|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 20. - The next stage of idolatry is that of Moloch worship, which never wholly ceased as long as the monarchy of Judah lasted (2 Kings 16:3; Psalm 106:37; Isaiah 57:5; Jeremiah 7:32; Jeremiah 19:5; Micah 6:7; Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 20:2). It will be noticed that the words, "the fire," are in italics, i.e. are not in the Hebrew, the verb "to pass through" having acquired so technical a meaning that it was enough without that addition. This, as the closing words indicate, was the crowning point. As though idolatry in itself was a small matter, it was intensified by infanticide.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Moreover thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters,.... Their own flesh and blood; which were more than to take their clothes, and cover their idols with them, and their food, and set it before them to part with them was much, but to part with these, and that in such a shocking manner as after mentioned, was so irrational and unnatural, as well as impious and wicked, as is not to be paralleled; and what increased their wickedness was, that these were not only their own, but the Lord's:
whom thou hast borne unto me; for, though they were born of them, they were born unto the Lord, the Creator of them, the Father of their spirits, and God of their lives, and who had the sole right to dispose of them; nor was it in the power of their parents to take away their life at pleasure; for the Lord only has the sovereign power of life and death:
and these hast thou sacrificed unto them: the male images before mentioned; one of which was Molech, who is here particularly designed:
to be devoured; in the arms of that image; or to be consumed by fire, in which they were burnt, when sacrificed unto it. The Targum is,
"for oblation and worship;''
is this of thy whoredoms a small matter; which was so dreadfully heinous and inhuman, yet by some reckoned a small matter; this was not the least of their idolatries, but, of all, the most shocking, and the most aggravated: or the sense is, is it a small thing that thou shouldest play the harlot, or worship idols? is it not enough for thee to do so, but thou must sacrifice thy children also to them? and which are not only thine, but mine, as follows:
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20, 21. sons and … daughters borne unto me—Though "thy children," yet they belong "unto Me," rather than to thee, for they were born under the immutable covenant with Israel, which even Israel's sin could not set aside, and they have received the sign of adoption as Mine, namely, circumcision. This aggravates the guilt of sacrificing them to Molech.
to be devoured—not merely to pass through the fire, as sometimes children were made to do (Le 18:21) without hurt, but to pass through so as to be made the food of the flame in honor of idols (see on Isa 57:5; Jer 7:31; Jer 19:5; Jer 32:35).
Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter, that thou hast slain my children—rather, "Were thy whoredoms a small matter (that is, not enough, but) that thou hast slain (that is, must also slay)," &c. As if thy unchastity was not enough, thou hast added this unnatural and sacrilegious cruelty (Mic 6:7).
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