I am still working my way through the book of Deuteronomy in the Bible. And I cannot help but see how the laws that were given, were given by a merciful and loving God.
Take for example…
Take heed in an outbreak of leprosy, that you diligently observe and do according to all that the priests, the Levites, shall teach you…
I looked up leprosy, wondering why (as mentioned in the previous verse) Miriam was put out of the camp for a week. (The rules for ‘diagnosing’ leprosy are given in detail in Leviticus 13.)
Many English translations of the Bible translate tzaraath as “leprosy,” a confusion that derives from the use of the koine cognate “Λέπρα” (which can mean any disease causing scaly skin) in the Septuagint. Ancient sources such as the Talmud (Sifra 63) make clear that tzaraath refers to various types of lesions or stains associated with ritual impurity and occurring on cloth, leather, or houses, as well as skin. It may sometimes be a symptom of the disease described in this article, but has many other causes, as well.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leprosy (near the end, under the sub-heading Bible.)
So, all those restrictions listed in Leviticus 13 would determine whether it was leprosy, with all the stigma, and poor conditions associated with being cast out of society, not to mention the complications of the disease itself. (Anyone who saw the movie Ben-Hur might remember the fate of the mother and sister, living in caves outside the town.)
If it should turn out to be leprosy, then the spread of the disease was contained.
In our day, in Western cultures, leprosy is not such a common threat. However, with the many ‘plagues’ and rapidly spreading diseases, we would be wise to heed the instruction to quarantine ourselves.
Another, of many examples of the considerate side of the Law…
When you lend your brother anything, you shall not go into his house to get his pledge. You shall stand outside, and the man to whom you lend shall bring the pledge out to you.
Deuteronomy 24: 10, 11
I looked up a commentary on this series of verses, via www.BibleTools.org, and Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown had this to say..
The course recommended was, in kind and considerate regard, to spare the borrower’s feelings. In the case of a poor man who had pledged his cloak, it was to be restored before night, as the poor in Eastern countries have commonly no other covering for wrapping themselves in when they go to sleep than the garment they have worn during the day.
And by the way… it was not Moses Law, it was God’s Law delivered by Moses.
Sharing my thoughts