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CRITICAL NOTES.—The cases stated and provided for in Deuteronomy 22:1-12 seem selected by way of example, and belong, according to our notions, rather to ethics than to law. It in noteworthy that no penalty is annexed to the breech of these regulations. No doubt it would be the duty of the “officers” (Deuteronomy 22:16-18) and the elders in the several cities to enforce their observance.—Speak. Com.
Deuteronomy 22:1-4. Humanity to neighbours. This is an expansion of Exodus 23:4-5. A stray sheep, ox or ass to be taken to the owner. If owner unknown or lived at a distance, finder must take it to his own farm until sought for. A fallen ox (Deuteronomy 22:4), unable to carry its burden, to be helped up. Hide thyself, excusing or refusing help.
Deuteronomy 22:5. Apparel of sex. Pertaineth not only dress, but arms, domestic and other utensils (cf. Exodus 22:6; Leviticus 11:32; Leviticus 13:49). This designed to oppose idolatrous practices and to prevent licentious conduct.
Deuteronomy 22:6-7. Birds’ nests. Chance often met with by travellers. Affectionate relation between parent and young to be sacred. Wisdom and humanity in this precept Prolong (Exodus 20:12).
Deuteronomy 22:8. House building. Roofs were flat and used for various purposes (Joshua 2:6; 2 Samuel 12:2; Acts 10:9.) Human life was not to be endangered through any neglect of protection.
Deuteronomy 22:9-12. Mixtures avoided. Prohibitions against mixing together things which are separated in God’s creation, consisting partly of a verbal repetition of Leviticus 19:19. To this is appended in Deuteronomy 22:12 the law concerning the tassels upon the hem of the upper garment (Numbers 15:37), which were to remind the Israelites of their calling to walk before the Lord in faithful fulfilment of his commandments.—Keil.
Deuteronomy 22:13-22. Laws of chastity. Designed to foster purity and fidelity in relation to the sexes, and to protect females from malice and violence. Chastise (Deuteronomy 22:18) with stripes not exceeding forty in number. Amerce (F. a at; merci, mercy; Lat., merces, wages, penalty) punish by pecuniary penalty. Shekels paid to the father against whom the slander was made as head of the wife’s family. The amount twice as much as that paid by a seducer (Deuteronomy 22:29).
Deuteronomy 22:22-30. Laws of marriage. Adulterers were both to be put to death (Deuteronomy 22:22). Betrothed in the city and with her consent (cried not, Deuteronomy 22:24), both stoned. If found in a field (Deuteronomy 22:25-27), and she was forced, the man only died, as the only criminal. Not betrothed (Deuteronomy 22:28), a fine for undue liberty and completion of marriage without divorce. Incest (Deuteronomy 22:30) prohibited in repetition of earlier law (cf. Leviticus 18:8; Leviticus 20:11; 1 Corinthians 5:1) to form a close.
RESTORATION OF STRAY CATTLE AND LOST GOODS.—Deuteronomy 22:1-4
Moses urges right action in manifold relations of national life, and teaches Israel to regard all arrangements of God as sacred. They were never to cherish any bitterness or hostility towards a neighbour, but restore stray animals and lost goods.
I. An indication of God’s Providence. “Doth God care for oxen?” Yes; and observes them go astray, or fall beneath their heavy burden. He made and preserves them. He legislates for them, and our treatment of them is reverence or disobedience to His command. “Thou shalt not see,” etc.
II. An opportunity of neighbourly kindness. “Thy brother” comprehends relatives, neighbours, strangers, and enemies even (Exodus 23:4). The property of any person which is in danger should be protected and restored. Love should rule in all actions, and daily incidents afford the chance of displaying it. In trivial circumstances we may learn to forgive injury, love enemies, and do good for evil.
1. Kindness regardless of trouble. “If thy brother be not nigh unto thee, and if thou know him not,” seek him out and find him if possible.
