|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:1-58 In this chapter God's dealings with the Jewish nation, and their conduct towards him, are described, and their punishment through the surrounding nations, even those they most trusted in. This is done under the parable of an exposed infant rescued from death, educated, espoused, and richly provided for, but afterwards guilty of the most abandoned conduct, and punished for it; yet at last received into favour, and ashamed of her base conduct. We are not to judge of these expressions by modern ideas, but by those of the times and places in which they were used, where many of them would not sound as they do to us. The design was to raise hatred to idolatry, and such a parable was well suited for that purpose.
Verse 15. - We enter on the history of the apostasy, and the root evil was that the bride of Jehovah had been unfaithful to her Lord. She looked on her glory as her own, and did not recognize that everything in it was the gift of God (Hosea 2:8). The words obviously point to the policy which Solomon had initiated, of alliances with the heathen and the consequent adoption of their worship. This, as from the earliest days of Israel, was the "whoredom" (Revised Version) of the unfaithful with (Exodus 34:15, 16; Leviticus 17:7; Deuteronomy 31:16; Judges 2:17; Isaiah 1:21; Jeremiah 2:20; Hosea 1, 2). And it was, so to speak, a promiscuous whoredom. Every passer by was admitted to her embraces, every nation that offered its alliance had its worship recognized and adopted. In the closing words of extremest scorn, the prophet adds, his it was. Jerusalem was, as I have said, the Messalina of the nations.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But thou didst trust in thine own beauty,.... As the Jews did in external gifts bestowed upon them; in their outward prosperity and grandeur; in their riches, wealth, and wisdom; and in the extent of their dominions, as in the days of David and Solomon; and in such things men are apt to; put their trust and confidence, and to be elated with, and grow proud and haughty, as a woman because of her beauty: so some professors of religion trust in a form and profession of it; in speculative knowledge, and in outward duties and services; being unconcerned for inward purity and: holiness; and not trusting in the righteousness of Christ, the real beauty of saints:
and playedst the harlot because of thy renown; or "name" (b); which the Jews got among the nations round about them, for their wisdom, riches, and power; which was a snare unto them, as a woman's beauty is to her; and they were admired and courted, and complimented by their neighbours, and so drawn into idolatrous practices, as women into fornication and adultery by the admirers of them: idolatry, which is here meant, is frequently signified by playing the harlot, or by fornication and adultery: or "thou playedst the harlot in thy name" (c); alluding to the custom of harlots, notorious infamous ones, who used to set their names over the apartments, to direct men unto them; and so it may denote how famous and notorious the Jews were for their idolatries, and how impudent in them. Jarchi interprets this of the calf of the wilderness, and other idolatries which the tribe of Dan committed there; but it rather respects the idolatries committed from the times of Solomon to the captivity, which were many, and often repeated; and though sometimes a stop was put to them by pious princes, yet broke out again: so trusting in a man's own righteousness, or in any outward thing, is idolatry; and also false worship and superstitious observances:
and pouredst out thy fornication on everyone that passed by: which expresses the multitude of their idolatries; the measure of them, which ran over; the fondness they had for every idol of their neighbours; like a common strumpet, that prostitutes herself to everyone, not only to the men of her own place and city, but to all strangers and travellers; so the Jews, not content with the idols they had, embraced all that offered or their neighbours could furnish them with:
his it was; or "to him it was"; her desire, her lust, her fornication; everyone that passed by, that would might enjoy her; so the Jews were reader to fall in with every idol and every idolatrous practice. The Targum renders this clause,
"and it is not right for thee to do so;''
to commit and multiply idolatry.
(b) "propter nomen tuum", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator. (c) "In nomine tuo", V. L. Munster, Tigurine version, Grotius; "super nomen tuum", Starckius; "cum nomine tuo", Junius & Tremellius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. Instead of attributing the glory of her privileges and gifts to God, Israel prided herself on them as her own (De 32:15; Jer 7:4; Mic 3:11), and then wantonly devoted them to her idols (Ho 2:8; compare Lu 15:12, 13).
playedst … harlot because of thy renown—"didst play the wanton upon thy name" [Fairbairn], namely, by allowing thy renown to lead thee into idolatry and leagues with idolaters (Isa 1:21; 57:8; Jer 3:2, 6). English Version is better, "because of thy renown," that is, relying on it; answering to "thou didst trust in thine own beauty."
his it was—Thy beauty was yielded up to every passer-by. Israel's zest for the worship of foul idols was but an anxiety to have the approbation of heaven for their carnal lusts, of which the idols were the personification; hence, too, their tendency to wander from Jehovah, who was a restraint on corrupt nature.
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