As we continue in our study of the book of Deuteronomy, we come to another transition in the text as we enter into the legal section of the book. So, as we prepare to interact with them, there are a few things that need to be considered.
- Ancient laws were often the result of experience. Ancient law codes were almost entirely the result of encountering a specific situation that didn’t necessarily fall into normal legal practices. This gives them something of a pragmatic flavor.
- Ancient laws often reflect cultural norms. Just like today, laws often reflect what was sometimes culturally acceptable and put the enforcement of those acceptable norms into enforceable law. Homogeneity was expected.
- Ancient laws often impose the most severe penalties. There were no prisons, at least as to how we would think of them. The death penalty is often ascribed to the most seemingly insignificant offenses, though it was usually only employed in the most serious cases. The primary goal was preservation of harmony in the community rather than specifically handling a specific offense.
As modern readers we have to be willing to let the Bible be what it is. Let it reflect the culture it originated from. Above all, we need to realize that the biblical authors, especially the New Testament authors, recognized that principle was often more important than being a stickler for the letter of the law. Keep these points in mind as the study transitions, one of which will be the manner of presentation.
In earlier posts in the study, it has been formatted as passage commentary with a final application of the section. In the coming portion, it will be more of a mixture. Exegesis will come more into play as specific portions will come into focus. So, be patient.
New posts are coming. The format of the study may change some. I’m trying to find a good rhythm for working on the blog and creating new content because, as a personal note, I’m still in the process of grieving the loss of my father to cancer. It’s a difficult time for me and…I’ll be honest…my heart is just not in this right now. Prayers for me and my family continue to be appreciated.