and…: or, that thou bear not sin for him
betrothed…: or, abused by any: Heb. reproached by (or, for) man
she shall…: or, they, etc: Heb. there shall be a scourging
holy…: Heb. holiness of praises to the LORD
prostitute: Heb. profane
And the LORD
spake unto Moses, saying,
Exhortations to holiness, and a repetition of various laws,
Duty to parents, and observance of the Sabbath, 3.
Against idolatry, 4.
Concerning peace-offerings, 5-8.
The gleanings of the harvest and vintage to be left for the
poor, 9, 10.
Against stealing and lying, 11;
false swearing, 12;
defrauding the hireling, 13.
Laws in behalf of the deaf and the blind, 14.
Against respect of persons in judgment, 15;
hatred and uncharitableness, 17;
unlawful mixtures in cattle, seed, and garments, 19.
Laws relative to the bondmaid that is betrothed, 20-22.
The fruit of the trees of the land not to be eaten for the
first three years, 23;
but this is lawful in the fourth and fifth years, 24, 25.
Against eating of blood, and using incantations, 26;
superstitious cutting of the hair, 27;
and cutting of the flesh in the times of mourning, 28;
Sabbaths to be reverenced, 30.
Against consulting those who are wizards, and have familiar
Respect must be shown to the aged, 32.
The stranger shall not be oppressed, 33, 34.
They shall keep just measures, weights, and balances, 35, 36.
NOTES ON CHAP. XIX
Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD
your God am
¶ Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am
Verse 3. Ye shall fear every man his mother, &c.
] Ye shall
have the profoundest reverence and respect for them. See Clarke on Ge 48:12
; "Ex 20:8"
; and "Ex 20:12"
¶ Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am
Verse 4. Turn ye not unto idols
, literally nothings
; and to this St. Paul seems to allude 1Co 8:4
he says, We know that an idol is
NOTHING in the world
¶ And if ye offer a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD
, ye shall offer it at your own will.
Verse 5. Peace-offerings
] See at the conclusion of Clarke's note "Le 7:38"
It shall be eaten the same day ye offer it, and on the morrow: and if ought remain until the third day, it shall be burnt in the fire.
And if it be eaten at all on the third day, it is
abominable; it shall not be accepted.
Therefore every one
that eateth it shall bear his iniquity, because he hath profaned the hallowed thing of the LORD
: and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
¶ And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest.
Verse 9. When ye reap the harvest
] Liberty for the poor to
glean both the corn-fields and vineyards was a Divine
institution among the Jews; for the whole of the Mosaic
dispensation, like the Christian, breathed love to God and
benevolence to man. The poor in Judea were to live by gleanings
from the corn-fields and vine yards. To the honour of the
public and charitable spirit of the English, this merciful law
is in general as much attended to as if it had been incorporated
with the Gospel.
And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every
grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am
¶ Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.
¶ And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am
¶ Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him
: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.
Verse 13. The wages-shall not abide with thee all night
this plain reason, it is the support of the man's life and
family, and they need to expend it as fast as it is earned.
¶ Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am
Verse 14. Thou shalt not curse the deaf
] Or speak evil
him, because he cannot hear
, and so cannot vindicate his own
character. Nor put a stumbling-block before the blind
] He who is capable
of doing this, must have a heart cased with cruelty. The spirit
and design of these precepts are, that no man shall in any case
take advantage of the ignorance, simplicity, or inexperience of
his neighbour, but in all things do to his neighbour as he
would, on a change of circumstances, that his neighbour should
do to him.
¶ Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but
in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.
¶ Thou shalt not go up and down as
a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am
Verse 16. Thou shalt not go up and down as a tale-bearer
signifies a trader
, a pedlar
, and is here applied
to the person who travels about dealing in scandal and calumny,
getting the secrets of every person and family, and retailing
them wherever he goes. A more despicable character exists not:
such a person is a pest to society, and should be exiled from
the habitations of men. Neither shalt thou stand against the blood, &c.
] Thou shalt
not be as a false witness, because by such testimony the blood
of an innocent man may be endangered.
