13. And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the LORD.
13. Et visitabo super eam dies Baalim, quibus incensum (vel, suffitum) illis obtulit (vel, adolevit illis,) et ornata fuit inaure sua et monili (vel, torque) suo, et profecta est post amatores suos, et mei oblita est, dixit Dominus.
He confirms what he taught last. We have said before, that this admonition is very necessary, that whenever God deals severely with men, he thus visits their sins, and inflicts a just punishment. For though men may consider themselves to be chastised by the Lord, they yet do not thoroughly search and examine themselves as they ought. Hence the Prophet repeats what we have before met with, and that is, that this chastisement would be just; and at the same time, he shows us as by the finger what chiefly displeased God in the Israelites, which was, that religion was corrupted by them: for there is nothing more necessary to be known than that in order that men may ever habituate themselves to worship God in a pure manner, this should be testified to them, that all superstitions are such an abomination to God that he cannot bear them.
He therefore says, I will visit upon her the days of Baalim; that is, when the Israelites shall find themselves to be without a temple, deprived of sacrifices and new-moons, and having no more any external form of worship, let them know that they are thus punished, because they worshipped Baalim instead of the only true God. The Prophet, at the same time, alludes again to harlots, who more finely adorn themselves and with greater care, when they look for their lovers, that they may captivate them with their charms. She decked herself, he says, with her ear-ring and her jewel. This the superstitious usually do, when they celebrate their fast-days; for they think that a great part of holiness consists in the splendour of vestments; and we see that this stupidity prevails at this day among those under the Papacy: for they would think themselves to be doing great dishonour to God, or rather to their idols, were they not to adorn themselves when going to perform sacred duties. This, no doubt, was then a common error and custom. But in order to show more clearly that God abominated each gross superstitions, the Prophet says that they were like harlots. For as a strumpet, in order to allure men, paints herself, and also dresses splendidly, puts on her ornaments, and decks herself with jewels and gold; even so, he says, the Israelites did; they played the wanton, and bore the tokens of their lewdness. This then is the allusion, when the Prophet says, that she decked herself with jewels and an ear-ring, and went after her lovers.
But most grievous is what he adds at the end of the verse, Me, he says, has she forgotten. God here complains that the fellowship of marriage availed nothing: though he had lived with the people a long time, and treated them bountifully and kindly, yet the memory of this was buried, Me, he says, has she forgotten. There is then here an implied comparison between the Israelites whom God had joined to himself, and other nations who had known nothing of true religion, nor understood who the true God was. It was indeed no wonder for the Gentiles to be deceived by the impostures of Satan: but it was a monstrous ingratitude for the Israelites, who had been rightly taught and long habituated to the pure worship of God, to cast away the recollection of him. It was like the bestial depravity of a wife, who, having for a time lived with her husband, and having been kindly treated by him, afterwards prostitutes herself to adulterers, and no more cherishes or retains in her heart any love for her husband. We now see for what end it was added, that the Israelites had forgotten God. It was indeed a grave and severe reproof to say, that they, after having long worshipped the true God, had been led away into such madness as to worship false gods, the figments of their own brains: for they had before learnt who the true and the only God was.
The Prophet, in a word, confirms in this verse (as I have before reminded you) the truth, that the punishment which God was about to inflict on this ungodly people would not only be just, but also necessary; and he proves at the same time, how basely they had violated their marriage-vow, since the recollection of God did not prevail among them, after they had become the followers of idols, and of the figments of their own hearts. Let us now go one --