Laws for preserving stray or fallen cattle, ver. 1 - 4.
For a distinction of apparel between women and men, ver. 5.
For compassion even toward birds, ver. 6, 7.
Of battlements on houses, ver. 8.
Against improper mixtures, ver. 9 - 11.
Of fringes, ver. 12.
Of a wife, falsely accused, ver. 13 - 19.
Justly accused, ver. 20, 21.
The punishment of adultery, rape, fornication, ver. 22 - 29.
Of incest, ver. 30.
1: Thy brother's - Any man's. Thou shalt not hide thyself -
Dissemble or pretend that thou dost not see them; or pass them by as if
thou hadst not seen them.
2: To thine own house - To be used like thine own cattle.
3: Hide thyself - Dissemble that thou hast found it. Or, hide
it, that is, conceal the thing lost.
5: Shall not wear - Namely, ordinarily or unnecessarily, for in some
cases this may be lawful, as to make an escape for one's life. Now this is
forbidden, both for decency sake, that men might not confound those sexes
which God hath distinguished, that all appearance of evil might be avoided,
such change of garments carrying a manifest sign of effeminacy in the man,
of arrogance in the woman, of lightness and petulancy in both; and also to
cut off all suspicions and occasions of evil, which this practice opens a
wide door to.
7: Let the dam go - Partly for the bird's sake, which suffered enough
by the loss of its young; for God would not have cruelty exercised towards
the brute creatures: and partly for mens sake, to refrain their greediness,
that, they should not monopolize all to themselves, but leave the hopes of
a future seed for others.
8: A battlement - A fence or breastwork, because the roofs of their
houses were made flat, that men might walk on them. Blood - The guilt of
blood, by a man's fall from the top of thy house, thro' thy neglect of this
necessary provision. The Jew's say, that by the equity of this law,
they are obliged, and so are we, to fence or remove every thing, whereby
life may he endangered, as wells, or bridges, lest if any perish thro' our
omission, their blood be required at our hand.
With divers kinds of seed mixed and sowed together between the rows of
vines in thy vineyard: which was forbidden to be done in the field,(Le 19:19), and here, in the vineyard. Or,
With any kind of seed differing from that of the vine, which would
produce either herbs, or corn, or fruit - bearing trees, whose fruit might be
mingled with the fruit of the vines. Now this and the following precepts,
tho' in themselves small and trivial, are given, according to that time and
state of the church, for instructions in greater matters, and particularly
to commend to them simplicity in all their carriage towards God and man,
and to forbid all mixture of their inventions with God's institutions in
doctrine or worship. Defiled - Legally and morally, as being prohibited
by God's law, and therefore made unclean; as on the contrary, things are
sanctified by God's word, allowing and approving them, (1Ti 4:5).
10: An ox and an ass - Because the one was a clean beast, the other
unclean whereby God would teach men to avoid polluting themselves by the
touch of unclean persons or things.
12: Fringes - Or laces, or strings, partly to bring the
commands of God to their remembrance, as it is expressed, (Nu 15:38),
and partly is a public profession of their nation and religion, whereby
they might be distinguished from strangers, that so they might be more
circumspect to behave as became the people of God, and that they should own
their religion before all the world. Thou coverest thyself - These words
seem restrictive to the upper garment wherewith the rest were covered.
13: If any man take a wife - And afterward falsely accuse her - What
the meaning of that evidence is, by which the accusation was proved false,
the learned are not agreed. Nor is it necessary for us to know: they for
whom this law was intended, undoubtedly understood it.
19: The father - Because this was a reproach to his family, and to
himself, as such a miscarriage of his daughter would have been ascribed to
his evil education.
24: She cried not - And therefore is justly presumed to have
consented to it.
26: Even so - Not an act of choice, but of force and constraint.
27: The damsel cried - Which is in that case to be presumed; charity
obliging us to believe the best, 'till the contrary be manifest.
29: Fifty shekels - Besides the dowry, as Philo, the learned
Jew notes, which is here omitted, because that was customary, it being
sufficient here to mention what was peculiar to this case. His wife - If
her father consented to it.
30: Take - To wife. So this respects the state, and the next branch
speaks of the act only.