29. Then I said unto them, What is the high place whereunto you go? And the name thereof is called Bamah unto this day.
Although there is no ambiguity in the Prophet's words, yet the sentence seems frigid, and interpreters, in my judgment, have not understood the Prophet's meaning. It may seem spiritless, that God should ask, what is the high place? But it means that they were not deceived through ignorance, since he had often cautioned them against profaning the true and genuine worship, for he often endeavored to draw them back again when he saw them wandering after their own superstitions. Hence they are continually rebuked by the prophets; and their obstinacy is the more apparent, since, nevertheless, they followed their own perverseness. But because all these reproaches were useless, God here enlarges upon their crime, since they were deaf. I have said, therefore; that is, by means of prophets. For we know how constantly the prophets discharged their duty, by urging them to worship at one altar only. For this reason the people's wickedness was greater; whence God says, What is this? and why do you so greatly desire your high places when they displease me, and you know my commands? your ears are deaf, and obstructed by wickedness. On the whole, he asks how could such madness seize upon them as to approach these high places, since he had pointed out a place where he was to be sought and invoked. My temple, says he, is neglected; meanwhile you run to high places, and yet it is known by the name of a high place. There is no mystery in this word; but God means that no reproaches or threats of his prophets could prevent the people from worshipping on these high places. He says, then, that the name was still used, since the same dignity and religious regard for them still flourished, when their remembrance ought to be utterly abolished. If God had only once pronounced that those high places were not approved by him, all ought to have changed their course instantly: he, exclaimed against them long and vehemently by his prophets, and yet the name "high places" was constantly in everybody's mouth; it was famous among them, as if God ought to be sought there. Now therefore we see that the Jews were condemned for too much pride, because they not only failed to desert their high places when repeatedly admonished, but they perniciously wished to oppose those places to God's sanctuary, although they were so many pollution's. Hence we gather the condemnation of the people's obstinate malice, since fathers handed down the name to their sons, so that through a continued posterity they opposed these high places to the only sanctuary of God. It follows --
1 "Wither," or, "of what kind." -- Calvin.
2 Or, "why do you go there?" -- Calvin.
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