christine's bible study

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

deu 24:8-9, ninth commandment chiastic structure

Read Deuteronomy 24:8-9 at Bible Gateway.

Previously: deuteronomy 24:8-9, tzaraas or the evil tongue

(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. The paragraph divisions reveal the chiastic structures: narratives which zero in on the main point of the narrative at its center, like a bull’s eye at the center of a target. The main point is revealed, because the narrative elements before the main point (or central axis) are repeated after the central axis, in reverse order, while the central axis itself is not repeated.)

The ninth commandment, Do not bear false witness, is explained in Deu 24:8-9, and this is my summary of it. It turns out the explanation of the ninth commandment forms a single chiastic structure:

Deu 24:8-9 s
1a) Deu 24:8a, Take heed in an outbreak of leprosy;
1b) Deu 24:8b, That you carefully observe and do;
central axis) Deu 24:8c, According to all that the priests + Levites shall teach you, just as I commanded them;
2b) Deu 24:8d, So you shall be careful to do;
2a) Deu 24:9 s, Remember what the Lord did to Miriam when you came out of Egypt.

The chiastic structure reaffirms through the A pair that we are to study what happened to Miriam in order to learn about outbreaks of tzaraas or evil speaking and what to do about them. The central axis refers to the instructions given to the priests in dealing with tzaraas or evil speaking found in Leviticus. In Leviticus those who are afflicted with tzaraas are to be quarantined from the rest of the congregation. Why? Tzaraas is an infectious spiritual condition that will quickly spread to others! We are to be careful to observe and do what the Lord has commanded, including, cooperating with the quarantine. It is not because God wants to be mean to lepers. His command protects others who are yet unaffected, and provides the means to be healed ourselves. For when we observe His commandment, especially not to bear false witness and refuse to allow the enemy to use our mouth as a tool, then we may be made clean and able to return to society just as Miriam was.

Continued: deuteronomy 24:10-26:15, do not covet


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