|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:4-11 Sometimes Israel and Judah seemed disposed to repent under their sufferings, but their goodness vanished like the empty morning cloud, and the early dew, and they were as vile as ever. Therefore the Lord sent awful messages by the prophets. The word of God will be the death either of the sin or of the sinner. God desired mercy rather than sacrifice, and that knowledge of him which produces holy fear and love. This exposes the folly of those who trust in outward observances, to make up for their want of love to God and man. As Adam broke the covenant of God in paradise, so Israel had broken his national covenant, notwithstanding all the favours they received. Judah also was ripe for Divine judgments. May the Lord put his fear into our hearts, and set up his kingdom within us, and never leave us to ourselves, nor suffer us to be overcome by temptation.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And as troops of robbers wait for a man,.... As a gang of highwaymen or footpads lie in wait in a ditch, or under a hedge, or in a cave of a rock or mountain, for a man they know will come by that way, who is full of money, in order to rob him; or, as Saadiah interprets it, as fishermen stand upon the banks of a river, and cast in their hooks to draw out the fish; and to the same purpose is Jarchi's note from R. Meir:
so the company of priests murder in the way by consent; not only encourage murderers, and commit murders within the city, but go out in a body together upon the highway, and there commit murders and robberies, and divide the spoil among them; all which they did unanimously, and were well agreed, being brethren in iniquity, as well as in office: or, "in the way of Shechem" (e); as good people passed by Gilead to Shechem, and so to Jerusalem, to worship there at the solemn feasts, they lay in wait for them, and murdered them; because they did not give into the idolatrous worship of the calves at Dan and Bethel: or, "in the manner of Shechem" (f); that is, they murdered men in a deceitful treacherous manner, as the Shechemites were murdered by Simeon and Levi: Joseph Kimchi interprets this of the princes and great men, so the word "cohanim" is sometimes used; but the context seems to carry it to the priests:
for they commit lewdness; or "enormity"; the most enormous crimes, and that purposely, with deliberation devising and contriving them.
(e) "Sichemam versus", Gussetius, Schmidt; approved by Reinbeck. De Accent. Heb. p. 442. "qua itur Sichem", Tigurine version; "qua via ad Shechemum factum occidunt", Junius & Tremellius; "quae ducit ad Sichermum", Piscator. So Abendana. (f) "Sicemice", so some in Drusius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. company—"association" or guild of priests.
murder by consent—literally, "with one shoulder" (compare Zep 3:9, Margin). The image is from oxen putting their shoulders together to pull the same yoke [Rivetus]. Maurer translates, "in the way towards Shechem." It was a city of refuge between Ebal and Gerizim; on Mount Ephraim (Jos 20:7; 21:21), long the civil capital of Ephraim, as Shiloh was the religious capital; now called Naploos; for a time the residence of Jeroboam (1Ki 12:25). The priests there became so corrupted that they waylaid and murdered persons fleeing to the asylum for refuge [Henderson]; the sanctity of the place enhanced the guilt of the priests who abused their priestly privileges, and the right of asylum to perpetrate murders themselves, or to screen those committed by others [Maurer].
commit lewdness—deliberate crime, presumptuous wickedness, from an Arabic root, "to form a deliberate purpose."
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