|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 5. - The history of both the sisters passes from the time of the Exodus to that of their separate existence, and starts, in fact, from their first intercourse with the great monarchies of Asia. So far it is less a survey of their successive stages of degradation, like that of Ezekiel 16, than a retrospect of their political alliances. Aholah played the harlot. The lovers, as in Ezekiel 16:33, are the nations with which the kings of Israel were in alliance, and of these the Assyrians are named as pre-eminent. The word neighbors, which in its literal sense is hardly applicable, is probably to be taken of spiritual affinity, or may be taken as "come near" is in Genesis 20:4; Ezekiel 18:6; Leviticus 20:16. The Assyrians were those who, in that sense, came near to the harlot city. We have in 2 Kings 15:20 the fact that Menahem paid tribute to Pul. Hosea 5:13 and Hosea 7:11 speak generally of such alliances. The black obelisk of Shalmaneser records the fact that Jehu paid tribute to him ('Records of the Past,' 5:41). In the last-named case the tribute consisted chiefly of vessels of gold, bowls, goblets, etc.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Aholah played the harlot when she was mine,.... His married wife, and so ought to have cleaved to him alone: or, under me (o); under his cover, power, and protection, and therefore it was their interest to serve him only: or, "instead of me" (p); or, as the Syriac version, "besides me": they worshipped other gods in the room of the true God, or other gods besides him. The Targum is,
"and Aholah erred from my worship;''
the ten tribes fell into idolatry, when they were God's professing people:
and she doted on her lovers; whom she loved even to madness; she was mad with love, to the idols, temples, altars, and idolatrous worship of the Heathens; particularly doted "on the Assyrians her neighbours"; who were become so by the conquest of Syria; and these they treated as their neighbours, and sought to have them to be their allies and confederates; courted their help and assistance, and gave them much money for that purpose; as Menahem gave to Pul king of Assyria a thousand talents of silver, to confirm the kingdom in his hand, 2 Kings 15:19.
(o) "sub me", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Tigurine version. Piscator, Cocceius, Starckius. (p) "Exteros excipiens loco meo", Junius & Tremellius, Polanus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. when … mine—literally, "under Me," that is, subject to Me as her lawful husband.
neighbours—On the northeast the kingdom of Israel bordered on that of Assyria; for the latter had occupied much of Syria. Their neighborhood in locality was emblematical of their being near in corruption of morals and worship. The alliances of Israel with Assyria, which are the chief subject of reprobation here, tended to this (2Ki 15:19; 16:7, 9; 17:3; Ho 8:9).
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