|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
65:1-7 The Gentiles came to seek God, and find him, because they were first sought and found of him. Often he meets some thoughtless trifler or profligate opposer, and says to him, Behold me; and a speedy change takes place. All the gospel day, Christ waited to be gracious. The Jews were bidden, but would not come. It is not without cause they are rejected of God. They would do what most pleased them. They grieved, they vexed the Holy Spirit. They forsook God's temple, and sacrificed in groves. They cared not for the distinction between clean and unclean meats, before it was taken away by the gospel. Perhaps this is put for all forbidden pleasures, and all that is thought to be gotten by sin, that abominable thing which the Lord hates. Christ denounced many woes against the pride and hypocrisy of the Jews. The proof against them is plain. And let us watch against pride and self-preference, remembering that every sin, and the most secret thoughts of man's heart, are known and will be judged by God.
Verse 4. - Which remain among the graves. The rock tombs of Palestine seem to be meant. Persons "remained among" these, in spite of the ceremonial defilement thereby incurred, either with the object of raising the dead, and obtaining prophecies from them, or of getting prophetic intimations made to them in dreams (see Jerome's 'Comment.,' ad loc.). And lodge in the monuments; or, in the crypts. "N'tsurim may refer to the mysteries celebrated in natural caves and artificial crypts" (Delitzsch). An account of such mysteries is given by Chwolsohn in his' Die Ssabier und der Ssabismus,' vol. it. pp. 332, et seq. Which eat swine's flesh. Not in mere defiance of the Law, but in sacrificial meals (Isaiah 66:17) of which swine's flesh formed a part. Swine were sacrificial animals in Egypt (Herod., 2:47, 48), in Phoenicia (Lucian, 'De Dea Syra,' § 54), and with the Greeks and Romans. They do not appear to have been employed for the purpose either by the Assyrians or the Babylonians. It was probably in Palestine that the Jews had eaten "swine's flesh," at sacrifices to Baal or Astarte (Ashtoreth). In later times to do so was regarded as one of the worst abominations (1 Macc. 1:41-64; 2 Macc, 6. and 7.). Broth of abominable things. Either broth made from swine's flesh, or from the flesh of other unclean animals, as the hare and rabbit (Leviticus 11:5, 6), or perhaps simply broth made from the flesh of any animals that had been offered to idols (Acts 15:29).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Which remain among the graves,.... In order to practise necromancy, to consult the dead, where they imagined demons and departed spirits haunted, and of whom they fancied they might get knowledge of future things:
and lodge in the monuments: whole nights for the same purposes. The Vulgate Latin version is, "that sleep in the temples of idols"; after the manner of the Heathens, who used to sleep there in order to obtain dreams, whereby they might be able to foretell things to come, as they did in the temple of Aesculapius; or, "in desolate places" (k), as Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it; where they expected to meet with demons and noxious spirits, to give them knowledge of things to come. The Targum paraphrases both clauses thus,
"who dwell in houses built of the dust of graves, and lodge with the corpse of the children of men;''
so corpse, according to Jarchi, are expressed by this word, which signifies "kept", or "preserved" (l), as in Isaiah 49:6, because they are put in a strait place, from whence they cannot get out; though some think idols are meant, called so by way of derision, because kept for fear of being stolen, or because they cannot keep themselves, nor their votaries:
which eat swine's flesh; forbidden by the law, Leviticus 11:7,
and broth of abominable things is in their vessels; or "pots": broth made of swine's flesh, and of other sorts of flesh which were unclean by the law. Our version follows the marginal (m) reading; as do the Targum, Aben Ezra, Jarchi, and Kimchi; but the written text is, "a fragment" (n), or piece, or pieces, of abominable things; both may be retained in the sense of the passage; slices of flesh unclean, and so abominable by the law, were put into their pots and stewed, and made broth of, which they drank. Spencer (o) thinks the milk in which kids were boiled is meant, which the Zabians kept in vessels, and sprinkled on the trees in their gardens, to make them more fruitful; hence mention is made of idolatrous practices in gardens, in the preceding verse.
(k) "In desertis locis", Munster, Pagninus. (l) "apud custodita", Junius & Tremellius; "custoditos", Piscator. (m) "jusculum". (n) "fragmentum". (o) De Legibus Hebr. I. 2. c. 8. sect. 2. p. 275.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. remain among … graves—namely, for purposes of necromancy, as if to hold converse with the dead (Isa 8:19, 20; compare Mr 5:3); or, for the sake of purifications, usually performed at night among sepulchres, to appease the manes [Maurer].
monuments—Hebrew, "pass the night in hidden recesses," either the idol's inmost shrines ("consecrated precincts") [Horsley], where they used to sleep, in order to have divine communications in dreams [Jerome]; or better, on account of the parallel "graves," sepulchral caves [Maurer].
eat swine's flesh—To eat it at all was contrary to God's law (Le 11:7), but it much increased their guilt that they ate it in idolatrous sacrifices (compare Isa 66:17). Varro (On Agriculture, 2.4) says that swine were first used in sacrifices; the Latins sacrificed a pig to Ceres; it was also offered on occasion of treaties and marriages.
broth—so called from the "pieces" (Margin) or fragments of bread over which the broth was poured [Gesenius]; such broth, made of swine's flesh, offered in sacrifice, was thought to be especially acceptable to the idol and was used in magic rites. Or, "fragments (pieces) of abominable foods," &c. This fourth clause explains more fully the third, as the second does the first [Maurer].
is in—rather, literally, "is their vessels," that is, constitute their vessels' contents. The Jews, in our Lord's days, and ever since the return from Babylon, have been free from idolatry; still the imagery from idolatrous abominations, as being the sin most loathsome in God's eyes and that most prevalent in Isaiah's time, is employed to describe the foul sin of Israel in all ages, culminating in their killing Messiah, and still rejecting Him.
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