Posts Tagged 'Marriage'

1 Kings Chapter 11

Solomon had been blessed to be given the kingdom of Israel to rule over. He had been visited by the Lord two times, in which the Lord had blessed him to be the wisest and wealthiest king of his time. He was well known by all nations, and greatly sought after for his wisdom. He had been blessed with these things, and with the promise that his family would continue to rule, if he would continue to remember the Lord and keep the commandments. This chapter begins with the following:

1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;
2 Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.
3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.
4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.
5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.
7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

Solomon was married to the daughter of Pharaoh, and also married many women who were strangers, or not Israelite women. His marriage to many women was not forbidden by the Lord. However, he married women who belonged to nations that the Lord had forbidden the Israelites to marry. They were from nations who followed after false gods. The Israelites had been forbidden to go to them, because they would lead them away from the Lord and to following after their false gods. Solomon loved these many women, and they led his heart away from the Lord, who had given him so much to be grateful for. He no longer lived the commandments, but turned to Ashtoreth (worshipped with Baal) and Milcom (fire god, known for sacrificing children by fire), false gods of the Zidonians and Ammonites. In fact, it says here that he turned his heart to them, which shows that they became of great importance to him. He also built a place of worship for Chemosh (human sacrifices) and Molech (also known as Milcom), who were the gods of the Moabites and the children of Ammon. He built them in the “high places”, just as places of worship had been built to the Lord, before Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem.

I can see how someone who believed in the Lord and did so much to show his devotion, like building the grand temple to the Lord, would fall away like this. Solomon was exposed to all the great people of all the nations. They offered him the best they had as gifts, including their daughters and other women. He loved them. I can imagine him wanting them to be happy and feel of his love and acceptance. It may have started as simply allowing them to continue to worship as they wanted, but eventually he began to support them by giving them things in order to continue that worship. After time, his wives were able to lead him into following their beliefs instead of the beliefs he had been raised with by his father, David. This didn’t happen overnight, as it says he was old when he turned away. It took years. One of the tactics of the adversary, is to slowly lead away the righteous, so they don’t recognize that something is happening. This is why we must be continually on guard and follow commandments given. If Solomon had followed the commandment to stay away from marrying women of certain wicked nations, he would have been kept safe from this temptation and his own weakness with it.

9 And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,
10 And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded.
11 Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.
12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.
13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.

The anger of the Lord was upon King Solomon, because he turned his heart from Him and had broken the commandments. Since he had been privileged twice, to have a witness of the Lord, I am sure that the standard for King Solomon was set even higher than most people who have lived. Solomon was promised at this time, that his kingdom would be taken from his family and given to another, at the time his son was on the throne. Because of the promises given to David, the kingdom was not to be taken during Solomon’s reign, and one tribe would be left to their line, including Jerusalem.

14 And the Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king’s seed in Edom.
15 For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom;
16 (For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom:)
17 That Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father’s servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child.
18 And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land.
19 And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen.
20 And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house: and Genubath was in Pharaoh’s household among the sons of Pharaoh.
21 And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country.
22 Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise.

The Lord allowed Hadad the Edomite, to be stirred up against Solomon. Hadad had been a refuge from Israel to Egypt, as a little child. He had been given land in Egypt, and eventually found favor with Pharaoh. Hadad had married the sister of the queen of Egypt, and his son lived among the sons of Pharaoh. When David and Joab had both died, Hadad asked Pharoah if he could return to his own land. Pharaoh asked him what he was lacking in Egypt, that would cause him to return to his own land, and Hadad asked to return anyway.

23 And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah:
24 And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a band, when David slew them of Zobah: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus.
25 And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.

Likewise, Rezon of Zobah, became stirred up against Solomon and Israel, because David had killed those in Zobah. Rezon lived in Damascus and reigned over Syria. He and Hadad did mischief against Israel.

26 And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon’s servant, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king.
27 And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father.
28 And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph.
29 And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field:
30 And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:
31 And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:
32 (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:)
33 Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.
34 Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes:
35 But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.
36 And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.
37 And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.
38 And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.
39 And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.
40 Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.

Additionally, the Lord allowed Jeroboam to be stirred up against Solomon. Jeroboam was of Zereda and a servant of Solomon. He was angry with Solomon because he had built up the defenses in Jerusalem and repaired the city of David. Jeroboam had been recognized as a mighty man, so he was placed in charge of the house of Joseph. One day, dressed in new clothing, he came upon the prophet Ahijah. Ahijah took his new clothes and tore them into twelve pieces. The prophet told Jeroboam to take ten of the pieces, because the Lord would take ten of the tribes of Israel and give them to Jeroboam, leaving the king with one tribe and Jerusalem. This was because the tribes had forsaken the Lord and turned to worshipped other gods, breaking the commandments and statutes that had been given to them. The footnote says that the Septuagint translation of the bible reads as two tribes. Considering Jeroboam was promised ten, and we know that the line of Joseph was split into two tribes, there would be one tribe missing. This seems to make more sense to me. Either way, Solomon the king, would be left a prince or ruler of this tribe, because of the promises to David. His son would rule over Jerusalem (Judah), which was the chosen city of the Lord and was the place of His temple. Solomon would not repent, as his father David had repented after falling into his own temptations (see footnote c of verse 33).

Jeroboam was told that the would be made king and rule over Israel, and would be allowed to rule as he desired. If Jeroboam would obey the commandments given to him by the Lord, the Lord would be with him and his kingdom would remain. He was promised that the seed of David would be afflicted, but not forever. This was a continuation of the curse placed on David for his transgression against God. After Jeroboam received this promise, Solomon went after him and he fled into Egypt, remaining there until Solomon died.

41 And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?
42 And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years.
43 And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.

This was all that was recorded in this book, regarding Solomon. There may have been more recorded in other books, but they have been lost to us since then. After forty years of being the king of Israel, ruling in Jerusalem, Solomon died. His son, Rehoboam, reigned in his stead.

