And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release…
Directions here given for public reading of the law.
1. To be read at "the feast of tabernacles," the greatest of all their festivals, when, harvest and vintage being completed, they had most leisure to attend to it. This feast was celebrated in "the year of release," the most proper time that could be chosen for reading the law; for then the people were freed from debts, troubles, and cares of a worldly nature, and at liberty to attend to it without distraction.
2. The law was to be read by Joshua, chief governor, and by others who had the charge of instructing the people. Thus Joshua himself read to the congregation (Joshua 8:34, 35); Josiah and Ezra (2 Chronicles 34:30; Nehemiah 8:2). But Jehoshaphat employed priests and Levites (2 Chronicles 17:9). This public reading was in part the duty of the king, the Jews say, who began it, and that afterwards it was taken up by the priests.
3. The law was to be read in the hearing of all Israel (ver. 11).
(1) Pious Jews who had copies doubtless read in their own houses.
(2) Some portion was read in the synagogue every Sabbath day (Acts 15:21).
(3) In Jehoshaphat's time it was read by his command in the different cities of Judah, and the people were instructed out of it by the priests and Levites, but at every year of release the law was read, not only publicly to all the people, but throughout, and read from an original copy, which served as a standard by which all other copies were tried.
4. The whole congregation must assemble to hear the law.Hence learn —
1. That when our debts are remitted, and we are brought into the liberty of God's children, we shall then delight to hear and obey our delivering Lord in every call of duty.
2. The Word of God, being our only rule, should be read and known of all; how cruel the attempt, and how contrary to the Divine will, to keep it locked up from the people in an unknown tongue, and to establish ignorance by law!
3. Nothing should engage us more solicitously than the early instruction of our children in the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, which alone can make them wise unto salvation.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles,