And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Genesis 49:23-24); while the lawgiver seems to look beyond, and to behold the two triumphant and established in their power.mountains and hills, called ancient and lasting, i.e. such as have been from the beginning of the world, and likely to continue to the end of it, in opposition to those hills or mounts which have been cast up by the wit of man.
and for the precious things of the lasting hills; which will endure as long as the world, the same as before in other words; and which precious things may be emblems of the spiritual blessings of grace, provided in an everlasting covenant, and given to Christ for his people before the world began, or any mountains and hills were formed, and which are as lasting and as immovable as they are; see Proverbs 8:22, Isaiah 54:10.And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. deliver] i.e. under arrest; cp. Joshua 20:5 (deut.), 1 Samuel 23:11 f.
a servant] slave or bondman, as elsewhere, e.g. Deuteronomy 5:14.
15. chief things] Heb. rôsh (collect.) tops or rather headlands, see on Deuteronomy 3:27 and small print under Deuteronomy 12:2. Some conjecture reshîth the best (fruit) of the hills. Cp. Deuteronomy 32:13 increase of the mountains.
15, 16 (16, 17). Of a Runaway Slave. If such escape to thee—apparently Israel as a whole (cp. Deuteronomy 5:16), and therefore the slave, though not necessarily a Hebrew slave1 (Marti), is one who has escaped from a foreign master—thou shalt not send him back, he shall dwell with thee, where he chooses and unoppressed.—Peculiar to D. That slaves sometimes fled abroad is seen from the flight of Shimei’s to Achish of Gath, who gave them back, apparently as a matter of course (1 Kings 2:39). If this was the usual practice D’s law marks a humane advance upon it. For slaves who flee from native owners no Hebrew laws are extant. On slavery see further on Deuteronomy 15:12 ff.
 Had this been so it would have been stated as in Deuteronomy 15:12.
Ḫammurabi decrees that he who induces a slave to flee or harbours the runaway shall die (§§ 15 f., 19) and that runaways shall be restored (§§ 18, 20), the reward for each being two silver shekels (§ 17). The slaves of Arabs seldom run away. If one is harshly treated and escapes, he is sheltered by another man of the tribe till his owner promises to treat him better (Musil, Ethn. Ber. 225).
15–25 (16–26). Five Laws—Various
The subjects of these are not related. As to form, all are in the Sg. address (Steuern.’s reasons for dividing them between his Sg. and Pl. authors are again inconclusive); and the first three (Deuteronomy 33:15-20) have negative openings similar to those of the group in Deuteronomy 33:1-8 (from which they are abruptly separated by Deuteronomy 33:9-14). In D or D’s source they may have originally followed that group, in the feeling that as all three treat of relations with foreigners or foreign practices they had affinity with it. Steuern. thinks that Deuteronomy 33:15 f. fit Deuteronomy 22:8 in the code of his Sg. author. In addition to the negative openings there are possibly some cue-words. Escaped in Deuteronomy 33:15 is the same Heb. vb (but passive) as deliver in Deuteronomy 33:14; and vow in Deuteronomy 33:18 is soon followed by vows in Deuteronomy 33:21-23.Matthew 10:37; Matthew 19:29). The words, "who says to his father," etc., relate to the event narrated in Exodus 32:26-29, where the Levites draw their swords against the Israelites their brethren, at the command of Moses, after the worship of the golden calf, and execute judgment upon the nation without respect of person. To this we may add Numbers 25:8, where Phinehas interposes with his sword in defence of the honour of the Lord against the shameless prostitution with the daughters of Moab. On these occasions the Levites manifested the spirit which Moses predicates here of all the tribe. By the interposition at Sinai especially, they devoted themselves with such self-denial to the service of the Lord, that the dignity of the priesthood was conferred upon their tribe in consequence. - In Deuteronomy 33:10 and Deuteronomy 33:11, Moses celebrates this vocation: "They will teach Jacob Thy rights, and Israel Thy law; bring incense to Thy nose, and whole-offering upon Thine altar. Bless, Lord, his strength, and let the work of his hands be well-pleasing to Thee: smite his adversaries and his haters upon the hips, that they may not rise!" The tribe of Levi had received the high and glorious calling to instruct Israel in the rights and commandments of God (Leviticus 10:11), and to present the sacrifices of the people to the Lord, viz., incense in the holy place, whole-offering in the court. "Whole-offering," a term applied to the burnt-offering, which is mentioned instar omnium as being the leading sacrifice. The priests alone were actually entrusted with the instruction of the people in the law and the sacrificial worship; but as the rest of the Levites were given them as assistants in their service, this service might very properly be ascribed to the whole tribe; and no greater blessing could be desired for it than that the Lord should give them power to discharge the duties of their office, should accept their service with favour, and make their opponents powerless. The enemies and haters of Levi were not only envious persons, like Korah and his company (Numbers 16:1), but all opponents of the priests and Levites. The loins are the seat of strength (Psalm 69:24; Job 40:16; Job 31:1; 17). This is the only place in which מן is used before a finite verb, whereas it often stands before the infinitive (e.g., Genesis 27:1; Genesis 31:29).
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