Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?
Read Chapter 10
Cornelius a Lapide
Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? I.e, to anger. Do we set up a rival to the Lord? De we leave Him, our Bride-groom, and cling to a devil, and the things offered to him, or at all events wish to serve both, and yoke together God and the devil? So Chrysostom, Anselm, Theophylact. S. Paul is alluding to Deuteronomy 32:21. S. Jerome, commenting of Habakkuk ii, rightly says the unclean spirits preside over all idols, and answer those who call on the idols, and give oracular replies, and lend them help.
Are we stronger than He? By no means; therefore our provoking God to anger will not go unpunished by Him.
Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than He? i.e., Are we tempting Him, whether He is able to punish us, and irritating Him by going over to the adversaries and taking our stand with His enemies? And this he said, reminding them of an ancient history and of their fathers' transgression. Wherefore also he makes use of this expression, which Moses likewise of old used against the Jews, accusing them of idolatry in the person of God. For they, says He, moved Me to jealousy with that which is not God; they provoked Me to anger with their idols. Deuteronomy 32:21
Are we stronger than He? Do you see how terribly, how awfully he rebukes them, thoroughly shaking their very nerves, and by his way of reducing them to an absurdity, touching them to the quick and bringing down their pride? Well, but why, some one will say, did he not set down these things at first, which would be most effectual to withdraw them? Because it is his custom to prove his point by many particulars, an...
Do you see how terribly Paul rebukes the Corinthians, shaking their very nerves and reducing them to an absurdity? Why, you may ask, did he not say this at the beginning? Because it is Paul’s custom to prove his point by many details, placing the strongest last and prevailing in the argument by proving more than is strictly necessary. Thus he began here with the smaller matters and made his way up toward the greatest of evils, so that the minds of the Corinthians had been prepared by the things already said. In this way the last point is more easily absorbed.