Proverbs 22:28
Do not move an ancient boundary stone which your fathers have set.
Eastern Land-DivisionsBiblical Things not Generally Known.Proverbs 22:28
Old LandmarksArchibald G. Brown.Proverbs 22:28
The Ancient LandmarkW. Clarkson Proverbs 22:28
The Old LandmarksD. J. Burrell, D.D.Proverbs 22:28
Right in Social RelationsE. Johnson Proverbs 22:22-29

The text clearly refers to the ancient division of property by which the land was carefully marked out, and each family had its own proper share. The man who removed these boundaries in his own material interest was simply appropriating what did not belong to him. Perhaps "the removal of the ancient landmark" became a proverbial phrase to signify any serious departure from rectitude. It will be worth while to consider -


1. A change in social customs. It is found by experience that we are all the better for leaving certain usages behind us. We outgrow them, and they become hindrances rather than aids to us.

2. The remodelling of old institutions. The time comes when the old order changes, giving place to new, by common consent and to the general advantage. With new methods, new organizations, there may come new life and renewed power.

3. The change of religious vocabulary. There is nothing wrong in putting the old doctrine in new forms; indeed, it becomes more living and more telling when uttered in the language of the time. Ancient phraseology is to be respected, but it is not sacred; it may and must give place to new.

4. The modification of Christian doctrine; not, indeed, a change of "the faith once delivered to the saints" - a departure from "the truth as it is in Jesus," but such a varying account and statement of it as comes with increased light from the study of nature or of man, and with further reverent research of the Word of God. But what is -

II. THE WRONG WHICH IS HERE FORBIDDEN. It is all criminal selfishness, more especially such as that referred to - the appropriation of land by immoral means, or the securing of any kind of property by tampering with a deed or other document. It may include the act of obtaining any advantage in any direction whatever by means that are dishonourable and unworthy. In all such cases we need the ear to hear a Divine, "Thou shalt not." To act thus is a sin and a mistake. It is:

1. To disobey the voice of the Lord, who emphatically denounces it. Especially does God rebuke and threaten the wronging of the poor and feeble because they are such; to do this is to add meanness and cowardice to selfishness and crime (see vers. 16, 22).

2. To injure ourselves far more seriously and irremediably than we hurt our neighbour. It is to lose the favour of God, the approval of our own conscience, and the esteem of the fast. - C.

Remove not the ancient landmarks.
The wisdom of the Mosaic code is nowhere more manifest than in its provisions touching the tenure of land. Every man in Israel was a landowner, and he must remain so. It was customary to mark the boundaries of estates by corner-stones. To remove these landmarks, if an envious neighbour were so disposed, was an easy matter. But it was prohibited under a severe penalty. We deal with the spiritual inheritance handed down by our fathers as a rich bequest of truth and virtue. An attempt to remove the landmarks of this inheritance is noted as one of the dangerous tendencies of modern thought.

1. One landmark is belief in the supernatural. The hand reached forth to remove this boundary is Agnosticism.

2. Another is Revelation. By which is meant the Holy Scriptures. The enemy of Scripture to-day is Rationalism. To the present controversy as to the trustworthiness of Scripture is due loss of reverence and loss of faith.

3. Another is belief in Christ. The enemies are the various forms of humanitarianism.

4. Another is tradition. There is danger in clamouring against a thing because it bears the seal of antiquity. Progress in theological circles has come to mean a reckless abandonment of everything that age has sanctified. Dogma is objected to because it has "been handed down." In fact, a dogma is nothing more nor less than a formulated truth bearing the marks of age, and of long trial, and the warrant of venerable authority.

(D. J. Burrell, D.D.)


1. Those of doctrine. The deity of Christ. Salvation by atonement. The necessity for regeneration.

2. Those of Christian life. Laxity in doctrine results in laxity of life.

II. REASONS WHY THESE LANDMARKS SHOULD BE LEFT. Loyalty to God as King forbids us from tampering with them, and affection to Him as a Father says, "Respect them." They are the ramparts of the Church. They are the foundations of all true happiness, and the men who have most faithfully stood by them, and most humbly paid homage to them, have been the men who have been the glory of the Church.

(Archibald G. Brown.)

Eastern fields were not divided by hedge, or wall, or ditch, so there was much danger of confusing the separate properties of individuals. In the East advantage was taken, wherever possible, of natural divisions, such as river-beds, tributary stream-lines, and edges of valleys. But in the open ground the separate properties were only marked by a deeper furrow, or large stones almost buried in the soil. The injunction not to remove a neighbour's landmarks was, therefore, of the utmost importance, as stealthy encroachments might easily be made by shifting these stones.

(Biblical Things not Generally Known.)

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