My article “Old Testament’s Deuteronomy Puts Women on Equal Footing” was published in Ethics Daily today.
The article deals with the reforms of King Josiah and how the book of Deuteronomy makes an attempt at improving the role of women in Israelite society.
Click here to read my article online.
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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Would you agree that the laws of Exodus reflect the differences between a relatively, nomadic society versus the laws of Deuteronomy reflecting a relatively, agricultural, sedimentary society?
I say this due to what appears to be that the Israelites, who as the Chosen People of God, would be required to reflect the behavior of God, e.g. the Holiness Codes of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, NOT the behavior of the people of the land who they were displacing.
The treatment of women, children, etc. would seem to be reflected in Exodus 21:22ff where the child of the pregnant woman is considered to be a person even in the womb. This appears to NOT reflect the Near Eastern societies that the Israelites had come in contact with if I remember correctly.
You are right in your differentiation between the social-cultural background of the laws in Exodus and the laws in Deuteronomy. You are also right in recognizing the difference in the moral and humanitarian laws of Israel when compared to the laws of other nations in the Ancient Near East. Israel’s experience of God as a holy God made heavy demands on the people, because as Leviticus 19:2 says, the people of Israel were to be a holy people because they served a Holy God.
Thank you for your very keen observation in evaluating the laws of Exodus and Deuteronomy.