Deuteronomy 22 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

Moses on Mt Nebo (Deuteronomy 34:1+)
Listen to Mt Nebo as you Ponder How Moses' May Have Felt
Deuteronomy by Irving Jensen- used by permission
Source: Ryrie Study Bible


Dt 1:1-4:43 Dt 4:44-26:19 Dt 27:1-34:12




Historical Review Legal

Looking Back

40 Years

Looking Up
What God
Expected of Israel
Looking Ahead
What God
Will Do for Israel
Recapitulation of Wanderings Rehearsal
of Israel's Law
of Israel's Covenant
Historical Appendices
Remembrance of the past Commandments
for the Present
Dt 27:1-30:20
Blessing and Cursing
Dt 31:1-34:12
Death of Moses
Take Heed
Don't forget
Two Choices Affecting
the Future
Moses' Parting Words
Dt 1:1-4:43
Looking Back
Dt 4:44-11:32
Exposition of Decalogue
Dt 12:1-16:17
Ceremonial Laws
Dt 16:18-20:20
Dt 21:1-26:19
Dt 27:1-28:68
Ratification of Covenant
Dt 29:1-30:20
Terms of Covenant
Dt 31:1-34:12
Moses' Song, Blessing, Death

Plains of Moab

ca. 2 Months
Moses: Author

(Except Dt 34)

Deuteronomy 22:1  "You shall not see your countryman's ox or his sheep straying away, and pay no attention to them; you shall certainly bring them back to your countryman.

International Children's Bible (ICB) -  You might see your fellow Israelite's ox or sheep wandering away. Don't ignore it. Take it back to its owner. 

  • shall: Ex 23:4 Eze 34:4,16 Mt 10:6 15:24 18:12,13 Lu 15:4-6 Jas 5:19,20 1Pe 2:25 
  • pay no attention to them De 22:3,4 Lev 20:4 Pr 24:11 28:27 Isa 8:17 58:7 Lu 10:31,32 
  • Deuteronomy 22 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Meredith Kline introduces this next section - Sanctity of the Divine Order. Deuteronomy 22:1-25:19 - Love for God requires reverence for the divine ordinances at the various levels of creation and in the various spheres of human activity. The covenant servant must respect the sanctity of the orders of nature (Dt 22:5-12), marriage Dt 22:13-30; Heb. Bible 23:1), and the theocratic kingdom (Dt 23:1-25:12). With the partial exception of the natural order, the area in view is that of the mutual relationships of the covenant servants. This whole section, therefore, is bounded by laws which clearly express the basic principle that the same loving regard must be shown for one's neighbor's interests as for one's own (Dt 22:1-4; 25:13-16). The extra-biblical suzerainty treaties also regulated the relationships of the lord's vassals to one another. (Wycliffe Bible Commentary on Deuteronomy)

J Vernon McGee - Miscellaneous laws concerning brother relationships, mixtures, and marriage. This chapter brings us to another division of the Book of Deuteronomy. We have seen the repetition and interpretation of the Ten Commandments in chapters 5 -- 7. Then there are the religious and national regulations in chapters 8 -- 21. Now we come to regulations for domestic and personal relations in chapters 22 -- 26. God directed many of these laws to the nation; now He gets right down to the nitty-gritty where the people live with laws relative to their domestic and their personal relations. (Deuteronomy 22)

Keil entitles this chapter "The Duty to Love One's Neighbour; and Warning Against a Violation of the Natural Order of Things. Instructions to Sanctify the Marriage State."....The different relations brought under consideration are selected rather by way of examples, and therefore follow one another without any link of connection, for the purpose of exhibiting the truth in certain concrete cases, and showing how the covenant people were to hold all the arrangement of God sacred, whether in nature or in social life. (Deuteronomy 22)

In summary, this chapter and the next 4 chapters through Dt 25, deal with instructions regarding day to day contract in the covenant community. 

Coates - This section of the book brings out principles which are very important in relation to the "labour of love" which is to go on in the land.  The first feature of it is care that our brother shall not lose anything that belongs to him. It is very noticeable throughout this book how often the thought of caring for the good of others is brought in. How often we find a large circle of beneficiaries brought in to share the good of the land -- the Levite, the poor, the stranger, the widow and the fatherless. Spiritual blessings are to be enjoyed in such a way that others get the benefit of them. If I am thinking of myself, I am not serving in love. It was very sad when Paul had to say, "All seek their own things, not the things of Jesus Christ".

As Grant points out "The underlying theme is that every individual in Israel should have a care for the wellbeing of others. Consequently, nothing would be done to harm them and everything would be done that would protect their interests. In this way society would be ordered in a harmonious manner which would allow all to enjoy the bounty of their inheritance and the presence of the God who had redeemed them from the bondage in Egypt. The nation of Israel would be governed in a way that was far removed from that which they had known during the years in Egypt, and from that which was practised by all others nations. Adhering to the teaching of these chapters would make Israel unique. (What the Bible teaches – Leviticus and Deuteronomy)

Brown - Although the topics are diverse, the unifying theme is clear—the covenant community must consist of good neighbours. God is generous and loving; nobody who believes in him is allowed to live selfishly and carelessly within society. Every believer has a responsibility towards his neighbour. (Bible Speaks Today – The Message of Deuteronomy)

This is a repeat of the law given to the first generation "If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey wandering away, you shall surely return it to him." (Ex 23:4)

You shall not see your countryman's ox or his sheep straying away, and pay no attention to them (Heb “hide yourself" = don't live as if you had blinders on to troubles of others!) - NET = "When you see your neighbor's ox or sheep going astray, do not ignore it." The point is to not ignore the lost animal, but secure it and corral it. Don't act as if it is no business of yours and say "I don't want to get involved."  In essence this is fulfilling the moral commandment in Lev 19:18+ - "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD." This also fulfills Jesus' command "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Mt. 7:12+)

Guzik - God here condemned the sin of doing nothing. To see your brother in need, and to do nothing, is to do evil. When one has the opportunity to good, you must not hide yourself. (Commentary)

HCSB - Brotherly responsibility in Israel was a further application of the principle of oneness inherent in a covenant community. The principle here is that all lands and properties in a sense belonged to all the people collectively as the inheritance of the Lord. The early church adopted this spirit, at least for a time (Acts 4:32+).

You shall certainly bring them back to your countryman - NET = "You must return it without fail to your neighbor." In other words you restore your neighbor's lost property. The principle is simple that we are to return anything we find (animate or inanimate objects) that belongs to another to its rightful owner.

POSB - What kind of neighbor are you? A good or bad neighbor? A concerned or indifferent neighbor? An involved or distant neighbor? Are you a neighbor who looks away when a person needs help or a neighbor who reaches out and helps in times of need? Are you concerned or unconcerned about the welfare of your neighbors? Are you just indifferent—the welfare of your neighbors simply does not matter? (Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Deuteronomy)

Utley “you shall not see … and pay no attention” Purposeful or apathetic neglect (“hide oneself,” BDB 761, KB 834, cf. 22:1, 3, 4; Lev. 20:4; Pro. 28:27; Ezek. 22:26) of a needy covenant brother’s property is prohibited (cf. v. 3; Exod. 23:4–5).  Israel was meant to function as a caring family unit. Paragraphs like this spell out what Lev. 19:18 means in practical, specific ways. Brothers look out for brothers!  (Deuteronomy 22 Commentary)

THOUGHT - This verse has a lesson for Christians today. Believers should be known by their care for others. They must not interfere in the lives of their neighbours, but be known as those who are willing to help when assistance is necessary. In a world where people show little interest in the gospel this is one effective way of getting their attention. The child of God must never be indifferent to, or ready to take advantage of the problems of their neighbours.  (What the Bible teaches – Leviticus and Deuteronomy)

Related Resources:

Deuteronomy 22:2  "If your countryman is not near you, or if you do not know him, then you shall bring it home to your house, and it shall remain with you until your countryman looks for it; then you shall restore it to him.

International Children's Bible (ICB) -  The owner might not live close to you. Or you might not know who he is. Then take the animal home with you. Keep it until the owner comes looking for it. Then give it back to him.

Related Passages:

Exodus 23:4-5+ “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey wandering away, you shall surely return it to him. 5 “If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying helpless under its load, you shall refrain from leaving it to him, you shall surely release it with him. 


Finders keepers (losers weepers) is the words saying, but not God's saying. In fact it is a children's rhyme meaning that if someone finds something, they are entitled to keep it (even if it belongs to someone else). That's what children say, but God's people are not to act like selfish children. If we find it, yes we should keep but only for the purpose of protecting it so that the proper owner might reclaim it! That's God's version of "finder's keepers!" 

Jack Deere - The regulation in Deuteronomy 22:1-4 refers not primarily to taking someone else's lost animal but rather to the natural tendency to ignore it because of the extra time and labor involved in restoring it. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

If your countryman is not near you, or if you do not know him, then you shall bring it home to your house, and it shall remain with you until your countryman looks for it; then you shall restore it to him - NET = "then you must corral the animal at your house and let it stay with you until the owner looks for it." If we find something that belongs to another, we are to keep it until the owner comes to look for it. Let's say you are at the neighborhood swimming pool and accidentally leave your wallet. If one finds it he is to turn it in to the office so that when you come back you can claim it by giving the proper identification. In a word, to keep the property found yourself is tantamount to stealing the property! 

Note that Exodus 23:4-5+ really "ups the ante" regarding the importance of this instruction, even calling for one to care for an enemy's animal! Animals should not suffer just because the neighbors are at enmity! 

Deuteronomy 22:3  "Thus you shall do with his donkey, and you shall do the same with his garment, and you shall do likewise with anything lost by your countryman, which he has lost and you have found. You are not allowed to neglect them.

Related Passage:

Deuteronomy 5:19  ‘You shall not steal. 


Thus you shall do with his donkey, and you shall do the same with his garment, and you shall do likewise with anything lost by your countryman, which he has lost and you have found. You are not allowed to neglect them - Just in case they might think this law applies only to animals, Moses adds the word "anything lost by your countryman." In today's world that would include purses, billfolds, money, credit cards, dogs, cats, clothes, jewelry, pencils or pens, important papers, eyeglasses,  keys, etc. This principle of not stealing is found in many passages Exodus 20:15, Leviticus 19:11, Proverbs 21:6, Jeremiah 9:5, Eph. 4:28, Titus 2:10. 

You are not allowed to neglect them. - This is a key phrase in Dt 22:1, 3, 4 - twice "pay no attention to" which is more literally a striking phrase = "You must not hide yourself!" 

Coakley - Animals, especially oxen, were valuable pieces of property because of the work they performed. So returning them to their owner was the right thing to do, and it also allowed the owner to maintain a standard of living. (Moody Bible Commentary)

Brown - The one who makes the discovery that a neighbour’s sheep has fallen into a pit, must not look the other way because he has a busy day and has several things to do. Admittedly, rescuing the animal will cost him time and effort, and he will not gain anything personally from the deed—but it must be done because God says it, the animal needs it and the brother deserves it. (Bible Speaks Today – The Message of Deuteronomy)

J Vernon McGee - In my day we have heard a great deal about a good neighbor policy, and we see that God had a good neighbor policy for His people in that day. I remember during Franklin Roosevelt's administration when he came out with the "good neighbor policy," all the pundits and reporters acclaimed it as something brand new. They hailed Roosevelt as a sort of messiah and thought he had come up with something wonderful. May I say to you that the good neighbor policy is as old as Moses -- actually much older than Moses. It goes back to the very throne of God in eternity. He is the One who says we are to adopt a good neighbor policy, and it is to be demonstrated in our everyday life. (Deuteronomy 22)

Deuteronomy 22:4  "You shall not see your countryman's donkey or his ox fallen down on the way, and pay no attention to them; you shall certainly help him to raise them up.

  • thou shalt surely: Ex 23:4,5 Mt 5:44 Lu 10:29-37 Ro 15:1 2Co 12:15 Ga 6:1,2 1Th 5:14 Heb 12:12,13 
  • Deuteronomy 22 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


You shall not see your countryman's donkey or his ox fallen down on the way, and pay no attention to them - NET = "When you see your neighbor's donkey or ox fallen along the road, do not ignore it." Don't pretend you do not see your neighbor's problem! Don't do what seems to be a more common practice in self-centered societies and "look the other way" choosing on purpose to pay no attention to their crisis.

Deere - Today this law would apply in any circumstance where a believer is tempted "not to get involved" with someone else's needs (ED: NOTE NOT THEIR "BUSINESS" BUT THEIR "NEEDS") (cf., e.g., James 2:15-16+; 1 John 3:17+). (The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

J Vernon McGee - They were not to assume a nonchalant attitude toward the neighbor, nor were they to pass by as if the neighbor's problem were none of their business. They were to extend their help to the neighbor. (Deuteronomy 22)

Brown makes a very good point regarding practical application -- There is a serious danger in the contemporary world that Christians ‘withhold help’ by an apathetic attitude to the moral and social evils of our time. Believers must not be indifferent to the grave problems which confront us in modern society—alcoholism, drug abuse, abortion, homelessness, pornography, sexual deviance, child abuse, and so on. It will be tragic if believers ‘hide themselves’ rather than become informed, pray for improved legislation, lobby appropriate authorities, write well-argued letters, and take appropriate steps to bring about change. Alert Christians are urgently needed in the contemporary world as ‘salt’ and ‘light’ in a social environment which needs action as well as intercession and example (See Mt 5:13-16+). The saying attributed to Edmund Burke is highly relevant in late twentieth-century society: ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’....It will be tragic if, aware of God’s concern, Christians ‘hide themselves’ from responsibility in the face of these evils, or (to borrow imagery from Christ’s teaching) ‘pass by on the other side’ (Lk 10:31-32+) when others are in grave need. (Bible Speaks Today – The Message of Deuteronomy)

You shall certainly help him to raise them up - The principle is simple - you see your neighbor needs help, so you help them. Give help in the hour of need. Give assistance and supply what help you are able. We do it because we are followers of a God Who does it all the time to us and others, for God cares and comes to our aid countless times in our life!

THOUGHT - One is reminded of Hebrews 2:18+ - "For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid (to come on hearing our cry for help) of those who are (being) tempted." Jesus comes running when we are suffering or being tempted for He hears our cry for help. As His followers, believers are to do likewise for those in need, even when they are not actively crying out for help. If we see their need, we should at least seek to provide help. Such an attitude is in effect the practice of the second great commandment "The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these (Mk 12:30-31).” (Mk 12:31+). Se see a similar principle in Ro 13:10, Ro 15:1-2, Gal 5:14, James 2:8. 

Deuteronomy 22:5  "A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.


This is the only record of this instruction in the Pentateuch.

Grant gives us a good background discussion on this verse - This difference (BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE) is seen in many ways. It has been argued in recent times that the only difference between male and female is physical, that is, they have bodies that differ one from the other. The female body was designed to bear children, but that is not the only difference between male and female. This difference in the means of bringing children into the world does not cease at birth. The woman can feed the baby and has the motherly instincts so necessary for bringing up children. The male was created to be the head and thus to lead (Gen 2:15). The female was created to be "an help" suitable for the man (Gen 2:18). This difference continues in the teaching of the New Testament (1 Cor 11:7-8; Eph 5:22-26). There is no sense of superiority or inferiority in this, but there is a difference in roles. The woman is the glory of the man, that is, she should display in her character and demeanour all that is commendable in man; love, compassion, gentleness etc. These are just some of the ways in which male and female differ. From the beginning it has been the purpose of the Adversary to destroy the male/female relationship as created by God. It should not be overlooked that, in coming into the world, the Lord Jesus Christ was born of a woman. Apart from that, attempting to change this divinely instituted order disrupts society, causes suffering and disease, and is a sign of open rebellion against the design of the Creator.(What the Bible teaches – Leviticus and Deuteronomy)

A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination (lit = "a detestable thing") to the LORD your God - Don't obscure the distinction of the sexes and in effect "disturb" the created order of life! (Ge 1:27) It does not specify types of clothing but just that the clothing should be recognizably different. This prohibition is clear and needs no explanation. Note that the passage does not say the practice per se is an abomination but the person himself is an abomination to the Most High God! In other words the person himself (or perhaps better his lifestyle) is unholy, loathsome and abhorrent to a Holy God. It is a direct assault of and in a sense a refutation of His good creation order of male and female -- "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." (Ge 1:27) "Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." (Ge 2:18) This practice is in the same category as the multiple occult practices described in Dt 18:9-11 and regarding which Moses declared "For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you." (Deuteronomy 18:12+) Idols are also in this category (Dt 7:25-26+). For more discussion of the topic of transvestism see Hoffner's Article in the Tyndale Bulletin (go to page 48 in the article). 

In a very real sense the breaking of this instruction reflects the basic rebellion against God's creation order, which is in fact given to us not because He is a cosmic ogre but because He desires that we experience order in our individual lives, our families and our societies. Now ponder the antonyms of order in the context of our culture! (I am writing in 2021) - confusion, disorder, disorganization, disruption, upset, disconnection, disjointedness, pandemonium, shambles. WOE!  We (America, any country) rebel against God's good order at our peril! 

