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John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
on the Whole Bible

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Chapter 19

Chapter Overview

Various Precepts to be holy, verse 1, 2.
To honour parents and sabbaths, verse 3.
To shun idolatry, verse 4.
Duty to eat their peace-offering, verse 5-8.
To leave gleanings for the poor, verse 9, 10.
Not to steal, lie, swear falsely, or defraud, verse 11-13.
Not to curse the deaf, or put a stumbling-block before the blind, verse 14.
Not to judge unjustly, carry tales, or bear false witness, verse 15, 16.
To reprove sinners, not to revenge themselves; to love their neighbours, verse 17, 18.
Not to mix different things, verse 19.
Not to lie with their bond-maids, verse 20-22.
Not to eat of the fruit of the land for four years, verse 23-25.
Not to eat blood, use enchantments, or heathen customs, verse 26-28.
Or prostitute their daughters, verse 29.
To reverence God and his sanctuary, verse 30.
Not to regard wizards, verse 31.
To honour the aged, verse 32.
Love and right the stranger, verse 33, 34.
Do no injustice, verse 34, 35, 36.

Verse 2
Be ye holy - Separated from all the forementioned defilements, and entirely consecrated to God and obedient to all his laws. I am holy -Both in my essence, and in all my laws, which are holy and just and good.

Verse 3
His mother - The mother is put first, partly because the practice of this duty begins there, mothers, by perpetual converse, being sooner known to their children than their fathers; and partly because this duty is commonly neglected to the mother, upon whom children have not so much dependence as they have upon their father. And this fear includes the two great duties of reverence and obedience. And keep my sabbaths -This is added, to shew, that, whereas it is enjoined to parents that they should take care the sabbath be observed both by themselves and their children, it is the duty of children to fear and obey their parents in this matter. But that, if parents should neglect their duty herein, or by their command, counsel, or example, draw them to pollute the sabbath, the children in that case must keep the sabbath, and prefer the command of God before the commands of their parents.

Verse 4
Idols - The word signifies such as are no Gods, or nothings, as they are called, 1 Corinthians 8:4, many idols having no being, but in the fancy of their worshippers, and all of them having no virtue or power to do good or evil, Isaiah 41:23.

Verse 5
At your own will - Or, according to your own pleasure, what you think fit: For though this in general was required, yet it was left to their choice to determine the particulars.

Verse 6
On the morrow - He speaks here of that sort of peace-offerings, which were offered either by vow or freely for the obtaining of some mercy, for the other sort, which was by way of gratitude for mercies received, were to be eaten the same day.

Verse 10
I am the Lord your God - Who gave you all these things with a reservation of my right in them, and with a charge of giving part of them to the poor.

Verse 12
Ye shall not swear falsely - This is added, to shew how one sin draws on another, and that when men will lye for their own advantage, they will easily be induced to perjury. Profane the name - By any unholy use of it. So it is an additional precept, thou shalt not abuse my holy name by swearing either falsely or rashly.

Verse 14
Before the blind - To make them fall. Under these two particulars are manifestly forbidden all injuries done to such as are unable to right or defend themselves; of whom God here takes the more care, because they are not able to secure themselves. Fear thy God -Who both can and will avenge them.

Verse 15
The poor - So as through pity to him to give an unrighteous sentence.

Verse 16
Stand against the blood - In judgment as a false accuser or false witness, for accusers and witnesses use to stand, whilst the judges sit in courts of judicature.

Verse 17
Thou shalt not hate - As thou dost, in effect, if thou dost not rebuke him. Thy brother - The same as thy neighbour, that is, every man. If thy brother hath done wrong, thou shalt neither divulge it to others, nor hate him, and smother that hatred by sullen silence; nor flatter him therein, but shalt freely and in love, tell him of his fault. And not suffer sin upon him - Not suffer him to lie under the guilt of any sin, which thou by rebuking him, and thereby bringing him to repentance, couldst free him from.

Verse 18
Thy neighbour - Every man, as plainly appears, 1. By comparing this place with Leviticus 19:34, where this law is applied to strangers. 2. Because the word neighbour is explained by another man, Leviticus 20:10; Romans 13:8. As thyself - With the same sincerity, though not equality of affection.

Verse 19
Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender - This was prohibited, partly to restrain the curiosity and boldness of men, who might attempt to amend or change the works of God, partly that by the restraint here laid even upon brute-creatures men might be taught to abhor all unnatural lusts, partly to teach the Israelites to avoid mixtures with other nations, either in marriage or in religion, which also may be signified by the following prohibitions.

