|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:7-15 The remnant of Israel, converted to Christ in the primitive times, were among many nations as the drops of dew, and were made instruments in calling a large increase of spiritual worshippers. But to those who neglected or opposed this salvation, they would, as lions, cause terror, their doctrine condemning them. The Lord also declares that he would cause not only the reformation of the Jews, but the purification of the Christian church. In like manner shall we be assured of victory in our personal conflicts, as we simply depend upon the Lord our salvation, worship him, and serve him with diligence.
Verse 14. - Thy groves (Asherim); Exodus 34:13; Deuteronomy 7:5, etc. Ashersh was a Canaanitish goddess, whose worship was celebrated with licentious rites. She corresponds to the Ashtoreth of the Phoenicians and Ishtar of the Assyrians, and seems to have been adored as the goddess of the productive power of nature. Her symbol was a tree or a wooden post. So (and) will I destroy thy cities; i.e. those cities which have been the centres of idolatry, or are especially connected with such worship (comp. Amos 5:5). The word rendered "cities" has by some been translated, and by others has been so altered as to be translated, "adversaries;" but there is no variety in the reading, or in the rendering of the ancient versions (except the Targum); and, explained as above, it is no mere repetition of the thought in ver. 11.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee,.... Planted for idolatrous worship, and which the Jews in the reigns of some of their kings raised, and made use of for such purposes; see 1 Kings 15:13; though contrary to the law of God, Deuteronomy 16:21; but now there should be nothing of this kind, all idolatry being rooted out of the world. The Targum is,
"I will root out the plantations of the people out of the midst of thee:''
so will I destroy thy cities; which some understand of cities given to idolatry; or rather it is to be understood in the same sense as in Micah 5:11; though by reason of that, and as something distinct from it, it is better to render the words with the Targum,
"I will destroy thine enemies (n).''
(n) So Jarchi, and Marinas in Aben Ezra, and R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 102. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. groves … cities—The "groves" are the idolatrous symbol of Astarte (De 16:21; 2Ki 21:7). "Cities" being parallel to "groves," must mean cities in or near which such idolatrous groves existed. Compare "city of the house of Baal" (2Ki 10:25), that is, a portion of the city sacred to Baal.
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