|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:18-27 A right knowledge of the Scripture, as the fountain whence all revealed religion now flows, and the foundation on which it is built, is the best preservative against error. Christ put aside the objection of the Sadducees, who were the scoffing infidels of that day, by setting the doctrine of the future state in a true light. The relation between husband and wife, though appointed in the earthly paradise, will not be known in the heavenly one. It is no wonder if we confuse ourselves with foolish errors, when we form our ideas of the world of spirits by the affairs of this world of sense. It is absurd to think that the living God should be the portion and happiness of a man if he is for ever dead; and therefore it is certain that Abraham's soul exists and acts, though now for a time separate from the body. Those that deny the resurrection greatly err, and ought to be told so. Let us seek to pass through this dying world, with a joyful hope of eternal happiness, and of a glorious resurrection.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The second took her,.... To wife, married her, as the next eldest brother, by the above law was obliged to: and so the Jewish (l) canon upon it runs thus;
"the command is, "for the eldest" to marry his brother's wife: if he will not, they go to all the brethren; if they will not, they return to the eldest, and say, the command is upon thee, either pluck off the shoe, or marry.''
Maimonides (m) relates it in this manner;
"if a man dies, and leaves many brethren, the command is upon the eldest to marry, or pull off the shoe; as it is said, Deuteronomy 25:6, "and it shall be the firstborn which she beareth". From tradition, it is learned that it does not speak but of the firstborn among the brethren; and it is all one as if it was said, the eldest of the brethren shall succeed in the name of his brother that is dead; and this is what is said, "which she beareth": the sense is, which the mother has borne, and not which the brother's wife beareth; if the eldest will not marry her, they go round to all the brethren; and if they will not, they return to the eldest, and say, upon thee is the command, either pluck off the shoe, or marry; and they do not compel him to marry, but they compel him to pluck off the shoe;''
i.e. in case he will not marry.
And died, neither left he any, seed, and the third likewise; married her, and died without issue, as the second did. The Persic version adds, "and the fourth, and fifth"; for so they all did to the seventh.
(l) Misn. Yebamot, c. 4. sect. 5. & T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 39. 1.((m) Hilch. Yebum Uchalitza, c. 2, sect. 6, 7. Vid. Jarchium in Deuteronomy 25.6.
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