Time and time again, the rulers of Israel, were punished for turning from the Lord. This is because the adversary has great power among men. We are not free from this in our day either. Satan uses tactics today, just as he did to those in biblical times. In fact, this tactic of slowly leading good people into carnal security, can be seen throughout the world today. Even the best can fall, if they are not watchful. This is why it is important for disciples of Christ, to do those things each day that will guard them against the traps and snares of the adversary. It is vital that good people continue to be good, by searching the scriptures daily, praying daily, following the commandments of God, and turning to the Lord continually to repent and find the strength to endure in these difficult times. If these things are not done, we can also turn from God. The results will be the same in our lives, as they were for Solomon. The Lord will allow our own enemies, even ourselves, to come against us. Our safety comes in following the Lord and keeping His commandments. I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ, because it helps me to remember the commandments and my covenants with God. It helps me to try harder to live more righteously, and gives me hope that I will be able to overcome the temptations of the adversary.

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2 Samuel Chapter 5

The king of Israel, Ish-bosheth, was killed by men of Judah, and the only other son of Saul, was a young man who had fled and had become lame in the process. This left Israel without a ruler. David was the king of Judah and had been prepared from a young age to become the king of all of Israel, as he was chosen by God. This chapter begins with the following:

1 Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh.
2 Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the Lord said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel.
3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the Lord: and they anointed David king over Israel.

Men of Israel came to king David, recognizing him as their brother and as one who protected them in the past. They knew that the Lord was with him, and the elders of Israel made an agreement with David. David was anointed king of Israel.

4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.
5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah.

David had been the king of Judah for seven and a half years when he became the king of Israel. He was 37 years old. He reigned over Israel for thirty-three years, bringing his total reign as king, to forty years. His reign would end when he was about seventy years old.

6 And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither.
7 Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David.
8 And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David’s soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.
9 So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward.
10 And David went on, and grew great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him.

King David went to Jerusalem and when the Jebusites would not allow him in, he took the strong hold. The Jebusites had been there since the time when Joshua led Israel to take the promised land. After David took it, the strong hold became the city of David. David offered the role of captain of his men, to the man who would destroy the Jebusites who were there. He built up the city of David, and became great from blessings of the Lord.

11 And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David an house.
12 And David perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel’s sake.

David was sent the supplies and men from the king of Tyre, and they build him a house in Jerusalem. David felt the Lord blessed him and his kingdom, for the people of Israel.

13 And David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron: and there were yet sons and daughters born to David.
14 And these be the names of those that were born unto him in Jerusalem; Shammua, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon,
15 Ibhar also, and Elishua, and Nepheg, and Japhia,
16 And Elishama, and Eliada, and Eliphalet.

David’s family grew, from concubines and wives of Jerusalem. In verse 14, we read of Solomon, who would one day become a great ruler in Israel. This information regarding David and his family has been a source of confusion throughout the ages, but the Lord has given modern revelation regarding David specifically. In Doctrine and Covenants 132:29, the following was revealed, “David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.” I believe these things are true, otherwise the Lord would not have continued to bless David as he did during these fights with the Philistines. Rather, David would have been denied the assistance of the Lord, just as king Saul had had the Lord withdraw for his unrighteousness.

17 But when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines came up to seek David; and David heard of it, and went down to the hold.
18 The Philistines also came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.
19 And David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the Lord said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand.
20 And David came to Baal-perazim, and David smote them there, and said, The Lord hath broken forth upon mine enemies before me, as the breach of waters. Therefore he called the name of that place Baal-perazim.
21 And there they left their images, and David and his men burned them.

When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king of Israel, they came against him. David prayed to know if he should fight the Philistines. The Lord promised David, that He would deliver the Philistines into his hands. David destroyed the Philistines in Baal-perazim, with the help and strength of the Lord. The Israelites burned the idols of the Philistines. The footnote for the word “images” says that the Hebrew meaning is to carried them away. They may not have destroyed the idols, and they might have only removed them from that location.

22 And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.
23 And when David inquired of the Lord, he said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees.
24 And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the Lord go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines.
25 And David did so, as the Lord had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer.

Again, the Philistines came against the men of Israel, but when David prayed to know if he should fight them, the Lord told him not to go to the place where they were. Instead, David was to go behind them and come from that direction. When he heard a specific sound in the mulberry trees they were near, David was to fight. The Lord promised that He would go before him and destroy the Philistines. David followed these commands from the Lord, and was able to conquer the Philistines.

At this point, David continued to be an example of one who seeks guidance from the Lord and hearkens to his commands. The Lord was with David and was a good and righteous leader for the host of Israel. When we turn to the Lord for guidance in our own callings in life, just as David did in his calling as ruler of Israel, the Lord will bless us with direction. When we, like David, choose to heed the directions of the Lord, we will be successful and have blessings beyond our expectations.

2 Samuel Chapter 3

Saul had been the king of Israel, and had died in a battle with the Philistines. His followers caused that his son, Ish-bosheth, became the new king over Israel. On the other hand, David had been anointed to be the next king of the Lord’s people. His followers anointed him king of Judah. This meant there was a greater divide between the people of Judah and the people of Israel. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.

The division became a long war, in which the house of David grew stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker.

2 And unto David were sons born in Hebron: and his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess;
3 And his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;
4 And the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;
5 And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David’s wife. These were born to David in Hebron.

David lived in the city of Hebron, within the land of Judah. David had several sons, namely Amnon, Chileab, Absalom, Adonijah, Shephatiah, and Ithream.

6 And it came to pass, while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abner made himself strong for the house of Saul.
7 And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ish-bosheth said to Abner, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father’s concubine?
8 Then was Abner very wroth for the words of Ish-bosheth, and said, Am I a dog’s head, which against Judah do shew kindness this day unto the house of Saul thy father, to his brethren, and to his friends, and have not delivered thee into the hand of David, that thou chargest me to day with a fault concerning this woman?
9 So do God to Abner, and more also, except, as the Lord hath sworn to David, even so I do to him;
10 To translate the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beer-sheba.
11 And he could not answer Abner a word again, because he feared him.

Abner was the captain of the guard for the army of Saul. He had helped to place Ish-bosheth as the king of Israel. He was also responsible for the death of Asahel, who had pursued Abner. Joab and Abishai had tried to seek revenge, but had given up their course. Abner became very strong in the service of the house of Saul, but was accused of being intimately involved with the concubine of Ish-bosheth, named Rizpah. Abner was offended at the accusation, and so he left the house of Saul and said he would sware to David as the Lord had, and help David to rule all of Israel. Ish-bosheth was afraid of Abner.

