Deuteronomy 24:10
When you do lend your brother any thing, you shall not go into his house to fetch his pledge.
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(10-13) When thou dost lend.—The law in these verses is evidently the production of primitive and simple times, when men had little more than the bare necessaries of life to offer as security—their own clothing, or the mill-stones used to prepare their daily food, being almost their only portable property. (See Exodus 22:26-27.)

It shall be righteousness.—LXX., it shall be alms, or mercy. In other words, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

Deuteronomy 24:10-13. Thou shalt not go in — To prevent both the poor man’s reproach, by having his wants exposed, and the creditor’s greediness, which might be occasioned by the sight of something which he desired, and the debtor could not spare. The pledge — He shall choose what pledge he pleases, provided it be sufficient for the purpose. Thou shalt not sleep — But restore it before night, which intimates that he should take no such thing for pledge without which a man could not sleep. Bless thee — Bring down the blessing of God upon thee by his prayers: for though his prayers, if he be not a good man, shall not avail for his own behalf, yet they shall avail for thy benefit. It shall be righteousness unto thee — Esteemed and accepted by God as a work of righteousness, or mercy.24:5-13 It is of great consequence that love be kept up between husband and wife; that they carefully avoid every thing which might make them strange one to another. Man-stealing was a capital crime, which could not be settled, as other thefts, by restitution. The laws concerning leprosy must be carefully observed. Thus all who feel their consciences under guilt and wrath, must not cover it, or endeavour to shake off their convictions; but by repentance, and prayer, and humble confession, take the way to peace and pardon. Some orders are given about pledges for money lent. This teaches us to consult the comfort and subsistence of others, as much as our own advantage. Let the poor debtor sleep in his own raiment, and praise God for thy kindness to him. Poor debtors ought to feel more than commonly they do, the goodness of creditors who do not take all the advantage of the law against them, nor should this ever be looked upon as weakness.Compare Exodus 22:25-27.10-13. When thou dost lend thy brother anything, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge—The course recommended was, in kind and considerate regard, to spare the borrower's feelings. In the case of a poor man who had pledged his cloak, it was to be restored before night, as the poor in Eastern countries have commonly no other covering for wrapping themselves in when they go to sleep than the garment they have worn during the day. To prevent both the poor man’s reproach, by having his wants exposed to view, and the creditor’s insolence and greediness, which might be occasioned by the sight of something which he desired, and the debtor could not spare. When thou dost lend thy brother anything,.... Any sum of money he stands in need of, or demanded a debt of him, as Jarchi; money he is indebted to thee, which is the sense of the Septuagint version; and he is not able to pay it, but offers something: in pawn till he can pay it:

thou shall not go into his house to fetch his pledge; which would be an exercise of too much power and authority, to go into a neighbour's house, and take what was liked; and besides, as no doubt he would take the best, so he might take that which the poor man could not spare: and indeed, according to the Jewish canons (k), he could not take any pledge at all, but with the knowledge, and by the leave, of the sanhedrim, or court of judicature.

(k) Misn. Bava Metzia, c. 9. sect. 13.

When thou dost lend thy brother any thing, thou shalt not go {e} into his house to fetch his pledge.

(e) As though you would appoint what to have, but shall receive what be may spare.

10. When thou dost lend] See on Deuteronomy 15:1 ff.

any manner of loan] Lit. loan of anything, cp, Deuteronomy 23:19. Besides money or victuals, it might be a slave, a working animal or a plough or other instrument.

fetch his pledge] Lit. take in pledge his pledge (Deuteronomy 15:8, give a pledge). In this case the borrower would make his selection of what his pledge should be.

10–13. Of Taking and Restoring Pledges. The lender must not invade the borrower’s house to select a pledge for the loan, the borrower shall bring it out (Deuteronomy 24:10 f.); if he be poor, the pledge, usually his outer robe in which he sleeps, shall be restored by sunset (Deuteronomy 24:12 f.).—In the Sg. address throughout and in temper and phrase characteristic of D; but the two parts may be borrowed from earlier sources: Deuteronomy 24:10 f. because of neighbour, not brother as usual with Sg. (see on Deuteronomy 15:2); and Deuteronomy 24:12 f. adapted from E, Exodus 22:26 f. (25 f.; E’s ḥabal, pledge, becomes ‘abat, so as to fit Deuteronomy 24:10 f.), with the religious motive differently expressed. See further on Deuteronomy 24:6. Cp. Ezekiel 18:7; Ezekiel 18:12; Ezekiel 33:15; Code of Ḫammurabi, § 241.Verses 10-13. - If one had to take a pledge from another, he was not to go into the house of the latter and take what he thought fit; he must stand without, and allow the debtor to bring to him what he saw meet to offer. He might stand outside and summon the debtor to produce his pledge, but he was not insolently to enter the house and lay hands on any part of the owner's property. To stand outside and call is still a common mode of seeking access to a person in his own house or apartment among the Arabs, and is regarded as the only respectful mode. There would be thus a mitigation of the severity of the exaction, the tendency of which would be to preserve good feeling between the parties. If the debtor was needy, and being such could give in pledge only some necessary article, such as his upper garment in which he slept at night, the pledge was to be returned ere nightfall, that the man might sleep in his own raiment, and have a grateful feeling towards his creditor. In many parts of the East, with the Arabs notably, it is customary for the poor to sleep in their outer garment. "During the day the poor while at work can and do dispense with this outside raiment, but at night it is greatly needed, even in summer. This furnishes a good reason why this sort of pledge should be restored before night" (Thomson, 'Land and the Book,' 1:192, 500). The earlier legislation (Exodus 22:25, 26) is evidently assumed here as well known by the people. It shall be righteousness unto thee (see on Deuteronomy 6:25). Deuteronomy 24:1-5 contain two laws concerning the relation of a man to his wife. The first (Deuteronomy 24:1-4) has reference to divorce. In these verses, however, divorce is not established as a right; all that is done is, that in case of a divorce a reunion with the divorced wife is forbidden, if in the meantime she had married another man, even though the second husband had also put her away, or had died. The four verses form a period, in which Deuteronomy 24:1-3 are the clauses of the protasis, which describe the matter treated about; and Deuteronomy 24:4 contains the apodosis, with the law concerning the point in question. If a man married a wife, and he put her away with a letter of divorce, because she did not please him any longer, and the divorced woman married another man, and he either put her away in the same manner or died, the first husband could not take her as his wife again. The putting away (divorce) of a wife with a letter of divorce, which the husband gave to the wife whom he put away, is assumed as a custom founded upon tradition. This tradition left the question of divorce entirely at the will of the husband: "if the wife does not find favour in his eyes (i.e., does not please him), because he has found in her something shameful" (Deuteronomy 23:15). ערוה, nakedness, shame, disgrace (Isaiah 20:4; 1 Samuel 20:30); in connection with דּבר, the shame of a thing, i.e., a shameful thing (lxx ἄσχημον πρᾶγμα; Vulg. aliquam faetiditatem). The meaning of this expression as a ground of divorce was disputed even among the Rabbins. Hillel's school interpret it in the widest and most lax manner possible, according to the explanation of the Pharisees in Matthew 19:3, "for every cause." They no doubt followed the rendering of Onkelos, פתגם עבירת, the transgression of a thing; but this is contrary to the use of the word ערוה, to which the interpretation given by Shammai adhered more strictly. His explanation of דּבר ערות is "rem impudicam, libidinem, lasciviam, impudicitiam." Adultery, to which some of the Rabbins would restrict the expression, is certainly not to be thought of, because this was to be punished with death.