Guzik - this is not a command against women wearing a garment that in some ways might be common between men and women; it is a command against dressing in a manner which deliberately blurs the lines between the sexes. The dramatic rise in cross-dressing, transvestitism, androgynous behavior, and “gender-bender” behavior in our culture is a shocking trampling of this command, and will reap a bitter harvest in more perversion and more gender confusion in our culture. those who fail to observe it are called an abomination to the LORD. This was not only because cross-dressing was a feature of pagan, idolatrous worship in the ancient world, but also because of the terrible cultural price that is paid when it is pretended that there is no difference between men and women.  (Commentary)

Warren Wiersbe - The Bible makes it clear that “God is not the author of confusion” (1 Cor. 14:33), but confusion results when we ignore the distinctions God has made between men and women, animals, and even seeds and fabrics.  (Be Equipped)

Deere notes that there "some evidence exists that transvestism may have been connected with the worship of pagan deities."  (The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Thompson has an interesting historical note - “Later writers, such as Lucian of Samosata and Eusebius, speak of the practice of masquerading in the worship of Astarte. Apparently women appeared in men’s garments and men in women’s garments.” (TOTC-Dt)

POSB - the distinctiveness between male and female is to be maintained. There is a clear, distinct difference between man and woman, and this clear, distinct difference is to be respected and honored. The clothing worn by people during the days of Moses was similar, very similar. Both men and women wore robes that differed primarily only in their decoration or ornamentation. Even when there was little difference in dress, God demanded that the distinctiveness between man and woman be respected and maintained. The created order of life was not to be violated. Wearing the clothes and adopting the behavior of the opposite sex is unnatural. It is deviant, offensive, distasteful behavior. But even more serious, transvestism is an abomination to God. It is detested by God. The idea is that the judgment of God will fall upon the person who seeks fleshly pleasure through transvestism. (Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Deuteronomy)

Grant - The sin highlighted here is when a man disguises his sex and dresses as a woman and a woman disguises her sex and dresses as a man. The view today is that this behaviour is harmless. The view of Scripture differs completely from that. This sin has been practised in most societies and is part of a lewd, corrupt, and immoral way of life. In the past it was also a feature of idol worship and unnatural sexual activity, which is condemned in the Word of God (Rom 1:26-27). (What the Bible teaches – Leviticus and Deuteronomy)

NET NOTE - Cross-dressing in this covenant context may suggest homosexuality, fertility cult ritual, or some other forbidden practice. (Deuteronomy 22)

Abomination (detestable, loathsome) (08441) toebah refers to an abominable custom or thing. Abomination. Loathsome. Detestable thing. . iT speaks of anything that runs counter to ritual or moral order, especially in the OT to divine standards. Toebah also describes God's view of homosexuality (Lev. 18:22; Lev 20:13)

All uses Gen. 43:32; Gen. 46:34; Exod. 8:26; Lev. 18:22; Lev. 18:26; Lev. 18:27; Lev. 18:29; Lev. 18:30; Lev. 20:13; Deut. 7:25; Deut. 7:26; Deut. 12:31; Deut. 13:14; Deut. 14:3; Deut. 17:1; Deut. 17:4; Deut. 18:9; Deut. 18:12; Deut. 20:18; Deut. 22:5; Deut. 23:18; Deut. 24:4; Deut. 25:16; Deut. 27:15; Deut. 32:16; 1 Ki. 14:24; 2 Ki. 16:3; 2 Ki. 21:2; 2 Ki. 21:11; 2 Ki. 23:13; 2 Chr. 28:3; 2 Chr. 33:2; 2 Chr. 34:33; 2 Chr. 36:8; 2 Chr. 36:14; Ezr. 9:1; Ezr. 9:11; Ezr. 9:14; Ps. 88:8; Prov. 3:32; Prov. 6:16; Prov. 8:7; Prov. 11:1; Prov. 11:20; Prov. 12:22; Prov. 13:19; Prov. 15:8; Prov. 15:9; Prov. 15:26; Prov. 16:5; Prov. 16:12; Prov. 17:15; Prov. 20:10; Prov. 20:23; Prov. 21:27; Prov. 24:9; Prov. 26:25; Prov. 28:9; Prov. 29:27; Isa. 1:13; Isa. 41:24; Isa. 44:19; Jer. 2:7; Jer. 6:15; Jer. 7:10; Jer. 8:12; Jer. 16:18; Jer. 32:35; Jer. 44:4; Jer. 44:22; Ezek. 5:9; Ezek. 5:11; Ezek. 6:9; Ezek. 6:11; Ezek. 7:3; Ezek. 7:4; Ezek. 7:8; Ezek. 7:9; Ezek. 7:20; Ezek. 8:6; Ezek. 8:9; Ezek. 8:13; Ezek. 8:15; Ezek. 8:17; Ezek. 9:4; Ezek. 11:18; Ezek. 11:21; Ezek. 12:16; Ezek. 14:6; Ezek. 16:2; Ezek. 16:22; Ezek. 16:36; Ezek. 16:43; Ezek. 16:47; Ezek. 16:50; Ezek. 16:51; Ezek. 16:58; Ezek. 18:12; Ezek. 18:13; Ezek. 18:24; Ezek. 20:4; Ezek. 22:2; Ezek. 22:11; Ezek. 23:36; Ezek. 33:26; Ezek. 33:29; Ezek. 36:31; Ezek. 43:8; Ezek. 44:6; Ezek. 44:7; Ezek. 44:13; Mal. 2:11

Utley - This verse has been proofed-texted to dictate appropriate dress for modern worship (i.e., women cannot wear slacks to church). It must be remembered that both male and female wore robes in the ancient Near East. The only difference being that women’s robes in Israel had blue decoration around the shoulders. The basic thrust of this text is not patriarchal, but the rejection of Canaanite worship practices (i.e., “abomination,” cf. Lev. 18:26, 27, 29, 30). There is to be a appropriate distinction between the God-given difference between males and females (i.e., the created order). This is not meant to be a negative, restricting distinction, but an affirmation of the different strengths and cultural functions of the sexes! It is surely possible that this text is connected to the Mosaic covenant’s condemnation of homosexuality (cf. Lev. 18:22; 20:13) practiced in worship settings by the Canaanites. (Deuteronomy 22 Commentary)

J Vernon McGee - Someone will say this does not apply to us today because we are not under the Law. That is true. However, all these laws which we are studying do lay down certain principles which we do well to notice. I may be out of step with the times, but I believe it is still true today that a woman looks better dressed as a woman, and a man looks better dressed as a man. As my wife and I were driving in San Francisco, we were behind a little Volkswagen. I remarked that the wife was driving and the man was sitting next to her, and she was driving pretty fast. When they were going up a hill, they couldn't maintain their speed, so I passed them. Do you know that I was wrong? The man was driving and the woman was sitting beside him. That man looked a woman, and the woman looked like a man. Frankly, I don't see the benefit of that. God created us male and female. God is saying here that a man ought to look like a man, and a woman ought to look like a woman. We are having a great deal of trouble today because the sexes are trying to look alike and are trying to act alike. I personally feel that womanhood is paying an awful price for demanding equal rights. Men would like to treat women as women, and that means men would like to elevate them, and give them more than equal rights. (Deuteronomy 22)

Related Resources:

Deuteronomy 22:6  "If you happen to come upon a bird's nest along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young;

  • young ones: Lu 12:6 
  • you shall not take the mother with the young: Ge 8:17 32:11 Lev 22:28 Pr 12:10 Ho 10:14 
  • Deuteronomy 22 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


If you happen to come upon a bird's nest along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young - This law is found only here in the Pentateuch .When Israel crossed the Jordan and war ensued, animals would suffer. Here God instructs Israel to be careful to conserve the animals, out of compassion for the animals, but also the preservation of the supply of food for Israel (from birth of more animals). 

We are to be good stewards of all the good gifts that God gives us. 

As an aside we must remember that God cares for the birds (and other animals) Jesus declaring “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? (Mt 6:26+) And again Jesus asked "Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father." (Mt 10:29)

Matthew Poole “Partly for the bird’s sake, which suffered enough by the loss of its young; for God would not have cruelty exercised towards the brute creatures; and partly for men’s sake, to restrain their greediness and covetousness, that they should not monopolize all to themselves, but might leave the hopes of a future seed for others.”

ESVSB - Like the treatment of trees in Dt 20:19–20, this law preserves the means of life and seeks to prevent shortsightedness, requiring wise and respectful use of the creation.

HCSB has an interesting thought- The principle here seems to be that of not mixing life with death. Thus, a mother bird, the source of life, must not be taken along with her chicks and eggs because she would no longer be able to generate new life.

Deuteronomy 22:7  you shall certainly let the mother go, but the young you may take for yourself, in order that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days.


You shall certainly let the mother go, but the young you may take for yourself, in order that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days - This law is found only here in the Pentateuch. This principle preserves the food chain, the future supply of food from the birth of offspring from those animals that were allowed to survive. Notice the phrase prolong your days, indicating the practical nature of obedience to this rule, for to disobey would lead to loss of a critically important source of protein which would in turn lead to malnutrition and potentially evey starvation. This phrase is repeated in the command to keep his commandments - “So you shall keep His statutes and His commandments which I am giving you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may live long on the land which the LORD your God is giving you for all time.”  (De 4:40+, cf same desirable goal in Dt 5:16; Dt 6:3, 18; Dt 12:25, 28; Dt 19:13).

POSB - Conservation of animal life and of the earth (air, water, trees, nature) will make things go better—far, far better—and give us a richer and longer life upon earth. This is the promise of God. (Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Deuteronomy)

Guzik - Some Jewish commentators say that this is the smallest, or least of all the commandments; yet even it has a promise of blessing for the obedient attached to it:  What possible connection can there be between showing kindness to bird’s nests and eggs and little baby birds and national survival?. First, because obedience to the smallest of God’s commands brings blessing. It puts us into a properly submissive relationship to Him, that this always brings blessing to us.. Second, because kindness and gentleness in the small things often (but not always) speaks to our ability to be kind and gentle in weightier matters. If someone is cruel to animals, not only is that sin in itself, but they are also much more likely to be cruel to people. If Israel allowed such cruelty to flourish, it would harm the nation.

Coakley - This was the same principle at work earlier when fruit trees were not to be cut down when besieging a city (Deut 20:19-20). Obedience to this injunction results in prosperity and prolonged days. (Ibid)

Peter Craigie comments - The effect of such action (taking mother and offspring) would be bad; in commercial language, it would be exchanging a long-term profit for an immediate gain. To take and kill the mother would be to terminate a potential future supply of food. To take the mother and leave the others would not be possible, for they would not be able to survive without the mother. Thus by taking the young birds (or eggs), but letting the mother go, food was acquired without the source of food for the future being cut off. The legislation thus has something in common with modern conservation laws. The large-scale killing of any species can lead to a serious diminution in its numbers and to eventual extinction’. (NICOT- Deuteronomy)

Matthew Henry - "The Jews say, 'This is the least of all the commandments of the law of Moses,' and yet the same promise is here made to the observance of it that is made to the keeping of the fifth commandment, which is one of the greatest, that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days; for, as disobedience in a small matter shows a very great contempt of the law, so obedience in a small matter shows a very great regard to it".

TSK - The extirpation of any species of birds, whether edible or birds of prey, is often attended with serious consequences, and is always productive of evil; to prevent which was the object of this law.  Palestine is situated in a climate producing poisonous snakes and scorpions, and between deserts and mountains, from which it would be inundated by them, as well as with immense swarms of flies, locusts, and mice, if the birds which feed upon them were extirpated.  In a moral point of view, it may have been intended to inculcate a spirit of mercy and kindness, and to prevent the exercise of cruelty even towards a sparrow; for he who is guilty of such cruelty will, if circumstances be favourable, be cruel to his fellow-creatures.

Deuteronomy 22:8  "When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, so that you will not bring bloodguilt on your house if anyone falls from it.

NET  You must not plant your vineyard with two kinds of seed; otherwise the entire yield, both of the seed you plant and the produce of the vineyard, will be defiled.

NLT - "Do not plant any other crop between the rows of your vineyard. If you do, you are forbidden to use either the grapes from the vineyard or the produce of the other crop.

  • you shall make a parapet Ex 21:28-36 22:6 Ro 14:13 1Co 10:32 Php 1:10 1Th 5:22 
  • roof: 2Sa 11:2 Isa 22:1 Jer 19:13 Mt 10:27 Mk 2:4 Ac 10:9 
  • bring: Eze 3:18,20 32:2-9 Mt 18:6,7 Ac 20:26,27 
  • Deuteronomy 22 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, so that you will not bring bloodguilt on your house if anyone falls from it - Flat roofs in the Eastern culture were regarded as spare rooms, but without parapets were potentially dangerous and one could easily slip and fall and if they did the owner would be held responsible for personal damage or death.  Flat roofs were used for sleeping in hot weather -- if you have ever accidentally rolled out of bed, this would be an entirely new adventure (and possibly your last)! 

Parapet - (maaqeh - Only use in Bible) A parapet is a barrier that is an extension of the wall at the edge of a roof, terrace, balcony, walkway or other structure. A low wall or railing put to keep anyone from falling over the edge. 

Brown - Access was by means of an outside staircase and the area was conveniently used by Israelite households as either a bedroom, workroom, entertaining room, or play area—often a mixture of all four. Without a parapet, however, the additional room could become a serious hazard. It was easy for anyone, especially a child, to step off the edge, and an accident could prove fatal. Although at the conquest the Hebrew people took possession of Canaanite homes, there were sure to be times in the future when it would be necessary to build new houses. This law rightly insisted on the provision of an adequate railing around the roof-top to prevent serious accidents and consequent family grief.....Using this Scripture, John Calvin insisted that similar provisions about parapets should be made for houses in sixteenth-century Geneva and gave himself tirelessly to matters of public health and social hygiene in order to arrest the spread of illness and disease in the city. He pressed for the introduction of regulations concerning adequate ventilation and effective drainage so that people could live in reasonably healthy conditions. Similarly, at the time of the Industrial Revolution in nineteenth-century Britain, Lord Shaftesbury and his colleagues worked strenuously over many years to ensure that men, women and children were given adequate protection from dangerous machinery in factories, reasonable hours, proper periods of rest, and the like. Their campaign about working conditions was a practical expression of genuine Christian concern.  (Bible Speaks Today – The Message of Deuteronomy)

Guzik - In his sermon on Deuteronomy 22:8, titled “Battlements,” Charles Spurgeon shows how just as there was to be a railing for the protection of people on the roofs of Israel’s homes, there are also spiritual railings for our protection. Many people, in regard to sin, get too close to the edge and fall off. Then it’s too late! We need to have “railings” protecting us from the edge. Such railings will not only protect us, but others also.

TSK - : The eastern houses being built with flat roofs, which were used for various purposed, as walking, sleeping, etc., it was therefore necessary to have a sort of battlement, or balustrade, to prevent accidents, by people falling off.

Deere - This then was an opportunity to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev. 19:18) by being concerned about his safety. It also emphasized again the value of human life. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Grant - The roofs of houses were well used. When the spies came to Rahab she "hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof" (Josh 2:6). David "arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house" (2 Sam 11:2). Peter prayed upon his housetop "about the sixth hour" (Acts 10:9). The roof top was used as a place of privacy, relaxation, and prayer. It was also used for any task that required space as is seen in Rahab laying the flax there, probably to dry. The roof was the means of access that was used to place the paralysed man in the presence of the Lord Jesus (Mk 2:4). When the Feast of Booths was celebrated in Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah, "the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts" (Neh 8:16). In towns and cities only the wealthy could afford to own space around their home for gardens or added privacy. Others used the roof top. As with the matter of lost possessions, so in this matter, care for others is prominent. Self interest must not be the governing condition of the heart. It was unacceptable to reduce the costs and labour involved in the building of a house so that there was lack of acceptable safety standards in the construction. Believers today must always think of the interest of others and not place their own interests first.  (What the Bible teaches – Leviticus and Deuteronomy)

J Vernon McGee - Do you know that it is only in recent years that our nation has had building codes to protect people? God is not behind the times as a great many people seem to think He is. God has a concern about the way people build their homes. He is interested in that.He wants your home to be dedicated to Him, and He wants that home to be a safe place. Do you have a railing around your home? Do you protect your children from the things of this world? Many parents let their children move from the home and do not even know where the children are. Many children have gone out to live on the street or in communes. The railing, the protection, is not there as it should be in the modern home. (Deuteronomy 22)

Bloodguilt (Heb. dām, dāmîm “blood”).is the condition of being culpable for bloodshed, guilt incurred through an unnecessary shedding of blood (Deut. 19:10).

Bloodguilt in NASB - Exod. 22:2; Exod. 22:3; Lev. 17:4; Lev. 20:9; Lev. 20:11; Lev. 20:12; Lev. 20:13; Lev. 20:16; Lev. 20:27; Deut. 19:10; Deut. 21:8; Deut. 22:8; Ps. 51:14; Hos. 12:14

Philip Logan Bloodguilt made a person ritually unclean (Num. 35:33–34) and was incurred by killing a person who did not deserve to die (Deut. 19:10; Jer. 26:15; Jon. 1:14). Killing in self-defense and execution of criminals are exempted from bloodguilt (Exod. 22:2; Lev. 20:9). Bloodguilt was incurred (1) by intentional killing (Jdg. 9:24; 1 Sam. 25:26, 33; 2 Kings 9:26; Jer. 26:15); (2) by unintentional killing (See Num. 35:22–28 where one who accidentally kills another may be killed by the avenger of blood implying that the accidental murderer had bloodguilt. See Avenger.); (3) by being an indirect cause of death (Gen. 42:22; Deut. 19:10b; 22:8; Josh. 2:19); (4) a person was under bloodguilt if those for whom he was responsible committed murder (1 Kings 2:5, 31–33); and (5) the killing of a sacrifice at an unauthorized altar imputed bloodguilt (Lev. 17:4). The avenger of blood could take action in the first two instances but not in the latter three. When the murderer was known in instance (1) above, the community shared the guilt of the murderer until the guilty party had paid the penalty of death. No other penalty or sacrifice could substitute for the death of the guilty party, nor was there any need for sacrifice once the murderer had been killed (Num. 35:33; Deut. 21:8–9). The one who unintentionally killed another [(2) above] might flee to a city of refuge and be safe. If, however, the accidental killer left the boundaries of the city of refuge, the avenger of blood could kill in revenge without incurring bloodguilt (Num. 35:31–32; Deut. 19:13). The community was held to be bloodguilty if it failed to provide asylum for the accidental killer (Deut. 19:10). In cases where the blood of an innocent victim was not avenged, the blood of the innocent cried out to God (Gen. 4:10; Isa. 26:21; Ezek. 24:7–9; cp. Job 16:18), and God became the avenger for that person (Gen. 9:5; 2 Sam. 4:11; 2 Kings 9:7; Ps. 9:12; Hos. 1:4). Even the descendants of the bloodguilty person might suffer the consequences of God’s judgment (2 Sam. 3:28–29; 21:1; 1 Kings 21:29). Manasseh’s bloodguilt and Judah’s failure to do anything about it was the cause of Judah’s downfall over 50 years after Manasseh’s reign (2 Kings 24:4). Judas incurred bloodguilt by betraying Jesus (“innocent blood,” Matt. 27:4). Those who called for the crucifixion accepted the burden of bloodguilt for themselves and their children (Matt. 27:25). Pilate accepted no responsibility for the shedding of innocent blood (Matt. 27:24).  (Holman Bible Dictionary)

HCSB - Innocent blood defiled the land so that the land figuratively became hostile toward the guilty person and resisted his attempts to make use of it. When Cain killed Abel, Abel's blood cried out to the Lord from the ground. It would thereafter withhold its yield from Cain (Gen 4:10-12). The soil of Israel would likewise become polluted by the blood of innocent victims (Num 35:33-34; Dt 19:13).

Deuteronomy 22:9  "You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, or all the produce of the seed which you have sown and the increase of the vineyard will become defiled.

  • shall not sow: Lev 19:19 Mt 6:24 9:16 Ro 11:6 2Co 1:12 11:3 Jas 1:6-8 3:10 
  • Deuteronomy 22 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, or all the produce of the seed which you have sown and the increase of the vineyard will become defiled - Logically two kinds of seed would not necessarily grow well together and maybe even not grow at all. This seems to be a reflection that God created His cosmos with a certain order and in order to receive the maximum benefit of the Creator's creation we do well to follow the Creator's commandments. Ultimately, this prohibition for mixing things is like a divine "word picture" to emphasize the fact that Israel should remain distinct from the pagan nations. Or to say it another way, Israel's seed should not be planted with the pagan's seed. 

NET NOTE on become defiled - Heb “set apart.” The verb קָדַשׁ (qadash) in the Qal verbal stem (as here) has the idea of being holy or being treated with special care. Some take the meaning as “be off-limits, forfeited,” i.e., the total produce of the vineyard, both crops and grapes, have to be forfeited to the sanctuary (cf. Ex 29:37; 30:29; Lev 6:18, 27; Num 16:37–38; Hag 2:12). (Deuteronomy 22)

Prohibitions against mixture based on Lev 19:19 and Deut 22:9-11 are given in detail in the First Order of Mishnah, Tractate 4, Kilaim.

HCSB makes an interesting point - To plant a vineyard with two types of seed makes the point even more clearly that the mixture of unlike things is harmful. Similarly, Israel would be defiled if she mingled with the pagan nations (Dt 7:3-4).

ESVSB agrees noting that "These laws (Dt 22:9-11) prohibit mixing various items, reflecting God’s ordering of creation “according to its kind” (e.g., Gen. 1:25). They also reminded Israelites that God had separated them from other peoples to be distinct and holy (Deut. 14:2)." 

