CELEBRATION OF THE PASSOVER FESTIVAL, THE FEAST OF PENTECOST,
THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES. APPOINTMENT OF OFFICERS FOR THE
ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE, AND PREVENTION OF IDOLATRY.
(Compare Exodus 23:14-19; 34:18, 22-26; Leviticus 23. On the Passover, see
Exodus 12.; 13:3-10.) The other great festivals of the Israelites, the Feast of
Trumpets and the Day of Atonement, are not here referred to, because on these
no assembling of the whole people at the sanctuary was required, and such
assembling is the point of view under which the feasts are mainly regarded here.
The Feast of the Passover (vs. 1-8)
1 “Observe the month of Abib,” – (Compare Exodus 12:2; 23:15). The time is
referred to as a date well known to the people - “and keep the passover” - make
(t;yci[") or prepare the passover. This injunction refers primarily to the preparation
of the Paschal lamb for a festal meal (Numbers 9:5); but here it is used in a wider
sense as referring to the whole Paschal observance, which lasted for seven days.
Hence the mention of sheep (צאֹן) and oxen (בְקָר) in v. 2, and the reference to
the eating of unleavened bread for seven days “therewith,” i.e. with the Passover.
The animal for the Paschal supper was expressly prescribed to be a yearling of
the sheep or of the goats (שֶׂה and this was to be consumed at one meal; but on
the other days of the festival the flesh of other animals offered in sacrifice might
be eaten. The term “passover” here, accordingly, embraces the whole of the
festive meals connected with the Passover proper — what the rabbins call
chagigah – compare II Chronicles 35:7) - “unto the LORD thy God: for in the
month of Abib the LORD
thy God brought thee forth out of
2 Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the LORD thy God, of the
flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD shall choose to place His
3 “Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat
unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction;” – bread such as
is prepared in circumstances of trial and pressure, when there is no time or
opportunity for the application of all the means required for the preparation
of bread of the better sort. The Israelites had in haste and amid anxiety to
prepare the Passover meal on the evening of their flight from
had to omit the leavening of their bread; and this usage they had to observe
during the seven days of the festival in subsequent times, to remind them of
oppression the nation had suffered in
difficulty and peril amidst which their deliverance had been effected -
“for thou camest forth out of the
mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of
4 “And there shall be no leavened bread” – properly, no leaven (raoc])
(compare Exodus 12:15). Not only was no leavened bread (מַצָּה) or dough
(חָמֵץ) to be used by them, leaven itself was not to be in the house (compare
I Corinthians 5:7) “seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall
there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even,
remain all night until the morning.”
5 “Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the
LORD thy God giveth thee: 6 But at the place which the LORD thy God
shall choose to place His name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at
even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out
be slain and eaten, but only at the place, which the Lord should choose to place
His Name there. On the first occasion, while the people were still in Egypt and
had no sanctuary or specially holy place where Jehovah s Name was set, the
Passover was eaten in their own houses; but when God should choose a place as
His sanctuary, only there could the ordinance be observed.
7 “And thou shalt roast” – The verb here primarily signifies to be matured by
heat for eating; hence to be ripened as by the sun’s heat (Genesis 40:10; Joel 3:13;
Hebrews 4:13); and to be cooked, whether by boiling, seething, or roasting. Here
it is properly rendered by roast, as it was thus only that the Paschal lamb could
be cooked - “and eat it in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:
and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents.” - return to thy place
of abode; not necessarily to thy proper home (which might be far distant), but to
the place where for the time thou hast thy lodging. The phrase, “thy tents,” which
originally came into use while as yet
afterwards to be used as a general designation of a man’s home or usual place of
abode (compare I Samuel 13:2; II Samuel 20:1; I Kings 8:66).
8 “Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be
a solemn assembly” – This is not placed in antithesis to the injunction, six days
thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as if the Feast of Unleavened Bread (mazzoth)
lasted only for six days and the seventh was to be devoted to a service of a
different kind; it simply prescribes that the seventh day of the festival was to be
celebrated by an assembling of the whole of those who had come to the feast; the
festival was to be wound up with a day of holy convocation, in which no work
was to be done. On all the days unleavened bread was to be eaten, and on the
seventh there was besides to be a solemn assembly to the Lord (עֲצֶרֶת לַיחוָח),
called in Leviticus 23:36, “a holy convocation” (מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ) - “to the LORD
thy God: thou shalt do no work therein.”
