The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Deuteronomy 21

Deu 21:6

THEN ALL THE ELDERS... SHALL WASH THEIR HANDS: Pilate, the "elder" of the city next to the slain man Christ, washes his hands of the matter. Note: Christ was at the same time the slain man and the atoning sacrifice (Mat 27:24).

Deu 21:10

Vv 10-14; By Law of God, no forcible possessions... no taking of mere concubines. Lawful marriage is encouraged.

CAPTIVES: Cp Num 31:18: Young innocent women and virgins are not slain. Note Deu 20:16: this does not refer to any of the 7 nations to be exterminated.

Deu 21:12

SHAVE HEAD... TRIM NAILS: Signs of mourning, then acceptance of Israel's God, to become a proselyte.

Deu 21:13

THE CLOTHES... WHEN CAPTURED: Nothing which might have attracted attention to herself will be preserved. The putting away of all outward beauty.

A FULL MONTH, THEN: Time to test the genuineness of his desire for her. Was it true, and based on faith?

Deu 21:14

PLEASED: Heb "chaphets"; rel "Hephzibah" (Isa 62:4) = "My pleasure/delight is in her". Cp Deu 24:1: "becomes displeasing" (diff wd). How? through "uncleanness/nakedness/immorality" (Heb ervah) (Deu 24;1) -- apparently the only cause.

LET HER GO WHEREVER...: "She may go and be another man's wife": Deu 24:2.

YOU MUST NOT SELL HER OR TREAT HER AS A SLAVE: She has become Jewish, and has rights (cp Deu 24:7).

Deu 21:23

Sinners hanged on trees: baker (Gen 40:19), King Ai (Jos 8:29), 2 men (Est 2:23).

In Mosaic times, a criminal was stoned, and then hung from a tree (or a stake) to publicly exhibit the punishment due to such a sin (Num 25:4; 2Sa 21:6)... It was because the curse of God rested on those suspended from a tree, or a cross in death, that the Jewish leaders were anxious that the Lord should die in that way, and hence called upon Pilate to order his execution by crucifixion. This was not a Jewish form of death, so they had to seek the help of Rome. This form of death, as they saw it, would demonstrate conclusively that the hated Jesus was not the Messiah.

But Jesus' resurrection to eternal life seemed to belie this curse (Rom 1:3). So what WAS cursed by God on the cross (Gal 3:13)? Was it the man Christ Jesus: his righteous, sinless character? By no means. No, it was not possible that he should be held by death (Acts 2:24).

What was cursed was not the man himself, but the sin to which his human nature was inclined: "For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so HE CONDEMNED SIN IN THE FLESH" (Rom 8:3). "God made him who had no sin [that is, personally] to be sin [in a nature, or physical body, prone to sin] for us" -- in other words, he was put under the curse of the Law -- so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2Co 5:21): so that through this man who overcame sin, our sins might be forgiven!

This was also the lesson of the bronze serpent lifted up on a stake in the wilderness (Num 21).

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