Above all, taking the shield of faith…
Which may be
understood either of the grace of faith, which is like a golden
shield, precious, solid, and substantial; and like a shield of
mighty men, by which mighty things are done, and by which the
believer not only repels, but conquers the enemy. The Jews say F14,
that repentance and good works are as a shield against divine
vengeance: or rather of the object of faith, that which faith makes
use of as a shield; so God himself is a shield, (Genesis 15:1) ; his divine
perfections, as his power, faithfulness, truth, and immutability,
which encompass the saints as a shield, and are opposed by faith to
the temptations of Satan; also the love and favour of God, (Psalms 5:12) ;
and particularly God in his word, (Proverbs 30:5) , which is a shield
against false doctrines, and the wiles of Satan. Moreover, Christ is
a shield, (Psalms 84:11) ; and faith makes rise of him as a shield, his
person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice; which it holds up and
opposes to all the charges and objections of Satan; and who is the
saints' protection, and security from the wrath of God, divine
justice, and eternal death. The disciples of the wise men are said
to be F15 (Nwoyrt) , "shielded men", who, as the gloss says fight in
the war of the law; but they are not like Christ's disciples, who
have on the shield, and fight the fight of faith: and this is "above
all" to be taken, as being the most useful part of the Christian
armour; or "with all", with the rest, this is to be taken, and by no
means to be neglected; and it is to be used "in all"; in every
temptation of Satan, in every conflict with that enemy, or any
Wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the
of the wicked one, Satan; who was the first wicked one, and
the tempter of others to wickedness; and is emphatically the wicked
one, being wickedness itself; and his temptations are "fiery darts":
they may be compared to "darts", because they sometimes come suddenly
and swiftly and thick and fast, are very numerous, and where they stick
are very troublesome and grieving; see (Genesis 49:23,24) . And they may
be said to be "fiery", because they serve to inflame the mind, and
excite to sin, as lust, anger, revenge, and the like; and were they not
repelled, would be the occasion of bringing into everlasting burnings.
The allusion is to (belesi pepurwmenoiv) , "the fiery darts", cast by
enemies into towns, and upon houses, in order to burn them F16. Mention
is also made of (avad yryg) , "fiery darts", with the Jews F17, and of
Satan's casting a dart at David F18: from these customs, and ways of
speaking, the apostle borrows his phrases; and suggests, that the
shield of faith is of use to quench the fiery darts of Satan's
temptations; so that they may not have the malignant influence they are
designed for; which is chiefly done by faith's dealing with the blood
of Christ. And there were ways of quenching the fiery darts alluded
to; which was done by skins and hides of beasts made wet, or anointed
with alum F19.
F14 Pirke Abot, c. 4. sect. 11.
F15 T. Bab. Becorot, fol. 36. 1. & Gloss. in ib.
F16 Apollodorus de Orig. Deorum, l. 2. p. 89.
F17 Targum Jon. & Jerus. in Exod. xix. 13.
F18 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 95. 1. & 107. 1.
F19 Ammian. Marcellin. l. 20. c. 11.