And turn you not aside: for then should you go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)For then should ye go after vain things.—The passage is more forcible without the “for” and the words in italics supplied in the English translation. The verse without it would run thus: “Turn ye not aside after vain things which cannot profit,” &c. Singularly enough, not one of the ancient versions translate the Hebrew ki, “for”: they all omit it. It is therefore clear that this “for” has, through some copyist’s error, got into the text since the versions were made.
17-25. Is it not wheat harvest to-day?—That season in Palestine occurs at the end of June or beginning of July, when it seldom or never rains, and the sky is serene and cloudless. There could not, therefore, have been a stronger or more appropriate proof of a divine mission than the phenomenon of rain and thunder happening, without any prognostics of its approach, upon the prediction of a person professing himself to be a prophet of the Lord, and giving it as an attestation of his words being true. The people regarded it as a miraculous display of divine power, and, panic-struck, implored the prophet to pray for them. Promising to do so, he dispelled their fears. The conduct of Samuel, in this whole affair of the king's appointment, shows him to have been a great and good man who sank all private and personal considerations in disinterested zeal for his country's good and whose last words in public were to warn the people, and their king, of the danger of apostasy and disobedience to God.Turn ye not aside, to wit, after idols; as they had often done before; and, notwithstanding this warning, did afterwards.
Should ye go, or, should ye turn aside; which words are easily to be understood out of the foregoing branch, such ellipses being most frequent in Scripture, as Deu 1:4 1 Kings 14:14 2 Kings 9:27.
Vain things; so idols are called, Deu 32:21 Jeremiah 2:5, and so they are, being mere nothings, 1 Corinthians 8:4, having no divinity nor power in them; no influence upon us, nor use or benefit to us.
Which cannot profit nor deliver, i.e. which will not only be unprofitable, but highly pernicious to you; the contrary affirmative being understood under the negative, as Exodus 20:7 Numbers 21:23 Deu 2:30.
should ye go after vain things; idols, which are vanity, and less than vanity:
which cannot profit nor deliver; neither bestow good things on their votaries, nor deliver them from evils, or from the hands of their enemies
for they are vain; empty, useless, and unprofitable; an idol is nothing in the world, 1 Corinthians 8:4.And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)21. for then should ye go after vain things] The word “for” necessitates the insertion of a verb to complete the sentence. But it is expressed in none of the ancient versions, and the sense gains by its omission. Translate: “And ye shall not turn aside after vain things which cannot profit nor deliver.” “Vain things” are false gods and idols, Heb. tôhû, literally emptiness. The same word is applied to them in Isaiah 41:29 (E. V. confusion), and to idol-makers in Isaiah 44:9. Cp. 1 Corinthians 8:4.Verse 21. - For then should ye go after vain things. The word for is omitted in all the ancient versions, and the sense is complete without it: "And turn ye not aside after tohu," the word used in Genesis 1:1, and there translated "without form." It means anything empty, void, and so is often used, as here, for "an idol," because, as St. Paul says, "an idol is nothing in the world" (1 Corinthians 8:4). So Isaiah (Isaiah 44:9) calls the makers of idols vanity, Hebrew, tohu, i.e. empty people, with no sense in them. The word is used again at the end of the verse - which idols cannot profit nor deliver; for they are tohu, emptiness.
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