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contains an exhortation to obedience. After the discourse he appoints the three cities of refuge for the country on the east of Jordan (i.-iv. 43). With Vater we take iv. 44-49 as introductory to what follows, i.e., to the discourse which properly commences with the fifth chapter. He reminds them now, that they had made a covenant at Horeb to take Jehovah for their sovereign ; that the precepts of the decalogue, which he recites, were announced there in their hearing, and that other divine communications had been made to him for their use. The observance of these divine precepts is inculcated; and they are commanded to teach them to their children. No intercourse with the idolatrous inhabitants of the land is to be held, but all monuments of their false worship must be destroyed. The speaker again exhorts them to observe the precepts of Jehovah, enumerating His benefits and adding a promise of perpetual prosperity and assistance if they would do so. Should they forget their obligations after they had enjoyed the pleasures and fertility of the promised land, they would be visited with heavy calamities. In the ninth chapter he dissuades them from ascribing their successes to their own righteousness or merits; reminding them how they rebelled in the wilderness and apostatised from Jehovah ; for which reason they had almost been exterminated, had he not interceded for them and appeased the anger of God. In the tenth chapter, Moses relates how the tables of the covenant had been renewed; where the death of Aaron had taken place; and how the tribe of Levi had been separated. An exhortation to obedience follows. Here it must be noticed, that the sixth and seventh verses interrupt the connection and are out of place.. It has been attempted, indeed, to find some reason for their present position, but every such explanation is too artificial to be adopted. The appeal to the people to render obedience to their divine benefactor is enforced in the eleventh chapter, by past manifestations of God's great power, both in their protection and punishment; and by His promise of blessings and purpose of heavy retribution. The people are solemnly to invoke on themselves the divine favour or vengeance on mounts Ebal and Gerizim, after their establishment in Canaan.
From the twelfth to the twenty-sixth chapter inclusive, Moses repeats such laws as were necessary for the whole people to know, and which had been previously enacted. Some of them are more or less modified. He also intersperses new ones. Those relating to the priests are omitted. In the twelfth chapter the rule is repeated respecting the destruction of the monuments of idolatry in the land of Canaan. Sacrifices are to be offered up in the place which the Lord should choose for that purpose. To that all offerings are to be brought; and there is to be a festive entertainment for friends, where charitable liberality must be dispensed. Instead of the rigour of the ancient law being carried out, it is now permitted that animals designed for food need not be brought to the tabernacle to be slaughtered; but that the owner might slay them at his own home, if he resided at an inconvenient distance from the holy place. The blood is prohibited to be eaten in this case also.
The tħirteenth chapter contains cautions and severe prohibitions against the adoption of tủe Canaanite idolatrous practices. False prophets, who should try to seduce the people into the sin of idolatry, are to be put to death, however near may be the relationship between them and those they have tempted. The cities also which suffer themselves to be drawn away to the worship of strange gods, are to be utterly exterminated. Not only the inhabitants of them are to be put to the sword, but the cattle also; all their moveables must be consumed with fire; and their dwellings razed to the ground. Certain rites practised by the heathen in mourning, are next prohibited ; after which the rules respecting clean and unclean animals are repeated with only three slight differences from the previous record. This is followed by some other regulations relative to tithes. The sabbatical year is then adduced for the purpose of appending to it a new precept, viz., that the payment of debts should not be enforced in that year. It is not meant that they should be cancelled; but that the poor debtor should not be asked to pay during a year in which they got no produce from the land. This, however, does not apply to the rich and foreigners. Respecting the emancipation of slaves on the seventh year of their service, it is now enjoined for the first time, that the female should have the same privilege as the male; and that none should be sent away in a destitute state, but, on the contrary, with a liberal provision. All firstling males of cattle are to be sanctified to the Lord, and to be eaten, except the blood, in the place to be chosen by Him, unless they bave some blemish. The sixteenth chapter treats of the three great annual festivals, the passover, pentecost, and tabernacles. Judges are to be appointed in all the cities, who shall administer justice with impartiality; groves and images are forbidden. In the eighteenth chapter it is enjoined that the victims for sacrifice must be sound; and that idolators should be slain. Difficult matters are to be determined by the priests, "and the judge that shall be in those days,” i.e., the supreme judge of the nation, to whom the same power belonged as that which Moses and Aaron had ; but who was only extraordinary. Should the people desire a king over them, instructions are given respecting his person, duties, and responsibilities. He must have th3 copy
divine approbation, be a native, and not imitate the luxury and ambition of surrounding monarchs. He must also make out a
of the law for his use. In the first eight verses of the eighteenth chapter, the provision for the maintenance of the priests and Levites is referred to, in which an addition to the priests' perquisites occurs-viz., “the two cheeks and the maw;” and it is enjoined, that if a Levite should come from any part of the Israelite territory, where he had a home, and wish to give himself to the perpetual service of the tabernacle, he should have the same support as his brethren there. All superstition and impious divination, which were associated with heathen worship, are prohibited. Moses then goes on to speak of a prophet being raised up from among the people like to himself, to whom they should hearken, who is distinguished from false prophets. It is also stated in what way a true may be distinguished from a false prophet.
The first thirteen verses of the nineteenth chapter relate to the cities of refuge for manslayers, from which deliberate murderers are debarred, and put to death. It is then enjoined that landmarks are not to be changed. In all criminal cases, two witnesses at least are required. If a witness, after a judicial investigation before the highest tribunal, be convicted of perjury, he is to be visited with the punishment which his false testimony would have brought on another.
