Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20030129.htm
DEUTERONOMY: GETTING OTHERS TO BE VICTORS, NOT CASUALTIES
Part XXII: Discipling Others On GOD'S View Of Marital Arrangements
(Deuteronomy 22:13-30; Leviticus 18)
Lesson: In GOD'S perspective, LAWFUL MARRIAGE constituted the MUTUALLY CONSENSUAL and PERMANENT, HETEROSEXUAL and MONOGAMOUS UNION between MALE and FEMALE ADULTS (cf. Genesis 2:20-25) who were NOT already related so as to respect an established family.
- Marital arrangements today take many forms: some consist of two men or two women, or adults may live together outside of wedlock, or try living together to test how well they function before getting married.
- Questions abound on what constitutes a true marriage: do people who take their vows at the altar become married even though they never physically come together after that? How about those who just live together outside of marriage -- is that a marital union in God's eyes? How does rape affect the equation?
- Deuteronomy 22:13-30 (with Leviticus 18) clarifies what God means by a correct marital arrangement.
- Discipling Others On GOD'S View Of Marital Arrangements, Deuteronomy 22:13-30; Leviticus 18.
- Just before his death, Moses addressed Israel on her need to heed the Law for God's blessing, Deut. 1:1-5.
- A part of that address named regulations for marital arrangements before God, Deuteronomy 22:13-30.
- To understand the guidelines God had for proper marriage, we review ancient Israel's marital customs: a young man and a young woman were (1) engaged to be married some time before (2) consummating that contract in physical union. This betrothal was part of the marriage itself so violating the betrothal constituted grounds for divorce though the couple had not come together, cf. Matt. 1:18-19.
- Armed with these facts, we view God's comments on what constitute evil or good marital arrangements:
- Case One - A woman might be suspected of immorality by her husband between the betrothal and physical union. In such a case, the following events were to occur according to Deut. 22:13-21:
- In the proceedings, if the husband were found to be wrong, he was severely disciplined, 22:13-19.
- Following this discipline, the husband was required to be wed to the woman for the rest of his life.
- However, were the woman to have been guilty, since betrothal was part of marriage itself, she was executed for adultery as though she had committed adultery in marriage, Deuteronomy 22:20-21.
- Case Two - A spouse might commit adultery after the betrothed couple had physically come together; in this case, the spouse and the illicit partner were both to be executed, Deuteronomy 22:22.
- Case Three - A party betrothed to be wed might consent with the illicit lover to have an affair; in this case, both parties in the illicit affair were to be executed as though adultery had occurred, 22:23-24.
- Case Four - A woman betrothed to be wed might be raped against her will; in such a case, the rapist was executed, but the woman went unpunished, Deut. 22:25-27. Thus, the consent of a party must be honored above the act of sexual union when the act and the will contrast in any of the parties involved.
- Case Five - An unbetrothed woman and man might mutually consent to have an affair; in this case, verbal contract for marriage had to follow this physical union as physical union was, in this case, considered binding for marriage, Deuteronomy 22:28-29.
- Case Six - A man might desire to marry his stepmother following his father's death; in this case, such a union would destroy the family structure already established, and was not to be tolerated, 22:30. The preservation of the original heterosexual, monogamous union was paramount in all marital situations.
- In addition to these situations, Leviticus 18 outlawed as capital offenses sexual unions between close relatives (Lev. 18:6-18) and the sexual unions of homosexuality (Lev. 18:22) and bestiality (Lev. 18:23).
Application: (1) It is unrighteous for people to live together without a marital commitment -- the verbal contract is as important as is the physical union. Thus, if already living together, a man and woman should get legally married. (2) Physical union is also important, and it is to be followed by a marital contract providing the union was mutually consensual. A lack of mutual consent here nullifies the necessity of the innocent party being involved in a marital union, and BEFORE GOD, requires the capital punishment of the aggressor. (3) Violations of marital arrangements are critical sins, and worthy of capital punishment. Thus, we are to treat marital unions as SERIOUS unions before God!