57:3-12 The Lord here calls apostates and hypocrites to appear before him. When reproved for their sins, and threatened with judgments, they ridiculed the word of God. The Jews were guilty of idolatry before the captivity; but not after that affliction. Their zeal in the worship of false gods, may shame our indifference in the worship of the true God. The service of sin is disgraceful slavery; those who thus debase themselves to hell, will justly have their portion there. Men incline to a religion that inflames their unholy passions. They are led to do any evil, however great or vile, if they think it will atone for crimes, or purchase indulgence for some favourite lust. This explains idolatry, whether pagan, Jewish, or antichristian. But those who set up anything instead of God, for their hope and confidence, never will come to a right end. Those who forsake the only right way, wander in a thousand by-paths. The pleasures of sin soon tire, but never satisfy. Those who care not for the word of God and his providences, show they have no fear of God. Sin profits not; it ruins and destroys.
5. Enflaming yourselves—burning with lust towards idols [Gesenius]; or else (compare Margin), in the terebinth groves, which the Hebrew and the parallelism favor (see on Isa 1:29) [Maurer].
under … tree—(2Ki 17:10). The tree, as in the Assyrian sculptures, was probably made an idolatrous symbol of the heavenly hosts.
slaying … children—as a sacrifice to Molech, &c. (2Ki 17:31; 2Ch 28:3; 33:6).
in … valleys—the valley of the son of Hinnom. Fire was put within a hollow brazen statue, and the child was put in his heated arms; kettle drums (Hebrew, toph) were beaten to drown the child's cries; whence the valley was called Tophet (2Ch 33:6; Jer 7:3).
under … clifts—the gloom of caverns suiting their dark superstitions.