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This chapter concludes the acts that passed in the first session
(if I may so call it) upon Mount Sinai.
- Some laws of universal obligation, relating especially to the ninth
commandment, against bearing false witness, ver. 1.
and giving false judgement, ver. 2, 3, 6, 7, 8.
Also a law of doing good to our enemies, ver. 4, 5.
and not oppressing strangers, ver. 9.
- Some laws peculiar to the Jews: the sabbatical years,
ver. 10, 11.
the three annual feasts, ver. 14 - 17.
with laws pertaining thereto.
- Gracious promises of completing the mercy God had begun for them,
upon condition of their obedience, that God would conduct them
through the wilderness, ver 20 - 24.
that he would prosper all they had, ver. 25, 26,
that he would put them in possession of Canaan, ver. 27 - 31.
But they must not mingle themselves with the nations, ver. 32, 33.
1: Thou shalt not raise, the margin reads, Thou shalt not
receive a false report, for sometimes the receiver in this case
is as bad as the thief; and a backbiting tongue would not do so much
mischief, if it were not countenanced. Sometimes we cannot avoid
hearing a false report, but we must not receive it, we must not
hear it with pleasure, nor easily give credit to it.
2: Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil - General usage will
never excuse us in any ill practice; nor is the broad way ever the safer for
its being crowded. We must inquire what we ought to do, not what
the most do; because we must be judged by our master, not our fellow
servants; and it is too great a compliment, to be willing to go to hell for
7: Keep thee far from a false matter - From assisting or abetting an
ill thing. Yea, keep thee far from it, dread it as a dangerous snare.
I will not justify the wicked - That is, I will condemn him that unjustly
9: Thou shalt not oppress the stranger - Though aliens might not
inherit lands among them; yet they must have justice done them. It was an
instance of the equity of our law, that if an alien be tried for any crime
except treason, the one half of his jury, if he desire it, shall be
foreigners; a kind provision that strangers may not be oppressed. For
ye know the heart of a stranger - You know something of the griefs and
fears of a stranger by sad experience.
10: The institution of the sabbatical year was designed,
- To shew what a plentiful land that was, into which God was bringing them,
that so numerous a people could have rich maintenance out of the products of
so small a country, without foreign trade, and yet could spare the increase
of every seventh year.
- To teach them a confidence in the Divine Providence, while they did their
duty, That as the sixth day's manna served for two days meat, so the sixth
year's increase should serve for two years subsistence.
13: In all things that I have said unto you be circumspect - We are
in danger of missing our way on the right hand and on the left, and it is at
our peril if we do, therefore we have need to look about us. A man may ruin
himself through mere carelessness, but he cannot save himself without great
care and circumspection; particularly since idolatry was a sin they were
much addicted to, and would be greatly tempted to, they must endeavour to
blot out the remembrance of the gods of the heathen, and must disuse all
their superstitious forms of speech, and never mention them but with
detestation. In Christian schools and academies (for it is in vain to think
of re - forming the play - houses) it were to be wished that the names and
stories of the heathen deities or demons rather were not so commonly and
14: The Passover, Pentecost, and feast of Tabernacles, in spring,
summer, and autumn, were the three times appointed for their attendance;
not in winter, because travelling was then uncomfortable; nor in the midst
of their harvest.
17: All thy males - All that were of competent years, and health and
strength, and at their own disposal. 'Tis probable, servants were exempt:
for none was to appear without an offering: but most of these had nothing
19: Some of the Gentiles, at the end of their harvest, seethed
a kid in it's dam's milk, and sprinkled that milk - pottage in a
magical way upon their gardens and fields, to make them fruitful.
But Israel must abhor such foolish customs. Is not this rather
forbidden, as having some appearance of cruelty?
20: Behold, I send an angel before thee - The angel of the covenant:
Accordingly the Israelites in the wilderness are said to tempt
Christ. It is promised that this blessed anger should keep them in
the way, though it lay through a wilderness first, and afterwards
through their enemies country; and thus Christ has prepared a place for
21: Beware of him, and obey his voice; provoke him not - It is at
your peril if you do; for my name - My nature, my authority is in him.
25: He shall bless thy bread and thy water - And God's blessing will
make bread and water more refreshing and nourishing, than a feast of fat
things, and wines on the lees, without that blessing. And I will take
sickness away - Either prevent it or remove it. Thy land shall not be
visited with epidemical diseases, which are very dreadful, and sometimes
have laid countries waste.
26: The number of thy days I will fulfill - And they shall not be
cut off in the midst by untimely deaths. Thus hath godliness the
promise of the life that now is.
27: I will send my fear before thee - And they that fear will
soon flee. Hosts of hornets also made way for the hosts of
Israel; such mean creatures can God make use of for the chastising of
his people's enemies.