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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



BARUCH 6

 

CHAPTER VI.

 

A copy.  Sept. place this after the Lamentations, which follow Baruch.  H. --- Jeremias wrote it before the captives departed.  Baruch read it to them at Babylon, and it was sent back to Jerusalem.  W. --- It might be delivered to the captives at Reblatha.  We have it not entire, as another circumstance respecting the ark is mentioned.  2 Mac. ii. 5.  C.

 

Ver. 2.  Seven generations; that is, seventy years.  Ch. --- A generation sometimes consisted of seven, ten, fifteen, thirty, thirty-five, fifty, or a hundred years.  A. Lap.  Menage. --- Eighteen years of the seventy had already elapsed.  C. --- Seven is often put for many, (H.) or a general number, (W.) because so many days form a week.  H. --- Grotius substitutes dekadwn for genewn, "seven decads," very properly.  Houbigant.

 

Ver. 3.  Shoulders.  This custom was very ancient, suggested by the avarice of the priests, who begged on such occasions.  Menander, ap. Clem. protrep.

 

Ver. 4.  Fear.  Worship not such things.  H.

 

Ver. 6.  Angel Michael, the conductor of Israel in the desert, &c.  Dan. x. 13.  Ex. xxxiii. 2.  C. --- He protected them also in Babylon.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Gay.  Nothing could be more despicable.  C.

 

Ver. 10.  The Harlots.  Their hire was rejected by the Lord.  But idols suffered themselves to be despoiled or adorned at pleasure.  Gr. "But they will give of them even to harlots under the same roof, while they adorn them (idols) like men with garments, gods of gold, silver, and wood."  H.

 

Ver. 12.  Them, of account of the many votaries, v. 16.  Arnobius (6) ridicules such gods.  C. --- Prot. adopt similar arguments against the real presence as if we believed that Christ was hurt when the sacramental species were broken or devoured by vermin.  A little more boldness will prompt them to reject the divinity of Christ, who was pleased to give up his body to those who treated him shamefully.  Almost every argument which is levelled against Christ's real presence in the blessed Eucharist, maybe turned against the incarnation; and hence so many now become Socinians, being unwilling to submit their understanding to the mysteries of religion.  To apply these texts to holy pictures, would be nugatory.  See Is. xl 18.  H. --- The absurdities here specified, shew how foolish are those who serve idols or take any images to be gods.  W. --- Calvin represents the pagans as adoring God under the images, as if they used them in the same light as Catholics do; which is contrary to this epistle, &c.  T.

 

Ver. 13.  Judge, or ruler.  C. --- The sceptre and spear were badges of power.  Eustath. --- Mars had a sword, Hercules a club.  We know little of the idols of Babylon.

 

Ver. 15.  Vessel; armour, or any utensil.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  Candles.  Lit. "lamps."  H. --- Some temples in Egypt were famous for their number.  Herod. ii. 62. --- The Lord prescribed them to be used.  But who ever imagined that they stood in need of them to see, as the idolaters supposed their idols did?

 

Ver. 19.  Hearts: the wood is worm-eaten.  C.

 

Ver. 24.  Price, foolishly believing that they have divine power.  W.

 

Ver. 26.  Gifts.  The Chaldees supposed that Bel could eat.  Dan. xiv. --- Dead.  Food was placed on the tombs.  S. Aug. abolished this custom in Africa.

 

Ver. 27.  Take.  Gr. "salt."  They give none to the poor, for fear of their imposture being detected, though they allow even the unclean to eat.  v. 28.  Lev. xii. 2.  Deut. xiv. 29.

 

Ver. 29.  Women.  They make gods.  C. --- Qui rogat, ille facit.  Mart. viii. 24.

 

Ver. 30.  Shaven, as in mourning, contrary to the custom of Israel.  Lev. xxi. 10.  C. --- Heads.  The Jewish priests wore mitres or caps.

