|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:15-25 It is honourable to shelter and protect the weak, provided they are not wicked. Proselytes and converts to the truth, should be treated with particular tenderness, that they may have no temptation to return to the world. We cannot honour God with our substance, unless it be honestly and honourably come by. It must not only be considered what we give, but how we got it. Where the borrower gets, or hopes to get, it is just that the lender should share the gain; but to him that borrows for necessary food, pity must be showed. That which is gone out of thy lips, as a solemn and deliberate vow, must not be recalled, but thou shalt keep and perform it punctually and fully. They were allowed to pluck and eat of the corn or grapes that grew by the road side; only they must not carry any away. This law intimated what great plenty of corn and wine they should have in Canaan. It provided for the support of poor travellers, and teaches us to be kind to such, teaches us to be ready to distribute, and not to think every thing lost that is given away. Yet it forbids us to abuse the kindness of friends, or to take advantage of what is allowed. Faithfulness to their engagements should mark the people of God; and they should never encroach upon others.
Verses 24, 25. - In the vineyard or cornfield of a neighbor they might eat to appease hunger, but no store of grapes or of grain might be carried away. At thine own pleasure; literally, according to thy soul, i.e. desire or appetite (cf. Deuteronomy 14:26). Pluck the ears with thine hand (cf. Matthew 12:1; Luke 6:1). Among the Arabs of the present day the right of a hungry person to pluck ears of corn in a field and eat the grains is still recognized (Robinson, 'Bib. Res.,' 2:192; Thomson, 'Land and the Book,' 2:510).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
When thou comest into thy neighbour's vineyard,.... To take a walk in it for recreation, and to see how the vines flourish, and what sort of fruit and what quantity of it they bear; being invited thither by the owner, or occasionally passing that way stepped in, and even it may be on purpose to taste the fruits of the vine and quench thirst and satisfy appetite:
then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill, at thine own pleasure; as many as they would, till nature was satisfied:
but thou shall not put any in thy vessel; to carry away, to be eaten by them or theirs at another time and place; they were to put none into their pockets or into their baskets, as the Targum of Jonathan, or whatsoever vessel they might have with them in the vineyard. Jarchi says, the Scripture speaks of a workman, and only at the time of gathering the grapes, when he was putting into his master's vessels, and might not put any into his own, and carry away; so the Jewish writers (i) generally interpret it of a workman only, and of his eating those things in which he works, and not of such as pass by the way; so the Targums: and there are many traditions in the Misnah (k) concerning this affair; as that by this law a workman might eat while in his work, as the ox may while it is treading out the corn, and when his work is perfect; and that he may eat of what he is employed about; only if he is at work upon figs, he may not eat of grapes, and if on grapes, he may not eat of figs; nor might he eat more than his hire came to; and that he might make a covenant for his son and daughter, servant and handmaid, adult (that they shall take money and not eat), and for his wife, because they are endowed with knowledge; but not for his son and daughter, servant and maidservant, minors, because they are not: but Josephus (l), their countryman, better interprets this law, who says, that travellers, of those that passed by the way, were not forbidden tasting ripe fruits, and even were permitted to fill themselves with them as if their own, whether they were of the country or strangers.
(i) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Maaserot, c. 2. sect. 7. (k) Misn. Bava Metzia, c. 7. sect. 2, 4, 5, 6. (l) Antiqu. l. 4. c. 8. sect. 21.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
24, 25. When thou comest into thy neighbour's vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure—Vineyards, like cornfields mentioned in the next verse [De 23:25], were often unenclosed. In vine-growing countries grapes are amazingly cheap; and we need not wonder, therefore, that all within reach of a person's arm, was free; the quantity plucked was a loss never felt by the proprietor, and it was a kindly privilege afforded to the poor and wayfaring man.
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