The children gather wood
In the fields, or out of the neighbouring forest; not little children, but young men, who were able to cut down trees, and bear and carry burdens of wood: and the fathers kindle the fire;
take the wood of their children, lay it in order, and put fire to it; which shows that they approved of what their children did, and that what they did was by their direction and order: and the women knead their dough;
so that every age and sex were employed in idolatrous service, which is here intended; the corruption was universal; and therefore the whole body was ripe for ruin; nor would the Lord be entreated for them: and all this preparation was, to make cakes for the queen of heaven;
the moon, as Abarbinel; which rules by night, as the sun is the king that rules by day; and which was much worshipped by the Heathens, whom the Jews imitated. Some render it, to the work, or workmanship, of heavens;
F17 that is, to the whole host of heaven, sun, moon, and stars, which were worshipped in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem, ( 2 Kings 23:5 ) . The Targum renders it,
``to the star of heaven;''and Jarchi interprets it of some great star in the heaven, called the queen of heaven; and thinks that these cakes had the impress of a star upon them; see ( Amos 5:26 ) where mention is made of "Chiun, your image, the star of your god". The word "chiun" is akin to the word here translated cakes, and thought to be explained by a star; see also ( Acts 7:43 ) but it seems rather to be the moon, which is expressly called by Apuleius F18 the queen of heaven; and often by others Coelestis; and Urania by the Africans, as Tertullian F19 and Herodian
F20 affirm; as also Beltis, by Abydenus F21; and Baaltis, by Philo-Byblius, or Sanchoniatho F23; which have the signification of "queen"; and these cakes might have the form of the moon upon them, and be made and offered in imitation of the shewbread: and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods;
not different from the queen of heaven, and the hosts thereof; for to her and them drink offerings were poured out, ( Jeremiah 44:18 Jeremiah 44:19 ) but other gods besides the one, only, living, and true God: that they may provoke me to anger;
not that this was their intention, but so it was eventually.
F17 (Mymvh tklml) "operi coelorum", Piscator, Gataker, Cocceius "machinae coelorum", Munster, Tigurine version; so Kimchi and Ben Melech.
F18 Metamorph. l. 11. principio.
F19 Apologet. c. 24.
F20 Hist. l. 5. 1. 15.
F21 Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 41. p. 456.
F23 Apud ib. l. 2. c. 10. p. 38.