christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

deuteronomy 22:8-12, strengthening your vineyard

Read Deuteronomy 22:8-12 at Bible Gateway.

Previously: deuteronomy 22:8-12, fencing your roof

(Please review the teaching tools of scripture, especially the Hebrew paragraph divisions and chiastic structures. The paragraphs marked by an “s” at their close are weak paragraphs, which indicate a change of facet but not a change of theme or topic. The paragraphs marked by a “p” at their close are strong paragraphs, which indicate the completion of a theme or topic.)

Continuing with yesterday’s paragraph:

Deu 22:8-9 {s} Preventing bloodguilt and defilement

“When you build a new house, then you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring guilt of bloodshed on your household if anyone falls from it. You shall not sow your vineyard with different kinds of seed, lest the yield of the seed which you have sown and the fruit of your vineyard be defiled.” Deu 22:8-9

Deu 22:8 teaches us not only to fence areas of potential danger to protect life, but to put the fence of God’s Law, which is His word, around our new households and families, to prevent death by falling away from the living God. Deu 22:9 tells us to not sow our vineyards with different kinds of seed. John Gill’s commentary relates that this refers to sowing wheat or barley, or crops, between the rows of grapes in a vineyard. The yield of seed and the fruit would be defiled, because the strength of the soil would be divided between the grape vines, and the grain crops. There is no such prohibition on having fruit trees in a vineyard: trees are not sown season by season as are grain or other crops, and the roots of the trees bring nutrition up for the fruit of the tree from a much deeper level of soil than the grapevine roots can penetrate.

Thinking about this beyond its direct meaning or pashat interpretation, in Biblical usage, just as houses can translate to households and families, seeds and fruit translate to children, sons. We are back to God’s concern for the integrity of the next generation again. In this case the underlying principle is not to weaken the strength of the next generation, by siphoning off what provides for its growth. In other words, fathers in ministry; teachers; coaches; take care not to weaken your own vineyard in providing for the well being of the sons of other men. If children need their fathers’ time and attention, then late nights at the office and working weekends also siphons off what is needful for the strength of the next generation.

Now why are these two commands together in a single paragraph? What is the overall topic? It might be that fathers are to provide for the life of their households by giving to them what is necessary beyond immediate material needs. They are to provide the fence of Torah. And fathers are to provide for the life of their households by not taking from them what is necessary beyond immediate material needs. They are not to siphon off what is needful for strong growth.

Deu 22:8-9 {s} Do not weaken the next generation through neglect

Continued: deuteronomy 22:8-12, strengthening your vineyard


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