Kline - The Lord created the various "kinds" in the vegetable and animal kingdom (Gen 1:11 ff.). Israel was so to treat these "kinds" that they would be preserved in their distinctive natures (Deut 22:6, 7, 9-11; cf. Lev 19:19). (Wycliffe Bible Commentary on Deuteronomy)

Brown - The Egyptians mixed vegetables and grapes in their vineyards. Perhaps in these practical and visible ways, God was urging Israel to be different from her pagan neighbours.  (Bible Speaks Today – The Message of Deuteronomy)

Grant - The general principle, in the first three (MIXTURES), is that there are fundamental differences, not only in living creatures, but also in the inanimate creation. There was purpose in everything that was created. Nothing was brought into being to satisfy the whims of a distant creator. Creation is best enjoyed when this God-given harmony is acknowledged. The first matter, that of sowing different kinds of seeds in the vineyard, is unique amongst the four in that there is a reason given for this prohibition. By so doing the vineyard would be "defiled", that is, its fruitfulness would be impaired. It may be that, in addition to the practical issues involved, there was another lesson to be learned. Israel is likened to a vineyard which had been carefully prepared to ensure that it would produce a harvest of grapes that were sweet (Isa 5:1-7). The owner of the vineyard would be reminded of this each time he was in his vineyard. There must never be anything or anyone brought into Israel that would affect its fruitfulness. (What the Bible teaches – Leviticus and Deuteronomy)

POSB - This is a symbol of spiritual separation, of the believer living a pure, distinctive life from the immoral and lawless behavior of the world. The Israelites were to live lives that were distinct, totally separated to God. This law drove the truth of spiritual separation into their minds and hearts through everything they did. God wanted His people separated, set apart to Him, not to the world and its sinful ways. This law was to give a daily reminder to God's people, a reminder that they were to live a life of spiritual separation. Everything was to maintain its difference and distinctiveness. There was to be no mixture of truth and error, no mixture of morality and immorality, no mixture of obedience and disobedience. God's people were to live lives that were distinctively different from that of their immoral and lawless neighbors. They were not to have any mixed behavior, not adopt any of the sinful and evil practices of their wicked neighbors. They were to live lives of spiritual separation, lives that were distinctively different from the rest of the world. (Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Deuteronomy)

QUESTION - Deuteronomy 22:9–11 What was the significance of the commands against mixing different things in Deuteronomy 22:9–11?

ANSWER - Deuteronomy 22:9–11 reads, “Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled. Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together. Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.” These commands sound strange to us and cause many people to wonder why God would issue these kinds of laws.

These commands are found in the larger context of Deuteronomy 22:9—23:18 that includes many commands related to the seventh commandment of not committing adultery. The broader concept is one of not mixing together what was to stay separated. The underlying emphasis of these specific commands is spiritual.

Each of the three commands is about two different kinds: 1) two kinds of seed, 2) two kinds of animal, and 3) two kinds of yarn. The different seeds were not to be planted together; the different animals were not to plow together; and the different yarns were not to be interwoven.

There may be some practical reasons for the commands to keep these things separate. First, the command against mixing two kinds of seed sounds very familiar to Jesus’ parable regarding the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24–30). In the parable, an enemy plants the weeds (likely darnel, a wheat-like weed) in order to ruin the crop. The only way to spare the wheat was to wait until the harvest and separate the wheat from the weeds. A farmer would not intentionally mix these two types of seed.

Barring the yoking of an ox and donkey is more difficult to understand. Some interpreters understand the idea of “yoking” as a reference to crossbreeding the two animals (this is the emphasis in Leviticus 19:19). The command could also have been a means of preventing animal cruelty: an ox is much stronger than a donkey, and yoking the two together will quickly deplete a donkey’s strength. It is also important to note that the ox is a clean animal, while the donkey is unclean.

The prohibition against wearing clothing mixed of wool and linen is also difficult to understand. Some suggest that the focus is on dressing in clothing distinct from the pagan cultures that surrounded the Israelites.

Both spiritual and practical considerations were involved in these commands, as is often the case in the Mosaic Law. Even when the practical reasons are not fully clear, it is possible to find a spiritual purpose. God desires purity in His people, and there is to be no “mixture” between good and evil. “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?” (2 Corinthians 6:14–15). - GOTQUESTIONS.ORG

Deuteronomy 22:10  "You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together.

Related Passages:

2 Corinthians 6:14-16 Do not be bound together (present imperative with a negative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. 

J Vernon McGee - God warns against mixtures. The child of God cannot mix with the world. I hear Christians say that they go the way of the world in order to reach the people of the world. I have news for you. That is not the way to reach them. If you ever hear of anybody being reached because a Christian went the way of the world, let me know. The seeds were not to be mixed. The ox and the ass were not to try to work together. The wool and the linen were not to be mixed. The Christian is not to mix with the world, my friend. 

Passages that allude to mixing with the world -  (Luke 21:34, Romans 12:1-2, 2 Ti 2:4, Eph 5:11, 2 Thes. 3:6, 1 John 2:15-17, Psalm 119:115).



You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together - These two work animals do not work well together and in fact it would bring suffering to the animals. Two different species cannot associate comfortably together, nor pull pleasantly either in cart or plough; and the donkey being lower than the ox, when yoked, he must bear the principal part of the weight.

Grant - Two lessons are to be learned. First, the owners of the animals are charged with the responsibility of caring for them. They have come from the hand of God and He cares for them. Second, no matter what enterprise one is engaged in, there must be care taken in choosing those with whom one would be "yoked together". Those who come to the Lord Jesus do so to take His yoke upon them (Mt 11:29). They are yoked to Him and His teaching but find that this is not burdensome. Yoking together is practised because the two animals would achieve much more than they would accomplish if working alone. This is true of Christian service. Paul would doubtless have this verse before his mind when he warned the believer of the danger of being "unequally yoked together with unbelievers" (2 Cor 6:14) for such a yoke would rob the believer of freedom to follow the Lord in life and service. (What the Bible teaches – Leviticus and Deuteronomy)

J Vernon McGee - This sounds to me like a humorous thing which the Lord is saying here. Actually I saw this done over in Israel. In fact, I have a slide that I took showing an Arab plowing with an ox and an ass yoked together. So they do this over there even today. God says that Israel should not plow that way. Someone may ask, "What is wrong with that?" Well, an ox is an ox and an ass is an ass, and they do not go together. They don't walk together -- their gait is different, and they do not pull together. Have you noticed that the Lord does not like mixtures? The same thing is true in marriage. God does not want a mixture of the saved and the unsaved. Unfortunately, I have seen quite a few marriages that reminded me of an ox and an ass yoked together -- a Christian girl marries an unsaved fellow, or vice versa. (Deuteronomy 22)

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown “Besides, the donkey, from feeding on coarse and poisonous weed, has a fetid breath, which its yoke-fellow seeks to avoid, not only as poisonous and offensive, but producing leanness, or, if long continued, death.” 

This text regarding yokes recalls Jesus great invitation...

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Mt 11:28-30+). 

Deuteronomy 22:11  "You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen together.

Related Passage:

Leviticus 19:19+  ‘(Lev 19:18 ends with "I am the LORD") You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together. 


You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen together - Mixed speaks of unity, oneness. Wool and linen are like oil and water - they do not mix. The parallel prohibition in Lev 19:19 is given in a chapter that deals with holiness of the people (cf Lev 19:1). 

NET NOTE - The Hebrew term שַׁעַטְנֵז (sha’atnez) occurs only here and in Lev 19:19. HALOT 1610–11 s.v. takes it to be a contraction of words (שַׁשׁ [shash, “headdress”] + עַטְנַז [’atnaz, “strong”]). BDB 1043 s.v. שַׁעַטְנֵז offers the translation “mixed stuff” (cf. NEB “woven with two kinds of yarn”; NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT “woven together”). The general meaning is clear even if the etymology is not. (Deuteronomy 22)

J Vernon McGee -Do you know what happens with a mixture like that? When you wash it, the wool will shrink but the linen will not. Then you have a real problem. (Deuteronomy 22)

While most of the time when the Lord makes commands, the reasons are fairly obvious, but the present instructions are not completely clear. Nevertheless Brown makes the excellent point that "These unusual covenant obligations also remind them that they must be obedient. They might not always understand why they are asked not to do certain things, but they must trust the God who made the rules. The Lord would certainly not have forbidden his people to do anything unless the thing was positively harmful to them. ‘No good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.’ If the Lord had forbidden certain customs and practices, they cannot possibly have been ‘good’ for them. They were not to quibble and argue as to why such things were denied them; they were to do exactly what the Lord required and be content in their obedience.  (Bible Speaks Today – The Message of Deuteronomy)

Wiersbe - Whether they were weaving garments, plowing with their farm animals, or sowing their seed, the Jewish people were to remember that they were God's people and therefore a separated people. This was the Old Covenant version of 1 Corinthians 10:31+, Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (nkjv).  (Be Equipped)


Deuteronomy 22:12  "You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself.

Related Passages: Note the purpose of the tassels in Nu 15:39

Numbers 15:37-41+ The LORD also spoke to Moses, saying, 38 “Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. 39 “It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, 40 so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God. 41 “I am the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the LORD your God.”

THOUGHT - Do you have any "blue tassels" to help you remember to obey and remind you that you are not your own but have been bought with a price and are to be holy because He is holy? (cf 1 Cor 6:19-20, 1 Peter 1:15-16). Perhaps you might want to buy some literal blue tassels, not as ritual, but as reminder! 

Blue Tassel on Each Corner


You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself - Why on all four corners? Presence on 4 corners would make it very easy to see the blue tassel (Nu 15:38).

Tassels on the four corners Like "tying a string around the finger," the tassels and cord of blue on the edges of their garments were to remind Israel to obey God's commands. Reminders of God's moral limits help the child of God remember God's expectations and personal promises (of the enabling power of the Holy Spirit) to obey. Such physical reminders may take various forms. Making and using such reminders should not become laws people impose on others or use to judge others (Mt 23:5 ....lengthen the tassels of their garments. A hem or fringe on a garment was placed there in accordance with Num. 15:38, but the Pharisees made theirs unnecessarily wide.) The people were to add tassels to their garments as a reminder to obey the commandments of God and to live holy lives before Him, and as a reminder of God's deliverance from the bondage of Egypt. According to Jewish tradition, there were eight threads and five knots in each tassel, suggesting the number thirteen. The numerical value of the Hebrew word for tassels, sisit, is 600. In this way they were reminded of the 613 laws of the Hebrew legal code. The passage in Num 15:38 is the origin of the Jewish tallit (Heb.) or prayer shawl ( Deu 2:12).

Deere - The tassels were to serve as a reminder of the Lord's commands and Israel's obligation to obey them. (Ibid)

Brown makes an interesting comment that "For most Hebrew people, the cloak with the four tassels served a dual purpose; it was an outer garment by day and a heavy blanket at night. In other words, at all times the tassels were there at each of the four corners to confront them, day and night, with the priority of obedience." (Bible Speaks Today – The Message of Deuteronomy)

Meredith Kline - Like the other stipulations in this section, the final regulation, which required the appendage of tassels to the outer garment, was designed to provide a special reminder of God's suzerainty over Israel (Wycliffe Bible Commentary on Deuteronomy)

NET NOTE - Heb “twisted threads” (גְּדִלִים, gédilim) appears to be synonymous with צִיצִת (tsitsit) which, in Num 15:38, occurs in a passage instructing Israel to remember the covenant. Perhaps that is the purpose of the tassels here as well. Cf. KJV, ASV “fringes”; NAB “twisted cords.” (Deuteronomy 22)

Grant - The fourth issue is the requirement to make tassels on the four corners of their "vesture"—a square piece of cloth that was wound round the body. There was an earlier instruction to have fringes on their garments in which there was to be a ribbon of blue (Num 15:38). Bringing both of these together it can be seen that the dress of an Israelite would be distinctive. They would differ from all other nations, the blue being a constant reminder of their relationship with the Lord. There is no reason given in this passage for such distinctive clothing, but in the passage in Numbers the reason given is that they "may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them" (Nu 15:39). This dress also emphasises that, not only were idolatry and its practices to be shunned completely, but also that the requirements of holiness were to cover every aspect of life. Every waking moment of each day they were reminded of their responsibility to submit to the command, "I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy" (Lev 11:44). Others looking on would expect an individual so clothed to behave in a manner that was worthy of the Lord. (What the Bible teaches – Leviticus and Deuteronomy)

Guzik - Like most good commands of God, men have the capability to twist and corrupt this command. In Jesus’ day, He had to condemn the Pharisees in Matthew 23:5, saying they enlarge the borders of their garments. In other words, they made the tasseled portion of their garments larger and more prominent to show how spiritual they were.

Matthew Henry - Provision had been just now made by the law for the pardon of sins of ignorance and infirmity; now here is an expedient provided for the preventing of such sins. They are ordered to make fringes upon the borders of their garments, which were to be memorandums to them of their duty, that they might not sin through forgetfulness. The Jews being a peculiar people, they were thus distinguished from their neighbours in their dress, as well as in their diet, and taught by such little instances of singularity not to be conformed to the way of the heathen in greater things. Thus likewise they proclaimed themselves Jews wherever they were, as those that were not ashamed of God and his law. Our Saviour, being made under the law, wore these fringes; hence we read of the hem or border, of his garment, Mt. 9:20. These borders the Pharisees enlarged, that they might be thought more holy and devout than other people. The phylacteries were different things; these were their own invention, the fringes were a divine institution. The Jews at this day wear them, saying, when they put them on, Blessed be he who has sanctified us unto himself, and commanded us to wear fringes. 

If some outward sign helps us to remember, then let us use it;
only let us ever fear lest we become so accustomed to it, that we forget its true significance.
-- G Campbell Morgan

Tassel in Nu 15:38 is tsitsith but here in Deuteronomy it is gedil which means "twisted threads" (only Dt 22:12, 1 Ki 7:17). 

Corner (03671)(kanaph) means a wing as of a bird , but also means corner and here of a hem, corner, i.e., the end piece or border of a garment (1Sa 15:17; Hag 2:12).

POSB - We do not wear tassels on our clothing today; nevertheless, our clothing should be distinctive, distinctive in the sense of demonstrating modesty, morality, and purity. Our clothing should be a testimony for Christ, not a degrading of His name. Our clothing should never arouse immoral, lustful thoughts in the minds of another person. Our clothing should never cause another person to sin. Our concern should be the clothing of righteousness not the clothing of enticement and of immorality. We should be clothed with the new man of Christ not with the old man of sin and shame. (cf Col 3:10, Eph 4:24, 2 Cor 5:17, 1 Ti 2:9-10, 1 Pe 3:3-5, Rev 3:18, Rev 19:8, Job 29:14).  We must control our minds throughout the day and occasionally take just a moment to think upon God, acknowledging and giving thanks to Him. The basic thrust of our lives must be to focus upon His commandments and bear a strong testimony for Him. (cf Ro 8:6, 2 Cor 10:5, Phil 4:8-9, Php 2:5, 1 Ti 4:15, Josh 1:8, Ps 1:2, Ps 4:4, Ps 19:14, Ps 119:9, 11).  (Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Deuteronomy)

Bush on the corners of their garments throughout their generations- In the borders of their garments. Heb. “On the wings.” The skirt, edge, or border of a garment is usually called a wing, as Ruth 3:9, 1 Sam. 15:17, Deut. 22:30, Zech. 8:13. So the four corners of the earth are called its four wings, Is. 11:12, Ezek. 7:2, Job 37:3. The fringes were the threads left unwoven at the end of the web, on the edge of which, or just above the fringe, was put a band or lace of blue, or rather of purple color, binding the fringe, which was of the same color with the garment, and that was usually white. This band or ribbon served not only to distinguish them from other people, but when they looked down upon it they were reminded of the duty they owed to God, as a holy and consecrated nation. Such among them as laid claim to greater sanctity than others, enlarged their fringes and extended them to so great a length that they sometimes swept the ground, which made them the more noticeable, of which they were ambitious. The modern Jews wear a long tassel at each corner, consisting of eight white woollen threads, knotted with five knots like small buttons, and open and untwisted at the ends.

The tassels were small things, yet they carried a big message:
Israel belonged to God and must respect and obey His commandments
-- Warren Wiersbe

Holy Blue - In the forests of northern Europe and Asia lives little animal called the ermine, known for his snow-white fur in winter. He instinctively protects his white coat against anything that would soil it. Fur hunters take advantage of this unusual trait of the ermine. They don’t set a snare to catch him, but instead they find his home, which is usually a cleft in a rock or a hollow in an old tree. They smear the entrance and interior with grime. Then the hunters set their dogs loose to find and chase the ermine. The frightened animal flees toward home but doesn’t enter because of the filth. Rather than soil his white coat, he is trapped by the dogs and captured while preserving his purity. For the ermine, purity is more precious than life. The Lord wants His people to keep themselves separated from the filth of this world at all cost. In (Nu 15:38,40) the Lord told the Jews to put a blue thread on the borders of their clothes. When they saw the blue, they were to remember God's holy purpose for their lives and to keep a distance from sin. Do we remind ourselves often of our high and holy purpose for living? The best way to live in the world is to live above it.- Henry G Bosch  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

"Oh worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness,
Bow down before Him, His glory proclaim,
With gold of obedience & incense of lowliness,
Kneel & adore Him, the LORD is His name.
---J. S. B. Monsell

Daily blessings are daily reminders of God.

Deuteronomy 22:13  "If any man takes a wife and goes in to her and then turns against her,


Introduction: living a moral and pure life is of critical importance. Why? For one strong reason: immorality tears down the very nature of man, man who is the summit of God's creation. Immorality causes great pain and suffering: it destroys wives, husbands, and children, and eventually society itself. Immorality destroys the family, the very foundation of society, the institution God ordained to give purpose and meaning, form and structure to society. Immorality does irreparable harm to all parties involved. Immorality breaks up families and destroys homes and when it destroys homes, it causes a part of society to crumble. Moreover, immorality corrupts the mind and conscience of the offender, enslaving him to unbridled lust. And when a mind becomes enslaved by unbridled lust, it is far more subject to committing all forms of lawlessness and corrupt behavior. The sins of immorality and the utter necessity for living a moral and pure life are the subjects of this important passage of Scripture: .Dt 22:13-30 - Laws That Govern Sexual Behavior: Living a Moral and Pure Life (POSB Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Deuteronomy)) 

Wiersbe - The sexual purity of women was important in Israel in order to maintain the integrity of the family line and therefore the integrity of the tribes. The legitimacy of a man's sons guaranteed the protection and perpetuation of the family name and the family property. To us, this seems like a double standard, for there was no law by which the woman could test her husband's fidelity. But the issue here isn't just personal morality so much as family legitimacy, the preventing of an illegitimate son from entering the family.  (Be Equipped)

If any man takes a wife and goes in to her and then turns against her - In context they have been properly married and the marriage consummated. Goes in to her is an idiom for sexual relations, so the marriage is consummated. Turns against her (Hebrew sane) conveys stronger meanings such as hate, abhor, loathe or have a feeling of open hostility and intense dislike. This is the reaction Joseph's brothers had against Joseph in Ge 37:4 (and as a result initially sought to kill her!) TEV renders it “decides he doesn’t want” her. The Septuagint translates turns against with the verb miseo which means to hate, detest, abhor and overall expresses a strong aversion of this husband for his wife. As the next verse shows, he has a possible reason for doing so. 