¶ Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.a
Verse 17. Thou shalt not hate thy brother
] Thou shalt not
only not do him any kind of evil, but thou shalt harbour no
hatred in thy heart towards him. On the contrary, thou shalt love him as thyself
, Le 19:18
. Many persons suppose, from
misunderstanding our Lord's words, Joh 13:34
, A new commandment give I unto you, that ye love one another, &c.
that loving our neighbour as ourselves was first instituted under
the Gospel. This verse shows the opinion to be unfounded: but to
love another as
Christ has loved us, i. e., to lay down our lives
for each other, is certainly a new
commandment; we have it
simply on the authority of Jesus Christ alone. And not suffer sin upon him.
] If thou see him sin, or know
him to be addicted to any thing by which the safety of his soul
is endangered, thou shalt mildly and affectionately reprove him,
and by no means permit him to go on without counsel and advice
in a way that is leading him to perdition. In a multitude of
cases timely reproof has been the means of saving the soul.
Speak to him privately
if possible; if not, write to him in such
a way that himself alone
shall see it.
¶ Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am
¶ Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.
Verse 19. Gender with a diverse kind
] These precepts taken
literally seem to imply that they should not permit the horse
and the she-ass
, nor the he-ass
and the cow
, (as they do in the
East,) to couple together; nor sow different kinds of seeds
the same field
; nor have garments
and woollen, cotton
and silk, linen
, &c. And if all these
were forbidden, there must have been some moral reason for the
prohibitions, because domestic economy required
several of these
mixtures, especially those which relate to seeds
With respect to heterogeneous mixtures among cattle
, there is
something very unnatural in it, and it was probably forbidden to
prevent excitements to such unnatural lusts as those condemned
in the preceding chapter, Le 18:22, 23
As to seeds
, in many cases it would be very improper to sow
different kinds in the same plot of ground. It would be
improvident to sow oats
together: the latter would be injured
, the former ruined
. The turnip
succeed conjointly, where either of them separately would prosper
and yield a good crop; so we may say of many other kinds of seeds
and if this be all that is intended, the counsels are prudential
agricultural maxims. As to different kinds of garments
, such as
the linsey woolsey
, the prohibition here might be intended as much
as any thing else; for it is certain that
both these articles may be so manufactured in conjunction as to
minister to pride, though in general the linsey woolsey
is the clothing of the poor
. But we really do not know what the
original word shaatnez
, which we translate linen
, means: it is true that in De 22:11
, where it is again
used, it seems to be explained by the words immediately
following, Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of linen and woollen together
; but this may as well refer to a
garment made up of a sort of patchwork differently coloured
for pride and for show. A folly of this kind prevailed
anciently in this very land, and I shall give a proof of it,
taken from a sermon against luxury in dress
, composed in the fourteenth
"As to the first sinne in superfluitie of clothing, soche that
maketh it so dere, to the harme of the peple, nat only the cost
of enbrauderlng, the disguised endenting, or barring, ounding
paling, winding or bending and semblable wast of clothe in
vanite. But there is also the costlewe furring in their gounes,
so moche pounsing of chesel, to make holes; so moche dagging
with sheres foorth; with the superfluitie in length of the
forsaied gounes,-to grete dammage of pore folke.-And more
ouer-they shewe throughe disguising, in departing of ther hosen
in white and red
, semeth that halfe ther members were
slain.-They departe ther hosen into other colours, as is white and blewe
, or white and blacke
, or blacke and red
, and so forth;
than semeth it as by variaunce of colour, that the halfe part of
ther members ben corrupt by the fire of Saint Anthony, or by
canker, or other suche mischaunce." The Parson's Tale
, in Chaucer
, p. 198. Urry's
edit. The reader will pardon the
"What could exhibit," says Dr. Henry, "a more fantastical
appearance than an English beau of the 14th century? He wore
long pointed shoes, fastened to his knees by gold or silver
chains; hose of one colour
on the one leg
, and of another colour
on the other
; short breeches which did reach to the middle of
his thighs; a coat the one half white
, the other half black
; a long beard; a silk hood buttoned under his chin,
embroidered with grotesque figures of animals, dancing men, &c.,
and sometimes ornamented with gold and precious stones." This
dress was the height of the mode in the reign of King Edward
Something of the same kind seems to have existed in the patriarchal times
; witness the coat of many colours
Jacob for his son Joseph. See Clarke on Ge 37:3
these different mixtures much may be seen in the Mishna
, Tract, Kilaim
, and in Ainsworth
, and Calmet
on this place.
