|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:1-49 A history of the apostacy of God's people from him, and the aggravation thereof. - In this parable, Samaria and Israel bear the name Aholah, her own tabernacle; because the places of worship those kingdoms had, were of their own devising. Jerusalem and Judah bear the name of Aholibah, my tabernacle is in her, because their temple was the place which God himself had chosen, to put his name there. The language and figures are according to those times. Will not such humbling representations of nature keep open perpetual repentance and sorrow in the soul, hiding pride from our eyes, and taking us from self-righteousness? Will it not also prompt the soul to look to God continually for grace, that by his Holy Spirit we may mortify the deeds of the body, and live in holy conversation and godliness?
Verse 14. - The sin of Judah went a stop further than that of Samaria. She courted the alliance of the Chaldeans. Probably the sojourn of Manasseh at Babylon (2 Chronicles 33:11) led him to see in that city a possible rival to Assyria. The embassy of Merodach-Baladan to Hezekiah (Isaiah 39.) implies, on the other hand, that Babylon was looking to Judah for support against Assyria. The prophet represents this political coquetting, so to speak, as another act of whoredom. Aholibah saw the images of the Chaldeans portrayed with vermilion (probably "red ochre:" colors seem to have been used largely both in Assyrian and Babylonian sculpture as in Egyptian, and Judah seems to have copied them, Jeremiah 22:14) and fell in love with them. As the passions of a Messalina might be roused by sensuous pictures of masculine beauty, so Judah was led on by what her envoys reported of the magnificence of the palaces, the strength of the armies, of the Chaldeans. The journey of Jonah to Nineveh, and those implied in Hosea 7:11, as well as the prophecy of Nahum, all indicate a more or less intimate knowledge of the Mesopotamian monarchies. The mission of Merodach-Baladan would be naturally followed by a return embassy from Judah. A later instance under Zedekiah meets us in Jeremiah 29:3.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And that she increased her whoredoms,.... Added to the number of her idols, increased her idols, and even was guilty of more than her sister:
for when she saw men portrayed on the wall; of the temple, as idols were, Ezekiel 8:10 or upon the wall of a private house, where they were worshipped as household gods:
the images of the Chaldeans portrayed with vermilion: the images of their heroes, who after death were deified; and these, being drawn upon the wall with vermilion, which, being mixed with ceruse, made a flesh colour, were worshipped; as Bel, Nebo, Merodach, which are names of their idols, Isaiah 46:1 or these were graven on the walls, or etched out upon them with minium or red lead; or rather were "painted" (r), as some render the word, with minium, vermilion, or cinnabar, which are the same; See Gill on Jeremiah 22:14, and it may be observed, that it was usual with the Heathens to paint the images and statues of their gods with these. Thus Virgil (s) represents Pan, the god of Arcadia, coloured red with minium or vermilion; and Pausanius (t) speaks of the statue of Bacchus being besmeared with cinnabar: and Pliny (u) says the face of the image of Jupiter used to be anointed with minium or vermilion on festival days; and observes, that the nobles of Ethiopia used to colour themselves all over with it; this being the colour of the images of their gods, which they reckoned more august, majestic, and sacred. Hence the Romans, in their triumphs, used to paint themselves with vermilion; particularly it is said of Augustus Caesar, that he did this to make himself the more conspicuous and respectable, after the example of the Assyrians and Medes (w): and the triumphers chose to be rubbed all over with a red colour, that they might, according to Isidore (x), resemble the divine fire.
(r) "depictas sinopide", Pagninus; "pictas minio", Piscator. (s) "Pan deus Arcadiae venit, quem vidimus ipsi Sanguineis ebuli baccis, minioque rubentern." Bucolic. Eclog. 10. (t) Achaica, sive l. 7. p. 452. & Arcadica, sive l. 8. p. 520. (u) Nat. Hist. l. 33. c. 7. (w) Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 6. c. 6. p. 332. (x) Originum, l. 18. c. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. vermilion—the peculiar color of the Chaldeans, as purple was of the Assyrians. In striking agreement with this verse is the fact that the Assyrian sculptures lately discovered have painted and colored bas-reliefs in red, blue, and black. The Jews (for instance Jehoiakim, Jer 22:14) copied these (compare Eze 8:10).
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