1 Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox [shor] or his sheep [seh] go astray, and hide thyself from them [ignore 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.*
Consideration For the Property of Others
It lays down the responsibility of true Israelites to help their brethren without being solicited to do so. And whilst this law relates to a brother-Israelite here, it demands that the same consideration be shown to such even though he be accounted as one's "enemy".
If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again - Exod. 23: 4 .
So the Law anticipated Christ's teaching to "love your enemy" (Matt. 5:44). It demonstrated that the old covenant was concerned with inward attitudes as well as outward actions.
...we may well ask the question posed by Paul:
"Doth God take care for oxen?" ... "For our sakes, no doubt, this is written" (1 Cor. 9:9).
There was a greater significance in the Law than mere considerate care of animals. Oxen and sheep are used figuratively to denote believers, as well as literally for animals...*
"Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks"
Sheep a well established type of the saints but oxen also.
they four had the face of an ox on the left side - Ezk 1: 10
thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward - 1 Tim 5: 18
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 [bais], and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again.
all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets - Matt 7: 12
To retain a straying animal is accounted as theft and punished with a fine of one fifth over its value if denied on oath - Lev. 6: 1-5.*
3 In like manner shalt thou do with his ass [chamor]; 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 [ignore it].
4 Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass [ chamor] or his ox [shor] fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them [ignore them]: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.
Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ - Gal 6: 2.
5 The woman [isha] shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man [gever], neither shall a man [gever] put on a woman's garment [simlat isha]: for all that do so are abomination [to'avat] 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." *
The Sexes To Be Clearly Distinguished in apparel
...blurring the distinction between the sexes established by God [is strictly forbidden].
For the sexes to imitate one another is to confuse the functions and positions of each, and so tend to destroy their individual roles which have been Divinely laid down
"Man is for strength, judgment and achievement; woman is for grace, sympathy and ministration. Between them they form a beautiful unit: 'heirs together of the grace of life'".
- Law of Moses
Some may imagine that the use of unisex clothing, or the exchange of garments, are harmless forms of fun. Yahweh looks upon these things as abominable, as trying to hide the difference He made in the sexes in the beginning.*
*The Christadelphian Expositor
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.
In the Near East houses were built with flat roofs so that the inhabitants and their
guests might enjoy the balmy air of an evening...Hence a railing or a parapet is required.
... Human life is not to be unnecessarily exposed to danger.
In this, as in other ways, each one is his brother's keeper (Ct. Gen. 4:9). How much more in those things relating to eternal life (Matt. 18:6-7; Acts 20:26-27). We need to anticipate problems and guard against them.
The Christadelphian Expositor
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...
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers" (2 Cor. 6:14).
'... 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.
"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.
11 Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.
A variation of the same basic principle, with certain different aspects. What could possibly be wrong with a mixture of weaving materials? God is simply driving home the same old lesson-purity, separation, holiness-over and over again, even to the point of not mixing in their clothing-a mixed covering-a mixed protection-a mixed dependence-wool and linen: the natural, fleshly, animal covering, or the Spirit's white garment.
If God is our covering, it must be God alone. We must choose, and be faithful to that choice. "I would that ye were hot or cold!" Be all the way inside or all the way outside. To stand in the doorway discourages those that are inside and hinders those that are outside. It is belittling to God's Holy Truth, and a mockery of God. How often that lesson is repeated and still it is so hard to learn!*
*Bro Growcott - We know that the Law is spiritual