|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
57:3-12 The Lord here calls apostates and hypocrites to appear before him. When reproved for their sins, and threatened with judgments, they ridiculed the word of God. The Jews were guilty of idolatry before the captivity; but not after that affliction. Their zeal in the worship of false gods, may shame our indifference in the worship of the true God. The service of sin is disgraceful slavery; those who thus debase themselves to hell, will justly have their portion there. Men incline to a religion that inflames their unholy passions. They are led to do any evil, however great or vile, if they think it will atone for crimes, or purchase indulgence for some favourite lust. This explains idolatry, whether pagan, Jewish, or antichristian. But those who set up anything instead of God, for their hope and confidence, never will come to a right end. Those who forsake the only right way, wander in a thousand by-paths. The pleasures of sin soon tire, but never satisfy. Those who care not for the word of God and his providences, show they have no fear of God. Sin profits not; it ruins and destroys.
Verse 6. - Among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion. Smooth stones, rounded by water-action, were among the objects worshipped by many Semitic peoples. Such stones were called βαίτυλοι or βαιτύλια - Bethels, or "houses of God " - and received libations of oil and wine from their worshippers (see Genesis 28:18; and comp. Herod., 3:8; Arnob., 'Adv. Gentes,' 1:39; Lucian, 'Pseudomant.,' p. 30; Apul., p. 349; etc.). Stones of this kind, the prophet says, had now become "the portion" of Israel, instead of Jehovah (Psalm 119:57; comp. Psalm 16:5). To such objects they offered their "meat offerings" and "drink offerings." Should I receive comfort in these? Can I, Jehovah, be comforted, when my people indulge in such practices?
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion,.... Or thy god; but the portion of Jacob is not like them, stocks and stones, Jeremiah 10:16. Whenever they could pick up smooth stones, and such as were fit for their purpose, whether in the stream of a brook, or in a valley, as the word also signifies, they polished and formed them into an image, and made gods of them; and these were their portion and inheritance, and which they left to their children. There is an elegant play on words (k) in the Hebrew tongue, between the word for "smooth stones", and that for a "portion (l)", which cannot be expressed in our language: or, "in the smooth or slippery places of the valley shall be thy portions"; see Psalm 35:6.
They, they are thy lot; even those stones. Jarchi's note is, to stone thee with, the punishment of idolaters with the Jews; suggesting that those idols would be their ruin; as they will be the ruin of the idolatrous members of the church of Rome, who repent not of worshipping their idols of stone among others, Revelation 9:20,
even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered a meat offering; or a "bread offering", as well as a libation of wine, respecting the sacrifice of the mass, which consists of bread and wine, which is offered up in honour of their idols, angels and saints; hence "Michael mass" and "Martin mass", &c.
Should I receive comfort in these? be pleased with such idolatrous sacrifices? no. The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions render it, "should I not be angry for these?" I will; I have just reason for it. Or it may be rendered, "shall I repent of these (m)?" of the evil I have threatened to bring, and am about to bring upon these idolaters? I will not.
(k) . (l) "In laevitatibus vallis erit portio tua", Gataker, Vitringa. (m) "a me super his poenitebit?" Musculus; "poenitebit me", some in Vatablus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. The smooth stones, shaped as idols, are the gods chosen by thee as thy portion (Ps 16:5).
meat offering—not a bloody sacrifice, but one of meal and flour mingled with oil. "Meat" in Old English meant food, not flesh, as it means now (Le 14:10).
Should I receive comfort—rather, "Shall I bear these things with patience?" [Horsley].
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