|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:6-11 Both priests and people rejected knowledge; God will justly reject them. They forgot the law of God, neither desired nor endeavoured to retain it in mind, and to transmit the remembrance to their posterity; therefore God will justly forget them and their children. If we dishonour God with that which is our honour, it will, sooner or later, be turned into shame to us. Instead of warning the people against sin, from the consideration of the sacrifices, which showed what an offence sin was to God, since it needed an atonement, the priests encouraged the people to sin, since atonement might be made at so small an expense. It is very wicked to be pleased with the sins of others, because they may turn to our advantage. What is unlawfully gained, cannot be comfortably used. The people and the priests hardened one another in sin; therefore justly shall they share in the punishment. Sharers in sin must expect to share in ruin. Any lust harboured in the heart, in time will eat out all its strength and vigour. That is the reason why many professors grow so heavy, so dull, so dead in the way of religion. They have a liking for some secret lust, which takes away their hearts.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
They eat up the sin of my people,.... That is, the priests did so, as the Targum, the priests of Jeroboam; they ate up the sacrifices which the people brought for their sins: and their fault was, either that they ate that which belonged to the true priests of the Lord, so Jarchi; or they did that, and had no concern to instruct the people in the right way; all that they regarded were good eating and drinking, and living voluptuously; and were altogether careless about instructing the people in the nature of sacrifices, and in the way of their duty: or this may regard the Bacchanalian feasts, as some think, which the people made in the temples of idols, and so sinned; and of which the priests greatly partook, and encouraged them in, and so were partakers not only of their banquets, but of their sins.
They set their heart on their iniquity: either their offerings for their iniquity, or their iniquity itself: or, "lift up their soul" (u) to it; diligently looking after it, not caring how much they committed; since the more sin offerings would be brought which would be to their advantage. Though some think the sin of whoredom, frequently and impudently committed at these idol feasts, is meant, which the priests were much addicted to, and very greedy of; they committed cleanness with greediness, Ephesians 4:19.
(u) "et ad iniquitatem eorum levaverunt animam suam", Montanus, Pagninus, Tigurine version; "attollunt", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "et ad iniquitatem eorum tollunt anumam suam", Schmidt.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. eat … sin of my people—that is, the sin offerings (Le 6:26; 10:17). The priests greedily devoured them.
set their heart on their iniquity—literally, "lift up the animal soul to lust after," or strongly desire. Compare De 24:15, Margin; Ps 24:4; Jer 22:27. The priests set their own hearts on the iniquity of the people, instead of trying to suppress it. For the more the people sinned, the more sacrificial victims in atonement for sin the priests gained.
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