¶ And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is
a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free.b, c
Verse 20. A woman that
is a bondmaid
] Had she been free
law required that she should be put to death; (see De 22:24
but as she was a slave
, she is supposed to have less
self-command, and therefore less guilt: but as it is taken for
granted she did not make resistance, or did consent, she is to
, and the man is to bring a ram for a trespass-offering
And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD
, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, even
a ram for a trespass offering.
And the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering before the LORD
for his sin which he hath done: and the sin which he hath done shall be forgiven him.
¶ And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of.
Verse 23. Three years shall it be as uncircumcised
] I see no
great reason to seek for mystical meanings in this prohibition.
The fruit of a young tree cannot be good; for not having arrived
at a state of maturity, the juices cannot be sufficiently
elaborated to produce fruit excellent in its kind. The
Israelites are commanded not to eat of the fruit of a tree till
the fifth year after its planting: in the three first years the
fruit is unwholesome; in the fourth
year the fruit is holy, it
belongs to God, and should be consecrated to him, Le 19:24
in the fifth
year and afterward the fruit may be employed for
common use, Le 19:25
But in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy to praise the LORD withal
And in the fifth year shall ye eat of the fruit thereof, that it may yield unto you the increase thereof: I am
¶ Ye shall not eat any thing
with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times.
Verse 26. Neither shall ye use enchantment
] lo thenachashu
. Conjecture itself can do little towards a proper
explanation of the terms used in this verse. nachash
; See Clarke on Ge 3:1
we translate serpent
, and with very little propriety; but
though the word may not signify a serpent in that place, it has
that signification in others. Possibly, therefore, the
superstition here prohibited may be what the Greeks called Ophiomanteia
, or divination by serpents
. Nor observe times.
] velo teonenu
, ye shall not divine by clouds
, which was also a superstition much in practice
among the heathens, as well as divination by the flight of birds
. What these prohibitions may particularly refer to, we
know not. See Clarke on Ge 41:8
Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.
Verse 27. Ye shall not round the corners your heads
and the following verse evidently refer to customs which must
have existed among the Egyptians when the Israelites sojourned
in Egypt; and what they were it is now difficult, even with any
probability, to conjecture. Herodotus
observes that the Arabs shave
or cut their hair round
, in honour of Bacchus, who, they
say, had his hair cut in this way, lib. iii., cap. 8. He says
also that the Macians
, a people of Libya, cut their hair round
so as to leave a tuft
on the top of the head, lib. iv., cap. 175.
In this manner the Chinese cut their hair to the present day.
This might have been in honour of some idol, and therefore
forbidden to the Israelites.
was much used in divination among the ancients, and
for purposes of religious superstition among the Greeks; and
particularly about the time of the giving of this law, as this
is supposed to have been the era of the Trojan war. We learn
that it was customary for parents to dedicate the
hair of their children to some god; which, when they came to
manhood, they cut off and consecrated to the deity. Achilles
at the funeral of Patroclus, cut off his golden locks which his
father had dedicated to the river god Sperchius
, and threw them
into the flood:-
Iliad, 1. xxiii., ver. 142, &c.
But great Achilles stands apart in prayer,
And from his head divides the yellow hair,
Those curling locks which from his youth he vowed,
And sacred threw to Sperchius' honoured flood.
Then sighing, to the deep his looks he cast,
And rolled his eyes around the watery waste.
Sperchius! whose waves, in mazy errors lost,
Delightful roll along my native coast!
To whom we vainly vowed, at our return,
These locks to fall, and hecatombs to burn
So vowed my father, but he vowed in vain,
No more Achilles sees his native plain;
In that vain hope these hairs no longer grow;
Patrocius bears them to the shades below.
we learn that the topmost lock
of hair was
dedicated to the infernal gods
; see his account of the death of
"Nondum illi flavum Proserpina vertice crinem
Abstulerat, Stygioque caput damnaverat orco--
-----------------------Hunc ego Diti
Sacrum jussa fero; teque isto corpore solvo.
