Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. rend . . . heavens--bursting forth to execute vengeance, suddenly
descending on Thy people's foe
(Ps 18:9; 144:5;
Hab 3:5, 6).
2. Oh, that Thy wrath would consume Thy foes as the fire. Rather,
"as the fire burneth the dry brushwood"
3. When--Supply from
we looked not for--far exceeding the expectation of any of our nation;
camest down--on Mount Sinai.
mountains flowed--Repeated from
they pray God to do the very same things for Israel now as in
former ages. GESENIUS, instead of "flowed" here,
and "flow" in
translates from a different Hebrew root, "quake . . .
quaked"; but "fire" melts and causes to flow, rather than
4. perceived by the ear--Paul
has for this, "nor have entered into the heart of man"; the virtual
sense, sanctioned by his inspired authority; men might hear with the
outward ear, but they could only by the Spirit "perceive" with the
"heart" the spiritual significancy of God's acts, both those in
relation to Israel, primarily referred to here, and those relating to
the Gospel secondarily, which Paul refers to.
O God . . . what he . . . prepared--rather, "nor hath eye seen
a god beside thee who doeth such things." They refer to God's
past marvellous acts in behalf of Israel as a plea for His now
interposing for His people; but the Spirit, as Paul by inspiration
shows, contemplated further God's revelation in the Gospel, which
abounds in marvellous paradoxes never before heard of by carnal ear, not
to be understood by mere human sagacity, and when foretold by the
prophets not fully perceived or credited; and even after the
manifestation of Christ not to be understood save through the inward
teaching of the Holy Ghost. These are partly past and present, and
partly future; therefore Paul substitutes "prepared" for "doeth," though
his context shows he includes all three. For "waiteth" he has "love
Him"; godly waiting on Him must flow from love, and not mere fear.
5. meetest--that is, Thou makest peace, or enterest into covenant
with him (see on
rejoiceth and worketh--that is, who with joyful willingness worketh
those--Thou meetest "those," in apposition to "him" who represents a
class whose characteristics "those that," &c., more fully describes.
remember thee in thy ways--
sinned--literally, "tripped," carrying on the figure in "ways."
in those is continuance--a plea to deprecate the continuance of
God's wrath; it is not in Thy wrath that there is continuance
(Isa 54:7, 8;
Ps 30:5; 103:9),
but in Thy ways ("those"), namely, of covenant mercy to Thy
on the strength of the everlasting continuance of His covenant they
infer by faith, "we shall be saved." God "remembered" for them His
though they often "remembered not" Him
translates, "we have sinned for long in them ('thy ways'), and could we
then be saved?" But they hardly would use such a plea when their very
object was to be saved.
6. unclean thing--legally unclean, as a leper. True of Israel,
everywhere now cut off by unbelief and by God's judgments from the
congregation of the saints.
righteousness--plural, "uncleanness" extended to
every particular act of theirs, even to their prayers and praises. True
of the best doings of the unregenerate
filthy rags--literally, a "menstruous rag"
(Le 15:33; 20:18;
fade . . . leaf--
(Ps 90:5, 6).
7. stirreth--rouseth himself from spiritual drowsiness.
clay . . . potter--
(Isa 29:16; 45:9).
Unable to mould themselves aright, they beg the sovereign will of God
to mould them unto salvation, even as He made them at the first,
and is their "Father."
(Ps 74:1, 2).
we are . . . thy people--
(Jer 14:9, 21).
10. holy cities--No city but Jerusalem is called "the holy city"
(Isa 48:2; 52:1);
the plural, therefore, refers to the upper and the lower
parts of the same city Jerusalem [VITRINGA];
or all Judea was holy to God, so its cities were deemed "holy"
[MAURER]. But the parallelism favors VITRINGA. Zion and Jerusalem (the one city)
answering to "holy cities."
11. house--the temple.
beautiful--includes the idea of glorious
Its destruction under Nebuchadnezzar prefigured that under Titus.
pleasant things--Hebrew, "objects of desire"; our homes,
our city, and all its dear associations.
12. for these things--Wilt Thou, notwithstanding these
calamities of Thy people, still refuse Thy aid