And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard
Or cut off the little clusters which are, as Aben Ezra observes, like an infant, as the word signifies, infant clusters, which were small in comparison of the large ones, as infants are to men; those which had but a grape or two, or very few upon them, were not to be cut off, but left for the poor: and Gersom says, if the whole vine consisted of such clusters, it all belonged to the poor:
neither shall thou gather [every] grape of thy vineyard;
every particular single grape; these were such as were left on the vine after the large clusters were gathered, and a man upon viewing it again might not gather such as had only a single grape or two upon them; for the Misnic doctors say F19, two grapes or berries make a "peret" (the word here rendered "every grape"), but three do not; so that if there were three grapes upon a cluster it was the owner's, and might be gathered, but if fewer, then it belonged to the poor; or this may be understood
thou shall leave them for the poor and stranger:
for the poor Israelite, and the stranger that sojourns with you, as Aben Ezra interprets it; the stranger intends a proselyte, not a proselyte of the gate, but a proselyte of righteousness, as Gersom and it is a rule laid down by Maimonides F21, that every stranger spoken of concerning the gifts of the poor is no other than a proselyte of righteousness, one that has been circumcised upon embracing the Jewish religion, and agreeing to conform to all the laws and rituals of it; though the same writer observes, that they do not restrain the poor of the Gentiles from these gifts, but they are in general included among the poor of Israel; and they come and take them because of the ways of peace; for the sake of peace, to promote peace and harmony among them:
I [am] the Lord your God;
that gave them fields and vineyards, and times of harvest, and vintage, and blessed them with fruitful seasons, and therefore had a right to require such things of them; and they were in duty and gratitude bound to observe his commands; and this shows his regard unto, and concern for the poor, and that he is the father and patron of them.
F19 Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Peah, c.6. sect. 5.
F20 So it is interpreted by R Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 59. 1.
F21 Mattanot Anayim, c. 1. sect. 9.