For the name of God is blasphemed, etc. - In Debarim rabba, sect. 2, fol. 251, it is said: - "The rulers destroy the influence of their own words among the people; and this is done when a rabbin, sitting and teaching in the academy, says, Do not take usury, and himself takes it; do not commit rapine, and himself commits it; do not steal, and himself steals." That they were exceedingly lax in their morals, the following fact proves: - "Rabbi Ilai said, If a man see that his evil propensities are likely to prevail against him, let him go to some place where he is not known, and let him put on black clothes, and cover his head with a black veil; and then let him do whatsoever he pleases, lest the name of God should be publicly profaned." Moed katon, fol. 17. 1. In Sohar Levit. fol. 31, col. 122, it is said: - "On three accounts the Jews are obliged to remain in captivity -
But it would be endless to collect from their history the proofs of the charges brought here against them by the apostle. See Whitby, Schoettgen, and others.
The name of God - The name and character of the true God.
Is blasphemed - Note, Matthew 9:3. That is, your conduct is such as to lead the pagan world to blaspheme and reproach both your religion and its Author. By your hypocrisy and crimes the pagan world is led to despise a religion which is observed to have no effect in purifying and restraining its professors; and of course the reproach will terminate on the Author of your religion - that is, the true God. A life of purity would tend to honor religion and its Author; a life of impurity does the reverse. There is no doubt that this was actually the effect of the deportment of the Jews. They were scattered everywhere; everywhere they were corrupt and wicked; and everywhere they and their religion were despised.
Among the Gentiles - In the midst of whom many Jews lived.
Through you - By means of you, or as the result of your conduct. It may mean, that you Jews do it, or profane the name of God; but the connection seems rather to require the former sense.
As it is written - To what place the apostle has reference, cannot be certainly determined. There are two passages in the Old Testament; which will bear on the case, and perhaps he had them both in his view; Isaiah 52:5; Ezekiel 36:22-23. The meaning is not that the passages in the Old Testament, referred to by the phrase, “as it is written,” had any particular reference to the conduct of the Jews in the time of Paul, but that this had been the character of the people, and the effect of their conduct as a nation, instances of which had been before observed and recorded by the prophets. The same thing has occurred to a most melancholy extentin regard to professed Christian nations. For purposes of commerce, and science, and war, and traffic, people from nations that are nominally Christian have gone into almost every part of the pagan world. But they have not often been real Christians. They have been intent on gain; and have to a melancholy extent been profane, and unprincipled, and profligate people. Yet the pagan have regarded them as Christians; as fair specimens of the effect of the religion of Christ. They have learned therefore, to abuse the name of Christian, and the Author of the Christian religion, as encouraging and promoting profligacy of life. Hence, one reason, among thousands, of the importance of Christian missions to the pagan. It is well to disabuse the pagan world of their erroneous opinions of the tendency of Christianity. It is well to teach them that we do not regard these people as Christians. As we have sent to them the worst part of our population, it is well to send them holy men, who shall exhibit to them the true nature of Christianity, and raise our character in their eyes as a Christian people. And were there no other result of Christian missions, it would be worth all the expense and toil attending them, to raise the national character in the view of the pagan world.