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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Deuteronomy 23

 

 

Verse 1

Deuteronomy 23:1 He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.

Ver. 1. Or hath his privy member cut off.] As it is a barbarous custom at this day among the Turks, to deprive various Christian children of their privities, supplying the uses of nature with a silver quill. This was first brought in among them by Selymus II, out of jealousy lest his eunuchs were not so chaste as they should have been, in keeping their ladies’ beds. (a) Such are usually effeminate, and unfit to bear office.

Shall not enter into the congregation,] i.e., Shall not go in and out before the people as a public officer. Since such should be drained from the dregs, and sifted from the brans of the vulgar: they should be eminent and eximious persons, higher than the rest, as Saul, by the head and shoulders.


Verse 2

Deuteronomy 23:2 A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.

Ver. 2. A bastard shall not enter.] Lest the reproach of his birth render him contemptible, or less courageous; (a) lest some son of Belial set upon him, as Saul did upon his son Jonathan, and say, "Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman." So of the base and beastly woman, "Do not I know that thou hast done this to the confusion of thy mother’s nakedness?" [1 Samuel 20:30] The mutinous Janizaries called their Emperor Bajizet II, drunkard, beast, rascal, bastard, bengi, that is, bachelor, or scholar; and told him, moreover, that they would teach him to use his great place and calling with more sobriety and discretion. (b) The English slighted and scorned their William the Conqueror, because a bastard; in spite also to whom, and disgrace to his mother Arlet, they called all whores harlots. The Jews at this day, amongst other opprobrious words, wherewith they spitefully load us, call all Christians Mamzer Gel, that is, heathen bastards. Our Saviour, upon better grounds, called them long since, a bastardly brood. [Matthew 12:39] And their own prophet Isaiah did the same thing long before, [Isaiah 57:3-4] and that, for their profane scoffing at the truth and the professors thereof. Yet who so forward as they, to say, "We are not born of fornication," no bastards? [John 8:41]


Verse 3

Deuteronomy 23:3 An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:

Ver. 3. For ever,] i.e., This law is perpetual and indispensable; so highly displeasing are many mere omissions of duty. Omission of diet breeds diseases, brings death; so here.


Verse 4

Deuteronomy 23:4 Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.

Ver. 4. Because they met you not.] As God takes notice of the least courtesy showed to his people, even to a cup of cold water, to requite it, so he doth of the least discourtesy, even to a frown or a frump {See Trapp on "Genesis 4:6"} to revenge it.

And because they hired, &c.] {See Trapp on "Numbers 22:3"} {See Trapp on "Numbers 22:6"}


Verse 5

Deuteronomy 23:5 Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.

Ver. 5. Nevertheless the Lord, &c., ] q.d., No thanks to the wicked Moabites, that Balaam blasted thee not; as neither to Balaam, whose tongue was merely overruled by the Almighty, and made to bless those whom he would gladly have cursed. And thus still the Lord orders the world’s disorders, turning dross into gold by a stupendous alchymy, and directing men’s evil actions to a good end. Hence it is that they fulfil - though they intend no such thing, but the satisfying of their own lusts - neither [Isaiah 10:5-7] more nor less than "what the hand and counsel of God hath determined." [Acts 4:28; Acts 13:27] Howbeit the hands that nailed Christ to the cross were "wicked hands." [Acts 2:23] And Judas the traitor received strangling and shedding of bowels, as a "reward of his iniquity, for being guide to them that took Jesus." [Acts 1:16-18] It was not without God that the kingdom was rent from Rehoboam, [2 Kings 12:19-20] and yet he flatly renounceth it, as well he might, all the evil that was in it. [Hosea 8:4]


Verse 6

Deuteronomy 23:6 Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.

Ver. 6. Thou shalt not seek their peace.] Or, Enter into confederacy with them; which when David did, [2 Samuel 10:1-2] he was basely abused in his ambassadors. Hannibal’s hatred to the Romans is well known. Tyrone, 1567, so boiled in hatred against the English, that he named a castle that he built, Feoghnegal, that is, "the hatred of the English." (a) Among those wild Irish, the fathers are said to inflict a heavy curse on all their posterity, if ever they should sow corn, build houses, or learn the English tongue.


Verse 7

Deuteronomy 23:7 Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he [is] thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land.

Ver. 7. For he is thy brother.] And therefore to be borne with, though unkind and injurious. Howbeit, Fratrum concordia rara est: "A brother offended is harder to be won," saith the wise man, "than a strong city, and their contentions are like the bars of a castle." [Proverbs 18:19] The dissension between England and Scotland consumed more Christian blood, wrought more spoil and destruction, and continued longer than ever quarrel we read of did between any two peoples of the world. (a) The God of Peace prevent the like bloody dissensions again, now mightily endeavoured by the boutefeaus of both nations. Si collidimur, frangimur, If we clash, we perish: dissension is the mother of dissolution, of desolation.

Thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian.] But learn of him to return one good turn for another. Egyptii dicuntur, praeter alias nationes, erga bene meritos de se grati; Existimant enim magnum vitae subsidium esse, gratiae retributionem, saith Diodorus. (b) The Egyptians are said to be, above all others, a thankful people, and to look upon thankfulness as a main support of man’s life.

Because thou wast a stranger in his land.] Where, though thou meetest with much hardship, yet thou hadst kind entertainment at first, and after that a subsistence, such as it was. Our Henry VI is said to have been of that happy memory, that he never forgot anything but injuries. Elisha, by a noble revenge, bade set bread and water before the Syrians that came to surprise him.


Verse 8

Deuteronomy 23:8 The children that are begotten of them shall enter into the congregation of the LORD in their third generation.

Ver. 8. In their third generation.] The Edomites for their consanguinity, - it is some privilege to be allied to the saints, to be "sister’s son to Barnabas," - the [Colossians 4:10] Egyptians for their hospitality to God’s firstborn Israel. "God is not unrighteous," &c. [Hebrews 6:10] {See Trapp on "Hebrews 6:10"}


Verse 9

Deuteronomy 23:9 When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing.

Ver. 9. Then keep thee from every wicked thing.] Walk accurately, as carrying thy life in thy hand; for "the sword devoureth one as well as another," [2 Samuel 11:25] it spares neither lord nor losel, as they say. Every soldier therefore should be a saint, ready pressed to meet the Lord, who hath said, "I will be sanctified in all them that draw near unto me." [Leviticus 10:3]


Verse 10

Deuteronomy 23:10 If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp:

Ver. 10. Then shall he go abroad.] Go voluntarily, though he be not excluded, as lepers and the like were, Arcta nimis obedientia est, ad legem solummodo iustum esse, saith one: God likes a freewill offering.


Verse 11

Deuteronomy 23:11 But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash [himself] with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the camp [again].

Ver. 11. He shall wash himself with water.] See Leviticus 15:1-33 {See Trapp on "Leviticus 15:2"} &c. The Turks at this day pertinaciously and superstitiously retain this ceremony. Before prayers they wash both face and hands, sometimes the head and other parts. Yea, some report of them, that every time they make water, or other unclean exercise of nature, they wash, little regarding who stands by. If a dog do but chance to touch their hands, they wash presently, &c. (a)


Verse 12

Deuteronomy 23:12 Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad:

Ver. 12. And shalt turn back and cover.] How much more curious should they be of soul defilements? Sin is the soul’s excrements, and defiles a man worse than any excement. [Matthew 7:15; Matthew 7:20; Matthew 7:23]


Verse 13

Deuteronomy 23:13 And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:

Ver. 13. Thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp.] Where he is both van and rear. [Isaiah 52:12]

And to give up thine enemies.] Hence the Philistines were so frighted at the sight of the ark. "Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the Lord fighteth for them," said those Egyptians. [Exodus 14:25]

That he see no unclean thing.] Hereby God taught his people holy conversation, that they should keep themselves from their iniquity, as David did [Psalms 18:23] - that is, from such sins as either by their constitution, calling, company, or custom, they are most prone to.


Verse 15

Deuteronomy 23:15 Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee:

Ver. 15. The servant that is escaped.] A heathen servant that flees for religion, and desires to "join himself to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servant," such must have no cause given them to say, "The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people." [Isaiah 56:2; Isaiah 56:6]


Verse 17

Deuteronomy 23:17 There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.

Ver. 17. There shall be no whore.] And what a stinking shame is that, that stews and brothel houses are licensed by the Pope, who reaps no small profit by them? The Papists themselves write with detestation, that at Rome a Jewish maid might not be admitted into the stews of whoredom, unless she would be first baptized; Ut Iudae filiae scortari non liceat, Dei filiae liceat: Imo Israelis filia meretricari non aliter arte possit quam facta per baptismum sanctum Christi sorer et filia. (a)

Nor a Sodomite of the sons of Israel.] {See Trapp on "Genesis 19:5"} Pythagoras’s precept, πων κυαμων απεχεσθαι, was intended against this kind of horrid and unnatural uncleanness, κυαμοι, signifying somewhat else besides beans. But what a beast was Pope Sixtus Quintus, qui lupanar utriusque Veneris Romoe condidit, as Agrippa reporteth?


