You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thou shalt not curse the deaf.—To revile one who cannot hear, and is therefore unable to vindicate himself, is both inexpressibly mean and wicked. The term deaf also includes the absent, and hence out of hearing (Psalm 38:14-15). According to the administrators of the law during the second Temple, this prohibition was directed against all cursing whatsoever. For, said they, if to curse one who cannot hear, and whom, therefore, it cannot grieve, is prohibited, how much more is it forbidden to curse one who hears it, and who is both enraged and grieved by it.
Nor put a stumblingblock before the blind.—In Deuteronomy 27:18 a curse is pronounced upon those who lead the blind astray. To help those who were thus afflicted was always regarded as a meritorious act. Hence among the benevolent services which Job rendered to his neighbours, he says “I was eyes to the blind” (Job 29:15). According to the interpretation which obtained in the time of Christ, this is to be understood figuratively. It forbids imposition upon the ignorant, and misdirecting those who seek advice, thus causing them to fall. Similar tenderness to the weak is enjoined by the Apostle: “That no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way” (Romans 14:13).
But shalt fear thy God.—Deafness and blindness may prevent the sufferers from detecting the offender, and bringing him to justice before an earthly tribunal, but God on high hears it when the human ear is stopped up, and sees it when the human eye is extinct. Hence the prohibition against injustice to the infirm and the poor is enforced by an appeal to fear the Lord. (See Leviticus 19:32.)Leviticus 19:14. Before the blind — To make them fall. Under these two particulars are manifestly forbidden all injuries done to such as are unable to right or defend themselves; of whom God here takes the more care, because they are not able to secure themselves. Fear thy God — Who both can and will avenge them.Deuteronomy 27:18), but thou shalt remember that though the weak and poor cannot resist, nor the deaf hear, nor the blind see, God is strong, and sees and hears all that thou doest." Compare Job 29:15. Nor put a stumbling-block before the blind, to make them fall. Under these two particulars are manifestly and especially forbidden all injuries done to such as are unable to right or defend themselves; of whom God here takes the more care, because they are not able to secure themselves; who both discerns the injuries you do them, and can avenge them, though the blind and deaf cannot.
nor put a stumblingblock before the blind: to cause him to fall; and in this negative is implied, that a man should be serviceable and helpful to the blind as much as may be; as to lead, and guide, and direct them in the way, and not put them out of it, as well as not do anything to cause them to stumble in it; Jarchi and Ben Gersom interpret this figuratively, of ignorant persons imposed upon by the bad advice of others: on the other hand, agreeably to this sense, Job says, he was "eyes to the blind", Job 29:15; gave good advice to the ignorant, instructed them what ways and methods to take to do themselves justice, or obtain it, which otherwise they knew not:
but shalt fear thy God: who, as Aben Ezra observes, can punish thee by making thee deaf and blind also; by striking them with deafness and blindness at once; wherefore the awe and fear of God should be on persons, and make them cautious and fearful how they abused those in such circumstances:
I am the Lord; the Lord God, omnipresent and omniscient, that hears when the deaf are cursed, though they do not; and sees the stumblingblocks laid before the blind, and knows who laid them, though they do not, and will revenge such abuses and injuries: the apostle seems to have respect to this law in Romans 14:13.Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling-block before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 14. - Thou shalt not curse the deaf. The sin of cursing another is in itself complete, whether the curse be heard by that other or not, because it is the outcome of sin in the speaker's heart. The suffering caused to one who hears the curse creates a further sin by adding an injury to the person addressed. Strangely in contrast with this is not only the practice of irreligious men, who care little how they curse a man in his absence, but the teaching which is regarded by a large body of Christians as incontrovertible. "No harm is done to reverence but by an open manifestation of insult. How, then, can a son sin gravely when he curses his father without the latter's knowing it, or mocks at him behind his back, inasmuch as in that case there is neither insult nor irreverence? And I think that the same is to be said, even though he does this before others. It must be altogether understood that he does not sin gravely if he curses his parents, whether they are alive or dead, unless the curses are uttered with malevolent meaning." This is the decision of one that is called not only a saint, but a "doctor of the Church" (Liguori, 'Theol. Moral.,' 4:334). "Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put ant in obscure darkness," says the Word of God (Proverbs 20:20). Nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shalt fear thy God. By the last clause the eye is directed to God, who can see and punish, however little the blind man is able to help himself. (Cf. Job 29:15, "I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.") Leviticus 7:15-18 is emphatically repeated, and transgressors are threatened with extermination. On the singular ישּׂא in Leviticus 19:8, see at Genesis 27:29, and for the expression "shall be cut off," Genesis 17:14.
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