He that is wounded in the stones, or has his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.…
In such passages as this, very much more is intended than is expressed. We have to read between the lines, for only they who lived in those days of Jewish life could comprehend the shadowy hints, the pregnant suggestions, which are here reduced to words.
I. THE ABUSE OF REPRODUCTIVE VITALISM IS A GIGANTIC SIN. The law of the natural kingdom, with regard to every species of life, that its "seed should be in itself," obtains in man its highest form. But here human inclination, passion, will come into play. It is an honor which God has conferred upon us, in that he has made us agents co-operating with him in the perpetuation of the human race. And the abuse of this function is followed forthwith by the Divine censure. In many cases, judgment swiftly follows upon the heels of the sin. As at Bethpeor, sudden and overwhelming penalty fell upon the Jewish culprits who yielded to the seductive snares of the Moabite women, so that there fell of the Hebrews four and twenty thousand men; so summary vengeance falls upon such transgressors still. Adultery and incest are stamped with the red brand of God's hottest wrath. One feels in reading the shameful narrative of Lot's incest at Zoar, as if the historian had not left on it the burning stigma of indignation; but we may draw no such conclusion from his silence. In this chapter we perceive how the blank is filled. The issue of that incestuous intercourse are branded with perpetual shame.
II. THIS GIGANTIC SIN BEGETS A SERIES OF GIGANTIC EVILS.
1. It begets callous selfishness in posterity. God did not forget that the Moabites and Ammonites refused the common necessaries of life to the Hebrews, who sought nothing more than a friendly passage through their territory. Although this sin was a branch and offspring from the first, it was something new, and demanded fresh chastisement. For every offence in God's kingdom there is prepared a just measure of retribution.
2. It begets malicious opposition. They hired, in their blindness, the services of Balaam, the sorcerer, in the hope that he would blast and ruin them with his witchery and curse. The end was frustrated. The purchased curse was changed into blessing. Nevertheless, the intention was criminal. The hearts of the Moabites burned with hate for their kinsmen; and base intentions shall be scourged.
3. It begets idolatry and blind fanaticism.
III. SUCH EVILS CULMINATE IN JUSTEST PUNISHMENTS. Suitable penalties begin to appear in this life.
1. There is the loss of external privilege. Such "shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord." What? Not when the present generation has passed away? No; not to the tenth generation! No; not forever. Possibly the culprits despised the privilege, mocked at the loss. But none the less was it an immeasurable loss, a terrible privation. It is not said that a penitent Moabite should not be forgiven - should not obtain eternal life. Yet the loss of external instruction and help lessened the probability that penitence would visit the soul. We do ourselves wrong when we contemn religious privilege.
2. There is the loss of friendly intercession. "Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity... forever." Prayer for such is interdicted. Brotherly sympathy is denied. The Hebrews were ordained to be a nation of priests. The intention was that, by virtue of their growing piety, they should be, as an entire nation, the priests of the Lord, while foreigners should immigrate to be their husbandmen and vine-dressers. By reason of the Jew's superior knowledge of God, they might be successful intercessors for other nations. But from this gracious privilege the Moabites and Ammonites were permanently excluded. Despise not the prayers of the devout. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.