EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard.
—In gathering in the vine care is to be taken only to cut off’ the large clusters, but not the infantas,
as the expression literally denotes, which is here rendered by “glean.” Those branches or twigs which had only one or two grapes on them were to be left to the poor.
Neither shalt thou gather every grape.—Better, Nor shalt thou gather the scattered grapes, that is, those single grapes which had either fallen to the ground during the process of cutting off the branches, or those which were scattered about the ground after the vintage was completed. Like the gleanings of the field these grapes were the portion of the poor both of Jewish origin and proselytes.
19:1-37 laws. - There are some ceremonial precepts in this chapter, but most of these precepts are binding on us, for they are explanations of the ten commandments. It is required that Israel be a holy people, because the God of Israel is a holy God, ver. 2. To teach real separation from the world and the flesh, and entire devotedness to God. This is now the law of Christ; may the Lord bring every thought within us into obedience to it! Children are to be obedient to their parents, ver. 3. The fear here required includes inward reverence and esteem, outward respect and obedience, care to please them and to make them easy. God only is to be worshipped, ver. 4. Turn not from the true God to false ones, from the God who will make you holy and happy, to those that will deceive you, and make you for ever miserable. Turn not your eyes to them, much less your heart. They should leave the gleanings of their harvest and vintage for the poor, ver. 9. Works of piety must be always attended with works of charity, according to our ability. We must not be covetous, griping, and greedy of every thing we can lay claim to, nor insist upon our right in all things. We are to be honest and true in all our dealings, ver. 11. Whatever we have in the world, we must see that we get it honestly, for we cannot be truly rich, or long rich, with that which is not so. Reverence to the sacred name of God must be shown, ver. 12. We must not detain what belongs to another, particularly the wages of the hireling, ver. 13. We must be tender of the credit and safety of those that cannot help themselves, ver. 14. Do no hurt to any, because they are unwilling or unable to avenge themselves. We ought to take heed of doing any thing which may occasion our weak brother to fall. The fear of God should keep us from doing wrong things, though they will not expose us to men's anger. Judges, and all in authority, are commanded to give judgment without partiality, ver. 15. To be a tale-bearer, and to sow discord among neighbours, is as bad an office as a man can put himself into. We are to rebuke our neighbour in love, ver. 17. Rather rebuke him than hate him, for an injury done to thyself. We incur guilt by not reproving; it is hating our brother. We should say, I will do him the kindness to tell him of his faults. We are to put off all malice, and to put on brotherly love, ver. 18. We often wrong ourselves, but we soon forgive ourselves those wrongs, and they do not at all lessen our love to ourselves; in like manner we should love our neighbour. We must in many cases deny ourselves for the good of our neighbour. Ver. 31: For Christians to have their fortunes told, to use spells and charms, or the like, is a sad affront to God. They must be grossly ignorant who ask, What harm is there in these things? Here is a charge to young people to show respect to the aged, ver. 32. Religion teaches good manners, and obliges us to honour those to whom honour is due. A charge was given to the Israelites to be very tender of strangers, ver. 33. Strangers, and the widows and fatherless, are God's particular care. It is at our peril, if we do them any wrong. Strangers shall be welcome to God's grace; we should do what we can to recommend religion to them. Justice in weights and measures is commanded, ver. 35. We must make conscience of obeying God's precepts. We are not to pick and choose our duty, but must aim at standing complete in all the will of God. And the nearer our lives and tempers are to the precepts of God's law, the happier shall we be, and the happier shall we make all around us, and the better shall we adorn the gospel.
See Deuteronomy 24:19-21
. "Grape" signifies fallen fruit of any kind; and "vineyard" a fruit garden of any kind. Compare Deuteronomy 23:24
The poor - is the poor Israelite - "the stranger" is properly the foreigner, who could possess no land of his own in the land of Israel.
9, 10. And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field—The right of the poor in Israel to glean after reapers, as well as to the unreaped corners of the field, was secured by a positive statute; and this, in addition to other enactments connected with the ceremonial law, formed a beneficial provision for their support. At the same time, proprietors were not obliged to admit them into the field until the grain had been carried off the field; and they seem also to have been left at liberty to choose the poor whom they deemed the most deserving or needful (Ru 2:2, 8). This was the earliest law for the benefit of the poor that we read of in the code of any people; and it combined in admirable union the obligation of a public duty with the exercise of private and voluntary benevolence at a time when the hearts of the rich would be strongly inclined to liberality.
Who gave you all these things with a reservation of my authority over you, and right in them, and with a charge of giving part of them to the poor.
And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard,.... Or cut off the little clusters which are, as Aben Ezra observes, like an infant, as the word signifies, infant clusters, which were small in comparison of the large ones, as infants are to men; those which had but a grape or two, or very few upon them, were not to be cut off, but left for the poor: and Gersom says, if the whole vine consisted of such clusters, it all belonged to the poor:
neither shall thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; every particular single grape; these were such as were left on the vine after the large clusters were gathered, and a man upon viewing it again might not gather such as had only a single grape or two upon them; for the Misnic doctors say (s), two grapes or berries make a "peret" (the word here rendered "every grape"), but three do not; so that if there were three grapes upon a cluster it was the owner's, and might be gathered, but if fewer, then it belonged to the poor; or this may be understood (t) also of such single grapes that fell to the ground in gathering, which might not be taken up by the owners, but were to be left to the poor; and, as Gersom says the grape gatherers might not put a bushel under the vines in the time of gathering, to catch the single grapes that fell:
thou shall leave them for the poor and stranger: for the poor Israelite, and the stranger that sojourns with you, as Aben Ezra interprets it; the stranger intends a proselyte, not a proselyte of the gate, but a proselyte of righteousness, as Gersom and it is a rule laid down by Maimonides (u), that every stranger spoken of concerning the gifts of the poor is no other than a proselyte of righteousness, one that has been circumcised upon embracing the Jewish religion, and agreeing to conform to all the laws and rituals of it; though the same writer observes, that they do not restrain the poor of the Gentiles from these gifts, but they are in general included among the poor of Israel; and they come and take them because of the ways of peace; for the sake of peace, to promote peace and harmony among them:
I am the Lord your God; that gave them fields and vineyards, and times of harvest, and vintage, and blessed them with fruitful seasons, and therefore had a right to require such things of them; and they were in duty and gratitude bound to observe his commands; and this shows his regard unto, and concern for the poor, and that he is the father and patron of them.
(s) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Peah, c.6. sect. 5. (t) So it is interpreted by R Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 59. 1.((u) Mattanot Anayim, c. 1. sect. 9. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.