Deuteronomy 23

Exclusion From the Assembly

1 No one who has been emasculated by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of the LORD.
2 No one born of a forbidden marriage[a] nor any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD, not even in the tenth generation.
3 No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD, not even in the tenth generation.
4 For they did not come to meet you with bread and water on your way when you came out of Egypt, and they hired Balaam son of Beor from Pethor in Aram Naharaim[b] to pronounce a curse on you.
5 However, the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you.
6 Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them as long as you live.
7 Do not despise an Edomite, for the Edomites are related to you. Do not despise an Egyptian, because you resided as foreigners in their country.
8 The third generation of children born to them may enter the assembly of the LORD.

Uncleanness in the Camp

9 When you are encamped against your enemies, keep away from everything impure.
10 If one of your men is unclean because of a nocturnal emission, he is to go outside the camp and stay there.
11 But as evening approaches he is to wash himself, and at sunset he may return to the camp.
12 Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself.
13 As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement.
14 For the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.

Miscellaneous Laws

15 If a slave has taken refuge with you, do not hand them over to their master.
16 Let them live among you wherever they like and in whatever town they choose. Do not oppress them.
17 No Israelite man or woman is to become a shrine prostitute.
18 You must not bring the earnings of a female prostitute or of a male prostitute[c] into the house of the LORD your God to pay any vow, because the LORD your God detests them both.
19 Do not charge a fellow Israelite interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest.
20 You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a fellow Israelite, so that the LORD your God may bless you in everything you put your hand to in the land you are entering to possess.
21 If you make a vow to the LORD your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the LORD your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin.
22 But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty.
23 Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the LORD your God with your own mouth.
24 If you enter your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat all the grapes you want, but do not put any in your basket.
25 If you enter your neighbor’s grainfield, you may pick kernels with your hands, but you must not put a sickle to their standing grain.

Deuteronomy 23 Commentary

Chapter 23

Who are shut out from the congregation. (1-8) Cleanliness enjoined. (15-25) Of fugitive servants, Usury, and other precepts. (9-14)

Verses 1-8 We ought to value the privileges of God's people, both for ourselves and for our children, above all other advantages. No personal blemishes, no crimes of our forefathers, no difference of nation, shuts us out under the Christian dispensation. But an unsound heart will deprive us of blessings; and a bad example, or an unsuitable marriage, may shut our children from them.

Verses 9-14 The camp of the Lord must have nothing offensive in it. If there must be this care taken to preserve the body clean, much more should we be careful to keep the mind pure.

Verses 15-25 It is honourable to shelter and protect the weak, provided they are not wicked. Proselytes and converts to the truth, should be treated with particular tenderness, that they may have no temptation to return to the world. We cannot honour God with our substance, unless it be honestly and honourably come by. It must not only be considered what we give, but how we got it. Where the borrower gets, or hopes to get, it is just that the lender should share the gain; but to him that borrows for necessary food, pity must be showed. That which is gone out of thy lips, as a solemn and deliberate vow, must not be recalled, but thou shalt keep and perform it punctually and fully. They were allowed to pluck and eat of the corn or grapes that grew by the road side; only they must not carry any away. This law intimated what great plenty of corn and wine they should have in Canaan. It provided for the support of poor travellers, and teaches us to be kind to such, teaches us to be ready to distribute, and not to think every thing lost that is given away. Yet it forbids us to abuse the kindness of friends, or to take advantage of what is allowed. Faithfulness to their engagements should mark the people of God; and they should never encroach upon others.

Cross References 33

  • 1. S Leviticus 21:20
  • 2. S Genesis 19:38
  • 3. ver 4; Nehemiah 13:2
  • 4. Deuteronomy 2:28
  • 5. S Numbers 22:5-6; Numbers 23:7; S 2 Peter 2:15
  • 6. S Genesis 24:10
  • 7. S ver 3
  • 8. Numbers 24:10; Joshua 24:10; Proverbs 26:2
  • 9. S Deuteronomy 4:37
  • 10. S Numbers 24:17; Isaiah 15:1; Isaiah 25:10; Jeremiah 25:21; Jeremiah 27:3; Jeremiah 48:1; Ezekiel 25:8; Zephaniah 2:9
  • 11. Ezra 9:12; Matthew 5:43
  • 12. S Genesis 25:30
  • 13. S Genesis 25:26; Obadiah 1:10,12
  • 14. Exodus 22:21; Exodus 23:9; S Leviticus 19:34; Deuteronomy 10:19
  • 15. Leviticus 15:1-33
  • 16. Leviticus 15:16
  • 17. S Leviticus 15:16
  • 18. 1 Samuel 21:5
  • 19. S Genesis 3:8; Leviticus 26:12
  • 20. Exodus 3:5
  • 21. 2 Samuel 22:3; Psalms 2:12; Psalms 71:1
  • 22. 1 Samuel 30:15
  • 23. Exodus 22:21; S Exodus 23:6
  • 24. Genesis 19:25; 1 Kings 14:24; 1 Kings 15:12; 1 Kings 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7; Job 36:14
  • 25. S Genesis 38:21; Leviticus 19:29; Deuteronomy 22:21
  • 26. S Genesis 19:5; S Leviticus 20:13; Revelation 22:15
  • 27. Exodus 22:25; S Leviticus 25:35-37; Nehemiah 5:2-7
  • 28. S Genesis 31:15; S Deuteronomy 15:3
  • 29. Deuteronomy 15:10; Deuteronomy 28:12
  • 30. S Numbers 6:21; Judges 11:35; Psalms 15:4
  • 31. Numbers 30:1-2; Job 22:27; Psalms 61:8; Psalms 65:1; Psalms 76:11; Ecclesiastes 5:4-5; Isaiah 19:21; S Matthew 5:33; Acts 5:3
  • 32. Acts 5:4
  • 33. Matthew 12:1; Mark 2:23; Luke 6:1

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Or "one of illegitimate birth"
  • [b]. That is, Northwest Mesopotamia
  • [c]. Hebrew "of a dog"

Chapter Summary


Orders are here given to restrain certain persons from entering into the congregation of the Lord, De 23:1-8, and to take care that there be no unclean person in the camp, or any indecent thing done in it, De 23:9-14, to protect fugitive servants, and not deliver them up to their masters, De 23:15,16 not to suffer a filthy person to be among them, or any filthy thing to be brought into the house of God for a vow, De 23:17,18, then follow some laws against usury, and for the payment of vows, De 23:19-23, and the chapter is concluded with some directions how to behave in a neighbour's vineyard, or standing corn, De 23:24,25.

Deuteronomy 23 Commentaries

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