Deuteronomy 22

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Read Deuteronomy 22

22 If you see your fellow Israelite’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to its owner. If they do not live near you or if you do not know who owns it, take it home with you and keep it until they come looking for it. Then give it back. Do the same if you find their donkey or cloak or anything else they have lost. Do not ignore it.

If you see your fellow Israelite’s donkey or ox fallen on the road, do not ignore it. Help the owner get it to its feet.

A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.

If you come across a bird’s nest beside the road, either in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the young. You may take the young, but be sure to let the mother go, so that it may go well with you and you may have a long life.

When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof.

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.

10 Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.

11 Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.

12 Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear.

Marriage Violations

13 If a man takes a wife and, after sleeping with her, dislikes her 14 and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,” 15 then the young woman’s father and mother shall bring to the town elders at the gate proof that she was a virgin. 16 Her father will say to the elders, “I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her. 17 Now he has slandered her and said, ‘I did not find your daughter to be a virgin.’ But here is the proof of my daughter’s virginity.” Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, 18 and the elders shall take the man and punish him.19 They shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give them to the young woman’s father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives.

20 If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found, 21 she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done an outrageous thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.

22 If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.

23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.

25 But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. 26 Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbor, 27 for the man found the young woman out in the country, and though the betrothed woman screamed, there was no one to rescue her.

28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 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.

30 A man is not to marry his father’s wife; he must not dishonor his father’s bed.

Go Deeper

Deuteronomy 22 is an interesting chapter, moving from the treatment of animals to the treatment of women. Some might even feel uncomfortable reading the penalties in the law for the sins discussed in the chapter. There is a lot to consider through all these verses. 

The first four verses deal with the honest and fair treatment of animals. Animals were extremely valuable in Israelite culture. Their livelihood and provision depended greatly on their livestock, providing wealth and sustenance to families and communities. In this chapter, the command was straightforward. Whether it was livestock or birds, they were to be treated well. Furthermore, any lost animal was commanded to be well cared for and returned to the owner. It makes sense that we are to do the same. No matter the animal, kindness and care reflect our heart for creation and is obviously important to God. 

Moses now changes the focus to how men treat women in engagement and marriage. The stakes were high, as the law required penalties of heavy fines and even death for the offenses of rape, adultery, or incest. God obviously took engagement, marriage, and sexual purity very seriously. This reflected His heart for relational respect and integrity within the family. As God called the Israelites then, He is calling us now to trust Him because He is faithful. Engagement and marriage must reflect this same trust. Boundaries are set by God for the health and welfare of His people, as the family unit was His creation from the beginning. 

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to have the same boundaries in our own lives, which will be for our good and His glory. This is significant to God for three reasons. First, we are His creation made to honor God in every area of our lives. Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are God’s handiwork created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” This is a hopeful, encouraging message for us to keep us from harm while we seek His purpose in our lives. Second, His holiness is His gift to us as we pursue an abiding relationship with God. First Peter 1:16 states clearly, “For it is written, be holy, because I am Holy.” Third, God knows the devastating effect of these sins and clearly defines the law against such behavior. We have either seen or experienced the pain and heartache of sexual sin, and we know this suffering is not God’s best for His people.

St. Augustine, a famous Catholic bishop living in 400 AD, was open about his struggles with sexual lust and sin in his book Confessions. He wrote his answer to these struggles saying, “I began a search for a means of gaining strength to enjoy you, but I could not find this means until I embraced the mediator between God and men, Jesus Christ.” Embracing Jesus Christ with a sincere heart for His ways will cleanse and strengthen us to pursue purity and holiness. 


  1. Why does God care about how we care for creation?

  2. What is God saying about the value of sexual purity?

  3. Is there any sexual sin in your life? If so, first ask God to forgive you. Confess it to your community and help you take the steps necessary for reconciliation for yourself and your family.

A Quote

George Williams wrote in his Bible commentary, “God’s prohibitions strike at the heart of idolatry within; spiritual birth introduces the family of God.” 

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2 thoughts on “Deuteronomy 22”

  1. As we read Deuteronomy, and every instruction given God’s special, set apart, chosen people, it’s necessary to recall that God had made a covenant bringing them into the Promised Land, where they would be surrounded and bombarded by pagan nations and practices. Sin would always be enticing and crouching at their door. Just as it does for us, obedience would bring blessing and disobedience would fall under God’s judgement. It’s in our daily choices that our hearts are revealed, whether we are pure and God-honoring or self seeking and disobedient. Everything God created has his fingerprint on it and was designed with purpose and is to be treated honorably. When we profane or disregard his instructions, we invite his wrath and consequences that hinder our relationship with God and others. Our choices make a huge difference. Genesis 4:7 sums it up this way, “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” So often we treat sin casually and end up living shallow defeated lives. Instead let’s determine to live with a holy determination that acknowledges, repents and turns away from sin. May we NOT be mastered by anything but Christ.

  2. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.’’ 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 We are surrounded by battles and it all stims from out minds. Every single thing we fight first was a thought, whether conscious or subconscious. I am reading a book that pertains to these trials. It is amazing and I highly recommend it. It doesn’t come out until March 14th but it has changed my way of living life at 60 years old. It is JP’s new book “Why Do I Do What I Don’t Want To Do?” The way I apologize, the way I approach challenges, the way I wrap my brain around situations beyond my control. BUT GOD has the answers, goes before us in all battles and is with us as we do battle.

    Thank You God for Your Word which is my tool box for all battles. Thank You for guiding my heart and mind as I travers this world. Give me Your love goggles to see others and Your words to speak to encourage or share Jesus. Thank You for the battle belonging to You in Jesus name amen

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