Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 21:22 - 21:22

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 21:22 - 21:22

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Burial of those who had been Hanged. - If there was a sin upon a man, מָוֶת מִשְׁפַּט, lit., a right of death, i.e., a capital crime (cf. Deu 19:6 and Deu 22:26), and he was put to death, and they hanged him upon a tree (wood), his body was not to remain upon the wood over night, but they were to bury him on the same day upon which he as hanged; “for the hanged man is a curse of God,” and they were not to defile the land which Jehovah gave for an inheritance. The hanging, not of criminals who were to be put to death, but of those who had been executed with the sword, was an intensification of the punishment of death (see at Num 25:4), inasmuch as the body was thereby exposed to peculiar kinds of abominations. Moses commanded the burial of those who had been hanged upon the day of their execution, - that is to say, as we may see from the application of this law in Jos 8:29; Jos 10:26-27, before sunset, - because the hanged man, being a curse of God, defiled the land. The land was defiled not only by vices and crimes (cf. Lev 18:24, Lev 18:28; Num 35:34), but also by the exposure to view of criminals who had been punished with death, and thus had been smitten by the curse of God, inasmuch as their shameful deeds were thereby publicly exposed to view. We are not to think of any bodily defilement of the land through the decomposition consequent upon death, as J. D. Mich. and Sommer suppose; so that there is no ground for speaking of any discrepancy between this and the old law. - (On the application of this law to Christ, see Gal 3:13.), - This regulation is appended very loosely to what precedes. The link of connection is contained in the thought, that with the punishment of the wicked the recollection of their crimes was also to be removed.