And whoever lies carnally with a woman, that is a female slave, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And whosoever lieth.—Better, If a man lie, as the same phrase is translated in the Authorised Version, Leviticus 22:14; Leviticus 24:19; Leviticus 25:29; Leviticus 27:14.
Betrothed to an husband.—Better, betrothed to a man. From the law about the mixed seeds the Lawgiver passes to heterogeneous alliances. The case here legislated for is that of seducing a bondwoman who is espoused to another man. This bondwoman might be either one of an intermediate kind, that is, one whose redemption money had been partially paid, or belong to that class who had no prospect of a free discharge. According to the administrators of the law during the second Temple, the case before us is that of a Canaanitish maid, partly free and partly servile, whom her master had espoused to a Hebrew slave. (See Exodus 21:4.)
And not at all redeemed.—Better, not fully or entirely redeemed, that is, only part of her redemption money had been paid, so that she was partly free and partly slave. According to the law which obtained during the second Temple, the espousal of such a woman was not legally complete, and hence she is not properly a married woman or the wife of another man.
Nor freedom given her.—That is, the legal document that she is a free woman and has ceased to be a slave. This was done upon payment of the full money, or of her master’s free choice without redemption money at all. In either case, however, she was then only legally free when she received the bill of freedom. Hence the ancient Chaldee Version translates this clause, “Nor has freedom been given her by a bill of dismission.”
She shall be scourged.—Literally, there shall be visitation or inquisition; then, as is frequently the case, the effect of this visitation or requisition, i.e., punishment, which, according to the administrators of the law during the second Temple, consisted in giving the woman forty stripes with the thong of an ox-hide. This punishment, however, she only received when it was proved that she was a consenting party to the sin. Hence the rendering in the Authorised Version, “she shall be scourged.” The Marginal rendering,” they shall be scourged,” though supported by some ancient Versions, is contrary to the legislation during the second Temple. The punishment prescribed in this clause is for the woman alone, the man’s punishment follows in the next verse.
They shall not be put to death.—As she was a slave, and her espousals were illegal, the punishment of death, which was ordinarily inflicted in cases of adultery or seduction of a free woman betrothed to a man (see Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:23), was not inflicted on them.Leviticus 19:20. She shall be scourged — Hebrew, There shall be a scourging, which probably may belong to both of them; for, 1st, Both were guilty; 2d, It follows, they shall not be punished with death, which may seem to imply that they were to be punished by some other common and considerable punishment, which scourging indeed was; but the paying of a ram was a small penalty, and very unsuitable to the greatness of the offence. And the offering of the ram, as a trespass-offering for the sin against God, is not inconsistent with making satisfaction other ways for the injury done to men, but only added here as a further punishment to the man, either because he only could do this, and not the woman, who being a bond- woman had nothing of her own to offer; or because his sex and his freedom aggravated his sin. Not put to death — Which they should have been, had she been free, Deuteronomy 22:23-24. The reason of this difference is not from any respect which God gives to persons, for bond and free are alike to him, but because bond-women were scarcely wives, and their marriages were scarcely true marriages, being neither made by their choice, but their masters’ authority, nor continued beyond the year of release, but at their masters’ or husbands’ pleasure.Deuteronomy 22:23-24.
She shall be scourged - Or, They shall be chastized (see the margin). The trespass-offering was especially due from the man as having not only sinned with the woman, but inflicted an injury on the rights of the master.
thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed—This also was directed against an idolatrous practice, namely, that of the ancient Zabians, or fire-worshippers, who sowed different seeds, accompanying the act with magical rites and invocations; and commentators have generally thought the design of this and the preceding law was to put an end to the unnatural lusts and foolish superstitions which were prevalent among the heathen. But the reason of the prohibition was probably deeper: for those who have studied the diseases of land and vegetables tell us, that the practice of mingling seeds is injurious both to flowers and to grains. "If the various genera of the natural order Gramineæ, which includes the grains and the grasses, should be sown in the same field, and flower at the same time, so that the pollen of the two flowers mix, a spurious seed will be the consequence, called by the farmers chess. It is always inferior and unlike either of the two grains that produced it, in size, flavor, and nutritious principles. Independently of contributing to disease the soil, they never fail to produce the same in animals and men that feed on them" [Whitlaw].
neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee—Although this precept, like the other two with which it is associated, was in all probability designed to root out some superstition, it seems to have had a further meaning. The law, it is to be observed, did not prohibit the Israelites wearing many different kinds of cloths together, but only the two specified; and the observations and researches of modern science have proved that "wool, when combined with linen, increases its power of passing off the electricity from the body. In hot climates, it brings on malignant fevers and exhausts the strength; and when passing off from the body, it meets with the heated air, inflames and excoriates like a blister" [Whitlaw]. (See Eze 44:17, 18).Betrothed to an husband; or, reproached or despised, and therefore forsaken, of her husband. For as his continuance with her in his and her master’s family and service is mentioned as an evidence that he loved her, Exodus 21:5,6 so on the contrary, his forsaking of her was a reproach to her, and a sign of contempt.
