 7  do so, 8  23:4 for they did not meet you with food and water on the way as you came from Egypt, and furthermore, they hired 9  Balaam son of Beor of Pethor in Aram Naharaim to curse you. 23:5 But the Lord your God refused to listen to Balaam and changed 10  the curse to a blessing, for the Lord your God loves 11  you. 23:6 You must not seek peace and prosperity for them through all the ages to come. 23:7 You must not hate an Edomite, for he is your relative; 12  you must not hate an Egyptian, for you lived as a foreigner 13  in his land. 23:8 Children of the third generation born to them 14  may enter the assembly of the Lord.

Purity in Personal Hygiene

23:9 When you go out as an army against your enemies, guard yourselves against anything impure. 15  23:10 If there is someone among you who is impure because of some nocturnal emission, 16  he must leave the camp; he may not reenter it immediately. 23:11 When evening arrives he must wash himself with water and then at sunset he may reenter the camp.

23:12 You are to have a place outside the camp to serve as a latrine. 17  23:13 You must have a spade among your other equipment and when you relieve yourself 18  outside you must dig a hole with the spade 19  and then turn and cover your excrement. 20  23:14 For the Lord your God walks about in the middle of your camp to deliver you and defeat 21  your enemies for you. Therefore your camp should be holy, so that he does not see anything indecent 22  among you and turn away from you.

Purity in the Treatment of the Nonprivileged

23:15 You must not return an escaped slave to his master when he has run away to you. 23  23:16 Indeed, he may live among you in any place he chooses, in whichever of your villages 24  he prefers; you must not oppress him.

Purity in Cultic Personnel

23:17 There must never be a sacred prostitute 25  among the young women 26  of Israel nor a sacred male prostitute 27  among the young men 28  of Israel. 23:18 You must never bring the pay of a female prostitute 29  or the wage of a male prostitute 30  into the temple of the Lord your God in fulfillment of any vow, for both of these are abhorrent to the Lord your God.

Respect for Others’ Property

23:19 You must not charge interest on a loan to your fellow Israelite, 31  whether on money, food, or anything else that has been loaned with interest. 23:20 You may lend with interest to a foreigner, but not to your fellow Israelite; if you keep this command the Lord your God will bless you in all you undertake in the land you are about to enter to possess. 23:21 When you make a vow to the Lord your God you must not delay in fulfilling it, for otherwise he 32  will surely 33  hold you accountable as a sinner. 34  23:22 If you refrain from making a vow, it will not be sinful. 23:23 Whatever you vow, you must be careful to do what you have promised, such as what you have vowed to the Lord your God as a freewill offering. 23:24 When you enter the vineyard of your neighbor you may eat as many grapes as you please, 35  but you must not take away any in a container. 36  23:25 When you go into the ripe grain fields of your neighbor you may pluck off the kernels with your hand, 37  but you must not use a sickle on your neighbor’s ripe grain.

24:1 If a man marries a woman and she does not please him because he has found something offensive 38  in her, then he may draw up a divorce document, give it to her, and evict her from his house. 24:2 When she has left him 39  she may go and become someone else’s wife. 24:3 If the second husband rejects 40  her and then divorces her, 41  gives her the papers, and evicts her from his house, or if the second husband who married her dies, 24:4 her first husband who divorced her is not permitted to remarry 42  her after she has become ritually impure, for that is offensive to the Lord. 43  You must not bring guilt on the land 44  which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

24:5 When a man is newly married, he need not go into 45  the army nor be obligated in any way; he must be free to stay at home for a full year and bring joy to 46  the wife he has married.

24:6 One must not take either lower or upper millstones as security on a loan, for that is like taking a life itself as security. 47 

24:7 If a man is found kidnapping a person from among his fellow Israelites, 48  and regards him as mere property 49  and sells him, that kidnapper 50  must die. In this way you will purge 51  evil from among you.

Respect for Human Dignity

24:8 Be careful during an outbreak of leprosy to follow precisely 52  all that the Levitical priests instruct you; as I have commanded them, so you should do. 24:9 Remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam 53  along the way after you left Egypt.

