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Bible Commentaries

Trapp's Complete Commentary

Deuteronomy 21

Verse 1

Deu 21:1 If [one] be found slain in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it, lying in the field, [and] it be not known who hath slain him:

Ver. 1. In the field. ] Or elsewhere; the field is instanced, because in places more frequented, murders are not so easily concealed, or so commonly committed.

Verse 2

Deu 21:2 Then thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which [are] round about him that is slain:

Ver. 2. Then thy elders. ] Some of the Sanhedrim.

Verse 3

Deu 21:3 And it shall be, [that] the city [which is] next unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take an heifer, which hath not been wrought with, [and] which hath not drawn in the yoke;

Ver. 3. Shall take a heifer. ] Signifying Christ, who is the propitiation for his people’s sins, 1Jn 2:2

Verse 4

Deu 21:4 And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer’s neck there in the valley:

Ver. 4. Which is neither eared nor sown. ] That is, that afterwards should neither be tilled nor sown, for horror and hatred of the innocent blood there spilled. So the mountains of Gilboah. 2Sa 1:6

Verse 5

Deu 21:5 And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them the LORD thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of the LORD; and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be [tried]:

Ver. 5. And by their word, ] i.e., According to that exposition that they shall give of God’s Word, and not by any absolute or arbitrary power of their own.

Verse 6

Deu 21:6 And all the elders of that city, [that are] next unto the slain [man], shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley:

Ver. 6. Shall wash their hands. ] An old ceremony, used in this case by the Gentiles also, as the Scholiast upon Sophocles showeth. See Trapp on " Mat 27:24 "

Verse 7

Deu 21:7 And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen [it].

Ver. 7. And they shall answer. ] To the priest’s examining them, and in God’s name making inquisition for blood.

Verse 8

Deu 21:8 Be merciful, O LORD, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel’s charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them.

Ver. 8. And the blood shall be forgiven. ] The fault of not well watching and guarding the place where the murder was committed. Our King Alfred was the first that divided this kingdom into shires: he ordained also that his subjects should be divided into tens or tithings, every of which severally should give bond for the good abearing of each other. By this course men were not only careful of their own actions, but each had an eye to all the nine, for which he stood bound, as the nine had over him: insomuch that a poor girl might travel safely with a bag of gold in her hand, and none durst meddle with her. The ancientest of these men were called the tithing men.

Verse 11

Deu 21:11 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;

Ver. 11. And hast a desire unto her. ] This was permitted them, as divorce was, ob duricordium. But that is a base passage in the Turk’s Koran, that God did not give men such appetites to have them frustrate, but enjoyed, as made for the gust of man, not for his torment, wherein his Creator delights not; and therefore they hold it lawful for a man to marry as many wives as he is able to maintain.

Verse 12

Deu 21:12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;

Ver. 12. And she shall shave her head. ] In token that she must renounce her heathenism, and lead a new and holy life. And if she thus consented to marry, she saved her life by it; so do those their souls that consent to Christ, casting away their transgressions, and paring off their superfluities, by the constant practice of mortification.

Verse 13

Deu 21:13 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.

Ver. 13. A full month. ] Worldly sorrow, like a land flood, is for the present impetuous and violent, but time wears it out, not so godly sorrow.

Verse 14

Deu 21:14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.

Ver. 14. Because thou hast humbled her. ] This expression shows, that God approved not of his fact, which yet he tolerated. By "humbling" her is meant the taking away her honour of chastity; her credit was now gone. The body as a vessel should be "possessed in sanctification and honour." 1Th 4:4

Verse 15

Deu 21:15 If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, [both] the beloved and the hated; and [if] the firstborn son be hers that was hated:

Ver. 15. And another hated, ] i.e., Less loved, as Genesis 29:31 . See Trapp on " Gen 29:31 "

Verse 17

Deu 21:17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated [for] the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he [is] the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn [is] his.

Ver. 17. A double portion. ] According to this phrase, Elisha 2Ki 2:9 doth not desire a greater measure of the spirit than rested upon his master; but only to excel the other children of the prophets by a right of the firstborn.

Verse 20

Deu 21:20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son [is] stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; [he is] a glutton, and a drunkard.

Ver. 20. He is a glutton. ] The same word is used for a vile person in Jeremiah 15:19 . And indeed belly-gods Php 3:19 are dungy-gods. Hab 2:18 Eze 4:12-13 A scavenger, whose office is to empty, is to be preferred before him that liveth but to fill, privies.

Verse 21

Deu 21:21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

Ver. 21. Shall hear and fear. ] See Trapp on " Deu 19:20 "

Verse 23

Deu 21:23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged [is] accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance.

Ver. 23. For he that is hanged. ] See Trapp on " Gal 3:13 "

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 21". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.