|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:1-9 None could be found who behaved as upright and godly men. But the Lord saw the true character of the people through all their disguises. The poor were ignorant, and therefore they were wicked. What can be expected but works of darkness, from people that know nothing of God and religion? There are God's poor, who, notwithstanding poverty, know the way of the Lord, walk in it, and do their duty; but these were willingly ignorant, and their ignorance would not be their excuse. The rich were insolent and haughty, and the abuse of God's favours made their sin worse.
Verse 7. - How... for this? rather, Why should I pardon thee? Thy children; i.e. (since "the daughter of Zion" is equivalent to Zion regarded as an ideal entity) the members of the Jewish people (comp. Leviticus 19:18, "the children of thy people"). When I had fed them to the full. So Ewald, following the versions and many manuscripts (there is no marginal reading in the Hebrew Bible). This gives a good sense, and may be supported by ver. 28; Deuteronomy 32:15; Hosea 13:6. But the reading of the received Hebrew text, though somewhat more difficult, is yet perfectly capable of explanation; and, slight as the difference is in the reading adopted by Ewald (it involves a mere shade of pronunciation), it is not to be preferred to the received reading. Read, therefore, though -r made them to swear (allegiance),!let they committed adultery. The oath may be that of Sinai (Exodus 24.), or such au oath as had been recently taken by Josiah and the people (1 Kings 23:3; 2 Chronicles 34:31, 32). The "adultery" may be taken both in a literal and in a figurative sense, and so also the "harlots' houses" in the next clause. It is also well worthy of consideration whether the prophet may not be referring to certain matrimonial customs handed down from remote antiquity and arising from the ancient system of kinship through women (comp. Ezekiel 22:11).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
How shall I pardon thee for this?.... Because of their manifold transgressions, and multiplied backslidings; or "wherefore, or for what, shall I pardon thee?" (r) as the Targum; can any reason be given why I should? what goodness is there in thee, or done by thee, that I should do this unto thee? The particle according to Kimchi, is a word of exclamation; and, according to Jarchi, of admiration; and may be rendered, "oh! for this shall I pardon?" how can it be? R. Menachem; in Jarchi, takes it to be the same with "not"; and to be rendered, not for this will I pardon; and so is an affirmation, and fixed resolution not to pardon, and that for the following reasons:
thy children have forsaken me; my worship, as the Targum interprets it; that is, the children of Jerusalem, the inhabitants of it, the common people, as distinguished from their fathers, the civil and ecclesiastical rulers; see Matthew 23:37, though not to the exclusion of them; for they were guilty of the same sin in forsaking the word, worship, and ordinances of God:
and sworn by them that are no gods; by the name of idols, as the Targum; or, "by those things which are not god", as Noldius (s) renders the words; who rightly observes, that there were other things besides idols that they swore by, as the heaven and earth, temple, altar, &c. with which the Arabic version agrees; when an oath ought only to be taken in the name of the living God; or, "swore without God"; without making mention of the name of the true God:
when I had fed them to the full; with the good things of life; gave them all things richly to enjoy; the best provisions, and fulness of them; so that they had all that heart could wish for. There is in the Hebrew text a beautiful play on words (t), between the word used for swearing in the former clause, and this for feeding here:
they then committed adultery; either idolatry, which is spiritual adultery; or adultery literally taken; as it seems from the following verse. This is the consequence of their being fullly fed; and that is an aggravation of this their sin against God and their neighbour; see Deuteronomy 32:13,
and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses; either in the temples of idols, or in the stews or brothel houses, where harlots prostituted themselves; their going thither in troops, or in great numbers, shows both how universal and how public this sin was, and how impudent and barefaced they were in the commission of it.
(r) "ad quid, vel ob quid, vel quare parcam tibi?" De Dieu. (s) Ebr. Concord. Part. p. 199. No. 911. (t) "et juraverunt", "cum saturarem".
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. It would not be consistent with God's holiness to let such wickedness pass unpunished.
sworn by—(Jer 5:2; Jer 4:2); that is, worshipped.
no gods—(De 32:21).
fed … to the full—so the Keri (Hebrew Margin) reads. God's bountifulness is contrasted with their apostasy (De 32:15). Prosperity, the gift of God, designed to lead men to Him, often produces the opposite effect. The Hebrew Chetib (text) reads: "I bound them (to Me) by oath," namely, in the marriage covenant, sealed at Sinai between God and Israel; in contrast to which stands their "adultery"; the antithesis favors this.
adultery … harlots' houses—spiritually: idolatry in temples of idols; but literal prostitution is also included, being frequently part of idol-worship: for example, in the worship of the Babylonian Mylitta.
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