Guzik - It is important to understand that in ancient Israel virginity was valued. It was seen as a great loss to give up one’s virginity before marriage, and if a woman was known to have lost her virginity, it greatly reduced her chances of getting married.

Sexual sins cannot be lightly regarded. Hebrew faith placed great emphasis on women remaining virgins until marriage. Consequently, parents made every effort to guard daughters against premarital sexual activities. In addition, marital faithfulness was expected (Ex 20:14). The Bible condemns sex outside marriage for both men and women (1 Th 4:1-8). Three principles are central to this passage: (1) sexual relations are intended for marriage; (2) parents have rights and responsibilities for a married daughter; and (3) women have God-given rights and cannot be easily disposed of as property by ill-tempered men. This text underscores the moral, legal, and social responsibilities of Christian parents toward their children as they prepare for marriage and adulthood. It also underscores the sacred place of sexuality within marriage.

Turns against (hates) (08130sane means to detest, abhor, loathe, be hostile, have a feeling of open hostility and intense dislike (Ge 37:4), to be unwilling, the opposite of to love (ahab, 0157). To be an enemy with open hostility and strife toward another (Pr 29:24) Vine says "Sane represents an emotion ranging from intense “hatred” to the much weaker “set against” and is used of persons and things (including ideas, words, inanimate objects). The strong sense of the word typifies the emotion of jealousy; and therefore, sane˒ is the feeling Joseph’s brothers experienced because their father preferred him (Gen. 37:4; cf. v. 11). This “hatred” increased when Joseph reported his dreams (Gen. 37:8). Obviously, the word covers emotion ranging from “bitter disdain” to outright “hatred,” for in Gen. 37:18ff. the brothers plotted Joseph’s death and achieved his removal.

Sane in Deuteronomy -  Deut. 4:42; Deut. 5:9; Deut. 7:10; Deut. 7:15; Deut. 12:31; Deut. 16:22; Deut. 19:4; Deut. 19:6; Deut. 19:11; Deut. 21:15; Deut. 21:16; Deut. 21:17; Deut. 22:13; Deut. 22:16; Deut. 24:3; Deut. 30:7; Deut. 32:41; Deut. 33:11

Deuteronomy 22:14  and charges her with shameful deeds and publicly defames her, and says, 'I took this woman, but when I came near her, I did not find her a virgin,'


and charges her with shameful deeds (NIV “slanders her”) and publicly defames her (Heb “brings against her a bad name”; NIV “gives her a bad name”) , and says, 'I took this woman, but when I came near her (Heb - drew near ~ sexual relations), I did not find her a virgin - This is the husband's justification for hating his new bride! 

Virgin - (01331)(בְּתוּלִים beṯûliym) is a feminine noun meaning virginity, virgin, or maiden. It is primarily used to describe the sexual purity or chastity of a young woman. Variations on this theme show it is used in contrast to a defiled or impure woman (Deut. 22:14); to signify the virginal state of a woman to be married (Lev. 21:13); or to signify the virginal state of young women in general (Judg. 11:37). It means proof of virginity, token, i.e., cloth with blood proving that a woman is in fact a virgin on the first marriage night (Dt 22:14, 15, 17,20) See related noun bethulah

Beṯûliym 10x - evidence of my virginity(1), virgin(5), virginity(4). Lev. 21:13; Deut. 22:14; Deut. 22:15; Deut. 22:17; Deut. 22:20; Jdg. 11:37; Jdg. 11:38; Ezek. 23:3; Ezek. 23:8

Deuteronomy 22:15  then the girl's father and her mother shall take and bring out the evidence of the girl's virginity to the elders of the city at the gate.


To the rescue is an idiom for helping someone in trouble.

Then - This word usually show progression or sequence in a narrative. Here the context is accusations by the husband. 

The girl's father and her mother shall take and bring out the evidence of the girl's virginity (beṯûliym) to the elders of the city at the gate - This is evidently be blood-stained sheets indicative of the first instance of intercourse that produced a lacerated hymen and subsequent bleeding (see hymen)

Deere - Records from various cultures in the ancient Near East refer to this kind of evidence being made public.

IVP Bible Background Commentary -  proof of virginity. Virginity prior to marriage was prized as a means of insuring that one’s children and heirs were actually one’s own. The integrity of the woman’s household was based on her being able to show proof of her virginity. The physical evidence demanded in this case could be either the sheets from the initial consummation (bloodied by the breaking of the hymen) or possibly rags used during the woman’s last menstrual period, showing that she was not pregnant prior to the marriage. 

BSB on evidence of the girl's virginity - The "evidence of the young woman's virginity" refers to the blood of a first intercourse upon the bedclothes of a virgin (v. 17). This act of spreading the cloth before the elders was a means of establishing the chastity and purity of the virgin daughter. Therefore, parents often kept the cloth from the daughter's wedding night in case proof of her virginity might be required. This law against slandering one's wife is an application of the ninth commandment concerning bearing false witness (Dt 5:20). The penalty was twice that of the rape of an unbetrothed virgin (vv. 28, 29).

GATE, CITY — a massive wooden door in a city wall through which traffic passed. Often reinforced with bronze or iron for greater security, these gates were opened during the day to allow the citizens to come and go. But they were closed at night as a safety measure. In the event of attack, the gates were closed and barred to keep out the enemy. Goods were often bought and sold and important legal matters were discussed just inside the city gate (Ruth 4:11). Because of their central location, gates were often spoken of in the Bible as symbols of power and authority. God promised Abraham that his descendants would possess the gates of their enemies (Gen. 22:17).

Deuteronomy 22:16  "The girl's father shall say to the elders, 'I gave my daughter to this man for a wife, but he turned against her;


The girl's father shall say to the elders, 'I gave my daughter to this man for a wife, but he turned against her (Heb - sane; Lxx = miseo; NET - he has rejected her) - Turned against is the same Hebrew (sane) and Greek (miseo) words used in Dt 22:13. 

Deuteronomy 22:17  and behold, he has charged her with shameful deeds, saying, "I did not find your daughter a virgin." But this is the evidence of my daughter's virginity.' And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city.


and behold, he has charged her with shameful deeds, saying, "I did not find your daughter a virgin (beṯûliym)." But this is the evidence of my daughter's virginity (beṯûliym).' And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city - The evidence would be a blood-stained garment or bed sheet from the wedding night. "In societies where such evidence was legally decisive, it was customary after the consummation of the marriage to keep the tokens of the bride's virginity." (Kline)

Grant - The retention of this "proof" is indicative of the value that was placed on marriage and of the young bride being a virgin. If her virginity had been lost through her conduct with her betrothed before marriage, such proof would not be available.  (What the Bible teaches – Leviticus and Deuteronomy)

Eugene Merrill - The “proof of her virginity” (lit., “I did not find virginity [bĕtûlîm] with respect to her”) would be the bloodstained sheets resulting from a ruptured hymen (cf. v. 17). Evidently the bride retained the telltale cloth (described as a śimlâ, “covering,” in v. 17), for her parents could present it to the town elders to contest the husband’s allegations (v. 15).  If the cloth indeed bore proof of the girl’s virginity, her parents had good basis for their claim that the husband had rejected her for reasons other than those he professed. He had come to despise (śānēʾ, as in v. 13) her and tried to shift the onus onto her in order to be more gracefully free of the relationship. (NAC) 

Deuteronomy 22:18  "So the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him,

Related Passage:

2 Corinthians 11:24  Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.

Deuteronomy 25:3  “He may beat him forty times but no more, so that he does not beat him with many more stripes than these and your brother is not degraded in your eyes. 


So the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise (musar) him - How was he chastised? The text is not clear, but it could have been by whipping him with 40 stripes (cf. Dt 25:3). See  2 Cor. 11:24. Thirty-nine lashes. This refers to beatings administered in the synagogue. The law prescribed 40 lashes (Deut. 25:1-3), but only 39 were given in order to be certain of not exceeding the limit. 

Kline - On the judicial responsibility of the elders, see Dt 19:12; 21:2-6, 19, 20; 25:7-9. On adultery, punishable by death, see Dt 5:18; Lev 18:20, 29; 20:10.)

Discipline (chasten, instruct) (03256yasar  means to chastenchastiseadmonish, discipline.  punish in order to improve behavior, implying the training of the person. Literally to chasten with blows or figuratively with words (instruct, correct, punish, reform, reprove). To punish, chasten or instruct in order to gain control or enforce obedience. The theological basis for discipline of Israel is grounded in the covenant relationship which Yahweh establishes with His people.  It is a good thing to be disciplined by the Lord for as the psalmist says "Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O LORD, And whom You teach out of Your law." (Ps 94:12) Notice there that the discipline is not in a vacuum but is coupled with teaching, a good pattern! (cp similar pattern in Isa 28:26). God chastens individuals, Israel and the nations. 

Deuteronomy 22:19  and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give it to the girl's father, because he publicly defamed a virgin of Israel. And she shall remain his wife; he cannot divorce her all his days.


and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give it to the girl's father, because he publicly defamed (Heb “brought forth a bad name”, NET - ruined the reputation of)  a virgin of Israel. And she shall remain his wife; he cannot divorce (send her away, cf Dt 21:14) her all his days - Not only was he disciplined, but was fined and could never divorce her. One can only imagine the potential discord in this setting. Clearly these three forms of punishment would tend to deter any husband from bringing false allegations against his wife! 

Deere on hundred shekels - Apparently this was double the original bride-price (v. 29 seems to indicate that 50 shekels was the usual bride-price).

IVP Bible Background Commentary -  one hundred shekels of silver. The fine imposed here for false accusation amounts to about two and one-half pounds of silver. Hammurabi’s laws include cases of false accusation of sexual misconduct, but these do not concern the wedding context, and monetary fines are not set. Based on the bride price paid in Deuteronomy 22:29 of fifty shekels, this penalty amounts to twice the bride price and thus would be a real deterrent to such accusations. It would be the equivalent of about ten years of normal wages. 

Grant on the fine - This was a considerable sum. Comparing it with values expressed at that time, the value of a man given to the Lord by a vow was "fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary" (Lev 27:3). Compensation for the goring of a servant by another man's ox was set at thirty shekels of silver to be paid to the master of the servant (Ex 21:32).  (What the Bible teaches – Leviticus and Deuteronomy)

Deuteronomy 22:20  "But if this charge is true, that the girl was not found a virgin,


But if this charge is true, that the girl was not found a virgin (beṯûliym) - In other words, the family had no evidence of a bloody matrimonial cloth.

Deuteronomy 22:21  then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father's house; thus you shall purge the evil from among you.

  • stone her: De 22:22,24 13:10 17:5 21:21 Lev 24:16,23 Nu 15:35,36 
  • she  Ge 34:7 Lev 21:9 Jdg 20:6,10 2Sa 13:12,13 
  • shall purge the evil from among you: Deut. 13:5; Deut. 17:7; Deut. 17:12; Deut. 19:19; Deut. 22:21; Deut. 22:22; Deut. 22:24; Deut. 24:7
  • Deuteronomy 22 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father's house - She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel. She had sexual relations before she was married. "She has committed a disgraceful crime in Israel by being promiscuous while living in her parents' home." (NLT) Note where she is being stoned -- in front of the home in which she was raised! Imagine what other young girls would think (I am not aware however of this actually being recorded as carried out in Scripture). Just the thought of being stoned to death would seem to have been a significant impediment to sex outside marriage!

Utley - Normally, stoning was done outside the gate of the city. Because of the Hebrew concept of corporality, the father was responsible for his daughter’s actions and, therefore, the punishment occurred at his door! “an act of folly” is used of inappropriate sexual activity: (1) Gen. 34:7 (non-Israelite forces himself on Jacob’s daughter);(2) Deut. 22:21 (loss of virginity); (3) Jdg 19:23; 20:6, 10 (pagans attack a Levite’s concubine); (4)  2 Sa. 13:12–13 (Ammon, David’s first son, rapes his half-sister) (Deuteronomy 22 Commentary)

Wiersbe rightly points out that "These parents could never walk out their front door without seeing the place where their daughter had been stoned to death. "The wages of sin is death."  (Be Equipped)

THOUGHT - Our culture today scoffs at such prudishness. and openly flaunts "sexual freedom" but fails to comprehend the consequences that such freedom comes at a high price not the least of which is millions of murdered babies! The result of these loose morals is a society that is out of control, spinning inevitably toward dire consequences for our nation. God's ways are always the ways of blessing. 

Thus you shall purge the evil from among you - Three times in this last section on sexual sins (Dt 22:21, 22, 24). God's point is clear that the society must be purged of the evil of sexual sins for they are so destructive at all levels of a society and culture! You must get rid of the evil among you. Purging/removing evil is a repeated theme in Deuteronomy and the phrase purge the evil is found only in Deuteronomy (Deut. 13:5; Deut. 17:7; Deut. 17:12; Deut. 19:19; Deut. 22:21; Deut. 22:22; Deut. 22:24; Deut. 24:7) Note the phrase from among you emphasizing the need to maintain national purity and Dt 22:22 helps understand "among you" as indicating the nation of Israel.

THOUGHT - God is saying these personal sins would have public consequences and must be totally removed from the land. This truth causes me to shudder as I think of all the sins that would need to be purged from America and are not being purged but actually being publically propagated!  Woe!!!

John Maxwell adds that "The entire community became involved in a private sin. Today, although the stigma and the punishment of premarital sex have been greatly reduced, others are still affected by one person's immorality. There is no such thing as a "casual affair." One need only read the statistics concerning abortions, sexually transmitted diseases, and government assistance for unwed mothers to realize that private sexual sins quickly become public matters of concern." (Preacher's Commentary)

Guzik - All this simply reinforces the principle that virginity was valued, highly valued, in Israel. Today, far too many people—especially women—sell themselves cheaply by easily giving away their virginity. A man illustrated this with a true story about a friend who owned an antique store and had a table for sale. The table was worth $600, but was marked down to $300. A man tried to bargain her down to $200, and not only did she refuse, but she realized the true value of the table, and upped the price to its true worth—even when offered $300. The man finally bought the table for $600, and certainly treated it like a $600 table—because its worth had been fought for. Many women who know they are being treated shabbily by men have contributed to the problem by selling themselves cheaply.

NET NOTE on folly - The Hebrew term נְבָלָה (neḇālāh) means more than just something stupid. It refers to a moral lapse so serious as to jeopardize the whole covenant community (cf. Gen 34:7; Jdg 19:23; 20:6, 10; Jer 29:23). See C. Pan, NIDOTTE 3:11–13. Cf. NAB “she committed a crime against Israel.” (Deuteronomy 22)

Played the harlot - 47x in 42 verses - Gen. 38:24; Exod. 34:15; Exod. 34:16; Lev. 17:7; Lev. 20:5; Lev. 20:6; Num. 15:39; Num. 25:1; Deut. 22:21; Deut. 31:16; Jdg. 2:17; Jdg. 8:27; Jdg. 8:33; Jdg. 19:2; 1 Chr. 5:25; 2 Chr. 21:11; 2 Chr. 21:13; Ps. 106:39; Isa. 23:17; Ezek. 6:9; Ezek. 16:15; Ezek. 16:16; Ezek. 16:17; Ezek. 16:26; Ezek. 16:28; Ezek. 16:34; Ezek. 16:41; Ezek. 20:30; Ezek. 23:3; Ezek. 23:5; Ezek. 23:19; Ezek. 23:30; Hos. 2:5; Hos. 3:3; Hos. 4:10; Hos. 4:12; Hos. 4:13; Hos. 4:14; Hos. 4:15; Hos. 4:18; Hos. 5:3; Hos. 9:1 

Spiritual Prostitution - The relationship between Yahweh and Israel was that of husband and wife. Therefore, when the Israelites went astray by worshiping other (SO CALLED) deities, they were prostituting themselves to other gods (Exodus 34:15). Ezekiel gave female names to Samaria and Jerusalem (symbolizing Israel and Judah), calling them Oholah and Oholibah ( Who are Oholah and Oholibah in the Bible?). He described their harlotry and pronounced judgment on them (Ezekiel 23). Hosea entered into an elaborate sign act in order to preach to the northern kingdom about its sin of spiritual harlotry. God told him to marry Gomer (Hosea 1:2-3). When she was unfaithful, he took her back in love (Hos 3:1-3). In the same way, God had taken Israel as his bride (Hos 2:15), but she had prostituted herself to the Canaanite deities (Hos 2:2-13). The divine Husband was going to punish his "wife" for a time so that Israel would repent and return (Hos 2:3,8-13). Although divorce was invoked (Hos 2:2) the ultimate goal was reconciliation (Hos 2:16-20). (Baker Evangelical Dictionary)

Marriage is one of many figures used in Scripture to emphasize the relationship of God to men. This illustration is used in both OT and NT to picture COVENANT LOVE, INTIMATE FELLOWSHIP, INCREDIBLE PRIVILEGE but DEFINITE RESPONSIBILITY.  In the OT, as in Hos 2:16-23, Israel is described as the wife of the LORD, though now disowned because of disobedience. Nevertheless eventually, upon repentance, Israel will be restored (Zec 12:10+). This relationship is not to be confused with that of the Church to Christ (Jn 3:29). In the mystery of the divine Trinity both are true. The NT speaks of the Church as a virgin espoused to one husband (2 Co 11:1-2), which could never be said of an adulterous wife restored in grace. Israel is, then, to be the restored and forgiven wife of the LORD; the Church is the virgin wife of the Lamb (Jn 3:29; Rev 19:6-8). The Church is the Lamb's heavenly bride (Rev 19:7).

Folly (05039). נְבָלָה neḇālāh: A feminine noun meaning folly, a disgraceful act. “foolishness; senselessness; impropriety; stupidity.” It refers to deeds that are especially serious, grave, sinful, arrogant: rape, harlotry (Gen. 34:7; Deut. 22:21); breaking of Israel’s covenantal laws (Josh. 7:15); sodomy (Jdg. 19:23, 24); offering incorrect or vain advice in an arrogant way (Job 42:8); foolish talk (Isa. 9:17[16]); spiritual adultery (Jer. 29:23). Its use in 1 Sa. 25:25 signifies “disregarding God’s will.” Nebalah is most often used as a word for a serious sin (Gen. 34:7—the first occurrence).

DBL Hebrew - 1. disgraceful thing, wicked thing, i.e., what is in defiance of moral or social standards and so considered outrageous, and brings a resulting disgrace (Ge 34:7; Dt 22:21; Jos 7:15; Jdg 19:23, 24; 20:6, 10; 2Sa 13:12; Jer 29:23); 2. folly, foolishness, i.e., that which is senseless and so shows a lack and even capacity for understanding, implying moral failure (1Sa 25:25; Job 42:8; Isa 9:16; 32:6); 3.  female fool, i.e., a woman that lacks understanding or even the capacity for understanding (Job 2:10), man having sex with another man's wife (Dt 22:22)

Nebalah - act of folly(2), disgraceful act(1), disgraceful acts(1), disgraceful thing(3), folly(3), foolishly(1), foolishness(1), nonsense(1).
Gen. 34:7; Deu t. 22:21; Jos. 7:15; Jdg. 19:23; Jdg. 19:24; Jdg. 20:6; Jdg. 20:10; 1 Sam. 25:25; 2 Sam. 13:12; Job 42:8; Isa. 9:17; Isa. 32:6; Jer. 29:23

Purge (remove, burn) (01197ba'ar literally to burn, but most uses in Deuteronomy describe the state or action of destroying an entity into non-existence as a figurative extension of fire consuming an object. Thus it often means to kill. 

