I was studying my Bible this week. We are making our way through Deuteronomy right now. This book is full of the instructions given by Moses from the Father to His children, just before they enter the Promised Land. When I read Deuteronomy 21:10-14, it caught my attention. Here is what it says…
10 “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take them away captive, 11 and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself, 12 then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. 13 She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her.”
When I read the words, my heart sank. It seems so cruel to allow a man to take a woman from the captives who catches his eye, clean her up, let her mourn, then sleep with her. And if she doesn’t please him, here are the instructions to put her out. Don’t sell her, beat her, etc., just send her on her own way. I know I have read it before, but it never hit me like it did on Monday night. I understand that I am very much removed from that culture and time, but it sounds so awful and ugly. If Yahweh gave this instruction, what kind of just God is He? I know that His ways are not my ways, but this seems so very wicked.
I woke up Tuesday morning with a sick feeling in my stomach. My heart felt broken. I was not seeing the Father as a loving God, I was seeing Him as a tyrant. I sobbed all day. I felt confused. I was questioning Him, questioning His love, I was questioning all sorts of things that I had never questioned before. Things too numerous to describe here, things that will make people walk away from faith. Then, I was ashamed for thinking them. I doubted my worth. Doubted my place in His kingdom. My head was spinning with all kinds of thoughts. I felt like I was drowning.
I was at work by myself, all the guys were in the field. I went into the bathroom and just cried out. I prayed for the Father to deliver me. I prayed He take the pain and confusion I was feeling away. I got my Bible out and read some Psalms. I read Psalm 116 out loud, proclaiming its truth. I wanted Him to hear my heart. I asked Him to hear my cry! I just wept before Him, pleading, spilling everything that was overcoming me.
As I was weeping and speaking to Him, I literally felt a release within my soul. I felt Him hold me. The lies stopped swirling in my mind. It was a peace I cannot describe! I cried in joy. I thanked Him for delivering me. I apologized for doubting His love and believing the lies I was entertaining. I thanked Him for bringing me back from the despair.
The rest of the day, I felt new hope in Him. My spirit was renewed. I no longer felt useless, but I had confidence in my place within His plans. I went to bed knowing that He is Yahweh and there are some things that He does that I just don’t understand.
Then Yesterday, I pulled my Bible out again. I prayed for discernment on the Words I was getting ready to study. I began reading Deuteronomy 21 once more. I read through verses 10-14, and I stopped. I read it again, and again. I saw something different! I read it yet another time. Y’all I felt like shouting for joy. Listen to verse 13…
“She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife.”
When the man goes into her, he is her husband and she is now her wife. Dude, listen to this, there is a totally different law for how a man is to handle his wife! Chapter 24 talks about that. It’s called a certificate of divorce! If you read it carefully you will see it! HalleluYah!
Since we know that there is a completely different instruction for a man and wife it has to say this… If after her garments of captivity are removed, and she is brought into his home and let mourn, and she is pleasing to him, he will take her for his wife. But, if after her garments of captivity are removed, and she is brought into his home and let mourn, and she is unpleasing to him, he is to let her go on her way in an honorable manner. She is able to go where ever she chooses. If he had “went into” her after the mourning, she is now his wife, and according to Deuteronomy 24, he is to give her a divorce!
Oh, I pray that this is coming out clear!!
It reminds me of the Father taking us in. He cleans us of our rags of captivity to sin through the blood of Jesus. We then mourn our flesh and ties to the world. Then after, He takes us as His wife, He the husband. But, if after our mourning, we are unpleasing, we don’t want to stay, and we are still bent on the ways of our own hearts and not His, He is kind to let us go. Go read Psalm 81, this is how He operates! He isn’t a tyrant who holds us captive, we have free will. Also, He is under no obligation to keep us if we do not love Him and do not have a heart for His ways. He will give us over to the stubbornness of our own hearts, let us walk in our own devices.
It also reminds me of the parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25. All 10 were called. 5 were ready with the oil for their lamps and 5 were not. The 5 ready were allowed into the wedding feast. When the 5 who were foolish came to the door to enter, and the door was shut. The Bridegroom says that He does not know them, and leaves them at the door. All 10 were called, but 5 were prepared. The virgins who were ready had hearts that were fully open to their Groom and they anticipated His arrival. The others had become maybe distracted with their own desires, and forgotten to have their oil. Their heart was not set on the Bridegroom, other thoughts filled their time.
I so love how the Father’s Word is alive and how He reveals His Truth in every syllable. He is so righteous and faithful!!
So, now what about that word humble in verse 14? The word in Hebrew is ‘anah. The Strong’s definition is a primitive root (possibly rather identical with H6030 through the idea of looking down or browbeating); to depress literally or figuratively, transitive or intransitive (in various applications, as follows):—abase self, afflict(-ion, self), answer (by mistake for H6030), chasten self, deal hardly with, defile, exercise, force, gentleness, humble (self), hurt, ravish, sing (by mistake for H6030), speak (by mistake for H6030), submit self, weaken, × in any wise.
The word ‘anah is used 85 times in 78 verses in the Hebrew concordance of the NASB. If you look up all the ways it is used you get a better picture of what the word means. (Blue Letter Bible app is a fantastic tool to use.) 18 of those 85 times, the translators chose the word humble to describe it. Here is another example of its use as humble in Deuteronomy 8:2, “You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might (humble) you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” Here is an example of the word ‘anah being used for the words “treated” and “harshly”. Genesis 16:6, “But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.” So Sarai (treated) her (harshly), and she fled from her presence.”
So, now knowing the uses of this word, and the fact that the Command for a husband and a wife have totally different instructions, you can see that maybe the idea of humble is not what is first presented in context of the whole of Scriptures.
I want to state a severe warning on doing word studies that are not supported by the whole of Scripture and tested through! Be very careful! 2 Peter 3:14-18 says to the effect that unstable and untaught people will distort not only Paul’s words, but the rest of Scriptures. We don’t want to put our own filter on things to make it sound good. Had it not been for the fact that Deuteronomy 24 clearly states the instructions of a man divorcing his wife, I would not have needed to change my perception of the word humble in this account.
I am so glad that I went back and read these verses again. I am so thankful that Yahweh showed me His Truth, and I pray that I always keep the knowledge of His righteousness in my heart. A wise friend of mine told me that he wished he had a white board to carry around with him. He would right on it all the attributes of the Almighty, so when he reads the Word or is listening to people, he would always refer to the white board to make sure it lined up. To make sure what he was reading or hearing was actually Truth! Friends, I pray that I remember to take a white board with me for the rest of my days. I don’t ever want to mistake the Father’s love ever again.
Thank you for taking the time to read this one. I know it was a kind of lengthy one, but I was just so excited I had to share.