And he said to them, Thus said the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side…
I. THE ACTORS IN THIS IDOLATROUS SCENE.
1. Their historical character.
2. The recent experiences through which they had passed.
3. In view of these facts what a revelation of human nature we have here!
(1) Of its fickleness.
(2) Of the difficulty of making deep religious impressions.
(3) Of the imperiousness of the religious nature (ver. 1).
(4) Of the depraved tendency of man's natural religious instincts (ver. 6).
(5) Of the ingratitude of human nature.
(6) Of the weakness of their present leader, Aaron.
II. THE PUNISHMENT.
1. The opportunity to repent before the punishment was meted out (ver. 26).
2. The fidelity of the sons of Levi.
3. The terrible slaughter (vers. 27, 28).
4. The condition of forgiveness (vers. 29, 30).
5. The tender-hearted intercessor (vers. 31, 32).
6. The result of the intercession (vers. 33-35).Lessons:
1. The plausible grounds on which men justify themselves in following their inclinations.
(1) Doubtless the leaders in this idolatry were those who had been corrupted in Egypt, and were longing to have a taste of Egyptian religion.
(2) Their excuse was the delay of Moses in coming down from the mount.
2. The ease with which some leaders will fall in with a popular cry.
3. False leaders will lie to justify themselves.
4. What a power for good or evil is a great popular enthusiasm!
5. The contrast between the religion of man and the religion of God.
6. Sin is no less odious in God's sight because it is committed in the name of religion. God is ever ready to forgive the truly penitent.
(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.
WEB: He said to them, "Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, 'Every man put his sword on his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and every man kill his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.'"