Lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice to their gods, and one call you, and you eat of his sacrifice;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants.—If a covenant were made with the idolatrous nations of Canaan, and they were allowed to dwell in the land together with the Israelites (Exodus 23:33), the danger would be, in the first place, that Israel would be induced to partake in the idol-feasts; secondly, that intermarriages would take place; and thirdly, that such Israelites as married idolatrous wives would be persuaded by them to join in their worship, and would thus be seduced into actual idolatry. Solomon’s example shows the reality of the peril. (See 1Kings 11:1-8.)Exodus 34:12. The unfaithfulness of the nation to its covenant with Yahweh is here for the first time spoken of as a breach of the marriage bond. The metaphor is, in any case, a natural one, but it seems to gain point, if we suppose it to convey an allusion to the abominations connected with pagan worship, such as are spoken of in Numbers 25:1-3.A covenant, for cohabitation, or to suffer them quietly to live among you, whom you should drive out.
Go a whoring, i.e. commit idolatry, which is oft called and compared to spiritual whoredom. See Jer 2 Jer 3 Eze 16.
And thou eat of his sacrifice to wit of the parts or remainders of his sacrifice, whereby thou wilt partake with him in an idolatrous worship; because such feasts were a part of the worship offered to the idol, and were accompanied with solemn benedictions and thanksgivings to the idol. See Numbers 25:2 Psalm 106:28 Ezekiel 18:6 Ezekiel 22:9 1 Corinthians 10:20 Revelation 2:20. Exodus 34:12 and inserted and connected thus, "take heed to thyself, lest thou make", &c.
and they go a whoring after their gods; that is, the inhabitants of the land, and particularly those with whom the Israelites made a covenant, and entered into a marriage relation with, and perhaps on this condition, that they would abstain from idolatry; and yet, contrary to the obligation they laid themselves under, lust after their idols, and commit spiritual fornication or adultery with them, which is explained by the next clause:
and do sacrifice unto their gods; such as the first institutors of their idolatry enjoined, and their ancestors had observed, and were according to the rites and customs of the country:
and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; invite to eat of what remained, that was offered to the idol: hence it appears, that having feasts at sacrifices, and eating things offered to idols in a festival way, are very ancient practices; see 1 Corinthians 10:27.Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. go a whoring after] a term of disparagement for, ‘desert Jehovah for.’ The same expression, v. 16, Deuteronomy 31:16 (J); Leviticus 17:7; Leviticus 20:5 (Heb. ‘after Molech’), both H; Jdg 2:17; Jdg 8:27; Jdg 8:33 (all the Deut. compiler); Ezekiel 20:30; 1 Chronicles 5:25 : also, more generally, of following an unworthy object, Leviticus 20:6, Numbers 15:39 (both H); Ezekiel 6:9.
and thou eat, &c.] See on Exodus 18:12; and comp. esp. Numbers 25:2.
15, 16. The consequences likely to follow from any alliance with the Canaanites: participation in their rites, and intermarriage with them, leading (v. 16b) to still further idolatry.Verses 15, 16. - The probable consequences of making treaties with the Canaanite nations, alluded to in ver. 12, and in Exodus 23:33, are here fully set forth. They include -
1. Joining in their idol-feasts;
3. The actual apostasy cf. those who married idolatrous wives.
The event fully justified the warning here given. See Judges 2:2, 11-13, 17; Judges 6:25; Judges 10:6, etc. They go a whoring. This expression, so common in the later books, is here used for the first time It implies that the relation between man and God is analogous to that of the marriage-bond, so that deserting him for other gods is a species of adultery. Compare the frequent representations in the New Testament of Christ as the "Bridegroom" and the Church as his "Bride." Exodus 33:14); but as Moses had asked for a sign of the glory of the Lord as a seal to the promise, it was perfectly natural that, when this petition was granted, he should lay hold of the grace that had been revealed to him as it never had been before, and endeavour to give even greater stability to the covenant. To this end he repeated his former intercession on behalf of the nation, at the same time making this confession, "For it is a stiff-necked people; therefore forgive our iniquity and our sin, and make us the inheritance." Moses spoke collectively, including himself in the nation in the presence of God. The reason which he assigned pointed to the deep root of corruption that had broken out in the worship of the golden calf, and was appropriately pleaded as a motive for asking forgiveness, inasmuch as God Himself had assigned the natural corruption of the human race as a reason why He would not destroy it again with a flood (Genesis 8:21). Wrath was mitigated by a regard to the natural condition. - נחל in the Kal, with an accusative of the person, does not mean to lead a person into the inheritance, but to make a person into an inheritance; here, therefore, to make Israel the possession of Jehovah (Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 9:26, cf. Zechariah 2:12). Jehovah at once declared (Exodus 34:10) that He would conclude a covenant, i.e., restore the broken covenant, and do marvels before the whole nation, such as had not been done in all the earth or in any nation, and thus by these His works distinguish Israel before all nations as His own property (Exodus 33:16). The nation was to see this, because it would be terrible; terrible, namely, through the overthrow of the powers that resisted the kingdom of God, every one of whom would be laid prostrate and destroyed by the majesty of the Almighty.
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