And it shall be, that the firstborn which she bears shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Genesis 38:8) in all essential respects the same among various Oriental nations, ancient and modern. The rules in these verses, like those upon divorce, do but incorporate existing immemorial usages, and introduce various wise and politic limitations and mitigations of them. The root of the obligation here imposed upon the brother of the deceased husband lies in the primitive idea of childlessness being a great calamity (compare Genesis 16:4; and note), and extinction of name and family one of the greatest that could happen (compare Deuteronomy 9:14; Psalm 109:12-15). To avert this the ordinary rules as to intermarriage are in the case in question (compare Leviticus 18:16) set aside. The obligation was onerous (compare Ruth 4:6), and might be repugnant; and it is accordingly considerably reduced and restricted by Moses. The duty is recognized as one of affection for the memory of the deceased; it is not one which could be enforced at law. That it continued down to the Christian era is apparent from the question on this point put to Jesus by the Sadducees (see the marginal references).
No child - literally, "no son." The existence of a daughter would clearly suffice. The daughter would inherit the name and property of the father; compare Numbers 27:1-11.In the name of his brother; shall be called and reputed his son. See Ruth 4:17.
That his name be not put out of Israel; that a family be not lost. So this was a provision that the number of their families might not be diminished.
shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead; the meaning is, as the Targum of Jonathan,"he shall rise up in the inheritance in the name of his brother;''or, as Jarchi expresses it,"he shall take the inheritance of the deceased in the goods of his father;''that is, he shall have his part and share in the inheritance that the deceased brother would have had if he had lived, which would come to him by his father:
that his name be not put out of Israel; that the family be not lost in Israel, and the inheritance belonging to it pass to another. This law was designed to keep families distinct, and inheritances in them, until the Messiah came, and that it might appear from what family he came; as he did from one in whom, as it is generally thought, this law took place: and it might have still a more special respect to him, as Ainsworth suggests; for Christ in the mystical sense may be signified by the deceased brother; he stands in the relation of a brother to his people, and has all the love, friendship, compassion, and condescension of one; he and they are of one and the same father, of the same family, and of the same nature, and have the same inheritance they being co-heirs with him; nor is he ashamed to own the relation. This brother of theirs is deceased; his death was according to the will of God, what he himself agreed to, and was foretold by the prophets; for which purpose he came into the world, and did die as to the flesh, and that for the sins of his people. Now the Jewish church was his wife, by whom he had no children through the law; that church was espoused to him, he stood in the relation of an husband to her, and she in the relation of a wife to him. Very few children were brought forth by her to him, see, Isaiah 54:1; and none by the law, by which there is no regeneration, but by the Gospel; it is through that, and not the law, the Spirit and his graces come; or souls are born again to Christ, renewed and sanctified. The apostles that survived Christ, and the ministers of the Gospel, are his brethren, John 20:17; and who are instruments in begetting souls to Christ; and these are a seed raised up unto him, and are called not after the name of the apostles and ministers of the word, through whose ministry they are begotten, 1 Corinthians 1:12; but after Christ; and have the name of Christians, or anointed ones, from him, and by which means his name is, and will be continued as long as the sun endures, Acts 11:26.And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6. firstborn son] So Sam, (as in Deuteronomy 21:15) in conformity with Deuteronomy 25:5. LXX, τὸ παιδίον, still adapts the law to that of P.
succeed in the name, etc.] Lit. stand up, take position, place or rank on the name of the dead.
that his name be not blotted, etc.] See Deuteronomy 9:14, Deuteronomy 29:10. Ruth 4:5; Ruth 4:10 : to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. Cp. next v.Verse 6. - Shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead; literally, shall rise up on the name of his deceased brother; i.e. shall be enrolled in the family register as heir of the deceased, and shall perpetuate his name. Leviticus 19:9-10, and Leviticus 23:22). The reason is given in Deuteronomy 24:22, viz., the same as in Deuteronomy 24:18 and Deuteronomy 15:15.
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