What instructions do we see in this chapter?
Expectations for civil judges (25:1-3) – When judges in the nation of Israel heard cases in civil courts, what decisions were they supposed to make? They were to “justify the righteous and condemn the wicked” (25:1). In harmony with the law, they were to find the transgressors “guilty” and the non- transgressors “innocent.” In all nations, it is the role of civil officials to punish evildoers and praise/not punish those who live in harmony with civil law (1 Peter 2:14). Any country is blessed when it has civil authorities who deal, judge, and rule fairly.
Deuteronomy and the New Testament – First, in punishing a person guilty of a crime, forty was the maximum number of blows that could be given (25:2,3). This reminds us of Paul’s statement that on five occasions he was beaten with forty stripes minus one (2 Corinthians 11:24). Second, if an Israelite husband died without a son, his brother was to marry the widow in order to bring forth a son in the other brother’s name (25:5,6). This was the background for the Sadducees’ question to Jesus about the resurrection (Mark 12:18-24). Third, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain” (25:4). Paul quoted this principle to show that it is right for those who labor as gospel preachers (1 Corinthians 9:9,14) and elders (1 Timothy 5:17,18) to receive material compensation for their labors in the Lord.
Fair measurements – In a matter of everyday dealings with their fellowman, God told the Israelites to use “a perfect and just weight” and “a perfect and just measure” (25:15). “Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight” (Proverbs 11:1). Who likes to get ripped off?!
Dealing with the Amalekites (25:17-19) – After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, on their journey between the Red Sea and Mount Sinai they were attacked by the Amalekites. The attack was totally unprovoked, and we learn that they smote the rear part of Israel’s ranks when they were tired and weary. No retaliatory action was taken at the time, but now, almost forty years later, God told Israel to do two things. First, “Remember what Amalek did to you” (25:17). Second, “. . .you will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven” (25:19). When was that action to be taken? After God would bring Israel into Canaan and give them rest (25:19). It was not until the days of King Saul, which was about 400 years after the attack by Amalek, that God gave the charge to wipe them out (1 Samuel 15). We are reminded that God will carry out justice, and He will do so when and how He deems it to be best.
— Roger D. Campbell