12 And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, Whose is the land? saying also, Make thy league with me, and, behold, my hand shall be with thee, to bring about all Israel unto thee.

Abner sent messengers to make a proposal to David about joining with him.

13 And he said, Well; I will make a league with thee: but one thing I require of thee, that is, Thou shalt not see my face, except thou first bring Michal Saul’s daughter, when thou comest to see my face.
14 And David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth Saul’s son, saying, Deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines.
15 And Ish-bosheth sent, and took her from her husband, even from Phaltiel the son of Laish.
16 And her husband went with her along weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then said Abner unto him, Go, return. And he returned.

David responded that he would join with Abner, as long as Abner did not approach David without bringing David his first wife, Michal. David sent for Michal to be returned to him, whom Saul had given to another man named Phaltiel. Ish-bosheth took her from Phaltiel. Her husband followed, crying for her, and Abner commanded for him to return home.

David had made covenants of marriage with Michal, and earlier chapters teach us that he loved her and she loved him. They had been deprived of several years together, when she was taken and given to another man by her father. Much of the law of Moses, was about giving a man what was his, which would have included his wife.

17 And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, Ye sought for David in times past to be king over you:
18 Now then do it: for the Lord hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.
19 And Abner also spake in the ears of Benjamin: and Abner went also to speak in the ears of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel, and that seemed good to the whole house of Benjamin.
20 So Abner came to David to Hebron, and twenty men with him. And David made Abner and the men that were with him a feast.
21 And Abner said unto David, I will arise and go, and will gather all Israel unto my lord the king, that they may make a league with thee, and that thou mayest reign over all that thine heart desireth. And David sent Abner away; and he went in peace.

Abner sent word to the elders of Israel, reminding them that they had once desired for David to be their king and now they had the opportunity to do it. He reminded them that the Lord had raised David to deliver Israel from the Philistines. Abner worked hard in his support of David and everything seemed to be well. David had a feast with Abner and his men, and Abner promised to do all that he could to gather the support of Israel to David.

22 And, behold, the servants of David and Joab came from pursuing a troop, and brought in a great spoil with them: but Abner was not with David in Hebron; for he had sent him away, and he was gone in peace.
23 When Joab and all the host that was with him were come, they told Joab, saying, Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he hath sent him away, and he is gone in peace.
24 Then Joab came to the king, and said, What hast thou done? behold, Abner came unto thee; why is it that thou hast sent him away, and he is quite gone?
25 Thou knowest Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive thee, and to know thy going out and thy coming in, and to know all that thou doest.
26 And when Joab was come out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, which brought him again from the well of Sirah: but David knew it not.
27 And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.

Abner was sent from David in peace. Meanwhile, Joab and the servants of David returned from fighting, bringing great spoil. Joab learned that David had let Abner go in peace. Joab went to David, to know why he let him go, knowing that Abner was the man who had killed his brother, Asahel. Joab said that Abner was there to decieve David like a spy. After he left, Joab had men bring Abner to him, with David unaware of it. Once Abner had returned to Hebron, Joab secretly killed him, just as Abner had killed his brother.

28 And afterward when David heard it, he said, I and my kingdom are guiltless before the Lord for ever from the blood of Abner the son of Ner:
29 Let it rest on the head of Joab, and on all his father’s house; and let there not fail from the house of Joab one that hath an issue, or that is a leper, or that leaneth on a staff, or that falleth on the sword, or that lacketh bread.
30 So Joab and Abishai his brother slew Abner, because he had slain their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle.

David learned what Joab had done. He knew that the death of Abner, was something that Joab and his family would carry with them. This was not a burden of David or his kingdom.

31 And David said to Joab, and to all the people that were with him, Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. And king David himself followed the bier.
32 And they buried Abner in Hebron: and the king lifted up his voice, and wept at the grave of Abner; and all the people wept.
33 And the king lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool dieth?
34 Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters: as a man falleth before wicked men, so fellest thou. And all the people wept again over him.
35 And when all the people came to cause David to eat meat while it was yet day, David sware, saying, So do God to me, and more also, if I taste bread, or ought else, till the sun be down.
36 And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them: as whatsoever the king did pleased all the people.
37 For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to slay Abner the son of Ner.
38 And the king said unto his servants, Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?
39 And I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me: the Lord shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness.

David commanded Joab and his people, to mourn for the death of Abner. David mourned for Abner, and fasted. The people of Israel could know from his actions, that David had not desired for the death of Abner. David praised Abner, and said that the Lord would do what was needed, to those who had done this evil.

In this chapter, David again showed that he was a forgiving man. Abner had not been in support of David when Saul had died, and was even willing to lead men of Israel against him. Yet, when Abner came to him claiming his support, David allowed him to join with him and even made a feast for him and his men. He knew that Abner had not sought out Asahel in order to kill him, but that he did it in defense of his own life during a battle. David knew that even though Asahel had been killed by this man, Abner was not worthy of retribution for it. If he had felt that Joab’s desire for revenge was appropriate, than David himself would have been worthy of punishment, for all the men he had killed in the battles that he had fought. David seems to have been a man who cared for the lives of others, even those whom could have been considered his enemies. He cared more for following the patterns established by God, than for the privileges of men.

Ruth Chapter 3

Ruth was a young Moabite widow, who had left her family and home, to care for her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi. In caring for her, she had gone out to glean from the harvest in the field of a man named Boaz. He had shown kindness to her as she worked in his fields. Boaz was family to Naomi and had the power to redeem them, and so Ruth had been encouraged by Naomi to continue working in his fields.

1 Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?
2 And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.
3 Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.
4 And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.
5 And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.

In an attempt to allow Ruth to have a better life than that of a poor widow, Naomi came up with a plan of marriage for Ruth. She told Ruth, that Boaz would work with the barley that evening. Naomi told her to prepare herself and secretly go to the threshing floor. When he had lied down for the night, she was to uncover his feet and lay at them, until he told her what she should do. Ruth agreed to do as Naomi had instructed her. Ruth honored her mother-in-law, by her service and her willingness to do all that Naomi asked of her.

