Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 4: Harmony of the Law, Part II, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
Deut. 23:1, 2
1. He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.
1. Non ingredietur qui contusione fractos aut abscissos habet testiculos, in congregationem Jehovae
2. A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.
2. Non ingredietur spurius congregationem Jehovae: etiam genereatione decima non ingredietur congregationem Jehovae
1 He that is wounded. What is here delivered respecting those who are mutilated, and who are bastards, has a similar object; lest the Church of God should be onctaminate by foul stains, and thus religion should lose its honor. Moses rejects from the congregation of the faithful two sorts of men, viz, eunuchs and bastards. But, before we treat of the subject itself, the definition of the words is to be considered. The first question is, that it is to enter into the congregation; the second, what it is to be wounded in the stones; the third, who are the ממזרים, mamzerim, which we have translated bastards, (spurios). Many understand that both are rejected from the church, lest they should undertake any public office in it; others, lest they should marry wives of the seed of Abraham; because it would not be fair that women should be thrown away upon bastards, (Lat, mamzeris;) and it would be absurd that those who were created to multiply God’s people, should marry impotent persons, (effoeminatis). But both these opinions appear to me to be tame. For what is afterwards added respecting certain foreign nations cannot be so taken, that no government or dignity should be entrusted to them; besides, by “the congregation of the Lord,” the purity and holiness of religion is sufficiently expressed. I do not doubt, then, but that Moses prohibits those who are defiled by these two stains from communicating in the sacrifices. For although they were circumcised as well as the rest of the chosen people, still God would have them bear this mark of their disgrace, that they might be an example to others, and that the people might be more diligent in preserving themselves from all pollution. This, then, is to be concluded that the privilege which was peculiar to the legitimate Israelites, was to be denied them of being participators and associates 19 in the sacrifices. As to the wounded testicles, the Jews dispute more curiously, in my opinion, that the subject warrants, and after all miss the right meaning. For God intended nothing else than to exclude from the congregation of His people, wherever holy assemblies were held, those who were mutilated or defective in the genital organs; although by synecdoche, He comprehends more than are specified. Finally, by condemning this external bodily defect He commends the excellency of His people that they may remember themselves to be His chosen property, not that they should pride themselves upon it 20 but that the holiness of their life may correspond with such high nobility.
2. A bastard shall not enter. All agree that by the word ממזר, mamzer, a bastard is signified, who is born of an uncertain father; but they take it in different ways, For some extend it to all bastards who spring from fornication, whilst others imagine that it refers to those only whose origin is doubtful, and who are called vulgo geniti; viz, whose mothers, in their base and common prostitution of themselves, have brought it about by their gross licentiousness, that their children should be born from this monstrous medley, as it were. This second opinion I approve of most. But, by this symbol God would admonish the seed of Abraham how exalted was its dignity, as being separate from the polluted heathen. Meanwhile, He would not altogether exclude these unhappy persons from the hope of salvation, although, by no fault of their own, they were unable to give the name of their father; but He only humbled them by a temporal punishment, and desired that their example should be profitable to others.
“Et d’entrer au parvis pour faire service solennel a Dieu;” and to enter into the court to perform solemn service to God — Fr.
“Mais afin de se maintenir en sa grace par sainetete de vie;” but that they might keep themselves in His favor by holiness of life—Fr.