Monday, September 10, 2012

Restrictions on joining the Nation of Israel

Deuteronomy 23:1-8

“He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 23:1)

The law promised that if Israel would keep God’s commands, “There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land:” in Exodus 23:26.  A person who had had his sex organs removed or injured could not reproduce, making his wife unable to have children as well and forcing God to break his promise or miraculously intervene.

“A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 23:2) 

A bastard is the product of a couple having sex but not becoming husband and wife.  Sex was not to be treated as a form of recreation.  Adultery and whoredom were to be punished by death as was a rapist.  A child born as a result of such sin was not to be executed, but he and his descendants were to be excluded from full membership in the nation, even ten generations in the future.  Promiscuous sex had serious consequences even for future generations.

“An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever: Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.  Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.   Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever. ” (Deuteronomy 23:3-6)

Both Ammonites and Moabites were descendants of Lot, Abraham’s nephew, and thus relatives of Israel. God had promised their land to them because, despite Lot’s sin, he was related to Abraham and a man of God.  In Deuteronomy 2:9, Moses said, “ And the LORD said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession.”

Ignoring or not believing God’s promise, the Ammonites turned on Israel rather than encouraging them on their way to where God was sending them, even trying to invoke God’s curse on them by Balaam, and then getting them involved in sin.  As a result, their men were never to be adopted into the nation of Israel, and Israel was never to try to help them out.  The old saying, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you“ implies that the way you treat others is the way you wish to be treated..  They were to treat the Ammonites and Moabites as they had treated them.

The women of Moab and Ammon had little to do with the men’s decision to turn on Israel, and were not excluded, with Ruth, a Moabite woman being adopted into the nation of Israel and becoming one of Jesus’ earthly ancestors.

One of the states of present day Jordan, Amman, is the ancient land of Ammon, and the enmity toward Israel persists to the present day.

“Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land.  The children that are begotten of them shall enter into the congregation of the LORD in their third generation.” (Deuteronomy 23:7-8)

The Edomites were descendants of Esau, Jacob’s(Israel’s) brother.  They were even more closely related to Israel than the Moabites and Ammonites, while they didn’t welcome them, they had not tried to destroy Israel either.  Egypt had allowed Israel to move freely into their land in Joseph’s day, enabling them to survive, although they later enslaved them.  Israel was not to hate them, and the grandson of an Edomite or Egyptian man could be considered a full fledged part of Israel, even though he was not full blooded Jewish.

The Standards Are Not To Be Changed For Those In Military Service 
Deuteronomy 23:9-14

“When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing.” (Deuteronomy 23:9)

Prostitution and drunkeness seem almost expected of military personnel on leave, and cities with military bases cater to the debauchery.  God’s people were not to permit such activity, but were to maintain the same moral and health standards at all times.

“If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp: But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash himself with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the camp again.” (Deuteronomy 23:10-11)

Discharge from a sore or wound or ejaculation carried the potential for disease and made one unclean, as we see from Leviticus 15:31-32.  “Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that is among them.  This is the law of him that hath an issue, and of him whose seed goeth from him, and is defiled therewith;” The same standard of uncleanness and purification was demanded in the military camp as in the regular cities.

“Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad: And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee: For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.” (Deuteronomy 23:12-14) 

There was to be a designated latrine area anytime they were camped.  A paddle or shovel blade was to be on the back of their spears so that when they needed to relieve themselves in the field they could bury it, preventing the spread of disease, minimizing the odor and not spoiling the view.

On visitation, I visited a family who was into drugs and alcohol.  They lived in an old house that still had an outhouse, and when the indoor plumbing quit they didn’t bother to fix it.  It wasn’t long before they decided it was too far to the outhouse, so began relieving themselves where ever was convenient.  Police officers have described similar situations, and children are often removed from such homes to protect their health.  God forbade such a lifestyle, even in a temporary situation.

Escaped Servants or Slaves
Deuteronomy 23:15

“Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.” (Deuteronomy 23:15-16)

Under the law, people could be sold as bond servants to pay debts, and outsiders could be held as slaves.  If the service was so cruel or demanding that the servant or slave found it necessary to run away, He was not to be forced to go back but was to be given the opportunity to make it on his own.  It was the employer or owner’s responsibility to make things good enough they didn’t leave.

Sodomy and Prostitution Forbidden
Deuteronomy 23:17-18

“There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.  Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” (Deuteronomy 23:17-18) 

Today there is a great deal of emphasis on “safe sex”.   Promiscuity, and especially prostitution exposes one to whatever diseases any other sexual partners may have had.  Sodomy, or anal sex exposes both partners to any disease organisms that may be present in the intestines or colon, not just sexually transmitted diseases.  This prohibition was more effective at preventing disease than our safe sex programs.

God had forbidden such activity, and bringing part of the wages for it as a sacrifice amounted to mocking God’s command.  It was an abomination.  Dogs are promiscuous, breeding whenever they can, and buying them was essentially rewarding someone for their promiscuity.  The money was not acceptable to God.


  1. Abstinence is the only "safe sex," because of human error and device failure. God's prohibitions ensure a better outcome physically as well as morally and spiritually, were society to follow His plan. Great post.
    God bless,

  2. It is amazing how many laws and programs are geared at mitigating the problems caused by ignoring God's commands. For example, all the AIDS programs would have been eliminated simply by avoiding promiscuity, as would the abortion debate.

    Thanks, Laurie