A Law for Every Circumstance

Deuteronomy 21:10-22:12

Our portion begins with a series of scenarios, listing what the God-fearing Israelite must do in each case. The first of these is a situation in which a soldier comes across a beautiful captive during war. If he wishes to take her, he must first allow her to mourn her family for a month, shave her hair and grow her nails. If he still wants her for a wife, he may marry her. Another case involves an unhappy marriage – even if one’s firstborn is the child of the unloved wife, the father must afford that son all the rights of the firstborn and may not transfer those rights to the son of his favorite wife. A rebellious son must be brought before the court and stoned, and the corpse of a man executed by the court may not be left hanging overnight, out of dignity.


If one finds a lost animal or item, one must make every effort to return it to its owner, even if it means keeping it for him until he returns to look for it. One must assist if one sees another person’s animal struggling. Men and women may not wear each other’s clothing and, if one wishes to gather eggs or baby birds from a nest, one must first send away the mother bird. A roof requires a fence, so nobody climbs up and falls off, and different species of crops may not be planted together, while different species of animals may not be made to work together. Finally, fringes must be tied onto the corners of any four-cornered garment.


When it comes to the prohibition of taking an egg without first chasing away the mother bird, the Israel Bible points out that it is just one example of how God commands us to behave with sensitivity and compassion. If this is how we are expected to behave towards animals, how much more so are we required to behave towards each other with caring and concern.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why do you think different species may not be grown or worked together?

Comments ( 10 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • Alan Godden

    Every man, creature and plant has its place, each has a specific purpose and requires to be dealt with accordingly.

  • Elizabeth J Grobler

    I agree with you Jess good exp.

  • First of all: when HaShem orders something to be done, we should not make it questionable. But He certainly has His Reasons even when we don´t comprehend. I came upon some thoughts:
    HaShem wants us to become people of integrity, people of one character (His Character) so all those thoughts that make us doubt or think it can be this way or that way can make us insecure. HaShem is our security. He want to show us even by clothes (of the same texture) or by the use of only one kind of animal before the plough how He want to built us into a faithful people. So certain mixtures are simply forbidden. Seeing is believing. He doesnot want us to mingle with other (non believing) persons. “Be holy for I am Holy” Just by perception of simple clothes (e.g. tseetseet) our World of enviromental things shows us the right way. Be a man of one piece, be a man of character. Choose one way: His WAY.

  • I agree with you all. To add, it is the same way with man, it is hard to work together unless we have a common ground.

  • Thank you all for your thoughtful insights! It is true that many laws in the Torah teach us compassion. Certainly this demonstrates the way God cares for all His creatures,taking into account their different needs. On a spiritual level, as well, there may be fundamental differences between these different plants, creatures or items which make them unsuitable for mixing. For example, although both are textiles, wool comes from the animal kingdom, while linen comes from the plant kingdom.

  • Diana Brown

    The Lord has created order in His Creation. He called animals into the Ark in pairs. Animals that aren’t alike can’t work at the same speed and endurance if teamed together to work in the field. The Lord wants us to realize that differences are to be respected in His Creation, not abused.

  • Magda

    On a practical level, growing or working species together can ruin both (species). But this is on a primary level and according to ‘our own understanding’ still. Father God teaches us here in a concrete way through our (the Israelites’) daily labour to distinguish between tahor and tamei, chol and kodesh so that we /the Israelites learn to be a set-apart/ holy nation who keep ourselves apart for Him by striving to live according to His guidelines/ Torah.

  • Jesse

    In regards to seed, some plants might be stronger than others and choke out the weaker one. In regards to an on and a donkey plowing, the of is the stronger of the two and thus would be better suited to the harder labor. It would be an unequal yoke. In regards to the mixed wool and linen, one is plant based and the other is animal based, and combining them together can have disastrous results when washing and drying since they act in completely different ways. The linen would also be better for warmer climates whereas the wool would be better for cooler climates.

    • I agree with you. This is an excellent explaination.

  • Jayne

    It may be symbolic of God’s requirement that the Israelites were not to intermarry with other peoples to prevent foreign customs creeping in. The Israelites were to stand out in the world.
    It may also be that these were the practices of other peoples.

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