Exhortations and promises. (1-2) Judah exhorted to repentance.
(3-4) Judgements denounced. (5-18) The approaching ruin of
The first two verses should be read with the last chapter.
Sin must be put away out of the heart, else it is not put away
out of God's sight, for the heart is open before him.
An unhumbled heart is like ground untilled. It is ground
which may be improved; it is our ground let out to us; but it is
fallow; it is over-grown with thorns and weeds, the natural
product of the corrupt heart. Let us entreat the Lord to create
in us a clean heart, and to renew a right spirit within us; for
except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of
The fierce conqueror of the neighbouring nations was to
make Judah desolate. The prophet was afflicted to see the people
lulled into security by false prophets. The approach of the
enemy is described. Some attention was paid in Jerusalem to
outward reformation; but it was necessary that their hearts
should be washed, in the exercise of true repentance and faith,
from the love and pollution of sin. When lesser calamities do
not rouse sinners and reform nations, sentence will be given
against them. The Lord's voice declares that misery is
approaching, especially against wicked professors of the gospel;
when it overtakes them, it will be plainly seen that the fruit
of wickedness is bitter, and the end is fatal.
The prophet had no pleasure in delivering messages of
wrath. He is shown in a vision the whole land in confusion.
Compared with what it was, every thing is out of order; but the
ruin of the Jewish nation would not be final. Every end of our
comforts is not a full end. Though the Lord may correct his
people very severely, yet he will not cast them off. Ornaments
and false colouring would be of no avail. No outward privileges
or profession, no contrivances would prevent destruction. How
wretched the state of those who are like foolish children in the
concerns of their souls! Whatever we are ignorant of, may the
Lord make of good understanding in the ways of godliness. As sin
will find out the sinner, so sorrow will, sooner or later, find
out the secure.