The LORD will cut off the man that does this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob…
Various renderings have been given of these words. The meaning, however, from the context is clear. The leaders of the people were causing them to err. They had committed the evil themselves of casting off their Jewish wives for heathen women, and were teaching that it was no sin. God threatened that He would cut them off for this, and those whom they misled. An evil teacher works widespread ruin. But intellectual masterships are beneficial as well as evil. It is a Divine arrangement that some minds should control others.
I. THE RELATIONSHIP IN WHICH THE MASTER AND THE SCHOLAR STAND TO EACH OTHER. Mastership consists in superior mental ability, knowledge, culture, and character. The possession of such gifts involves heavy responsibilities. Real mastership may ever be distinguished from mere positional authority. Scholars soon detect the difference; they render spontaneous homage to the one, but contemn the other.
1. The relationship is one of mutual benefit. The scholar receives much from the training, instruction, and example of the master; but the master also receives much from the scholar. He is stimulated to mental effort, made watchful over his conduct, and obtains a ready command of knowledge.
2. This relationship has much to do with the shaping of the scholar's character and destiny. The work of the master is the chief element in the formation of his being. The minds that mastered him in the formative period of life have shaped him, and will have much to do with fixing his destiny. Illustrate Arnold of Rugby. Masters may be great benefactors. They can —
(1) Awaken latent energies.
(2) Instil noble and life-giving thoughts.
(3) Implant eternal principles.
(4) Save the souls of their scholars from everlasting death.
3. This relationship tends to the general advancement of the race in knowledge and wisdom. The cultured minds of one generation convey, in this manner, its accumulations of knowledge and experience to that which follows it. The young of each age stand on a higher vantage ground than their fathers.
II. THE DUTIES WHICH ARISE TO THE MASTER AND SCHOLAR FROM THE RELATIONSHIP IN WHICH THEY STAND TO EACH OTHER. Every relationship has its peculiar duties.
1. The master's —
(1) To set a worthy example to his scholars. His own character will be his most influential lesson.
(2) To eagerly impart knowledge to his scholars. He holds his position because of his possession of knowledge, and ability to impart it. He should have an enthusiasm to teach.
(3) To unfold the natures of his scholars. Each one should be separately studied.
(4) To administer correction to them. Some will only learn by the rod.
(5) To seek to ensure their moral and spiritual welfare. To overlook the highest capabilities in education is folly. The work of the master should comprehend the whole nature.
2. The scholar's.
(1) To respect his master's authority. Disrespect leads to disobedience, anarchy, and ignorance.
(2) To give attention to his master's instructions. Attention is generally the measure of attainment.
(3) To possess a teachable disposition. He should seek to remove prejudice, conceit, and obstinacy, and yield himself to his master's guidance.
(4) To remember that the results of his master's teaching will affect his future life in this world, and in the world to come. The future rests upon the present; eternity, on time. He is placed under instructors for his good; but neglect may rob him of all benefit, and send him forth unprepared for life's struggles, and unmeet for the solemn realities of eternity.
(W. Osborne Lilley.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts.