- A call to true repentance, verse 1-7.
- Not to live in theft, murder, adultery, perjury, &c., to trust in the outward worship and temple of God, by the example of Shiloh, verse 8-15.
- The prophet is forbid to pray for them, verse 16.
- Their idolatry, and its judgment, verse 17-20.
- Their sacrifices rejected, and obedience required, verse 21-28.
- They are called to mourn for their abominations in Tophet, and their judgments, verse 29-34.
The gate - The east gate, which was the publick place of going out and coming in, and where the people were then wont to assemble. Proclaim - Proclaiming signifies both the authority by which he spake, and the divulging of what he spake plainly and boldly; possibly, it might be at some publick time, when all the males were to meet.
Saying - Because this was God's house, they flattered themselves that he would not suffer the Chaldeans to destroy it, therefore the prophet cautions them not to deceive themselves, trusting to the temple and its buildings, as the two courts and house, and holy of holies implied in the word these, which he doth as it were point to with his finger. The emphasis, in this threefold repetition, seems to relate to the confident, and reiterated boasts of the temple, that were in their mouths. These - The prophet standing in the gate at which the people entered, as it were, points at the several buildings pertaining to the temple.
Oppress not - Here they are cautioned against three sins, that this people were generally addicted to, oppression, blood, and idolatry; and instances in the worst of oppressions, of such as God hath more especially taken into his immediate protection.
Will ye steal - Can you think that this can be grateful to me, or advantageous to yourselves, to frequent my house, and yet retain these odious sins. Whom - Such as they had set up new, and never had any experience of, and therefore could have no reason to serve them.
Delivered - After they had appeared before God with their sacrifices, they thought they were privileged to return to all those wickednesses.
A den - Do you look upon this house as a sanctuary for robbers and murderers.
Shiloh - A place in the tribe of Ephraim. Where - Where I did at first give you the pledges of my presence. What I did - He utterly forsook it.
Even - The ten tribes.
Pray not - Certainly the prophet did pray that God would save a remnant, though not that he would revoke his decree; or save the body of them.
The children - Here God shews how busily they are employed from the youngest to the oldest for their idolatry. The queen - As the sun was looked upon as king, so the moon as the queen of heaven.
Shall not be quenched - He follows the threatening with shewing his resolution is not to be revoked.
Put - Ironical words, take those that are peculiar, and to be all burnt to me, and do what you will with them, I will have none of them. To your sacrifices - That part of your sacrifices, which you are allowed to eat, they are but as profane food.
For - God doth not condemn these offerings, save only comparatively in respect of obedience, not so much these, as obeying his commands.
Since the day - The church of God hath never wanted teachers raised up and sent by God.
Cut off - There is no believing them in any thing they say.
Cut off thine hair - This was an usual token of sorrow among the Jews. On high places - Upon the high places where thou wentest a whoring from me. The generation - A generation destined to the wrath of God.
In the house - It was not enough to have their idols abroad in the hills and groves, but they must bring them into God's house.
Tophet - It comes from Toph, a drum, because they beat drums to drown the children's screeches, when they burnt them in sacrifice upon the altars, called here high places, to Moloch. Tophet was situate in a pleasant valley near Jerusalem, a place in the possession of the children of one Hinnom, Joshua 15:8.