But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Judges 2:2; Judges 3:5-6.
And learned their works - Their practices; their customs and habits: learned to live as they did. This was an illustration of the danger of contact with the wicked and the worldly. What occurred in their case has often occurred since in the history of the people of God, that by "mingling" with the world they have learned to practice their "works;" have become conformed to their manner of living, and have thus lost their spirituality, and brought dishonor on the cause of religion. There is some proper sense in which the people of God are not to be conformed to the world; in which, though living among them, they are to be separate from them; in which, though they are parts of the same nation, and live under the same government and laws, they are to be a distinct and special people, ruled supremely by higher laws, and having higher and nobler ends of life. Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17.
commanded—(Ex 23:32, 33), literally, "said (they should)," but conformed to their idolatries [Ps 106:36], and thus became spiritual adulterers (Ps 73:27).Mingled in their habits and negotiations, as also in marriages. Deuteronomy 7:2. Nor should saints have communion with wicked men, especially in things sinful and superstitious, 2 Corinthians 6:14.
And learned their works; not their civil works and actions, their trades and business, but their idolatrous works; of which a detail is given in the following verses: "evil communications corrupt good manners", 1 Corinthians 15:33.But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)35. But mingled themselves with the nations (R.V.), by matrimonial alliances (Ezra 9:2) and intercourse generally (Jdg 3:5-6).Verse 35. - But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. This was the effect of the continuous contact. "Evil communications corrupted good manners." The command to exterminate, which to moderns seems so terribly severe, and almost cruel, was undoubtedly based upon God's foreknowledge of the fact, that otherwise there would be contact, and if contact, then contamination. (For the actual fact, see Judges 2:11-13, 19; Judges 3:6, 7; Judges 6:25; Judges 10:6, etc.) Psalm 106:24, viz., the rebellion in consequence of the report of the spies, which he brings forward as the fourth principal sin, is narrated in Numbers 13, Numbers 14. The appellation ארץ חמדּה is also found in Jeremiah 3:19; Zechariah 7:14. As to the rest, the expression is altogether Pentateuchal. "They despised the land," after Numbers 14:31; "they murmured in their tents," after Deuteronomy 1:27; "to lift up the land" equals to swear, after Exodus 6:8; Deuteronomy 32:40; the threat להפּיל, to make them fall down, fall away, after Numbers 14:29, Numbers 14:32. The threat of exile is founded upon the two great threatening chapters, Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28:1; cf. more particularly Leviticus 26:33 (together with the echoes in Ezekiel 5:12; Ezekiel 12:14, etc.), Deuteronomy 28:64 (together with the echoes in Jeremiah 9:15; Ezekiel 22:15, etc.). Ezekiel 20:23 stands in a not accidental relationship to Psalm 106:26.; and according to that passage, וּלהפיל is an error of the copyist for וּלהפיץ (Hitzig).
Now follows in Psalm 106:28-31 the fifth of the principal sins, viz., the taking part in the Moabitish worship of Baal. The verb נצמד (to be bound or chained), taken from Numbers 25:3, Numbers 25:5, points to the prostitution with which Baal Per, this Moabitish Priapus, was worshipped. The sacrificial feastings in which, according to Numbers 25:2, they took part, are called eating the sacrifices of the dead, because the idols are dead beings (nekroi', Wisd. 13:10-18) as opposed to God, the living One. The catena on Revelation 2:14 correctly interprets: τὰ τοῖς εἰδώλοις τελεσθέντα κρέα.
(Note: In the second section of Aboda zara, on the words of the Mishna: "The flesh which is intended to be offered first of all to idols is allowed, but that which comes out of the temple is forbidden, because it is like sacrifices of the dead," it is observed, fol. 32b: "Whence, said R. Jehuda ben Bethra, do I know that that which is offered to idols (תקרובת לעבדה זרה) pollutes like a dead body? From Psalm 106:28. As the dead body pollutes everything that is under the same roof with it, so also does everything that is offered to idols." The Apostle Paul declares the objectivity of this pollution to be vain, cf. more particularly 1 Corinthians 10:28.)
The object of "they made angry" is omitted; the author is fond of this, cf. Psalm 106:7 and Psalm 106:32. The expression in Psalm 106:29 is like Exodus 19:24. The verb עמד is chosen with reference to Numbers 17:13. The result is expressed in Psalm 106:30 after Numbers 25:8, Numbers 25:18., Numbers 17:13. With פּלּל, to adjust, to judge adjustingly (lxx, Vulgate, correctly according to the sense, ἐξιλάσατο), the poet associates the thought of the satisfaction due to divine right, which Phinehas executed with the javelin. This act of zeal for Jahve, which compensated for Israel's unfaithfulness, was accounted unto him for righteousness, by his being rewarded for it with the priesthood unto everlasting ages, Numbers 25:10-13. This accounting of a work for righteousness is only apparently contradictory to Genesis 15:5.: it was indeed an act which sprang from a constancy in faith, and one which obtained for him the acceptation of a righteous man for the sake of this upon which it was based, by proving him to be such.
In Psalm 106:32, Psalm 106:33 follows the sixth of the principal sins, viz., the insurrection against Moses and Aaron at the waters of strife in the fortieth year, in connection with which Moses forfeited the entrance with them into the Land of Promise (Numbers 20:11., Deuteronomy 1:37; Deuteronomy 32:51), since he suffered himself to be carried away by the persevering obstinacy of the people against the Spirit of God (המרה mostly providing the future for מרה, as in Psalm 106:7, Psalm 106:43, Psalm 78:17, Psalm 78:40, Psalm 78:56, of obstinacy against God; on את־רוּחו cf. Isaiah 63:10) into uttering the words addressed to the people, Numbers 20:10, in which, as the smiting of the rock which was twice repeated shows, is expressed impatience together with a tinge of unbelief. The poet distinguishes, as does the narrative in Numbers 20, between the obstinacy of the people and the transgression of Moses, which is there designated, according to that which lay at the root of it, as unbelief. The retrospective reference to Numbers 27:14 needs adjustment accordingly.
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