Deuteronomy 25

25 “If there is a dispute between men and they go to [a]court, and [b]the judges decide their case, and they justify the righteous and condemn the wicked, then it shall be if the wicked man [c]deserves to be beaten, the judge shall then make him lie down and be beaten in his presence with the number of stripes according to his [d]guilt. He may beat him forty times but no more, so that he does not beat him with many more stripes than these and your brother is not degraded in your eyes.

“You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.

“When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. It shall be that the firstborn whom she bears shall [e]assume the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel. But if the man does not desire to take his brother’s wife, then his brother’s wife shall go up to the gate to the elders and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to establish a name for his brother in Israel; he is not willing to perform the duty of a husband’s brother to me.’ Then the elders of his city shall summon him and speak to him. And if he persists and says, ‘I do not desire to take her,’ then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the sight of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face; and she shall [f]declare, ‘Thus it is done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.’ 10 In Israel his name shall be called, ‘The house of him whose sandal is removed.’

11 “If two men, a man and his [g]countryman, are struggling together, and the wife of one comes near to deliver her husband from the hand of the one who is striking him, and puts out her hand and seizes his genitals, 12 then you shall cut off her [h]hand; [i]you shall not show pity.

13 “You shall not have in your bag [j]differing weights, a large and a small. 14 You shall not have in your house [k]differing measures, a large and a small. 15 You shall have a full and just weight; you shall have a full and just [l]measure, that your days may be prolonged in the [m]land which the Lord your God gives you. 16 For everyone who does these things, everyone who acts unjustly is an abomination to the Lord your God.

17 “Remember what Amalek did to you along the way when you came out from Egypt, 18 how he met you along the way and attacked among you all the stragglers at your rear when you were faint and weary; and he did not [n]fear God. 19 Therefore it shall come about when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies, in the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance to [o]possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget.

The bit about the ox seems almost out of place, but this chapter is all about justice, and what is fair. It isn’t fair to muzzle an animal while he is working, especially tempted by the very grain being threshed.

I would dare say any of these things would have been regarded as “common sense”, but we are good at ignoring what we know to be right, and need reminders, just like the Israelites did here.

We need to be daily talking to God and reading His word, otherwise we miss those reminders, and it becomes easier and easier to ignore what is right and just. That’s obviously not the only reason for building our relationship with God, but it’s a good side effect.

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