Exodus 34:15 MEANING

Exodus 34:15
(15, 16) Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants.--If a covenant were made with the idolatrous nations of Canaan, and they were allowed to dwell in the land together with the Israelites (Exodus 23:33), the danger would be, in the first place, that Israel would be induced to partake in the idol-feasts; secondly, that intermarriages would take place; and thirdly, that such Israelites as married idolatrous wives would be persuaded by them to join in their worship, and would thus be seduced into actual idolatry. Solomon's example shows the reality of the peril. (See 1 Kings 11:1-8.)

Verses 15, 16. - The probable consequences of making treaties with the Canaanite nations, alluded to in ver. 12, and in Exodus 23:33, are here fully set forth. They include -

1. Joining in their idol-feasts;

2. Intermarriages;

3. The actual apostasy cf. those who married idolatrous wives.

The event fully justified the warning here given. See Judges 2:2, 11-13, 17; Judges 6:25; Judges 10:6, etc. They go a whoring. This expression, so common in the later books, is here used for the first time It implies that the relation between man and God is analogous to that of the marriage-bond, so that deserting him for other gods is a species of adultery. Compare the frequent representations in the New Testament of Christ as the "Bridegroom" and the Church as his "Bride."

34:10-17 The Israelites are commanded to destroy every monument of idolatry, however curious or costly; to refuse all alliance, friendship, or marriage with idolaters, and all idolatrous feasts; and they were reminded not with idolaters, and all idolatrous feats; and they were reminded not to repeat the crime of making molten images. Jealously is called the rage of a man, Pr 6:34; but in God it is holy and just displeasure. Those cannot worship God aright, who do not worship him only.Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land,.... A marriage covenant, taking their daughters in marriage to their sons, and "vice versa", as the following words show; here the caution is to be understood and the words supplied from Exodus 34:12 and inserted and connected thus, "take heed to thyself, lest thou make", &c.

and they go a whoring after their gods; that is, the inhabitants of the land, and particularly those with whom the Israelites made a covenant, and entered into a marriage relation with, and perhaps on this condition, that they would abstain from idolatry; and yet, contrary to the obligation they laid themselves under, lust after their idols, and commit spiritual fornication or adultery with them, which is explained by the next clause:

and do sacrifice unto their gods; such as the first institutors of their idolatry enjoined, and their ancestors had observed, and were according to the rites and customs of the country:

and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; invite to eat of what remained, that was offered to the idol: hence it appears, that having feasts at sacrifices, and eating things offered to idols in a festival way, are very ancient practices; see 1 Corinthians 10:27.

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