Notes on the Feast of the Passover (vs. 1-6)
Our purpose now is to “open up,” not the historical meaning of the Passover, nor even
showing how in CHRIST OUR PASSOVER and in the ordinance of the Lord’s
Supper as our Passover feast, the far-reaching significance of the offering of
the Paschal lamb is most clearly seen. (Revelation 13:8)
the apostle, in I Corinthians 5:7, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for
us.” We cannot but feel here the wondrous condescension of our God
in permitting us to look at aught so sublime as the sacrifice of His
dear Son, through the means so humble as the Paschal lamb. Yet it is
an infinite mercy that, whatever might so help the conceptions of His children
then, and whatever may so aid them now, the Great Father does not disdain
Ø The Lord Jesus Christ is our Sacrificial Lamb; so John 1:29;
I Peter 1:18-19. He is spoken of as “the Lamb slain from the
foundation of the world ” (Revelation 13:8), and “a Lamb as it
had been slain” (Ibid. ch. 5:6) He, too, is “without blemish.”
He was “without sin.” IN HIM ALONE IS THE IDEA OF A
PERFECT SACRIFICE FOUND!
Ø The Passover was to be killed without breaking a bone thereof
(Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; Psalm 34:20). This was fulfilled in
Christ (John 19:36), that men might be aided in seeing the fulfillment
of the type, through the close analogy of the treatment; and because
“God would permit no dishonor to be done to the body of
Christ, after the atoning act was complete” (Halley).
Ø The blood of the first Paschal lamb was to be sprinkled on the posts of
the doors, signifying that there must be the actual acceptance and
application of the atoning blood, and that through the atoning blood
so applied we are saved.
Ø In the first instance, the lamb was offered without the intervention of a
priest. So that, though priesthood was afterwards instituted for a time for
educational purposes (Galatians 3.), yet the priest was in no wise
necessary to ensure men’s acceptance with God.
Ø The flesh was to be eaten, in token of fellowship. It was thus “the most
perfect of peace offerings,” symbolizing and typifying communion
with God on the ground of the atoning blood. In all these respects,
how very far does the Christian Antitype surpass the Jewish type? Devout
hearts may and do love to linger long in meditation on a theme so touching
The paschal lamb must be regarded as the leading feature in the ceremony of
the Passover. The lamb slain typified Christ the “Lamb of God,” slain for the
sins of the world. “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us!” (I Corinthians
5:7) According to the divine purpose, the true Lamb of God was slain at
nearly the same time as “the Lord’s Passover,” at the same season of the year,
and at the same time of the day, as the daily sacrifice at the temple, the crucifixion
beginning at the hour of the morning sacrifice and ending at the hour of the
evening sacrifice. It is not difficult to determine the reason for the command
“not a bone of Him shall be broken.” (Exodus 12:14; John 19:36) The lamb
was to be a symbol of unity, the unity of the family, the unity of the nation, the
unity of God with His people whom He had taken into covenant with Himself!
(It is most unfortunate that one of the
natural results of the
Away from God is THE DISUNITY OF THE PEOPLE! - CY – 2012)
See exposition of vs. 1-6 above for the total picture! See Leviticus 23, this web site,
for parallel studies.
The Feast of Weeks (vs. 9-12)
9 “Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks
from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn.” – i.e. -. from the
commencement of the corn harvest. The seven weeks were to be counted from this
terminus; and as the corn harvest began by the presentation of the sheaf of the
firstfruits on the second day of the Passover, this regulation as to time coincides
with that in Leviticus 23:15.
10 “And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a
tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the
LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:”
This feast was to be kept with sacrificial gifts according to the measure of the
free-will offerings of their hand, i.e. voluntary offerings which they gave as the
Lord had blessed them; nothing was specially prescribed, each was to give of
his own free-will as the Lord had prospered him. The word translated “tribute”
in the Authorized Version (מִסַּת) occurs only here, and is of doubtful
signification. The Septuagint renders it by καθὼς – kathos - according to -
it is identical with the Aramaic מסת sufficiency, enough, and may be understood
here of the full measure according to which their offerings were to be presented.
