Deuteronomy 32:15
But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
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(15) Jeshurun is a diminutive—a term of endearment. Either “the child of the upright,” or “the beloved Israel.” The letters of the diminutive of Israel, if slightly abbreviated, would make “Jeshurun.” It is peculiar to Deuteronomy (here and in Deuteronomy 33:5; Deuteronomy 33:26) and Isaiah (Isaiah 44:2). Two of the Targums render the word by “Israel here.” The third retains the word itself. The LXX. translate it “the beloved one.”

Kicked.—Only in 1Samuel 2:29 : “Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and mine offering . . . to make yourselves fat?"

Grown thick.—As Rehoboam said, “My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins.” Both these parallels illustrate the spirit of the verse.

Deuteronomy 32:15. Jeshurun — Israel is called Jeshurun, both here and chap. Deuteronomy 33:5; Deuteronomy 33:26; as also Isaiah 44:2. Some consider the word as being derived from שׁור, shur, to see, and think the appellation was given them because they were so highly favoured with divine manifestations. But it is much more probable that it is derived from ישׁר, jashar, to be right, upright, or righteous, and that they are called Jeshurun, because they were a people professing righteousness, and were governed by righteous laws. Moses might also give them this name by way of instruction, to remind them what they ought to be, and by way of reproof, to show them what a shame it was that they should degenerate so far from their name and profession. Waxed fat and kicked — As well-fed cattle were wont to do: he grew insolent and rebellious against God, and against his word and Spirit. Moses here, transported in his mind to future scenes, speaks in the prophetic style, which often represents future events as actually present, or already past, to denote the certainty of the things foretold. The meaning is, that Israel, in the days of their prosperity, would make a very bad use of the blessings bestowed on them, would spurn at the yoke of God’s law, and become wanton and ungovernable, like pampered horses. And lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation — That is, his mighty Saviour and Deliverer; as if he had said, I see the time approaching when they shall notoriously abuse the goodness of God, and behave with the utmost ingratitude toward the Author of all their mercies. The Hebrew word ינבלjenabel, which we render, He lightly esteemed, signifies, He rejected with the greatest contempt. Thus the Jews, in after ages, rejected their Messiah, who was in the most eminent sense the Rock of their salvation, and thereby again most awfully fulfilled this prophecy, after they had fulfilled it several times before. But prosperity is but too apt to make men forget and forsake God, and lightly to esteem both him and his salvation.

32:15-18 Here are two instances of the wickedness of Israel, each was apostacy from God. These people were called Jeshurun, an upright people, so some; a seeing people, so others: but they soon lost the reputation both of their knowledge and of their righteousness. They indulged their appetites, as if they had nothing to do but to make provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts of it. Those who make a god of themselves, and a god of their bellies, in pride and wantonness, and cannot bear to be told of it, thereby forsake God, and show they esteem him lightly. There is but one way of a sinner's acceptance and sanctification, however different modes of irreligion, or false religion, may show that favourable regard for other ways, which is often miscalled candid. How mad are idolaters, who forsake the Rock of salvation, to run themselves upon the rock of perdition!Jesbarun - This word, found again only in Deuteronomy 33:5, Deuteronomy 33:26, and Isaiah 44:2, is not a diminutive but an appellative (containing an allusion to the root, "to be righteous"); and describes not the character which belonged to Israel in fact, but that to which Israel was called. Compare Numbers 23:21. The prefixing of this epithet to the description of Israel's apostasy contained in the words next following is full of keen reproof.15. But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked—This is a poetical name for Israel. The metaphor here used is derived from a pampered animal, which, instead of being tame and gentle, becomes mischievous and vicious, in consequence of good living and kind treatment. So did the Israelites conduct themselves by their various acts of rebellion, murmuring, and idolatrous apostasy. Joshurun, i.e. Israel, as is agreed by Christian and Jewish interpreters, whom he calls right, or upright, or righteous, (as the word signifies,) not that they were so indeed, but partly by way of instruction, to mind them what they professed, and promised, and ought to be; and partly by way of exprobration, to show them how unlike they were to the people of God, which they pretended to be, and what a shame it was to them to degenerate so much from their their name and profession.

Waxed fat, and kicked, as well-fed and wanton cattle used to do; he grew insolent and rebellious against God, and against his word and Spirit.

Thou art covered with fatness; which is here rightly understood and supplied, by comparing this place with Job 15:27 Psalm 17:10.

