Deuteronomy 22:30
A man shall not take his father's wife, nor discover his father's skirt.
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22:13-30 These and the like regulations might be needful then, and yet it is not necessary that we should curiously examine respecting them. The laws relate to the seventh commandment, laying a restraint upon fleshly lusts which war against the soul.The fine was to be paid to the father, because the slander was against him principally as the head of the wife's family. If the damsel were an orphan the fine reverted to herself. The fact that the penalties attached to bearing false witness against a wife are fixed and comparatively light indicates the low estimation and position of the woman at that time. 13-30. If a man take a wife, &c.—The regulations that follow might be imperatively needful in the then situation of the Israelites; and yet, it is not necessary that we should curiously and impertinently inquire into them. So far was it from being unworthy of God to leave such things upon record, that the enactments must heighten our admiration of His wisdom and goodness in the management of a people so perverse and so given to irregular passions. Nor is it a better argument that the Scriptures were not written by inspiration of God to object that this passage, and others of a like nature, tend to corrupt the imagination and will be abused by evil-disposed readers, than it is to say that the sun was not created by God, because its light may be abused by wicked men as an assistant in committing crimes which they have meditated [Horne]. Shall not take to wife. So this respects the state, and the next branch speaks of the act only.

His father’s wife; his mother-in-law. See Leviticus 18:8 20:11 1 Corinthians 5:1.

His father’s skirt, i.e. the skirt of the mother’s garment, i.e. the nakedness, which is here called his father’s skirt, because his father and mother were one flesh, or because his father alone had the right to uncover it. The phrase is taken from the ancient custom or ceremony of the bridegroom’s spreading the skirt of his garment over the bride, to signify his right to her, and authority over her, and his obligation to the marriage duty. See Ruth 3:9 Ezekiel 16:8.

A man shall not take his father's wife,.... Not marry her, whether his own mother, or a stepmother; or even, as Aben Ezra thinks, anyone that was deflowered by his father. Jarchi interprets it of his father's brother's wife, which he was obliged to marry by virtue of the law in Deuteronomy 25:5.

nor discover his father's skirt; or lie with her his father had thrown his skirt over, or married; and which being the first, is mentioned here as a sample to all the rest forbidden Leviticus 18:7 or, as Bishop Patrick expresses it, is a "short memorandum", to make them careful to observe all the other laws respecting incestuous marriages and copulations there delivered.

A man shall not {l} take his father's wife, nor discover his father's skirt.

(l) He shall not lie with his stepmother, meaning by this all other variations forbidden in Le 18:1-30.

30. (Heb. ch. Deuteronomy 23:1.) Against Intercourse with a Father’s Wife, cp. Deuteronomy 27:20, and H, Leviticus 18:8; Leviticus 20:11, where the prohibition is extended to other female relatives. Either D’s law is earlier than H’s or D did not know of H’s. Its limitation to this special case is explained by the fact that such intercourse had been regarded as proof of succession to the father’s property (2 Samuel 3:7; 2 Samuel 16:22, 1 Kings 2:22) and was become frequent (Ezekiel 22:10); probably the survival of a practice general in early times (but condemned by J, Genesis 35:22; Genesis 49:4).

Thus among the ancient Arabs a man succeeded to his father’s wives along with other heritable property, but this was forbidden by the Korân, iv. 26. For instances in Syria see W. R. Smith, Kinship, etc., 86–90, OTJC2, 369 f. By § 158 of Ḫammurabi a man caught after his father’s death with a step-mother who has borne children, is cut off from his father’s house; by § 157 incest is punished by burning. Cp. H, Leviticus 18:7.

uncover, etc.] Deuteronomy 27:20, for the sense see Ruth 3:9, Ezekiel 16:8, and cp. the Ar. parallel quoted through W. R. Smith in Driver’s Deut. 259, n. 1.

Verse 30. - To these is appended a general prohibition of incestuous connections, the first provision in the earlier law being cited as a sort of index to the whole (Leviticus 18:7, etc.).

Deuteronomy 22:30(or Deuteronomy 23:1) This verse, in which the prohibition of incest is renewed by a repetition of the first provision in the earlier law (Leviticus 18:7-8), is no doubt much better adapted to form the close of the laws of chastity and marriage, than the introduction to the laws which follow concerning the right of citizenship in the congregation of the Lord.
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