The blueness of a wound - חברות chabburoth, from חבר chabar, to unite, to join together. Does it not refer to the cicatrice of a wound when, in its healing, the two lips are brought topether? By this union the wound is healed; and by the previous discharge the lace-rated ends of fibres and blood-vessels are purged away. So stripes, though they hurt for the time, become the means of correcting and discharging the moral evil of the inmost soul, the vice of the heart, the easily-besetting sin.
In this chapter, verses fourteen to nineteen, inclusive, are wanting in the Septuagint and Arabic; and the tenth, eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth, come in after the twenty-second. It is difficult to account for these variations, unless they were occasioned by the change of leaves in MSS.
Better, The blueness of a wound is a cleansing of evil, so are the stripes that go down to the inward parts of the belly.
The open sores of wounds left by the scourge, unclean and foul as they seem, are yet a cleansing, purifying process for evil; so also are the stripes that reach the inward parts of the belly, i. e., the sharp reproofs, the stings of conscience, which penetrate where no scourge can reach, into the inner life of man. Chastisement, whatever be its nature, must be real; the scourge must leave its mark, the reproof must go deep.