But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked,.... This is undoubtedly a name of the people of Israel; it is to be met with only in three places more, in Deuteronomy 33:5; it is generally thought to come from a word (d) which signifies upright and righteous, such these people ought to have been, and some among them were; and they generally professed themselves, and outwardly appeared to be upright, just, and righteous persons, and were desirous of being reckoned so; which was their character in the times of Christ, when they rejected him: others derive it from a word (e) which signifies to behold, to see, and so describes them as seeing ones; and such they had been in the times of Moses, saw extraordinary sights and wonders in Egypt, the great salvation at the Red sea, the Lord going before them in a pillar of cloud and life; the manna every day falling about their tents; twice rocks smitten, and waters flowing from them, and had often very uncommon sights of the glory of God: and in the times of Christ, to which this song refers, they saw him in the flesh, preaching in their synagogues, doing miracles, riding on an ass to Jerusalem, according to one of their prophecies, and expiring on the cross, and yet rejected him. They are said to "wax fat", enjoy great outward prosperity, to abound in temporal good things, as they also did in spiritual, privileges; enjoying, or they might have enjoyed, such a ministry of the word, as never was before or since, the ministry of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, of Christ himself, and of his apostles, yet they "kicked"; which may denote their disobedience to the laws of God, moral and ceremonial, see 1 Samuel 2:29; and particularly the introduction of idolatry among them, which was kicking against God, and his worship; first among the ten tribes, in the times of Jeroboam, and among the two tribes, more especially in the times of Manasseh; and this kicking was particularly verified in Judas's lifting up his heel against Christ, and betraying him; which was not merely the sin of him only, but what the whole body of the people were involved in, see Psalm 41:9,

thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; which is repeated and expressed by different words, both for the certainty of it, and to denote their great affluence of good things, and so the more to aggravate their impiety and ingratitude, next observed:

then he forsook God which made him; the worship of God, as the Targum of Jonathan, giving into idolatry in times past; and the written word of God, by giving heed to the traditions of the elders, to the making void and of none effect the word of God; or Christ, the essential Word of God; so the Targum of Jonathan,"and left the Word of God, who created them;''that Word of God which was in the beginning of all things, and by whom all things were made, and they also; who in the fulness of time was made flesh, and dwelt among men, John 1:1,

and lightly esteemed the rock of his salvation; the same divine Person, described in Deuteronomy 32:4; and there called "the Rock"; see Gill on Deuteronomy 32:4; here "the rock of salvation"; because salvation flows from him: he is the author of it, and it is to be had of him, and no other; and this epithet shows not only his ability and strength to effect it, but the security of it in him, which being wrought out is an everlasting one. He is said to be the rock of "his" salvation, Jeshurun or Israel, he being of the Jews, raised up among them, and sent unto them, and was the Saviour of some of them actually, even of the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and on account of his salvation deserving of universal esteem. But the Jews "lightly esteemed" him, had no value for him, set this rock and stone at nought; he was refused and rejected by the builders, who is now the head of the corner; they despised him, mocked at him, and treated him with the utmost contempt and disdain, yea, with abhorrence; all which, and more, is signified by the word here used: they traduced him as a vile and wicked person, and charged and, treated him as such, so some render the word (f); and, as others (g), they made a dead carcass of him, they crucified and slew him; this is the crime of ingratitude hinted at in Deuteronomy 32:6; and all between is an enumeration of instances of divine goodness to this people, mentioned with a view to aggravate this unheard of sin.

(d) "rectum esse". (e) "cernere, intueri", Cocceius, Van Till. (f) "pro scelerato tractavit", Cocceius. (g) "Cadaver fecit", Van Till.

{i} But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.

(i) He shows what is the principal end of our vocation.

15. The line (And) Jacob ate and was full is added by Sam. to the previous v., but by the LXX to this one to which it is more suitable; cp. Deuteronomy 31:20, Nehemiah 9:25.

Jeshurun] Deuteronomy 33:5; Deuteronomy 33:26, Isaiah 44:2, a name for the people (cp. Jashar, Joshua 10:13, 2 Samuel 1:18) with a play upon the name Israel; and, as it means honest or upright, it is used here sarcastically of so delinquent and perverse a race.

Thou wast waxen fatplumpsleek] Note the change to the 2nd pers. and the fact that if the additional line from the Sam. and LXX be prefixed to the v. this line forms an odd one among its couplets; which may be taken as an argument against either its originality or that of the line added by the LXX. Sleek, perhaps we should read the same vb. as in Jeremiah 5:28 (Grätz); the Heb. vb. here means thou art gorged.

