Deuteronomy 24

1 Suppose a man enters into marriage with a woman, but she does not please him because he finds something objectionable about her, and so he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house; she then leaves his house
2 and goes off to become another man's wife.
3 Then suppose the second man dislikes her, writes her a bill of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house (or the second man who married her dies);
4 her first husband, who sent her away, is not permitted to take her again to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that would be abhorrent to the Lord, and you shall not bring guilt on the land that the Lord your God is giving you as a possession.
5 When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be charged with any related duty. He shall be free at home one year, to be happy with the wife whom he has married.
6 No one shall take a mill or an upper millstone in pledge, for that would be taking a life in pledge.
7 If someone is caught kidnaping another Israelite, enslaving or selling the Israelite, then that kidnaper shall die. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
8 Guard against an outbreak of a leprous skin disease by being very careful; you shall carefully observe whatever the levitical priests instruct you, just as I have commanded them.
9 Remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam on your journey out of Egypt.
10 When you make your neighbor a loan of any kind, you shall not go into the house to take the pledge.
11 You shall wait outside, while the person to whom you are making the loan brings the pledge out to you.
12 If the person is poor, you shall not sleep in the garment given you as the pledge.
13 You shall give the pledge back by sunset, so that your neighbor may sleep in the cloak and bless you; and it will be to your credit before the Lord your God.
14 You shall not withhold the wages of poor and needy laborers, whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land in one of your towns.
15 You shall pay them their wages daily before sunset, because they are poor and their livelihood depends on them; otherwise they might cry to the Lord against you, and you would incur guilt.
16 Parents shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their parents; only for their own crimes may persons be put to death.
17 You shall not deprive a resident alien or an orphan of justice; you shall not take a widow's garment in pledge.
18 Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this.
19 When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all your undertakings.
20 When you beat your olive trees, do not strip what is left; it shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow.
21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, do not glean what is left; it shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow.
22 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this.

Deuteronomy 24 Commentary

Chapter 24

Of divorce. (1-4) Of new-married persons, Of man-stealers, Of pledges. (5-13) Of justice and generosity. (14-22)

Verses 1-4 Where the providence of God, or his own wrong choice in marriage, has allotted to a Christian a trial instead of a help meet; he will from his heart prefer bearing the cross, to such relief as tends to sin, confusion, and misery. Divine grace will sanctify this cross, support under it, and teach so to behave, as will gradually render it more tolerable.

Verses 5-13 It is of great consequence that love be kept up between husband and wife; that they carefully avoid every thing which might make them strange one to another. Man-stealing was a capital crime, which could not be settled, as other thefts, by restitution. The laws concerning leprosy must be carefully observed. Thus all who feel their consciences under guilt and wrath, must not cover it, or endeavour to shake off their convictions; but by repentance, and prayer, and humble confession, take the way to peace and pardon. Some orders are given about pledges for money lent. This teaches us to consult the comfort and subsistence of others, as much as our own advantage. Let the poor debtor sleep in his own raiment, and praise God for thy kindness to him. Poor debtors ought to feel more than commonly they do, the goodness of creditors who do not take all the advantage of the law against them, nor should this ever be looked upon as weakness.

Verses 14-22 It is not hard to prove that purity, piety, justice, mercy, fair conduct, kindness to the poor and destitute, consideration for them, and generosity of spirit, are pleasing to God, and becoming in his redeemed people. The difficulty is to attend to them in our daily walk and conversation.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. A term for several skin diseases; precise meaning uncertain
  • [b]. Heb lacks [the garment given you as]

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO DEUTERONOMY 24

This chapter contains various laws concerning divorces, De 24:1-4; the discharge of a newly married man from war and business, De 24:5; about taking pledges, De 24:6,10-13; man stealing, De 24:7; the plague of leprosy, De 24:8,9; and giving servants their hire in due time, De 24:14,15; concerning doing justice in capital cases, and towards the stranger, fatherless, and widow, De 24:16-18; and of charity to the poor, in allowing them the forgotten sheaf, and the gleanings of their oliveyards and vineyards, De 24:19-22.

Deuteronomy 24 Commentaries