24:10 When you make any kind of loan to your neighbor, you may not go into his house to claim what he is offering as security. 54  24:11 You must stand outside and the person to whom you are making the loan will bring out to you what he is offering as security. 55  24:12 If the person is poor you may not use what he gives you as security for a covering. 56  24:13 You must by all means 57  return to him at sunset the item he gave you as security so that he may sleep in his outer garment and bless you for it; it will be considered a just 58  deed by the Lord your God.

24:14 You must not oppress a lowly and poor servant, whether one from among your fellow Israelites 59  or from the resident foreigners who are living in your land and villages. 60  24:15 You must pay his wage that very day before the sun sets, for he is poor and his life depends on it. Otherwise he will cry out to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin.

24:16 Fathers must not be put to death for what their children 61  do, nor children for what their fathers do; each must be put to death for his own sin.

24:17 You must not pervert justice due a resident foreigner or an orphan, or take a widow’s garment as security for a loan. 24:18 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do all this. 24:19 Whenever you reap your harvest in your field and leave some unraked grain there, 62  you must not return to get it; it should go to the resident foreigner, orphan, and widow so that the Lord your God may bless all the work you do. 63  24:20 When you beat your olive tree you must not repeat the procedure; 64  the remaining olives belong to the resident foreigner, orphan, and widow. 24:21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard you must not do so a second time; 65  they should go to the resident foreigner, orphan, and widow. 24:22 Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt; therefore, I am commanding you to do all this.

25:1 If controversy arises between people, 66  they should go to court for judgment. When the judges 67  hear the case, they shall exonerate 68  the innocent but condemn 69  the guilty. 25:2 Then, 70  if the guilty person is sentenced to a beating, 71  the judge shall force him to lie down and be beaten in his presence with the number of blows his wicked behavior deserves. 72  25:3 The judge 73  may sentence him to forty blows, 74  but no more. If he is struck with more than these, you might view your fellow Israelite 75  with contempt.

25:4 You must not muzzle your 76  ox when it is treading grain.

Respect for the Sanctity of Others

25:5 If brothers live together and one of them dies without having a son, the dead man’s wife must not remarry someone outside the family. Instead, her late husband’s brother must go to her, marry her, 77  and perform the duty of a brother-in-law. 78  25:6 Then 79  the first son 80  she bears will continue the name of the dead brother, thus preventing his name from being blotted out of Israel. 25:7 But if the man does not want to marry his brother’s widow, then she 81  must go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to preserve his brother’s name in Israel; he is unwilling to perform the duty of a brother-in-law to me!” 25:8 Then the elders of his city must summon him and speak to him. If he persists, saying, “I don’t want to marry her,” 25:9 then his sister-in-law must approach him in view of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, and spit in his face. 82  She will then respond, “Thus may it be done to any man who does not maintain his brother’s family line!” 83  25:10 His family name will be referred to 84  in Israel as “the family 85  of the one whose sandal was removed.” 86 

25:11 If two men 87  get into a hand-to-hand fight, and the wife of one of them gets involved to help her husband against his attacker, and she reaches out her hand and grabs his genitals, 88  25:12 then you must cut off her hand – do not pity her.

25:13 You must not have in your bag different stone weights, 89  a heavy and a light one. 90  25:14 You must not have in your house different measuring containers, 91  a large and a small one. 25:15 You must have an accurate and correct 92  stone weight and an accurate and correct measuring container, so that your life may be extended in the land the Lord your God is about to give you. 25:16 For anyone who acts dishonestly in these ways is abhorrent 93  to the Lord your God.

Treatment of the Amalekites

25:17 Remember what the Amalekites 94  did to you on your way from Egypt, 25:18 how they met you along the way and cut off all your stragglers in the rear of the march when you were exhausted and tired; they were unafraid of God. 95  25:19 So when the Lord your God gives you relief from all the enemies who surround you in the land he 96  is giving you as an inheritance, 97  you must wipe out the memory of the Amalekites from under heaven 98  – do not forget! 99 

1 tn Heb “bruised by crushing,” which many English versions take to refer to crushed testicles (NAB, NRSV, NLT); TEV “who has been castrated.”

2 tn Heb “cut off with respect to the penis”; KJV, ASV “hath his privy member cut off”; English versions vary in their degree of euphemism here; cf. NAB, NRSV, TEV, NLT “penis”; NASB “male organ”; NCV “sex organ”; CEV “private parts”; NIV “emasculated by crushing or cutting.”

