Deuteronomy 24:17
You shall not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow's raiment to pledge:
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(17-22) The stranger, the fatherless, and the widow—are the subject of all the laws in these verses. For the first two (Deuteronomy 24:17-18), see Exodus 22:22-24. As to the harvest, see Leviticus 23:22. It is noticeable that this law is connected with the Feast of Pentecost in that place. Never was such care for the widow and the poor manifested as after the day of Pentecost in the New Testament. When “great grace was upon them all,” it is written that “neither was there any among them that lacked.”

In a very special way and for some special reason, all through the Old Testament, “the Lord careth for the stranger.” What the reason is, if we had the Old Testament only, we might find it hard to discover. But when we open the New Testament, we may see that this is one aspect of the love of God the Father to His Son Jesus Christ, who was one day to come among us as “a stranger,” when there was “no room for Him in the inn.” His coming hither as a stranger could not be unnoticed. And, therefore, the name and mention of the stranger all through the Old Testament is like a path strewn with flowers, in expectation of the coming of one that is greatly beloved. We see angels walking upon the earth, entertained as strangers. The wealthy patriarch, a “prince of God” among the Canaanites, confesses himself a “stranger and pilgrim on the earth.” Those that inherit the land are put in the same category, “Ye are strangers and sojourners with Me.” The stranger sits beside the Levite at Israel’s table. The second great commandment is rehearsed again for his especial benefit. “He shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself.” There is only one key to all this combination of tenderness. “I was a stranger, and ye took me in.”

(18,22) Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt.—An exhortation thoroughly in place here, in the writings of Moses. In this form it occurs repeatedly in the Pentateuch, but not elsewhere. It is not the language which would naturally suggest itself to the prophets of later times.

Deuteronomy 24:17. Raiment — Not such as he hath daily and necessary use of, as being poor. But this concerns not rich persons, nor superfluous raiment.24:14-22 It is not hard to prove that purity, piety, justice, mercy, fair conduct, kindness to the poor and destitute, consideration for them, and generosity of spirit, are pleasing to God, and becoming in his redeemed people. The difficulty is to attend to them in our daily walk and conversation.Compare the marginal references. The motive assigned for these various acts of consideration is one and the same Deuteronomy 24:18, Deuteronomy 24:22. 16-18. The fathers shall not be put to death for the children—The rule was addressed for the guidance of magistrates, and it established the equitable principle that none should be responsible for the crimes of others. Nor of the fatherless; nor of the widow, which is to be supplied out of the last member; nor indeed of any other person; but he particularly mentions these, partly because men are most apt to wrong such helpless persons, and partly because God is pleased especially to charge himself, and so to charge others, with the care of those who have no other refuge. See Isaiah 1:23 Jeremiah 5:28.

A widow’s raiment, to wit, such a one as she hath daily and necessary use of, as being poor, as may appear by comparing this with Deu 24:12,13, and with other places. But this concerns not rich persons, nor superfluous raiment. Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless,.... Who are unable to defend themselves, and have but few, if any, to take their part; and therefore particular care should be taken by judges and civil magistrates to do them justice, or God will require it of them:

nor take a widow's raiment to pledge; nor anything else, as her ox or cow, Job 24:3; according to the Jewish canons (r), of a widow, whether she is poor or rich, a pledge is not taken; the reason given for which is, that it would raise an ill suspicion, and cause an evil report of her among her neighbours (s); and which is suggested by the Targum of Jonathan"neither shall any of you take for a pledge the raiment of a widow, lest wicked neighbours should arise, and bring an evil report upon her, when ye return the pledge unto her.''But no doubt a poor widow is meant, and the design of the law is mercy to her, and that she might not be distressed by taking that from her she needed.

(r) Misn. Bava Metzia, c. 9. sect. 13. (s) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Bava Metzia, c. 9. sect. 13.

Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the {g} stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow's raiment to pledge:

(g) Because the world valued these people least, therefore God has most care over them.

17. nor of the fatherless] So LXX, Syr., etc. Heb. omits nor. Add (with LXX B) nor of the widow.

17, 18. Against Injustice to the Gçr, the Orphan and the Widow, the three classes so earnestly cared for by D, Deuteronomy 24:19-22, Deuteronomy 10:18, q.v., Deuteronomy 14:29, Deuteronomy 16:11; Deuteronomy 16:14. Parallels in E, Exodus 22:21 f., Deuteronomy 23:6 (the poor), 9, on which see Driver’s Exod.; and in H, Leviticus 19:33. The clause against pledging the widow’s raiment is omitted by some LXX codd. and some suggest that its proper place is with 10–13. Its word for pledge, however, is not ‘abat as there but ḥabal as in Deuteronomy 24:6, and its appearance here is natural. On widows’ rights in Babylonia, see Johns, op. cit. ch. xii.Verses 17, 18. - The law against perverting the right of strangers, widows, and orphans is here repeated from Exodus 22:20, 21; Exodus 23:9, with the addition that the raiment of the widow was not to be taken in pledge. To enforce this, the people are reminded that they themselves as a nation had been in the condition of strangers and bondmen in Egypt (cf. Leviticus 19:33, 34). Warning against oppressing the Poor. - Deuteronomy 24:10, Deuteronomy 24:11. If a loan of any kind was lent to a neighbour, the lender was not to go into his house to pledge (take) a pledge, but was to let the borrower bring the pledge out. The meaning is, that they were to leave it to the borrower to give a pledge, and not compel him to give up something as a pledge that might be indispensable to him.
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