Leviticus 19:19
You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your cattle engender with a diverse kind: you shall not sow your field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come on you.
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(19) Ye shall keep my statutes—that is, the following ordinances, which though not of the same high moral nature as the precepts laid down in the preceding verses, are yet necessary to attain to holiness. The Holy God has made everything “after its kind” (Genesis 1:11-12; Genesis 1:21; Genesis 1:24-25, &c.), and has thus established a physical distinction in the order of His creation. For man to bring about a union of dissimilar things is to bring about a dissolution of the Divine laws and to act contrary to the ordinances of Him who is holy, and to whose holiness we are to attain.

Cattle gender with a diverse kind.—Such commixtures would not only contravene the Divine order of things, but would lessen the abhorrence of the crime prohibited in Leviticus 18:22-23. The use, however, of animals produced from such mixtures was not forbidden. Hence we find that mules were largely employed by the Jews (2Samuel 13:29; 2Samuel 18:9; 1Kings 1:33; 1Kings 1:38; 1Kings 10:25; 1Kings 18:5; Ezra 2:66, &c.). These hybrids were either the issue of parents voluntarily coming together without the aid of the Israelites, or were imported from other countries. This law is binding upon the Jews to this day in every country where they happen to live, whether in Palestine or out of it.

Not sow thy field with mingled seed.—According to the administrators of the law during the second Temple, the prohibition is only applicable to diverse seeds for human food, mixed together for the purpose of sowing them in the same field, as, for instance, wheat and barley, beans and lentils. These an Israelite must neither sow himself nor allow a non-Israelite to do it for him. Seeds of grain and seeds of trees, as well as seeds of different kinds of trees, may be sown together. The opening words of the parable, “A certain man had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard” (Luke 13:6), do not contravene this law. Seeds which were not intended for human food, such as of bitter herbs, or of vegetables intended for drugs, were exempted from this law, and like the hybrids of mixed parents, the seeds of herbs sown with diverse kinds were allowed to be used. Unlike the law, however, about the commixture of animals, which, as we have seen, is of universal application, the law about mixed seeds was only applicable to the Holy Land, since the command here is, “thou shalt not sow thy field” which these authorities maintain means “the fields of their inheritance in the promised land. Though trees are not mentioned here, the law was applied to grafting. Hence it was forbidden to graft an apple-tree on a citron-tree, or herbs into trees. The fruit, however, which grew upon the trees of such graftings was allowed to be eaten. The law about the diverse graftings is binding upon the Jews in every country and to all ages.

A garment mingled of linen and woollen.—Not only is it forbidden to weave woollen and flaxen threads together into one material to make wearing apparel of it, but according to the administrators of the law during the second Temple, an Israelite must not mend a woollen garment with a flaxen thread, and vice versâ. One of the reasons which the ancient canonists assign for this prohibition is that “wool and linen were appointed for the priests alone.” This law is observed by the orthodox Jews to this day. The law laid down in this verse is substantially repeated in Deuteronomy 22:9-11.

Leviticus 19:19. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender — This was prohibited, partly to restrain the curiosity and boldness of men, who might attempt to amend or change the works of God; partly that by the restraint here laid, even upon brute creatures, men might be taught to abhor all unnatural lusts; partly to teach the Israelites to avoid mixtures with other nations, either in marriage or in religion, which also may be signified by the following prohibitions.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.Linen and woolen - The original word is found only here and in Deuteronomy 22:11, where it is rendered "of divers sorts." It may denote such tissues as linsey woolsey. 19. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind—This prohibition was probably intended to discourage a practice which seemed to infringe upon the economy which God has established in the animal kingdom.

thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed—This also was directed against an idolatrous practice, namely, that of the ancient Zabians, or fire-worshippers, who sowed different seeds, accompanying the act with magical rites and invocations; and commentators have generally thought the design of this and the preceding law was to put an end to the unnatural lusts and foolish superstitions which were prevalent among the heathen. But the reason of the prohibition was probably deeper: for those who have studied the diseases of land and vegetables tell us, that the practice of mingling seeds is injurious both to flowers and to grains. "If the various genera of the natural order Gramineæ, which includes the grains and the grasses, should be sown in the same field, and flower at the same time, so that the pollen of the two flowers mix, a spurious seed will be the consequence, called by the farmers chess. It is always inferior and unlike either of the two grains that produced it, in size, flavor, and nutritious principles. Independently of contributing to disease the soil, they never fail to produce the same in animals and men that feed on them" [Whitlaw].

neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee—Although this precept, like the other two with which it is associated, was in all probability designed to root out some superstition, it seems to have had a further meaning. The law, it is to be observed, did not prohibit the Israelites wearing many different kinds of cloths together, but only the two specified; and the observations and researches of modern science have proved that "wool, when combined with linen, increases its power of passing off the electricity from the body. In hot climates, it brings on malignant fevers and exhausts the strength; and when passing off from the body, it meets with the heated air, inflames and excoriates like a blister" [Whitlaw]. (See Eze 44:17, 18).

