|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:1-7 The piercing eye of God saw secret liking and disposition to sin, the love the house of Israel had to their sins, and the dominion their sins had over them. Pride makes men obstinate in other sins. And as Judah was treading in the same steps, they would fall with Israel. By dealing treacherously with the Lord, men only deceive themselves. Those that go to seek the Lord with their flocks and their herds only, and not with their hearts and souls, cannot expect to find him; nor shall any speed who do not seek the Lord while he may be found. See how much it is our concern to seek God early, now, while it is the accepted time, and the day of salvation.
Verse 2. - And the revolters are profound to make slaughter (or, profuse in murders or in sacrifices, or in dealing corruptly), though I have been a rebuker of them all (rather, but I am [bent upon] chastisement for them all). The literal rendering of the first clause is, slaughtering they have made deep, which is an idiom analogous to "they have deeply revolted;" literally, "they have made revolting deep" (Isaiah 31:6). The slaughtering, though understood by Wunsche of sacrifices, is rather meant of the destruction and carnage which the revolters caused to the people. Rashi explains it literally in this way: "I said, Every one that goes not up to the stated feasts transgresses a positive precept; but they decree that every one who goes up to the stated feasts shall be slain." This seems to imply that liers-in-wait were set probably on Mizpah and Tabor, the places mentioned in the preceding verse, to slay the Israelites that were found going up to the feasts at Jerusalem. Aben Ezra, taking this second verse as continuing the sentiment of the first, interprets as follows: "Ye have been a snare on Mizpah that ye might not allow them to go up to the feasts to the house of the Lord; and to slay (victims) in the usual way." The revolters or apostates he takes to be the worshippers of Baal. "They made deep," he adds in his exposition, "the snares, those that are mentioned, that passers-by might not see them; but I will chastise all of them for this evil which they have done, since it is not hidden from me why they have hid (made) it so deep." The slaughtering is thus understood by Aben Ezra of slaying the sacrificial victims. Similarly Kimchi interprets thus: "He says that the revolters who are the worshippers of idols, who depart from the ways of God - blessed be he! - and kern his service, like a woman who is a revolter from under her husband, have made deep their revolt, slaying and sacrificing to idols." lie would understand the slaughtering neither of victims with Kimchi and Aben Ezra; nor of literally slaying Israelites to prevent persons going up to Jerusalem, the proper seat of Jehovah's worship; but of the destructive consequences which the conduct of these apostates brought on the people. The work of chastisement God now takes in hand in good earnest. Droppings of the coming shower there had been; but now the full flood is to descend, for God presents himself to misleaders and misled alike under the sole aspect of rebuke. "I," he says, "am chastisement" (give myself to it). A like form of expression occurs in Psalm 109:4, "I am prayer;" that is, am a man of prayer, or give royal. If to prayer. Thus Kimchi explains the idiom: "The prophet says, Say not that no man shall correct and reprove them, therefore they sin; for I am the person who reproves them all, and day by day I reprove them, but they will not hearken to me. But raani moser wants the word ish, man, as (in Psalm 109:4) raani tephilah, which we have explained raani ish tephilah."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the revolters are profound to make slaughter,.... The revolters are the king, priests, and people, who had revolted from the true worship and ways of God unto idolatry. These formed deep laid schemes, and took crafty methods, like hawkers; who lay themselves flat upon the ground to manage their snares and nets, and observe the creatures that fall into them, and take them, and whom they artfully decoy, to which the allusion is; and that either to slay those who would not comply with their false worship; or rather to multiply the sacrifices of slain beasts, and offer them with a great show of devotion and religion, and thereby beguile, entice, and ensnare simple and unwary souls; so the Targum,
"they sacrifice to idols abundantly;''
and which, in the sight of God, was mere slaughter and butchery:
though I have been a rebuker of them all; king, priests, and prophets; those idolaters, revolters, or worshippers of Baal, as Aben Ezra calls them: this is to be interpreted either of the prophet, who had freely, faithfully, and openly reproved all orders of men for their departure from God and his worship, and for their idolatrous practices; or of the Lord himself, which comes to the same sense, who had rebuked them by his prophets, and corrected them by his judgments, but to no purpose: and therefore they could not plead ignorance, or excuse themselves upon that account.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
profound—deeply rooted [Calvin] and sunk to the lowest depths, excessive in their idolatry (Ho 9:9; Isa 31:6) [Henderson]. From the antithesis (Ho 5:3), "not hid from me," I prefer explaining, profoundly cunning in their idolatry. Jeroboam thought it a profound piece of policy to set up golden calves to represent God in Dan and Beth-el, in order to prevent Israel's heart from turning again to David's line by going up to Jerusalem to worship. So Israel's subsequent idolatry was grounded by their leaders on various pleas of state expediency (compare Isa 29:15).
to … slaughter—He does not say "to sacrifice," for their so-called sacrifices were butcheries rather than sacrifices; there was nothing sacred about them, being to idols instead of to the holy God.
though—Maurer translates, "and (in spite of their hope of safety through their slaughter of victims to idols) I will be a chastisement to them all." English Version is good sense: They have deeply revolted, notwithstanding all my prophetical warnings.
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