1 When a man [ish] hath taken a wife [ isha], and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour [chen ] in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness [ervat davar] in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement [sefer keritut], and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house [bais].
'ervat davar' also 23: 14 translated unclean thing (shameful thing - OJB)
2 And when she is departed out of his house [bais], she may go and be another man's wife [ ish acher (wife of another)].
3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement [sefer keritut], and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house [bais]; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife [isha];
4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife [isha], after that she is defiled [hutamma'ah] ; for that is abomination [ to'evah] before Yahweh: and thou shalt not cause the land [ha'aretz] to sin, which Yahweh thy Elohim giveth thee for an inheritance [ nachalah].
'...we see clearly that occasionally outstanding incidents called forth supplementary additions to the Book of the Covenant. The divorce laws of Deut. 24 : 1-4 are doubtless of this nature. These probably legalized certain existing practices and put an end to grave abuses. But they, again, subserved a purpose other than the practical and obvious. A wife who was formally dismissed by her husband could not become his again - neither could any in Israel become God's once more if they "found no favour" in His eyes, because of "uncleanness". Each sinful generation would have to bear its punishment of rejection even though the promise to the entire race remained inviolate (Ezek. 18: 1-4).
Law and Grace Ch 6
5 When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.
"One year". Is there a type here foreshadowing the marriage of the lamb ?
6 No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a man's life to pledge.
7 If a man [ish] be found stealing [kidnapping] any of his brethren of the children of Israel [Bnei Yisroel], and maketh merchandise [enslaves] of him, or selleth him; then that thief [ganav] shall die; and thou shalt put evil [rah] away from among you.
There was always a risk that such blindness might lead to the oppression of a fellow Israelite. This was emphatically forbidden.
All Israelites - high and low, rich and poor - were equal in their enjoyment of redemption from Egypt and membership of the Covenant nation. None was to forget it: so none was allowed to make a bondman of another Israelite.
"And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: but as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee and serve thee unto the year of jubile: and then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return. For they are my servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as bondman. Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour; but shalt fear thy God" (Lev. 25: 39-43).
Such bondmen were always to be foreigners: "they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel ye shall not rule one over another with rigour" (verse 46). A foreigner on the other hand was not allowed to make a bondman of any Israelite who sold himself into his service: "As a yearly hired servant shall he be with him: and the other shall not rule with rigour over him in thy sight" (verse 53).
Any Israelites who could were to regard it as a bounden duty to redeem any such needy brother and thus remove the anomaly presented by a member of the Covenant People serving one of the heathen.
As for any Israelite who esteemed the privileged status of his brother so lightly as to kidnap and sell him for gain, only one punishment was appropriate: "If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you" (Deut. 24: 7).
Liberty was the God-given right of an Israelite.
Law and Grace Ch 3
8 Take heed in the plague of leprosy, that thou observe diligently, and do according to all that the priests the Levites shall teach you: as I commanded them, so ye shall observe to do.
9 Remember what Yahweh thy Elohim did unto Miriam by the way, after that ye were come forth out of Egypt.
10 When thou dost lend thy brother any thing, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge.
11 Thou shalt stand abroad, and the man to whom thou dost lend shall bring out the pledge abroad unto thee.
12 And if the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge:
13 In any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before Yahweh thy Elohim.
14 Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates:
15 At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto Yahweh, and it be sin unto thee.
16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
17 Thou shalt not pervert the judgment [mishpat] of the stranger [ger], nor of the fatherless [yatom]; nor take a widow's [almanah's] raiment to pledge:
18 But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman [eved] in Egypt [Mitzrayim], and Yahweh thy Elohim redeemed thee thence: therefore I command thee to do this thing.
He had suffered in Egypt not only as a slave but as an alien. Never was he therefore to perpetrate the same wrongs as he had suffered himself against any alien in his own midst. "If a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God" (Lev. 19 : 33-34; cf. Exod. 23 : 9).
Law and Grace Ch 3
19 When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that Yahweh thy Elohim may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.
20 When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.
21 When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.
22 And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt: therefore I command thee to do this thing.
Kindness (Deut. 22 : 1-4), humaneness to both men and animals (Deut. 22: 6-7), chastity (Deut. 22: 13-21), generosity (Deut. 23 : 19; 24: 19-22) - these were the kind of virtues which befitted God's People. Cursed indeed were those who flouted them (Deut. 27 : 11-26). (It was as Moses said,
"And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good ?" (Deut. 10 : 12-13).
Israel therefore had no illusions as to what was meant when God declared,
"Ye shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people that ye should be mine" (Lev. 20 : 26).
And, though that divine wish seems to have been utterly frustrated by Israel's past record, yet fulfil itself it will nevertheless. Like all God's purposes, it will yet translate itself into fact. God's word will not return to Him void, but accomplish that which He pleases, and prosper in the thing whereto He sent it, when finally the time comes for the Deliverer to come out of Zion and turn away ungodliness from Jacob.
Law and Grace Ch 6