Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good,.... Yea, were very bad; not the moral law, and the statutes of it; for that is holy, just, and good, though the killing letter and ministration of condemnation and death to the transgressors of it; indeed those laws were both good and bad to different persons, as Abendana observes; good to those that observed them, but not good to those that transgressed them, the issue of which was death: rather these were the statutes and rites of the ceremonial law, which were not in their own nature good; nor did they arise from the nature and holiness of God, but from his will; and though very good and useful under the legal dispensation, until the Messiah came, especially when attended to by faith, and with a view to him; yet had the sanction of death to many of them, that a man could not live by them: but it may be, the punishments inflicted on them for their sins, by the plague, by fire, and by serpents, are meant; which may be called "statutes" and "judgments", because ordered and appointed by the Lord, and according to justice: or, as many, both Jews and Christians, think, the idolatrous laws, usages, and customs of other nations, the traditions of their fathers, their wicked laws and statutes, and their own; which, being left to a reprobate mind, they were suffered to walk in, to their hurt and ruin; which is sometimes the sense of the word give; and so here, he "gave", that is, he permitted them to observe such statutes; and this sense is countenanced and confirmed by Ezekiel 20:26; to which agrees Jarchi's note,
"I delivered them into the hand of their imagination (or corrupt nature) to stumble at their iniquity;'
see Romans 1:28. Kimchi interprets them of laws, decrees, tribute, and taxes, imposed upon them by their enemies that conquered them. The Targum is,
"and I also, when they rebelled against my word, and would not obey my prophets, cast them far off, and delivered them into the hands of their enemies; and they went after their foolish imagination, and made decrees which were not right:'
and judgments, whereby they should not live; yea, which were deadly and destructive to them; which brought ruin, destruction, and death upon them; for more is designed than is expressed: this was the effect of following the customs of the nations, and of walking in the statutes of their fathers, and of their own; whereas, had they walked according to the judgments and statutes of God, moral and ceremonial, they had lived comfortably and prosperously.