After the host is assembled for battle, and receives the priest's exhortation to encourage them, heralds are to proclaim, that whoever has built a new house and not dedicated it, or planted a vineyard, or betrothed a wife, is free to go home; and that the same privilege is given to the timid. In attacking cities, the Jews are to offer terms of peace; which, if accepted, are to secure to the victors the right of tribute and service from all the inhabitants; but if a city refuses to enter into negociation and is taken by storm, its male population only is to be slaughtered and their property seized. Women and children must be spared. Unceasing war is to be waged with the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusites, till they should be utterly destroyed. In besieging a city, the people are to be careful about the trees they fell.
The commencement of the twenty-first chapter describes the things to be done in the case of an uncertain murder, for its expiation. Should one wish to marry a female captive, a month's time must be allowed her for mourning over her condition before she be taken to wife. And, if after this, he should desire to divorce her, she must be allowed her freedom, without being kept as his slave or sold. The firstborn in a family cannot be deprived of his right of primogeni
ture on account of his mother being hated. Stubborn and incorrigibly profligate sons are to be brought by the parents to the elders of the city, and then stoned. It is also enjoined, that a malefactor must not hang on a tree all night, but be buried the same day, “lest the land be defiled. In the twenty-second chapter it is ordained that a stray ox, or sheep, or ass, should be restored to its owner if known, or kept till inquiry for the missing be made. The rule is extended to every lost thing. The sexes are forbidden to exchange apparel, for the purpose of avoiding improper intercourse, and because such a practice was common in the licentious rites of idol-worship. The mother bird is not to be taken with her young ones ; a battlement must be made on the roof of a new house to prevent persons falling down; different kinds of seeds are not to be sown together; a garment of woollen and linen together must not be worn; and fringes must be made upon the vesture. Should one slander his wife for unchastity before marriage, he shall be fined a hundred shekels of silver; but if such unchastity be true, the woman is to be stoned to death. Adultery is to be punished by the death of both parties. The chapter specifies several cases of impurity between man and woman. The twentyeighth and twenty-ninth verses repeat and extend what had been already given in Exodus xxii. 16, 17, respecting the liabilities of a seducer. The sum to be paid the father is now specified, and the right of divorce is declared to be forfeited. The thirtieth verse is simply repeated, without any apparent reason.
The twenty-third chapter refers to those who might obtain the right of Jewish citizenship or naturalisation; to the necessity of cleanness and decorum in all arrangements respecting the camp; and to the non-restoration of a fugitive slave after he had crossed the Israelitish border. Whoredom is condemned as well as unnatural practices; and the pagan custom of presenting the wages of prostitution as a sacred offering is declared to be an abomination to the Lord. The taking of interest for the loan of money or any merchantable commodity, is strictly prohibited in regard to the Jews themselves, but not to strangers. It is easy to see that this would limit their commerce with other nations; and, by so doing, preserve their religious faith from contamination. What is vowed should be performed. Persons are allowed to eat in a neighbour's vineyard, but not to carry fruit away; and to pluck the ears of corn in a field, but not to put in a sickle.
The twenty-fourth chapter commences with a notice relating to divorce, and one cause of it. The divorced woman might marry again, but could not be re-united to her former husband after the death of the second, or after he had also divorced her.
A newly-married man was not to go out to war. The millstone, so necessary to the debtor's daily sustenance, could not be taken as security for a debt; nor the pledged garment kept over night; nor the house of a poor debtor entered for the demanding an article promised in pawn, when it could be brought out and delivered without exposure of the penury within. A hired servant was to be paid his wages before sunset. The chapter closes with other directions relating to justice and humanity towards the strangers and the poor, and liberality in leaving free gleanings for poor neighbours.
The twenty-fifth chapter ordains that there shall be moderation in judgment; and that stripes must not exceed forty. The ox which treads out the corn shall not be muzzled, so as to be prevented from feeding. If a married Jew died childless, his brother next in age was bound to marry the surviving wife, and the first-born succeeded to the inheritance. If however he refused to raise up seed to his deceased brother, he had to submit to a public ceremony of degradation, and to bear an ignominious
Here, therefore, is an exception to the law in Leviticus. After referring to the immodest woman, unjust weights are prohibited ; and it is ordained that the memory of Amalek should be rooted out.
The twenty-sixth chapter commences with a certain formula of words expressive of the grateful sentiments with which the Israelite should visit the sanctuary with his basket of first-fruits, when he should be settled in the promised land. This is followed by a similar confession for him who should give the third year's tithes. The people are then reminded of the solemn covenant between God and them.
In the twenty-seventh chapter, Moses, with the elders, commands the people that when they crossed the Jordan they should set up great stones, and plaister them with plaister, and write upon them “all the words of this law.” These stones were to be erected on mount Ebal, where an altar was to be built of white stones. The most probable interpretation is that of the commentators, who regard the altar as composed of the stones on which the law had been engraved, as before stated. Thus the stones inscribed and the altar were one and the same thing, as the eighth verse, following the three preceding ones, plainly shews. The twelve tribes were then to be distributed into two divisions ; six on mount Gerizim, to bless the people, and six on mount Ebal to curse. The tribes selected to bless are descendants of Leah and Rachel, the free wives of Jacob; while the other six are the posterity of his bond-women, along with the descendants of Reuben and Zebulun. The maledictions, twelve in number, which the Levites were to pronounce, are then given.