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23

You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings,

or honored me with your sacrifices.

I have not burdened you with offerings,

or wearied you with frankincense.


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23. Theft hast not brought to me. A question arises, “Why does the Prophet bring this reproach against the Jews, who, it is evident, were very careful to offer sacrifices according to the injunction of the Law?” Some refer this to the time of the captivity, when they could not have offered sacrifices to God though they had been willing to do so; for it was not lawful for them to offer sacrifices in any other place than Jerusalem, and therefore they could not appease God by sacrifices. (Deuteronomy 12:13.) But I rather think that it is a general reproach; for at the very time when the people were sacrificing, they could not boast of their merits or personal worth, as if they had laid God under obligations in this manner; for they were wanting in the sacrifices which God chiefly approves, that is, faith and obedience, without which nothing can be acceptable to God. There was no integrity of heart, “their hands were full of blood,” (Isaiah 1:15;) everything was filled with fraud and robbery, and there was no room for justice or equity. Although, therefore, they daily brought beasts to the temple, and sacrificed them, yet he justly affirms that they offered nothing to him. Sacrifices could not be accepted by God when they were separated kern truth, and were offered to another rather than to God; for he did not demand them in themselves, but so far as the people treated them as exercises of faith and obedience, Hence we infer that the Prophet says nothing new, but continues to exhibit the same doctrine, namely, that God rejects all services that are rendered in a slavish spirit, or in any other respect are defective.




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