VII The total corruption of the people, ver. 1-6. Those who fear God are to take courage, to be patient, to expect long trouble, ver. 7-13. And to encourage themselves with God's promises, and faithfulness, and the future downfall of their enemies, ver. 14-20.
Verse 1. Woe is me - The land is brought in complaining, that whereas it was once well stored, now it hath few good in it. As the grape- gleanings - In Israel and Judah, which in bringing forth good men, should have been a fruitful vine full of clusters: just, compassionate and humble men, are as grapes after the vintage is gathered. Desired - But in vain.
Verse 3. Both hands - With all diligence. The great man - The great man at court, who can do what he will there. Uttereth - Is bold to speak plainly. Desire - His unjust, oppressive design. They - They all jointly promote violence and cruelty.
Verse 4. As a briar - Mischievous and hurtful. The day - The day in which they shall sound the alarm. Cometh - Surely, speedily, and unavoidably. Now - When that day is come.
Verse 7. Therefore - Since all sorts of men are so perfidious. Look - As one set in a watch-tower looks round about, and diligently observes all that stirs, so will the prophet; so did they who in Israel and Judah feared the Lord.
Verse 8. Rejoice not - The prophet personates the church. Let it be no matter of glorying to thee, that the day of calamity hath overtaken me. In darkness - When affliction, war, famine, and captivity cover me. A light - Shall support, comfort and deliver me.
Verse 9. Plead - Against mine enemy, now he pleads his own cause against me. His righteousness - The truth and riches of his promised salvation.
Verse 10. She - What nation or people soever. Shall behold - The people of God shall see their enemies laid low.
Verse 11. Thy walls - O Jerusalem. The decree - Of Artaxerxes, which forbad the re-building of the temple. Removed - Abolished.
Verse 12. In that day - After the return out of captivity. He - He who is of Jewish race. To thee - O Jerusalem. The fortified cities - In which many Jews were kept for servile works. To the river - To Euphrates. To sea - From the Caspian to the Persian and to the Midland sea. From mountain - That is, from all parts of their captivity, they shall return to their own country.
Verse 13. Not withstanding - These promises of restitution, which took not place 'till more than two hundred years after.
Verse 14. Feed - So Christ directs his officers. With thy rod - In allusion to the custom of shepherds who guided their sheep by a pastoral staff. In the wood - Protect and guide those that in their present captive state are solitary, compassed with dangers. Carmel - A fruitful place and well inhabited. In Bashan - A place of note for fruitfulness. Gilead - Equal with any of the other for plenty and safety.
Verse 16. Shall be deaf - They shall neither care to hear, nor to speak of it.
Verse 17. Lick the dust - In the most submissive, servile manner, testify their subjection. Holes - Their strong holds, and fastnesses. Because of thee - So that the name of Jews, shall be terrible to their enemies.