|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 5. - Stand by thyself; i.e. "keep aloof - come not into contact with me; for mine is a higher holiness than thine, and I should be polluted by thy near approach." Initiation into heathen mysteries was thought to confer on the initiated a holiness unattainable otherwise. Thus the heathenized Jew claimed to be holier than the true servants of Jehovah. These are a smoke... a fire (comp. Psalm 18:8, "There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured; coals were kindled by it"). The heathenized Jews are fuel for the wrath of God, which kindles a fire wherein they burn continually (comp. Isaiah 66:24).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Which say, stand by thyself, &c. According to Aben Ezra, Jarchi, and Kimchi, these are the unclean persons that did the above things; who say to the righteous, "draw near to thyself" (p); so the words are, go to thine own place, or to thine own company:
and come not near to me; keep off at a distance, as unworthy of such company:
for I am holier than thou; but this is the language of a self-righteous man, of a Pharisee that strictly observed the rituals of the law; and fitly describes such who lived in the times of Christ; and exactly agrees with the characters of such, who not only would have no dealings with the Samaritans, but washed themselves when they came from market, or any public place, lest they should be defiled with the common people of their own nation; and, even with religious persons, would not stand near them while praying; but despised them, if they had not arrived to that pitch of outward sanctity they had; see John 4:9, Luke 18:9. The phrase may be rendered, "do not touch me" (q); and the Pharisees would not suffer themselves to be touched by the common people, nor would they touch them. Maimonides (r) says,
"if the Pharisees touched but the garments of the common people, they were defiled all one as if they had touched a profluvious person, and were obliged to dip themselves all over;''
so that, when they walked in the streets, they used to walk on the sides of the way, that they might not be defiled by touching them (s). So Epiphanius (t) relates of the Samaritan Jews, that when they touch one of another nation, they dip themselves with their clothes in water; for they reckon it a defilement to touch anyone, or to touch any man of another religion; and of the Dositheans, who were another sect of the Samaritans the same writer observes (u), that they studiously avoid touching any, for they abhor every man. A certain Arabic geographer of note (w) makes mention of an island, called the island of the Samaritans, inhabited by some Samaritan Jews, as appears by their saying to any that apply to them, do not touch; and by this it is known that they are of the Jews who are called Samaritans; and this same arrogant superstition, as Scaliger observes (x), continues in that people to this day, as those relate who have conversed with them:
these are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day: very offensive to the divine Being, as smoke is to the eyes and nostrils; very abominable to him; and whose proud and vain conduct raised indignation in him, and kindled the fire of his anger, which was continually exercised on them; see Luke 16:15. The Targum is,
"their vengeance is in hell, where the fire burns all the day.''
(p) "accede ad te", Vatablus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Cocceius; "appropinqua ad te", Piscator. (q) "ne contigas me"; so some in Vatablus; "ne attingite me", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "ne tangae rue": Cocceius. (r) In Misn. Chagiga, c. 2. sect. 7. (s) lb. Hilcot Abot Tumaot, c. 13. sect. 8. (t) Contra Haeres. haeres. 9. (u) Contra Haeres, haeres 13. (w) Apud Scaliger de Emendat, Temp. l. 7. (x) Ibid.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. (Mt 9:11; Lu 5:30; 18:11; Jude 19). Applicable to the hypocritical self-justifiers of our Lord's time.
smoke—alluding to the smoke of their self-righteous sacrifices; the fire of God's wrath was kindled at the sight, and exhibited itself in the smoke that breathed forth from His nostrils; in Hebrew the nose is the seat of anger; and the nostrils distended in wrath, as it were, breathe forth smoke [Rosenmuller] (Ps 18:8).
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