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    Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise,
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    Job to Song of Solomon


    Deuter-canonical Books are included as references, and less often, the Pseudoe-pigraphia (extra-biblical New Testament Era writings - such as the Gospel of Barnabas - used for over 300 years by the early Church.

    Though these are not Inerrant Scripture, they are very important as geographical and historical references, and helping to understand how particular Hebrew and Greek words were used.

    Since the Deuter-canonical Books were part of the Jewish Bible that Jesus and Paul used, they have great value for understanding the era between the Covenants, and all things Jewish.

    Many will be surprised to know they were in the Geneva Bible of Calvin and Knox - and the Puritan Pilgrims - and included in the King James for over 275 years . . .

    . . . and left out in later versions - ONLY to make the Bible MORE PROFITABLE, by selling at the usual price, while being much smaller to print!

    No wonder Paul said the "love of money is the root of all evil!"

    Further know, that that these books are rejected by most Bible Preachers today, BECAUSE the Jews of Jesus' Day rejected them for the Jewish Canon at the Council of Jamnia after the fall of Jerusalem.

    This seems reasonable enough, and though these Scribes and Lawyers SHOULD have had superior knowledge in ALL THINGS JEWISH . . . in their Jewish wisdom, THEY ALSO REJECTED JESUS AS THE MESSIAH!!!

    TheDeuter-canonical Books are very "Kingdom of God" and "Messianic" Oriented, thus the Jews sis NOT want any writings confirming that Jesus WAS the Jewish Messiah.

    The wise "Students-N-Scholars" will know them, as they provide light on New Testament Scripture that are NOT understood otherwise;

    Quick Example:

    In Luke 3:36 YOUR Bible reads as follows:

      "Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem (Shem), which was the son of Noe (Noah), which was the son of Lamech;"

    This ancestor of Jesus named "Cainan, son of Arphaxad": where is he in YOUR Bible/ (Check Genesis 11:13, and other genealogies).

    This dilemma - which the WORLD calls a great contradiction in the linage of Jesus as the Christ - can ONLY be solved by the Bible Jesus used, which included the Deuter-canonical Books.

    Do you suppose Jesus knew more about the "Correct Books" of the Bible than modern Denomination?

    [1] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, HOMEPAGE and INDEX

    [2] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, INTRO and PREFACE

    [3] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, GENESIS - DEUTERONOMY

    [4] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, JOSHUA To ESTHER

    [5] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, JOB To SONG of SOLOMON

    [6] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, THE PSALMS

    [7] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, ISAIAH To JEREMIAH

    [8] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, EZEKIEL To MALACHI

    [9] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, MATTHEW To ACTS

    [10] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, ROMANS To THE-REVELATION

    [11] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, The Whole OLD TESTAMENT

    [12] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, The Whole NEW TESTAMENT


    Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise;

    Jamieson, Fausset & Brown: Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein;

    "JOB 1"


    All Commentary from INSPIRED-INERRANT View of God's Word!

    Commentary by A. R. Faussett

      CHAPTER 1



      Job a Real Person.—It has been supposed by some that the book of Job is an allegory, not a realnarrative, on account of the artificial character of many of its statements. Thus the sacred numbers,three and seven, often occur. He had seven thousand sheep, seven sons, both before and after histrials; his three friends sit down with him seven days and seven nights; both before and after histrials he had three daughters. So also the number and form of the speeches of the several speakersseem to be artificial.

      The name of Job, too, is derived from an Arabic word signifying repentance.But Eze 14:14 (compare Eze 14:16, 20) speaks of "Job" in conjunction with "Noah and Daniel,"real persons. St. James (Jas 5:11) also refers to Job as an example of "patience," which he wouldnot have been likely to do had Job been only a fictitious person. Also the names of persons andplaces are specified with a particularity not to be looked for in an allegory. As to the exact doublingof his possessions after his restoration, no doubt the round number is given for the exact number,


      JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonas the latter approached near the former; this is often done in undoubtedly historical books. As tothe studied number and form of the speeches, it seems likely that the arguments were substantiallythose which appear in the book, but that the studied and poetic form was given by Job himself,guided by the Holy Spirit. He lived one hundred and forty years after his trials, and nothing wouldbe more natural than that he should, at his leisure, mould into a perfect form the arguments usedin the momentous debate, for the instruction of the Church in all ages. Probably, too, the debateitself occupied several sittings; and the number of speeches assigned to each was arranged bypreconcerted agreement, and each was allowed the interval of a day or more to prepare carefullyhis speech and replies; this will account for the speakers bringing forward their arguments in regularseries, no one speaking out of his turn. As to the name Job—repentance (supposing the derivationcorrect)—it was common in old times to give a name from circumstances which occurred at anadvanced period of life, and this is no argument against the reality of the person.Where Job Lived.—"Uz," according to Gesenius, means a light, sandy soil, and was in the north ofArabia-Deserta, between Palestine and the Euphrates, called by Ptolemy (Geography, 19) Ausitai orAisitai. In Ge 10:23; 22:21; 36:28; and 1Ch 1:17, 42, it is the name of a man. In Jer 25:20; La 4:21;and Job 1:1, it is a country. Uz, in Ge 22:21, is said to be the son of Nahor, brother of Abraham—adifferent person from the one mentioned (Ge 10:23), a grandson of Shem. The probability is thatthe country took its name from the latter of the two; for this one was the son of Aram, from whomthe Arameans take their name, and these dwelt in Mesopotamia, between the rivers Euphrates andTigris. Compare as to the dwelling of the sons of Shem in Ge 10:30, "a mount of the East," answeringto "men of the East" (Job 1:3). Rawlinson, in his deciphering of the Assyrian inscriptions, states that"Uz is the prevailing name of the country at the mouth of the Euphrates." It is probable that Eliphazthe Temanite and the Sabeans dwelt in that quarter; and we know that the Chaldeans resided there,and not near Idumea, which some identify with Uz. The tornado from "the wilderness" (Job 1:19)agrees with the view of it being Arabia-Deserta. Job (Job 1:3) is called "the greatest of the men ofthe East"; but Idumea was not east, but south of Palestine: therefore in Scripture language, thephrase cannot apply to that country, but probably refers to the north of Arabia-Deserta, betweenPalestine, Idumea, and the Euphrates. So the Arabs still show in the Houran a place called Uz asthe residence of Job.The Age When Job Lived.—Eusebius fixes it two ages before Moses, that is, about the time of Isaac:eighteen hundred years before Christ, and six hundred after the Deluge. Agreeing with this are thefollowing considerations: 1. Job's length of life is patriarchal, two hundred years. 2. He alludesonly to the earliest form of idolatry, namely, the worship of the sun, moon, and heavenly hosts(called Saba, whence arises the title "Lord of Sabaoth," as opposed to Sabeanism) (Job 31:26-28).3. The number of oxen and rams sacrificed, seven, as in the case of Balaam. God would not havesanctioned this after the giving of the Mosaic law, though He might graciously accommodateHimself to existing customs before the law. 4. The language of Job is Hebrew, interspersedoccasionally with Syriac and Arabic expressions, implying a time when all the Shemitic tribesspoke one common tongue and had not branched into different dialects, Hebrew, Syriac, and Arabic.5. He speaks of the most ancient kind of writing, namely, sculpture. Riches also are reckoned bycattle. The Hebrew word, translated "a piece of money," ought rather be rendered "a lamb." 6. Thereis no allusion to the exodus from Egypt and to the miracles that accompanied it; nor to the destructionof Sodom and Gomorrah (Patrick, however, thinks there is); though there is to the Flood (Job 22:17);and these events, happening in Job's vicinity, would have been striking illustrations of the argument713JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonfor God's interposition in destroying the wicked and vindicating the righteous, had Job and hisfriends known of them. Nor is there any undoubted reference to the Jewish law, ritual, and priesthood.7. The religion of Job is that which prevailed among the patriarchs previous to the law; sacrificesperformed by the head of the family; no officiating priesthood, temple, or consecrated altar.The Writer.—All the foregoing facts accord with Job himself having been the author. The styleof thought, imagery, and manners, are such as we should look for in the work of an Arabian emir.There is precisely that degree of knowledge of primitive tradition (see Job 31:33, as to Adam)which was universally spread abroad in the days of Noah and Abraham, and which was subsequentlyembodied in the early chapters of Genesis. Job, in his speeches, shows that he was much morecompetent to compose the work than Elihu, to whom Lightfoot attributes it. The style forbids itsbeing attributed to Moses, to whom its composition is by some attributed, "whilst he was amongthe Midianites, about 1520 B.C." But the fact, that it, though not a Jewish book, appears among theHebrew sacred writings, makes it likely that it came to the knowledge of Moses during the fortyyears which he passed in parts of Arabia, chiefly near Horeb; and that he, by divine guidance,introduced it as a sacred writing to the Israelites, to whom, in their affliction, the patience andrestoration of Job were calculated to be a lesson of especial utility. That it is inspired appears fromthe fact that Paul (1Co 3:19) quotes it (Job 5:13) with the formula, "It is written." Our Savior, tooMt 24:28), plainly refers to Job 29:30. Compare also Jas 4:10 and 1Pe 5:6 with Job 22:29; Ro 11:34,35 with Job 15:8. It is probably the oldest book in the world. It stands among the Hagiographa inthe threefold division of Scripture into the Law, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa ("Psalms," Lu24:44).Design of the Book.—It is a public debate in poetic form on an important question concerning thedivine government; moreover the prologue and epilogue, which are in prose, shed the interest of aliving history over the debate, which would otherwise be but a contest of abstract reasonings. Toeach speaker of the three friends three speeches are assigned. Job having no one to stand by himis allowed to reply to each speech of each of the three. Eliphaz, as the oldest, leads the way. Zophar,at his third turn, failed to speak, thus virtually owning himself overcome (Job 27:1-23). ThereforeJob continued his reply, which forms three speeches (Job 26:1-14; 27:1-23; 28:1-28; 29:1-31:40).Elihu (Job 32:1-37:24) is allowed four speeches. Jehovah makes three addresses (Job 38:1-41:34).Thus, throughout there is a tripartite division. The whole is divided into three parts—the prologue,poem proper, and epilogue. The poem, into three—(1) The dispute of Job and his three friends; (2)The address of Elihu; (3) The address of God. There are three series in the controversy, and in thesame order. The epilogue (Job 42:1-17) also is threefold; Job's justification, reconciliation with hisfriends, restoration. The speakers also in their successive speeches regularly advance from less togreater vehemence. With all this artificial composition, everything seems easy and natural.The question to be solved, as exemplified in the case of Job, is, Why are the righteous afflictedconsistently with God's justice? The doctrine of retribution after death, no doubt, is the great solutionof the difficulty. And to it Job plainly refers in Job 14:14, and Job 19:25. The objection to this, thatthe explicitness of the language on the resurrection in Job is inconsistent with the obscurity on thesubject in the early books of the Old Testament, is answered by the fact that Job enjoyed the divinevision (Job 38:1; 42:5), and therefore, by inspiration, foretold these truths. Next, the revelationsmade outside of Israel being few needed to be the more explicit; thus Balaam's prophecy (Nu 24:17)was clear enough to lead the wise men of the East by the star (Mt 2:2); and in the age before thewritten law, it was the more needful for God not to leave Himself without witness of the truth. Still714JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonJob evidently did not fully realize the significance designed by the Spirit in his own words (compare1Pe 1:11, 12). The doctrine, though existing, was not plainly revealed or at least understood. Hencehe does not mainly refer to this solution. Yes, and even now, we need something in addition to thissolution. David, who firmly believed in a future retribution (Ps 16:10; 17:15), still felt the difficultynot entirely solved thereby (Ps 83:1-18). The solution is not in Job's or in his three friends' speeches.It must, therefore, be in Elihu's. God will hold a final judgment, no doubt, to clear up all that seemsdark in His present dealings; but He also now providentially and morally governs the world andall the events of human life. Even the comparatively righteous are not without sin which needs tobe corrected. The justice and love of God administer the altogether deserved and merciful correction.Affliction to the godly is thus mercy and justice in disguise. The afflicted believer on repentancesees this. "Via crucis, via salutis" ["The way of the cross, the way of deliverance"]. Though afflicted,the godly are happier even now than the ungodly, and when affliction has attained its end, it isremoved by the Lord. In the Old Testament the consolations are more temporal and outward; inthe New Testament, more spiritual; but in neither to the entire exclusion of the other. "Prosperity,"says Bacon, "is the blessing of the Old Testament; adversity that of the New Testament, which isthe mark of God's more especial favor. Yet even in the Old Testament, if you listen to David's harp,you shall hear as many hearse-like airs as carols; and the pencil of the Holy Ghost has labored morein describing the afflictions of Job than the felicities of Solomon. Prosperity is not without manyfears and distastes; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes." This solution of Elihu isseconded by the addresses of God, in which it is shown God must be just (because He is God), asElihu had shown how God can be just, and yet the righteous be afflicted. It is also acquiesced inby Job, who makes no reply. God reprimands the "three" friends, but not Elihu. Job's general courseis approved; he is directed to intercede for his friends, and is restored to double his former prosperity.Poetry.—In all countries poetry is the earliest form of composition as being best retained in thememory. In the East especially it was customary for sentiments to be preserved in a terse, proverbial,and poetic form (called maschal). Hebrew poetry is not constituted by the rhythm or meter, but ina form peculiar to itself: 1. In an alphabetical arrangement somewhat like our acrostic. For instance,La 1:1-22. 2. The same verse repeated at intervals; as in Ps 42:1-11; 107:1-43. 3. Rhythm ofgradation. Psalms of degrees, Ps 120:1-134:3, in which the expression of the previous verse isresumed and carried forward in the next (Ps 121:1-8). 4. The chief characteristic of Hebrew poetryis parallelism, or the correspondence of the same ideas in the parallel clauses. The earliest instanceis Enoch's prophecy (Jude 14), and Lamech's parody of it (Ge 4:23). Three kinds occur: (1) Thesynonymous parallelism, in which the second is a repetition of the first, with or without increaseof force (Ps 22:27; Isa 15:1); sometimes with double parallelism (Isa 1:15). (2) The antithetic, inwhich the idea of the second clause is the converse of that in the first (Pr 10:1). (3) The synthetic,where there is a correspondence between different propositions, noun answering to noun, verb toverb, member to member, the sentiment, moreover, being not merely echoed, or put in contrast,but enforced by accessory ideas (Job 3:3-9). Also alternate (Isa 51:19). "Desolation and destruction,famine and sword," that is, desolation by famine, and destruction by the sword. Introverted; wherethe fourth answers to the first, and the third to the second (Mt 7:6). Parallelism thus often affordsa key to the interpretation. For fuller information, see Lowth (Introduction to Isaiah, and Lectureon Hebrew Poetry) and Herder (Spirit of Hebrew Poetry, translated by Marsh). The simpler and lessartificial forms of parallelism prevail in Job—a mark of its early age.715JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonCHAPTER 1PART I—PROLOGUE OR HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION IN PROSE—(Job 1:1-2:13)Job 1:1-5. The Holiness of Job, His Wealth, &c.1. Uz—north of Arabia-Deserta, lying towards the Euphrates. It was in this neighborhood, andnot in that of Idumea, that the Chaldeans and Sabeans who plundered him dwell. The Arabs dividetheir country into the north, called Sham, or "the left"; and the south, called Yemen, or "the right";for they faced east; and so the west was on their left, and the south on their right. Arabia-Desertawas on the east, Arabia-Petræa on the west, and Arabia-Felix on the south.Job—The name comes from an Arabic word meaning "to return," namely, to God, "to repent,"referring to his end [Eichorn]; or rather from a Hebrew word signifying one to whom enmity wasshown, "greatly tried" [Gesenius]. Significant names were often given among the Hebrews, fromsome event of later life (compare Ge 4:2, Abel—a "feeder" of sheep). So the emir of Uz was bygeneral consent called Job, on account of his "trials." The only other person so called was a son ofIssachar (Ge 46:13).perfect—not absolute or faultless perfection (compare Job 9:20; Ec 7:20), but integrity, sincerity,and consistency on the whole, in all relations of life (Ge 6:9; 17:1; Pr 10:9; Mt 5:48). It was thefear of God that kept Job from evil (Pr 8:13).3. she-asses—prized on account of their milk, and for riding (Jud 5:10). Houses and lands arenot mentioned among the emir's wealth, as nomadic tribes dwell in movable tents and live chieflyby pasture, the right to the soil not being appropriated by individuals. The "five hundred yoke ofoxen" imply, however, that Job tilled the soil. He seems also to have had a dwelling in a town, inwhich respect he differed from the patriarchs. Camels are well called "ships of the desert," especiallyvaluable for caravans, as being able to lay in a store of water that suffices them for days, and tosustain life on a very few thistles or thorns.household—(Ge 26:14). The other rendering which the Hebrew admits, "husbandry," is notso of the east—denoting in Scripture those living east of Palestine; as the people of NorthArabia-Deserta (Jud 6:3; Eze 25:4).4. every one his day—namely, the birthday (Job 3:1). Implying the love and harmony of themembers of the family, as contrasted with the ruin which soon broke up such a scene of happiness.The sisters are specified, as these feasts were not for revelry, which would be inconsistent with thepresence of sisters. These latter were invited by the brothers, though they gave no invitations inreturn.5. when the days of their feasting were gone about—that is, at the end of all the birthdayscollectively, when the banquets had gone round through all the families.Job … sanctified—by offering up as many expiatory burnt offerings as he had sons (Le 1:4).This was done "in the morning" (Ge 22:3; Le 6:12). Jesus also began devotions early (Mr 1:35).The holocaust, or burnt offering, in patriarchal times, was offered (literally, "caused to ascend,"referring to the smoke ascending to heaven) by each father of a family officiating as priest in behalfof his household.cursed God—The same Hebrew word means to "curse," and to "bless"; Gesenius says, theoriginal sense is to "kneel," and thus it came to mean bending the knee in order to invoke either ablessing or a curse. Cursing is a perversion of blessing, as all sin is of goodness. Sin is a degeneracy,not a generation. It is not, however, likely that Job should fear the possibility of his sons cursing716JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonGod. The sense "bid farewell to," derived from the blessing customary at parting, seems sufficient(Ge 47:10). Thus Umbreit translates "may have dismissed God from their hearts"; namely, amid theintoxication of pleasure (Pr 20:1). This act illustrates Job's "fear of God" (Job 1:1).Job 1:6-12. Satan, Appearing before God, Falsely Accuses Job.6. sons of God—angels (Job 38:7; 1Ki 22:19). They present themselves to render account oftheir "ministry" in other parts of the universe (Heb 1:14).the Lord—Hebrew, Jehovah, the self-existing God, faithful to His promises. God says (Ex 6:3)that He was not known to the patriarchs by this name. But, as the name occurs previously in Ge2:7-9, &c., what must be meant is, not until the time of delivering Israel by Moses was He knownpeculiarly and publicly in the character which the name means; namely, "making things to be,"fulfilling the promises made to their forefathers. This name, therefore, here, is no objection againstthe antiquity of the Book of Job.Satan—The tradition was widely spread that he had been the agent in Adam's temptation.Hence his name is given without comment. The feeling with which he looks on Job is similar tothat with which he looked on Adam in Paradise: emboldened by his success in the case of one notyet fallen, he is confident that the piety of Job, one of a fallen race, will not stand the test. He hadfallen himself (Job 4:19; 15:15; Jude 6). In the Book of Job, Satan is first designated by name:"Satan," Hebrew, "one who lies in wait"; an "adversary" in a court of justice (1Ch 21:1; Ps 109:6;Zec 3:1); "accuser" (Re 12:10). He has the law of God on his side by man's sin, and against man.But Jesus Christ has fulfilled the law for us; justice is once more on man's side against Satan (Isa42:21); and so Jesus Christ can plead as our Advocate against the adversary. "Devil" is the Greekname—the "slanderer," or "accuser." He is subject to God, who uses his ministry for chastisingman. In Arabic, Satan is often applied to a serpent (Ge 3:1). He is called prince of this world (Joh12:31); the god of this world (2Co 4:4); prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2). God here questionshim, in order to vindicate His own ways before angels.7. going to and fro—rather, "hurrying rapidly to and fro." The original idea in Arabic is theheat of haste (Mt 12:43; 1Pe 5:8). Satan seems to have had some peculiar connection with thisearth. Perhaps he was formerly its ruler under God. Man succeeded to the vice royalty (Ge 1:26;Ps 8:6). Man then lost it and Satan became prince of this world. The Son of man (Ps 8:4)—therepresentative man, regains the forfeited inheritance (Re 11:15). Satan's replies are characteristicallycurt and short. When the angels appear before God, Satan is among them, even as there was a Judasamong the apostles.8. considered—Margin, "set thine heart on"; that is, considered attentively. No true servant ofGod escapes the eye of the adversary of God.9. fear God for naught—It is a mark of the children of Satan to sneer and not give credit toany for disinterested piety. Not so much God's gifts, as God Himself is "the reward" of His people(Ge 15:1).10. his substance is increased—literally, "spread out like a flood"; Job's herds covered theface of the country.11. curse thee to thy face—in antithesis to God's praise of him (Job 1:8), "one that fearethGod." Satan's words are too true of many. Take away their prosperity and you take away theirreligion (Mal 3:14).12. in thy power—Satan has no power against man till God gives it. God would not touch Jobwith His own hand, though Satan asks this (Job 1:11, "thine"), but He allows the enemy to do so.717JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonJob 1:13-22. Job, in Affliction, Blesses God, &c.13. wine—not specified in Job 1:4. The mirth inspired by the "wine" here contrasts the moresadly with the alarm which interrupted it.14. the asses feeding beside them—Hebrew, "she asses." A graphic picture of rural reposeand peace; the more dreadful, therefore, by contrast is the sudden attack of the plundering Arabs.15. Sabeans—not those of Arabia-Felix, but those of Arabia-Deserta, descending from Sheba,grandson of Abraham and Keturah (Ge 25:3). The Bedouin Arabs of the present day resemble, inmarauding habits, these Sabeans (compare Ge 16:12).I alone am escaped—cunningly contrived by Satan. One in each case escapes (Job 1:16, 17,19), and brings the same kind of message. This was to overwhelm Job, and leave him no time torecover from the rapid succession of calamities—"misfortunes seldom come single."16. fire of God—Hebraism for "a mighty fire"; as "cedars of God"—"lofty cedars" [Ps 80:10].Not lightning, which would not consume all the sheep and servants. Umbreit understands it of theburning wind of Arabia, called by the Turks "wind of poison." "The prince of the power of the air"[Eph 2:2] is permitted to have control over such destructive agents.17. Chaldeans—not merely robbers as the Sabeans; but experienced in war, as is implied by"they set in array three bands" (Hab 1:6-8). Rawlinson distinguishes three periods: 1. When theirseat of empire was in the south, towards the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates. The Chaldeanperiod, from 2300 B.C. to 1500 B.C. In this period was Chedorlaomer (Ge 14:1), the Kudur of Huror Ur of the Chaldees, in the Assyrian inscriptions, and the conqueror of Syria. 2. From 1500 to625 B.C., the Assyrian period. 3. From 625 to 538 B.C. (when Cyrus the Persian took Babylon), theBabylonian period. "Chaldees" in Hebrew—Chasaim. They were akin, perhaps, to the Hebrews,as Abraham's sojourn in Ur, and the name "Chesed," a nephew of Abraham, imply. The three bandswere probably in order to attack the three separate thousands of Job's camels (Job 1:3).19. a great wind from the wilderness—south of Job's house. The tornado came the moreviolently over the desert, being uninterrupted (Isa 21:1; Ho 13:15).the young men—rather, "the young people"; including the daughters (so in Ru 2:21).20. Job arose—not necessarily from sitting. Inward excitement is implied, and the beginningto do anything. He had heard the other messages calmly, but on hearing of the death of his children,then he arose; or, as Eichorn translates, he started up (2Sa 13:31). The rending of the mantle was theconventional mark of deep grief (Ge 37:34). Orientals wear a tunic or shirt, and loose pantaloons;and over these a flowing mantle (especially great persons and women). Shaving the head was alsousual in grief (Jer 41:5; Mic 1:16).21. Naked—(1Ti 6:7). "Mother's womb" is poetically the earth, the universal mother (Ec 5:15;12:7; Ps 139:15). Job herein realizes God's assertion (Job 1:8) against Satan's (Job 1:11). Insteadof cursing, he blesses the name of Jehovah (Hebrew). The name of Jehovah, is Jehovah Himself, asmanifested to us in His attributes (Isa 9:6).22. nor charged God foolishly—rather, "allowed himself to commit no folly against God"[Umbreit]. Job 2:10 proves that this is the meaning. Not as Margin "attributed no folly to God." Hastywords against God, though natural in the bitterness of grief, are folly; literally, an "insipid, unsavory"thing (Job 6:6; Jer 23:13, Margin). Folly in Scripture is continually equivalent to wickedness. Forwhen man sins, it is himself, not God, whom he injures (Pr 8:36). We are to submit to trials, notbecause we see the reasons for them, nor yet as though they were matters of chance, but becauseGod wills them, and has a right to send them, and has His own good reasons in sending them.718JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonCHAPTER 2Job 2:1-8. Satan Further Tempts Job.1. a day—appointed for the angels giving an account of their ministry to God. The words "topresent himself before the Lord" occur here, though not in Job 1:6, as Satan has now a special reportto make as to Job.3. integrity—literally, "completeness"; so "perfect," another form of the same Hebrew word,Job 11:7.movedst … against—So 1Sa 26:19; compare 1Ch 21:1 with 2Sa 24:1.4. Skin for skin—a proverb. Supply, "He will give." The "skin" is figurative for any outwardgood. Nothing outward is so dear that a man will not exchange it for some other outward good;"but" (not "yea") "life," the inward good, cannot be replaced; a man will sacrifice everything elsefor its sake. Satan sneers bitterly at man's egotism and says that Job bears the loss of property andchildren because these are mere outward and exchangeable goods, but he will give up all things,even his religion, in order to save his life, if you touch his bones and flesh. "Skin" and "life" are inantithesis [Umbreit]. The martyrs prove Satan's sneer false. Rosenmuller explains it not so well. A manwillingly gives up another's skin (life) for his own skin (life). So Job might bear the loss of hischildren, &c., with equanimity, so long as he remained unhurt himself; but when touched in hisown person, he would renounce God. Thus the first "skin" means the other's skin, that is, body; thesecond "skin," one's own, as in Ex 21:28.6. but save—rather, "only spare his life." Satan shows his ingenuity in inflicting pain, and alsohis knowledge of what man's body can bear without vital injury.7. sore boils—malignant boils; rather, as it is singular in the Hebrew, a "burning sore." Job wascovered with one universal inflammation. The use of the potsherd [Job 2:8] agrees with this view.It was that form of leprosy called black (to distinguish it from the white), or elephantiasis, becausethe feet swell like those of the elephant. The Arabic judham (De 28:35), where "sore botch" israther the black burning boil (Isa 1:6).8. a potsherd—not a piece of a broken earthen vessel, but an instrument made for scratching(the root of the Hebrew word is "scratch"); the sore was too disgusting to touch. "To sit in the ashes"marks the deepest mourning (Jon 3:6); also humility, as if the mourner were nothing but dust andashes; so Abraham (Ge 18:27).Job 2:9-13. Job Reproves His Wife.9. curse God—rather, "renounce" God. (See on Job 1:5) [Umbreit]. However, it was usual amongthe heathens, when disappointed in their prayers accompanied with offerings to their gods, toreproach and curse them.and die—that is, take thy farewell of God and so die. For no good is to be got out of religion,either here or hereafter; or, at least, not in this life [Gill]; Nothing makes the ungodly so angry asto see the godly under trial not angry.10. the foolish women—Sin and folly are allied in Scripture (1Sa 25:25; 2Sa 13:13; Ps 14:1).receive evil—bear willingly (La 3:39).11. Eliphaz—The view of Rawlinson that "the names of Job's three friends represent the Chaldeantimes, about 700 B.C.," cannot be accepted. Eliphaz is an Idumean name, Esau's oldest son (Ge36:4); and Teman, son of Eliphaz (Ge 36:15), called "duke." Eusebius places Teman in Arabia-Petræa(but see on Job 6:19). Teman means "at the right hand"; and then the south, namely, part of Idumea;capital of Edom (Am 1:12). Hebrew geographers faced the east, not the north as we do; hence with719JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthem "the right hand" was the south. Temanites were famed for wisdom (Jer 49:7). Baruch mentionsthem as "authors of fables" (namely, proverbs embodying the results of observation), and "searchersout of understanding."Bildad the Shuhite—Shuah ("a pit"), son of Abraham and Keturah (Ge 25:2). Ptolemy mentionsthe region Syccea, in Arabia-Deserta, east of Batanea.Zophar the Naamathite—not of the Naamans in Judah (Jos 15:41), which was too distant;but some region in Arabia-Deserta. Fretelius says there was a Naamath in Uz.12. toward heaven—They threw ashes violently upwards, that they might fall on their headsand cover them—the deepest mourning (Jos 7:6; Ac 22:23).13. seven days … nights—They did not remain in the same posture and without food, &c., allthis time, but for most of this period daily and nightly. Sitting on the earth marked mourning (La2:10). Seven days was the usual length of it (Ge 50:10; 1Sa 31:13). This silence may have beendue to a rising suspicion of evil in Job; but chiefly because it is only ordinary griefs that find ventin language; extraordinary griefs are too great for utterance.CHAPTER 3THE POEM OR DEBATE ITSELF (Job 3:2-42:6).FIRST SERIES IN IT (Job 3:1-14:22).JOB FIRST (Job 3:1-26).Job 3:1-19. Job Curses the Day of His Birth and Wishes for Death.1. opened his mouth—The Orientals speak seldom, and then sententiously; hence this formulaexpressing deliberation and gravity (Ps 78:2). He formally began.cursed his day—the strict Hebrew word for "cursing:" not the same as in Job 1:5. Job cursedhis birthday, but not his God.2. spake—Hebrew, "answered," that is, not to any actual question that preceded, but to thequestion virtually involved in the case. His outburst is singularly wild and bold (Jer 20:14). Todesire to die so as to be free from sin is a mark of grace; to desire to die so as to escape troubles isa mark of corruption. He was ill-fitted to die who was so unwilling to live. But his trials weregreater, and his light less, than ours.3. the night in which—rather "the night which said." The words in italics are not in the Hebrew.Night is personified and poetically made to speak. So in Job 3:7, and in Ps 19:2. The birth of a malein the East is a matter of joy; often not so of a female.4. let not God regard it—rather, more poetically, "seek it out." "Let not God stoop from Hisbright throne to raise it up from its dark hiding-place." The curse on the day in Job 3:3, is amplifiedin Job 3:4, 5; that on the night, in Job 3:6-10.5. Let … the shadow of death—("deepest darkness," Isa 9:2).stain it—This is a later sense of the verb [Gesenius]; better the old and more poetic idea, "Letdarkness (the ancient night of chaotic gloom) resume its rights over light (Ge 1:2), and claim thatday as its own."a cloud—collectively, a gathered mass of dark clouds.the blackness of the day terrify it—literally, "the obscurations"; whatever darkens the day[Gesenius]. The verb in Hebrew expresses sudden terrifying. May it be suddenly affrighted at its own720JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesondarkness. Umbreit explains it as "magical incantations that darken the day," forming the climax tothe previous clauses; Job 3:8 speaks of "cursers of the day" similarly. But the former view is simpler.Others refer it to the poisonous simoom wind.6. seize upon it—as its prey, that is, utterly dissolve it.joined unto the days of the year—rather, by poetic personification, "Let it not rejoice in thecircle of days and nights and months, which form the circle of years."7. solitary—rather, "unfruitful." "Would that it had not given birth to me."8. them … curse the day—If "mourning" be the right rendering in the latter clause of thisverse, these words refer to the hired mourners of the dead (Jer 9:17). But the Hebrew for "mourning"elsewhere always denotes an animal, whether it be the crocodile or some huge serpent (Isa 27:1),such as is meant by "leviathan." Therefore, the expression, "cursers of day," refers to magicians,who were believed to be able by charms to make a day one of evil omen. (So Balaam, Nu 22:5).This accords with Umbreit's view (Job 3:7); or to the Ethiopians and Atlantes, who "used to cursethe sun at his rising for burning up them and their country" [Herodotus]. Necromancers claimed powerto control or rouse wild beasts at will, as do the Indian serpent-charmers of our day (Ps 58:5). Jobdoes not say they had the power they claimed; but, supposing they had, may they curse the day.Schuttens renders it by supplying words as follows:—Let those that are ready for anything, call it(the day) the raiser up of leviathan, that is, of a host of evils.9. dawning of the day—literally, "eyelashes of morning." The Arab poets call the sun the eyeof day. His early rays, therefore, breaking forth before sunrise, are the opening eyelids or eyelashesof morning.12. Why did the knees prevent me?—Old English for "anticipate my wants." The referenceis to the solemn recognition of a new-born child by the father, who used to place it on his knees ashis own, whom he was bound to rear (Ge 30:3; 50:23; Isa 66:12).13. lain … quiet … slept—a gradation. I should not only have lain, but been quiet, and notonly been quiet, but slept. Death in Scripture is called "sleep" (Ps 13:3); especially in the NewTestament, where the resurrection-awakening is more clearly set forth (1Co 15:51; 1Th 4:14; 5:10).14. With kings … which built desolate places for themselves—who built up for themselveswhat proved to be (not palaces, but) ruins! The wounded spirit of Job, once a great emir himself,sick of the vain struggles of mortal great men, after grandeur, contemplates the palaces of kings,now desolate heaps of ruins. His regarding the repose of death the most desirable end of the greatones of earth, wearied with heaping up perishable treasures, marks the irony that breaks out fromthe black clouds of melancholy [Umbreit]. The "for themselves" marks their selfishness. Michaelisexplains it weakly of mausoleums, such as are found still, of stupendous proportions, in the ruinsof Petra of Idumea.15. filled their houses with silver—Some take this to refer to the treasures which the ancientsused to bury with their dead. But see Job 3:26.16. untimely birth—(Ps 58:8); preferable to the life of the restless miser (Ec 6:3-5).17. the wicked—the original meaning, "those ever restless," "full of desires" (Isa 57:20, 21).the weary—literally, "those whose strength is wearied out" (Re 14:13).18. There the prisoners rest—from their chains.19. servant—The slave is there manumitted from slavery.Job 3:20-26. He Complains of Life because of His Anguish.721JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson20. Wherefore giveth he light—namely, God; often omitted reverentially (Job 24:23; Ec 9:9).Light, that is, life. The joyful light ill suits the mourners. The grave is most in unison with theirfeelings.23. whose way is hid—The picture of Job is drawn from a wanderer who has lost his way, andwho is hedged in, so as to have no exit of escape (Ho 2:6; La 3:7, 9).24. my sighing cometh before I eat—that is, prevents my eating [Umbreit]; or, conscious thatthe effort to eat brought on the disease, Job must sigh before eating [Rosenmuller]; or, sighing takesthe place of good (Ps 42:3) [Good]. But the first explanation accords best with the roarings are poured out like the waters—an image from the rushing sound of waterstreaming.25. the thing which I … feared is come upon me—In the beginning of his trials, when heheard of the loss of one blessing, he feared the loss of another; and when he heard of the loss ofthat, he feared the loss of a third.that which I was afraid of is come unto me—namely, the ill opinion of his friends, as thoughhe were a hypocrite on account of his trials.26. I was not in safety … yet trouble came—referring, not to his former state, but to thebeginning of his troubles. From that time I had no rest, there was no intermission of sorrows. "And"(not, "yet") a fresh trouble is coming, namely, my friends' suspicion of my being a hypocrite. Thisgives the starting-point to the whole ensuing controversy.CHAPTER 4Job 4:1-21. First Speech of Eliphaz.1. Eliphaz—the mildest of Job's three accusers. The greatness of Job's calamities, his complaintsagainst God, and the opinion that calamities are proofs of guilt, led the three to doubt Job's integrity.2. If we assay to commune—Rather, two questions, "May we attempt a word with thee? Wiltthou be grieved at it?" Even pious friends often count that only a touch which we feel as a wound.3. weak hands—Isa 35:3; 2Sa 4:1.5. thou art troubled—rather, "unhinged," hast lost thy self-command (1Th 3:3).6. Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, &c.—Does thy fear, thy confidence, come to nothing?Does it come only to this, that thou faintest now? Rather, by transposition, "Is not thy fear (of God)thy hope? and the uprightness of thy ways thy confidence? If so, bethink thee, who ever perishedbeing innocent?" [Umbreit]. But Lu 13:2, 3 shows that, though there is a retributive divine governmenteven in this life, yet we cannot judge by the mere outward appearance. "One event is outwardly tothe righteous and to the wicked" (Ec 9:2); but yet we must take it on trust, that God deals righteouslyeven now (Ps 37:25; Isa 33:16). Judge not by a part, but by the whole of a godly man's life, and byhis end, even here (Jas 5:11). The one and the same outward event is altogether a different thingin its inward bearings on the godly and on the ungodly even here. Even prosperity, much morecalamity, is a punishment to the wicked (Pr 1:32). Trials are chastisements for their good (to therighteous) (Ps 119:67, 71, 75). See Preface on the Design of this book (see Introduction).8. they that plough iniquity … reap the same—(Pr 22:8; Ho 8:7; 10:13; Ga 6:7, 8).9. breath of his nostrils—God's anger; a figure from the fiery winds of the East (Job 1:16; Isa5:25; Ps 18:8, 15).722JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson10, 11. lion—that is, wicked men, upon whom Eliphaz wished to show that calamities comein spite of their various resources, just as destruction comes on the lion in spite of his strength (Ps58:6; 2Ti 4:17). Five different Hebrew terms here occur for "lion." The raging of the lion (thetearer), and the roaring of the bellowing lion and the teeth of the young lions, not whelps, but grownup enough to hunt for prey. The strong lion, the whelps of the lioness (not the stout lion, as inEnglish Version) [Barnes and Umbreit]. The various phases of wickedness are expressed by this varietyof terms: obliquely, Job, his wife, and children, may be hinted at by the lion, lioness, and whelps.The one verb, "are broken," does not suit both subjects; therefore, supply "the roaring of thebellowing lion is silenced." The strong lion dies of want at last, and the whelps, torn from themother, are scattered, and the race becomes extinct.12. a thing—Hebrew, a "word." Eliphaz confirms his view by a divine declaration which wassecretly and unexpectedly imparted to him.a little—literally, "a whisper"; implying the still silence around, and that more was conveyedthan articulate words could utter (Job 26:14; 2Co 12:4).13. In thoughts from the visions of the night—[So Winer]. While revolving night visionspreviously made to him (Da 2:29). Rather, "In my manifold (Hebrew, divided) thoughts, beforethe visions of the night commenced"; therefore not a delusive dream (Ps 4:4) [Umbreit].deep sleep—(Ge 2:21; 15:12).16. It stood still—At first the apparition glides before Eliphaz, then stands still, but with thatshadowy indistinctness of form which creates such an impression of awe; a gentle murmur: not(English Version): there was silence; for in 1Ki 19:12, the voice, as opposed to the previous storm,denotes a gentle, still murmur.17. mortal man … a man—Two Hebrew words for "man" are used; the first implying hisfeebleness; the second his strength. Whether feeble or strong, man is not righteous before God.more just than God … more pure than his maker—But this would be self-evident withoutan oracle.18. folly—Imperfection is to be attributed to the angels, in comparison with Him. The holinessof some of them had given way (2Pe 2:4), and at best is but the holiness of a creature. Folly is thewant of moral consideration [Umbreit].19. houses of clay—(2Co 5:1). Houses made of sun-dried clay bricks are common in the East;they are easily washed away (Mt 7:27). Man's foundation is this dust (Ge 3:19).before the moth—rather, "as before the moth," which devours a garment (Job 13:28; Ps 39:11;Isa 50:9). Man, who cannot, in a physical point of view, stand before the very moth, surely cannot,in a moral, stand before God.20. from morning to evening—unceasingly; or, better, between the morning and evening ofone short day (so Ex 18:14; Isa 38:12).They are destroyed—better, "they would be destroyed," if God withdrew His loving protection.Therefore man must not think to be holy before God, but to draw holiness and all things else fromGod (Job 4:17).21. their excellency—(Ps 39:11; 146:4; 1Co 13:8). But Umbreit, by an Oriental image from abow, useless because unstrung: "Their nerve, or string would be torn away." Michaelis, better inaccordance with Job 4:19, makes the allusion be to the cords of a tabernacle taken down (Isa 33:20).they die, even without wisdom—rather, "They would perish, yet not according to wisdom,"but according to arbitrary choice, if God were not infinitely wise and holy. The design of the spirit723JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonis to show that the continued existence of weak man proves the inconceivable wisdom and holinessof God, which alone save man from ruin [Umbreit]. Bengel shows from Scripture that God's holiness(Hebrew, kadosh) comprehends all His excellencies and attributes. De Wette loses the scope, inexplaining it, of the shortness of man's life, contrasted with the angels "before they have attainedto wisdom."CHAPTER 5Job 5:1-27. Eliphaz' Conclusion from the Vision.1. if there be any, &c.—Rather, "will He (God) reply to thee?" Job, after the revelation justgiven, cannot be so presumptuous as to think God or any of the holy ones (Da 4:17, "angels") roundHis throne, will vouchsafe a reply (a judicial expression) to his rebellious complaint.2. wrath … envy—fretful and passionate complaints, such as Eliphaz charged Job with (Job4:5; so Pr 14:30). Not, the wrath of God killeth the foolish, and His envy, &c.3. the foolish—the wicked. I have seen the sinner spread his "root" wide in prosperity, yetcircumstances "suddenly" occurred which gave occasion for his once prosperous dwelling being"cursed" as desolate (Ps 37:35, 36; Jer 17:8).4. His children … crushed in the gate—A judicial formula. The gate was the place of judgmentand of other public proceedings (Ps 127:5; Pr 22:22; Ge 23:10; De 21:19). Such propylæa havebeen found in the Assyrian remains. Eliphaz obliquely alludes to the calamity which cut off Job'schildren.5. even out of the thorns—Even when part of the grain remains hanging on the thorn bushes(or, "is growing among thorns," Mt 13:7), the hungry gleaner does not grudge the trouble of eventaking it away, so clean swept away is the harvest of the wicked.the robber—as the Sabeans, who robbed Job. Rather, translate "the thirsty," as the antithesisin the parallelism, "the hungry," proves.6. Although—rather, "for truly" [Umbreit].affliction cometh not forth of the dust—like a weed, of its own accord. Eliphaz hints that thecause of it lay with Job himself.7. Yet—rather, "Truly," or, But affliction does not come from chance, but is the appointmentof God for sin; that is, the original birth-sin of man. Eliphaz passes from the particular sin andconsequent suffering of Job to the universal sin and suffering of mankind. Troubles spring fromman's common sin by as necessary a law of natural consequences as sparks (Hebrew, "sons ofcoal") fly upward. Troubles are many and fiery, as sparks (1Pe 4:12; Isa 43:2). Umbreit for "sparks"has "birds of prey;" literally, "sons of lightning," not so well.8. Therefore (as affliction is ordered by God, on account of sin), "I would" have you to "seekunto God" (Isa 8:19; Am 5:8; Jer 5:24).11. Connected with Job 5:9. His "unsearchable" dealings are with a view to raise the humbleand abase the proud (Lu 1:52). Therefore Job ought to turn humbly to Him.12. enterprise—literally, "realization." The Hebrew combines in the one word the two ideas,wisdom and happiness, "enduring existence" being the etymological and philosophical root of thecombined notion [Umbreit].724JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson13. Paul (1Co 3:19) quoted this clause with the formula establishing its inspiration, "it is written."He cites the exact Hebrew words, not as he usually does the Septuagint, Greek version (Ps 9:15).Haman was hanged on the gallows he prepared for Mordecai (Es 5:14; 7:10).the wise—that is, "the cunning."is carried headlong—Their scheme is precipitated before it is ripe.14. Judicial blindness often is sent upon keen men of the world (De 28:29; Isa 59:10; Joh 9:39).15. "From the sword" which proceedeth "from their mouth" (Ps 59:7; 57:4).16. the poor hath hope—of the interposition of God.iniquity stoppeth her mouth—(Ps 107:42; Mic 7:9, 10; Isa 52:15). Especially at the last day,through shame (Jude 15; Mt 22:12). The "mouth" was the offender (Job 5:15), and the mouth shallthen be stopped (Isa 25:8) at the end.17. happy—not that the actual suffering is joyous; but the consideration of the righteousnessof Him who sends it, and the end for which it is sent, make it a cause for thankfulness, not forcomplaints, such as Job had uttered (Heb 12:11). Eliphaz implies that the end in this case is to callback Job from the particular sin of which he takes for granted that Job is guilty. Paul seems to alludeto this passage in Heb 12:5; so Jas 1:12; Pr 3:12. Eliphaz does not give due prominence to thistruth, but rather to Job's sin. It is Elihu alone (Job 32:1-37:24) who fully dwells upon the truth, thataffliction is mercy and justice in disguise, for the good of the sufferer.18. he maketh sore, and bindeth up—(De 32:39; Ho 6:1; 1Sa 2:6). An image from bindingup a wound. The healing art consisted much at that time in external applications.19. in six … yea, in seven—(Pr 6:16; Am 1:3). The Hebrew idiom fixes on a certain number(here "six"), in order to call attention as to a thing of importance; then increases the force by adding,with a "yea, nay seven," the next higher number; here "seven," the sacred and perfect number. Inall possible troubles; not merely in the precise number "seven."20. power—(Jer 5:12). Hebrew, "hands."of the sword—(Eze 35:5, Margin). Hands are given to the sword personified as a living agent.21. (Ps 31:20; Jer 18:18). Smite (Psalm 73. 9).22. famine thou shalt laugh—Not, in spite of destruction and famine, which is true (Hab 3:17,18), though not the truth meant by Eliphaz, but because those calamities shall not come upon thee.A different Hebrew word from that in Job 5:20; there, famine in general; here, the languid stateof those wanting proper nutriment [Barnes].23. in league with the stones of the field—They shall not hurt the fertility of thy soil; nor thewild beasts thy fruits; spoken in Arabia-Deserta, where stones abounded. Arabia, derived fromArabah—a desert plain. The first clause of this verse answers to the first clause of Job 5:22; andthe last of this verse to the last of that verse. The full realization of this is yet future (Isa 65:23, 25;Ho 2:18).24. know—"Thou shalt rest in the assurance, that thine habitation is the abode of peace; and(if) thou numberest thine herd, thine expectations prove not fallacious" [Umbreit]. "Sin" does notagree with the context. The Hebrew word—"to miss" a mark, said of archers (Jud 20:16). TheHebrew for "habitation" primarily means "the fold for cattle"; and for "visit," often to "take anaccount of, to number." "Peace" is the common Eastern salutation; including inward and outwardprosperity.25. as the grass—(Ps 72:16). Properly, "herb-bearing seed" (Ge 1:11, 12).725JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson26. in a full age—So "full of days" (Job 42:17; Ge 35:29). Not mere length of years, but ripenessfor death, one's inward and outward full development not being prematurely cut short, is denoted(Isa 65:22).Thou shalt come—not literally, but expressing willingness to die. Eliphaz speaks from the OldTestament point of view, which made full years a reward of the righteous (Ps 91:16; Ex 20:12),and premature death the lot of the wicked (Ps 55:23). The righteous are immortal till their work isdone. To keep them longer would be to render them less fit to die. God takes them at their best (Isa57:1). The good are compared to wheat (Mt 13:30).cometh in—literally, "ascends." The corn is lifted up off the earth and carried home; so thegood man "is raised into the heap of sheaves" [Umbreit].27. searched it … for thy good—literally, "for thyself" (Ps 111:2; Pr 2:4; 9:12).CHAPTER 6FIRST SERIES CONTINUED.Job 6:1-30. Reply of Job to Eliphaz.2. throughly weighed—Oh, that instead of censuring my complaints when thou oughtest ratherto have sympathized with me, thou wouldst accurately compare my sorrow, and my misfortunes;these latter "outweigh in the balance" the former.3. the sand—(Pr 27:3).are swallowed up—See Margin [that is, "I want words to express my grief"]. But Job plainlyis apologizing, not for not having had words enough, but for having spoken too much and too boldly;and the Hebrew is, "to speak rashly" [Umbreit, Gesenius, Rosenmuller]. "Therefore were my words sorash."4. arrows … within me—have pierced me. A poetic image representing the avenging Almightyarmed with bow and arrows (Ps 38:2, 3). Here the arrows are poisoned. Peculiarly appropriate, inreference to the burning pains which penetrated, like poison, into the inmost parts—("spirit"; ascontrasted with mere surface flesh wounds) of Job's body.set themselves in array—a military image (Jud 20:33). All the terrors which the divine wrathcan muster are set in array against me (Isa 42:13).5. Neither wild animals, as the wild ass, nor tame, as the ox, are dissatisfied when well-suppliedwith food. The braying of the one and the lowing of the other prove distress and want of palatablefood. So, Job argues, if he complains, it is not without cause; namely, his pains, which are, as itwere, disgusting food, which God feeds him with (end of Job 6:7). But he should have remembereda rational being should evince a better spirit than the brute.6. unsavoury—tasteless, insipid. Salt is a chief necessary of life to an Easterner, whose foodis mostly vegetable.the white—literally, "spittle" (1Sa 21:13), which the white of an egg resembles.7. To "touch" is contrasted with "meat." "My taste refused even to touch it, and yet am I fedwith such meat of sickness." The second clause literally, is, "Such is like the sickness of my food."The natural taste abhors even to touch insipid food, and such forms my nourishment. For my sicknessis like such nauseous food [Umbreit]. (Ps 42:3; 80:5; 102:9). No wonder, then, I complain.726JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson8. To desire death is no necessary proof of fitness for death. The ungodly sometimes desire it,so as to escape troubles, without thought of the hereafter. The godly desire it, in order to be withthe Lord; but they patiently wait God's will.9. destroy—literally, "grind" or "crush" (Isa 3:15).let loose his hand—God had put forth His hand only so far as to wound the surface of Job'sflesh (Job 1:12; 2:6); he wishes that hand to be let loose, so as to wound deeply and vitally.cut me off—metaphor from a weaver cutting off the web, when finished, from the thrumfastening it to the loom (Isa 38:12).10. I would harden myself in sorrow—rather, "I would exult in the pain," if I knew that thatpain would hasten my death [Gesenius]. Umbreit translates the Hebrew of "Let Him not spare," as"unsparing"; and joins it with "pain."concealed—I have not disowned, in word or deed, the commands of the Holy One (Ps 119:46;Ac 20:20). He says this in answer to Eliphaz' insinuation that he is a hypocrite. God is here called"the Holy One," to imply man's reciprocal obligation to be holy, as He is holy (Le 19:2).11. What strength have I, so as to warrant the hope of restoration to health? a hope which Eliphazhad suggested. "And what" but a miserable "end" of life is before me, "that I should" desire to"prolong life"? [Umbreit]. Umbreit and Rosenmuller not so well translate the last words "to be patient."12. Disease had so attacked him that his strength would need to be hard as a stone, and his fleshlike brass, not to sink under it. But he has only flesh, like other men. It must, therefore, give way;so that the hope of restoration suggested by Eliphaz is vain (see on Job 5:11).13. Is not my help in me?—The interrogation is better omitted. "There is no help in me!" For"wisdom," "deliverance" is a better rendering. "And deliverance is driven quite from me."14. pity—a proverb. Charity is the love which judges indulgently of our fellow men: it is puton a par with truth in Pr 3:3, for they together form the essence of moral perfection [Umbreit]. It isthe spirit of Christianity (1Pe 4:8; 1Co 13:7; Pr 10:12; 17:17). If it ought to be used towards allmen, much more towards friends. But he who does not use it forsaketh (renounceth) the fear of theAlmighty (Jas 2:13).15. Those whom I regarded as "my brethren," from whom I looked for faithfulness in myadversity, have disappointed me, as the streams failing from drought—wadies of Arabia, filled inthe winter, but dry in the summer, which disappoint the caravans expecting to find water there. Thefulness and noise of these temporary streams answer to the past large and loud professions of myfriends; their dryness in summer, to the failure of the friendship when needed. The Arab proverbsays of a treacherous friend, "I trust not in thy torrent" (Isa 58:11, Margin).stream of brooks—rather, "the brook in the ravines which passes away." It has no perpetualspring of water to renew it (unlike "the fountain of living waters," Jer 2:13; Isa 33:16, at the end);and thus it passes away as rapidly as it arose.16. blackish—literally, "Go as a mourner in black clothing" (Ps 34:14). A vivid and poeticimage to picture the stream turbid and black with melted ice and snow, descending from themountains into the valley. In the [second] clause, the snow dissolved is, in the poet's view, "hid"in the flood [Umbreit].17. wax warm—rather, "At the time when." ("But they soon wax") [Umbreit]. "they becomenarrower (flow in a narrower bed), they are silent (cease to flow noisily); in the heat (of the sun)they are consumed or vanish out of their place. First the stream flows more narrowly—then it727JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonbecomes silent and still; at length every trace of water disappears by evaporation under the hot sun"[Umbreit].18. turned aside—rather, "caravans" (Hebrew, "travellers") turn aside from their way, bycircuitous routes, to obtain water. They had seen the brook in spring full of water: and now in thesummer heat, on their weary journey, they turn off their road by a devious route to reach the livingwaters, which they remembered with such pleasure. But, when "they go," it is "into a desert" [Noyesand Umbreit]. Not as English Version, "They go to nothing," which would be a tame repetition ofthe drying up of the waters in Job 6:17; instead of waters, they find an "empty wilderness"; and,not having strength to regain their road, bitterly disappointed, they "perish." The terse brevity ismost expressive.19. the troops—that is, "caravans."Tema—north of Arabia-Deserta, near the Syrian desert; called from Tema son of Ishmael (Ge25:15; Isa 21:14; Jer 25:23), still so called by the Arabs. Job 6:19, 20 give another picture of themortification of disappointed hopes, namely, those of the caravans on the direct road, anxiouslyawaiting the return of their companions from the distant valley. The mention of the locality whencethe caravans came gives living reality to the picture.Sheba—refers here not to the marauders in North Arabia-Deserta (Job 1:15), but to the merchants(Eze 27:22) in the south, in Arabia-Felix or Yemen, "afar off" (Jer 6:20; Mt 12:42; Ge 10:28).Caravans are first mentioned in Ge 37:25; men needed to travel thus in companies across the desert,for defense against the roving robbers and for mutual accommodation.The companies … waited for them—cannot refer to the caravans who had gone in quest ofthe waters; for Job 6:18 describes their utter destruction.20. literally, "each had hoped"; namely, that their companions would find water. The greaterhad been their hopes the more bitter now their disappointment;they came thither—to the place.and were ashamed—literally, "their countenances burn," an Oriental phrase for the shame andconsternation of deceived expectation; so "ashamed" as to disappointment (Ro 5:5).21. As the dried-up brook is to the caravan, so are ye to me, namely, a nothing; ye might aswell not be in existence [Umbreit]. The Margin "like to them," or "to it" (namely, the waters of thebrook), is not so good a see, and are afraid—Ye are struck aghast at the sight of my misery, and ye lose presenceof mind. Job puts this mild construction on their failing to relieve him with affectionate consolation.22. And yet I did not ask you to "bring me" a gift; or to "pay for me out of your substance areward" (to the Judge, to redeem me from my punishment); all I asked from you was affectionatetreatment.23. the mighty—the oppressor, or creditor, in whose power the debtor was [Umbreit].24, 25. Irony. If you can "teach me" the right view, I am willing to be set right, and "hold mytongue"; and to be made to see my error. But then if your words be really the right words, how isit that they are so feeble? "Yet how feeble are the words of what you call the right view." So theHebrew is used (in Mic 2:10; 1:9). The English Version, "How powerful," &c., does not agree sowell with the last clause of the verse.25. And what will your arguings reprove?—literally, "the reproofs which proceed from you";the emphasis is on you; you may find fault, who are not in my situation [Umbreit].26. Do you imagine—or, "mean."728JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonto reprove words and (to reprove) the speeches of one desperate, (which are) aswind?—mere nothings, not to be so narrowly taken to task? Umbreit not so well takes the Hebrewfor "as wind," as "sentiments"; making formal "sentiments" antithetical to mere "speeches," andsupplying, not the word "reprove," but "would you regard," from the first clause.27. literally, "ye cause" (supply, "your anger") [Umbreit], a net, namely, of sophistry [Noyes andSchuttens], to fall upon the desolate (one bereft of help, like the fatherless orphan);and ye dig (a pit) for your friend—that is, try to ensnare him, to catch him in the use ofunguarded language [Noyes]. (Ps 57:6); metaphor from hunters catching wild beasts in a pit coveredwith brushwood to conceal it. Umbreit from the Syriac, and answering to his interpretation of thefirst clause, has, "Would you be indignant against your friend?" The Hebrew in Job 41:6, meansto "feast upon." As the first clause asks, "Would you catch him in a net?" so this follows up theimage, "And would you next feast upon him, and his miseries?" So the Septuagint.28. be content—rather, "be pleased to"—look. Since you have so falsely judged my words,look upon me, that is, upon my countenance: for (it is evident before your faces) if I lie; mycountenance will betray me, if I be the hypocrite that you suppose.29. Return—rather, "retract" your charges:let it not be iniquity—that is, (retract) that injustice may not be done me. Yea retract, "myrighteousness is in it"; that is, my right is involved in this matter.30. Will you say that my guilt lies in the organ of speech, and will you call it to account? or, Isit that my taste (palate) or discernment is not capable to form a judgment of perverse things? Is itthus you will explain the fact of my having no consciousness of guilt? [Umbreit].CHAPTER 7Job 7:1-21. Job Excuses His Desire for Death.1. appointed time—better, "a warfare," hard conflict with evil (so in Isa 40:2; Da 10:1). Translateit "appointed time" (Job 14:14). Job reverts to the sad picture of man, however great, which he haddrawn (Job 3:14), and details in this chapter the miseries which his friends will see, if, accordingto his request (Job 6:28), they will look on him. Even the Christian soldier, "warring a good warfare,"rejoices when it is completed (1Ti 1:18; 2Ti 2:3; 4:7, 8).2. earnestly desireth—Hebrew, "pants for the [evening] shadow." Easterners measure time bythe length of their shadow. If the servant longs for the evening when his wages are paid, why maynot Job long for the close of his hard service, when he shall enter on his "reward?" This proves thatJob did not, as many maintain, regard the grave as a mere sleep.3.—Months of comfortless misfortune.I am made to possess—literally, "to be heir to." Irony. "To be heir to," is usually a matter ofjoy; but here it is the entail of an involuntary and dismal inheritance.Months—for days, to express its long duration.Appointed—literally, "they have numbered to me"; marking well the unavoidable doom assignedto him.4. Literally, "When shall be the flight of the night?" [Gesenius]. Umbreit, not so well, "The nightis long extended"; literally, "measured out" (so Margin).5. In elephantiasis maggots are bred in the sores (Ac 12:23; Isa 14:11).729JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonclods of dust—rather, a crust of dried filth and accumulated corruption (Job 2:7, 8).my skin is broken and … loathsome—rather, comes together so as to heal up, and againbreaks out with running matter [Gesenius]. More simply the Hebrew is, "My skin rests (for a time)and (again) melts away" (Ps 58:7).6. (Isa 38:12). Every day like the weaver's shuttle leaves a thread behind; and each shall wear,as he weaves. But Job's thought is that his days must swiftly be cut off as a web;without hope—namely, of a recovery and renewal of life (Job 14:19; 1Ch 29:15).7. Address to God.Wind—a picture of evanescence (Ps 78:39).shall no more see—rather, "shall no more return to see good." This change from the differentwish in Job 3:17, &c., is most true to nature. He is now in a softer mood; a beam from former daysof prosperity falling upon memory and the thought of the unseen world, where one is seen no more(Job 7:8), drew from him an expression of regret at leaving this world of light (Ec 11:7); so Hezekiah(Isa 38:11). Grace rises above nature (2Co 5:8).8. The eye of him who beholds me (present, not past), that is, in the very act of beholding me,seeth me no more.Thine eyes are upon me, and I am not—He disappears, even while God is looking upon him.Job cannot survive the gaze of Jehovah (Ps 104:32; Re 20:11). Not, "Thine eyes seek me and I amnot to be found"; for God's eye penetrates even to the unseen world (Ps 139:8). Umbreit unnaturallytakes "thine" to refer to one of the three friends.9. (2Sa 12:23).the grave—the Sheol, or place of departed spirits, not disproving Job's belief in the resurrection.It merely means, "He shall come up no more" in the present order of things.10. (Ps 103:16). The Oriental keenly loves his dwelling. In Arabian elegies the desertion ofabodes by their occupants is often a theme of sorrow. Grace overcomes this also (Lu 18:29; Ac4:34).11. Therefore, as such is my hard lot, I will at least have the melancholy satisfaction of ventingmy sorrow in words. The Hebrew opening words, "Therefore I, at all events," express self-elevation[Umbreit].12. Why dost thou deny me the comfort of care-assuaging sleep? Why scarest thou me withfrightful dreams?Am I a sea—regarded in Old Testament poetry as a violent rebel against God, the Lord ofnature, who therefore curbs his violence (Jer 5:22).or a whale—or some other sea monster (Isa 27:1), that Thou needest thus to watch and curbme? The Egyptians watched the crocodile most carefully to prevent its doing mischief.14. The frightful dreams resulting from elephantiasis he attributes to God; the common beliefassigned all night visions to God.15. Umbreit translates, "So that I could wish to strangle myself—dead by my own hands." Hesoftens this idea of Job's harboring the thought of suicide, by representing it as entertained only inagonizing dreams, and immediately repudiated with horror in Job 7:16, "Yet that (self-strangling)I loathe." This is forcible and graphic. Perhaps the meaning is simply, "My soul chooses (even)strangling (or any violent death) rather than my life," literally, "my bones" (Ps 35:10); that is, ratherthan the wasted and diseased skeleton, left to him. In this view, "I loathe it" (Job 7:16) refers to hislife.730JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson16. Let me alone—that is, cease to afflict me for the few and vain days still left to me.17. (Ps 8:4; 144:3). Job means, "What is man that thou shouldst make him [of so muchimportance], and that thou shouldst expend such attention [or, heart-thought] upon him" as to makehim the subject of so severe trials? Job ought rather to have reasoned from God's condescendingso far to notice man as to try him, that there must be a wise and loving purpose in trial. David usesthe same words, in their right application, to express wonder that God should do so much as Hedoes for insignificant man. Christians who know God manifest in the man Christ Jesus may usethem still more.18. With each new day (Ps 73:14). It is rather God's mercies, not our trials, that are new everymorning (La 3:23). The idea is that of a shepherd taking count of his flock every morning, to seeif all are there [Cocceius].19. How long (like a jealous keeper) wilt thou never take thine eyes off (so the Hebrew for"depart from") me? Nor let me alone for a brief respite (literally, "so long as I take to swallow myspittle"), an Arabic proverb, like our, "till I draw my breath."20. I have sinned—Yet what sin can I do against ("to," Job 35:6) thee (of such a nature thatthou shouldst jealously watch and deprive me of all strength, as if thou didst fear me)? Yet thouart one who hast men ever in view, ever watchest them—O thou Watcher (Job 7:12; Da 9:14) ofmen. Job had borne with patience his trials, as sent by God (Job 1:21; 2:10); only his reason cannotreconcile the ceaseless continuance of his mental and bodily pains with his ideas of the divinenature.set me as a mark—Wherefore dost thou make me thy point of attack? that is, ever assail mewith new pains? [Umbreit] (La 3:12).21. for now—very the morning—not the resurrection; for then Job will be found. It is a figure, from one seekinga sick man in the morning, and finding he has died in the night. So Job implies that, if God doesnot help him at once, it will be too late, for he will be gone. The reason why God does not give animmediate sense of pardon to awakened sinners is that they think they have a claim on God for it.CHAPTER 8FIRST SERIES—FIRST SPEECH OF BILDAD, MORE SEVEREAND COARSE THAN THAT OF ELIPHAZ.Job 8:1-22. The Address of Bildad.2. like a … wind?—disregarding restraints, and daring against God.3. The repetition of "pervert" gives an emphasis galling to Job (Job 34:12). "Wouldst thou haveGod," as thy words imply, "pervert judgment," by letting thy sins go unpunished? He assumes Job'sguilt from his sufferings.4. If—Rather, "Since thy children have sinned against Him, and (since) He has cast them away(Hebrew, by the hand of) for their transgressions, (yet) if thou wouldst seek unto God, &c., if thouwert pure, &c., surely [even] now He would awake for thee." Umbreit makes the apodosis to, "sincethy children," &c., begin at "He has cast them away." Also, instead of "for," "He gave them up to(literally, into the hand of) their own guilt." Bildad expresses the justice of God, which Job had731JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonarraigned. Thy children have sinned; God leaves them to the consequence of their sin; most cuttingto the heart of the bereaved father.5. seek unto God betimes—early. Make it the first and chief anxiety (Ps 78:34; Ho 5:15; Isa26:9; Pr 8:17; 13:24).6. He would awake for thee—that is, arise to thy help. God seemed to be asleep toward thesufferer (Ps 35:23; 7:6; Isa 51:9).make … prosperous—restore to prosperity thy (their) righteous habitation. Bildad assumes itto have been heretofore the habitation of guilt.7. thy beginning—the beginning of thy new happiness after restoration.latter end—(Job 42:12; Pr 23:18).8, 9. The sages of the olden time reached an age beyond those of Job's time (see on Job 42:16),and therefore could give the testimony of a fuller experience.9. of yesterday—that is, a recent race. We know nothing as compared with them because ofthe brevity of our lives; so even Jacob (Ge 47:9). Knowledge consisted then in the results ofobservation, embodied in poetical proverbs, and handed down by tradition. Longevity gave theopportunity of wider observation.a shadow—(Ps 144:4; 1Ch 29:15).10. teach thee—Job 6:24 had said, "Teach me." Bildad, therefore, says, "Since you wantteaching, inquire of the fathers. They will teach thee."utter words—more than mere speaking; "put forth well-considered words."out of their heart—from observation and reflection; not merely, from their mouth: such, asBildad insinuates, were Job's words. Job 8:11-13 embody in poetic and sententious form (probablythe fragment of an old poem) the observation of the elders. The double point of comparison betweenthe ungodly and the paper-reed is: 1. the luxuriant prosperity at first; and, 2. the sudden destruction.11. rush—rather, "paper-reed": The papyrus of Egypt, which was used to make garments,shoes, baskets, boats, and paper (a word derived from it). It and the flag, or bulrush, grow only inmarshy places (such as are along the Nile). So the godless thrives only in external prosperity; thereis in the hypocrite no inward stability; his prosperity is like the rapid growth of water plants.12. not cut down—Before it has ripened for the scythe, it withers more suddenly than any herb,having no self-sustaining power, once that the moisture is gone, which other herbs do not need inthe same degree. So ruin seizes on the godless in the zenith of prosperity, more suddenly than onothers who appear less firmly seated in their possessions [Umbreit] (Ps 112:10).13. paths—so "ways" (Pr 1:19).all that forget God—the distinguishing trait of the godless (Ps 9:17; 50:22).14. cut off—so Gesenius; or, to accord with the metaphor of the spider's "house," "The confidence(on which he builds) shall be laid in ruins" (Isa 59:5, 6).15. he shall hold it fast—implying his eager grasp, when the storm of trial comes: as the spider"holds fast" by its web; but with this difference: the light spider is sustained by that on which itrests; the godless is not by the thin web on which he rests. The expression, "Hold fast," properlyapplies to the spider holding his web, but is transferred to the man. Hypocrisy, like the spider'sweb, is fine-spun, flimsy, and woven out of its own inventions, as the spider's web out of its ownbowels. An Arab proverb says, "Time destroys the well-built house, as well as the spider's web."16. before the sun—that is, he (the godless) is green only before the sun rises; but he cannotbear its heat, and withers. So succulent plants like the gourd (Jon 4:7, 8). But the widespreading in732JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthe garden does not quite accord with this. Better, "in sunshine"; the sun representing the smilingfortune of the hypocrite, during which he wondrously progresses [Umbreit]. The image is that ofweeds growing in rank luxuriance and spreading over even heaps of stones and walls, and thenbeing speedily torn away.17. seeth the place of stones—Hebrew, "the house of stones"; that is, the wall surrounding thegarden. The parasite plant, in creeping towards and over the wall—the utmost bound of thegarden—is said figuratively to "see" or regard it.18. If He (God) tear him away (properly, "to tear away rapidly and violently") from his place,"then it [the place personified] shall deny him" (Ps 103:16). The very soil is ashamed of the weedslying withered on its surface, as though it never had been connected with them. So, when the godlessfalls from prosperity, his nearest friends disown him.19. Bitter irony. The hypocrite boasts of joy. This then is his "joy" at the last.and out of the earth—others immediately, who take the place of the man thus punished; notgodly men (Mt 3:9). For the place of the weeds is among stones, where the gardener wishes noplants. But, ungodly; a fresh crop of weeds always springs up in the place of those torn up: thereis no end of hypocrites on earth [Umbreit].20. Bildad regards Job as a righteous man, who has fallen into sin.God will not cast away a perfect man—(or godly man, such as Job was), if he will only repent.Those alone who persevere in sin God will not help (Hebrew, "take by the hand," Ps 73:23; Isa41:13; 42:6) when fallen.21. Till—literally, "to the point that"; God's blessing on thee, when repentant, will go onincreasing to the point that, or until, &c.22. The haters of Job are the wicked. They shall be clothed with shame (Jer 3:25; Ps 35:26;109:29), at the failure of their hope that Job would utterly perish, and because they, instead of him,come to naught.CHAPTER 9FIRST SERIES.Job 9:1-35. Reply of Job to Bildad.2. I know it is so of a truth—that God does not "pervert justice" (Job 8:3). But (even thoughI be sure of being in the right) how can a mere man assert his right—(be just) with God. The Gospelanswers (Ro 3:26).3. If he—Godwill contend with him—literally, "deign to enter into judgment."he cannot answer, &c.—He (man) would not dare, even if he had a thousand answers inreadiness to one question of God's, to utter one of them, from awe of His Majesty.4. wise in heart—in understanding!—and mighty in power! God confounds the ablest arguerby His wisdom, and the mightiest by His power.hardened himself—or his neck (Pr 29:1); that is, defied God. To prosper, one must fall in withGod's arrangements of providence and grace.5. and they know not—Hebrew for "suddenly, unexpectedly, before they are aware of it" (Ps35:8); "at unawares"; Hebrew, which "he knoweth not of" (Joe 2:14; Pr 5:6).733JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson6. The earth is regarded, poetically, as resting on pillars, which tremble in an earthquake (Ps75:3; Isa 24:20). The literal truth as to the earth is given (Job 26:7).7. The sun, at His command, does not rise; namely, in an eclipse, or the darkness thataccompanies earthquakes (Job 9:6).sealeth up the stars—that is, totally covers as one would seal up a room, that its contents maynot be seen.8. spreadeth out—(Isa 40:22; Ps 104:2). But throughout it is not so much God's creating, asHis governing, power over nature that is set forth. A storm seems a struggle between Nature andher Lord! Better, therefore, "Who boweth the heavens alone," without help of any other. Goddescends from the bowed-down heaven to the earth (Ps 18:9). The storm, wherein the cloudsdescend, suggests this image. In the descent of the vault of heaven, God has come down from Hishigh throne and walks majestically over the mountain waves (Hebrew, "heights"), as a conquerortaming their violence. So "tread upon" (De 33:29; Am 4:13; Mt 14:26). The Egyptian hieroglyphicfor impossibility is a man walking on waves.9. maketh—rather, from the Arabic, "covereth up." This accords better with the context, whichdescribes His boundless power as controller rather than as creator [Umbreit].Arcturus—the great bear, which always revolves about the pole, and never sets. The Chaldeansand Arabs, early named the stars and grouped them in constellations; often travelling and tendingflocks by night, they would naturally do so, especially as the rise and setting of some stars markthe distinction of seasons. Brinkley, presuming the stars here mentioned to be those of Taurus andScorpio, and that these were the cardinal constellations of spring and autumn in Job's time, calculates,by the precession of equinoxes, the time of Job to be eight hundred eighteen years after the deluge,and one hundred eighty-four before Abraham.Orion—Hebrew, "the fool"; in Job 38:31 he appears fettered with "bands." The old legendrepresented this star as a hero, who presumptuously rebelled against God, and was therefore a fool,and was chained in the sky as a punishment; for its rising is at the stormy period of the year. He isNimrod (the exceedingly impious rebel) among the Assyrians; Orion among the Greeks. Sabaism(worship of the heavenly hosts) and hero-worship were blended in his person. He first subvertedthe patriarchal order of society by substituting a chieftainship based on conquest (Ge 10:9, 10).Pleiades—literally, "the heap of stars"; Arabic, "knot of stars." The various names of thisconstellation in the East express the close union of the stars in it (Am 5:8).chambers of the south—the unseen regions of the southern hemisphere, with its own set ofstars, as distinguished from those just mentioned of the northern. The true structure of the earth ishere implied.10. Repeated from Eliphaz (Job 5:9).11. I see him not: he passeth on—The image is that of a howling wind (Isa 21:1). Like it whenit bursts invisibly upon man, so God is felt in the awful effects of His wrath, but is not seen (Joh3:8). Therefore, reasons Job, it is impossible to contend with Him.12. If "He taketh away," as in my case all that was dear to me, still a mortal cannot call Him toaccount. He only takes His own. He is an absolute King (Ec 8:4; Da 4:35).13. If God—rather, "God will not withdraw His anger," that is, so long as a mortal obstinatelyresists [Umbreit].the proud helpers—The arrogant, who would help one contending with the Almighty, are ofno avail against Him.734JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson14. How much less shall I? &c.—who am weak, seeing that the mighty have to stoop beforeHim. Choose words (use a well-chosen speech, in order to reason) with Him.15. (Job 10:15). Though I were conscious of no sin, yet I would not dare to say so, but leave itto His judgment and mercy to justify me (1Co 4:4).16, 17. would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice—who breaketh me (as atree stripped of its leaves) with a tempest.19. Umbreit takes these as the words of God, translating, "What availeth the might of the strong?""Here (saith he) behold! what availeth justice? Who will appoint me a time to plead?" (So Jer49:19). The last words certainly apply better to God than to Job. The sense is substantially the sameif we make "me" apply to Job. The "lo!" expresses God's swift readiness for battle when challenged.20. it—(Job 15:6; Lu 19:22); or "He," God.21. Literally, here (and in Job 9:20), "I perfect! I should not know my soul! I would despise,"[that is], "disown my life"; that is, Though conscious of innocence, I should be compelled, incontending with the infinite God, to ignore my own soul and despise my past life as if it were guilty[Rosenmuller].22. one thing—"It is all one; whether perfect or wicked—He destroyeth." This was the pointJob maintained against his friends, that the righteous and wicked alike are afflicted, and that greatsufferings here do not prove great guilt (Lu 13:1-5; Ec 9:2).23. If—Rather, "While (His) scourge slays suddenly (the wicked, Job 9:22), He laughs at(disregards; not derides) the pining away of the innocent." The only difference, says Job, betweenthe innocent and guilty is, the latter are slain by a sudden stroke, the former pine away gradually.The translation, "trial," does not express the antithesis to "slay suddenly," as "pining away" does[Umbreit].24. Referring to righteous "judges," in antithesis to "the wicked" in the parallel first clause,whereas the wicked oppressor often has the earth given into his hand, the righteous judges are ledto execution—culprits had their faces covered preparatory to execution (Es 7:8). Thus the contrastof the wicked and righteous here answers to that in Job 9:23.if not, where and who?—If God be not the cause of these anomalies, where is the cause to befound, and who is he?25. a post—a courier. In the wide Persian empire such couriers, on dromedaries or on foot,were employed to carry the royal commands to the distant provinces (Es 3:13, 15; 8:14). "My days"are not like the slow caravan, but the fleet post. The "days" are themselves poetically said to "seeno good," instead of Job in them (1Pe 3:10).26. swift ships—rather, canoes of reeds or papyrus skiffs, used on the Nile, swift from theirlightness (Isa 18:2).28. The apodosis to Job 9:27—"If I say, &c." "I still am afraid of all my sorrows (returning),for I know that thou wilt (dost) (by removing my sufferings) not hold or declare me innocent. Howthen can I leave off my heaviness?"29. The "if" is better omitted; I (am treated by God as) wicked; why then labor I in vain (todisprove His charge)? Job submits, not so much because he is convinced that God is right, as becauseGod is powerful and he weak [Barnes].30. snow water—thought to be more cleansing than common water, owing to the whitenessof snow (Ps 51:7; Isa 1:18).735JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonnever so clean—Better, to answer to the parallelism of the first clause which expresses thecleansing material, "lye:" the Arabs used alkali mixed with oil, as soap (Ps 73:13; Jer 2:22).32. (Ec 6:10; Isa 45:9).33. daysman—"mediator," or "umpire"; the imposition of whose hand expresses power toadjudicate between the persons. There might be one on a level with Job, the one party; but Jobknew of none on a level with the Almighty, the other party (1Sa 2:25). We Christians know of sucha Mediator (not, however, in the sense of umpire) on a level with both—the God-man, Christ Jesus(1Ti 2:5).34. rod—not here the symbol of punishment, but of power. Job cannot meet God on fair termsso long as God deals with him on the footing of His almighty power.35. it is not so with me—As it now is, God not taking His rod away, I am not on such a footingof equality as to be able to vindicate myself.CHAPTER 10Job 10:1-22. Job's Reply to Bildad Continued.1. leave my complaint upon myself—rather, "I will give loose to my complaint" (Job 7:11).2. show me, &c.—Do not, by virtue of Thy mere sovereignty, treat me as guilty without showingme the reasons.3. Job is unwilling to think God can have pleasure in using His power to "oppress" the weak,and to treat man, the work of His own hands, as of no value (Job 10:8; Ps 138:8).shine upon—favor with prosperity (Ps 50:2).4-6. Dost Thou see as feebly as man? that is, with the same uncharitable eye, as, for instance,Job's friends? Is Thy time as short? Impossible! Yet one might think, from the rapid succession ofThy strokes, that Thou hadst no time to spare in overwhelming me.7. "Although Thou (the Omniscient) knowest," &c. (connected with Job 10:6), "Thou searchestafter my sin."and … that none that can deliver out of thine hand—Therefore Thou hast no need to dealwith me with the rapid violence which man would use (see Job 10:6).8. Made—with pains; implying a work of difficulty and art; applying to God language applicableonly to man.together round about—implying that the human body is a complete unity, the parts of whichon all sides will bear the closest scrutiny.9. clay—Job 10:10 proves that the reference here is, not so much to the perishable nature ofthe materials, as to their wonderful fashioning by the divine potter.10. In the organization of the body from its rude commencements, the original liquid graduallyassumes a more solid consistency, like milk curdling into cheese (Ps 139:15, 16). Science revealsthat the chyle circulated by the lacteal vessels is the supply to every organ.11. fenced—or "inlaid" (Ps 139:15); "curiously wrought" [Umbreit]. In the foetus the skin appearsfirst, then the flesh, then the harder parts.12. visitation—Thy watchful Providence.spirit—breath.736JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson13. is with thee—was Thy purpose. All God's dealings with Job in his creation, preservation,and present afflictions were part of His secret counsel (Ps 139:16; Ac 15:18; Ec 3:11).14, 15. Job is perplexed because God "marks" every sin of his with such ceaseless rigor. Whether"wicked" (godless and a hypocrite) or "righteous" (comparatively sincere), God condemns andpunishes alike.15. lift up my head—in conscious innocence (Ps 3:3).see thou—rather, "and seeing I see (I too well see) mine affliction," (which seems to prove meguilty) [Umbreit].16. increaseth—rather, "(if) I lift up (my head) Thou wouldest hunt me," &c. [Umbreit].and again—as if a lion should not kill his prey at once, but come back and torture it again.17. witnesses—His accumulated trials were like a succession of witnesses brought up in proofof his guilt, to wear out the accused.changes and war—rather, "(thou settest in array) against me host after host" (literally, "changesand a host," that is, a succession of hosts); namely, his afflictions, and then reproach upon reproachfrom his friends.20. But, since I was destined from my birth to these ills, at least give me a little breathing timeduring the few days left me (Job 9:34; 13:21; Ps 39:13).22. The ideas of order and light, disorder and darkness, harmonize (Ge 1:2). Three Hebrewwords are used for darkness; in Job 10:21 (1) the common word "darkness"; here (2) "a land ofgloom" (from a Hebrew root, "to cover up"); (3) as "thick darkness" or blackness (from a root,expressing sunset). "Where the light thereof is like blackness." Its only sunshine is thick darkness.A bold figure of poetry. Job in a better frame has brighter thoughts of the unseen world. But hisviews at best wanted the definite clearness of the Christian's. Compare with his words here Re21:23; 22:5; 2Ti 1:10.CHAPTER 11FIRST SERIES.Job 11:1-20. First Speech of Zophar.2. Zophar assails Job for his empty words, and indirectly, the two friends, for their weak reply.Taciturnity is highly prized among Orientals (Pr 10:8, 19).3. lies—rather, "vain boasting" (Isa 16:6; Jer 48:30). The "men" is emphatic; men of sense; inantithesis to "vain boasting."mockest—upbraidest God by complaints, "shall no man make thee ashamed?"4. doctrine—purposely used of Job's speeches, which sounded like lessons of doctrine (De32:2; Pr 4:2).thine—addressed to God. Job had maintained his sincerity against his friends suspicions, notfaultlessness.6. to that which is!—Rather, "they are double to [man's] wisdom" [Michaelis]. So the Hebrewis rendered (Pr 2:7). God's ways, which you arraign, if you were shown their secret wisdom, wouldbe seen vastly to exceed that of men, including yours (1Co 1:25).exacteth—Rather, "God consigns to oblivion in thy favor much of thy guilt."7. Rather, "Penetrate to the perfections of the Almighty" (Job 9:10; Ps 139:6).737JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson8. It—the "wisdom" of God (Job 11:6). The abruptness of the Hebrew is forcible: "The heightsof heaven! What canst thou do" (as to attaining to them with thy gaze, Ps 139:8)?know—namely, of His perfections.10. cut off—Rather, as in Job 9:11, "pass over," as a storm; namely, rush upon in anger.shut up—in prison, with a view to trial.gather together—the parties for judgment: hold a judicial assembly; to pass sentence on theprisoners.11. (Ps 94:11).consider—so as to punish it. Rather, from the connection, Job 11:6, "He seeth wickedness also,which man does not perceive"; literally, "But no (other, save He) perceiveth it" [Umbreit]. God's"wisdom" (Job 11:6), detects sin where Job's human eye cannot reach (Job 11:8), so as to see any.12. vain—hollow.would be—"wants to consider himself wise"; opposed to God's "wisdom" (see on Job 11:11);refuses to see sin, where God sees it (Ro 1:22).wild ass's colt—a proverb for untamed wildness (Job 39:5, 8; Jer 2:24; Ge 16:12; Hebrew, "awild-ass man"). Man wishes to appear wisely obedient to his Lord, whereas he is, from his birth,unsubdued in spirit.13. The apodosis to the "If" is at Job 11:15. The preparation of the heart is to be obtained (Pr16:1) by stretching out the hands in prayer for it (Ps 10:17; 1Ch 29:18).14. Rather, "if thou wilt put far away the iniquity in thine hand" (as Zaccheus did, Lu 19:8).The apodosis or conclusion is at Job 11:15, "then shalt thou," &c.15. Zophar refers to Job's own words (Job 10:15), "yet will I not lift up my head," even thoughrighteous. Zophar declares, if Job will follow his advice, he may "lift up his face."spot—(De 32:5).steadfast—literally, "run fast together," like metals which become firm and hard by fusion.The sinner on the contrary is wavering.16. Just as when the stream runs dry (Job 6:17), the danger threatened by its wild waves isforgotten (Isa 65:16) [Umbreit].17. age—days of life.the noon-day—namely, of thy former prosperity; which, in the poet's image, had gone onincreasing, until it reached its height, as the sun rises higher and higher until it reaches the meridian(Pr 4:18).shine forth—rather, "though now in darkness, thou shall be as the morning"; or, "thy darkness(if any dark shade should arise on thee, it) shall be as the morning" (only the dullness of morningtwilight, not nocturnal darkness) [Umbreit].18. The experience of thy life will teach thee there is hope for man in every trial.dig—namely, wells; the chief necessity in the East. Better, "though now ashamed (Ro 5:5,opposed to the previous 'hope'), thou shalt then rest safely" [Gesenius];19. (Ps 4:8; Pr 3:24; Isa 14:30); oriental images of prosperity.make suit—literally, "stroke thy face," "caress thee" (Pr 19:6).20. A warning to Job, if he would not turn to God.The wicked—that is, obdurate sinners.eyes … fail—that is, in vain look for relief (De 28:65). Zophar implies Job's only hope of reliefis in a change of heart.738JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthey shall not escape—literally, "every refuge shall vanish from them."giving up of the ghost—Their hope shall leave them as the breath does the body (Pr 11:7).CHAPTER 12FIRST SERIES.Job 12:1-14:22. Job's Reply to Zophar2. wisdom shall die with you—Ironical, as if all the wisdom in the world was concentrated inthem and would expire when they expired. Wisdom makes "a people:" a foolish nation is "not apeople" (Ro 10:19).3. not inferior—not vanquished in argument and "wisdom" (Job 13:2).such things as these—such commonplace maxims as you so pompously adduce.4. The unfounded accusations of Job's friends were a "mockery" of him. He alludes to Zophar'sword, "mockest" (Job 11:3).neighbour, who calleth, &c.—rather, "I who call upon God that he may answer me favorably"[Umbreit].5. Rather, "a torch" (lamp) is an object of contempt in the thoughts of him who rests securely(is at ease), though it was prepared for the falterings of the feet [Umbreit] (Pr 25:19). "Thoughts"and "feet" are in contrast; also rests "securely," and "falterings." The wanderer, arrived at hisnight-quarters, contemptuously throws aside the torch which had guided his uncertain steps throughthe darkness. As the torch is to the wanderer, so Job to his friends. Once they gladly used his aidin their need; now they in prosperity mock him in his need.6. Job shows that the matter of fact opposes Zophar's theory (Job 11:14, 19, 20) that wickednesscauses insecurity in men's "tabernacles." On the contrary, they who rob the "tabernacles"("dwellings") of others "prosper securely" in their own.into whose hand, &c.—rather, "who make a god of their own hand," that is, who regard theirmight as their only ruling principle [Umbreit].7, 8. Beasts, birds, fishes, and plants, reasons Job, teach that the violent live the most securely(Job 12:6). The vulture lives more securely than the dove, the lion than the ox, the shark than thedolphin, the rose than the thorn which tears it.8. speak to the earth—rather, "the shrubs of the earth" [Umbreit].9. In all these cases, says Job, the agency must be referred to Jehovah, though they may seemto man to imply imperfection (Job 12:6; 9:24). This is the only undisputed passage of the poeticalpart in which the name "Jehovah" occurs; in the historical parts it occurs frequently.10. the soul—that is, the animal life. Man, reasons Job, is subjected to the same laws as thelower animals.11. As the mouth by tasting meats selects what pleases it, so the ear tries the words of othersand retains what is convincing. Each chooses according to his taste. The connection with Job 12:12is in reference to Bildad's appeal to the "ancients" (Job 8:8). You are right in appealing to them,since "with them was wisdom," &c. But you select such proverbs of theirs as suit your views; so Imay borrow from the same such as suit mine.12. ancient—aged (Job 15:10).739JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson13. In contrast to, "with the ancient is wisdom" (Job 12:12), Job quotes a saying of the ancientswhich suits his argument, "with Him (God) is (the true) wisdom" (Pr 8:14); and by that "wisdomand strength" "He breaketh down," &c., as an absolute Sovereign, not allowing man to penetrateHis mysteries; man's part is to bow to His unchangeable decrees (Job 1:21). The Mohammedansaying is, "if God will, and how God will."14. shutteth up—(Isa 22:22). Job refers to Zophar's "shut up" (Job 11:10).15. Probably alluding to the flood.16. (Eze 14:9).18. He looseth the bond of kings—He looseth the authority of kings—the "bond" with whichthey bind their subjects (Isa 45:1; Ge 14:4; Da 2:21).a girdle—the cord, with which they are bound as captives, instead of the royal "girdle" theyonce wore (Isa 22:21), and the bond they once bound others with. So "gird"—put on one the bondsof a prisoner instead of the ordinary girdle (Joh 21:18).19. princes—rather, "priests," as the Hebrew is rendered (Ps 99:6). Even the sacred ministersof religion are not exempt from reverses and captivity.the mighty—rather, "the firm-rooted in power"; the Arabic root expresses ever-flowing water[Umbreit].20. the trusty—rather, "those secure in their eloquence"; for example, the speakers in the gate(Isa 3:3) [Beza].understanding—literally, "taste," that is, insight or spiritual discernment, which experiencegives the aged. The same Hebrew word is applied to Daniel's wisdom in interpretation (Da 2:14).21. Ps 107:40 quotes, in its first clause, this verse and, in its second, Job 12:24.weakeneth the strength—literally, "looseth the girdle"; Orientals wear flowing garments;when active strength is to be put forth, they gird up their garments with a girdle. Hence here—"Hedestroyeth their power" in the eyes of the people.22. (Da 2:22).23. Isa 9:3; Ps 107:38, 39, which Psalm quotes this chapter elsewhere. (See on Job 12:21).straiteneth—literally, "leadeth in," that is, "reduces."24. heart—intelligence.wander in a wilderness—figurative; not referring to any actual fact. This cannot be quoted toprove Job lived after Israel's wanderings in the desert. Ps 107:4, 40 quotes this passage.25. De 28:29; Ps 107:27 again quote Job, but in a different connection.CHAPTER 13Job 13:1-28. Job's Reply to Zophar Continued.1. all this—as to the dealings of Providence (Job 12:3).3. Job wishes to plead his cause before God (Job 9:34, 35), as he is more and more convincedof the valueless character of his would-be "physicians" (Job 16:2).4. forgers of lies—literally, "artful twisters of vain speeches" [Umbreit].5. (Pr 17:28). The Arabs say, "The wise are dumb; silence is wisdom."740JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson7. deceitfully—use fallacies to vindicate God in His dealings; as if the end justified the means.Their "deceitfulness" for God, against Job, was that they asserted he was a sinner, because he wasa sufferer.8. accept his person—God's; that is, be partial for Him, as when a judge favors one party in atrial, because of personal considerations.contend for God—namely, with fallacies and prepossessions against Job before judgment (Jud6:31). Partiality can never please the impartial God, nor the goodness of the cause excuse theunfairness of the arguments.9. Will the issue to you be good, when He searches out you and your arguments? Will you beregarded by Him as pure and disinterested?mock—(Ga 6:7). Rather, "Can you deceive Him as one man?" &c.10. If ye do, though secretly, act partially. (See on Job 13:8; Ps 82:1, 2). God can successfullyvindicate His acts, and needs no fallacious argument of man.11. make you afraid?—namely, of employing sophisms in His name (Jer 10:7, 10).12. remembrances—"proverbial maxims," so called because well unto ashes—or, "parables of ashes"; the image of lightness and nothingness (Isa 44:20).bodies—rather, "entrenchments"; those of clay, as opposed to those of stone, are easy to bedestroyed; so the proverbs, behind which they entrench themselves, will not shelter them whenGod shall appear to reprove them for their injustice to Job.13. Job would wish to be spared their speeches, so as to speak out all his mind as to hiswretchedness (Job 13:14), happen what will.14. A proverb for, "Why should I anxiously desire to save my life?" [Eichorn]. The image in thefirst clause is that of a wild beast, which in order to preserve his prey, carries it in his teeth. Thatin the second refers to men who hold in the hand what they want to keep secure.15. in him—So the margin or keri, reads. But the textual reading or chetib is "not," whichagrees best with the context, and other passages wherein he says he has no hope (Job 6:11; 7:21;10:20; 19:10). "Though He slay me, and I dare no more hope, yet I will maintain," &c., that is, "Idesire to vindicate myself before Him," as not a hypocrite [Umbreit and Noyes].16. He—rather, "This also already speaks in my behalf (literally, 'for my saving acquittal') foran hypocrite would not wish to come before Him" (as I do) [Umbreit]. (See last clause of Job 13:15).17. my declaration—namely, that I wish to be permitted to justify myself immediately beforeGod.with your ears—that is, attentively.18. ordered—implying a constant preparation for defense in his confidence of innocence.19. if, &c.—Rather, "Then would I hold my tongue and give up the ghost"; that is, if any onecan contend with me and prove me false, I have no more to say. "I will be silent and die." Like our"I would stake my life on it" [Umbreit].20. Address to God.not hide—stand forth boldly to maintain my cause.21. (See on Job 9:34 and see Ps 39:10).22. call—a challenge to the defendant to answer to the charges.answer—the defense begun.speak—as plaintiff.answer—to the plea of the plaintiff. Expressions from a trial.741JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson23. The catalogue of my sins ought to be great, to judge from the severity with which God everanew crushes one already bowed down. Would that He would reckon them up! He then would seehow much my calamities outnumber them.sin?—singular, "I am unconscious of a single particular sin, much less many" [Umbreit].24. hidest … face—a figure from the gloomy impression caused by the sudden clouding overof the sun.enemy—God treated Job as an enemy who must be robbed of power by ceaseless sufferings(Job 7:17, 21).25. (Le 26:36; Ps 1:4). Job compares himself to a leaf already fallen, which the storm still chaseshither and thither.break—literally, "shake with (Thy) terrors." Jesus Christ does not "break the bruised reed" (Isa42:3, 27:8).26. writest—a judicial phrase, to note down the determined punishment. The sentence of thecondemned used to be written down (Isa 10:1; Jer 22:30; Ps 149:9) [Umbreit].bitter things—bitter punishments.makest me to possess—or "inherit." In old age he receives possession of the inheritance of sinthoughtlessly acquired in youth. "To inherit sins" is to inherit the punishments inseparably connectedwith them in Hebrew ideas (Ps 25:7).27. stocks—in which the prisoner's feet were made fast until the time of execution (Jer 20:2).lookest narrowly—as an overseer would watch a prisoner.print—Either the stocks, or his disease, marked his soles (Hebrew, "roots") as the bastinadowould. Better, thou drawest (or diggest) [Gesenius] a line (or trench) [Gesenius] round my soles, beyondwhich I must not move [Umbreit].28. Job speaks of himself in the third person, thus forming the transition to the general lot ofman (Job 14:1; Ps 39:11; Ho 5:12).CHAPTER 14Job 14:1-22. Job Passes from His Own to the Common Misery of Mankind.1. woman—feeble, and in the East looked down upon (Ge 2:21). Man being born of one sofrail must be frail himself (Mt 11:11).few days—(Ge 47:9; Ps 90:10). Literally, "short of days." Man is the reverse of full of daysand short of trouble.2. (Ps 90:6; see on Job 8:9).3. open … eyes upon—Not in graciousness; but, "Dost Thou sharply fix Thine eyes upon?"(See on Job 7:20; also see on Job 1:7). Is one so frail as man worthy of such constant watching onthe part of God? (Zec 12:4).me—so frail.thee—so almighty.4. A plea in mitigation. The doctrine of original sin was held from the first. "Man is uncleanfrom his birth, how then can God expect perfect cleanness from such a one and deal so severelywith me?"5. determined—(Job 7:1; Isa 10:23; Da 9:27; 11:36).742JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson6. Turn—namely, Thine eyes from watching him so jealously (Job 14:3).hireling—(Job 7:1).accomplish—rather, "enjoy." That he may at least enjoy the measure of rest of the hirelingwho though hard worked reconciles himself to his lot by the hope of his rest and reward [Umbreit].7. Man may the more claim a peaceful life, since, when separated from it by death, he neverreturns to it. This does not deny a future life, but a return to the present condition of life. Job plainlyhopes for a future state (Job 14:13; Job 7:2). Still, it is but vague and trembling hope, not assurance;excepting the one bright glimpse in Job 19:25. The Gospel revelation was needed to change fears,hopes, and glimpses into clear and definite certainties.9. scent—exhalation, which, rather than the humidity of water, causes the tree to germinate. Inthe antithesis to man the tree is personified, and volition is poetically ascribed to a plant—"as if newly planted" [Umbreit]; not as if trees and plants were a different species.10. man … man—Two distinct Hebrew words are here used; Geber, a mighty man: thoughmighty, he dies. Adam, a man of earth: because earthly, he gives up the ghost.wasteth—is reduced to nothing: he cannot revive in the present state, as the tree does. Thecypress and pine, which when cut down do not revive, were the symbols of death among the Romans.11. sea—that is, a lake, or pool formed from the outspreading of a river. Job lived near theEuphrates: and "sea" is applied to it (Jer 51:36; Isa 27:1). So of the Nile (Isa 19:5).fail—utterly disappeared by drying up. The rugged channel of the once flowing water answersto the outstretched corpse ("lieth down," Job 14:12) of the once living man.12. heavens be no more—This only implies that Job had no hope of living again in the presentorder of the world, not that he had no hope of life again in a new order of things. Ps 102:26 provesthat early under the Old Testament the dissolution of the present earth and heavens was expected(compare Ge 8:22). Enoch before Job had implied that the "saints shall live again" (Jude 14; Heb11:13-16). Even if, by this phrase, Job meant "never" (Ps 89:29) in his gloomier state of feelings,yet the Holy Ghost has made him unconsciously (1Pe 1:11, 12) use language expressing the truth,that the resurrection is to be preceded by the dissolution of the heavens. In Job 14:13-15 he plainlypasses to brighter hopes of a world to come.13. Job wishes to be kept hidden in the grave until God's wrath against him shall have passedaway. So while God's wrath is visiting the earth for the abounding apostasy which is to precedethe second coming, God's people shall be hidden against the resurrection glory (Isa 26:19-21).set time—a decreed time (Ac 1:7).14. shall he live?—The answer implied is, There is a hope that he shall, though not in thepresent order of life, as is shown by the words following. Job had denied (Job 14:10-12) that manshall live again in this present world. But hoping for a "set time," when God shall remember andraise him out of the hiding-place of the grave (Job 14:13), he declares himself willing to "wait allthe days of his appointed time" of continuance in the grave, however long and hard that may be.appointed time—literally, "warfare, hard service"; imlying the hardship of being shut out fromthe realms of life, light, and God for the time he shall be in the grave (Job 7:1).change—my release, as a soldier at his post released from duty by the relieving guard (see onJob 10:17) [Umbreit and Gesenius], but elsewhere Gesenius explains it, "renovation," as of plants inspring (Job 14:7), but this does not accord so well with the metaphor in "appointed time" or"warfare."15. namely, at the resurrection (Joh 5:28; Ps 17:15).743JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhave a desire to—literally, "become pale with anxious desire:" the same word is translated"sore longedst after" (Ge 31:30; Ps 84:2), implying the utter unlikelihood that God would leave inoblivion the "creature of His own hands so fearfully and wonderfully made." It is objected that ifJob knew of a future retribution, he would make it the leading topic in solving the problem of thepermitted afflictions of the righteous. But, (1) He did not intend to exceed the limits of what wasclearly revealed; the doctrine was then in a vague form only; (2) The doctrine of God's moralgovernment in this life, even independently of the future, needed vindication.16. Rather, "Yea, thou wilt number my steps, and wilt not (as now) jealously watch over mysin." Thenceforward, instead of severe watching for every sin of Job, God will guard him againstevery sin.number … steps—that is, minutely attend to them, that they may not wander [Umbreit] (1Sa2:9; Ps 37:23).17. sealed up—(Job 9:7). Is shut up in eternal oblivion, that is, God thenceforth will think nomore of my former sins. To cover sins is to completely forgive them (Ps 32:1; 85:2). Purses ofmoney in the East are usually sealed.sewest up—rather, "coverest"; akin to an Arabic word, "to color over," to forget wholly.18. cometh to naught—literally, "fadeth"; a poetical image from a leaf (Isa 34:4). Here Jobfalls back into his gloomy bodings as to the grave. Instead of "and surely," translate "yet"; markingthe transition from his brighter hopes. Even the solid mountain falls and crumbles away; mantherefore cannot "hope" to escape decay or to live again in the present world (Job 14:19).out of his place—so man (Ps 103:16).19. The Hebrew order is more forcible: "Stones themselves are worn away by water."things which grow out of—rather, "floods wash away the dust of the earth." There is a gradationfrom "mountains" to "rocks" (Job 14:18), then "stones," then last "dust of the earth"; thus the solidmountain at last disappears utterly.20. prevailest—dost overpower by superior strength.passeth—dieth.changest countenance—the change in the visage at death. Differently (Da 5:9).21. One striking trait is selected from the sad picture of the severance of the dead from all thatpasses in the world (Ec 9:5), namely, the utter separation of parents and children.22. "Flesh" and "soul" describe the whole man. Scripture rests the hope of a future life, not onthe inherent immortality of the soul, but on the restoration of the body with the soul. In the unseenworld, Job in a gloomy frame anticipates, man shall be limited to the thought of his own misery."Pain is by personification, from our feelings while alive, attributed to the flesh and soul, as if theman could feel in his body when dead. It is the dead in general, not the wicked, who are meanthere."CHAPTER 15SECOND SERIES.Job 15:1-35. Second Speech of Eliphaz.2. a wise man—which Job claims to be.744JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonvain knowledge—Hebrew, "windy knowledge"; literally, "of wind" (Job 8:2). In Ec 1:14,Hebrew, "to catch wind," expresses to strive for what is vain.east wind—stronger than the previous "wind," for in that region the east wind is the mostdestructive of winds (Isa 27:8). Thus here,—empty violence.belly—the inward parts, the breast (Pr 18:8).4. fear—reverence for God (Job 4:6; Ps 2:11).prayer—meditation, in Ps 104:34; so devotion. If thy views were right, reasons Eliphaz, thatGod disregards the afflictions of the righteous and makes the wicked to prosper, all devotion wouldbe at an end.5. The sophistry of thine own speeches proves thy guilt.6. No pious man would utter such sentiments.7. That is, Art thou wisdom personified? Wisdom existed before the hills; that is, the eternalSon of God (Pr 8:25; Ps 90:2). Wast thou in existence before Adam? The farther back one existed,the nearer he was to the Eternal Wisdom.8. secret—rather, "Wast thou a listener in the secret council of God?" The Hebrew meansproperly the cushions of a divan on which counsellors in the East usually sit. God's servants areadmitted to God's secrets (Ps 25:14; Ge 18:17; Joh 15:15).restrain—Rather, didst thou take away, or borrow, thence (namely, from the divine secretcouncil) thy wisdom? Eliphaz in this (Job 15:8, 9) retorts Job's words upon himself (Job 12:2, 3;13:2).9. in us—or, "with us," Hebraism for "we are aware of."10. On our side, thinking with us are the aged. Job had admitted that wisdom is with them (Job12:12). Eliphaz seems to have been himself older than Job; perhaps the other two were also (Job32:6). Job, in Job 30:1, does not refer to his three friends; it therefore forms no objection. The Arabsare proud of fulness of years.11. consolations—namely, the revelation which Eliphaz had stated as a consolatory reproof toJob, and which he repeats in Job 15:14.secret—Hast thou some secret wisdom and source of consolation, which makes thee disregardthose suggested by me? (Job 15:8). Rather, from a different Hebrew root, Is the word of kindnessor gentleness addressed by me treated by thee as valueless? [Umbreit].12. wink—that is, why do thy eyes evince pride? (Pr 6:13; Ps 35:19).13. That is, frettest against God and lettest fall rash words.14. Eliphaz repeats the revelation (Job 4:17) in substance, but using Job's own words (see onJob 14:1, on "born of a woman") to strike him with his own weapons.15. Repeated from Job 4:18; "servants" there are "saints" here; namely, holy angels.heavens—literally, or else answering to "angels" (see on Job 4:18, and Job 25:5).16. filthy—in Arabic "sour" (Ps 14:3; 53:3), corrupted from his original purity.drinketh—(Pr 19:28).17. In direct contradiction of Job's position (Job 12:6, &c.), that the lot of the wicked was themost prosperous here, Eliphaz appeals (1) to his own experience, (2) to the wisdom of the ancients.18. Rather, "and which as handed down from their fathers, they have not concealed."19. Eliphaz speaks like a genuine Arab when he boasts that his ancestors had ever possessedthe land unmixed with foreigners [Umbreit]. His words are intended to oppose Job's (Job 9:24); "theearth" in their case was not "given into the hand of the wicked." He refers to the division of the745JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonearth by divine appointment (Ge 10:5; 25:32). Also he may insinuate that Job's sentiments had beencorrupted from original purity by his vicinity to the Sabeans and Chaldeans [Rosenmuller].20. travaileth—rather, "trembleth of himself," though there is no real danger [Umbreit].and the number of his years, &c.—This gives the reason why the wicked man tremblescontinually; namely, because he knows not the moment when his life must end.21. An evil conscience conceives alarm at every sudden sound, though it be in a time of peace("prosperity"), when there is no real danger (Le 26:36; Pr 28:1; 2Ki 7:6).22. darkness—namely, danger or calamity. Glancing at Job, who despaired of restoration: incontrast to good men when in darkness (Mic 7:8, 9).waited for of—that is, He is destined for the sword [Gesenius]. Rather (in the night of danger),"he looks anxiously towards the sword," as if every sword was drawn against him [Umbreit].23. Wandereth in anxious search for bread. Famine in Old Testament depicts sore need (Isa5:13). Contrast the pious man's lot (Job 5:20-22).knoweth—has the firm conviction. Contrast the same word applied to the pious (Job 5:24, 25).ready at his hand—an Arabic phrase to denote a thing's complete readiness and full presence,as if in the hand.24. prevail—break upon him suddenly and terribly, as a king, &c. (Pr 6:11).25. stretcheth … hand—wielding the spear, as a bold rebel against God (Job 9:4; Isa 27:4).26. on his neck—rather, "with outstretched neck," namely, that of the rebel [Umbreit] (Ps 75:5).upon … bucklers—rather, "with—his (the rebel's, not God's) bucklers." The rebel and hisfellows are depicted as joining shields together, to form a compact covering over their heads againstthe weapons hurled on them from a fortress [Umbreit and Gesenius].27. The well-nourished body of the rebel is the sign of his prosperity.collops—masses of fat. He pampers and fattens himself with sensual indulgences; hence hisrebellion against God (De 32:15; 1Sa 2:29).28. The class of wicked here described is that of robbers who plunder "cities," and seize on thehouses of the banished citizens (Isa 13:20). Eliphaz chooses this class because Job had chosen thesame (Job 12:6).heaps—of ruins.29. Rather, he shall not increase his riches; he has reached his highest point; his prosperity shallnot continue.perfection—rather, "His acquired wealth—what he possesses—shall not be extended," &c.30. depart—that is, escape (Job 15:22, 23).branches—namely, his offspring (Job 1:18, 19; Ps 37:35).dry up—The "flame" is the sultry wind in the East by which plants most full of sap are suddenlyshrivelled.his mouth—that is, God's wrath (Isa 11:4).31. Rather, "let him not trust in vanity or he will be deceived," &c.vanity—that which is unsubstantial. Sin is its own punishment (Pr 1:31; Jer 2:19).32. Literally, "it (the tree to which he is compared, Job 15:30, or else his life) shall not be filledup in its time"; that is, "he shall be ended before his time."shall not be green—image from a withered tree; the childless extinction of the wicked.746JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson33. Images of incompleteness. The loss of the unripe grapes is poetically made the vine tree'sown act, in order to express more pointedly that the sinner's ruin is the fruit of his own conduct (Isa3:11; Jer 6:19).34. Rather, The binding together of the hypocrites (wicked) shall be fruitless [Umbreit].tabernacles of bribery—namely, dwellings of unjust judges, often reprobated in the OldTestament (Isa 1:23). The "fire of God" that consumed Job's possessions (Job 1:16) Eliphaz insinuatesmay have been on account of Job's bribery as an Arab sheik or emir.35. Bitter irony, illustrating the "unfruitfulness" (Job 15:34) of the wicked. Their conceptionsand birthgivings consist solely in mischief, &c. (Isa 33:11).prepareth—hatcheth.CHAPTER 16SECOND SERIES.Job 16:1-22. Job's Reply.2. (Job 13:4).3. "Words of wind," Hebrew. He retorts upon Eliphaz his reproach (Job 15:2).emboldeneth—literally, "What wearies you so that ye contradict?" that is, What have I said toprovoke you? &c. [Schuttens]. Or, as better accords with the first clause, "Wherefore do ye wearyyourselves contradicting?" [Umbreit].4. heap up—rather, "marshal together (an army of) words against you."shake … head—in mockery; it means nodding, rather than shaking; nodding is not with us, asin the East, a gesture of scorn (Isa 37:22; Jer 18:16; Mt 27:39).5. strengthen … with … mouth—bitter irony. In allusion to Eliphaz' boasted "consolations"(Job 15:11). Opposed to strengthening with the heart, that is, with real consolation. Translate, "Ialso (like you) could strengthen with the mouth," that is, with heartless talk: "And the moving ofmy lips (mere lip comfort) could console (in the same fashion as you do)" [Umbreit]. "Hearty counsel"(Pr 27:9) is the opposite.6. eased—literally, "What (portion of my sufferings) goes from me?"7. But now—rather, "ah!"he——rather, "band of witnesses," namely, those who could attest his innocence (hischildren, servants, &c.). So the same Hebrew is translated in Job 16:8. Umbreit makes his "band ofwitnesses," himself, for, alas! he had no other witness for him. But this is too recondite.8. filled … with wrinkles—Rather (as also the same Hebrew word in Job 22:16; EnglishVersion, "cut down"), "thou hast fettered me, thy witness" (besides cutting off my "band ofwitnesses," Job 16:7), that is, hast disabled me by pains from properly attesting my innocence. Butanother "witness" arises against him, namely, his "leanness" or wretched state of body, construedby his friends into a proof of his guilt. The radical meaning of the Hebrew is "to draw together,"whence flow the double meaning "to bind" or "fetter," and in Syriac, "to wrinkle."leanness—meaning also "lie"; implying it was a "false witness."9. Image from a wild beast. So God is represented (Job 10:16).747JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwho hateth me—rather, "and pursues me hard." Job would not ascribe "hatred" to God (Ps50:22).mine enemy—rather, "he sharpens, &c., as an enemy" (Ps 7:12). Darts wrathful glances at me,like a foe (Job 13:24).10. gaped—not in order to devour, but to mock him. To fill his cup of misery, the mockery ofhis friends (Job 16:10) is added to the hostile treatment from God (Job 16:9).smitten … cheek—figurative for contemptuous abuse (La 3:30; Mt 5:39).gathered themselves—"conspired unanimously" [Schuttens].11. the ungodly—namely, his professed friends, who persecuted him with unkind speeches.turned me over—literally, "cast me headlong into the hands of the wicked."12. I was at ease—in past times (Job 1:1-3).by my neck—as an animal does its prey (so Job 10:16).shaken—violently; in contrast to his former "ease" (Ps 102:10). Set me up (again).mark—(Job 7:20; La 3:12). God lets me always recover strength, so as to torment meceaselessly.13. his archers—The image of Job 16:12 is continued. God, in making me His "mark," isaccompanied by the three friends, whose words wound like sharp arrows.gall—put for a vital part; so the liver (La 2:11).14. The image is from storming a fortress by making breaches in the walls (2Ki 14:13).a giant—a mighty warrior.15. sewed—denoting the tight fit of the mourning garment; it was a sack with armholes closelysewed to the body.horn—image from horned cattle, which when excited tear the earth with their horns. The hornwas the emblem of power (1Ki 22:11). Here, it isin the dust—which as applied to Job denotes his humiliation from former greatness. To throwone's self in the dust was a sign of mourning; this idea is here joined with that of excited despair,depicted by the fury of a horned beast. The Druses of Lebanon still wear horns as an ornament.16. foul—rather, "is red," that is, flushed and heated [Umbreit and Noyes].shadow of death—that is, darkening through many tears (La 5:17). Job here refers to Zophar'simplied charge (Job 11:14). Nearly the same words occur as to Jesus Christ (Isa 53:9). So Job 16:10above answers to the description of Jesus Christ (Ps 22:13; Isa 50:6, and Job 16:4 to Ps 22:7). Healone realized what Job aspired after, namely, outward righteousness of acts and inward purity ofdevotion. Jesus Christ as the representative man is typified in some degree in every servant of Godin the Old Testament.18. my blood—that is, my undeserved suffering. He compares himself to one murdered, whoseblood the earth refuses to drink up until he is avenged (Ge 4:10, 11; Eze 24:1, 8; Isa 26:21). TheArabs say that the dew of heaven will not descend on a spot watered with innocent blood (compare2Sa 1:21).no place—no resting-place. "May my cry never stop!" May it go abroad! "Earth" in this versein antithesis to "heaven" (Job 16:19). May my innocence be as well-known to man as it is evennow to God!19. Also now—Even now, when I am so greatly misunderstood on earth, God in heaven issensible of my innocence.748JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonrecord—Hebrew, "in the high places"; Hebrew, "my witness." Amidst all his impatience, Jobstill trusts in God.20. Hebrew, "are my scorners"; more forcibly, "my mockers—my friends!" A heart-cuttingparadox [Umbreit]. God alone remains to whom he can look for attestation of his innocence; plaintivelywith tearful eye, he supplicates for this.21. one—rather, "He" (God). "Oh, that He would plead for a man (namely, me) against God."Job quaintly says, "God must support me against God; for He makes me to suffer, and He aloneknows me to be innocent" [Umbreit]. So God helped Jacob in wrestling against Himself (compareJob 23:6; Ge 32:25). God in Jesus Christ does plead with God for man (Ro 8:26, 27).as a man—literally, "the Son of man." A prefiguring of the advocacy of Jesus Christ—a boonlonged for by Job (Job 9:33), though the spiritual pregnancy of his own words, designed for allages, was but little understood by him (Ps 80:17).for his neighbour—Hebrew, "friend." Job himself (Job 42:8) pleaded as intercessor for his"friends," though "his scorners" (Job 16:20); so Jesus Christ the Son of man (Lu 23:34); "for friends"(Joh 15:13-15).22. few—literally, "years of number," that is, few, opposed to numberless (Ge 34:30).CHAPTER 17Job 17:1-16. Job's Answer Continued.1. breath … corrupt—result of elephantiasis. But Umbreit, "my strength (spirit) is spent."extinct—Life is compared to an expiring light. "The light of my day is extinguished."graves—plural, to heighten the force.2. Umbreit, more emphatically, "had I only not to endure mockery, in the midst of their contentionsI (mine eye) would remain quiet."eye continue—Hebrew, "tarry all night"; a figure taken from sleep at night, to expressundisturbed rest; opposed to (Job 16:20), when the eye of Job is represented as pouring out tearsto God without rest.3. Lay down now—namely, a pledge or security; that is, be my surety; do Thou attest myinnocence, since my friends only mock me (Job 17:2). Both litigating parties had to lay down asum as security before the trial.put me in a surety—Provide a surety for me (in the trial) with Thee. A presage of the "surety"(Heb 7:22), or "one Mediator between God and man" (see on Job 16:21).strike hands—"who else (save God Himself) could strike hands with me?" that is, be mysecurity (Ps 119:122). The Hebrew strikes the hand of him for whom he goes security (Pr 6:1).4. their heart—The intellect of his friends.shalt … exalt—Rather imperative, "exalt them not"; allow them not to conquer [Umbreit], (Isa6:9, 10).5. The Hebrew for "flattery" is "smoothness"; then it came to mean a prey divided by lot, becausea smooth stone was used in casting the lots (De 18:8), "a portion" (Ge 14:24). Therefore translate,"He that delivers up his friend as a prey (which the conduct of my friends implies that they woulddo), even the eyes," &c. [Noyes] (Job 11:20). Job says this as to the sinner's children, retorting upon749JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesontheir reproach as to the cutting off of his (Job 5:4; 15:30). This accords with the Old Testamentdispensation of legal retribution (Ex 20:5).6. He—God. The poet reverentially suppresses the name of God when speaking of—(De 28:37; Ps 69:11). My awful punishment makes my name execrated everywhere,as if I must have been superlatively bad to have earned it.aforetime … tabret—as David was honored (1Sa 18:6). Rather from a different Hebrew root,"I am treated to my face as an object of disgust," literally, "an object to be spit upon in the face"(Nu 12:14). So Raca means (Mt 5:22) [Umbreit].7. (Ps 6:7; 31:9; De 34:7).members—literally, "figures"; all the individual members being peculiar forms of the body;opposed to "shadow," which looks like a figure without solidity.8. astonied—at my unmerited sufferings.against the hypocrite—The upright shall feel their sense of justice wounded ("will beindignant") because of the prosperity of the wicked. By "hypocrite" or "ungodly," he perhaps glancesat his false friends.9. The strength of religious principle is heightened by misfortune. The pious shall take freshcourage to persevere from the example of suffering Job. The image is from a warrior acquiringnew courage in action (Isa 40:30, 31; Php 1:14).10. return—If you have anything to advance really wise, though I doubt it, recommence yourspeech. For as yet I cannot find one wise man among you all.11. Only do not vainly speak of the restoration of health to me; for "my days are past."broken off—as the threads of the web cut off from the loom (Isa 38:12).thoughts—literally, "possessions," that is, all the feelings and fair hopes which my heart oncenourished. These belong to the heart, as "purposes" to the understanding; the two together heredescribe the entire inner man.12. They—namely, "my friends."change the night into day—that is, would try to persuade me of the change of my misery intojoy, which is impossible [Umbreit] (Job 11:17); (but) the light of prosperity (could it be enjoyed)would be short because of the darkness of adversity. Or better for "short," the Hebrew "near"; "andthe light of new prosperity should be near in the face of (before) the darkness of death"; that is,they would persuade me that light is near, even though darkness approaches.13. Rather, "if I wait for this grave (Sheol, or the unseen world) as my house, and make my bedin the darkness (Job 17:14), and say to corruption," rather, "to the pit" or "grave," &c. (Job 17:15).Where then is my hope? [Umbreit]. The apodosis is at Job 17:15.14. Thou art my father, &c.—expressing most intimate connection (Pr 7:4). His diseased statemade him closely akin to the grave and worm.15. Who shall see it fulfilled? namely, the "hope" (Job 11:18) which they held out to him ofrestoration.16. They—namely, my hopes shall be buried with me.bars—(Isa 38:10). Rather, the wastes or solitudes of the pit (sheol, the unseen world).rest together—the rest of me and my hope is in, &c. Both expire together. The word "rest"implies that man's ceaseless hopes only rob him of rest.750JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonCHAPTER 18SECOND SERIES.Job 18:1-21. Reply of Bildad.2. ye—the other two friends of Job, whom Bildad charges with having spoken mere "words,"that is, empty speeches; opposed to "mark," that is, come to reason, consider the questionintelligently; and then let us speak.3. beasts—alluding to what Job said (Job 12:7; so Isa 1:3).vile—rather from a Hebrew root, "to stop up." "Stubborn," answering to the stupidity impliedin the parallel first clause [Umbreit]. Why should we give occasion by your empty speeches for ourbeing mutually reputed, in the sight of Job and one another, as unintelligent? (Job 17:4, 10).4. Rather, turning to Job, "thou that tearest thyself in anger" (Job 5:2).be forsaken?—become desolate. He alludes here to Job's words as to the "rock," crumblingaway (Job 14:18, 19); but in a different application. He says bitterly "for thee." Wert thou notpunished as thou art, and as thou art unwilling to bear, the eternal order of the universe would bedisturbed and the earth become desolate through unavenged wickedness [Umbreit]. Bildad takes itfor granted Job is a great sinner (Job 8:3-6; Isa 24:5, 6). "Shall that which stands fast as a rock beremoved for your special accommodation?"5. That (Job 18:4) cannot be. The decree of God is unalterable, the light (prosperity) of thewicked shall at length be put out.his fire—alluding to Arabian hospitality, which prided itself on welcoming the stranger to thefire in the tent, and even lit fires to direct him to it. The ungodly shall be deprived of the means toshow hospitality. His dwelling shall be dark and desolate!6. candle—the lamp which in the East is usually fastened to the ceiling. Oil abounds in thoseregions, and the lamp was kept burning all night, as now in Egypt, where the poorest would ratherdispense with food than the night lamp (Ps 18:28). To put out the lamp was an image of utterdesolation.7. steps of his strength—Hebrew, for "His strong steps." A firm step marks health. To bestraitened in steps is to be no longer able to move about at will (Pr 4:12).his own counsel—Plans shall be the means of his fall (Job 5:13).8. he walketh upon—rather, "he lets himself go into the net" [Umbreit]. If the English Versionbe retained, then understand "snare" to be the pitfall, covered over with branches and earth, whichwhen walked upon give way (Ps 9:15; 35:8).9. robber—rather answering to "gin" in the parallel clause, "the noose shall hold him fast"[Umbreit].11. Terrors—often mentioned in this book (Job 18:14; 24:17; &c.). The terrors excited throughan evil conscience are here personified. "Magor-missabib" (Jer 20:3).drive … to his feet—rather, "shall pursue" (literally, "scatter," Hab 3:14) him close "at hisheels" (literally, "immediately after his feet," Hab 3:5; 1Sa 25:42; Hebrew). The image is that of apursuing conqueror who scatters the enemy [Umbreit].12. The Hebrew is brief and bold, "his strength is hungry."destruction—that is, a great calamity (Pr 1:27).ready at his side—close at hand to destroy him (Pr 19:29).13. Umbreit has "he" for "it," that is, "in the rage of hunger he shall devour his own body"; or,"his own children" (La 4:10). Rather, "destruction" from Job 18:12 is nominative to "devour."751JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonstrength—rather, "members" (literally, the "branches" of a tree).the first-born of death—a personification full of poetical horror. The first-born son held thechief place (Ge 49:3); so here the chiefest (most deadly) disease that death has ever engendered(Isa 14:30; "first-born of the poor"—the poorest). The Arabs call fever, "daughter of death."14. confidence—all that the father trusted in for domestic happiness, children, fortune, &c.,referring to Job's losses.rooted out—suddenly torn away, it shall bring—that is, he shall be brought; or, as Umbreit betterhas, "Thou (God) shalt bring him slowly." The Hebrew expresses, "to stride slowly and solemnly."The godless has a fearful death for long before his eyes, and is at last taken by it. Alluding to Job'scase. The King of terrors, not like the heathen Pluto, the tabled ruler of the dead, but Death, withall its terrors to the ungodly, personified.15. It—"Terror" shall haunt, &c., and not as Umbreit, "another," which the last clause of theverse disproves.none of his—It is his no longer.brimstone—probably comparing the calamity of Job by the "fire of God" (Job 1:16) to thedestruction of guilty Sodom by fire and brimstone (Ge 19:24).16. Roots—himself.branch—his children (Job 8:12; 15:30; Mal 4:1).17. street—Men shall not speak of him in meeting in the highways; rather, "in the field" or"meadow"; the shepherds shall no more mention his name—a picture from nomadic life [Umbreit].18. light … darkness—existence—nonexistence.19. nephew—(so Isa 14:22). But it is translated "grandson" (Ge 21:23); translate "kinsman."20. after … before—rather, "those in the West—those in the East"; that is, all people; literally,"those behind—those before"; for Orientals in geography turn with their faces to the east (not tothe north as we), and back to the west; so that before—east; behind—north (so Zec 14:8).day—of ruin (Ob 12).affrighted—seized with terror (Job 21:6; Isa 13:8).21. (Job 8:22, Margin).CHAPTER 19SECOND SERIES.Job 19:1-29. Job's Reply to Bildad.2. How long, &c.—retorting Bildad's words (Job 18:2). Admitting the punishment to be deserved,is it kind thus ever to be harping on this to the sufferer? And yet even this they have not yet proved.3. These—prefixed emphatically to numbers (Ge 27:36).ten—that is, often (Ge 31:7).make yourselves strange—rather, "stun me" [Gesenius]. (See Margin for a different meaning[that is, "harden yourselves against me"]).4.erred—The Hebrew expresses unconscious error. Job was unconscious of wilful sin.remaineth—literally, "passeth the night." An image from harboring an unpleasant guest forthe night. I bear the consequences.5. magnify, &c.—Speak proudly (Ob 12; Eze 35:13).752JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonagainst me—emphatically repeated (Ps 38:16).plead … reproach—English Version makes this part of the protasis, "if" being understood,and the apodosis beginning at Job 19:6. Better with Umbreit, If ye would become great heroes againstme in truth, ye must prove (evince) against me my guilt, or shame, which you assert. In the EnglishVersion "reproach" will mean Job's calamities, which they "pleaded" against him as a "reproach,"or proof of guilt.6. compassed … net—alluding to Bildad's words (Job 18:8). Know, that it is not that I as awicked man have been caught in my "own net"; it is God who has compassed me in His—why, Iknow not.7. wrong—violence: brought on him by judgment—God will not remove my calamities, and so vindicate my just cause; and myfriends will not do justice to my past character.8. Image from a benighted traveller.9. stripped … crown—image from a deposed king, deprived of his robes and crown; appropriateto Job, once an emir with all but royal dignity (La 5:16; Ps 89:39).10. destroyed … on every side—"Shaken all round, so that I fall in the dust"; image from atree uprooted by violent shaking from every side [Umbreit]. The last clause accords with this (Jer1:10)mine hope—as to this life (in opposition to Zophar, Job 11:18); not as to the world to come(Job 19:25; Job 14:15).removed—uprooted.11. enemies—(Job 13:24; La 2:5).12. troops—Calamities advance together like hostile troops (Job 10:17).raise up … way—An army must cast up a way of access before it, in marching against a city(Isa 40:3).13. brethren—nearest kinsmen, as distinguished from "acquaintance." So "kinsfolk" and"familiar friends" (Job 19:14) correspond in parallelism. The Arabic proverb is, "The brother, thatis, the true friend, is only known in time of need."estranged—literally, "turn away with disgust." Job again unconsciously uses languageprefiguring the desertion of Jesus Christ (Job 16:10; Lu 23:49; Ps 38:11).15. They that dwell, &c.—rather, "sojourn": male servants, sojourning in his house. Mark thecontrast. The stranger admitted to sojourn as a dependent treats the master as a stranger in his ownhouse.16. servant—born in my house (as distinguished from those sojourning in it), and so altogetherbelonging to the family. Yet even he disobeys my call.mouth—that is, "calling aloud"; formerly a nod was enough. Now I no longer look for obedience,I try entreaty.17. strange—His breath by elephantiasis had become so strongly altered and offensive, thathis wife turned away as estranged from him (Job 19:13; 17:1).children's … of mine own body—literally, "belly." But "loins" is what we should expect, not"belly" (womb), which applies to the woman. The "mine" forbids it being taken of his wife. Besidestheir children were dead. In Job 3:10 the same words "my womb" mean, my mother's womb:therefore translate, "and I must entreat (as a suppliant) the children of my mother's womb"; that is,my own brothers—a heightening of force, as compared with last clause of Job 19:16 [Umbreit]. Not753JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesononly must I entreat suppliantly my servant, but my own brothers (Ps 69:8). Here too, heunconsciously foreshadows Jesus Christ (Joh 7:5).18. young children—So the Hebrew means (Job 21:11). Reverence for age is a chief duty inthe East. The word means "wicked" (Job 16:11). So Umbreit has it here, not so well.I arose—Rather, supply "if," as Job was no more in a state to stand up. "If I stood up (arose),they would speak against (abuse) me" [Umbreit].19. inward—confidential; literally, "men of my secret"—to whom I entrusted my most intimateconfidence.20. Extreme meagerness. The bone seemed to stick in the skin, being seen through it, owing tothe flesh drying up and falling away from the bone. The Margin, "as to my flesh," makes this senseclearer. The English Version, however, expresses the same: "And to my flesh," namely, which hasfallen away from the bone, instead of firmly covering of my teeth—proverbial. I have escaped with bare life; I am whole only with the skin ofmy teeth; that is, my gums alone are whole, the rest of the skin of my body is broken with sores(Job 7:5; Ps 102:5). Satan left Job his speech, in hope that he might therewith curse God.21. When God had made him such a piteous spectacle, his friends should spare him the additionalpersecution of their cruel speeches.22. as God—has persecuted me. Prefiguring Jesus Christ (Ps 69:26). That God afflicts is noreason that man is to add to a sufferer's affliction (Zec 1:15).satisfied with my flesh—It is not enough that God afflicts my flesh literally (Job 19:20), butyou must "eat my flesh" metaphorically (Ps 27:2); that is, utter the worst calumnies, as the phraseoften means in Arabic.23. Despairing of justice from his friends in his lifetime, he wishes his words could be preservedimperishably to posterity, attesting his hope of vindication at the resurrection.printed—not our modern printing, but engraven.24. pen—graver.lead—poured into the engraven characters, to make them better seen [Umbreit]. Not on leadenplates; for it was "in the rock" that they were engraved. Perhaps it was the hammer that was of"lead," as sculptors find more delicate incisions are made by it, than by a harder hammer. FOSTER(One Primeval Language) has shown that the inscriptions on the rocks in Wady-Mokatta, alongIsrael's route through the desert, record the journeys of that people, as Cosmas Indicopleustesasserted, A.D. 535.for ever—as long as the rock lasts.25. redeemer—Umbreit and others understand this and Job 19:26, of God appearing as Job'savenger before his death, when his body would be wasted to a skeleton. But Job uniformly despairsof restoration and vindication of his cause in this life (Job 17:15, 16). One hope alone was left,which the Spirit revealed—a vindication in a future life: it would be no full vindication if his soulalone were to be happy without the body, as some explain (Job 19:26) "out of the flesh." It was hisbody that had chiefly suffered: the resurrection of his body, therefore, alone could vindicate hiscause: to see God with his own eyes, and in a renovated body (Job 19:27), would disprove theimputation of guilt cast on him because of the sufferings of his present body. That this truth is notfurther dwelt on by Job, or noticed by his friends, only shows that it was with him a bright passingglimpse of Old Testament hope, rather than the steady light of Gospel assurance; with us thispassage has a definite clearness, which it had not in his mind (see on Job 21:30). The idea in754JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson"redeemer" with Job is Vindicator (Job 16:19; Nu 35:27), redressing his wrongs; also including atleast with us, and probably with him, the idea of the predicted Bruiser of the serpent's head. Traditionwould inform him of the prediction. Foster shows that the fall by the serpent is represented perfectlyon the temple of Osiris at Philæ; and the resurrection on the tomb of the Egyptian Mycerinus, datingfour thousand years back. Job's sacrifices imply sense of sin and need of atonement. Satan was theinjurer of Job's body; Jesus Christ his Vindicator, the Living One who giveth life (Joh 5:21, 26).at the latter day—Rather, "the Last," the peculiar title of Jesus Christ, though Job may nothave known the pregnancy of his own inspired words, and may have understood merely one thatcomes after (1Co 15:45; Re 1:17). Jesus Christ is the last. The day of Jesus Christ the last day (Joh6:39).stand—rather, "arise": as God is said to "raise up" the Messiah (Jer 23:5; De 18:15).earth—rather, "dust": often associated with the body crumbling away in it (Job 7:21; 17:16);therefore appropriately here. Above that very dust wherewith was mingled man's decaying bodyshall man's Vindicator arise. "Arise above the dust," strikingly expresses that fact that Jesus Christarose first Himself above the dust, and then is to raise His people above it (1Co 15:20, 23). TheSpirit intended in Job's words more than Job fully understood (1Pe 1:12). Though He seems, inforsaking me, to be as one dead, He now truly "liveth" in heaven; hereafter He shall appear alsoabove the dust of earth. The Goel or vindicator of blood was the nearest kinsman of the slain. SoJesus Christ took our flesh, to be our kinsman. Man lost life by Satan the "murderer" (Joh 8:44),here Job's persecutor (Heb 2:14). Compare also as to redemption of the inheritance by the kinsmanof the dead (Ru 4:3-5; Eph 1:14).26. Rather, though after my skin (is no more) this (body) is destroyed ("body" being omitted,because it was so wasted as not to deserve the name), yet from my flesh (from my renewed body,as the starting-point of vision, So 2:9, "looking out from the windows") "shall I see God." Nextclause [Job 19:27] proves bodily vision is meant, for it specifies "mine eyes" [Rosenmuller, 2d ed.].The Hebrew opposes "in my flesh." The "skin" was the first destroyed by elephantiasis, then the"body."27. for myself—for my advantage, as my friend.not another—Mine eyes shall behold Him, but no longer as one estranged from me, as now[Bengel].though—better reins—inward recesses of the consumed within me—that is, pine with longing desire for that day (Ps 84:2; 119:81). TheGentiles had but few revealed promises: how gracious that the few should have been so explicit(compare Nu 24:17; Mt 2:2).28. Rather, "ye will then (when the Vindicator cometh) say, Why," &c.root … in me—The root of pious integrity, which was the matter at issue, whether it could bein one so afflicted, is found in me. Umbreit, with many manuscripts and versions, reads "in him.""Or how found we in him ground of contention."29. wrath—the passionate violence with which the friends persecuted Job.bringeth, &c.—literally, "is sin of the of the sword"that ye may know—Supply, "I say this."755JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonjudgment—inseparably connected with the coming of the Vindicator. The "wrath" of God atHis appearing for the temporal vindication of Job against the friends (Job 42:7) is a pledge of theeternal wrath at the final coming to glorify the saints and judge their enemies (2Th 1:6-10; Isa 25:8).CHAPTER 20SECOND SERIES.Job 20:1-29. Reply of Zophar.2. Therefore—Rather, the more excited I feel by Job's speech, the more for that very reasonshall my reply be supplied by my calm consideration. Literally, "Notwithstanding; my calm thoughts(as in Job 4:13) shall furnish my answer, because of the excitement (haste) within me" [Umbreit].3. check of my reproach—that is, the castigation intended as a reproach (literally, "shame")to me.spirit of … understanding—my rational spirit; answering to "calm thoughts" (Job 20:2). Inspite of thy reproach urging me to "hastiness." I will answer in calm reason.5. the hypocrite—literally, "the ungodly" (Ps 37:35, 36).6. (Isa 14:13; Ob 3, 4).7. dung—in contrast to the haughtiness of the sinner (Job 20:6); this strong term expressesdisgust and the lowest degradation (Ps 83:10; 1Ki 14:10).8. (Ps 73:20).9. Rather "the eye followeth him, but can discern him no more." A sharp-looking is meant (Job28:7; Job 7:10).10. seek to please—"Atone to the poor" (by restoring the property of which they had beenrobbed by the father) [De Wette]. Better than English Version, "The children" are reduced to thehumiliating condition of "seeking the favor of those very poor," whom the father had oppressed.But Umbreit translates as Margin.his hands—rather, "their (the children's) hands."their goods—the goods of the poor. Righteous retribution! (Ex 20:5).11. (Ps 25:7), so Vulgate. Gesenius has "full of youth"; namely, in the fulness of his youthfulstrength he shall be laid in the dust. But "bones" plainly alludes to Job's disease, probably to Job'sown words (Job 19:20). Umbreit translates, "full of his secret sins," as in Ps 90:8; his secret guilt inhis time of seeming righteousness, like secret poison, at last lays him in the dust. The EnglishVersion is best. Zophar alludes to Job's own words (Job 17:16).with him—His sin had so pervaded his nature that it accompanies him to the grave: for eternitythe sinner cannot get rid of it (Re 22:11).12. be—"taste sweet." Sin's fascination is like poison sweet to the taste, but at last deadly tothe vital organs (Pr 20:17; Job 9:17, 18).hide … tongue—seek to prolong the enjoyment by keeping the sweet morsel long in the mouth(so Job 20:13).14. turned—Hebrew denotes a total change into a disagreeable contrary (Jer 2:21; compareRe 10:9, 10).gall—in which the poison of the asp was thought to lie. It rather is contained in a sack in themouth. Scripture uses popular language, where no moral truth is thereby endangered.756JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson15. He is forced to disgorge his ill-gotten wealth.16. shall suck—It shall turn out that he has sucked the poison, &c.17. floods—literally, "stream of floods," plentiful streams flowing with milk, &c. (Job 29:6;Ex 3:17). Honey and butter are more fluid in the East than with us and are poured out from jars.These "rivers" or water brooks are in the sultry East emblems of prosperity.18. Image from food which is taken away from one before he can swallow it.restitution—(So Pr 6:31). The parallelism favors the English Version rather than the translationof Gesenius, "As a possession to be restored in which he rejoices not."he shall not rejoice—His enjoyment of his ill-gotten gains shall then be at an end (Job 20:5).19. oppressed—whereas he ought to have espoused their cause (2Ch 16:10).forsaken—left—thus leaving the poor without shelter (Isa 5:8; Mic 2:2).20. Umbreit translates, "His inward parts know no rest" from desires.his belly—that is, peace inwardly.not save—literally, "not escape with that which," &c., alluding to Job's having been strippedof his all.21. look for—rather, "because his goods," that is, prosperity shall have no endurance.22. shall be—rather, "he is (feeleth) straitened." The next clause explains in what respect.wicked—Rather, "the whole hand of the miserable (whom he had oppressed) cometh uponhim"; namely, the sense of his having oppressed the poor, now in turn comes with all its power(hand) on him. This caused his "straitened" feeling even in prosperity.23. Rather, "God shall cast (may God send) [Umbreit] upon him the fury of His wrath to fill hisbelly!"while … eating—rather, "shall rain it upon him for his food!" Fiery rain, that is, lightning (Ps11:6; alluding to Job's misfortune, Job 1:16). The force of the image is felt by picturing to one'sself the opposite nature of a refreshing rain in the desert (Ex 16:4; Ps 68:9).24. steel—rather, "brass." While the wicked flees from one danger, he falls into a greater onefrom an opposite quarter [Umbreit].25. It is drawn—Rather, "He (God) draweth (the sword, Jos 5:13) and (no sooner has He doneso, than) it cometh out of (that is, passes right through) the (sinner's) body" (De 32:41, 42; Eze21:9, 10). The glittering sword is a happy image for lightning.gall—that is, his life (Job 16:13). "Inflicts a deadly wound."terrors—Zophar repeats Bildad's words (Job 17:11; Ps 88:16; 55:4).26. All darkness—that is, every calamity that befalls the wicked shall be hid (in store for him)in His (God's) secret places, or treasures (Jude 13; De 32:34).not blown—not kindled by man's hands, but by God's (Isa 30:33; the Septuagint in theAlexandrian Manuscript reads "unquenchable fire," Mt 3:12). Tact is shown by the friends in notexpressly mentioning, but alluding under color of general cases, to Job's calamities; here (Job 1:16)Umbreit explains it, wickedness, is a "self-igniting fire"; in it lie the principles of destruction.ill … tabernacle—Every trace of the sinner must be obliterated (Job 18:15).27. All creation is at enmity with him, and proclaims his guilt, which he would fain conceal.28. increase—prosperity. Ill got—ill gone.flow away—like waters that run dry in summer; using Job's own metaphor against himself (Job6:15-17; 2Sa 14:14; Mic 1:4).757JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhis wrath—God's.29. appointed—not as a matter of chance, but by the divine "decree" (Margin) and settledprinciple.CHAPTER 21SECOND SERIES.Job 21:1-34. Job's Answer.2. consolations—If you will listen calmly to me, this will be regarded as "consolations"; alludingto Eliphaz' boasted "consolations" (Job 15:11), which Job felt more as aggravations ("mockings,"Job 21:3) than consolations (Job 16:2).3. literally, "Begin your mockings" (Job 17:2).4. Job's difficulty was not as to man, but as to God, why He so afflicted him, as if he were theguilty hypocrite which the friends alleged him to be. Vulgate translates it, "my disputation."if it were—rather, "since this is the case."5. lay … hand upon … mouth—(Pr 30:32; Jud 18:19). So the heathen god of silence waspictured with his hand on his mouth. There was enough in Job's case to awe them into silence (Job17:8).6. remember—Think on it. Can you wonder that I broke out into complaints, when the strugglewas not with men, but with the Almighty? Reconcile, if you can, the ceaseless woes of the innocentwith the divine justice! Is it not enough to make one tremble? [Umbreit].7. The answer is Ro 2:4; 1Ti 1:16; Ps 73:18; Ec 8:11-13; Lu 2:35-end; Pr 16:4; Ro 9:22.old—in opposition to the friends who asserted that sinners are "cut off" early (Job 8:12, 14).8. In opposition to Job 18:19; 5:4.9. Literally, "peace from fear"; with poetic force. Their house is peace itself, far removed fromfear. Opposed to the friends' assertion, as to the bad (Job 15:21-24; 20:26-28), and conversely, thegood (Job 5:23, 24).10. Rather, "their cattle conceive." The first clause of the verse describes an easy conception,the second, a happy birth [Umbreit].11. send forth—namely, out of doors, to their happy sports under the skies, like a joyful flocksent to the pastures.little ones—like lambkins.children—somewhat older than the—not formal dances; but skip, like lambs, in joyous and healthful play.12. take—rather, "lift up the voice" (sing) to the note of [Umbreit].timbrel—rather, "tambourine."organ—not the modern "organ," but the "pipe" (Ge 4:21). The first clause refers to stringed,the latter, to wind instruments; thus, with "the voice" all kinds of music are enumerated.13. wealth—Old English Version for "prosperity."in a moment—not by a lingering disease. Great blessings! Lengthened life with prosperity,and a sudden painless death (Ps 73:4).14. Therefore—rather, "And yet they are such as say," &c., that is, say, not in so many words,but virtually, by their conduct (so the Gergesenes, Mt 8:34). How differently the godly (Isa 2:3).758JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonways—The course of action, which God points out; as in Ps 50:23, Margin.15. (Compare Jer 2:20; Pr 30:9, Margin, Ex 5:2).what profit—(Job 35:3; Mal 3:14; Ps 73:13). Sinners ask, not what is right, but what is for theprofit of self. They forget, "If religion cost self something, the want of it will cost self infinitelymore."16. not in their hand—but in the hand of God. This is Job's difficulty, that God who has sinnersprosperity (good) in His hand should allow them to have—rather, "may the counsel of the wicked be far from me!" [Umbreit]. This naturally followsthe sentiment of the first clause: Let me not hereby be thought to regard with aught but horror theways of the wicked, however prosperous.17. Job in this whole passage down to Job 21:21 quotes the assertion of the friends, as to theshort continuance of the sinner's prosperity, not his own sentiments. In Job 21:22 he proceeds torefute them. "How oft is the candle" (lamp), &c., quoting Bildad's sentiment (Job 18:5, 6), in orderto question its truth (compare Mt 25:8).how oft—"God distributeth," &c. (alluding to Job 20:23, 29).sorrows—Umbreit translates "snares," literally, "cords," which lightning in its twining motionresembles (Ps 11:6).18. Job alludes to a like sentiment of Bildad (Job 18:18), using his own previous words (Job13:25).19. Equally questionable is the friends' assertion that if the godless himself is not punished, thechildren are (Job 18:19; 20:10); and that God rewardeth him here for his iniquity, and that he shallknow it to his cost. So "know" (Ho 9:7).20. Another questionable assertion of the friends, that the sinner sees his own and his children'sdestruction in his lifetime.drink—(Ps 11:6; Isa 51:17; La 4:21).21. The argument of the friends, in proof of Job 21:20, What pleasure can he have from hishouse (children) when he is dead—("after him," Ec 3:22).when the number, &c.—Or, rather, "What hath he to do with his children?" &c. (so the Hebrewin Ec 3:1; 8:6). It is therefore necessary that "his eyes should see his and their destruction" (see Job14:21).cut off—rather, when the number of his allotted months is fulfilled (Job 14:5). From an Arabicword, "arrow," which was used to draw lots with. Hence "arrow"—inevitable destiny [Umbreit].22. Reply of Job, "In all these assertions you try to teach God how He ought to deal with men,rather than prove that He does in fact so deal with them. Experience is against you. God givesprosperity and adversity as it pleases Him, not as man's wisdom would have it, on principlesinscrutable to us" (Isa 40:13; Ro 11:34).those … high—the high ones, not only angels, but men (Isa 2:12-17).23. Literally, "in the bone of his perfection," that is, the full strength of unimpaired prosperity[Umbreit].24. breasts—rather, "skins," or "vessels" for fluids [Lee]. But [Umbreit] "stations or resting-placesof his herds near water"; in opposition to Zophar (Job 20:17); the first clause refers to his abundantsubstance, the second to his vigorous health.moistened—comparing man's body to a well-watered field (Pr 3:8; Isa 58:11).26. (Ec 9:2).759JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson27. Their wrongful thoughts against Job are stated by him in Job 21:28. They do not honestlyname Job, but insinuate his guilt.28. ye say—referring to Zophar (Job 20:7).the house—referring to the fall of the house of Job's oldest son (Job 1:19) and the destructionof his family.prince—The parallel "wicked" in the second clause requires this to be taken in a bad sense,tyrant, oppressor (Isa 13:2), the same Hebrew, "nobles"—oppressors.dwelling-places—rather, "pavilions," a tent containing many dwellings, such as a great emir,like Job, with many dependents, would have.29. Job, seeing that the friends will not admit him as an impartial judge, as they consider hiscalamities prove his guilt, begs them to ask the opinion of travellers (La 1:12), who have theexperience drawn from observation, and who are no way connected with him. Job opposes this toBildad (Job 8:8) and Zophar (Job 20:4).tokens—rather, "intimations" (for example, inscriptions, proverbs, signifying the results oftheir observation), testimony. Literally, "signs" or proofs in confirmation of the word spoken (Isa7:11).30. Their testimony (referring perhaps to those who had visited the region where Abraham whoenjoyed a revelation then lived) is that "the wicked is (now) spared (reserved) against the day ofdestruction (hereafter)." The Hebrew does not so well agree with [Umbreit] "in the day of destruction."Job does not deny sinners' future punishment, but their punishment in this life. They have their"good things" now. Hereafter, their lot, and that of the godly, shall be reversed (Lu 16:25). Job, bythe Spirit, often utters truths which solve the difficulty under which he labored. His afflictionsmostly clouded his faith, else he would have seen the solution furnished by his own words. Thisanswers the objection, that if he knew of the resurrection in Job 19:25, and future retribution (Job21:30), why did he not draw his reasonings elsewhere from them, which he did not? God's righteousgovernment, however, needs to be vindicated as to this life also, and therefore the Holy Ghost hascaused the argument mainly to turn on it at the same time giving glimpses of a future fullervindication of God's ways.brought forth—not "carried away safe" or "escape" (referring to this life), as Umbreit has it.wrath—literally, "wraths," that is, multiplied and fierce wrath.31. That is, who dares to charge him openly with his bad ways? namely, in this present life. Heshall, I grant (Job 21:30), be "repaid" hereafter.32. Yet—rather, "and."brought—with solemn pomp (Ps 45:15).grave—literally, "graves"; that is, the place where the graves are.remain in—rather, watch on the tomb, or sepulchral mound. Even after death he seems still tolive and watch (that is, have his "remembrance" preserved) by means of the monument over thegrave. In opposition to Bildad (Job 18:17).33. As the classic saying has it, "The earth is light upon him." His repose shall be "sweet."draw—follow. He shall share the common lot of mortals; no worse off than they (Heb 9:27).Umbreit not so well (for it is not true of "every man"). "Most men follow in his bad steps, as countlesssuch preceded him."760JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson34. falsehood—literally, "transgression." Your boasted "consolations" (Job 15:11) arecontradicted by facts ("vain"); they therefore only betray your evil intent ("wickedness") againstme.CHAPTER 22THIRD SERIES.Job 22:1-30. As Before, Eliphaz Begins.1. Eliphaz shows that man's goodness does not add to, or man's badness take from, the happinessof God; therefore it cannot be that God sends prosperity to some and calamities on others for Hisown advantage; the cause of the goods and ills sent must lie in the men themselves (Ps 16:2; Lu17:10; Ac 17:25; 1Ch 29:14). So Job's calamities must arise from guilt. Eliphaz, instead of meetingthe facts, tries to show that it could not be so.2. as he that is wise—rather, yea the pious man profiteth himself. So "understanding" or"wise"—pious (Da 12:3, 10; Ps 14:2) [Michaelis].3. pleasure—accession of happiness; God has pleasure in man's righteousness (Ps 45:7), butHe is not dependent on man's character for His happiness.4. Is the punishment inflicted on thee from fear of thee, in order to disarm thee? as Job hadimplied (see on Job 7:12; Job 7:20; and Job 10:17).will he enter … into judgment?—Job had desired this (Job 13:3, 21). He ought rather to havespoken as in Ps 143:2.5. Heretofore Eliphaz had only insinuated, now he plainly asserts Job's guilt, merely on theground of his sufferings.6. The crimes alleged, on a harsh inference, by Eliphaz against Job are such as he would thinklikely to be committed by a rich man. The Mosaic law (Ex 22:26; De 24:10) subsequently embodiedthe feeling that existed among the godly in Job's time against oppression of debtors as to theirpledges. Here the case is not quite the same; Job is charged with taking a pledge where he had nojust claim to it; and in the second clause, that pledge (the outer garment which served the poor asa covering by day and a bed by night) is represented as taken from one who had not "changes ofraiment" (a common constituent of wealth in the East), but was poorly clad—"naked" (Mt 25:36;Jas 2:15); a sin the more heinous in a rich man like Job.7. Hospitality to the weary traveller is regarded in the East as a primary duty (Isa 21:14).8. mighty—Hebrew, "man of arm" (Ps 10:15; namely, Job).honourable—Hebrew, "eminent, or, accepted for countenance" (Isa 3:3; 2Ki 5:1); that is,possessing authority. Eliphaz repeats his charge (Job 15:28; so Zophar, Job 20:19), that it was byviolence Job wrung houses and lands from the poor, to whom now he refused relief (Job 22:7, 9)[Michaelis].9. empty—without their wants being relieved (Ge 31:42). The Mosaic law especially protectedthe widow and fatherless (Ex 22:22); the violation of it in their case by the great is a complaint ofthe prophets (Isa 1:17).arms—supports, helps, on which one leans (Ho 7:15). Thou hast robbed them of their onlystay. Job replies in Job 29:11-16.10. snares—alluding to Job's admission (Job 19:6; compare Job 18:10; Pr 22:5).761JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson11. that—so that thou.abundance—floods. Danger by floods is a less frequent image in this book than in the rest ofthe Old Testament (Job 11:16; 27:20).12. Eliphaz says this to prove that God can from His height behold all things; gratuitouslyinferring that Job denied it, because he denied that the wicked are punished here.height—Hebrew, "head of the stars"; that is, "elevation" (Job 11:8).13. Rather, And yet thou sayest, God does not concern Himself with ("know") human affairs(Ps 73:11).14. in the circuit of heaven—only, not taking any part in earthly affairs. Job is alleged asholding this Epicurean sentiment (La 3:44; Isa 29:15; 40:27; Jer 23:24; Eze 8:12; Ps 139:12).15. marked—Rather, Dost thou keep to? that is, wish to follow (so Hebrew, 2Sa 22:22). If so,beware of sharing their end.the old way—the degenerate ways of the world before the flood (Ge 6:5).16. cut down—rather, "fettered," as in Job 16:8; that is, arrested by death.out of time—prematurely, suddenly (Job 15:32; Ec 7:17); literally, "whose foundation waspoured out (so as to become) a stream or flood." The solid earth passed from beneath their feet intoa flood (Ge 7:11).17. Eliphaz designedly uses Job's own words (Job 21:14, 15).do for them—They think they can do everything for themselves.18. "Yet" you say (see on Job 21:16) that it is "He who filled their houses with good"—"theirgood is not in their hand," but comes from God.but the counsel … is—rather, "may the counsel be," &c. Eliphaz sarcastically quotes incontinuation Job's words (Job 21:16). Yet, after uttering this godless sentiment, thou dosthypocritically add, "May the counsel," &c.19. Triumph of the pious at the fall of the recent followers of the antediluvian sinners. Whilein the act of denying that God can do them any good or harm, they are cut off by Him. Eliphazhereby justifies himself and the friends for their conduct to Job: not derision of the wretched, butjoy at the vindication of God's ways (Ps 107:42; Re 15:3; 16:7; 19:1, 2).20. The triumphant speech of the pious. If "substance" be retained, translate, rather as theSeptuagint, "Has not their substance been taken away, and … ?" But the Hebrew is rather, "Trulyour adversary is cut down" [Gesenius]. The same opposition exists between the godly and ungodlyseed as between the unfallen and restored Adam and Satan (adversary); this forms the groundworkof the book (Job 1:1-2:13; Ge 3:15).remnant—all that "is left" of the sinner; repeated from Job 20:26, which makes Umbreit'srendering "glory" (Margin), "excellency," less—alluding to Job (Job 1:16; 15:34; 18:15). First is mentioned destruction by water (Job22:16); here, by fire (2Pe 3:5-7).21. Eliphaz takes it for granted, Job is not yet "acquainted" with God; literally, "become acompanion of God." Turn with familiar confidence to God.and be—So thou shalt be: the second imperatively expresses the consequence of obeying thefirst (Ps 37:27).peace—prosperity and restoration to Job; true spiritually also to us (Ro 5:1; Col 1:20).good—(1Ti 4:8).22. lay up—(Ps 119:11).762JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson23. Built up—anew, as a restored house.thou shalt put away—rather, "If thou put away" [Michaelis].24. Rather, containing the protasis from the last clause of Job 22:23, "If thou regard the glitteringmetal as dust"; literally, "lay it on on the dust"; to regard it of as little value as the dust on whichit lies. The apodosis is at Job 22:25, Then shall the Almighty be, &c. God will take the place of thewealth, in which thou didst formerly—rather, "precious" or "glittering metal," parallel to "(gold) of Ophir," in the second clause[Umbreit and Maurer].Ophir—derived from a Hebrew word "dust," namely, gold dust. Heeren thinks it a general namefor the rich countries of the South, on the African, Indian, and especially the Arabian coast (wherewas the port Aphar. El Ophir, too, a city of Oman, was formerly the center of Arabian commerce).It is curious that the natives of Malacca still call their mines Ophirs.stones of the brooks—If thou dost let the gold of Ophir remain in its native valley among thestones of the brooks; that is, regard it as of little worth as the stones, &c. The gold was washeddown by mountain torrents and lodged among the stones and sand of the valley.25. Apodosis.Yea—rather, Then shall the Almighty be, &c.defence—rather, as the same Hebrew means in Job 22:24 (see on Job 22:24)—Thy preciousmetals; God will be to thee in the place of riches.plenty of silver—rather, "And shall be to thee in the place of laboriously-obtained treasuresof silver" [Gesenius]. Elegantly implying, it is less labor to find God than the hidden metals; at leastto the humble seeker (Job 28:12-28). But [Maurer] "the shining silver."26. lift up … face, &c.—repeated from Zophar (Job 11:15).27. (Isa 58:9, 14).pay thy vows—which thou hast promised to God in the event of thy prayers being heard: Godwill give thee occasion to pay the former, by hearing the latter.28. light—success.29. Rather, When (thy ways; from Job 22:28) are cast down (for a time), thou shalt (soon againhave joyful cause to) say, There is lifting up (prosperity returns back to me) [Maurer].he—God.humble—Hebrew, "him that is of low eyes." Eliphaz implies that Job is not so now in hisaffliction; therefore it continues: with this he contrasts the blessed effect of being humble under it(Jas 4:6; 1Pe 5:5 probably quote this passage). Therefore it is better, I think, to take the first clauseas referred to by "God resisteth the proud." When (men) are cast down, thou shalt say (behold theeffects of) pride. Eliphaz hereby justifies himself for attributing Job's calamities to his pride. "Givethgrace to the humble," answers to the second clause.30. island—that is, "dwelling." But the Hebrew expresses the negative (1Sa 4:21); translate"Thus He (God) shall deliver him who was not guiltless," namely, one, who like Job himself onconversion shall be saved, but not because he was, as Job so constantly affirms of himself, guiltless,but because he humbles himself (Job 22:29); an oblique attack on Job, even to the last.and it—Rather, "he (the one not heretofore guiltless) shall be delivered through the purity(acquired since conversion) of thy hands"; by thy intercession (as Ge 18:26, &c.). [Maurer]. Theirony is strikingly exhibited in Eliphaz unconsciously uttering words which exactly answer to what763JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhappened at last: he and the other two were "delivered" by God accepting the intercession of Jobfor them (Job 42:7, 8).CHAPTER 23THIRD SERIES.Job 23:1-17. Job's Answer.2. to-day—implying, perhaps, that the debate was carried on through more days than one (seeIntroduction).bitter—(Job 7:11; 10:1).my stroke—the hand of God on me (Margin, Job 19:21; Ps 32:4).heavier than—is so heavy that I cannot relieve myself adequately by groaning.3. The same wish as in Job 13:3 (compare Heb 10:19-22).Seat—The idea in the Hebrew is a well-prepared throne (Ps 9:7).4. order—state methodically (Job 13:18; Isa 43:26).fill, &c.—I would have abundance of arguments to adduce.5. he—emphatic: it little matters what man may say of me, if only I know what God judges ofme.6. An objection suggests itself, while he utters the wish (Job 23:5). Do I hereby wish that Heshould plead against me with His omnipotence? Far from it! (Job 9:19, 34; 13:21; 30:18).strength—so as to prevail with Him: as in Jacob's case (Ho 12:3, 4). Umbreit and Maurer bettertranslate as in Job 4:20 (I only wish that He) "would attend to me," that is, give me a patient hearingas an ordinary judge, not using His omnipotence, but only His divine knowledge of my innocence.7. There—rather, "Then": if God would "attend" to me (Job 23:6).righteous—that is, the result of my dispute would be, He would acknowledge me as righteous.delivered—from suspicion of guilt on the part of my Judge.8. But I wish in vain. For "behold," &c.forward … backward—rather, "to the east—to the west." The Hebrew geographers faced theeast, that is, sunrise: not the north, as we do. So "before" means east: "behind," west (so the Hindus).Para, "before"—east: Apara, "behind"—west: Daschina, "the right hand"—south: Bama,"left"—north. A similar reference to sunrise appears in the name Asia, "sunrise," Europe, "sunset";pure Babylonian names, as Rawlinson shows.9. Rather, "To the north."work—God's glorious works are especially seen towards the north region of the sky by one inthe northern hemisphere. The antithesis is between God working and yet not being beheld: as inJob 9:11, between "He goeth by," and "I see Him not." If the Hebrew bears it, the parallelism tothe second clause is better suited by translating, as Umbreit, "doth hide himself"; but then the antithesisto "behold" would be lost.right hand—"in the south."hideth—appropriately, of the unexplored south, then regarded as uninhabitable because of itsheat (see Job 34:29).10. But—correcting himself for the wish that his cause should be known before God. Theomniscient One already knoweth the way in me (my inward principles: His outward way or course764JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonof acts is mentioned in Job 23:11. So in me, Job 4:21); though for some inscrutable cause He asyet hides Himself (Job 23:8, 9).when—let Him only but try my cause, I shall, &c.11. held—fast by His steps. The law is in Old Testament poetry regarded as a way, God goingbefore us as our guide, in whose footsteps we must tread (Ps 17:5).declined—(Ps 125:5).12. esteemed—rather, "laid up," namely, as a treasure found (Mt 13:44; Ps 119:11); alludingto the words of Eliphaz (Job 22:22). There was no need to tell me so; I have done so already (Jer15:16).necessary—"Appointed portion" (of food; as in Pr 30:8). Umbreit and Maurer translate, "Morethan my law," my own will, in antithesis to "the words of His mouth" (Joh 6:38). Probably underthe general term, "what is appointed to me" (the same Hebrew is in Job 23:14), all that ministersto the appetites of the body and carnal will is included.13. in one mind—notwithstanding my innocence, He is unaltered in His purpose of provingme guilty (Job 9:12).soul—His will (Ps 115:3). God's sovereignty. He has one great purpose; nothing is haphazard;everything has its proper place with a view to His purpose.14. many such—He has yet many more such ills in store for me, though hidden in His breast(Job 10:13).15. God's decrees, impossible to be resisted, and leaving us in the dark as to what may comenext, are calculated to fill the mind with holy awe [Barnes].16. soft—faint; hath melted my courage. Here again Job's language is that of Jesus Christ (Ps22:14).17. Because I was not taken away by death from the evil to come (literally, "from before theface of the darkness," Isa 57:1). Alluding to the words of Eliphaz (Job 22:11), "darkness," that is,calamity.cut off—rather, in the Arabic sense, brought to the land of silence; my sad complaint hushedin death [Umbreit]. "Darkness" in the second clause, not the same Hebrew word as in the first, "cloud,""obscurity." Instead of "covering the cloud (of evil) from my face," He "covers" me with it (Job22:11).CHAPTER 24Job 24:1-25.1. Why is it that, seeing that the times of punishment (Eze 30:3; "time" in the same sense) arenot hidden from the Almighty, they who know Him (His true worshippers, Job 18:21) do not seeHis days (of vengeance; Joe 1:15; 2Pe 3:10)? Or, with Umbreit less simply, making the parallelclauses more nicely balanced, Why are not times of punishment hoarded up ("laid up"; Job 21:19;appointed) by the Almighty? that is, Why are they not so appointed as that man may now see them?as the second clause shows. Job does not doubt that they are appointed: nay, he asserts it (Job21:30); what he wishes is that God would let all now see that it is so.2-24. Instances of the wicked doing the worst deeds with seeming impunity (Job 24:2-24).Some—the wicked.765JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonlandmarks—boundaries between different pastures (De 19:14; Pr 22:28).3. pledge—alluding to Job 22:6. Others really do, and with impunity, that which Eliphaz falselycharges the afflicted Job with.4. Literally, they push the poor out of their road in meeting them. Figuratively, they takeadvantage of them by force and injustice (alluding to the charge of Eliphaz, Job 22:8; 1Sa 8:3).poor—in spirit and in circumstances (Mt 5:3).hide—from the injustice of their oppressors, who have robbed them of their all and driven theminto unfrequented places (Job 20:19; 30:3-6; Pr 28:28).5. wild asses—(Job 11:12). So Ishmael is called a "wild ass-man"; Hebrew (Ge 16:12). TheseBedouin robbers, with the unbridled wildness of the ass of the desert, go forth thither. Robbery istheir lawless "work." The desert, which yields no food to other men, yields food for the robber andhis children by the plunder of caravans.rising betimes—In the East travelling is begun very early, before the heat comes on.6. Like the wild asses (Job 24:5) they (these Bedouin robbers) reap (metaphorically) their variousgrain (so the Hebrew for "corn" means). The wild ass does not let man pile his mixed provenderup in a stable (Isa 30:24); so these robbers find their food in the open air, at one time in the desert(Job 24:5), at another in the fields.the vintage of the wicked—Hebrew, "the wicked gather the vintage"; the vintage of robbery,not of honest industry. If we translate "belonging to the wicked," then it will imply that the wickedalone have vineyards, the "pious poor" (Job 24:4) have none. "Gather" in Hebrew, is "gather late."As the first clause refers to the early harvest of corn, so the second to the vintage late in autumn.7. Umbreit understands it of the Bedouin robbers, who are quite regardless of the comforts oflife, "They pass the night naked, and uncovered," &c. But the allusion to Job 22:6, makes theEnglish Version preferable (see on Job 24:10). Frost is not uncommon at night in those regions (Ge31:40).8. They—the plundered travellers.embrace the rock—take refuge under it (La 4:5).9. from the breast—of the widowed mother. Kidnapping children for slaves. Here Job passesfrom wrongs in the desert to those done among the habitations of men.pledge—namely, the garment of the poor debtor, as Job 24:10 shows.10. (See on Job 22:6). In Job 24:7 a like sin is alluded to: but there he implies open robbery ofgarments in the desert; here, the more refined robbery in civilized life, under the name of a "pledge."Having stripped the poor, they make them besides labor in their harvest-fields and do not allowthem to satisfy their hunger with any of the very corn which they carry to the heap. Worse treatmentthan that of the ox, according to De 25:4. Translate: "they (the poor laborers) hungering carry thesheaves" [Umbreit].11. Which—"They," the poor, "press the oil within their wall"; namely, not only in the openfields (Job 24:10), but also in the wall-enclosed vineyards and olive gardens of the oppressor (Isa5:5). Yet they are not allowed to quench their "thirst" with the grapes and olives. Here, thirsty; Job24:10, hungry.12. Men—rather, "mortals" (not the common Hebrew for "men"); so the Masoretic vowel pointsread as English Version. But the vowel points are modern. The true reading is, "The dying,"answering to "the wounded" in the next clause, so Syriac. Not merely in the country (Job 24:11),766JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonbut also in the city there are oppressed sufferers, who cry for help in vain. "From out of the city";that is, they long to get forth and be free outside of it (Ex 1:11; 2:23).wounded—by the oppressor (Eze 30:24).layeth not folly—takes no account of (by punishing) their sin ("folly" in Scripture; Job 1:22).This is the gist of the whole previous list of sins (Ac 17:30). Umbreit with Syriac reads by changinga vowel point, "Regards not their supplication."13. So far as to openly committed sins; now, those done in the dark. Translate: "There are thoseamong them (the wicked) who rebel," &c.light—both literal and figurative (Joh 3:19, 20; Pr 2:13).paths thereof—places where the light shines.14. with the light—at early dawn, while still dark, when the traveller in the East usually setsout, and the poor laborer to his work; the murderous robber lies in wait then (Ps 10:8).is as a thief—Thieves in the East steal while men sleep at night; robbers murder at early dawn.The same man who steals at night, when light dawns not only robs, but murders to escape detection.15. (Pr 7:9; Ps 10:11).disguiseth—puts a veil on.16. dig through—Houses in the East are generally built of sun-dried mud bricks (so Mt 6:19)."Thieves break through," literally, "dig through" (Eze 12:7).had marked—Rather, as in Job 9:7, "They shut themselves up" (in their houses); literally,"they seal up."for themselves—for their own ends, namely, to escape detection.know not—shun.17. They shrink from the "morning" light, as much as other men do from the blackest darkness("the shadow of death").if one know—that is, recognize them. Rather, "They know well (are familiar with) the terrorsof," &c. [Umbreit]. Or, as Maurer, "They know the terrors of (this) darkness," namely, of morning,the light, which is as terrible to them as darkness ("the shadow of death") is to other men.18-21. In these verses Job quotes the opinions of his adversaries ironically; he quoted them sobefore (Job 21:7-21). In Job 24:22-24, he states his own observation as the opposite. You say, "Thesinner is swift, that is, swiftly passes away (as a thing floating) on the surface of the waters" (Ec11:1; Ho 10:7).is cursed—by those who witness their "swift" destruction.beholdeth not—"turneth not to"; figuratively, for He cannot enjoy his pleasant possessions(Job 20:17; 15:33).the way of the vineyards—including his fields, fertile as vineyards; opposite to "the way ofthe desert."19. Arabian image; melted snow, as contrasted with the living fountain, quickly dries up in thesunburnt sand, not leaving a trace behind (Job 6:16-18). The Hebrew is terse and elliptical to expressthe swift and utter destruction of the godless; (so) "the grave—they have sinned!"20. The womb—The very mother that bare him, and who is the last to "forget" the child thatsucked her (Isa 49:15), shall dismiss him from her memory (Job 18:17; Pr 10:7). The worm shallsuck, that is, "feed sweetly" on him as a delicate morsel (Job 21:33).wickedness—that is, the wicked; abstract for concrete (as Job 5:16).767JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonas a tree—utterly (Job 19:10); Umbreit better, "as a staff." A broken staff is the emblem ofirreparable ruin (Isa 14:5; Ho 4:12).21. The reason given by the friends why the sinner deserves such a fate.barren—without sons, who might have protected her.widow—without a husband to support her.22-25. Reply of Job to the opinion of the friends. Experience proves the contrary. Translate:"But He (God) prolongeth the life of (literally, draweth out at length; Ps 36:10, Margin) the mightywith His (God's) power. He (the wicked) riseth up (from his sick bed) although he had given uphope of (literally, when he no longer believed in) life" (De 28:66).23. Literally, "He (God omitted, as often; Job 3:20; Ec 9:9; reverentially) giveth to him (thewicked, to be) in safety, or security."yet—Job means, How strange that God should so favor them, and yet have His eyes all thetime open to their wicked ways (Pr 15:3; Ps 73:4)!24. Job repeats what he said (Job 21:13), that sinners die in exalted positions, not the painfuland lingering death we might expect, but a quick and easy death. Join "for a while" with "are gone,"not as English Version. Translate: "A moment—and they are no more! They are brought low, asall (others) gather up their feet to die" (so the Hebrew of "are taken out of the way"). A naturaldeath (Ge 49:33).ears of corn—in a ripe and full age, not prematurely (Job 5:26).25. (So Job 9:24).CHAPTER 25THIRD SERIES.Job 25:1-6. Bildad's Reply.He tries to show Job's rashness (Job 23:3), by arguments borrowed from Eliphaz (Job 15:15,with which compare Job 11:17.2. Power and terror, that is, terror-inspiring power.peace in his high places—implying that His power is such on high as to quell all opposition,not merely there, but on earth also. The Holy Ghost here shadowed forth Gospel truths (Col 1:20;Eph 1:10).3. armies—angels and stars (Isa 40:26; Jer 33:22; Ge 15:5; "countless," Da 7:10).his light—(Jas 1:17).4. (Job 4:17, 18; 14:4; 15:14).5. "Look up even unto the moon" (Job 15:15). "Stars" here answer to "saints" (angels) there;"the moon" here to "the heavens" there. Even the "stars," the most dazzling object to man's eye,and the angels, of which the stars are emblems (Job 4:18; Re 9:1), are imperfect in His sight. Theirsis the light and purity but of creatures; His of the Creator.6. (Job 4:19-21; 15:16).worm … worm—Two distinct Hebrew words. The first, a worm bred in putridity; alluding toman's corruption. The second a crawling worm; implying that man is weak and grovelling.768JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonCHAPTER 26THIRD SERIES.Job 26:1-14. Job's Reply.2, 3. without power … no strength … no wisdom—The negatives are used instead of thepositives, powerlessness, &c., designedly (so Isa 31:8; De 32:21). Granting I am, as you say (Job18:17; 15:2), powerlessness itself, &c. "How hast thou helped such a one?"savest—supportest.3. plentifully … the thing as it is—rather, "abundantly—wisdom." Bildad had made greatpretensions to abundant wisdom. How has he shown it?4. For whose instruction were thy words meant? If for me I know the subject (God's omnipotence)better than my instructor; Job 26:5-14 is a sample of Job's knowledge of it.whose spirit—not that of God (Job 32:8); nay, rather, the borrowed sentiment of Eliphaz (Job4:17-19; 15:14-16).5-14. As before in the ninth and twelfth chapters, Job had shown himself not inferior to thefriends' inability to describe God's greatness, so now he describes it as manifested in hell (the worldof the dead), Job 26:5, 6; on earth, Job 26:7; in the sky, Job 26:8-11; the sea, Job 26:12; the heavens,Job 26:13.Dead things are formed—Rather, "The souls of the dead (Rephaim) tremble." Not only doesGod's power exist, as Bildad says (Job 25:2), "in high places" (heaven), but reaches to the regionof the dead. Rephaim here, and in Pr 21:16 and Isa 14:9, is from a Hebrew root, meaning "to beweak," hence "deceased"; in Ge 14:5 it is applied to the Canaanite giants; perhaps in derision, toexpress their weakness, in spite of their gigantic size, as compared with Jehovah [Umbreit]; or, asthe imagination of the living magnifies apparitions, the term originally was applied to ghosts, andthen to giants in general [Magee].from under—Umbreit joins this with the previous word "tremble from beneath" (so Isa 14:9).But the Masoretic text joins it to "under the waters." Thus the place of the dead will be representedas "under the waters" (Ps 18:4, 5); and the waters as under the earth (Ps 24:2). Magee well translatesthus: "The souls of the dead tremble; (the places) under the waters, and their inhabitants." Thus theMasoretic connection is retained; and at the same time the parallel clauses are evenly balanced."The inhabitants of the places under the waters" are those in Gehenna, the lower of the two partsinto which Sheol, according to the Jews, is divided; they answer to "destruction," that is, the placeof the wicked in Job 26:6, as "Rephaim" (Job 26:5) to "Hell" (Sheol) (Job 26:6). "Sheol" comesfrom a Hebrew root—"ask," because it is insatiable (Pr 27:20); or "ask as a loan to be returned,"implying Sheol is but a temporary abode, previous to the resurrection; so for English Version"formed," the Septuagint and Chaldee translate; shall be born, or born again, implying the deadare to be given back from Sheol and born again into a new state [Magee].6. (Job 38:17; Ps 139:8; Pr 5:11).destruction—the abode of destruction, that is, of lost souls. Hebrew, Abaddon (Re 9:11).no covering—from God's eyes.7. Hint of the true theory of the earth. Its suspension in empty space is stated in the secondclause. The north in particular is specified in the first, being believed to be the highest part of theearth (Isa 14:13). The northern hemisphere or vault of heaven is included; often compared to astretched-out canopy (Ps 104:2). The chambers of the south are mentioned (Job 9:9), that is, thesouthern hemisphere, consistently with the earth's globular form.769JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson8. in … clouds—as if in airy vessels, which, though light, do not burst with the weight of waterin them (Pr 30:4).9. Rather, He encompasseth or closeth. God makes the clouds a veil to screen the glory not onlyof His person, but even of the exterior of His throne from profane eyes. His agency is everywhere,yet He Himself is invisible (Ps 18:11; 104:3).10. Rather, "He hath drawn a circular bound round the waters" (Pr 8:27; Ps 104:9). The horizonseems a circle. Indication is given of the globular form of the earth.until the day, &c.—to the confines of light and darkness. When the light falls on our horizon,the other hemisphere is dark. Umbreit and Maurer translate "He has most perfectly (literally, toperfection) drawn the bound (taken from the first clause) between light and darkness" (compareGe 1:4, 6, 9): where the bounding of the light from darkness is similarly brought into proximitywith the bounding of the waters.11. pillars—poetically for the mountains which seem to bear up the sky (Ps 104:32).astonished—namely, from terror. Personification.his reproof—(Ps 104:7). The thunder, reverberating from cliff to cliff (Hab 3:10; Na 1:5).12. divideth—(Ps 74:13). Perhaps at creation (Ge 1:9, 10). The parallel clause favors Umbreit,"He stilleth." But the Hebrew means "He moves." Probably such a "moving" is meant as that at theassuaging of the flood by the wind which "God made to pass over" it (Ge 8:1; Ps 104:7).the proud—rather, "its pride," namely, of the sea (Job 9:13).13. Umbreit less simply, "By His breath He maketh the heavens to revive": namely, His winddissipates the clouds, which obscured the shining stars. And so the next clause in contrast, "Hishand doth strangle," that is, obscures the north constellation, the dragon. Pagan astronomy typifiedthe flood trying to destroy the ark by the dragon constellation, about to devour the moon in itseclipsed crescent-shape like a boat (Job 3:8, Margin). But better as English Version (Ps 33:6).crooked—implying the oblique course, of the stars, or the ecliptic. "Fleeing" or "swift" [Umbreit](Isa 27:1). This particular constellation is made to represent the splendor of all the stars.14. parts—Rather, "only the extreme boundaries of," &c., and how faint is the whisper thatwe hear of Him!thunder—the entire fulness. In antithesis to "whisper" (1Co 13:9, 10, 12).CHAPTER 27Job 27:1-23.It was now Zophar's turn to speak. But as he and the other two were silent, virtually admittingdefeat, after a pause Job proceeds.1. parable—applied in the East to a figurative sententious embodiment of wisdom in poeticform, a gnome (Ps 49:4).continued—proceeded to put forth; implying elevation of discourse.2. (1Sa 20:3).taken away … judgment—words unconsciously foreshadowing Jesus Christ (Isa 53:8; Ac8:33). God will not give Job his right, by declaring his innocence.vexed—Hebrew, "made bitter" (Ru 1:20).770JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson3. Implying Job's knowledge of the fact that the living soul was breathed into man by God (Ge2:7). "All the while." But Maurer, "As yet all my breath is in me" (notwithstanding my trials): thereason why I can speak so boldly.4. (Job 6:28, 30). The "deceit" would be if he were to admit guilt against the witness of hisconscience.5. justify you—approve of your views.mine integrity—which you deny, on account of my misfortunes.6. Rather, my "heart" (conscience) reproaches "not one of my days," that is, I do not repent ofany of my days since I came into existence [Maurer].7. Let … be—Let mine enemy be accounted as wicked, that is, He who opposes my asseverationof innocence must be regarded as actuated by criminal hostility. Not a curse on his enemies.8. "What hope hath the hypocrite, notwithstanding all his gains, when?" &c. "Gained" is antitheticto "taketh away." Umbreit's translation is an unmeaning tautology. "When God cuts off, when Hetaketh away his life."taketh away—literally, "draws out" the soul from the body, which is, as it were, its scabbard(Job 4:21; Ps 104:29; Da 7:15). Job says that he admits what Bildad said (Job 8:13) and Zophar(Job 20:5). But he says the very fact of his still calling upon God (Job 27:10) amid all his trials,which a hypocrite would not dare to do, shows he is no "hypocrite."9. (Ps 66:18).10. Alluding to Job 22:26.always call—He may do so in times of prosperity in order to be thought religious. But he willnot, as I do, call on God in calamities verging on death. Therefore I cannot be a "hypocrite" (Job19:25; 20:5; Ps 62:8).11-23. These words are contrary to Job's previous sentiments (see on Job 21:22-33; Job24:22-25). Job 21:22-33; 24:22-25). They therefore seem to be Job's statement, not so much of hisown sentiments, as of what Zophar would have said had he spoken when his turn came (end of thetwenty-sixth chapter). So Job stated the friends' opinion (Job 21:17-21; 24:18-21). The objectionis, why, if so, does not Job answer Zophar's opinion, as stated by himself? The fact is, it is probablethat Job tacitly, by giving, in the twenty-eighth chapter, only a general answer, implies, that in spiteof the wicked often dying, as he said, in prosperity, he does not mean to deny that the wicked arein the main dealt with according to right, and that God herein vindicates His moral governmenteven here. Job therefore states Zophar's argument more strongly than Zophar would have done.But by comparing Job 27:13 with Job 20:29 ("portion," "heritage"), it will be seen, it is Zophar'sargument, rather than his own, that Job states. Granting it to be true, implies Job, you ought not touse it as an argument to criminate me. For (Job 28:1-28) the ways of divine wisdom in afflictingthe godly are inscrutable: all that is sure to man is, the fear of the Lord is wisdom (Job 28:28).by the hand—rather, concerning the hand of God, namely, what God does in governing men.with the Almighty—the counsel or principle which regulates God's dealings.12. "Ye yourselves see" that the wicked often are afflicted (though often the reverse, Job 21:33).But do you "vainly" make this an argument to prove from my afflictions that I am wicked?13. (See on Job 27:11).14. His family only increases to perish by sword or famine (Jer 18:21; Job 5:20, the converse).15. Those that escape war and famine (Job 27:14) shall be buried by the deadly plague—"death"(Job 18:13; Jer 15:2; Re 6:8). The plague of the Middle Ages was called "the black death." Buried771JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonby it implies that they would have none else but the death plague itself (poetically personified) toperform their funeral rites, that is, would have no one.his—rather, "their widows." Transitions from singular to plural are frequent. Polygamy is notimplied.16. dust … clay—images of multitudes (Zec 9:3). Many changes of raiment are a chiefconstituent of wealth in the East.17. Introverted parallelism. (See Introduction). Of the four clauses in the two verses, one answersto four, two to three (so Mt 7:6).18. (Job 8:14; 4:19). The transition is natural from "raiment" (Job 27:16) to the "house" of the"moth" in it, and of it, when in its larva state. The moth worm's house is broken whenever the"raiment" is shaken out, so frail is it.booth—a bough-formed hut which the guard of a vineyard raises for temporary shelter (Isa1:8).19. gathered—buried honorably (Ge 25:8; 2Ki 22:20). But Umbreit, agreeably to Job 27:18,which describes the short continuance of the sinner's prosperity, "He layeth himself rich in his bed,and nothing is robbed from him, he openeth his eyes, and nothing more is there." If English Versionbe retained, the first clause probably means, rich though he be in dying, he shall not be honoredwith a funeral; the second, When he opens his eyes in the unseen world, it is only to see hisdestruction: the Septuagint reads for "not gathered," He does not proceed, that is, goes to his bedno more. So Maurer.20. (Job 18:11; 22:11, 21). Like a sudden violent flood (Isa 8:7, 8; Jer 47:2): conversely (Ps32:6).21. (Job 21:18; 15:2; Ps 58:9).22. cast—namely, thunderbolts (Job 6:4; 7:20; 16:13; Ps 7:12, 13).23. clap … hands—for joy at his downfall (La 2:15; Na 3:19).hiss—deride (Jer 25:9). Job alludes to Bildad's words (Job 18:18).CHAPTER 28Job 28:1-28. Job's Speech Continued.In the twenty-seventh chapter Job had tacitly admitted that the statement of the friends wasoften true, that God vindicated His justice by punishing the wicked here; but still the affliction ofthe godly remained unexplained. Man has, by skill, brought the precious metals from theirconcealment. But the Divine Wisdom, which governs human affairs, he cannot similarly discover(Job 28:12, &c.). However, the image from the same metals (Job 23:10) implies Job has made someway towards solving the riddle of his life; namely, that affliction is to him as the refining fire is togold.1. vein—a mine, from which it goes forth, Hebrew, "is dug."place for gold—a place where gold may be found, which men refine. Not as English Version,"A place—where," (Mal 3:3). Contrasted with gold found in the bed and sand of rivers, which doesnot need refining; as the gold dug from a mine does. Golden ornaments have been found in Egypt,of the times of Joseph.772JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson2. brass—that is, copper; for brass is a mixed metal of copper and zinc, of modern invention.Iron is less easily discovered, and wrought, than copper; therefore copper was in common use longbefore iron. Copper-stone is called "cadmium" by Pliny [Natural History, 34:1; 36:21]. Iron is fitlysaid to be taken out of the "earth" (dust), for ore looks like mere earth.3. "Man makes an end of darkness," by exploring the darkest depths (with torches).all perfection—rather, carries out his search to the utmost perfection; most thoroughly searchesthe stones of darkness and of the shadow of death (thickest gloom); that is, the stones, whateverthey be, embedded in the darkest bowels of the earth [Umbreit] (Job 26:10).4. Three hardships in mining: 1. "A stream (flood) breaks out at the side of the stranger"; namely,the miner, a strange newcomer into places heretofore unexplored; his surprise at the sudden streambreaking out beside him is expressed (English Version, "from the inhabitant"). 2. "Forgotten(unsupported) by the foot they hang," namely, by ropes, in descending. In the Hebrew, "Lo there"precedes this clause, graphically placing it as if before the eyes. "The waters" is inserted by EnglishVersion. "Are dried up," ought to be, "hang," "are suspended." English Version perhaps understood,waters of whose existence man was previously unconscious, and near which he never trod; and yetman's energy is such, that by pumps, &c., he soon causes them to "dry up and go away" [So Herder].3. "Far away from men, they move with uncertain step"; they stagger; not "they are gone" [Umbreit].5. Its fertile surface yields food; and yet "beneath it is turned up as it were with fire." So Pliny[Natural History, 33] observes on the ingratitude of man who repays the debt he owes the earth forfood, by digging out its bowels. "Fire" was used in mining [Umbreit]. English Version is simpler,which means precious stones which glow like fire; and so Job 28:6 follows naturally (Eze 28:14).6. Sapphires are found in alluvial soil near rocks and embedded in gneiss. The ancientsdistinguished two kinds: 1. The real, of transparent blue: 2. That improperly so called, opaque, withgold spots; that is, lapis lazuli. To the latter, looking like gold dust, Umbreit refers "dust of gold."English Version better, "The stones of the earth are, &c., and the clods of it (Vulgate) are gold";the parallel clauses are thus neater.7. fowl—rather, "ravenous bird," or "eagle," which is the most sharp-sighted of birds (Isa 46:11).A vulture will spy a carcass at an amazing distance. The miner penetrates the earth by a way unseenby birds of keenest sight.8. lion's whelps—literally, "the sons of pride," that is, the fiercest beasts.passed—The Hebrew implies the proud gait of the lion. The miner ventures where not eventhe fierce lion dares to go in pursuit of his prey.9. rock—flint. He puts forth his hand to cleave the hardest the roots—from their foundations, by undermining them.10. He cuts channels to drain off the waters, which hinder his mining; and when the waters aregone, he he is able to see the precious things in the earth.11. floods—"He restrains the streams from weeping"; a poetical expression for the tricklingsubterranean rills, which impede him; answering to the first clause of Job 28:10; so also the twolatter clauses in each verse correspond.12. Can man discover the Divine Wisdom by which the world is governed, as he can the treasureshidden in the earth? Certainly not. Divine Wisdom is conceived as a person (Job 28:12-27) distinctfrom God (Job 28:23; also in Pr 8:23, 27). The Almighty Word, Jesus Christ, we know now, is thatWisdom. The order of the world was originated and is maintained by the breathing forth (Spirit)773JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonof Wisdom, unfathomable and unpurchasable by man. In Job 28:28, the only aspect of it, whichrelates to, and may be understood by, man, is stated.understanding—insight into the plan of the divine government.13. Man can fix no price upon it, as it is nowhere to be found in man's abode (Isa 38:11). Jobimplies both its valuable worth, and the impossibility of buying it at any price.15. Not the usual word for "gold"; from a Hebrew root, "to shut up" with care; that is, purestgold (1Ki 6:20, Margin).weighed—The precious metals were weighed out before coining was known (Ge 23:16).16. gold of Ophir—the most precious (See on Job 22:24 and Ps 45:9).onyx—(Ge 2:12). More valued formerly than now. The term is Greek, meaning "thumb nail,"from some resemblance in color. The Arabic denotes, of two colors, white preponderating.17. crystal—Or else glass, if then known, very costly. From a root, "to be transparent."jewels—rather, "vessels."18. Red coral (Eze 27:16).pearls—literally, "what is frozen." Probably crystal; and Job 28:17 will then be glass.rubies—Umbreit translates "pearls" (see La 4:1; Pr 3:15). The Urim and Thummim, the meansof consulting God by the twelve stones on the high priest's breastplate, "the stones of the sanctuary"(La 4:1), have their counterpart in this chapter; the precious stones symbolizing the "light" and"perfection" of the divine wisdom.19. Ethiopia—Cush in the Hebrew. Either Ethiopia, or the south of Arabia, near the Tigris.20. Job 28:12 repeated with great force.21. None can tell whence or where, seeing it, &c.fowls—The gift of divination was assigned by the heathen especially to birds. Their rapid flightheavenwards and keen sight originated the superstition. Job may allude to it. Not even the boasteddivination of birds has an insight into it (Ec 10:20). But it may merely mean, as in Job 28:7, Itescapes the eye of the most keen-sighted bird.22. That is, the abodes of destruction and of the dead. "Death" put for Sheol (Job 30:23; 26:6;Ps 9:13).We have [only] heard—the report of her. We have not seen her. In the land of the living (Job28:13) the workings of Wisdom are seen, though not herself. In the regions of the dead she is onlyheard of, her actings on nature not being seen (Ec 9:10).23. God hath, and is Himself, wisdom.24. "Seeth (all that is) under," &c.25. God has adjusted the weight of the winds, so seemingly imponderable, lest, if too weighty,or too light, injury should be caused. He measureth out the waters, fixing their bounds, with wisdomas His counsellor (Pr 8:27-31; Isa 40:12).26. The decree regulating at what time and place, and in what quantity, the rain should fall.a way—through the parted clouds (Job 38:25; Zec 10:1).27. declare—manifest her, namely, in His works (Ps 19:1, 2). So the approval bestowed by theCreator on His works (Ge 1:10, 31); compare the "rejoicing" of wisdom at the same (Pr 8:30; whichUmbreit translates; "I was the skilful artificer by His side").prepared—not created, for wisdom is from everlasting (Pr 8:22-31); but "established" her asGovernor of the world.774JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonsearched … out—examined her works to see whether she was adequate to the task of governingthe world [Maurer].28. Rather, "But unto man," &c. My wisdom is that whereby all things are governed; Thy wisdomis in fearing God and shunning evil, and in feeling assured that My wisdom always acts aright,though thou dost not understand the principle which regulates it; for example, in afflicting the godly(Joh 7:17). The friends, therefore, as not comprehending the Divine Wisdom, should not infer Job'sguilt from his sufferings. Here alone in Job the name of God, Adonai, occurs; "Lord" or "master,"often applied to Messiah in Old Testament. Appropriately here, in speaking of the Word or Wisdom,by whom the world was made (Pr 8:22-31; Joh 1:3; Ecclesiasticus 24:1-34).CHAPTER 29Job 29:1-25.1. Job pauses for a reply. None being made, he proceeds to illustrate the mysteriousness ofGod's dealings, as set forth (Job 28:1-28) by his own case.2. preserved me—from calamity.3. candle—when His favor shone on me (see on Job 18:6 and Ps 18:28).darkness—By His safeguard I passed secure through dangers. Perhaps alluding to the lightscarried before caravans in nightly travels through deserts [Noyes].4. youth—literally, "autumn"; the time of the ripe fruits of my prosperity. Applied to youth, asthe Orientalists began their year with autumn, the most temperate season in the East.secret—when the intimate friendship of God rested on my tent (Pr 3:32; Ps 31:20; Ge 18:17;Joh 15:15). The Hebrew often means a divan for deliberation.6. butter—rather, "cream," literally, "thick milk." Wherever I turned my steps, the richest milkand oil flowed in to me abundantly. Image from pastoral life.When I washed my steps—Literal washing of the feet in milk is not meant, as the second clauseshows; Margin, "with me," that is, "near" my path, wherever I walked (De 32:13). Olives amidstrocks yield the best oil. Oil in the East is used for food, light, anointing, and medicine.7-10. The great influence Job had over young and old, and noblemen.through … street!—rather, When I went out of my house, in the country (see Job 1:1, prologue)to the gate (ascending), up to the city (which was on elevated ground), and when I prepared my(judicial) seat in the market place. The market place was the place of judgment, at the gate orpropylæa of the city, such as is found in the remains of Nineveh and Persepolis (Isa 59:14; Ps 55:11;127:5).8. hid—not literally; rather, "stepped backwards," reverentially. The aged, who were alreadyseated, arose and remained standing (Hebrew) until Job seated himself. Oriental manners.9. (Job 4:2; see on Job 21:5).Refrained talking—stopped in the middle of their speech.10. Margin, "voice—hid," that is, "hushed" (Eze 3:26).Tongue cleaved, &c.—that is, awed by my presence, the emirs or sheiks were silent.11. blessed—extolled my virtues (Pr 31:28). Omit "me" after "heard"; whoever heard of me(in general, not in the market place, Job 29:7-10) praised me.gave witness—to my honorable character. Image from a court of justice (Lu 4:22).775JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthe eye—that is, "face to face"; antithesis toear—that is, report of me.12-17. The grounds on which Job was praised (Job 29:11), his helping the afflicted (Ps 72:12)who cried to him for help, as a judge, or as one possessed of means of charity. Translate: "Thefatherless who had none to help him."13. So far was I from sending "widows" away empty (Job 22:9).ready to perish—(Pr 31:6).14. (Isa 61:10; 1Ch 12:18).judgment—justice.diadem—tiara. Rather, "turban," "head-dress." It and the full flowing outer mantle or "robe,"are the prominent characteristics of an Oriental grandee's or high priest's dress (Zec 3:5). So Job'srighteousness especially characterized him.15. Literally, "the blind" (De 27:18); "lame" (2Sa 9:13); figuratively, also the spiritual supportwhich the more enlightened gives to those less so (Job 4:3; Heb 12:13; Nu 10:31).16. So far was I from "breaking the arms of the fatherless," as Eliphaz asserts (Job 22:9), I wasa "father" to such.the cause which I knew not—rather, "of him whom I knew not," the stranger (Pr 29:7 [Umbreit];contrast Lu 18:1, &c.). Applicable to almsgiving (Ps 41:1); but here primarily, judicialconscientiousness (Job 31:13).17. Image from combating with wild beasts (Job 4:11; Ps 3:7). So compassionate was Job tothe oppressed, so terrible to the oppressor!jaws—Job broke his power, so that he could do no more hurt, and tore from him the spoil,which he had torn from others.18. I said—in my heart (Ps 30:6).in—rather, "with my nest"; as the second clause refers to long life. Instead of my family dyingbefore me, as now, I shall live so long as to die with them: proverbial for long life. Job did realizehis hope (Job 42:16). However, in the bosom of my family, gives a good sense (Nu 24:21; Ob 4).Use "nest" for a secure dwelling.sand—(Ge 22:17; Hab 1:9). But the Septuagint and Vulgate, and Jewish interpreters, favor thetranslation, "the phoenix bird." "Nest" in the parallel clause supports the reference to a bird. "Sand"for multitude, applies to men, rather than to years. The myth was, that the phoenix sprang from anest of myrrh, made by his father before death, and that he then came from Arabia (Job's country)to Heliopolis (the city of the Sun) in Egypt, once in every five hundred years, and there burnt hisfather [Herodotus, 2:73]. Modern research has shown that this was the Egyptian mode of representinghieroglyphically a particular chronological era or cycle. The death and revival every five hundredyears, and the reference to the sun, implies such a grand cycle commencing afresh from the samepoint in relation to the sun from which the previous one started. Job probably refers to this.19. Literally, "opened to the waters." Opposed to Job 18:16. Vigorous health.20. My renown, like my bodily health, was continually fresh.bow—Metaphor from war, for, my strength, which gains me "renown," was ever renewed (Jer49:35).21. Job reverts with peculiar pleasure to his former dignity in assemblies (Job 29:7-10).22. not again—did not contradict me.776JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesondropped—affected their minds, as the genial rain does the soil on which it gently drops (Am7:16; De 32:2; So 4:11).23. Image of Job 29:22 continued. They waited for my salutary counsel, as the dry soil doesfor the refreshing rain.opened … mouth—panted for; Oriental image (Ps 119:131). The "early rain" is in autumnand onwards, while the seed is being sown. The "latter rain" is in March, and brings forward theharvest, which ripens in May or June. Between the early and latter rains, some rain falls, but notin such quantities as those rains. Between March and October no rain falls (De 11:14; Jas 5:7).24. When I relaxed from my wonted gravity (a virtue much esteemed in the East) and smiled,they could hardly credit it; and yet, notwithstanding my condescension, they did not cast asidereverence for my gravity. But the parallelism is better in Umbreit's translation, "I smiled kindly onthose who trusted not," that is, in times of danger I cheered those in despondency. And they couldnot cast down (by their despondency) my serenity of countenance (flowing from trust in God) (Pr16:15; Ps 104:15). The opposite phrase (Ge 4:5, 6). "Gravity" cannot well be meant by "light ofcountenance."25. I chose out their way—that is, I willingly went up to their assembly (from my countryresidence, Job 29:7).in the army—as a king supreme in the midst of his army.comforteth the mourners—Here again Job unconsciously foreshadows Jesus Christ (Isa 61:2,3). Job's afflictions, as those of Jesus Christ, were fitting him for the office hereafter (Isa 50:4; Heb2:18).CHAPTER 30Job 30:1-31.1. younger—not the three friends (Job 15:10; 32:4, 6, 7). A general description: Job 30:1-8,the lowness of the persons who derided him; Job 30:9-15, the derision itself. Formerly old menrose to me (Job 29:8). Now not only my juniors, who are bound to reverence me (Le 19:32), buteven the mean and base-born actually deride me; opposed to, "smiled upon" (Job 29:24). This goesfarther than even the "mockery" of Job by relations and friends (Job 12:4; 16:10, 20; 17:2, 6; 19:22).Orientals feel keenly any indignity shown by the young. Job speaks as a rich Arabian emir, proudof his descent.dogs—regarded with disgust in the East as unclean (1Sa 17:43; Pr 26:11). They are not allowedto enter a house, but run about wild in the open air, living on offal and chance morsels (Ps 59:14,15). Here again we are reminded of Jesus Christ (Ps 22:16). "Their fathers, my coevals, were somean and famished that I would not have associated them with (not to say, set them over) my dogsin guarding my flock."2. If their fathers could be of no profit to me, much less the sons, who are feebler than theirsires; and in whose case the hope of attaining old age is utterly gone, so puny are they (Job 5:26)[Maurer]. Even if they had "strength of hands," that could be now of no use to me, as all I want inmy present affliction is sympathy.3. solitary—literally, "hard as a rock"; so translate, rather, "dried up," emaciated with hunger.Job describes the rudest race of Bedouins of the desert [Umbreit].777JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonfleeing—So the Septuagint. Better, as Syriac, Arabic, and Vulgate, "gnawers of the wilderness."What they gnaw follows in Job former time—literally, the "yesternight of desolation and waste" (the most utter desolation;Eze 6:14); that is, those deserts frightful as night to man, and even there from time immemorial. Ithink both ideas are in the words darkness [Gesenius] and antiquity [Umbreit]. (Isa 30:33, Margin).4. mallows—rather, "salt-wort," which grows in deserts and is eaten as a salad by the poor[Maurer].by the bushes—among the—rather, a kind of broom, Spartium junceum [Linnæus], still called in Arabia, as in theHebrew of Job, retem, of which the bitter roots are eaten by the poor.5. they cried—that is, "a cry is raised." Expressing the contempt felt for this race by civilizedand well-born Arabs. When these wild vagabonds make an incursion on villages, they are drivenaway, as thieves would be.6. They are forced "to dwell."cliffs of the valleys—rather, "in the gloomy valleys"; literally, "in the gloom of the valleys,"or wadies. To dwell in valleys is, in the East, a mark of wretchedness. The troglodytes, in parts ofArabia, lived in such dwellings as caves.7. brayed—like the wild ass (Job 6:5 for food). The inarticulate tones of this uncivilized rabbleare but little above those of the beast of the field.gathered together—rather, sprinkled here and there. Literally, "poured out," graphicallypicturing their disorderly mode of encampment, lying up and down behind the thorn bushes.nettles—or brambles [Umbreit].8. fools—that is, the impious and abandoned (1Sa 25:25).base—nameless, low-born rabble.viler than, &c.—rather, they were driven or beaten out of the land. The Horites in Mount Seir(Ge 14:6 with which compare Ge 36:20, 21; De 2:12, 22) were probably the aborigines, driven outby the tribe to which Job's ancestors belonged; their name means troglodytæ, or "dwellers in caves."To these Job alludes here (Job 30:1-8, and Ge 24:4-8, which compare together).9. (Job 17:6). Strikingly similar to the derision Jesus Christ underwent (La 3:14; Ps 69:12).Here Job returns to the sentiment in Job 30:1. It is to such I am become a song of "derision."10. in my face—rather, refrain not to spit in deliberate contempt before my face. To spit at allin presence of another is thought in the East insulting, much more so when done to mark"abhorrence." Compare the further insult to Jesus Christ (Isa 50:6; Mt 26:67).11. He—that is, "God"; antithetical to "they"; English Version here follows the marginal reading(Keri).my cord—image from a bow unstrung; opposed to Job 29:20. The text (Chetib), "His cord" or"reins" is better; "yea, each lets loose his reins" [Umbreit].12. youth—rather, a (low) brood. To rise on the right hand is to accuse, as that was the positionof the accuser in court (Zec 3:1; Ps 109:6).push … feet—jostle me out of the way (Job 24:4).ways of—that is, their ways of (that is, with a view to my) destruction. Image, as in Job 19:12,from a besieging army throwing up a way of approach for itself to a city.13. Image of an assailed fortress continued. They tear up the path by which succor might reachme.778JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonset forward—(Zec 1:15).they have no helper—Arabic proverb for contemptible persons. Yet even such afflict Job.14. waters—(So 2Sa 5:20). But it is better to retain the image of Job 30:12, 13. "They came[upon me] as through a wide breach," namely, made by the besiegers in the wall of a fortress (Isa30:13) [Maurer].in the desolation—"Amidst the crash" of falling masonry, or "with a shout like the crash" of,&c.15. they—terrors.soul—rather, "my dignity" [Umbreit].welfare——(Job 7:9; Isa 44:22).16-23. Job's outward calamities affect his mind.poured out—in irrepressible complaints (Ps 42:4; Jos 7:5).17. In the Hebrew, night is poetically personified, as in Job 3:3: "night pierceth my bones (sothat they fall) from me" (not as English Version, "in me"; see Job 30:30).sinews—so the Arabic, "veins," akin to the Hebrew; rather, "gnawers" (see on Job 30:3), namely,my gnawing pains never cease. Effects of elephantiasis.18. of my disease—rather, "of God" (Job 23:6).garment changed—from a robe of honor to one of mourning, literally (Job 2:8; Joh 3:6) andmetaphorically [Umbreit]. Or rather, as Schuttens, following up Job 30:17, My outer garment is changedinto affliction; that is, affliction has become my outer garment; it also bindeth me fast round (mythroat) as the collar of the inner coat; that is, it is both my inner and outer garment. Observe thedistinction between the inner and outer garments. The latter refers to his afflictions from without(Job 30:1-13); the former his personal afflictions (Job 30:14-23). Umbreit makes "God" subject to"bindeth," as in Job 30:19.19. God is poetically said to do that which the mourner had done to himself (Job 2:8). Withlying in the ashes he had become, like them, in dirty color.20. stand up—the reverential attitude of a suppliant before a king (1Ki 8:14; Lu 18:11-13).not—supplied from the first clause. But the intervening affirmative "stand" makes this ellipsisunlikely. Rather, as in Job 16:9 (not only dost thou refuse aid to me "standing" as a suppliant, but),thou dost regard me with a frown: eye me sternly.22. liftest … to wind—as a "leaf" or "stubble" (Job 13:25). The moving pillars of sand, raisedby the wind to the clouds, as described by travellers, would happily depict Job's agitated spirit, ifit be to them that he alludes.dissolvest … substance—The marginal Hebrew reading (Keri), "my wealth," or else "wisdom,"that is, sense and spirit, or "my hope of deliverance." But the text (Chetib) is better: Thou dissolvestme (with fear, Ex 15:15) in the crash (of the whirlwind; see on Job 30:14) [Maurer]. Umbreit translatesas a verb, "Thou terrifiest me."23. This shows Job 19:25 cannot be restricted to Job's hope of a temporal deliverance.death—as in Job 28:22, the realm of the dead (Heb 9:27; Ge 3:19).24. Expressing Job's faith as to the state after death. Though one must go to the grave, yet Hewill no more afflict in the ruin of the body (so Hebrew for "grave") there, if one has cried to Himwhen being destroyed. The "stretching of His hand" to punish after death answers antithetically tothe raising "the cry" of prayer in the second clause. Maurer gives another translation which accords779JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwith the scope of Job 30:24-31; if it be natural for one in affliction to ask aid, why should it beconsidered (by the friends) wrong in my case? "Nevertheless does not a man in ruin stretch out hishand" (imploring help, Job 30:20; La 1:17)? If one be in his calamity (destruction) is there nottherefore a "cry" (for aid)? Thus in the parallelism "cry" answers to "stretch—hand"; "in hiscalamity," to "in ruin." The negative of the first clause is to be supplied in the second, as in Job30:25 (Job 28:17).25. May I not be allowed to complain of my calamity, and beg relief, seeing that I myselfsympathized with those "in trouble" (literally, "hard of day"; those who had a hard time of it).26. I may be allowed to crave help, seeing that, "when I looked for good (on account of mypiety and charity), yet evil," &c.light—(Job 22:28).27. bowels—regarded as the seat of deep feeling (Isa 16:11).boiled—violently heated and agitated.prevented—Old English for "unexpectedly came upon" me, "surprised" me.28. mourning—rather, I move about blackened, though not by the sun; that is, whereas manyare blackened by the sun, I am, by the heat of God's wrath (so "boiled," Job 30:27); the elephantiasiscovering me with blackness of skin (Job 30:30), as with the garb of mourning (Jer 14:2). Thisstriking enigmatic form of Hebrew expression occurs, Isa 29:9.stood up—as an innocent man crying for justice in an assembled court (Job 30:20).29. dragons … owls—rather, "jackals," "ostriches," both of which utter dismal screams (Mic1:8); in which respect, as also in their living amidst solitudes (the emblem of desolation), Job istheir brother and companion; that is, resembles them. "Dragon," Hebrew, tannim, usually meansthe crocodile; so perhaps here, its open jaws lifted towards heaven, and its noise making it seemas if it mourned over its fate [Bochart].30. upon me—rather, as in Job 30:17 (see on Job 30:17), "my skin is black (and falls away)from me."my bones—(Job 19:20; Ps 102:5).31. organ—rather, "pipe" (Job 21:12). "My joy is turned into the voice of weeping" (La 5:15).These instruments are properly appropriated to joy (Isa 30:29, 32), which makes their use now insorrow the sadder by contrast.CHAPTER 31Job 31:1-40.1. Job proceeds to prove that he deserved a better lot. As in the twenty-ninth chapter, he showedhis uprightness as an emir, or magistrate in public life, so in this chapter he vindicates his characterin private life.1-4. He asserts his guarding against being allured to sin by his senses.think—rather, "cast a (lustful) look." He not merely did not so, but put it out of the questionby covenanting with his eyes against leading him into temptation (Pr 6:25; Mt 5:28).2. Had I let my senses tempt me to sin, "what portion (would there have been to me, that is,must I have expected) from (literally, of) God above, and what inheritance from (literally, of) theAlmighty," &c. [Maurer] (Job 20:29; 27:13).780JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson3. Answer to the question in Job 31:2.strange—extraordinary.4. Doth not he see? &c.—Knowing this, I could only have expected "destruction" (Job 31:3),had I committed this sin (Pr 5:21).5. Job's abstinence from evil deeds.vanity—that is, falsehood (Ps 12:2).6. Parenthetical. Translate: "Oh, that God would weigh me … then would He know," &c.7. Connected with Job 31:6.the way—of God (Job 23:11; Jer 5:5). A godly life.heart … after … eyes—if my heart coveted, what my eyes beheld (Ec 11:9; Jos 7:21).hands—(Ps 24:4).8. Apodosis to Job 31:5, 7; the curses which he imprecates on himself, if he had done thesethings (Le 26:16; Am 9:14; Ps 128:2).offspring—rather, "what I plant," my harvests.9-12. Job asserts his innocence of adultery.deceived—hath let itself be seduced (Pr 7:8; Ge 39:7-12).laid wait—until the husband went out.10. grind—turn the handmill. Be the most abject slave and concubine (Isa 47:2; 2Sa 12:11).11. In the earliest times punished with death (Ge 38:24). So in later times (De 22:22). Heretoforehe had spoken only of sins against conscience; now, one against the community, needing thecognizance of the judge.12. (Pr 6:27-35; 8:6-23, 26, 27). No crime more provokes God to send destruction as a consumingfire; none so desolates the soul.13-23. Job affirms his freedom from unfairness towards his servants, from harshness andoppression towards the needy.despise the cause—refused to do them justice.14, 15. Parenthetical; the reason why Job did not despise the cause of his servants. Translate:What then (had I done so) could I have done, when God arose (to call me to account); and whenHe visited (came to enquire), what could I have answered Him?15. Slaveholders try to defend themselves by maintaining the original inferiority of the slave.But Mal 2:10; Ac 17:26; Eph 6:9 make the common origin of masters and servants the argumentfor brotherly love being shown by the former to the latter.16. fail—in the vain expectation of relief (Job 11:20).17. Arabian rules of hospitality require the stranger to be helped first, and to the best.18. Parenthetical: asserting that he did the contrary to the things in Job 31:16, 17.he—the orphan.guided her—namely, the widow, by advice and protection. On this and "a father," see Job29:16.19. perish—that is, ready to perish (Job 29:13).20. loins—The parts of the body benefited by Job are poetically described as thanking him; theloins before naked, when clad by me, wished me every blessing.21. when—that is, "because."I saw—that I might calculate on the "help" of a powerful party in the court of justice—("gate"),if I should be summoned by the injured fatherless.781JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson22. Apodosis to Job 31:13, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21. If I had done those crimes, I should have madea bad use of my influence ("my arm," figuratively, Job 31:21): therefore, if I have done them letmy arm (literally) suffer. Job alludes to Eliphaz' charge (Job 22:9). The first "arm" is rather theshoulder. The second "arm" is the forearm.from the bone—literally, "a reed"; hence the upper arm, above the elbow.23. For—that is, the reason why Job guarded against such sins. Fear of God, though he couldescape man's judgment (Ge 39:9). Umbreit more spiritedly translates, Yea, destruction and terrorfrom God might have befallen me (had I done so): mere fear not being the motive.highness—majestic might.endure—I could have availed nothing against it.24, 25. Job asserts his freedom from trust in money (1Ti 6:17). Here he turns to his duty towardsGod, as before he had spoken of his duty towards himself and his neighbor. Covetousness is covertidolatry, as it transfers the heart from the Creator to the creature (Col 3:5). In Job 31:26, 27 hepasses to overt idolatry.26. If I looked unto the sun (as an object of worship) because he shined; or to the moon becauseshe walked, &c. Sabaism (from tsaba, "the heavenly hosts") was the earliest form of false worship.God is hence called in contradistinction, "Lord of Sabaoth." The sun, moon, and stars, the brightestobjects in nature, and seen everywhere, were supposed to be visible representatives of the invisibleGod. They had no temples, but were worshipped on high places and roofs of houses (Eze 8:16; De4:19; 2Ki 23:5, 11). The Hebrew here for "sun" is light. Probably light was worshipped as theemanation from God, before its embodiments, the sun, &c. This worship prevailed in Chaldea;wherefore Job's exemption from the idolatry of his neighbors was the more exemplary. Our"Sun-day," "Mon-day," or Moon-day, bear traces of Sabaism.27. enticed—away from God to idolatry.kissed … hand—"adoration," literally means this. In worshipping they used to kiss the hand,and then throw the kiss, as it were, towards the object of worship (1Ki 19:18; Ho 13:2).28. The Mosaic law embodied subsequently the feeling of the godly from the earliest timesagainst idolatry, as deserving judicial penalties: being treason against the Supreme King (De 13:9;17:2-7; Eze 8:14-18). This passage therefore does not prove Job to have been subsequent to Moses.29. lifted up myself—in malicious triumph (Pr 17:5; 24:17; Ps 7:4).30. mouth—literally, "palate." (See on Job 6:30).wishing—literally, "so as to demand his (my enemy's) soul," that is, "life by a curse." Thisverse parenthetically confirms Job 31:30. Job in the patriarchal age of the promise, anterior to thelaw, realizes the Gospel spirit, which was the end of the law (compare Le 19:18; De 23:6, with Mt5:43, 44).31. That is, Job's household said, Oh, that we had Job's enemy to devour, we cannot rest satisfiedtill we have! But Job refrained from even wishing revenge (1Sa 26:8; 2Sa 16:9, 10). So Jesus Christ(Lu 9:54, 55). But, better (see Job 31:32), translated, "Who can show (literally, give) the man whowas not satisfied with the flesh (meat) provided by Job?" He never let a poor man leave his gatewithout giving him enough to eat.32. traveller—literally, "way," that is, wayfarers; so expressed to include all of every kind (2Sa12:4).33. Adam—translated by Umbreit, "as men do" (Ho 6:7, where see Margin). But English Versionis more natural. The very same word for "hiding" is used in Ge 3:8, 10, of Adam hiding himself782JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonfrom God. Job elsewhere alludes to the flood. So he might easily know of the fall, through the twolinks which connect Adam and Abraham (about Job's time), namely, Methuselah and Shem. Adamis representative of fallen man's propensity to concealment (Pr 28:13). It was from God that Jobdid not "hide his iniquity in his bosom," as on the contrary it was from God that "Adam" hid in hislurking-place. This disproves the translation, "as men"; for it is from their fellow men that "men"are chiefly anxious to hide their real character as guilty. Magee, to make the comparison with Adammore exact, for my "bosom" translates, "lurking-place."34. Rather, the apodosis to Job 31:33, "Then let me be fear-stricken before a great multitude,let the contempt, &c., let me keep silence (the greatest disgrace to a patriot, heretofore so prominentin assemblies), and not go out," &c. A just retribution that he who hides his sin from God, shouldhave it exposed before man (2Sa 12:12). But Job had not been so exposed, but on the contrary wasesteemed in the assemblies of the "tribes"—("families"); a proof, he implies, that God does nothold him guilty of hiding sin (Job 24:16, contrast with Job 29:21-25).35. Job returns to his wish (Job 13:22; 19:23). Omit "is"; "Behold my sign," that is, my markof subscription to the statements just given in my defense: the mark of signature was originally across; and hence the letter Tau or T. Translate, also "Oh, that the Almighty," &c. He marks "God"as the "One" meant in the first clause.adversary—that is, he who contends with me, refers also to God. The vagueness is designedto express "whoever it be that judicially opposes me"—the Almighty if it be He.had written a book—rather, "would write down his charge."36. So far from hiding the adversary's "answer" or "charge" through fear,I would take it on my shoulders—as a public honor (Isa 9:6).a crown—not a mark of shame, but of distinction (Isa 62:3).37. A good conscience imparts a princely dignity before man and free assurance in approachingGod. This can be realized, not in Job's way (Job 42:5, 6); but only through Jesus Christ (Heb 10:22).38. Personification. The complaints of the unjustly ousted proprietors are transferred to thelands themselves (Job 31:20; Ge 4:10; Hab 2:11). If I have unjustly acquired lands (Job 24:2; Isa5:8).furrows—The specification of these makes it likely, he implies in this, "If I paid not the laborerfor tillage"; as Job 31:39, "If I paid him not for gathering in the fruits." Thus of the four clauses inJob 31:38, 39, the first refers to the same subject as the fourth, the second is connected with thethird by introverted parallelism. Compare Jas 5:4, which plainly alludes to this passage: compare"Lord of Sabaoth" with Job 31:26 here.39. lose … life—not literally, but "harassed to death"; until he gave me up his land gratis [Maurer];as in Jud 16:16; "suffered him to languish" by taking away his means of living [Umbreit] (1Ki 21:19).40. thistles—or brambles, thorns.cockle—literally, "noxious weeds."The words … ended—that is, in the controversy with the friends. He spoke in the bookafterwards, but not to them. At Job 31:37 would be the regular conclusion in strict art. But Job31:38-40 are naturally added by one whose mind in agitation recurs to its sense of innocence, evenafter it has come to the usual stopping point; this takes away the appearance of rhetorical artifice.Hence the transposition by Eichorn of Job 31:38-40 to follow Job 31:25 is quite unwarranted.783JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonCHAPTER 32Job 32:1-37:24. Speech of Elihu.1-6. Prose (poetry begins with "I am young").because, &c.—and because they could not prove to him that he was unrighteous.2. Elihu—meaning "God is Jehovah." In his name and character as messenger between Godand Job, he foreshadows Jesus Christ (Job 33:23-26).Barachel—meaning "God blesses." Both names indicate the piety of the family and theirseparation from idolaters.Buzite—Buz was son of Nahor, brother of Abraham. Hence was named a region inArabia-Deserta (Jer 25:23).Ram—Aram, nephew of Buz. Job was probably of an older generation than Elihu. However,the identity of names does not necessarily prove the identity of persons. The particularity withwhich Elihu's descent is given, as contrasted with the others, led Lightfoot to infer Elihu was theauthor of the book. But the reason for particularity was, probably, that Elihu was less known thanthe three called "friends" of Job; and that it was right for the poet to mark especially him who wasmainly to solve the problem of the book.rather than God—that is, was more eager to vindicate himself than God. In Job 4:17, Jobdenies that man can be more just than God. Umbreit translates, "Before (in the presence of) God."3. Though silenced in argument, they held their opinion still.4. had spoken—Hebrew, "in words," referring rather to his own "words" of reply, which hehad long ago ready, but kept back in deference to the seniority of the friends who spoke.6. was afraid—The root meaning in Hebrew is "to crawl" (De 32:24).7. Days—that is, the aged (Job 15:10).8. Elihu claims inspiration, as a divinely commissioned messenger to Job (Job 33:6, 23); andthat claim is not contradicted in Job 42:4, 5. Translate: "But the spirit (which God puts) in man,and the inspiration … is that which giveth," &c.; it is not mere "years" which give understanding(Pr 2:6; Joh 20:22).9. Great—rather, "old" (Job 32:6). So Hebrew, in Ge 25:23. "Greater, less" for the older, theyounger.judgment—what is right.10. Rather, "I say."opinion—rather, "knowledge."11. Therefore Elihu was present from the first.reasons—literally, "understandings," that is, the meaning intended by words.whilst—I waited until you should discover a suitable reply to Job.13. This has been so ordered, "lest you should" pride yourselves on having overcome him byyour "wisdom" (Jer 9:23, the great aim of the Book of Job); and that you may see, "God alone canthrust him down," that is, confute him, "not man." So Elihu grounds his confutation, not on themaxims of sages, as the friends did, but on his special commission from God (Job 32:8; 33:4, 6).14. I am altogether unprejudiced. For it is not I, whom he addressed. "Your speeches" havebeen influenced by irritation.15. Here Elihu turns from the friends to Job: and so passes from the second person to the third;a transition frequent in a rebuke (Job 18:3, 4).they left off—Words were taken from them.784JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson17. my part—for my part.opinion—knowledge.18. "I am full of words," whereas the friends have not a word more to say.the spirit—(Job 32:8; 33:4; Jer 20:9; Ac 18:5).19. belly—bosom: from which the words of Orientalists in speaking seem to come more thanwith us; they speak gutturally. "Like (new) wine (in fermentation) without a vent," to work itselfoff. New wine is kept in new goatskin bottles. This fittingly applies to the young Elihu, as contrastedwith the old friends (Mt 9:7).20. refreshed—literally, "that there may be air to me" (1Sa 16:23).21. "May I never accept," &c. Elihu alludes to Job's words (Job 13:8, 10), wherein he complainsthat the friends plead for God partially, "accepting His person." Elihu says he will not do so, butwill act impartially between God and Job. "And I will not give flattery," &c. (Pr 24:23).22. take me away—as a punishment (Ps 102:24).CHAPTER 33Job 33:1-33. Address to Job, as (Job 32:1-22) TO THE Friends.2. mouth—rather, "palate," whereby the taste discerns. Every man speaks with his mouth, butfew, as Elihu, try their words with discrimination first, and only say what is really good (Job 6:30;12:11).hath spoken—rather, "proceeds to speak."3. I will speak according to my inward conviction.clearly—rather, "purely"; sincerely, not distorting the truth through passion, as the friends did.4. The Spirit of God hath made me—as He did thee: latter clause of Job 33:6 (Ge 2:7).Therefore thou needest not fear me, as thou wouldest God (Job 33:7; Job 9:34). On the other hand,"the breath of the Almighty hath inspired me" (as Job 32:8); not as English Version, "given melife"; therefore "I am according to thy wish (Job 9:32, 33) in God's stead" to thee; a "daysman,"umpire, or mediator, between God and thee. So Elihu was designed by the Holy Ghost to be a typeof Jesus Christ (Job 33:23-26).5. Images from a court of justice.stand up—alluding to Job's words (Job 30:20).6. (See on Job 33:4; Job 31:35; 13:3, 20, 21).formed—Though acting as God's representative, I am but a creature, like thyself. Arabic,"pressed together," as a mass of clay by the potter, in forming a vessel [Umbreit]. Hebrew, "cut off,"as the portion taken from the clay to form it [Maurer].7. hand—alluding to Job's words (Job 13:21).8. thy words—(Job 10:7; 16:17; 23:11, 12; 27:5, 6; 29:14). In Job 9:30; 13:23, Job hadacknowledged sin; but the general spirit of his words was to maintain himself to be "clean," andto charge God with injustice. He went too far on the opposite side in opposing the friends' falsecharge of hypocrisy. Even the godly, though willing to confess themselves sinners in general, oftendislike sin in particular to be brought as a charge against them. Affliction is therefore needed tobring them to feel that sin in them deserves even worse than they suffer and that God does them785JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonno injustice. Then at last humbled under God they find, affliction is for their real good, and so atlast it is taken away either here, or at least at death. To teach this is Elihu's mission.9. clean—spotless.10. occasions—for hostility; literally, "enmities" (Job 13:24; 16:9; 19:11; 30:21).11. (Job 13:27).marketh—narrowly watches (Job 14:16; 7:12; 31:4).12. in this—view of God and His government. It cannot be that God should jealously "watch"man, though "spotless," as an "enemy," or as one afraid of him as an equal. For "God is greaterthan man!" There must be sin in man, even though he be no hypocrite, which needs correction bysuffering for the sufferer's good.13. (Isa 45:9).his matters—ways. Our part is, not to "strive" with God, but to submit. To believe it is rightbecause He does it, not because we see all the reasons for His doing it.14. Translate, "Yet, man regardeth it not"; or rather, as Umbreit, "Yea, twice (He repeats thewarning)—if man gives no heed" to the first warning. Elihu implies that God's reason for sendingaffliction is because, when God has communicated His will in various ways, man in prosperity hasnot heeded it; God therefore must try what affliction will effect (Joh 15:2; Ps 62:11; Isa 28:10, 13).15. slumberings—light is opposed to "deep sleep." Elihu has in view Eliphaz (Job 4:13), andalso Job himself (Job 7:14). "Dreams" in sleep, and "visions" of actual apparitions, were amongthe ways whereby God then spake to man (Ge 20:3).16. Literally, "sealeth (their ears) to Himself by warnings," that is, with the sureness and secrecyof a seal He reveals His warnings [Umbreit]. To seal up securely (Job 37:7).17. purpose—Margin, "work." So Job 36:9. So "business" in a bad sense (1Sa 20:19). Elihualludes to Job's words (Job 17:11). "Pride," an open "pit" (Job 33:18) which God hides or coversup, lest man should fall into it. Even the godly need to learn the lesson which trials teach, to "humblethemselves under the mighty hand of God."18. his soul—his life.the pit—the grave; a symbol of hell.perishing by the sword—that is, a violent death; in the Old Testament a symbol of the futurepunishment of the ungodly.19. When man does not heed warnings of the night, he is chastened, &c. The new thoughtsuggested by Elihu is that affliction is disciplinary (Job 36:10); for the good of the godly.multitude—so the Margin, Hebrew (Keri). Better with the text (Chetib), "And with the perpetual(strong) contest of his bones"; the never-resting fever in his bones (Ps 38:3) [Umbreit].20. life—that is, the appetite, which ordinarily sustains "life" (Job 38:39; Ps 107:18; Ec 12:5).The taking away of desire for food by sickness symbolizes the removal by affliction of lust, forthings which foster the spiritual fever of pride.soul—desire.21. His flesh once prominent "can no more be seen." His bones once not seen now appearprominent.stick out—literally, "are bare." The Margin, Hebrew (Keri) reading. The text (Chetib) reads ita noun "(are become) bareness." The Keri was no doubt an explanatory reading of transcribers.22. destroyers—angels of death commissioned by God to end man's life (2Sa 24:16; Ps 78:49).The death pains personified may, however, be meant; so "gnawers" (see on Job 30:17).786JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson23. Elihu refers to himself as the divinely-sent (Job 32:8; 33:6) "messenger," the "interpreter"to explain to Job and vindicate God's righteousness; such a one Eliphaz had denied that Job couldlook for (Job 5:1), and Job (Job 9:33) had wished for such a "daysman" or umpire between himand God. The "messenger" of good is antithetical to the "destroyers" (Job 33:23).with him—if there be vouchsafed to the sufferer. The office of the interpreter is stated "to showunto man God's uprightness" in His dealings; or, as Umbreit, "man's upright course towards God"(Pr 14:2). The former is better; Job maintained his own "uprightness" (Job 16:17; 27:5, 6); Elihuon the contrary maintains God's, and that man's true uprightness lies in submission to God. "Oneamong a thousand" is a man rarely to be found. So Jesus Christ (So 5:10). Elihu, the God-sentmediator of a temporal deliverance, is a type of the God-man Jesus Christ the Mediator of eternaldeliverance: "the messenger of the covenant" (Mal 3:1). This is the wonderful work of the HolyGhost, that persons and events move in their own sphere in such a way as unconsciously to shadowforth Him, whose "testimony is the Spirit of prophecy"; as the same point may be center of a smalland of a vastly larger concentric circle.24. Apodosis to Job 33:23.he—God.Deliver—literally, "redeem"; in it and "ransom" there is reference to the consideration, onaccount of which God pardons and relieves the sufferers; here it is primarily the intercession ofElihu. But the language is too strong for its full meaning to be exhausted by this. The Holy Ghosthas suggested language which receives its full realization only in the "eternal redemption found"by God in the price paid by Jesus Christ for it; that is, His blood and meritorious intercession (Heb9:12). "Obtained," literally, "found"; implying the earnest zeal, wisdom, and faithfulness of thefinder, and the newness and joyousness of the finding. Jesus Christ could not but have found it, butstill His seeking it was needed [Bengel], (Lu 15:8). God the Father, is the Finder (Ps 89:19). JesusChrist the Redeemer, to whom He saith, Redeem (so Hebrew) him from going, &c. (2Co 5:19).ransom—used in a general sense by Elihu, but meant by the Holy Ghost in its strict sense asapplied to Jesus Christ, of a price paid for deliverance (Ex 21:30), an atonement (that is, means ofselling at once, that is, reconciling "two" who are estranged), a covering, as of the ark with pitch,typical of what covers us sinners from wrath (Ge 6:14; Ps 32:1). The pit is primarily here the grave(Isa 38:17), but the spiritual pit is mainly shadowed forth (Zec 9:11).25-28. Effects of restoration to God's favor; literally, to Job a temporal revival; spiritually, aneternal regeneration. The striking words cannot be restricted to their temporal meaning, as usedby Elihu (1Pe 1:11, 12).his flesh shall be fresher than a child's—so Naaman, 2Ki 5:14, spiritually, Joh 3:3-7.26. Job shall no longer pray to God, as he complains, in vain (Job 23:3, 8, 9). True especiallyto the redeemed in Jesus Christ (Joh 16:23-27).he—Job.shall see his face—or, God shall make Job to see His face [Maurer]. God shall no longer "hideHis face" (Job 13:24). True to the believer now (Joh 14:21, 22); eternally (Ps 17:15; Joh 17:24).his—God'srighteousness—God will again make the restored Job no longer ("I perverted … right," Job33:27) doubt God's justice, but to justify Him in His dealings. The penitent justifies God (Ps 51:4).So the believer is made to see God's righteousness in Jesus Christ (Isa 45:24; 46:13).787JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson27. he looketh—God. Rather, with Umbreit, "Now he (the restored penitent) singeth joyfully(answering to "joy," Job 33:26; Ps 51:12) before men, and saith," &c. (Pr 25:20; Ps 66:16; 116:14).perverted—made the straight crooked: as Job had misrepresented God's character.profited—literally, "was made even" to me; rather, "My punishment was not commensuratewith my sin" (so Zophar, Job 11:6); the reverse of what Job heretofore said (Job 16:17; Ps 103:10;Ezr 9:13).28. (See on Job 33:24); rather, as Hebrew text (English Version reads as the Margin, Hebrew,Keri, "his soul, his life"), "He hath delivered my soul … my life." Continuation of the penitent'stestimony to the people.light—(Job 33:30; Job 3:16, 20; Ps 56:13; Ec 11:7).29. Margin, "twice and thrice," alluding to Job 33:14; once, by visions, Job 33:15-17; secondly,by afflictions, Job 33:19-22; now, by the "messenger," thirdly, Job 33:23.30. Referring to Job 33:28 (Ps 50:13).32. justify—to do thee justice; and, if I can, consistently with it, to declare thee innocent. AtJob 33:33 Elihu pauses for a reply; then proceeds in Job 34:1.CHAPTER 34Job 34:1-37.1. answered—proceeded.2. This chapter is addressed also to the "friends" as the thirty-third chapter to Job alone.3. palate—(See on Job 12:11; Job 33:2).4. judgment—Let us select among the conflicting sentiments advanced, what will stand thetest of examination.5. judgment—my right. Job's own words (Job 13:18; 27:2).6. Were I to renounce my right (that is, confess myself guilty), I should die. Job virtually hadsaid so (Job 27:4, 5; 6:28). Maurer, not so well, "Notwithstanding my right (innocence) I am treatedas a liar," by God, by His afflicting wound—literally, "mine arrow," namely, by which I am pierced. So "my stroke" ("hand,"Job 23:2, Margin). My sickness (Job 6:4; 16:13).without transgression—without fault of mine to deserve it (Job 16:17).7. (Job 15:16). Image from the camel.scorning—against God (Job 15:4).8. Job virtually goes in company (makes common cause) with the wicked, by taking up theirsentiments (Job 9:22, 23, 30; 21:7-15), or at least by saying, that those who act on such sentimentsare unpunished (Mal 3:14). To deny God's righteous government because we do not see the reasonsof His acts, is virtually to take part with the ungodly.9. with God—in intimacy (Ps 50:18, Margin).10. The true answer to Job, which God follows up (Job 38:1-41). Man is to believe God's waysare right, because they are His, not because we fully see they are so (Ro 9:14; De 32:4; Ge 18:25).11. Partly here; fully, hereafter (Jer 32:19; Ro 2:6; 1Pe 1:17; Re 22:12).12. (Job 8:3). In opposition to Job, Job 34:5, will not—cannot.788JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson13. If the world were not God's property, as having been made by Him, but committed to Hischarge by some superior, it might be possible for Him to act unjustly, as He would not thereby beinjuring Himself; but as it is, for God to act unjustly would undermine the whole order of the world,and so would injure God's own property (Job 36:23).disposed—hath founded (Isa 44:7), established the circle of the globe.14, 15. "If He were to set His heart on man," either to injure him, or to take strict account ofhis sins. The connection supports rather [Umbreit], "If He had regard to himself (only), and were togather unto Himself (Ps 104:29) man's spirit, &c. (which he sends forth, Ps 104:30; Ec 12:7), allflesh must perish together," &c. (Ge 3:19). God's loving preservation of His creatures proves Hecannot be selfish, and therefore cannot be unjust.16. In Job 34:2, Elihu had spoken to all in general, now he calls Job's special attention.17. "Can even He who (in thy view) hateth right (justice) govern?" The government of theworld would be impossible if injustice were sanctioned. God must be just, because He governs(2Sa 23:3).govern—literally, "bind," namely, by authority (so "reign," 1Sa 9:17, Margin). Umbreit translatesfor "govern, repress wrath, namely, against Job for his accusations.most just—rather, "Him who is at once mighty and just" (in His government of the world).18. Literally, (Is it fit) to be said to a king? It would be a gross outrage to reproach thus anearthly monarch, much more the King of kings (Ex 22:28). But Maurer with the Septuagint andVulgate reads, (It is not fit to accuse of injustice Him) who says to a king, Thou art wicked; toprinces, Ye are ungodly; that is, who punishes impartially the great, as the small. This accords withJob 34:19.19. (Ac 10:34; 2Ch 19:7; Pr 22:2; Job 31:15).20. they—"the rich" and "princes" who offend God.the people—namely, of the guilty princes: guilty also midnight—image from a night attack of an enemy on a camp, which becomes an easy prey(Ex 12:29, 30).without hand—without visible agency, by the mere word of God (so Job 20:26; Zec 4:6; Da2:34).21. God's omniscience and omnipotence enable Him to execute immediate justice. He needsnot to be long on the "watch," as Job thought (Job 7:12; 2Ch 16:9; Jer 32:19).22. shadow of death—thick darkness (Am 9:2, 3; Ps 139:12).23. (1Co 10:13; La 3:32; Isa 27:8). Better, as Umbreit, "He does not (needs not to) regard (as inJob 34:14; Isa 41:20) man long (so Hebrew, Ge 46:29) in order that he may go (be brought by God)into judgment." Literally, "lest his (attention) upon men" (Job 11:10, 11). So Job 34:24, "withoutnumber" ought to be translated, "without [needing any] searching out," such as has to be made inhuman judgments.24. break in pieces—(Ps 2:9; Job 12:18; Da 2:21).25. Therefore—because He knows all things (Job 34:21). He knows their works, without aformal investigation (Job 34:24).in the night—suddenly, unexpectedly (Job 34:20). Fitly in the night, as it was in it that thegodless hid themselves (Job 34:22). Umbreit, less simply, for "overturneth," translates, "walketh";that is, God is ever on the alert, discovering all wickedness.26. He striketh them—chasteneth.789JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonas—that is, because they are wicked.sight of others—Sinners hid themselves in darkness; therefore they are punished before all, inopen day. Image from the place of public execution (Job 40:12; Ex 14:30; 2Sa 12:12).27, 28. The grounds of their punishment in Job 34:26. Job 34:28 states in what respect they"considered not God's ways," namely, by oppression, whereby "they caused the cry," &c.29. (Pr 16:7; Isa 26:3).make trouble—rather, "condemn" (Ro 8:33, 34). Maurer, from the reference being only to thegodless, in the next clause, and Job 34:20 translates, "When God keeps quiet" (leaves men to perish)Ps 83:1; [Umbreit] from the Arabic (strikes to the earth), "who shall condemn Him as unjust?" Job34:17.hideth … face—(Job 23:8, 9; Ps 13:1).it be done—Whether it be against a guilty nation (2Ki 18:9-12) or an individual, that God actsso.30. Ensnared—into sin (1Ki 12:28, 30). Or rather, "enthralled by further oppression," Job34:26-28.31. Job accordingly says so (Job 40:3-5; Mic 7:9; Le 26:41). It was to lead him to this that Elihuwas sent. Though no hypocrite, Job, like all, had sin; therefore through affliction he was to bebrought to humble himself under God. All sorrow is a proof of the common heritage of sin, in whichthe godly shares; and therefore he ought to regard it as a merciful correction. Umbreit and Maurer losethis by translating, as the Hebrew will bear, "Has any a right to say to God, I have borne chastisementand yet have not sinned?" (so Job 34:6).borne—namely, the penalty of sin, as in Le 5:1, 17.offend—literally, "to deal destructively or corruptly" (Ne 1:7).32. (Job 10:2; Ps 32:8; 19:12; 139:23, 24).no more—(Pr 28:13; Eph 4:22).33. Rather, "should God recompense (sinners) according to thy mind? Then it is for thee toreject and to choose, and not me" [Umbreit]; or as Maurer, "For thou hast rejected God's way ofrecompensing; state therefore thy way, for thou must choose, not I," that is, it is thy part, not mine,to show a better way than God's.34, 35. Rather, "men … will say to me, and the wise man (Job 34:2, 10) who hearkens to me(will say), 'Job hath spoken,'" &c.36. Margin, not so well, "My father," Elihu addressing God. This title does not elsewhere occurin Job.tried—by calamities.answers for wicked men—(See on Job 34:8). Trials of the godly are not removed until theyproduce the effect designed.37. clappeth … hands—in scorn (Job 27:23; Eze 21:17).multiplieth … words—(Job 11:2; 35:16). To his original "sin" to correct which trials havebeen sent, "he adds rebellion," that is, words arraigning God's justice.CHAPTER 35Job 35:1-16.790JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson2. more than—rather as in Job 9:2; 25:4: "I am righteous (literally, my righteousness is) beforeGod." The English Version, however, agrees with Job 9:17; 16:12-17; 27:2-6. Job 4:17 is susceptibleof either rendering. Elihu means Job said so, not in so many words, but virtually.3. Rather, explanatory of "this" in Job 35:2, "That thou sayest (to thyself, as if a distinct person)What advantage is it (thy integrity) to thee? What profit have I (by integrity) more than (I shouldhave) by my sin?" that is, more than if I had sinned (Job 34:9). Job had said that the wicked, whouse these very words, do not suffer for it (Job 21:13-15); whereby he virtually sanctioned theirsentiments. The same change of persons from oblique to direct address occurs (Job 19:28; 22:17).4. companions—those entertaining like sentiments with thee (Job 34:8, 36).5-8. Elihu like Eliphaz (Job 22:2, 3, 12) shows that God is too exalted in nature to be susceptibleof benefit or hurt from the righteousness or sin of men respectively; it is themselves that they benefitby righteousness, or hurt by sin.behold the clouds, which are higher than thou—spoken with irony. Not only are they higherthan thou, but thou canst not even reach them clearly with the eye. Yet these are not as high asGod's seat. God is therefore too exalted to be dependent on man. Therefore He has no inducementto injustice in His dealings with man. When He afflicts, it must be from a different motive; namely,the good of the sufferer.6. what doest—how canst thou affect Him?unto him—that can hurt Him? (Jer 7:19; Pr 8:36).7. (Ps 16:2; Pr 9:12; Lu 17:10).9. (Ec 4:1.) Elihu states in Job's words (Job 24. 12; 30. 20) the difficulty; the "cries" of "theoppressed" not being heard might lead man to think that wrongs are not punished by Him.10-13. But the reason is that the innocent sufferers often do not humbly seek God for succor;so to their "pride" is to be laid the blame of their ruin; also because (Job 35:13-16) they, as Job,instead of waiting God's time in pious trust, are prone to despair of His justice, when it is notimmediately visible (Job 33:19-26). If the sufferer would apply to God with a humbled, penitentspirit, He would hear.Where, &c.—(Jer 2:6, 8; Isa 51:13).songs—of joy at deliverance (Ps 42:8; 149:5; Ac 16:25).in the night—unexpectedly (Job 34:20, 25). Rather, "in calamity."11. Man's spirit, which distinguishes him from the brute, is the strongest proof of God'sbeneficence; by the use of it we may understand that God is the Almighty helper of all suffererswho humbly seek Him; and that they err who do not so seek Him.fowls—(see on Job 28:21).12. There—rather, "Then" (when none humbly casts himself on God, Job 35:10). They cryproudly against God, rather than humbly to God. So, as the design of affliction is to humble thesufferer, there can be no answer until "pride" gives place to humble, penitent prayer (Ps 10:4; Jer13:17).13. vanity—that is, cries uttered in an unhumbled spirit, Job 35:12, which applies in somedegree to Job's cries; still more to those of the wicked (Job 27:9; Pr 15:29).14. Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him—(as a temporal deliverer; for he did lookfor a Redeemer after death, Job 19:25-27; which passage cannot consistently with Elihu's assertionhere be interpreted of "seeing" a temporal "redeemer"), Job 7:7; 9:11; 23:3, 8, 9; yet, judgment …; therefore trust … But the Hebrew favors Maurer, "How much less (will God … regard, Job 35:13),791JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonsince thou sayest, that He does not regard thee." So in Job 4:19. Thus Elihu alludes to Job's words(Job 19:7; 30:20).judgment—that is, thy cause, thy right; as in Ps 9:16; Pr 31:5,—rather, "wait thou" on Him, patiently, until He take up thy cause (Ps 37:7).15. As it is, because Job waited not trustingly and patiently (Job 35:14; Nu 20:12; Zep 3:2; Mic7:9), God hath visited … ; yet still he has not taken (severe) cognizance of the great multitude(English Version wrongly, "extremity") of sins; therefore Job should not complain of being punishedwith undue severity (Job 7:20; 11:6). Maurer translates: "Because His anger hath not visited (hathnot immediately punished Job for his impious complaints), nor has He taken strict (great) cognizanceof his folly (sinful speeches); therefore," &c. For "folly," Umbreit translates with the Rabbins,"multitude." Gesenius reads with the Septuagint and Vulgate needlessly, "transgression."16. Apodosis to Job vain—rashly.CHAPTER 36Job 36:1-33.1, 2. Elihu maintains that afflictions are to the godly disciplinary, in order to lead them to attaina higher moral worth, and that the reason for their continuance is not, as the friends asserted, onaccount of the sufferer's extraordinary guilt, but because the discipline has not yet attained its object,namely, to lend him to humble himself penitently before God (Isa 9:13; Jer 5:3). This is Elihu'sfourth speech. He thus exceeds the ternary number of the others. Hence his formula of politeness(Job 36:2). Literally, "Wait yet but a little for me." Bear with me a little farther. I have yet (much,Job 32:18-20). There are Chaldeisms in this verse, agreeably to the view that the scene of the bookis near the Euphrates and the Chaldees.3. from afar—not trite commonplaces, but drawn from God's mighty works.ascribe righteousness—whereas Job ascribed unrighteousness (Job 34:10, 12). A man, inenquiring into God's ways, should at the outset presume they are all just, be willing to find themso, and expect that the result of investigation will prove them to be so; such a one will never bedisappointed [Barnes].4. I will not "speak wickedly for God," as the friends (Job 13:4, 7, 8)—that is, vindicate Godby unsound arguments.he that is perfect, &c.—Rather, as the parallelism requires, "a man of integrity in sentimentsis with thee" (is he with whom thou hast to do). Elihu means himself, as opposed to the dishonestreasonings of the friends (Job 21:34).5. Rather, "strength of understanding" (heart) the force of the repetition of "mighty"; as "mighty"as God is, none is too low to be "despised" by Him; for His "might" lies especially in "His strengthof understanding," whereby He searches out the most minute things, so as to give to each his right.Elihu confirms his exhortation (Job 35:14).6. right … poor—He espouses the cause of the afflicted.7. (1Pe 3:12). God does not forsake the godly, as Job implied, but "establishes," or makes themsit on the throne as kings (1Sa 2:8; Ps 113:7, 8). True of believers in the highest sense, already inpart (1Pe 2:9; Re 1:6); hereafter fully (Re 5:10; Job 22:5).792JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand they are—that they may be.8-10. If they be afflicted, it is no proof that they are hypocrites, as the friends maintain, or thatGod disregards them, and is indifferent whether men are good or bad, as Job asserts: God is thereby"disciplining them," and "showing them their sins," and if they bow in a right spirit under God'svisiting hand, the greatest blessings ensue.9. work—transgression.that … exceeded—"In that they behaved themselves mightily" (literally, "great"); that is,presumptuously, or, at least, self-confidently.10. (Job 33:16-18, 23).11. serve—that is, worship; as in Isa 19:23. God is to be supplied (compare Isa 1:19, 20).12. (Job 33:18).without knowledge—that is, on account of their foolishness (Job 4:20, 21).13-15. Same sentiment as Job 36:11, 12, expanded.hypocrites—or, the ungodly [Maurer]; but "hypocrites" is perhaps a distinct class from the openlywicked (Job 36:12).heap up wrath—of God against themselves (Ro 2:5). Umbreit translates, "nourish their wrathagainst God," instead of "crying" unto Him. This suits well the parallelism and the Hebrew. Butthe English Version gives a good parallelism, "hypocrites" answering to "cry not" (Job 27:8, 10);"heap up wrath" against themselves, to "He bindeth them" with fetters of affliction (Job 36:8).14. Rather (De 23:17), Their life is (ended) as that of (literally, "among") the unclean,prematurely and dishonorably. So the second clause answers to the first. A warning that Job makenot common cause with the wicked (Job 34:36).15. poor—the afflicted pious.openeth … ears—(Job 36:10); so as to be admonished in their straits ("oppression") to seekGod penitently, and so be "delivered" (Job 33:16, 17, 23-27).16. Rather, "He will lead forth thee also out of the jaws of a strait" (Ps 18:19; 118:5).broad place—expresses the liberty, and the well-supplied "table" the abundance of theprosperous (Ps 23:5; Isa 25:6).17. Rather, "But if thou art fulfilled (that is, entirely filled) with the judgment of the wicked(that is, the guilt incurring judgment" [Maurer]; or rather, as Umbreit, referring to Job 34:5-7, 36, thejudgment pronounced on God by the guilty in misfortunes), judgment (God's judgment on thewicked, Jer 51:9, playing on the double meaning of "judgment") and justice shall closely followeach other [Umbreit].18. (Nu 16:45; Ps 49:6, 7; Mt 16:26). Even the "ransom" by Jesus Christ (Job 33:24) will be ofno avail to wilful despisers (Heb 10:26-29).with his stroke—(Job 34:26). Umbreit translates, "Beware lest the wrath of God (thy severecalamity) lead thee to scorn" (Job 34:7; 27:23). This accords better with the verb in the parallelclause, which ought to be translated, "Let not the great ransom (of money, which thou canst give)seduce thee (Margin, turn thee aside, as if thou couldst deliver thyself from "wrath" by it). As the"scorn" in the first clause answers to the "judgment of the wicked" (Job 36:17), so "ransom"("seduce") to "will he esteem riches" (Job 36:19). Thus, Job 36:18 is the transition between Job36:17 and Job 36:19.19. forces of strength—that is, resources of wealth (Ps 49:7; Pr 11:4).20. Desire—pant for. Job had wished for death (Job 3:3-9, &c.).793JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonnight—(Joh 9:4).when—rather, "whereby."cut off—literally, "ascend," as the corn cut and lifted upon the wagon or stack (Job 36:26); so"cut off," "disappear."in their place—literally, "under themselves"; so, without moving from their place, on the spot,suddenly (Job 40:12) [Maurer]. Umbreit's translation: "To ascend (which is really, as thou wilt findto thy cost, to descend) to the people below" (literally, "under themselves"), answers better to theparallelism and the Hebrew. Thou pantest for death as desirable, but it is a "night" or region ofdarkness; thy fancied ascent (amelioration) will prove a descent (deterioration) (Job 10:22); thereforedesire it not.21. regard—literally, "turn thyself to."iniquity—namely, presumptuous speaking against God (Job 34:5, and above, see on Job 36:17,18).rather than—to bear "affliction" with pious patience. Men think it an alleviation to complainagainst God, but this is adding sin to sorrow; it is sin, not sorrow, which can really hurt us (contrastHeb 11:25).22-25. God is not to be impiously arraigned, but to be praised for His might, shown in Hisworks.exalteth—rather, doeth lofty things, shows His exalted power [Umbreit] (Ps 21:13).teacheth—(Ps 94:12, &c.). The connection is, returning to Job 36:5, God's "might" is shownin His "wisdom"; He alone can teach; yet, because He, as a sovereign, explains not all His dealings,forsooth Job must presume to teach Him (Isa 40:13, 14; Ro 11:34; 1Co 2:16). So the transition toJob 36:23 is natural. Umbreit with the Septuagint translates, "Who is Lord," wrongly, as this meaningbelongs to later Hebrew.23. Job dared to prescribe to God what He should do (Job 34:10, 13).24. Instead of arraigning, let it be thy fixed principle to magnify God in His works (Ps 111:2-8;Re 15:3); these, which all may "see," may convince us that what we do not see is altogether wiseand good (Ro 1:20).behold—As "see" (Job 36:25), shows; not, as Maurer, "sing," laud (see on Job 33:27).25. See—namely, with wondering admiration [Maurer].man may behold—rather, "(yet) mortals (a different Hebrew word from 'man') behold it (only)from afar off," see but a small "part" (Job 26:14).26. (Job 37:13). God's greatness in heaven and earth: a reason why Job should bow under Hisafflicting hand.know him not—only in part (Job 36:25; 1Co 13:12).his years—(Ps 90:2; 102:24, 27); applied to Jesus Christ (Heb 1:12).27, 28. The marvellous formation of rain (so Job 5:9, 10).maketh small—Rather, "He draweth (up) to Him, He attracts (from the earth below) the dropsof water; they (the drops of water) pour down rain, (which is) His vapor." "Vapor" is in appositionwith "rain," marking the way in which rain is formed; namely, from the vapor drawn up by Godinto the air and then condensed into drops, which fall (Ps 147:8). The suspension of such a massof water, and its descent not in a deluge, but in drops of vapory rain, are the marvel. The selectionof this particular illustration of God's greatness forms a fit prelude to the storm in which God appears(Job 40:1).794JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson28. abundantly—literally, "upon many men."29. (Job 37:5). God's marvels in thunder and lightnings.spreadings, &c.—the canopy of thick clouds, which covers the heavens in a storm (Ps 105:39).the noise—"crashing"; namely, thunder.of his tabernacle—God being poetically said to have His pavilion amid dark clouds (Ps 18:11;Isa 40:22).30. light——His tabernacle (Job 36:29). The light, in an instant spread over the vast mass of dark clouds,forms a striking picture.spread—is repeated from Job 36:29 to form an antithesis. "He spreads not only clouds, butlight."covereth the bottom—roots.of the sea—namely, with the light. In the storm the depths of ocean are laid bare; and the light"covers" them, at the same moment that it "spreads" across the dark sky. So in Ps 18:14, 15, thediscovering of "the channels of waters" follows the "lightnings." Umbreit translates: "He spreadethHis light upon Himself, and covereth Himself with the roots of the sea" (Ps 104:2). God's garmentis woven of celestial light and of the watery depths, raised to the sky to form His cloudy canopy.The phrase, "cover Himself with the roots of the sea," is harsh; but the image is grand.31. These (rain and lightnings) are marvellous and not to be understood (Job 36:29), yetnecessary. "For by them He judgeth (chastiseth on the one hand), &c. (and on the other, by them)He giveth meat" (food), &c. (Job 37:13; 38:23, 27; Ac 14:17).32. Rather, "He covereth (both) His hands with light (lightning, Job 37:3, Margin), and givethit a command against his adversary" (literally, the one "assailing" Him, Ps 8:2; 139:20; Job 21:19).Thus, as in Job 36:31, the twofold effects of His waters are set forth, so here, of His light; in theone hand, destructive lightning against the wicked; in the other, the genial light for good to Hisfriends, &c. (Job 36:33) [Umbreit].33. noise—rather, He revealeth it (literally, "announceth concerning it") to His friend (antithesisto adversary, Job 36:32, so the Hebrew is translated, Job 2:11); also to cattle and plants (literally,"that which shooteth up"; Ge 40:10; 41:22). As the genial effect of "water" in the growth of food,is mentioned, Job 36:31, so here that of "light" in cherishing cattle and plants [Umbreit]. If EnglishVersion, "noise" be retained, translate, "His noise (thunder) announces concerning Him (His comingin the tempest), the cattle (to announce) concerning Him when He is in the act of rising up" (in thestorm). Some animals give various intimations that they are sensible of the approach of a storm[Virgil, Georgics, I.373, &c.].CHAPTER 37Job 37:1-24.1. At this—when I hear the thundering of the Divine Majesty. Perhaps the storm already hadbegun, out of which God was to address Job (Job 38:1).2. Hear attentively—the thunder (noise), &c., and then you will feel that there is good reasonto tremble.sound—muttering of the thunder.795JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson3. directeth it—however zigzag the lightning's course; or, rather, it applies to the pealing rollof the thunder. God's all-embracing power.ends—literally, "wings," "skirts," the habitable earth being often compared to an extendedgarment (Job 38:13; Isa 11:12).4. The thunderclap follows at an interval after the flash.stay them—He will not hold back the lightnings (Job 37:3), when the thunder is heard [Maurer].Rather, take "them" as the usual concomitants of thunder, namely, rain and hail [Umbreit] (Job 40:9).5. (Job 36:26; Ps 65:6; 139:14). The sublimity of the description lies in this, that God iseverywhere in the storm, directing it whither He will [Barnes]. See Ps 29:1-11, where, as here, the"voice" of God is repeated with grand effect. The thunder in Arabia is sublimely terrible.6. Be—more forcible than "fall," as Umbreit translates Ge the small rain, &c.—He saith, Be on the earth. The shower increasing from "small" to"great," is expressed by the plural "showers" (Margin), following the singular "shower." Winterrain (So 2:11).7. In winter God stops man's out-of-doors activity.sealeth—closeth up (Job 9:7). Man's "hands" are then tied up.his work—in antithesis to man's own work ("hand") which at other times engages men so asto make them liable to forget their dependence on God. Umbreit more literally translates, That allmen whom He has made (literally, "of His making") may be brought to acknowledgment."8. remain—rest in their lairs. It is beautifully ordered that during the cold, when they couldnot obtain food, many lie torpid, a state wherein they need no food. The desolation of the fields, atGod's bidding, is poetically graphic.9. south—literally, "chambers"; connected with the south (Job 9:9). The whirlwinds arepoetically regarded as pent up by God in His southern chambers, whence He sends them forth (soJob 38:22; Ps 135:7). As to the southern whirlwinds (see Isa 21:1; Zec 9:14), they drive beforethem burning sands; chiefly from February to May.the north—literally, "scattering"; the north wind scatters the clouds.10. the breath of God—poetically, for the ice-producing north wind.frost—rather, "ice."straitened—physically accurate; frost compresses or contracts the expanded liquid into acongealed mass (Job 38:29, 30; Ps 147:17, 18).11-13. How the thunderclouds are dispersed, or else employed by God, either for correction watering—by loading it with water.wearieth—burdeneth it, so that it falls in rain; thus "wearieth" answers to the parallel "scattereth"(compare, see on Job 37:9); a clear sky resulting alike from both.bright cloud—literally, "cloud of his light," that is, of His lightning. Umbreit for "watering,"&c., translates; "Brightness drives away the clouds, His light scattereth the thick clouds"; theparallelism is thus good, but the Hebrew hardly sanctions it.12. it—the cloud of lightning.counsels—guidance (Ps 148:8); literally, "steering"; the clouds obey God's guidance, as theship does the helmsman. So the lightning (see on Job 36:31, 32); neither is haphazard in itsmovements.they—the clouds, implied in the collective singular "it."796JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonface of the world, &c.—in the face of the earth's circle.13. Literally, "He maketh it (the rain-cloud) find place," whether for correction, if (it be destined)for His land (that is, for the part inhabited by man, with whom God deals, as opposed to the partsuninhabited, on which rain is at other times appointed to fall, Job 38:26, 27) or for mercy. "If it bedestined for His land" is a parenthetical supposition [Maurer]. In English Version, this clause spoilsthe even balance of the antithesis between the "rod" (Margin) and "mercy" (Ps 68:9; Ge 7:1-24).14. (Ps 111:2).15. when—rather, "how."disposed them—lays His charge on these "wonders" (Job 37:14) to arise.light—lightning.shine—flash. How is it that light arises from the dark thundercloud?16. Hebrew, "Hast thou understanding of the balancings," &c., how the clouds are poised inthe air, so that their watery gravity does not bring them to the earth? The condensed moisture,descending by gravity, meets a warmer temperature, which dissipates it into vapor (the tendencyof which is to ascend) and so counteracts the descending force.perfect in knowledge—God; not here in the sense that Elihu uses it of himself (Job 36:4).dost thou know—how, &c.17. thy garments, &c.—that is, dost thou know how thy body grows warm, so as to affect thygarments with heat?south wind—literally, "region of the south." "When He maketh still (and sultry) the earth (thatis, the atmosphere) by (during) the south wind" (So 4:16).18. with him—like as He does (Job 40:15).spread out—given expanse to.strong pieces—firm; whence the term "firmament" ("expansion," Ge 1:6, Margin; Isa 44:24).molten looking glass—image of the bright smiling sky. Mirrors were then formed of moltenpolished metal, not glass.19. Men cannot explain God's wonders; we ought, therefore, to be dumb and not contend withGod. If Job thinks we ought, "let him teach us, what we shall say."order—frame.darkness—of mind; ignorance. "The eyes are bewilderingly blinded, when turned in boldcontroversy with God towards the sunny heavens" (Job 37:18) [Umbreit].20. What I a mortal say against God's dealings is not worthy of being told Him. In oppositionto Job's wish to "speak" before God (Job 13:3, 18-22).if … surely he shall be swallowed up—The parallelism more favors Umbreit, "Durst a manspeak (before Him, complaining) that he is (without cause) being destroyed?"21. cleanseth—that is, cleareth the air of clouds. When the "bright light" of the sun, previouslynot seen through "clouds," suddenly shines out from behind them, owing to the wind clearing themaway, the effect is dazzling to the eye; so if God's majesty, now hidden, were suddenly revealedin all its brightness, it would spread darkness over Job's eyes, anxious as he is for it (compare, seeon Job 37:19) [Umbreit]. It is because now man sees not the bright sunlight (God's dazzling majesty),owing to the intervening "clouds" (Job 26:9), that they dare to wish to "speak" before God (Job37:20). Prelude to God's appearance (Job 38:1). The words also hold true in a sense not intendedby Elihu, but perhaps included by the Holy Ghost. Job and other sufferers cannot see the light ofGod's countenance through the clouds of trial: but the wind will soon clear them off, and God shall797JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonappear again: let them but wait patiently, for He still shines, though for a time they see Him not(see on Job 37:23).22. Rather, "golden splendor." Maurer translates "gold." It is found in northern regions. But Godcannot be "found out," because of His "Majesty" (Job 37:23). Thus the twenty-eighth chaptercorresponds; English Version is simpler.the north—Brightness is chiefly associated with it (see on Job 23:9). Here, perhaps, becausethe north wind clears the air (Pr 25:23). Thus this clause answers to the last of Job 37:21; as thesecond of this verse to the first of Job 37:21. Inverted parallelism. (See Isa 14:13; Ps 48:2).with God—rather, "upon God," as a garment (Ps 104:1, 2).majesty—splendor.23. afflict—oppressively, so as to "pervert judgment" as Job implied (see on Job 8:3); but seeon Job 37:21, end of note. The reading, "He answereth not," that is, gives no account of His dealings,is like a transcriber's correction, from Job 33:13, Margin.24. do—rather, "ought."wise—in their own conceits.CHAPTER 38Job 38:1-41.1. Jehovah appears unexpectedly in a whirlwind (already gathering Job 37:1, 2), the symbol of"judgment" (Ps 50:3, 4, &c.), to which Job had challenged Him. He asks him now to get himselfready for the contest. Can he explain the phenomena of God's natural government? How can he,then, hope to understand the principles of His moral government? God thus confirms Elihu'ssentiment, that submission to, not reasonings on, God's ways is man's part. This and the disciplinarydesign of trial to the godly is the great lesson of this book. He does not solve the difficulty byreference to future retribution: for this was not the immediate question; glimpses of that truth werealready given in the fourteenth and nineteenth chapters, the full revelation of it being reserved forGospel times. Yet even now we need to learn the lesson taught by Elihu and God in Job.2. this—Job.counsel—impugning My divine wisdom in the providential arrangements of the universe. Such"words" (including those of the friends) rather obscure, than throw light on My ways. God is aboutto be Job's Vindicator, but must first bring him to a right state of mind for receiving relief.3. a man—hero, ready for battle (1Co 16:13), as he had wished (Job 9:35; 13:22; 31:37). Therobe, usually worn flowing, was girt up by a girdle when men ran, labored, or fought (1Pe 1:13).4. To understand the cause of things, man should have been present at their origin. The finitecreature cannot fathom the infinite wisdom of the Creator (Job 28:12; 15:7, 8).hast—"knowest."understanding—(Pr 4:1).5. measures—of its proportions. Image from an architect's plans of a building.line—of measurement (Isa 28:17). The earth is formed on an all-wise plan.6. foundations—not "sockets," as Margin.fastened—literally, "made to sink," as a foundation-stone let down till it settles firmly in theclay (Job 26:7). Gravitation makes and keeps the earth a sphere.798JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson7. So at the founding of Zerubbabel's temple (Ezr 3:10-13). So hereafter at the completion ofthe Church, the temple of the Holy Ghost (Zec 4:7); as at its foundation (Lu 2:13, 14).morning stars—especially beautiful. The creation morn is appropriately associated with these,it being the commencement of this world's day. The stars are figuratively said to sing God's praises,as in Ps 19:1; 148:3. They are symbols of the angels, bearing the same relation to our earth, asangels do to us. Therefore they answer to "sons of God," or angels, in the parallel. See on Job 25:5.8. doors—floodgates; these when opened caused the flood (Ge 8:2); or else, the shores.womb—of chaos. The bowels of the earth. Image from childbirth (Job 38:8, 9; Eze 32:2; Mic4:10). Ocean at its birth was wrapped in clouds as its swaddling bands.10. brake up for—that is, appointed it. Shores are generally broken and abrupt cliffs. TheGreek for "shore" means "a broken place." I broke off or measured off for it my limit, that is, thelimit which I thought fit (Job 26:10).11. stayed—Hebrew, "a limit shall be set to."12-15. Passing from creation to phenomena in the existing inanimate world.Hast thou—as God daily does.commanded the morning—to rise.since thy days—since thou hast come into being.his place—It varies in its place of rising from day to day, and yet it has its place each dayaccording to fixed laws.13. take hold of the ends, &c.—spread itself over the earth to its utmost bounds in a moment.wicked—who hate the light, and do their evil works in the dark (Job 24:13).shaken out of it—The corners (Hebrew, "wings" or "skirts") of it, as of a garment, are takenhold of by the dayspring, so as to shake off the wicked.14. Explaining the first clause of Job 38:13, as Job 38:15 does the second clause. As the plasticclay presents the various figures impressed on it by a seal, so the earth, which in the dark was voidof all form, when illuminated by the dayspring, presents a variety of forms, hills, valleys, &c.turned—(Hebrew, "turns itself") alludes to the rolling cylinder seal, such as is found in Babylon,which leaves its impressions on the clay, as it is turned about; so the morning light rolling on overthe earth.they stand—The forms of beauty, unfolded by the dawn, stand forth as a garment, in whichthe earth is clad.15. their light—by which they work; namely, darkness, which is their day (Job 24:17), isextinguished by daylight.high—Rather, "The arm uplifted" for murder or other crime is broken; it falls down suddenly,powerless, through their fear of light.16. springs—fountains beneath the sea (Ps 95:4, 5).search—Rather, "the inmost recesses"; literally, "that which is only found by searching," thedeep caverns of ocean.17. seen—The second clause heightens the thought in the first. Man during life does not even"see" the gates of the realm of the dead ("death," Job 10:21); much less are they "opened" to him.But those are "naked before God" (Job 26:6).18. Hast thou—as God doth (Job 28:24).799JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson19-38. The marvels in heaven. "What is the way (to the place wherein) light dwelleth?" Theorigin of light and darkness. In Ge 1:3-5, 14-18, "light" is created distinct from, and previous to,light-emitting bodies, the luminaries of heaven.20. Dost thou know its place so well as to be able to guide, ("take" as in Isa 36:17) it to (butUmbreit, "reach it in") its own boundary, that is, the limit between light and darkness (Job 26:10)?21. Or without the interrogation, in an ironical sense [Umbreit].then—when I created light and darkness (Job 15:7).22. treasures—storehouses, from which God draws forth snow and hail. Snow is vaporcongealed in the air before it is collected in drops large enough to form hail. Its shape is that of acrystal in endless variety of beautiful figures. Hail is formed by rain falling through dry cold air.23. against the time of trouble—the time when I design to chastise men (Ex 9:18; Jos 10:11;Re 16:21; Isa 28:17; Ps 18:12, 13; Hag 2:17).24. is … parted—parts, so as to diffuse itself over the whole earth, though seeming to comefrom one point. Light travels from the sun to the earth, ninety millions of miles, in eight minutes.which scattereth—rather, "And by what way the east wind (personified) spreads (scattereth)itself." The light and east wind are associated together, as both come from one quarter, and oftenarise together (Jon 4:8).25. waters—Rain falls, not in a mass on one spot, but in countless separate canals in the airmarked out for them.way for the lightning—(Job 28:26).26. Since rain fails also on places uninhabited by man, it cannot be that man guides its course.Such rain, though man cannot explain the reason for it, is not lost. God has some wise design in it.27. As though the desolate ground thirsted for God's showers. Personification. The beautyimparted to the uninhabited desert pleases God, for whom primarily all things exist, and He hasulterior designs in it.28. Can any visible origin of rain and dew be assigned by man? Dew is moisture, which wassuspended in the air, but becomes condensed on reaching the—in the night—lower temperature ofobjects on the earth.29. Job 37:10.30. The unfrozen waters are hid under the frozen, as with a covering of stone.frozen—literally, "is taken"; the particles take hold of one another so as to cohere.31. sweet influences—the joy diffused by spring, the time when the Pleiades appear. TheEastern poets, Hafiz, Sadi, &c., describe them as "brilliant rosettes." Gesenius translates: "bands" or"knot," which answers better the parallelism. But English Version agrees better with the Hebrew.The seven stars are closely "bound" together (see on Job 9:9). "Canst thou bind or loose the tie?""Canst thou loose the bonds by which the constellation Orion (represented in the East as an impiousgiant chained to the sky) is held fast?" (See on Job 9:9).32. Canst thou bring forth from their places or houses (Mazzaloth, 2Ki 23:5, Margin; to whichMazzaroth here is equivalent) into the sky the signs of the Zodiac at their respective seasons—thetwelve lodgings in which the sun successively stays, or appears, in the sky?Arcturus—Ursa Major.his sons?—the three stars in his tail. Canst thou make them appear in the sky? (Job 9:9). Thegreat and less Bear are called by the Arabs "Daughters of the Bier," the quadrangle being the bier,the three others the mourners.800JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson33. ordinances—which regulate the alternations of seasons, &c. (Ge 8:22).dominion—controlling influence of the heavenly bodies, the sun, moon, &c., on the earth (onthe tides, weather) (Ge 1:16; Ps 136:7-9).34. Jer 14:22; above Job 22:11, metaphorically.35. Here we are—at thy disposal (Isa 6:8).36. inward parts … heart—But "dark clouds" ("shining phenomena") [Umbreit]; "meteor"[Maurer], referring to the consultation of these as signs of weather by the husbandman (Ec 11:4).But Hebrew supports English Version. The connection is, "Who hath given thee the intelligenceto comprehend in any degree the phenomena just specified?"heart—not the usual Hebrew word, but one from a root "to view"; perception.37. Who appoints by his wisdom the due measure of the clouds?stay—rather, "empty"; literally, "lay down" or "incline" so as to pour out.bottles of heaven—rain-filled clouds.38. groweth, &c.—rather, pour itself into a mass by the rain, like molten metal; then translateJob 38:38, "Who is it that empties," &c., "when," &c.? The English Version, however, is tenable:"Is caked into a mass" by heat, like molten metal, before the rain falls; "Who is it that can emptythe rain vessels, and bring down rain at such a time?" (Job 38:38).39. At Job 38:39-39:30, the instincts of animals. Is it thou that givest it the instinct to hunt itsprey? (Ps 104:21).appetite—literally, "life," which depends on the appetite" (Job 33:20).40. lie in wait?—for their prey (Ps 10:9).41. Lu 12:24. Transition from the noble lioness to the croaking raven. Though man dislikes it,as of ill omen, God cares for it, as for all His creatures.CHAPTER 39Job 39:1-30.1. Even wild beasts, cut off from all care of man, are cared for by God at their seasons of greatestneed. Their instinct comes direct from God and guides them to help themselves in parturition; thevery time when the herdsman is most anxious for his herds.wild goats—ibex (Ps 104:18; 1Sa 24:2).hinds—fawns; most timid and defenseless animals, yet cared for by God.2. They bring forth with ease and do not need to reckon the months of pregnancy, as the shepherddoes in the case of his flocks.3. bow themselves—in parturition; bend on their knees (1Sa 4:19).bring forth—literally, "cause their young to cleave the womb and break forth."sorrows—their young ones, the cause of their momentary pains.4. are in good liking—in good condition, grow up strong.with corn—rather, "in the field," without man's care.return not—being able to provide for themselves.5. wild ass—Two different Hebrew words are here used for the same animal, "the ass of thewoods" and "the wild ass." (See on Job 6:5; Job 11:12; Job 24:5; and Jer 2:24).801JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonloosed the bands—given its liberty to. Man can rob animals of freedom, but not, as God, givefreedom, combined with subordination to fixed laws.6. barren—literally, "salt," that is, unfruitful. (So Ps 107:34, Margin.)7. multitude—rather, "din"; he sets it at defiance, being far away from it in the freedom of thewilderness.driver—who urges on the tame ass to work. The wild ass is the symbol of uncontrolled freedomin the East; even kings have, therefore, added its name to them.8. The range—literally, "searching," "that which it finds by searching is his pasture."9. unicorn—Pliny [Natural History, 8.21], mentions such an animal; its figure is found depictedin the ruins of Persepolis. The Hebrew reem conveys the idea of loftiness and power (compareRamah; Indian, Ram; Latin, Roma). The rhinoceros was perhaps the original type of the unicorn.The Arab rim is a two-horned animal. Sometimes "unicorn" or reem is a mere poetical symbol orabstraction; but the buffalo is the animal referred to here, from the contrast to the tame ox, used inploughing (Job 39:10, 12).abide—literally, "pass the night."crib—(Isa 1:3).10. his band—fastened to the horns, as its chief strength lies in the head and shoulders.after thee—obedient to thee; willing to follow, instead of being goaded on before thee.11. thy labour—rustic work.12. believe—trust.seed—produce (1Sa 8:15).into thy barn—rather, "gather (the contents of) thy threshing-floor" [Maurer]; the corn threshedon it.13. Rather, "the wing of the ostrich hen"—literally, "the crying bird"; as the Arab name for itmeans "song"; referring to its night cries (Job 30:29; Mic 1:8) vibrating joyously. "Is it not like thequill and feathers of the pious bird" (the stork)? [Umbreit]. The vibrating, quivering wing, servingfor sail and oar at once, is characteristic of the ostrich in full course. Its white and black feathersin the wing and tail are like the stork's. But, unlike that bird, the symbol of parental love in the East,it with seeming want of natural (pious) affection deserts its young. Both birds are poetically calledby descriptive, instead of their usual appellative, names.14, 15. Yet (unlike the stork) she "leaveth," &c. Hence called by the Arabs "the impious bird."However, the fact is, she lays her eggs with great care and hatches them, as other birds do; but inhot countries the eggs do not need so constant incubation; she therefore often leaves them andsometimes forgets the place on her return. Moreover, the outer eggs, intended for food, she feedsto her young; these eggs, lying separate in the sand, exposed to the sun, gave rise to the idea of heraltogether leaving them. God describes her as she seems to man; implying, though she may seemfoolishly to neglect her young, yet really she is guided by a sure instinct from God, as much asanimals of instincts widely different.16. On a slight noise she often forsakes her eggs, and returns not, as if she were "hardenedtowards her young."her labour—in producing eggs, is in vain, (yet) she has not disquietude (about her young),unlike other birds, who, if one egg and another are taken away, will go on laying till their fullnumber is made up.802JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson17. wisdom—such as God gives to other animals, and to man (Job 35:11). The Arab proverbis, "foolish as an ostrich." Yet her very seeming want of wisdom is not without wise design of God,though man cannot see it; just as in the trials of the godly, which seem so unreasonable to Job, therelies hid a wise design.18. Notwithstanding her deficiencies, she has distinguishing excellences.lifteth … herself—for running; she cannot mount in the air. Gesenius translates: "lashes herself"up to her course by flapping her wings. The old versions favor English Version, and the parallel"scorneth" answers to her proudly "lifting up herself."19. The allusion to "the horse" (Job 39:18), suggests the description of him. Arab poets delightin praising the horse; yet it is not mentioned in the possessions of Job (Job 1:3; 42:12). It seems tohave been at the time chiefly used for war, rather than "domestic purposes."thunder—poetically for, "he with arched neck inspires fear as thunder does." Translate,"majesty" [Umbreit]. Rather "the trembling, quivering mane," answering to the "vibrating wing" ofthe ostrich (see on Job 39:13) [Maurer]. "Mane" in Greek also is from a root meaning "fear." EnglishVersion is more sublime.20. make … afraid—rather, "canst thou (as I do) make him spring as the locust?" So in Joe2:4, the comparison is between locusts and war-horses. The heads of the two are so similar thatthe Italians call the locusts cavaletta, "little horse."nostrils—snorting furiously.21. valley—where the battle is joined.goeth on—goeth forth (Nu 1:3; 21:23).23. quiver—for the arrows, which they contain, and which are directed "against him."glittering spear—literally, "glittering of the spear," like "lightning of the spear" (Hab 3:11).shield—rather, "lance."24. swalloweth—Fretting with impatience, he draws the ground towards him with his hoof, asif he would swallow it. The parallelism shows this to be the sense; not as Maurer, "scours over it."neither believeth—for joy. Rather, "he will not stand still, when the note of the trumpet(soundeth)."25. saith—poetically applied to his mettlesome neighing, whereby he shows his love of thebattle.smelleth—snuffeth; discerneth (Isa 11:3, Margin).thunder—thundering voice.26. The instinct by which some birds migrate to warmer climes before winter. Rapid flyingpeculiarly characterizes the whole hawk genus.27. eagle—It flies highest of all birds: thence called "the bird of heaven."28. abideth—securely (Ps 91:1); it occupies the same abode mostly for life.crag—literally, "tooth" (1Sa 14:5, Margin).strong place—citadel, fastness.29. seeketh—is on the lookout for.behold—The eagle descries its prey at an astonishing distance, by sight, rather than smell.30. Quoted partly by Jesus Christ (Mt 24:28). The food of young eagles is the blood of victimsbrought by the parent, when they are still too feeble to devour flesh.slain—As the vulture chiefly feeds on carcasses, it is included probably in the eagle genus.803JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonCHAPTER 40Job 40:1-24. God's Second Address.He had paused for a reply, but Job was silent.1. the Lord—Hebrew, "Jehovah."2. he that contendeth—as Job had so often expressed a wish to do. Or, rebuketh. Does Jobnow still (after seeing and hearing of God's majesty and wisdom) wish to set God right?answer it—namely, the questions I have asked.3. Lord—Jehovah.4. I am (too) vile (to reply). It is a very different thing to vindicate ourselves before God, fromwhat it is before men. Job could do the latter, not the former.lay … hand … upon … mouth—I have no plea to offer (Job 21:5; Jud 18:19).5. Once … twice—oftentimes, more than once (Job 33:14, compare with Job 33:29; Ps 62:11):I have spoken—namely, against God.not answer—not plead against Thee.6. the Lord—Jehovah.7. (See on Job 38:3). Since Job has not only spoken against God, but accused Him of injustice,God challenges him to try, could he govern the world, as God by His power doth, and punish theproud and wicked (Job 40:7-14).8. Wilt thou not only contend with, but set aside My judgment or justice in the government ofthe world?condemn—declare Me unrighteous, in order that thou mayest be accounted righteous (innocent;undeservingly afflicted).9. arm—God's omnipotence (Isa 53:1).thunder—God's voice (Job 37:4).10. See, hast thou power and majesty like God's, to enable thee to judge and govern the world?11. rage—rather, pour out the redundant floods of, &c.behold—Try, canst thou, as God, by a mere glance abase the proud (Isa 2:12, &c.)?12. proud—high (Da 4:37).in their place—on the spot; suddenly, before they can move from their place. (See on Job34:26; Job 36:20).13. (Isa 2:10). Abase and remove them out of the sight of men.bind … faces—that is, shut up their persons [Maurer]. But it refers rather to the custom of bindinga cloth over the faces of persons about to be executed (Job 9:24; Es 7:8).in secret—consign them to darkness.14. confess—rather, "extol"; "I also," who now censure thee. But since thou canst not do theseworks, thou must, instead of censuring, extol My government.thine own … hand … save—(Ps 44:3). So as to eternal salvation by Jesus Christ (Isa 59:16;63:5).15-24. God shows that if Job cannot bring under control the lower animals (of which he selectsthe two most striking, behemoth on land, leviathan in the water), much less is he capable of governingthe world.behemoth—The description in part agrees with the hippopotamus, in part with the elephant,but exactly in all details with neither. It is rather a poetical personification of the great Pachydermata,or Herbivora (so "he eateth grass"), the idea of the hippopotamus being predominant. In Job 40:17,804JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson"the tail like a cedar," hardly applies to the latter (so also Job 40:20, 23, "Jordan," a river whichelephants alone could reach, but see on Job 40:23). On the other hand, Job 40:21, 22 are characteristicof the amphibious river horse. So leviathan (the twisting animal), Job 41:1, is a generalized termfor cetacea, pythons, saurians of the neighboring seas and rivers, including the crocodile, which isthe most prominent, and is often associated with the river horse by old writers. "Behemoth" seemsto be the Egyptian Pehemout, "water-ox," Hebraized, so-called as being like an ox, whence theItalian bombarino.with thee—as I made thyself. Yet how great the difference! The manifold wisdom and powerof God!he eateth grass—marvellous in an animal living so much in the water; also strange, that sucha monster should not be carnivorous.16. navel—rather, "muscles" of his belly; the weakest point of the elephant, therefore it is notmeant.17. like a cedar—As the tempest bends the cedar, so it can move its smooth thick tail [Umbreit].But the cedar implies straightness and length, such as do not apply to the river horse's short tail,but perhaps to an extinct species of animal (see on Job 40:15).stones—rather, "thighs."wrapped—firmly twisted together, like a thick rope.18. strong—rather, "tubes" of copper [Umbreit].19. Chief of the works of God; so "ways" (Job 26:14; Pr 8:22).can make his sword to approach—rather, "has furnished him with his sword" (harpe), namely,the sickle-like teeth with which he cuts down grain. English Version, however, is literally right.20. The mountain is not his usual haunt. Bochart says it is sometimes found there (?).beasts … play—a graphic trait: though armed with such teeth, he lets the beasts play near himunhurt, for his food is grass.21. lieth—He leads an inactive life.shady trees—rather, "lotus bushes"; as Job 40:22 requires.22. shady trees—Translate: "lotus bushes."23. Rather, "(Though) a river be violent (overflow), he trembleth not"; (for though living onland, he can live in the water, too); he is secure, though a Jordan swell up to his mouth. "Jordan"is used for any great river (consonant with the "behemoth"), being a poetical generalization (seeon Job 40:15). The author cannot have been a Hebrew as Umbreit asserts, or he would not adducethe Jordan, where there were no river horses. He alludes to it as a name for any river, but not asone known to him, except by hearsay.24. Rather, "Will any take him by open force" (literally, "before his eyes"), "or pierce his nosewith cords?" No; he can only be taken by guile, and in a pitfall (Job 41:1, 2).CHAPTER 41Job 41:1-34.1. leviathan—literally, "the twisted animal," gathering itself in folds: a synonym to the Thannin(Job 3:8, Margin; see Ps 74:14; type of the Egyptian tyrant; Ps 104:26; Isa 27:1; the Babylon tyrant).A poetical generalization for all cetacean, serpentine, and saurian monsters (see on Job 40:15, hence805JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonall the description applies to no one animal); especially the crocodile; which is naturally describedafter the river horse, as both are found in the Nile.tongue … lettest down?—The crocodile has no tongue, or a very small one cleaving to thelower jaw. But as in fishing the tongue of the fish draws the baited hook to it, God asks, Canst thouin like manner take leviathan?2. hook—rather, "a rope of rushes."thorn—rather, a "ring" or "hook." So wild beasts were led about when caught (Isa 37:29; Eze29:4); fishes also were secured thus and thrown into the water to keep them alive.3. soft words—that thou mayest spare his life. No: he is untamable.4. Can he be tamed for domestic use (so Job 39:10-12)?5. a bird?—that is, tamed.6. Rather, "partners" (namely, in fishing).make a banquet—The parallelism rather supports Umbreit, "Do partners (in trade) desire topurchase him?" So the Hebrew (De 2:6).merchants—literally, "Canaanites," who were great merchants (Ho 12:7, Margin).7. His hide is not penetrable, as that of fishes.8. If thou lay … thou wilt have reason ever to remember … and thou wilt never try it again.9. the hope—of taking him.cast down—with fear "at the (mere) sight of him."10. fierce—courageous. If a man dare attack one of My creatures (Ge 49:9; Nu 24:9), who willdare (as Job has wished) oppose himself (Ps 2:2) to Me, the Creator? This is the main drift of thedescription of leviathan.11. prevented—done Me a favor first: anticipated Me with service (Ps 21:3). None can callMe to account ("stand before Me," Job 41:10) as unjust, because I have withdrawn favors fromhim (as in Job's case): for none has laid Me under a prior obligation by conferring on Me somethingwhich was not already My own. What can man give to Him who possesses all, including manhimself? Man cannot constrain the creature to be his "servant" (Job 41:4), much less the Creator.12. I will not conceal—a resumption of the description broken off by the digression, whichformed an agreeable change.his power—literally, "the way," that is, true proportion or expression of his strength (so Hebrew,De 19:4).comely proportion—literally, "the comeliness of his structure" (his apparatus: so "suit ofapparel" Jud 17:10) [Maurer]. Umbreit translates, "his armor." But that follows after.13. discover—rather, "uncover the surface" of his garment (skin, Job 10:11): strip off the hardouter coat with which the inner skin is covered.with—rather, "within his double jaws"; literally, "bridle"; hence that into which the bridle isput, the double row of teeth; but "bridle" is used to imply that none dare put his hand in to insert abridle where in other animals it is placed (Job 41:4; 39:10).14. doors of … face—his mouth. His teeth are sixty in number, larger in proportion than hisbody, some standing out, some serrated, fitting into each other like a comb [Bochart].15. Rather, his "furrows of shields" (as "tubes," "channels," see on Job 40:18), are, &c., thatis, the rows of scales, like shields covering him: he has seventeen such rows.shut up—firmly closed together. A musket ball cannot penetrate him, save in the eye, throat,and belly.806JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson18. Translate: "his sneezing, causeth a light to shine." Amphibious animals, emerging afterhaving long held their breath under water, respire by violently expelling the breath like one sneezing:in the effort the eyes which are usually directed towards the sun, seem to flash fire; or it is theexpelled breath that, in the sun, seems to emit light.eyelids of morning—The Egyptian hieroglyphics paint the eyes of the crocodile as the symbolfor morning, because the eyes appear the first thing, before the whole body emerges from the deep[Horæ Hierogliphicæ 1.65. Bochart].19. burning lamps—"torches"; namely, in respiring (Job 41:18), seem to go out.20. seething—boiling: literally, "blown under," under which a fire is blown.21. kindleth coals—poetical imagery (Ps 18:8).22. remaineth—abideth permanently. His chief strength is in the neck.sorrow—anxiety or dismay turned into joy—rather, "danceth," "exulteth"; wherever he goes, he spreads terror "beforehim."23. flakes—rather, "dewlaps"; that which falls down (Margin). They are "joined" fast and firm,together, not hanging loose, as in the ox.are firm—Umbreit and Maurer, "are spread."in themselves—rather, "upon him."24. heart—"In large beasts which are less acute in feeling, there is great firmness of the heart,and slower motion" [Bochart]. The nether millstone, on which the upper turns, is especially hard.25. he—the crocodile; a type of the awe which the Creator inspires when He rises in wrath.breakings—namely, of the mind, that is, terror.purify themselves—rather, "they wander from the way," that is, flee away bewildered [Maurerand Umbreit].26. cannot hold—on his hard skin.habergeon—coat of mail; avail must be taken by zeugma out of "hold," as the verb in thesecond clause: "hold" cannot apply to the "coat of mail."27. iron … brass—namely, weapons.28. arrow—literally, "son of the bow"; Oriental imagery (La 3:13; Margin).stubble—Arrows produce no more effect than it would to throw stubble at him.29. Darts—rather, "clubs"; darts have been already mentioned (Job 41:26).30. stones—rather, "potsherds," that is, the sharp and pointed scales on the belly, like brokenpieces of things—rather, "a threshing instrument," but not on the fruits of the earth, but"on the mire"; irony. When he lies on the mire, he leaves the marks of his scales so imprinted onit, that one might fancy a threshing instrument with its sharp teeth had been drawn over it (Isa28:27).31. Whenever he moves.sea—the Nile (Isa 19:5; Na 3:8).pot of ointment—the vessel in which it is mixed. Appropriate to the crocodile, which emits amusky smell.32. path—the foam on his track.hoary—as hair of the aged.33. who—being one who, &c.807JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson34. beholdeth—as their superior.children of pride—the proud and fierce beasts. So Job 28:8; Hebrew, "sons of pride." Tohumble the pride of man and to teach implicit submission, is the aim of Jehovah's speech and ofthe book; therefore with this as to leviathan, the type of God in His lordship over creation, Hecloses.CHAPTER 42Job 42:1-6. Job's Penitent Reply.2. In the first clause he owns God to be omnipotent over nature, as contrasted with his ownfeebleness, which God had proved (Job 40:15; 41:34); in the second, that God is supremely just(which, in order to be governor of the world, He must needs be) in all His dealings, as contrastedwith his own vileness (Job 42:6), and incompetence to deal with the wicked as a just judge (Job40:8-14).thought—"purpose," as in Job 17:11; but it is usually applied to evil devices (Job 21:27; Ps10:2): the ambiguous word is designedly chosen to express that, while to Job's finite view, God'splans seem bad, to the All-wise One they continue unhindered in their development, and will atlast be seen to be as good as they are infinitely wise. No evil can emanate from the Parent of good(Jas 1:13, 17); but it is His prerogative to overrule evil to good.3. I am the man! Job in God's own words (Job 38:2) expresses his deep and humble penitence.God's word concerning our guilt should be engraven on our hearts and form the groundwork of ourconfession. Most men in confessing sin palliate rather than confess. Job in omitting "by words"(Job 38:2), goes even further than God's accusation. Not merely my words, but my whole thoughtsand ways were "without knowledge."too wonderful—I rashly denied that Thou hast any fixed plan in governing human affairs,merely because Thy plan was "too wonderful" for my comprehension.4. When I said, "Hear," &c., Job's demand (Job 13:22) convicted him of being "withoutknowledge." God alone could speak thus to Job, not Job to God: therefore he quotes again God'swords as the groundwork of retracting his own foolish words.5. hearing of the ear—(Ps 18:44, Margin). Hearing and seeing are often in antithesis (Job29:11; Ps 18:8).seeth—not God's face (Ex 33:20), but His presence in the veil of a dark cloud (Job 38:1). Jobimplies also that, besides this literal seeing, he now saw spiritually what he had indistinctly takenon hearsay before God's infinite wisdom. He "now" proves this; he had seen in a literal sense before,at the beginning of God's speech, but he had not seen spiritually till "now" at its close.6. myself—rather "I abhor," and retract the rash speeches I made against thee (Job 42:3, 4)[Umbreit].Job 42:7-17. Epilogue, in prose.7. to Eliphaz—because he was the foremost of the three friends; their speeches were but theecho of his.right—literally, "well-grounded," sure and true. Their spirit towards Job was unkindly, and tojustify themselves in their unkindliness they used false arguments (Job 13:7); (namely, that calamities808JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonalways prove peculiar guilt); therefore, though it was "for God" they spake thus falsely, God"reproves" them, as Job said He would (Job 13:10).as … Job hath—Job had spoken rightly in relation to them and their argument, denying theirtheory, and the fact which they alleged, that he was peculiarly guilty and a hypocrite; but wronglyin relation to God, when he fell into the opposite extreme of almost denying all guilt. This extremehe has now repented of, and therefore God speaks of him as now altogether "right."8. seven—(See Introduction). The number offered by the Gentile prophet (Nu 23:1). Job plainlylived before the legal priesthood, &c. The patriarchs acted as priests for their families; and sometimesas praying mediators (Ge 20:17), thus foreshadowing the true Mediator (1Ti 2:5), but sacrificeaccompanies and is the groundwork on which the mediation rests.him—rather, "His person [face] only" (see on Job 22:30). The "person," must be first accepted,before God can accept his offering and work (Ge 4:4); that can be only through Jesus Christ.folly—impiety (Job 1:22; 2:10).9. The forgiving spirit of Job foreshadows the love of Jesus Christ and of Christians to enemies(Mt 5:44; Lu 23:34; Ac 7:60; 16:24, 28, 30, 31).10. turned … captivity—proverbial for restored, or amply indemnified him for all he had lost(Eze 16:53; Ps 14:7; Ho 6:11). Thus the future vindication of man, body and soul, against Satan(Job 1:9-12), at the resurrection (Job 19:25-27), has its earnest and adumbration in the temporalvindication of Job at last by Jehovah in person.twice—so to the afflicted literal and spiritual Jerusalem (Isa 40:2; 60:7; 61:7; Zec 9:12). As inJob's case, so in that of Jesus Christ, the glorious recompense follows the "intercession" for enemies(Isa 53:12).11. It was Job's complaint in his misery that his "brethren," were "estranged" from him (Job19:13); these now return with the return of his prosperity (Pr 14:20; 19:6, 7); the true friend lovethat all times (Pr 17:17; 18:24). "Swallow friends leave in the winter and return with the spring"[Henry].eat bread—in token of friendship (Ps 41:9).piece of money—Presents are usual in visiting a man of rank in the East, especially after acalamity (2Ch 32:23). Hebrew, kesita. Magee translates "a lamb" (the medium of exchange thenbefore money was used), as it is in Margin of Ge 33:19; Jos 24:32. But it is from the Arabic kasat,"weighed out" [Umbreit], not coined; so Ge 42:35; 33:19; compare with Ge 23:15, makes it likelyit was equal to four shekels; Hebrew kashat, "pure," namely, metal. The term, instead of the usual"shekel," &c., is a mark of antiquity.earring—whether for the nose or ear (Ge 35:4; Isa 3:21). Much of the gold in the East, in theabsence of banks, is in the shape of ornaments.12. Probably by degrees, not all at once.13. The same number as before, Job 1:2; perhaps by a second wife; in Job 19:17 his wife is lastmentioned.14. Names significant of his restored prosperity (Ge 4:25; 5:29).Jemima—"daylight," after his "night" of calamity; but Maurer, "a dove."Kezia—"cassia," an aromatic herb (Ps 45:8), instead of his offensive breath and ulcers.Keren-happuch—"horn of stibium," a paint with which females dyed their eyelids; in contrastto his "horn defiled in the dust" (Job 16:15). The names also imply the beauty of his daughters.809JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson15. inheritance among … brethren—An unusual favor in the East to daughters, who, in theJewish law, only inherited, if there were no sons (Nu 27:8), a proof of wealth and unanimity.16. The Septuagint makes Job live a hundred seventy years after his calamity, and two hundredforty in all. This would make him seventy at the time of his calamity, which added to a hundredforty in Hebrew text makes up two hundred ten; a little more than the age (two hundred five) ofTerah, father of Abraham, perhaps his contemporary. Man's length of life gradually shortened, tillit reached threescore and ten in Moses' time (Ps 90:10).sons' sons—a proof of divine favor (Ge 50:23; Ps 128:6; Pr 17:6).17. full of days—fully sated and contented with all the happiness that life could give him;realizing what Eliphaz had painted as the lot of the godly (Job 5:26; Ps 91:16; Ge 25:8; 35:29). TheSeptuagint adds, "It is written, that he will rise again with those whom the Lord will raise up."Compare Mt 27:52, 53, from which it perhaps was derived spuriously.


