Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 21:12 - 21:12

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 21:12 - 21:12


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

When the woman was taken home to the house of the man who had loved her, she was to shave her head, and make, i.e., cut, her nails (cf. 2Sa 19:25), - both customary signs of purification (on this signification of the cutting of the hair, see Lev 14:8 and Num 8:7), - as symbols of her passing out of the state of a slave, and of her reception into the fellowship of the covenant nation. This is perfectly obvious in her laying aside her prisoner's clothes. After putting off the signs of captivity, she was to sit (dwell) in the house, and bewail her father and mother for a month, i.e., console herself for her separation from her parents, whom she had lost, that she might be able to forget her people and her father's house (Psa 45:11), and give herself up henceforth in love to her husband with an undivided heart. The intention of these laws was not to protect the woman against any outbreak of rude passion on the part of the man, but rather to give her time and leisure to loosen herself inwardly from the natural fellowship of her nation and kindred, and to acquire affection towards the fellowship of the people of God, into which she had entered against her will, that her heart might cherish love to the God of Israel, who had given her favour in the eyes of her master, and had taken from her the misery and reproach of slavery. But her master becoming her husband, she entered into the rights of a daughter of Israel, who had been sold by her father to a man to be his wife (Exo 21:7.). If after this her husband should find no pleasure in her, he was to let her go לְנַפְשָׁהּ, i.e., at her free will, and not sell her for money (cf. Exo 21:8). “Thou shalt not put constraint upon her, because thou hast humbled her.” הִתְעַמֵּר, which only occurs again in Deu 24:7, probably signifies to throw oneself upon a person, to practise violence towards him (cf. Ges. thes. p. 1046).