6 And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.
7 And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.

Ruth did as she had been told. I think the reason for laying at his feet, was possibly to make a symbolic gesture of service. I’m not sure if this was an Israelite custom, but I believe that any time one placed themselves at the feet of another, it was a sign of their humility. A servant or even a follower, would place themselves at the feet of their master, to show they were willing to serve or follow them. Ruth, was in a humble position at this time. She was bound to her position in Israel, because of the death of her husband and father-in-law. This seems like a plea to Boaz, to care for her, as a master would care for those willing to serve him. Had she done it publicly, there may have been some other outcome, especially seeing as she was a foreigner. Instead, Naomi suggested to do it privately, and the only way to do this, was to do it secretly in the night.

8 And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.
9 And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.
10 And he said, Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.
11 And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.
12 And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.
13 Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the Lord liveth: lie down until the morning.

Boaz was startled by her, and when he saw that a woman was there, he asked who it was. She told him and asked that he provide for her as her near kinsman, meaning I think, that she asked him to offer her marriage. He called her blessed of the Lord, for her kindness. He told her that he would do all he could for her, because it was known that she was a virtuous woman. He was her near kinsman, but he knew of one who was closer in relation, and he wanted to allow that man the opportunity to do the service of a kinsman to her. If, in the morning, Boaz went to the man and he did not want the responsibility, then Boaz would take care of her as her husband.

14 And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor.
15 Also he said, Bring the veil that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.
16 And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her.
17 And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.
18 Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.

Ruth remained with Boaz that night, and she woke early. Boaz asked that she keep her visit to him a secret. He gave her plenty of his harvest of barley and she left with it, to return to Naomi. Ruth told Naomi all that had happened. Naomi told her to patiently wait, because Boaz would not rest until he had done what he had promised her.

Boaz continued to show kindness to Ruth. He gave her a kind compliment, when he said that she was known as a virtuous woman. She was known for her standards or values, even being a foreigner in the Israelite land. I think that he was saying to her, that he would be honored to have her as his wife. Ruth and Boaz are examples of kindness, charity, selflessness, service and loyalty. I am grateful for examples such as these, because it shows that while Israel as a whole, may have been repeatedly turning from righteousness and living unworthy of the blessings of the Lord, there were good individuals among them, who were still striving to do good and live righteously. We may live in a time of great wickedness as well, but there is hope for continued blessings from the Lord, because there are still good, righteous people, who are striving to do what is right.

Judges Chapter 14

Samson was born and raised as a Nazarite. He was a man of covenant with the Lord, who had been blessed with spiritual gifts in order to begin the deliverance of Israel from the Philistines. The story of Samson continues in this chapter as follows:

1 And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.
2 And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife.
3 Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.
4 But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the Lord, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.

Samson had grown up and at one point traveled to Timnath, where he saw one of the Philistine women, who he wanted for a wife. His parents pleaded with him to choose a wife from the Israelites, who were the covenant people, but Samson wanted her. According to verse 4, the Lord had allowed Samson to become interested in the daughter of the Philistines, in order to use it against the Philistines. I think this verse could also be interpreted that Samson felt it was his duty to become closer to the Philistines which ruled over the Israelites, in order to fulfill the purposes of the Lord. Up to this point, there is nothing to go against the idea that Samson was living according to his covenants and that indeed, the spirit was persuading him to choose this woman for his wife because it would mean the eventual deliverance of Israel. The only issue, is that in seeking after a Philistine woman, he was preparing to go against his own covenants as a Nazarite.

5 Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him.
6 And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.
7 And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well.

Samson and his parents, traveled to Timnath, where a young lion came against Samson. Samson was blessed by the spirit, with great strength to kill the lion with his bare hands. He told his parents what had happened. Then, he went and talked to the woman whom he desired to marry.

I don’t think I have ever thought of physical strength as a gift of the spirit, but in this case it was. Gifts of the spirit can be either of a physical nature or a spiritual nature. For example, a physical gift of the spirit is a talent to play beautiful music, where a gift of the spirit would be something like the gift of discernment. His gift needed to be a physical strength, so that he would be able to help deliver Israel from a physical bondage.

8 And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion.
9 And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion.

Some time passed, and he returned to Timnath to take her to be his wife. He went to see the carcass of the lion he had previously killed, and saw a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass. Samson ate of the honey and took some to his parents to eat. He did not tell his parents where the honey had come from. This was another example of Samson going against the covenants of a nazarite. They were not to touch any carcass, not even if it was a member of his own family. He broke his covenant with this choice.

10 So his father went down unto the woman: and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do.
11 And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him.

Manoah, the father of Samson, went to get the woman. Samson had a feast, which was the tradition. 30 men of the philistines, were brought to him, to be companions of Samson.

12 And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments:
13 But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it.
14 And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle.
15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson’s wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father’s house with fire: have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so?
16 And Samson’s wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee?
17 And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people.
18 And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down, What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? And he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.

Samson told the men a riddle and challenged them, that if they could answer it correctly in seven days of the feast, he would give them garments. If they could not answer it, he told them they were to give him garments. I think this was like placing a bet with these men. He gave them his riddle and after three days they had not been able to answer it. By the seventh day, they went to Samson’s new wife and threatened her to use her power of persuasion with him to learn the answer, or they would burn her home and her father’s home. She went to Samsom and cried to him, that if he loved her he would have told her the answer to his riddle. Samson told her that he had told no one the answer, not even his own parents. She begged him for the remainder of the days of feasting, and he eventually gave in and told her the answer. She told the men the answer. Then just before the challenge was lost by the Philistines, they answered the riddle, and Samson knew it was because he had been deceived by his wife.

19 And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father’s house.
20 But Samson’s wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend.

Because he was deceived, Samson used the gift of strength that came upon him by the spirit, went to the placed called Ashkelon, and killed 30 Philistines, taking spoil from them. He gave the garments to those that had answered the riddle. He was angry and left to return to his father’s house. His wife was then given to his companion and friend.

Again, Samson broke his covenant as a Nazarite, by seeking revenge against those who had wronged him. He was not using his God-given gift of strength to do good. When we are blessed with gifts from the spirit, in the form of physical or spiritual gifts, we are being given the opportunity to do greater things. These gifts can help us to further the work of the Lord on the earth, if we choose to develop and use them in this way. Samson may have been blessed by God with his strength, but he was not following the counsel of the angel who visited his parents before they conceived him. His choices would not lead to good things for him. Likewise, if we fail to use our own gifts for good, they will not bring us blessings. If we use and develop them as God would want us to, we will be able to bless our own lives, as well as the lives of those around us.