2. Kindness regardless of expense. If really unable to find the owner, feed and keep it for a time at thine own expense. “Then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it.” If such care must be taken for the ox, what great anxiety should we display for the temporal and spiritual welfare of our neighbour himself.
III. An expression of humanity. “Thou shalt not hide thyself.” Indifference or joy in the misfortune would be cruelty to dumb creatures and a violation of the common rights of humanity.
1. In restoring the lost. Cattle easily go astray and wander over the fence and from the fold. If seen they must be brought back and not hidden away.
2. In helping up the fallen. The ass illtreated and overladen may fall down through rough or slippery roads. Pity must prompt a helping hand. “Thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.” Thus common justice and charity are taught by the law of nature and enforced by the law of Moses. Principles which anticipate the gospel and embody themselves in one of its grandest precepts, “Love your enemies.”
INTERCHANGE OF APPAREL.—Deuteronomy 22:5
Not only was property to be held sacred, but the distinction of sexes also, by clothing suitable to each sex. A woman was not to put on a man’s clothing, nor a man a woman’s. This would be—
I. A display of indecent conduct. The putting on of the apparel of the one sex by the other is an outrage of ordinary decency.
1. In common life. Unbecoming levity is often seen. Modesty is the guard of female virtue and the charm of social life.
2. In divine worship. The custom of changing attire was prevalent in idolatrous worship. The sexes of heathen deities were often confounded and the worshippers endeavoured to please them by attiring like a particular god. This is forbidden to Israel.
II. A destruction of natural distinction. God created them male and female. This natural distinction should be preserved in manners and dress; but is destroyed when women forget their sex and men their decorum (1 Corinthians 2:3-9).
III. An abomination to God. “All that do so are abomination unto the Lord.” The habit defaces the natural image of God in man; opens up the way to impudence, licentiousness and deception. These evils are detestable to God. For man and woman God has given a standard of dress and life.
TAKE CARE OF BIRDS.—Deuteronomy 22:6-7
A bird’s nest seems a trifling thing to notice, but the majestic and the minute are equally under Divine care. Notice—
I. The wisdom of the precept. Birds have important uses in the economy of nature. Extirpation of any species, edible or ravenous, especially in a land like Palestine would be a serious evil. The vulture which destroys putrid bodies and the ibis which devours snakes have been of service to society. The owl keeps down the mice, and sparrows, the caterpillar. God has made nothing in vain. His wisdom and goodness rule over all.
II. The humanity of the Precept. To disturb the dam while sitting would rob her of her young and her liberty. It would be wanton destruction and cruelty. The tiniest birds are protected by God. Cowper would make no man his friend who would tread even upon a worm, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.”
III. The benefit of the Precept. Spare the birds and thou shalt prolong thine own days. Kindness to man and beast will elevate personal character, check destructive tendencies, and please God. Those who show mercy shall reap mercy. In all circumstances benevolence to the creature and obedience to the Creator will increase the happiness of life, and meet with the seal of Heaven.
