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©Kris Gerbrandt

Chapter 24:1-9 (ESV)

Posted on March 30, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 24:1-9 (ESV) - “When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, and if she goes and becomes another man's wife, and the latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife, then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the LORD. And you shall not bring sin upon the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance.

“When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken.

“No one shall take a mill or an upper millstone in pledge, for that would be taking a life in pledge.

“If a man is found stealing one of his brothers of the people of Israel, and if he treats him as a slave or sells him, then that thief shall die. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

“Take care, in a case of leprous disease, to be very careful to do according to all that the Levitical priests shall direct you. As I commanded them, so you shall be careful to do. Remember what the LORD your God did to Miriam on the way as you came out of Egypt.

Question to consider: Are these decrees from Moses a part of the ten commandments?

The Deuteronomy, or second giving of the Law, was a renewal of God’s covenant with Israel for a generation which had not experienced the bondage of Egypt. Many were not yet born when Moses received the Law from God on the holy mountain. The words of the Law were stated back in chapter 5, and these decrees given by Moses were after a generation of accumulated wisdom in judging Israel according to the Law.

Jesus actually gave the proper view of Moses’ word on divorce in light of God’s Law against adultery, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:8-9) One of the reasons doctrine is important is because people make new interpretations based on that doctrine, and the further we go from the original statement, the easier it is to venture off into heresy. While there was nothing wrong with the decree from Moses, the rabbis debated over what Moses meant by the word “indecency”. One side defined it more liberally saying that anything a woman did to displease her husband could be described as indecent. The other side applied indecency strictly to sexual immorality which is what Jesus affirmed in His statement, and it seems to more closely align with the Law concerning adultery.

All of the decrees in today’s passage were meant to protect the more vulnerable. The writ of divorce protected the woman so that she would be free to marry another and not be forced to beg or become a servant. The decree for a man newly married was to protect the family and give them time to produce an heir lest the man be killed in battle.

The decree concerning the mill was to keep the lender from taking away a family’s means to grind flour for their daily bread. This reinforced the idea that a lender was not to profit off of his brother but help him to care for his family to keep him from having to go into servitude. The brother who did have to go into servitude was also to be protected against being sold to a foreigner where he could be mistreated or kept forever. 

There were entire chapters in Leviticus which were devoted to how the priests were to handle skin diseases. Like sin, skin diseases were contagious and could infect the whole camp. Therefore, just as the Levites were to protect the spiritual well-being of Israel so they were put in charge of protecting their physical well-being through ritual cleansing. The reference to Miriam was from Numbers 12 when the LORD struck her for seven days with leprosy for challenging the leadership of her brother, Moses.


Dear heavenly Father, You are our creator, provider, protector and redeemer. Help us to love and serve one another in a way that pleases You and points others to Christ. Thank You for patiently molding us in His image. Amen.