Various Prohibitions. - Deu 24:6. “No man shall take in pledge the handmill and millstone, for he (who does this) is pawning life.” רֵחַיִם, the handmill; רֶכֶב, lit., the runner, i.e., the upper millstone. Neither the whole mill nor the upper millstone was to be asked for as a pledge, by which the mill would be rendered useless, since the handmill was indispensable for preparing the daily food for the house; so that whoever took them away injured life itself, by withdrawing what was indispensable to the preservation of life. The mill is mentioned as one specimen of articles of this kind, like the clothing in Exo 22:25-26, which served the poor man as bed-clothes also. Breaches of this commandment are reproved in Amo 2:8; Job 22:6; Pro 20:16; Pro 22:27; Pro 27:13.
Repetition of the law against man-stealing (Exo 21:16). - Deu 24:8, Deu 24:9. The command, “Take heed by the plague of leprosy to observe diligently and to do according to all that the priests teach thee,” etc., does not mean, that when they saw signs of leprosy they were to be upon their guard, to observe everything that the priests directed them, as Knobel and many others suppose. For, in the first place, the reference to the punishment of Miriam with leprosy is by no means appropriate to such a thought as this, since Miriam did not act in opposition to the priests after she had been smitten with leprosy, but brought leprosy upon herself as a punishment, by her rebellion against Moses (Num 12:10.). And in the second place, this view cannot be reconciled with בְּנֶגַע הִשָּׁמֶר, since הִשָּׁמֵר with בְּ, either to be upon one's guard against (before) anything (2Sa 20:10), or when taken in connection with בְּנֶפֶשׁ, to beware by the soul, i.e., for the sake of the worth of the soul (Jer 17:21). The thought here, therefore, is, “Be on thy guard because of the plague of leprosy,” i.e., that thou dost not get it, have to bear it, as the reward for thy rebellion against what the priests teach according to the commandment of the Lord. “Watch diligently, that thou do not incur the plague of leprosy” (Vulgate); or, “that thou do not sin, so as to be punished with leprosy” (J. H. Michaelis).