|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:22,23 By the law of Moses, the touch of a dead body was defiling, therefore dead bodies must not be left hanging, as that would defile the land. There is one reason here which has reference to Christ; He that is hanged is accursed of God; that is, it is the highest degree of disgrace and reproach. Those who see a man thus hanging between heaven and earth, will conclude him abandoned of both, and unworthy of either. Moses, by the Spirit, uses this phrase of being accursed of God, when he means no more than being treated most disgracefully, that it might afterward be applied to the death of Christ, and might show that in it he underwent the curse of the law for us; which proves his love, and encourages to faith in him.
Verses 22, 23. - When a criminal was put to death and was hanged upon a tree, his body was not to remain there over-night, but was to be buried the same day on which he was executed. Verse 22. - If a man have committed a sin worthy of death; literally, If there be on a man a judgment of death; if he lie under sentence of death. Hang him on a tree. This refers not to putting to death by strangling, but to the impaling of the body after death (cf. C. B. Michaelis, 'De Judiciis Poenisque Capitalibus in Sac. Script. Commemoratis,' in 'Sylloge Commentt. Theolog.,' edita a D. J. Pott, vol. 4. p. 209). This was an aggravation of the punishment, as the body so impaled was exposed to insult and assault (cf. Numbers 25:4; Genesis 40:19).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death,.... This before mentioned, or any other that deserves death, any kind of death, as strangling, killing with the sword, burning and stoning, to which the Jews restrain it here:
and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him, on a tree; is condemned to stoning, and after that they hang him, as the Targum of Jonathan; and according to the Jewish Rabbins, as Jarchi observes, all that were stoned were to be hanged, and only men, not women (g); for it is remarked that it is said "him" and not "her" (h): about this there is a dispute in the Misnah (i);"all that are stoned are hanged, they are the words of R. Eliezer; but the wise men say none are to be hanged but the blasphemer and idolater; a man is to be hanged with his face to the people, a woman with her face to the tree, they are the words of R. Eliezer; but the wise men say, a man is to be hanged, but no woman, to whom R. Eliezer replied, did not Simeon Ben Shetach hang women in Ashkelon? they answered him, he hung eighty women (at once), but they do not judge or condemn two in one day;''so that this was a particular case at a particular time, and not be drawn into an example: in the same place it is asked,
"how they hang one? they fix a beam in the earth, and a piece of wood goes out of it (near the top of it, as one of the commentator (k) remarks), and join his two hands together and hang him;''that is, by his hand, not by his neck, as with us, but rather in the crucifixion; only in that the hands are spread, and one hand is fastened to one part of the cross beam, and the other to the other end.
(g) Misn. Sotah, c. 3. sect. 8. (h) Maimon. & Bartenora in. ib. (i) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 6. sect. 4. (k) Bartenora in Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 6. sect. 4.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22, 23. if a man have committed a sin … and thou hang him on a tree—Hanging was not a Hebrew form of execution (gibbeting is meant), but the body was not to be left to rot or be a prey to ravenous birds; it was to be buried "that day," either because the stench in a hot climate would corrupt the air, or the spectacle of an exposed corpse bring ceremonial defilement on the land.
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