God] Heb. ’Eloah, ‘probably only a secondary form obtained inferentially from ‘Elohîm,’ only in late writings, chiefly poetry.

lightly esteemed] Rather held, or treated, as a fool, Micah 7:6. How often in their superstition men act as if God could be tricked, and in their immorality as if He were senseless. Yet God is sensitive, as the next v. declares, and as Isaiah says is wise. On Rock see Deuteronomy 32:4.

15–18. The Fulness and Apostasy of Israel

15 Jacob ate and was full,

Fat waxed Jeshurun and kicked,

—Thou wast fat, thou wast plump, thou wast sleek!

He forsook the God who had made him,

And befooled the Rock of his succour.

16 With strangers they moved Him to jealousy,

With abominations provoked Him,

17 They sacrificed to demons not God,

Gods whom they never had known,

New ones, lately come in,

Your sires never trembled at them.

18 Of the Rock that thee bare thou wast mindless,

And forgattest the God that had travailed with thee.

Verses 15-18. - Israel's ungrateful return for the Lord's benefits. Verse 15. - Jeshurun. This name, formed from יָשַׂר, righteous, designates Israel as chosen to be a righteous nation; and in the use of it here lies the keenest reproach of apostate Israel, as fallen into a state the opposite of that to which it was destined. "By using the name righteous in place of Israel, Moses ironically censures those who had swerved from rectitude; by recalling to memory with what dignity they had been endowed, he the more sharply rebukes the perfidy which was their crime" (Calvin). This name appears also in Deuteronomy 33:5, 26, and in Isaiah 44:2; but in these places without any implied censure. By some the word is regarded as a diminutive from יָשׂוּר, the same as יָשָׂר, in the sense of rectulus, justulus, "the good little people" (Gesenius); others as a diminutive from XXX, Israel, as a sort of term of endearment (Grotius). But the latter of these derivations is impossible; and as to the former, there lacks evidence of the termination un having a diminutive significance in Hebrew. Besides, neither here nor in Deuteronomy 33:5 would a term of endearment be suitable. Waxed fat, and kicked (cf. Deuteronomy 6:11; Deuteronomy 8:10; Deuteronomy 31:20). The allusion is to an ox that had grown fat through good feeding, and had become unmanageable in consequence (cf. 1 Samuel 2:26: Hosea 10:4). Lightly esteemed. The Hebrew is strongly expressive here: Thou hast treated as a fool (נִבֵּל, from נָבַל to be foolish (cf. Micah 7:6). Deuteronomy 32:15Israel had repaid its God for all these benefits by a base apostasy. - Deuteronomy 32:15. "But Righteous-nation became fat, and struck out - thou becamest fat, thick, gross - and let go God who made him, and despised the rock of his salvation." So much is certain concerning Jeshurun, that it was an honourable surname given to Israel; that it is derived from ישׁר, and describes Israel as a nation of just or right men (a similar description to that given by Balaam in Numbers 23:10), because Jehovah, who is just and right (Deuteronomy 32:4), had called it to uprightness, to walk in His righteousness, and chosen it as His servant (Isaiah 44:2). The prevalent opinion, that Jeshurun is a diminutive, and signifies rectalus, or "little pious" (Ges. and others), has no more foundation than the derivation from Israel, and the explanation, "little Israel," since there is no philological proof that the termination un ever had a diminutive signification in Hebrew (see Hengstenberg, Balaam, p. 415); and an appellatio blanda et charitativa is by no means suitable to this passage, much less to Deuteronomy 33:5. The epithet Righteous-nation, as we may render Jeshurun, was intended to remind Israel of its calling, and involved the serverest reproof of its apostasy. "By placing the name of righteous before Israel, he censured ironically those who had fallen away from righteousness; and by thus reminding them with what dignity they had been endowed, he upbraided them with the more severity for their guilt of perfidy. For in other places (sc., Deuteronomy 33:5, Deuteronomy 33:26) Israel is honoured with an eulogium of the same kind, without any such sinister meaning, but with simple regard to its calling; whilst here Moses shows reproachfully how far they had departed from that pursuit of piety, to the cultivation of which they had been called" (Calvin). The words, "became fat, and struck out," are founded upon the figure of an ox that had become fat, and intractable in consequence (vid., Isaiah 10:27; Hosea 4:16; and for the fact itself, Deuteronomy 6:11; Deuteronomy 8:10; Deuteronomy 31:20). To sharpen this reproof, Moses repeats the thought in the form of a direct address to the people: "Thou hast become fat, stout, gross." Becoming fat led to forsaking God, the Creator and ground of its salvation. "A full stomach does not promote piety, for it stands secure, and neglects God" (Luther). נבּל is no doubt a denom. verb from נבל, lit., to treat as a fool, i.e., to despise (vid., Micah. Deu 7:6).
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