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HEAR the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel, for the Lord shall enter into judgment with the inhabitants of the land: for there is no truth, and there is no mercy, and there is no knowledge of God in the land.

Ver. 1.  Israel.  They are chiefly addressed, (Chal.  S. Jer.  C.) or what follows to v. 15, regards all.  W.

 

--- Judgment.  Heb. "a trial."

 

--- Mercy.  The want of humanity and of practical knowledge is urged.  C.

 

--- The knowledge of God includes the observance of the commandments.  1 Jo. ii. 4.  W.

 

--- This science alone is requisite.  Jer. ix. 3.  Is. v. 13.  Blind leaders prove their own and other's ruin.


2 Cursing, and lying, and killing, and theft, and adultery have overflowed, and blood hath touched blood.

Ver. 2.  Blood.  The successors of Jeroboam II. were mostly murdered.  C.

 

--- Incestuous marriages take place.  H.


3 Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth in it shall languish with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of the air: yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be gathered together.

Ver. 3.  Together.  The waters shall be dried up, or infected.  C.

 

--- When the people are taken away, beasts will not long remain.  Jer. ix. 10.  Soph. i. 2.  H.


4 But yet let not any man judge: and let not a man be rebuked: for thy people are as they that contradict the priest.

Ver. 4.  Judge, &c.  As if he would say: It is in vain to strive with them, or reprove them, they are so obstinate in evil.  Ch.

 

--- Priest.  Such must be slain.  Deut. xvii. 12.  C.

 

--- Sept. "my people are like a priest contradicted," (H.) or degraded.  Theod.


5 And thou shalt fall to day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee: in the night I have made thy mother to be silent.

Ver. 5.  Prophet, both true and false.

 

--- Night of tribulation.  Heb. and Sept. "I have compared thy mother to the night."


6 My people have been silent, because they had no knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will reject thee, that thou shalt not do the office of priesthood to me: and thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I also will forget thy children.

Ver. 6.  Silent.  Sept. "like those who had," &c.

 

--- Knowledge.  Jeroboam I. had appointed unlawful priests, and some of the house of Aaron went over to him, and were excluded from officiating at Jerusalem, after the captivity.  1 K. xii. 31.  Ezec. xliv. 10.  Knowledge is always expected of priests.  Deut. xvii. 8.  Mal. ii. 7.  Gratian. dist. 38. c. omnes.  C.

 

--- When the power of sacrificing is withdrawn, all spiritual functions cease, as sacrifice belongs properly to a priest.  W.


7 According to the multitude of them so have they sinned against me: I will change their glory into shame.

Ver. 7.  Me.  A father rejoices in a numerous offspring.  But my people take occasion to offend me the more they increase.  C.


8 They shall eat the sins of my people, and shall lift up their souls to their iniquity.

Ver. 8.  Sins: victims.  W.

 

--- Iniquity; or "they seek for support in their propitiatory offerings," and lull the people asleep in their sins.  The priests of the golden calf imitated the sacred rites of Moses.  It would have been too difficult to make the people change altogether.


9 And there shall be like people like priest: and I will visit their ways upon them, and I will repay them their devices.

Ver. 9.  Priest.  They are equally dissolute, and shall meet the like punishment.

 

--- Devices, or thoughts.  C.

 

--- Cogitatio mali operis pænas luet.  S. Jer.



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10 And they shall eat and shall not be filled: they have committed fornication, and have not ceased: because they have forsaken the Lord in not observing his law.

Ver. 10.  Ceased.  Heb. "increased."  They have no children living.  C.

 

--- Sept. "let them not succeed."


11 Fornication, and wine, and drunkenness take away the understanding.

Ver. 11.  Understanding.  Lit. "heart."  H.

 

--- Some sins darken reason more than others; but none so much as spiritual fornication.  W.


12 My people have consulted their stocks, and their staff hath declared unto them: for the spirit of fornication hath deceived them, and they have committed fornication against their God.

