New International Version
Like their ancestors they were disloyal and faithless, as unreliable as a faulty bow.
King James Bible
But turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow.
Darby Bible Translation
And they drew back and dealt treacherously like their fathers: they turned like a deceitful bow.
World English Bible
but turned back, and dealt treacherously like their fathers. They were turned aside like a deceitful bow.
Young's Literal Translation
And they turn back, And deal treacherously like their fathers, They have been turned like a deceitful bow,
Psalm 78:57 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
They were turned aside like a deceitful bow - The eastern bow, which when at rest is in the form of a [curved figure], must be recurved, or turned the contrary way, in order to be what is called bent and strung. If a person who is unskilful or weak attempt to recurve and string one of these bows, if he take not great heed it will spring back and regain its quiescent position, and perhaps break his arm. And sometimes I have known it, when bent, to start aside, and regain its quiescent position, to my no small danger, and in one or two cases to my injury. This image is frequently used in the sacred writings; but no person has understood it, not being acquainted with the eastern bow [curved figure], which must be recurved, or bent the contrary way, [figure] in order to be proper for use. If not well made, they will fly back in discharging the arrow. It is said of the bow of Jonathan, it turned not back, 2 Samuel 1:22, לא נשוג אחור lo nasog achor, "did not twist itself backward." It was a good bow, one on which he could depend. Hosea, Hosea 7:16, compares the unfaithful Israelites to a deceitful bow; one that, when bent, would suddenly start aside and recover its former position. We may find the same passage in Jeremiah 9:3. And this is precisely the kind of bow mentioned by Homer, Odyss. xxi., which none of Penelope's suitors could bend, called καμπυλα τοξα and αγκυλα τοξα, the crooked bow in the state of rest; but τοξον παλιντονον, the recurred bow when prepared for use. And of this trial of strength and skill in the bending of the bow of Ulysses, none of the critics and commentators have been able to make any thing, because they knew not the instrument in question. On the τοξου θησις of Homer, I have written a dissertation elsewhere. The image is very correct; these Israelites, when brought out of their natural bent, soon recoiled, and relapsed into their former state.
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'That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.'--PSALM lxxviii. 7. In its original application this verse is simply a statement of God's purpose in giving to Israel the Law, and such a history of deliverance. The intention was that all future generations might remember what He had done, and be encouraged by the remembrance to hope in Him for the future; and by both memory and hope, be impelled to the discharge of present duty. So, then, the words …
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All this came upon us, though we had not forgotten you; we had not been false to your covenant.
Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path.
The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle;
I will listen to what God the LORD says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants-- but let them not turn to folly.
We have sinned, even as our ancestors did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly.
"Therefore, son of man, speak to the people of Israel and say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In this also your ancestors blasphemed me by being unfaithful to me:
When I brought them into the land I had sworn to give them and they saw any high hill or any leafy tree, there they offered their sacrifices, made offerings that aroused my anger, presented their fragrant incense and poured out their drink offerings.
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