Deuteronomy 23 Commentary

A holy nation (23:1-25)

Various laws prohibited foreigners, eunuchs and people born through immorality from joining fully in Israel’s public worship. This discouraged Israelites from copying heathen practices or marrying heathen people. At the same time it impressed upon them the holiness God required (23:1-8). Holiness also demanded high standards of cleanliness in the camp, particularly in matters concerning discharges from sexual organs and treatment of human excrement (9-14).

Other features of life in surrounding nations that the Israelites were not to follow were the practice of sending back runaway slaves for the sake of gaining a reward, and religious-sexual fertility rights with temple prostitutes (15-18). God’s people were to be faithful to him by doing what they promised and by loving one another, such as in helping the needy with money and food (19-25; see notes on Exod 22:21- 31; Lev 25:35-46).

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