16. Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols.
The reason of the oath of which mention has been made is expressed by Moses, because being frightened by a false report they wished to return to Egypt: but here a cause is assigned to their superstitions. (Numbers 13:32, 33, and Numbers 14:1-3.) But it suits each case well, since if they had been sincerely obedient to God, they would never have refused to remove their camp, and fearlessly to proceed where he commanded them. But since they first detested the land, and then terror and despair seized their minds so that they rejected the inestimable blessing of God, it is clear that not a drop of piety existed in their hearts. Although therefore the special reason why they did not enter the land of Canaan was their refusing to obey the call of God, yet the Prophet adds also their superstitions. For impiety and contempt of God was the reason why they so boldly, proudly, and furiously rejected the grace of God, and wished even to stone Moses, and then when penitent they encouraged each other to return to live again under the tyranny of Egypt. We see, therefore, how the Prophet here lays down general causes from which that impious dislike of the land proceeded, as well as the rejection of the grace of God. He says, therefore, because they had despised my judgments and had not walked in my statutes. He here inverts the order: he had formerly said that they had not walked in his statutes and had despised my judgments; but now he begins with the contempt: and have polluted my Sabbaths, because their hearts went after their idols. The sense is, that they always treated God deceitfully: and although they held that he was to be worshipped formally, yet they were always addicted to various superstitions: as also Stephen reproves them, (Acts 7:40-43,) for he agrees entirely with our Prophet. As he puts Sabbaths in the plural number, I do not interpret it so strictly as some do, thinking that the Prophet means Sabbaths of years, and afterwards the jubilee: for there were three Sabbaths among the Jews; that is, every seventh day was consecrated to God, and every seventh year, and every fiftieth. Although it is true that years were sabbatical as well as days, yet I do not think that the Prophet is making any subtle distinctions here but I take Sabbath to mean the seventh day. It now follows --
1 That is, " they have despised my judgments and my decrees." -- Calvin.
2 Violated, profaned: the word
3 Or, "filth, defilement," as I have elsewhere said. -- Calvin.
Back to BibleStudyGuide.org.
These files are public domain. This electronic edition was downloaded from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.