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Treasury of Scripture Knowledge: Deuteronomy 21

Chapter 21

If one be found slain in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who hath slain him:

Psalms 5:6 9:12 Proverbs 28:17 Isaiah 26:21 Acts 28:4

Then thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is slain:

16:18,19 Romans 13:3,4

And it shall be, that the city which is next unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take an heifer, which hath not been wrought with, and which hath not drawn in the yoke;


Numbers 19:2 Jeremiah 31:18 Matthew 11:28-30 Philippians 2:8

And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley:

a rough valley

As the word nachal signifies both a torrent, and the valley or glen through which it flows, nachal aithan may be rendered a rapid torrent. Many torrents in Judea are dry during a great part of the year; when not only their banks but their beds may be ploughed, and yield a crop. Hence there is no impropriety in specifying that such a place should be one that "is neither cared nor sown;" while the circumstance that the elders were to wash their hands over the heifer, whose head had been struck off into the stream, confirms this interpretation. The spot of ground where this sacrifice was made must be uncultivated, because it was considered as a sacrifice for the atonement of murder, and, consequently, would pollute the land.

shall strike

1 Peter 2:21-24 3:18

And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them the LORD thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of the LORD; and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried:

for them

10:8 18:5 Numbers 6:22-27 1 Chronicles 23:13

by their word

17:8-12 Malachi 2:7


Heb. mouth.

And all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley:

wash their hands

Washing the hands was anciently a symbolical action, denoting that the person was innocent of the crime in question.

Job 9:30 Psalms 19:12 26:6 51:2,7,14 73:13 Jeremiah 2:22 Matthew 27:24,25 Hebrews 9:10

And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it.

Numbers 5:19-28 2 Samuel 16:8 Job 21:21-23,31-34 Psalms 7:3,4

Be merciful, O LORD, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel's charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them.

lay not

Numbers 35:33 2 Samuel 3:28 2 Kings 24:4 Psalms 19:12 Jeremiah 26:15 Ezekiel 23:3,24,25 Jonah 1:14 Matthew 23:35 1 Thessalonians 2:15,16

unto thy people

Heb. in the midst.

So shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the LORD.

shalt thou


when thou shalt

13:18 2 Kings 10:30,31

When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive,

thou goest


And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;


Genesis 6:2 12:14,15 29:18-20 34:3,8 Judges 14:2,3 Proverbs 6:25 31:10,30


Numbers 31:18

Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;

and she shall

This was in token of renouncing her religion, and becoming a proselyte to that of the Jews. This is still a custom in the East: when a Christian turns Mohammedan, his head is shaved, and he is carried through the city, crying, la eelah eela allah wemochammed resoolu 'llahee, "There is no God but the God, and Mohammed is the prophet of God."

1 Corinthians 11:6 Ephesians 4:22

pare her nails

or, suffer to grow. Heb. make, or dress. W΂sethah eth tzipparneyha, "and she shall make her nails;" i.e., probably neither paring nor letting them grow, but dressing or beautifying them as the Eastern women still do by tinging them with the leaves of an odoriferous plant called alhenna, which Hasselquist (p. 246) informs us, "grows in India and in upper and lower Egypt, flowering from May to August. The leaves are pulverized and made into a paste with water: they bind this paste on the nails of their hands and feet, and keep it on all night. This gives them a deep yellow, which is greatly admired by Eastern nations. The colour lasts for three or four weeks before there is occasion to renew it. The custom is so ancient in Egypt, that I have seen the nails of mummies dyed in this manner."

And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.

and bewail

Psalms 45:10,11 Luke 14:26,27

And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.

thou shalt

Exodus 21:7-11

because thou

22:19,24,29 Genesis 34:2 Judges 19:24

If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated:

two wives

Genesis 29:18,20,30,31,33 1 Samuel 1:4,5

Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn:

1 Chronicles 5:2 26:10 2 Chronicles 11:19-22 21:3 Romans 8:29 Philippians 4:8 Hebrews 12:16,17

But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.

by giving

Genesis 25:5,6,32,34 1 Chronicles 5:1,2

that he hath

Heb. that is found with him. the beginning.

Genesis 49:3 Psalms 105:36

the right

Genesis 25:31-34

If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:

have a stubborn

Proverbs 28:24 30:11,17 Isaiah 1:2

obey the voice

27:16 Exodus 20:12 21:15,17 Leviticus 19:3 21:9 Proverbs 15:5 20:20 Ezekiel 22:7

when they

8:5 2 Samuel 7:14 Proverbs 13:24 19:18 22:15 23:13,14 29:17 Hebrews 12:9-11

will not

Isaiah 1:5 Jeremiah 5:3 31:18 Ezekiel 24:13 Amos 4:11,12

Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;

and bring

2 16:18 25:7 Zechariah 13:3

And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

he will not

Proverbs 29:17

he is a glutton

Proverbs 19:26 20:1 23:19-21,29-35

And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

all the men

13:10,11 17:5 Leviticus 24:16

so shalt thou

13:5,11 19:19,20 22:21,24

all Israel


And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:

worthy of death

Heb. of the judgment of death. The Hebrews understand this not of putting to death by hanging, but of hanging a man up after he was stoned to death; which was done more ignominiously of some heinous malefactors. We have the examples of Rechab and Baanah, who, for murdering Ish-bosheth, were slain by David's commandment, their hand and feet cut off, and then hanged up.

2 Samuel 4:12 Joshua 8:29 10:26 Song of Solomon in:; and such was the cruel death of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.; 19:6 22:26 1 Samuel 26:16 Matthew 26:66 Acts 23:29 25:11,25 26:31

thou hang

2 Samuel 21:6,9 Luke 23:33 John 19:31-38

His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

he that is hanged is accursed of God

Heb. the curse of God. That is, it is the highest degree of reproach that can attach to a man, and proclaims him under the curse of God as much as any external punishment can. They that see him thus hanging between heaven and earth, will conclude him abandoned of both, and unworthy of either. Bp. Patrick observes, that this passage is applied to the death of Christ; not only because he bare our sins and was exposed to shame, as these malefactors were that were accursed of God, but because he was in the evening taken down from the cursed tree and buried, (and that by the particular care of the Jews, with an eye to this law, Joh 19:31,) in token, that now the guilt being removed, the law was satisfied, as it was when the malefactors had hanged till sun-set: it demanded no more. Then he, and those that are his, ceased to be a curse. And as the land of Israel was pure and clean when the body was buried, so the church is washed and cleansed by the complete satisfaction which Christ thus made.

7:26 Numbers 25:4 Joshua 7:12 2 Samuel 21:6 Romans 9:3 Galatians 3:13 1 Corinthians 16:22 2 Corinthians 5:21

thy land

Leviticus 18:25 Numbers 35:33,34