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Deuteronomy - Chapter 23

Bible Study Notes
Deuteronomy 23:1-8 Eunuchs made that way in the context of pagan worship were not allowed in the assembly of the Lord. Any child born of an unforbidden union may not enter the assembly of the Lord up to the tenth generation. No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the Lord up to the tenth generation, because they hired Balaam to curse them. The children of Israel were not allowed to abhor an Edomite for they are related through Jacob and an Egyptian for they sojourned there, but only children in the third generation my enter the Lord’s assembly.

Notes: The general rule was that strangers and foreigners, for fear of friendship or marriage connections which would lead Israel into idolatry, were not admissible until their conversion to God and the Jewish faith.

to the tenth generation. The use of the words “may” and “forever”  seems to indicate that this phrase is an idiom denoting permanent exclusion from the worshiping community of Israel.

Deuteronomy 23:9-14 When the Israelites are up against their enemy they must keep themselves away from every evil thing they are exposed to. Anything that makes the Israelites unclean must be dealt with by bathing themselves in the evening with water and are then allowed to enter the camp at sunset. They were to go to the bathroom outside the camp and bury it. The most important reason for this, among health reasons, is because the camp must remain holy for the Lord walks in the midst of the camp. 

Notes: Because the camp of Israelite soldiers was a place of God’s presence, the camp was to be kept clean.

Deuteronomy 23:15-25 A fugitive slave was not to be returned to his master. Prostitution is forbidden. They were not allowed to use fees from prostitution as payment for any vow. They were not allowed to charge interest on anything lent to their brothers. All vows made to the Lord must be fulfilled immediately. The best thing to do is not make a vow. They were to keep all vows that they made. They may eat all the grapes they desire if they walk into their neighbor’s vineyard, but were not allowed to fill up bags of the grapes. They may pluck the ears of grain from their neighbor’s grain field, but they were not allowed to use a sickle to reap from the grain.

Notes: A fugitive slave was not to be turned over to his master. Evidently this has in mind a slave from the Canaanites or other neighboring nations who was driven out by oppression or with a desire to know Israel’s God. Farmers were to share their produce with the people in the land, but the people were not to profit from the farmers’ generosity.

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