Communal Laws and Communal Life

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), March 18 

UnknownLiving in close proximity to other people reveals the sin and selfishness that reside in the hearts of individuals—that which destroys community.  As Israel prepares to enter the land of Canaan, Moses elaborates on a few areas of social engagement (Deut. 21-23):

Cold cases – 21:1-9

When a body is found dead and the cause of death remains unknown, the tribe closest to where the body is found is responsible to atone for the person’s death.

Beautiful slaves – 21:10-14

Women disadvantaged by slavery must not be dishonored.

Firstborn sons of unloved wives – 21:15-17

A man may not disinherit the firstborn son of his unloved wife.

Teenage rebellion – 21:18-21

Extreme teenage rebellion may require extreme measures. Out-of-control teenagers not only hurt themselves, but they also hurt others in community.

Land defilement – 21:22-23

The body of a man hanged for a crime must not remain overnight.

Neighborly conduct – 22:1-4

Good neighbors care for the lost property of others until it can be restored.

Gender identity – 22:5

Women must embrace their femininity and men their masculinity.

Reproduction – 22:6-7

Two generations of animals may not be killed together.

Taking Precautions – 22:8

Roofs must be constructed in such a way as to protect those on top from falling off.

Gardening – 22:9-10

Planting and plowing methods matter.

Clothing – 22:11-12

Fabric construction and clothing matter.

Rape and promiscuity – 22:13-30

Promiscuity negatively affects individuals, marriages and families. Sometimes men take advantage of women sexually; women who cry out when raped are not responsible for the violation. Only the man must die for his abuse.

Laws are like property fences―they create barriers against most intrusions but mere challenges for climbers. Those intent on abusing others ignore those laws and hurt others in the process. Communal life without communal laws isn’t community at all.

Question from today’s reading (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19): 

What do the miscellaneous regulations given in Deuteronomy 23:9-29:19 reveal about human behavior?