You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the LORD.
Persons stricken with some defect which renders them helpless, stand under God's special protection; it would be heartless and impious to "curse the deaf," who is unaware of the attacks made upon him, which may involve calumnies, and which he is unable to rebut; and it would be cruel indeed to "put a stumbling-block before the blind," to whom every right-minded man should be eager to "serve as eyes"; a crime like the latter was publicly cursed on Mount Ebal; and in both cases the law warns the offender, "Thou shalt fear thy God," who hears if there is no other ear to listen, who sees if there is no other eye to see, and who, to punish thy wickedness, can strike thee with the same afflictions: hence the same menace, "Thou shalt fear thy God," is repeated with respect to the treatment of old and infirm men, of poor persons, of dependents, and servants. Philo inveighs vehemently against the inhumanity here forbidden, and observes that those who are guilty of it, "would not spare even the dead, in the excess of their cruelty, but according to a common proverb, would slay the slain again." Jewish tradition applies the second command of our verse figuratively to insidious advice or false information given to a man who is in ignorance or perplexity, whether on some question of learning or on some matter of business. The law of Man inflicts a pecuniary fine upon any one who taunts a person with being one-eyed or lame or deformed.
(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.