The freewill offering of thine hand, here referred to, belonged to the gifts of
burnt offerings, meat offerings, drink offerings, and thank offerings which might
be offered at every feast along with the sacrifices prescribed (compare Leviticus
23:38; Numbers 29:39). Of the latter no mention is made here, as the law
regarding them was already sufficiently proclaimed (Numbers 28., and 29.);
and in a popular address it was rather to what depended on the will of the
people than to what was imperative by law, that attention had to be directed.
11 “And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD” - The expression, to rejoice
before the Lord, denotes here nothing else than to honor him by sacred songs -
“thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and
thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger,
and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which
the LORD thy God hath chosen to place His name there.” - rather, shall
choose, as in v.15. “ 12 And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman
Notes on the Feast of Weeks (vs. 9-12)
This Feast of Weeks, or of Harvest, was not commemorative in the same sense as that
of the Passover; it was connected, not with a great national epoch, but with the seasons
of the year and the times of harvest. The method in which it was to be observed is stated
in Leviticus 23:10-14. We find there, and in the various Scripture references to this
festival, the following principles indicated.
bounty of God.
what He gave.
National festivals were holidays for the laborer, and times when good will and
kindliness towards the “stranger, the fatherless, and widow” were to be
thankfulness for a common mercy. These festivals would strengthen
God would proclaim, as often as they were held, their separation unto Him.
thankfulness for the bounty of God as seen in nature, yet it was not to be
observed without the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the meat
offering (compare Leviticus 23:18-20). Other offerings were to be presented
along with the offering for sin. Natural blessings are given to sinful men
only under a dispensation of mercy which comes through a BLEEDING
SACRIFICE! Now all these forms have passed away. But the principles
which underlay them are of eternal obligation. We trust we can see,
by means of these signs, the everlasting truths signified by them. In each of the
particulars named above some permanent principle is enclosed.
THE FRUITS OF THE EARTH ARE TO BE RECEIVED BY US AS
GRANTED TO US BY THE BOUNTY OF A GRACIOUS GOD. So
commonplace, or rather so well-known, a truth is this, that it is not easy for
us to picture to ourselves a time when a nation needed to have it engraved
on its heart and conscience by such means as these divinely appointed
festivals. Still, we cannot be unconscious of forces around us being at work
which, if we succumbed to them, would lead us to think of the ordinary
products of the harvest-field as coming simply in due course of law, and to
regard the Supreme Being as so remotely concerned in earth’s fruitfulness,
that it would be but a slight step to take to think of Him as not concerned
therein at all! But in no part of the sacred records is any such thinking
warranted. Reason itself would lead us to suppose that, if one order of
creation is higher than another, the lower was made to serve it; and
consequently, that if man be the highest of all, that the rest is ordered to
serve him. The Psalmist expressed this when he sang, “Thou hast put all
things under his feet.” (Psalm 8:6; Hebrews 2:8) Our Lord Jesus Christ
points us to the most common blessings, even to the sun and the rain,
in proof of the good will of a heavenly Father! (Matthew 5:45). “Whoso
is wise and will observe these things, even they shall understand the
loving-kindness of the Lord.” (Psalm 107:43)
THE FRUITS OF THE EARTH SHOULD THEREFORE BE
RECEIVED WITH THANKSGIVING. That God is the benevolent Author
of all our mercies should call forth great thankfulness. It is said of the heathen,
“neither were they thankful” (Romans 1:21). They did not know enough of
God to understand what true thankfulness meant. But we do. He is revealed in
Scripture as having such watchful concern for our good, that we may well
feel an exuberance of thankful delight that our daily joys come to us from
A FOUNTAIN OF LOVE. And it behooves us to pay our God the homage of
THIS THANKFULNESS SHOULD BE EXPRESSED PRACTICALLY.
Jacob needed no precept to lead him to say, “Of all that thou givest me, I wilt
surely give the tenth unto thee” (Genesis 28:22). Nor, if our hearts are as
sensitive as they should be to our own unworthiness and to God’s loving-kindness,
shall we fail to “honor the Lord with our substance, and with the
first-fruits of all our increase.” (Proverbs 3:9)
OUR GRATITUDE TO GOD SHOULD TAKE THE FORM OF UNITED
WORSHIP AND SONG. The Divine provision for the temporal wants of man
should find gladsome acknowledgment in the social worship of a thankful people.