The first 3 uses in Deuteronomy describes Mt Sinai = "the mountain burned with fire to the very heart of the heavens." (Dt 5:23, 9:15).

What will be purged? False prophet (Dt 13:5), false worshiper (Dt 17:7), one who show contempt for a judge (Dt 17:12), murderer (Dt 19:13), false witness (Dt 19:19), people's bloodguiltiness for an unsolved murder (Dt 21:6), a stubborn, rebellious son (Dt 21:21), girl who lied when she married and was not actually a virgin (Dt 22:21), kidnapper (Dt 24:7). 

Evil (07451) רַע raʿ,  רָעָה rāʿāh: An adjective meaning bad, evil. The basic meaning of this word displays ten or more various shades of the meaning of evil according to its contextual usage. It means bad in a moral and ethical sense and is used to describe, along with good, the entire spectrum of good and evil; hence, it depicts evil in an absolute, negative sense, as when it describes the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:9; 3:5, 22). It was necessary for a wise king to be able to discern the evil or the good in the actions of his people (Eccl. 12:14); men and women are characterized as evil (1 Sam. 30:22; Esther 7:6; Jer. 2:33). The human heart is evil all day long (Gen. 6:5) from childhood (Gen. 8:21); yet the people of God are to purge evil from among them (Deut. 17:7). The Lord is the final arbiter of whether something was good or evil; if something was evil in the eyes of the Lord, there is no further court of appeals (Deut. 9:18; 1 Kgs. 14:22). The day of the Lord’s judgment is called an evil day, a day of reckoning and condemnation (Amos 6:3). Jacob would have undergone grave evil (i.e., pain, misery, and ultimate disaster) if he had lost Benjamin (Gen. 44:34). The word can refer to circumstances as evil, as when the Israelite foremen were placed in a grave situation (Ex. 5:19; 2 Kgs. 14:10).

Complete Biblical Library Meaning the opposite of “good, the noun raʿ has a range of meaning similar to that of the word “bad” in English. One major use of this noun is to denote immorality, or evil, of some sort (cf. Prov. 6:24). Genesis 2:9 sums up experiential knowledge of moral and ethical choices and truth as the “knowledge of good and evil.” This word for “bad” or “evil,” ultimately, is used of what is opposite of God (Job 1:1). Anyone involved with sin must receive death and be destroyed or sent away from the presence of God (Gen. 6:5ff; 38:7; Deut. 30:15, 16–20). The heart of evil is idolatry or unfaithfulness in a person’s relationship with the LORD (17:2f). It involves distrust, unbelief, greed and rebellion (Pr 17:11). Evil is closely associated with pride in Pr 8:13. Someone who shows unkindness to others may be called evil (1 Sa 25:3). Not all uses of raʿ involve morality. Genesis 28:8 employs the word in referring to the daughters of Canaan, who did not please Isaac. Something bad of appearance is ugly (Ge 41:3f). The word is used of purchases that are bad or of poor, inferior quality (Pr 20:14). Inedible or harmful substances, such as rotten fruit and dangerous drinking water, are bad (2 Ki. 2:19; 4:41; Jer. 24:8). Bad faces are sad (Ge 40:7), and a bad heart is deeply sorrowful (Pr 25:20). Even a good thing like discipline can be called bad because it is painful (Pr 15:10). Raʿ is often used to describe some kind of harm, hurt, injury or damage (Gen. 31:29; Ps. 23:4). General adversity and distress are referred to in Ps. 10:6. Raʿ came to mean something severe, such as a bad sickness (Deut. 28:59), and even terrifying like the plagues (Dt 6:22). Those who rebel and break the Covenant with the LORD will experience all the judgments, curses and painful things He promised (Josh. 23:15). However, He grieves over the pain these judgments bring, and He turns from them before they totally destroy his people.

DBL Hebrew Semantic Domains - 1. bad, evil, wicked, no good, i.e., pertaining to that which is not morally pure or good according to a proper standard, implying this evil hinders or severs a relationship to a person or principle which is proper; 2. bad, poor, no good, i.e., pertaining to that which has undesirable features in an object, and so have lesser or no value (Lev 27:10ab); 3. fierce, wild, harmful, i.e., pertaining to that which can harm or injure an object (Ge 37:20); 4.  sad, i.e., pertaining to an appearance of the face which communicates sorrow or troubled feelings (Ge 40:7); 5. troubled, miserable, distressed, i.e., pertaining to an attitude or emotion of anxiety and worry (Ps 94:13); 6. unit: חֳלִי רַע (ḥǒlî rǎʿ)1 grievous evil, formally, evil of affliction (Ecc 6:2+); 7. unit: רַע מַרְאֶה (rǎʿ mǎr·ʾě(h)) ugly, unseemly, i.e., be physically undesirable in appearance as a feature of an object (Ge 41:3, 4+); 8. unit: רוּחַ רַע (rûaḥ rǎʿ)1 evil spirit (1Sa 16:14); 9. unit: שֵׁם רַע (šēm rǎʿ)1 bad name, of bad reputation, i.e., what is said about another person, good or bad (Dt 22:14, 19; Ne 6:13); 10. unit: רַע תֹּאַר (rǎʿ tō·ʾǎr) ugly, unattractive, formally, bad of form, i.e., of an undesirable appearance relative to the kind or class of the object (Ge 41:19+); 11.  unit: תַּחֲלֻאִים רַע (tǎ·ḥǎlǔ·ʾîm rǎʿ)1 great pain, horrible torment, formally, evil of disease, i.e., to have a high degree of physical pain and discomfort (2Ch 21:19+); 12. unit: רַע בְּ־ עַיִן (rǎʿ b- ʿǎ·yin)1 displeased, troubled, formally, bad according to the eye, i.e., pertaining to that which is not agreeable and brings anger or loathing or worry and anxiety (Ge 28:8) (James A Swanson)

Ra' - 117v - Ge 2:9 = the tree of knowledge of good and evil; Gen. 2:17; Gen. 3:5 = knowing good and evil.; Gen. 3:22; Gen. 6:5; Gen. 8:21; Gen. 13:13; Gen. 19:19; Gen. 24:50; Gen. 26:29; Gen. 28:8; Gen. 31:24; Gen. 31:29; Gen. 31:52; Gen. 37:2; Gen. 37:20; Gen. 37:33; Gen. 38:7; Gen. 39:9; Gen. 40:7; Gen. 41:3; Gen. 41:4; Gen. 41:19; Gen. 41:20; Gen. 41:21; Gen. 41:27; Gen. 44:4; Gen. 44:29; Gen. 44:34; Gen. 47:9; Gen. 48:16; Gen. 50:15; Gen. 50:17; Gen. 50:20; Exod. 5:19; Exod. 10:10; Exod. 21:8; Exod. 23:2; Exod. 32:12; Exod. 32:14; Exod. 32:22; Exod. 33:4; Lev. 26:6; Lev. 27:10; Lev. 27:12; Lev. 27:14; Lev. 27:33; Num. 11:1; Num. 11:15; Num. 13:19; Num. 14:27; Num. 14:35; Num. 14:37; Num. 20:5; Num. 24:13; Num. 32:13; Num. 35:23; Deut. 1:35; Deut. 1:39; Deut. 4:25; Deut. 6:22; Deut. 7:15; Deut. 9:18; Deut. 13:5; Deut. 13:11; Deut. 15:21; Deut. 17:1; Deut. 17:2; Deut. 17:5; Deut. 17:7; Deut. 17:12; Deut. 19:19; Deut. 19:20; Deut. 21:21; Deut. 22:14; Deut. 22:19; Deut. 22:21; Deut. 22:22; Deut. 22:24; Deut. 23:9; Deut. 24:7; Deut. 28:35; Deut. 28:59; Deut. 29:21; Deut. 30:15; Deut. 31:17; Deut. 31:18; Deut. 31:21; Deut. 31:29; Deut. 32:23; Jos. 23:15; Jdg. 2:11; Jdg. 2:15; Jdg. 3:7; Jdg. 3:12; Jdg. 4:1; Jdg. 6:1; Jdg. 9:23; Jdg. 9:56; Jdg. 9:57; Jdg. 10:6; Jdg. 11:27; Jdg. 13:1; Jdg. 15:3; Jdg. 20:3; Jdg. 20:12; Jdg. 20:13; Jdg. 20:34; Jdg. 20:41; 1 Sam. 2:23; 1 Sam. 6:9; 1 Sam. 10:19; 1 Sam. 12:17; 1 Sam. 12:19; 1 Sam. 12:20; 1 Sam. 15:19; 1 Sam. 16:14; 1 Sam. 16:15; 1 Sam. 16:16; 1 Sam. 16:23; 1 Sam. 18:10; 1 Sam. 19:9; 1 Sam. 20:7; 1 Sam. 20:9; 1 Sam. 20:13; 1 Sam. 23:9; 1 Sam. 24:9; 1 Sam. 24:11; 1 Sam. 24:17; 1 Sam. 25:3; 1 Sam. 25:17; 1 Sam. 25:21; 1 Sam. 25:26; 1 Sam. 25:28; 1 Sam. 25:39; 1 Sam. 26:18; 1 Sam. 29:6; 1 Sam. 29:7; 1 Sam. 30:22; 2 Sam. 3:39; 2 Sam. 12:9; 2 Sam. 12:11; 2 Sam. 12:18; 2 Sam. 13:16; 2 Sam. 13:22; 2 Sam. 14:17; 2 Sam. 15:14; 2 Sam. 16:8; 2 Sam. 17:14; 2 Sam. 18:32; 2 Sam. 19:7; 2 Sam. 19:35; 2 Sam. 24:16; 1 Ki. 1:52; 1 Ki. 2:44; 1 Ki. 3:9; 1 Ki. 5:4; 1 Ki. 9:9; 1 Ki. 11:6; 1 Ki. 11:25; 1 Ki. 13:33; 1 Ki. 14:10; 1 Ki. 14:22; 1 Ki. 15:26; 1 Ki. 15:34; 1 Ki. 16:7; 1 Ki. 16:19; 1 Ki. 16:25; 1 Ki. 16:30; 1 Ki. 20:7; 1 Ki. 21:20; 1 Ki. 21:21; 1 Ki. 21:25; 1 Ki. 21:29; 1 Ki. 22:8; 1 Ki. 22:18; 1 Ki. 22:23; 1 Ki. 22:52; 2 Ki. 2:19; 2 Ki. 3:2; 2 Ki. 4:41; 2 Ki. 6:33; 2 Ki. 8:12; 2 Ki. 8:18; 2 Ki. 8:27; 2 Ki. 13:2; 2 Ki. 13:11; 2 Ki. 14:10; 2 Ki. 14:24; 2 Ki. 15:9; 2 Ki. 15:18; 2 Ki. 15:24; 2 Ki. 15:28; 2 Ki. 17:2; 2 Ki. 17:11; 2 Ki. 17:13; 2 Ki. 17:17; 2 Ki. 21:2; 2 Ki. 21:6; 2 Ki. 21:9; 2 Ki. 21:12; 2 Ki. 21:15; 2 Ki. 21:16; 2 Ki. 21:20; 2 Ki. 22:16; 2 Ki. 22:20; 2 Ki. 23:32; 2 Ki. 23:37; 2 Ki. 24:9; 2 Ki. 24:19; 1 Chr. 2:3; 1 Chr. 4:10; 1 Chr. 7:23; 1 Chr. 21:15; 2 Chr. 7:14; 2 Chr. 7:22; 2 Chr. 12:14; 2 Chr. 18:7; 2 Chr. 18:17; 2 Chr. 18:22; 2 Chr. 20:9; 2 Chr. 21:6; 2 Chr. 21:19; 2 Chr. 22:4; 2 Chr. 25:19; 2 Chr. 29:6; 2 Chr. 33:2; 2 Chr. 33:6; 2 Chr. 33:9; 2 Chr. 33:22; 2 Chr. 34:24; 2 Chr. 34:28; 2 Chr. 36:5; 2 Chr. 36:9; 2 Chr. 36:12; Ezr. 9:13; Neh. 1:3; Neh. 2:1; Neh. 2:2; Neh. 2:10; Neh. 2:17; Neh. 6:2; Neh. 6:13; Neh. 9:28; Neh. 9:35; Neh. 13:7; Neh. 13:17; Neh. 13:18; Neh. 13:27; Est. 7:6; Est. 7:7; Est. 8:3; Est. 8:6; Est. 9:2; Est. 9:25; Job 1:1; Job 1:8; Job 2:3; Job 2:7; Job 2:10; Job 2:11; Job 5:19; Job 20:12; Job 21:30; Job 22:5; Job 28:28; Job 30:26; Job 31:29; Job 35:12; Job 42:11; Ps. 5:4; Ps. 7:4; Ps. 7:9; Ps. 10:6; Ps. 10:15; Ps. 15:3; Ps. 21:11; Ps. 23:4; Ps. 27:5; Ps. 28:3; Ps. 34:13; Ps. 34:14; Ps. 34:16; Ps. 34:19; Ps. 34:21; Ps. 35:4; Ps. 35:12; Ps. 35:26; Ps. 36:4; Ps. 37:19; Ps. 37:27; Ps. 38:12; Ps. 38:20; Ps. 40:12; Ps. 40:14; Ps. 41:1; Ps. 41:5; Ps. 41:7; Ps. 49:5; Ps. 50:19; Ps. 51:4; Ps. 52:1; Ps. 52:3; Ps. 54:5; Ps. 55:15; Ps. 56:5; Ps. 64:5; Ps. 70:2; Ps. 71:13; Ps. 71:20; Ps. 71:24; Ps. 73:8; Ps. 78:49; Ps. 88:3; Ps. 90:15; Ps. 91:10; Ps. 94:13; Ps. 94:23; Ps. 97:10; Ps. 101:4; Ps. 107:26; Ps. 107:34; Ps. 107:39; Ps. 109:5; Ps. 109:20; Ps. 112:7; Ps. 119:101; Ps. 121:7; Ps. 140:1; Ps. 140:2; Ps. 140:11; Ps. 141:4; Ps. 141:5; Ps. 144:10; Prov. 1:16; Prov. 1:33; Prov. 2:12; Prov. 2:14; Prov. 3:7; Prov. 3:29; Prov. 3:30; Prov. 4:14; Prov. 4:27; Prov. 5:14; Prov. 6:14; Prov. 6:18; Prov. 6:24; Prov. 8:13; Prov. 11:15; Prov. 11:19; Prov. 11:21; Prov. 11:27; Prov. 12:12; Prov. 12:13; Prov. 12:20; Prov. 12:21; Prov. 13:17; Prov. 13:19; Prov. 13:21; Prov. 14:16; Prov. 14:19; Prov. 14:22; Prov. 14:32; Prov. 15:3; Prov. 15:10; Prov. 15:15; Prov. 15:26; Prov. 15:28; Prov. 16:4; Prov. 16:6; Prov. 16:17; Prov. 16:27; Prov. 16:30; Prov. 17:11; Prov. 17:13; Prov. 17:20; Prov. 19:23; Prov. 20:8; Prov. 20:14; Prov. 20:22; Prov. 20:30; Prov. 21:10; Prov. 21:12; Prov. 22:3; Prov. 23:6; Prov. 24:1; Prov. 24:16; Prov. 24:20; Prov. 25:20; Prov. 26:23; Prov. 26:26; Prov. 27:12; Prov. 28:5; Prov. 28:10; Prov. 28:14; Prov. 28:22; Prov. 29:6; Prov. 31:12; Eccl. 1:13; Eccl. 2:17; Eccl. 2:21; Eccl. 4:3; Eccl. 4:8; Eccl. 5:1; Eccl. 5:13; Eccl. 5:14; Eccl. 5:16; Eccl. 6:1; Eccl. 6:2; Eccl. 7:14; Eccl. 7:15; Eccl. 8:3; Eccl. 8:5; Eccl. 8:6; Eccl. 8:9; Eccl. 8:11; Eccl. 8:12; Eccl. 9:3; Eccl. 9:12; Eccl. 10:5; Eccl. 10:13; Eccl. 11:2; Eccl. 11:10; Eccl. 12:1; Eccl. 12:14; Isa. 3:9; Isa. 3:11; Isa. 5:20; Isa. 7:5; Isa. 7:15; Isa. 7:16; Isa. 13:11; Isa. 31:2; Isa. 32:7; Isa. 33:15; Isa. 45:7; Isa. 47:10; Isa. 47:11; Isa. 56:2; Isa. 57:1; Isa. 59:7; Isa. 59:15; Isa. 65:12; Isa. 66:4; Jer. 1:14; Jer. 1:16; Jer. 2:3; Jer. 2:13; Jer. 2:19; Jer. 2:27; Jer. 2:28; Jer. 2:33; Jer. 3:2; Jer. 3:5; Jer. 3:17; Jer. 4:6; Jer. 4:14; Jer. 4:18; Jer. 5:12; Jer. 5:28; Jer. 6:1; Jer. 6:7; Jer. 6:19; Jer. 6:29; Jer. 7:6; Jer. 7:12; Jer. 7:24; Jer. 7:30; Jer. 8:3; Jer. 8:6; Jer. 9:3; Jer. 11:8; Jer. 11:11; Jer. 11:12; Jer. 11:14; Jer. 11:15; Jer. 11:17; Jer. 11:23; Jer. 12:4; Jer. 12:14; Jer. 13:10; Jer. 14:16; Jer. 15:11; Jer. 15:21; Jer. 16:10; Jer. 16:12; Jer. 17:17; Jer. 17:18; Jer. 18:8; Jer. 18:10; Jer. 18:11; Jer. 18:12; Jer. 18:20; Jer. 19:3; Jer. 19:15; Jer. 21:10; Jer. 22:22; Jer. 23:10; Jer. 23:11; Jer. 23:12; Jer. 23:14; Jer. 23:17; Jer. 23:22; Jer. 24:2; Jer. 24:3; Jer. 24:8; Jer. 24:9; Jer. 25:5; Jer. 25:7; Jer. 25:32; Jer. 26:3; Jer. 26:13; Jer. 26:19; Jer. 28:8; Jer. 29:11; Jer. 32:23; Jer. 32:30; Jer. 32:32; Jer. 32:42; Jer. 33:5; Jer. 35:15; Jer. 35:17; Jer. 36:3; Jer. 36:7; Jer. 36:31; Jer. 38:4; Jer. 39:12; Jer. 39:16; Jer. 40:2; Jer. 41:11; Jer. 42:6; Jer. 42:10; Jer. 42:17; Jer. 44:2; Jer. 44:3; Jer. 44:5; Jer. 44:7; Jer. 44:9; Jer. 44:11; Jer. 44:17; Jer. 44:23; Jer. 44:27; Jer. 44:29; Jer. 45:5; Jer. 48:2; Jer. 48:16; Jer. 49:23; Jer. 49:37; Jer. 51:2; Jer. 51:24; Jer. 51:60; Jer. 51:64; Jer. 52:2; Lam. 1:21; Lam. 1:22; Lam. 3:38; Ezek. 5:16; Ezek. 5:17; Ezek. 6:9; Ezek. 6:10; Ezek. 6:11; Ezek. 7:5; Ezek. 7:24; Ezek. 8:9; Ezek. 11:2; Ezek. 13:22; Ezek. 14:15; Ezek. 14:21; Ezek. 14:22; Ezek. 16:23; Ezek. 16:57; Ezek. 20:43; Ezek. 20:44; Ezek. 30:12; Ezek. 33:11; Ezek. 34:25; Ezek. 36:31; Ezek. 38:10; Dan. 9:12; Dan. 9:13; Dan. 9:14; Dan. 11:27; Hos. 7:1; Hos. 7:2; Hos. 7:3; Hos. 7:15; Hos. 9:15; Hos. 10:15; Joel 2:13; Joel 3:13; Amos 3:6; Amos 5:13; Amos 5:14; Amos 5:15; Amos 6:3; Amos 9:4; Amos 9:10; Obad. 1:13; Jon. 1:2; Jon. 1:7; Jon. 1:8; Jon. 3:8; Jon. 3:10; Jon. 4:1; Jon. 4:2; Jon. 4:6; Mic. 1:12; Mic. 2:1; Mic. 2:3; Mic. 3:2; Mic. 3:11; Mic. 7:3; Nah. 1:11; Nah. 3:19; Hab. 1:13; Hab. 2:9; Zeph. 3:15; Zech. 1:4; Zech. 1:15; Zech. 7:10; Zech. 8:17; Mal. 1:8; Mal. 2:17

QUESTION - What does the Bible say about stoning?

