Expiation and Doing Right
In this chapter are five laws: The expiation of murder done in a community without a witness. Taking a daughter of an enemy as wife. The law regarding who the first born is when there is more than one wife. The law regarding a rebellious son. The law regarding a man put to death, by hanging him on a tree.
Someone would be murdered without witnesses, so how can the community be holy in the sight of the Lord? Men delight in women, so how can a man take an enemies daughter as wife? Men just as quickly become disenchanted, so how should she be released? A man might take more than one wife, so whose son should be given the rights of the first born? A father and mother may have a rebellious son, who left unchecked, may bring condemnation upon them, so how should this be dealt with? Men will be put to death for crimes, but should the body be dishonored?
All of these laws were given with the expectation of sin. Psalms 14:1-3 says:
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds;There is no one who does good.The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of menTo see if there are any who understand,Who seek after God.They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt;There is no one who does good, not even one.
The apostle Paul quoted this Psalm when summing up the fact that both Jew and gentile are all under sin. (Rom 3:10-18)
The community needs to make every effort to find the guilty party and not ignore crimes. Marriage is a sacred institution. Women and children should be treated fairly. Parents should not be held responsible for children who are rebellious and will not obey. Even when a man is put to death, even death by hanging on a tree, a man who is considered accursed of God, his body is to be treated with honor, because he was created in the image of God.
Before nightfall, Joseph of Arimathea and the Pharisee Nicodemus, took the body of Jesus down from the cross, cared for it, and buried his body in a garden tomb. (Jn 19:38-42) The apostle Paul quoted from Deuteronomy 21:23,
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Gal 3:13-14)
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and God has made a way for him to be just and justify us. (Rom 3:21-26) Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father (God) but through faith in Jesus Christ. (Jn 14:6)