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Deuteronomy 24 Commentary

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Deuteronomy 24:1-4 meaning

Moses discusses the issue of marriage, divorce, and remarriage in ancient Israel. The first three verses present the problem and the last verse provides the correct action.

Deuteronomy 24:5 meaning

Moses proclaimed that every newly married man was exempt from going to war for one full year in order to establish his home and give happiness to his wife.

Deuteronomy 24:6 meaning

Moses told the Israelites that they could not take a handmill or an upper millstone as collateral for a loan.

Deuteronomy 24:7 meaning

Moses warns the Israelites against kidnapping their countrymen. Anyone who kidnaps his brother shall die in order to purge the evil from among the Israelite community.

Deuteronomy 24:8-9 meaning

The first topic related to the section generally flavored by the ninth commandment is concerned with leprosy. Moses encourages the Israelites to listen to the instructions of the Levitical priests regarding skin diseases (including leprosy). He illustrates the issue by referring to the case of Miriam, Moses's sister.

Deuteronomy 24:10-13 meaning

Moses elevates a law that promotes loving and caring for neighbors. He forbids a lender to enter his borrower's house to take his pledge. He must remain outside as the borrower chooses the item he wants to pledge. If the borrower is poor and offers his cloak as collateral, the lender needs to return it to him every evening until the loan is repaid.

Deuteronomy 24:14-15 meaning

Moses warns the Israelites against oppressing a hired servant who is poor and needy by withholding his wages. Such an act can cause the poor man to cry out to God against his employer.

Deuteronomy 24:16 meaning

Moses forbade the Israelites from punishing one family member for the actions of another member of the family. Each person had agency to choose, and this agency was to be respected.

Deuteronomy 24:17-18 meaning

Moses warns Israel against perverting the justice due to the alien and the orphan, and forbids taking a widow’s garment in pledge.

Deuteronomy 24:19-22 meaning

Moses asks owners of fields and orchards to leave a portion of their harvest for the alien, the orphan, and the widow.