Deuteronomy 21:14

Deuteronomy 21:14

And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her;
&c.] Either some time after marriage:

then thou shalt let her go whither she will;
by a bill of divorce, as the Targum of Jonathan, who understands it in this sense, and as the connection of the words seems to require; or else before marriage, at the month's end, or any time before, that if his affections cooled towards her, and all the above methods tended to abate his love of her, then he was obliged to dismiss her, or to grant her her freedom, and let her go wherever she pleased; she was no longer his captive, nor his servant:

but thou shalt not sell her at all for money;
as he might have done if he had not made such a proposal to her, and obliged her to the observance of such rites and ceremonies as he did, in order to make her his wife:

thou shalt not make merchandise of her;
which seems to express the same thing, and therefore something else is rather intended; as that he should neither make any gain of her by selling her to another, nor retain her in his own service, nor make use of her as a slave; so Jarchi says, that in the Persian language they call service by this word, and which also he says he learnt from an eminent writer of theirs, R. Moses Hadarsan; with which Maimonides F19 agrees, who explains it, shall make no use of her service, or serve himself by her; he should have no profit by her, either by sale, or servitude:

because thou hast humbled her;
which phrase it must be owned is often, used of unlawful commerce with a woman, of defiling her, or violating her chastity; and so may seem to confirm the notion of those who think that he lay with her before he took her to his house, and therefore, upon a refusal to marry her afterwards, was obliged to this loss; though the word signifies any kind of affliction, as this was a very great one, a great mortification to her, to be taken into his house, to have her head shaved, and her nails pared, or suffered to grow, and her fine clothes changed for sordid ones; and all this with a profession of a design to marry her, and yet after all is deceived and disappointed by him; wherefore for such a conduct toward her he was obliged to give her her freedom.


FOOTNOTES:

F19 Ut supra. (Hilchot Melachim, c. 8. sect. 2.)
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