Deuteronomy 32:17 MEANING

Deuteronomy 32:17
(17) They sacrificed unto devils, not to God.--St. Paul repeats this expression in 1 Corinthians 11:20.

Gods that came newly up.--Literally, that came from close at hand. Compare the description of the idol in Isaiah 44:15, easily made from the firewood; and see also Wisdom Of Solomon 13:13, "A carpenter taking a crooked piece of wood, and full of knots, hath carved it diligently, when he had nothing else to do"--a comment on the passage in Isaiah 44

Verse 17. - Devils; shedim, a word which occurs only here and Psalm 106:37. It stands connected with the verb שׁוּד, to rule, and means primarily "lords." The LXX. render by δαιμόνια, demons. In Assyrian it is said to be a name for demigods. Not to God; rather, to a not God, a composite term in apposition to shedim; the meaning is rightly given in the margin of the Authorized Version, "which were not God." To new gods that came newly up. The word rendered by "newly" (קָרוב) properly means "near;" it is an adjective both of place and of time; here it is the latter, equal to of a near time, recently - gods recently invented or discovered.

32:15-18 Here are two instances of the wickedness of Israel, each was apostacy from God. These people were called Jeshurun, an upright people, so some; a seeing people, so others: but they soon lost the reputation both of their knowledge and of their righteousness. They indulged their appetites, as if they had nothing to do but to make provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts of it. Those who make a god of themselves, and a god of their bellies, in pride and wantonness, and cannot bear to be told of it, thereby forsake God, and show they esteem him lightly. There is but one way of a sinner's acceptance and sanctification, however different modes of irreligion, or false religion, may show that favourable regard for other ways, which is often miscalled candid. How mad are idolaters, who forsake the Rock of salvation, to run themselves upon the rock of perdition!They sacrificed to devils, not to God,.... Their sacrifices being continued, when it was the will of God they should cease, were reckoned by him not as, offered to him, but to demons, and to such that were not God; they being therein under the instigation of Satan, and doing his lusts, John 8:44; just as Pagans and Papists, worshipping idols under the influence and direction of Satan, are said to worship devils, and sacrifice to them, 1 Corinthians 10:20; and indeed setting up their own righteousness was sacrificing to their own net, and burning incense to their own drag, to an idol, and not to God: to which may be added, that whereas they trampled under foot the Son of God, and did despite to the Spirit of grace, by which Christ cast out devils, and offered himself without spot, they excluded two of the divine Persons in the Deity, and so worshipped not the true God, Father, Son, and Spirit:

to gods whom they knew not, to gods that came newly up; such as angels, into the worship of which they fell, as their writings testify (i), and to which the apostle seems to have respect, Colossians 2:18,

whom your fathers feared not; paid no regard unto, put no trust or confidence in; or, as the Targum of Jonathan,"with whom your fathers had nothing to do:''as they had not with the idol of man's righteousness, but wholly looked unto and trusted in the grace and righteousness of Christ, and expected salvation alone by him: the Gospel of righteousness and salvation by Christ was preached to our first parents in Eden's garden, which they embraced and believed in; Noah was an heir and preacher of the righteousness of faith, that is, of the righteousness of Christ, received by faith; that righteousness, which was what Abraham believed in, was imputed to him for his justifying righteousness; and Jacob waited for the Messiah, the salvation of God; in short all the Old Testament saints were saved by the grace of Christ, as we are; the idols, the works of men's own righteousness, are new deities they paid no deference to, placed no confidence in.

(i) Vid. Van Till in loc.

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