|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
106:34-48 The conduct of the Israelites in Canaan, and God's dealings with them, show that the way of sin is down-hill; omissions make way for commissions: when they neglected to destroy the heathen, they learned their works. One sin led to many more, and brought the judgments of God on them. Their sin was, in part, their own punishment. Sinners often see themselves ruined by those who led them into evil. Satan, who is a tempter, will be a tormentor. At length, God showed pity to his people for his covenant's sake. The unchangeableness of God's merciful nature and love to his people, makes him change the course of justice into mercy; and no other change is meant by God's repentance. Our case is awful when the outward church is considered. When nations professing Christianity, are so guilty as we are, no wonder if the Lord brings them low for their sins. Unless there is general and deep repentance, there can be no prospect but of increasing calamities. The psalm concludes with prayer for completing the deliverance of God's people, and praise for the beginning and progress of it. May all the people of the earth, ere long, add their Amen.
Verse 34. - They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them. This is reckoned as another sin. Israel, once comfortably settled in Palestine, with sufficient room for its numbers, did not carry out the Divine command to "destroy," or "cast out," the Canaanitish nations, but was content to share the land with them. "The children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem" (Judges 1:21); "neither did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Bethshean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns; nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns" (Judges 1:27); "neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer" (Judges 1:29); nor "Zebulon the inhabitants of Kitten, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol" (Judges 1:30); "neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho" (Judges 1:31); nor "Naphtali the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath" (Judges 1:33); nor Dan the Amorites, who "would dwell in Mount Heros in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim" (Judges 1:35). It was not compassion that restrained them, but love of ease, idleness, one of the seven deadly sins; and the results were those described in the next verse.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
They did not destroy the nations,.... Here begins an account of their sins and provocations, after they were settled in the land of Canaan. They did not destroy the inhabitants of the land, of the seven nations; whose land was given to them as an inheritance, and of which the Canaanites were dispossessed for their sins, and to be destroyed.
Concerning whom the Lord commanded them; that they should destroy them; the command is in Deuteronomy 7:1. God's commands are to be obeyed; they are neither to be added to, nor diminished from; his commands are transgressed and violated by sins of omission or commission; the Israelites might plead mercy, but this was no excuse to an express command: the same sin Saul was afterwards guilty of, with respect to one of these nations, 1 Samuel 15:2. Those spiritual Canaanites, the sinful deeds of the body, are to be mortified, and not indulged and spared, Colossians 3:5.
The Treasury of David
34 They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them:
35 But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.
36 And they served their idols; which were a snare unto them.
37 Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,
38 And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood.
39 Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.
4o Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.
41 And he gave them into the hands of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them.
42 Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.
43 Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.
"They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them." They were commissioned to act as executioners upon races condemned for their unnatural crimes, and through sloth, cowardice, or sinful complacency-they sheathed the sword too soon, very much to their own danger and disquietude. It is a great evil with professors that they are not zealous for the total destruction of all sin within and without. We make alliances of peace where we ought to proclaim war to the knife; we plead our constitutional temperament, our previous habits, the necessity of our circumstances, or some other evil excuse as an apology for being content with a very partial sanctification, if indeed it be sanctification at all. We are slow also to rebuke sin in others, and are ready to spare respectable sins, which like Agag walk with mincing steps. The measure of our destruction of sin is not to be our inclination, or the habit of others, but the Lord's command. We have no warrant for dealing leniently with any sin, be it what it may.
"But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works." It was not the wilderness which caused Israel's sins; they were just as disobedient when settled in the land of promise. They found evil company, and delighted in it. Those whom they should have destroyed they made their friends. Having enough faults of their own, they were yet ready to go to school to the filthy Canaanites, and educate themselves still more in the arts of iniquity. It was certain that they could learn no good from men whom the Lord had condemned to utter destruction. Few would wish to go to the condemned cell for learning, yet Israel sat at the feet of accursed Canaan, and rose up proficient in every abomination. This, too, is a grievous but common error among professors: they court worldly company and copy worldly fashions, and yet it is their calling to bear witness against these things. None can tell what evil has come of the folly of worldly conformity.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
34-39. They not only failed to expel the heathen, as God
commanded—(Ex 23:32, 33), literally, "said (they should)," but conformed to their idolatries [Ps 106:36], and thus became spiritual adulterers (Ps 73:27).
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