Exodus 34:15
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;
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(15, 16) 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.)

34:10-17 The Israelites are commanded to destroy every monument of idolatry, however curious or costly; to refuse all alliance, friendship, or marriage with idolaters, and all idolatrous feasts; and they were reminded not with idolaters, and all idolatrous feats; and they were reminded not to repeat the crime of making molten images. Jealously is called the rage of a man, Pr 6:34; but in God it is holy and just displeasure. Those cannot worship God aright, who do not worship him only.An expansion of 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 25:1-3.9, 10. he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us—On this proclamation, he, in the overflowing benevolence of s heart, founded an earnest petition for the Divine Presence being continued with the people; and God was pleased to give His favorable answer to Moses' intercession by a renewal of His promise under the form of a covenant, repeating the leading points that formed the conditions of the former national compact. 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.

Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land,.... A marriage covenant, taking their daughters in marriage to their sons, and "vice versa", as the following words show; here the caution is to be understood and the words supplied from 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;
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;

2. Intermarriages;

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 34:15To recall the duties of the covenant once more to the minds of the people, the Lord repeats from among the rights of Israel, upon the basis of which the covenant had been established (ch. 21-23), two of the leading points which determined the attitude of the nation towards Him, and which constituted, as it were, the main pillars that were to support the covenant about to be renewed. These were, first, the warning against every kind of league with the Canaanites, who were to be driven out before the Israelites (Exodus 34:11-16); and, secondly, the instructions concerning the true worship of Jehovah (Exodus 34:17-26). The warning against friendship with the idolatrous Canaanites (Exodus 34:11-16) is more fully developed and more strongly enforced than in Exodus 23:23. The Israelites, when received into the covenant with Jehovah, were not only to beware of forming any covenant with the inhabitants of Canaan (cf. Exodus 23:32-33), but were to destroy all the signs of their idolatrous worship, such as altars, monuments (see Exodus 23:24), and asherim, the idols of Astarte, the Canaanitish goddess of nature, which consisted for the most part of wooden pillars (see my Comm. on 1 Kings 14:23), and to worship no other god, because Jehovah was called jealous, i.e., had revealed Himself as jealous (see at Exodus 20:5), and was a jealous God. This was commanded, that the Israelites might not suffer themselves to be led astray by such an alliance; to go a whoring after their gods, and sacrifice to them, to take part in their sacrificial festivals, or to marry their sons to the daughters of the Canaanites, by whom they would be persuaded to join in the worship of idols. The use of the expression "go a whoring" in a spiritual sense, in relation to idolatry, is to be accounted for on the ground, that the religious fellowship of Israel with Jehovah was a covenant resembling the marriage tie; and we meet with it for the first time, here, immediately after the formation of this covenant between Israel and Jehovah. The phrase is all the more expressive on account of the literal prostitution that was frequently associated with the worship of Baal and Astarte (cf. Leviticus 17:7; Leviticus 20:5-6; Numbers 14:33, etc.). We may see from Numbers 25:1. how Israel was led astray by this temptation in the wilderness.
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