Deuteronomy 22:10
Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.
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22:5-12 God's providence extends itself to the smallest affairs, and his precepts do so, that even in them we may be in the fear of the Lord, as we are under his eye and care. Yet the tendency of these laws, which seem little, is such, that being found among the things of God's law, they are to be accounted great things. If we would prove ourselves to be God's people, we must have respect to his will and to his glory, and not to the vain fashions of the world. Even in putting on our garments, as in eating or in drinking, all must be done with a serious regard to preserve our own and others' purity in heart and actions. Our eye should be single, our heart simple, and our behaviour all of a piece.Compare the marginal reference. The prohibition of Deuteronomy 22:10 was also dictated by humanity. The ox and the donkey being of such different size and strength, it would be cruel to the latter to yoke them together. These two animals are named as being those ordinarily employed in agriculture; compare Isaiah 32:20. 10. Thou shalt not plough with an ox and an ass together—Whether this association, like the mixture of seeds, had been dictated by superstitious motives and the prohibition was symbolical, designed to teach a moral lesson (2Co 6:14), may or may not have been the case. But the prohibition prevented a great inhumanity still occasionally practised by the poorer sort in Oriental countries. An ox and ass, being of different species and of very different characters, cannot associate comfortably, nor unite cheerfully in drawing a plough or a wagon. The ass being much smaller and his step shorter, there would be an unequal and irregular draft. Besides, the ass, from feeding on coarse and poisonous weeds, has a fetid breath, which its yoke fellow seeks to avoid, not only as poisonous and offensive, but producing leanness, or, if long continued, death; and hence, it has been observed always to hold away its head from the ass and to pull only with one shoulder. Either,

1. Because the one was a clean beast, the other unclean; whereby God would teach men to avoid polluting themselves by the touch of unclean persons or things, 2 Corinthians 6:14. Or,

2. Because of their unequal strength, whereby the weaker, the ass, would be oppressed and overwrought. Or,

3. For mystical reasons, of which see on Deu 22:9 Leviticus 19:19.

Thou shalt not plough with an ox and an ass together,.... They might be used separately, but not together; nor was it uncommon in some countries for asses to be employed in ploughing as well as oxen. Pliny (h) makes mention of some fruitful land in Africa, which when it was dry weather could not be ploughed by oxen, but after showers of rain might be ploughed by a mean little ass; so Leo Africanus (i) says, the Africans only use horses and asses in ploughing. The reason why they were not to be put together was either (as some think) lest the law should be broken which forbids the gendering of cattle with a divers kind, Leviticus 19:19 but Aben Ezra thinks the reason is, because the strength of an ass is not equal to the strength of an ox; and therefore he supposes this law is made from the mercy and commiseration of God extended to all his creatures; though perhaps the better reason is, because the one was a clean creature, and the other an unclean, and this instance is put for all others; and with which agree the Jewish canons, which run thus,"cattle with cattle, wild beasts with wild beasts, unclean with unclean, clean with clean (i.e. these may be put together); but unclean with clean, and clean with unclean, are forbidden to plough with, to draw with, or to be led together (k).''The mystery of this is, that godly and ungodly persons are not to be yoked together in religious fellowship: see 2 Corinthians 6:14.

(h) Nat. Hist. l. 17. c. 5. (i) Descriptio Africae, l. 2. p. 104. (k) Misn. Celaim, c. 8. sect. 2.

Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.
10. an ox and an ass together] This is frequently seen in Palestine, as also a camel with one or other of these two. Note that the ox was ‘clean,’ the ass ‘unclean.’ D does not, like H, prohibit cross-breeding. Mules were common in Israel from David’s time, see Jerus. i. 326 f. On cross-breeding at the present day in Palestine see Musil, Ethn. Ber. 291.

Deuteronomy 22:10Still less were they to expose human life to danger through carelessness. "If thou build a new house, make a rim (maakeh) - i.e., a balustrade - to thy roof, that thou bring not blood-guiltiness upon thy house, if any one fall from it." The roofs of the Israelitish houses were flat, as they mostly are in the East, so that the inhabitants often lived upon them (Joshua 2:6; 2 Samuel 11:2; Matthew 10:27). - In Deuteronomy 22:9-11, there follow several prohibitions against mixing together the things which are separated in God's creation, consisting partly of a verbal repetition of Leviticus 19:19 (see the explanation of this passage). - To this there is appended in Deuteronomy 22:12 the law concerning the tassels upon the hem of the upper garment (Numbers 15:37.), which were to remind the Israelites of their calling, to walk before the Lord in faithful fulfilment of the commandments of God (see the commentary upon this passage).
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