Judges Chapter 3

This chapter finishes the introduction portion of the book of Judges and begins the history of the twelve judges of Israel (see Bible Dictionary). The judges were established by the Lord for the people. According to the Bible Dictionary, “The judge was more than a civil officer. He was generally a military leader as well, and his right to lead rested on the fact that in the eyes of the people he was the strongest and best man for the purpose. Faith in God was always the secret of success; but as a rule the judge was more of a fighter than a preacher.” (see Bible Dictionary) I think that the Israelites would have recognized the judges right to lead, as long as they recognized that the judge was a leader chosen by the Lord to continue to lead His people. The chapter begins as follows:

1 Now these are the nations which the Lord left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan;
2 Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof;
3 Namely, five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baal-hermon unto the entering in of Hamath.
4 And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the Lord, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

Many of the Canaanites were left among the Israelites to test their faithfulness to the Lord. They would have to fight them, as well as the enemy nations that were around Israel. If the Israelites would follow the commandments and keep their covenants, they would be blessed to succeed and live in peace, as the Lord had promised their fathers.

5 And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites:
6 And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods.
7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgat the Lord their God, and served Baalim and the groves.

The Israelites began to intermarry with the Canaanites and other nations, which had been forbidden by the Lord. They began to apostatize and turn to the gods of the other nations in rebellion against the Lord. The choice of worship they made, was evil in the sight of God.

Part of the law of Moses, was to keep Israelite marriages among the Israelites, who had made covenants and were God’s chosen people. I think that today, people will shy from saying that one should marry a member of their faith, for fear that they will offend another. I do believe, however, that this is still the best for any marriage. When we seek for a companion who believes in God the way we do, we will have the best chances for continuing to follow after the Him. When we marry, we should desire to become one with our spouse, in all things. Trying to live different faiths may cause a lot of difficulty in a relationship. I imagine that more often than not, one will begin to follow after the other. If we want to stay true to the Lord, we should seek to marry one who also follows after the Lord, so that we do not fall into apostasy like the people of Israel. As a latter-day saint, I believe that covenant people should marry worthy companions in one of the holy temples where they can be married and sealed by the authority of God that is only available there.

8 Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushan-rishathaim eight years.
9 And when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.
10 And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the Lord delivered Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushan-rishathaim.
11 And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

The Israelites were no longer protected by the Lord, and He allowed them to be sold into the service of Chushan-rishathaim, of Mesopotamia, for eight years. They were oppressed and cried unto the Lord. The nephew of Caleb, Othniel, was raised by the Lord, to deliver Israel from their oppression. With the spirit of the Lord, he became their judge and went to war against Chushan-rishathaim. The Lord delivered their enemy into his hand and Israel won. Then they were able to have forty years of rest under Othniel, until he passed away.

12 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord.
13 And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees.
14 So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.
15 But when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab.
16 But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh.
17 And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man.
18 And when he had made an end to offer the present, he sent away the people that bare the present.
19 But he himself turned again from the quarries that were by Gilgal, and said, I have a secret errand unto thee, O king: who said, Keep silence. And all that stood by him went out from him.
20 And Ehud came unto him; and he was sitting in a summer parlour, which he had for himself alone. And Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee. And he arose out of his seat.
21 And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly:
22 And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came out.
23 Then Ehud went forth through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlour upon him, and locked them.
24 When he was gone out, his servants came; and when they saw that, behold, the doors of the parlour were locked, they said, Surely he covereth his feet in his summer chamber.
25 And they tarried till they were ashamed: and, behold, he opened not the doors of the parlour; therefore they took a key, and opened them: and, behold, their lord was fallen down dead on the earth.
26 And Ehud escaped while they tarried, and passed beyond the quarries, and escaped unto Seirath.
27 And it came to pass, when he was come, that he blew a trumpet in the mountain of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mount, and he before them.
28 And he said unto them, Follow after me: for the Lord hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand. And they went down after him, and took the fords of Jordan toward Moab, and suffered not a man to pass over.
29 And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valour; and there escaped not a man.
30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years.

The Israelites turned to wickedness again, and because of this, the Lord allowed strength to come to their enemy, Eglon of Moab. They were defeated and served Moab for eighteen years. When the Israelites cried for deliverance, the Lord raised Ehud, who prepared a gift for the king. Then he made a two-edged dagger and hid it on his leg. He had the present carried to the king. They left the gift and as they went away, the others, who had carried the gift, were sent away and he said he had a secret errand, or message, for the king. Ehud was left alone, and went to the room where the king was. He told Eglon, that he had a message from the Lord. Then, when the king stood, Ehud grabbed the hidden dagger and stabbed him in the belly. Eglon was a fat man, and the blade and handle of the dagger got stuck in him. Ehud locked the doors behind him as he left the room. The guards saw that the door had been locked from the inside, so they left the king alone and went to do their own thing. When enough time had passed for them to wonder, they unlocked the door and saw that the king was dead. Ehud escaped to Seirath and blew a trumpet in the mountain of Ephraim. The Israelites followed Ehud from the mount, because he told them the Lord had delivered the Moabites into their hands. They subdued the Moabites and were at peace for 80 years.

31 And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel.

The next man raised by the Lord, was Shamgar, who killed 600 Philistines, and delivered Israel from their enemy.

One of the typical cycles of the Israelites lives, was that they turned to the Lord in times of difficulties, but turned from the Lord when their was peace in the land. This is a cycle that we can read about in many parts of the scriptures. It takes a very short amount of time, for people to forget the Lord, and we are not immune to this temptation. A friend of mine recently said to me, “we are all only 3 weeks away from inactivity”. It really is that simple. It is so easy to become inactive, or disengaged from the gospel, especially when things seem to be going well for us. One choice can lead to a life of disobedience. But, just as it was with the Israelites, the Lord is always there for us. He will hear our cries in times of need, and when the time is right, he will answer and deliver us from our enemies. The trouble with a life of disobedience, is that the Lord will not be quick to answer our prayers, and we will suffer. We could avoid this self-inflicted suffering through choosing a life of obedience.