THE TREATMENT OF BIRD’S NESTS
I. The minuteness of divine law is here very beautifully illustrated. God does not finish great breadths of work and leave the details to be filled by other hands. He who guards planets, guards bird’s nests, though in the latter case His defence may be broken down by wanton hands. Our own life to be exact in detail. Not enough to keep the law in great aspects which appeal to the public eye, and by keeping which a reputation is sometimes unjustly gained, but by attention to minute and hardly discernable features of character which indicate the real quality of the man. II. The beneficence of divine law is illustrated by protection of bird’s nests. God kind in little as well as great things. Love is one whether shown in redemption of the race, in numbering hairs of our head, ordering our steps or giving His beloved sleep. All law benificent; the law of restriction as well as liberty. Man to have dominion over fowls of the air, but dominion to be exercised in mercy. Power uncontrolled by kindness becomes despotism. Power belongs to God—unto God also belongs mercy; this is completeness of dominion, not only a hand to rule, but a heart to love. III. A prohibition of this kind shows that there is a right and wrong in everything. A right way of appropriating bird’s nests and a way equally wrong. Morality goes down to every root and fibre of life. In offering a salutation, opening a door, uttering a wish, writing a letter, in every possible exercise of thought and power. IV. The principle of the prohibition admits of wide application in life. He who wantonly destroys a bird’s nest, may one day cruelly break up a child’s home. We cannot stop wantonness when we please. Little tyrannies of childhood explain the great despotisms of mature life. Kindness an influence that penetrates the whole life, having manifold expression, upward, downward, and laterally, touching all human beings, all inferiors and dependants, and every harmless and defenceless life. V. Beware of the possibility of being merely pedantic in feeling. A man may be careful of his horse and cruel to his servant. Some would not on any account break up a bird’s nest, yet would allow a poor relation to die of hunger. What with all carefulness for dumb animals, if we think little of breaking a human heart by sternness or neglect! VI. Kindness to the lower should become still tenderer to the higher. This, Christ’s argument in bidding us behold the fowls of the air, that in their life we may see our Father’s kindness. “Are ye not much better than they?” If careful for cattle, “How much is a man better than a sheep?” How does the case stand with us, who have completer inheritance of liberty, who have passed from the latte the spirit? We are no longer true, noble and kind, because of literal direction guarded by solemn sanctions, but because the Holy Ghost has sanctified us, and made our hearts his dwelling place.—Dr. Parker.
HOMILETIC HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS
Deuteronomy 22:1-3. Lost property restored. An ass, an ox, and raiment samples of the property of an Israelite. If lost these must be restored.
1. To preserve them.
2. To show kindly feeling towards a neighbour. Hence—I. Restoration a duty demanded by a brother and urged by God. II. Neglect to restore a sin. A species of theft, “Thou shalt not steal.” The general duty of stopping stray animals and restoring them to friendly owners is expressly taught here.
Deuteronomy 22:5. Sex distinguished.
1. By nature.
2. By dress.
3. By manners.
4. By conduct. “This is a precept against boldness and effrontery in woman; and against effeminacy in man. It is a precept against all infraction of those laws which God has established at the creation of man and of woman out of man; and renewed and reinforced in the incarnation of Christ. It is a precept against all confusion of attire of men and women, especially in the Church of God.”—Wordsworth
ON MAKING BATTLEMENTS.—Deuteronomy 22:8
This is an extraordinary statement. May not a man please himself in building a house which he is able to pay for? God says not, and society in many particulars confirmed the word. There is nothing which a man may do merely to please himself. We are surrounded by other people, and it is one of the most gracious appointments of Providence that we are obliged to consider the effect of our movements upon our fellow-creatures. Thus self will is limited, our character strengthened, and all that is highest in friendship purified and strengthened. It is easy to see how objections to the appointment of the text might arise. For example:—
1. “My neighbour will call upon me only now and then; why should I make a permanent arrangement to meet an exceptional circumstance?” We are to build for exceptional circumstances. The average temperature of the year may be mild, wind low and rains gentle; yet we build houses not for such averages, but for the possibility of severe trials. Vessels are not made by the shipbuilder for smooth waters and quiet days, but for the roughest billows and fiercest winds. Our neighbours’ visits may be uncertain, yet their very uncertainty constitutes demand for permanent arrangement. Be prepared for crises, expect the unexpected, and be sure of the uncertain. He who is so defended for his neighbour’s sake will be equal to the severest emergencies of life.
2. “But will it not be time enough to build the battlement when anything like danger is in prospect?” No. Life is regulated by the doctrine that prevention is better than cure. We are not at liberty to try first whether people will fall off the roof. Life too short and valuable to justify such experiments. He who prevents the loss of life saves it. Preventive ministries of life are not so heroic and impressive as those of a more affirmative kind, yet they are most acceptable to God. Prevent your boy from becoming a drunkard, it is better than saving him from extremest dissipation, though not so imposing before society.
