|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:9-13 Before God punishes sinners, he pleads with them, to bring them to repentance. He pleads with us, what we should plead with ourselves. Be afraid to think of the wrath and curse which will be the portion of those who throw themselves out of God's grace and favour. Grace in Christ is compared to water from a fountain, it being cooling and refreshing, cleansing and making fruitful: to living water, because it quickens dead sinners, revives drooping saints, supports and maintains spiritual life, and issues in eternal life, and is ever-flowing. To forsake this Fountain is the first evil; this is done when the people of God neglect his word and ordinances. They hewed them out broken cisterns, that could hold no water. Such are the world, and the things in it; such are the inventions of men when followed and depended on. Let us, with purpose of heart, cleave to the Lord only; whither else shall we go? How prone are we to forego the consolations of the Holy Spirit, for the worthless joys of the enthusiast and hypocrite!
Verse 11. - Hath a nation changed their gods? Has any heathen nation ever changed its idol-god for another? The prophet clearly implies a negative answer; and yet it must be admitted that the adoption of a new religion, under the pressure of conquest or a higher foreign civilization is not an unknown phenomenon in the ancient world. Glory; i.e. source of all outward prosperity (comp. Psalm 3:3," my Glory, and the Lifter up Of my head"). Religion was, in fact, the root of national life in antiquity; contrast our own division between the sacred and the secular Jehovah elsewhere receives the title "the Pride of Israel" -Authorized Version, rather weakly, "the Excellency of Israel" -(Amos 8:7; Hosea 5:5. Comp. the parallel passages, Psalm 106:20; Romans 1:23).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods?.... Though they are not by nature gods which they worship, only nominal and fictitious deities, yet they did not change them for others; but when they once embraced the worship of them, continued therein; so did the Chittim, the inhabitants of the isles, who though they traded to distant countries, from place to place; and so the Kedarenes, who dwelt in tents, and fed cattle, and moved from one desert to another, and from one pasture to another, as Jarchi observes; yet they carried their gods with them, and did not exchange them for new ones where they came. The Jewish writers say (b), that the Kedarenes worshipped water, and the Chittim fire; and though they knew that water would quench fire, yet the latter would not change their gods. Kimchi and Abendana relate it just the reverse, and say the Kedarenes worshipped fire, and the Chittim water, which is most likely; and so it is said elsewhere (c).
But my people have changed their glory; the true God, who is glorious in himself, and whom they should have glorified, and have counted it their highest honour and glory that they knew him, and were the worshippers of him; yet they changed him, their glory, into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass, Psalm 106:20, wherefore it is justly added,
for that which doth not profit; meaning Baal, and such like idols; see the note on Jeremiah 2:8.
(b) T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 5. 2.((c) Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 60. 3.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. glory—Jehovah, the glory of Israel (Ps 106:20; Ro 1:23). The Shekinah, or cloud resting on the sanctuary, was the symbol of "the glory of the Lord" (1Ki 8:11; compare Ro 9:4). The golden calf was intended as an image of the true God (compare Ex 32:4, 5), yet it is called an "idol" (Ac 7:41). It (like Roman Catholic images) was a violation of the second commandment, as the heathen multiplying of gods is a violation of the first.
not profit—(Jer 2:8).
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