For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands,
&c.] The yoke of the people, as the Targum expresses it, that was upon their necks, and the bands in which they were bound by them; referring to the deliverance of them of old from Egyptian bondage by the hands of Moses, and out of their several captivities among their neighbours by the means of the judges, and in their time; though the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "of old thou hast broken my yoke, and burst my bands"; or "thy yoke", and "thy bands", as the Septuagint and Arabic versions; the yoke of the law that the Lord put upon them, and the bands of statutes and ordinances which he enjoined them; but the former sense is best: and thou saidst, I will not transgress;
here is a double reading; the Cetib or writing is (dwbea) , "I will not serve"; which is followed by the Vulgate Latin, which so renders it; and by the Septuagint version, "I will not serve thee"; and which is the sense of the Arabic version, "I will not subject myself", that is, to the law and will of God; and so the Syriac version, though to a quite different sense, "I will serve no other god any more": which agrees with the Keri or reading, which is (rwbea) , "I will not transgress"; and this is confirmed by the Targum, which paraphrases the words thus,
``and ye said, we will not add any more to transgress thy word;''and by Jarchi and Kimchi, who interpret it of transgressing the words and commands of God; both have one and the same sense. For whether it be read, "I will not serve"; the meaning is, as Kimchi observes, "I will not serve idols"; or no other god, as the Syriac version: or whether, "I will not transgress"; that is, the command of the Lord, by serving other gods. Hillerus F16 reconciles the writing and reading after this manner, rendering (dwbea al) , "I will not serve", and (rwbea al) , "I will not pass", to servitude; though, in another place
F17 "I will not pass over", that is, the rivers of Tigris and Euphrates with the captives; and refers to ( Micah 1:11 ) ( Isaiah 47:2 ) , but doubtless reference is had to the promise of obedience and service, which the Israelites made at Mount Sinai quickly after their deliverance out of Egypt, ( Exodus 19:8 ) ( 24:7 ) , but this promise they did not keep: "when", or "for", or "but", or "although" F18, upon every high hill, and under every green tree, thou wanderest,
playing the harlot;
that is, committing spiritual whoredom or idolatry with idols, set on high hills and mountains, and under green trees, groves, and shady places; going from one idol to another, as harlots go from one stew to another; or as whoremongers go from harlot to harlot.
F16 De Arcano Kethib & Keri, p. 27, 28.
F17 Ib. p. 89, 90.
F18 (yk) "nam", Vatablus, Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius; "atqui", Calvin, Gataker; "quamvis", Piscator.