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Deeper Commentary


Deu 25:1 If there is a controversy between men, and they come to judgment and the judges judge them, then they must justify the righteous and condemn the wicked.

Deu 25:2 If the wicked man is worthy to be beaten, the judge shall cause him to lie down and be beaten in his presence according to his wickedness, by number.
Deu 25:3 Forty stripes he may give him. He must not exceed this number. If he should beat him with many more than forty stripes, then your brother may seem vile to you-
There’s a tendency in us to be harsh in punishing others for their sin. This is psychologically explainable by our conscience for our own sins, and subconsciously realizing we deserve punishment; we then eagerly transfer this guilt and need for punishment onto others. Instead we are to confess our sins and believe that the final judgment for our sin was in Christ upon the cross; and if we believe this to the point of really feeling it, we will never punish anyone more than required, indeed we will be gracious to them as God has been to us.        

We should never be abusive, in any form, to or about anyone, even if it is sure that they will never know or feel our abuse. The Law also taught that a man must not be over punished, or else, if you did this, you considered him “light” (Dt. 25:3 Heb.). The weight of persons, the immense meaning attached to them, is not accepted by us if our judgment of them is too harsh or severe.   Even a criminal was not to be overly punished, "lest your brother be degraded in your sight" (Dt. 25:3)- he was still to be treated as a person, and nothing should be done to him which would make the punishers think too lowly of that person.

Deu 25:4 You shall not muzzle the ox when he treads out the grain-
Moses' sensitivity is shown by the introduction in Deuteronomy [the ‘second law’] of expansions upon existing commandments; e.g. "You shall not muzzle the ox when he treads out the corn". This is quoted by Paul as being actually part of the Law (1 Cor. 9:9; 1 Tim. 5:18), showing that Moses was so attune with the mind of God that these practical extensions which his sensitivity led him to command Israel were indeed the inspired commandments of God. 

Deu 25:5 If brothers dwell together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead should not be married outside to a stranger. Her husband’s brother should go in to her and take her to him as wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her-
This tacitly allowed polygamy. Here we have an example where one principle [the one man: one woman ideal of Eden] is in conflict with another [to build up the family name of your childless brother]. God could have arranged ethics in a simpler manner; but He has allowed and in this case encouraged the development of such conflicts in order that we think and reason things through, and make whatever decision we do consciously and from our own desire rather than merely in mindless submission to a commandment.

Deu 25:6 The firstborn whom she bears shall succeed in the name of his brother who is dead, so that his name is not blotted out of Israel.
Deu 25:7 If the man doesn’t want to take his brother’s wife, then she shall go up to the gate to the elders and say, My husband’s brother refuses to raise up to his brother a name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of a husband’s brother to me.
Deu 25:8 Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him, and if he stands and says, I don’t want to take her;
Deu 25:9 then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders and loose his shoe from off his foot, spit in his face, and say, So shall it be done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.
Deu 25:10 His name shall be called in Israel’, The house of him who had his shoe untied’.

Deu 25:11 When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draws near to deliver her husband out of the hand of him who strikes him, and puts forth her hand and takes him by the private parts-
The principle from this is that each person has a weakness, an exposed point in their lives or character, which we are aware of. We are not to use that to unfair advantage- because if we were touched in that way, we likewise could not endure. And God saves His weak people and has historically been angry with those who do such things (:18).

A theme of Deuteronomy is the way in which Moses visualizes commonplace daily incidents which he could foresee occurring in Israel's daily life: the man cutting down the tree and the axe head flying off and hitting someone; finding a dead body in a lonely field; coming across a stray animal on the way home from work; a man with two wives treating one as his favourite; seeing your neighbour struggling to lift up his sick animal; coming across a bird's nest and being tempted to take the mature bird as well as the chicks home for supper; being tempted not to bother building a battlement around the flat roof of your  new house; the temptation to take a bag with you and fill it up with your neighbour's grapes; the need to have weapons which could be used for covering excrement (Dt. 19:5; 21:1,15; 22:1,2,4,6,8; 23:13,24,25; 24:5,6,10,15,19; 25:11,13). The sensitivity of Moses was just fantastic! His eager imagination of His people in daily life, his understanding of their everyday temptations so superbly typifies that of our Lord! 


Deu 25:12 then you shall cut off her hand, your eye shall have no pity.
Deu 25:13 You must not have in your bag different weights, a great and a small.
Deu 25:14 You must not have in your house different measures, a great and a small-
To avoid temptation it’s best to not even possess things which we may be tempted to misuse.

Deu 25:15 You shall have a perfect and just weight. You shall have a perfect and just measure, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you.
Deu 25:16 For all who do such things, all who do unrighteously, are an abomination to Yahweh your God.
Deu 25:17 Remember what Amalek did to you by the way as you came forth out of Egypt,
Deu 25:18 how he met you by the way and struck the hindmost of you, all who were feeble behind you, when you were faint and weary, and he didn’t fear God.
Deu 25:19 Therefore when Yahweh your God has given you rest from all your enemies all around in the land which Yahweh your God gives you for an inheritance to possess it, you must blot out the memory of Amalek from under the sky. Do not forget-

"Drive out" is s.w. "possess". We must note the difference between the  Canaanite peoples and their kings being "struck" and their land "taken" by Joshua-Jesus; and the people of Israel permanently taking possession. This is the difference between the Lord's victory on the cross, and our taking possession of the Kingdom. Even though that possession has been "given" to us. The word used for "possession" is literally 'an inheritance'. The allusion is to the people, like us, being the seed of Abraham. The Kingdom was and is our possession, our inheritance- if we walk in the steps of Abraham. But it is one thing to be the seed of Abraham, another to take possession of the inheritance; and Israel generally did not take possession of all the land (Josh. 11:23 13:1; 16:10; 18:3; 23:4). The language of inheritance / possession is applied to us in the New Testament (Eph. 1:11,14; Col. 3:24; Acts 20:32; 26:18; 1 Pet. 1:4 etc.). Israel were promised: "You shall possess it" (Dt. 30:5; 33:23). This was more of a command than a prophecy, for sadly they were "given" the land but did not "possess" it. They were constantly encouraged in the wilderness that they were on the path to possessing the land (Dt. 30:16,18; 31:3,13; 32:47), but when they got there they didn't possess it fully.

Yahweh's Name, by contrast, was to be an eternal memory (Ex. 3:15). He was to be remembered for how He had articulated His Name in how He had historically acted in saving the patriarchs, and He would be remembered for how He was going to act to save His people from Egypt. What was to be memorialized was therefore His actions, rather than simply the letters YHWH. It was His wonderful works which were to be remembered [Ps. 111:4, s.w. "My memorial"]. By contrast, the sinful works and persons of the wicked would not be remembered / memorialized, be they Amalek (s.w. Ex. 17:14; Dt. 25:19), or God's apostate people (s.w. Dt. 32:26).