Bible Commentaries

Deuteronomy 21

Verses 1-23

Sundry laws affecting the life of the people in the land after the conquest were now uttered. The sin of murder was once again dealt with. This time it was the murder of a person which could not be traced to the guilty party. Civic responsibility must be recognized by offering sacrifice.

The question of the marriage of captive women was also dealt with. Should a man set his heart on one of these women, she was to be treated in the most honorable way. The marriage was not to be consummated for a month. If at the close of that time the man were of the same mind, the woman could be married. If not, she was to be allowed to go forth absolutely free.

Then followed laws concerning the inheritance of children. In the existing state of things, it might be that a man would come to hate one of his wives, while he loved another. In such case the children were not to be allowed to suffer. The first­born was to have the' rights of the birthright, whether the child of the loved or the hated woman.

While in this way the right of the child was safeguarded, the necessity for parental discipline was enforced, and provision was made that if the child was not amenable to the law of his parents, the city was to act in discipline and in judgment.

Finally, the hatefulness of sin to God was revealed in the injunction that persons hanged on a tree as the result of sin were to be buried immediately.