Neither be ye idolaters
To which they seemed inclined to be, at least there was great danger that such they would be, by carrying their liberty to such a pitch, as to sit in an idol's temple, and there eat things sacrificed unto them; and which the apostle cautions against, and uses arguments to dissuade them from in the following part of this chapter:
as were some of them, as it is written, the people sat down to eat
and drink, and rose up to play:
referring to ( Exodus 32:6 ) when the Israelites, whilst Moses was in the mount, made a molten calf, and worshipped it, built an altar before it, and instituted a feast and a play; and which was performed by dancing about the calf, and singing to the honour of it, ( Exodus 32:18 Exodus 32:19 ) for their sitting down to eat and drink is not to be understood of an ordinary meal, but of a feast kept in honour of the golden calf, and which they covered by calling it a feast to the Lord; and their playing also was on the same account, in imitation of the Heathens, who made feasts, and appointed plays to the honour of their deities: some indeed interpret F20 this last action of uncleanness, which they committed after their feast was over, and which also was sometimes done in the Heathen temples, the word being sometimes used in this sense; see ( Genesis 39:14 Genesis 39:17 ) but others understand it of the act of idolatry; so two of the Chaldee paraphrases interpret the words in Exodus F21; "they rose up to play", (harkwn anxlwpb) , in strange service, i.e. idolatry; and though the apostle does not mention their punishment, yet it was a very great one, three thousand persons fell the sword on that account, ( Exodus 32:28 ) .
F20 Vid. Jarchi in Exod. xxxii. 6.
F21 Targum Jon. ben Uzziel & Jerusalem in ib. Vid. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 53. fol. 47. 4. & Shemot Rabba, sect. 1. fol. 89. 3.