You shall make you fringes on the four quarters of your clothing, with which you cover yourself.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thou shalt make thee fringes.—See Numbers 16:32-41 for the origin of this requirement. We may call this fringe (or κράςπεδον, Greek) on the four sides of the square shawl or mantle, a mourning for the one man who was executed for sabbath breaking in the wilderness, as well as a reminder to Israel to do all the commandments and be holy unto their God. Of this κράςπεδον, when worn by our Lord on earth, the sick laid hold and were healed. His obedience and His suffering for the transgressions of God’s people are perfect and without flaw.
The principle of these precepts is evident. Even the dress of God’s people must be distinctive. And whether they eat or drink, or whatsoever they do, they must do all to the glory of God. These laws have a symbolical and a sanitary side; being made for the physical well-being as well as for the spiritual teaching of God’s people.Deuteronomy 22:12. Fringes — Or laces, or strings, partly to bring the commands of God to their remembrance, as it is expressed Numbers 15:38, and partly as a public profession of their nation and religion, whereby they might be distinguished from strangers, that so they might be more circumspect to behave as became the people of God, and that they should own their religion before all the world. Thou coverest thyself — These words seem to confine the precept to the upper garment wherewith the rest were covered.Numbers 15:38 and its note. Fringes, or laces, or strings; partly to bring the commands of God to their remembrance, as it is expressed, Numbers 15:38; and partly as a public profession of their nation and religion, whereby they might be discerned and distinguished from strangers, that so they might be more circumspect to behave themselves as became the people of God, and that they should not be ashamed to own their God and religion before all the world. Wherewith thou coverest thyself: these words are either restrictive to the upper garment, wherewith the rest were covered; or argumentative, why they should use these things, because herewith they might possibly fasten their garments, and prevent the uncovering themselves, as might easily happen, when they wore no breeches, but only loose garments. Numbers 15:38, yet the same things are intended, and Onkelos translates both by one and the same word, and which is no other than a corruption of the Greek word used in Matthew 23:5. Though there have been some, whom Aben Ezra takes notice of, who supposed that this is a law by itself, and to be observed in the night, as that in Numbers 15:38 was in the day; but these he warmly opposes, and calls them liars:
upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself; upon the four skirts of the uppermost vesture, called Talith; See Gill on Numbers 15:38.Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)12. Of Knots or Tassels. Gedilîm, lit. twisted threads, are to be put on the four borders of the quadrangular covering or outer garment (Deuteronomy 24:13, Exodus 22:27). P (or H), Numbers 15:37-41, calls them Ṣîṣîth, and explains them as reminders of the commandments of their God, and their obligations, as holy to him, not to go a whoring. It is singular that D does not explain them as, with this meaning, they are analogous to the directions given in Deuteronomy 6:8, Deuteronomy 11:18. Among all peoples knots have been used as symbols of contracts, etc., and memorials (see also on Deuteronomy 18:11). These enjoined by the Law may be the successors of the armlets worn in a more primitive state of society. LXX, στρεπτά, and for ṣiṣith, κράσπεδα. Vesture, Heb. kesûth, lit. covering.Verse 12. - (Cf. Numbers 15:38.) Fringes; properly, tassels. The tunic of the Hebrews appears to have been divided at the bottom in front, and back, so that four corners or wings (כַּנְפות) were made, to each of which a tassel was appended (Greek, κράσπεδον, Matthew 9:20; Matthew 23:5, etc.). Exodus 5:3. The command is related to the one in Leviticus 22:28 and Exodus 23:19, and is placed upon a par with the commandment relating to parents, by the fact that obedience is urged upon the people by the same promise in both instances (vid., Deuteronomy 5:16; Exodus 20:12).
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