Deuteronomy 21:4

Deuteronomy 21:4

The elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a
rough valley
Cities being generally built on hills, and so had adjacent valleys, to which there was a descent; but here a rough valley, or the rougher part of it, was selected for this purpose. As a valley is low, and this a rough one, it may be an emblem of Christ's being brought into this lower world, from heaven to earth, to do the will of his Father, which was to work out the salvation of his people; and of his coming into the lower parts of the earth, the womb of the virgin, at his incarnation, and to the grave at his death, ( Psalms 139:15 ) ( Ephesians 4:9 ) , and of the low estate he came into by the assumption of human nature; through appearing in the form of a servant, being in indigent circumstances, and ministered to by others, and needing the assistance of angels in the wilderness and garden, by which it appeared he was made lower than they; by his being despised of men, and forsaken by his Father; all which are proofs of the low estate he was brought into, fitly signified by a valley, and which was a rough valley to him; in which he was roughly treated, his life being sought after in his infancy by Herod, which obliged the flight of his parents with him into Egypt; and being not received, but rejected by his own, as the King Messiah, whom they would not have to reign over them, and loaded with opprobrious names by them; and who often sought and attempted by various ways to take away his life; and when apprehended and examined before the high priest, and in Pilate's hall, was used in the rudest manner, being spit upon, buffeted, and scourged; and when led out to be crucified, was treated in the most barbarous and scornful manner, and was put to death in the most painful and shameful way; and, above all, was severely handled by the justice of God, being numbered among the transgressors, when the sword of justice was awaked against him, and he was not in the least spared, but wrath came upon him to the uttermost for the sins of his people; so that this world he was brought into proved a rough valley indeed to him. This some take to be an emblem of the hard heart of the murderer who had committed such a barbarous and cruel action as to kill a man; or of the hard heart of a sinner, into which Christ is brought through the ministry of the word; or of the infamous place, Calvary, where Christ was brought to suffer death; but the former is best. Some interpret it, a "strong stream" {q}, or "rapid torrent"; so Maimonides F18 and others; and indeed in valleys there are generally streams or brooks of water, but this seems not so well to agree with what follows:

which is neither cared nor sown;
that is, neither ploughed nor sown, but quite an uncultivated place; and this the Jews understand not of what it had been, or then was, but what it should be hereafter; that from henceforward it should never be manured, but lie barren and useless; so it is said in the Misnah F19, the place is forbid sowing or tilling, but is free to dress flax in, or to dig stones out of it: so R. Joseph Kimchi F20 interprets this of a fat and fruitful valley, which was not to be tilled nor sown from thenceforward for time to come; the reason of which he thinks was, that they might be the more careful of their countries and borders, and how they encouraged bloody minded men to dwell among them; that no slain person might be found there, and so they lose a choice part of their possessions; and to the same purpose Maimonities F21: and this became true of the fruitful land of Judea and Jerusalem, after the sufferings and death of Christ there, ( Luke 21:24 )

and shall strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley;
with an axe, on the back part of it, in the midst of the valley, as the Targum of Jonathan, and the same is said in the Misnah F23: in this it was a type of Christ, who was put to death at the instigation of the elders of the Jewish nation, ( Matthew 27:1 Matthew 27:12 Matthew 27:20 ) and without the gates of Jerusalem at Golgotha; see ( Hebrews 13:11-13 ) .


FOOTNOTES:

F17 (Ntya lxn la) "ad torrentem fortem", Montanus.
F18 Hilchot Rotzeach, c. 9. sect. 2, so Abarbinel in Muis. & Ben Melech.
F19 Ut supra. (Sotah, c. 9. sect. 5.)
F20 Apud D. Kimchi, Sepher Shorash, rad. (xya)
F21 Moreh Nevochim, par. 3. c. 40.
F23 Ut supra. (Sotah, c. 9. sect. 5.)
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