3 sn The Hebrew term translated “assembly” (קָהָל, qahal) does not refer here to the nation as such but to the formal services of the tabernacle or temple. Since emasculated or other sexually abnormal persons were commonly associated with pagan temple personnel, the thrust here may be primarily polemical in intent. One should not read into this anything having to do with the mentally and physically handicapped as fit to participate in the life and ministry of the church.

4 tn Or “a person born of an illegitimate marriage.”

5 tn Heb “enter the assembly of the Lord.” The phrase “do so” has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.

6 sn An Ammonite or Moabite. These descendants of Lot by his two daughters (cf. Gen 19:30-38) were thereby the products of incest and therefore excluded from the worshiping community. However, these two nations also failed to show proper hospitality to Israel on their way to Canaan (v. 4).

7 tn The Hebrew term translated “ever” (עַד־עוֹלָם, ’ad-olam) suggests that “tenth generation” (vv. 2, 3) also means “forever.” However, in the OT sense “forever” means not “for eternity” but for an indeterminate future time. See A. Tomasino, NIDOTTE 3:346.

8 tn Heb “enter the assembly of the Lord.” The phrase “do so” has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.

9 tn Heb “hired against you.”

10 tn Heb “the Lord your God changed.” The phrase “the Lord your God” has not been included in the translation here for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy. Moreover, use of the pronoun “he” could create confusion regarding the referent (the Lord or Balaam).

11 tn The verb אָהַב (’ahav, “love”) here and commonly elsewhere in the Book of Deuteronomy speaks of God’s elective grace toward Israel. See note on the word “loved” in Deut 4:37.

12 tn Heb “brother.”

13 tn Heb “sojourner.”

14 sn Concessions were made to the Edomites and Egyptians (as compared to the others listed in vv. 1-6) because the Edomites (i.e., Esauites) were full “brothers” of Israel and the Egyptians had provided security and sustenance for Israel for more than four centuries.

15 tn Heb “evil.” The context makes clear that this is a matter of ritual impurity, not moral impurity, so it is “evil” in the sense that it disbars one from certain religious activity.

16 tn Heb “nocturnal happening.” The Hebrew term קָרֶה (qareh) merely means “to happen” so the phrase here is euphemistic (a “night happening”) for some kind of bodily emission such as excrement or semen. Such otherwise normal physical functions rendered one ritually unclean whether accidental or not. See Lev 15:16-18; 22:4.

17 tn Heb “so that one may go outside there.” This expression is euphemistic.

18 tn Heb “sit.” This expression is euphemistic.

19 tn Heb “with it”; the referent (the spade mentioned at the beginning of the verse) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

20 tn Heb “what comes from you,” a euphemism.

21 tn Heb “give [over] your enemies.”

22 tn Heb “nakedness of a thing”; NLT “any shameful thing.” The expression עֶרְוַת דָּבָר (’ervat davar) refers specifically to sexual organs and, by extension, to any function associated with them. There are some aspects of human life that are so personal and private that they ought not be publicly paraded. Cultically speaking, even God is offended by such impropriety (cf. Gen 9:22-23; Lev 18:6-12, 16-19; 20:11, 17-21). See B. Seevers, NIDOTTE 3:528-30.

23 tn The Hebrew text includes “from his master,” but this would be redundant in English style.

24 tn Heb “gates.”

25 tn The Hebrew term translated “sacred prostitute” here (קְדֵשָׁה [qÿdeshah], from קַדֵשׁ [qadesh, “holy”]; cf. NIV “shrine prostitute”; NASB “cult prostitute”; NRSV, TEV, NLT “temple prostitute”) refers to the pagan fertility cults that employed female and male prostitutes in various rituals designed to evoke agricultural and even human fecundity (cf. Gen 38:21-22; 1 Kgs 14:24; 15:12; 22:47; 2 Kgs 23:7; Hos 4:14). The Hebrew term for a regular, noncultic (i.e., “secular”) female prostitute is זוֹנָה (zonah).

26 tn Heb “daughters.”

