|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
22; 1 - 31 Judicial laws. - The people of God should ever be ready to show mildness and mercy, according to the spirit of these laws. We must answer to God, not only for what we do maliciously, but for what we do heedlessly. Therefore, when we have done harm to our neighbour, we should make restitution, though not compelled by law. Let these scriptures lead our souls to remember, that if the grace of God has indeed appeared to us, then it has taught us, and enabled us so to conduct ourselves by its holy power, that denying ungodliness and wordly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, Titus 2:12. And the grace of God teaches us, that as the Lord is our portion, there is enough in him to satisfy all the desires of our souls.
Verse 21. - Law against oppression of foreigners. It may be doubted whether such a law as this was ever made in any other country. Foreigners are generally looked upon as "fair game," whom the natives of a country may ridicule and annoy at their pleasure. Native politeness gives them an exceptional position in France; but elsewhere it is the general rule to "vex" them. The Mosaic legislation protested strongly against this practice (Exodus 23:9; Leviticus 19:33), and even required the Israelites to "love the stranger who dwelt with them as themselves" (Leviticus 19:34). For ye were strangers. Compare Leviticus 19:34, and Deuteronomy 10:19. In Exodus 23:9 the addition is made - "For ye know the heart of a stranger" - ye know; i.e., the feelings which strangers have when they are vexed and oppressed - ye know this by your own sad experience, and should therefore have a tenderness for strangers.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thou shall not vex a stranger,.... One that is not born in the same country, but comes into another country to sojourn, as Jarchi; not a native of the place, but of another kingdom or country; a stranger to the commonwealth of Israel, that is only in it for a time on trade and business, or through one providence or another; or else a proselyte is meant, not a proselyte of righteousness, who has embraced the true religion; but a proselyte of the gate, that takes upon him the commands of the sons of Noah; or, as Aben Ezra here expresses it, who takes upon him not to serve idols; such were allowed to dwell among the Israelites, and they were to carry it friendly and kindly to them, and "not vex" them, nor irritate them with words, as the Targum of Jonathan, and so Jarchi; by calling them names, Gentiles, uncircumcised persons, and the like; upbraiding them with their country, ignorance, and manner of life; they were not to say to a proselyte, as Ben Melech observes, remember thy former works; or, if the son of a proselyte, remember thy father's works:
nor oppress him; by taking his goods, as the above Targum, and so Jarchi; by refusing to assist him with advice or otherwise, to trade with him, or to give him lodging, and furnish him with the necessaries of life:
for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: out of which they were but just come, and therefore such a reason must be very striking and moving upon them: the Targum of Jonathan prefaces it,"and my people, the house of Israel, remember that ye were strangers, &c.''this they could not have forgot in so short a time, and the remembrance of this should move their compassion to strangers hereafter, when they came to settle in their own land; and therefore, as they would that men should have done to them when in such circumstances, the same they should do to others; and besides, the remembrance of this would serve to abate their pride and vanity, and their overbearing disposition.
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