Dave Burnette's Commentary

Deuteronomy Chapter 21

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses 
Date Penned: (1407 BC)
Overview: To Remind and Rededicate Israel to the Lord (c 1-34)
Theme: Principles for Godly Living (c 5-28)
Message: Laws for Human Relationships (v 1-23)

Deuteronomy 21 Commentary

(21:1-9) A Community Responsibility - When a crime was committed and the criminal got away, the whole community was held responsible. God was pointing to the need for the whole community to feel a keen sense of responsibility for what was going on around them. By implication this could also point to the responsibility of communities to correct any situations that were potentially harmful-physically, socially, or morally. In much the same way today, if a city has a dangerous intersection and there is a car accident there, the community may be held responsible for damages and repairs. This sort of community responsibility has its roots in the laws God gave to Israel, laws ultimately upheld by the law of love (Matthew 22:37-39).

(21:18-21) Strong Discipline -  Disobedient and rebellious children were to be brought before the elders of the city and stoned to death. There is no biblical or archaeological evidence that this punishment was ever carried out, but the point was that disobedience and rebellion were not to be tolerated in the home or allowed to continue unchecked. This passage must never be used to justify or overlook the abuse or harsh treatment of children. While firm guidance may be needed with strong consequences for disobedience, the Bible does not condone physical, verbal, or emotional abuse of children.



Dave Burnette's Life Application

Your Need of a Savior

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Deuteronomy with Chapter 21 and we see a new section in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 21. In this second giving of the law to this new generation of Israel we have had a (1) review of the 10 commandments, (2) instruction to love God and obey His commandments, (3) laws for proper worship, (4) laws for ruling a nation and today we start (5) laws for Human Relationships - with Forgiveness for an unsolved Murder, rules for Marriage and Family, and the proper Burying of criminals. Some of these principles seem extreme but they define what is right and wrong in God's eyes. The law is ultimately given as a schoolmaster to show us the need for a savior. Don't be discouraged that you don't keep all the law listed in these chapters we have read or will read in the upcoming days but rather see your need for a savior. I remember the day when I found myself on the wrong side of the law of God as a guilty sinner. It was then I found how much God loved me as I heard the Gospel and found out that Jesus paid my price for my sin debt. As I repented of my sin, accepted His free gift, God saved Me. Praise the Lord. How about you? Have you seen yourself as a guilty sinner after studying the law of God. Have you received Jesus-Christ as Lord and Savior? Let us learn from today's text seeing the law and our inability to keep the law as a need to be saved.  


Deuteronomy 21

Deuteronomy 21

 1If one be found slain in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who hath slain him:

 2Then thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is slain:

 3And it shall be, that the city which is next unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take an heifer, which hath not been wrought with, and which hath not drawn in the yoke;

 4And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley:

 5And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them the LORD thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of the LORD; and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried:

 6And all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley:

 7And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it.

 8Be merciful, O LORD, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel's charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them.

 9So shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the LORD.

 10When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive,

 11And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;

 12Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;

 13And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.

 14And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.

 15If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated:

 16Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn:

 17But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.

 18If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:

 19Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;

 20And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

 21And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

 22And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:

 23His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.