Deuteronomy 24:7
If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.
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(7) If a man be found stealing (a soul) any of his brethren . . .—See Exodus 21:16.

(8,9) Take heed in the plague of leprosy. . . . Remember what the Lord thy God did to Miriam.—The point here seems to be that though Miriam was one of the three leaders of Israel (“I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam”—Micah 6:4), yet she was shut out of the camp seven days (Numbers 12:14) when suddenly smitten with leprosy. There might be a tendency to relax the law in the case of great or wealthy persons. But this would be felt keenly by poorer lepers, who could obtain no exemption. Moses, whose own sister had suffered from the leprosy, and had been treated according to the strict letter of the law, would never consent to any relaxation of it.

The priests the Levites.—The law of leprosy was one of the laws which the “priests” in particular were ordered to administer. “Aaron looked on Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous” It seems impossible to maintain that the Levites in general are meant here. The writer evidently had personal knowledge of the case of Miriam. Had he or his first readers lived in later times, he would have explained his meaning more fully.

Deuteronomy 24:7. That thief shall die — Thus the crime of man-stealing was to be punished with death, though stealing of beasts, or other things, was not.

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 Deuteronomy 21:14; and Exodus 21:16. 7. If a man be found stealing any of his brethren—(See Ex 21:16). See Poole "Exodus 21:16".

If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel,.... Whether grown up or little, male or female, an Israelite or a proselyte, or a freed servant; all, as Maimonides (f) says, are included in this general word "brethren"; though Aben Ezra observes, that it is added, "of the children of Israel", for explanation, since an Edomite is called a "brother". Now, a man must be "found" committing this fact; that is, it must plainly appear, there must be full proof of it by witnesses, as Jarchi explains this word:

and maketh merchandise of him; or rather uses him as a servant, and employs him in any service to the least profit and advantage by him, even to the value of a farthing; yea, if he does but lean upon him, and he supports him, though he is an old man that is stolen; this is serving a man's self by him, as Maimonides (g), which is what is forbidden as distinct from selling him, as follows:

or selleth him: to others; and both these, according to the above writer (h), using him for service, and selling him, are necessary to make him guilty of death; not the one without the other; but reading them disjunctively, as we do, gives the better sense of the words:

then that thief shall die; by strangling with a napkin, as the Targum of Jonathan; and so Maimonides (i) says, his death is by strangling:

and thou shall put evil away from among you; both him that does evil, as the Targum of Jonathan, and the guilt of it by inflicting due punishment for it; and so deter from such practices, and prevent evil coming upon the body of the people, should such a sin be connived at; see Exodus 21:16.

(f) Hichot Genibah, c. 9. sect. 6. (g) Ib. sect. 2.((h) Ib. sect. 3.((i) Hilchot Genibah, c. 9. sect. 1. So R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 67. 1. interprets it of service.

If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.
7. Against Manstealing. If a man be found (see Deuteronomy 21:1, Deuteronomy 22:22) stealing a brother (see on Deuteronomy 15:2) Israelite, and playing the owner (see Deuteronomy 21:14) he shall die: so shalt thou put away the evil, etc. (Deuteronomy 13:5 (6)). The parallel in E, Exodus 21:16, has stealing a man; for D’s substitution of Israelite see on Deuteronomy 15:2, Deuteronomy 22:1-4. Ḫammurabi (§ 14) decrees death to the kidnapper.

Verse 7. - Against man-stealing: repetition, with expansion, of the law in Exodus 21:16. Deuteronomy 24:7Repetition of the law against man-stealing (Exodus 21:16). - Deuteronomy 24:8, Deuteronomy 24:9. The command, "Take heed by the plague of leprosy to observe diligently and to do according to all that the priests teach thee," etc., does not mean, that when they saw signs of leprosy they were to be upon their guard, to observe everything that the priests directed them, as Knobel and many others suppose. For, in the first place, the reference to the punishment of Miriam with leprosy is by no means appropriate to such a thought as this, since Miriam did not act in opposition to the priests after she had been smitten with leprosy, but brought leprosy upon herself as a punishment, by her rebellion against Moses (Numbers 12:10.). And in the second place, this view cannot be reconciled with בּנגע השּׁמר, since השּׁמר with בּ, either to be upon one's guard against (before) anything (2 Samuel 20:10), or when taken in connection with בּנפשׁ, to beware by the soul, i.e., for the sake of the worth of the soul (Jeremiah 17:21). The thought here, therefore, is, "Be on thy guard because of the plague of leprosy," i.e., that thou dost not get it, have to bear it, as the reward for thy rebellion against what the priests teach according to the commandment of the Lord. "Watch diligently, that thou do not incur the plague of leprosy" (Vulgate); or, "that thou do not sin, so as to be punished with leprosy" (J. H. Michaelis).
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