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Calvin commentary on Lev. 19:17

January 9, 2011 Comments off

Lev 19:17  Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.

Calvin commentary:

I doubt not but that this part of the verse should be taken separately, nor do I approve of the introduction of the adversative particle but, by which translators (15) connect it with what follows. We know that we are not always to trust to the division of verses; and, since it is clear that whatever precepts we meet with in the writings of Moses for the regulation of our lives depend on the Decalogue, this sentence sufficiently proves that murder was forbidden, not only in order that none should slay his brother by his hand, or by a weapon, but also that he should not indulge in wrong-doing, by cherishing in himself hatred and ill-will. Hence the statement of Paul is confirmed, that “the Law is spiritual,” (Rom_7:14;) and their folly is refuted who pretend that Moses was an earthly lawgiver to the Jews, like Lycurgus or Solon, since he thus penetrates even to the secret affections. It is also probable that John derived from this passage his saying, “He that hateth his brother is a murderer,” (1Jo_3:15;) for the word heart is here used emphatically; since, although no outward signs of hatred may appear, yet the internal feeling is accounted murder before God.
(15) So in V. “Non oderis fratrem tuum in corde tuo, sed publice argue eum,” etc.
Lev 19:17
17.Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor. Because many, under the pretext of conscientiousness, are not only rigid censors of others, but also burst out in the open proclamation of their defects, Moses seeks to prevent this preposterous zeal, shewing how they may best restrain it, not by encouraging sin through their connivance or silence, whilst they are still far from evil-speaking. For those who labor under this disease of carping and vituperating, are wont to object that sins are nourished by silence, unless all are eager in reproving them; and hence their ardor in exclaiming against them and deriding them. But Moses points out a more useful remedy, that they should bring back wanderers into the way by private rebukes, and not by publishing their offenses. For whosoever triumphs in the infamy of his brother, precipitates his ruin as far as in him lies; whereas a well-regulated zeal consults the welfare of one who is ruining himself. Therefore we are commanded to rebuke the wandering, and not to regard our brethren as enemies. A similar course is prescribed by Christ, “If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone.” ( Mat_18:15.) In fine, an immoderate love of fault-finding will always be found to be arrogant and cruel. The word נשא, nasa, undoubtedly means to publish what was concealed, and thus by exposure to drive to despair those who would else have been corrigible.

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