Deuteronomy 22:5 (CSB)
5 “A woman is not to wear male clothing, and a man is not to put on a woman’s garment, for everyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord your God.
This passage is a bit of a mixture. For the most part, the overall theme seems to be purity. The exception is the reference to the mother bird and its eggs and chicks. I am going to focus on the general theme here.
- It is almost assured that my key verse, Deut. 22:5, is found to be antiquated, and some sort of “phobia”, or more nefariously, an “anti” something, statement. The only problem with that thinking is that these are God’s words, the Creator of everything, and the One who loves every one of us, including those that may be practicing this condemned behavior… so it’s not a “phobia”, an “ism”, or anything else negative… it’s guidance from God.
- The theme of purity starts in v5, and continues in vv9-11, with some related context in v8 and v12. Men are to dress and appear as men, women are to dress and appear as women. The two genders that God has created are to remain pure and unconfused.
- The same principle certainly seems to be in play concerning the mixing of seeds in the vineyard. It doesn’t seem that there would be an inability to grow mixed crops, or even that there is any sort of obvious physical-type issue that would come from it. It would seem that the command here is purely symbolic of the need to remain spiritually pure, unmixed with other, false, religions, that might grow up faster and stringer, and choke out the true faith in God.
- Both vv10-11 seem to be illustrations of the consequences of mixing things that should not be. Certainly, pairing an ox and a donkey to plow results in some sort of ineffective system, as, if nothing else, an ox will be much stronger. Likewise, mixing wool and linen would represent the same sort of spiritual failure due to “mixing” with false religions. Perhaps there is some sort of practical reason why the two materials, or any two materials for that matter, should not be mixed, but it does not seem that is the true point of the command.
- We might see a relation to the purity theme in v8, concerning the rails around the roof, in that it would keep one from being defiled, in a sense, by an accidental death due to neglect. Notice that there is a guilt that comes from this neglect that results in death, so we should not be surprised that negligence can lead to a spiritual impurity.
- Finally, the mention of the tassels on the outer garments, does not come accompanied with a reason why, but we might presume that they act as a reminder of these purity commands in some way.
Lord, thank you for giving us guidance to keep us pure. It may be unpopular in our modern culture, but your commands are for our good and profit, not something to oppress us. I am sorry for the many times I have failed to keep myself pure, that I have defiled myself. I pray that we, that I, will stay within the guidelines you have provided, and that we would, as a result, be spiritually cleansed and remain close to you. Amen.