Sic ait, et dextra crinem secat."
AEneid, lib. iv., ver. 698.
The sisters had not cut the topmost hair,
Which Proserpine and they can only know.
Nor made her sacred to the shades below-
This offering to the infernal gods I bear;
Thus while she spoke, she cut the fatal hair.
If the hair was rounded
, and dedicated for purposes of this
kind, it will at once account for the prohibition in this verse. The corners of thy beard.
] Probably meaning the hair of the
cheek that connects the hair of the head with the beard. This
was no doubt cut in some peculiar manner, for the superstitious
purposes mentioned above. Several of our own countrymen wear
this said hair in a curious form; for what purposes they know
best: we cannot say precisely that it is the ancient Egyptian
custom revived. From the images and paintings which remain of
the ancient Egyptians, we find that they were accustomed to
shave the whole hair off their face, except merely that upon the
chin, which last they cut off only in times of mourning
Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am
Verse 28. Any cuttings in your flesh for the dead
] That the
ancients were very violent in their grief, tearing the hair and
face, beating the breast, &c., is well known. Virgil represents
the sister of Dido "tearing her face with her nails, and beating
her breast with her fists."
Nor print any marks upon you
"Unguibus ora soror foedans, et pectora pugnis."
AEn., l. iv., ver. 672.
] It was a very ancient and a
very general custom to carry marks on the body in honour of the
object of their worship. All the castes of the Hindoos bear on
their foreheads or elsewhere what are called the sectarian marks
, which distinguish them, not only in a civil but also in a
religious point of view, from each other.
Most of the barbarous nations lately discovered have their
faces, arms, breasts, &c., curiously carved or tattooed
for superstitious purposes. Ancient writers abound with
accounts of marks made on the face, arms, &c., in honour of
different idols; and to this the inspired penman alludes, Re 13:16, 17; 14:9, 11; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4
, where false
worshippers are represented as receiving in their hands and in
their forehead the marks of the beast. These were called
among the Greeks, and to these St. Paul refers
when he says, I bear about in my body the
MARKS (stigmata) of the Lord Jesus
; Ga 6:17
. I have seen several cases where
persons have got the figure of the cross, the Virgin Mary, &c.,
made on their arms, breasts, &c., the skin being first
punctured, and then a blue colouring matter rubbed in, which is
never afterward effaced. All these were done for superstitious
purposes, and to such things probably the prohibition in this
verse refers. Calmet, on this verse, gives several examples.
See also Mariner's Tonga Islands
, vol. i. p. 311-313.
¶ Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness.e
Verse 29. Do not prostitute thy daughter
] This was a very
frequent custom, and with examples of it writers of antiquity
abound. The Cyprian women, according to Justin, gained that
portion which their husbands received with them at marriage by
previous public prostitution. And the Phoenicians
, according to Augustine
, made a gift to Venus of the gain acquired by the
public prostitution of their daughters, previously to their
marriage. "Veneri donum dabant, et prostitutiones filiarum,
antequam jungerent eas viris."-De Civit. Del, lib. xviii., c. 5;
and see Calmet
¶ Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am
¶ Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am
Verse 31. Regard not them that have familiar spirits
Hebrew word oboth
probably signifies a kind of engastromuthoi
, or such as the Pythoness
mentioned Ac 16:16,18
; persons who, while under the influence of their demon
, became greatly inflated
, as the Hebrew
word implies, and gave answers in a sort of phrensy. See a case
of this kind in Virgil, AEneid, l. vi., ver. 46, &c.:-
Neither seek after wizards
"----Deus ecce, Deus! cui talla fanti
Ante fores, subito non vultus, non color unus,
Non comptae mansere comae; sed pectus anhelum,
Et rabie fera corda tument; majorque videri,
Nec mortale sonans, afflata est numine quando
Jam propiore Dei."
-------------------Invoke the skies,
I feel the god, the rushing god, she cries.
While yet she spoke, enlarged her features grew,
Her colour changed, her locks dishevelled flew.
