And they shall say to the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Deuteronomy 21:20. A glutton and a drunkard — Under which two offences others of a like or worse nature are comprehended.Exodus 20:12; Exodus 21:15, Exodus 21:17; Leviticus 20:9); but the extreme and irresponsible power of life and death, conceded by the law of Rome and other pagan nations, is withheld from the Israelite father. In this, as in the last law, provision is made against the abuses of a necessary authority. Stubborn and rebellious, adds incorrigibleness to all his wickedness.
A glutton and a drunkard; under which two offences others of a like or worse nature are comprehended by a synecdoche. John 9:2.
this our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; one of an obstinate disposition, will have his own will and way, is perverse and refractory; honours not, but despises his parents, and is disobedient to their commands, unruly and ungovernable: the Jews gather (a) many things from hence, for which there is little foundation, as that they must be neither dumb, nor blind, nor deaf; though what they further observe is not much amiss, concerning this rebellious child, that the law respects a son and not a daughter, because a daughter generally is more tractable; and less capable of doing mischief than a son; and a son and not a man, for if at man's estate, and for himself, he is not under the power of his parents; and yet not a child or a little one, for that is not comprehended in the commands; he must be according to them thirteen years of age and one day, and he must be a son and not a father (b):
he is a glutton and a drunkard; which, according to the Misnah (c), is one that eats half a pound of flesh, and drinks half a log of Italian wine; R. Jose says, a pound of flesh and a log of wine; but the decision was not according to him; the first rule stood: now half a pound of flesh, and half a log of wine, which was about three egg shells, or a quarter of a pint, would be at this day reckoned very little by our grandsons of Bacchus, as Schickard observes (d); but in an age of severer discipline, as he says, in the tender candidates of temperance, it was reckoned too much, and was a presage of a future glutton: and it must be further observed to denominate him a rebellious son, what he ate and drank was to be what he stole from his parents, and did not eat and drink it at home, but abroad, and in bad company; so Jarchi remarks on the text, he is not guilty until he steals, and eats half a pound of flesh, and drinks half a log of wine; in which he seems to have respect to the Jewish canon (e),"if he steals from his father and eats it in a place in his father's power, or from others and eats it in a place in their power, or from others and eats it in a place in his father's power; he is not reckoned a stubborn and rebellious son, unless he steals from his father, and eats it in a place in the power of others,''see Proverbs 23:20, the Jews seem to refer to this when they charged Christ with being a glutton and a winebibber, Matthew 11:19 being desirous of having him thought as such an one.
(a) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 8. sect. 4. (b) Ut supra, (Misn. Bava Bathra, c. 8.) sect. 1. Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. (c) Ib. sect. 2.((d) Jus Regium Heb. c. 5. Theor. 17. p. 364. (e) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 8. sect. 3.And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20. elders] Sam. LXX, men.
riotous liver] Better, prodigal, lit. one who lavishes or squanders, Proverbs 23:20 (with flesh, a glutton) and 21, parallel to drunkard as here; Deuteronomy 28:7 : a companion of prodigals shameth his father.Verse 20. - He will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. Gluttony and drunkenness were regarded by the Hebrews as highly criminal. The word rendered by "glutton," however (זולַל, from זָלַל, to shake, to shake out, to squander), includes other kinds of excess besides eating. It designates one who is prodigal, who wastes his means or wastes his person by indulgence. In Proverbs 23:30, the whole phrase (זולְלֵי בָּשָׂר) is given - squanderers of flesh, i.e. wasters of their own body, debauchees. In Proverbs 28:7, the word is translated "riotous men" in the Authorized Version. Disobedience to parents was deemed an offense, which struck at the roots of the whole social institute. 2 Samuel 19:25), - both customary signs of purification (on this signification of the cutting of the hair, see Leviticus 14:8 and Numbers 8:7), - as symbols of her passing out of the state of a slave, and of her reception into the fellowship of the covenant nation. This is perfectly obvious in her laying aside her prisoner's clothes. After putting off the signs of captivity, she was to sit (dwell) in the house, and bewail her father and mother for a month, i.e., console herself for her separation from her parents, whom she had lost, that she might be able to forget her people and her father's house (Psalm 45:11), and give herself up henceforth in love to her husband with an undivided heart. The intention of these laws was not to protect the woman against any outbreak of rude passion on the part of the man, but rather to give her time and leisure to loosen herself inwardly from the natural fellowship of her nation and kindred, and to acquire affection towards the fellowship of the people of God, into which she had entered against her will, that her heart might cherish love to the God of Israel, who had given her favour in the eyes of her master, and had taken from her the misery and reproach of slavery. But her master becoming her husband, she entered into the rights of a daughter of Israel, who had been sold by her father to a man to be his wife (Exodus 21:7.). If after this her husband should find no pleasure in her, he was to let her go לנפשׁהּ, i.e., at her free will, and not sell her for money (cf. Exodus 21:8). "Thou shalt not put constraint upon her, because thou hast humbled her." התעמּר, which only occurs again in Deuteronomy 24:7, probably signifies to throw oneself upon a person, to practise violence towards him (cf. Ges. thes. p. 1046).
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