8:7-12 A secret place was, as it were, opened, where the prophet saw creatures painted on the walls, and a number of the elders of Israel worshipped before them. No superiority in worldly matters will preserve men from lust, or idolatries, when they are left to their own deceitful hearts; and those who are soon wearied in the service of God, often grudge no toil nor expense when following their superstitions. When hypocrites screen themselves behind the wall of an outward profession, there is some hole or other left in the wall, something that betrays them to those who look diligently. There is a great deal of secret wickedness in the world. They think themselves out of God's sight. But those are ripe indeed for ruin, who lay the blame of their sins upon the Lord.
11. seventy men—the seventy members composing the Sanhedrim, or great council of the nation, the origination of which we find in the seventy elders, representatives of the congregation, who went up with Moses to the mount to behold the glory of Jehovah, and to witness the secret transactions relating to the establishment of the covenant; also, in the seventy elders appointed to share the burden of the people with Moses. How awfully it aggravates the national sin, that the seventy, once admitted to the Lord's secret council (Ps 25:14), should now, "in the dark," enter "the secret" of the wicked (Ge 49:6), those judicially bound to suppress idolatry being the ringleaders of it!
Jaazaniah—perhaps chief of the seventy: son of Shaphan, the scribe who read to Josiah the book of the law; the spiritual privileges of the son (2Ki 22:10-14) increased his guilt. The very name means, "Jehovah hears," giving the lie to the unbelief which virtually said (Eze 9:9), "The Lord seeth us not," &c. (compare Ps 10:11, 14; 50:21; 94:7, 9). The offering of incense belonged not to the elders, but to the priests; this usurpation added to the guilt of the former.
cloud of incense—They spared no expense for their idols. Oh, that there were the same liberality toward the cause of God!