      Commentary by A. R. Faussett


      The Hebrew title of this book is Tehilim ("praises" or "hymns"), for a leading feature in itscontents is praise, though the word occurs in the title of only one Psalm (the hundred forty-fifth).The Greek title (in the Septuagint, a translation made two hundred years before Christ) is psalmoi,whence our word "Psalms." This corresponds to the Hebrew word mizmoi by which sixty-fivePsalms are designated in their inscriptions, and which the Syriac, a language like the Hebrew, usesfor the whole book. It means, as does also the Greek name, an ode, or song, whose singing isaccompanied by an instrument, particularly the harp (compare 1Ch 16:4-8; 2Ch 5:12, 13). To somePsalms, the Hebrew word (shir) "a song," is prefixed. Paul seems to allude to all these terms in Eph5:19, "singing … in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs."Titles.—To more than a hundred Psalms are prefixed inscriptions, which give one or more (andin one case, [Psalm 60], all) of these particulars: the direction to the musician, the name of theauthor or the instrument, the style of the music or of the poetry, the subject or occasion. The authorityof these inscriptions has been disputed by some writers. They say that the earliest translators, asthe Greek and Syriac, evince a disregard for their authority, by variations from a proper translationof some, altering others, and, in several instances, supplying titles to Psalms which, in Hebrew,had none. It is also alleged that the subject of a Psalm, as given in the title, is often inconsistentwith its contents. But those translators have also varied from a right translation of many passagesin the Bible, which all agree to be of good authority; and the alleged inconsistency may be shown,on more accurate investigation, not to exist. The admitted antiquity of these inscriptions, on theother hand, and even their obscurity, raise a presumption in their favor, while such prefaces to acomposition accord with the usages of that age and part of the world (compare Isa 38:9)."The Chief Musician" was the superintendent of the music (compare "to oversee," 1Ch 15:21,Margin). "To" prefixed to this, means, "pertaining to" in his official character. This inscription isfound in fifty-three Psalms and is attached to Habakkuk's prayer (Hab 3:1-19). The same Hebrewpreposition is prefixed to the name of the author and translated "of," as "a Psalm of David," "of810JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonAsaph," except that to "the sons of Korah," it is translated "for," which is evidently wrong, as theusual direction, "to the chief musician," is given, and no other authorship intimated. On the apparentexception to this last remark, see below, and see on Ps 88:1, title. The explanations of otherparticulars in the titles will be given as they occur.Authors.—This book is often called "The Psalms of David," he being the only author mentionedin the New Testament (Lu 20:42) and his name appearing in more titles than that of any other writer.Besides about one-half of the Psalms in which it thus appears, Psalms 2 and 95 are ascribed to him(Ac 4:25 and Heb 4:7). He was probably the author of many others which appear without a name.He used great efforts to beautify the worship of the sanctuary. Among the two hundred eighty-eightLevites he appointed for singing and performing instrumental music, we find mentioned the "sonsof Korah" (1Ch 9:19); including Heman (1Ch 6:33-38); and also Asaph (1Ch 6:39-44); and Ethan(1Ch 15:17-19). God was doubtless pleased to endow these men with the inspiration of His Spirit,so that they used those poetic talents which their connection with the kindred art of music had ledthem to cultivate, in the production of compositions like those of their king and patron. To Asaphare ascribed twelve Psalms; to the sons of Korah, eleven, including the eighty-eighth, which is alsoascribed to Heman, that being the only instance in which the name of the "son" (or descendant) ismentioned; and to Ethan, one. Solomon's name appears before the seventy-second and hundredtwenty-seventh; and that of Moses before the ninetieth. Special questions respecting authorshipwill be explained as they arise.Contents.—As the book contains one hundred fifty independent compositions, it is not susceptibleof any logical analysis. The Jews having divided it into five books, corresponding to the Five Booksof Moses (First, Psalms 1-42; Second, Psalms 43-72; Third, Psalms 73-89; Fourth, Psalms 90-106;Fifth, Psalms 107-150), many attempts have been made to discover, in this division, some criticalor practical value, but in vain. Sundry efforts have been made to classify the Psalms by subject.Angus' Bible Hand Book is perhaps the most useful, and is appended.Still the Psalms have a form and character peculiar to themselves; and with individual diversitiesof style and subject, they all assimilate to that form, and together constitute a consistent system ofmoral truth. They are all poetical, and of that peculiar parallelism (see Introduction to the PoeticalBooks,) which distinguished Hebrew poetry. They are all lyrical, or songs adapted to musicalinstruments, and all religious lyrics, or such as were designed to be used in the sanctuary worship.The distinguishing feature of the Psalms is their devotional character. Whether their matter bedidactic, historical, prophetical, or practical, it is made the ground or subject of prayer, or praise,or both. The doctrines of theology and precepts of pure morality are here inculcated. God's nature,attributes, perfections, and works of creation, providence, and grace, are unfolded. In the sublimestconceptions of the most exalted verse, His glorious supremacy over the principalities of heaven,earth, and hell, and His holy, wise, and powerful control of all material and immaterial agencies,are celebrated. The great covenant of grace resting on the fundamental promise of a Redeemer,both alike the provisions of God's exhaustless mercy, is set forth in respect of the doctrines ofregeneration by the Spirit, forgiveness of sins, repentance toward God, and faith toward JesusChrist, while its glorious results, involving the salvation of men "from the ends of the earth" [Ac13:47], are proclaimed in believing, prophetic prayer and thankful praise. The personal history ofthe authors, and especially David's in its spiritual aspects, is that of God's people generally. Christianbiography is edifying only as it is truth illustrated in experience, such as God's Word and Spiritproduce. It may be factitious in origin and of doubtful authenticity. But here the experience of the811JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesontruly pious is detailed, under divine influence, and "in words which the Holy Ghost" taught [1Co2:13]. The whole inner life of the pious man is laid open, and Christians of all ages have here thetemptations, conflicts, perplexities, doubts, fears, penitent moanings, and overwhelming griefs onthe one hand, and the joy and hope of pardoning mercy, the victory over the seductions offalse-hearted flatterers, and deliverance from the power of Satan on the other, with which to comparetheir own spiritual exercises. Here, too, are the fruits of that sovereign mercy, so often sought inearnest prayer, and when found, so often sung in rapturous joy, exhibited by patience in adversity,moderation in prosperity, zeal for God's glory, love for man, justice to the oppressed, holy contemptfor the proud, magnanimity towards enemies, faithfulness towards friends, delight in the prosperityof Zion, and believing prayer for her enlargement and perpetuity.The historical summaries of the Psalms are richly instructive. God's choice of the patriarchs,the sufferings of the Israelites in Egypt, their exodus, temptations of God, rebellions and calamitiesin the wilderness, settlement in Canaan, backslidings and reformations, furnish illustrations ofGod's providential government of His people, individually and collectively, tending to exalt Hisadorable grace and abase human pride. But the promises and prophecies connected with thesesummaries, and elsewhere presented in the Psalms, have a far wider reach, exhibiting the relationsof the book to the great theme of promise and prophecy:The Messiah and His Kingdom.—David was God's chosen servant to rule His people, as the head atonce of the State and the Church, the lineal ancestor, "according to the flesh" [Ac 2:30; Ro 1:3],of His adorable Son, and His type, in His official relations, both in suffering and in triumph.Generally, David's trials by the ungodly depicted the trials of Christ, and his final success thesuccess of Christ's kingdom. Typically, he uses language describing his feelings, which only findsits full meaning in the feelings of Christ. As such it is quoted and applied in the New Testament.And further, in view of the great promise (2Sa 7:12-16) to him and his seed, to which such frequentreference is made in the Psalms, David was inspired to know, that though his earthly kingdomshould perish, his spiritual would ever endure, in the power, beneficence, and glory of Christ's. Inrepeating and amplifying that promise, he speaks not only as a type, but "being a prophet, andknowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to theflesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne," he "foretold the sufferings of Christ and theglory that should follow. His incarnation, humiliating sorrows, persecution, and cruel death aredisclosed in the plaintive cries of a despairing sufferer; and His resurrection and ascension, Hiseternal priesthood, His royal dignity, His prophetical office, the purchase and bestowal of the giftsof the Spirit, the conversion of the nations, the establishment, increase, and perpetuity of the Church,the end of time, and the blessedness of the righteous who acknowledge, and the ruin of the wickedwho reject this King in Zion, are predicted in the language of assured confidence and joy." Whilethese great themes have supplied the people of God with a popular theology and a guide in religiousexperience and Christian morality, clothed in the language of devotion, they have provided aninspired liturgy in which the pious, of all creeds and sects, have, for nearly three thousand years,poured out their prayers and praises. The pious Jew, before the coming of Christ, mourned overthe adversity, or celebrated the future glories, of Zion, in the words of her ancient king. Our Saviour,with His disciples, sang one of these hymns on the night on which He was betrayed [Mt 26:30];He took from one the words in which He uttered the dreadful sorrows of His soul [Mt 27:46], anddied with those of another on His lips [Lu 23:46]. Paul and Silas in the dungeon [Ac 16:25], primitiveChristians in their covert places of worship, or the costly churches of a later day, and the scattered812JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand feeble Christian flocks in the prevalence of darkness and error through the Middle Ages, fedtheir faith and warmed their love with these consoling songs. Now, throughout the Christian world,in untold forms of version, paraphrase, and imitation, by Papists and Protestants, Prelatists andPresbyterians, Independents, Baptists, Methodists—men of all lands and all creeds, in public andprivate worship, God is still adored in the sentiments expressed in these venerable Psalms. Fromthe tone of sorrow and suffering which pervade their earlier portions we are gradually borne onamid alternate conflicts and triumphs, mournful complaints and awakening confidence; as weapproach the close the tones of sorrow grow feebler, and those of praise wax louder andstronger—till, in the exulting strains of the last Psalm, the chorus of earth mingles with the hallelujahsof the multitude, which no man can number, in the sanctuary above.Angus' or Bickersteth's arrangement may be profitably used as a guide for finding a Psalm ona special topic. It is a little modified, as follows:1. Didactic.(1) Good and bad men: Psalms 1, 5, 7, 9-12, 14, 15, 17, 24, 25, 32, 34, 36, 37, 50, 52,53, 58, 73, 75, 84, 91, 92, 94, 112, 121, 125, 127, 128, 133;(2) God's law: Psalms 19, 119;(3) Human life vain: Psalms 39, 49, 90;(4) Duty of rulers: Psalms 82, 101.2. Praise.(1) For God's goodness generally to Israel: Psalms 46, 48, 65, 66, 68, 76, 81, 85, 98, 105,124, 126, 129, 135, 136, 149;(2) To good men, Psalms 23, 34, 36, 91, 100, 103, 107, 117, 121, 145, 146;(3) Mercies to individuals: Psalms 9, 18, 22, 30, 40, 75, 103, 108, 116, 118, 138, 144;(4) For His attributes generally: Psalms 8, 19, 24, 29, 33, 47, 50, 65, 66, 76, 77, 93, 95-97,99, 104, 111, 113-115, 134, 139, 147, 148, 150.3. Devotional—expressive of(1) Penitence: Psalms 6, 25, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143;(2) Trust in trouble: Psalms 3, 16, 27, 31, 54, 56, 57, 61, 62, 71, 86;(3) Sorrow with hope: Psalms 13, 22, 69, 77, 88;(4) Of deep distress: Psalms 4, 5, 11, 28, 41, 55, 59, 64, 70, 109, 120, 140, 141, 143;(5) Feelings when deprived of religious privileges: Psalms 42, 43, 63, 84;(6) Desire for help: Psalms 7, 17, 26, 35, 44, 60, 74, 79, 80, 83, 89, 94, 102, 129, 137;(7) Intercession: Psalms 20, 67, 122, 132, 144.4. Historical. Psalms 78, 105, 106.5. Prophetical. Psalms 2, 16, 22, 40, 45, 68, 69, 72, 97, 110, 118.Note.—The compiler of the following notes has omitted all references to authors, as needlesslyencumbering the commentary. He has had before him the works of Calvin, Scott, Poole, Ainsworth,Cobbin, Geice, Vatablus, Tholuck, J. H. Michaelis, Rosenmuller, and Alexander. To the two last named he hasbeen particularly indebted for the parallel passages. He has made a free use of the views advancedby these authors, and claims no credit for anything in the work except the conciseness united withfullness of exposition. Whoever attempts it will find it far easier to write a long commentary thana brief one.813JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonPSALM 1Ps 1:1-6. The character and condition, and the present and future destiny, of the pious and thewicked are described and contrasted, teaching that true piety is the source of ultimate happiness,and sin of misery. As this is a summary of the teachings of the whole book, this Psalm, whetherdesignedly so placed or not, forms a suitable preface.1. Blessed—literally, "oh, the happiness"—an exclamation of strong emotion, as if resultingfrom reflecting on the subject. The use of the plural may denote fulness and variety (2Ch 9:7).counsel … way … seat—With their corresponding verbs, mark gradations of evil, as actingon the principles, cultivating the society, and permanently conforming to the conduct of the wicked,who are described by three terms, of which the last is indicative of the boldest impiety (comparePs 26:4, 5; Jer 15:17).2. law—all of God's word then written, especially the books of Moses (compare Ps 119:1, 55,97, &c.).3. like a tree—(Jer 17:7, 8).planted—settled,—or, "over."the rivers—canals for irrigation.shall prosper—literally, "make prosper," brings to perfection. The basis of this condition andcharacter is given (Ps 32:1).4. not so—either as to conduct or the chaff—which, by Eastern modes of winnowing against the wind, was utterly blownaway.5. stand in the judgment—be acquitted. They shall be driven from among the good (Mt 25:45,46).6. knoweth the way—attends to and provides for them (Ps 101:6; Pr 12:10; Ho 13:5).way of the wicked—All their plans will end in disappointment and ruin (Ps 37:13; 146:8; Pr4:19).PSALM 2Ps 2:1-12. The number and authorship of this Psalm are stated (Ac 4:25; 13:33). Though thewarlike events of David's reign may have suggested its imagery, the scenes depicted and the subjectspresented can only find a fulfilment in the history and character of Jesus Christ, to which, as abovecited and in Heb 1:5; 5:5, the New Testament writers most distinctly testify. In a most animatedand highly poetical style, the writer, in "four stanzas of three verses each," sets forth the inveterateand furious, though futile, hostility of men to God and His anointed, God's determination to carryout His purpose, that purpose as stated more fully by His Son, the establishment of the Mediatorialkingdom, and the imminent danger of all who resist, as well as the blessing of all who welcomethis mighty and triumphant king.1. Why do the heathen, &c.—Beholding, in prophetic vision, the peoples and nations, as if ina tumultuous assembly, raging with a fury like the raging of the sea, designing to resist God'sgovernment, the writer breaks forth into an exclamation in which are mingled surprise at their folly,and indignation at their rebellion.814JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonheathen—nations generally, not as opposed to Jews.the people—or, literally, "peoples," or races of men.2. The kings and rulers lead on their subjects.set themselves—take a stand.take counsel—literally, "sit together," denoting their deliberation.anointed—Hebrew, "Messiah"; Greek, "Christ" (Joh 1:41). Anointing, as an emblem of thegifts of the Holy Spirit, was conferred on prophets (Isa 6:1); priests (Ex 30:30); and kings (1Sa10:1; 16:13; 1Ki 1:39). Hence this title well suited Him who holds all these offices, and was generallyused by the Jews before His coming, to denote Him (Da 9:26). While the prophet has in view men'sopposition generally, he here depicts it in its culminating aspect as seen in the events of Christ'sgreat trial. Pilate and Herod, and the rulers of the Jews (Mt 27:1; Lu 23:1-25), with the furious mob,are vividly portrayed.3. The rebellious purposes of men are more distinctly announced by this representation of theiravowal in words, as well as actions.bands … and … cords—denote the restraints of government.4. By a figure whose boldness is only allowable to an inspired writer, God's conduct and languagein view of this opposition are now related.He that sitteth in the heavens—enthroned in quiet dignities (compare Ps 29:10; Isa 40:22).shall laugh—in supreme contempt; their vain rage excites His derision. He is still the Lord,literally, "Sovereign," though they rebel.5. Then shall he speak—His righteous indignation as well as contempt is roused. For God tospeak is for Him to act, for what He resolves He will do (Ge 1:3; Ps 33:9).vex them—agitate or terrify them (Ps 83:15).6. The purpose here declared, in its execution, involves their overthrow.Yet—literally, "and," in an adversative sense.I have set—anointed, or firmly placed, with allusion in the Hebrew to "casting an image in amould." The sense is not materially varied in either king—appointed by Me and for Me (Nu 27:18).upon my holy hill of Zion—Zion, selected by David as the abode of the ark and the seat ofGod's visible residence (1Ki 8:1); as also David, the head of the Church and nation, and type ofChrist, was called holy, and the Church itself came to be thus named (Ps 9:11; 51:18; 99:2; Isa8:18; 18:7, &c.).7. The king thus constituted declares the fundamental law of His kingdom, in the avowal ofHis Sonship, a relation involving His universal dominion.this day have I begotten thee—as 2Sa 7:14, "he shall be My son," is a solemn recognition ofthis relation. The interpretation of this passage to describe the inauguration of Christ as MediatorialKing, by no means impugns the Eternal Sonship of His divine nature. In Ac 13:33, Paul's quotationdoes not imply an application of this passage to the resurrection; for "raised up" in Ac 13:32 is usedas in Ac 2:30; 3:22, &c., to denote bringing Him into being as a man; and not that of resurrection,which it has only when, as in Ac 2:34, allusion is made to His death (Ro 1:4). That passage saysHe was declared as to His divine nature to be the Son of God, by the resurrection, and only teachesthat that event manifested a truth already existing. A similar recognition of His Sonship is introducedin Heb 5:5, by these ends, and by others in Mt 3:17; 17:5.815JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson8. The hopes of the rebels are thus overthrown, and not only so; the kingdom they opposed isdestined to be coextensive with the earth.heathen—or, "nations" (Ps 2:1).and the uttermost parts of the earth—(Ps 22:27); denotes universality.9. His enemies shall be subject to His terrible power (Job 4:9; 2Th 2:8), as His people to Hisgrace (Ps 110:2, 3).rod of iron—denotes severity (Re 2:27).a potter's vessel—when shivered cannot be mended, which will describe utter destruction.10-12. kings … judges—For rulers generally (Ps 148:11), who have been leaders in rebellion,should be examples of penitent submission, and with fear for His terrible judgments, mingled withtrust in His mercy, acknowledge—12. Kiss the Son—the authority of the Son.perish from the way—that is, suddenly and hopelessly.kindled but a little—or, "in a little time."put their trust in him—or take refuge in Him (Ps 5:11). Men still cherish opposition to Christin their hearts and evince it in their lives. Their ruin, without such trust, is inevitable (Heb 10:29),while their happiness in His favor is equally sure.PSALM 3Ps 3:1-8. For the historical occasion mentioned, compare 2Sa 15:1-17:29. David, in the midstof great distress, with filial confidence, implores God's aid, and, anticipating relief, offers praise.1. Lord … increased—The extent of the rebellion (2Sa 15:13) surprises and grieves him.2. say of my soul—that is, "of me" (compare Ps 25:3). This use of "soul" is common; perhapsit arose from regarding the soul as man's chief help … in God—rejected by Him. This is the bitterest reproach for a pious man, and denotesa spirit of malignant triumph.Selah—This word is of very obscure meaning. It probably denotes rest or pause, both as to themusic and singing, intimating something emphatic in the sentiment (compare Ps 9:16).3. But—literally, "and" (Ps 2:6). He repels the reproach by avowing his continued trust.shield—a favorite and often-used figure for glory—its source.lifter up of mine head—one who raises me from despondency.4. cried … heard—Such has been my experience. The latter verb denotes a gracious hearingor answering.out of—or, "from."his holy hill—Zion (Ps 2:6). His visible earthly residence.5. the Lord sustained me—literally, "will sustain me," as if his language or thought when helaid down, and the reason of his composure.6. ten thousands of people—or, "myriads," any very great number (compare 2Sa 16:18).7. Arise, O Lord—God is figuratively represented as asleep to denote His apparent indifference(Ps 7:6). The use of "cheekbone" and "teeth" represents his enemies as fierce, like wild beasts readyto devour (Ps 27:2), and smiting their cheekbone (1Ki 22:24) denotes violence and insult.816JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthou hast broken—God took his part, utterly depriving the enemy of power to injure.8. An ascription of praise to a delivering God, whose favor is an efficient benefit.PSALM 4Ps 4:1-8. On Neginoth, that is, stringed instruments, as the kind of musical accompaniment. Onother parts of title, see Introduction., The historical occasion was probably the same as that of theforegoing [see on Ps 3:1]. The writer, praying for further relief, admonishes his enemies of thevanity of attacking God's servant, exhorts them to repentance, and avows his confidence and peacein God's favor.1. Hear—as in Ps 3:4.God of my righteousness—or, "my righteous God, as my holy hill" (Ps 2:6), who will acttowards me on righteous principles.thou hast enlarged—expresses relief afforded in opposition to "distress," which is expressedby a word denoting straits or pressure. Past favor is a ground of hope for the future.2. sons of men—men of note or prominence (compare 2Ch 21:9).turn my glory—or, "royal dignity."into shame—or, "reproach."vanity—a foolish and hopeless enterprise (Ps 2:1).leasing—a lie.3. godly—an object as well as subject of divine favor (compare Ps 105:14, 15).4. Stand in awe—(Eph 4:26), from Septuagint, "be angry." Both clauses are qualified by "not."5. Not only repent, but manifest penitence by sacrifices or righteousness or righteous sacrifices,&c.6, 7. Contrast true with vain confidence.light of thy countenance upon us—figure for favor (Nu 6:26; Ps 44:3; 81:16).7. corn and wine—literally, "new corn and wine."increased—an abundant harvest giving great joy (Isa 9:3).8. both lay me down, &c.—or, will lie down at once, and sleep in sure confidence and quietrepose (Ps 3:5).PSALM 5Ps 5:1-12. Upon Nehiloth—flutes or wind instruments. The writer begs to be heard, on theground of God's regard for His covenant-people and true worshippers as contrasted with His holyhatred to the wicked. He prays for divine guidance, on account of his watchful, malignant, anddeceitful enemies; and for their destruction as being also God's enemies. At the same time heexpresses his confidence that God will extend aid to His people.1. meditation—moanings of that half-uttered form to which deep feeling gives rise—groanings,as in Ro 8:26, 27.2. Hearken—incline the ear (Ps 10:17; compare Ps 61:2)—give close cry—that is, for help (Ps 61:2; Jer 8:19).my King—thus by covenant relation interested in my cause.817JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson3. direct—literally, "set in order," as the showbread was placed or set in order (Ex 40:23).4. For, &c.—God only regards sincere worshippers.evil—or, "the evil man."dwell—lodge, remain under protection.5. foolish—vainglorious and insolent.iniquity—especially such as denotes a negation, or defect, that is, of moral principle.6. leasing—a lie.the bloody … man—literally, "man of blood"—murderer.7. But—as in Ps 2:6, literally, "and."house—(1Ch 9:23), the tabernacle.temple—literally, "palace," applied to God's residence, the Holy of Holies (1Sa 3:3; 2Sa 22:7);the inner part of the tabernacle.toward—not in; the high priest alone was allowed to enter.8. enemies—literally, "watchers" (Ps 27:11), hence special need of thy righteousness—an attribute implying faithfulness in promises as well as threatenings.make thy way straight—that is, make the way of providence plain.9. The wicked are not reliable because by nature they are full of wickedness, or literally,"wickednesses," of every kind (Ro 8:7).sepulchre—a dwelling-place of corruption, emitting moral putridness.flatter—or, "make smooth."their tongue—speaks deceitfully.10. Destroy—or, "condemn" them to destruction as guilty.11. defendest—(compare Margin).love thy name—Thy manifested perfections (Ps 9:10).12. with favour—or, "acceptance," alluding to the favor shown to an acceptable offering andworshipper (Le 7:18; 19:7).shield—(compare Ps 3:3).PSALM 6Ps 6:1-10. On Neginoth (See on Ps 4:1, title) upon Sheminith—the eighth—an instrument forthe eighth key; or, more probably, the bass, as it is contrasted with Alamoth (the treble, Ps 46:1)in 1Ch 15:20, 21. In deep affliction the Psalmist appeals to God's mercy for relief from chastisement,which otherwise must destroy him, and thus disable him for God's service. Sure of a graciousanswer, he triumphantly rebukes his foes.1. He owns his ill desert in begging a relief from chastisement.2. I am weak—as a culled plant (Isa 24:4).my bones—the very frame.are vexed—(Ps 2:5)—shaken with fear.3. how long?—shall this be so (compare Ps 79:5).but—or, "and."thou—The sentence is incomplete as expressive of strong emotion.4. Return—that is, to my relief; or, "turn," as now having His face averted.818JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonfor thy mercies' sake—to illustrate Thy mercy.5. (Compare Ps 115:17, 18; Isa 38:18). There is no incredulity as to a future state. The contrastis between this scene of life, and the grave or Sheol, the unseen world of the dead.give … thanks—or, "praise for mercies."6. By a strong figure the abundance as well as intensity of grief is depicted.7. consumed—or, "has failed," denoting general debility (Ps 13:3; 38:10).waxeth old—or, "dim."grief—mingled with indignation.8, 9. Assured of God's hearing, he suddenly defies his enemies by an address indicating that heno longer fears them.10. and knows they will be disappointed and in their turn (compare Ps 6:3) be terror-strickenor confounded.PSALM 7Ps 7:1-17. Shiggaion—a plaintive song or elegy. Though obscure in details, this title seems tointimate that the occasion of this Psalm was some event in David's persecution by Saul. He praysfor relief because he is innocent, and God will be glorified in his vindication. He thus passes to thecelebration of God's righteous government, in defending the upright and punishing the wicked,whose malignant devices will result in their own ruin; and, confident of God's aid, he closes withrejoicing.1, 2. Though many enemies set upon him, one is singled out as prominent, and compared to awild beast tearing his prey to pieces (compare 1Sa 20:1; 23:23; 26:19).3. if I have done this—that is, the crime charged in the "words of Cush" (compare 1Sa 24:9).4. If I have injured my friend.yea, I have delivered, &c.—This makes a good sense, but interrupts the course of thought, andhence it is proposed to render, "if I have spoiled my enemy"—in either case (compare 1Sa 24:4-17;31:8, 11).5. This is the consequence, if such has been his conduct.mine honour—(compare Ps 3:3; 4:2)—my personal and official dignity.6. God is involved as if hitherto careless of him (Ps 3:7; 9:18).rage—the most violent, like a flood rising over a river's banks.the judgment … commanded—or, "ordained"; a just decision.7. compass thee—as those seeking justice.return thou on high—assume the judgment seat, to be honored as a just Ruler by them.8. Though not claiming innocence in general, he can confidently do so in this case, and indemanding from the Judge of all the earth a judgment, he virtually asks acquittal.9. the hearts and reins—the affections and motives of men, or the seat of them (compare Ps16:7; 26:2); as we use heart and bosom or breast.10. defence—literally, "shield" (Ps 5:12).11. judgeth—as in Ps 7:8.the wicked—Though not expressed, they are implied, for they alone are left as objects of anger.819JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson12, 13. They are here distinctly pointed out, though by changing the person, a very commonmode of speech, one is selected as a representative of wicked men generally. The military figuresare of obvious meaning.13. against the persecutors—Some render "for burning," but the former is the best sense.Arrows for burning would be appropriate in besieging a town, not in warring against one man ora company in open fight.14. The first clause expresses the general idea that wicked men labor to do evil, the others carryout the figure fully.15, 16. 1Sa 18:17; 31:2 illustrate the statement whether alluded to or not. These verses areexpository of Ps 7:14, showing how the devices of the wicked end in disappointment, falsifyingtheir expectations.17. his righteousness—(Ps 5:8). Thus illustrated in the defense of His servant and punishmentof the wicked.PSALM 8Ps 8:1-9. Upon [or according to the] Gittith, probably means that the musical performance wasdirected to be according to a tune of that name; which, derived from Gath, a "wine-press," denotesa tune (used in connection with gathering the vintage) of a joyous character. All the Psalms to whichthis term is prefixed [Ps 8:1; 81:1; 84:1] are of such a character. The Psalmist gives vent to hisadmiration of God's manifested perfections, by celebrating His condescending and beneficentprovidence to man as evinced by the position of the race, as originally created and assigned adominion over the works of His hands.1. thy name—perfections (Ps 5:11; 7:17).who hast set—literally, "which set Thou Thy glory," &c., or "which glory of Thine set Thou,"&c., that is, make it more conspicuous as if earth were too small a theater for its display. A similarexposition suits the usual rendering.2. So manifest are God's perfections, that by very weak instruments He conclusively sets forthHis praise. Infants are not only wonderful illustrations of God's power and skill, in their physicalconstitution, instincts, and early developed intelligence, but also in their spontaneous admirationof God's works, by which they put to shame—still—or, silence men who rail and cavil against God. A special illustration of the passage isafforded in Mt 21:16, when our Saviour stilled the cavillers by quoting these words; for the glorieswith which God invested His incarnate Son, even in His humiliation, constitute a most wonderfuldisplay of the perfections of His wisdom, love, and power. In view of the scope of Ps 8:4-8 (seebelow), this quotation by our Saviour may be regarded as an exposition of the prophetical characterof the words.sucklings—among the Hebrews were probably of an age to speak (compare 1Sa 1:22-24; Mr7:27).ordained—founded, or prepared, and perfected, which occurs in Mt 21:16; taken from theSeptuagint, has the same meaning.strength—In the quotation in the New Testament, praise occurs as the consequence or effectput for the cause (compare Ps 118:14).820JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonavenger—as in Ps 44:16; one desirous of revenge, disposed to be quarrelsome, and so apt tocavil against God's government.3, 4. The allusion to the magnificence of the visible heavens is introduced for the purpose ofillustrating God's condescension, who, though the mighty Creator of these glorious worlds of light,makes man the object of regard and recipient of favor.4. man—literally, "frail man," an allusion to his essential infirmity.son of man—only varies the form of speech.visitest—in favor (Ps 65:10). This favor is now more fully illustrated.5-8. God has placed man next in dignity to angels, and but a little lower, and has crowned himwith the empire of the world.glory and honour—are the attributes of royal dignity (Ps 21:5; 45:3). The position assignedman is that described (Ge 1:26-28) as belonging to Adam, in his original condition, the termsemployed in detailing the subjects of man's dominion corresponding with those there used. In amodified sense, in his present fallen state, man is still invested with some remains of this originaldominion. It is very evident, however, by the apostle's inspired expositions (Heb 2:6-8; 1Co 15:27,28) that the language here employed finds its fulfilment only in the final exaltation of Christ'shuman nature. There is no limit to the "all things" mentioned, God only excepted, who "puts allthings under." Man, in the person and glorious destiny of Jesus of Nazareth, the second Adam, thehead and representative of the race, will not only be restored to his original position, but exaltedfar beyond it. "The last enemy, death," through fear of which, man, in his present estate, is "all hislifetime in bondage" [Heb 2:15], "shall be destroyed" [1Co 15:26]. Then all things will have beenput under his feet, "principalities and powers being made subject to him" [1Pe 3:22]. This view,so far from being alien from the scope of the passage, is more consistent than any other; for manas a race cannot well be conceived to have a higher honor put upon him than to be thus exalted inthe person and destiny of Jesus of Nazareth. And at the same time, by no other of His gloriousmanifestations has God more illustriously declared those attributes which distinguish His namethan in the scheme of redemption, of which this economy forms such an important and essentialfeature. In the generic import of the language, as describing man's present relation to the works ofGod's hands, it may be regarded as typical, thus allowing not only the usual application, but alsothis higher sense which the inspired writers of the New Testament have assigned it.9. Appropriately, the writer closes this brief but pregnant and sublime song of praise with theterms of admiration with which it was opened.PSALM 9Ps 9:1-20. Upon Muthlabben, or, after the manner according to "death to the Son," by whichsome song was known, to whose air or melody the musician is directed to perform this Psalm. Thismode of denoting a song by some prominent word or words is still common (compare Ps 22:1).The Psalmist praises God for deliverance from his enemies and celebrates the divine government,for providing security to God's people and punishment to the wicked. Thus encouraging himself,he prays for new occasions to recount God's mercies, and confident of His continued judgment onthe wicked and vindication of the oppressed, he implores a prompt and efficient manifestation ofthe divine sovereignty.821JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson1. Heartfelt gratitude will find utterance.3-5. When … are turned back—It is the result of God's power alone. He, as a righteous Judge(Ps 7:11), vindicates His people. He rebukes by acts as well as words (Ps 6:1; 18:15), and soeffectually as to destroy the names of nations as well as persons.6. Literally, "As to the enemy finished are his ruins for ever. Thou [God] hast destroyed," &c.(1Sa 15:3, 7; 27:8, 9). The wicked are utterly undone. Their ruins shall never be repaired.7, 8. God's eternal possession of a throne of justice is contrasted with the ruin of the wicked.9, 10. The oppressed, and all who know Him (Ps 5:3; 7:1), find Him a sure refuge.11. (Compare Ps 2:6; 3:4).12. for blood—that is, murders (Ps 5:6), including all the oppressions of His people.maketh inquisition—(compare Ge 9:5). He will avenge their cause.13. gates—or, "regions."of death—Gates being the entrance is put for the bounds.14. gates … Zion—The enclosure of the city (compare Ps 48:12; Isa 23:12), or, church, asdenoted by this phrase contrasted with that of death, carries out the idea of exaltation as well asdeliverance. Signal favors should lead us to render signal and public thanks.15, 16. The undesigned results of the devices of the wicked prove them to be of God's overrulingor ordering, especially when those results are destructive to the wicked themselves.16. Higgaion—means "meditation," and, combined with Selah, seems to denote a pause ofunusual solemnity and emphasis (compare Ps 3:2). Though Selah occurs seventy-three times, thisis the only case in which Higgaion is found. In the view which is given here of the retribution onthe wicked as an instance of God's wise and holy ordering, we may well pause in adoring wonderand faith.17. shall be turned—or, "shall turn," retreating under God's vengeance, and driven by Him tothe extreme of destruction, even hell itself. Those who forget God are classed with the depravedand openly profane.18. (Compare Ps 13:1-6).the needy—literally, "poor," as deprived of anything; hence miserable.expectation of the poor—or, "meek," "humble," made so by affliction.19. Arise—(compare Ps 4:7).let not man—(Ps 8:4).let … be judged—and of course condemned.20. By their effectual subjection, make them to realize their frail nature (Ps 8:4), and deter themfrom all conceit and future rebellion.PSALM 10Ps 10:1-18. The Psalmist mourns God's apparent indifference to his troubles, which areaggravated by the successful malice, blasphemy, pride, deceit, and profanity of the wicked. On thejust and discriminating providence of God he relies for the destruction of their false security, andthe defense of the needy.1. These are, of course, figurative terms (compare Ps 7:6; 13:1, &c.).hidest—Supply "thine eyes" or "face."822JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson2. Literally, "In pride of the wicked they (the poor or humble, Ps 10:17; 12:5) shall be taken inthe devices they (the proud) have imagined."3. heart's—or, "soul's."desire—that is, his success in evil.and blesseth, &c.—he (the wicked) blesseth the covetous, he despiseth the Lord.4. The face expresses the self-conceit, whose fruit is practical atheism (Ps 14:1).5, 6. Such is his confidence in the permanence of his way or course of life, that he disregardsGod's providential government (out of sight, because he will not look, Isa 26:11), sneers at hisenemies, and boasts perpetual freedom from evil.7-10. The malignity and deceit (Ps 140:3) of such are followed by acts combining cunning,fraud, and violence (compare Pr 1:11, 18), aptly illustrated by the habits of the lion, and of hunterstaking their prey. "Poor," in Ps 10:8, 10, 14, represents a word peculiar to this Psalm, meaning thesad or sorrowful; in Ps 10:9, as usual, it means the pious or meek sufferer.8. eyes … privily—He watches with half-closed eyes, appearing not to see.10. croucheth—as a lion gathers himself into as small compass as possible to make the greaterspring.fall by his strong ones—The figure of the lion is dropped, and this phrase means the accomplicesof the chief or leading wicked man.11. As before, such conduct implies disbelief or disregard of God's government.12. (Compare Ps 9:19; 3:7).the humble—(Compare Ps 10:17, and Margin.)lift up thine hand—exert thy power.13, 14. It is in vain to suppose God will overlook sin, however forbearing; for He carefullyexamines or beholds all wickedness, and will mark it by His providential (Thine hand) punishment.14. mischief and spite—provocation and trouble of the sufferer (compare Ps 6:7; 7:14).committeth—or, "leaves (his burden) on Thee."15. arm—power.till thou find none—So far from not requiting (Ps 10:11, 13), God will utterly destroy thewicked and his deeds (Ps 9:5, 6; 34:16; 37:36).16-18. God reigns. The wicked, if for a time successful, shall be cut off. He hears and confirmsthe hearts of His suffering people (Ps 112:7), executes justice for the feeble, and represses the prideand violence of conceited, though frail, men (compare Ps 9:16).PSALM 11Ps 11:1-7. On title, see Introduction. Alluding to some event in his history, as in 1Sa 23:13, thePsalmist avows his confidence in God, when admonished to flee from his raging persecutors, whosedestruction of the usual foundations of safety rendered all his efforts useless. The grounds of hisconfidence are God's supreme dominion, His watchful care of His people, His hatred to the wickedand judgments on them, and His love for righteousness and the righteous.1. my soul—me (Ps 3:2).Flee—literally, "flee ye"; that is, he and his companion.823JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonas a bird to your mountain—having as such no safety but in flight (compare 1Sa 26:20; La3:52).2. privily—literally, "in darkness," treacherously.3. Literally, "The foundations (that is, of good order and law) will be destroyed, what has therighteous done (to sustain them)?" All his efforts have failed.4. temple … heaven—The connection seems to denote God's heavenly residence; the termused is taken from the place of His visible earthly abode (Ps 2:6; 3:4; 5:7). Thence He inspects menwith close scrutiny.5. The trial of the righteous results in their approval, as it is contrasted with God's hatred to thewicked.6. Their punishment is described by vivid figures denoting abundant, sudden, furious, and utterdestruction (compare Ge 19:24; Job 18:15; Ps 7:15; 9:15).cup—is a frequent figure for God's favor or wrath (Ps 16:5; 23:5; Mt 20:22, 23).7. his countenance—literally, "their faces," a use of the plural applied to God, as in Ge 1:26;3:22; 11:7; Isa 6:8, &c., denoting the fulness of His perfections, or more probably originating in areference to the trinity of persons. "Faces" is used as "eyes" (Ps 11:4), expressing here God'scomplacency towards the upright (compare Ps 34:15, 16).PSALM 12Ps 12:1-8. On title, see Introduction and see on Ps 6:1. The Psalmist laments the decrease ofgood men. The pride and deceit of the wicked provokes God's wrath, whose promise to avenge thecause of pious sufferers will be verified even amidst prevailing iniquity.1. the faithful—or literally, "faithfulness" (Ps 31:23).2. The want of it is illustrated by the prevalence of deceit and instability.3, 4. Boasting (Da 7:25) is, like flattery, a species of lying.lips, and … tongue—for persons.5. The writer intimates his confidence by depicting God's actions (compare Ps 9:19; 10:12) ascoming to save the poor at whom the wicked sneer (Ps 10:5).6. The words—literally, "saying of" (Ps 12:5).seven times—thoroughly (Da 3:19).7. them—(Margin.)8. The wicked roam undisturbed doing evil, when vileness and vile men are exalted.PSALM 13Ps 13:1-6. On title, see Introduction. The Psalmist, mourning God's absence and the triumphof his enemies, prays for relief before he is totally destroyed, and is encouraged to hope his trustwill not be in vain.1. The forms of expression and figure here used are frequent (compare Ps 9:12, 18; 10:11, 12).How long … for ever—Shall it be for ever?2. The counsels or devices of his heart afford no relief.824JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson3. lighten mine eyes—dim with weakness, denoting approaching death (compare 1Sa 14:27-29;Ps 6:7; 38:10).4. rejoice—literally, "shout as in triumph."I am moved—cast down from a firm position (Ps 10:6).5, 6. Trust is followed by rejoicing in the deliverance which God effects, and, instead of hisenemy, he can lift the song of triumph.PSALM 14Ps 14:1-7. The practical atheism and total and universal depravity of the wicked, with theirhatred to the good, are set forth. Yet, as they dread God's judgments when He vindicates His people,the Psalmist prays for His delivering power.1. Sinners are termed "fools," because they think and act contrary to right reason (Ge 34:7; Jos7:15; Ps 39:8; 74:18, 22).in his heart—to himself (Ge 6:12).2. looked—in earnest enquiry.understand—as opposed to "fool" [Ps 14:1].3. filthy—literally, "spoiled," or, "soured," "corrupted" (Job 15:16; Ro 3:12).4-6. Their conduct evinces indifference rather than ignorance of God; for when He appears injudgment, they are stricken with great fear.who eat up my people—to express their beastly fury (Pr 30:14; Hab 3:14). To "call on theLord" is to worship Him.7. captivity—denotes any great evil.Zion—God's abode, from which He revealed His purposes of mercy, as He now does by theChurch (compare Ps 3:4; 20:2), and which He rules and in which He does all other things for thegood of His people (Eph 1:22).PSALM 15Ps 15:1-5. Those who are fit for communion with God may be known by a conformity to Hislaw, which is illustrated in various important particulars.1. abide—or, "sojourn" (compare Ps 5:4), where it means under God's protection here, as (Ps23:6, 27:4, 6) communion.tabernacle—seat of the ark (2Sa 6:17), the symbol of God's presence.holy hill—(Compare Ps 2:6).2. walketh—(Compare Ps 1:1).uprightly—in a complete manner, as to all parts of conduct (Ge 17:1), not as to degree.worketh—or, "does."righteousness—what is his heart—sincerely (Pr 23:7).3. He neither slanders nor spreads slander.4. Love and hate are regulated by a regard to God.sweareth … hurt—or what so results (compare Le 5:4).825JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson5. (Compare Le 25:37; De 23:19, 20).usury is derived from a verb meaning "to bite." All gains made by the wrongful loss of othersare forbidden.taketh reward, &c.—The innocent would not otherwise be condemned (compare Ex 23:8; De16:19). Bribery of all sorts is denounced.doeth these, &c.—Such persons admitted to God's presence and favor shall never be moved(Ps 10:6; 13:5).PSALM 16Ps 16:1-11. Michtam, or, by the change of one letter, Michtab—a "writing," such as a poem orsong (compare Isa 38:9). Such a change of the letter m for b was not unusual. The position of thisword in connection with the author's name, being that usually occupied by some term, such asPsalm or song, denoting the style or matter of the composition, favors this view of its meaning,though we know not why this and Psalms 56-60 should be specially, called "a writing." "A golden(Psalm)," or "a memorial" are explanations proposed by some—neither of which, however applicablehere, appears adapted to the other Psalms where the term occurs. According to Peter (Ac 2:25) andPaul (Ac 13:35), this Psalm relates to Christ and expresses the feelings of His human nature, inview of His sufferings and victory over death and the grave, including His subsequent exaltationat the right hand of God. Such was the exposition of the best earlier Christian interpreters. Somemoderns have held that the Psalm relates exclusively to David; but this view is expressly contradictedby the apostles; others hold that the language of the Psalm is applicable to David as a type of Christ,capable of the higher sense assigned it in the New Testament. But then the language of Ps 16:10cannot be used of David in any sense, for "he saw corruption." Others again propose to refer thefirst part to David, and the last to Christ; but it is evident that no change in the subject of the Psalmis indicated. Indeed, the person who appeals to God for help is evidently the same who rejoices inhaving found it. In referring the whole Psalm to Christ, it is, however, by no means denied thatmuch of its language is expressive of the feelings of His people, so far as in their humble measurethey have the feelings of trust in God expressed by Him, their head and representative. Such useof His language, as recorded in His last prayer (Joh 17:1-26), and even that which He used inGethsemane, under similar modifications, is equally proper. The propriety of this reference of thePsalm to Christ will appear in the scope and interpretation. In view of the sufferings before Him,the Saviour, with that instinctive dread of death manifested in Gethsemane, calls on God to "preserve"Him; He avows His delight in holiness and abhorrence of the wicked and their wickedness; andfor "the joy that was set before Him, despising the shame" [Heb 12:2], encourages Himself;contemplating the glories of the heritage appointed Him. Thus even death and the grave lose theirterrors in the assurance of the victory to be attained and "the glory that should follow" [1Pe 1:11].1. Preserve me, &c.—keep or watch over my thee … I … trust—as one seeking shelter from pressing danger.2. my soul—must be supplied; expressed in similar cases (Ps 42:5, 11).my goodness … thee—This obscure passage is variously expounded. Either one of twoexpositions falls in with the context. "My goodness" or merit is not on account of Thee—that is,is not for Thy benefit. Then follows the contrast of Ps 16:3 (but is), in respect, or for the saints,826JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson&c.—that is, it enures to them. Or, my goodness—or happiness is not besides Thee—that is, withoutThee I have no other source of happiness. Then, "to the saints," &c., means that the same privilegeof deriving happiness from God only is theirs. The first is the most consonant with the Messianiccharacter of the Psalm, though the latter is not inconsistent with it.3. saints—or, persons consecrated to God, set apart from others to His the earth—that is, land of Palestine, the residence of God's chosen people—figuratively forthe Church.excellent—or, "nobles," distinguished for moral excellence.4. He expresses his abhorrence of those who seek other sources of happiness or objects ofworship, and, by characterizing their rites by drink offerings of blood, clearly denotes idolaters.The word for "sorrows" is by some rendered "idols"; but, though a similar word to that for idols,it is not the same. In selecting such a term, there may be an allusion, by the author, to the sorrowsproduced by idolatrous practices.5-7. God is the chief good, and supplies all need (De 10:9).portion of mine inheritance and of my cup—may contain an allusion to the daily supply offood, and also to the inheritance of Levi (De 18:1, 2).maintainest—or, drawest out my lot—enlargest it. Ps 16:7 carries out this idea more fully.7. given me counsel—cared for reins—the supposed seat of emotion and thought (Ps 7:9; 26:2).instruct me—or, excite to acts of praise (Isa 53:11, 12; Heb 12:2).8. With God's presence and aid he is sure of safety (Ps 10:6; 15:5; Joh 12:27, 28; Heb 5:7, 8).9. glory—as heart (Ps 7:5), for self. In Ac 2:26, after the Septuagint, "my tongue" as "the gloryof the frame"—the instrument for praising God.flesh—If taken as opposed to soul (Ps 16:10), it may mean the body; otherwise, the wholeperson (compare Ps 63:1; 84:2).rest in hope—(compare Margin).10. soul—or, "self." This use of "soul" for the person is frequent (Ge 12:5; 46:26; Ps 3:2; 7:2;11:1), even when the body may be the part chiefly affected, as in Ps 35:13; 105:18. Some cases arecited, as Le 22:4; Nu 6:6; 9:6, 10; 19:13; Hag 2:13, &c., which seem to justify assigning the meaningof body, or dead body; but it will be found that the latter sense is given by some adjunct expressedor implied. In those cases person is the proper sense.wilt not leave … hell—abandon to the power of (Job 39:14; Ps 49:10). Hell as (Ge 42:38; Ps6:5; Jon 2:2) the state or region of death, and so frequently—or the grave itself (Job 14:13; 17:13;Ec 9:10, &c.). So the Greek Hades (compare Ac 2:27, 31). The context alone can settle whetherthe state mentioned is one of suffering and place of the damned (compare Ps 9:17; Pr 5:5; 7:27).wilt … suffer—literally, "give" or "appoint."Holy One—(Ps 4:3), one who is the object of God's favor, and so a recipient of divine gracewhich he exhibits— see—or, "experience"—undergo (Lu 2:26).corruption—Some render the word, the pit, which is possible, but for the obvious sense whichthe apostle's exposition (Ac 2:27; 13:36, 37) gives. The sense of the whole passage is clearly this:by the use of flesh and soul, the disembodied state produced by death is indicated; but, on the otherhand, no more than the state of death is intended; for the last clause of Ps 16:10 is strictly parallelwith the first, and Holy One corresponds to soul, and corruption to hell. As Holy One, or David827JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson(Ac 13:36, 37), which denotes the person, including soul and body, is used for body, of which onlycorruption can be predicated (compare Ac 2:31); so, on the contrary, soul, which literally meansthe immaterial part, is used for the person. The language may be thus paraphrased, "In death I shallhope for resurrection; for I shall not be left under its dominion and within its bounds, or be subjectto the corruption which ordinarily ensues."11. Raised from the dead, he shall die no more; death hath no more dominion over him.Thou wilt show me—guide me to attain.the path of life—or, "lives"—the plural denoting variety and abundance—immortal blessednessof every sort—as "life" often thy presence—or, "before Thy faces." The frequent use of this plural form for "faces" maycontain an allusion to the Trinity (Nu 6:25, 26; Ps 17:15; 31:16).at thy right hand—to which Christ was exalted (Ps 110:1; Ac 2:33; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3). In theglories of this state, He shall see of the travail (Isa 53:10, 11; Php 2:9) of His soul, and be satisfied.PSALM 17Ps 17:1-15. This Psalm is termed a prayer because the language of petition is predominant.With a just cause, sincerely presented, the writer prays for a just decision and help and protection.Pleading former mercies as a ground of hope, he urges his prayer in view of the malice, pride,rapacity, and selfishness of his foes, whose character is contrasted with his pious devotion anddelight in God's favor.2. sentence—acquitting judgment.from thy presence—Thy tribunal.things that are equal—just and right, do Thou regard.3. proved … visited … tried—His character was most rigidly tested, at all times, and by allmethods, affliction and others (Ps 7:10).purposed that, &c.—or, my mouth does not exceed my purpose; I am sincere.4. works of men—sinful the word of thy lips—as a guide (Ps 119:9, 11, 95).destroyer—violent man.5. May be read as an assertion "my steps or goings have held on to Thy paths."6. wilt hear me—that is, graciously (Ps 3:4).7. Show—set apart as special and eminent (Ex 8:18; Ps 4:3).thy right hand—for Thy power.8. Similar figures, denoting the preciousness of God's people in His sight, in De 32:10, 11; Mt23:37.9. compass me—(compare Ps 118:10-12).10. enclosed … fat—are become proud in prosperity, and insolent to God (De 32:15; Ps 73:7).11. They pursue us as beasts tracking their prey.12. The figure made more special by that of a lion lurking.13-15. disappoint—literally, "come before," or, "encounter him." Supply "with" before "sword"(Ps 17:13), and "hand" (Ps 17:14). These denote God's power.828JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson14. men … world—all men of this present time. They appear, by fulness of bread and largefamilies, to be prosperous; but (Ps 17:15) he implies this will be transient, contrasting his betterportion in a joyful union with God hereafter.PSALM 18Ps 18:1-50. "The servant of the Lord," which in the Hebrew precedes "David," is a significantpart of the title (and not a mere epithet of David), denoting the inspired character of the song, asthe production of one entrusted with the execution of God's will. He was not favored by God becausehe served Him, but served Him because selected and appointed by God in His sovereign mercy.After a general expression of praise and confidence in God for the future, David gives a sublimelypoetical description of God's deliverance, which he characterizes as an illustration of God's justiceto the innocent and His righteous government. His own prowess and success are celebrated as theresults of divine aid, and, confident of its continuance, he closes in terms of triumphant praise. 2Sa22:1-51 is a copy of this Psalm, with a few unimportant variations recorded there as a part of thehistory, and repeated here as part of a collection designed for permanent use.1. I will love thee—with most tender affection.2, 3. The various terms used describe God as an object of the most implicit and reliable trust.rock—literally, "a cleft rock," for concealment.strength—a firm, immovable rock.horn of my salvation—The horn, as the means of attack or defense of some of the strongestanimals, is a frequent emblem of power or strength efficiently exercised (compare De 33:17; Lu1:69).tower—literally, "high place," beyond reach of danger.3. to be praised—for past favors, and worthy of confidence.4. sorrows—literally, "bands as of a net" (Ps 116:3).floods—denotes "multitude."5. death—and hell (compare Ps 16:10) are personified as man's great enemies (compare Re20:13, 14).prevented—encountered me, crossed my path, and endangered my safety. He does not meanhe was in their power.6. He relates his methods to procure relief when distressed, and his success.temple—(Compare Ps 11:4).7, 8. God's coming described in figures drawn from His appearance on Sinai (compare De32:22).8. smoke out … his nostrils—bitter in His wrath (compare Ps 74:1).by it—that is, the fire (Ex 19:18).9. darkness—or, a dense cloud (Ex 19:16; De 5:22).10. cherub—angelic agents (compare Ge 3:24), the figures of which were placed over the ark(1Sa 4:4), representing God's dwelling; used here to enhance the majesty of the divine advent.Angels and winds may represent all rational and irrational agencies of God's providence (comparePs 104:3, 4).did fly—Rapidity of motion adds to the grandeur of the scene.829JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson11. dark waters—or, clouds heavy with vapor.12. Out of this obscurity, which impresses the beholder with awe and dread, He reveals Himselfby sudden light and the means of His terrible wrath (Jos 10:11; Ps 78:47).13. The storm breaks forth—thunder follows lightning, and hail with repeated lightning, asoften seen, like balls or coals of fire, succeed (Ex 9:23).14. The fiery brightness of lightning, in shape like burning arrows rapidly shot through the air,well represents the most terrible part of an awful storm. Before the terrors of such a scene theenemies are confounded and overthrown in dismay.15. The tempest of the air is attended by appropriate results on earth. The language, though notexpressive of any special physical changes, represents the utter subversion of the order of nature.Before such a God none can stand.16-19. from above—As seated on a throne, directing these terrible scenes, God—sent—His hand (Ps 144:7), reached down to His humble worshipper, and delivered him.many waters—calamities (Job 30:14; Ps 124:4, 5).18. prevented—(Ps 18:3).19. a large place—denotes safety or relief, as contrasted with the straits of distress (Ps 4:1).All his deliverance is ascribed to God, and this sublime poetical representation is given to inspirethe pious with confidence and the wicked with dread.20-24. The statements of innocence, righteousness, &c., refer, doubtless, to his personal andofficial conduct and his purposes, during all the trials to which he was subjected in Saul's persecutionsand Absalom's rebellions, as well as the various wars in which he had been engaged as the headand defender of God's Church and people.23. upright before him—In my relation to God I have been perfect as to all parts of His law.The perfection does not relate to degree.mine iniquity—perhaps the thought of his heart to kill Saul (1Sa 24:6). That David does notallude to all his conduct, in all relations, is evident from Ps 51:1, &c.25-27. God renders to men according to their deeds in a penal, not vindictive, sense (Le 26:23,24).merciful—or, "kind" (Ps 4:3).26. froward—contrary to.27. the afflicted people—that is, the humbly pious.high looks—pride (Ps 101:5; 131:1).28. To give one light is to make prosperous (Job 18:5, 6; 21:17).thou—is emphatic, as if to say, I can fully confide in Thee for help.29. And this on past experience in his military life, set forth by these figures.30-32. God's perfection is the source of his own, which has resulted from his trust on the onehand, and God's promised help on the other.tried—"as metals are tried by fire and proved genuine" (Ps 12:6). Shield (Ps 3:3). Girding wasessential to free motion on account of the looseness of Oriental dresses; hence it is an expressivefigure for describing the gift of strength.33-36. God's help farther described. He gives swiftness to pursue or elude his enemies (Hab3:19), strength, protection, and a firm footing.35. thy gentleness—as applied to God—condescension—or that which He gives, in the senseof humility (compare Pr 22:4).830JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson36. enlarged my steps—made ample room (compare Pr 4:12).37-41. In actual conflict, with God's aid, the defeat of his enemies is certain. A present andcontinued success is expressed.39. that rose up against me—literally, "insurgents" (Ps 3:1; 44:5).40. given me the necks—literally, "backs of the necks"; made them retreat (Ex 23:27; Jos 7:8).42. This conquest was complete.43-45. Not only does He conquer civil foes, but foreigners, who are driven from their placesof refuge.44. submit, &c.—(compare Margin)—that is, show a forced subjection.46. The Lord liveth—contrasts Him with idols (1Co 8:4).47, 48. avengeth me—His cause is espoused by God as His own.48. liftest me up—to safety and honors.49, 50. Paul (Ro 15:9) quotes from this doxology to show that under the Old Testament economy,others than the Jews were regarded as subjects of that spiritual government of which David washead, and in which character his deliverances and victories were typical of the more illustrioustriumphs of David's greater Son. The language of Ps 18:50 justifies this view in its distinct allusionto the great promise (compare 2Sa 7:12). In all David's successes he saw the pledges of a fulfilmentof that promise, and he mourned in all his adversities, not only in view of his personal suffering,but because he saw in them evidences of danger to the great interests which were committed to hiskeeping. It is in these aspects of his character that we are led properly to appreciate the importanceattached to his sorrows and sufferings, his joys and successes.PSALM 19Ps 19:1-14. After exhibiting the harmonious revelation of God's perfections made by His worksand His word, the Psalmist prays for conformity to the Divine teaching.1. the glory of God—is the sum of His perfections (Ps 24:7-10; Ro 1:20).firmament—another word for "heavens" (Ge 1:8).handywork—old English for "work of His hands."2. uttereth—pours forth as a stream; a perpetual testimony.3. Though there is no articulate speech or words, yet without these their voice is heard (compareMargin).4. Their line—or, "instruction"—the influence exerted by their tacit display of God's perfections.Paul (Ro 10:8), quoting from the Septuagint, uses "sound," which gives the same sense.5, 6. The sun, as the most glorious heavenly body, is specially used to illustrate the sentiment;and his vigorous, cheerful, daily, and extensive course, and his reviving heat (including light), welldisplay the wondrous wisdom of his Maker.7-9. The law is described by six names, epithets, and effects. It is a rule, God's testimony forthe truth, His special and general prescription of duty, fear (as its cause) and judicial decision. It isdistinct and certain, reliable, right, pure, holy, and true. Hence it revives those depressed by doubts,makes wise the unskilled (2Ti 3:15), rejoices the lover of truth, strengthens the desponding (Ps13:4; 34:6), provides permanent principles of conduct, and by God's grace brings a rich reward.831JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson12-14. The clearer our view of the law, the more manifest are our sins. Still for its full effectwe need divine grace to show us our faults, acquit us, restrain us from the practice, and free us fromthe power, of sin. Thus only can our conduct be blameless, and our words and thoughts acceptableto God.PSALM 20Ps 20:1-9. David probably composed this Psalm to express the prayers of the pious for hissuccess as at once the head of the Church and nation. Like other compositions of which David insuch relations is the subject, its sentiments have a permanent value—the prosperity of Christ'skingdom being involved, as well as typified, in that of Israel and its king.1. hear thee—graciously (Ps 4:1).name of—or manifested perfections, as power, wisdom, &c.defend thee—set thee on high from danger (Ps 9:9; 18:3).2. strengthen thee—sustain in conflict; even physical benefits may be included, as couragefor war, &c., as such may proceed from a sense of divine favor, secured in the use of spiritualprivileges.3. all thy offerings—or gifts, vegetable offerings.accept—literally, "turn to ashes" (compare 1Ki 18:38).Selah—(See on Ps 3:2).4. thy counsel—or plan.5. salvation—that wrought and experienced by him.set up our banners—(Nu 2:3, 10). In usual sense, or, as some render, "may we be made great."6. He speaks as if suddenly assured of a hearing.his anointed—not only David personally, but as the specially appointed head of His Church.his holy heaven—or, literally, "the heavens of His holiness," where He resides (Ps 2:6; 11:4).saving … hand—His power which brings salvation.7. remember—or cause to remember, mention thankfully (1Sa 17:45; Ps 33:16).8. They—that is, who trust in horses, &c.stand upright—literally, "we have straightened ourselves up from our distress and fears."9. let the king hear—as God's representative, delivered to deliver. Perhaps a better sense is,"Lord, save the king; hear us when we call," or pray.PSALM 21Ps 21:1-13. The pious are led by the Psalmist to celebrate God's favor to the king in the alreadyconferred and in prospective victories. The doxology added may relate to both Psalms; the precedingof petition, chiefly this of thanksgiving, ascribing honor to God for His display of grace and powerto His Church in all ages, not only under David, but also under his last greatest successor, "the Kingof the Jews."1. thy strength … thy salvation—as supplied by Thee.2. The sentiment affirmed in the first clause is reaffirmed by the negation of its opposite in thesecond.832JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson3. preventest—literally, "to meet here in good sense," or "friendship" (Ps 59:10; compareopposite, Ps 17:13).blessings of goodness—which confer of pure gold—a figure for the highest royal prosperity.4-6. (Compare 2Sa 7:13-16). The glory and blessedness of the king as head of his line, includingChrist, as well as in being God's specially selected servant, exceeded that of all others.6. made him most blessed—or set him "to be blessings," as Abraham (Ge 12:2).with thy countenance—by sight of thee (Ps 16:11), or by Thy favor expressed by the light ofThy countenance (Nu 6:25), or both.7. The mediate cause is the king's faith, the efficient, God's mercy.8. The address is now made to the king.hand—denotes power, andright hand—a more active and efficient degree of its exercise.find out—reach, lay hold of, indicating success in pursuit of his enemies.9. The king is only God's agent.anger—literally, "face," as appearing against a fiery oven—as in it.10. fruit—children (Ps 37:25; Ho 9:16).11. This terrible overthrow, reaching to posterity, is due to their crimes (Ex 20:5, 6).12. turn their back—literally, "place them [as to the] shoulder."against the face of them—The shooting against their faces would cause them to turn theirbacks in flight.13. The glory of all is ascribable to God alone.PSALM 22Ps 22:1-31. The obscure words Aijeleth Shahar in this title have various explanations. Mostinterpreters agree in translating them by "hind of the morning." But great difference exists as tothe meaning of these words. By some they are supposed (compare Ps 9:1) to be the name of thetune to which the words of the Psalm were set; by others, the name of a musical instrument. Perhapsthe best view is to regard the phrase as enigmatically expressive of the subject—the sufferer beinglikened to a hind pursued by hunters in the early morning (literally, "the dawn of day")—or that,while hind suggests the idea of a meek, innocent sufferer, the addition of morning denotes reliefobtained. The feelings of a pious sufferer in sorrow and deliverance are vividly portrayed. Heearnestly pleads for divine aid on the ground of his relation to God, whose past goodness to Hispeople encourages hope, and then on account of the imminent danger by which he is threatened.The language of complaint is turned to that of rejoicing in the assured prospect of relief fromsuffering and triumph over his enemies. The use of the words of the first clause of Ps 22:1 by ourSaviour on the cross, and the quotation of Ps 22:18 by John (Joh 19:24), and of Ps 22:22 by Paul(Heb 2:12), as fulfilled in His history, clearly intimate the prophetical and Messianic purport of thePsalm. The intensity of the grief, and the completeness and glory of the deliverance and triumph,alike appear to be unsuitable representations of the fortunes of any less personage. In a general andmodified sense (see on Ps 16:1), the experience here detailed may be adapted to the case of all833JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonChristians suffering from spiritual foes, and delivered by divine aid, inasmuch as Christ in Hishuman nature was their head and representative.1. A summary of the complaint. Desertion by God, when overwhelmed by distress, is the climaxof the sufferer's misery.words of my roaring—shows that the complaint is expressed intelligently, though the term"roaring" is figurative, taken from the conduct of irrational creatures in pain.2. The long distress is evinced by—am not silent—literally, "not silence to me," either meaning, I continually cry; or, correspondingwith "thou hearest not," or answerest not, it may mean, there is no rest or quiet to me.3. Still he not only refrains from charging God foolishly, but evinces his confidence in God byappealing to Him.thou art holy—or possessed of all the attributes which encourage trust, and the right object ofthe praises of the Church: hence the sufferer need not despair.4, 5. Past experience of God's people is a ground of trust. The mention of "our fathers" doesnot destroy the applicability of the words as the language of our Saviour's human nature.6. He who was despised and rejected of His own people, as a disgrace to the nation, might welluse these words of deep abasement, which express not His real, but esteemed, value.7, 8. For the Jews used one of the gestures (Mt 27:39) here mentioned, when taunting Him onthe cross, and (Mt 27:43) reproached Him almost in the very, language of this passage.shoot out—or, "open."the lip—(Compare Ps 35:21).8. trusted on the Lord—literally, "rolled"—that is, his burden (Ps 37:5; Pr 16:3) on the Lord.This is the language of enemies sporting with his faith in the hour of his desertion.9, 10. Though ironically spoken, the exhortation to trust was well founded on his previousexperience of divine aid, the special illustration of which is drawn from the period of helplessinfancy.didst make me hope—literally, "made me secure."11. From this statement of reasons for the appeal, he renews it, pleading his double extremity,the nearness of trouble, and the absence of a helper.12, 13. His enemies, with the vigor of bulls and rapacity of lions, surround him, eagerly seekinghis ruin. The force of both figures is greater without the use of any particle denoting comparison.14, 15. Utter exhaustion and hopeless weakness, in these circumstances of pressing danger, areset forth by the most expressive figures; the solidity of the body is destroyed, and it becomes likewater; the bones are parted; the heart, the very seat of vitality, melts like wax; all the juices of thesystem are dried up; the tongue can no longer perform its office, but lies parched and stiffened(compare Ge 49:4; 2Sa 14:14; Ps 58:8). In this, God is regarded as the ultimate source, and menas the instruments.15. the dust of death—of course, denotes the grave. We need not try to find the exact counterpartof each item of the description in the particulars of our Saviour's sufferings. Figurative languageresembles pictures of historical scenes, presenting substantial truth, under illustrations, which,though not essential to the facts, are not inconsistent with them. Were any portion of Christ's terriblesufferings specially designed, it was doubtless that of the garden of Gethsemane.16. Evildoers are well described as dogs, which, in the East, herding together, wild and rapacious,are justly objects of great abhorrence. The last clause has been a subject of much discussion834JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson(involving questions as to the genuineness of the Hebrew word translated "pierce)" which cannotbe made intelligible to the English reader. Though not quoted in the New Testament, the remarkableaptness of the description to the facts of the Saviour's history, together with difficulties attendingany other mode of explaining the clause in the Hebrew, justify an adherence to the terms of ourversion and their obvious meaning.17. His emaciated frame, itself an item of his misery, is rendered more so as the object ofdelighted contemplation to his enemies. The verbs, "look" and "stare," often occur as suggestiveof feelings of satisfaction (compare Ps 27:13; 54:7; 118:7).18. This literally fulfilled prediction closes the sad picture of the exposed and deserted sufferer.19, 20. He now turns with unabated desire and trust to God, who, in His strength and faithfulness,is contrasted with the urgent dangers described.20. my soul—or self (compare Ps 3:2; 16:10).my darling—literally, "my only one," or, "solitary one," as desolate and afflicted (Ps 25:16;35:17).21. Deliverance pleaded in view of former help, when in the most imminent danger, from themost powerful enemy, represented by the unicorn or wild buffalo.the lion's mouth—(Compare Ps 22:13). The lion often used as a figure representing violentenemies; the connecting of the mouth intimates their rapacity.22-24. He declares his purpose to celebrate God's gracious dealings and publish His manifestedperfections ("name," Ps 5:11), &c., and forthwith he invites the pious (those who have a reverentialfear of God) to unite in special praise for a deliverance, illustrating God's kind regard for the lowly,whom men neglect [Ps 22:24]. To hide the face (or eyes) expresses a studied neglect of one's cause,and refusal of aid or sympathy (compare Ps 30:7; Isa 1:15).25, 26. My praise shall be of thee—or, perhaps better, "from thee," that is, God gives graceto praise Him. With offering praise, he further evinces his gratitude by promising the payment ofhis vows, in celebrating the usual festival, as provided in the law (De 12:18; 16:11), of which thepious or humble, and they that seek the Lord (His true worshippers) shall partake abundantly, andjoin him in praise [Ps 22:26]. In the enthusiasm produced by his lively feelings, he addresses suchin words, assuring them of God's perpetual favor [Ps 22:26]. The dying of the heart denotes death(1Sa 25:37); so its living denotes life.27-31. His case illustrates God's righteous government. Beyond the existing time and people,others shall be brought to acknowledge and worship God; the fat ones, or the rich as well as thepoor, the helpless who cannot keep themselves alive, shall together unite in celebrating God'sdelivering power, and transmit to unborn people the records of His grace.30. it shall be accounted to the Lord for, &c.—or, "it shall be told of the Lord to a generation."God's wonderful works shall be told from generation to generation.31. that he hath done this—supply "it," or "this"—that is, what the Psalm has unfolded.PSALM 23Ps 23:1-6. Under a metaphor borrowed from scenes of pastoral life, with which David wasfamiliar, he describes God's providential care in providing refreshment, guidance, protection, andabundance, and so affording grounds of confidence in His perpetual favor.835JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson1. Christ's relation to His people is often represented by the figure of a shepherd (Joh 10:14;Heb 13:20; 1Pe 2:25; 5:4), and therefore the opinion that He is the Lord here so described, and inGe 48:15; Ps 80:1; Isa 40:11, is not without some good reason.2. green pastures—or, "pastures of tender grass," are mentioned, not in respect to food, but asplaces of cool and refreshing rest.the still waters—are, literally, "waters of "stillness," whose quiet flow invites to repose. Theyare contrasted with boisterous streams on the one hand, and stagnant, offensive pools on the other.3. To restore the soul is to revive or quicken it (Ps 19:7), or relieve it (La 1:11, 19).paths of righteousness—those of safety, as directed by God, and pleasing to Him.for his name's sake—or, regard for His perfections, pledged for His people's welfare.4. In the darkest and most trying hour God is near.the valley of the shadow of death—is a ravine overhung by high precipitous cliffs, filled withdense forests, and well calculated to inspire dread to the timid, and afford a covert to beasts of prey.While expressive of any great danger or cause of terror, it does not exclude the greatest of all, towhich it is most popularly applied, and which its terms suggest.thy rod and thy staff—are symbols of a shepherd's office. By them he guides his sheep.5, 6. Another figure expresses God's provided care.a table—or, "food," anointingoil—the symbol of gladness, and the overflowingcup—which represents abundance—are prepared for the child of God, who may feast in spiteof his enemies, confident that this favor will ever attend him. This beautiful Psalm most admirablysets before us, in its chief figure, that of a shepherd, the gentle, kind, and sure care extended toGod's people, who, as a shepherd, both rules and feeds them. The closing verse shows that theblessings mentioned are spiritual.PSALM 24Ps 24:1-10. God's supreme sovereignty requires a befitting holiness of life and heart in Hisworshippers; a sentiment sublimely illustrated by describing His entrance into the sanctuary, bythe symbol of His worship—the ark, as requiring the most profound homage to the glory of HisMajesty.1. fulness——the habitable globe, withthey that dwell—forming a parallel expression to the first clause.2. Poetically represents the facts of Ge 1:9.3, 4. The form of a question gives vivacity. Hands, tongue, and heart are organs of action,speech, and feeling, which compose character.hill of the Lord—(compare Ps 2:6, &c.). His Church—the true or invisible, as typified by theearthly sanctuary.4. lifted up his soul—is to set the affections (Ps 25:1) on an object; here,vanity—or, any false thing, of which swearing falsely, or to falsehood, is a specification.5. righteousness—the rewards which God bestows on His people, or the grace to secure thoserewards as well as the result.836JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson6. Jacob—By "Jacob," we may understand God's people (compare Isa 43:22; 44:2, &c.),corresponding to "the generation," as if he had said, "those who seek Thy face are Thy chosenpeople."7-10. The entrance of the ark, with the attending procession, into the holy sanctuary is picturedto us. The repetition of the terms gives emphasis.10. Lord of hosts—or fully, Lord God of hosts (Ho 12:5; Am 4:13), describes God by a titleindicative of supremacy over all creatures, and especially the heavenly armies (Jos 5:14; 1Ki 22:19).Whether, as some think, the actual enlargement of the ancient gates of Jerusalem be the basis ofthe figure, the effect of the whole is to impress us with a conception of the matchless majesty ofGod.PSALM 25Ps 25:1-22. The general tone of this Psalm is that of prayer for help from enemies. Distress,however, exciting a sense of sin, humble confession, supplication for pardon, preservation fromsin, and divine guidance, are prominent topics.1. lift up my soul—(Ps 24:4; 86:4), set my affections (compare Col 3:2).2. not be ashamed—by disappointment of hopes of relief.3. The prayer generalized as to all who wait on God—that is, who expect His favor. On theother hand, the disappointment of the perfidious, who, unprovoked, have done evil, is invoked(compare 2Sa 22:9).4, 5. On the ground of former favor, he invokes divine guidance, according to God's graciousways of dealing and faithfulness.6, 7. Confessing past and present sins, he pleads for mercy, not on palliations of sin, but onGod's well-known benevolence.8, 9. upright—acting according to His promise.sinners—the general term, limited by themeek—who are penitent.the way—and his way—God's way of providence.9. in judgment—rightly.10. paths—similar sense—His modes of dealing (compare Ps 25:4).mercy and truth—(Job 14:1-22), God's grace in promising and faithfulness in performing.11. God's perfections of love, mercy, goodness, and truth are manifested (his name, comparePs 9:10) in pardoning sin, and the greatness of sin renders pardon more needed.12, 13. What he asks for himself is the common lot of all the pious.13. inherit the earth—(compare Mt 5:5). The phrase, alluding to the promise of Canaan,expresses all the blessings included in that promise, temporal as well as spiritual.14. The reason of the blessing explained—the pious enjoy communion with God (compare Pr3:21, 12), and, of course, learn His gracious terms of pardon.15. His trust in God is—is frequently used as a figure for dangers by enemies (Ps 9:15; 10:9).837JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson16-19. A series of earnest appeals for aid because God had seemed to desert him (compare Ps13:1; 17:13, &c.), his sins oppressed him, his enemies had enlarged his troubles and were multiplied,increasing in hate and violence (Ps 9:8; 18:48).20. keep my soul—(Ps 16:1).put my trust—flee for refuge (Ps 2:12).21. In conscious innocence of the faults charged by his enemies, he confidently commits hiscause to God. Some refer—integrity, &c.—to God, meaning His covenant faithfulness. This sense, though good, is anunusual application of the terms.22. Extend these blessings to all Thy people in all their distresses.PSALM 26Ps 26:1-12. After appealing to God's judgment on his avowed integrity and innocence of thecharges laid by his enemies, the Psalmist professes delight in God's worship, and prays for exemptionfrom the fate of the wicked, expressing assurance of God's favor.1. Judge—decide on my case; the appeal of mine integrity—freedom from blemish (compare Ps 25:21). His confidence of perseveranceresults from trust in God's sustaining grace.2. He asks the most careful scrutiny of his affections and thoughts (Ps 7:9), or motives.3. As often, the ground of prayer for present help is former favor.4-8. As exemplified by the fruits of divine grace, presented in his life, especially in his avoidingthe wicked and his purposes of cleaving to God's worship.6. wash mine hands—expressive symbol of freedom from sinful acts (compare Mt 27:24).8. the habitation of thy house—where Thy house rests, as the tabernacle was not yetpermanently fixed.honour dwelleth—conveys an allusion to the Holy of Holies.9. Gather not, &c.—Bring me not to death.bloody men—(compare Ps 5:6).10. Their whole conduct is that of violence and fraud.11, 12. But, &c.—He contrasts his character and destiny with that of the wicked (compare Ps26:1, 2).12. even place—free from occasions of stumbling—safety in his course is denoted. Hence hewill render to God his praise publicly.PSALM 27Ps 27:1-14. With a general strain of confidence, hope, and joy, especially in God's worship, inthe midst of dangers, the Psalmist introduces prayer for divine help and guidance.1. light—is a common figure for comfort.strength—or, "stronghold"—affording security against all violence. The interrogations givegreater vividness to the negation implied.2. eat … my flesh—(Job 19:22; Ps 14:4). The allusion to wild beasts illustrates their rapacity.838JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthey stumbled—"they" is emphatic; not I, but they were destroyed.3. In the greatest this—that is, then, in such extremity.4, 5. The secret of his confidence is his delight in communion with God (Ps 16:11; 23:6),beholding the harmony of His perfections, and seeking His favor in His temple or palace; a termapplicable to the tabernacle (compare Ps 5:7). There he is safe (Ps 31:21; 61:5). The figure ischanged in the last clause, but the sentiment is the same.6. head be lifted up—I shall be placed beyond the reach of my enemies. Hence he avows hispurpose of rendering joyful thank offerings.7. Still pressing need extorts prayer for help.cry with my voice—denotes earnestness. Other things equal, Christians in earnest pray audibly,even in secret.8. The meaning is clear, though the construction in a literal translation is obscure. The EnglishVersion supplies the implied clause. To seek God's face is to seek His favor (Ps 105:4).9. Hide not, &c.—(Ps 4:6; 22:24). Against rejection he pleads former mercy and love.10. In the extremity of earthly destitution (Ps 31:11; 38:11), God provides (compare Mt 25:35).11. thy way—of providence.a plain path—(Ps 26:12).enemies—literally, "watchers for my fall" (Ps 5:8).12. will—literally, "soul," "desire" (Ps 35:25).enemies—literally, "oppressors." Falsehood aids cruelty against him.breathe out—as being filled with it (Ac 9:1).13. The strong emotion is indicated by the incomplete sentence, for which the English Versionsupplies a proper clause; or, omitting that, and rendering, "yet I believed," &c., the contrast of hisfaith and his danger is see—is to experience (Ps 22:17).14. Wait, &c.—in confident expectation. The last clause is, literally, "and wait," &c., as ifexpecting new measures of help.PSALM 28Ps 28:1-9. An earnest cry for divine aid against his enemies, as being also those of God, isfollowed by the Psalmist's praise in assurance of a favorable answer, and a prayer for all God'speople.1. my rock—(Ps 18:2, 31).be not silent to me—literally, "from me," deaf or inattentive.become like them, &c.—share their fate.go down into the pit—or, "grave" (Ps 30:3).2. lift up my hands—a gesture of prayer (Ps 63:4; 141:2).oracle—place of speaking (Ex 25:22; Nu 7:89), where God answered His people (compare Ps5:7).3. Draw me not away—implies punishment as well as death (compare Ps 26:9). Hypocrisy isthe special wickedness mentioned.839JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson4. The imprecation is justified in Ps 28:5. The force of the passage is greatly enhanced by theaccumulation of terms describing their sin.endeavours—points out their deliberate sinfulness.5. Disregard of God's judgments brings a righteous punishment.destroy … build … up—The positive strengthened by the negative form.6. supplications—or, "cries for mercy."7. The repetition of "heart" denotes his sincerity.8. The distinction made between the people.their strength—and the anointed—may indicate Absalom's rebellion as the occasion.9. The special prayer for the people sustains this view.feed them—as a shepherd (Ps 23:1, &c.).PSALM 29Ps 29:1-11. Trust in God is encouraged by the celebration of His mighty power as illustratedin His dominion over the natural world, in some of its most terrible and wonderful exhibitions.1. Give—or, "ascribe" (De 32:3).mighty—or, "sons of the mighty" (Ps 89:6). Heavenly beings, as angels.2. name—as (Ps 5:11; 8:1).beauty of holiness—the loveliness of a spiritual worship, of which the perceptible beauty ofthe sanctuary worship was but a type.3. The voice of the Lord—audible exhibition of His power in the tempest, of which thunderis a specimen, but not the uniform or sole example.the waters—the clouds or vapors (Ps 18:11; Jer 10:13).4. powerful … majesty—literally, "in power, in majesty."5, 6. The tall and large cedars, especially of Lebanon, are shivered, utterly broken. The wavingof the mountain forests before the wind is expressed by the figure of skipping or leaping.7. divideth—literally, "hews off." The lightning, like flakes and splinters hewed from stone orwood, flies through the air.8. the wilderness—especially Kadesh, south of Judea, is selected as another scene of thisdisplay of divine power, as a vast and desolate region impresses the mind, like mountains, withimages of grandeur.9. Terror-stricken animals and denuded forests close the illustration. In view of this scene ofawful sublimity, God's worshippers respond to the call of Ps 29:2, and speak or cry, "Glory!" By"temple," or "palace" (God's residence, Ps 5:7), may here be meant heaven, or the whole frame ofnature, as the angels are called on for praise.10, 11. Over this terrible raging of the elements God is enthroned, directing and restraining bysovereign power; and hence the comfort of His people. "This awful God is ours, our Father andour Love."PSALM 30840JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonPs 30:1-12. Literally, "A Psalm-Song"—a composition to be sung with musical instruments,or without them—or, "Song of the dedication," &c. specifying the particular character of the Psalm.Some suppose that of David should be connected with the name of the composition, and not with"house"; and refer for the occasion to the selection of a site for the temple (1Ch 21:26-30; 22:1).But "house" is never used absolutely for the temple, and "dedication" does not well apply to suchan occasion. Though the phrase in the Hebrew, "dedication of the house of David," is an unusualform, yet it is equally unusual to disconnect the name of the author and the composition. As a"dedication of David's house" (as provided, De 20:5), the scope of the Psalm well corresponds withthe state of repose and meditation on his past trials suited to such an occasion (2Sa 5:11; 7:2). Forbeginning with a celebration of God's delivering favor, in which he invites others to join, he relateshis prayer in distress, and God's gracious and prompt answer.1. lifted me up—as one is drawn from a well (Ps 40:2).2. healed me—Affliction is often described as disease (Ps 6:2; 41:4; 107:20), and so relief byhealing.3. The terms describe extreme danger.soul—or, "myself."grave—literally, "hell," as in Ps 16:10.hast kept me … pit—quickened or revived me from the state of dying (compare Ps 28:1).4. remembrance—the thing remembered or memorial.holiness—as the sum of God's perfections (compare Ps 22:3), used as name (Ex 3:15; Ps 135:13).5. Relatively, the longest experience of divine anger by the pious is momentary. These preciouswords have consoled millions.6, 7. What particular prosperity is meant we do not know; perhaps his accession to the throne.In his self-complacent elation he was checked by God's hiding His face (compare Ps 22:24; 27:9).7. troubled—confounded with fear (Ps 2:5).8-11. As in Ps 6:5; 88:10; Isa 38:18, the appeal for mercy is based on the destruction of hisagency in praising God here, which death would produce. The terms expressing relief are poetical,and not to be pressed, though "dancing" is the translation of a word which means a lute, whosecheerful notes are contrasted with mourning, or (Am 5:16) wailing.11. sackcloth—was used, even by kings, in distress (1Ch 21:16; Isa 37:1) but "gladness," usedfor a garment, shows the language to be figurative.12. Though "my" is supplied before "glory" it is better as in Ps 16:9, to receive it as used fortongue, the organ of praise. The ultimate end of God's mercies to us is our praise to Him.PSALM 31Ps 31:1-24. The prayer of a believer in time of deep distress. In the first part, cries for help aremingled with expressions of confidence. Then the detail of griefs engrosses his attention, till, inthe assurance of strong but submissive faith, he rises to the language of unmingled joyful trust andexhorts others to like love and confidence towards God.1. Expresses the general tone of feeling of the Psalm.2-4. He seeks help in God's righteous government (Ps 5:8), and begs for an attentive hearing,and speedy and effectual aid. With no other help and no claim of merit, he relies solely on God's841JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonregard to His own perfections for a safe guidance and release from the snares of his enemies. Onthe terms "rock," &c., (compare Ps 17:2; 18:2, 50; 20:6; 23:3; 25:21).5, 6. commit my spirit—my life, or myself. Our Saviour used the words on the Cross [Lu23:46], not as prophetical, but, as many pious men have done, as expressive of His unshakenconfidence in God. The Psalmist rests on God's faithfulness to His promises to His people, andhence avows himself one of them, detesting all who revere objects of idolatry (compare De 32:21;1Co 8:4).7. hast known my soul, &c.—had regard to me in trouble.8. shut me up … enemy—abandon to (1Sa 23:11).large room—place of safety (compare Ps 18:19).9, 10. mine eye, &c.—denotes extreme weakness (compare Ps 6:7).grief—mingled sorrow and indignation (Ps 6:7).soul and … belly—the whole person.10. Though the effects ascribed to grief are not mere figures of speech—spent … consumed—must be taken in the modified sense of wasted and decayed.iniquity—or, suffering by it (see on Ps 40:12).11. among—or, literally, "from," or, "by" my enemies. The latter clauses describe the progressof his disgrace to the lowest degree, till,12. he is forgotten as one dead, and contemned as a useless broken vessel.13. For—introduces further reasons for his prayer, the unjust, deliberate, and murderous purposesof his foes.14-18. In his profession of trust he includes the terms of the prayer expressing it.15. times—course of life.deliver … hand—opposed to "shut me up," &c., of Ps 31:8.16. Make … shine—(Compare Nu 6:25; Ps 4:6). Deprecating from himself, he imprecates onthe wicked God's displeasure, and prays that their virulent persecution of him may be stopped.19-21. God displays openly His purposed goodness to His people.20. the secret of thy presence—or, covering of Thy countenance; the protection He thus affords;compare Ps 27:5 for a similar figure; "dwelling" used there for "presence" here. The idea of securityfurther presented by the figure of a tent and a fortified city [Ps 31:21].22. For I said—literally, "And I said," in an adversative sense. I, thus favored, was my haste—in my terror.cut off … eyes—from all the protection of Thy presence.23, 24. the Lord … proud doer—literally, "the Lord is keeping faith," that is, with His people,and is repaying, &c. Then let none despair, but take courage; their hopes shall not be in vain.PSALM 32Ps 32:1-11. Maschil—literally, "giving instruction." The Psalmist describes the blessings ofHis forgiveness, succeeding the pains of conviction, and deduces from his own experience instructionand exhortation to others.1, 2. (Compare Ro 4:6).forgiven—literally, "taken away," opposed to retain (Joh 20:23).842JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesoncovered—so that God no longer regards the sin (Ps 85:3).2. imputeth—charge to him, and treat him guile—or, deceit, no false estimate of himself, nor insincerity before God (compare Ro 8:1).3, 4. A vivid description of felt, but unacknowledged, sin.When—literally, "for," as in Ps 32:4.4. thy hand—of God, or power in distressing him (Ps 38:2).moisture—vital juices of the body, the parching heat of which expresses the anguish of thesoul. On the other figures, compare Ps 6:2, 7; 31:9-11. If composed on the occasion of the fifty-firstPsalm, this distress may have been protracted for several months.5. A prompt fulfilment of the purposed confession is followed by a prompt forgiveness.6. For this—that is, my happy experience.godly—pious in the sense of Ps 4:3.a time—(Isa 55:6); when God's Spirit inclines us to seek pardon, He is ready to forgive.floods, &c.