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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Deuteronomy 25

 

 

Verse 1

Deuteronomy 25:1 If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that [the judges] may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.

Ver. 1. If there be a controversy.] Among the Mohammedans there are very few law suits, and the reason is given, Quod temere litigantes publice flagellis caeduntur, because they that sue others without just cause are whipped publicly. Once it was counted ominous to commence actions and follow suits. Of our common barristers we may well say, as the historian doth of mathematicians, Genus hominum quod in rep. nostra et vetabitur semper et retinebitur. (a)


Verse 2

Deuteronomy 25:2 And it shall be, if the wicked man [be] worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number.

Ver. 2. To be beaten before his face.] The Turks, when cruelly lashed, are compelled to return to the judge that commanded it, to kiss his hand, to give him thanks, and to pay the officer that whipped them.


Verse 3

Deuteronomy 25:3 Forty stripes he may give him, [and] not exceed: lest, [if] he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.

Ver. 3. Should seem vile unto thee.] There is an honour due to all men, [1 Peter 2:17] and though we must hate the sin, yet not the sinner.


Verse 4

Deuteronomy 25:4 Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out [the corn].

Ver. 4. That treadeth out the corn.] Which was the manner of that country: whereunto also the prophet alludeth, [Hosea 10:11] "Ephraim is a heifer, that loveth to tread out the corn" (because while it treads, it feeds on the corn), but not to plough, because no refreshing till the work was done.


Verse 5

Deuteronomy 25:5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her.

Ver. 5. Her husband’s brother.] This was a special exception from that general law, [Leviticus 18:16] but yet gave no liberty under this pretext, to have more wives than one at once. {See Trapp on "Matthew 22:23"}


Verse 6

Deuteronomy 25:6 And it shall be, [that] the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother [which is] dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.

Ver. 6. The first born.] Provided that he be a son; as appears by the reason here given, that his name be not put out of Israel. It signified the birthright of Christ that should never die. "He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days." [Isaiah 53:10] Filiabitur nomen eius [Psalms 72:17] The name of Christ shall endure for ever; it shall be begotten as one generation is begotten of another; there shall be a succession of Christ’s name.


Verse 9

Deuteronomy 25:9 Then shall his brother’s wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother’s house.

Ver. 9. And loose his shoe.] To show that he was worthy to go barefoot, and had no right howsoever to tread upon that ground, as any part of his estate. See Ruth 4:7. The Turks have a ceremony somewhat like this; (a) the woman may sue a divorce, when her husband would abuse her against nature: which she doth by taking off his or her shoe before the judge, and holding it the sole upward, but speaking nothing, for the uncleanness of the fact.

And spit in his face.] As unworthy to show his face amongst his brethren. See Numbers 12:14, Isaiah 50:6.

That will not build up his brother’s house.] {See Trapp on "Exodus 1:21"}


Verse 12

Deuteronomy 25:12 Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity [her].

Ver. 12. Cut off her hand.] The instrument of her sin. Thus Cranmer thrust his hand, wherewith he had subscribed a recantation, first into the fire, crying out, "Thou unworthy right hand." An Act of Parliament was here made, in the reign of Philip and Mary, that the authors and sowers of seditious writings should lose their right hands. By virtue whereof John Stubbs and William Page had their right hands cut off, with a cleaver driven through the wrist with the force of a beetle, in the days of Queen Elizabeth, for a book written against the marriage with the Duke of Anjou, entitled, "The Gulf wherein England will be Swallowed up by the French Marriage," &c., which most men presaged would, if it had gone on, have been the ruin of religion. (a)


Verse 13

Deuteronomy 25:13 Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small.

Ver. 13. Divers weights, a great and a small.] As they have that weigh not out a whole seventh day to God, who hath given men six whole days to labour in; these sell by one measure and buy by another. It was an error, doubtless, for want of due light and better information, in that pious prince, Edward VI, to give order to his council, that upon Sundays they should attend public affairs of the realm, despatch answers to letters, and make full despatches of all things concluded in the week before; provided that they be present at common prayer. (a)


Verse 18

Deuteronomy 25:18 How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, [even] all [that were] feeble behind thee, when thou [wast] faint and weary; and he feared not God.

Ver. 18. How he met thee by the way.] Not with bread and water, but with fire and sword. See Exodus 17:8.

And he feared not God.] Who had so powerfully brought his Israel out of Egypt. See Job 6:14, Genesis 20:11. {See Trapp on "Job 6:14"} {See Trapp on "Genesis 20:11"}


Verse 19

Deuteronomy 25:19 Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance to possess it, [that] thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget [it].

Ver. 19. Thou shalt not forget it.] Neither did they. Saul should have utterly destroyed them, [1 Samuel 15:18-19] but wherein he failed, God stirred up the Simeonites in Hezekiah’s days to smite the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped. [1 Chronicles 4:42-43] It is ill angering the Ancient of days. His wrath lasts longer than hot coals of juniper, [Psalms 120:4] his judgments are severe and durable: as we use to say of winter frosts, they never rot in the sky, but shall fall, if late, yet surely, yet seasonably. God’s forbearance is no quittance.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 25:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/deuteronomy-25.html. 1865-1868.

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