And it shall be [that] the firstborn that she beareth
To her husband's brother, now married to her:
shall succeed in the name of his brother [which is] dead;
the meaning is, as the Targum of Jonathan,
``he shall rise up in the inheritance in the name of his brother;''or, as Jarchi expresses it,
``he shall take the inheritance of the deceased in the goods of his father;''that is, he shall have his part and share in the inheritance that the deceased brother would have had if he had lived, which would come to him by his father:
that his name be not put out of Israel;
that the family be not lost in Israel, and the inheritance belonging to it pass to another. This law was designed to keep families distinct, and inheritances in them, until the Messiah came, and that it might appear from what family he came; as he did from one in whom, as it is generally thought, this law took place: and it might have still a more special respect to him, as Ainsworth suggests; for Christ in the mystical sense may be signified by the deceased brother; he stands in the relation of a brother to his people, and has all the love, friendship, compassion, and condescension of one; he and they are of one and the same father, of the same family, and of the same nature, and have the same inheritance they being co-heirs with him; nor is he ashamed to own the relation. This brother of theirs is deceased; his death was according to the will of God, what he himself agreed to, and was foretold by the prophets; for which purpose he came into the world, and did die as to the flesh, and that for the sins of his people. Now the Jewish church was his wife, by whom he had no children through the law; that church was espoused to him, he stood in the relation of an husband to her, and she in the relation of a wife to him. Very few children were brought forth by her to him, see, ( Isaiah 54:1 Isaiah 54:5 ) ( Jeremiah 2:2 ) ( 3:1 ) ( 31:32 ) ; and none by the law, by which there is no regeneration, but by the Gospel; it is through that, and not the law, the Spirit and his graces come; or souls are born again to Christ, renewed and sanctified. The apostles that survived Christ, and the ministers of the Gospel, are his brethren, ( John 20:17 ) ; and who are instruments in begetting souls to Christ; and these are a seed raised up unto him, and are called not after the name of the apostles and ministers of the word, through whose ministry they are begotten, ( 1 Corinthians 1:12 1 Corinthians 1:13 ) ( 1 Corinthians 3:4 1 Corinthians 3:5 ) ( 4:15 ) ; but after Christ; and have the name of Christians, or anointed ones, from him, and by which means his name is, and will be continued as long as the sun endures, ( Acts 11:26 ) ( Psalms 72:17 ) .