Contents Calendar Find Reference
Navigating the Bible
Deuteronomy Chapter 23
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

A Father's Woman
23:1 A man must not take his father's woman. He must not pervert that which is private to his father.

Mutilated Genitals
23:2 [A man] with crushed testicles or a cut member may not enter into God's marriage group.

The Bastard
23:3 A bastard must not enter God's marriage group. Even after the tenth generation, he may not enter God's marriage group.

Ammonites and Moabites
23:4 An Ammonite or Moabite [man] may not enter God's marriage group. They may never enter God's marriage group, even after the tenth generation.
23:5 This is because they did not greet you with bread and water when you were on the way out of Egypt, and also because they hired Balaam son of Beor from Pethor in Aram Naharaim to curse you.
23:6 Of course, God did not consent to listen to Balaam, and God your Lord transformed the curse into a blessing for you, since God your Lord loves you.
23:7 You must never seek peace or anything good [with these nations], as long as you exist.

Edomites and Egyptians
23:8 Do not despise the Edomite, since he is your brother.
Do not despise the Egyptian, since you were an immigrant in his land.
23:9 [Therefore,] children born to [members of these nations] in the third generation [after becoming proselytes] may enter God's marriage group.

The Army Camp
23:10 When you go out as a camp against your enemies, you must avoid everything evil.
23:11 Therefore, if a man is unclean because of a nocturnal emission, he must leave the camp and remain outside.
23:12 Toward evening he must immerse in a mikvah, and then, when the sun sets, he can enter the camp.
23:13 You must designate a place outside the camp to use as a lavatory.
23:14 You must also keep a spike with your weapons, so that when you have to sit down to relieve yourself, you will first dig a hole with it, and then sit down, [and finally,] cover your excrement.
23:15 This is because God your Lord makes his presence known in your camp, so as to deliver you and grant you victory over your enemy. Your camp must therefore be holy. Let Him not see anything lascivious among you, and turn away from you.

Sheltering Slaves
23:16 If a slave seeks refuge with you from his master, you must not turn him back over to his master.
23:17 He must be allowed to live alongside you wherever he chooses in your settlements. You must do nothing to hurt his feelings.

23:18 There must not be any prostitutes among Israelite girls. Similarly, there must be no male prostitutes among Israelite men.
23:19 Do not bring a prostitute's fee or the price of a dog to the temple of God your Lord, since both are repugnant to God your Lord.

Deducted Interest
23:20 Do not deduct advance interest from your brother, whether it is interest for money, interest for food, or interest for anything else for which interest is normally taken.
23:21 Although you may take such interest from a gentile, you may not do so from your brother. [If you keep this rule,] God will bless you in all your endeavors on the land to which you are coming to occupy.

Keeping Vows
23:22 When you make a pledge to God your Lord, do not be late in paying it, since God will then demand it, and you will have committed a sin.
23:23 If you refrain from making vows completely, then you will not sin.
23:24 But when you have spoken, be careful of your word and keep the pledge that you have vowed to God your Lord.

The Worker in a Vineyard
23:25 When you come [to work] in your neighbor's vineyard, you may eat as many grapes as you desire to satisfy your hunger. However, you may not put any into a receptacle that you may have.

The Field Worker
23:26 When you come [to work] in your neighbor's standing grain, you may take the ears with your hand. However, you may not lift the sickle [for your own benefit] in your neighbor's grain.


A man must not...
  See Leviticus 18:8, 20:11. Some say that this includes any woman that his father seduced or raped (Kethuvoth 97a; Ibn Ezra), but this is not the law (Yad, Issurey Biyah 2:11). It also includes the father's wife after the father's death (Midrash Aggadah).

marriage group
  This denotes all native born Israelites who may freely intermarry with each other. They may, however, marry a proselyte or a freed slave (Yevamoth 76a).

  Mamzer in Hebrew. A person has the status of a mamzer only if he is born of an adulterous or incestuous union, not if he is merely born out of wedlock.

Ammonite or Moabite
  See Genesis 19:37,38.

  But not a woman (Yevamoth 69a). See Ruth 1:4, 4:13.

they did not greet...
  Even though Abraham showed special kindness to their ancestor Lot (Genesis 12:5, 19:29; Midrash Aggadah; Abarbanel).

  Numbers 22:5.


Aram Naharaim
  See Genesis 24:10.

You must never seek peace
  Even when encountering them in battle, as in Deuteronomy 20:10 (Sifri).

your brother
  Since the Edomites are descendants of Esau.

after becoming proselytes
  (Yevamoth 78a).

everything evil
  The usual immorality that is prevalent in an army camp (Ramban; Bachya). Also excessive cruelty (Josephus, Antiquities 4:8:42).

nocturnal emission
  See Leviticus 15:16.

immerse in a mikvah

  Even to urinate (Berakhoth 25a).

  Yathed in Hebrew. Or, 'trowel' (Septuagint).

  (Sifri) Azen in Hebrew. Some say that it was worn to the left (Lekach Tov).

makes His presence known
  Literally, 'walks among you.'

anything lascivious...
  Or 'any nakedness' (cf. Berakhoth 25b).

from his master
  Specifically, if the slave of a Jew escapes to the Holy Land (Gittin 45a; Yad, Avadim 8:10). Some also include a circumcised slave who escapes from his gentile master (Sifri; Targum; cf. Bachya). Others also include a slave who escapes to the army camp (Ibn Ezra; Chizzkuni; Abarbanel).

  According to some, this includes all forms of premarital intercourse (Yad, Ishuth 1:4, Naarah Bethulah 2:17, Issurey Biyah 18:2). Others say that this only prohibits intercourse with a true prostitute (Raavad, Naarah Bethulah 2:17). According to others, this is primarily a prohibition against a woman having premarital intercourse (Bachya). Others say that it is a commandment incumbent on the courts and community leaders (Ramban).

male prostitutes
  For homosexual (Sanhedrin 54b) and heterosexual purposes (cf. Ramban; Abarbanel).

advance interest
  See Exodus 22:24, Leviticus 25:36,37.

normally taken
  That is, where the borrowed articles are normally repaid with substitutes.

do not be late...
  Delaying over three festivals (Rosh HaShanah 4b).

to work
  (Bava Metzia 87b; Saadia; Rashi).

to satisfy your hunger
  But not to fill yourself up (Bava Metzia 87b).

to work
  (Sifri; Yerushalmi, Maasroth 2:4).

  Chermash in Hebrew; see Deuteronomy 16:9.

for your own benefit
  (Sefer HaMitzvoth, Negative 268; Yad, Sekhiruth 12:3). According to this, the commandment here prohibits the worker from stopping work in order to eat. Others say that it forbids him to make a full meal during his working time (Raavad ibid.).

Copyright © 2000 World ORT
Notice: This computer program is protected by copyright law and international treaties. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this program, or any portion of it, may result in severe civil and criminal penalties, and will be prosecuted to the maximum extent possible under the law.