Verse 18

Deuteronomy 23:18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these [are] abomination unto the LORD thy God.

Ver. 18. Nor the price of a dog.] Plutarch tells us that it was not permitted to a dog to enter into the chief tower or temple at Athens, for his heat in venery and ill savour. (a) The Hebrews understand this text literally, according to Isaiah 66:3. Others metaphorically, as Revelation 22:15, either of impudent cynics, such as Antisthenes, that shame not to commit uncleanness in the sight of others; these are worse than Absalom. [2 Samuel 16:22] Or else of Sodomites, buggerers, Meritorii, as they call them, men that have put off all manhood, and are become dogs, worse than dogs. "Am I a dog’s head?" said Abner to Ishbosheth [2 Samuel 3:8] - that is, shamelessly lecherous.


Verse 19

Deuteronomy 23:19 Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury:

Ver. 19. Thou shalt not lend upon usury.] Heb., Upon biting usury. It must needs bite at length that licks so clean. Amalek, the licking people, I mean the nation of usurers and their factors, as cormorants, fall upon the poor borrower, and with open mouth devour him.

Eστι τοκος προ τοκοιο, τοκος γε μεν εστι και αλλος.”

Faenus a multiplici foetu, ut τοκος α τοκτω. In the year 1235, there were spread through England certain Roman usurers, called Caursini, quasi capientes Ursi; { a} devouring bears, saith Matthew Paris. These bite to purpose. Others are more cunning and close in their conveyance; like serpents, they can sting without hissing; like dog fish, suck your blood only with licking, and in the end kill you, and cut your throats without biting. "For as much as all usury, being forbidden by the law of God, is a sin, and detestable," &c., saith the statute, 13 Eliz., cap. 8. And "Verily so many as increase themselves by usury, &c., they have their goods of the devil’s gift" (Homil. of the Church of England, vol. ii. hom. 17, p. 2). Aristotle, (b) by the dim light of nature, saw the evil of it, condemning in one page the usurer and the dicer. And Agis, General of the Athenians, so hated usury, that he made a bonfire of all the usurer’s bills and bonds in the market place, and then said that he never saw a finer fire than that in all his life. (c)


Verse 20

Deuteronomy 23:20 Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

Ver. 20. Unto a stranger thou mayest.] And they do it to purpose at this day in foreign parts where they live, straining up their usury to eighteen in the hundred upon the Christian. This is their chief trade, and this is yielded by some as a reason why the Jews do so stink, Quod plerique omnes mensarii sint, faeneratoriam exercentes, et ita nullis exercitati laboribus, i.e., Because most of them are usurers, lead sedentary lives, and use no bodily exercise. It was the saying of a merry fellow, that in Christendom there were neither scholars enough, gentlemen enough, nor Jews enough. If the first, so many would not be pluralists; if the second, so many peasants would not be reckoned among the gentry; if the third, not so many usurers. (a)


Verse 21

Deuteronomy 23:21 When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.

Ver. 21. Thou shalt not slack to pray.] Come off with it round and readily, as those [Zechariah 5:9] that had "wings," and "wind in their wings," Habent aulae suum cito, cito God loves a cheerful giver.


Verse 22

Deuteronomy 23:22 But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee.

Ver. 22. It shall be no sin in thee,] i.e., No such great sin; as John 9:41, so John 15:22; John 15:24, James 4:17. See Ecclesiastes 5:5. Vovere nusquam est praeceptum, saith Bellarmine: We are nowhere in Scripture commanded to vow. And Fateor quod Deus non praecipit, sed tantum consulit nobis ut aliquid illi voveamus, saith another Popish writer. (a) I confess God nowhere commandeth, but only counselleth us to make vows. But what will they say to Psalms 76:11; - "Vow and perform to the Lord your God, bring presents" &c.? And are not the nine lepers condemned by Christ for their negligence and unthankfulness? [Luke 17:17-18]


Verse 24

Deuteronomy 23:24 When thou comest into thy neighbour’s vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put [any] in thy vessel.

Ver. 24. When thou comest, &c.] As a passenger; [Matthew 12:1-2] how much more as a labourer; [1 Corinthians 9:7] thou mayest take what thou wilt for necessity, but not for superfluity.


Verse 25

Deuteronomy 23:25 When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour’s standing corn.

Ver. 25. But thou shalt not move a sickle.] Here God reserveth the right and property of the owner, which no man might invade or infringe.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/deuteronomy-23.html. 1865-1868.

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Sunday, December 15th, 2019
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