Deuteronomy 21

Talks for Growing Christians

Laws of the Mosaic Covenant

Deuteronomy 21

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Lesson Number 21

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. In the Mosaic Law regulations were given for right living.
    1. The case of an unsolved murder
    2. The case of a captive woman
    3. The case of a firstborn son
    4. The case of a rebellious child
    5. The case of a hanged criminal

Practical Application

  1. Do what you can to reduce sin in your home!


  1. What is the topic of the second sermon of Moses in Deuteronomy 5-25?
  2. What is the specific emphasis of the laws in chapter 21?
  3. What happened in Israel when someone was killed, but the murderer was nowhere to be found?
  4. Does God approve of polygamy, marriage to foreign wives, or divorce?
  5. Explain the regulations concerning hanged criminals in verses 22-23.


  1. A review of all the laws of the Mosaic covenant, starting with a review of the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5.
  2. The five regulations given in this chapter governed various areas of life so that the sacredness of life was maintained as well as personal rights protected.
  3. The elders of the city nearest to where the murder took place were to take a young heifer and kill it as a substitute for the murderer who deserved to die
  4. No, God hates divorce (see Matthew 19:7-8). These laws are given as regulations of these practices, not approval of these practices.
  5. Hanging in these verses was not the means of death. Sometimes the body of a criminal who was stoned to death was publically hung on a tree as a deterrent to crime. Under the Law, that body was to be cut down and buried before sunset to avoid defiling the land further.


  1. Discuss the damage that can be done if parents play favorites between their children.
  2. Deuteronomy 21:23 is quoted in Galatians 3:13 in reference to Christ. Discuss why it is important to understand that hanging was the result of the curse, not the cause of the curse. The Lord did not become cursed because He was put on the cross. No! He was put on the cross because He had become a curse for us and died as our substitute.


  1. In the case of an unsolved murder (verses 1-9), the nearest city was charged with corporate guilt and had to make the appropriate sacrifice. In application, when sin takes place within our homes, there is corporate guilt involved. What can you proactively do to reduce sin in your home?

Key Verses

  • “Provide atonement, O Lord, for Your people Israel, whom You have redeemed, and do not lay innocent blood to the charge of Your people Israel.’ And atonement shall be provided on their behalf for the blood.” Deuteronomy 21:8
  • “But he shall acknowledge the son of the unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.” Deuteronomy 21:17

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