3. “But ought not men to be able to take care of themselves when walking on the roof of a house without our guarding them as if they were little children?” No. We are to study the interests of the weakest men. This is the principle of Christianity. “If eating flesh or drinking wine,” etc. “Him that is weak in the faith receive,” etc. “Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died.” The house may be strong, but if wanting the battlement of grace above it, it is wanting in beauty which is pleasant to God’s eye. You may be able to walk upon the roof without danger, another may not have the same steadiness of head and firmness of foot. It is for that other man you are to regulate your domestic arrangements. “Love thy neighbour as thyself.”
See the Christian application of this. If we are to build a house as not to endanger the men who visit us, are we to build a life which may be to others snares of destruction? Is not a battlement around our conduct? Are habits to be formed without reference to social influence? Children are looking at us, strangers take account of our ways, and though we may be proud of our strength, they may be lured from righteousness by that licentiousness which we call liberty.
Has God given directions for building a house and forgotten to give instructions for the building of a life? Is it like Him to do the little and forget the great? Is He not more careful about the tenant than about the house? Instructions for life-building abound. “Wisdom is the principal thing,” etc. Go to the Book with earnest desire to discover the way of salvation, the secret of vital growth, and God will teach.—The City Temple. Vol. III.
RELIGIOUS ÆSTHETICS.—Deuteronomy 22:9-11
As “a peculiar people” God designed that they should walk worthy of their high vocation. No intermingling allowed with heathen character and practices. They and even their cattle were stamped with the mark of separation. By forbidding the intermingling of seeds, animals and garments, God taught the great lesson of spiritual separation. That lesson has been written for our learning.
THE MIXED SEED
“The seed is the word.” The Christian, faithful in his testimony to divine truth, is the sower. Whatever is opposed to this seed, foreign to it in character, arrests its fall into good ground, or obstructs its growth when rooted—is the mischievous seed of the wicked one—the seed of “tares” and choking “thorns.” A teacher of truth in pulpit, Sabbath school, or in house to house visitation who seeks on the Sabbath to scatter the seed of the kingdom, but during the week is busy dealing out “words to no profit,” has no more warrant to expect the prepared heart among secular hearers than the husbandman in expecting the culture and preparedness of his ground by the cultivation of chickweed.
THE UNEQUAL YOKING
“Thou shalt not plough with an ox and an ass together.” This illustrates the intermingling of persons of diverse characters and tastes This intercourse is indispensible in certain relations. Men of all characters and orders have fellowship in different ways. It would not be desirable, if practicable, for the “children of light” to be separated outwardly from “the children of this world.” Christ moved with crowds but had fellowship only with few, contact and intercourse with evil, but no communion with it. He met with men to teach, heal, comfort, and save, but the means He used were words of truth and acts of love. In Christ there were no unseemly and unequal yoking. The illustration refers also to service—the inviting of opposite characters and interests in a common cause. The ox being stronger than the ass, two evils ensue. The stronger drags aside the weaker, and the weaker impedes the progress of the stronger. Unequal yokes make bad ploughing and a crooked furrow. The loss is seen in waste of time, labour, an ground. “How can two walk together except they be agreed?” In secular life two men united in partnership cannot prosper without agreement. Each seeks his own selfish ends or unrighteous progress at the sacrifice of principle. In spiritual life, when a Christian unites with any whose thoughts, tastes and habits differ from his own, how can they walk harmoniously. Any good to be done is done defectively or left undone. Otherwise it must be done separately; the ox unyoked and freed from encumbrance. The liberation happens in obedience to the Divine injunction, “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.”