—denotes great danger (Ps 18:17; 66:12).7. His experience illustrates the statement of Ps 32:6.8. Whether, as most likely, the language of David (compare Ps 51:13), or that of God, this is apromise of divine guidance.I will … mine eye—or, My eye shall be on thee, watching and directing thy way.9. The latter clause, more literally, "in that they come not near thee"; that is, because they willnot come, &c., unless forced by bit and bridle.10. The sorrows of the impenitent contrasted with the peace and safety secured by God's mercy.11. The righteous and upright, or those conforming to the divine teaching for securing the divineblessing, may well rejoice with shouting.PSALM 33Ps 33:1-22. A call to lively and joyous praise to God for His glorious attributes and works, asdisplayed in creation, and His general and special providence, in view of which, the Psalmist, forall the pious, professes trust and joy and invokes God's mercy.1-3. The sentiment falls in with Ps 32:11 (compare 1Co 14:15). The instruments (Ps 92:3; 144:9)do not exclude the voice.3. a new song—fresh, adapted to the occasion (Ps 40:3; 96:1).play skilfully—(Compare 1Sa 16:17).4-9. Reasons for praise: first, God's truth, faithfulness, and mercy, generally; then, His creativepower which all must honor.6. In "word" and "breath"—or, "spirit," there may be an allusion to the Son (Joh 1:1) and HolySpirit.9. he spake—literally, "said."it was—The addition of "done" weakens the sense (compare Ge 1:3-10).10, 11. In God's providence He thwarts men's purposes and executes His own.heathen—literally, "nations."12-19. The inference from the foregoing in Ps 33:12 is illustrated by God's special providence,underlying which is His minute knowledge of all men.843JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson13. looketh—intently (Isa 14:16).15. fashioneth—or, "forms," and hence knows and controls (Pr 21:1).alike—without exception.considereth—or, "understands"; God knows men's motives.16, 17. Men's usual reliances in their greatest exigencies are, in themselves, useless.17. On the war horse (compare Job 39:19-25).a vain thing—a lie, which deceives us.18, 19. Contrasted is God's guidance and power to save from the greatest earthly evil and itsmost painful precursor, and hence from all.20-22. waiteth—in earnest expectation.21. his holy name—(Compare Ps 5:12; 22:22; 30:4). Our faith measures mercy (Mt 9:29); andif of grace, it is no more of debt (Ro 11:6).PSALM 34Ps 34:1-22. On the title compare 1Sa 21:13. Abimelech was the general name of the sovereign(Ge 20:2). After celebrating God's gracious dealings with him, the Psalmist exhorts others to maketrial of His providential care, instructing them how to secure it. He then contrasts God's care of Hispeople and His punitive providence towards the wicked.1-4. Even in distress, which excites supplication, there is always matter for praising and thankingGod (compare Eph 5:20; Php 4:6).2. make her boast—"glory" (Ps 105:3; compare Ga 6:14).humble—"the pious," as in Ps 9:12; 25:9.3. magnify the Lord—ascribe greatness to Him, an act of praise.together—"alike" (Ps 33:15), or, equally, without exception.4. delivered … fears—as well as actual evil (Ps 64:1).5-7. God's favor to the pious generally, and to himself specially, is celebrated.looked—with desire for help.lightened—or, "brightened," expressing joy, opposed to the downcast features of those whoare ashamed or disappointed (Ps 25:2, 3).6. This poor man—literally, "humble," himself as a specimen of such.7. angel—of the covenant (Isa 63:9), of whom as a leader of God's host (Jos 5:14; 1Ki 22:19),the phrase—encampeth, &c.—is appropriate; or, "angel" used collectively for angels (Heb 1:14).8. taste and see—try and experience.9. that fear him—who are pious—fear and love (Pr 1:7; 9:10).saints—consecrated to His service (Isa 40:31).10. not want any good—"good" is emphatic; they may be afflicted (compare Ps 34:10); butthis may be a good (2Co 4:17, 18; Heb 12:10, 11).11. children—subjects of instruction (Pr 1:8, 10).12. What man—Whoever desires the blessings of piety, let him attend.13, 14. Sins of thought included in those of speech (Lu 6:45), avoiding evil and doing good inour relations to men are based on a right relation to God.844JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson15. eyes of the Lord are upon—(Ps 32:8; 33:18).16. face … against—opposed to them (Le 17:10; 20:3).cut off the remembrance—utterly destroy (Ps 109:13).17, 18. Humble penitents are objects of God's special tender regard (Ps 51:19; Isa 57:15).20. bones—framework of the body.21, 22. Contrast in the destiny of righteous and wicked; the former shall be delivered and nevercome into condemnation (Joh 5:24; Ro 8:1); the latter are left under condemnation and desolate.PSALM 35Ps 35:1-28. The Psalmist invokes God's aid, contrasting the hypocrisy, cunning, and malice ofhis enemies with his integrity and generosity. The imprecations of the first part including a briefnotice of their conduct, the fuller exposition of their hypocrisy and malice in the second, and theearnest prayer for deliverance from their scornful triumph in the last, are each closed (Ps 35:9, 10,18, 27, 28) with promises of praise for the desired relief, in which his friends will unite. The historicaloccasion is probably 1Sa 24:1-22.1-3. God is invoked in the character of a warrior (Ex 15:3; De 32:41).3. fight against—literally, "devour my devourers."stop the way against—literally, "shut up" (the way), to meet or oppose, &c.I … thy salvation—who saves thee.4. (Compare Ps 9:17).devise my hurt—purpose for evil to me.5, 6. (Compare Ps 1:4)—a terrible fate; driven by wind on a slippery path in darkness, and hotlypursued by supernatural violence (2Sa 24:16; Ac 12:23).7, 8. net in a pit—or, "pit of their net"—or, "net-pit," as "holy hill" for "hill of holiness" (Ps2:6); a figure from hunting (Ps 7:15). Their imprecations on impenitent rebels against God needno vindication; His justice and wrath are for such; His mercy for penitents. Compare Ps 7:16; 11:5,on the peculiar fate of the wicked here noticed.10. All my bones—every part.him that spoileth him—(Compare Ps 10:2).11. False witnesses—literally, "Witnesses of injustice and cruelty" (compare Ps 11:5; 25:19).12-14. Though they rendered evil for good, he showed a tender sympathy in their affliction.spoiling—literally, "bereavement." The usual modes of showing grief are made, as figures, toexpress his sorrow.13. prayer … bosom—may denote either the posture—the head bowed—(compare 1Ki18:42)—or, that the prayer was in secret. Some think there is a reference to the result—the prayerwould benefit him if not them.14. behaved—literally, "went on"—denoting his habit.heavily—or, "squalidly," his sorrowing occasioning neglect of his person. Altogether, his griefwas that of one for a dearly loved relative.15, 16. On the contrary, they rejoiced in his affliction. Halting, or, "lameness," as in Ps 38:17for any distress.845JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonabjects—either as cripples (compare 2Sa 4:4), contemptible; or, degraded persons, such as hadbeen beaten (compare Job 30:1-8).I knew it not—either the persons, or, reasons of such conduct.tear me, and ceased not—literally, "were not silent"—showing that the tearing meantslandering.16. mockers—who were hired to make sport at feasts (Pr 28:21).17. darling—(Compare Ps 22:20, 21).18. (Compare Ps 22:22).19. enemies wrongfully—by false and slanderous imputations.wink with the eye—an insulting gesture (Pr 6:13).without a cause—manifests more malice than having a wrong cause.20. deceitful matters—or, "words of deceit."quiet in the land—the pious lovers of peace.21. On the gesture compare Ps 22:7; and on the expressions of malicious triumph, compare Ps10:13; 28:3.23, 24. (Compare Ps 7:6; 26:1; 2Th 1:6). God's righteous government is the hope of the piousand terror of the wicked.25. swallowed him up—utterly destroyed him (Ps 21:9; La 2:16).26. clothed—covered wholly (Job 8:22).27. favour … cause—delight in it, as vindicated by Thee.Let the Lord, &c.—Let Him be greatly praised for His care of the just.28. In this praise of God's equitable government (Ps 5:8) the writer promises ever to engage.PSALM 36Ps 36:1-12. On servant of the Lord, see on Ps 18:1, title. The wickedness of man contrastedwith the excellency of God's perfections and dispensations; and the benefit of the latter sought, andthe evils of the former deprecated.1. The general sense of this difficult verse is, "that the wicked have no fear of God." The firstclause may be rendered, "Saith transgression in my heart, in respect to the wicked, there is no fear,"&c., that is, such is my reflection on men's transgressions.2-4. This reflection detailed.until his iniquity—literally, "for finding his iniquity for hating"; that is, he persuades himselfGod will not so find it—"for hating" involving the idea of punishing. Hence his words of iniquityand deceit, and his bold rejection of all right principles of conduct. The climax is that he deliberatelyadopts and patronizes evil. The negative forms affirm more emphatically their contraries.5, 6. mercy … and … faithfulness—as mercy and truth (Ps 25:10).6. righteousness [and] judgments—qualities of a good government (Ps 5:8; 31:1). These allare set forth, by the figures used, as unbounded.7. shadow of thy wings—(Compare De 32:11; Ps 91:1).8. fatness—richness.thy house—residence—for the privileges and blessings of communion with God (Ps 23:6;27:4).846JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonriver of thy pleasures—plenteous supply; may allude to Eden.9. Light is an emblem of all blessings, given of God as a means to gain more.10. that know thee—right knowledge of God is the source of right affections and conduct.11. foot of … hand … wicked—all kinds of violent dealing.12. There—in the acting of violence, they are overthrown. A signal defeat.PSALM 37Ps 37:1-40. A composed and uniform trust in God and a constant course of integrity are urgedin view of the blessedness of the truly pious, contrasted in various aspects with the final ruin of thewicked. Thus the wisdom and justice of God's providence are vindicated, and its seeming inequalities,which excite the cavils of the wicked and the distrust of the pious, are explained. David's personalhistory abundantly illustrates the Psalm.1, 2. The general sentiment of the whole Psalm is expressed. The righteous need not be vexedby the prosperity of the wicked; for it is transient, and their destiny undesirable.3. Trust—sure of safety.shalt thou dwell—or, "dwell thou"; repose quietly.verily … fed—or, "feed on truth," God's promise (Ps 36:5; compare Ho 12:1).4. desires—(Ps 20:5; 21:2), what is lawful and right, really good (Ps 84:11).5. Commit thy way—(Pr 16:3). Works—what you have to do and cannot set forth as a … in him—literally, "on Him." He will do what you cannot (compare Ps 22:8; 31:6). Hewill not suffer your character to remain under suspicion.7, 8. Rest in—literally, "Be silent to the Lord."and wait—Be submissive—avoid petulance and murmurings, anger and rash doing.9. Two reasons: The prosperity of the wicked is short; and the pious, by humble trust, willsecure all covenant blessing, denoted here by "inherit the earth" (compare Ps 25:13).10, 11. shall not be—literally, "is not"—is not to be found.11. peace—includes prosperity.12. gnasheth … teeth—in beastly rage.13. (Compare Ps 2:4).seeth—knows certainly.his day—of punishment, long delayed, shall yet come (Heb 10:37).14, 15. sword, and … bow—for any instruments of violence.slay—literally, "slaughter" (1Sa 25:11).poor and needy—God's people (Ps 10:17; 12:5). The punishment of the wicked as drawn onthemselves—often mentioned (compare Ps 7:15, 16; 35:8).16. riches—literally, "noise and tumult," as incidental to much wealth (compare Ps 39:6). Thusthe contrast with the "little" of one man is more vivid.17. Even the members of the body needed to hold weapons are destroyed.18, 19. God, who knows His people's changes, provides against evil and supplies all their need.20. While the wicked, however mighty, are destroyed, and that utterly, as smoke which vanishesand leaves no trace.847JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson21, 22. payeth not—not able; having grown poor (compare De 15:7). Ability of the one andinability of the other do not exclude moral dispositions. God's blessing or cursing makes thedifference.22. cut off—opposed to "inherit the earth" (compare Le 7:20, 21).23, 24. steps—way, or, "course of life"; as ordered by God, failures will not be permanent.26. his seed is blessed—literally, "for a blessing" (Ge 12:2; Ps 21:6). This position is still trueas the rule of God's economy (1Ti 4:8; 6:6).27-29. The exhortation is sustained by the assurance of God's essential rectitude in thatprovidential government which provides perpetual blessings for the good, and perpetual misery forthe wicked.30, 31. The righteous described as to the elements of character, thought, word, and action.31. steps—or, "goings"—for conduct which is unwavering (Ps 18:36).32, 33. The devices of the wicked against the good fail because God acquits them.34. On the contrary, the good are not only blessed, but made to see the ruin of their foes.35, 36. of which a picture is given, under the figure of a flourishing tree (compare Margin),which soon withers.36. he was not—(Compare Ps 37:10).37. By "the end" is meant reward (Pr 23:18; 24:14), or expectation of success, as in Ps 37:38,which describes the end of the wicked in contrast, and that is cut off (compare Ps 73:17).38. together—at once; entirely (Ps 4:8).39, 40. strength—(Ps 27:1; 28:8).trouble—straits (Ps 9:9; 10:1). In trust and quietness is the salvation of the pious from all foesand all their devices.PSALM 38Ps 38:1-22. To bring to remembrance, or, remind God of His mercy and himself of his sin.Appealing to God for relief from His heavy chastisement, the Psalmist avows his integrity beforemen, complains of the defection of friends and persecution of enemies, and in a submissive spirit,casting himself on God, with penitent confession he pleads God's covenant relation and his innocenceof the charges of his enemies, and prays for divine comfort and help.1-4. He deprecates deserved punishment, which is described (Ps 6:1), under the figure of bodilydisease [Ps 38:3].2. arrows … and thy hand—the sharp and heavy afflictions he suffered (De 32:23).4. iniquities—afflictions in punishment of sin (2Sa 16:12; Ps 31:10; 40:12).gone over mine head—as a flood.5-8. The loathsomeness, corruption, and wasting torture of severe physical disease set forth hismental anguish [Ps 38:6]. It is possible some bodily disease was connected. Theloins are the seat of strength. His exhaustion left him only the power to groan [Ps 38:9].9. That God can hear (Ro 8:26).10. My heart panteth—as if barely surviving.light … from me—utter exhaustion (Ps 6:7; 13:3).11, 12. Friends desert, but foes increase in malignity.848JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson12. seek after my life—(1Sa 20:1; 22:23).13, 14. He patiently submits, uttering no reproaches or replies (Joh 19:9) to their insultingspeeches;15-17. for he is confident theLord—literally, "Sovereign" (to whom he was a servant), would answer his prayer (Ps 3:4;4:1), and not permit their triumph in his partial halting, of which he was in danger.18. Consciousness of sin makes suffering pungent, and suffering, rightly received, leads toconfession.19, 20. Still, while humbled before God, he is the victim of deadly enemies, full of malice andtreachery.enemies are lively—literally, "of life," who would take my life, that is, deadly.21, 22. (Compare Ps 22:19; 35:3). All terms of frequent use. In this Psalm the language isgenerally susceptible of application to Christ as a sufferer, David, as such, typifying Him. Thisdoes not require us to apply the confessions of sin, but only the pains or penalties which He borefor us.PSALM 39Ps 39:1-13. To Jeduthun (1Ch 16:41, 42), one of the chief singers. His name mentioned, perhaps,as a special honor. Under depressing views of his frailty and the prosperity of the wicked, thePsalmist, tempted to murmur, checks the expression of his feelings, till, led to regard his case aright,he prays for a proper view of his condition and for the divine compassion.1. I said—or, "resolved."will take heed—watch.ways—conduct, of which the use of the tongue is a part (Jas 1:26).bridle—literally, "muzzle for my mouth" (compare De 25:4).while … before me—in beholding their prosperity (Ps 37:10, 36).2. even from good—(Ge 31:24), everything.3. His emotions, as a smothered flame, burst forth.4-7. Some take these words as those of fretting, but they are not essentially such. The tinge ofdiscontent arises from the character of his suppressed emotions. But, addressing God, they aresoftened and subdued.make me to know mine end—experimentally frail I am—literally, "when I shall cease."5, 6. His prayer is answered in his obtaining an impressive view of the vanity of the life of allmen, and their transient state. Their pomp is a mere image, and their wealth is gathered they knownot for whom.7. The interrogation makes the implied negative stronger. Though this world offers nothing toour expectation, God is worthy of all confidence.8-10. Patiently submissive, he prays for the removal of his chastisement, and that he may notbe a reproach.11. From his own case, he argues to that of all, that the destruction of man's enjoyments isascribable to sin.849JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson12, 13. Consonant with the tenor of the Psalm, he prays for God's compassionate regard to himas a stranger here; and that, as such was the condition of his fathers, so, like them, he may be cheeredinstead of being bound under wrath and chastened in displeasure.PSALM 40Ps 40:1-17. In this Psalm a celebration of God's deliverance is followed by a profession ofdevotion to His service. Then follows a prayer for relief from imminent dangers, involving theoverthrow of enemies and the rejoicing of sympathizing friends. In Heb 10:5, &c., Paul quotes Ps40:6-8 as the words of Christ, offering Himself as a better sacrifice. Some suppose Paul thusaccommodated David's words to express Christ's sentiments. But the value of his quotation wouldbe thus destroyed, as it would have no force in his argument, unless regarded by his readers as theoriginal sense of the passage in the Old Testament. Others suppose the Psalm describes David'sfeelings in suffering and joy; but the language quoted by Paul, in the sense given by him, could notapply to David in any of his relations, for as a type the language is not adapted to describe anyevent or condition of David's career, and as an individual representing the pious generally, neitherhe nor they could properly use it (see on Ps 40:7, below). The Psalm must be taken then, as thesixteenth, to express the feelings of Christ's human nature. The difficulties pertinent to this viewwill be considered as they occur.1-3. The figures for deep distress are illustrated in Jeremiah's history (Jer 38:6-12). Patienceand trust manifested in distress, deliverance in answer to prayer, and the blessed effect of it ineliciting praise from God's true worshippers, teach us that Christ's suffering is our example, andHis deliverance our encouragement (Heb 5:7, 8; 12:3; 1Pe 4:12-16).inclined—(the ear, Ps 17:6), as if to catch the faintest sigh.3. a new song—(See on Ps 33:3).fear, and … trust—revere with love and faith.4. Blessed—(Ps 1:1; 2:12).respecteth—literally, "turns towards," as an object of confidence.turn aside—from true God and His law to falsehood in worship and conduct.5. be reckoned up in order—(compare Ps 5:3; 33:14; Isa 44:7), too many to be set forthregularly. This is but one instance of many. The use of the plural accords with the union of Christand His people. In suffering and triumph, they are one with Him.6-8. In Paul's view this passage has more meaning than the mere expression of grateful devotionto God's service. He represents Christ as declaring that the sacrifices, whether vegetable or animal,general or special expiatory offerings, would not avail to meet the demands of God's law, and thatHe had come to render the required satisfaction, which he states was effected by "the offering ofthe body of Christ" [Heb 10:10], for that is the "will of God" which Christ came to fulfil or do, inorder to effect man's redemption. We thus see that the contrast to the unsatisfactory characterassigned the Old Testament offerings in Ps 40:6 is found in the compliance with God's law (comparePs 40:7, 8). Of course, as Paul and other New Testament writers explain Christ's work, it consistedin more than being made under the law or obeying its precepts. It required an "obedience untodeath" [Php 2:8], and that is the compliance here chiefly intended, and which makes the contrastwith Ps 40:6 clear.850JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonmine ears hast thou opened—Whether allusion is made to the custom of boring a servant'sear, in token of voluntary and perpetual enslavement (Ex 21:6), or that the opening of the ear, asin Isa 48:8; 50:5 (though by a different word in Hebrew) denotes obedience by the common figureof hearing for obeying, it is evident that the clause is designed to express a devotion to God's willas avowed more fully in Ps 40:8, and already explained. Paul, however, uses the words, "a bodyhast thou prepared me" [Heb 10:5], which are found in the Septuagint in the place of the words,"mine ears hast thou opened." He does not lay any stress on this clause, and his argument is completewithout it. It is, perhaps, to be regarded rather as an interpretation or free translation by theSeptuagint, than either an addition or attempt at verbal translation. The Septuagint translators mayhave had reference to Christ's vicarious sufferings as taught in other Scriptures, as in Isa 53:4-11;at all events, the sense is substantially the same, as a body was essential to the required obedience(compare Ro 7:4; 1Pe 2:24).7. Then—in such case, without necessarily referring to order of time.Lo, I come—I am prepared to do, & the volume of the book—roll of the book. Such rolls, resembling maps, are still used in thesynagogues.written of me—or on me, prescribed to me (2Ki 22:13). The first is the sense adopted by Paul.In either case, the Pentateuch, or law of Moses, is meant, and while it contains much respectingChrist directly, as Ge 3:15; 49:10; De 18:15, and, indirectly, in the Levitical ritual, there is nowhereany allusion to David.9, 10. I have preached—literally, "announced good tidings." Christ's prophetical office istaught. He "preached" the great truths of God's government of sinners.11. may be rendered as an assertion, that God will not withhold (Ps 16:1).12. evils—inflicted by others.iniquities—or penal afflictions, and sometimes calamities in the wide sense. This meaning ofthe word is very common (Ps 31:11; 38:4; compare Ge 4:13, Cain's punishment; Ge 19:15, that ofSodom; 1Sa 28:10, of the witch of En-dor; also 2Sa 16:12; Job 19:29; Isa 5:18; 53:11). This meaningof the word is also favored by the clause, "taken hold of me," which follows, which can be saidappropriately of sufferings, but not of sins (compare Job 27:20; Ps 69:24). Thus, the difficulties inreferring this Psalm to Christ, arising from the usual reading of this verse, are removed. Of theterrible afflictions, or sufferings, alluded to and endured for us, compare Lu 22:39-44, and thenarrative of the scenes of heart faileth me—(Mt 26:38), "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death."cannot look up—literally, "I cannot see," not denoting the depression of conscious guilt, asLu 18:13, but exhaustion from suffering, as dimness of eyes (compare Ps 6:7; 13:3; 38:10). Thewhole context thus sustains the sense assigned to iniquities.13. (Compare Ps 22:19).14, 15. The language is not necessarily imprecatory, but rather a confident expectation (Ps5:11), though the former sense is not inconsistent with Christ's prayer for the forgiveness of Hismurderers, inasmuch as their confusion and shame might be the very means to prepare them forhumbly seeking forgiveness (compare Ac 2:37).15. for a reward—literally, "in consequence of."Aha—(Compare Ps 35:21, 25).16. (Compare Ps 35:27).851JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonlove thy salvation—delight in its bestowal on others as well as themselves.17. A summary of his condition and hopes.thinketh upon—or provides for me. "He was heard," "when he had offered up prayers andsupplications with strong crying and tears, unto Him that was able to save him from death" [Heb5:7].PSALM 41Ps 41:1-13. The Psalmist celebrates the blessedness of those who compassionate the poor,conduct strongly contrasted with the spite of his enemies and neglect of his friends in his calamity.He prays for God's mercy in view of his ill desert, and, in confidence of relief, and that God willvindicate his cause, he closes with a doxology.1-3. God rewards kindness to the poor (Pr 19:17). From Ps 41:2, 11 it may be inferred that thePsalmist describes his own conduct.poor—in person, position, and possessions.2. shall be blessed—literally, "led aright," or "safely," prospered (Ps 23:3).upon the earth—or land of promise (Ps 25:13; 27:3-9, &c.).3. The figures of Ps 41:3 are drawn from the acts of a kind nurse.4. I said—I asked the mercy I show.heal my soul—(Compare Ps 30:2). "Sin and suffering are united," is one of the great teachingsof the Psalms.5, 6. A graphic picture of the conduct of a malignant enemy.6. to see me—as if to spy out my case.he speaketh … itself—or, "he speaketh vanity as to his heart"—that is, does not speak candidly,"he gathereth iniquity to him," collects elements for mischief, and then divulges the gains of hishypocrisy.7, 8. So of others, all act alike.8. An evil disease—literally, "a word of Belial," some slander.cleaveth—literally, "poured on him."that he lieth—who has now laid down, "he is utterly undone and our victory is sure."9. mine … friend—literally, "the man of my peace."eat … bread—who depended on me or was well treated by me.hath lifted up heel—in scornful violence. As David and his fortunes typified Christ and His(compare Introduction), so these words expressed the treatment he received, and also that of hisSon and Lord; hence, though not distinctly prophetical, our Saviour (Joh 13:18) applies them toJudas, "that the Scripture may be fulfilled." This last phrase has a wide use in the New Testament,and is not restricted to denote special prophecies.10. A lawful punishment of criminals is not revenge, nor inconsistent with their final good(compare Ps 40:14, 15).11-13. favourest—or tenderly lovest me (Ge 34:19), evinced by relief from his enemies, and,farther, God recognizes his innocence by upholding him.12. settest … before thy face—under thy watch and care, as God before man's face (Ps 16:8)is an object of trust and love.852JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson13. Blessed—praised, usually applied to God. The word usually applied to men denoteshappiness (Ps 1:1; 32:1). With this doxology the first book closes.PSALM 42Ps 42:1-11. Maschil—(See on Ps 32:1, title). For, or of (see Introduction) the sons of Korah.The writer, perhaps one of this Levitical family of singers accompanying David in exile, mournshis absence from the sanctuary, a cause of grief aggravated by the taunts of enemies, and is comfortedin hopes of relief. This course of thought is repeated with some variety of detail, but closing withthe same refrain.1, 2. Compare (Ps 63:1).panteth—desires in a state of exhaustion.2. appear before God—in acts of worship, the terms used in the command for the statedpersonal appearance of the Jews at the sanctuary.3. Where is thy God?—implying that He had forsaken him (compare 2Sa 16:7; Ps 3:2; 22:8).4. The verbs are properly rendered as futures, "I will remember," &c.,—that is, the recollectionof this season of distress will give greater zest to the privileges of God's worship, when obtained.5. Hence he chides his despondent soul, assuring himself of a time of of his countenance—or, "face" (compare Nu 6:25; Ps 4:6; 16:11).6. Dejection again described.therefore—that is, finding no comfort in myself, I turn to Thee, even in this distant "land ofJordan and the (mountains) Hermon, the country east of Jordan.hill Mizar—as a name of a small hill contrasted with the mountains round about Jerusalem,perhaps denoted the contempt with which the place of exile was regarded.7. The roar of successive billows, responding to that of floods of rain, represented the heavywaves of sorrow which overwhelmed him.8. Still he relies on as constant a flow of divine mercy which will elicit his praise and encouragehis prayer to God.9, 10. in view of which [Ps 42:8], he dictates to himself a prayer based on his distress, aggravatedas it was by the cruel taunts and infidel suggestions of his foes.11. This brings on a renewed self-chiding, and excites hopes of—or help.of my countenance—(compare Ps 42:5) who cheers me, driving away clouds of sorrow frommy God—It is He of whose existence and favor my foes would have me doubt.PSALM 43Ps 43:1-5. Excepting the recurrence of the refrain, there is no good reason to suppose this a partof the preceding, though the scope is the same. It has always been placed separate.1. Judge—or, "vindicate" (Ps 10:18).plead, &c.—(Ps 35:1).ungodly—neither in character or condition objects of God's favor (compare Ps 4:3).853JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson2. God of my strength—by covenant relation my stronghold (Ps 18:1).cast me off—in scorn.because—or, "in," that is, in such circumstances of oppression.3. light—as in Ps 27:1.truth—or, "faithfulness" (Ps 25:5), manifest it by fulfilling promises. Light and truth arepersonified as messengers who will bring him to the privileged place of worship.tabernacles—plural, in allusion to the various courts.4. the altar—as the chief place of worship. The mention of the harp suggests the prominenceof praise in his offering.PSALM 44Ps 44:1-26. In a time of great national distress, probably in David's reign, the Psalmist recountsGod's gracious dealings in former times, and the confidence they had learned to repose in Him.After a vivid picture of their calamities, he humbly expostulates against God's apparent forgetfulness,reminding Him of their faithfulness and mourning their heavy sorrows.1-3. This period is that of the settlement of Canaan (Jos 24:12; Jud 6:3).have told—or, "related" (compare Ex 10:2).2. plantedst them—that is, "our fathers," who are also, from the parallel construction of thelast clause, to be regarded as the object of "cast them out," which means—literally, "send" themout, or, "extend them." Heathen and people denote the nations who were driven out to make roomfor the Israelites.4. Thou art my King—literally, "he who is my King," sustaining the same covenant relationas to the "fathers."5. The figure drawn from the habits of the ox.6-8. God is not only our sole help, but only worthy of praise.7. put … to shame—(compare Ps 6:10), disgraced.8. thy name—as in Ps 5:11.9. But—contrasting, cast off as abhorrent (Ps 43:2).goest not forth—literally, "will not go" (2Sa 5:23). In several consecutive verses the leadingverb is future, and the following one past (in Hebrew), thus denoting the causes and effects. Thus(Ps 44:10-12), when defeated, spoiling follows; when delivered as sheep, dispersion follows, &c.11. The Babylonian captivity not necessarily meant. There were others (compare 1Ki 8:46).13, 14. (Compare De 28:37; Ps 79:4).15. shame of … face—blushes in disgrace.16. Its cause, the taunts and presence of malignant enemies (Ps 8:2).17-19. They had not apostatized totally—were still God's people.18. declined—turned aside from God's law.19. sore broken— of dragons—desolate, barren, rocky wilderness (Ps 63:10; Isa 13:22),shadow of death—(Compare Ps 23:4).20, 21. A solemn appeal to God to witness their constancy.stretched out … hands—gesture of worship (Ex 9:29; Ps 88:9).854JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson22. Their protracted sufferings as God's people attests the constancy. Paul (Ro 8:36) uses thisto describe Christian steadfastness in persecution.23-26. This style of addressing God, as indifferent, is frequent (Ps 3:7; 9:19; 13:1, &c.). Howeverlow their condition, God is appealed to, on the ground, and for the honor, of His mercy.PSALM 45Ps 45:1-17. Shoshannim—literally, "Lilies," either descriptive of an instrument so shaped, ordenoting some tune or air so called, after which the Psalm was to be sung (see on Ps 8:1, title). Asong of loves, or, of beloved ones (plural and feminine)—a conjugal song. Maschil—(See on Ps32:1, title, and Ps 42:1, title) denotes the didactic character of the Psalm; that it gives instruction,the song being of allegorical, and not literal, import. The union and glories of Christ and his Churchare described. He is addressed as a king possessed of all essential graces, as a conqueror exaltedon the throne of a righteous and eternal government, and as a bridegroom arrayed in nuptial splendor.The Church is portrayed in the purity and loveliness of a royally adorned and attended bride, invitedto forsake her home and share the honors of her affianced lord. The picture of an Oriental weddingthus opened is filled up by representing the complimentary gifts of the wealthy with which theoccasion is honored, the procession of the bride clothed in splendid raiment, attended by her virgincompanions, and the entrance of the joyous throng into the palace of the king. A prediction of anumerous and distinguished progeny, instead of the complimentary wish for it usually expressed(compare Ge 24:60; Ru 4:11, 12), and an assurance of a perpetual fame, closes the Psalm. Allancient Jewish and Christian interpreters regarded this Psalm as an allegory of the purport abovenamed. In the Song of Songs the allegory is carried out more fully. Hosea (Ho 1:1-3:5) treats therelation of God and His people under the same figure, and its use to set forth the relation of Christand His Church runs through both parts of the Bible (compare Isa 54:5; 62:4, 5; Mt 22:3; 25:1; Joh3:29; Eph 5:25-32, &c.). Other methods of exposition have been suggested. Several Jewish monarchs,from Solomon to the wicked Ahab, and various foreign princes, have been named as the hero ofthe song. But to none of them can the terms here used be shown to apply, and it is hardly probablethat any mere nuptial song, especially of a heathen king, would be permitted a place in the sacredsongs of the Jews. The advocates for any other than the Messianic interpretation have generallysilenced each other in succession, while the application of the most rigorous rules of a fair systemof interpretation has but strengthened the evidences in its favor. The scope of the Psalm abovegiven is easy and sustained by the explication of its details. The quotation of Ps 45:6, 7 by Paul(Heb 1:8, 9), as applicable to Christ, ought to be conclusive, and their special exposition shows thepropriety of such an application.1. An animated preface indicative of strong emotion. Literally, "My heart overflows: a goodmatter I speak; the things which I have made," &c.inditing—literally, "boiling up," as a fountain tongue is the pen—a mere instrument of God's use.of a ready writer—that is, it is fluent. The theme is inspiring and language flows fast.2. To rich personal attractions is added grace of the lips, captivating powers of speech. This isgiven, and becomes a source of power and proves a blessing. Christ is a prophet (Lu 4:22).3, 4. The king is addressed as ready to go forth to battle.855JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonsword—(Compare Re 1:16; 19:15).mighty—(Compare Isa 9:6).glory and … majesty—generally used as divine attributes (Ps 96:6; 104:1; 111:3), or as speciallyconferred on mortals (Ps 21:5), perhaps these typically.4. ride prosperously—or conduct a successful war.because of—for the interests of truth, &c.meekness … righteousness—without any connection—that is, a righteousness or equity ofgovernment, distinguished by meekness or condescension (Ps 18:35).right hand—or power, as its organ.shall teach thee—point the way to terrible things; that is, in conquest of enemies.5. The result.people—Whole nations are subdued.6. No lawful construction can be devised to change the sense here given and sustained by theancient versions, and above all by Paul (Heb 1:8). Of the perpetuity of this government, compare2Sa 7:13; Ps 10:16; 72:5; 89:4; 110:4; Isa 9:7.7. As in Ps 45:6 the divine nature is made prominent, here the moral qualities of the human arealleged as the reason or ground of the mediatorial exultation. Some render "O God, thy God,"instead ofGod, thy God—but the latter is sustained by the same form (Ps 50:7), and it was only of Hishuman nature that the anointing could be predicated (compare Isa 61:3).oil of gladness—or token of gladness, as used in feasts and other times of solemn joy (compare1Ki 1:39, 40).fellows—other kings.8. The king thus inaugurated is now presented as a bridegroom, who appears in garments richlyperfumed, brought out fromivory palaces—His royal residence; by which, as indications of the happy bridal occasion, Hehas been gladdened.9. In completion of this picture of a marriage festival, female attendants or bridesmaids of thehighest rank attend Him, while the queen, in rich apparel (Ps 45:13), stands ready for the nuptialprocession.10, 11. She is invited to the union, for forming which she must leave her father's people. Sherepresenting, by the form of the allegory, the Church, this address is illustrated by all those scriptures,from Ge 12:1 on, which speak of the people of God as a chosen, separate, and peculiar people. Therelation of subjection to her spouse at once accords with the law of marriage, as given in Ge 3:16;18:12; Eph 5:22; 1Pe 3:5, 6, and the relation of the Church to Christ (Eph 5:24). The love of thehusband is intimately connected with the entire devotion to which the bride is exhorted.12. daughter of Tyre—(Ps 9:14); denotes the people. Tyre, celebrated for its great wealth, isselected to represent the richest nations, an idea confirmed by the next clause. These gifts arebrought as means to conciliate the royal parties, representing the admitted subjection of the offerers.This well sets forth the exalted position of the Church and her head, whose moral qualities receivethe homage of the world. The contribution of material wealth to sustain the institutions of the Churchmay be included (compare "riches of the Gentiles," Ps 72:10; Isa 60:5-10).13. the king's daughter—a term of dignity. It may also intimate, with some allusion to theteaching of the allegory, that the bride of Christ, the Church, is the daughter of the great king, God.856JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwithin—Not only is her outward raiment costly, but all her apparel is of the richest texture.wrought gold—gold embroidery, or cloth in which gold is woven.14, 15. The progress of the procession is described; according to the usual custom the bride andattendants are conducted to the palace. Some for the words—in raiment of needlework—propose another rendering, "on variegated (or embroidered)cloths"—that is, in the manner of the East, richly wrought tapestry was spread on the ground, onwhich the bride walked. As the dress had been already mentioned, this seems to be a probabletranslation.15. shall they be brought—in solemn form (compare Job 10:19; 21:22). The entrance into thepalace with great joy closes the scene. So shall the Church be finally brought to her Lord, and unitedamid the festivities of the holy beings in heaven.16. As earthly monarchs govern widely extended empires by viceroys, this glorious king isrepresented as supplying all the principalities of earth with princes of his own numerous progeny.17. The glories of this empire shall be as wide as the world and lasting as eternity.therefore—Because thus glorious, the praise shall be universal and perpetual. Some writershave taxed their ingenuity to find in the history and fortunes of Christ and His Church exact parallelsfor every part of this splendid allegory, not excepting its gorgeous Oriental imagery. Thus, by thedresses of the king and queen, are thought to be meant the eminent endowments and graces ofChrist and His people. The attendant women, supposed (though inconsistently it might seem withthe inspired character of the work) to be concubines, are thought to represent the Gentile churches,and the bride the Jewish, &c. But it is evident that we cannot pursue such a mode of interpretation.For, following the allegory, we must suspend to the distant future the results of a union whoseconsummation as a marriage is still distant (compare Re 21:9). In fact, the imagery here andelsewhere sets before us the Church in two aspects. As a body, it is yet incomplete, the whole isyet ungathered. As a moral institution, it is yet imperfect. In the final catastrophe it will be completeand perfect. Thus, as a bride adorned, &c., it will be united with its Lord. Thus the union of Christand the Church triumphant is set forth. On the other hand, in regard to its component parts, therelation of Christ as head, as husband, &c., already exists, and as these parts form an institution inthis world, it is by His union with it, and the gifts and graces with which He endows it, that aspiritual seed arises and spreads in the world. Hence we must fix our minds only on the one simplebut grand truth, that Christ loves the Church, is head over all things for it, raises it in His exaltationto the highest moral dignity—a dignity of which every, even the meanest, sincere disciple willpartake. As to the time, then, in which this allegorical prophecy is to fulfilled, it may be said thatno periods of time are specially designated. The characteristics of the relation of Christ and HisChurch are indicated, and we may suppose that the whole process of His exaltation from thedeclaration of His Sonship, by His resurrection, to the grand catastrophe of the final judgment,with all the collateral blessings to the Church and the world, lay before the vision of the inspiredprophet.PSALM 46Ps 46:1-11. Upon Alamoth—most probably denotes the treble, or part sung by female voices,the word meaning "virgins"; and which was sung with some appropriately keyed instrument (compare857JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson1Ch 15:19-21; see on Ps 6:1, title). The theme may be stated in Luther's well-known words, "Amighty fortress is our God." The great deliverance (2Ki 19:35; Isa 37:36) may have occasioned itscomposition.1. refuge—literally, "a place of trust" (Ps 2:12).strength—(Ps 18:2).present help—literally, "a help He has been found exceedingly."trouble—as in Ps 18:7.2, 3. The most violent civil commotions are illustrated by the greatest physical commotions.3. swelling—well represents the pride and haughtiness of insolent foes.4. God's favor is denoted by a river (compare Ps 36:8; Zec 14:8; Re 22:1).city of God, the holy place—His earthly residence, Jerusalem and the temple (compare Ps 2:6;3:4; 20:2; 48:2, &c.). God's favor, like a river whose waters are conducted in channels, is distributedto all parts of His Church.most High—denoting His supremacy (Ps 17:2).5. right early—literally, "at the turn of morning," or change from night to day, a critical time(Ps 30:5; compare Isa 37:36).6. (Compare Ps 46:2).earth melted—all powers dissolved by His mere word (Ps 75:3; Ho 2:22).7. with us—on our side; His presence is terror to our enemies, safety to us.refuge—high place (Ps 9:9; compare also Ps 24:6, 10).8. what desolations—literally, "who hath put desolations," destroying our enemies.9. The usual weapons of war (Ps 7:12), as well as those using them, are brought to an end.10. Be still, &c.—literally, "Leave off to oppose Me and vex My people. I am over all for theirsafety." (Compare Isa 2:11; Eph 1:22).PSALM 47Ps 47:1-9. Praise is given to God for victory, perhaps that recorded (2Ch 20:20-30); and Hisdominions over all people, Jews and Gentiles, is asserted.1. clap … hands … people—literally, "peoples," or "nations" (compare De 32:43; Ps 18:49;98:9).2, 3. His universal sovereignty now exists, and will be made known.3. under us—that is, His saints; Israel's temporal victories were types of the spiritual conquestsof the true Church.4. He shall … inheritance—the heathen to be possessed by His Church (Ps 2:8), as Canaanby the Jews.excellency of Jacob—literally, "pride," or, that in which he glories (not necessarily, thoughoften, in a bad sense), the privileges of the chosen people—whom he loved—His love being the sole cause of granting them.5-7. God, victorious over His enemies, reascends to heaven, amid the triumphant praises of Hispeople, who celebrate His sovereign dominion. This sovereignty is what the Psalm teaches; hencehe adds,858JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonsing … praises with understanding—literally, "sing and play an instructive (Psalm)." Thewhole typifies Christ's ascension (compare Ps 68:18).8, 9. The instruction continued.throne of … holiness—or, "holy throne" (see on Ps 2:6; Ps 23:4).9. princes—who represent peoples. For—even—supply, "as," or, "to"—that is, they all become united under covenant with Abraham'sGod.shields—as in Ho 4:18, "rulers" [Margin].PSALM 48Ps 48:1-14. This is a spirited Psalm and song (compare Ps 30:1), having probably been suggestedby the same occasion as the foregoing. It sets forth the privileges and blessings of God's spiritualdominion as the terror of the wicked and joy of the righteous.1. to be praised—always: it is an epithet, as in Ps 18:3.mountain of his holiness—His Church (compare Isa 2:2, 3; 25:6, 7, 10); the sanctuary waserected first on Mount Zion, then (as the temple) on Moriah; hence the figure.2, 3. situation—literally, "elevation."joy of, &c.—source of joy.sides of the north—poetically for eminent, lofty, distinguished, as the ancients believed thenorth to be the highest part of the earth (compare Isa 14:13).3. palaces—literally, "citadels."refuge—(Ps 9:10; 18:3). He was so known in them because they enjoyed His presence.4-6. For—The reason is given. Though the kings (perhaps of Moab and Ammon, compare Ps83:3-5) combined, a conviction of God's presence with His people, evinced by the unusual couragewith which the prophets (compare 2Ch 20:12-20) had inspired them, seized on their minds, andsmitten with sudden and intense alarm, they fled astonished.7. ships of Tarshish—as engaged in a distant and lucrative trade, the most valuable. The phrasemay illustrate God's control over all material agencies, whether their literal destruction be meantor not.8. This present experience assures of that perpetual care which God extends to His Church.9. thought of—literally, "compared," or considered, in respect of former the … temple—in acts of solemn worship (compare 2Ch 20:28).10. According … praise—that is, As Thy perfections manifested (compare Ps 8:1; 20:1-7),demand praise, it shall be given, everywhere.thy right hand, &c.—Thy righteous government is displayed by Thy power.11. the daughters, &c.—the small towns, or the people, with the chief city, or rulers of theChurch.judgments—decisions and acts of right government.12-14. The call to survey Zion, or the Church, as a fortified city, is designed to suggest "howwell our God secures His fold." This security is perpetual, and its pledge is His guidance throughthis life.859JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonPSALM 49Ps 49:1-20. This Psalm instructs and consoles. It teaches that earthly advantages are not reliablefor permanent happiness, and that, however prosperous worldly men may be for a time, their ultimatedestiny is ruin, while the pious are safe in God's care.1-3. All are called to hear what interests—literally, "duration of life," the present time.4. incline—to hear attentively (Ps 17:6; 31:2).parable—In Hebrew and Greek "parable" and "proverb" are translations of the same word. Itdenotes a comparison, or form of speech, which under one image includes many, and is expressiveof a general truth capable of various illustrations. Hence it may be used for the illustration itself.For the former sense, "proverb" (that is, one word for several) is the usual English term, and forthe latter, in which comparison is prominent, "parable" (that is, one thing laid by another). Thedistinction is not always observed, since here, and in Ps 78:2; "proverb" would better express thestyle of the composition (compare also Pr 26:7, 9; Hab 2:6; Joh 16:25, 29). Such forms of speechare often very figurative and also obscure (compare Mt 13:12-15). Hence the use of the parallelword—dark saying—or, "riddle" (compare Eze 17:2).open—is to explain.upon the harp—the accompaniment for a lyric.5. iniquity—or, "calamity" (Ps 40:12).of my heels—literally "my supplanters" (Ge 27:36), or oppressors: "I am surrounded by theevils they inflict."6. They are vainglorious.7-9. yet unable to save themselves or others.8. it ceaseth for ever—that is, the ransom fails, the price is too precious, costly.9. corruption—literally, "pit," or, "grave," thus showing that "soul" is used for "life" [Ps 49:8].10. For he seeth—that is, corruption; then follows the illustration.wise … fool—(Ps 14:1; Pr 1:32; 10:1).likewise—alike altogether—(Ps 4:8)—die—all meet the same fate.11. Still infatuated and flattered with hopes of perpetuity, they call their lands, or "celebratetheir names on account of (their) lands."12. Contrasted with this vanity is their frailty. However honored, manabideth not—literally, "lodgeth not," remains not till morning, but suddenly perishes as (wild)beasts, whose lives are taken without warning.13. Though their way is folly, others follow the same course of life.14. Like sheep—(compare Ps 49:12) unwittingly, theyare laid—or, "put," &c.death shall feed on—or, better, "shall rule"them—as a shepherd (compare "feed," Ps 28:9, Margin).have dominion over—or, "subdue"them in the morning—suddenly, or in their turn.their beauty—literally, "form" or shape.shall consume—literally, "is for the consumption," that is, of the grave.from their dwelling—literally, "from their home (they go) to it," that is, the grave.860JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson15. The pious, delivered from "the power of the grave."power—literally, "the hand," of death, are taken under God's care.16-19. applies this instruction. Be not anxious (Ps 37:1, &c.), since death cuts off the prosperouswicked whom you dread.18. Though … lived, &c.—literally, "For in his life he blessed his soul," or, "himself" (Lu12:19, 16:25); yet (Ps 49:19); he has had his will praise … thyself—Flatterers enhance the rich fool's self-complacency; the form ofaddress to him strengthens the emphasis of the sentiment.20. (Compare Ps 49:12). The folly is more distinctly expressed by "understandeth not," substitutedfor "abideth not."PSALM 50Ps 50:1-23. In the grandeur and solemnity of a divine judgment, God is introduced as instructingmen in the nature of true worship, exposing hypocrisy, warning the wicked, and encouraging thepious.1-4. The description of this majestic appearance of God resembles that of His giving the law(compare Ex 19:16; 20:18; De 32:1).4. above—literally, "above" (Ge 1:7).heavens … earth—For all creatures are witnesses (De 4:26; 30:19; Isa 1:2).5. my saints—(Ps 4:3).made—literally, "cut"a covenant, &c.—alluding to the dividing of a victim of sacrifice, by which covenants wereratified, the parties passing between the divided portions (compare Ge 15:10, 18).6. The inhabitants of heaven, who well know God's character, attest His righteousness as ajudge.7. I will testify—that is, for failure to worship aught.thy God—and so, by covenant as well as creation, entitled to a pure worship.8-15. However scrupulous in external worship, it was offered as if they conferred an obligationin giving God His own, and with a degrading view of Him as needing it [Ps 50:9-13]. Reprovingthem for such foolish and blasphemous notions, He teaches them to offer, or literally, "sacrifice,"thanksgiving, and pay, or perform, their vows—that is, to bring, with the external symbolicalservice, the homage of the heart, and faith, penitence, and love. To this is added an invitation toseek, and a promise to afford, all needed help in trouble.16-20. the wicked—that is, the formalists, as now exposed, and who lead vicious lives (compareRo 2:21, 23). They are unworthy to use even the words of God's law. Their hypocrisy and vice areexposed by illustrations from sins against the seventh, eighth, and ninth commandments.21, 22. God, no longer (even in appearance) disregarding such, exposes their sins and threatensa terrible punishment.22. forget God—This denotes unmindfulness of His true character.23. offereth praise—(Ps 50:14), so that the external worship is a true index of the heart.861JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonordereth … aright—acts in a straight, right manner, opposed to turning aside (Ps 25:5). Insuch, pure worship and a pure life evince their true piety, and they will enjoy God's presence andfavor.PSALM 51Ps 51:1-19. On the occasion, compare 2Sa 11:12. The Psalm illustrates true repentance, in whichare comprised conviction, confession, sorrow, prayer for mercy, and purposes of amendment, andit is accompanied by a lively faith.1-4. A plea for mercy is a confession of guilt.blot out—as from a register.transgressions—literally, "rebellions" (Ps 19:13; 32:1).2. Wash me—Purity as well as pardon is desired by true penitents.3. For … before me—Conviction precedes forgiveness; and, as a gift of God, is a plea for it(2Sa 12:13; Ps 32:5; 1Jo 1:9).4. Against thee—chiefly, and as sins against others are violations of God's law, in one senseonly.that … judgest—that is, all palliation of his crime is excluded; it is the design in making thisconfession to recognize God's justice, however severe the sentence.5, 6. His guilt was aggravated by his essential, native sinfulness, which is as contrary to God'srequisitions of inward purity as are outward sins to those for right conduct.6. thou shalt make, &c.—may be taken to express God's gracious purpose in view of His strictrequisition; a purpose of which David might have availed himself as a check to his native love forsin, and, in not doing so, aggravated his guilt.truth … and …wisdom—are terms often used for piety (compare Job 28:28; Ps 119:30).7-12. A series of prayers for forgiveness and purifying.Purge … hyssop—The use of this plant in the ritual (Ex 12:22; Nu 19:6, 18) suggests the ideaof atonement as prominent here; "purge" refers to vicarious satisfaction (Nu 19:17-20).8. Make … joy—by forgiving me, which will change distress to joy.9. Hide, &c.—Turn from beholding.10. Create—a work of almighty me—literally, "to me," or, "for me"; bestow as a gift, a heart free from taint of sin (Ps 24:4;73:1).renew—implies that he had possessed it; the essential principle of a new nature had not beenlost, but its influence interrupted (Lu 22:32); for Ps 51:11 shows that he had not lost God's presenceand Spirit (1Sa 16:13), though he had lost the "joy of his salvation" (Ps 51:12), for whose returnhe prays.right spirit—literally, "constant," "firm," not yielding to temptation.12. free spirit—"thy" ought not to be supplied, for the word "free" is, literally, "willing," and"spirit" is that of David. "Let a willing spirit uphold me," that is, with a soul willingly conformedto God's law, he would be preserved in a right course of conduct.13. Then—Such will be the effect of this gracious work.ways—of providence and human duty (Ps 18:21, 30; 32:8; Lu 22:32).862JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson14. Deliver—or, "Free me" (Ps 39:8) from the guilt of murder (2Sa 12:9, 10; Ps 5:6).righteousness—as in Ps 7:17; 31:1.15. open … lips—by removing my sense of guilt.16. Praise is better than sacrifice (Ps 50:14), and implying faith, penitence, and love, glorifiesGod. In true penitents the joys of pardon mingle with sorrow for sin.18. Do good, &c.—Visit not my sin on Thy … walls—is to show favor; compare Ps 89:40, for opposite form and idea.19. God reconciled, material sacrifices will be acceptable (Ps 4:5; compare Isa 1:11-17).PSALM 52Ps 52:1-9. Compare 1Sa 21:1-10; 22:1-10, for the history of the title. Ps 52:1 gives the theme;the boast of the wicked over the righteous is vain, for God constantly cares for His people. This isexpanded by describing the malice and deceit, and then the ruin, of the wicked, and the happy stateof the pious.1. mighty man—literally, "hero." Doeg may be thus addressed, ironically, in respect of hismight in slander.2. tongue—for self.mischiefs—evil to others (Ps 5:9; 38:12).working deceitfully—(Ps 10:7), as a keen, smoothly moving razor, cutting quietly, but deeply.4. all-devouring—literally, "swallowing," which utterly destroy (compare Ps 21:9; 35:25).5. likewise—or, "so," "also," as you have done to others God will do to you (Ps 18:27). Thefollowing terms describe the most entire ruin.6. shall … fear—regard with religious awe.laugh at him—for his folly;7. for trusting in riches and being strong in "wickedness."wickedness—literally, "mischief" (Ps 52:2), instead of trusting in God.the man—literally, "the mighty man," or "hero" (Ps 52:1).8. The figure used is common (Ps 1:3; Jer 11:16).green—, &c.—in communion with God (compare Ps 27:4, 5).for ever and ever—qualifies "mercy."9. hast done—that is, what the context supplies, "preserved me" (compare Ps 22:31).wait … name—hope in Thy perfections, manifested for my good (Ps 5:11; 20:1).for it is good—that is, Thy name, and the whole method or result of its manifestation (Ps 54:6;69:16).PSALM 53Ps 53:1-6. Upon Mahalath—(See on Ps 88:1, title). Why this repetition of the fourteenth Psalmis given we do not know.1-4. with few verbal changes, correspond with Ps 14:1-4.863JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson5. Instead of assurances of God's presence with the pious, and a complaint of the wicked, Ps14:5, 6 portrays the ruin of the latter, whose "bones" even "are scattered" (compare Ps 141:7), andwho are put to shame as contemptuously rejected of God.PSALM 54Ps 54:1-7. See on Ps 4:1, title; Ps 32:1, title; for the history, see 1Sa 23:19, 29; 26:1-25. Afteran earnest cry for help, the Psalmist promises praise in the assurance of a hearing.1. by thy name—(Ps 5:11), specially, power.judge me—as in Ps 7:8; 26:1.2. (Compare Ps 4:1; 5:1).3. strangers—perhaps Ziphites.oppressors—literally, "terrible ones" (Isa 13:11; 25:3). Such were Saul and his army.not set … them—acted as atheists, without God's fear (compare Ps 16:8).4. (Compare Ps 30:10).with them—on their side, and for me (compare Ps 46:11).5. He shall … evil—or, "Evil shall return on" (Ps 7:16) my enemies or watchers, that is, to dome evil (Ps 6:7).in thy truth—Thy verified promise.6. I will freely, &c.—or, present a freewill offering (Le 7:16; Nu 15:3).7. mine eye … desire—(compare Ps 59:10; 112:8), expresses satisfaction in beholding theoverthrow of his enemies as those of God, without implying any selfish or unholy feeling (comparePs 52:6, 7).PSALM 55Ps 55:1-23. In great terror on account of enemies, and grieved by the treachery of a friend, thePsalmist offers an earnest prayer for relief. He mingles confident assurances of divine favor tohimself with invocations and predictions of God's avenging judgments on the wicked. The tonesuits David's experience, both in the times of Saul and Absalom, though perhaps neither wasexclusively before his mind.1. hide not thyself, &c.—(compare Ps 13:1; 27:9), withhold not help.2. The terms of the last clause express full indulgence of grief.3. oppression—literally, "persecution."they … iniquity—literally, "they make evil doings slide upon me."4, 5. express great alarm.5. come upon—or literally, "into."6. be at rest—literally, "dwell," that is, permanently.7, 8. Even a wilderness is a safer place than exposure to such evils, terrible as storm and tempest.9. Destroy—literally, "swallow" (Ps 21:9).divide their tongues—or, "confound their speech," and hence their counsels (Ge 11:7).the city—perhaps Jerusalem, the scene of anarchy.10, 11. which is described in detail (compare Ps 7:14-16).864JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson11. Wickedness—literally, "Mischief," evils resulting from others (Ps 5:9; 52:2, 7).streets—or literally, "wide places," markets, courts of justice, and any public place.12-14. This description of treachery does not deny, but aggravates, the injury from enemies.13. guide—literally, "friend" (Pr 16:28; 17:9).acquaintance—in Hebrew, a yet more intimate associate.14. in company—literally, "with a crowd," in a festal procession.15. Let death, &c.—or, "Desolations are on them."let them go—literally, "they will go."quick—or, living in the midst of life, death will come (compare Nu 16:33).among them—or, "within them," in their hearts (Ps 5:9; 49:11).16-18. God answers his constant and repeated prayers.18. many with me—that is, by the context, fighting with me.19. God hears the wicked in wrath.abideth—or, "sitteth."of old—enthroned as a sovereign.Because … no changes—Prosperity hardens them (Ps 73:5).20, 21. The treachery is aggravated by hypocrisy. The changes of number, Ps 55:15, 23, andhere, enliven the picture, and imply that the chief traitor and his accomplices are in view together.22. thy burden—literally, "gift," what is assigned you.he shall sustain—literally, "supply food," and so all need (Ps 37:25; Mt 6:11).to be moved—from the secure position of His favor (compare Ps 10:6).23. bloody … days—(compare Ps 5:6; 51:14), deceit and murderous dispositions often united.The threat is directed specially (not as a general truth) against the wicked, then in the writer's view.PSALM 56Ps 56:1-13. Upon Jonath-elem-rechokim—literally, "upon the dove of silence" of distant places;either denoting a melody (see on Ps 9:1) of that name, to which this Psalm was to be performed;or it is an enigmatical form of denoting the subject, as given in the history referred to (1Sa 21:11,&c.), David being regarded as an uncomplaining, meek dove, driven from his native home to wanderin exile. Beset by domestic and foreign foes, David appeals confidently to God, recites hiscomplaints, and closes with joyful and assured anticipations of God's continued help.1, 2. would swallow—literally, "pants as a raging beast" (Ac 9:1).2. enemies—watchers (Ps 54:5).most High—As it is not elsewhere used absolutely for God, some render the word here,arrogantly, or proudly, as qualifying "those who fight," &c.3. in—or literally, "unto."thee—to whom he turns in trouble.4. in God … his word—By His grace or aid (Ps 60:12; 108:13), or, "I will boast in God as toHis word"; in either case His word is the special matter and cause of praise.flesh—for mankind (Ps 65:2; Isa 31:3), intimating frailty.5, 6. A vivid picture of the conduct of malicious enemies.7. Shall they escape? &c.—or better, "Their escape is by iniquity."865JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesoncast … people—humble those who so proudly oppose Thy servant.8. God is mindful of his exile and remembers his tears. The custom of bottling the tears ofmourners as a memorial, which has existed in some Eastern nations, may explain the figure.9. God is for me—or, "on my side" (Ps 118:6; 124:1, 2); hence he is sure of the repulse of hisfoes.12. I will render praises—will pay what I have vowed.13. The question implies an affirmative answer, drawn from past experience.falling—as from a precipice.before God—in His favor during life.PSALM 57Ps 57:1-11. Altaschith—or, "Destroy not." This is perhaps an enigmatical allusion to the criticalcircumstances connected with the history, for which compare 1Sa 22:1; 26:1-3. In Moses' prayer(De 9:26) it is a prominent petition deprecating God's anger against the people. This explanationsuits the fifty-eighth and fifty-ninth also. Asaph uses it for the seventy-fifth, in the scope of whichthere is allusion to some emergency. Michtam—(See on Ps 16:1, title). To an earnest cry for divineaid, the Psalmist adds, as often, the language of praise, in the assured hope of a favorable hearing.1. my soul—or self, or life, which is threatened.shadow of thy wings—(Ps 17:8; 36:7).calamities—literally, "mischiefs" (Ps 52:2; 55:10).2. performeth—or, completes what He has begun.3. from … swallow me up—that pants in rage after me (Ps 56:2).mercy and … truth—(Ps 25:10; 36:5), as messengers (Ps 43:3) sent to deliver him.4. The mingled figures of wild beasts (Ps 10:9; 17:12) and weapons of war (Ps 11:2) heightenthe picture of danger.whose … tongue—or slanders.5. This doxology illustrates his view of the connection of his deliverance with God's glory.6. (Compare Ps 7:15; 9:15, 16).7. I will … praise—both with voice and instrument.8. Hence—he addresses his glory, or tongue (Ps 16:9; 30:12), and his psaltery, or lute, andharp.I myself … early—literally, "I will awaken dawn," poetically expressing his zeal and diligence.9, 10. As His mercy and truth, so shall His praise, fill the universe.PSALM 58Ps 58:1-11. David's critical condition in some period of the Sauline persecution probablyoccasioned this Psalm, in which the Psalmist teaches that the innate and actual sinfulness of mendeserves, and shall receive, God's righteous vengeance, while the pious may be consoled by theevidence of His wise and holy government of men.1. O congregation—literally, "Oh, dumb"; the word used is never translated "congregation.""Are ye dumb? ye should speak righteousness," may be the translation. In any case, the writer866JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonremonstrates with them, perhaps a council, who were assembled to try his cause, and bound to givea right decision.2. This they did not design; butweigh … violence—or give decisions of violence. Weigh is a figure to express the acts the earth—publicly.3-5. describe the wicked generally, who sin naturally, easily, malignantly, and stubbornly.4. stoppeth her—literally, "his."ear—that is, the wicked man (the singular used collectively), who thus becomes like the deafadder which has no ear.6. He prays for their destruction, under the figure of ravenous beasts (Ps 3:7; 7:2).7. which run continually—literally, "they shall go to themselves," utterly depart, as rapidmountain torrents.he bendeth … his arrows—prepares it. The term for preparing a bow applied to arrows (Ps64:3).let them … pieces—literally, "as if they cut themselves off"—that is, become blunted and ofno avail.8, 9. Other figures of this utter ruin; the last denoting rapidity. In a shorter time than pots feelthe heat of thorns on fire—9. he shall take them away as with a whirlwind—literally, "blow him (them) away."both living … wrath—literally, "as the living" or fresh as the heated or burning—that is,thorns—all easily blown away, so easily and quickly the wicked. The figure of the "snail" perhapsalludes to its loss of saliva when moving. Though obscure in its clauses, the general sense of thepassage is clear.10, 11. wash … wicked—denoting great slaughter. The joy of triumph over the destruction ofthe wicked is because they are God's enemies, and their overthrow shows that He reigneth (comparePs 52:5-7; 54:7). In this assurance let heaven and earth rejoice (Ps 96:10; 97:1, &c.).PSALM 59Ps 59:1-17. See on Ps 57:1, title, and for history, 1Sa 19:11, &c. The scope is very similar tothat of the fifty-seventh: prayer in view of malicious and violent foes, and joy in prospect of relief.1. defend me—(Compare Margin).rise up … me—(Compare Ps 17:7).2. (Compare Ps 5:5; 6:8).4, 5. prepare, &c.—literally, "set themselves as in array."awake—(Compare Ps 3:7; 7:6), appeals to God in His covenant relation to His people (Ps 9:18).6, 7. They are as ravening dogs seeking prey, and as such,belch out—that is, slanders, their impudent barkings.7. for who, say they—For the full expression with the supplied words, compare Ps 64:5.8. (Compare Ps 2:4; 37:13).9. By judicious expositors, and on good grounds, this is better rendered, "O my strength, onThee will I wait" (Ps 59:17).867JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesondefence—(Compare Ps 18:3).10. prevent me—(Ps 21:3).see my desire—in their overthrow (Ps 54:7).enemies—as in Ps 5:8.11. Slay them not—at once (Jud 2:21-23); but perpetuate their punishment (Ge 4:12; Nu 32:13),by scattering or making them wander, and humble them.12. let them even be … taken in their pride—while evincing it—that is, to be punished fortheir lies, &c.13. Though delayed for wise reasons, the utter destruction of the wicked must come at last, andGod's presence and power in and for His Church will be known abroad (1Sa 17:46; Ps 46:10, 11).14, 15. Meanwhile let the rapacious dogs prowl, they cannot hurt the pious; yea, they shallwander famished and sleepless.15. grudge if, &c.—literally, "they shall stay all night," that is, obtain nothing.16, 17. Contrast the lot of God's servant, who employs his time in God's praise.sing aloud … in the morning—when they retire famishing and disappointed, or it may denotedelightful diligence in praise, as in Ps 30:5.PSALM 60Ps 60:1-12. Shushan-eduth—Lily of testimony. The lily is an emblem of beauty (see on Ps 45:1,title). As a description of the Psalm, those terms combined may denote a beautiful poem,witnessing—that is, for God's faithfulness as evinced in the victories referred to in the history cited.Aram-naharaim—Syria of the two rivers, or Mesopotamia beyond the river (Euphrates) (2Sa 10:16).Aram-zobah—Syria of Zobah (2Sa 10:6), to whose king the king of the former was tributary. Thewar with Edom, by Joab and Abishai (2Ch 18:12, 25), occurred about the same time. Probably,while doubts and fears alternately prevailed respecting the issue of these wars, the writer composedthis Psalm, in which he depicts, in the language of God's people, their sorrows under former disasters,offers prayer in present straits, and rejoices in confident hope of triumph by God's aid.1-3. allude to disasters.cast … off—in scorn (Ps 43:2; 44:9).scattered—broken our strength (compare 2Sa 5:20).Oh, turn thyself—or, "restore to us" (prosperity). The figures of physical, denote great civil,commotions (Ps 46:2, 3).3. drink … wine of astonishment—literally, "of staggering"—that is, made us weak (comparePs 75:8; Isa 51:17, 22).4, 5. Yet to God's banner they will rally, and pray that, led and sustained by His power (righthand, Ps 17:7; 20:6), they may be safe.5. hear me—or, "hear us."6-10. God hath spoken in—or, "by."his holiness—(Ps 89:35; Am 4:2), on the pledge of His attributes (Ps 22:3; 30:4). Takingcourage from God's promise to give them possession (Ex 23:31; De 11:24) (and perhaps renewedto him by special revelation), with triumphant joy he describes the conquest as already made.Shechem, and … Succoth—as widely separated points, and—868JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson7. Gilead … and Manasseh—as large districts, east and west of Jordan, represent the wholeland.divide … and mete out—means to have entire control over.Ephraim—denotes the military (De 33:17); and—Judah—(the lawgiver, Ge 49:10), the civil power. Foreign nations are then presented as subdued.8. Moab—is a my washpot—the most ordinary vessel.over—or, "at"Edom—(as a slave) he casts his shoe.Philistia, triumph, &c.—or, rather, "shout."for me—acknowledges subjection (compare Ps 108:9, "over Philistia will I triumph").9, 10. He feels assured that, though once angry, God is now ready to favor His people.who will lead me—or, who has led me, as if the work were now begun.10. Wilt not thou?—or, "Is it not Thou?"11, 12. Hence he closes with a prayer for success, and an assurance of a hearing.PSALM 61Ps 61:1-8. Neginah—or, Neginoth (see on Ps 4:1, title). Separated from his usual spiritualprivileges, perhaps by Absalom's rebellion, the Psalmist prays for divine aid, and, in view of pastmercies, with great confidence of being heard.1-3. From the end—that is, places remote from the sanctuary (De 28:64).2. heart is overwhelmed—literally, "covered over with darkness," or, "distress."to the rock—(Ps 18:2; 40:2).higher than I—which otherwise I cannot ascend.3. shelter … and strong tower—repeat the same sentiment.4. I will abide—So I desire to do (compare Ps 23:6).trust in the covert, &c.—make my refuge, in the shadow (compare Ps 17:8; 36:7).5. the heritage—or, part in the spiritual blessings of Israel (Ps 21:2-4).vows—implies prayers.6, 7. the king—himself and his royal line ending in Christ. Mercy and truth personified, as inPs 40:11; 57:3.7. abide before God—literally, "sit as a king in God's presence," under His protection.8. Thus for new blessings will new vows of praise ever be paid.PSALM 62Ps 62:1-12. To Jeduthun—(See on Ps 39:1, title). The general tone of this Psalm is expressiveof confidence in God. Occasion is taken to remind the wicked of their sin, their ruin, and theirmeanness.1. waiteth—literally, "is silent," trusts submissively and confidently as a servant.2. The titles applied to God often occur (Ps 9:9; 18:2).be greatly moved—(Ps 10:6). No injury shall be permanent, though devised by enemies.3. Their destruction will come; as a tottering wall they already are feeble and failing.869JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonbowing wall shall ye be—better supply "are." Some propose to apply these phrases to describethe condition of "a man"—that is, the pious suffer: thus, "Will ye slay him," &c.; but the other isa good sense.4. his excellency—or, elevation to which God had raised him (Ps 4:2). This they try to do bylies and duplicity (Ps 5:9).5, 6. (Compare Ps 62:1, 2).6. not be moved—not at all; his confidence has increased.7. rock of my strength—or strongest support (Ps 7:10; 61:3).8. pour out your heart—give full expression to feeling (1Sa 1:15; Job 30:16; Ps 42:4).ye people—God's people.9. No kind of men are reliable, compared with God (Isa 2:22; Jer 17:5).altogether—alike, one as the other (Ps 34:3).10. Not only are oppression and robbery, which are wicked means of wealth, no grounds ofboasting; but even wealth, increasing lawfully, ought not to engross the heart.11. once; twice—(as in Job 33:14; 40:5), are used to give emphasis to the sentiment. God'spower is tempered by His mercy, which it also sustains.12. for thou renderest—literally, "that Thou renderest," &c., connected with "I heard this,"as the phrase—"that power," &c. [Ps 62:11]—teaching that by His power He can show both mercyand justice.PSALM 63Ps 63:1-11. The historical occasion referred to by the title was probably during Absalom'srebellion (compare 2Sa 15:23, 28; 16:2). David expresses an earnest desire for God's favor, and aconfident expectation of realizing it in his deliverance and the ruin of his enemies.1. early … seek thee—earnestly (Isa 26:9). The figurative terms—dry and thirsty—literally, "weary," denoting moral destitution, suited his outward circumstances.soul—and—flesh—the whole man (Ps 16:9, 10).2. The special object of desire was God's perfections as displayed in his worship (Ps 27:4).3. Experiencing God's mercy, which exceeds all the blessings of life, his lips will be openedfor his praise (Ps 51:15).4. Thus—literally, "Truly."will I bless—praise Thee (Ps 34:1).lift up my hands—in worship (compare Ps 28:2).in thy name—in praise of Thy perfections.5-8. Full spiritual blessings satisfy his desires, and acts of praise fill his thoughts and time.6. night—as well as day. Past favors assure him of future, and hence he presses earnestly nearto God, whose power sustains him (Ps 17:8; 60:5).9, 10. those … to destroy it—or literally, "to ruin," or, "for ruin"; that is, such as seek to injureme (are) for ruin, appointed to it (compare Ps 35:8).shall go … earth—into the grave, or, to death; as their bodies are represented as a portion for—10. foxes—literally, "jackals."870JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson11. the king—that is, David himself, and all who reverence God, "shall share a glorious part,"while treacherous foes shall be for ever silenced (Ps 62:4).PSALM 64Ps 64:1-10. A prayer for deliverance from cunning and malicious enemies, with a confidentview of their overthrow, which will honor God and give joy to the righteous.1. preserve … fear—as well as the danger producing it.2. insurrection—literally, "uproar," noisy assaults, as well as their secret counsels.3, 4. Similar figures for slander (Ps 57:4; 59:7).bend—literally, "tread," or, "prepared." The allusion is to the mode of bending a bow by treadingon it; here, and in Ps 58:7, transferred to arrows.4. the perfect—one innocent of the charges made (Ps 18:23).fear not—(Ps 55:19), not regarding God.5. A sentiment here more fully presented, by depicting their deliberate malice.6. This is further evinced by their diligent efforts and deeply laid schemes.7. The contrast is heightened by representing God as using weapons like theirs.8. their … tongue to fall, &c.—that is, the consequences of their slanders, &c. (compare Ps10:2; 31:16).all that see … away—Their partners in evil shall be terrified.9, 10. Men, generally, will acknowledge God's work, and the righteous, rejoicing in it, shall beencouraged to trust Him (Ps 58:10).PSALM 65Ps 65:1-13. This is a song of praise for God's spiritual blessings to His people and His kindprovidence over all the earth.1. Praise waiteth for thee—literally, "To Thee silence praise," or (compare Ps 62:1), To Theesilence is praise—that is, Praise is waiting as a servant; it is due to Thee. So the last clause expressesthe duty of paying vows. These two parts of acceptable worship, mentioned in Ps 50:14, are renderedin Zion, where God chiefly displays His mercy and receives homage.2. All are encouraged to pray by God's readiness to hear.3. God's mercy alone delivers us from the burden of iniquities, by purging or expiating by anatonement the transgressions with which we are charged, and which are denoted by—Iniquities—or, literally, "Words of iniquities."4. dwell in thy courts; … [and] satisfied with the goodness … temple—denote communionwith God (Ps 15:1; 23:6; compare Ps 5:7). This is a blessing for all God's people, as denoted bythe change of number.5. terrible things—that is, by the manifestation of justice and wrath to enemies, accompanyingthat of mercy to His people (Ps 63:9-11; 64:7-9).the confidence—object of it.of all … earth—the whole world; that is, deservedly such, whether men think so or not.871JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson6-13. God's great power and goodness are the grounds of this confidence. These are illustratedin His control of the mightiest agencies of nature and nations affecting men with awe and dread(Ps 26:7; 98:1, &c.), and in His fertilizing showers, causing the earth to produce abundantly forman and beast.8. outgoings of … rejoice—all people from east to west.9. visitest—in mercy (compare Ps 8:4).river of God—His exhaustless resources.11. thy paths—ways of providence (Ps 25:4, 10).12. wilderness—places, though not inhabited by men, fit for pasture (Le 16:21, 22; Job 24:5).pastures—is literally, "folds," or "enclosures for flocks"; and in Ps 65:13 it may be "lambs,"the same word used and so translated in Ps 37:20; so that "the flocks are clothed with lambs" (afigure for abundant increase) would be the form of expression.PSALM 66Ps 66:1-20. The writer invites all men to unite in praise, cites some striking occasions for it,promises special acts of thanksgiving, and celebrates God's great mercy.1. Make … noise—or, "Shout."2. his name—as in Ps 29:2.make his praise glorious—literally, "place honor, His praise," or, "as to His praise"; that is,let His praise be such as will glorify Him, or, be honorable to Him.3, 4. A specimen of the praise.How terrible—(Compare Ps 65:8).submit—(Compare Margin), show a forced subjection (Ps 18:44), produced by terror.5, 6. The terrible works illustrated in Israel's history (Ex 14:21). By this example let rebels beadmonished.7. behold the nations—watch their conduct.8, 9. Here is, perhaps, cited a case of recent deliverance.9. holdeth … in life—literally, "putteth our soul in life"; that is, out of danger (Ps 30:3; 49:15).to be moved—(Compare Ps 10:6; 55:22).10-12. Out of severe trials, God had brought them to safety (compare Isa 48:10; 1Pe 1:7).11. affliction—literally, "pressure," or, as in Ps 55:3, "oppression," which, laid on theloins—the seat of strength (De 33:11), enfeebles the frame.12. men to ride over our heads—made us to pass.through fire, &c.—figures describing prostration and critical dangers (compare Isa 43:2; Eze36:12).wealthy—literally, "overflowing," or, "irrigated," and hence fertile.13-15. These full and varied offerings constitute the payment of vows (Le 22:18-23).15. I will offer—literally, "make to ascend," alluding to the smoke of burnt offering, whichexplains the use of "incense."incense—elsewhere always denoting the fumes of aromatics.872JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson16-20. With these he unites his public thanks, inviting those who fear God (Ps 60:4; 61:5, Histrue worshippers) to hear. He vindicates his sincerity, inasmuch as God would not hear hypocrites,but had heard him.17. he was extolled with my tongue—literally, "exaltation (was) under my tongue," as a placeof deposit, whence it proceeded; that is, honoring God was habitual.18. If I regard iniquity in my heart—literally, "see iniquity with pleasure."PSALM 67Ps 67:1-7. A prayer that, by God's blessing on His people, His salvation and praise may beextended over the earth.1. cause his face to shine—show us favor (Nu 6:24, 25; Ps 31:16).2. thy way—of gracious dealing (Isa 55:8), as explained by—saving health—or literally, "salvation."3-5. Thanks will be rendered for the blessings of His wise and holy government (compare Isa2:3, 4; 11:4).6, 7. The blessings of a fruitful harvest are mentioned as types of greater and spiritual blessings,under which all nations shall fear and love God.PSALM 68Ps 68:1-35. This is a Psalm-song (see on Ps 30:1, title), perhaps suggested by David's victories,which secured his throne and gave rest to the nation. In general terms, the judgment of God on thewicked, and the equity and goodness of His government to the pious, are celebrated. The sentimentis illustrated by examples of God's dealings, cited from the Jewish history and related in highlypoetical terms. Hence the writer intimates an expectation of equal and even greater triumphs andsummons all nations to unite in praises of the God of Israel. The Psalm is evidently typical of therelation which God, in the person of His Son, sustains to the Church (compare Ps 68:18).1-3. Compare Nu 10:35; Ps 1:4; 22:14, on the figures here used.before him—as in Ps 68:2, from His presence, as dreaded; but in Ps 68:3, in His presence, asunder His protection (Ps 61:7).3. the righteous—all truly pious, whether of Israel or not.4. extol him … heavens—literally, "cast up for Him who rideth in the deserts," or "wilderness"(compare Ps 68:7), alluding to the poetical representation of His leading His people in the wildernessas a conqueror, before whom a way is to be prepared, or "cast up" (compare Isa 40:3; 62:10).by his name JAH—or, "Jehovah," of which it is a contraction (Ex 15:3; Isa 12:2) (Hebrew).name—or, "perfections" (Ps 9:10; 20:1), which—5, 6. are illustrated by the protection to the helpless, vindication of the innocent, and punishmentof rebels, ascribed to Him.6. setteth the solitary in families—literally, "settleth the lonely" (as wanderers) "at home."Though a general truth, there is perhaps allusion to the wandering and settlement of the Israelites.rebellious dwell in a dry land—removed from all the comforts of home.7, 8. (Compare Ex 19:16-18).873JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthou wentest—in the pillar of fire.thou didst march—literally, "in Thy tread," Thy majestic movement.8. even Sinai itself—literally, "that Sinai," as in Jud 5:5.9, 10. a plentiful rain—a rain of gifts, as manna and quails.10. Thy congregation—literally, "troop," as in 2Sa 23:11, 13—the military aspect of the peoplebeing prominent, according to the figures of the context.therein—that is, in the land of promise.the poor—Thy humble people (Ps 68:9; compare Ps 10:17; 12:5).11. gave the word—that is, of—or, choir of females, celebrating victory (Ex 15:20).12. Kings of armies—that is, with their armies.she that … at home—Mostly women so remained, and the ease of victory appears in that such,without danger, quietly enjoyed the spoils.13. Some translate this, "When ye shall lie between the borders, ye shall," &c., comparing thepeaceful rest in the borders or limits of the promised land to the proverbial beauty of a gentle dove.Others understand by the word rendered "pots," the smoked sides of caves, in which the Israelitestook refuge from enemies in the times of the judges; or, taking the whole figuratively, the rows ofstones on which cooking vessels were hung; and thus that a contrast is drawn between their formerlow and afflicted state and their succeeding prosperity. In either case, a state of quiet and peace isdescribed by a beautiful figure.14. Their enemies dispersed, the contrast of their prosperity with their former distress isrepresented by that of the snow with the dark and somber shades of Salmon.15, 16. Mountains are often symbols of nations (Ps 46:2; 65:6). That of Bashan, northeast ofPalestine, denotes a heathen nation, which is described as a "hill of God," or a great hill. Such arerepresented as envious of the hill (Zion) on which God resides;17. and, to the assertion of God's purpose to make it His dwelling, is added evidence of Hisprotecting care. He is described as in the midst of His heavenly armies—thousands of angels—literally, "thousands of repetitions," or, "thousands of thousands"—thatis, of chariots. The word "angels" was perhaps introduced in our version, from De 33:2, and Ga3:19. They are, of course, implied as conductors of the … Sinai, in the holy place—that is, He has appeared in Zion as once in Sinai.18. From the scene of conquest He ascends to His throne, leading—captivity captive—or, "many captives captive" (Jud 5:12).received gifts for men—accepting their homage, even when forced, as that of rebels.that the Lord God might dwell—or literally, "to dwell, O Lord God" (compare Ps 68:16)—thatis, to make this hill, His people or Church, His dwelling. This Psalm typifies the conquests of theChurch under her divine leader, Christ. He, indeed, "who was with the Church in the wilderness"(Ac 7:38) is the Lord, described in this ideal ascension. Hence Paul (Eph 4:8) applies this languageto describe His real ascension, when, having conquered sin, death, and hell, the Lord of glorytriumphantly entered heaven, attended by throngs of adoring angels, to sit on the throne and wieldthe scepter of an eternal dominion. The phrase "received gifts for (or literally, among) men" is byPaul, "gave gifts to men." Both describe the acts of a conqueror, who receives and distributes spoils.The Psalmist uses "receiving" as evincing the success, Paul "gave" as the act, of the conqueror,who, having subdued his enemies, proceeds to reward his friends. The special application of the874JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonpassage by Paul was in proof of Christ's exaltation. What the Old Testament represents of Hisdescending and ascending corresponds with His history. He who descended is the same who hasascended. As then ascension was an element of His triumph, so is it now; and He, who, in Hishumiliation, must be recognized as our vicarious sacrifice and the High Priest of our profession,must also be adored as Head of His Church and author of all her spiritual benefits.19-21. God daily and fully supplies us. The issues or escapes from death are under His control,who is the God that saves us, and destroys His and our enemies.21. wound the head—or, "violently destroy" (Nu 24:8; Ps 110:6).goeth on still in … trespasses—perseveringly impenitent.22. Former examples of God's deliverance are generalized: as He has done, so He will do.from Bashan—the farthest region; and—depths of the sea—the severest afflictions. Out of all, God will bring them. The figures of Ps68:23 denote the completeness of the conquest, not implying any savage cruelty (compare 2Ki9:36; Isa 63:1-6; Jer 15:3).24-27. The triumphal procession, after the deliverance, is depicted.They have seen—impersonally, "There have been seen."the goings of my God—as leading the procession; the ark, the symbol of His presence, beingin front. The various bands of music (Ps 68:25) follow, and all who are—26. from—or literally, "of"the fountain of Israel—that is, lineal descendants of Jacob, are invited to unite in the doxology.Then by one of the nearest tribes, one of the most eminent, and two of the most remote, arerepresented the whole nation of Israel, passing forward (Nu 7:1-89).28, 29. Thanks for the past, and confident prayer for the future victories of Zion are mingledin a song of praise.29. thy temple—literally, "over"Jerusalem—His palace or residence (Ps 5:7) symbolized His protecting presence among Hispeople, and hence is the object of homage on the part of others.30. The strongest nations are represented by the strongest beasts (compare Margin).31. Princes—or, literally, "fat ones," the most eminent from the most wealthy, and the mostdistant nation, represent the universal subjection.stretch out her hands—or, "make to run her hands," denoting haste.32-36. To Him who is presented as riding in triumph through His ancient heavens andproclaiming His presence—to Him who, in nature, and still more in the wonders of His spiritualgovernment, out of His holy place (Ps 43:3), is terrible, who rules His Church, and, by His Church,rules the world in righteousness—let all nations and kingdoms give honor and power and dominionevermore.PSALM 69Ps 69:1-36. Upon Shoshannim—(See on Ps 45:1, title). Mingling the language of prayer andcomplaint, the sufferer, whose condition is here set forth, pleads for God's help as one suffering inHis cause, implores the divine retribution on his malicious enemies, and, viewing his deliveranceas sure, promises praise by himself, and others, to whom God will extend like blessings. This Psalm875JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonis referred to seven times in the New Testament as prophetical of Christ and the gospel times.Although the character in which the Psalmist appears to some in Ps 69:5 is that of a sinner, yet hiscondition as a sufferer innocent of alleged crimes sustains the typical character of the composition,and it may be therefore regarded throughout, as the twenty-second, as typically expressive of thefeelings of our Saviour in the flesh.1, 2. (Compare Ps 40:2).come in unto my soul—literally, "come even to my soul," endanger my life by drowning (Jon2:5).3. (Compare Ps 6:6).mine eyes fail—in watching (Ps 119:82).4. hate me, &c.—(Compare Joh 15:25). On the number and power of his enemies (comparePs 40:12).then I restored … away—that is, he suffered wrongfully under the imputation of robbery.5. This may be regarded as an appeal, vindicating his innocence, as if he had said, "If sinful,thou knowest," &c. Though David's condition as a sufferer may typify Christ's, without requiringthat a parallel be found in character.6. for my sake—literally, "in me," in my confusion and shame.7-12. This plea contemplates his relation to God as a sufferer in His cause. Reproach, domesticestrangement (Mr 3:21; Joh 7:5), exhaustion in God's service (Joh 2:17), revilings and taunts ofbase men were the sufferings.10. wept (and chastened) my soul—literally, "wept away my soul," a strongly figurativedescription of deep grief.12. sit in the gate—public place (Pr 31:31).13-15. With increasing reliance on God, he prays for help, describing his distress in the figuresof Ps 69:1, 2.16-18. These earnest terms are often used, and the address to God, as indifferent or averse, isfound in Ps 3:7; 22:24; 27:9, &c.19, 20. Calling God to witness his distress, he presents its aggravation produced by the wantof sympathizing friends (compare Isa 63:5; Mr 14:50).21. Instead of such, his enemies increase his pain by giving him most distasteful food and drink.The Psalmist may have thus described by figure what Christ found in reality (compare Joh 19:29,30).22, 23. With unimportant verbal changes, this language is used by Paul to describe the rejectionof the Jews who refused to receive the Saviour (Ro 11:9, 10). The purport of the figures used isthat blessings shall become curses, the "table" of joy (as one of food) a "snare," theirwelfare—literally, "peaceful condition," or security, a "trap." Darkened eyes and failing strengthcomplete the picture of the ruin falling on them under the invoked retribution.23. continually to shake—literally, "to swerve" or bend in weakness.24, 25. An utter desolation awaits them. They will not only be driven from their homes, buttheir homes—or, literally, "palaces," indicative of wealth—shall be desolate (compare Mt 23:38).26. Though smitten of God (Isa 53:4), men were not less guilty in persecuting the sufferer (Ac2:23).talk to the grief—in respect to, about it, implying derision and taunts.wounded—or, literally, "mortally wounded."876JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson27, 28. iniquity—or, "punishment of iniquity" (Ps 40:12).come … righteousness—partake of its benefits.28. book of the living—or "life," with the next clause, a figurative mode of representing thosesaved, as having their names in a register (compare Ex 32:32; Isa 4:3).29. poor and sorrowful—the afflicted pious, often denoted by such terms (compare Ps 10:17;12:5).set me … high—out of danger.30, 31. Spiritual are better than mere material offerings (Ps 40:6; 50:8); hence a promise of theformer, and rather contemptuous terms are used of the latter.32, 33. Others shall rejoice. "Humble" and poor, as in Ps 69:29.your heart, &c.—address to such (compare Ps 22:26).33. prisoners—peculiarly liable to be despised.34-36. The call on the universe for praise is well sustained by the prediction of the perpetualand extended blessings which shall come upon the covenant-people of God. Though, as usual, theimagery is taken from terms used of Palestine, the whole tenor of the context indicates that thespiritual privileges and blessings of the Church are meant.PSALM 70Ps 70:1-5. This corresponds to Ps 40:13-17 with a very few variations, as "turn back" (Ps 70:3)for "desolate," and "make haste unto me" (Ps 70:5) for "thinketh upon me." It forms a suitableappendix to the preceding, and is called "a Psalm to bring to remembrance," as the thirty-eighth[see on Ps 38:1, title].PSALM 71Ps 71:1-24. The Psalmist, probably in old age, appeals to God for help from his enemies, pleadinghis past favors, and stating his present need; and, in confidence of a hearing, he promises his gratefulthanks and praise.1-3. (Compare Ps 30:1-3).3. given commandment—literally, "ordained," as in Ps 44:4; 68:28.rock … fortress—(Ps 18:2).4, 5. cruel man—corrupt and ill-natured—literally, "sour."5. trust—place of trust.6-9. His history from early infancy illustrated God's care, and his wonderful deliverances wereat once occasions of praise and ground of confidence for the praise … of thee—literally, "in" or "by Thee" (Ps 22:25).10, 11. The craft and malicious taunts of his enemies now led him to call for aid (compare theterms used, 2Sa 17:12; Ps 3:2; 7:2).12. (Compare Ps 22:19; 40:4).13. (Compare Ps 35:4; 40:14).14-16. The ruin of his enemies, as illustrating God's faithfulness, is his deliverance, and a reasonfor future confidence.877JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson15. for I know … thereof—innumerable, as he had not time to count them.16. in the strength—or, relying on it.thy righteousness—or, faithful performance of promises to the pious (Ps 7:17; 31:1).17-21. Past experience again encourages.taught me, &c.—by providential dealings.19. is very high—distinguished (Ps 36:5; Isa 55:9).20. depths of the earth—debased, low condition.21. increase, &c.—that is, the great things done for me (Ps 71:19; compare Ps 40:5).22-24. To the occasion of praise he now adds the promise to render it.will … praise—literally, "will thank."even thy truth—as to Thy truth or faithfulness.PSALM 72Ps 72:1-19. For, or literally, "of Solomon." The closing verse rather relates to the second bookof Psalms, of which this is the last, and was perhaps added by some collector, to intimate that thecollection, to which, as chief author, David's name was appended, was closed. In this view, thesemay consistently be the productions of others included, as of Asaph, sons of Korah, and Solomon;and a few of David's may be placed in the latter series. The fact that here the usual mode of denotingauthorship is used, is strongly conclusive that Solomon was the author, especially as no strongerobjection appears than what has been now set aside. The Psalm, in highly wrought figurative style,describes the reign of a king as "righteous, universal, beneficent, and perpetual." By the older Jewishand most modern Christian interpreters, it has been referred to Christ, whose reign, present andprospective, alone corresponds with its statements. As the imagery of the second Psalm was drawnfrom the martial character of David's reign, that of this is from the peaceful and prosperous stateof Solomon's.1. Give the king, &c.