And the man like not to take his brother's wife
The provision here made by this law, when this was the case, is such as did not take place before it became a law; for then Onan would have taken the advantage of it, and refused marrying his brother's wife, which it is plain was not agreeable to him, ( Genesis 38:9 ) ; as many do now on one account or another. Leo of Modena F12 says,
``it was anciently accounted the more laudable thing to take her, than to release her; but now the corruption of the times, and the hardness of men's hearts, are such, as that they only look after worldly ends, either of riches, or of the beauty of the woman; so that there are very few that in this case will marry a brother's widow, especially among the Dutch and Italian Jews, but they always release her:''then let his brother's wife go up to the gate;
to the gate of the city, where the judges sit for public affairs; to the gate of the sanhedrim, or court of judicature, as the Targum of Jonathan; and this affair was cognizable by the bench of three judges, and might be dispatched by them; for so it is said F13,
``the plucking off the shoe, and the refusal of marriage, are by three:''i.e. three judges, which was the lowest court of judicature with the Jews:
unto the elders, and say;
which according to the above Targum were to be five wise men, of which three were to be judges, and two witnesses; and she was to say in the Hebrew language, in which, according to the Misnah F14, she was to pronounce what follows:
my husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in
Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother;
that is, in a few words, he will not marry her.
F12 Ut supra, sect. 3. (Leo Modena's History of Rites l. 1 sect. 3.)
F13 Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 1. sect. 3.
F14 Sotah, c. 7. sect. 2.