ANSWER - Stoning is a method of execution during which a group of people, usually peers of the guilty party, throws stones at the condemned person until he or she dies. Death by stoning was prescribed in the Old Testament Law as a punishment for various sins. Both animals and people could be the subjects of stoning (Exodus 21:28), and stoning seems to have been associated with sins that caused irreparable damage to the spiritual or ceremonial purity of a person or an animal.

Some sins that resulted in stoning in the Old Testament were murder (Leviticus 24:17), idolatry (Deuteronomy 17:2–5), approaching near to Mount Sinai while the presence of God was there (Exodus 19:12–13), practicing necromancy or the occult (Leviticus 20:27), and blaspheming the name of the Lord (Leviticus 24:16). Stoning was probably the punishment for various types of sexual sin, as well (Deuteronomy 22:24); the related passages in Leviticus 20 do not specify the method of execution, only that the guilty party was to be “put to death.”

The Mosaic Law specified that, before anyone could be put to death by stoning, there had to be a trial, and at least two witnesses had to testify: “On the testimony of two or three witnesses a person is to be put to death, but no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness” (Deuteronomy 17:6). Those witnesses “must be the first in putting that person to death, and then the hands of all the people” (verse 7). In other words, those who testified against the condemned person in court had to cast the first stone. Examples of stonings in the Old Testament are the deaths of Achan and his family (Joshua 7:25) and Naboth, who was condemned by false witnesses (1 Kings 21).

Stoning was the method of execution chosen by the unbelieving Jews who persecuted the early Christians. Stephen, the church’s first martyr, was stoned to death outside of Jerusalem by the Sanhedrin. On that occasion, a young man named Saul, who later became the apostle Paul, held the coats of those who cast the stones (Acts 7:54–60).

In another famous passage of Scripture, the Pharisees tried to entrap Jesus into granting approval for the stoning of a woman caught in the act of adultery. Significantly, the adulterous man was absent—the Law prescribed death for both the guilty parties. Jesus’ response is interesting. The woman was clearly guilty, but Jesus understood the duplicity of His enemies. Instead of giving them a direct answer, Jesus turned to those who had dragged the woman before Him and said, “Whichever of you is free from sin, throw the first stone” (John 8:1–11). By this, Jesus is asking for the witnesses to step forward—the witnesses, bound by an oath, were the ones to cast the first stones. He also shows the compassionate heart of God toward the sinner and silences the mob’s hypocritical allegations.

Another mode of execution that was also considered stoning involved throwing the guilty party headlong down a steep place and then rolling a large stone onto the body. This is exactly what a mob in Nazareth tried to do to Jesus after His speech in their synagogue. Hearing His claim to be the Messiah, “they got up, drove [Jesus] out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff” (Luke 4:29). Jesus’ deliverance from this angry mob was miraculous: “He walked right through the crowd and went on his way” (verse 30). It was not the Lord’s time to die (see John 10:18), and He could never have died by stoning because the prophecy said none of His bones would be broken (John 19:36).

Stoning is a horrible way to die. That particular manner of execution must have been a strong deterrent against committing the sins deemed offensive enough to merit stoning. God cares very much about the purity of His people. The strict punishment for sin during the time of the Law helped deter people from adopting the impure practices of their pagan neighbors and rebelling against God. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and Israel was given a stern commandment to stay pure: “You must purge the evil from among you” (Deuteronomy 17:7).

QUESTION - What does the Bible say about the death penalty / capital punishment?

ANSWER - The Old Testament law commanded the death penalty for various acts: murder (Exodus 21:12), kidnapping (Exodus 21:16), bestiality (Exodus 22:19), adultery (Leviticus 20:10), homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13), being a false prophet (Deuteronomy 13:5), prostitution and rape (Deuteronomy 22:24), and several other crimes. However, God often showed mercy when the death penalty was due. David committed adultery and murder, yet God did not demand his life be taken (2 Samuel 11:1-5, 14-17; 2 Samuel 12:13). Ultimately, every sin we commit should result in the death penalty because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Thankfully, God demonstrates His love for us in not condemning us (Romans 5:8).

When the Pharisees brought a woman who was caught in the act of adultery to Jesus and asked Him if she should be stoned, Jesus replied, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). This should not be used to indicate that Jesus rejected capital punishment in all instances. Jesus was simply exposing the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. The Pharisees wanted to trick Jesus into breaking the Old Testament law; they did not truly care about the woman being stoned (where was the man who was caught in adultery?) God is the One who instituted capital punishment: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6). Jesus would support capital punishment in some instances. Jesus also demonstrated grace when capital punishment was due (John 8:1-11). The apostle Paul definitely recognized the power of the government to institute capital punishment where appropriate (Romans 13:1-7).

How should a Christian view the death penalty? First, we must remember that God has instituted capital punishment in His Word; therefore, it would be presumptuous of us to think that we could institute a higher standard. God has the highest standard of any being; He is perfect. This standard applies not only to us but to Himself. Therefore, He loves to an infinite degree, and He has mercy to an infinite degree. We also see that He has wrath to an infinite degree, and it is all maintained in a perfect balance.

Second, we must recognize that God has given government the authority to determine when capital punishment is due (Genesis 9:6; Romans 13:1-7). It is unbiblical to claim that God opposes the death penalty in all instances. Christians should never rejoice when the death penalty is employed, but at the same time, Christians should not fight against the government’s right to execute the perpetrators of the most evil of crimes.

Related Resources:

Utley - SPECIAL TOPIC: THE DEATH PENALTY IN ISRAEL  (Deuteronomy 22 Commentary)

Ancient Israel was to reflect the character of YHWH to the world (cf. Gen. 12:3; 22:18; Exod. 19:5–6). When intentional covenant rebellion distorted this missionary purpose, serious consequences manifested (i.e., death penalty).
The Pentateuch lists several categories:
    1.      sins against YHWH
      a.      Canaanite worship practices—Exod. 22:18; Lev. 20:2–3, 27; Deut. 18:10–11
      b.      idolatry (heavenly hosts)—Exod. 22:20; Deut. 17:2–7
      c.      blasphemy—Exod. 22:28; Lev. 24:15–16
      d.      false prophecy—Deut. 13:1–11; 18:20–22
      e.      Sabbath violations—Exod. 31:14–15; 35:2
    2.      sexual sins
      a.      incest—Lev. 20:11–21
      b.      fornication—Lev. 19:29; 21:19; Deut. 22:13–21; 23:17–18
      c.      adultery—Exod. 20:14; Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:23–24
      d.      sodomy—Lev. 18:22; 20:13
      e.      bestiality—Exod. 22:19; Lev. 20:15–16
    3.      violation of covenant regulations against fellow Israelites
      a.      murder—Exod. 20:13; 21:12–14; Lev. 24:17; Num. 35:16–21; Deut. 5:17
      b.      kidnaping (to sell)—Exod. 21:16; Deut. 24:7 and possibly Exod. 20:15; Deut. 5:19
      c.      rebellion against parents—Deut. 21:18–21
      d.      false witness
      e.      taking holy war spoils—Joshua 7
The methods of execution also varied:
    1.      stoning—most common
    2.      burning—Gen. 38:24; Lev. 20:14; 21:9
    3.      hanging/impaling—Deut. 21:22–23
    4.      sword—Deut. 13:15
Exceptions for special cases:
    1.      cities of refuge and subsequent trial—Joshua 20
    2.      stringent investigations of accusations—Deut. 13:15; 17:4; 19:18
    3.      need for two witnesses—Num. 35:30; Deut. 17:6; 19:15
The death penalty was to be:
    1.      a way to cleanse the land—Deut. 13:5; 17:12; 19:13, 19; 21:9, 21; 22:21, 22, 24; 24:7
    2.      a deterrent to others—Deut. 17:13; 19:20; 21:21
    3.      a way of stopping clan violence (i.e., no personal revenge, except regulations set for blood-avenger)
See Ancient Israel, vol. 1, pp. 147–163).

Deuteronomy 22:22  "If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.

ICB - A man might be found having sexual relations with another man's wife. Both the woman and the man who had sexual relations with her must die. Get rid of this evil from Israel.

Related Passage:

Dt 5:18 ‘You shall not commit adultery. 

Leviticus 20:10 ‘If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.


Wiersbe - Fornication is intercourse between single people while adultery involves at least one married person.  (Be Equipped)

If a man is found lying with a married woman (literally = "wife of another man), then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel - Purge the evil - see note on Dt 22:21. Notice that here the phrase from among you has been changed to from Israel to emphasize the importance of purity for the nation of Israel. In Leviticus 20:10 we find the parallel passage - ‘If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." The mode of death is not specified in this case. It is notable that this sin is a three for one situation for it breaks 3 commandments, those forbidding coveting, theft and adultery! 

Married in KJV is "married (baal) to an husband (baal)" - see Hebrew word studies below. Utley explains "The phrase “a married woman” is literally “the wife of another man,” which is a double use of the term b’l (BDB 127, KB 142, Qal PASSIVE PARTICIPLE and NOMINATIVE MASCULINE SINGULAR NOUN form). This term, normally translated “lord” or “husband,” has the same root as Ba’al, the male Canaanite fertility god. The husband was “lord” over his home. His wife and children were, in a legal sense, property. In actuality sexual violations were seen as a sin against God (cf. Gen. 39:9; 2 Sam. 12:13). It violates the God-given order and stability of society and affects the God-given inheritance of families and clans."   (Deuteronomy 22 Commentary)

IVP Bible Background Commentary - adultery. Having sexual relations with another man’s wife was punishable by death in both the biblical and ancient Near Eastern codes. The Egyptian Tale of Two Brothers calls it a “great crime” that no honest man or woman would consider. This was an attack on a man’s household, stealing his rights to procreate and endangering the orderly transmission of his estate to his heirs (see comment on Ex 20:14). The act itself defiles both participants (Lev 18:20; Num 13:5). Since it is not only an attack on the sanctity of the household but also a source of general contamination, adultery serves as a reason for God to expel the people from the land (Lev 18:24–25). 

Jack Deere comments that "In Mesopotamia an adulterous couple was bound and thrown into the water (Code of Hammurabi, Law 129), though no extant court records from Mesopotamia indicate that this penalty was ever enforced. The official leaders of Judaism in Jesus' day interpreted the penalty to mean death by stoning (cf. John 8:5) but later Rabbinic tradition prescribed death by strangulation. How frequently this penalty was enforced is unknown."

Morris - This chapter indicates the extreme seriousness with which God regards sexual sins among His people. The penalty for adultery was execution. Execution was also punishment for the rape of an engaged woman (Deuteronomy 22:25), incest (Leviticus 20:11,12), homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13) and bestiality (Leviticus 20:15-16). Modern society has become so degenerate that it condones and sometimes even commends such evils, but God still hates them.

Utley - “both of them shall die” The later rabbis interpreted this to mean the child, too, if the woman was pregnant, because of the idea of corporate sin. Notice the equality of the punishment, which is unusual in the OT.

BSB - ADULTERY consists of a sexual relationship between two people, one or both of whom are married to someone else. It was to be punished by the death of both parties, since the crime presupposed the consent of both (cf. 5:18; Ex. 20:14). "Betrothed" girls were treated as married women (vv. 23, 24). The emphasis placed upon the evil of adultery was primarily due to the fact that this sin reveals an unfaithfulness in commitment. Since marriage is often compared to God's covenant relationship with His people (cf. 5:5), unfaithfulness to this divinely sanctioned union was completely reprehensible to Yahweh, who was above all totally faithful to His promises. Adultery was not only unfaithfulness to one's partner but also unfaithfulness to God, before whom the marriage was solemnized. Execution was also punishment for the rape of an engaged woman (Deuteronomy 22:25), incest (Leviticus 20:11,12), homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13) and bestiality (Leviticus 20:15,16). Modern society has become so degenerate that it condones and sometimes even commends such evils, but God still hates them.

Related Resources:

See also online Baal - 8 page article in Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible - note that on the following pages has all of the hyphenated names of Baal (Baal Toponyms, Baal-Berith, Baal-Gad, Baal-Hamon, Baal-Hazor, Baal-Hermon, Baal-Judah, Ball-meon, Baal of Peor, Baal-Perazim, Baal-Shalisha, Baal-Shamen, Baal-Tamar, Ball-Zaphon, Baal Zebub). Note - NO CHARGE. But you must log in to borrow this book by creating a login account which asks for no information! Click picture of the person in right upper corner and set up your free login. Then you can read many excellent modern commentaries free of charge! After you have checked it out for an hour, in my experience you can usually check it out again which gives you sufficient time to read the section in which you are interested. 

Married (01166). בָּעַל bāʿal: A verb meaning to marry, have dominion, or to rule over. In relation to marriage, it refers to marrying a woman (Deut. 24:1); or a woman to be married (Pr 30:23). Figuratively, it is used in connection with God’s marriage to Israel (Jer. 3:14KJV = "I am married unto you"), as well as Judah and Israel’s marriage to the daughter of a foreign god (Mal. 2:11). Other times, this verb means to have dominion over land (1 Chr. 4:22) or people (Isa. 26:13). Used as a participle, it means to be married to (Gen. 20:3).

Baal - 16v - *(2), marries(2), marry(1), marrying*(1), master(1), ruled(2). Gen. 20:3; Deut. 21:13; Deut. 22:22; Deut. 24:1; Ruth 1:13; 2 Ki. 12:3; 1 Chr. 4:22; Prov. 30:23; Isa. 26:13; Isa. 54:1; Isa. 54:5; Isa. 62:4; Isa. 62:5; Jer. 3:14; Jer. 31:32; Mal. 2:11

Husband (01167). בַּעַל bāʿal: A masculine singular noun meaning lord, husband, owner, possessor, the title of a Canaanite deity (Baal). It can also denote rulers and leaders (Isa. 16:8). Commonly, it refers to legally owning something such as an ox or bull (Ex. 21:28); house (Ex. 22:8; or land (Job 31:38). The word can also describe possessing a quality, attribute, or characteristic like anger (Pr 22:24); wrath (Pr 29:22); hair (2 Ki 1:8); appetite (Pr 23:2); wisdom (Eccl. 7:12). When Joseph is called a dreamer, he is literally a possessor of dreams (Ge 37:19). Further, the word can connote husband as used of Abraham (Ge 20:3) and elsewhere (Ex 21:3; Dt 22:22). It often refers to the Canaanite deity, generally known as Baal in the Old Testament and other local manifestations (Nu 25:3). Worship of this deity seems to have been common in the Northern Kingdom which is attested in the preponderance of the Baal theophoric element in many proper nouns. The Lord may also have been referred to with this generic term for “lord.” But in light of the worship of Baal in the north, Hosea longed for a time when this usage would cease (Hos 2:16).

W E Vine - ba˒al (בַּעַל, 01167), “master; baal.” In Akkadian, the noun belu (“lord”) gave rise to the verb belu (“to rule”). In other northwest Semitic languages, the noun ba˓al differs somewhat in meaning, as other words have taken over the meaning of “sir” or “lord.” (Cf. Heb. ˒adon.) The Hebrew word ba˓al seems to have been related to these homonyms.

The word ba˓al occurs 84 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, 15 times with the meaning of “husband” and 50 times as a reference to a deity. The first occurrence of the noun ba˓al is in Ge 14:13: “And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with [literally, “ba˓al˒s of a covenant with”] Abram.”

The primary meaning of ba˓al is “possessor.” Isaiah’s use of ba˓al in parallel with qanah clarifies this basic significance of ba˓al: “The ox knoweth his owner [qanah], and the ass his master’s [ba˓al] crib: but Israel does not know, my people doth not consider” (Isa 1:3). Man may be the owner [ba’al] of an animal (Ex 22:10), a house (Ex 22:7), a cistern (Ex 21:34), or even a wife (Ex 21:3).

A secondary meaning, “husband,” is clearly indicated by the phrase ba˒al ha-ishshah (literally, “owner of the woman”). For example: “If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband [ba˒al ha-ishshah] will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine” (Ex 21:22). The meaning of ba˓al is closely related to ish (“man”), as is seen in the usage of these two words in one verse: “When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband [ish] was dead, she mourned for her husband [ba˓al]” (2 Sa 11:26).

The word ba˓al with another noun may signify a peculiar characteristic or quality: “And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh” (Gen. 37:19); the KJV offers a literal translation of the Hebrew—“master of dreams”—as an alternative.

Thirdly, the word ba˓al may denote any deity other than the God of Israel. (ED: NOTE THAT VINE "LUMPS" 1167 AND 1168 TOGETHER) Baal was a common name given to the god of fertility in Canaan. In the Canaanite city of Ugarit, Baal was especially recognized as the god of fertility. The Old Testament records that Baal was “the god” of the Canaanites. The Israelites worshiped Baal during the time of the judges (Jdg. 6:25–32) and of King Ahab. Elijah stood as the opponent of the Baal priests at Mount Carmel (1 Ki 18:21ff.). Many cities made Baal a local god and honored him with special acts of worship: Baal-peor (Nu 25:5), Baal-berith at Shechem (Jdg. 8:33), Baal-zebub (2 Ki 1:2–16) at Ekron, Baal-zephon (Nu 33:7), and Baalhermon (Jdg. 3:3).

Among the prophets, Jeremiah and Hosea mention Baal most frequently. Hosea pictured Israel as turning to the baals and only returning to the Lord after a time of despair (Hos. 2:13, 17). He says that the name of Ba˓al will no longer be used, not even with the meaning of “Lord” or “master,” as the association was contaminated by the idolatrous practices: “And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Ba-a-li [ba˓al]. For I will take away the names of Ba-a-lim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name” (Hos. 2:16–17). In Hosea’s and Jeremiah’s time, the ba˓al idols were still worshiped, as the peoples sacrificed, built high places, and made images of the ba˓alim (plural).

In the Septuagint, the word ba˓al is not uniformly translated: kurios (“lord, owner”); aner (“man, husband”); the simple transliteration; and ba˓al. The KJV has these translations: “Baal, man, owner, husband, master.”

