Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother.
Verse 1. - Go astray; wandering at large. The Hebrew verb means primarily to seduce, draw aside, or entice (cf. Deuteronomy 13:6); and in the passive conveys the idea of wandering through being drawn away by some enticement. Hide thyself from them; i.e. withdraw thyself from them, avoid noticing them or having to do with them. In any case; certainly, without fail.
And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again.
In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother's, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself.
Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.
Verse 4. - An animal that had fallen was also to be lifted up, and the owner was to be assisted to do this. In Exodus, it is specially declared that both these services are to be rendered, even though the parties are at enmity with each other, and the one is the object of hatred to the other.
The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
Verse 5. - The divinely instituted distinction between the sexes was to be sacredly observed, and, in order to this, the dress and ether things appropriate to the one were not to be used by the other. That which pertaineth unto a man; literally, the apparatus (כְּלִי) of a man, including, not dress merely, but implements, tools, weapons, and utensils. This is an ethical regulation in the interests of morality. There is no reference, as some have supposed, to the wearing of masks for the purpose of disguise, or to the practice of the priests at heathen festivals of wearing masks of their gods. Whatever tends to obliterate the distinction between the sexes tends to licentiousness; and that the one sex should assume the dress of the other has always been regarded as unnatural and indecent (comp. Seneca, 'Epist.,' 122, "Nonne videntur contra naturam vivere qui commutant cum feminis vestem;" and Juvenal, 'Sat.,' 6:252 -
"Quem praestare potest muller galeata pudorem
Quae fugit a sexu?") Such a change of vesture is here declared to be an abomination to the Lord, because of its tendency to immorality.
If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young:
Verses 6, 7. - (Cf. Leviticus 22:28; Exodus 23:19.) These precepts are designed to foster humane feeling towards the lower animals, and not less to preserve regard to that affectionate relation between parents and their young which God has established as a law in the animal world. That thou mayest prolong thy days (cf. Deuteronomy 5:16; Exodus 20:12).
But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days.
When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.
Verse 8. - Still less was human life to be exposed to danger through neglect of proper precautions. The houses in Palestine, as in other parts of the East, had flat roofs, and, as these were much frequented by the inhabitants for various purposes (cf. Joshua 2:6; 2 Samuel 11:2; 2 Samuel 18:24; Nehemiah 8:16; Matthew 10:27; Acts 10:9), it was necessary that a battlement or balustrade should surround the roof, in order to prevent persons falling over. Hence the direction here given.
Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.
Verses 9-11. - (Cf. Leviticus 19:19.) God has made distinctions in nature, and these are not to be confounded by the mixing of things distinct. The ox and the ass were chiefly used in husbandry; but, as they were of different size and strength, it was not only fitting that they should not be yoked to the same plough, but it might be cruel so to yoke them.
Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.
Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.
Verse 11. - A garment of diverse sorts; sha'atnez, a kind of cloth in which threads of linen and threads of woollen were interwoven. The meaning of the word is uncertain. The LXX. render by κίβδηλος, "spurious, bad;" Aquila, by ἀντιδιακείμενον, "variously disposed, diverse." No Semitic etymology can be found for the word, and as the Hebrews derived the textile art from Egypt, the home of that art, the word is probably of Egyptian origin.
Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself.
Verse 12. - (Cf. Numbers 15:38.) Fringes; properly, tassels. The tunic of the Hebrews appears to have been divided at the bottom in front, and back, so that four corners or wings (כַּנְפות) were made, to each of which a tassel was appended (Greek, κράσπεδον, Matthew 9:20; Matthew 23:5, etc.).
If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,
Verses 13-29. - The laws in this section have the design of fostering purity and fidelity in the relation of the sexes, and also of protecting the female against the malice of sated lust and the violence of brutal lust. (For the case supposed in ver. 13, cf. 2 Samuel 13:15. On the whole section see Michaelis, 'Laws of Moses,' pt. 2. § 92; Niebuhr, 'Description de l'Arabie,' Deuteronomy 8; Burckhardt, 'Bedwins,' p. 214.)
And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:
Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate:
And the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;
And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.
And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him;
And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.
But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:
Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.
If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.
Verses 22-29. - Four cases are here distinguished.
1. That of a married woman who has been unfaithful; in this case both the woman and her paramour are, when detected, to be put to death (ver. 22).
2. That of a virgin betrothed who is assailed in a town, where she might have cried for protection, but did not; in this case also both were to be punished with death as adulterers (vers. 23, 24).
3. That of a virgin betrothed who has been forcibly violated in the field, where, if she cried for help, her cry was in vain; in this case only the man should be liable to be put to death, whilst the woman was to be held innocent (vers. 25-27).
4. That of a virgin not betrothed with whom a man has had carnal intercourse; in this case the man should be required to pay a fine of fifty shekels of silver to the damsel's father, and to take her to be his wife, from whom he could not be separated during life (vers. 28, 29).
If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.
But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die:
But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter:
For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.
If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.
A man shall not take his father's wife, nor discover his father's skirt.
Verse 30. - To these is appended a general prohibition of incestuous connections, the first provision in the earlier law being cited as a sort of index to the whole (Leviticus 18:7, etc.).