Matthew Poole's Commentary
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,Israelites must be holy, Leviticus 19:1,2; must honour their parents, and keep sabbaths, Leviticus 19:3; shun idolatry, Leviticus 19:4; duly to stay and eat their peace-offerings, Leviticus 19:5-8; in harvest-time leave gleanings for the poor and stranger, Leviticus 19:9,10; not steal, deceive, or lie, Leviticus 19:11; nor swear falsely, Leviticus 19:12; nor defraud, rob, or detain, Leviticus 19:13; nor curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling-block before the blind, Leviticus 19:14; nor judge unjustly, Leviticus 19:15; nor be tale-bearers; nor bear false witness against their neighbour, Leviticus 19:16; but rebuke their brother for sin, Leviticus 19:17; not revenge themselves, but love their neighbours, Leviticus 19:18; not to mix different things, Leviticus 19:19. The punishment of a man lying with a bondmaid, Leviticus 19:20-22. They must not eat of the fruits of Canaan till alter four years, Leviticus 19:23-25. To eat no blood, and use no soothsaying, Leviticus 19:26, nor any heathenish method of mourning, Leviticus 19:28, nor prostitute their daughters, Leviticus 19:29; but must reverence God and his ordinances, Leviticus 19:30; not regard conjurers and wizards, Leviticus 19:31; honour the ancient, Leviticus 19:32; love and right strangers, Leviticus 19:33,34; do no unrighteousness, either in judgment or commerce, Leviticus 19:35,36.
No text from Poole on this verse.
Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.Ye shall be holy, separated from all the forementioned defilements, and entirely consecrated to God, and obedient to all his laws and statutes.
I the Lord your God am holy, both in my essence, and in all my laws, which are holy and just and good, and in all my actions; whereas the gods of the heathens are unholy both in their laws and institutions, whereby they allow and require filthy and abominable actions; and in their practices, some of them having given wicked examples to their worshippers.
Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.The mother is put first, partly because the practice of this duty begins there, mothers, by perpetual converse, being more and sooner known to their children than their fathers; and partly because this duty is most commonly neglected to the mother, upon whom children have not so much dependence as they have upon their father. And this
fear includes the two great duties of reverence and obedience.
And keep my sabbaths: this is here added, to show, that whereas it is enjoined to parents that they should take care that the sabbath be observed both by themselves and by their children, it is the duty of children to fear and obey their parents in this matter; and moreover, that if parents should neglect their duty herein, or by their command, counsel, or example draw them to pollute the sabbath, yet the children in that case must keep the sabbath, and in all such cases prefer the command of God before the commands of their parents or superiors.
Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God.Turn not your hearts and faces from me, whom alone you pretend to respect, unto them. He intimates, that their turning to idols is a turning from God, and that they could not serve both God and idols.
Unto idols: the word signifies such as are no gods, or nothings, as they are called, 1 Corinthians 8:4, many idols having no being, but only in the fancy of their worshippers, and all of them having no virtue or power to do good or evil, Isaiah 41:23. Molten gods, nor graven gods neither, as appears from Exo 20, whereby we learn that such expressions are generally to be understood synecdochically.
And if ye offer a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD, ye shall offer it at your own will.Or, according to your own good pleasure, what you think fit; for though this in the general was required, yet it was left to their choice to determine the particulars. Leviticus 7:16. Or rather, to your acceptation, i.e. in such manner as it may be accepted by God on your behalf, which is explained in the next verse, and not in such manner as to lose the end you aim at, to wit, God’s acceptance; for if ye do otherwise than God hath prescribed, it shall not be accepted, as he adds Leviticus 19:7, but on the contrary severely punished, Deu 8.
It shall be eaten the same day ye offer it, and on the morrow: and if ought remain until the third day, it shall be burnt in the fire.And on the morrow; by which clause it appears that he speaks here only of that sort of peace-offerings which were offered either by vow, or freely for the obtaining of some mercy desired; for the other sort, which was by way of gratitude for mercies received, were to be eaten the same day, Leviticus 7:15.
And if it be eaten at all on the third day, it is abominable; it shall not be accepted.No text from Poole on this verse.
Therefore every one that eateth it shall bear his iniquity, because he hath profaned the hallowed thing of the LORD: and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.His iniquity, i.e. the punishment of his iniquity; instead of acceptation he shall receive punishment.
And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.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.
Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.Or, one against another, to the defrauding of him of any of his goods, to which kind of lying the words foregoing and following seem here to restrain it, though it be true that all sorts of lying are unlawful.
And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.Ye shall not swear by my name falsely: this is here added, to show how one sin draws on another, and that when men will lie for their own advantage, they will easily be induced to perjury.
Neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God, by any unholy use of it. So it is an additional precept, thou shalt not abuse my holy name by swearing either falsely or rashly. Or this may be a reason of the former prohibition, because in so doing thou wilt profane the name of thy God.
Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.The wages, Heb. the work, put for the wages, as Deu 24:15 Job 7:2 Jeremiah 22:13. Shall not abide with thee all night, because his urgent necessities require it for present subsistence.
Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.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.
Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.Thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, so as through pity to him to give an unrighteous sentence. Compare Deu 1:17 10:17 Proverbs 24:23.
Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.As a tale-bearer, who makes it his business to go up and down from one to another, and divulge evil and false reports concerning others, which, though many times it proceeds only from levity and talkativeness, yet apparently tends to the great injury of our neighbour. See Proverbs 11:13 Jeremiah 6:28 9:4. Neither shalt thou stand, to wit, in judgment, as a false accuser or false witness; for accusers and witnesses use to stand, whilst the judges sat, in courts of judicature.
Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.To prevent murder, last spoken of, he forbids hatred, which is the common cause, and a degree of murder, 1Jo 3:15.
Thy brother; the same with neighbour, as it follows, i.e. every man, Matthew 5:44; for it is manifest that God’s law commanded them to love strangers no less than Israelites.
If thy brother hath done thee or others any injury, thou shalt neither divulge it to others as a tale-bearer, nor hate him, and smother that hatred by sullen silence, as 2 Samuel 13:22, nor justify and flatter and encourage him therein; but shalt freely, and in love, not with hatred, tell him of his fault.
And not suffer sin upon him, i.e. not suffer him to lie under the guilt of any sin, which thou by rebuking of him, and thereby bringing him to true repentance, couldest in some sort free him from. But the phrase of suffering sin upon him imperfect and unusual in Scripture, and I doubt whether the Hebrew verb nasa be ever used for permitting or suffering. The words may be rendered thus, And (or so) thou shalt not bear sin for him, or for his sake; thou shalt not make thyself guilty of his sin, as thou wilt assuredly do, if thou dost not perform thy duty of rebuking him for his sin, which is a likely way, and a course appointed by God, to remove the guilt of his sin from him; and consequently, as it was his fault that he sinned and contracted guilt, so it is thy fault that his guilt continues upon him. Many things favour this sense.
1. This is the proper and usual signification of the word nasa.
2. The same words are used in this sense Leviticus 22:9 Numbers 18:32.
3. The preposition al is oft used thus, as Genesis 37:8,34 Jud 9:9 1 Kings 16:7.
4. This phrase of bearing sin, or iniquity, is constantly used in this book for being guilty and liable to punishment. And so the sense is here full and complete, and a very weighty reason here given to enforce the foregoing precept.
Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.Nor bear any grudge, Heb. nor keep, either,
1. The injury here supposed in thy memory: so it is opposed to those who say they will forgive, but not forget an injury. Or,
2. Anger or hatred in thy heart: so this verb is used Jeremiah 3:12 Nahum 1:2. Thy neighbour; by which he understands not the Israelites only, as some would persuade us, but every other man with whom we converse, as plainly appears,
1. By comparing this place with Leviticus 19:34, where this very law is applied to strangers.
2. Because the word
neighbour is explained by another man, Leviticus 20:10 Romans 13:8: see more on Exodus 20:16.
As thyself; with the same sincerity, though not equality, of affection, as to thyself.
Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.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.
And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free.Betrothed to an husband; or, reproached or despised, and therefore forsaken, of her husband. For as his continuance with her in his and her master’s family and service is mentioned as an evidence that he loved her, Exodus 21:5,6 so on the contrary, his forsaking of her was a reproach to her, and a sign of contempt.
She shall be scourged, Heb. there shall be a scourging, which may belong, either,
1. To her alone, as the Jews understand it, for the man’s punishment follows, Leviticus 19:21,22. Or,
2. To both of them; for,
1. Both were guilty.
2. It follows, they shall not be punished with death, which may seem to imply that they were to be punished by some other common and considerable punishment, which scourging indeed was, but the paying of a ram was a small penalty, and very unsuitable to the greatness of the offence. And the offering of the ram as a trespass-offering for the sin against God, is not inconsistent with making satisfaction other ways for the injury done to men, as we may see Leviticus 6:4-6, but only added here as a further punishment to the man; either because he only could do this, and not the woman, who being a bond-woman had nothing of her own to offer; or because his sex and his freedom aggravated his sin.
They shall not be put to death, which they should have been, had she been free, Deu 22:23,24.
Because she was not free: the reason of this difference is not from any respect which God gives to persons, for bond and free are alike to him, but because bond-women were scarce wives, and their marriages were scarce true marriages, being neither made by their choice, but by their master’s authority, nor continued beyond the year of release, but at her master’s or husband’s pleasure; of which see Exodus 21:4, &c.
And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, even a ram for a trespass offering.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering before the LORD for his sin which he hath done: and the sin which he hath done shall be forgiven him.No text from Poole on this verse.
And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of.As uncircumcised, i.e. as unclean, not to be eaten, but cast away, and counted abominable, as the foreskins are.
