- Laws for preserving stray or fallen cattle, verse 1-4.
- For a distinction of apparel between women and men, verse 5.
- For compassion even toward birds, verse 6, 7.
- Of battlements on houses, verse 8.
- Against improper mixtures, verse 9-11.
- Of fringes, verse 12.
- Of a wife, falsely accused, verse 13-19.
- Justly accused, verse 20, 21.
- The punishment of adultery, rape, fornication, verse 22-29.
- Of incest, verse 30.
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.
To thine own house - To be used like thine own cattle.
Hide thyself - Dissemble that thou hast found it. Or, hide it, that is, conceal the thing lost.
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.
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.
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.
Divers seeds - Either 1. 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, Leviticus 19:19, and here, in the vineyard. Or, 2. 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, 1 Timothy 4:5.
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.
Fringes - Or laces, or strings, partly to bring the commands of God to their remembrance, as it is expressed, Numbers 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.
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.
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.
She cried not - And therefore is justly presumed to have consented to it.
Even so - Not an act of choice, but of force and constraint.
The damsel cried - Which is in that case to be presumed; charity obliging us to believe the best, 'till the contrary be manifest.
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.
Take - To wife. So this respects the state, and the next branch speaks of the act only.