Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.21. Various Laws and Responsibilities
1. Corporal punishment (Deuteronomy 25:1-3)
2. Thou shalt not muzzle the ox (Deuteronomy 25:4)
3. The brother-in-law’s marriage (Deuteronomy 25:5-10)
4. Concerning a sinful freedom (Deuteronomy 25:11-12)
5. Concerning divers weights and measures (Deuteronomy 25:13-16)
6. Concerning the conquest of Amalek (Deuteronomy 25:17-19)
Corporal punishment is mentioned in the first paragraph of this chapter. But this also was tempered with mercy. Not more than forty stripes were to be administered in the presence of the judge. The rabbinical instructions put the limit at thirty-nine--”forty save one.” Five times our blessed apostle Paul was punished in this manner, for we read, “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes, save one” (2Corinthians 11:24).
In comparison with the cruel beatings and tortures so universally found among the Gentile races the law concerning corporal punishment appears very merciful. The chastisement was not to be severer than it could be endured. It speaks typically also of the chastisement His people have to undergo.
The ox was not to be muzzled when he treaded out the corn.
“Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith He it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope” (1Corinthians 9:7-10).
“For the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, the laborer is worthy of his reward” (1Timothy 5:18). These are most blessed comments on this verse, which otherwise would be rather obscure. The toiling ox is the type of the servant and his ministry. And this has its rewards.
The commandment given by Moses, that a surviving brother is to marry his brother’s widow is seen in its working in the story of Ruth and the kinsman-redeemer. The law itself was founded upon an old traditional custom, which we find already in Genesis 38:8-11. Moses here recognized this custom was not to be considered compulsory.2
And Amalek was to be remembered, Amalek, who feared not God. When Israel had rest in the land and all the other enemies were conquered, then the remembrance of Amalek was to be completely blotted out. As we saw from our annotations in Exodus Amalek typifies the flesh, while Egypt is the type of the world. The complete perishing of Amalek is seen in Balaam’s parables. When the sceptre rises out of Israel (the second coming of Christ), when He comes that shall have dominion, then Amalek shall perish forever (Numbers 24:20). When we are indeed in the land and possess our inheritance, when all our enemies are gone, then the remembrance of Amalek, the old flesh, will be blotted out forever.