Psalm 106:37
Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,
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(37) Devils.—Literally, lords, meaning, of course, the false deities. The word is, no doubt, chosen to represent the meaning of the heathen gods’ names Ba’alîm, Adonîm. For the same Hebrew word, see Deuteronomy 32:17 (Judges 2:11, Baalim).

The Arabic equivalent of the Hebrew word became in Spain the Cid, and exists still in the Moorish sidi, i.e., “my lord.”

106:34-48 The conduct of the Israelites in Canaan, and God's dealings with them, show that the way of sin is down-hill; omissions make way for commissions: when they neglected to destroy the heathen, they learned their works. One sin led to many more, and brought the judgments of God on them. Their sin was, in part, their own punishment. Sinners often see themselves ruined by those who led them into evil. Satan, who is a tempter, will be a tormentor. At length, God showed pity to his people for his covenant's sake. The unchangeableness of God's merciful nature and love to his people, makes him change the course of justice into mercy; and no other change is meant by God's repentance. Our case is awful when the outward church is considered. When nations professing Christianity, are so guilty as we are, no wonder if the Lord brings them low for their sins. Unless there is general and deep repentance, there can be no prospect but of increasing calamities. The psalm concludes with prayer for completing the deliverance of God's people, and praise for the beginning and progress of it. May all the people of the earth, ere long, add their Amen.Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters - See 2 Kings 16:3; Ezekiel 16:20; Ezekiel 20:31; Isaiah 57:5.

Unto devils - Hebrew, שׁדים shêdiym. The Septuagint, δαιμονίοις daimoniois, "demons." So the Vulgate, "daemoniis." The word is used only in the plural number, and is applied to idols. It occurs only in this place, and in Deuteronomy 32:17. On the meaning of this, see the notes at 1 Corinthians 10:20.

37. unto devils—Septuagint, "demons" (compare 1Co 10:20), or "evil spirits." Of which heathenish practice, See Poole "Leviticus 18:21".

Unto devils; by which expression he informeth them that they did not worship God, as they pretended and sometimes designed, but devils in their idols; and that those spirits which were supposed by the heathen idolaters to inhabit in their images, and which they worshipped in them, were not gods or good spirits, as they imagined, but evil spirits or devils. See Leviticus 17:7 Deu 32:17 1 Corinthians 10:20 Revelation 9:20.

Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils. Who have their name here given them from a word that signifies to waste and destroy, they being the destroyers of mankind. So the Targum renders it by which signifies spirits noxious and hurtful; but R. Elias Levita, in his Tishbi, p. 233, says it is a mistake to derive it from the root which signifies to waste and destroy; for then he says the "daleth" should have a "dagesh"; but does not tell us from whence it is derived. De Dieu, on Matthew 9:32, derives it from the Arabic word "to rule", for these demons were heroes, princes who ruled over others, and so were reckoned among the gods. As Satan, the head of them, was a murderer from the beginning, the cause of the ruin of our first parents, and of all their posterity; and may be truly called, as the king of the locusts is, "Apollyon" or "Abaddon", John 8:44 these the Israelites sacrificed unto, as the Gentiles did, Leviticus 17:7 and not lambs and rams, sheep, goats, and bullocks, but their sons and daughters; which they not only caused to pass through the fire to Moloch, which was a lustration of them by the flame, or causing them to pass between two fires; but they sacrificed them to be devoured, and actually burned them; see Jeremiah 7:31. From whence we may see of what a hardening nature sin is, and how by degrees persons may be brought to commit things the most shocking to nature, and which they some time before shuddered at. First, these Israelites mix themselves with the Heathens they spared, whom they should have destroyed; then they learn, by being among them, to do as they did, to walk in the vanity of their minds like them; and then they are enticed to serve their idols, and at last to sacrifice their sons and daughters to devils; which was no other than murder, and that of the most heinous nature: as follows. Yea, they sacrificed their {u} sons and their daughters unto devils,

(u) He shows how monstrous a thing idolatry is, which can win us to things abhorring to nature, while God's word cannot obtain small things.

37. unto devils) Better, demons (LXX Syr. Targ. Jer.). From Deuteronomy 32:17, “they sacrificed unto demons, which were no god,” the only other passage in the O.T. where the word shçdîm occurs. “In Assyrian, shîdu is the name of the divinities represented by the bull-colossi, so often found in the front of Assyrian palaces, who were regarded apparently not as gods properly so called, but as subordinate spirits, demi-gods or genii, invested with power for good or evil.” Etymologically the Heb. word may mean lords, but the precise idea attached to it cannot now be determined. Most probably it “denotes some kind of subordinate spirit or demi-god.” Driver on Deuteronomy 32:17.

Verse 37. - Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils. The Moloch sacrifices of children by their parents are evidently intended (comp. Leviticus 18:21; Deuteronomy 18:10; 2 Kings 3:27; Jeremiah 7:31; Ezekiel 23:37, etc.). (For the identification of the false gods of the heathen with "devils," comp. Leviticus 17:71; Deuteronomy 32:17; 2 Chronicles 11:15; 1 Corinthians 10:20, 21.) It is argued by some that the use of the word "devils," or "demons," here does not imply that the objects of the worship were evil spirits. But it is difficult to see what else can be meant. Psalm 106:37The sins in Canaan: the failing to exterminate the idolatrous peoples and sharing in their idolatry. In Psalm 106:34 the poet appeals to the command, frequently enjoined upon them from Exodus 23:32. onwards, to extirpate the inhabitants of Canaan. Since they did not execute this command (vid., Judges 1:1), that which it was intended to prevent came to pass: the heathen became to them a snare (mowqeesh), Exodus 23:33; Exodus 34:12; Deuteronomy 7:16. They intermarried with them, and fell into the Canaanitish custom in which the abominations of heathenism culminate, viz., the human sacrifice, which Jahve abhorreth (Deuteronomy 12:31), and only the demons (שׁדים, Deuteronomy 32:17) delight in. Thus then the land was defiled by blood-guiltiness (חנף, Numbers 35:33, cf. Isaiah 24:5; Isaiah 26:21), and they themselves became unclean (Ezekiel 20:43) by the whoredom of idolatry. In Psalm 106:40-43 the poet (as in Nehemiah 9:26.) sketches the alternation of apostasy, captivity, redemption, and relapse which followed upon the possession of Canaan, and more especially that which characterized the period of the judges. God's "counsel" was to make Israel free and glorious, but they leaned upon themselves, following their own intentions (בּעצתם); wherefore they perished in their sins. The poet uses מכך (to sink down, fall away) instead of the נמק (to moulder, rot) of the primary passage, Leviticus 26:39, retained in Ezekiel 24:23; Ezekiel 33:10, which is no blunder (Hitzig), but a deliberate change.
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