[Is there] iniquity [in] Gilead?
&c.] Idolatry there? strange that there should be, seeing it was a city of the priests; a city of refuge; or there is none there, say the priests, who pretended they did not worship idols, but the true Jehovah in them: or, "is [there] not iniquity", or idolatry, "in Gilead" F5? verily there is, let them pretend to what they will: or, "is [there only] iniquity in it" F6? that the men of it should be carried captive, as they were by TiglathPileser, before the rest of the tribes; see ( 2 Kings 15:29 ) ; no, there is iniquity and idolatry committed in other places, as well as there, who must expect to share the same fate in time: or, "is Gilead Aven?" F7 that is, Bethaven, the same with Bethel; it is as that, as guilty of idolatry as Bethel, where one of the calves was set up: surely they are vanity:
the inhabitants of Gilead, as well as of Bethel, worshipping idols, which are most vain things, vanity itself, and deceive those that serve them, and trust in them: they sacrifice bullocks in Gilgal:
to idols, as the Targum adds; and so Jarchi and Kimchi; according to Aben Ezra, they sacrificed them to Baal; this shows that Gilead was not the only place for idolatry, which was on the other side Jordan, but Gilgal, which was on this side Jordan, was also polluted with it. The Vulgate Latin version is,
``in Gilgal they were sacrificing to bullocks;''to the calves there, the same as were at Dan and Bethel; so, in the Septuagint version of ( 1 Kings 12:29 ) ; it was formerly read: and so Cyril
``they have multiplied their altars, like heaps upon the borders of the fields;''and the Jewish commentators in general understand this as expressive of the number of their altars, and of the increase of idolatrous worship; but some interpret it of the destruction of their altars, which should become heaps of stones and rubbish, like such as are in fields. These words respect Ephraim or the ten tribes, in which these places were, whose idolatry is again taken notice of, after gracious promises were made to Judah. Some begin here a new sermon or discourse delivered to Israel.