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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 22

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 2553. B.C. 1451.

Laws for preserving stray or fallen cattle, Deuteronomy 22:1-4 . For a distinction of apparel between women and men, Deuteronomy 22:5 . For compassion even toward birds, Deuteronomy 22:6 , Deuteronomy 22:7 . Of battlements on houses, Deuteronomy 22:8 . Against improper mixtures, Deuteronomy 22:9-11 . Of fringes, Deuteronomy 22:12 . Of a wife, falsely accused, Deuteronomy 22:13-19 . Justly accused, Deuteronomy 22:20 , Deuteronomy 22:21 . The punishment of adultery, rape, fornication, Deuteronomy 22:22-29 . Of incest, Deuteronomy 22:30 .

Verses 1-2

Deuteronomy 22:1-2. Thy brother’s Any man’s, this being a duty of common justice and charity, which the law of nature taught even heathen. Hide thyself from them Dissemble, or pretend that thou dost not see them, or pass them by as if thou hadst not seen them. If thy brother be not nigh unto thee Which may make the duty more troublesome or chargeable. Or if thou know him not Which implies that, if they did know the owner, they should restore it. Bring it unto thy own house To be used like thy other cattle. Thou shalt restore it again The owner, as it may be presumed, paying the charges.

Verse 5

Deuteronomy 22:5. Shall not wear That is, ordinarily or unnecessarily, for in some cases this may be lawful, as to make an escape for one’s life. Now this is forbidden for decency’s sake, that men might not confound those sexes which God hath distinguished; that all appearance of evil might be avoided, such change of garments carrying a manifest sign of effeminacy in the man, of arrogance in the woman, of lightness and petulancy in both; and also to cut off all suspicions and occasions of evil, for which this practice would open a wide door.

Verses 6-7

Deuteronomy 22:6-7. Thou shalt not take the dam with the young This and such like merciful precepts of the law of Moses tended to humanize the hearts of the Israelites, to produce in them a sense of the divine providence extending itself to all creatures, and to teach them to exercise dominion over them with gentleness. The command also respected posterity, restrained a selfish and covetous disposition, and taught them not to monopolize all to themselves, but leave the hopes of a future seed for others.

Verse 8

Deuteronomy 22:8. Thou shalt make a battlement A fence or breast-work, because the roofs of their houses were made flat, that men might walk on them. Blood The guilt of blood, by a man’s fall from the top of thy house, through thy neglect of this necessary provision. The Jews say, that by the equity of this law, they are obliged, and so are we, to fence or remove every thing whereby life may be endangered, as wells, or bridges, lest if any perish through the omission, their blood be required at the hands of those who have neglected to perform so plain a duty.

Verses 9-10

Deuteronomy 22:9-10. Divers seeds Either, 1st, With divers kinds of seeds mixed and sowed together between the rows of vines in thy vineyard: which was forbidden to be done in the field, (Leviticus 19:19,) and here in the vineyard. Or, 2d, With any kind of seed differing from that of the vine, which would produce either herbs, or corn, or fruit-bearing trees, whose fruit might be mingled with the fruit of the vines. Now this and the following precepts, though in themselves small and trivial, are given, according to that time and state of the church, for instructions in greater matters, and particularly to commend to them simplicity in all their carriage toward God and men, and to forbid all mixture of their inventions with God’s institutions in doctrine and worship. An ox and an ass Because the one was a clean beast, the other unclean; whereby God would teach men to avoid polluting themselves by the touch of unclean persons or things.

Verse 12

Deuteronomy 22:12. Fringes Or laces, or strings, partly to bring the commands of God to their remembrance, as it is expressed Numbers 15:38, and partly as a public profession of their nation and religion, whereby they might be distinguished from strangers, that so they might be more circumspect to behave as became the people of God, and that they should own their religion before all the world. Thou coverest thyself These words seem to confine the precept to the upper garment wherewith the rest were covered.

Verse 13

Deuteronomy 22:13. If any man take a wife And afterward falsely accuse her. What the meaning of that evidence is, by which the accusation was proved false, the learned are not agreed. Nor is it necessary for us to know: they for whom this law was intended, undoubtedly understood it.

Verse 19

Deuteronomy 22:19. Give them unto the father of the damsel Because this was a reproach to his family, and to himself, as such misconduct of his daughter would have been ascribed to his neglect of properly instructing or watching over her. He may not put her away all his days Thus he was deprived of the common benefit which every Israelite had who did not like his wife, which was to sue out a divorce.

Verses 24-27

Deuteronomy 22:24-27. She cried not And therefore is justly presumed to have consented to it. As when a man riseth against his neighbour, even so is this matter Not an act of choice, but of force and constraint. The damsel cried Which is in that case to be presumed; charity obliging us to believe the best, till the contrary be manifest.

Verse 29

Deuteronomy 22:29. Shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels Besides the dowry, as Philo, the learned Jew, notes, which is here omitted, because that was customary, it being sufficient here to mention what was peculiar to this case. She shall be his wife He was not at liberty to refuse her, if her father consented to his marrying her, and he was deprived of the privilege of ever divorcing her.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 22". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/deuteronomy-22.html. 1857.
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