Deuteronomy 21:1

Deuteronomy 21:1

If one be found slain
After public war with an enemy, Moses proceeds to speak of a private quarrel and fight of one man with another, in which one is slain, as Aben Ezra observes:

in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it;
where murders might be committed more secretly, and remain undiscovered, when they came to live in separate cities, towns, and villages, with fields adjacent to them, than now encamped together:

lying in the field;
where the quarrel begun, and where the fight was fought: or, however, where the murderer met with his enemy, and slew him, and left him; it being common for duels to be fought, and murders committed in a field; the first murder in the world was committed in such a place, ( Genesis 4:8 ) . The Targum of Jonathan is,

``not hidden under an heap, not hanging on a tree, nor swimming on the face of the waters;''

which same things are observed in the Misnah F9, and gathered from some words in the text:

in the land,
and so not under a heap;

lying,
and so not hanging;

in the field,
and so not swimming on the water:

and it be not known who hath slain him;
the parties being alone, and no witnesses of the fact, at least that appear; for, if it was known, the heifer was not beheaded, later mentioned F11; and one witness in this case was sufficient, and even one that was not otherwise admitted.


FOOTNOTES:

F9 Sotah, c. 9. sect. 2.
F11 Maimon. Hilchot Rotzeach, c. 9. sect. 11, 12.
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