Leviticus 25:43
Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour; but shalt fear thy God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(43) Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour.—The master is forbidden to tyrannise over him as if he were a slave without any rights.

25:39-55 A native Israelite, if sold for debt, or for a crime, was to serve but six years, and to go out the seventh. If he sold himself, through poverty, both his work and his usage must be such as were fitting for a son of Abraham. Masters are required to give to their servants that which is just and equal, Col 4:1. At the year of jubilee the servant should go out free, he and his children, and should return to his own family. This typified redemption from the service of sin and Satan, by the grace of God in Christ, whose truth makes us free, Joh 8:32. We cannot ransom our fellow-sinners, but we may point out Christ to them; while by his grace our lives may adorn his gospel, express our love, show our gratitude, and glorify his holy name.Fear thy God - Yahweh was the Lord and Master of His people. To treat a Hebrew as a slave was therefore to interfere with the rights of Yahweh. Compare Romans 14:4. 39-46. if thy brother … be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee, thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bond-servant—An Israelite might be compelled, through misfortune, not only to mortgage his inheritance, but himself. In the event of his being reduced to this distress, he was to be treated not as a slave, but a hired servant whose engagement was temporary, and who might, through the friendly aid of a relative, be redeemed at any time before the Jubilee. The ransom money was determined on a most equitable principle. Taking account of the number of years from the proposal to redeem and the Jubilee, of the current wages of labor for that time, and multiplying the remaining years by that sum, the amount was to be paid to the master for his redemption. But if no such friendly interposition was made for a Hebrew slave, he continued in servitude till the year of Jubilee, when, as a matter of course, he regained his liberty, as well as his inheritance. Viewed in the various aspects in which it is presented in this chapter, the Jubilee was an admirable institution, and subservient in an eminent degree to uphold the interests of religion, social order, and freedom among the Israelites. Though thou dost not fear them who are in thy power, and unable to right themselves, yet fear that God who hath commanded thee to use them kindly, and who can and will avenge their cause, if thou dost oppress them.

Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour,.... As the Egyptians ruled over the Israelites, and made them to serve, Exodus 1:13; where the same word is used as here, and seems designed to put them in mind of it, that so they might abstain from such usage of their brethren, which they had met with from their most cruel enemies; it signifies tyranny and oppression, treating them with great severity, laying hard and heavy tasks and burdens upon them they could not bear; enjoining them things they could not perform, and ordering them to do what were unnecessary, and without any limitation with respect to time:

but shalt fear thy God; that has been good to thee, and has brought thee out of hard and rigorous bondage in Egypt; and which should be remembered with thankfulness, and they should fear to offend so good a God by using a brother cruelly.

Thou shalt not rule over him with rigor; but shalt fear thy God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 43. - Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour; but shalt fear thy God, is paralleled by the New Testament injunction, "And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him" (Ephesians 6:9). Leviticus 25:43Because the Israelites were servants of Jehovah, who had redeemed them out of Pharaoh's bondage and adopted them as His people (Exodus 19:5; Exodus 18:10, etc.), they were not to be sold "a selling of slaves," i.e., not to be sold into actual slavery, and no one of them was to rule over another with severity (Leviticus 25:43, cf. Exodus 1:13-14). "Through this principle slavery was completely abolished, so far as the people of the theocracy were concerned"' (Oehler).
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