Neither eunuchs, bastards, Ammonites, nor Moabites, shall be incorporated with the genuine Israelites, Deuteronomy 23:1-3. The reason why the Ammonites and Moabites were excluded, Deuteronomy 23:4-6. Edomites and Egyptians to be respected, Deuteronomy 23:7. Their descendants in the third generation may be incorporated with the Israelites, Deuteronomy 23:8. Cautions against wickedness when they go forth against their enemies, Deuteronomy 23:9. To keep the camp free from every defilement, and the reason why, Deuteronomy 23:10-14. The slave who had taken refuge among them is not to be delivered up to his former master, Deuteronomy 23:15, Deuteronomy 23:16. There shall be no prostitutes nor sodomites in the land, Deuteronomy 23:17. The hire of a prostitute or the price of a dog is not to be brought into the house of God, Deuteronomy 23:18. The Israelites shall not lend on usury to each other, Deuteronomy 23:19; but they may take usury from strangers, Deuteronomy 23:20. Vows must be diligently paid, Deuteronomy 23:21-23. In passing through a vine yard or field a man may eat of the grapes or corn, but must carry away none with him, Deuteronomy 23:24, Deuteronomy 23:25.
He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.Shall not enter into the congregation, etc. - If by entering the congregation be meant the bearing a civil office among the people, such as magistrate, judge, etc., then the reason of the law is very plain; no man with any such personal defect as might render him contemptible in the sight of others should bear rule among the people, lest the contempt felt for his personal defects might be transferred to his important office, and thus his authority be disregarded. The general meaning of these words is, simply, that the persons here designated should not be so incorporated with the Jews as to partake of their civil privileges.
A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.A bastard shall not enter - ממזר mamzer, which is here rendered bastard, should be understood as implying the offspring of an illegitimate or incestuous mixture.
An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:An Ammonite or Moabite - These nations were subjected for their impiety and wickedness, (see Deuteronomy 23:4 and Deuteronomy 23:5), to peculiar disgrace, and on this account were not permitted to hold any office among the Israelites. But this did not disqualify them from being proselytes: Ruth, who was a Moabitess, was married to Boaz, and she became one of the progenitors of our Lord.
Even to their tenth generation - That is, for ever, as the next clause explains; see Nehemiah 13:1.
Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.
Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.
Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.
Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land.
The children that are begotten of them shall enter into the congregation of the LORD in their third generation.
When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing.
If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp:
But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash himself with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the camp again.
Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad:These directions may appear trifling to some, but they were essentially necessary to this people in their present circumstances. Decency and cleanliness promote health, and prevent many diseases.
And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:
For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.
Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee:Thou shalt not deliver - the servant which is escaped - unto thee - That is, a servant who left an idolatrous master that he might join himself to God and to his people. In any other case, it would have been injustice to have harboured the runaway.
He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.
There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.There shall be no whore - See on Genesis 38:15-21 (note).
Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.The hire of a whore, or the price of a dog - Many public prostitutes dedicated to their gods a part of their impure earnings; and some of these prostitutes were publicly kept in the temple of Venus Melytta, whose gains were applied to the support of her abominable worship.
Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury:Usury - See on Leviticus 25:36 (note).
Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.When thou shalt vow, etc. - See on Numbers 30:2 (note), etc.
But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee.
That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.
When thou comest into thy neighbour's vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel.Thou shalt not put any in thy vessel - Thou shalt carry none away with thee. The old English proverb, Eat thy fill but pocket none, seems to have been founded on this law.
When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour's standing corn.Thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand - It was on the permission granted by this law that the disciples plucked the ears of corn, as related Matthew 12:1. This was both a considerate and humane law, and is no dishonor to the Jewish code.