(Note: For the different views of the Rabbins upon this subject, see Mishnah tract. Gittin ix. 10; Buxtorf, de sponsal. et divort. pp. 88ff.; Selden, uxor ebr. l. iii. c. 18 and 20; and Lightfoot, horae ebr. et talm. ad Matth. v. 31f.)

כּריתת ספר, βιβλίον ἀποστασίου, a letter of divorce; כּריתת, hewing off, cutting off, sc., from the man, with whom the wife was to be one flesh (Genesis 2:24). The custom of giving letters of divorce was probably adopted by the Israelites in Egypt, where the practice of writing had already found its way into all the relations of life.

(Note: The rabbinical rules on the grounds of divorce and the letter of divorce, according to Maimonides, have been collected by Surenhusius, ad Mishn. tr. Gittin, c. 1((T. iii. pp. 322f. of the Mishnah of Sur.), where different specimens of letters of divorce are given; the latter also in Lightfoot, l.c.)

The law that the first husband could not take his divorced wife back again, if she had married another husband in the meantime, even supposing that the second husband was dead, would necessarily put a check upon frivolous divorces. Moses could not entirely abolish the traditional custom, if only "because of the hardness of the people's hearts" (Matthew 19:8). The thought, therefore, of the impossibility of reunion with the first husband, after the wife had contracted a second marriage, would put some restraint upon a frivolous rupture of the marriage tie: it would have this effect, that whilst, on the one hand, the man would reflect when inducements to divorce his wife presented themselves, and would recall a rash act if it had been performed, before the wife he had put away had married another husband; on the other hand, the wife would yield more readily to the will of her husband, and seek to avoid furnishing him with an inducement for divorce. But this effect would be still more readily produced by the reason assigned by Moses, namely, that the divorced woman was defiled (הטּמּאה, Hothpael, as in Numbers 1:47) by her marriage with a second husband. The second marriage of a woman who had been divorced is designated by Moses a defilement of the woman, primarily no doubt with reference to the fact that the emissio seminis in sexual intercourse rendered unclean, though not merely in the sense of such a defilement as was removed in the evening by simple washing, but as a moral defilement, i.e., blemishing, desecration of the sexual communion with was sanctified by marriage, in the same sense in which adultery is called a defilement in Leviticus 18:20 and Numbers 5:13-14. Thus the second marriage of a divorced woman was placed implicite upon a par with adultery, and some approach made towards the teaching of Christ concerning marriage: "Whosoever shall marry her that is divorced, committeth adultery" (Matthew 5:32). - But if the second marriage of a divorced woman was a moral defilement, of course the wife could not marry the first again even after the death of her second husband, not only because such a reunion would lower the dignity of the woman, and the woman would appear too much like property, which could be disposed of at one time and reclaimed at another (Schultz), but because the defilement of the wife would be thereby repeated, and even increased, as the moral defilement which the divorced wife acquired through the second marriage was not removed by a divorce from the second husband, nor yet by his death. Such defilement was an abomination before Jehovah, by which they would cause the land to sin, i.e., stain it with sin, as much as by the sins of incest and unnatural licentiousness (Leviticus 18:25).

Attached to this law, which is intended to prevent a frivolous severance of the marriage tie, there is another in Deuteronomy 24:5, which was of a more positive character, and adapted to fortify the marriage bond. The newly married man was not required to perform military service for a whole year; "and there shall not come (anything) upon him with regard to any matter." The meaning of this last clause is to be found in what follows: "Free shall he be for his house for a year," i.e., they shall put no public burdens upon him, that he may devote himself entirely to his newly established domestic relations, and be able to gladden his wife (compare Deuteronomy 20:7).

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