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This small group Deuteronomy 22 Bible study guide contains commentary, discussion questions, cross-references, and application to encourage life change. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Deuteronomy 22 Bible Study Commentary And Discussion Questions

Outline

I. Miscellaneous laws (1-11)
II. Laws Concerning Sexual Immorality (12-30)

I. Miscellaneous laws (1-11)

Discussion Questions

• What principle can we learn from verses 1-4?
• What should a person have done if he didn’t know who the animals belonged to?
• How can this principle be applied today and in modern cities with few animals?
• What can we learn about how we are to treat our neighbors?
• How should Christians view the statement “finders keepers, losers weepers?”
• What should you do if you find a lost wallet or a mobile phone?
• What principle can be learned from verse 5?
• How does this verse relate to the trans movement today?
• Why is there a law regarding how to treat a bird’s nest?
• What important principle is taught in this law?
• What responsibilities should home or business owners have to maintain a safe environment?
• Why was it forbidden to mix two kinds of seed or two kinds of cloth? Are we still under these laws today?

Cross-References

Mark 12:31 – The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Romans 15:2 – Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.

Romans 13:10 – Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Genesis 1:28 – And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

1 Corinthians 6:9 – Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality.

Psalms 24:1 – The earth is the LORD’S and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein.

Jeremiah 2:7 – And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good things. But when you came in, you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Returning lost animals (1-4) – There is a popular English saying that children use, “Finder’s keepers, loser’s weepers.” This saying echoes the belief of that child that because he found something, it is his right to possess it and that the person who lost it forfeited that right of possession.

This Old Testament law teaches us the opposite. A person was prohibited from taking possession of something (in this case, animals) that did not belong to them, even if it was found unattended. Beyond this, the finder not only was not allowed to keep the things but he was also required to go out of his way to return them.

Neither could he use the excuse that “I don’t know who it belongs to.” He was required to take the animals and care for them so that when the owner came looking, he could return them in good health and condition. This courtesy was to be shown for any lost possession, animal or otherwise.

In addition, if a person saw his neighbor’s animal in distress, he was required to go out of his way to save that animal.

There is a wide gap between the agrarian society of the Old Testament and our modern metropolises. Some readers might dismiss this passage as being irrelevant. But we should consider the universal principle behind this law.

The main principle is that we should “love our neighbors as ourselves.” The specific application of that is to make every effort to return a lost item to its original owner.

Application – You likely won’t see your neighbor’s sheep wandering around, but you might find a phone, wallet, or driver’s license. Make every attempt to return it to the owner.

You likely won’t see your neighbor’s donkey in distress, but you might see your neighbor on the side of the road with a flat tire or notice that when they are away on a trip, their front door is ajar. If you are loving your neighbor as yourself, what should you do in these situations?

2. Cross-dressing forbidden (5) – These laws make it clear that God envisioned a clear distinction between male and female. He created two sexes, male and female. These are unique and special. The lines should not be blurred between the two. Cross-dressing was strictly prohibited. Proper attire is a way to acknowledge acceptance of one’s sex given by God at conception. It is a way to submit to His design. Doing so glorifies God and is a good testimony to those around. Clothing is the most visible outward symbol of a person’s heart attitude toward their God-given gender.

It is interesting to note that men’s and women’s garments in Old Testament times were actually more similar in appearance than in many cultures today. Loose-fitting robes were the norm for both. Here are a few differences.

• Men’s robes could be to the ankles or to just past the knees.
• Women’s robes were always to the ankles.
• Women’s garb was decorated differently. It often had a hood or head covering.
• Men almost always had facial hair (in Hebrew culture).
• Women’s garments included jewelry and other adornments.

Source – https://dividetheword.blog/2017/03/07/men-womens-apparel-in-ancient-days-and-today/

Women’s garments were to be feminine. Men were not to be effeminate (1 Corinthians 6:9). Men were often depicted as carrying weapons. Women were not. This prohibition also shows that women were not to go around wearing armor or weapons like a man. Neither should a man go around and wear a facial veil or scarf that was intended for women.

Men and women were to look differently.