Deuteronomy Chapter 25

The law of Moses, was given by the Lord to the Israelites, in order to give them the way to be the Lord’s chosen people. Through these many laws and statutes, they would be able to learn how to love God and love others. If they lived the law, and did not turn back to the ways of some of their ancestors, they would be greatly blessed by God. Moses continued to teach the newer generation, all that had been given to him, in preparation for their entrance into the promised land. His sermon continues with the following:

1 If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.
2 And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number.
3 Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.

A punishment for the wicked, was explained by Moses. Judges were to decide the cases brought before them, and then do right by the innocent and condemn the wicked. Next, they were to give a punishment worthy of their wrong-doing. If a condemned man was worthy of being beaten, they were to charge him with up to 40 stripes, and no more. Anything over that, was cruel and unnecessary for any man. Our works will determine our own reward as well. God is our ultimate judge and eventually we will face him. In the most perfect and just way, He will determine if we have done righteous works or wicked works. After the Savior has mediated for us, if have repented and turned to the Lord, we will receive the punishment or blessings we deserve, according to the demands of justice. No punishment will be greater than is necessary according to the law.

4 Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.

My understanding, is that this means that in that day, they would place a muzzle on an ox, so that it would not eat as it worked the field of grain. The law here is, that they were not to place the muzzle on the ox. This is one of those laws that does not give its explanation and may seem strange to include in the law of Moses. I am sure there is a deeper meaning in its use, though I am not sure what it is. I don’t know that it really was about whether or not they stopped the animal from eating while working, but rather that they were to take care of those that worked for them and allow them their due.

5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her.
6 And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.
7 And if the man like not to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband’s brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.
8 Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her;
9 Then shall his brother’s wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother’s house.
10 And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.

In the law of marriage, a widow who was without children, was to be taken as a wife by any living brothers of her late husband. If she was to have a son by her second husband, that son was to represent her first husband by name. If the widow was refused by the brother, she could take her plea to the elders of her city. The elders were to talk to the man. If he confirmed her claim, and would not take her as his wife, then the widow was to remove his shoe, and spit in his face. Then he would be known throughout the nation as one who had denied this duty to his family.

11 When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets:
12 Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.

If a woman defended her husband during a fight he had with another man, she was not to grab him in any indecent way. If she did, she would be punished by loosing her hand.

13 Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small.
14 Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small.
15 But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
16 For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the Lord thy God.

All things were to be done justly, including how they handled measurements and weights. I think that this referred to how they handled the giving and receiving of money and payments.

17 Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt;
18 How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God.
19 Therefore it shall be, when the Lord thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.

The Israelites were called to remember how the Amlekites had been wicked and attacked them in their journey to the land of inheritance. This was the time, when Moses held up the rod and with the power of God, the Israelites were successful against them. God had promised Moses then, that the nation of Amalek would be destroyed. In Exodus 17:14 we read, “And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” Therefore, because the Amlekites had done wrong to the Israelites, they were not going to be peace between their nations. When the Israelites had settled in the land, and were no longer fighting against those that had inhabited it before them, they were to destroy the remaining Amalekites and remember how and why they had been called to do it.

***

We are shown example after example, throughout the scriptures, of how important it is to take care of widows. The manual I am studying, Scripture Study for the Latter-Day Saint Families: The Old Testament, places a focus on this, based on the Lord’s law found in this chapter. This custom is not one that is heard of today in the society I live in, but there is evidence of just how important this is to the Lord. It is never an easy thing, for a woman to loose her husband. In ancient times, a widow would have been left without the means to provide for her own needs, and I believe it was much less likely for them to remarry, than it would be today. It has always been a god-given duty for men to provide for the women in their lives, especially those who loose their husbands. This applies also, to supporting their mothers, grandmothers, and even extended family members. When the responsibility exists, it should not be taken lightly by anyone. Our first priority, should be to take care of our families to the best of our ability. If we truly intend for families, even extended families, to be eternal in nature, we need to do all that is needed to nurture them in this life.

The church, as it was established after the Savior’s resurrection, included the idea of taking care of the widows of their human family. In James 1:27 it reads, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” This teaches us that we cannot be true disciples of Christ, if we do not do what we can to help the widows we know. Likewise, in modern times, the Lord has commanded that all faithful members of His church, do what they can to provide for those who are widows or who have lost their fathers. In Doctrine and Covenants 136:8 we read, “Let each company bear an equal proportion, according to the dividend of their property, in taking the poor, the widows, the fatherless, and the families of those who have gone into the army, that the cries of the widow and the fatherless come not up into the ears of the Lord against this people.”

It seems that the higher law, does not extend only to family members, or even strictly to those whose husbands or fathers have died. This law to care for these women and children, even applies to those who are without their husbands and fathers for a season of time, such as happens when men serve in the armed forces. Moreover, it is a law to provide for those who are in need, to the best of our ability. I know that this is a good reason, for all those who are able to give generous offerings. In the case of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have this opportunity through our fast offerings and donations. There are many opportunities for us to visit and provide the support of our company as well. I think of the great example of President Thomas S. Monson, who has taken care of so many widows in his life. He has blessed their lives, and I know they have blessed his as well. I am grateful for the opportunity to do what we can, to help others in need.

Deuteronomy Chapter 24

Moses, under the direction of the Lord, was at this point, repeating and renewing the laws of the Lord for the Israelites. He had already covered many things that they needed to know in order to be worthy to live with the Lord among them, as well as many that would keep them a happy and prosperous people. One of the things of importance, was how their relationships should be treated, especially in marriage and family. His sermon continues with the following:

1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.
2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.
3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;
4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

The law of divorcement is given here. If a man found his new wife to be unclean, or unchaste, he could divorce her and send her on her way, free from any tie to that man. If she remarried, and then was divorced again or became a widow, the first husband was not to take her as his wife again.

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.

A newly married man, was not to go to war or business that would take him away from his wife, for the first year of their marriage. There is great importance in a happy and loving marriage, and there is something to be said of a marriage that starts off as a priority for that man and his wife.

6 No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a man’s life to pledge.

I am not sure if I understand this completely, but I think that when the people made pledges or promises to one another, they would give something as a token of that pledge. The Israelites were not to take the parts of a millstone as a pledge token, either the upper or lower stone, because these were necessary parts of a tool for grinding grain. An individual needed this tool to be able to sustain himself and his family. I think that it meant that they were not to take something that was used as a life-sustaining tool, because it was as if they took the man’s life as the token of the pledge.

