23:1 A man with crushed or severed genitals may not enter the assembly of the LORD. 23:2 A person of illegitimate birth may not enter the assembly of the LORD; to the tenth generation no one related to him may do so.
A man with crushed or severed genitals – possibly ‘self-inflicted mutilations for the purposes of idolatrous worship, possibly of the goddess Ishtar’ (NBC). This is also the view of Craigie. In this case, the prohibition might only with a view to prevent pagan worshipers from joining the community.
Oswalt (Isaiah) takes a different view: ‘The purpose of this prohibition is clearly to teach the goodness of nature as we find it in creation. Sexuality is a good part of God’s creation, and while we are not to worship it, neither are we to condone its destruction.’
The assembly of the Lord – ‘the people of Israel as it worships the Lord in the tabernacle or temple.’ (NBC)
A person of illegitimate birth may have been a person born of a union with a cult prostitute. (NBC)
The following verses exclude Ammonites and Moabites from the assembly. This was not due to their foreign status as such, for Edomites and Egyptians were permitted. Rather, the exclusion of all these people (genitally-damaged, illegitimate children, Ammonites, Moabites, was due to their association with idolatry or their bad treatment of the Lord’s people.
23:3 An Ammonite or Moabite may not enter the assembly of the LORD; to the tenth generation none of their descendants shall ever do so, 23:4 for they did not meet you with food and water on the way as you came from Egypt, and furthermore, they hired Balaam son of Beor of Pethor in Aram Naharaim to curse you. 23:5 But the LORD your God refused to listen to Balaam and changed the curse to a blessing, for the LORD your God loves you. 23:6 You must not seek peace and prosperity for them through all the ages to come. 23:7 You must not hate an Edomite, for he is your relative; you must not hate an Egyptian, for you lived as a foreigner in his land. 23:8 Children of the third generation born to them may enter the assembly of the LORD.
Purity in Personal Hygiene, 9-14
23:9 When you go out as an army against your enemies, guard yourselves against anything impure. 23:10 If there is someone among you who is impure because of some nocturnal emission, he must leave the camp; he may not reenter it immediately. 23:11 When evening arrives he must wash himself with water and then at sunset he may reenter the camp.
23:12 You are to have a place outside the camp to serve as a latrine. 23:13 You must have a spade among your other equipment and when you relieve yourself outside you must dig a hole with the spade and then turn and cover your excrement. 23:14 For the LORD your God walks about in the middle of your camp to deliver you and defeat your enemies for you. Therefore your camp should be holy, so that he does not see anything indecent among you and turn away from you.
Purity in the Treatment of the Nonprivileged, 15-16
23:15 You must not return an escaped slave to his master when he has run away to you. 23:16 Indeed, he may live among you in any place he chooses, in whichever of your villages he prefers; you must not oppress him.
Purity in Cultic Personnel, 17-18
23:17 There must never be a sacred prostitute among the young women of Israel nor a sacred male prostitute among the young men of Israel. 23:18 You must never bring the pay of a female prostitute or the wage of a male prostitute into the temple of the LORD your God in fulfillment of any vow, for both of these are abhorrent to the LORD your God.
Respect for Others’ Property, 19-25
23:19 You must not charge interest on a loan to your fellow Israelite, whether on money, food, or anything else that has been loaned with interest. 23:20 You may lend with interest to a foreigner, but not to your fellow Israelite; if you keep this command the LORD your God will bless you in all you undertake in the land you are about to enter to possess. 23:21 When you make a vow to the LORD your God you must not delay in fulfilling it, for otherwise he will surely hold you accountable as a sinner. 23:22 If you refrain from making a vow, it will not be sinful. 23:23 Whatever you vow, you must be careful to do what you have promised, such as what you have vowed to the LORD your God as a freewill offering. 23:24 When you enter the vineyard of your neighbor you may eat as many grapes as you please, but you must not take away any in a container. 23:25 When you go into the ripe grain fields of your neighbor you may pluck off the kernels with your hand, but you must not use a sickle on your neighbor’s ripe grain.