When you come to appear before me, who has required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)When ye come to appear before me.—Literally, before my face. This is the meaning given by the present Hebrew text, and it is, of course, adequate. The Syriac version and some modern scholars (e.g., Cheyne) adopt a reading which gives to see my face. In either case the implied thought is that the worshippers believed they came into the more immediate presence of Jehovah when, they entered the Temple courts. To “appear before God” was the normal phrase for visiting the Temple at the three great Feasts and other solemn occasions (Exodus 34:23; Psalm 42:3; Psalm 84:7).Exodus 34:23-24; Deuteronomy 31:11; 1 Samuel 1:22; Psalm 42:3.
Who hath required this - The Jews were required to appear there to worship God Exodus 23:17; Deuteronomy 16:16; but it was not required that they should appear with that spirit and temper. A similar sentiment is expressed in Psalm 50:16.
At your hand - From you. The emphasis in this expression is to be laid on your. 'Who has asked it of you?' It was indeed the duty of the humble, and the sincere, to tread those courts, but who had required such hypocrites as they were to do it? God sought the offerings of pure worshippers, not those of the hypocritical and the profane.
To tread my courts - The courts of the temple were the different areas or open spaces which surrounded it. None entered the temple itself but the priests. The people worshipped God in the courts assigned them around the temple. In one of those courts was the altar of burnt-offerings; and the sacrifices were all made there; see the notes at Matthew 21:12. To tread his courts was an expression therefore, equivalent to, to worship. To tread the courts of the Lord here, has the idea of profanation. Who has required you to tread those courts with this hollow, heartless service? It is often used in the sense of treading down, or trampling on, 2 Kings 7:17-20; Daniel 8:7-10; Isaiah 63:3-16.
who hath required this—as if you were doing God a service by such hypocritical offerings (Job 35:7). God did require it (Ex 23:17), but not in this spirit (Mic 6:6, 7).
courts—areas, in which the worshippers were. None but priests entered the temple itself.When ye come to appear before me, upon the three solemn feasts, Exodus 23:17 34:23, or upon other occasions.
Who hath required this at your hands, to wit, in this manner, and upon these terms? The thing that I commanded was not only nor chiefly that you should offer external sacrifices to me, but that you should do it with true repentance for all your sins, with faith in my promises, with hearty love to me, and sincere resolutions of devoting yourselves to my service, without which you offer me a dead carcass instead of a living sacrifice.
My courts; the courts of my temple, which were two, that of the priests, and that where the people assembled, 2 Chronicles 4:9. So this reproof seems to be directed against both priests and people, as unworthy to enjoy this privilege. Exodus 23:17.
who hath required this at your hand; either to appear at such times, these feasts being no more to be observed; or to offer the above sacrifices; these were not required of the Israelites when they first came out of Egypt, Jeremiah 7:22 nor were they necessary to appear before God with, or to introduce them to the throne of his grace, Micah 6:6 and much less under the Gospel dispensation, being abolished by the sacrifice of Christ; or this relates to what follows,
to tread my courts? in that unbecoming and hypocritical way they did, and with such wicked hearts and bloody hands. "Courts" are mentioned, because, as Kimchi observes, the Israelites stood in the courts of the Lord's house, and did not go into the temple, only the priests.When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)12. to appear before me] R.V. marg. (following one Hebr. MS.) suggests to see my face, which is grammatically easier. It is thought that here and elsewhere the traditional text has substituted the passive for the active so as to avoid the appearance of anthropomorphism. On either view the phrase is a technical one, denoting the act of worship in the sanctuary: Exodus 23:15; Exodus 23:17; Exodus 34:20; Exodus 34:23; Deuteronomy 16:16; Deuteronomy 31:11; 1 Samuel 1:22.
to tread] Better to trample; the idea of desecration is implied. This ending of the question seems weak: LXX. transfers the clause to the beginning of the next verse: “My courts ye shall no more trample; to bring oblations is vain, &c.”Verse 12. - When ye come to appear before me. Mr. Cheyne translates, "to see my face;" but most other commentators (Gesenius, Delitzsch, Ewald, Kay) regard the phrase used as equivalent to that employed in Exodus 23:17; Exodus 34:23; Deuteronomy 16:16; and the passage as referring to that attendance in the temple at the three great annual festivals, which was required of all adult male Israelites. The requirement of the Law was still observed in the letter, but not in the spirit. They came with no true religious object. Hence the question which follows: Who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? This was not what God had enjoined - a mere bodily attendance, a trampling of his courts with their feet, when their hearts were far from him. Genesis 1:2, so that it must be pronounced zóru), it has the tone upon the penultimate, for which it would be impossible to discover any reason, if it were derived from zârâh. For the assumption that the tone is drawn back to prepare the way for the strong tone of the next verb (Chubbâshu) is arbitrary, as the influence of the pause, though it sometimes reaches the last word but one, never extends to the last but two. Moreover, according to the usage of speech, zorâh signifies to be dispersed, not to be pressed out; whereas zur and zârar are commonly used in the sense of pressing together and squeezing out. Consequently zoru is either the kal of an intransitive zor in the middle voice (like boshu), or, what is more probable - as zoru, the middle voice in Psalm 58:4, has a different meaning (abalienati sunt: cf., Isaiah 1:4) - the kal of zârar ( equals Arab. Constringere), which is here conjugated as an intransitive (cf., Job 24:24, rommu, and Genesis 49:23, where robbu is used in an active sense). The surgical treatment so needed by the nation was a figurative representation of the pastoral addresses of the prophets, which had been delivered indeed, but, inasmuch as their salutary effects were dependent upon the penitential sorrow of the people, might as well have never been delivered at all. The people had despised the merciful, compassionate kindness of their God. They had no liking for the radical cure which the prophets had offered to effect. All the more pitiable, therefore, was the condition of the body, which was sick within, and diseased from head to foot. The prophet is speaking here of the existing state of things. He affirms that it is all over with the nation; and this is the ground and object of his reproachful lamentations. Consequently, when he passes in the next v. from figurative language to literal, we may presume that he is still speaking of his own times. It is Isaiah's custom to act in this manner as his own expositor (compare Isaiah 1:22 with Isaiah 1:23). The body thus inwardly and outwardly diseased, was, strictly speaking, the people and the land in their fearful condition at that time.
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