Exodus 22:22
Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.
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Exodus 22:22. Ye shall not afflict the widow, or fatherless child — That is, ye shall comfort and assist them, and be ready upon all occasions to show them kindness. In making just demands from them, their condition must be considered who have lost those that should protect them; and no advantage must be taken against them, nor any hardship put upon them, which a husband or a father would have sheltered them from.

22; 1 - 31 Judicial laws. - The people of God should ever be ready to show mildness and mercy, according to the spirit of these laws. We must answer to God, not only for what we do maliciously, but for what we do heedlessly. Therefore, when we have done harm to our neighbour, we should make restitution, though not compelled by law. Let these scriptures lead our souls to remember, that if the grace of God has indeed appeared to us, then it has taught us, and enabled us so to conduct ourselves by its holy power, that denying ungodliness and wordly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, Titus 2:12. And the grace of God teaches us, that as the Lord is our portion, there is enough in him to satisfy all the desires of our souls.Afflict - A word including all cold and contemptuous treatment. See Deuteronomy 10:18. Contrast the blessing, Deuteronomy 14:29. 6. If fire break out, and catch in thorns—This refers to the common practice in the East of setting fire to the dry grass before the fall of the autumnal rains, which prevents the ravages of vermin, and is considered a good preparation of the ground for the next crop. The very parched state of the herbage and the long droughts of summer, make the kindling of a fire an operation often dangerous, and always requiring caution from its liability to spread rapidly.

stacks—or as it is rendered "shocks" (Jud 15:5; Job 5:26), means simply a bundle of loose sheaves.

No text from Poole on this verse.

Ye shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. Who have no friends, husband, or father to be on their side and protect them, and are weak and helpless to defend themselves, and therefore it must be barbarous to do them any injury, either to their persons or property; no one ought to be afflicted and distressed by another, either in body or mind, or substance, and especially such as have no helper, not any to assist them and sympathize with them; for this is a law for every man, as Jarchi observes, is binding upon all; only the Scripture speaks of these, because of their weakness, and because they are more frequently afflicted than others, cruel and unmerciful men taking the advantage of their inability to defend themselves. Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.
22. The helpless widow, and orphan, not to be oppressed. The widow, the orphan, and the ‘sojourner,’ as liable in various ways to suffer from rapacious judges, and hard-hearted moneyed men, are constantly commended to the philanthropic regard of the Israelite in Dt. (Deuteronomy 10:18, Deuteronomy 14:29, Deuteronomy 16:11; Deuteronomy 16:14, Deuteronomy 24:17; Deuteronomy 24:19-21, Deuteronomy 26:12-13, Exodus 27:19); so in the prophets, Jeremiah 7:6; Jeremiah 22:3; cf. Isaiah 1:17, and elsewhere. Contrast Job’s conduct (Job 31:16-17; Job 31:21).

Verses 22-24. - Law against oppressing widows and orphans. With the stranger are naturally placed the widow and orphan; like him, weak and defenceless; like him, special objects of God's care. The negative precept here given was followed up by numerous positive enactments in favour of the widow and the orphan, which much ameliorated their sad lot. (See Exodus 23:11; Leviticus 19:9, 10; Deuteronomy 14:29; Deuteronomy 16:11, 14; Deuteronomy 24:19-21; Deuteronomy 26:12, 13.) On the whole, these laws appear to have been fairly well observed by the Israelites; but there were times when, in spite of them, poor widows suffered much oppression. (See Psalm 94:6; Isaiah 1:23; Isaiah 10:2; Jeremiah 7:3-6; Jeremiah 22:3; Zechariah 7:10; Malachi 3:5; Matthew 23:14.) The prophets denounce this backsliding in the strongest terms. Verse 22. - Ye shall not afflict. The word translated "afflict" is of wide signification. including ill-usage of all kinds. "Oppress," and even "vex," are stronger terms. Exodus 22:22The Israelites were not to offer sacrifice to foreign deities; but a foreigner himself they were not only to tolerate, but were not to vex or oppress him, bearing in mind that they also had been foreigners in Egypt (cf. Exodus 23:9, and Leviticus 19:33-34). - Whilst the foreigner, as having no rights, is thus commended to the kindness of the people through their remembrance of what they themselves had experienced in Egypt, those members of the nation itself who were most in need of protection (viz., widows and orphans) are secured from humiliation by an assurance of the special care and watchfulness of Jehovah, under which such forsaken ones stand, inasmuch as Jehovah Himself would take their troubles upon Himself, and punish their oppressors with just retribution. ענּה to humiliate, includes not only unjust oppression, but every kind of cold and contemptuous treatment. The suffix in אתו (Exodus 22:23) refers to both אלמנה and יתום, according to the rule that when there are two or more subjects of different genders, the masculine is employed (Ges. 148, 2). The כּי before אם expresses a strong assurance: "yea, if he cries to Me, I will hearken to him" (see Ewald, 330b). "Killing with the sword" points to wars, in which men and fathers of families perish, and their wives and children are made widows and orphans.
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