The heavenly tumult reigns in every part,
Pants in her breast, and swells her rising heart:
Still swelling to the sight, the priestess glowed,
And heaved impatient of the incumbent god.
, the wise
or knowing ones
, from yada
, to know
in Scotland, wise
or cunning man
in England; and
hence also the wise woman
, the white witch
. Not only all real
dealers with familiar spirits, or necromantic or magical
superstitions, are here forbidden, but also all pretenders
the knowledge of futurity, fortune-tellers, astrologers, &c.,
&c. To attempt to know what God has not thought proper to
reveal, is a sin against his wisdom, providence, and goodness.
In mercy, great mercy, God has hidden the knowledge of futurity
from man, and given him hope
-the expectation of future good
its place. See Clarke on Ex 22:18
¶ Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am
¶ And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.f
Verse 33. If a stranger sojourn
] This law to protect and
comfort the stranger was at once humane and politic. None is so
desolate as the stranger, and none needs the offices of
benevolence and charity more: and we may add that he who is not
affected by the desolate state of the stranger has neither
benevolence nor charity. It was politic to encourage strangers,
as in consequence many came, not only to sojourn, but to settle
among the Jews, and thus their political strength became
increased; and many of these settlers became at least proselytes of the gate
if not proselytes of the covenant
, and thus got
their souls saved. Hence humanity, sound policy, and religion
said, Vex not the stranger; thou shalt love him as thyself
apostle makes use of a strong argument to induce men to
hospitality towards strangers: Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares
, Heb 13:2
. Moses also uses a powerful motive: Ye were strangers in the land of Egypt
. The spirit of the precept
here laid down, may be well expressed in our Lord's words: Do unto all men as ye would they should do unto you
the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am
¶ Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure.
Verse 35. Ye shall do no unrighteousness
] Ye shall not act
contrary to the strictest justice in any case, and especially in
following, which properly understood, comprise all that
can occur between a man and his fellow. 1. JUDGMENT in all
cases that come before the civil magistrate; he is to judge and
decide according to the law
. 2. METE-YARD, bammiddah
measures of length
, such as the reed, cubit, foot
, span, hand's breadth
, among the Jews
; or ell, yard, foot
, and inch
, among us. 3. WEIGHT, bammishkal
, in any thing that
, the weights being all according to the standards
for the purpose of trying the rest in the sanctuary, as appears
from Ex 30:13
; 1Ch 23:29
; these weights were the talent, shekel, barleycorn
, &c. 4. MEASURE, bammesurah
, from which we derive our term. This refers to all
measures of capacity
, such as the homer, ephah, seah, hin, omer
, and log
. See all these explained, Clarke "Ex 16:16"
Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am
your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.g
Verse 36. Just balances
] Scales, steel-yard
, &c. Weights
, abanim, stones
, as the weights appear to have been
originally formed out of stones. Ephah, hin
, &c., see before.
Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am
Verse 37. Shall ye observe all my statutes
, from chak
, to describe, mark
, or trace out
the righteousness which I have described, and the path of duty
which I have traced out. Judgments
, from shaphat
, to discern, determine, direct
, &c.; that which
Divine Wisdom has discerned
to be best for man, has determined
shall promote his best interest, and has directed
conscientiously to use. See Clarke on Le 26:15
1. MANY difficulties occur in this very important chapter, but
they are such only to us
; for there can be no doubt of their
having been perfectly well known to the Israelites, to whom the
precepts contained in this chapter were given. Considerable
pains however have been taken to make them plain, and no serious
mind can read them without profit.
2. The precepts against injustice, fraud, slander, enmity, &c.,
&c., are well worth the notice of every Christian; and those
usages are not less so; and by these last
we learn, that having recourse to astrologers
, &c., to get intelligence of lost or stolen
goods, or to know the future events of our own lives, or those
of others, is highly criminal in the sight of God. Those who
have recourse to such persons renounce their baptism, and in
effect renounce the providence
as well as the word
3. The precepts of humanity and mercy relative to the poor
, the hireling
, and the stranger
, are worthy of our most serious
regard. Nor are those which concern weights
traffic, and the whole system of commutative justice, less
necessary to be observed for the benefit and comfort of the individual
, and the safety and prosperity of the state