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Commentary On Joel Amos Obadiah by Jean Calvin

Lecture Fifty-second

It follows, in the seventh verse, that the son and the father entered in into the same maid. The Prophet here charges the people of Israel with the unbridled lusts which prevailed then among them; which were promiscuous and even incestuous. It is, we know, a detestable monstrosity when a father and a son have connection with the same woman; for the common feeling of mankind abhors such flagitousness. But the Israelites were so much addicted to their own lusts, that the father and the son had the same woman in common; as indeed it must happen when men allow themselves excessive indulgences. A strumpet will, indeed, readily admit a son and a father without any difference, for she has no shame; and no fear of God restrains abandoned women given up to filthiness. It hence becomes a common thing for a father and a son to pollute themselves by an incestuous concubinage. But it is no diminution of guilt before God, when men, blinded by their lusts, make no difference, and without any discrimination, and without any shame, follow their own sinful propensities. Whenever this happens, it certainly proves that there is no fear of God, and that even the common feeling of nature is extinct. Hence the Prophet now justly condemns in the Israelites this crime, that the father and the son entered in into the same woman.

An amplification of this crime is also added, -- that they thus polluted the holy name of God. We indeed know that the people of Israel were chosen for this end -- that the name of God might be supplicated by them; and well known is that declaration, often repeated by Moses,

Be ye holy, for I am holy' (Leviticus 11:44)

Hence the children of Israel could not defile themselves without polluting at the same time the name of God, which was engraven on them. God then complains here of this profanation; for the children of Israel not only contaminated themselves, but also profaned whatever was sacred among them, inasmuch as the name of God was exposed to reproach, when the people thus gave way to their filthy lusts. We now understand what the Prophet means. It follows --

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