Thus shall you say to them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth…
I. GOD EXPECTS FROM US THAT WE SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE BEFORE MEN OUR FAITH AND BELIEF IN HIM UPON ALL PROPER OCCASIONS; and that upon no pretence, and for the fear of no inconvenience and danger, we should deny Him, and act against our conscience.
II. IT IS THE DUTY OF EVERYONE TO PROMOTE VIRTUE AND RELIGION IN OTHERS TO THE UTMOST OF HIS POWER. If our desires to do this be earnest, and our behaviour be upright, we shall in some measure succeed; for goodness is of its own nature communicative, and it commands love and respect, and on both accounts it will have some weight and influence.
III. THE WORDS OF THE TEXT ARE DIRECTED TO AN UNHAPPY PEOPLE, stripped of their possessions, surviving the destruction of their fellow citizens, cast out of their own land, carried into captivity by their proud conquerors, and seemingly forsaken of God. These persons are exhorted to make profession of their faith, and to hold fast their religion. If we apply this direction to ourselves, we may learn that we ought in time of affliction to honour God, and submit to the dispensations of His providence. By this behaviour we both recommend ourselves to God's favour, and do signal service to religion.
IV. The next observation arising from the text is, THAT GOD MAY BE KNOWN BY HIS WORKS, and that the human understanding may discover, upon a serious and careful examination, that there is one God, Maker and Governor of the universe; that all other gods beside Him are gods which made not the heavens and the earth, that is, no gods in reality.
V. The words of the text are a most illustrious and remarkable prophecy, THAT THE GODS OF THE GENTILES WHO WERE THEN ADORED SHOULD ENTIRELY PERISH AND CONSEQUENTLY THAT THE HONOUR WHICH HAD BEEN PAID TO THEM SHOULD BE GIVEN TO GOD ALONE.
1. It was a time when the knowledge of the true God was confined to very narrow bounds, and His dominion was almost become invisible. Upon many accounts, then, and according to human probability, it seemed mere to be expected that the Jews together with their religion should perish, than that the Gentiles should forsake their idolatry.
2. Concerning the accomplishment of the prophecy, we may observe that it hath been in a great measure manifested. For the gods of the Gentiles so often mentioned in sacred and profane history, the gods of Europe and Asia, of Greece and Italy, the gods of Babylon, and of all the nations surrounding the Jews, and with which the Jews were so often concerned, have entirely perished. This great event hath been produced by the Gospel:
(1) By the preaching of the apostles;
(2) At the time of Constantine; and,
(3) A few ages afterwards.
3. But the descriptions which the prophets have made of this revolution are so magnificent, that they seem not yet to have received a total completion. It is generally and justly supposed that a more glorious age shall come; when the Jews shall be converted, and the fulness of the Gentiles shall flow into the Church, and the kingdoms of the earth shall be the kingdom of Christ.
(J. Jortin, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.