Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of
The time and place being appointed the evening before by three Rabbins, and two witnesses, as Leo of Modena says F16; of which she was apprized, and ordered to come tasting:
and loose his shoe from off his foot;
his right foot, which was thus done;
``they bring him a leather shoe, which has a heel, but not sewed with linen (linen thread), and he puts it on the right foot, and binds the latchet on his foot, and stands, he and she, in the court; he fixes his foot on the ground, and she sits and stretches out her hand in the court, and looses the latchet of his shoe from off his foot, and pulls off his shoe, and casts it to the ground F17:''this he suffered to be done to show that he gave up his right to her; and he was so used by way of reproach, to signify that he deserved not to be reckoned among freemen, but among servants and slaves, that went barefooted, having no shoes on: and in the mystical sense of it, as Ainsworth observes, it spiritually signified, that such as would not beget children unto Christ (or preach his Gospel for that purpose), it should be declared of them that their feet are not shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Christ, ( Ephesians 6:15 ) ;
and spit in his face;
in a way of contempt, as a token of shame and disgrace; but the Jewish writers generally interpret this in a softer manner, as if it was not in his face, but in his presence, upon the floor, and seen by the judges F18: and shall answer and say, so shall it be done unto the man that will
not build up his brother's house;
that is, in this contemptuous and shameful manner shall he be used.
F16 Ut supra, sect. 4. (Leo Modena's Hostory of Rites l. 1. sect. 4.)
F17 Maimon. ut supra, (Yebum Vechalitzab, c. 4.) sect. 6.
F18 Ibid. sect. 7. Targum & Jarchi in loc.