A UNITED ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF GOD’S KINDNESS TO US
ALL SHOULD HAVE THE EFFECT OF PROMOTING KINDLINESS
AMONG EACH OTHER. If God makes us glad with His loving goodness,
we should make others glad with our radiant kindness (I John 3:17; 4:11).
The love streaming from heaven is revealed for the purpose of creating
benevolence upon earth. The blessings that come to us, unworthy
as we are, from the pure benevolence of God, should make us eager, as
much as in us is, to emulate the goodness of heaven!
LASTLY, MAY WE NOT FORGET GOD’S MERCIES IN THAT DIVINE
REDEMPTIVE PLAN WROUGHT OUT BY THE GREAT SON OF GOD.
natural blessings of this earthly life are ensured to us. And
accepted before God. All our thanksgiving services must take the form
and hue thrown on them by the fact that we are guilty men, living on
the mercy of a forgiving and redeeming God. God expects the
acknowledgment of this on our part. It would be unrighteous of Him not to
ask it, and unjust and ungrateful of us not to give it. Sin is in the world;
and our/MY sin has helped to make the world what it is, as to the
infusion of bitterness into it; it is only through the Divine redeeming energy of
love which through and by our Lord Jesus Christ is being put forth, that the
world still yields its treasures to the rebellious and ungrateful sons of men.
So that with the praises for mercies so undeserved there should be a
confession of sin, a turning anew unto the Lord, and a reconsecration
of heart and life to Him. For when we think how soon a slightly adverse
action of God towards us might crush us; yea, that even the bare withholding
of mercy would consume us; and when we add to that the thought of our
innumerable provocations of One who cannot bear that which is evil, surely
we must needs confess that there are no greater wonders than the
patience, the love, the bounty of God!
The Feast of Tabernacles (vs. 13-17)
13 “Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou
hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine: 14 And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast,
thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant,
and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within
thy gates. 15 Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the LORD thy
God in the place which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD thy God
shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands,
therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.” This feast, properly, Booths, was to be
observed at the end of harvest, after the corn had been gathered into granaries,
and the produce of the vineyard had been put through the press. Nothing is added
here to the instructions already given respecting this festival; only the observance
of it at the appointed sanctuary is enforced, and stress is laid on their making not
only their sons and daughters and domestics, but also the Levite, the fatherless,
the widow, and the stranger participators in their rejoicings. Thou shalt surely
rejoice; rather, thou shalt be wholly joyous; literally, rejoicing only. (Compare
Leviticus 23:33-44; Numbers 29:12-38).
16 “Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy
God in the place which He shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread,
and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not
appear before the LORD empty: 17 Every man shall give as he is able,
according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which He hath given thee.”
(Compare Exodus 23:17; 34:23.) The law is repeated here with the additional
clause, “at the place which the Lord shall choose;” and the words, “not empty,”
are explained to mean with gifts according to the gift of their hands, according
to the blessing of Jehovah their God, which He had given them.
Notes on he Feast of Tabernacles, or of Ingathering (vs. 13-17)
The festival of tabernacles, as originally instituted, presents but little symbolism. Its
primary design was to give expression to joy and gratitude in view of the
products of the earth, every kind of which had now been gathered; and it
was therefore also called the Festival of Ingathering. As the Passover commemorated
the first deliverance, so the Feast of Booths would recall the wilderness life. And
nothing was more natural than to associate in thought the richness of their inheritance
with the probationary trials by means of which the nation had been prepared to
possess it. Thus
year are so far over, they are then expected to look up gratefully to
GOD AS AUTHOR OF ALL!
of past guidance and help in the wilderness life.
as both equal in the sight of God.
be relieved, and the solitary ones are to be made conscious of a kindly care
loving offering to God in return (vs. 16-17). According to the blessing,
so is to be the tribute.
religious one, in holy and joyful covenant with the Lord their God.
