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1 Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother.
The meaning of "brother" here has the same broad, liberal intent that Christ placed on the word "neighbour," for in Exod. 23:4, the same command is worded,
"If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it to him again. If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forebear to help him, thou shalt surely help him."
Could a law like this be found anywhere in force in the world today? What of the so-called Christian nations who seek to pervert the Old Testament into a justification of their ungodly wars? God's people went to war at God's command for purposes that God decided, and at God's command they refrained.
When God commanded Zedekiah and the children of Israel to submit to the domination of the wicked Nebuchadnezzar, they brought God's anger and punishment upon themselves by a misguided resistance. They felt that, in the wars that God had previously sanctioned, they had ample justification and precedent, but they did not grasp the underlying principles. They only had half the picture, and they destroyed themselves in misguided zeal.
It is the principles behind the commands that we must grasp and apply. The Law was holy, just and good. Christ came, not to destroy it, but to fulfill it in all its beauty. "Do we then make void the Law?" asks Paul (Rom. 3:31). Again that same emphatic, "God forbid-Let it not be so!" "Rather, we establish the Law." And he explains that God, through Christ
"condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the Law might he fulfilled in us"
The principle in the first command in Deut. 22 is identical with the principle of the Sermon on the Mount,
"Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you."
This is the new-old commandment that Jesus brought-new in that it has so rarely been used or understood, old in that they had had it from the beginning.*
2 And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again.
3 In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother's, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself.
4 Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.
5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto Yahweh thy Elohim.
A clear distinction of dress between the genders was to be preserved
This word "abomination" is a very strong term. It denotes utter abhorrence. The principle here is crystal-clear. Each sex has its proper place in the all-wise arrangement of God, and each in its place is beautiful and fitting and a glory to God, but for either to attempt to fill the position that God has designated for the other is intensely displeasing to Him. The world, in a misguided zeal for what it terms equality, uses all its powers to destroy the individuality and distinction and complementary harmony that God has created in making man and woman.
"In all its works, the world knows not God." *
6 If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young:
7 But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days.
8 When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.
Responsibility. "Am I my brother's keeper?" The principle here is that we are responsible for others to the extent that our actions do or could affect them. The solemn words of Jesus come to mind,
"Whoso shall offend-or cause to offend-one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea" (Mt. 18:6).
And Paul's inspired commentary upon this,
"If meat make my brother to offend I will eat no flesh while the world standeth" (1 Cor. 8:13), and again, "It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak" (Rom. 14:21).
We cannot run away from this heavy responsibility. We all live in glass houses.
"None of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself" (Rom. 14:7).
Every action, and every failure to take action when action is called for, will have its effect upon others which we must answer for. It is very easy to build a house without a parapet around the roof. It has certain advantages. We may feel quite safe ourselves, but God says that in whatever we build the protecting wall must be there for the sake of others who may not be as surefooted or as quick to perceive the dividing line as we.*
9 Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.
"The seed is the Word of God," said Jesus.
"If any man preach any other Gospel, let him be accursed"
Hard words indeed, but they are not ours; they are the necessary words of warning from God. In all the world, there is no hope of life except in the true seed. Whoever contributes in the slightest way to the contamination of that seed is a murderer, however exalted his intentions may be. This is a matter of life and death. Very, very few things in this world really matter or are important, but here is one that is vital. Whoever, we cannot conscientiously welcome to the table of the Lord has another gospel. We dare not encourage them, nor bid them Godspeed.
It is neither kindness to them nor ourselves, nor faithfulness to God, to allow the seriousness of the issue to be lost in a haze of ill-advised fraternization. We are stewards and custodians of something far more important than ourselves. Great plainness of speech is called for, although at the same time great kindness and forbearance.
It is always easy to condemn or destroy, but to build takes time and work. Those who by nature are firm have a natural tendency to be harsh and bitter: those who by nature are soft have a tendency to be weak and compromising. Whatever comes naturally to us must be distrusted, for in our flesh dwells no good thing. There are no natural virtues. The flesh lusteth against the Spirit. To pride ourselves on our natural reactions, whatever they are, is to glory in our shame. We are only safe when we are consciously restraining nature and following the spirit's expressed instructions contrary to nature.*
Bro Growcott - The Law
10 Thou shalt not plow with an ox [shor] and an ass [chamor] together.
The animals were of different sizes and different motions and to yoke them together would be an unequal yoking that would cause discomfort to each and interfere with the effective work of both.
Here also, there would not seem to be anything beyond the interdict of common sense in a matter affecting only the treatment of stock in the working of the soil. But that there was more than this appears from Paul's command to the Corinthians:
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers" (2 Cor. 6:14).
'... it is evident that the allusion is to the prohibited unequal yoking of animals in work, which we are therefore justified in regarding as a typical intimation of God's disapproval of all partnerships between men (and of course women) of such difference of principle as prevails between those who fear God and those who fear Him not.
It is God's own question: "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3). A man of the world and a man of God could not work in common, as regards principles of action and aims of life, without either the man of the world giving in to the man of God, which is improbable; or the man of God becoming corrupted by the man of the world, which is more likely.
The principle applies in all connections where the will of one man is put in the power of another. The friends of God are "not of the world", They are commanded to "come out from among them, and be separate". There are matters in which all are tied together in a common interest, such as the passengers in the same ship or the residents in the same village or town.
Saints must live with, and in many matters co-operate with sinners, so long as God tolerates the sinners; but as regards the main purposes and friendships of life, it is safe and indeed (in the case of true saints) an inevitable rule, to refuse putting the neck in the same yoke with those who are unbelieving or unloving or disobedient towards God'.
Law of Moses Ch 32