Moreover the prince shall not take of the people's inheritance by oppression, to thrust them out of their possession…
The subject of this commandment is "the inalienable nature of the prince's possession, and the sacred regard he must pay to the peoples'" its object was to legislate so that "no temptation might exist to spoil the people of their proper inheritances, as had been too often done in the days that were past." By the words of the text we are brought in contact with -
I. THE HEBREW IDEAL OF FAMILY INHERITANCE. The Mosaic legislation contemplated keeping the land in the occupancy of the same tribe and of the same family from generation to generation. It was not in the power of the occupier to sell it or to will it away from the family; and although it might be mortgaged, it reverted to the original possessor (or his family) at the year of jubilee. The ideal was that of all the families of the nation being interested and engaged in the happy, honorable, and fruitful employment of agriculture. In this case there would be no superabounding wealth on the one hand, and no degrading poverty on the other hand; while every Israelite would have the deepest interest in preserving the integrity of his country's freedom, and would be contributing to its wealth. Such an ideal as this is hopelessly impossible in such a time as this, but in a primitive and pastoral age it was one calculated to secure the largest possible measure of individual happiness, domestic comfort, and national prosperity.
II. ITS PARTIAL FAILURE AND ULTIMATE DISAPPEARANCE. Such a provision must have been attended with great difficulties in the way of realization. Dissipation on the one hand and avarice on the other would almost inevitably lead to loss and to appropriation. And there is no doubt they did. As time went by the land became lost to the families to whom it was originally apportioned (Joshua 19:51). And when the time came for the great and sad deportation to other lands, the entire arrangement was broken up; finally the Jews were "scattered, every man from his possession;" and, dispersed among the Gentiles, they became the least pastoral or agricultural, and the most trading and financing, of any people on the earth. Where, then, does this prediction find -
III. A PLACE IN THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST? It will find it, in substance, in -
1. Provision for the material well-being of the people of the land. As the result of Christian principle acting at both ends of the body politic, elevating the character and therefore the condition of those at the bottom, and leading those at the top to devote their resources and employ their (legislative and other) opportunities in the interest of the people, there will gradually ensue a wide distribution of comfort and prosperity. Abject poverty and superfluous possession will give place to universal competence, education, morality, piety - in fact, national well-being. Many forces will have to contribute to this result, and it may be a long time coming, but it must be the issue of a true and practical Christianity. There are other "inheritances" beside that of land and wealth which need to be preserved, and which a Christian family or a Christian Church should devoutly determine to maintain. There must be:
2. The perpetuation of the fair heritage of an honorable name, a reputation for family goodness or wisdom that has come down many generations.
3. The preservation of the precious deposit of sacred truth. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Moreover the prince shall not take of the people's inheritance by oppression, to thrust them out of their possession; but he shall give his sons inheritance out of his own possession: that my people be not scattered every man from his possession.
WEB: Moreover the prince shall not take of the people's inheritance, to thrust them out of their possession; he shall give inheritance to his sons out of his own possession, that my people not be scattered every man from his possession.