Ver. 12.  Staff.  It was customary to use this mode of divination, (Ezec. xxi. 21.) and likewise incense.  v. 13.

 

--- Oak.  These terms are variously rendered as the trees and stones mentioned in Scripture, will probably never be ascertained.


13 They offered sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burnt incense upon the hills: under the oak, and the poplar, and the turpentine tree, because the shadow thereof was good: therefore shall your daughters commit fornication, and your spouses shall be adulteresses. 14 I will not visit upon your daughters when they shall commit fornication, and upon your spouses when they shall commit adultery: because themselves conversed with harlots, and offered sacrifice with the effeminate, and the people that doth not understand shall be beaten.

Ver. 14.  Visit.  This is the most dreadful of God's judgments.  He permits those who offend him to receive discontent from their own families.

 

--- Effeminate, like the Galli, &c. (S. Jer.) and votaries of Priapus.  3 K. xv. 11.  Heb. "the consecrated women."  Sept. "initiated," to honour a lewd idol by prostitution.  C.

 

--- Beaten.  Sept. "adhere to a harlot.  But thou, Israel, be not ignorant, and Juda go," &c.  H.


15 If thou play the harlot, O Israel, at least let not Juda offend: and go ye not into Galgal, and come not up into Bethaven, and do not swear: The Lord liveth.

Ver. 15.  Offend.  It was  more culpable for Juda to commit idolatry (as they had the temple, &c. of the true God) than for Israel, whom Jeroboam hindered from going to Jerusalem, after he had set up his golden calves.  W.

 

--- Galgal and Bethaven.  Places where idols were worshipped.  Bethel, which signifies the house of God, is called by the prophet Bethaven, that is the house of vanity, from Jeroboam's golden calf which was worshipped there.  Ch.

 

--- Galgal was on the confines of the two kingdoms, and always venerated by the Jews.  Idols had been there in ancient times, and probably a sort of oracle.  Judg. iii. 19.  If Israel be thus abandoned, let not Juda imitate them.  C.

 

--- Lord.  Profane not this sacred name by giving it to idols.  Theod.

 

--- Use not this expression, since you do not worship me.  S. Jer.



Bethaven

Bethaven (Gen 12:8): poss. Kh, Haiyân, also called El-Jîr, E. of Beitîn. — 1 Samuel 13:5, Bethoron should probably be read instead of Bethaven. --- Bethaven and Bethel are the same place; (S. Jerom. C.) though many distinguish them, with Cellarius. The former name means "the house of iniquity," because Jeroboam there set up a golden calf. Bethel was its former appellation, in consequence of the vision of Jacob. Gen. xxviii.

16 For Israel hath gone astray like a wanton heifer: now will the Lord feed them, as a lamb in a spacious place.

Ver. 16.  Wanton.  Sept. "stung," or rendered furious.  Thus Israel gives way to ungovernable passions.  The people shall be led into captivity, and have room to range about.


17 Ephraim is a partaker with idols, let him alone.

Ver. 17.  Partaker.  Heb. "tied to abominations."

 

--- Alone.  His case is desperate.  C.

 

--- Sept. "he has placed stumbling-blocks for himself."  H.




18 Their banquet is separated, they have gone astray by fornication: they that should have protected them have loved to bring shame upon them.

Ver. 18.  Separated from that allowed to God's people.  Deut. xii. 12.  Heb. "insipid," or spoiled.  Chal. "their princes have sought after banquets."  Sept. "He has provoked (surpassed) the Chanaanites."  These two have not read as we do.

 

--- They.  Heb. "their shields (chiefs) have loved shame:" dissolute practices, or "presents," which are disgraceful.  C.

 

--- Sept. "They have loved shame by her rage.  (19) A whirlwind shall whistle in," &c.  H.


19 The wind hath bound them up in its wings, and they shall be confounded because of their sacrifices.

Ver. 19.  Wings.  They shall be quickly removed hence.  C.


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