27 tn The male cultic prostitute was called קָדֵשׁ (qadesh; see note on the phrase “sacred prostitute” earlier in this verse). The colloquial Hebrew term for a “secular” male prostitute (i.e., a sodomite) is the disparaging epithet כֶּלֶב (kelev, “dog”) which occurs in the following verse (cf. KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB).

28 tn Heb “sons.”

29 tn Here the Hebrew term זוֹנָה (zonah) refers to a noncultic (i.e., “secular”) female prostitute; see note on the phrase “sacred prostitute” in v. 17.

30 tn Heb “of a dog.” This is the common Hebrew term for a noncultic (i.e., “secular”) male prostitute. See note on the phrase “sacred male prostitute” in v. 17.

31 tn Heb “to your brother” (likewise in the following verse). Since this is not limited to actual siblings, “fellow Israelite” is used in the translation (cf. NAB, NASB “countrymen”).

32 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.

33 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which is reflected in the translation by “surely.”

34 tn Heb “and it will be a sin to you”; NIV, NCV, NLT “be guilty of sin.”

35 tn Heb “grapes according to your appetite, your fullness.”

36 tn Heb “in your container”; NAB, NIV “your basket.”

37 sn For the continuation of these practices into NT times see Matt 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-28; Luke 6:1-5.

38 tn Heb “nakedness of a thing.” The Hebrew phrase עֶרְוַת דָּבָר (’ervat davar) refers here to some gross sexual impropriety (see note on “indecent” in Deut 23:14). Though the term usually has to do only with indecent exposure of the genitals, it can also include such behavior as adultery (cf. Lev 18:6-18; 20:11, 17, 20-21; Ezek 22:10; 23:29; Hos 2:10).

39 tn Heb “his house.”

40 tn Heb “hates.” See note on the word “other” in Deut 21:15.

41 tn Heb “writes her a document of divorce.”

42 tn Heb “to return to take her to be his wife.”

43 sn The issue here is not divorce and its grounds per se but prohibition of remarriage to a mate whom one has previously divorced.

44 tn Heb “cause the land to sin” (so KJV, ASV).

45 tn Heb “go out with.”

46 tc For the MT’s reading Piel שִׂמַּח (simmakh, “bring joy to”), the Syriac and others read שָׂמַח (samakh, “enjoy”).

47 sn Taking millstones as security on a loan would amount to taking the owner’s own life in pledge, since the millstones were the owner’s means of earning a living and supporting his family.

48 tn Heb “from his brothers, from the sons of Israel.” The terms “brothers” and “sons of Israel” are in apposition; the second defines the first more specifically.

49 tn Or “and enslaves him.”

50 tn Heb “that thief.”

51 tn Heb “burn.” See note on the word “purge” in Deut 19:19.

52 tn Heb “to watch carefully and to do.”

53 sn What the Lord your God did to Miriam. The reference is to Miriam’s having contracted leprosy because of her intemperate challenge to Moses’ leadership (Num 12:1-15). The purpose for the allusion here appears to be the assertion of the theocratic leadership of the priests who, like Moses, should not be despised.

54 tn Heb “his pledge.” This refers to something offered as pledge of repayment, i.e., as security for the debt.

55 tn Heb “his pledge.”

56 tn Heb “may not lie down in his pledge.” What is in view is the use of clothing as guarantee for the repayment of loans, a matter already addressed elsewhere (Deut 23:19-20; 24:6; cf. Exod 22:25-26; Lev 25:35-37). Cf. NAB “you shall not sleep in the mantle he gives as a pledge”; NRSV “in the garment given you as the pledge.”

57 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which the translation seeks to reflect with “by all means.”

58 tn Or “righteous” (so NIV, NLT).

59 tn Heb “your brothers,” but not limited only to actual siblings; cf. NASB “your (+ own NAB) countrymen.”

60 tn Heb “who are in your land in your gates.” The word “living” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

61 tn Heb “sons” (so NASB; twice in this verse). Many English versions, including the KJV, read “children” here.

62 tn Heb “in the field.”

63 tn Heb “of your hands.” This law was later applied in the story of Ruth who, as a poor widow, was allowed by generous Boaz to glean in his fields (Ruth 2:1-13).

64 tn Heb “knock down after you.”

65 tn Heb “glean after you.”

