SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Chapter 21 shows how God’s law governed relationships in the nation of Israel.
- If a crime is committed and the perpetrator has not been captured, God holds the whole community responsible for the murder. (Verses 1-9)
- Female war captives were often forced to be sex slaves for their captors. God’s law not only allowed these women a chance to live a legally married life but also protected them from being reduced to slavery. (Verses 10-14)
- God needed to establish obedience among the Israelites. The only way to insure they would remain on the right path was to set a strict mandate on the next generation. Interestingly, there is no archaeological evidence to confirm the use of this form of punishment. (Verses 18-21)
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- God believes in the power of a unified community. For a community to be healthy, it needs to have a shared responsibility. (Verses 1-9)
- Though the law in verses 10-14 is very foreign to our way of thinking, we see in it the value and respect God puts on women. He was trying to protect women from abuse. We should do the same. (Verses 10-14)
- We see in this chapter how important obedience is to God. Jesus reiterated the importance of obedience (see John 14:15).
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- How can you better share in the responsibilities of your church community?
- How do you intentionally protect the dignity of the disadvantaged?
- How are you demonstrating loving obedience to God right now? What do you think is holding you back from complete obedience? How could you change that?