Baal - 71v - allies*(1), archers*(1), bird*(1), bound(1), bridegroom(1), captain(1), case*(1), charmer*(1), citizens(1), creditor*(1), dominant(1), dreamer*(1), due(1), husband(8), husbands(2), leaders(6), lords(1), man(3), married*(2), master's(1), masters(1), men(14), owner(15), owners(2), possessors(2), relative by marriage(1), schemer*(1), who has(1), who practice(1), wrathful*(1).  Gen. 14:13; Gen. 20:3; Gen. 37:19; Gen. 49:23; Exod. 21:3; Exod. 21:22; Exod. 21:28; Exod. 21:29; Exod. 21:34; Exod. 21:36; Exod. 22:8; Exod. 22:11; Exod. 22:12; Exod. 22:14; Exod. 22:15; Lev. 21:4; Num. 21:28; Deut. 15:2; Deut. 22:22; Deut. 24:4; Jos. 24:11; Jdg. 9:2; Jdg. 9:3; Jdg. 9:6; Jdg. 9:7; Jdg. 9:18; Jdg. 9:20; Jdg. 9:23; Jdg. 9:24; Jdg. 9:25; Jdg. 9:26; Jdg. 9:39; Jdg. 9:46; Jdg. 9:47; Jdg. 9:51; Jdg. 19:22; Jdg. 19:23; Jdg. 20:5; 1 Sam. 23:11; 1 Sam. 23:12; 2 Sam. 11:26; 2 Sam. 21:12; Neh. 6:18; Est. 1:17; Est. 1:20; Job 31:39; Prov. 1:17; Prov. 1:19; Prov. 3:27; Prov. 12:4; Prov. 16:22; Prov. 17:8; Prov. 22:24; Prov. 23:2; Prov. 24:8; Prov. 29:22; Prov. 31:11; Prov. 31:23; Prov. 31:28; Eccl. 5:11; Eccl. 5:13; Eccl. 7:12; Eccl. 8:8; Eccl. 10:11; Eccl. 12:11; Isa. 1:3; Isa. 16:8; Isa. 50:8; Jer. 37:13; Joel 1:8; Nah. 1:2

Baal (01168). בַּעַל bāʿal: A. A masculine proper noun naming the Canaanite god Baal; lord. Used with the definite article, it means the god Baal served by the Canaanites and Philistines, but Israel was caught up in worshiping this pagan god, too (Jdg 2:11, 13; 6:25; 28, 30; 1 Ki 18:18, 19, 21; 19:18; 2 Ki 3:2; 10:18–23; Hos. 2:8). The word occurs in the plural, indicating the many manifestations of pagan polytheism (Jdg. 2:11; 1 Sa 7:4; 12:10; 1 Ki 18:18; Jer. 2:23; Hos. 11:2). It is used without the definite article as a name indicating, e.g., high places of Baal (Num. 22:41; NIV renders as Bamoth Baal). In construct with a following word, baʿal berı̄yṯ, it means lord of the covenant (Jdg. 8:33; 9:4). B. A proper noun naming a city, Baal. It denoted a border city of the tribe of Simeon (NIV renders as Baalath with a note; 1 Chr. 4:33). C. A masculine proper name, Baal. The name describes the immediate son of Reaiah but a descendant of Reuben, the firstborn of Jacob (1 Chr. 5:5). D. A masculine proper name found as a descendant of Benjamin (1 Chr. 8:30) from the line that produced King Saul (1 Chr. 9:36).

Baal 66v - Baal(58), Baal's(1), Baals(18), Bamoth-baal*(1). Nu 22:41; Jos. 13:17; Jdg. 2:11; Jdg. 2:13; Jdg. 3:7; Jdg. 6:25; Jdg. 6:28; Jdg. 6:30; Jdg. 6:31; Jdg. 6:32; Jdg. 8:33; Jdg. 10:6; Jdg. 10:10; 1 Sa 7:4; 1 Sa 12:10; 1 Ki. 16:31; 1 Ki. 16:32; 1 Ki. 18:18; 1 Ki. 18:19; 1 Ki. 18:21; 1 Ki. 18:22; 1 Ki. 18:25; 1 Ki. 18:26; 1 Ki. 18:40; 1 Ki. 19:18; 1 Ki. 22:53; 2 Ki. 3:2; 2 Ki. 10:18; 2 Ki. 10:19; 2 Ki. 10:20; 2 Ki. 10:21; 2 Ki. 10:22; 2 Ki. 10:23; 2 Ki. 10:25; 2 Ki. 10:26; 2 Ki. 10:27; 2 Ki. 10:28; 2 Ki. 11:18; 2 Ki. 17:16; 2 Ki. 21:3; 2 Ki. 23:4; 2 Ki. 23:5; 2 Chr. 17:3; 2 Chr. 23:17; 2 Chr. 24:7; 2 Chr. 28:2; 2 Chr. 33:3; 2 Chr. 34:4; Jer. 2:8; Jer. 2:23; Jer. 7:9; Jer. 9:14; Jer. 11:13; Jer. 11:17; Jer. 12:16; Jer. 19:5; Jer. 23:13; Jer. 23:27; Jer. 32:29; Jer. 32:35; Hos. 2:8; Hos. 2:13; Hos. 2:17; Hos. 11:2; Hos. 13:1; Zeph. 1:4

All of the hyphenated names of Baal (Baal Toponyms, Baal-Berith, Baal-Gad, Baal-Hamon, Baal-Hazor, Baal-Hermon, Baal-Judah, Ball-meon, Baal of Peor, Baal-Perazim, Baal-Shalisha, Baal-Shamen, Baal-Tamar, Ball-Zaphon, Baal Zebub). Note - NO CHARGE. But you must log in to borrow this book by creating a login account which asks for no information! Click picture of the person in right upper corner and set up your free login. Then you can read many excellent modern commentaries free of charge! After you have checked it out for an hour, in my experience you can usually check it out again which gives you sufficient time to read the section in which you are interested. 

James Swanson - I. בַּעַל (bǎ·ʿǎl): n.masc. [see also 1251.5]; ≡ Strongs 01167; TWOT 262a—

1. owner, possessor, master, those who have, i.e., one who owns possessions, and controls the movement and/or activities of them, either inanimate or animate, including animals (Ex 12:28);

2. husband, lord, i.e., the male marriage partner to a female, with a focus on the authoritative position of the male partner over the wife (Ex 12:22);

3. citizen, i.e., one who is fully identified with political entity such as a kingdom or city (Nu 21:28);

4. ruler, leader, i.e., one who has authority and control over a group of people (Isa 16:8);

5. with, i.e., a marker of specification (2Ki 1:8; Isa 41:15);

6. have, be filled with, i.e., be in a certain state of existence as a figurative extension of possessing an object (Pr 16:22; Na 1:2);

7. one, somebody, a person, i.e., a marker of an indefinite pronoun (Ge 14:13; 37:19; 49:23; Dt 15:2; 2Sa 1:6; Ne 6:18; Pr 1:17; 18:9; 22:24; 23:2; 24:8; 29:22; Ecc 10:11; 10:20; Isa 50:8; Da 8:6, 20), note: often with a helper word;

8. unit: בַּעַל אֲסֻפּוֹת (bǎ·ʿǎl ʾǎsǔp·pôṯ) a collection of sayings (Ecc 12:11+);

9.  בַּעַל הַ־ חֲלוֹם (bǎ·ʿǎl hǎ- ḥǎlôm) interpreter of dreams, formally, lord of dreams, i.e., one who is of a prophetic class with a special ability to understand the meaning of dreams (Ge 37:19), note: though likely said sarcastically, Joseph manifests this ability in Ge 40:5ff, note: this may have a more common meaning of “dreamer,” i.e., one who dreams, see LN 33.476–33.489;

10. unit: בַּעַל חֵץ (bǎ·ʿǎl ḥēṣ) archer, formally, lord of arrows, i.e., one who shoots arrows very well (Ge 49:23+);

11.unit: בַּעַל הַ־ לָשׁוֹן (bǎ·ʿǎl hǎ- lā·šôn) charmer, formally, lord of the tongue, i.e., one who charms deadly snakes through soothing sounds of some kind, possibly music, or whispering, as a technical skill (Ecc 10:11);

12.  unit: בַּעַל מַשֶּׁה יָד ־ֹו (bǎ·ʿǎl mǎš·šě(h) yāḏ ō-w) creditor, formally, lord of a loan of his hand, i.e., one who gives credit and loans to debtors (Dt 15:2+);

13.  unit: בַּעַל מַשְׁחִית (bǎ·ʿǎl mǎš·ḥîṯ) destroyer, formally, lord of destruction, i.e., one who causes destruction and death (Pr 18:9+);

14.  unit: בַּעַל פְּקִדֻת (bǎ·ʿǎl peqi·ḏǔṯ) captain of the guard, formally, lord of the oversight, i.e., one in charge of soldiers who guard the city (Jer 37:13+);

15.  unit: בַּעַל הַ־ פָּרָשׁ (bǎ·ʿǎl hǎ- pā·rāš)1 horse rider, formally, lord of the horse, i.e., a cavalry rider in an army (2Sa 1:6);

16. unit: מִי בַּעַל דָּבָר (mî bǎ·ʿǎl dā·ḇār) disputer, formally, whoever is master of the word, i.e., one in a hostile position to another (Ex 24:14+), note: in context, a civil dispute

בַּעַל (bǎ·ʿǎl): [served by 1251]; ≡ Str 1167; TWOT 262a—LN 93-place Baal: (loc.) town of Dan (1Ch 4:33+), note: for NIV text see 1272, possibly related to 1273; also part of a compound name, see 1081, 1253-1265, 1200, 5311

1252 II. בַּעַל (bǎ·ʿǎl):; ≡ Str 1168, 1181;—LN 93-pers. Baal: 1. (loc.) see 1251.5(2.) 2. (male) of Reuben (1Ch 5:5+) 3. (male) of Benjamin (1Ch 8:30; 1Ch 9:36+) 4. for deity, see 1252.5

 בַּעַל (bǎ·ʿǎl):; ≡ Str 1168, 1181;—LN 12.23 (pagan god) deity of Canaan (Jdg 2:13; 6:25, 28; 1Ki 16:30, 32)

Deuteronomy 22:23  "If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her,

  • De 20:7 Mt 1:18,19 


If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her Engaged was considered equally as binding as marriage. (cf Joseph and Mary in Mt 1:18-19+). Clearly from the context the engaged virgin is consensual with the man. Note the significant phrase in the city which is a place where her cries for help could be heard if she was being raped! No cries indicate she was willing and therefore guilty. 

IVP Bible Background Commentary -  “pledged” status. (ENGAGED) A marriage contract was a sacred compact, comparable to the covenant agreement made with Yahweh (see Ezek 16:8). The “pledge” agreement (1) set a bride price as well as the amount of the dowry, (2) guaranteed that the bride would be a virgin at the time of marriage and (3) required complete fidelity of the parties. Marriage was such an important economic and social factor in the ancient Near East that it was the basis of a huge amount of legislation. For instance, the laws of Eshnunna and Hammurabi explain the importance of having an official marriage contract. Hammurabi’s laws also provide guidance on payment of the bride price and instances when one party or the other wishes to break the contract (see 2 Sam 3:14). Once an agreement is in place, it is expected that other persons will respect the betrothed status of the woman as technically already married (see Gen 20:3). Thus the laws of adultery are in full force even before the actual ceremony and consummation of the marriage.

Engaged (0781) aras means to betroth or be engaged. Pledge in marriage.  Gilbrant - In Bible times, betrothal was the first step towards marriage, and the parties involved were considered as husband and wife (Dt 20:7; 22:23, 25, 27). The betrothed woman was equal with a married woman in certain respects, and she is expressly called a wife in Dt 22:24. The subject of this verb can be either the man (Deut. 20:7; 28:30), or the woman (Ex 22:15; Dt 22:28). This verb is used of the bride-price paid to the father of the bride (2 Sa 3:14). The betrothal theme is also used figuratively in Hosea 2 to denote God's covenant mercy to Israel (2:19, 20). Although many newer Bible versions translate it as "engaged," betrothal was much more binding than engagements in modern Western cultures. A betrothal, or engagement, could only be broken by a writing of divorcement, even if the marriage had never been consummated (Matt. 1:18-19)." (Complete Biblical Library).

Aras - 11x in 10v - betroth(4), betrothed(1), engaged(6). Ex 22:16; Dt. 20:7; Dt. 22:23; Dt. 22:25; Dt. 22:27; Dt. 22:28; Dt. 28:30; 2 Sa 3:14; Hos 2:19; Hos 2:20

QUESTION -  What does the Bible say about rape?

ANSWER - The Bible does address the issue of rape. As expected, when the Bible mentions the crime of rape, it is depicted as a gross violation of God’s design for the treatment of the human body (Genesis 34). The Bible condemns rape whenever it is mentioned. For example, there is a particular passage in the laws given to the nation of Israel before entering the Promised Land under Joshua’s leadership. This passage (Deuteronomy 22:23–29) spoke directly against forcing a woman into a sexual encounter against her will, or what we know today as rape. This command was meant to protect women and to protect the nation of Israel from committing sinful actions.

Deuteronomy 22:23–27 gives guidelines on what constituted rape and specifies the punishment for a man who raped a betrothed woman. In a sexual assault, the betrothed woman was responsible to actively resist the rapist, if possible—she was to “scream for help” (Deuteronomy 22:24). If she failed to resist when she could have done so, the law viewed the situation as consensual sex, not rape, and both parties were guilty. If the assault took place in an isolated area, the law gave the woman the benefit of the doubt, assuming she had resisted her attacker, and she was not held culpable (Deuteronomy 22:27). The law stipulated that a rapist was to be killed by stoning (Deuteronomy 22:25). Though the Mosaic Law was for the nation of Israel during the time of Moses, the principle is clear that rape is sinful in the eyes of God and, under the law, led to the most extreme punishment possible—death for the rapist.

There are some difficult passages in the Old Testament in relation to this issue. One is Deuteronomy 22:28–29, “If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.” If the rape victim was not betrothed, then the rapist faced different consequences.

We must see Deuteronomy 22:28–29 through the lens of ancient culture. In those days, social convention treated women poorly. They couldn’t own property. They couldn’t get a job to support themselves. If a woman had no father, husband, or son, she had no legal protection. Her options were slavery or prostitution. If an unmarried woman wasn’t a virgin, it was extremely difficult for her to get married. If she wasn’t marriageable, her father didn’t have much use for her.

God’s punishment on the rapist of a virgin—a monetary fine and lifelong responsibility—was designed to deter rape by holding the rapist responsible for his actions. He ruined her life; it was his responsibility to support her for the rest of her life. This may not sound fair to modern ears, but we don’t live in the same culture they did. In 2 Samuel 13, Prince Amnon raped his half-sister, Tamar. The horror and shame of being violated yet unmarried made Tamar beg him to marry her (her half-brother!), even after he had rejected her. And her full-brother, Absalom, was so disgusted with the situation that he murdered Amnon. That’s how highly virginity in women was prized back then.

Critics of the Bible also point to Numbers 31 (and similar passages) in which the Israelites were allowed to take female captives from nations they conquered. Critics say this is an example of the Bible’s condoning or even promoting rape. However, the passage says nothing about raping the captive women. It is wrong to assume that the captive women were to be raped. The soldiers were commanded to purify themselves and their captives (verse 19). Rape would have violated this command (see Leviticus 15:16–18). The women who were taken captive are never referred to as sexual objects. Did the captive women likely eventually marry amongst the Israelites? Yes. Is there any indication that rape or sex slavery was forced upon the women? Absolutely not.

In the New Testament, rape is not mentioned directly, but within the Jewish culture of the day, rape would have been considered sexual immorality. Jesus and the apostles spoke against sexual immorality, even offering it as justifiable grounds for divorce (Matthew 5:32).

Further, the New Testament is clear that Christians are to obey the laws of their governing authorities (Romans 13). Not only is rape morally wrong; it is also wrong according to the laws of the land. As such, anyone who would commit this crime should expect to pay the consequences, including arrest and imprisonment.

To the victims of rape, we must offer much care and compassion. God’s Word often speaks about helping those in need and in vulnerable situations. Christians should model the love and compassion of Christ by assisting victims of rape in any way possible.

People are responsible for the sins they commit, including rape. However, no one is beyond the grace of God. Even to those who have committed the vilest of sins, God can extend forgiveness if they repent and turn from their evil ways (1 John 1:9). This does not remove the need for punishment according to the law, but it can offer hope and the way to a new life.

Deuteronomy 22:24  then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl, because she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated his neighbor's wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.

ICB (International Children's Bible) - You must take both of them to the city gate. Put them both to death by throwing stones at them. Kill the girl because she was in a city and did not scream for help. And kill the man for having sexual relations with another man's wife. You must get rid of the evil among you.

NLT - you must take both of them to the gates of the town and stone them to death. The woman is guilty because she did not scream for help. The man must die because he violated another man's wife. In this way, you will cleanse the land of evil.

KJV  Deuteronomy 22:24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you. 

  • because he has violated (he hath humbled): De 21:14 Ge 29:21 Mt 1:20,24 
  • you shall purge the evil: De 22:21,22,24 13:5 1Co 5:2,13 


then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl, because she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated (Heb = 'anah = humbled; Lxx =  tapeinoo = humbled) his neighbor's wife - Can we not see what high status God placed on marriage in Israel? Stoning is serious, but God is serious about the marriage covenant in Israel (and He is still serious but of course not to point of stoning!) Note even though the woman is only engaged, she is referred to as the neighbor's wife clearly indicating that in ancient Israel engagement was tantamount to actual marriage. Note the conjunction because is repeated making it clear why each person was to be stoned.

Thus you shall purge the evil from among you Purge the evil - see note on Dt 22:21. Note the verb purge means to burn or consume (cf. Nu 11:3) which helps give us a picture of the severity of this metaphorical use. 

POSB - This was the most serious of crimes in the eyes of God, for the man was violating the most precious possession of the husband. Moreover, the wife was willingly and deliberately giving herself to another man, thereby cutting the hearts of her husband and children to the deepest core possible. For this reason, the adulterous couple was to be executed.  (Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Deuteronomy)

TSB - In these laws, the betrothed (engaged Dt 22:23) damsel was considered as the wife of the man to whom she was engaged, though they had not come together; and therefore the crime was adjudged adultery.  But a charitable supposition is admitted in the damsel's favour, in case she was found in a solitary place (Dt 22:25-26)

Deuteronomy 22:25  "But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die.


But - Term of contrast. In contrast to stoning the girl, this girl is not stoned. 

if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die - Mercy is shown to the engaged girl if it was not consensual sex (but in fact was raped). The phrase in the field implies that she may have cried out but there was no one to hear her. The elders would need to decide that this was the case especially if the accused man said she was willing. The word lies with refers to a forced sexual relations, and the accompanying verb “forces” (חָזַק, chazaq-to overpower, to hold firmly) makes this very clear.

Forces (02388)(chazaq) conveys the basic meaning of to be or become strong, to make strong or strengthen. This verb is widely used to express the strength of various phenomena

Deuteronomy 22:26  "But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, so is this case.

ICB - Do nothing to the young woman; she has committed no crime worthy of death. This case is similar to that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbor.

NLT - Don't do anything to the girl. She has not done a sin worthy of death. This is like the person who attacks and murders his neighbor.


But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, so is this case

Deuteronomy 22:27  "When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her.


When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her - In the city her cries would have been heard but not necessarily out in the field. 