Reflect – Is it wrong for a woman to wear jeans or shorts? Why or why not? Is it wrong for a man to wear earrings or a necklace? Why or why not?

We need to consider the principle behind this command. The principle is that we should acknowledge and accept how God has designed us in relationship to our gender. We should not rebel or experiment outside of this.

There is a cultural component to dress. What is a woman’s garments in one culture might be a man’s in another. One of my best friends is Scottish. In Scotland, men traditionally wear kilts. These look like skirts to men in many Western countries. Yet a Scottish person would never say that a man wearing a kilt was effeminate. However, if an American man walks around in a skirt, it would certainly set off some alarm bells.

Therefore the principle is that a man should look like a man and a woman should look like a woman. In the Western world, pants are no longer seen or understood to be only for men. A woman wearing pants is not identifying herself as masculine. It does not make her look like a man. But if she shaves her head and wears a man’s suit, she does not look much like a woman anymore. On the other hand, a man who wears a dress and puts on makeup is crossing the line.

Application – Men, dress and act like men. Women, dress and act like women. Be content and fulfilled in your God-given calling and design. Seek to live up to God’s high standards given to men and women in Scripture and don’t lower yourself to the world’s compromised standards.

In addition, parents should teach their children about their sex. Rather than causing confusion in their kids, they should help them understand their God-created identity and embrace it. Get boys’ clothing for your boys and girls’ clothing for your girls. It is good to let them see and understand there are differences between the two sexes.

3. Discretion in hunting and trapping (6-7) – The society at that time sustained itself on natural resources. It would be shortsighted to consume what could provide for you and your family in the future. If the young birds or eggs were left without a mother, they would die and be useless. Therefore, these could be harvested. However, the mother should be spared because she could raise more young in the future.

The underlying principle is that natural resources should be used in a wise and sustainable manner. People are created as stewards of God’s creation. We need to steward it both for our own generation and the future. Resources should not be consumed without regard to how it affects the future.

Some examples of foolish and shortsighted wildlife management are below.

• Dynamite fishing – This blows up the corral and destroys many animals’ natural habitat. Once gone, it is very difficult to restore or regrow these lost resources.
• Overhunting or fishing – The American bison was almost totally wiped out through greed. Carcasses were left to rot and the fur was sold. The population was reduced from millions to a low of 541.

This passage does not mean that people should love animals more than humans, that people are a plague, or that trillions should be spent to protect a bug. It does mean that people should be wise stewards and take care of the earth because God created the earth to sustain us.

4. Making your house safe (8) – Homeowners had a responsibility to maintain its safety. Specifically, they were required to build a parapet. This was a small wall around the sides of a flat roof. People could come up onto the top of a roof, which might be used as a garden, for storage, or a space to perform tasks. Without a wall around the sides of the roof, there was a risk that a person may fall and become injured. This risk was heightened for children.

Accidental deaths and injuries were to be prevented as much as possible, even at the cost of personal expense and time.

This simple command reminds us that God values human life. It also teaches us the importance of being cautious and exercising foresight to prevent potential accidents.

5. Illegal mixing (9-10) – The law here prohibited missing two different things in three areas: seeds, yoked animals, and cloth material. The practical reasons for these commands are not totally clear. Yoking an ox and a donkey together would exhaust the donkey because an ox is far stronger. That could have been to prevent animal cruelty. It is not readily clear what practical implications there were for these laws.

Perhaps they were primarily to remind the people of a deeper spiritual truth. The truth is that good and evil should not be mixed. God commanded them not to mix or intermarry with the Canaanites. They were to be holy and completely set apart for God. It may be these commands were to serve as a tangible, everyday reminder of that spiritual reality.

God creates clear lines and boundaries. We see this in the beginning of Genesis when He created each animal “according to its kind.” We see it in the sexes. We also see it in proper worship of God, which was not to be mixed with pagan practices.

Nowadays, almost all lines are being blurred. Scientists sometimes even breed chimeras, which are a cross between different types of animals.

6. Tassels (11) –

Numbers 15:37-40 – The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the people of Isra