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This chapter is but a continuation of the same subject as in the former. Here are certain laws for the preservation of Israel, as an holy people to the LORD, without blemish and without imperfection; laws, also, for the keeping in purity the camp, and the persons of LORD'S people; against whoredom, usury, the breach of vows, and encroachments on another's property.
The disqualification to the privileges of GOD'S people, is expressed by these marks, which imply defect. Who shall say, except the great searcher of hearts, what are the causes of prevention, to unite souls really and spiritually to the congregation of the LORD. And, perhaps, as the prospect of the holy seed in the person of the Messiah, was the great object unto which all Israel looked forward, with the hope that it might be in their household and family; the LORD was pleased, by this precept, to manifest how important a matter it was, that there should be no intercourse by marriages with the idolatrous neighbours around them. In after ages we find the breach of this precept deeply lamented by the fathers; see Nehemiah 13:1-3; Neh_13:23-25.
It is remarkable from the first, in the instances of the fathers of both houses, Jacob as the head of Israel, and his brother Esau as the head of Edom, how the LORD drew the line of separation: see Malachi 1:2-4.
The precept here is comprehensive, and includes all; it is from every wicked thing.
The precept becomes more particular. But it hath a reference to uncleanness of every kind. The sanctity of the camp evidently arose from the divine presence. The apostle makes a very beautiful observation upon it, when describing the absolute necessity of our LORD'S sanctifying the people, when he says, that he suffered without the gate. Hebrews 13:11-13.
Wherefore was this merciful precept introduced here, but to show us, that as the land of Israel was like a city of refuge, none who took shelter in it, should be dragged thence. And is not this spiritual? If you and I have taken shelter from the service of the hard masters we once served, Sin and Satan, and are come to JESUS and the promised land; We must not be given up to our former captivity. If the SON of GOD hath made us free, we shall be free indeed. John 8:36.
Is not the same said with respect to spiritual Israel now? Revelation 22:15; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD. Proverbs 15:8. And the LORD declares, that he hates robbery for burnt-offering. Isaiah 61:8.
As an Israelite received his inheritance from GOD it was not alienable. Herein we have a type of the promised inheritance in JESUS. Blessed be GOD! this is not forfeitable. I may be poor; I may be in want; I may be compelled to borrow; but my new birth-right in the Redeemer is not mine to sell.
The stranger is here introduced in similar circumstances, to show the line of distinguishing grace.
The LORD'S people were not obliged to vows; but they were obliged, when they had at anytime made them, to their faithful observance. Ecclesiastes 5:2; Ecc_5:4.
Did not the LORD, by these precepts of freedom, and liberty to partake of the fruits of the vine and of the field one among another, not only teach the brotherly love and affection, by which his people should be known and distinguished: but was it not intended also, to show that our blessings are common blessings, for all freely to partake in the LORD JESUS? The disciples were not reproved in the days of our LORD'S flesh, for eating of the ears of corn, as they walked through the fields, but because it was done on the LORD's day. Matthew 12:2.
MY soul! While thou beholdest the many disqualifications, by which men are kept off from the congregation of the LORD'S people, think of thy privileges, and bless GOD that thou art neither an Ammonite nor an Edomite, though a Gentile, and not of the original stock of Israel; and yet permitted to come into the congregation by the new and living way, opened for sinners in the blood and righteousness of JESUS. LORD! give me grace that I may not associate with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them; and may I be always found cleansed from all my pollutions in the blood of JESUS. Dear LORD! I thank thee, that when by thy HOLY SPIRIT, I was enabled to flee to thee, from the rigorous and hard service of Satan; thou hast not given me back again into his power, but hast graciously promised that sin shall not have dominion over me, for I am no longer under the law, as a covenant of works, but under grace. May I not hope, blessed JESUS, that as sin hath reigned unto death, so shall grace reign, through righteousness, unto eternal life, by JESUS CHRIST our LORD?
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/