You shall not see your brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide yourself from them: you shall surely help him to lift them up again.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Deuteronomy 21:10 note.
De 22:1-4. Of Humanity toward Brethren.
1. Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them, &c.—"Brother" is a term of extensive application, comprehending persons of every description; not a relative, neighbor, or fellow countryman only, but any human being, known or unknown, a foreigner, and even an enemy (Ex 23:4). The duty inculcated is an act of common justice and charity, which, while it was taught by the law of nature, was more clearly and forcibly enjoined in the law delivered by God to His people. Indifference or dissimulation in the circumstances supposed would not only be cruelty to the dumb animals, but a violation of the common rights of humanity; and therefore the dictates of natural feeling, and still more the authority of the divine law, enjoined that the lost or missing property of another should be taken care of by the finder, till a proper opportunity occurred of restoring it to the owner.Help him, i.e. thy brother, the owner. Compare Exodus 13:5.
and hide thyself from them; cover thine eyes, or turn them another way, and make as if thou didst not see them in distress:
thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again; that is, help the brother and owner of it, the ox and ass; assist him in getting them up again, and lay on their burden, and fasten them aright, which either were rolled off by the fall, or were obliged to be taken off in order to raise them up; and if this was to be done for an enemy, then much more for a brother, as is required; see Gill on Exodus 23:5, or "lifting up, thou shall lift them up with him" (d); that is, most certainly do it, and lift with all his strength, and as often as there is occasion; if they fell down again after raised up, help is still to be continued, even, as Maimonides (e) says, though it was an hundred times.Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. Of Assisting to Lift Fallen Beasts. D’s more comprehensive and more simply expressed edition of E’s law, Exodus 23:5, which enjoins the duty of helping him that hateth thee to release (an archaic word) his animals when foundered beneath their burdens. On fallen, see Deuteronomy 21:1.
An animal fallen under its load needs two persons to put it right: ‘an operation which can be performed for a loaded animal only by lifting up the burden on both sides at once, unless it be unloaded and loaded again, implying much loss of time, and even this often cannot be done without assistance. Jew and Christian, Muslim and Koord mutually assist each other, though inimical to one another’s faith’ (Van Lennep, Bible Lands, etc., 231).Verse 4. - An animal that had fallen was also to be lifted up, and the owner was to be assisted to do this. In Exodus, it is specially declared that both these services are to be rendered, even though the parties are at enmity with each other, and the one is the object of hatred to the other. Proverbs 19:18), whilst at the same time the parental authority was fully preserved. Nothing is said about any evidence of the charge brought by the parents, or about any judicial inquiry generally. "In such a case the charge was a proof in itself. For if the heart of a father and mother could be brought to such a point as to give up their child to the judge before the community of the nation, everything would have been done that a judge would need to know" (Schnell, d. isr. Recht, p. 11). - On Deuteronomy 21:21, cf. Deuteronomy 13:6 and Deuteronomy 13:12.
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