Verse 20
She shall be scourged - Heb. There shall be a scourging, which probably may belong to both of them, for 1. Both were guilty. 2. It follows, they shall not be punished with death, which may seem to imply that they were to be punished by some other common and considerable punishment, which scourging indeed was, but the paying of a ram was a small penalty and very unsuitable to the greatness of the offence. And the offering of the ram as a trespass offering for the sin against God, is not inconsistent with making satisfaction other ways for the injury done to men, but only added here as farther punishment to the man, either because he only could do this, and not the woman, who being a bondwoman had nothing of her own to offer. Or because his sex and his freedom aggravated his sin. Not put to death - Which they should have been, had she been free, Deuteronomy 22:23,24. The reason of this difference is not from any respect which God gives to persons, for bond and free are alike to him, but because bond-women were scarce wives, and their marriages were scarce true-marriages, being neither made by their choice, but their masters authority, nor continued beyond the year of release, but at her master's or husband's pleasure.

Verse 23
As uncircumcised - That is, As unclean, not to be eaten but cast away. This precept was serviceable, 1. To the trees themselves, which grew the better and faster, being early stript of those fruits, which otherwise would have drawn away much more of the strength from the tree. 2. To men, both because the fruit then was less wholesome, and because hereby men were taught to bridle their appetites; a lesson of great use and absolute necessity in a holy life.

Verse 24
Holy - Consecrated to the Lord, as the first-fruits and tithes were, and therefore given to the priests and Levites, Numbers 18:12,13 Deuteronomy 18:4 yet so that part of them were communicated to the poor widows and fatherless and strangers. See Deuteronomy 14:28. To bless the Lord, by whose power and goodness the trees bring forth fruit to perfection.

Verse 25
That it may yield the increase - That God may be pleased to give his blessing, which alone can make them fruitful.

Verse 26
Any thing with the blood - Any flesh out of which the blood is poured. Neither shall ye use enchantments - It was unpardonable in them, to whom were committed the oracles of God, to ask counsel of the devil. And yet worse in Christians, to whom the son of God is manifested, to destroy the works of the devil. For Christians to have their nativities cast, or their fortunes told, or to use charms for the cure of diseases, is an intolerable affront to the Lord Jesus, a support of idolatry, and a reproach both to themselves, and to that worthy name by which they are called. Nor observe times - Superstitiously, esteeming some days lucky, others unlucky.

Verse 27
The corners of your heads - That is your temples, ye shall not cut off the hair of your heads round about your temples. This the Gentiles did, either for the worship of their idols, to whom young men used to consecrate their hair, being cut off from their heads, as Homer, Plutarch and many others write; or in funerals or immoderate mournings, as appears from Isaiah 15:2; Jeremiah 48:37. And the like is to be thought concerning the beard or the hair in the corner, that is, corners of the beard. The reason then of this prohibition is because God would not have his people agree with idolaters, neither in their idolatries, nor in their excessive sorrowing, no nor so much as in the appearances of it.

Verse 28
Cuttings in your flesh - Which the Gentiles commonly did both in the worship of their idols, and in their solemn mournings, Jeremiah 16:6.

Verse 29
Do not prostitute - As the Gentiles frequently did for the honour of some of their idols, to whom women were consecrated, and publickly prostituted.

Verse 31
Wizards - Them that have entered into covenant with the devil, by whose help they foretel many things to come, and acquaint men with secret things. See Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:11; 1 Samuel 28:3,7,9; 2 Kings 21:6.

Verse 32
Rise up - To do them reverence when they pass by, for which end they were obliged, as the Jews say, presently to sit down again when they were past, that it might be manifest they arose out of respect to them. Fear thy God - This respect is due to such, if not for themselves, yet for God's sake, who requires this reverence, and whose singular blessing old age is.

Verse 33
Vex him - Either with opprobrious expressions, or grievous exactions.

Verse 34
As one born among you - Either 1, as to the matters of common right, so it reacheth to all strangers. Or 2, as to church-privileges, so it concerns only those who were proselytes. Ye were strangers - And therefore are sensible of the fears, distresses, and miseries of such, which call for your pity, and you ought to do to them, as you desired others should do to you, when you were such.

Verse 35
In mete-yard - In the measuring of lands, or dry things, as cloth, ribband. In measure - In the measuring liquid or such dry things as are only contigious, as corn or wine.

Verse 36
A just ephah and a just hin - These two two measures are named as most common, the former for dry, the latter for moist things, but under them he manifestly comprehends all other measures.

Verse 37
Therefore - Because my blessings and deliverances are not indulgences to sin, but greater obligations to all duties to God and men.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 19". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
on the Whole Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/wen/view.cgi?book=le&chapter=019>. 1765.  

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