Appointment of Officers (vs. 18-20)
Moses had at an earlier period appointed judges to settle disputes among the
people, and had given instructions to them for the discharge of their duty
(ch. 1:12-18; Exodus 18). Whilst the people were in the wilderness, united
as one body and under the leadership of Moses, this arrangement was sufficient;
but a more extended arrangement would be required when they came to be
In prospect of this, Moses here enacts that judges and officers were to be
appointed by the people in all their gates, in all their places of residence, which
the Lord should give them.
18 “Judges and officers” – The “officers” (shoterim, writers) associated with
the judges both in the earlier arrangements and in that which was to succeed
were secretaries and clerks of court, and acted also as assessors and advisers
of the judges. No instruction is given as to the number of judges and officers,
or as to the mode of appointing them; nor was this necessary. The former would
be determined by the size and population of the place where they were
appointed, and the latter would, as a matter of course, follow the method
instituted by Moses in the earlier arrangement (see ch. 1:13-15; Exodus 18:21-26)
- “shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee,
throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.”
19 “Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither
take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words
of the righteous.” (ch. 1:17; Exodus 23:6, 8.)
20 “That which is altogether just” – literally, justice, justice. The repetition of
the word is for the sake of emphasis, as in Genesis 14:10, “pits, pits,” equal to
full of pits - “shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land
which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”
In all states, the highest crime of which the judge has to take note is that of
treason against the supreme power; and, under the theocracy, the act most
distinctly treasonable was idolatry. In proceeding, therefore, to give some
practical admonitions as to the things to be observed in the administration of
justice, Moses begins by denouncing and forbidding this most flagrant form of
Model Judges (vs. 18-20)
Ø They are necessary. They require to be set up “in all thy gates...
throughout thy tribes.” (v. 18)
Ø They represent God (Genesis 18:25; ch. 1:17). They are clothed
with a portion of God’s authority (Romans 13:1).
Ø They are set to uphold the sacred interests of justice.
Ø They may, by wresting judgment, or by hasty and wrong decisions,
inflict irremediable injury on the innocent.
Ø The right discharge of their functions conduces in the highest
degree tothe stability, happiness, and material prosperity of
Ø They are not to be swayed by private partialities — political, social,
Ø They are not to make distinctions between rich and poor, i.e. “respect
persons”as God does not. (ch. 10:17; Job 34:19; Acts 10:34;
Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9)
Ø They are not to accept bribes.
Ø They are, as administrators of a justice which is impersonal, to judge
In every case according to ABSOLUTE RIGHT! (The
philosophical “undermining of Absolutes in our society,” has had
a very divisive effect on American society and much has come
through the liberal universities, the halls of Congress and especially
through higher and lower courts in the Judicial System of the
unlike God, who only doeth right, REFUSE TO DO RIGHT!
- CY – 2012)
The Administration of Justice (vs. 18-20)
True religion is related to true morality as the parent is related to the child.
God cares as much that right dispositions should prevail between man and
man as between man and God. By an eternal decree, religion and morality
have been conjoined, and no man can put them asunder. He that loves God
will love his brother also.
TO IMPERFECT MEN. The laws of the Jews were framed in heaven, and
were conveyed to men by the mediation of angels, but the administration
and execution of these laws were imposed on men selected from among
themselves. What men cannot do God will do for them; what men can do
for themselves, God requires them to accomplish. This administration of
Divine Law by men was a magnificent training for higher once. In the best
sense, God desires that men “should be as gods” (Psalm 82:1,6). By
handling the affairs of justice, they would best grow in the understanding
of the Divine government.
Magistrates were to be appointed in every community, who should be
kings in their sphere of jurisdiction. Such magistrates were the people’s
choice, and thus they were initiated into the art of self-government. Justice
well administered in every town would secure the order and well-
being of the nation. The burden of governing the whole nation would thus
be reduced to a thousand infinitesimal burdens — each one easily to be borne.