 

Ver. 31.  Dead, even of Adonis, (H.) whose worship is here ridiculed.  C. --- At Biblos people bewailed his death, and the next day proclaimed that he was alive.  All cut off their hair, as the Egyptians do for Apis, except such as submitted to prostitute themselves to strangers.  The hire they consecrated to Venus.  Lucian, Dea Syra. --- At funerals a feast was usually made, as is still the custom in Syria, (Roger. ii. 14.) and near Bagdad.  Chardin. ii. 7.

 

Ver. 34.  Requite.  Gr. "brass," much less gold.  H.

 

Ver. 40.  Chaldees.  The priests themselves despise the idols most, (C.) and expose them to contempt, by pretending that they work miracles.  H. --- "Those who first set up representations of the gods, deprived cities of reverential awe, and increased the error," said Varro; "prudently supposing that gods might easily be contemned, when like stupid images."  In simulacrorum stoliditate.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. iv. 26.

 

Ver. 41.  They.  Gr. "he could perceive.  And they reflecting on this, cannot still abandon them; for they have no sense."  H. --- They are so stupid, that they will not quit such impotent idols.  C.

 

Ver. 42.  Women.  Aristophanes calls harlots, "corded bodies."  Eccles. Act. i.  The women of Babylon "prostituted themselves once, in honour of Venus, (H. Mylitta.  C.) sitting with crowns on their heads in the temple, till some stranger selected them, and took them from their partition, made with cords," (H.) to some more secret place, where they broke their bands.  Herod. i. 199.  C. --- That some deluded women, led by various desires, should think thus to honour that impure deity, by an action which some modern casuists have not scrupled to rank among simple venial sins, cannot excite our astonishment so much, when we reflect on the tenets of the ancient Gnostics, and of Antinomians at the present day, whom J. Wesley, the last founder of the Methodists, applauded and followed even in the meridian of the gospel light!  See Deut. xvi. 22. and xxiii. 17.  Yet these men read and perhaps distributed the Bible! --- Stones.  Lit. "bones;" (H.) or the refuse  of what had been crushed, (pitura.  Athen. ii. 14.) to excite impure love.  M.  T. --- Theocritus (Phar.) represents a witch doing the like; and Sanchez tells us, that some were taken in the fact in Spain.  C. --- Fumigation, used by the Babylonians after marriage, (Herod. i. 198.) may be insinuated.  Grotius.

 

Ver. 45.  To be.  Is. xliv. 14.  Horace (i. Sat. 8) introduces Priapus thus ridiculously explaining his origin; "I was formerly an useless piece of a fig-tree; when the workman, not knowing whether to make a bench or a Priapus, chose rather that I should be a god.  Hence I am a god, the greatest terror of thieves and birds."  Sept. "they are nothing but what the workmen wish to form."  H.

 

Ver. 51.  Them.  Gr. has simply, (C.) "Who then knows not that they are no gods?"  H.

 

Ver. 53.  Daws.  They have no greater influence (C.) than jackdaws.

 

Ver. 58.  Gods.  Sept. repeat this after satisfied, or "will use;" and here add, "or a pillar of wood in palaces, than," &c.  H.

 

Ver. 59.  Obedient to God.  They were appointed to mark out the seasons, &c. (Gen. i. 14.) and if any creature were worthy of adoration, they would.  C. --- The Babylonians adored them as well as statues, and therefore their proper destination is specified here and by Moses.

 

Ver. 69.  Scarecrow.  Priapus answered this glorious purpose.  v. 45.  H. --- When birds become accustomed to such things, they mind them not.  C.

 

Ver. 71.  Scarlet.  Gr. "marble" coloured wood.  Grotius would substitute margarou, "a pearl," which decays through age.  C. --- Gr. also, "From the purple, which also shines upon them rotting, you shall," &c.  Marmarou means, "of marble or shining."

 

Ver. 72.  Reproach, provided he also avoid the idols of the mind and of the heart.  H.

 

 








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