7 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.

The Israelites were not to make slaves of each other for profit. They may have had slaves of other nations, though I am not sure on that, and they had Israelites who became their servants, but they were not to make their fellow Israelites into property to be sold. The act of selling their brothers as slaves, was a sin worthy of death. I can’t help but think of Joseph of the twelve tribes and how his brothers sold him into slavery to be rid of him, which was a big part of Israelite history, and would have been strictly forbidden by the Mosaic law, which came over 400 years later.

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 the Lord thy God did unto Miriam by the way, after that ye were come forth out of Egypt.

They had been given strict laws and customs with regard to those who had leprosy. In order for their nation to continue to thrive, they needed to be diligent in following those things. They were reminded here, that the Lord could give and take away, when it came to leprosy, just as had been done to Miriam, the sister of Moses, during their journey in the wilderness.

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 the Lord thy God.

When others borrowed from them, they were to let them give their own pledge, or token, and were not to go into their homes searching for them. Those that had little, were not to have their pledges kept from them overnight. Probably because they would have needed that thing in order to get by, especially if the pledge was part of his raiment, or his clothing.

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 the Lord, 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.

There was to be no oppression of their servants. When he was due pay, they were to give it, or be held accountable for the prayers to God from that servant. I think that servants were usually paid on a daily basis, depending on the work they did, so at the end of a days work, they were to be given the payment they had worked for. Also, men were to be held accountable for their own sin. If a man sinned worthy of death or another punishment, his children would not be held accountable, or vice versa. This idea of holding anything against the family, was reserved for the curses of the Lord, who sometimes would promise a curse upon the generations of the wicked if they did not repent. I think this would only be acceptable of the Lord, because God alone can know and judge the posterity or the family of men.

17 Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow’s raiment to pledge:
18 But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee thence: therefore I command thee to do this thing.

They were not to take advantage of strangers, and especially those in need. They were instead, to remember, that they had once been slaves in need of deliverance, and the Lord had provided for them. They were commanded to do likewise and deal justly with all people.

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 the Lord thy God 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.

Any parts of their fields, that were missed during harvest, were to be left for gleaning. Those who were poor and in need, had allowance from the Lord, to glean crops from the fields. The owners of the fields, were told to remember their situation in Egypt, when they were strangers in the land, but given the things that they needed.

A lot of this chapter seems to have been about the importance of treating others with kindness. Treating others with a decent amount of respect makes a nation stronger. It is so important for us to give to others what they are due, to help those in need, and to be sure we don’t take advantage of others. I think that everyone experiences times of need, physical or spiritual. We should remember those times and recognize the Lord has provided for us, often through the helping hand of others. If we desire to be active and true disciples of Jesus Christ, we need to extend our kindness to our neighbors and strangers. It is a commandment, that we love others as we do ourselves (see Matthew 22:36-40). We would not want to be treated unkindly, to be taken advantage of, or left without any help in our own moments of need. Others do not want these things for themselves, either. A happier and more prosperous people would be found, if we would remember how the Savior wants us treat one another.

Deuteronomy Chapter 22

In this chapter, Moses continued the sermon to the Israelites who were preparing to enter the promised land. He would now go over some of the details to the laws on how they were to treat one another and those things that belonged to each other. He began with instruction regarding the things that others may have lost.

1 Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother.
2 And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again.
3 In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother’s, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself.

They were commanded that they should not take the things that belonged to one another and had been lost. They were to return lost items to their rightful owner. This applied to their animals, clothing, and any other property they found that did not belong to them. If the owner did not live near them, they were to keep the animal until that man came looking for it, and then return it without any difficulties arising. It has always been common decency to honestly return someone’s belongings when they were found.

This is a lesson I just had to talk to my daughter about on Sunday. We found something on our seat at church, and my daughter immediately said, “finders, keepers”. We talked about how it did not belong to us and we should not take it for ourselves just because we found it. It is interesting to me, how quickly the natural man in us could cause us to take things, if we do not already have a clear understanding of what it means to steal. This item was not one of any real lasting value, that I could see, but I took the opportunity to teach my daughter that it doesn’t matter what the lost thing may be. Even if it is never found by its owner, God knows the intents of our hearts and taking something that belongs to someone else, is not honest or in keeping with the covenants we make with God.

4 Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.

They were to do the kind thing, when the animal of another fell down by the way, which was to help the animal. This would help to preserve the animal, so that it would be able to serve its purpose for whomever to which it belonged. There is a scripture referenced in the footnote, which I believe is so true. In Doctrine and Covenants we read the following:

27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.
29 But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.

When we notice some way that we can help another, we should be anxiously engaged in doing that thing. If we are unable to help, we should still have compassion in our hearts, and the desire to do all that we can do.

5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.

Men and women were not to wear one another’s clothing. Cross-dressing was not appropriate under the law of Moses.

6 If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young:
7 But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days.

If they found a bird’s nest with eggs or hatchlings, they were commanded that they should not take the mother along with the baby birds. They were to let the mother go, but could keep the babies for themselves. I am not sure what the purpose of this law was, other than perhaps the idea that taking both would stop the cycle of life for that mother bird, because she may have contributed to the creation of more birds in the future. Men would prolong their days, or live longer lives, if they followed this part of the law.

8 When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.

They were to build their homes with a battlement or a railing, on the roof, so that people would not fall off the roof and cause innocent blood to be spilt.

9 Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.

They were to grow pure crops of only one type of seed, so that the plants would remain pure.

10 Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.

They were to use animals of the same kind, to plow their fields. I would think that this would make more sense anyway, because of the size of animals. I imagine that combining two different types of animals would make it unnecessarily difficult for the animals to do their work.

11 Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.

The Israelites were to wear clothing with the same material, and not to mix them at one time. Again, I do not understand why, other then possibly to stand as a reminder to remain pure.

12 Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself.

They were to wear fringes on the edges of their clothing. These were a reminder of their covenants and the law.