Duty well done in every individual sphere would make the world happy
PERSONAL CONSIDERATIONS. Gifts from friends are not to be
despised; but if they have the feeblest tendency to weaken our sense of
right or to bring discredit on public justice, they must be declined. If a man
accepts the office of a ruler, he must be prepared to forego many private
advantages and pleasures. He is the steward of public interests — the
servant of justice. He is no longer his own master. Personal friendships
must be forgotten in the judicial court. No regard must be had to any other
interest save the interest of righteousness. One thing the magistrate
must do, and one only; he must be the mouthpiece of eternal
righteousness. He may err, but he must be honest. Simple integrity of
purpose is the chief qualification to rule. He who candidly desires to do
right will be guided by an unerring hand. (In Article I, Section 9, Clause 8
we have the Emoluments Clause in the United States Constitution. It was
adopted unanimously at the Constitutional Convention, and was intended to
ministers and other officers of the
influence and corruption by foreign governments – the Founding Fathers
were very wise to do this. The only problem in our history is whether
men have enough integrity to withstand these temptations – CY – 2012)
The administration of justice was to be in the gate — in the place of public
concourse. From the free conflict of public opinion sparks of truth will be
elicited. So weak and vacillating is ofttimes human purpose, that the blaze
of mortal eyes is needed to keep that purpose steadfast. This mode of
administering justice had also a deterrent influence on the immature and the
vile; it educated the public conscience. (Historically, in
had a free press. Once the press becomes corrupt, it will be a part of
“THE LIE” which will hasten the coming of the Anti-Christ –
II Thessalonians 2:7-12 – CY – 2012)
PROSPERITY. It is the lesson of universal history that official injustice
loosens all the bonds of society, and brings a kingdom into utter ruin.
Men will patiently tolerate many abuses of power, but the public abuse of
justice quickly brings deadly retribution. On the other hand, an honest and
prompt administration of righteous law is the seed of order, content,
and mutual confidence. It gives a sense of security; it fosters patriotism;
it develops courage; it brings the smile and benediction of God. (“If the
foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)
21 “Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees” – thou shalt not plant, i.e.
place or set up, an asherah of any wood. The asherah was an idol of wood in the
form of a pillar, usually placed by the side of the altars of Baal. It was the symbol
of Astarte, the great Canaanitish goddess, the companion and revealer of Baal.
The two are usually associated in the Old Testament (compare Judges 2:13; 6:28;
I Kings 18:19; II Kings 23:4). The rendering “grove” has been taken from the
Septugint and the Vulgate; but that it is an error is evident from I Kings 14:23;
II Kings 17:10; and Jeremiah 17:2; where the asherah is said to be under a green
tree; and from the use of such words as make, set up, cause to stand, build, to
denote the action of producing an asherah (compare I Kings 14:15; 16:33;
II Kings 17:16; 17:10; II Chronicles 33:19), none of which are appropriate to the
planting of a grove. Here, indeed, the word “plant” is used, but this is only because,
as the asherah was sunk in the earth that it might stand firm, it might be figuratively
said to be planted, just as nails driven in are said to be planted (Ecclesiastes 12:11,
where the same verb is used; compare also Isaiah 51:16; Amos 9:15) – “near unto
the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.”
22 “Neither shalt thou set thee up any image;” - any pillar - The Hebrew word
(מַצֵבָה, mazzebah) denotes generally any pillar or stone that is set up, whether as a
memorial (Genesis 28:18), or as a sign (Exodus 24:4; Isaiah 19:19), or for purposes
of utility or ornament (Jeremiah 43:13). Here, as in other passages, it is a pillar or
statue set up as an object of worship (compare II Kings 3:2; 10:26; Hosea 10:1;
Micah 5:13-14) - “which the LORD thy God hateth.”
To be like God is the summit of every good man’s ambition. This is God’s
intention for us also. But the attainment can only gradually be made. We must
have God’s thoughts rooted in us; we must cultivate similar feelings; we
must cherish similar purposes or we cannot be like Him in character.
Idolatry corrupts the soul and GENERATES DEATH! TO KNOW
AND WORSHIP GOD LEADS TO THE RICHEST LIFE!
PLAIN PRECEPTS. We might reach these wise maxims as reasonable
deductions from moral principles; yet they come to us CLOTHED
WITH IRRESISTIBLE AUTHORITY when they appear as THE
REVEALED WILL OF GOD! A twofold light blends to point out the path
of human conduct, viz. the light of conscience and the light of Scripture;
yet these twin rays emanate from the selfsame sun.
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