XX The prophet consulted by the elders, signifies God's displeasure against them, ver. 1-3. Gives them a history of God's dealings with their fathers, and their treacherous dealings with God in Egypt, ver. 4-9. In the wilderness, ver. 10-26. In Canaan, ver. 27-32. Judgments denounced against them, ver. 33-36. Mercy promised to a remnant, ver. 37-44. A word dropt toward Jerusalem, ver. 45-49.
Verse 1. The seventh year - Of Zedekiah's reign, two years and five months before Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem. Came - Yet resolved before-hand what they would do.
Verse 3. Are ye come - Are ye in good earnest?
Verse 4. Wilt thou - Wilt thou not convince and reprove them? And denounce my judgments against them? The abominations - What their fathers have done, they approve, and have outdone; by that let them know what to expect.
Verse 5. When I chose - When I shewed that I had chosen them. The history of the rebellions of the children of Israel, begins as early, as their beginning. So does the history of man's apostasy from his Maker. No sooner have we read the story of his creation, but we meet with that of his rebellion. So we see here, it was with Israel; a people designed to represent the body of mankind, both in their dealings with God, and in God's dealing with them. Lifted up my hand - Or stretched out and made bare my arm; that is, magnified my power for their deliverance. When I lifted up mine hand - Shewed my power in performing my oath, and assuring them of doing what was farther promised.
Verse 6. I had espied - God speaks after the manner of men. Milk and honey - Literally milk and honey in abundance were in the land of Canaan. Proverbially it speaks the plenty and abundance of all the blessings of life.
Verse 7. Of his eyes - To which you have looked for help.
Verse 8. To accomplish - To make an end of them.
Verse 9. For my name's sake - For the glory of my mercy and faithfulness. Polluted - Reproached and blasphemed.
Verse 12. A sign - Of their being peculiarly my people.
Verse 13. In the wilderness - Where they most needed my care and favour; where the preserving their life from destruction by the noxious creatures, and from famine by the barrenness of the wilderness, was a continued miracle.
Verse 15. I lifted up my hand - I swear. Them - So all the murmuring, disobedient, unbelieving generation was excluded, and their children were brought in.
Verse 18. Walk ye not - Live not as your fathers did.
Verse 20. Hallow - Remember to keep them holy.
Verse 22. I withdrew - God seems to take the posture of one that was just going to smite, yet draws back that he might spare.
Verse 23. I lifted - I swear.
Verse 25. Wherefore - Because they rejected my good laws and judgments. I gave them - Not by enjoining, but by permitting them to make such for themselves. Not good - That were pernicious to the users.
Verse 26. Polluted - I permitted them to pollute themselves. Might know - Be forced to own, that the Lord is a mighty king in punishing those that would not have him a gracious king in governing them.
Verse 29. What - What mean you that you go to the highplace? What do you find so inviting there, that you will leave God's altar, where he requires your attendance, to frequent such places as he has forbidden you to worship in? Bamah - That is, the highplace.
Verse 31. Shall I be inquired of - Are you fit to ask counsel of me, whom you have so obstinately forsaken and reproached?
Verse 32. And that - God to convince them, tells them what they think and have purposed. Shall not be - Shall be quite frustrated. We will be - Will unite with them in marriages, commerce, and religion too; and then we shall be safe among them.
Verse 34. The people - Sidonians, Ammonites, Moabites, or whoever they were, to whom the apostate Jews betook themselves, where they thought to lurk, God will bring them thence into Babylonish captivity.
Verse 35. Bring you - Drive you. The wilderness - Into the most horrid parts of the world; into the mountainous parts of Media, Hyrcania, Iberia, Caspia, Albania, and Scythia. Plead with you - Pass sentence, and execute it on you.
Verse 36. Your fathers - Who died there, and never entered Canaan.
Verse 37. I will cause - I will bring you out by number, so that you shall either own my scepter, or by a conquered subjection, yield to my sword and power. Under the rod - Referring to the manner of shepherds in that country, who did tell their sheep in, and out of the fold. Bring you - The voluntary and obedient into covenant with myself.
Verse 39. But pollute - But while ye are such idolaters, forbear to take my name into your lips.
Verse 40. Mine holy mountain - Sion, God's holy hill, Psalm ii, 6. Holy by designation, and God's own appointing it for his temple and presence. Of the height - Sion, tho' lower than many other hills, yet was above them all for God's peculiar presence. In the land - Their own land. Your offerings - When I have brought you into the land, then I will require your offerings as formerly: you shall see my temple built, Jerusalem filled with inhabitants, and my worship restored.
Verse 41. Sanctified - Magnified and praised for the good I do to my people.
Verse 43. Remember - Review your former ways with sorrow: remember, and grieve.
Verse 46. The south - Look toward Jerusalem, and the land of Canaan. Drop thy word - Let thy word distil, begin with softer words, before thou shower down with the vehemency of a storm. The forest - Jerusalem, which was become like a forest.
Verse 47. Every greentree - All that flourish, and all that are poor. All faces - All persons and orders of men, from one end of the land to the other.
Verse 49. Parables - So absolutely, that we cannot understand him.