THE MIXED GARMENT
“Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.” Many put on religion for particular days and special occasions. On Sabbath they are suitably and religiously attired; but other days of the week find them wearing a garment of coarser material and divers colours. A “linsey-woolsey” Christianity is very popular. The practical, outward life of a Christian should harmonise with his spiritual hidden life, compared in Scripture to “fine linen, clean and white, the righteousness of the saints.” Hence exhortations to “keep his garments, to hate the garment spotted by the flesh,” to “put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man,” etc. Christians are a peculiar people in God’s estimation, and should be in that of the world by reason of moral character, their spiritual clothing. As “a holy priesthood” they should never put off their long priestly linen garments, but let them be “for glory and beauty.” A “royal priesthood” should evince its rank by “royal apparel,” for they that wear soft raiment are in kings’ houses. What a motive does this furnish for practical godliness. The priestly robe should be worn always, in all companies and in all times; should suit the home, the sanctuary, and the place of business. Whatever forbids my robe forbids my presence. “Ye are the temple of the Holy Ghost,” and “what agreement hath the temple of God with idols.” A testing principle is here. The question is not what is lawful for a Christian, but what is seemly, beautiful, and accordant with Divine taste. The God of glory is jealous for the glory of his children. He would have the outward correspond with the inward. “Wherefore be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing.”—The Study, 1875.
THE MORAL AND THE POSITIVE IN THE DUTIES OF LIFE.—Deuteronomy 22:11
On this verse we remark—I. That it exhibits a positive duty. Moral laws are of everlasting obligation; positive may be temporary and local in their existence. II. That as the inculcation of a positive duty, the precept of the text was not so binding upon the Jews as those duties which were wholly moral. III. That we who live under the gospel dispensation are not bound to observe this precept at all. We are not under law, but under grace. IV. That while we are under no manner of obligation to observe this precept in its literal meaning, still the moral principle which underlies that meaning, and which it was intended to illustrate, is as binding now as ever. It teaches us that we cannot “serve two masters;” “thou shalt have no other gods before me.”—R. Harley, F. R. S.
HOMILETIC HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS
Deuteronomy 22:8. Battlements.
1. Danger in places of common resort. Roofs of houses much resorted to in cool of the evening.
2. Danger in places of devotion. They were used as an oratory or places of prayer.
3. Danger in places of rest. They were also slept on during the heat of summer. It is needful to have some parapet or fence to guard ourselves and others from falling down.
Deuteronomy 22:9. Divers seeds.
1. To secure the best crop. By enjoining the best, unmixed seed, and by preventing one seed from destroying the other.
2. To forbid heathen customs. Heathens sowed barley with dried grapes, by which they signified that their vineyards were consecrated to Ceres and Bacchus.
3. To induce simple trust in God. By not sowing mixed seeds they would indicate faith in God’s providence in seasons wet or dry. “The Church is God’s vineyard (Isaiah 5:7; Jeremiah 12:10; Matthew 21:33; Luke 20:15). It must not be sown with the tares of false doctrine, mingled with the good seed of the word.”—Wordsworth.
Deuteronomy 22:10. Plow. Unequally yoked.
1. In the choice of companions.
2. In married life (2 Corinthians 6:14).
3. In Christian work. “The ass is lower than the ox, and when in a yoke together must bear the principal weight, and that in a very painful
position in the neck; his steps are unequal and his strength is inferior, which must occasion an irregular draught, and great oppression to both. The ass is a stubborn, rebellious, and in these countries a spirited creature; the ox, on the contrary, is gentle, tractable, and patient. Accepting this interpretation, it gives us another instance of that humanity which pervades the whole Mosaic code.”—Cassell.
Deuteronomy 22:11. Garment.
1. Dress according to your station in life. Linen and wool may have been the apparel of priests and therefore forbidden to the people.
2. Dress not in imitation of the world. The garment may have been peculiar to the heathen priesthood and therefore a virtual condemnation of all idolatrous usages. “These laws were made to set forth how God abhoreth all mixtures in religion, and how carefully men should keep their minds from being corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”—Trapp.
Deuteronomy 22:12. Fringes. Tassels on the corners of the outer coat, or, according to some, tassels on the coverlet of the bed, which was tied to bed-posts for the sake of decency. Learn—
1. Not to be ashamed of your religion however peculiar you may seem to be. Israel distinguished from other people by these things.
