Read Deuteronomy 24
24 If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, 2 and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, 3 and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, 4 then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord. Do not bring sin upon the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.
5 If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.
6 Do not take a pair of millstones—not even the upper one—as security for a debt, because that would be taking a person’s livelihood as security.
7 If someone is caught kidnapping a fellow Israelite and treating or selling them as a slave, the kidnapper must die. You must purge the evil from among you.
8 In cases of defiling skin diseases, be very careful to do exactly as the Levitical priests instruct you. You must follow carefully what I have commanded them. 9 Remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam along the way after you came out of Egypt.
10 When you make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, do not go into their house to get what is offered to you as a pledge. 11 Stay outside and let the neighbor to whom you are making the loan bring the pledge out to you. 12 If the neighbor is poor, do not go to sleep with their pledge in your possession.13 Return their cloak by sunset so that your neighbor may sleep in it. Then they will thank you, and it will be regarded as a righteous act in the sight of the Lord your God.
14 Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether that worker is a fellow Israelite or a foreigner residing in one of your towns.15 Pay them their wages each day before sunset, because they are poor and are counting on it. Otherwise they may cry to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin.
16 Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.
17 Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. 18 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this.
19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time.Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow.22 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.
Deuteronomy 24 covers laws regarding marriage and divorce, ceremonial laws, and consideration for people in need. God is reminding the Israelites towards the end of this chapter of the ways that He has been faithful to them, so they are to serve others in the same way.. Verses 19-22 address the idea of not gleaning a field, but leaving it for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. To glean means to pick up, collect, or gather. This was Israel’s welfare system. They were to leave the edges of their fields unharvested in order to protect and provide for the poor and vulnerable. Leviticus 19:9-10 says, “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners. I am the Lord your God.” People would pick up the leftover grain and fallen olives and grapes in order to provide for themselves.
Moses is reminding the Israelites of these gleaning laws for a few reasons. The first is that God values and blesses generosity towards the poor and defenseless (v. 19). Second, the Israelities are being reminded of how they were once slaves in the land of Egypt (v. 22). They were to care for the oppressed, because they were once oppressed. The Lord commanded them to do this as an act of obedience. Additionally, this command reveals God’s heart for the widow, the orphan, and the helpless. He advocates on our behalf and calls us to do the same for others. This is also symbolic of how we are all helpless in a spiritual sense. Romans 5:6 says, “At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). We need to turn to Jesus for our help, because He is our only hope.
This law is later applied in the book of Ruth and is important in the storyline. Ruth, who was a poor widow, was generously allowed to glean the fields of a Judahite man named Boaz. Boaz was so moved by her loyalty to her mother-in-law that he instructed the harvesters to go beyond the law in order to help her. In Ruth 2:15-16, Boaz says “Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her. Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.” The reaping in the fields led to romance and redemption for Ruth. Boaz made her his wife, while providentially preserving the Abrahamic line as her Kinsman-Redeemer.
A Kinsman-Redeemer was a male relative who had the responsibility to act on behalf of a person who was in danger or in need (Leviticus 25:25). This idea of preserving the family line is outlined in the next chapter (Deuteronomy 25). Ruth, a Gentile, is in the genealogy of Jesus, and Boaz, the Kinsman-Redeemer, points to Christ. To redeem means to “buy out.” Christ is the one who paid the price for our redemption. He paid for our sins on the cross, and as believers we have been redeemed from sin and its eternal consequences. As a result of our redemption and freedom in Christ, we are to live in a way that reflects that. Our actions should evidence the faith we profess. James puts it this way: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27). We are called to serve others with our lives. We serve not to receive something, but because we have already received everything in Christ.
- What is something you learned from reading this chapter?
- How have you seen God’s redemption in your own life?
- What is one way you can serve someone today?
Interested in learning more about the role of the Kinsman-Redeemer throughout scripture? Check out this helpful article from GotQuestions.org.
Leave a Comment Below
Join the Team
Interested in writing for the Bible Reading Plan? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
4 thoughts on “Deuteronomy 24”
We’re given 24 hours in a day to live each moment for God’s glory, to be an expression of his justice in a world that screams live for yourself and follow your own truth. God in his kindness mercifully prepares and places us as his people in this polarized world. Look around and you will see opportunities to love, give, serve and share the gospel. The “fields are white unto harvest”. Many times the door to a hurting heart is opened by first meeting a physical need, then sharing the hope that can only be found in Christ. This song expresses the message of Deuteronomy 24:
God told them to remember in this chapter 3 times. Remember when I protected you from what could have been a car crash, you saw the car and swerved just enough to avoid the other vehicle. (yesterday for me) Remember when you actually died but I, the Lord Your God, have other plans for you to complete. This is where we can continue on with our remember when’s. God is in protection mode for all of His children so that we can do His purpose here and now. We might never know what we have been protected from or when we speak to a person and just “love” on them, show them kindness, speak thoughtful words, we can never know they may have been going home to commit suicide but because of those actions they changed their minds. Let your light so shine that you Glorify God. We need to remember and be thankful. We need to remember to do what God is asking of us afterwards. Life is all about the journey with God, whether children of Israel or children of Waco.
God thank You that I can remember what You have done for me. When I do it just makes me want to woohoo and praise You all the more!!! Yes I wasted years and time but I have NOW!!! Thank You God for helping me bold and courageous to not waste any more time. Let every breath I take be about YOU!!! in Jesus name amen
Thank you for sharing this passage from Deuteronomy. It’s interesting how it addresses the issue of divorce and second marriages. It seems that in this context, divorce was not uncommon and remarriage was also accepted, but there were certain restrictions in place.
However, my question is: why is it considered detestable for the first husband to remarry his former wife after she has been defiled by another man? Is it because it would be seen as a violation of the sacredness of marriage and the trust that should exist between a husband and wife? Or is there another reason behind this prohibition?
Also, I found it noteworthy that the passage includes a provision for newly married men to be exempt from military duty for a year. This shows the value placed on the importance of establishing a strong foundation for a new marriage before being called away for other responsibilities.
Overall, this passage highlights the complexities and nuances surrounding marriage and divorce, and the importance of upholding the sanctity of