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Leviticus 19:9 Commentary - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

(9) And when ye reap.—Benevolent consideration for the poor is another means whereby the Israelite is to attain to that holiness which will enable him to reflect the holiness of God. As the Lord is merciful to all, and provides for the wants of every living creature (Psa. 145:15-16), the Israelite, too, is to regard the wants of the needy. By this injunction the Law moreover establishes the legal rights of the poor to a portion of the produce of the soul, and thus releases him from private charity, which, in its exercise, might have been capricious and tyrannical.

The harvest of your land.—The expression “harvest,” which is subject to this law, the administrators of the law during the second Temple defined to consist of the following produce of the soil (1) all edible and nutritious plants, but not those used for dyeing and colouring; (2) plants which are cultivated, but not those which grow wildly; (3) those which strictly belong to the soil, but not mushrooms, sponges, &c, since these are not so much dependent upon the soil for their growth, but upon humidity, and grow also upon wet wood, &c; (4) those which ripen at the same time of the year and are all gathered in at the same time, thus excluding figs and similar fruits of trees which are gathered later and gradually, and (5) the produce which is not for immediate consumption, but is garnered up, thus excluding vegetables.

Thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field.—The extent of the “corner” to be thus left for the poor, like that of filial duty and the study of the Divine law, has designedly been left undefined by the administrators of the law. It is among the things which have “no fixed measures.” But though the maximum is not given, the minimum is stated to be no less than the sixtieth part of the field. The corner was generally left at the end of the field, so that the poor could easily get at it. The time when the poor came was morning, noon, and at the evening sacrifice, which was about three o’clock in the afternoon. The morning was intended for the accommodation of those mothers who had young children, who were then asleep; the middle of the day to accommodate the nurses, whilst the evening suited the elderly people.

The gleanings of thy harvest.—The expression “gleaning” is defined by the authorities during the second Temple to be the ears which fall from the hand or from the sickle in the time of reaping, provided that the quantity which has thus dropped from the hand of the plucker or cutter does not exceed one or two ears. When these ears have thus been dropped they belong to the proprietor and not to the gleaner. If a wind arose after the corn had all been cut, and scattered the harvest over the gleanings, the field was measured, and a certain quantity was allotted as gleanings; if the owner had gathered in all the harvest without leaving any gleanings, he was obliged to give a certain portion to the poor, though the corn had been ground into flour and baked; and if the harvest was lost or burnt after he had thus gathered it without leaving the gleanings, he was beaten with stripes.

Consult other comments:

Leviticus 19:9 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Leviticus 19:9 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Leviticus 19:9 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Leviticus 19:9 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Leviticus 19:9 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Leviticus 19:9 - College Press Bible Study Textbook Series

Leviticus 19:9 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Leviticus 19:9 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Leviticus 19:9 - Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Leviticus 19:9 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Leviticus 19:9 - Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Leviticus 19:9 - Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Leviticus 19:9 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Leviticus 19:9 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Leviticus 19:9 - The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

Leviticus 19:9 - Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Leviticus 19:9 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Leviticus 19:9 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Leviticus 19:9 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)