Deuteronomy 23 (English Standard Version)
Those Excluded from the Assembly
1“No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the LORD.
2 “No one born of a forbidden union may enter the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation, none of his descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD.
3 “No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the LORD forever, 4 because they did not meet you with bread and with water on the way, when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. 5But the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam; instead the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loved you. 6You shall not seek their peace or their prosperity all your days forever.
7“You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were a sojourner in his land. 8Children born to them in the third generation may enter the assembly of the LORD.
Uncleanness in the Camp
9“When you are encamped against your enemies, then you shall keep yourself from every evil thing.
10“If any man among you becomes unclean because of a nocturnal emission, then he shall go outside the camp. He shall not come inside the camp, 11but when evening comes, he shall bathe himself in water, and as the sun sets, he may come inside the camp.
12“You shall have a place outside the camp, and you shall go out to it. 13And you shall have a trowel with your tools, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig a hole with it and turn back and cover up your excrement. 14Because the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and to give up your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy, so that he may not see anything indecent among you and turn away from you.
from New International Biblical Commentary: Deuteronomy
by Christopher Wright
There are many countries where the routine burial of excrement would have a marked effect on the health of millions of the world’s population where, without adequate latrines, people defecate in the open and insect borne diseases spread easily. Since God was aware of the effects of germs long before humans knew of the existence, we may be impressed yet again with the correlation between holiness and health. Physical cleanliness, ritual cleanness, and moral holiness were interrelated.
15 “You shall not give up to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. 16He shall dwell with you, in your midst, in the place that he shall choose within one of your towns, wherever it suits him. You shall not wrong him.
Galatians 3:28 (New International Version)
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
17“None of the daughters of Israel shall be a cult prostitute, and none of the sons of Israel shall be a cult prostitute. 18You shall not bring the fee of a prostitute or the wages of a dog into the house of the LORD your God in payment for any vow, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God.
19 “You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest. 20 You may charge a foreigner interest, but you may not charge your brother interest, that the LORD your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.
21 “If you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay fulfilling it, for the LORD your God will surely require it of you, and you will be guilty of sin. 22But if you refrain from vowing, you will not be guilty of sin. 23You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God what you have promised with your mouth.
25If you go into your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck the ears with your hand, but you shall not put a sickle to your neighbor’s standing grain.
This chapter of Deuteronomy urges us to take seriously the needs of the weak and vulnerable. Of course we know that one way to love God is to love our neighbor, but how do we put flesh on those bones? Is this a question that rings in our minds every single day?
Jars of Clay sings “They Will Know that We Are Christians by our Love.”
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
runaway slave reward poster. http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/highlights/archives/undergroundrr1.jpg
zero interest. http://www.cbq.com.qa/admin/images/ZeroInterestLogo.gif