Psalm 106:39
Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
106:34-48 The conduct of the Israelites in Canaan, and God's dealings with them, show that the way of sin is down-hill; omissions make way for commissions: when they neglected to destroy the heathen, they learned their works. One sin led to many more, and brought the judgments of God on them. Their sin was, in part, their own punishment. Sinners often see themselves ruined by those who led them into evil. Satan, who is a tempter, will be a tormentor. At length, God showed pity to his people for his covenant's sake. The unchangeableness of God's merciful nature and love to his people, makes him change the course of justice into mercy; and no other change is meant by God's repentance. Our case is awful when the outward church is considered. When nations professing Christianity, are so guilty as we are, no wonder if the Lord brings them low for their sins. Unless there is general and deep repentance, there can be no prospect but of increasing calamities. The psalm concludes with prayer for completing the deliverance of God's people, and praise for the beginning and progress of it. May all the people of the earth, ere long, add their Amen.Thus were they defiled with their own works - By their very attempts to deliver themselves from sin. They were corrupt, and the consciousness that they were sinners led them to the commission of even greater enormities in attempting to expiate their guilt, even by the sacrifice of their own sons and daughters. Thus all the religions of the pagan begin in sin, and end in sin. The consciousness of sin only leads to the commission of greater sin; to all the abominations of idol-worship; to the sacrifice - the murder - of the innocent, with the vain hope of thus making expiation for their crimes. Sinners have never yet been able to devise a way by which they may make themselves pure. It is only the great Sacrifice made on the cross which meets the case; which provides expiation; and which saves from future sin.

And went a whoring - Apostacy from God and backsliding are ofen illustrated in the Scriptures by the violation of the marriage compact, as the relation between God and his people is often compared with the relation between a husband and wife. Compare Isaiah 62:5; Jeremiah 3:14; Jeremiah 7:9; Jeremiah 13:27; Ezekiel 16:20, Ezekiel 16:22, Ezekiel 16:25, Ezekiel 16:33-34; Ezekiel 23:17.

With their own inventions - More literally, With their own works. See the notes at Psalm 106:29.

38. polluted with blood—literally, "blood," or "murder" (Ps 5:6; 26:9). Committed spiritual whoredom, by worshipping those idols which were but human inventions, and that in such an unnatural and bloody manner, as they had devised. Thus were they defiled with their own works,.... Not the land only, but they themselves also; or "with their works" (a), with the works of the Heathen they learned, Psalm 106:35, or rather with their own works, the works of the flesh, especially their shocking idolatries: sin is of a defiling nature; it has defiled all men, it defiles all of men, all the faculties of their souls, and all the members of their bodies; nor can anything truly and thoroughly cleanse from it but the blood of Christ: even men's works of righteousness are as filthy rags and defiling, and much more their evil works.

And went a whoring with their own inventions; after other gods; idolatry is often in Scripture signified by whoredom; the idolatry of Israel and Judah is represented by two harlots and their lewd practices, in Ezekiel 23:1 and hence the apostate church of Rome is compared to a whore, because of her idolatry, Revelation 17:1.

(a) "operibus earum", Muis; so Ainsworth.

Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went {x} a whoring with their own inventions.

(x) Then true chastity is to cleave wholly and only to God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
39. So they were defiled in their works,

And went a whoring in their doings.

As the relation of Israel to Jehovah is expressed by the figure of marriage (Hosea 2:2 ff., and often), the abandonment of Jehovah for other gods is described as infidelity to the marriage vow. Cp. Exodus 34:15-16; Deuteronomy 31:16 : &c.Verse 39. - Thus were they defiled with their own works. The heathen "works," which they adopted from them (ver. 35), had become "their own works," and made them a "defiled" and "polluted" people. And went a-whoring with their own inventions; i.e. "became spiritually adulterous," deserted God, and were unfaithful to him (comp. Ezekiel 23:2-21; Hosea 2:2-5). The fact to which the poet refers in 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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