2. Not to forget the precepts of the word. Fringes reminded of particular occasions and precepts. “Speak unto Israel, bid them make fringes … throughout their generations … and it shall be unto them for a fringe, that ye may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye used to go a whoring: that ye may remember and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.” (Numbers 15:38-40).
PURITY AND FIDELITY IN LIFE.—Deuteronomy 22:13-29
The regulations which follow might be imperatively needful in the then situation of the Israelites; and yet it is not necessary that we should curiously and impertinently enquire into usages unknown to the language of civilization. So far was it from being unworthy of God to leave such things upon record, that the enactments must heighten our admiration of His wisdom and goodness in the management of a people so perverse and so given to regular passions.—Jamieson. We may thus arrange our matter—
I. The slandered wife (Deuteronomy 22:13-19). Chastity and fidelity should characterise married life. “Chastity is the baud that holds together the sheaf of all holy affections and duties,” says Vinet. This band may be broken and married life be a curse. A husband may question the virtue of his wife from malice or with justice.
1. Accused maliciously. He might take her to gratify lusts, then hate her, try to get rid of her, and bring her in bad repute. A declaration of innocence was made by parents before the elders, who were to send for her accuser. He was chastised bodily and forfeited the privilege of divorce. Slander is a crime of the highest nature, a species of murder which destroys reputation and character (Proverbs 25:18).
2. Accused justly (Deuteronomy 22:20-21). If the words were true and the girl had deceived, was not found to be a virgin, she was to be brought before the door of her father’s house and stoned by the men of the city. She had committed fornication in her father’s house and folly in Israel (Deuteronomy 22:21). (See Dinah, Genesis 34:7). Israel was a holy people by profession, and all uncleanness was folly.
II. The unchaste wife. Glancing at the preceding verses, we notice—
1. Unchaste in marriage (Deuteronomy 22:20-22). Whoredom was a capital crime, treason to the great king, and punished with severity.
2. Unchaste after marriage (Deuteronomy 22:22). Adultery was a sin which could not be tolerated. Adulterers are as hateful as adulteresses (Leviticus 20:10). The man who acts treacherously against “the wife of his covenant” is as great a sinner as the woman who breaks the marriage bond (Malachi 2:14-16). There is no respect of sexes with God.
III. The seduced virgin. Three cases are given.
1. Betrothed virgin. (a) In the town (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). Both of them, the man and the girl, were led out to the gate of the town and stoned. The girl because she had not cried for help, therefore consented to the deed; the man because he had “humbled his neighbour’s wife.” (b) In the field (Deuteronomy 22:25-27). She called for help and could get none, hence not worthy of death. The man alone died. In solitude the enemy assaults, and our cry should be, “Help, Lord!”
2. Unbetrothed virgin (Deuteronomy 22:28-29). The man paid the father 50 shekels of silver, married the girl, and could not be divorced from her because he had humbled her. This was to prevent such vicious practices (cf. Exodus 20:16-17.).
DARK SPOTS IN SOCIAL LIFE.—Deuteronomy 22:13-30
These are most delicate matters, but concern the welfare of society and not beneath Divine legislation. “Nor is it a better argument that the Scriptures were not written by inspiration of God to object that this passage, and others of a like nature, tend to corrupt the imagination, and will be abused by evil-disposed readers, than it is to say that the sun was not created by God, because its light may be abused by wicked men as an assistant in committing crimes which they have meditated.”—Horne.
1. Slander (Deuteronomy 22:13-19). The slanderer is most despicable and most dangerous to society. “A false accusation is worse than death” (Eccles. 26:5). Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but not so many as have fallen by the edge of the tongue (Eccles. 28:18).
“Slander lives upon succession;
For ever housed where it once gets possession.”—Shakespeare.
2. Adultery (Deuteronomy 22:20-22). Solomon paints the deadly snare of a strange woman with a master hand and exquisite fidelity (cf. Proverbs 7:6-23). The warning is not needless. “Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
3. Rape (Deuteronomy 22:25-27). Laws may be too lenient for such violence of women. Surely, if taking away life deserves punishment, this must be the murder of virtue, “a sin worthy of death.”
