|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
10:1-16 The prophet shows the glory of Israel's God, and exposes the folly of idolaters. Charms and other attempts to obtain supernatural help, or to pry into futurity, are copied from the wicked customs of the heathen. Let us stand in awe, and not dare provoke God, by giving that glory to another which is due to him alone. He is ready to forgive, and save all who repent and believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ. Faith learns these blessed truths from the word of God; but all knowledge not from that source, leads to doctrines of vanity.
Verse 9. - This verse apparently once followed Ver. 5. Like Vers. 7 and 8, it is omitted in the Septuagint. Silver spread into plates, etc. The silver and gold were meant for the coating of the wooden image (comp. Isaiah 30:22; Isaiah 40:19). Tarshish; i.e. Tartessus, in south-west Spain, between the two mouths of the Baetis, or Guadal-quivir. Gold from Uphaz. A place bearing this name, or anything like it, is not known from other sources than the Old Testament writings; and hence a corruption of the text has naturally been suspected (Ophir into Uphaz). As, however, r and z are not easily confounded, either in the earlier or the later Hebrew characters, this view must be abandoned, though it has the authority of several ancient versions of this passage (including the Peshite and the Targum). The name occurs again in Daniel 10:5. The Peshite, moreover, curiously enough, translates zahab mufaz in 1 Kings 10:18 (Authorized Version, "the best gold") by "gold from Ophir." Blue and purple. The Hebrew has no word, strictly speaking, for either "blue" or "purple." Both these words here used probably express coloring matter rather than colors (this is certain of the latter word, which properly designates a kind of mussel, the shell of which yielded dye). The first produced a violet purple, the second a reddish purple.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish,.... In Cilicia, where the Apostle Paul was born; according to Josephus, as Jerom says, it was a country in India. The Targum renders it, from Africa, and calls it silver "rolled up", or "covered"; so the Vulgate Latin; such was beaten with a hammer into plates, and might be rolled up for better convenience of shipment; and with which they covered and decked their idols, to make them look glittering and pompous, and command some awe and reverence from the common people. The Arabic version renders it, "solid silver"; it being the same word from whence the firmament of heaven has its name, or the wide expanse; hence we render it "spread", stretched, and drawn out into plates. The Syriac version is, "the best silver"; as very likely that from Tarshish was reckoned.
And gold from Uphaz; called sometimes "the gold of Uphaz"; Daniel 10:5 or "Fess"; perhaps the same with the gold of Ophir, Job 28:16 and so the Targum here calls it, "gold from Ophir"; to which agrees the Syriac version; and was esteemed the best gold.
The work of workmen, and of the hands of the founder; melter or refiner, being first purified by him from dross, and then wrought into plates, and polished, and fitted for the idol; and all this being owing to the art and workmanship of men, shows the brutishness and ignorance of the people, in worshipping it as a god. Blue and purple is their clothing; not the clothing of the workmen, but of the idols; these colours seem to be chosen to dazzle the eyes of the populace, and cause them to entertain a high opinion of them; the "blue" being the colour of the heavens, and the "purple" what is wore by kings; and so both may denote their deity and dominion. But, alas!
they are all the work of cunning men: both the idols, and their clothing; especially the latter is meant, which were curiously wrought and embroidered by men skilful in that art.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. Everything connected with idols is the result of human effort.
Silver spread—(See on Isa 30:22; Isa 40:19).
Tarshish—Tartessus, in Spain, famed for precious metals.
Uphaz—(Da 10:5). As the Septuagint in the Syrian Hexapla in the Margin, Theodotus, the Syrian and Chaldee versions have "Ophir," Gesenius thinks "Uphaz" a colloquial corruption (one letter only being changed) for "Ophir." Ophir, in Ge 10:29, is mentioned among Arabian countries. Perhaps Malacca is the country meant, the natives of which still call their gold mines Ophirs. Heeren thinks Ophir the general name for the rich countries of the south, on the Arabian, African, and Indian coasts; just as our term, East Indies.
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