66 tn Heb “men.”

67 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the judges) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

68 tn Heb “declare to be just”; KJV, NASB “justify the righteous”; NAB, NIV “acquitting the innocent.”

69 tn Heb “declare to be evil”; NIV “condemning the guilty (+ party NAB).”

70 tn Heb “and it will be.”

71 tn Heb “if the evil one is a son of smiting.”

72 tn Heb “according to his wickedness, by number.”

73 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the judge) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

74 tn Heb “Forty blows he may strike him”; however, since the judge is to witness the punishment (v. 2) it is unlikely the judge himself administered it.

75 tn Heb “your brothers” but not limited only to an actual sibling; cf. NAB) “your kinsman”; NRSV, NLT “your neighbor.”

76 tn Heb “an.” By implication this is one’s own animal.

77 tn Heb “take her as wife”; NRSV “taking her in marriage.”

78 sn This is the so-called “levirate” custom (from the Latin term levir, “brother-in-law”), an ancient provision whereby a man who died without male descendants to carry on his name could have a son by proxy, that is, through a surviving brother who would marry his widow and whose first son would then be attributed to the brother who had died. This is the only reference to this practice in an OT legal text but it is illustrated in the story of Judah and his sons (Gen 38) and possibly in the account of Ruth and Boaz (Ruth 2:8; 3:12; 4:6).

79 tn Heb “and it will be that.”

80 tn Heb “the firstborn.” This refers to the oldest male child.

81 tn Heb “want to take his sister-in-law, then his sister in law.” In the second instance the pronoun (“she”) has been used in the translation to avoid redundancy.

82 sn The removal of the sandal was likely symbolic of the relinquishment by the man of any claim to his dead brother’s estate since the sandal was associated with the soil or land (cf. Ruth 4:7-8). Spitting in the face was a sign of utmost disgust or disdain, an emotion the rejected widow would feel toward her uncooperative brother-in-law (cf. Num 12:14; Lev 15:8). See W. Bailey, NIDOTTE 2:544.

83 tn Heb “build the house of his brother”; TEV “refuses to give his brother a descendant”; NLT “refuses to raise up a son for his brother.”

84 tn Heb “called,” i.e., “known as.”

85 tn Heb “house.”

86 tn Cf. NIV, NCV “The Family of the Unsandaled.”

87 tn Heb “a man and his brother.”

88 tn Heb “shameful parts.” Besides the inherent indelicacy of what she has done, the woman has also threatened the progenitive capacity of the injured man. The level of specificity given this term in modern translations varies: “private parts” (NAB, NIV, CEV); “genitals” (NASB, NRSV, TEV); “sex organs” (NCV); “testicles” (NLT).

89 tn Heb “a stone and a stone.” The repetition of the singular noun here expresses diversity, as the following phrase indicates. See IBHS 116 §7.2.3c.

90 tn Heb “a large and a small,” but since the issue is the weight, “a heavy and a light one” conveys the idea better in English.

91 tn Heb “an ephah and an ephah.” An ephah refers to a unit of dry measure roughly equivalent to five U.S. gallons (just under 20 liters). On the repetition of the term to indicate diversity, see IBHS 116 §7.2.3c.

92 tn Or “just”; Heb “righteous.”

93 tn The Hebrew term translated here “abhorrent” (תּוֹעֵבָה, toevah) speaks of attitudes and/or behaviors so vile as to be reprehensible to a holy God. See note on the word “abhorrent” in Deut 7:25.

94 tn Heb “what Amalek” (so NAB, NRSV). Here the individual ancestor, the namesake of the tribe, is cited as representative of the entire tribe at the time Israel was entering Canaan. Consistent with this, singular pronouns are used in v. 18 and the singular name appears again in v. 19. Since readers unfamiliar with the tribe of Amalekites might think this refers to an individual, the term “Amalekites” and the corresponding plural pronouns have been used throughout these verses (cf. NIV, NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT).

95 sn See Exod 17:8-16.

96 tn Heb “ the Lord your God.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.

97 tn The Hebrew text includes “to possess it.”

98 tn Or “from beneath the sky.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heaven(s)” or “sky” depending on the context.

99 sn This command is fulfilled in 1 Sam 15:1-33.



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