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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Deuteronomy 21:15

 

 

"If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him sons, if the firstborn son belongs to the unloved,

Adam Clarke Commentary

One beloved, and another hated - That is, one loved less than the other. This is the true notion of the word hate in Scripture. So Jacob Hated Leah, that is, he loved her less than he did Rachel; and Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I Hated, that is, I have shown a more particular affection to the posterity of Jacob than I have to the posterity of Esau. See the note on Genesis 29:31. From this verse we see that polygamy did exist under the Mosaic laws, and that it was put under certain regulations; but it was not enjoined, Moses merely suffered it, because of the hardness of their hearts, as our Lord justly remarks Matthew 19:8.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 21:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/deuteronomy-21.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

If a man have two wives,.... Which is supposed, but not approved of, though permitted because of the hardness of men's hearts; for it was not so from the beginning, when only one man and one woman were created, and joined together in marriage; but as it was connived at, and become customary, a law is made to prevent confusion, and preserve order in families:

one beloved and another hated; or less loved, yet continued his wife, and not divorced. Aben Ezra observes, this follows upon the former, because it is there said, that though first he had a desire to her (the captive beautiful woman), yet afterwards had no delight in her:

and they have borne him children both, the beloved and the hated; as Rachel and Leah did to Jacob, who were, the one very much beloved by him, and the other less:

and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated; or not so much beloved as the other, as was the case in the above instance.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 21:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/deuteronomy-21.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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

(g) This declares that the plurality of wives came from a corrupt affection.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 21:15". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/deuteronomy-21.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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:

Two wives — This practice, though tolerated, is not hereby made lawful; but only provision is made for the children in this case.

Hated — Comparatively, that is, less loved.


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

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 21:15". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/deuteronomy-21.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

15.If a man have two wives. Inasmuch as it is here provided that a father should not unjustly transfer what belongs to one son to another, it is a part and supplement of the Eighth Commandment, the substance of which is, that every one’s rights should be preserved to him. For, if the father substituted another son in the place of his first-born, it was unquestionably a kind of theft. But, since it rarely happens that a father unnaturally degrades his first-born from his precedence, if all are born of the same mother, God reminds us that He did not enact this law without cause; for, where polygamy was allowed, the mind of the husband was generally most inclined to the second wife; because, if he had loved the first with true affection, he would have been contented with her as the companion of his life and bed, and would not have thought of a second. When, therefore, the husband grew tired of his first wife, and desired a second, he might be coaxed by her blandishments to leave away from the children of his first marriage what naturally belonged to them. Hence, therefore, the necessity of the remedy whereby the father’s power of altering the right of primogeniture is barred; for, although they might allege that they only gave what was their own, yet it was an act of ungodly arrogance to reject him whom God had deigned to honor. For he who arrogates such power to himself, or who assigns the birth-right to whom he will, almost arrogates to himself the ability to create. This right, as is stated in verse 17, was a double portion of the paternal inheritance. The reason which is added, is equivalent to saying, that the first-born is the principal honor and ornament of the father. Still, if there was a just cause for disinheriting the first-born, another successor might be substituted in his stead, as Jacob shewed in his case when he disinherited Reuben. (Genesis 49:4.) When it is said, “before the son of the hated,” some expound it to mean “during his lifetime;” others retain the Hebrew phrase, “before his face.” Their opinion, however, is probable, who take this particle comparatively, for “instead of her son.” The wife is called hated, not that her husband is positively her enemy, but because he loves her least; for contempt is considered as hatred, and he is called an enemy who does not render conjugal benevolence.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 21:15". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/deuteronomy-21.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Deuteronomy 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 "Genesis 29:31"}


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 21:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/deuteronomy-21.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 15. If a man have two wives Moses here enacts, that where any Israelite had two wives, (for polygamy, contrary to the original institution of marriage, was suffered, but never enjoined) and when the man was partial in his affections towards them; such partiality should not hinder the right of eldership and inheritance in any of the children. If the son of the wife whom he least loved were his first, her male heir should inherit as his eldest son, according to ancient custom in that case. Genesis 25:31. Grotius has remarked, that this law is extremely wise, to prevent any intrigues from the ascendancy of the second and favourite wife for the advantage of her children. A similar law existed among the Lombards; but it is to be observed, that the more necessary this law was, the more palpably does it demonstrate the inconveniencies of polygamy.

Hated Slighted. Vorst. Phil. pars 1: p. 127 and so ver. 16 and 17.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 21:15". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/deuteronomy-21.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Two wives; either,

1. Both together; which practice, though tolerated, is not hereby made lawful, but only provision is made for the children in that case. Or,

2. One after another. Hated, comparatively, i.e. less loved, as Genesis 29:31 Matthew 6:24 Luke 14:26.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Deuteronomy 21:15". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/deuteronomy-21.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

15. Hated — The less beloved. Comp. Genesis 29:31; Genesis 29:33, where the same term is applied to Leah.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 21:15". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/deuteronomy-21.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Deuteronomy 21:15. If a man have two wives — This practice, though tolerated, is not hereby made lawful; but only provision is made for the children in that case. Hated — Comparatively, that is, less loved.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 21:15". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/deuteronomy-21.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Two wives. Moses never expressly (Haydock) sanctions polygamy; but he tolerates it frequently, as excused by custom, the example of the Patriarchs, &c.; a toleration which Christ has revoked, as contrary to the primary design of God, and the institution of matrimony. (Calmet) (Matthew xix.)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 21:15". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/deuteronomy-21.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

If. Compare 1 Samuel 1:2. 2 Chronicles 24:3


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 21:15". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/deuteronomy-21.html. 1909-1922.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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:
two wives
Genesis 29:18,20,30,31,33; 1 Samuel 1:4,5

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 21:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/deuteronomy-21.html.

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