Deuteronomy 22:22 Adultery
Posted by adventbiblestudy on August 15, 2013
Deuteronomy 22:22 NLTse (22) “If a man is discovered committing adultery, both he and the woman must die. In this way, you will purge Israel of such evil.
There are a number of New Testament verse this may remind people of. One of them teaches a valuable lesson while explaining why the law says both the man and woman must die.
John 8:1-10 NLTse Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, (2) but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. (3) As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. (4) “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. (5) The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” (6) They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. (7) They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (8) Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. (9) When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. (10) Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
In this story we see only the woman is brought to Jesus. The religious leaders want Jesus to pass sentence on her. His answer surprises them. “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” The term, ” Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust,” is repeated to draw our attention. This has drawn the attention of many scholars throughout the years. Modern Christian philosophers seem to have forgotten how to look to God’s Word for an answer. They seem to pride themselves on using their knowledge to justify one answer or another based on their imagination.
Looking back on a few of the previous prophecies about Jesus in Deuteronomy shows us how the religious leaders turned away from God by depending on themselves. The previous prophecy showed how people will show little concern for the Spirit’s preparation for the harvest. Before that was a prophecy about Jesus’ experience on the cross. Leading to the prophecy showing Jesus would be taken from the cross before sunset was a prophecy announcing the Messiah and John the Baptist, who would personally announce Jesus’ ministry. Each of these showed how the religious leaders would oppose Jesus and His ministry. These also showed how the religious leaders ignored God’s law. Maybe Jesus wrote these texts in dust while the Pharisees accused the woman of adultery. Based on the fact few religious leaders researched scripture Jesus referred to throughout His ministry, it is unlikely many of them would be able to interpret the spiritual meaning of any of the previous prophecies about Jesus. That leaves us with one other place to look, in the chapter this prophecy is located, which also contains the three phrases with a spiritual meaning showing the lack of concern for the harvest of the world.
Deuteronomy 22 happens to contain a number of verses which would easily convict the consciences of even the hardest heart of the religious leaders. Some of these are basic sins people tend to take for granted. They don’t really look at these as sins, unless they are introduced in the proper manner, under the right circumstances only God’s Spirit is able to achieve.
The first sin introduced is something most people are guilty of. It shows how people fail to get involved when they see a problem. “If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility. Take it back to its owner.” (Deuteronomy 22:1 NLTse). This shows how people begin blocking God’s Spirit from their minds. At first they make simple excuses. God’s Spirit puts people in a position to share God’s love. The type of love that comes from Heaven. People have the opportunity and ability to help another, but find an excuse not to get involved. They not only miss the opportunity to help and share God’s love, they begin the process of shutting out God’s Spirit.
God does not give up after one attempt, He gives opportunity after opportunity for everyone to step up and share His love. We see the word responsibility repeated. Sharing God’s gift is nothing less than a responsibility. Do the same if you find your neighbor’s donkey, clothing, or anything else your neighbor loses. Don’t ignore your responsibility. (Deuteronomy 22:3 NLTse). The verse also points out how the responsibility extends beyond the list God provided. The list is rounded off by the same conscience people work to shut down when they refuse opportunity after opportunity to get involved.
You can see how the responsibility continues to grow as Deuteronomy 22 continues. Can you see how Jesus was able to reach people on one level of denial and the next as He wrote one example after another in the dust, wiped it clean then wrote the next. The tasks become easier and more personal. “If you see that your neighbor’s donkey or ox has collapsed on the road, do not look the other way. Go and help your neighbor get it back on its feet!” (Deuteronomy 22:4 NLTse). The simple tasks move from helping an absent neighbor to one who is present. Jesus introduces the personal touch in ministry. More of the religious leaders see how they failed to provide the personal touch they were responsible to teach. As one after another saw how they failed to be the examples God meant them to be, they hung their heads in shame and walked away.
After a number of the older religious leaders thought about how they failed to share God’s love by performing the simplest task, Jesus moved on to more personal sins. “Suppose a man marries a woman, but after sleeping with her, he turns against her and publicly accuses her of shameful conduct, saying, ‘When I married this woman, I discovered she was not a virgin.” (Deuteronomy 22:13-14 NLTse). Maybe this example touched a few or maybe only one of the younger Pharisees. It showed how they manipulated the law to get their way. Maybe after one Pharisee left, a few more followed because they saw what Jesus was writing in the dust was getting a little too personal.
Jesus wiped the words in the dust away one more time and began to write again. He stayed with another form of adultery. After all, that is what the religious leaders were accusing the woman of. The religious leaders remaining didn’t think their sins were the same as the woman they were accusing. The fact they accuse the man showed they had a double standard. How was Jesus going to overcome this problem? The Spirit told Jesus how to remind them of their sins. “Suppose a man meets a young woman, a virgin who is engaged to be married, and he has sexual intercourse with her. If this happens within a town, you must take both of them to the gates of that town and stone them to death. The woman is guilty because she did not scream for help. The man must die because he violated another man’s wife. In this way, you will purge this evil from among you. (Deuteronomy 22:23-24 NLTse). More of the Pharisees saw they were as guilty as the woman they accused. A few more were left as Jesus wiped the dust with His hand and began writing again, a few more left before Jesus had the chance to reveal their sins in the dust.
The youngest religious leaders thought little about some of the aspects of God’s law. They didn’t see how some of their actions effected others. They had no idea they were setting the wrong example. As a matter of fact, they went to great lengths to keep their sins secret. No one could have know about the sexual relationships they had with young woman. As far as they were concerned, it was a victimless crime. The thought never occurred to them until Jesus wrote it in the dust. Then it was as if their lives were written on the ground for everyone to see. “Suppose a man has intercourse with a young woman who is a virgin but is not engaged to be married. If they are discovered, he must pay her father fifty pieces of silver. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he may never divorce her as long as he lives.” (Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLTse).
There is a distinct parallel between this prophecy related to one of the stories in the gospels, how the religious leaders reacted to the situation, and how modern Christians view and teach the story in John about the woman accused of adultery. The woman was accused of breaking one of God’s commandments. The religious leaders had a limited understanding of the law until Jesus began pointing out their short comings in dust. How does this apply to religion today?
One of the lessons Jesus taught was how religious leaders drifted away from God’s Spirit as they began relying more on themselves. This made them forget the finer aspects of God’s law. Their consciences convinced them they were beyond some of the aspects God’s law. They invented degrees of sin, something God never intended. This turned them to a form of worship known as self righteousness. In turn this belief eliminated the need for the Savior, who was sitting in front of them writing in the dust. To make their concept of justice work, they changed the role of God’s Messiah. Once they put aside God’s plan of salvation, one change led to another until they lost sight of God’s entire plan.
Sad to say, the same lesson applies to today’s religious leaders who look at a story like this and make it fit their own ideas and concepts. Like the Pharisees, religious leaders today set aside God’s Word in favor of their own concepts and imagination. Instead of searching God’s Word for an answer, they prefer to speculate on what Jesus wrote in the dust. When they follow this course, they fail to help others understand how to study God’s Word. They fill them with the misconception of, whatever you think is fine. There are no rules to study. This way of thinking is as dangerous as the Pharisees deciding which aspects of God’s law apply to them and which are worth ignoring. Jesus did not write in dust by accident. This was a symbol pointing to a greater lesson. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19 NLTse). Isn’t it strange how God used adultery to teach these lessons? Spiritual adultery is being unfaithful to God’s Word and law.