|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:1-10 The camp was to be cleansed. The purity of the church must be kept as carefully as the peace and order of it. Every polluted Israelite must be separated. The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable. The greater profession of religion any house or family makes, the more they are obliged to put away iniquity far from them. If a man overreach or defraud his brother in any matter, it is a trespass against the Lord, who strictly charges and commands us to do justly. What is to be done when a man's awakened conscience charges him with guilt of this kind, though done long ago? He must confess his sin, confess it to God, confess it to his neighbour, and take shame to himself; though it go against him to own himself in a lie, yet he must do it. Satisfaction must be made for the offence done to God, as well as for the loss sustained by the neighbour; restitution in that case is not enough without faith and repentance. While that which is wrongly gotten is knowingly kept, the guilt remains on the conscience, and is not done away by sacrifice or offering, prayers or tears; for it is the same act of sin persisted in. This is the doctrine of right reason, and of the word of God. It detects hypocrites, and directs the tender conscience to proper conduct, which, springing from faith in Christ, will make way for inward peace.
Verse 3. - That they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell. Cleanliness, decency, and the anxious removal even of unwitting pollutions were things due to God himself, and part of the awful reverence to be paid to his presence in the midst of Israel. It is of course easy to depreciate the value of such outward cleanness, as compared with inward; but when we consider the frightful prevalence of filthiness in Christian countries
(1) of person and dress,
(2) of talk,
(3) of habit in respect of things not so much sinful as uncleanly,
we may indeed acknowledge the heavenly wisdom of these regulations, and the incalculable value of the tone of mind engendered by them. With the Jews "cleanliness" was not "next to godliness," it was part of godliness.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Both male and female shall ye put out,.... Whether leprous, or profluvious, or defiled by touching a dead carcass: by this law, Miriam, when leprous, was put out of the camp, Numbers 12:14,
without the camp shall ye put them; which is repeated that it might be taken notice of, and punctually observed:
that they defile not their camps; of which there were four, the camps of Judah, Reuben, Ephraim, and Dan:
in the midst whereof I dwell; for the tabernacle, which was the dwelling place of the Lord, was in the midst of the camps of Israel; they were pitched on the four quarters of it; and this is a reason why impure persons were not suffered to be in the camp of Israel, because of the presence of God in the tabernacle so near them, to whom all, impurity is loathsome, and not to be permitted in his sight; and though this was ceremonial, it was typical of the uncleanness of sin, which is abominable to him, and renders persons unfit for communion with him, and with his people.
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