4. Fornication (Deuteronomy 22:28-29). To gratify lusts, some unrestrained by law human or divine, wound with keenest anguish, commit irreparable injury to body and soul. “But fornication and all uncleanness … let it not be once mentioned among you.”
5. Incest (Deuteronomy 22:30). Abominations like these abounded in Canaan, but must be destroyed in Israel (Deuteronomy 27:20). This is doubly guilty, for she is near of kin, and she is another person’s wife (cf. Reuben with Bilhah, Genesis 35:22; Absalom with his father’s wives, 2 Samuel 16:20-23; 1 Kings 2:17). This is a repetition of the law (Leviticus 18:8; Leviticus 20:11). Line upon line, to preserve from sin and purify life. Our own laws might be more severe to check licentiousness and secure social purity.
ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER 22
Deuteronomy 22:1-4. Ox and ass. I am shocked at the thoughtless cruelty of many people, yet I did a thing once that has given me considerable uneasiness, and for which I reproached myself bitterly. As I was riding homeward I saw a waggon standing at a door, with three horses; the two foremost were eating corn from bags at their noses; but the third had dropped his on the ground and could not stoop to get any food. However, I rode on in absence of mind without assisting him. But when I had got nearly home I remembered what I had observed in my absence of mind, and felt extremely hurt at my neglect, and would have ridden back had I not thought the waggoner might have come out of the house and relieved the horse. A man could not have had a better demand for getting off his horse than for such an act of humanity. It is by absence of mind that we omit many duties.—R. Cecil.
Deuteronomy 22:5. Garment. A man ought in his clothes to conform something to those that he converses with, to the custom of the nation and the fashion that is decent and general to the occasion and his own condition; for that is best that best suits one’s calling, and the rank we live in.—Feltham.
“For the apparel oft proclaims the man.”
Deuteronomy 22:6-7. Birds. Of love need If say anything? Who is there that has not watched the birds from St. Valentine’s day onwards, through their courtships, weddings, lovers’ quarrels, house buildings, welcoming of the small strangers, nursing the heirs and heiresses, and sending the young people forth into the world?—Prof. G. Wilson.
Deuteronomy 22:8. House. Houses are built to live in and not to look on; therefore let use be preferred before uniformity, except where both may be had.—Bacon.
Deuteronomy 22:9-10. Seeds. Humanity
Is not a field where tares and thorns alone
Are left to spring; good seed hath there been sown
With no inspiring hand. Sometimes the shoot
Is choked with weeds, or withers on a stone;
But in a kindly soil it strikes its root
And flourisheth and bringeth forth abundant fruit.
Deuteronomy 22:13-19. Occasions of speech. Slander is a vice impure in its source, dangerous in its effects, and sometimes irreparable in its consequences. It generally strikes three mortal blows—it wounds him who commits it, him against whom it is committed, and him who knows that it is committed. It is tolerated in society only because almost every one has an unhappy inclination to commit it.—Saurin.
“To speak no slander; no, nor listen to it.”—
Deuteronomy 22:20-30. Virgin. Agesilaus, king of Sparta, was a great lover of chastity. In his journeys he would never lodge in private houses where he might have the company of women; but ever lodged either in the temples or in the open fields, making all men witnesses of his modesty and chastity.
Deuteronomy 22:25-27. Rape. The Lacedemonian commonwealth was utterly ruined by a rape committed on the two daughters of Scedasus and Leuctra (Trapp). Publius Scipio Africanus, warring in Spain, took New Carthage by storm, at which time a beautiful and noble virgin fled to him for succour to preserve her chastity. He being but 24 years old, and in the heat of youth, hearing of it, would not suffer her to come into sight, for fear of falling into temptation himself, and, therefore, restored her safely to her father. Admirable example!
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 22". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany