|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
24:14-22 It is not hard to prove that purity, piety, justice, mercy, fair conduct, kindness to the poor and destitute, consideration for them, and generosity of spirit, are pleasing to God, and becoming in his redeemed people. The difficulty is to attend to them in our daily walk and conversation.
Verse 16. - Among heathen nations it was common for a whole family to be involved in the penalty incurred by the head of the family, and to be put to death along with him (cf. Esther 9:13, 14; Herod., 3:118, 119; Ammian. Marcell., 23. 6; Curtius, 6:11, 20; Claudian, 'In Eutrop.,' 2:478; Cicero, 'Epist. ad Brut.,' 12, 15). Such severity of retribution is here prohibited in the penal code of the Israelites. Though God, in the exercise of his absolute sovereignty, might visit the sins of the parent upon the children (Exodus 20:5), earthly judges were not to assume this power. Only the transgressor himself was to bear the penalty of his sin (cf. 2 Kings 14:6).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The fathers shall not be put to death for the children,.... By the civil magistrates, for sins committed by them of a capital nature, and which are worthy of death:
neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers; for sins committed by them that deserve it:
every man shall be put to death for his own sin: which is but just and reasonable; see Ezekiel 18:4; which is no contradiction to Exodus 20:5; that respects what God himself would do, this what Israel, or the civil magistrates in it, should do; this is a command on Israel, as Aben Ezra observes; that the declaration of the sovereign Being, who is not bound by any law. Jarchi interprets these words differently, as that the one should not be put to death by the testimony of the other; and it is a rule with the Jews,"that an oath of witness is taken of men, and not of women; of those that are not akin, and not of those that are nearly related (p):''on which one of the commentators observes (q) that such that are near akin are not fit to bear testimony, because it is written, "the father shall not be put to death for the children"; that is, for the testimony of the children. Jarchi indeed mentions the other sense, for the sins of the children, which has been given, and is undoubtedly the true sense of the text. The Targum of Jonathan gives both;"fathers should not be put to death, neither by the testimony, nor for the sins of the children; and children shall not be put to death, neither by the testimony, nor for the sins of fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin by proper witnesses.''
(p) Misn. Shebuot, c. 4. sect. 1.((q) Bartenora in ib.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
24:16 Not put to death - If the one be free from the guilt of the others sin, except in those cases where the sovereign Lord of life and death, before whom none is innocent, hath commanded it, as Deu 13:1 - 18 Jos 7:24. For though God do visit the father's sins upon the children, Exo 20:5, yet he will not suffer men to do so.
Deuteronomy 24:16 Parallel Commentaries
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