Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
deu 25:1Justify - Acquit him from guilt and false accusations, and free him from punishment.
deu 25:2Beaten - Which the Jews say was the case of all those crimes which the law commands to be punished, without expressing the kind or degree of punishment. Before his face - That the punishment may be duly inflicted, without excess or defect. And from this no person's rank or quality exempted him, if he was a delinquent.
deu 25:3Forty stripes - It seems not superstition, but prudent caution, when the Jews would not exceed thirty - nine stripes, lest through mistake or forgetfulness they should go beyond their bounds, which they were commanded to keep. Should seem vile - Should be made contemptible to his brethren, either by this cruel usage of him, as if he were a brute beast: or by the deformity or infirmity of body which excessive beating might produce.
deu 25:4He treadeth out the corn - Which they did in those parts, either immediately by their hoofs on by drawing carts or other instruments over the corn. Hereby God taught them humanity, even to their beasts that served them, and much more to their servants or other men who laboured for them, especially to their ministers, Co1 9:9.
deu 25:5Together - In the same town, or at least country. For if the next brother had removed his habitation into remote parts, on were carried thither into captivity, then the wife of the dead had her liberty to marry the next kinsman that lived in the same place with her. One - Any of them, for the words are general, and the reason of the law was to keep up the distinction of tribes and families, that so the Messiah might be discovered by the family from which he was appointed to proceed; and also of inheritances, which were divided among all the brethren, the first - born having only a double portion. A stranger - To one of another family.
deu 25:6That his name be not put out - That a family be not lost. So this was a provision that the number of their families might not be diminished.
deu 25:9Loose his shoe - As a sign of his resignation of all his right to the woman, and to her husband's inheritance: for as the shoe was a sign of one's power and right, Psa 60:8, Psa 108:9, so the parting with the shoe was a token of the alienation of such right; and as a note of infamy, to signify that by this disingenuous action he was unworthy to be amongst free - men, and fit to be reduced to the condition of the meanest servants, who used to go barefoot, Isa 20:2, Isa 20:4.
deu 25:10His name - That is, his person, and his posterity also. So it was a lasting blot.
deu 25:13A great and a small - The great to buy with, the small for selling.
deu 25:17Out of Egypt - Which circumstance greatly aggravates their sin, that they should do thus to a people, who had been long exercised with sore afflictions, to whom pity was due by the laws of nature and humanity, and for whose rescue God had in so glorious a manner appeared, which they could not be ignorant of. So this was barbarousness to Israel, and setting the great Jehovah at defiance.