Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Deuteronomy 32:21; 1 Kings 14:22; Ezra 8:3; Psalm 78:58. There is a reference here, doubtless, to the truth recorded in Exodus 20:5. that God "is a jealous God," and that he regards the worship of idols as a direct affront to himself. The sentiment of Paul is, that to join in the worship of idols, or in the observance of their feasts, would be to participate in that which had ever been regarded by God with special abhorrence, and which more than anything else tended to provoke his wrath. We may observe, that any course of life that tends to alienate the affections from God, and to fix them on other beings or objects, is a sin of the same kind as that referred to here. Any inordinate love of friends, of property, of honor, has substantially the same idolatrous nature, and will tend to provoke him to anger. And it may be asked of Christians now, whether they will by such inordinate attachments provoke the Lord to wrath? whether they will thus excite his displeasure, and expose themselves to his indignation? Very often Christians do thus provoke him. They become unduly attached to a friend, or to wealth, and God in anger takes away that friend by death, or that property by the flames, or they conform to the world, and mingle in its scenes of fashion and gaiety, and forget God; and in displeasure he visits them with judgments, humbles them, and recalls them to Himself.
Are we stronger than he? - This is given as a reason why we should not provoke his displeasure. We cannot contend successfully with Him; and it is therefore madness and folly to contend with God, or to expose ourselves to the effects of His indignation.
are we stronger?—that we can risk a contest with Him.Jealousy is a violent passion in a man, not bearing a companion or a rival as to a thing or person which he loveth. It is in holy writ applied unto God, not to signify any such extravagancy, excess, or vehemence, as attendeth that passion in men, but only his just displeasure at the giving that homage to any creature which is due to him alone. It is most applied to God to express his anger against those who give Divine homage to idols; the worship of God being a great piece of his glory which he hath said he will not give to another, nor his praise to graven images, Isaiah 42:8. Hence divines observe, that jealousy is attributed to God in the second commandment, which concerns the more external worship of God, to deter men from the violation of it, Exodus 20:5. So Exodus 34:14 Deu 4:24 5:9 6:16, and in many other texts, it signifieth, that the worship of God is a thing that he is very tender of, and that his will is to endure no creature to share with him in it; and that his wrath shall flame against that man that offers to make any creature such a sharer. So that it is not safe for any to do any thing of that nature, unless he could fancy himself to be stronger than God; for he that doth it, must expect the power and strength of God to be engaged against him. Thus the apostle had dissuaded them from eating meat sacrificed to idols in the idol’s temple, from the impiety of it, it being a species of idolatry, against which God hath signally revealed his wrath. He returns in the following verses to an argument, by which he had before dissuaded it, 1 Corinthians 8:1-13, as it was against charity, and the duty of love, in which they were indebted to their brethren.
are we stronger than he? to give into idolatrous practices, is to proclaim and enter into a war against God; and what madness must this be? who can be so sottish and stupid as to think of succeeding? when God is omnipotent, and man a poor feeble impotent creature, a worm, and but dust and ashes: thus the apostle dissuades from idolatry, and every species and branch of it; partly from its ill effect, in bringing men into fellowship with devils; and partly from the impossibility of practising it, in consistence with a true and real participation of the cup and table of the Lord; and from the absurdity and stupidity of it, and its dangerous consequence, in exposing men to the vengeance of an almighty incensed Being.Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1 Corinthians 10:22. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? to prove that He will not suffer us to set Him on the same level with the demons? The connection is this: “You cannot, etc., 1 Corinthians 10:21, unless it were the case that we Christians were people whose business it is to provoke Christ to jealousy.” Hence the indicative, which should not be taken as deliberative, with Luther and others, including Pott, Flatt, and Rückert (or would we defy the Lord?), but: we occupy ourselves therewith, are engaged therein. Comp Bernhardy, Syntax, p. 370. The phrase, τὸν Κύριον, however, should not be referred to God on the ground of the allusion undoubtedly made here to Deuteronomy 32:21 (so commonly, as by Ewald, Pott, Billroth, Rückert, Olshausen), but (as by de Wette and Hofmann), on account of 1 Corinthians 10:21, to Christ.
μὴ ἰσχυρ. κ.τ.λ] we are not surely stronger than He? i.e. we are not surely persons, whom His strength, which He would put forth against us to carry out the promptings of that jealousy, cannot get the better of? Comp Job 37:23. Chrysostom already correctly notes the abductio ad absurdum, with which Paul winds up this part of his polemic against the eating of sacrificial meat.
 .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.
 According to Hofmann, Paul means that strength, which men must suppose themselves to possess if they are confident that they can take part with impunity in the sacrificial feasts, whereas Christ can by no means endure the sight of such participation on their part without becoming jealous. But the idea, “with impunity,” would be arbitrarily imported into the passage. The greater strength, upon this view of it, would be in truth the capacity—not existing in Christ—to do what was morally impossible (ver. 21). Had this, however, been the apostle’s meaning, he would have needed, in order to be logical and intelligible, to reverse the order of his clauses, so that ἰσχυρότεροι should have its sense determined by οὐ δύνασθε in ver. 21. According to the present order, the meaning of ἰσχυρ. is determined by παραζηλοῦμεν to be the strength which could make head against that of the ζῆλος thus aroused.22. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?] i.e. as the Jews had done to their cost See note on last verse. Cf. also Numbers 14; Deuteronomy 1; Deuteronomy 32:21 (see note on 1 Corinthians 10:19 and observe that it was idol worship which provoked God); Psalm 95:8; Hebrews 3:16. The same word is found, with the same translation, in Romans 10:19; Romans 11:11, and in 1 Corinthians 10:14 of that chapter it is translated provoke to emulation.
are we stronger than he?] So as to be able to resist His wrath.1 Corinthians 10:22. Παραζηλοῦμεν) do we provoke to jealousy? namely, by idolatry, 1 Corinthians 10:7; Exodus 20:5. The kindred word is הלאות, ἀγῶνα παρέχειν, to cause one a conflict, to weary out, Isaiah 7:13. So Deuteronomy 32:21,—αὐτοὶ παρεζήλωσάν με ἐπʼ οὐ θεῷ, they have moved me to jealousy with that which is no god.—ἰσχυρότεροι, stronger) so that we may flee from His jealousy when kindled? [The weaker party is provoked without danger; but it is different in the stronger.—V. g.]Verse 22. - Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? (Deuteronomy 32:21," They have moved me to jealousy by that which is not God"). The expression, "a jealous God," is used in the second commandment with express reference to idolatry, as in Exodus 34:14, 15. Are we stronger than he? Can we, therefore, with impunity, kindle his anger against us? "He is... mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered?" (Job 9:4). Ver. 23 - 1 Corinthians 11:1. - Directions about eating idol offerings, founded on these principles.
The A.V. does not translate ἢ or, and thus breaks the connection with what precedes. You cannot be at the same time in communion with the Lord and with demons, or will you ignore this inconsistency and provoke God? For the verb, see on Romans 10:19.
Are we stronger
The force of the interrogative particle is, surely we are not stronger.
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