New Defender's Study Bible Notes
19:5 helve. An axe-handle.
19:9 three cities more. See Joshua 20:7, where the three cities of refuge east of Jordan were designated. The three west of the Jordan were named in Deuteronomy 4:43.
19:14 landmark. Evidently, even though the children of Israel were to receive their promised inheritance by driving out the Canaanites who then inhabited the land, they were to divide it on the basis of ancient “landmarks” already established. These were probably the same as “the border [same Hebrew word] of the Canaanites” (Genesis 10:19) established when “by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood” (Genesis 10:32).
19:15 two witnesses. Although two or more reliable witnesses were required to establish guilt in relation to a criminal charge, it was not always essential that these be eye-witnesses of the actual crime–otherwise many criminals could escape conviction by being careful to commit their acts when no more than one witness was present. The witness could, if necessary, be some other type of relevant evidence (compare Leviticus 5:1, which refers to evidence either seen or known; also Exodus 22:13, which speaks of some physical evidence as witness). See also note on Deuteronomy 17:6.
19:18 inquisition. That is, a “diligent inquiry.”
19:18 a false witness. It was vitally important that the testimony of witnesses be trustworthy, particularly in view of the serious penalties (frequently even execution) specified for many crimes. The ninth of the Ten Commandments was a command not to bear false witness. Many years later, it was the testimony of false witnesses which provided an excuse for the Council to condemn Jesus to death (Matthew 26:59-61).
19:21 eye for eye. See note on Leviticus 24:20.