She shall be scourged, Heb. there shall be a scourging, which may belong, either,
1. To her alone, as the Jews understand it, for the man’s punishment follows, Leviticus 19:21,22. Or,
2. To both of them; for,
1. Both were guilty.
2. It follows, they shall not be punished with death, which may seem to imply that they were to be punished by some other common and considerable punishment, which scourging indeed was, but the paying of a ram was a small penalty, and very unsuitable to the greatness of the offence. And the offering of the ram as a trespass-offering for the sin against God, is not inconsistent with making satisfaction other ways for the injury done to men, as we may see Leviticus 6:4-6, but only added here as a further punishment to the man; either because he only could do this, and not the woman, who being a bond-woman had nothing of her own to offer; or because his sex and his freedom aggravated his sin.
They shall not be put to death, which they should have been, had she been free, Deu 22:23,24.
Because she was not free: the reason of this difference is not from any respect which God gives to persons, for bond and free are alike to him, but because bond-women were scarce wives, and their marriages were scarce true marriages, being neither made by their choice, but by their master’s authority, nor continued beyond the year of release, but at her master’s or husband’s pleasure; of which see Exodus 21:4, &c.
that is a bondmaid; either meaning a Canaanitish maid, as Jarchi, or an Israelitish one, as Aben Ezra, whom her father had sold, Exodus 21:7,
betrothed to her husband: to an Hebrew servant, as Jarchi, or who was promised marriage, either by her master or his son, as Aben Ezra, Exodus 21:8,
and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her: or redeemed and not redeemed, as Jarchi; or, as the Targum of Jonathan, not yet redeemed with an entire redemption (or wholly redeemed) with silver, nor a writing of her freedom given her, part of the redemption price being paid, but not the whole; so that she was, as Jarchi and Ben Gersom express it, half a bondmaid and half free:
she shall be scourged; and not he, as the Targum of Jonathan and Jarchi remark, though the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "both shall be beaten"; and the original text does not clearly determine it whether one or both should be scourged, since it may be rendered, "there shall be a scourging" (o); and seeing both were guilty of sin, it is reasonable to suppose that both should be scourged, but this is contrary to the sense of the Jewish writers; so Kimchi (p) observes, the word is in the singular number and feminine gender, and not in the plural; wherefore, according to the simple sense, she is to be beaten, and not he to be beaten; and this was done with the thong of an ox's hide, as is the sense of the word used, according to Gaon, and so some in Aben Ezra; and so it is remarked in the Misnah (q), all the uncleannesses, whether of a man or woman, are alike as to stripes and sacrifice, but with respect to a bondmaid, he (i.e. God) hath not made the man equal to the woman as to stripes, nor the woman to the man as to sacrifice:
they shall not be put to death, because she was not free; otherwise adultery was punished with death of both parties, when committed with a woman married to an husband, Deuteronomy 22:22; and she a free woman, but this not being so, were not guilty of death, because, as Jarchi says, her espousals were no espousals, whereas they would had she been free, and so have been guilty of death: this difference the law made between a bond and free woman, but in Christ Jesus and under the Gospel dispensation there is no difference, Galatians 3:28.And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20. Inasmuch as the woman here referred to, though betrothed to a husband, is still a slave, it is no ordinary case of adultery, which is punishable by death (Leviticus 20:10), and so the penalty is to be less severe, but is nevertheless demanded, on the ground that she is the husband’s property.
bondmaid] The Hebrew word used here in place of the term ordinarily employed is found nowhere else in a legal enactment.
they shall be punished] The mg. is the literal rendering of the Heb., but it is implied that the ‘inquisition’ is with a view to punishment.Verses 20-22. - A distinction is drawn between adultery with a free woman, or a betrothed free virgin, which was punishable with death (Leviticus 20:20; Deuteronomy 22:23), and with a slave betrothed to another man (probably a slave also). In the latter ease a lesser punishment, no doubt that of scourging (according to the Mishna to the extent of forty stripes), was to be inflicted on one or both, according to the circumstances of the case. The words, she shall he scourged, should be translated, there shall be investigation, followed, presumably, by the punishment of scourging, for both parties if both were guilty, for one if the woman was unwilling. The man is afterwards to offer a trespass offering. As the offense has been a wrong as well as a sin, his offering is to be a trespass offering (see on Leviticus 5:14). In this case the fine of one-fifth could not be inflicted, as the wrong done could not be estimated by money, and the cost of the ram seems to be regarded as the required satisfaction. No mention is made of damages to be paid to the man to whom the slave-girl was betrothed, probably because he was himself a slave, and had not juridical rights against a freeman. Psalm 38:15); nor "to put a stumblingblock before the blind," i.e., to put anything in his way over which he might stumble and fall (compare Deuteronomy 27:18, where a curse is pronounced upon the man who should lead the blind astray). But they were to "fear before God," who hears, and sees, and will punish every act of wrong (cf. Leviticus 19:32, Leviticus 25:17, Leviticus 25:36, Leviticus 25:43).
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