This chapter enjoins sanctity and purity in the congregation of Israel as a whole, and lays down certain rights and duties of citizenship.
He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.Compare Leviticus 21:17-24. Such persons, exhibiting a mutilation of that human nature which was made in God's image, were rejected from the covenant entirely. However, they could be proselytes (compare Acts 8:27). The Old Testament itself foretells Isaiah 56:3-5 the removal of this ban when under the kingdom of Messiah the outward and emblematic perfection and sanctity of Israel should be fulfilled in their inner meaning by the covenanted presence and work of the Holy Spirit in the Church.
A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.A bastard - Probably, a child born of incest or adultery.
Even to his tenth generation - i. e. (see the next verse and Nehemiah 13:1), forever. Ten is the number of perfection and completeness.
An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:This law forbids only the naturalization of those against whom it is directed. It does not forbid their dwelling in the land; and seems to refer rather to the nations than to individuals. It was not understood at any rate to interdict marriage with a Moabitess; compare Ruth 1:4; Ruth 4:13. Ruth however, and her sister were doubtless proselytes.
Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.Compare the marginal reference. The Moabites and the Ammonites are to be regarded as clans of the same stock rather than as two independent nations, and as acting together. Compare 2 Chronicles 20:1.
Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.
Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.i. e. "thou shalt not invite them robe on terms of amity with thee (compare Deuteronomy 20:10 ff), nor make their welfare thy care": compare Ezra 9:12. There is no injunction to hatred or retaliation (compare Deuteronomy 2:9, Deuteronomy 2:19); but later history contains frequent record of hostility between Israel and these nations.
Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land.The Edomite, as descended from Esau the twin brother of Jacob (compare Deuteronomy 2:4), and the Egyptian, as of that nation which had for long shown hospitality to Joseph and his brethren, were not to be objects of abhorrence. The oppression of the Egyptians was perhaps regarded as the act of the Pharaohs rather than the will of the people Exodus 11:2-3; and at any rate was not to cancel the memory of preceding hospitality.
The children that are begotten of them shall enter into the congregation of the LORD in their third generation.In their third generation - i. e. the great grandchildren of the Edomite or Egyptian alien: compare the similar phrase in Exodus 20:5.
When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing.The whole passage refers not to the encampments of the nation while passing from Egypt through the wilderness, but to future warlike expeditions seat out from Canaan.
If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp:
But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash himself with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the camp again.
Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad:
And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:
For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.
Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee:The case in question is that of a slave who fled from a pagan master to the holy land. It is of course assumed that the refugee was not flying from justice, but only from the tyranny of his lord.
He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.
There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.Compare the marginal reference. Prostitution was a common part of religious observances among idolatrous nations, especially in the worship of Ashtoreth or Astarte. Compare Micah 1:7; Baruch 6:43.
Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.Another Gentile practice, connected with the one alluded to in the preceding verse, is here forbidden. The word "dog" is figurative (compare Revelation 22:15), and equivalent to the "sodomite" of the verse preceding.
Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury:
Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.
But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee.
That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.
When thou comest into thy neighbour's vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel.
When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour's standing corn.