Ye shall keep my statutes; either,

1. My laws. So this is fitly premised, because otherwise some of the following commands might seem trifling, and obedience to them unnecessary. Or,

2. My ordinances, to wit, of nature; or the order which I have appointed in creatures, as the word is used Job 26:10 38:33 Psalm 148:6 Proverbs 8:29; and therefore they shall not confound those things that I have distinguished, which were in some sort to reproach and correct my works, and which may seem to be done in some of the following instances.

Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: this was prohibited, partly, to restrain the curiosity and boldness of men, who might attempt to amend or change the works of God; partly, that by the restraints here laid even upon brute creatures men might be taught to abhor all unnatural and unlawful lusts; partly, to teach the Israelites to avoid mixtures with other nations, either in marriage or in religion; which also may be signified by the following prohibitions. See of this and the next Deu 22:9-11. Ye shall keep my statutes,.... Those which follow, and which are of a different sort from what are last mentioned, of a moral nature, and are planted in the heart, as Aben Ezra says; are agreeably to the law and light of nature, and part of the work of the law written on the heart, as the apostle calls it, Romans 2:15; but the following are of positive institution, and depend upon the will of the lawgiver, the reasons of which are not so apparent and manifest; and therefore Jarchi calls them the decree of the king, who gives no reason for it; ordinances and appointments of a ceremonial kind, which, though there is a meaning in them, and a reason for them, yet not clear and plain:

thou shall not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind; or "cause them to gender" (e) for cattle do not usually of themselves gender with a diverse kind, unless directed and solicited to it, as a male of one kind with a female of another; for instance, an horse with a she ass, or an he ass with a mare, and even creatures that were like one another, yet of different kinds, were not to mix together; as a wolf and a dog, a hound and a fox, goats and roebucks, goats and sheep, a horse and a mule, a mule and an ass, an ass and a wild ass; for though they are like one another, they are of different kinds (f): a creature thus gendered was not forbidden to be used, as a mule; and if a clean creature and gendered of clean ones, though of a different kind, it might be eaten, as Maimonides (g) affirms; for not the creature gendered was unlawful for use, but the act of causing to gender is what is forbidden: the design was to preserve the order of beings, and the nature of creatures as they were at the first creation; that there might be no change among them, or anything taken from or added to what God had made; not to separate what God had joined, or join what God had separated, which to do must reflect upon his wisdom; as also, that men and women, as Philo (h) observes, might abstain from unlawful converse, from unnatural lusts and mixtures; and as Ainsworth thinks, this was to lead Israel to the simplicity and sincerity of religion, and of all the parts and doctrines of the law and Gospel in their distinct kinds, as faith and works, to mingle which together in our justification before God is forbidden; or rather to teach the saints not to mix with the men of the world, in evil conversation, or in superstitious worship; to which may be added, to show that spiritual regeneration is not partly of corruptible and partly of incorruptible seed, nor partly of the will of man, and partly of the will of God; nor partly of the power of man, and partly of the power of God, but wholly of the Spirit and grace of God:

thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: or seed of divers sorts, as wheat and barley, and which, according to the Jews (i), was not mingled unless there be two grains of wheat and one of barley, or one of wheat and two of barley; or wheat, and barley, and rye: they also include herbs and trees in this law, and make an graft of them a forbidden mixture; hence, they say (k), they do not ingraft one tree in another, nor one herb in another, nor a tree in an herb, nor an herb in a tree, of which they give instances: and there are various sorts of seeds, herbs, roots, and trees, which are and are not of divers kinds, and some that are alike and yet diverse; for they have a whole treatise of such like things, called "Celaim", or divers kinds: as to the mystical sense, the "field" may represent the church of God, which is not an open but an enclosed field, enclosed by the grace of God, and separated from others by it, well manured and cultivated by the Spirit of God, and through the word and ordinances, as means, in which manner of fruit and flowers grow, and is the property of Christ; see Sol 4:12; the seed may signify the word or doctrine of the Gospel, sown by the ministers of it, skilfully and plentifully, which should be pure and unmixed, not contradictory, nor inconsistent, but all of a piece; the doctrines of it, as those of election, justification, peace, pardon, and salvation, are to be represented, not as partly of works and partly of grace, but as entirely of the grace of God through Christ: or good and bad men may be signified by the mingled seed; good men, who are made so by the grace of God, and are the good seed, or the good ground which receives it, which hear the word, understand it, and bring forth fruit; bad men, such as are of bad principles and practices, these are not to be mixed together in a church state; bad men are neither to be received nor retained:

neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee; for, as Josephus (l) says, none but the priests were allowed to wear such a garment, and with which the Misnah (m) agrees; in which it is asserted, that the priests have no other clothing to minister in, in the sanctuary, but of woollen and linen; which seems to be a better reason of this prohibition than what Maimonides (n) gives, that it was on the account of idolatrous priests, who used to go clothed with such a garment, and a metal ring on their fingers: the Jewish tradition is, nothing is forbidden on account of divers kinds (i.e. in garments) but wool and flax; camels' wool, and sheep's wool, mixed together, if the greater part is camels', it is free, but if the greater part is sheep's wool, it is forbidden, if half and half, it is forbidden; and so flax and hemp mixed together; also that nothing is forbidden on such account but what is spun and wove (o): the design of this, as of the other, seems to be in general to caution against unnatural lusts and impure mixtures, and all communion of good and bad men, and particularly against joining the righteousness of Christ with the works of men, in the business of justification: Christ's righteousness is often compared to a garment, and sometimes to line linen, clean and white; and men's righteousness to filthy rags, Revelation 19:8; which are by no means to be put together in the said affair; such who believe in Christ are justified by the obedience of one and not of more, and by faith in that obedience and righteousness, without the works of the law, Romans 5:19 Romans 3:28; to join them together is needless, disagreeable, and dangerous.

(e) "non facies coire", V. L. Pagninus, Drusius. (f) Misn. Gelaim, c. 1. sect. 6. (g) Hilchot Gelaim, c. 9. sect. 3.((h) De Special. Leg. p. 784. (i) Misn. ut supra, (f)) sect. 9. (k) Misn. Celaim, c. 1. sect. 7, 8. (l) Antiqu. l. 4. c. 8. sect. 11. (m) Celaim, c. 9. sect. 1.((n) Moreh Nevochim, par. 3. c. 37. (o) Misn. ut supra, (k)) c. 9. sect. 1. 8.

Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a {g} diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.

(g) As a horse to leap an ass, or a mule a mare.

19. Prohibition of improper mixtures. Apparently the precept was based upon the view that each individual, animate or inanimate, had individual qualities assigned by the Creator, and that to mix them was therefore directed against God’s ordinance, and as such involved impurity. Cp. Deuteronomy 22:5; Deuteronomy 22:9-11, where the prohibition is extended to the wearing by one sex of garments properly belonging to the other, or the attaching of an ox and an ass to the same plough.

19–32. Miscellaneous precepts in reference to the various circumstances of every-day life.Verse 19. - Ye shall keep my statutes. Having arrived at the general conclusion, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, in the previous verse, the legislator pauses, and then presents a collection of further laws, arranged as before in no special order. The first is a mystical injunction against the confusion of things which are best kept apart, illustrated in three subjects - diverse kinds of cattle in breeding, mingled seeds in sowing a field, and mixed materials in garments. In Deuteronomy 22:10, a fresher illustration is added, "Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together." The existence of mules, which we find frequently mentioned in the' later history (2 Samuel 13:29; 2 Samuel 18:9; 1 Kings 1:33), may be accounted for by supposing that the positive precept with regard to breeding cattle here laid down was transgressed, or that the mules were imported from abroad (see 1 Kings 10:25). The word used here and in Deuteronomy 22:11 for a garment mingled of linen and woolen, is shaatenez, an Egyptian word, meaning probably mixed. The difficulty raised on this verse by the allegation that the high priest's dress was made of mixed materials, is met by the answer that, if it were of mixed materials (which is uncertain, for wool is not mentioned in Exodus 28, nor is it quite determined that shesh means linen), the mixture was not such as is here forbidden. The moral meaning of the whole of this injunction is exhibited in the following passages from the New Testament, "Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils" (1 Corinthians 10:21). "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?" (2 Corinthians 6:14-16). "He cannot love the Lord Jesus with his heart," says Hooker, "who lendeth one ear to his apostles and another to false teachers, and who can brook to see a mingle-mangle of religion and superstition' ('Serm.' 5:7, quoted by Wordsworth). The Israelites were not to steal (Exodus 20:15); nor to deny, viz., anything entrusted to them or found (Leviticus 6:2.); nor to lie to a neighbour, i.e., with regard to property or goods, for the purpose of overreaching and cheating him; nor to swear by the name of Jehovah to lie and defraud, and so profane the name of God (see Exodus 20:7, Exodus 20:16); nor to oppress and rob a neighbour (cf. Leviticus 6:2), by the unjust abstraction or detention of what belonged to him or was due to him, - for example, they were not to keep the wages of a day-labourer over night, but to pay him every day before sunset (Deuteronomy 24:14-15).
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