But ye are they that forsake the Lord
Here the Lord returns to the body of the people again, the unbelievers and rejecters of the Messiah, who turned away from him, would not hear his doctrine, nor submit to his ordinances; they forsook the worship of the Lord, as the Targum; yea, some that professed to be his disciples, and followed him for a while, left him, and walked no more with him, ( John 6:60 John 6:66 ) : that forget my holy mountain;
Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, the Gospel church, to which the seed or heirs, the chosen of God, and the servants of the Lord among the Jews, came, and enjoyed the immunities of it, and worshipped the Lord there; but these men forgot it, and either never came, or, if any of them did, they soon forsook the assembling of themselves together, as the manner of some was, ( Hebrews 12:22 ) ( 10:25 ) : that prepare a table for that troop;
or, "for a troop"; a troop of idols worshipped; or, "for Gad", which some take to be the name of a star; and R. Moses the priest says it is the name of the star Jupiter, in the Arabic language, a lucky star. The Vulgate Latin version renders it, "for fortune": and the word is used by the Jewish writers F25 for the goddess Fortune, or good luck, and who make mention of "the bed of fortune" F26; a bed, which, they say, is prepared for a star, and no man may sleep on it; and a table also, which they might not use but for that star, the same with the table here; for they used beds or couches at their tables, or at eating. And Jerom on the place says, it was an old custom in Egypt, particularly in Alexandria and other cities, on the last day of the year, to prepares table, with all kind of provisions for eating and drinking, by way of thankfulness for the fertility of the last year, and in order to obtain it in the year following; and this the Israelites did. "Table" seems to be put for an altar, on which sacrifice was offered to idols. Mention is made by Herodotus F1 of the table of the sun among the Ethiopians. And that furnish the drink offering unto that number:
or, "to a number"; to a number of deities, which were as numerous as their cities, ( Jeremiah 2:28 ) and according to the number of them they provided drink offerings, or a mixture of wine and water; and also according to the number of the priests that sacrificed they filled cups of wine, as Jarchi observes; or according to the number of letters in a person's name they wished well to, as many cups they drank, to which Sanctius thinks the allusion is; or to "Meni", which R. Moses takes to be the name of a star; some interpret it of a number of stars or planets, the seven planets particularly; and others of the planet Mercury. Some think it is the name of an idol, either, of an idol of the Arabians, as Pocock F2; or of the Armenians, as others, Armenia being called Minni, ( Jeremiah 51:27 ) . The Targum interprets both clauses of idol deities; and so, in the gloss on the Talmud F3, they are both said to be the names of idols. Bynaeus
F4 seems to me to have advanced the best notion of Gad and Meni, translated "that troop", and "that number", which is, that the one signifies the sun, and the other the moon, which he supports with many reasons; so Vitringa; and yet there is a difficulty in the words, how they are to be applied to the Jews in the times of Christ and the apostles, when they were not guilty of such idolatrous practices; unless this is to be understood of the sins of their forefathers visited on them, as in ( Isaiah 65:3 Isaiah 65:4 Isaiah 65:7 ) , though this is said of the same persons that forsook the Lord, and forgot his mountain; wherefore I am inclined to think that some thing like this is the sense of the words; that the evil charged upon this people, and of which they were guilty, was, that they regarded the stars, and attributed their case and circumstances to the influences of them, or to fate and fortune, rather than to the providence of God; or trusted in their troops and numbers, and so defied and despised the Roman army that besieged them, which was their ruin.
F25 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 65. fol. 58. 2. T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 40. 1.
F26 T. Bab. Nedarim, fol. 56. 1. & Gloss. in ib, & Sanhedrin, fol. 20, 1. Gloss. in ib.
F1 Thalia, sive I. 3. c. 18.
F2 Specimen Hist. Arab, p. 92, 93.
F3 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 92. 1. & Gloss. in ib. T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 67. 2.
F4 De Caleeis Hebraeor. I. 1. c. 9. sect. 7