Deuteronomy Chapter 25


Extent of punishment. (Verse 1-3.)

The ox that treadeth the corn. (Verse 4.)

Marriage of a brother’s wife. (Verse 5-12.)

Of unjust weights. (Verse 13-16.)

War against Amalek. (Verse 17-19.)

1 If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.

2 And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number.

3 Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.

Chapter 25 focuses on justice in law and in business. This is a very
important passage in God’s administration of justice. “Forty stripes” – more stripes would
be inhumane. Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 11:24, “forth lashes less one,” refer to a
custom that came as a result of their manner of beating. They used a scourge that had
three cords so that every stroke was counted for three stripes. They could not give an
even forty – either thirty nine or forty-two. The latter was above the number set by God.
This number forty is used many times in cases of humiliation, affliction, or punishment.
Moses fasted and prayed forty days and forty nights (Deuteronomy 9:9,18). Elijah fasted
forty days as did our Lord (1 Kings 19:8; Matthew 4:2). Israel was afflicted in the
wilderness forty years for their sins (Numbers 14:33,34). See also Leviticus 12:4,5;
Ezekiel 4:6; Jonah 3:4.

4 Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.

[I Cor. 9:9, I Tim. 5:18, Matt 10:10]

While the oxen were at work some muzzled their mouths to hinder them from
eating the corn. Here Moses forbids this. This was to be a symbolic precept teaching the
people to be kind to their servants and laborers, especially to those who ministered to
them in holy things – so Paul apples it (1 Corinthians 9:9-14; 1 Timothy 5:17,18)

5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her.

[Gen 38:8, Matt 22:24, Mark 12:19, Luke 20:28]

6 And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.

7 And if the man like not to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband’s brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.

8 Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her;

9 Then shall his brother’s wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother’s house.

10 And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.

The ordinance concerning marrying the wife of that brother who died
childless (cf. Genesis 38:6-8; Ruth 4:4-6; Matthew 22:24-26). The eldest child was to take
the name of the deceased husband and inherit the estate

11 When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets:

12 Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.

Miscellaneous laws.

13 Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small.

[divers-different kinds of weights, one for measuring the weight of things that you buy, a different set of measuring weights for when you sell to your neighbor.]

14 Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small.

[divers-different kinds of weights, one for measuring the weight of things that you buy, a different set of measuring weights for when you sell to your neighbor.]

15 But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

16 For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD thy God.

Just weights demanded by a just God. Weights were anciently made of
stone and some had two sets of stones, a light and a heavy. With the latter they bought
their wares. By the former they sold them. Such scheming has ever been possible to the
human race (Leviticus 19:35,36; Proverbs 11:1; Ezekiel 45:10; Micah 6:11).

17 Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt;

[Gen 36:12, Exod 17:8, Num 24:20, 1st Sam 15:2]

18 How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God.

19 Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.

Judgment pronounced against Amalek (cf. 1 Samuel 15; Esther 3:1,10).

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Verse 1-3 – Every punishment should be with solemnity, that those who see it may be filled with dread, and be warned not to offend in like manner. And though the criminals must be shamed as well as put to pain, for their warning and disgrace, yet care should be taken that they do not appear totally vile. Happy those who are chastened of the Lord to humble them, that they should not be condemned with the world to destruction.

Verse 4 – This is a charge to husbandmen. It teaches us to make much of the animals that serve us. But we must learn, not only to be just, but kind to all who are employed for the good of our better part, our souls, 1st Corinthians 9:9.

Verse 5-12 – The custom here regulated seems to have been in the Jewish law in order to keep inheritances distinct; now it is unlawful.

Verse 13-16 – Dishonest gain always brings a curse on men’s property, families, and souls. Happy those who judge themselves, repent of and forsake their sins, and put away evil things, that they may not be condemned of the Lord.

Verse 17-19 – Let every persecutor and injurer of God’s people take warning from the case of the Amalekites. The longer it is before judgement comes, the more dreadful will it be at last. Amalek may remind us of the foes of our souls. May we be enabled to slay all our lusts, all the corruptions both within and without, all the powers of darkness and of the world, which oppose our way to the blessed Saviour.