Deuteronomy 22:28  "If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered,


If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered - Again lies with in this context refers to a forced sexual relationship, and the accompanying verb seizes (tāp̱aś) makes this very clear. This girl is not engaged but the man would still be penalized. 

At the time of ENGAGEMENT, a CONTRACT was signed and equates with marriage...and if they decided during the engagement that they did not want to get married after all, there had to be an official BILL OF DIVORCE because a COVENANT had been cut! So there has to be a bill of divorce even though the marriage has not been consummated. But on the other hand if the man finds UNCLEANNESS in his betrothed he can indeed go and break the covenant. The raping of an unbetrothed virgin had a less severe penalty than adultery. Damages (a dowry) were to be paid to her father, and the man was required to marry her. The crime did not involve a breach in relationship, and the wronged woman was protected in that the man not only had to marry her but also could not divorce her.

Seizes (08610) תָּפַשׂ tāp̱aś: A verb meaning to lay hold of, to seize; to capture; to wield. It basically means to seize, to get possession of, to catch in its active usages: to grab hold of something, e.g., a garment (Gen. 39:12); to catch and hold a lizard (Prov. 30:28); to capture or to seize a person (1 Sam. 23:26). It has the sense figuratively of holding on to someone or something for support, e. g., Egypt (Ezek. 29:7). In a general sense, it may describe living in or occupying a hill, an area, or a location (Jer. 49:16). It takes on the sense of holding or wielding a tool or a weapon in a skillful way (Ezek. 21:11[16]; Amos 2:15). By extension, it takes on a figurative sense of handling the Law skillfully or planning strategy in warfare (Num. 31:27: Jer. 34:3). In a passive sense, it means to be seized (Jer. 38:23; 50:24).

Swanson - 1. (qal) take hold of, seize, capture, arrest, i.e., take another entity or object into custody, often as a military victory (Dt 20:19); (nif) seized, caught, be captured (Jer 34:3; 38:23; 48:41; 50:24, 46; 51:32, 41; Eze 21:28,2924]); 2. (qal pass.) covered, i.e., pertaining to placing one object over another, as the feature of an object (Hab 2:19+); 3. (nif) caught in the act., i.e., pertaining to something being clearly known by first hand experience of the speaker or a witness (Nu 5:13+); 4.  (qal) control, i.e., be under the considerable influence of another so as to do only what the controller wants, as a figurative extension of being caught in a trap or by the hand (Eze 14:5); (nif) controlled (Ps 10:2+); 5. (qal) seize, take hold of, i.e., grasp and hold an object (Ge 39:12); (nif) be caught (Eze 12:13; 17:20; 19:4, 8+), note: some of the contexts may refer to being seized in custody as a prisoner,; (piel) catch, seize with the hand (Pr 30:28+); 6. (qal) play an instrument, formally, grasp, i.e., execute a melody from a musical instrument, as an extension of grasping an object in the hand (Ge 4:21); 7. (qal) deal with, formally, grasp, i.e., behave or conduct oneself with respect to certain means, as a figurative extension of grasping an object with familiarity and some understanding (Jer 2:8); 8. (qal) reap, i.e., cut off and gather the harvest, as an extension of grasping and controlling an object in the hand (Jer 50:16); 9. (qal) dishonor, profane, i.e., cause one to have low status, and so become a contemptible object of loathing, as a figurative extension of having a low status after being captured in a battle or some such event (Pr 30:9); 10. unit: (qal) תָּפַשׂ הַ־ מִלְחָמָה (tā·p̄ǎś hǎ- mil·ḥā·mā(h)) soldier, formally, engaged in battle, i.e., one who is a military fighter (Nu 31:27); 11. unit: תָּפַשׂ הַ־ קֶשֶׁת (tā·p̄ǎś hǎ- qě·šěṯ) archer, bowman, formally, handler of the bow, i.e., a soldier who shoots arrows with a bow (Am 2:15+); 12. unit: (qal) תָּפַשׂ וְ־ שָׁכַב (tā·p̄ǎś w- šā·ḵǎḇ) rape, formally, grasp and lie with, i.e., to attack and force a partner to have sexual intercourse (Dt 22:28+)

Tapas - Gen. 4:21; Gen. 39:12; Num. 5:13; Deut. 9:17; Deut. 20:19; Deut. 21:19; Deut. 22:28; Jos. 8:8; Jos. 8:23; 1 Sam. 15:8; 1 Sam. 23:26; 1 Ki. 11:30; 1 Ki. 13:4; 1 Ki. 18:40; 1 Ki. 20:18; 2 Ki. 7:12; 2 Ki. 10:14; 2 Ki. 14:7; 2 Ki. 14:13; 2 Ki. 16:9; 2 Ki. 18:13; 2 Ki. 25:6; 2 Chr. 25:23; Ps. 10:2; Ps. 71:11; Prov. 30:9; Prov. 30:28; Isa. 3:6; Isa. 36:1; Jer. 2:8; Jer. 26:8; Jer. 34:3; Jer. 37:13; Jer. 37:14; Jer. 38:23; Jer. 40:10; Jer. 46:9; Jer. 48:41; Jer. 49:16; Jer. 50:16; Jer. 50:24; Jer. 50:46; Jer. 51:32; Jer. 51:41; Jer. 52:9; Ezek. 12:13; Ezek. 14:5; Ezek. 17:20; Ezek. 19:4; Ezek. 19:8; Ezek. 21:11; Ezek. 21:23; Ezek. 21:24; Ezek. 27:29; Ezek. 29:7; Ezek. 30:21; Ezek. 38:4; Amos 2:15; Hab. 2:19

QUESTION -  Does Deuteronomy 22:28-29 command a rape victim to marry her rapist?

ANSWER - Deuteronomy 22:28-29 is often pointed to by atheists, skeptics, and other Bible attackers as evidence that the Bible is backwards, cruel, and misogynist, and therefore, not the Word of God. At first glance, this passage seems to command that a rape victim must marry her rapist. Is that the correct interpretation of the text, and if so, how is that not horribly unfair to the woman? This issue is actually addressed in two passages, both of which are below:

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 “If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days."

Exodus 22:16-17 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride price for her and make her his wife. If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the bride price for virgins."

Together, these passages clearly state that if a man has sex with a virgin who is not betrothed (regardless of whether or not it was rape or consensual) he is obliged to marry her. He should have sought her father’s permission first, negotiated a bride-price, and taken her as his wife. Because he did not, he is punished for this—he now must pay up (he can’t opt out any more) and marry her (which could be a major punishment in itself if this was a foolish, spur-of-the-moment act and she really wasn’t the right woman for him!).

Also note that "he may not divorce her all his days" – this initially doesn’t seem significant but is actually a major punishment. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 (restated more clearly in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9) allowed for divorce, but only in the case of sexual immorality (the word "uncleanness" refers to this and was translated as such in the LXX). This man now may not divorce his wife even for this reason, but is obliged to continue to support her all his life whatever she does.

But her father is ultimately in authority over her, as her head, until he hands this authority over to her husband. If the man is unsuitable, the father can refuse to give his daughter to him. How many fathers would give their daughter to a rapist? Not many. So, in general, a rapist would actually have to pay a 50 silver shekel fine to her father, and not get a wife at all.

The answer to the question is in Exodus 22:17 - the woman does NOT have to marry a rapist, she must only do what her father says.

Note that throughout the Old Testament no rape victim is ever recorded as being forced to marry a rapist. However it is plausible that there could be circumstances in which a father would choose to have his daughter marry a rapist. In 2 Samuel 13, Amnon, a son of David, rapes his half-sister, Tamar. Tamar was not forced to marry Amnon. Interestingly, though, Tamar seemed to have wanted to marry Amnon after the rape (2 Samuel 13:13-16). Why would she desire such a thing? In that culture, virginity was highly prized. It would have been very difficult for a woman who was not a virgin, and especially a woman who had been raped, to find a man to marry her. It seems that Tamar would have rather married Amnon than live desolate and single the rest of her life, which is what happened to her (2 Samuel 13:20). So Deuteronomy 22:28-29 could be viewed as merciful to the woman, who, because of the rape, would be considered unmarriageable. In that culture, a woman without a husband would have a very difficult time providing for herself. Unmarried women often had no choice but to sell themselves into slavery or prostitution just to survive. This is why the passage leaves marriage to the discretion of the father, because every situation is different, and it is better to be flexible than have a blanket rule.

Also note that the penalty for having sex with an unbetrothed virgin is completely different from the penalty for sex with a married or betrothed woman. Sex with a married or betrothed woman is adultery and was to be punished by the death of both if consensual, or the death of the man if it was rape (Deuteronomy 22:22-27)

Deuteronomy 22:29  then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days.


then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days - Violated ('anah) means afflicted but in this context means raped, humbled, violated sexually as by force or coercion, implying a dishonoring of the female and her families (Ge 34:2; Dt 21:14; 22:24, 29; Jdg 19:24; 20:5; 2Sa 13:12, 14, 22, 32; La 5:11; Eze 22:10, 11). Notice he has to marry her because it would now be almost impossible for her to be accepted by another man. And finally, he could never divorce her (put her away), so this marriage was for life, just as with the man who had falsely accused his wife of not being a virgin at the time of marriage. Imagine the dysfunction a marriage that was forced by lust and enforced by law! 

Deere - This protected, to a degree, the girl's honor and assured her (and her child if she became pregnant from the rape) permanent support. This stipulation may also have served as a deterrent against rape since the man would have to live with that woman for the rest of his life.

Merrill has an interesting note on why the man would have to pay the father - "The assailant had forever marred the purity of the woman, making it nearly impossible ever to enjoy a normal, happy marriage. This had negative repercussions on her father as well, for he stood to lose the bride price... that a prospective husband would have paid him (cp. Gen 34:12; Ex 22:16; 1 Sa 18:25). In fact, the compensation for this loss was the fifty shekels of silver assessed as a penalty by the court (v. 29). This was half the amount demanded of a man who misrepresented his wife's virginity (Dt 22:19)". (NAC-Dt)

Rape of a virgin obliged the man to marry her. fifty shekels was the customary price for a bride. This goes back to 1 Cor 6:16  Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a harlot is one body with her? For He says, "THE TWO WILL BECOME ONE FLESH." So when a man rapes a virgin he has JOINED himself with her in God's eyes and has become ONE FLESH...Ge 2:24 Mt 19:5,6 Mk 10:8 Eph 5:31  So the point is this: MARRIAGE IS CONSUMMATED IN A SEXUAL UNION & THE THING THAT BREAKS MARRIAGE IS FOR THERE TO BE IMPURITY...ADULTERY...THAT BREAKS THE MARRIAGE AND AT THIS POINT IN HISTORY THEY WERE PUT TO DEATH!

Brown - A recent issue of an international news magazine carried a comment by a Belgian legislator, Jean-Pierre Detremmerie, on European reaction to allegations of marital infidelity on the part of American politicians: ‘In Europe, extramarital affairs are considered a sign of good health, a feat.’ It is astonishing that, in today’s world, anyone could equate sexual permissiveness with healthy behaviour when contemporary society is confronted with the serious increase on a world scale of a fatal sexually-transmitted disease....J. A. Thompson reminds us of two important things: the warnings of history and the teaching of Jesus. ‘Great nations in centuries past lost their nationhood in considerable measure because of their unrestrained licence in sexual matters. For the Christian, at any rate, nothing less than the standard set by Jesus can be regarded as the norm.’ (The Bible Speaks Today – The Message of Deuteronomy: Not by bread alone)

Deuteronomy 22:30  "A man shall not take his father's wife so that he will not uncover his father's skirt.

NET  Deuteronomy 22:30 A man may not marry his father's former wife and in this way dishonor his father.

BGT  Deuteronomy 23:1 οὐ λήμψεται ἄνθρωπος τὴν γυναῖκα τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ οὐκ ἀποκαλύψει συγκάλυμμα τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ

NLT  Deuteronomy 22:30 "A man must not marry his father's former wife, for this would violate his father.

ESV  Deuteronomy 22:30 "A man shall not take his father's wife, so that he does not uncover his father's nakedness.

NIV  Deuteronomy 22:30 A man is not to marry his father's wife; he must not dishonor his father's bed.

YLT  Deuteronomy 22:30 'A man doth not take his father's wife, nor uncover his father's skirt.

LXE  Deuteronomy 22:30 A man shall not take his father's wife, and shall not uncover his father's skirt.

ASV  Deuteronomy 22:30 A man shall not take his father's wife, and shall not uncover his father's skirt.

CSB  Deuteronomy 22:30 "A man is not to marry his father's wife; he must not violate his father's marriage bed.

  • a man shall: De 27:20 Lev 18:8 20:11 1Co 5:1,13 
  • uncover: Ru 3:9 Eze 16:8 
  • Deuteronomy 22 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

TECHNICAL NOTE:  Beginning with 22:30, the verse numbers through 23:25 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 22:30 ET = 23:1 HT, 23:1 ET = 23:2 HT, 23:2 ET = 23:3 HT, etc., through 23:25 ET = 23:26 HT. With 24:1 the verse numbers in the ET and HT are again the same.

Related Passages:

Leviticus 18:7-8 ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, that is, the nakedness of your mother. She is your mother; you are not to uncover her nakedness. 8‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness.

Deuteronomy 27:20 Cursed is he who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s skirt.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ 


A man shall not take (marry) his father's wife so that he will not uncover his father's skirt - Of course this presupposes either the death of the father or their divorce since it would be impossible for one to marry his stepmother while his father was still married to her. This is not incest because she is not his natural mother.

NET Note - Heb “uncover his father’s skirt” (so ASV, NASB). This appears to be a circumlocution for describing the dishonor that would come to a father by having his own son share his wife’s sexuality (cf. NAB, NIV “dishonor his father’s bed”). (Deuteronomy 22)

Utley - “his father’s shirt” This is an idiomatic way of referring to the father’s marital activities (cf. Ruth 3:9; Ezek. 16:8). To be intimate with a woman who had previously been intimate with one’s father was, in a sense, a violation of the father (ED: IN ESSENCE UNCOVERING HIS FATHER'S SKIRT) (cf. Dt 27:20; Lev. 18:8; 20:11).  (Deuteronomy 22 Commentary)

When the man would come and lay his skirt over a woman it was a SIGN that he was TAKING HER FOR HIS WIFE...that they were becoming literally ONE FLESH!

Meredith Kline - On Deut 22:30, see Lev 18:6ff.; 20:11ff.; Deut 27:20ff. This single prohibition represents, as it recalls, the whole list of forbidden degrees of affinity.

TSK - This is to be understood as referring to the case of a stepmother.  A man in his old age may have married a young woman, and on his dying, his son by another, or a former wife, may desire to espouse her; which is here forbidden. 

Grant - The sin is that in this relationship the man discovered the nakedness of his father, that is, he humbled his father by intruding unlawfully into that which had been his father's. He had taken that which had been his father's prerogative. A man could, of course, take to wife the widow of his brother (25:5-10), but that is another matter. The relationship between brothers is very different from that of a father and a son. In fellowship in the assembly in Corinth there was a man who had committed this sin. Not only was this forbidden in the Law, it was also forbidden in Roman law. The man had to be disciplined by being put out of the assembly (1 Cor 5:1-5). Western society today would dismiss the teaching of purity in sexual matters as being too restrictive and from an unenlightened age. There has been a movement to remove systematically from law the principles taught in the Word of God. Marriage is being set aside, sexual gratification without responsibility is the order of the day, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases is rampant, and taking the life of unborn children by medical abortion is accepted as normal behaviour. As these trends develop the sad consequences are ignored, consequences that are plainly seen. The family is a basic foundation in society and respect for it is vital. When it is set aside and licence is given to acts that are condemned in the Word of God, the outcome can only be sadness and suffering. Paul sets out a catalogue of this behaviour when writing to the Romans (1:21-32) and in so doing presents a graphic picture of society today.  (What the Bible teaches – Leviticus and Deuteronomy)

QUESTION - What does it mean to uncover nakedness in the Bible?

ANSWER - Before the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve lived without clothing in a perfectly natural state (Genesis 2:25). But after the fall, nakedness became a source of shame (Genesis 3:6–7). In fact, shame at their own nakedness was the first felt consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin. Since then, nakedness has been linked with sexuality, privacy, and vulnerability. When the Bible speaks of “uncovering nakedness,” it is usually referring to some type of sexual sin, perversion, or dishonor.

The first reference to uncovering someone’s nakedness is in Genesis 9, which continues the story of Noah after the floodwaters receded. Noah and his sons and their spouses had established a new life as the only human beings left to repopulate the earth. As time went by, Noah planted a vineyard and made wine from the grapes. He then drank the wine, became drunk, and passed out naked in his tent (Genesis 9:20–21). His son Ham entered the tent, saw his father’s nakedness, and went to tell his brothers (Genesis 9:22). Scholars debate what may have transpired in this scene. The sin may have been more than merely mocking his father’s naked body. Ham (or his son Canaan) may have engaged in some kind of sexual activity or dishonor of Noah’s private parts. Whatever he did by uncovering his father’s nakedness was wicked enough to invite Noah’s wrath when he sobered up. Noah then pronounced a strong curse on Canaan (Genesis 9:24).

The phrase uncover nakedness almost always refers to sexual sin. In most newer versions of the Bible, the phrase uncover nakedness is usually reworded as “have sexual relations with” (e.g., Leviticus 18:6, 17, 19). Other passages, such as Deuteronomy 22:30, forbade a man to sleep with his stepmother because doing so would “uncover his father’s nakedness” (ESV). By entering into intimacy with the same woman who had slept with his father, a man disgraced his father (Deuteronomy 27:20; Leviticus 18:8; Ezekiel 22:10). This was one reason the sin of Absalom, David’s son, was so great (2 Samuel 16:22). As the ultimate act of disrespect, Absalom let it be known publicly that he was having sex with his father’s concubines. He not only violated his father’s bedroom, he violated God’s written law: “Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his father’s wife, for he dishonors his father’s bed” (Deuteronomy 27:20).

As our world’s morals continue to spiral downward, uncovering nakedness in one way or another has become a favorite pastime. Culture has glorified nakedness and worked to numb our natural modesty by parading nakedness before our eyes. Even children’s clothing is sexualized, and media outlets praise nakedness as “bold,” “brave,” and “liberating.” We watch actors uncovering each other’s nakedness publicly on the big screen. The pornography industry has made a fortune by uncovering nakedness in every possible way, mocking biblical moral standards as archaic and restrictive.

We’ve lost the concept of honor for one’s sexuality, treating the sex drive as just another need to be met the way we treat hunger and thirst. Uncovering nakedness is no longer a source of shame in a culture that has been trained to expect and applaud it. Ironically, in a world that celebrates the uncovering of nakedness, sexual dysfunctions, abuses, and even infertility are skyrocketing. God created the human body, and sexuality is His idea; He therefore knows best how we function. First Corinthians 6:13 says, “You say, ‘Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.’ The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”

God intended the uncovering of nakedness to be done only within His prescribed boundaries of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:2–5). Christians can help reclaim the sanctity of marital relations and modesty by refusing to deaden our consciences through sexually graphic TV programs, movies, and magazines. We can guard our eyes against pornographic images by installing filters on our internet devices. And we can honor our bodies by refusing to uncover our own nakedness in the way we dress, talk, or behave (1 Corinthians 6:18). Nakedness is no longer innocent as it was in the Garden of Eden, and wise people do not uncover it in dishonoring ways.