13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,
14 And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:
15 Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate:
16 And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;
17 And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.
18 And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him;
19 And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.
20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:
21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

If there was a man who married and then decided he did not love her and spoke against her to others, claiming she was not a virgin when given to her, her parents could take the tokens of her purity before marriage, to the elders. The man was to be chastised by the elders, and he would pay the parents a fine of hundred shekels of silver for the shame he tried to bring to her and her family. Then, he was to be required to keep her as his wife for the remainder of his life. If she had not been a virgin or the parents could not prove his accusations to be false, she was to be stoned at the door of her father’s house, for the sin of pretending to be a virgin.

22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.

Any person caught in an act of adultery, was to be put to death.

23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.

A betrothed woman in Israel, was not to be any other man of her own choice. For the Israelites, a woman belonged to her future husband, just as much as she would when they eventually married. To be intimate with her, was like stealing her from her betrothed. If she was intimate with another before her marriage and did not say no to the man, then they were both to be put to death.

25 But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die:
26 But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter:
27 For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.

If a betrothed woman was forced into acts of intimacy (raped), he was guilty of death, but the woman was not because she had committed no sin.

28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

If an unmarried and not yet betrothed woman, had her virginity taken, the man was to pay her father for her, marry her, and keep her all his days.

30 A man shall not take his father’s wife, nor discover his father’s skirt.

No man was to commit any adulterous acts with the wife of his father.

I feel like these laws, were laws that would cause the people to be a kinder people. A nation would have greater peace and happiness, if people cared more for the well-being of others. The spirit can only dwell among those who remain worthy of it. Acts of immorality, stealing, being inconsiderate of others, lying about another’s purity, and so on, would drive the spirit from their midst. We should think on these things as well. What types of acts cause us to be decent citizens and neighbors? What things could cause contention, fighting, unnecessary death, or the destruction of the body or spirit of another person? Do our acts welcome the spirit into our lives, or drive it away? I am grateful for the laws of God and even though they may seem to others to hold one back, I know that they bring happiness to all around, because they give greater freedoms and peace to everyone. I know that when we are kinder to those around us, we allow the spirit to dwell with us and influence our lives for good.

Deuteronomy Chapter 21

In this portion of the sermons given by Moses, to the Israelites, he was teaching some of the specific commandments from what we call the law of Moses. There were hundreds of rules to the law of Moses, and He needed to review them before leaving the people to settle the land without him there. In the last couple of chapters, he already explained the difference between murder and manslaughter, how each should be punished differently, the law of witnesses, treatment for false witnesses, and some laws for the Israelite army. He continued in this chapter, with more regarding laws having to do with murder.

1 If 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:
2 Then thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is slain:
3 And 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;
4 And 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:
5 And 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:
6 And 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:
7 And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it.
8 Be 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.
9 So 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.

In the case of a murder where there are no witnesses to say who had killed the person, the judges and elders were to determine which city was closest in proximity, to the death. An unused or unworked heifer (young female calf) from that nearest city, was to be taken to a rough valley without fields, and break it’s neck. The Levite priests were to solve the controversy, and make an atonement for the people, by having the elders near the heifer, wash their hands over it as a witness that they had not committed the murder or witnessed it. The elders were also to ask that Israel not be held accountable for the murder. When they did this, the elders would make the necessary amends for the murder, and having done their part, the Lord would forgive Israel of it. This was important, because it had already been established in the law, that those who knew of a murderer and did not hold that person accountable, would be held accountable by the Lord.

10 When 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,
11 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;
12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;
13 And 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.
14 And 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.

Men who wanted to marry a woman taken captive from an enemy nation, were to have her go through a month-long ritual first. After he took her to his home, she was to shave her head, cut her nails and change her clothes. Then, after waiting a month while she mourned for the separation from her family, he could marry her. If he decided then, that this was not what he wanted, he could not sell or treat her badly, but was to let her go free.

15 If 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:
16 Then 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:
17 But 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.

The laws regarding the inheritance of the firstborn, were to remain in place, even if that child was not from the beloved wife of a man. This meant that no matter what, the literal first-born son of a man, was to receive a double-portion of the inheritance. Children were not to be treated unfairly, just because the were from an unloved or less liked wife.

18 If 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:
19 Then 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;
20 And 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.
21 And 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.

A stubborn or rebellious child was to be taken to the elders of the city for disobedience to the parents. The charge of disobedience from a child, was to be punished by being put to death by stoning. We live in a time, when this would not be an acceptable way to deal with a child, but as I get older, I can see the great importance of obedience to parents. I believe that one of the signs of the times, meaning one of the things that shows us we are drawing nearer to the second coming of Christ, is that children will stop listening to their elders and turn to their own wisdom. I cannot remember where I learned this, so I have no scripture reference for it. It does make sense as to a great falling away of the youth of the last generation. As I watch my friends and family, who have children just entering adulthood, I am seeing the fulfillment of this. It is heartbreaking to see them begin to ignore the rules and counsel of their parents while still in their youth. It is as if, many of the youth these days, think that having agency means that they do not owe respect and reverence to anyone, especially not to their parents and grandparents. This is part of the breaking down of the family, which does not end when one becomes an adult, but is designed to continue forever. When children turn from their parents, they become easier prey for the adversary. Since, they are the leaders of the future here in mortality, their falling away from obedience, and therefore, righteousness, will lead to apostasy of great numbers of the children of God.

22 And 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:
23 His 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.

When a guilty person was punished by hanging on a tree, they were to remove his body that same day so that the land would not be defiled. This is an interesting thing to learn. In my study of the ancient lands in that area, I have learned that it was a common thing for the guilty to be left hanging for a long time, so that others would know and fear the consequences for their wrong choices. In the footnote to verse 23, it reads, “According to Rabbinical commentaries, to leave a body hanging was a degradation of the human body and therefore an affront to God, in whose image man’s body was made.” The Israelites were not to do anything that would defile the holiness of the land of promise and they were not to disrespect the body of the dead in this way. This standard was applied, when the Savior was crucified. His body was not to be left on the tree, or on the cross, and so the soldiers checked to see if He was dead. Those that were hung on a tree, were considered cursed by God. In Galatians 3:13 it reads, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” The curse must have been a part of the law of Moses, which was then fulfilled by the sacrifice of the Savior. Just another thing that was there to continually draw the Israelites to Christ. I am glad that I can live in a day to be able to look back and see how much of the scriptures testify of Christ and witness of Him. I hope that I am able to find those things in my life, that are meant to draw my attention and desires to the Lord as well.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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