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5

who say, “Keep to yourself,

do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.”

These are a smoke in my nostrils,

a fire that burns all day long.


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5. Remain by thyself. 202202     “The literal translation is Approach to thyself;’ and as this implies removal from the speaker, the essential meaning is correctly expressed, though in a very different form from the original, both by the Septuagint (πόρ᾿ῥω ἀπ ᾿ ἐμοῦ) and by the Vulgate (Recede a me). The common English Version (Stand by thyself), and Henderson’s improvement of it (Keep by thyself), both suggest an idea not contained in the original, namely, that of standing alone; whereas all that is expressed by the Hebrew phrase is the act of standing away from the speaker, for which Lowth has found the idiomatic equivalent (Keep to thyself.)” — Alexander. He points out extreme impiety in the Jews, who obstinately and rebelliously opposed God’s worshippers, and refused to listen to any warnings. There is some hope of repentance, so long as we lend an ear to warnings and reproofs; but if we reject them, our case is undoubtedly hopeless.

Though the words are apparently obscure, their meaning amounts to this, that hypocrites disdainfully and fiercely repel faithful advisers, because they either make false claims to holiness, or, on account of pride, do not suffer themselves to be reproved; for hypocrisy is never free from supercilious disdain and haughtiness. Let us not wonder, therefore, that those who are infected by this vice swell with insolent pretensions, and boast of their virtue and holiness, and value themselves more highly than all others; for Satan has blinded them to make an idle and ostentatious boast of what they call their devotions, and to despise the word of God.

Commentators think that this is a general statement; which reproves the Jews for refusing to submit to the prophets. But it appears to me that we ought to take into account a circumstance to which they do not attach sufficient weight, that this verse is in close and immediate connection with the preceding verses, and contains a sharp reproof of the Jews, for not only revolting from the true worship, but likewise following obstinately their own inventions, so as to turn with disdain from every one that did not flatter them; for that phrase, “Remain with thyself,” means nothing else than “Away with thee!” as if they declared that they would have nothing to do with honest instructors. 203203     “Avec ceux qui leur remonstrent choses pour leur salut.” “With those whose serious warnings are intended for their salvation.”




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