Three years. This precept was serviceable,
1. To the trees themselves, which grew the better and faster, being early stript of those fruits, which otherwise would have derived to themselves and drawn away much more of the strength from the root and tree.
2. To men, both because the fruit then was waterish, undigested, and unwholesome, and because hereby men were taught to bridle their appetites; a lesson of great use and absolute necessity in a godly life.
3. To God, who required and deserved the first-fruits, which must be also of the best, and so they could not be in this time.
But in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy to praise the LORD withal.Consecrated to the Lord, as the first-fruits and tithes were, and therefore given to the priests and Levites, Numbers 18:12,13 Deu 18:4; yet so that part of them were communicated to the poor widows, and fatherless, and strangers. See Deu 14:28,29.
To praise the Lord withal; to bless the Lord, by whose power and goodness the trees bring forth fruit to perfection.
And in the fifth year shall ye eat of the fruit thereof, that it may yield unto you the increase thereof: I am the LORD your God.That it may yield unto you the increase thereof; that God may be pleased to give his blessing, which alone can make them fruitful.
Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times.With the blood, i. e. any flesh out of which the blood is not first poured. See 1 Samuel 14:32. The Jews write, that the Egyptians and other nations, when they offered sacrifices to the devils, did eat part of the sacrifices, beside the blood which was kept in basons for that end, which also they believed to be as it were the special food of the devils.
Nor observe times, to wit, superstitiously, by the observation of the clouds, or stars, or otherwise, by esteeming some days lucky, others unlucky. See Deu 18:10,11 Es 3:7.
Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.The corners of your heads; i.e. your temples: Ye shall not cut off the hair of your heads round about your temples. This the Gentiles did, either for the worship of the devils or idols, to whom young men used to consecrate their hair, being cut off from their heads, as Homer, Plutarch, and many others write; or in funerals or immoderate mournings, as appears from Isaiah 15:2 Jeremiah 48:37. And the like is to be thought concerning the beard or the hair in the corner, i.e. corners of the beard. The reason then of this prohibition is, because God would not have his people agree with idolaters, neither in their idolatries, nor in their excessive sorrowing, no, nor so much as in the appearances and outward significations or expressions thereof.
Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.Any cuttings in your flesh, which the Gentiles commonly did both in the worship of their idols, and in their solemn mournings, Jeremiah 16:6.
For the dead; Heb. for a soul, i.e. either,
1. Improperly, for a dead body; as that word is sometimes used, as Leviticus 19:28 21:1 Numbers 6:6: or,
2. Properly, for the soul; Ye shall not cut your flesh or your bodies, for your souls, or upon pretence of doing your souls any good, either in way of mortification, or in the worship of God, as they did, 1 Kings 18:28, in like manner as others were willing to give to God the fruit of their body for the sin of their soul, Micah 6:7.
Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness.This the Gentiles frequently did for the honour of some of their idols, to whom divers women were consecrated, and publicly prostituted.
Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.Not presuming to approach it without reverence, or with any kind of uncleanness upon you.
Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.Them that have familiar spirits; that have entered into covenant with the devil, by whose help they foretell many things to come, and acquaint men with secret things. See Leviticus 20:27 Deu 18:11 1 Samuel 28:3,7,9 2 Kings 21:6.
Wizards; another name expressing the same thing for substance, to wit, persons in league with the devil, with some difference only in the manner of their operation,
Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.Thou shalt rise up, to do them reverence when they pass by, for which end they were obliged, as the Jews say, presently to sit down again when they were past, that it might be manifest they arose out of respect to them.
Fear thy God; a reason of the former precept, both because old men in some respects do most resemble God, who is styled the Ancient of days, Daniel 7:9,13, and because this respect is due to such, if not for themselves, who may be unworthy or contemptible, yet for God’s sake, who requires this reverence, and whose singular blessing old age is.
And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.Either with opprobrious expressions, or grievous exactions.
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.As one born among you; either,
1. As to the matters of common right, as it here follows: so it reacheth to all strangers. Or,
2. As to church privileges: so it concerns only those who were proselytes of righteousness.
For ye were strangers; and therefore are sensible of the fears, distresses, and miseries of such, which call for your pity, and you ought to do to them as you would that others should do to you when you were such.
Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure.In meteyard; in the measuring of lands, or any dry and continued things, as cloth, ribband, &c.
In measure; in the measuring of liquid or such dry things as are not continued, only contiguous, as of corn or wine, &c. Or, the former may note greater, the latter, less measures.
Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.A just ephah, and a just hin; these two measures are named as most common, the former for dry, the latter for moist things; but under them he manifestly comprehends all other measures.
Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the LORD.Therefore; because my blessings and deliverances are not indulgences to sin, but greater obligations to all duties to God and men. So that if religion and righteousness were utterly lost in the world, they ought in all reason to be found among you as my peculiar people and freed men.