—a prayer which is equivalent to a prediction.judgments—the acts, and (figuratively) the principles of a right government (Joh 5:22; 9:39).righteousness—qualifications for conducting such a government.king's son—same person as a king—a very proper title for Christ, as such in both natures.2, &c. The effects of such a government by one thus endowed are detailed.thy people … and thy poor—or, "meek," the pious subjects of his government.3. As mountains and hills are not usually productive, they are here selected to show theabundance of peace, being represented asbringing—or, literally, "bearing" it as a righteousness—that is, by means of his eminently just and good methods of ruling.4. That peace, including prosperity, as an eminent characteristic of Christ's reign (Isa 2:4; Isa9:6; 11:9), will be illustrated in the security provided for the helpless and needy, and the punishmentinflicted on oppressors, whose power to injure or mar the peace of others will be destroyed (compareIsa 65:25; Zec 9:10).children of the needy—for the needy (compare sons of strangers, Ps 18:45 [Margin]).878JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson5. as long as … endure—literally, "with the sun," coeval with its existence, and before, or, inpresence of the moon, while it lasts (compare Ge 11:28, "before Terah," literally, "in presence of,"while he lived).6. A beautiful figure expresses the grateful nature of His influence;7, and, carrying out the figure, the results are described in an abundant production.the righteous—literally, "righteousness."flourish—literally, "sprout," or, "spring forth."8. The foreign nations mentioned (Ps 72:9, 10) could not be included in the limits, if designedto indicate the boundaries of Solomon's kingdom. The terms, though derived from those used (Ex23:31; De 11:24) to denote the possessions of Israel, must have a wider sense. Thus, "ends of theearth" is never used of Palestine, but always of the world (compare Margin).9-11. The extent of the conquests.They that dwell in the wilderness—the wild, untutored tribes of deserts.bow … dust—in profound submission. The remotest and wealthiest nations shall acknowledgeHim (compare Ps 45:12).12-14. They are not the conquests of arms, but the influences of humane and peaceful principles(compare Isa 9:7; 11:1-9; Zec 9:9, 10).15. In his prolonged life he will continue to receive the honorable gifts of the rich, and theprayers of his people shall be made for him, and their praises given to him.16. The spiritual blessings, as often in Scripture, are set forth by material, the abundance ofwhich is described by a figure, in which a "handful" (or literally, "a piece," or small portion) ofcorn in the most unpropitious locality, shall produce a crop, waving in the wind in its luxuriantgrowth, like the forests of Lebanon.they of the city … earth—This clause denotes the rapid and abundant increase of population—of—or, "from"the city—Jerusalem, the center and seat of the typical kingdom.flourish—or, glitter as new grass—that is, bloom. This increase corresponds with the increasedproductiveness. So, as the gospel blessings are diffused, there shall arise increasing recipients ofthem, out of the Church in which Christ resides as head.17. His name—or, "glorious perfections."as long as the sun—(Compare Ps 72:5).men shall be blessed—(Ge 12:3; 18:18).18, 19. These words close the Psalm in terms consistent with the style of the context, while Ps72:20 is evidently, from its prosaic style, an addition for the purpose above explained [see on Ps72:1].20. ended—literally, "finished," or completed; the word never denotes fulfilment, except in avery late usage, as in Ezr 1:1; Da 12:7.PSALM 73Ps 73:1-28. Of Asaph—(see Introduction). God is good to His people. For although the prosperityof the wicked, and the afflictions of the righteous, tempted the Psalmist to misgivings of God'sgovernment, yet the sudden and fearful ruin of the ungodly, seen in the light of God's revelation,879JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonreassures his heart; and, chiding himself for his folly, he is led to confide renewedly in God, andcelebrate His goodness and love.1. The abrupt announcement of the theme indicates that it is the conclusion of a perplexingmental conflict, which is then detailed (compare Jer 12:1-4).Truly—or, "Surely it is so."clean heart—(Ps 18:26) describes the true Israel.2. The figures express his wavering faith, by terms denoting tottering and weakness (comparePs 22:5; 62:3).3-9. The prosperous wicked are insolently proud (compare Ps 5:5). They die, as well as live,free from perplexities: pride adorns them, and violence is their clothing; indeed they are inflatedwith unexpected success. With all this—8. They are corrupt—or, literally, "they deride," they speak maliciously and arrogantly andinvade even heaven with blasphemy (Re 13:6), and cover earth with slanders (Job 21:7-14).10-12. Hence God's people are confounded, turned hither (or back) and thither, perplexed withdoubts of God's knowledge and care, and filled with sorrow.12. prosper in the word—literally, "secure for ever."13, 14. The Psalmist, partaking of these troubles, is especially disturbed in view of his owncase, that with all his diligent efforts for a holy life, he is still sorely tried.15. Freed from idiomatic phrases, this verse expresses a supposition, as, "Had I thus spoken, Ishould," &c., intimating that he had kept his troubles to himself.generation of thy children—Thy people (1Jo 3:1).offend—literally, "deceive, mislead."16, 17. Still he—thought—literally, "studied," or, "pondered this riddle"; but in vain; it remained a toil (compareMargin), till he—17. went into the sanctuary—to enquire (compare Ex 25:22; Ps 5:7; 27:4).18-20. their end—future (Ps 37:37, 38), which is dismal and terribly sudden (Pr 1:27; 29:1),aggravated and hastened by terror. As one despises an unsubstantial dream, so God, waking up tojudgment (Ps 7:6; 44:23), despises their vain shadow of happiness (Ps 39:6; Isa 29:7). They arethrown into ruins as a building falling to pieces (Ps 74:3).21, 22. He confesses how—foolish—literally, "stupid," andignorant—literally, "not discerning," had been his course of thought.22. before thee—literally, "with Thee," in conduct respecting Thee.23. Still he was with God, as a dependent beneficiary, and so kept from falling (Ps 73:2).24. All doubts are silenced in confidence of divine guidance and future glory.receive me to glory—literally, "take for (me) glory" (compare Ps 68:18; Eph 4:8).25, 26. God is his only satisfying good.26. strength—literally, "rock" (Ps 18:2).portion—(Ps 16:5; La 3:24).27, 28. The lot of apostates, described by a figure of frequent use (Jer 3:1, 3; Eze 23:35), iscontrasted with his, who finds happiness in nearness to God (Jas 4:8), and his delightful work thedeclaration of His praise.880JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonPSALM 74Ps 74:1-23. If the historical allusions of Ps 74:6-8, &c., be referred, as is probable, to the periodof the captivity, the author was probably a descendant and namesake of Asaph, David's contemporaryand singer (compare 2Ch 35:15; Ezr 2:41). He complains of God's desertion of His Church, andappeals for aid, encouraging himself by recounting some of God's mighty deeds, and urges hisprayer on the ground of God's covenant relation to His people, and the wickedness of His and theircommon enemy.1. cast … off—with abhorrence (compare Ps 43:2; 44:9). There is no disavowal of guilt implied.The figure of fire to denote God's anger is often used; and here, and in De 29:20, by the word"smoke," suggests its continuance.sheep … pasture—(Compare Ps 80:1; 95:7).2. The terms to denote God's relation to His people increase in force:"congregation"—"purchased"—"redeemed"—"Zion," His dwelling.3. Lift … feet—(Ge 29:1)—that is, Come (to behold) the desolations (Ps 73:19).4. roar—with bestial fury.congregations—literally, "worshipping assemblies."ensigns—literally, "signs"—substituted their idolatrous objects, or tokens of authority, for thosearticles of the temple which denoted God's presence.5, 6. Though some terms and clauses here are very obscure, the general sense is that the spoilersdestroyed the beauties of the temple with the violence of woodmen.was famous—literally, "was known."6. carved work—(1Ki 6:29).thereof—that is, of the temple, in the writer's mind, though not expressed till Ps 74:7, in whichits utter destruction by fire is mentioned (2Ki 25:9; Isa 64:11).7. defiled—or, "profaned," as in Ps 89:39.8. together—at once, all alike.synagogues—literally, "assemblies," for places of assembly, whether such as schools of theprophets (2Ki 4:23), or "synagogues" in the usual sense, there is much doubt.9. signs—of God's presence, as altar, ark, &c. (compare Ps 74:4; 2Ch 36:18, 19; Da 5:2).no more any prophet—(Isa 3:2; Jer 40:1; 43:6).how long—this is to last. Jeremiah's prophecy (Jer 25:11), if published, may not have beengenerally known or understood. To the bulk of the people, during the captivity, the occasional andlocal prophetical services of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel would not make an exception to theclause, "there is no more any prophet."10. (Compare Ps 31:1).how long … reproach?—us, as deserted of God.blaspheme thy name—or, "perfections," as power, goodness, &c. (Ps 29:2).11. Why cease to help us? (Compare Ps 3:7; 7:6; 60:5).12. For—literally, "And," in an adversative sense.13-15. Examples of the "salvation wrought" are cited.divide the sea—that is, Red Sea.brakest … waters—Pharaoh and his host (compare Isa 51:9, 10; Eze 29:3, 4).14. heads of leviathan—The word is a collective, and so used for many.881JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthe people … wilderness—that is, wild beasts, as conies (Pr 30:25, 26), are called a people.Others take the passages literally, that the sea monsters thrown out on dry land were food for thewandering Arabs.15. cleave the fountain—that is, the rocks of Horeb and Kadesh; for fountains.driedst up—Jordan, and, perhaps, Arnon and Jabbok (Nu 21:14).16, 17. The fixed orders of nature and bounds of earth are of God.18. (Compare Ps 74:10; De 32:6). The contrast is striking—that such a God should be thusinsulted!19. multitude—literally, "beast," their flock or company of men (Ps 68:10).turtledove—that is, the meek and lonely Church.congregation—literally, "the company," as above—thus the Church is represented as the spoiledand defeated remnant of an army, exposed to violence.20. And the prevalence of injustice in heathen lands is a reason for invoking God's regard toHis promise (compare Nu 14:21; Ps 7:16; 18:48).21. oppressed—broken (Ps 9:9).return—from seeking God.ashamed—(Ps 35:4).22, 23. (Compare Ps 3:7; 7:6). God hears the wicked to their own ruin (Ge 4:10; 18:20).PSALM 75Ps 75:1-10. Al-taschith—(See on Ps 57:1, title). In impending danger, the Psalmist, anticipatingrelief in view of God's righteous government, takes courage and renders praise.1. God's name or perfections are set forth by His wondrous works.2, 3. These verses express the purpose of God to administer a just government, and in a timeof anarchy that He sustains the nation. Some apply the words to the Psalmist.receive the congregation—literally, "take a set time" (Ps 102:13; Ho 2:3), or an assembly ata set time—that is, for judging.3. pillars of it—(1Sa 2:8).4-8. Here the writer speaks in view of God's declaration, warning the wicked.Lift … up the horn—to exalt power, here, of the wicked himself—that is, to be arrogant orself-elated.5. speak … neck—insolently.6. promotion—literally, "a lifting up." God is the only right judge of merit.8. in the hand … a cup … red—God's wrath often thus represented (compare Isa 51:17; Jer25:15).but the dregs—literally, "surely the dregs, they shall drain it."9, 10. Contrasted is the lot of the pious who will praise God, and, acting under His direction,will destroy the power of the wicked, and exalt that of the righteous.PSALM 76882JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonPs 76:1-12. On Neginoth—(See on Ps 4:1, title). This Psalm commemorates what the precedinganticipates: God's deliverance of His people by a signal interposition of power against their enemies.The occasion was probably the events narrated in 2Ki 19:35; Isa 37:1-28. (Compare Ps 46:1-11).1, 2. These well-known terms denote God's people and Church and His intimate and gloriousrelations to them.2. Salem—(Ge 14:18) is Jerusalem.3. brake … the arrows—literally, "thunderbolts" (Ps 78:48), from their rapid flight or ignition(compare Ps 18:14; Eph 6:16).the battle—for arms (Ho 2:18).4. Thou—God.mountains of prey—great victorious nations, as Assyria (Isa 41:15; Eze 38:11, 12; Zec 4:7).5. slept their sleep—died (Ps 13:3).none … found … hands—are powerless.6. chariot and horse—for those fighting on them (compare Ps 68:17).7. may … sight—contend with Thee (De 9:4; Jos 7:12).8, 9. God's judgment on the wicked is His people's deliverance (Ps 9:12; 10:7).10. Man's wrath praises God by its futility before His power.restrain—or, "gird"; that is, Thyself, as with a sword, with which to destroy, or as an ornamentto Thy praise.11, 12. Invite homage to such a God (2Ch 32:23), who can stop the breath of kings and princeswhen He wills (Da 5:23).PSALM 77Ps 77:1-20. To Jeduthun—(See on Ps 39:1, title). In a time of great affliction, when ready todespair, the Psalmist derives relief from calling to mind God's former and wonderful works ofdelivering power and grace.1. expresses the purport of the Psalm.2. his sore ran … night—literally, "my hand was spread," or, "stretched out" (compare Ps 44:20).ceased not—literally, "grew not numb," or, "feeble" (Ge 45:26; Ps 38:8).my soul … comforted—(compare Ge 37:35; Jer 31:15).3-9. His sad state contrasted with former joys.was troubled—literally, "violently agitated," or disquieted (Ps 39:6; 41:5).my spirit was overwhelmed—or, "fainted" (Ps 107:5; Jon 2:7).4. holdest … waking—or, "fast," that I cannot sleep. Thus he is led to express his anxiousfeelings in several earnest questions indicative of impatient sorrow.10. Omitting the supplied words, we may read, "This is my affliction—the years of," &c.,"years" being taken as parallel to affliction (compare Ps 90:15), as of God's ordering.11, 12. He finds relief in contrasting God's former deliverances. Shall we receive good at Hishands, and not evil? Both are orderings of unerring mercy and unfailing love.883JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson13. Thy way … in the sanctuary—God's ways of grace and providence (Ps 22:3; 67:2), orderedon holy principles, as developed in His worship; or implied in His perfections, if "holiness" be usedfor "sanctuary," as some prefer translating (compare Ex 15:11).14-20. Illustrations of God's power in His special interventions for His people (Ex 14:1-31),and, in the more common, but sublime, control of nature (Ps 22:11-14; Hab 3:14) which may haveattended those miraculous events (Ex 14:24).15. Jacob and Joseph—representing all.19. waters … , footsteps—may refer to His actual leading the people through the sea, thoughalso expressing the mysteries of providence.PSALM 78Ps 78:1-72. This Psalm appears to have been occasioned by the removal of the sanctuary fromShiloh in the tribe of Ephraim to Zion in the tribe of Judah, and the coincident transfer ofpre-eminence in Israel from the former to the latter tribe, as clearly evinced by David's settlementas the head of the Church and nation. Though this was the execution of God's purpose, the writerhere shows that it also proceeded from the divine judgment on Ephraim, under whose leadershipthe people had manifested the same sinful and rebellious character which had distinguished theirancestors in Egypt.1. my people … my law—the language of a religious teacher (Ps 78:2; La 3:14; Ro 2:16, 27;compare Ps 49:4). The history which follows was a "dark saying," or riddle, if left unexplained,and its right apprehension required wisdom and attention.3-8. This history had been handed down (Ex 12:14; De 6:20) for God's honor, and that theprinciples of His law might be known and observed by posterity. This important sentiment isreiterated in (Ps 78:7, 8) negative form.5. testimony—(Ps 19:7).8. stubborn and rebellious—(De 21:18).set not their heart—on God's service (2Ch 12:14).9-11. The privileges of the first-born which belonged to Joseph (1Ch 5:1, 2) were assigned toEphraim by Jacob (Ge 48:1). The supremacy of the tribe thus intimated was recognized by itsposition (in the marching of the nation to Canaan) next to the ark (Nu 2:18-24), by the selection ofthe first permanent locality for the ark within its borders at Shiloh, and by the extensive and fertileprovince given for its possession. Traces of this prominence remained after the schism underRehoboam, in the use, by later writers, of Ephraim for Israel (compare Ho 5:3-14; 11:3-12). Thougha strong, well-armed tribe, and, from an early period, emulous and haughty (compare Jos 17:14;Jud 8:1-3; 2Sa 19:41), it appears, in this place, that it had rather led the rest in cowardice thancourage; and had incurred God's displeasure, because, diffident of His promise, though oftenheretofore fulfilled, it had failed as a leader to carry out the terms of the covenant, by not drivingout the heathen (Ex 23:24; De 31:16; 2Ki 17:15).12-14. A record of God's dealings and the sins of the people is now made. The writer gives thehistory from the exode to the retreat from Kadesh; then contrasts their sins with their reasons forconfidence, shown by a detail of God's dealings in Egypt, and presents a summary of the subsequenthistory to David's time.884JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonZoan—for Egypt, as its ancient capital (Nu 13:22; Isa 19:11).15, 16. There were two similar miracles (Ex 17:6; Nu 20:11).great depths—and—rivers—denote abundance.17-20. yet more—literally, "added to sin," instead of being led to repentance (Ro 2:4).18. in their heart—(Mt 15:19).for their lust—literally, "soul," or, "desire."provoking—and—tempted—illustrated by their absurd doubts,19, 20. in the face of His admitted power.21. fire—the effect of the "anger" (Nu 11:1).22. (Compare Heb 8:8, 9).23-29. (Compare Ex 16:11-15; Nu 11:4-9).25. angels' food—literally, "bread of the mighty" (compare Ps 105:40); so called, as it camefrom heaven.meat—literally, "victuals," as for a journey.29. their … desire—what they longed for.30, 31. not estranged … lust—or, "desire"—that is, were indulging it.31. slew … fattest—or, "among the fattest"; some of them—chosen—the young and strong (Isa 40:31), and so none could resist.33-39. Though there were partial reformations after chastisement, and God, in pity, withdrewHis hand for a time, yet their general conduct was rebellious, and He was thus provoked to wasteand destroy them, by long and fruitless wandering in the desert.36. lied … tongues—a feigned obedience (Ps 18:44).37. heart … not right—or, "firm" (compare Ps 78:8; Ps 51:10).39. a wind … again—literally, "a breath," thin air (compare Ps 103:16; Jas 4:14).40, 41. There were ten temptations (Nu 14:22).41. limited—as in Ps 78:19, 20. Though some prefer "grieved" or "provoked." The retreat fromKadesh (De 1:19-23) is meant, whether—turned—be for turning back, or to denote repetition of offense.43. wrought—set or held forth.45. The dog-fly or the mosquito.46. caterpillar—the Hebrew name, from its voracity, and that of—locust—from its multitude.47, 48. The additional effects of the storm here mentioned (compare Ex 9:23-34) are consistentwith Moses' account.48. gave … cattle—literally, "shut up" (compare Ps 31:8).49. evil angels—or, "angels of evil"—many were perhaps employed, and other evils inflicted.50, 51. made a way—removed obstacles, gave it full scope.51. chief of their strength—literally, "first-fruits," or, "first-born" (Ge 49:3; De 21:17).Ham—one of whose sons gave name (Mizraim, Hebrew) to Egypt.52-54. made his … forth—or, brought them by periodical journeys (compare Ex 15:1).54. border of his sanctuary—or, "holy border"—i. e., region of which—this mountain—(Zion) was, as the seat of civil and religious government, the representative,used for the whole land, as afterwards for the Church (Isa 25:6, 7).purchased—or, "procured by His right hand" or power (Ps 60:5).885JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson55. by line—or, the portion thus measured.divided them—that is, the heathen, put for their possessions, so tents—that is, of the heathen(compare De 6:11).56, 57. a deceitful bow—which turns back, and so fails to project the arrow (2Sa 1:22; Ho7:16). They relapsed.58. Idolatry resulted from sparing the heathen (compare Ps 78:9-11).59, 60. heard—perceived (Ge 11:7).abhorred—but not utterly.60. tent … placed—literally, "caused to dwell," set up (Jos 18:1).61. his strength—the ark, as symbolical of it (Ps 96:6).62. gave—or, "shut up."his people—(Ps 78:48; 1Sa 4:10-17).63. fire—either figure of the slaughter (1Sa 4:10), or a literal burning by the heathen.given to marriage—literally, "praised"—that is, as brides.64. (Compare 1Sa 4:17); and there were, doubtless, others.made no lamentation—either because stupefied by grief, or hindered by the enemy.65. (Compare Ps 22:16; Isa 42:13).66. And he smote … part—or, "struck His enemies' back." The Philistines never regainedtheir position after their defeats by David.67, 68. tabernacle of Joseph—or, "home," or, "tribe," to which—tribe of Ephraim—is parallel (compare Re 7:8). Its pre-eminence was, like Saul's, onlypermitted. Judah had been the choice (Ge 49:10).69. Exalted as—high palaces—or, "mountains," and abiding as—the earth.70-72. God's sovereignty was illustrated in this choice. The contrast is striking—humility andexaltation—and the correspondence is beautiful.71. following … ewes, &c.—literally, "ewes giving suck" (compare Isa 40:11). On the pastoralterms, compare Ps 79:13.PSALM 79Ps 79:1-13. This Psalm, like the seventy-fourth, probably depicts the desolations of the Chaldeans(Jer 52:12-24). It comprises the usual complaint, prayer, and promised thanks for relief.1. (Compare Ps 74:2-7).2, 3. (Compare Jer 15:3; 16:4).4. (Compare Ps 44:13; Jer 42:18; La 2:15).5. How long—(Ps 13:1).be angry—(Ps 74:1-10).jealousy burn—(De 29:20).6, 7. (Compare Jer 10:25). Though we deserve much, do not the heathen deserve more for theirviolence to us (Jer 51:3-5; Zec 1:14)? The singular denotes the chief power, and the use of theplural indicates the combined confederates.called upon—or, "by"886JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthy name—proclaimed Thy attributes and professed allegiance (Isa 12:4; Ac 2:21).8. former iniquities—literally, "iniquities of former times."prevent us—literally, "meet us," as in Ps 21:3.9. for … glory of thy name [and for] thy name's sake—both mean for illustrating Thyattributes, faithfulness, power, &c.purge … sins—literally, "provide atonement for us." Deliverance from sin and suffering, fortheir good and God's glory, often distinguish the prayers of Old Testament saints (compare Eph1:7).10. This ground of pleading often used (Ex 32:12; Nu 14:13-16).blood … shed—(Ps 79:3).11. prisoner—the whole captive people.power—literally, "arm" (Ps 10:15).12. into their bosom—The lap or folds of the dress is used by Eastern people for receivingarticles. The figure denotes retaliation (compare Isa 65:6, 7). They reproached God as well as Hispeople.13. sheep … pasture—(Compare Ps 74:1; 78:70).PSALM 80Ps 80:1-19. Shoshannim—"Lilies" (see on Ps 45:1, title). Eduth—Testimony, referring to thetopic as a testimony of God to His people (compare Ps 19:7). This Psalm probably relates to thecaptivity of the ten tribes, as the former to that of Judah. Its complaint is aggravated by the contrastof former prosperity, and the prayer for relief occurs as a refrain through the Psalm.1, 2. Joseph—for Ephraim (1Ch 7:20-29; Ps 78:67; Re 7:8), for Israel.Shepherd—(Compare Ge 49:24).leadest, &c.—(Ps 77:20).dwellest … cherubim—(Ex 25:20); the place of God's visible glory, whence He communedwith the people (Heb 9:5).shine forth—appear (Ps 50:2; 94:1).2. Before Ephraim, &c.—These tribes marched next the ark (Nu 2:18-24). The name ofBenjamin may be introduced merely in allusion to that fact, and not because that tribe was identifiedwith Israel in the schism (1Ki 12:16-21; compare also Nu 10:24).3. Turn us—that is, from captivity.thy face to shine—(Nu 6:25).4. be angry—(Compare Margin.)5. bread of tears—still an Eastern figure for affliction.6. strife—object or cause of (Isa 9:11). On last clause compare Ps 79:4; Eze 36:4.8-11. brought—or, "plucked up," as by roots, to be replanted.a vine—(Ps 78:47). The figure (Isa 16:8) represents the flourishing state of Israel, as predicted(Ge 28:14), and verified (1Ki 4:20-25).12. hedges—(Isa 5:5).13. The boar—may represent the ravaging Assyrian andthe wild beast—other heathen.887JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson14, 15. visit this vine—favorably (Ps 8:4).15. And the vineyard—or, "And protect or guard what thy right hand," &c.the branch—literally, "over the Son of man," preceding this phrase, with "protect" or "watch."for thyself—a tacit allusion to the plea for help; for16. it—the "vine" orthey—the "people" are suffering from Thy displeasure.17. thy hand … upon—that is, strengthen (Ezr 7:6; 8:22).man of … hand—may allude to Benjamin (Ge 35:18). The terms in the latter clause correspondwith those of Ps 80:15, from "and the branch," &c., literally, and confirm the exposition givenabove.18. We need quickening grace (Ps 71:20; 119:25) to persevere in Thy right worship (Ge 4:26;Ro 10:11).19. (Compare Ps 80:3, "O God"; Ps 80:7, "O God of hosts").PSALM 81Ps 81:1-16. Gittith—(See on Ps 8:1, title). A festal Psalm, probably for the passover (compareMt 26:30), in which, after an exhortation to praise God, He is introduced, reminding Israel of theirobligations, chiding their neglect, and depicting the happy results of obedience.1. our strength—(Ps 38:7).2. unites the most joyful kinds of music, vocal and instrumental.3. the new moon—or the month.the time appointed—(Compare Pr 7:20).5. a testimony—The feasts, especially the passover, attested God's relation to His people.Joseph—for Israel (Ps 80:1).went out through—or, "over," that is, Israel in the exodus.I heard—change of person. The writer speaks for the nation.language—literally, "lip" (Ps 14:1). An aggravation or element of their distress that theiroppressors were foreigners (De 28:49).6. God's language alludes to the burdensome slavery of the Israelites.7. secret place—the cloud from which He troubled the Egyptians (Ex 14:24).proved thee—(Ps 7:10; 17:3)—tested their faith by the miracle.8. (Compare Ps 50:7). The reproof follows to Ps 81:12.if thou wilt hearken—He then propounds the terms of His covenant: they should worship Himalone, who (Ps 81:10) had delivered them, and would still confer all needed blessings.11, 12. They failed, and He gave them up to their own desires and hardness of heart (De 29:18;Pr 1:30; Ro 11:25).13-16. Obedience would have secured all promised blessings and the subjection of foes. In thispassage, "should have," "would have," &c., are better, "should" and "would" expressing God'sintention at the time, that is, when they left Egypt.PSALM 82888JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonPs 82:1-8. Before the great Judge, the judges of the earth are rebuked, exhorted, and threatened.1. congregation—(Compare Ex 12:3; 16:1).of the mighty—that is, of God, of His appointment.the gods—or, "judges" (Ex 21:6; 22:9), God's representatives.2. accept the persons—literally, "lift up the faces," that is, from dejection, or admit to favorand communion, regardless of merit (Le 19:15; Pr 18:5).3, 4. So must good judges act (Ps 10:14; Job 29:12).4. poor and needy—(Compare Ps 34:10; 41:1).5. By the wilful ignorance and negligence of judges, anarchy ensues (Ps 11:3; 75:3).out of course—(Compare Margin; Ps 9:6; 62:2).6, 7. Though God admitted their official dignity (Joh 10:34), He reminds them of their mortality.7. fall like, &c.—be cut off suddenly (Ps 20:8; 91:7).8. As rightful sovereign of earth, God is invoked personally to correct the evils of Hisrepresentatives.PSALM 83Ps 83:1-18. Of Asaph—(See on Ps 74:1, title). The historical occasion is probably that of 2Ch20:1, 2 (compare Ps 47:1-9; 48:1-14). After a general petition, the craft and rage of the combinedenemies are described, God's former dealings recited, and a like summary and speedy destructionon them is invoked.1. God addressed as indifferent (compare Ps 35:22; 39:12).be not still—literally, "not quiet," as opposed to action.2. thine enemies—as well as ours (Ps 74:23; Isa 37:23).3. hidden ones—whom God specially protects (Ps 27:5; 91:1).4. from being a nation—utter destruction (Isa 7:8; 23:1).Israel—here used for Judah, having been the common name.5. they have consulted—with heart, or cordially.together—all alike.6-8. tabernacles—for people (Ps 78:67).they—all these united with the children of Lot, or Ammonites and Moabites (compare 2Ch20:1).9-11. Compare the similar fate of these (2Ch 20:23) with that of the foes mentioned in Jud 7:22,here referred to. They destroyed one another (Jud 4:6-24; 7:25). Human remains form manure(compare 2Ki 9:37; Jer 9:22).12. The language of the invaders.houses—literally, "residences," enclosures, as for flocks (Ps 65:12).of God—as the proprietors of the land (2Ch 20:11; Isa 14:25).13. like a wheel—or, whirling of any light thing (Isa 17:13), as stubble or chaff (Ps 1:4).14, 15. Pursue them to an utter destruction.16. that they may seek—or as Ps 83:18, supply "men," since Ps 83:17, 18 amplify the sentimentof Ps 83:16, expressing more fully the measure of destruction, and the lesson of God's being andperfections (compare 2Ch 20:29) taught to all men.889JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonPSALM 84Ps 84:1-12. (See on Ps 8:1, title, and Ps 42:1, title). The writer describes the desirableness ofGod's worship and prays for a restoration to its privileges.1. amiable—not lovely, but beloved.tabernacles—(Ps 43:3).2. longeth—most intensely (Ge 31:30; Ps 17:12).fainteth—exhausted with desire.courts—as tabernacles (Ps 84:1)—the whole building.crieth out—literally, "sings for joy"; but here, and La 2:19, expresses an act of sorrow as thecorresponding noun (Ps 17:1; 61:2).heart and … flesh—as in Ps 63:1.3. thine altars—that is, of burnt offering and incense, used for the whole tabernacle. Its structureafforded facilities for sparrows and swallows to indulge their known predilections for such places.Some understand the statement as to the birds as a comparison: "as they find homes, so do I desirethine altars," &c.4. This view is favored by the language here, which, as in Ps 15:1; 23:6, recognizes the blessingof membership in God's family by terms denoting a dwelling in His house.5. (Compare Ps 68:28).in whose heart … the ways—that is, who knows and loves the way to God's favor (Pr 16:17;Isa 40:3, 4).6. valley of Baca—or, "weeping." Through such, by reason of their dry and barren condition,the worshippers often had to pass to Jerusalem. As they might become wells, or fountains, or pools,supplied by refreshing rain, so the grace of God, by the exercises of His worship, refreshes andrevives the hearts of His people, so that for sorrows they have "rivers of delight" (Ps 36:8; 46:4).7. The figure of the pilgrim is carried out. As such daily refit their bodily strength till they reachJerusalem, so the spiritual worshipper is daily supplied with spiritual strength by God's grace tillhe appears before God in heaven.appeareth … God—the terms of the requisition for the attendance on the feasts (compare De16:16),9. God is addressed as a shield (compare Ps 84:11).thine anointed—David (1Sa 16:12).10. I had … doorkeeper—literally, "I choose to sit on the threshold," the meanest place.11, 12. As a sun God enlightens (Ps 27:1); as a shield He protects.grace—God's favor, its fruit—glory—the honor He bestows.uprightly—(Ps 15:2; 18:23).12. that trusteth—constantly.PSALM 85Ps 85:1-13. On the ground of former mercies, the Psalmist prays for renewed blessings, and,confidently expecting them, rejoices.1. captivity—not necessarily the Babylonian, but any great evil (Ps 14:7).890JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson2, 3. (Compare Ps 32:1-5).3. To turn from the "fierceness," implies that He was reconcilable, though4-7. having still occasion for the anger which is deprecated.5. draw out—or, "prolong" (Ps 36:10).8. He is confident God will favor His penitent people (Ps 51:17; 80:18).saints—as in Ps 4:3, the "godly."9. They are here termed "them that fear him"; and grace produces glory (Ps 84:11).10. God's promises of "mercy" will be verified by His "truth" (compare Ps 25:10; 40:10); andthe "work of righteousness" in His holy government shall be "peace" (Isa 32:17). There is an impliedcontrast with a dispensation under which God's truth sustains His threatened wrath, and Hisrighteousness inflicts misery on the wicked.11. Earth and heaven shall abound with the blessings of this government;12, 13. and, under this, the deserted land shall be productive, and men be "set," or guided inGod's holy ways. Doubtless, in this description of God's returning favor, the writer had in view thatmore glorious period, when Christ shall establish His government on God's reconciled justice andabounding mercy.PSALM 86Ps 86:1-17. This is a prayer in which the writer, with deep emotion, mingles petitions andpraises, now urgent for help, and now elated with hope, in view of former mercies. The occurrenceof many terms and phrases peculiar to David's Psalms clearly intimates its authorship.1, 2. poor and needy—a suffering child of God, as in Ps 10:12, 17; 18:27.I am holy—or, "godly," as in Ps 4:3; 85:8.4. lift up my soul—with strong desire (Ps 25:1).5-7. unto all … that call upon thee—or, "worship Thee" (Ps 50:15; 91:15) however undeserving(Ex 34:6; Le 11:9-13).8. neither … works—literally, "nothing like thy works," the "gods" have none at all.9, 10. The pious Jews believed that God's common relation to all would be ultimatelyacknowledged by all men (Ps 45:12-16; 47:9).11. Teach—Show, point out.the way—of Providence.walk in thy truth—according to its declarations.unite my heart—fix all my affections (Ps 12:2; Jas 4:8).to fear thy name—(compare Ps 86:12) to honor Thy perfections.13, 14. The reason: God had delivered him from death and the power of insolent, violent, andgodless persecutors (Ps 54:3; Eze 8:12).15. Contrasts God with his enemies (compare Ps 86:5).16. son … handmaid—homeborn servant (compare Lu 15:17).17. Show me—literally, "Make with me a token," by Thy providential care. Thus in and by hisprosperity his enemies would be confounded.891JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonPSALM 87Ps 87:1-7. This triumphal song was probably occasioned by the same event as the forty-sixth[see on Ps 46:1, title]. The writer celebrates the glory of the Church, as the means of spiritualblessing to the nation.1. His—that is, God'sfoundation—or, what He has founded, that is, Zion (Isa 14:32).is in the holy mountains—the location of Zion, in the wide sense, for the capital, or Jerusalem,being on several hills.2. gates—for the enclosures, or city to which they opened (Ps 9:14; 122:2; compare Ps 132:13,14).3. spoken of thee—or, "in thee," that is, the city of God (Ps 46:4; 48:2).4. This is what is spoken by them … me—literally, "for My knowers," they are true worshippers (Ps 36:10; Isa 19:21).These are mentioned as specimens.this—that is, nationwas born there—Of each it is said, "This was born," or is a native of Zion, spiritually.5. The writer resumes—This and that man—literally, "man and man," or many (Ge 14:10; Ex 8:10, 14), or all (Isa44:5; Ga 3:28).the highest … her—God is her protector.6. The same idea is set forth under the figure of a register made by God (compare Isa 4:3).7. As in a great procession of those thus written up, or registered, seeking Zion (Isa 2:3; Jer50:5), "the singers" and "players," or pipers, shall precede.all my springs—So each shall say, "All my sources of spiritual joy are in Thee" (Ps 46:4; 84:6).PSALM 88Ps 88:1-18. Upon Mahalath—either an instrument, as a lute, to be used as an accompaniment(Leannoth, "for singing") or, as others think, an enigmatic title (see on Ps 5:1, Ps 22:1, and Ps 45:1,titles), denoting the subject—that is, "sickness or disease, for humbling," the idea of spiritualmaladies being often represented by disease (compare Ps 6:5, 6; 22:14, 15, &c.). On the other terms,see on Ps 42:1 and Ps 32:1. Heman and Ethan (see on Ps 89:1, title) were David's singers (1Ch6:18, 33; 15:17), of the family of Kohath. If the persons alluded to (1Ki 4:31; 1Ch 2:6), they wereprobably adopted into the tribe of Judah. Though called a song, which usually implies joy (Ps 83:1),both the style and matter of the Psalm are very despondent; yet the appeals to God evince faith,and we may suppose that the word "song" might be extended to such compositions.1, 2. Compare on the terms used, Ps 22:2; 31:2.3. grave—literally, "hell" (Ps 16:10), death in wide sense.4. go … pit—of destruction (Ps 28:1).as a man—literally, "a stout man," whose strength is utterly gone.5. Free … dead—Cut off from God's care, as are the slain, who, falling under His wrath, areleft, no longer sustained by His hand.6. Similar figures for distress in Ps 63:9; 69:3.892JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson7. Compare Ps 38:2, on first, and Ps 42:7, on last clause.8. Both cut off from sympathy and made hateful to friends (Ps 31:11).9. Mine eye mourneth—literally, "decays," or fails, denoting exhaustion (Ps 6:7; 31:9).I … called—(Ps 86:5, 7).stretched out—for help (Ps 44:20).10. shall the dead—the remains of ghosts.arise—literally, "rise up," that is, as dead persons.11, 12. amplify the foregoing, the whole purport (as Ps 6:5) being to contrast death and life asseasons for praising God.13. prevent—meet—that is, he will diligently come before God for help (Ps 18:41).14. On the terms (Ps 27:9; 74:1; 77:7).15. from … youth up—all my life.16, 17. the extremes of anguish and despair are depicted.18. into darkness—Better omit "into"—"mine acquaintances (are) darkness," the gloom ofdeath, &c. (Job 17:13, 14).PSALM 89Ps 89:1-52. Of Ethan—(See on Ps 88:1, title). This Psalm was composed during some seasonof great national distress, perhaps Absalom's rebellion. It contrasts the promised prosperity andperpetuity of David's throne (with reference to the great promise of 2Sa 7:12-17), with a time whenGod appeared to have forgotten His covenant. The picture thus drawn may typify the promises andthe adversities of Christ's kingdom, and the terms of confiding appeal to God provided appropriateprayers for the divine aid and promised blessing.1. mercies—those promised (Isa 55:3; Ac 13:34), and—faithfulness—that is, in fulfilling them.2. I have said—expressed, as well as felt, my convictions (2Co 4:13).3, 4. The object of this faith expressed in God's words (2Sa 7:11-16).with—or literally, "to"my chosen—as the covenant is in the form of a promise.6, 7. This is worthy of our belief, for His faithfulness (is praised) by the congregation of saintsor holy ones; that is, angels (compare De 33:2; Da 8:13).sons of the mighty—(compare Ps 29:1). So is He to be admired on earth.8-14. To illustrate His power and faithfulness examples are cited from history. His control ofthe sea (the most mighty and unstable object in nature), and of Egypt (Ps 87:4), the first great foeof Israel (subjected to utter helplessness from pride and insolence), are specimens. At the sametime, the whole frame of nature founded and sustained by Him, Tabor and Hermon for "east andwest," and "north and south," together representing the whole world, declare the same truth as toHis attributes.12. rejoice in thy name—praise Thy perfections by their very existence.15. His government of righteousness is served by "mercy" and "truth" as ministers (Ps 85:10-13).know the joyful sound—understand and appreciate the spiritual blessings symbolized by thefeasts to which the people were called by the trumpet (Le 25:9, &c.).893JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwalk … countenance—live in His favor (Ps 4:6; 44:3).16, 17. in—or, "by"thy righteousness—Thy faithful just rule.glory—or, "beauty."of their strength—They shall be adorned as well as protected.our horn—exalt our power (Ps 75:10; Lu 1:69).18. (Margin). Thus is introduced the promise to "our shield," "our king," David.19-37. Then—when the covenant was established, of whose execution the exalted views ofGod now given furnish assurance.thou … to thy holy one—or godly saint, object of favor (Ps 4:3). Nathan is meant (2Sa 7:17;1Ch 17:3-15).laid help—literally, "given help." David was chosen and then exalted.20. I have found—having sought and then selected him (1Sa 16:1-6).21. will protect and sustain (Isa 41:10),22-25. by restraining and conquering his enemies, and performing My gracious purpose ofextending his dominion—25. hand [and] right hand—power (Ps 17:7; 60:5).sea, and … rivers—limits of his empire (Ps 72:8).26, 27. first-born—one who is chief, most beloved or distinguished (Ex 4:22; Col 1:15). InGod's sight and purposes he was the first among all monarchs, and specially so in his typical relationto Christ.28-37. This relation is perpetual with David's descendants, as a whole typical in official positionof his last greatest descendant. Hence though in personal relations any of them might be faithlessand so punished, their typical relation shall continue. His oath confirms His promise, and the mostenduring objects of earth and heaven illustrate its perpetual force (Ps 72:5, 7, 17).35. Once—one thing (Ps 27:4).by my holiness—as a holy God.that I will not lie—literally, "if I lie"—part of the form of swearing (1Sa 24:6; 2Sa 3:35).37. It shall … moon … heaven—literally, "As the moon, and the witness in the sky is sure,that is, the moon."38-52. present a striking contrast to these glowing promises, in mournful evidences of a lossof God's favor.cast off—and rejected (compare Ps 15:4; 43:2; 44:9).39. An insult to the "crown," as of divine origin, was a profanation.40-45. The ruin is depicted under several figures—a vineyard whose broken "hedges," and"strongholds," whose ruins invite spoilers and invaders; a warrior, whose enemies are aided byGod, and whose sword's "edge"—literally, "rock" or "strength" (Jos 5:2) is useless; and a youthprematurely old.45. days of his youth—or, "youthful vigor," that is, of the royal line, or promised perpetualkingdom, under the figure of a man.46. How long, &c.—(Compare Ps 13:1; 88:14; Jer 4:4).47. These expostulations are excited in view of the identity of the prosperity of this kingdomwith the welfare of all mankind (Ge 22:18; Ps 72:17; Isa 9:7; 11:1-10); for if such is the fate of thischosen royal line.894JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson48. What man—literally, "strong man—shall live?" and, indeed, have not all men been madein vain, as to glorifying God?49-51. The terms of expostulation are used in view of the actual appearance that God hadforsaken His people and forgotten His promise, and the plea for aid is urged in view of the reproachesof His and His people's enemies (compare Isa 37:17-35).50. bear in my bosom—as feeling the affliction of the people (Ps 69:9).footsteps—ways (Ps 56:6).52. Blessed, &c.—denotes returning confidence (Ps 34:1-3).Amen, and Amen—closes the third book of Psalms.PSALM 90Ps 90:1-17. Contrasting man's frailty with God's eternity, the writer mourns over it as thepunishment of sin, and prays for a return of the divine favor. A Prayer [mainly such] of Moses theman of God—(De 33:1; Jos 14:6); as such he wrote this (see on Ps 18:1, title, and Ps 36:1, title).1. dwelling-place—home (compare Eze 11:16), as a refuge (De 33:27).2. brought forth [and] formed—both express the idea of production by birth.3. to destruction—literally, "even to dust" (Ge 3:19), which is partly quoted in the last clause.4. Even were our days now a thousand years, as Adam's, our life would be but a moment inGod's sight (2Pe 3:8).a watch—or, third part of a night (compare Ex 14:24).5, 6. Life is like grass, which, though changing under the influence of the night's dew, andflourishing in the morning, is soon cut down and withereth (Ps 103:15; 1Pe 1:24).7, 8. For—A reason, this is the infliction of God's wrath.troubled—literally, "confounded by terror" (Ps 2:5). Death is by sin (Ro 5:12). Though "secret,"the light of God's countenance, as a candle, will bring sin to view (Pr 20:27; 1Co 4:5).9. are passed—literally, "turn," as to depart (Jer 6:4).spend—literally, "consume."as a tale—literally, "a thought," or, "a sigh" (Eze 2:10).10. Moses' life was an exception (De 34:7).it is … cut off—or, "driven," as is said of the quails in using the same word (Nu 11:31). Inview of this certain and speedy end, life is full of sorrow.11. The whole verse may be read as a question implying the negative, "No one knows whatThy anger can do, and what Thy wrath is, estimated by a true piety."12. This he prays we may know or understand, so as properly to number or appreciate theshortness of our days, that we may be wise.13. (Compare Ps 13:2).let it repent—a strong figure, as in Ex 32:12, imploring a change in His dealings.14. early—promptly.15. As have been our sorrows, so let our joys be great and long.16. thy work—or, providential acts.thy glory—(Ps 8:5; 45:3), the honor accruing from Thy work of mercy to us.895JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson17. let the beauty—or sum of His gracious acts, in their harmony, be illustrated in us, and favorour enterprise.PSALM 91Ps 91:1-16. David is the most probable author; and the pestilence, mentioned in 2Sa 24:13-15,the most probable of any special occasion to which the Psalm may refer. The changes of personallowable in poetry are here frequently made.1. dwelleth in the secret place—(Ps 27:5; 31:20) denotes nearness to God. Such as do so abideor lodge secure from assaults, and can well use the terms of trust in Ps 91:2.3. snares … [and] … noisome pestilence—literally, "plagues of mischiefs" (Ps 5:9; 52:7), areexpressive figures for various evils.4. For the first figure compare De 32:11; Mt 23:37.buckler—literally, "surrounding"—that is, a kind of shield covering all over.5. terror—or, what causes it (Pr 20:2).by night—then aggravated.arrow—that is, of enemies.7, 8. The security is more valuable, as being special, and, therefore, evidently of God; and whileten thousands of the wicked fall, the righteous are in such safety that they only see the calamity.9-12. This exemption from evil is the result of trust in God, who employs angels as ministeringspirits (Heb 1:14).13. Even the fiercest, strongest, and most insidious animals may be trampled on with impunity.14-16. God Himself speaks (compare Ps 46:10; 75:2, 3). All the terms to express safety andpeace indicate the most undoubting confidence (compare Ps 18:2; 20:1; 22:5).set his love—that of the most ardent kind.16. show him—literally, "make him see" (Ps 50:23; Lu 2:30).PSALM 92Ps 92:1-15. A Psalm-song—(see on Ps 30:1, title). The theme: God should be praised for Hisrighteous judgments on the wicked and His care and defense of His people. Such a topic, at alltimes proper, is specially so for the reflections of the Sabbath day.1. sing … name—celebrate Thy perfections.2. in the morning, … every night—diligently and constantly (Ps 42:8).loving kindness—literally, "mercy."faithfulness—in fulfilling promises (Ps 89:14).3. In such a work all proper aid must be used.with a … sound—or, on Higgaion (see on Ps 9:16), perhaps an instrument of that name, fromits sound resembling the muttered sound of meditation, as expressed also by the word. This is joinedwith the harp.4. thy work—that is, of providence (Ps 90:16, 17).5. great … works—correspond to deep or vast thoughts (Ps 40:5; Ro 11:23).896JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson6. A brutish man knoweth not—that is, God's works, so the Psalmist describes himself (Ps73:22) when amazed by the prosperity of the wicked, now understood and explained.8. This he does in part, by contrasting their ruin with God's exaltation and eternity.most high—as occupying the highest place in heaven (Ps 7:7; 18:16).9, 10. A further contrast with the wicked, in the lot of the righteous, safety and triumph.10. horn … exalt—is to increase power (Ps 75:5).anointed … fresh—or, "new"oil—(Ps 23:5) a figure for refreshment (compare Lu 7:46). Such use of oil is still common inthe East.11. see … [and] … hear my desire—or, literally, "look on" my enemies and hear of the wicked(compare Ps 27:11; 54:7)—that is, I shall be gratified by their fall.12-14. The vigorous growth, longevity, utility, fragrance, and beauty of these noble trees, setforth the life, character, and destiny of the pious;15. and they thus declare God's glory as their strong and righteous ruler.PSALM 93Ps 93:1-5. This and the six following Psalms were applied by the Jews to the times of theMessiah. The theme is God's supremacy in creation and providence.1. God is described as a King entering on His reign, and, for robes of royalty, investing Himselfwith the glorious attributes of His nature. The result of His thus reigning is the durability of theworld.2-4. His underived power exceeds the most sublime exhibitions of the most powerful objectsin nature (Ps 89:9).5. While His power inspires dread, His revealed will should secure our confidence (comparePs 19:7; 25:10), and thus fear and love combined, producing all holy emotions, should distinguishthe worship we offer in His house, both earthly and heavenly.PSALM 94Ps 94:1-23. The writer, appealing to God in view of the oppression of enemies, rebukes themfor their wickedness and folly, and encourages himself, in the confidence that God will punishevildoers, and favor His people.1, 2. God's revenge is His judicial infliction of righteous thyself—(Compare Margin).2. Lift up thyself—or, "Arise," both figures representing God as heretofore indifferent (comparePs 3:7; 22:16, 20).3, 4. In an earnest expostulation he expresses his desire that the insolent triumph of the wickedmay be ended.5, 6. thy people [and] thine heritage—are synonymous, the people being often called God'sheritage. As justice to the weak is a sign of the best government, their oppression is a sign of theworst (De 10:18; Isa 10:2).7. Their cruelty is only exceeded by their wicked and absurd presumption (Ps 10:11; 59:7).897JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson8. ye brutish—(Compare Ps 73:22; 92:6).9-11. The evidence of God's providential government is found in His creative power andomniscience, which also assure us that He can punish the wicked in regard to all their vain purposes.12, 13. On the other hand He favors though He chastens, the pious, and will teach and preservethem till the prosperous wicked are overthrown.14, 15. This results from His abiding love (De 32:15), which is further evinced by His restoringorder in His government, whose right administration will be approved by the good.16. These questions imply that none other than God will help (Ps 60:9),17-19. a fact fully confirmed by his past experience.dwelt in silence—as in the grave (Ps 31:17).19. my thoughts—or, anxious cares.20. throne—power, rulers.iniquity [and] mischief—both denote evils done to others, as Ps 94:21 explains.22, 23. Yet he is safe in God's care.defence—(Ps 59:9).rock of … refuge—(Ps 9:9; 18:2).23. bring … iniquity—(Compare Ps 5:10; 7:16).in their … wickedness—while they are engaged in evil doing.PSALM 95Ps 95:1-11. David (Heb 4:7) exhorts men to praise God for His greatness, and warns them, inGod's words, against neglecting His service.1. The terms used to express the highest kind of joy.rock—a firm basis, giving certainty of salvation (Ps 62:7).2. come … presence—literally, "approach," or, meet Him (Ps 17:13).3. above … gods—esteemed such by men, though really nothing (Jer 5:7; 10:10-15).4, 5. The terms used describe the world in its whole extent, subject to God.6. come—or, "enter," with solemn forms, as well as hearts.7. This relation illustrates our entire dependence (compare Ps 23:3; 74:1). The last clause isunited by Paul (Heb 3:7) to the following (compare Ps 81:8),8-11. warning against neglect; and this is sustained by citing the melancholy fate of theirrebellious ancestors, whose provoking insolence is described by quoting the language of God'scomplaint (Nu 14:11) of their conduct at Meribah and Massah, names given (Ex 17:7) tocommemorate their strife and contention with Him (Ps 78:18, 41).10. err in their heart—Their wanderings in the desert were but types of their innate ignoranceand perverseness.that they should not—literally, "if they," &c., part of the form of swearing (compare Nu 14:30;Ps 89:35).PSALM 96898JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonPs 96:1-13. The substance of this Psalm, and portions of the ninety-seventh, ninety-eighth, andhundredth, are found in 1Ch 16:7-36, which was used by David's directions in the dedication ofthe tabernacle on Mount Zion. The dispensation of the Messiah was typified by that event, involving,as it did, a more permanent seat of worship, and the introduction of additional and more spiritualservices. Hence the language of these Psalms may be regarded as having a higher import than thatpertinent to the occasion on which it was thus publicly used.1-3. All nations are invited to unite in this most joyful song—literally, "fresh," or new mercies (Ps 33:3; 40:3).2. show forth—literally, "declare joyful tidings."salvation—illustrates His glory in its wonders of love and mercy.4, 5. For He is not a local God, but of universal agency, while idols are nothing.6. Honour and majesty—are His attendants, declared in His mighty works, while power andgrace are specially seen in His spiritual relations to His people.7-9. Give—or, "ascribe" (Ps 29:1) due honor to Him, by acts of appointed and solemn worshipin His house.8. offering—of thanks.9. beauty of holiness—(Ps 29:2).fear … him—(Ps 2:11).10. Let all know that the government of the world is ordered in justice, and they shall enjoyfirm and lasting peace (compare Ps 72:3, 7; Isa 9:6, 7).11-13. For which reason the universe is invoked to unite in joy, and even inanimate nature (Ro8:14-22) is poetically represented as capable of joining in the anthem of praise.PSALM 97Ps 97:1-12. The writer celebrates the Lord's dominion over nations and nature, describes itseffect on foes and friends, and exhorts and encourages the latter.1, 2. This dominion is a cause of joy, because, even though our minds are oppressed with terrorbefore the throne of the King of kings (Ex 19:16; De 5:22), we know it is based on righteousprinciples and judgments which are according to truth.3-5. The attending illustrations of God's awful justice on enemies (Ps 83:14) are seen in thedisclosures of His almighty power on the elements of nature (compare Ps 46:2; 77:17; Hab 3:6,&c.).6. heavens—or, their inhabitants (Ps 50:6), as opposed to "nations" in the latter clause (compareIsa 40:5; 66:18).7. Idolaters are utterly put to shame, for if angels must worship Him, how much more thosewho worshipped them.all ye gods—literally, "all ye angels" (Ps 8:5; 138:1; Heb 1:6; 2:7). Paul quotes, not as aprophecy, but as language used in regard to the Lord Jehovah, who in the Old Testament theophaniais the second person of the Godhead.8, 9. The exaltation of Zion's king is joy to the righteous and sorrow to the wicked.daughters of Judah—(Compare Ps 48:11).9. above all gods—(Ps 95:3).899JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson10-12. Let gratitude for the blessings of providence and grace incite saints (Ps 4:3) to holyliving. Spiritual blessings are in store, represented by light (Ps 27:1) and gladness.11. sown—to spring forth abundantly for such, who alone can and well may rejoice in the holygovernment of their sovereign Lord (compare Ps 30:4; 32:11).PSALM 98Ps 98:1-9. In view of the wonders of grace and righteousness displayed in God's salvation, thewhole creation is invited to unite in praise.1. gotten … victory—literally, "made salvation," enabled Him to save His people.right hand, and … arm—denote power.holy arm—or, "arm of holiness," the power of His united moral perfections (Ps 22:3; 32:11).2. salvation—the result of His righteousness (Ps 7:17; 31:1), and both are publicly displayed.3. The union of mercy and truth (Ps 57:3; 85:10) secure the blessings of the promise (Ge 12:3;18:18) to all the world (Isa 52:10).4-6. make a loud noise—or, "burst forth" (Isa 14:7; 44:23).before … King—hail Him as your sovereign; and while, with every aid to demonstrate zealand joy, intelligent creatures are invited to praise, as in Ps 96:11-13, inanimate nature is alsosummoned to honor Him who triumphs and rules in righteousness and equity.PSALM 99Ps 99:1-9. God's government is especially exercised in and for His Church, which should praiseHim for His gracious dealings.1. sitteth … cherubim—(compare 1Sa 4:4; Ps 80:1).tremble … be moved—inspired with fear by His judgments on the wicked.2. great in Zion—where He dwells (Ps 9:11).3. thy … name—perfections of justice, power, &c.great and terrible name—producing dread (De 10:17), and to be praised by those over whomHe is exalted (Ps 97:9).it is holy—or, "He is holy" (Ps 99:5, 9; Isa 6:3).4, 5. To His wise and righteous government all nations should render honor.king's … judgment—His power is combined with justice.he is holy—(compare Ps 22:3).6-8. The experience of these servants of God is cited for encouragement.among … priests, among … upon the Lord [and] He spake … pillar—may be referred toall three (compare Ex 18:19; Le 8:15; De 5:5; 1Sa 9:13).7. cloudy pillar—the medium of divine intercourse (Ex 33:9; Nu 12:5). Obedience was unitedwith worship. God answered them as intercessors for the people, who, though forgiven, were yetchastened (Ex 32:10, 34).900JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonPSALM 100Ps 100:1-5. As closing this series (see on Ps 93:1), this Psalm is a general call on all the earthto render exalted praise to God, the creator, preserver, and benefactor of men.1, 2. With thankful praise, unite service as the subjects of a king (Ps 2:11, 12).3. To the obligations of a creature and subject is added that of a beneficiary (Ps 95:7).4. Join joyfully in His public worship. The terms are, of course, figurative (compare Ps 84:2;92:13; Isa 66:23).Enter—or, "Come with solemnity" (Ps 95:6).5. The reason: God's eternal mercy and truth (Ps 25:8; 89:7).PSALM 101Ps 101:1-8. In this Psalm the profession of the principles of his domestic and political governmenttestifies, as well as actions in accordance with it, David's appreciation of God's mercy to him, andHis judgment on his enemies: and thus he sings or celebrates God's dealings.2. He avows his sincere purpose, by God's aid, to act uprightly (Ge 17:1; Ps 18:30).3. set … eyes—as an example to be approved and wicked thing—literally, "word," plan or purpose of Belial (Ps 41:8).work of … aside—apostates.not cleave to me—I will not be implicated in it (compare Ps 1:1-3).4. A froward heart—or, "perverse heart" (Ps 18:26). Such a temper I will not indulge, noreven know evil or wickedness.5, 6. The slanderers and haughty persons, so mischievous in society, I will disown; but—6. Mine eyes … upon—or, I will select reliable and honest men for my servants.7. not dwell—literally, "not sit," or tarry, or be established.8. will early—or, "diligently."city of the Lord—or, "holy place" (Ps 48:2), where wicked men shall not be tolerated.PSALM 102Ps 102:1-28. A Prayer of the afflicted, &c.—The general terms seem to denote the propriety ofregarding the Psalm as suitably expressive of the anxieties of any one of David's descendants,piously concerned for the welfare of the Church. It was probably David's composition, and, thoughspecially suggested by some peculiar trials, descriptive of future times. Overwhelmed—(comparePs 61:2). Poureth out—pouring out the soul—(Ps 62:8). Complaint—(Ps 55:2). The tone of complaintpredominates, though in view of God's promises and abiding faithfulness, it is sometimes exchangedfor that of confidence and hope.1-3. The terms used occur in Ps 4:1; 17:1, 6; 18:6; 31:2, 10; 37:20.4. (Compare Ps 121:6).so that I forget—or, "have forgotten," that is, in my distress (Ps 107:18), and hence strengthfails.5. voice … groaning—effect put for cause, my agony emaciates me.6, 7. The figures express extreme loneliness.901JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson8. sworn against me—or literally, "by me," wishing others as miserable as I am (Nu 5:21).9. ashes—a figure of grief, my bread; weeping or tears, my drink (Ps 80:5).10. lifted … cast me down—or, "cast me away" as stubble by a whirlwind (Isa 64:6).11. shadow … declineth—soon to vanish in the darkness of night.12. Contrast with man's frailty (compare Ps 90:1-7).thy remembrance—that by which Thou art remembered, Thy promise.13, 14. Hence it is here adduced.for—or, "when."the set time, &c.—the time promised, the indication of which is the interest felt for Zion bythe people of God.15-17. God's favor to the Church will affect her persecutors with fear.16. When the Lord shall build—or better, "Because the Lord hath built," &c., as a reason forthe effect on others; for in thus acting and hearing the humble, He is most glorious.18. people … created—(compare Ps 22:31), an organized body, as a Church.19-22. For—or, "That," as introducing the statement of God's condescension. A summary ofwhat shall be loose … appointed—or, "deliver" them (Ps 79:11).21. To declare, &c.—or, that God's name may be celebrated in the assemblies of His Church,gathered from all nations (Zec 8:20-23), and devoted to His service.23-28. The writer, speaking for the Church, finds encouragement in the midst of all his distresses.God's eternal existence is a pledge of faithfulness to His the way—of providence.weakened—literally, "afflicted," and made fearful of a premature end, a figure of theapprehensions of the Church, lest God might not perform His promise, drawn from those of a personin view of the dangers of early death (compare Ps 89:47). Paul (Heb 1:10) quotes Ps 102:26-28 asaddressed to Christ in His divine nature. The scope of the Psalm, as already seen, so far fromopposing, favors this view, especially by the sentiments of Ps 102:12-15 (compare Isa 60:1). Theassociation of the Messiah with a day of future glory to the Church was very intimate in the mindsof Old Testament writers; and with correct views of His nature it is very consistent that He shouldbe addressed as the Lord and Head of His Church, who would bring about that glorious future onwhich they ever dwelt with fond delightful anticipations.PSALM 103Ps 103:1-22. A Psalm of joyous praise, in which the writer rises from a thankful acknowledgmentof personal blessings to a lively celebration of God's gracious attributes, as not only intrinsicallyworthy of praise, but as specially suited to man's frailty. He concludes by invoking all creatures tounite in his song.1. Bless, &c.—when God is the object, soul—myself (Ps 3:3; 25:1), with allusion to the act, as one of intelligence.all … within me—(De 6:5).his holy name—(Ps 5:11), His complete moral perfections.2. forget not all—not any, none of His benefits.902JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson3. diseases—as penal inflictions (De 29:22; 2Ch 21:19).4. redeemeth—Cost is implied.destruction—literally, "pit of corruption" (Ps 16:10).crowneth—or, "adorneth" (Ps 65:11).tender mercies—compassions (compare Ps 25:6; 40:11).5. By God's provision, the saint retains a youthful vigor like the eagles (Ps 92:14; compare Isa40:31).6. Literally, "righteousness and judgments," denoting various acts of God's government.7. ways—of providence, &c., as usual (Ps 25:4; 67:2).acts—literally, "wonders" (Ps 7:11; 78:17).8-10. God's benevolence implies no merit. He shows it to sinners, who also are chastened fora time (Ex 34:6).keep (anger)—in Le 19:18, bear a grudge (Jer 3:5, 12).11. great—efficient.12. removed … from us—so as no longer to affect our relations to Him.13. pitieth—literally, "has compassion on."14. he—"who formed," Ps 94:9.knoweth our frame—literally, "our form."we are dust—made of and tending to it (Ge 2:7).15, 16. So short and frail is life that a breath may destroy is gone—literally, "it is not."know it no more—no more recognize him (Ps 90:6; Isa 40:6-8).17, 18. For similar contrast compare Ps 90:2-6; 102:27, 28.18. such … covenant—limits the general terms preceding.righteousness—as usual (Ps 7:17; 31:1).19. God's firm and universal dominion is a pledge that He will keep His promises (Ps 11:4;47:8).20-22. do his commandments … word—or, literally, "so as to hearken," &c., that is, theiracts of obedience are prompt, so that they are ever ready to hear, and know, and follow implicitlyHis declared will (compare De 26:17; Lu 1:19).21. ye his hosts—myriads, or armies, as corresponding to angels of great power [Ps 103:20],denoting multitudes also.22. all his works—creatures of every sort, everywhere.PSALM 104Ps 104:1-35. The Psalmist celebrates God's glory in His works of creation and providence,teaching the dependence of all living creatures; and contrasting the happiness of those who praiseHim with the awful end of the wicked.1. God's essential glory, and also that displayed by His mighty works, afford ground for praise.2. light—is a figurative representation of the glory of the invisible God (Mt 17:2; 1Ti 6:16).Its use in this connection may refer to the first work of creation (Ge 1:3).903JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonstretchest out the heavens—the visible heavens or sky which cover the earth as a curtain (Isa40:12).3. in the waters—or, it may be "with"; using this fluid for the beams, or frames, of His residenceaccords with the figure of clouds for chariots, and wind as a means of conveyance.walketh—or, "moveth" (compare Ps 18:10, 11; Am 9:6).4. This is quoted by Paul (Heb 1:7) to denote the subordinate position of angels; that is, theyare only messengers as other and material agencies.spirits—literally, "winds."flaming fire—(Ps 105:32) being here so called.5. The earth is firmly fixed by His power.6-9. These verses rather describe the wonders of the flood than the creation (Ge 7:19, 20; 2Pe3:5, 6). God's method of arresting the flood and making its waters subside is poetically called a"rebuke" (Ps 76:6; Isa 50:2), and the process of the flood's subsiding by undulations among thehills and valleys is vividly described.10-13. Once destructive, these waters are subjected to the service of God's creatures. In rainand dew from His chambers (compare Ps 104:3), and fountains and streams, they give drink tothirsting animals and fertilize the soil. Trees thus nourished supply homes to singing birds, and theearth teems with the productions of God's wise agencies,14, 15. so that men and beasts are abundantly provided with food.for the service—literally, "for the culture," &c., by which he secures the results.oil … shine—literally, "makes his face to shine more than oil," that is, so cheers and invigorateshim, that outwardly he appears better than if anointed.strengtheneth … heart—gives vigor to man (compare Jud 19:5).16-19. God's care of even wild animals and uncultivated parts of the earth.20-23. He provides and adapts to man's wants the appointed times and seasons.24-26. From a view of the earth thus full of God's blessings, the writer passes to the sea, which,in its immensity, and as a scene and means of man's activity in commerce, and the home of countlessmultitudes of creatures, also displays divine power and beneficence. The mention of26. leviathan—(Job 40:20) heightens the estimate of the sea's greatness, and of His power whogives such a place for sport to one of His creatures.27-30. The entire dependence of this immense family on God is set forth. With Him, to kill ormake alive is equally easy. To hide His face is to withdraw favor (Ps 13:1). By His spirit, or breath,or mere word, He gives life. It is His constant providence which repairs the wastes of time anddisease.31-34. While God could equally glorify His power in destruction, that He does it in preservationis of His rich goodness and mercy, so that we may well spend our lives in grateful praise, honoringto Him, and delightful to pious hearts (Ps 147:1).35. Those who refuse such a protector and withhold such a service mar the beauty of His works,and must perish from His presence.Praise ye the Lord—The Psalm closes with an invocation of praise, the translation of a Hebrewphrase, which is used as an English word, "Hallelujah," and may have served the purpose of achorus, as often in our psalmody, or to give fuller expression to the writer's emotions. It is peculiarto Psalms composed after the captivity, as "Selah" is to those of an earlier date.904JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonPSALM 105Ps 105:1-45. After an exhortation to praise God, addressed especially to the chosen people, thewriter presents the special reason for praise, in a summary of their history from the calling ofAbraham to their settlement in Canaan, and reminds them that their obedience was the end of allGod's gracious dealings.1. call … name—(Ps 79:6; Ro 10:13). Call on Him, according to His historically manifestedglory. After the example of Abraham, who, as often as God acquired for Himself a name in guidinghim, called in solemn worship upon the name of the Lord (Ge 12:8; 13:4).among the people—or, "peoples" (Ps 18:49).deeds—or, "wonders" (Ps 103:7).3, 4. Seeking God's favor is the only true mode of getting true happiness, and His strength [Ps105:4] is the only true source of protection (compare Ps 32:11; 40:16).Glory … name—boast in His perfections. The world glories in its horses and chariots againstthe Church of God lying in the dust; but our hope is in the name, that is, the power and love of Godto His people, manifested in past deliverances.5, 6. judgments … mouth—His judicial decisions for the good and against the wicked.6. chosen—rather qualifies "children" than "Jacob," as a plural.7. Rather, "He, Jehovah, is our God." His title, "Jehovah," implies that He, the unchangeable,self-existing Being, makes things to be, that is, fulfils His promises, and therefore will not forsakeHis people. Though specially of His people, He is God over all.8-11. The covenant was often ratified.word—answering to "covenant" [Ps 105:9] in the parallel clause, namely, the word of promise,which, according to Ps 105:10, He set forth for an inviolable law.commanded—or, "ordained" (Ps 68:28).to a thousand generations—perpetually. A verbal allusion to De 7:9 (compare Ex 20:6).9. Which covenant—or, "Word" (Ps 105:8).10, 11. Alluding to God's promise to Jacob (Ge 28:13). Out of the whole storehouse of thepromises of God, only one is prominently brought forward, namely, that concerning the possessionof Canaan [Ps 105:11]. Everything revolves around this. The wonders and judgments have all fortheir ultimate design the fulfilment of this promise.12-15. few … in number—alluding to Jacob's words (Ge 34:30), "I being few in number."yea, very few—literally, "as a few," that is, like fewness itself (compare Isa 1:9).strangers—sojourners in the land of their future inheritance, as in a strange country (Heb 11:9).13. from one nation to another—and so from danger to danger; now in Egypt, now in thewilderness, and lastly in Canaan. Though a few strangers, wandering among various nations, Godprotected them.14. reproved kings—Pharaoh of Egypt and Abimelech of Gerar (Ge 12:17; 20:3).15. Touch not—referring to Ge 26:11, where Abimelech says of Isaac, "He that toucheth thisman or his wife shall surely be put to death."mine anointed—as specially consecrated to Me (Ps 2:2). The patriarch was the prophet, priest,and king of his prophets—in a similar sense, compare Ge 20:7. The "anointed" are those vessels of God,consecrated to His service, "in whom (as Pharaoh said of Joseph, Ge 41:38) the Spirit of God is"[Hengstenberg].905JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson16. God ordered the famine. Godcalled for a famine—as if it were a servant, ready to come at God's bidding. Compare thecenturion's words, as to disease being God's servant (Mt 8:8, 9).upon the land—namely, Canaan (Ge 41:54).staff of bread—what supports life (Le 26:26; Ps 104:15; Isa 3:1).17-21. Joseph was sent of God (Ge 45:5).18. hurt with fetters—(Ge 40:3).was laid in iron—literally, "his soul" (see on Ps 16:10), or, "he came into iron," or, he wasbound to his grief (compare Ps 3:2; 11:1). The "soul" is put for the whole person, because the soulof the captive suffers still more than the body. Joseph is referred to as being an appropriate type ofthose "bound in affliction and iron" (Ps 107:10).19. his word came—His prophecy (Ge 41:11-20) to the officers came to pass, or was fulfilled(Jud 13:12, 17; 1Sa 9:6, explain the form of speech).the word of the Lord—or, "saying," or "decree of the Lord."tried him—or, "proved him," by the afflictions it appointed him to endure before his elevation(compare Ge 41:40-43).22. To bind—Not literally bind; but exercise over them absolute control, as the parallel in thesecond clause shows; also Ge 41:40, 44, in which not literal fettering, but commanding obedience,is spoken of. It refers to Ps 105:18. The soul that was once bound itself now binds others, evenprinces. The same moral binding is assigned to the saints (Ps 149:8).teach … senators wisdom—the ground of his exaltation by Pharaoh was his wisdom (Ge41:39); namely, in state policy, and ordering well a kingdom.23-25. Israel … and Jacob—that is, Jacob himself is meant, as Ps 105:24 speaks of "his people."Still, he came with his whole house (Ge 46:6, 7).sojourned—(Ge 47:4).land of Ham—or, Egypt (Ps 78:51).25. turned their heart—God controls men's free acts (compare 1Sa 10:9). "When Saul hadturned his back to go from (God's prophet) Samuel, God turned (Margin) him another heart" (seeEx 1:8, &c.). Whatever evil the wicked man plots against God's people, God holds bound even hisheart, so as not to lay a single plan except what God permits. Thus Isaiah (Isa 43:17) says it wasGod who brought forth the army of Pharaoh to pursue Israel to their own destruction (Ex 4:21;7:3).26. Moses … chosen—both what they were by divine choice (Ps 78:70).27. signs—literally, "words of signs," or rather, as "words" in Hebrew means "things," "thingsof His signs," that is, His marvellous tokens of power (Ps 145:5, Margin). Compare the sameHebraism (Ps 65:3, Margin).28-36. The ninth plague is made prominent as peculiarly wonderful.they rebelled not—Moses and Aaron promptly obeyed God (Heb 11:27); (compare Ex 7:1-11:10and Ps 78:44-51, with which this summary substantially agrees). Or, rather, the "darkness" here isfigurative (Jer 13:16), the literal plague of darkness (Ex 10:22, 23) being only alluded to as thesymbol of God's wrath which overhung Egypt as a dark cloud during all the plagues. Hence, it isplaced first, out of the historical order. Thus, "They rebelled not (that is, no longer) against Hisword," refers to the Egyptians. Whenever God sent a plague on them, they were ready to let Israelgo, though refusing when the plague ceased.906JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhis word—His command to let Israel go [Hengstenberg]. Of the ten plagues, only eight arementioned, the fifth, the murrain of beasts, and the sixth, the boils, being omitted.29-31. He deprived them of their favorite "fish," and gave them instead, [Ps 105:30] out of thewater, loathsome "frogs," and (Ps 105:31) upon their land tormenting "flies" (the dog-fly, accordingto Maurer) and "lice" (gnats, according to Hengstenberg).32. gave them—referring to Le 26:4, "I give you rain in due season." His "gift" to Israel's foesis one of a very different kind from that bestowed on His people.hail for rain—instead of fertilizing showers, hail destructive to trees. This forms the transitionto the vegetable kingdom. The locusts in Ps 105:34 similarly are destructive to plants.33. their coasts—all their land (Ps 78:54).34. caterpillars—literally, "the lickers up," devouring insects; probably the hairy-winged locust.36. the chief—literally, "the firstlings." The ascending climax passes from the food of man toman himself. The language here is quoted from Ps 78:51.37. with silver and gold—presented them by the Egyptians, as an acknowledgment due fortheir labors in their bondage (compare Ex 12:35).one feeble person—or, "stumbler," unfit for the line of march. Compare "harnessed," that is,accoutred and marshalled as an army on march (Ex 13:18; Isa 5:27).38. (Compare Ex 12:33; De 11:25).39. covering—in sense of protection (compare Ex 13:21; Nu 10:34). In the burning sands ofthe desert the cloud protected the congregation from the heat of the sun; an emblem of God'sprotecting favor of His people, as interpreted by Isaiah (Isa 4:5, 6; compare Nu 9:16).42-45. The reasons for these dealings: (1) God's faithfulness to His covenant, "His holy promise"of Canaan, is the fountain whence flowed so many acts of marvellous kindness to His people(compare Ps 105:8, 11). Ex 2:24 is the fundamental passage [Hengstenberg]. (2) That they might beobedient. The observance of God's commands by Abraham was the object of the covenant withhim (Ge 18:19), as it was also the object of the covenant with Israel, that they might observe God'sstatutes.remembered … and Abraham—or, "remembered His holy word (that is, covenant confirmed)with Abraham."44. inherited the labour—that is, the fruits of their labor; their corn and vineyards (Jos21:43-45).PSALM 106Ps 106:1-48. This Psalm gives a detailed confession of the sins of Israel in all periods of theirhistory, with special reference to the terms of the covenant as intimated (Ps 105:45). It is introducedby praise to God for the wonders of His mercy, and concluded by a supplication for His favor toHis afflicted people, and a doxology.1. Praise, &c.—(See on Ps 104:35), begins and ends the Psalm, intimating the obligations ofpraise, however we sin and suffer 1Ch 16:34-36 is the source from which the beginning and endof this Psalm are derived.907JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson2. His acts exceed our comprehension, as His praise our powers of expression (Ro 11:33). Theirunutterable greatness is not to keep us back, but to urge us the more to try to praise Him as best wecan (Ps 40:5; 71:15).3. The blessing is limited to those whose principles and acts are right. How "blessed" Israelwould be now, if he had "observed God's statutes" (Ps 105:45).4, 5. In view of the desert of sins to be confessed, the writer invokes God's covenant mercy tohimself and the Church, in whose welfare he rejoices. The speaker, me, I, is not the Psalmist himself,but the people, the present generation (compare Ps 106:6).visit—(Compare Ps 8:4).5. see the good—participate in it (Ps 37:13).thy chosen—namely, Israel, God's elect (Isa 43:20; 45:4). As God seems to have forgottenthem, they pray that He would "remember" them with the favor which belongs to His own people,and which once they had enjoyed.thine inheritance—(De 9:29; 32:9).6. Compare 1Ki 8:47; Da 9:5, where the same three verbs occur in the same order and connection,the original of the two later passages being the first one, the prayer of Solomon in dedicating thetemple.sinned … fathers—like them, and so partaking of their guilt. The terms denote a rising gradationof sinning (compare Ps 1:1).with our fathers—we and they together forming one mass of corruption.7-12. Special confession. Their rebellion at the sea (Ex 14:11) was because they had notremembered nor understood God's miracles on their behalf. That God saved them in their unbeliefwas of His mere mercy, and for His own glory.the sea … the Red Sea—the very words in which Moses' song celebrated the scene of Israel'sdeliverance (Ex 15:4). Israel began to rebel against God at the very moment and scene of itsdeliverance by God!8. for his name's sake—(Eze 20:14).9. rebuked—(Ps 104:7).as through the wilderness—(Isa 63:11-14).12. believed … his words—This is said not to praise the Israelites, but God, who constrainedeven so unbelieving a people momentarily to "believe" while in immediate view of His wonders,a faith which they immediately afterwards lost (Ps 106:13; Ex 14:31; 15:1).13-15. The faith induced by God's display of power in their behalf was short lived, and theirnew rebellion and temptation was visited by God with fresh punishment, inflicted by leaving themto the result of their own gratified appetites, and sending on them spiritual poverty (Nu 11:18).They soon forgat—literally, "They hasted, they forgat" (compare Ex 32:8). "They have turnedaside quickly (or, hastily) out of the way." The haste of our desires is such that we can scarcelyallow God one day. Unless He immediately answers our call, instantly then arise impatience, andat length despair.his works—(De 11:3, 4; Da 9:14).his counsel—They waited not for the development of God's counsel, or plan for theirdeliverance, at His own time, and in His own way.14. Literally, "lusted a lust" (quoted from Nu 11:4, Margin). Previously, there had beenimpatience as to necessaries of life; here it is lusting (Ps 78:18).908JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson15. but sent leanness—rather, "and sent," that is, and thus, even in doing so, the punishmentwas inflicted at the very time their request was granted. So Ps 78:30, "While their meat was yet intheir mouths, the wrath of God came upon them."soul—the animal soul, which craves for food (Nu 11:6; Ps 107:18). This soul got its wish, andwith it and in it its own punishment. The place was therefore called Kibroth-hattaavah, "the gravesof lust" [Nu 11:34], because there they buried the people who had lusted. Animal desires whengratified mostly give only a hungry craving for more (Jer 2:13).16-18. All the congregation took part with Dathan, Korah, &c., and their accomplices (Nu16:41).Aaron the saint—literally, "the holy one," as consecrated priest; not a moral attribute, but onedesignating his office as holy to the Lord. The rebellion was followed by a double punishment: (1)of the non-Levitical rebels, the Reubenites, Dathan and Abiram, &c. (De 11:6; Nu 26:10); thesewere swallowed up by the earth.17. covered—"closed upon them" (Nu 16:33). (2) Of the Levitical rebels, with Korah at theirhead (Nu 16:35; 26:10); these had sinned by fire, and were punished by fire, as Aaron's (being highpriest) sons had been (Le 10:2; Nu 16:1-35).19-23. From indirect setting God at naught, they pass to direct.made—though prohibited in Ex 20:4, 5 to make a likeness, even of the true God.calf—called so in contempt. They would have made an ox or bull, but their idol turned out buta calf; an imitation of the divine symbols, the cherubim; or of the sacred bull of Egyptian idolatry.The idolatry was more sinful in view of their recent experience of God's power in Egypt and Hiswonders at Sinai (Ex 32:1-6). Though intending to worship Jehovah under the symbol of the calf,yet as this was incompatible with His nature (De 4:15-17), they in reality gave up Him, and so weregiven up by Him. Instead of the Lord of heaven, they had as their glory the image of an ox thatdoes nothing but eat grass.23. he said—namely, to Moses (De 9:13). With God, saying is as certain as doing; but Hispurpose, while full of wrath against sin, takes into account the mediation of Him of whom Moseswas the type (Ex 32:11-14; De 9:18, 19).Moses his chosen—that is, to be His servant (compare Ps 105:26).in the breach—as a warrior covers with his body the broken part of a wall or fortress besieged,a perilous place (Eze 13:5; 22:30).to turn away—or, "prevent"his wrath—(Nu 25:11; Ps 78:38).24-27. The sin of refusing to invade Canaan, "the pleasant land" (Jer 3:19; Eze 20:6; Da 8:9),"the land of beauty," was punished by the destruction of that generation (Nu 14:28), and the threatof dispersion (De 4:25; 28:32) afterwards made to their posterity, and fulfilled in the great calamitiesnow bewailed, may have also been then added.despised—(Nu 14:31).believed not his word—by which He promised He would give them the land; but rather theword of the faithless spies (compare Ps 78:22).26. lifted up his hand—or, "swore," the usual form of swearing (compare Nu 14:30, Margin).27. To overthrow—literally, "To make them fall"; alluding to the words (Nu 14:39).among … nations … lands—The "wilderness" was not more destructive to the fathers (Ps106:26) than residence among the heathen ("nations") shall be to the children. Le 26:33, 38 is here,909JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonbefore the Psalmist's mind, the determination against the "seed" when rebellious, being not expressedin Nu 14:31-33, but implied in the determination against the fathers.28-30. sacrifices of the dead—that is, of lifeless idols, contrasted with "the living God" (Jer10:3-10; compare Ps 115:4-7; 1Co 12:2). On the words,joined themselves to Baal-peor—see Nu 25:2, 3, 5.Baal-peor—that is, the possessor of Peor, the mountain on which Chemosh, the idol of Moab,was worshipped, and at the foot of which Israel at the time lay encamped (Nu 23:28). The namenever occurs except in connection with that locality and that circumstance.29. provoked—excited grief and indignation (Ps 6:7; 78:58).30. stood—as Aaron "stood between the living and the dead, and the plague was stayed" (Nu16:48).executed judgment—literally, "judged," including sentence and act.31. counted … righteousness—"a just and rewardable action."for—or, "unto," to the procuring of righteousness, as in Ro 4:2; 10:4. Here it was a particularact, not faith, nor its object Christ; and what was procured was not justifying righteousness, or whatwas to be rewarded with eternal life; for no one act of man's can be taken for complete obedience.But it was that which God approved and rewarded with a perpetual priesthood to him and hisdescendants (Nu 25:13; 1Ch 6:4, &c.).32, 33. (Compare Nu 20:3-12; De 1:37; 3:26).went ill with—literally, "was bad for"Moses—His conduct, though under great provocation, was punished by exclusion from Canaan.34-39. They not only failed to expel the heathen, as Godcommanded—(Ex 23:32, 33), literally, "said (they should)," but conformed to their idolatries[Ps 106:36], and thus became spiritual adulterers (Ps 73:27).37. unto devils—Septuagint, "demons" (compare 1Co 10:20), or "evil spirits."38. polluted with blood—literally, "blood," or "murder" (Ps 5:6; 26:9).40-43. Those nations first seduced and then oppressed them (compare Jud 1:34; 2:14; 3:30).Their apostasies ungratefully repaid God's many mercies till He finally abandoned them topunishment (Le 26:39).44-46. If, as is probable, this Psalm was written at the time of the captivity, the writer nowintimates the tokens of God's returning favor.45. repented—(compare Ps 90:13).46. made … pitied—(1Ki 8:50; Da 1:9). These tokens encourage the prayer and the promiseof praise (Ps 30:4), which is well closed by a doxology.PSALM 107Ps 107:1-43. Although the general theme of this Psalm may have been suggested by God'sspecial favor to the Israelites in their restoration from captivity, it must be regarded as an instructivecelebration of God's praise for His merciful providence to all men in their various emergencies. Ofthese several are given—captivity and bondage, wanderings by land and sea, and famine; some asevidences of God's displeasure, and all the deliverances as evidence of His goodness and mercy tothem who humbly seek Him.910JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson1, 2. This call for thankful praise is the burden or chorus (compare Ps 107:8, 15, &c.).2. redeemed of the Lord—(compare Isa 35:9, 10).say—that is, that His mercy, &c.hand of—or, "power of enemy."3. gathered—alluding to the dispersion of captives throughout the Babylonian empire.from the south—literally, "the sea," or, Red Sea (Ps 114:3), which was on the south.4-7. A graphic picture is given of the sufferings of those who from distant lands returned toJerusalem; or,city of habitation—may mean the land of Palestine.5. fainted—was overwhelmed (Ps 61:3; 77:3).8, 9. To the chorus is added, as a reason for praise, an example of the extreme distress fromwhich they had been delivered—extreme hunger, the severest privation of a journey in the desert.10-16. Their sufferings were for their rebellion against (Ps 105:28) the words, or purposes, orpromises, of God for their benefit. When humbled they cry to God, who delivers them from bondage,described as a dark dungeon with doors and bars of metal, in which they are bound in iron—thatis, chains and fetters.shadow of death—darkness with danger (Ps 23:4).16. broken—literally, "shivered" (Isa 45:2).17-22. Whether the same or not, this exigency illustrates that dispensation of God according towhich sin brings its own punishment.are afflicted—literally, "afflict themselves," that is, bring on disease, denoted by loathing offood, and drawing18. near unto—literally, "even to"gates—or, "domains" (Ps 9:13).20. sent his word—that is, put forth His power.their destructions—that is, that which threatened them. To the chorus is added the mode ofgiving thanks, by a sacrifice and joyful singing (Ps 50:14).23-32. Here are set forth the perils of seafaring, futility of man's, and efficiency of God's, help.go … sea—alluding to the elevation of the land at the coast.24. These see … deep—illustrated both by the storm He raises and the calm He makes with aword (Ps 33:9).25. waves thereof—literally, "His waves" (God's, Ps 42:7).27. are … end—literally, "all their wisdom swallows up itself," destroys itself by vain andcontradictory devices, such as despair induces.29-32. He maketh … calm—or, "to stand to stillness," or "in quiet." Instead of acts oftemple-worship, those of the synagogue are here described, where the people with theassembly—or session of elders, convened for reading, singing, prayer, and teaching.33-41. He turneth rivers into a wilderness, &c.—God's providence is illustriously displayedin His influence on two great elements of human prosperity, the earth's productiveness and thepowers of government. He punishes the wicked by destroying the sources of fertility, or, in mercy,gives fruitfulness to deserts, which become the homes of a busy and successful agriculturalpopulation. By a permitted misrule and tyranny, this scene of prosperity is changed to one ofadversity. He rules rulers, setting up one and putting down another.40. wander … wilderness—reduced to misery (Job 12:24).911JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson42, 43. In this providential government, good men will rejoice, and the cavils of the wickedwill be stopped (Job 5:16; Isa 52:15), and all who take right views will appreciate God's unfailingmercy and unbounded love.PSALM 108Ps 108:1-13. This Psalm is composed of Ps 108:1-5 of Ps 57:7-11; and Ps 108:6-12 of Ps60:5-12. The varieties are verbal and trivial, except that in Ps 108:9, "over Philistia will I triumph,"differs from Ps 60:8, the interpretation of which it confirms. Its altogether triumphant tone mayintimate that it was prepared by David, omitting the plaintive portions of the other Psalms, ascommemorative of God's favor in the victories of His people.PSALM 109Ps 109:1-31. The writer complains of his virulent enemies, on whom he imprecates God'srighteous punishment, and to a prayer for a divine interposition in his behalf appends the expressionof his confidence and a promise of his praises. This Psalm is remarkable for the number and severityof its imprecations. Its evident typical character (compare Ps 109:8) justifies the explanation ofthese already given, that as the language of David respecting his own enemies, or those of Christ,it has respect not to the penitent, but to the impenitent and implacable foes of good men, and ofGod and His cause, whose inevitable fate is thus indicated by inspired authority.1. God of my praise—its object, thus recognizing God as a certain helper. Be not silent (comparePs 17:13; 28:1).2. For the mouth … opened—or, "They have opened a wicked mouth"against me—literally, "with me," that is, Their intercourse is lying, or, they slander me to myface (Mt 26:59).3. (Compare Ps 35:7; 69:4).4, 5. They return evil for good (compare Ps 27:12; Pr 17:13).I give myself unto prayer—or literally, "I (am) prayer," or, "as for me, prayer," that is, it ismy resource for comfort in distress.6. over him—one of his enemies prominent in malignity (Ps 55:12).let Satan stand—as an accuser, whose place was the right hand of the accused (Zec 3:1, 2).7. The condemnation is aggravated when prayer for relief is treated as a sin.8. The opposite blessing is long life (Ps 91:16; Pr 3:2). The last clause is quoted as to Judas byPeter (Ac 1:20).office—literally, "charge," Septuagint, and Peter, "oversight" [1Pe 5:2].9, 10. Let his family share the punishment, his children be as wandering beggars to prowl intheir desolate homes, a greedy and relentless creditor grasp his substance, his labor, or the fruit ofit, enure to strangers and not his heirs, and his unprotected, fatherless children fall in want, so thathis posterity shall utterly fail.13. posterity—literally, "end," as in Ps 37:38, or, what comes after; that is, reward, or success,or its expectation, of which posterity was to a Jew a prominent part.912JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson14, 15. Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered, &c.—Added to the terrible overthrowfollowing his own sin, let there be the imputation of his parents' guilt, that it may now come beforeGod, for His meting out its full consequences, in cutting off the memory of them (that is, the parents)from the earth (Ps 34:16).16. Let God remember guilt, because he (the wicked) did not remember mercy.poor and needy … broken in heart—that is, pious sufferer (Ps 34:18; 35:10; 40:17).17-19. Let his loved sin, cursing, come upon him in punishment (Ps 35:8), thoroughly fill himas water and oil, permeating to every part of his system (compare Nu 5:22-27), and become agarment and a girdle for a perpetual dress.20. Let this … reward—or, "wages," pay for labor, the fruit of the enemy's wickedness.from the Lord—as His judicial act.21, 22. do … for me—that is, kindness.wounded—literally, "pierced" (Ps 69:16, 29).23. like the shadow—(Compare Ps 102:11).tossed up and down—or, "driven" (Ex 10:19).24, 25. Taunts and reproaches aggravate his afflicted and feeble state (Ps 22:6, 7).26, 27. Let my deliverance glorify Thee (compare Ps 59:13).28-31. In confidence that God's blessing would come on him, and confusion and shame on hisenemies (Ps 73:13), he ceases to regard their curses, and anticipates a season of joyful and publicthanksgiving; for God is near to protect (Ps 16:8; 34:6) the poor from all unrighteous judges whomay condemn him.PSALM 110Ps 110:1-7. The explicit application of this Psalm to our Saviour, by Him (Mt 22:42-45) andby the apostles (Ac 2:34; 1Co 15:25; Heb 1:13), and their frequent reference to its language andpurport (Eph 1:20-22; Php 2:9-11; Heb 10:12, 13), leave no doubt of its purely prophetic character.Not only was there nothing in the position or character, personal or official, of David or any otherdescendant, to justify a reference to either, but utter severance from the royal office of all priestlyfunctions (so clearly assigned the subject of this Psalm) positively forbids such a reference. ThePsalm celebrates the exaltation of Christ to the throne of an eternal and increasing kingdom, and aperpetual priesthood (Zec 6:13), involving the subjugation of His enemies and the multiplicationof His subjects, and rendered infallibly certain by the word and oath of Almighty God.1. The Lord said—literally, "A saying of the Lord," (compare Ps 36:1), a formula, used inprophetic or other solemn or express Lord—That the Jews understood this term to denote the Messiah their traditions show, andChrist's mode of arguing on such an assumption (Mt 22:44) also proves.Sit … at my right hand—not only a mark of honor (1Ki 2:19), but also implied participationof power (Ps 45:9; Mr 16:19; Eph 1:20).Sit—as a king (Ps 29:10), though the position rather than posture is intimated (compare Ac7:55, 56).until I make, &c.—The dominion of Christ over His enemies, as commissioned by God, andentrusted with all power (Mt 28:18) for their subjugation, will assuredly be established (1Co913JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson15:24-28). This is neither His government as God, nor that which, as the incarnate Saviour, Heexercises over His people, of whom He will ever be Head.thine enemies thy footstool—an expression taken from the custom of Eastern conquerors(compare Jos 10:24; Jud 1:7) to signify a complete subjection.2. the rod of thy strength—the rod of correction (Isa 9:4; 10:15; Jer 48:12), by which Thystrength will be known. This is His Word of truth (Isa 2:3; 11:4), converting some and confoundingothers (compare 2Th 2:8).out of Zion—or, the Church, in which God dwells by His Spirit, as once by a visible symbolin the tabernacle on Zion (compare Ps 2:6).rule thou, &c.—over enemies now the midst—once set upon, as by ferocious beasts (Ps 22:16), now humbly, though reluctantly,confessed as Lord (Php 2:10, 11).3. Thy people … willing—literally, "Thy people (are) free will offerings"; for such is the properrendering of the word "willing," which is a plural noun, and not an adjective (compare Ex 25:2; Ps54:6), also a similar form (Jud 5:2-9).in the day of thy power—Thy people freely offer themselves (Ro 12:1) in Thy service, enlistingunder Thy the beauties of holiness—either as in Ps 29:2, the loveliness of a spiritual worship, of whichthe temple service, in all its material splendors, was but a type; or more probably, the appearanceof the worshippers, who, in this spiritual kingdom, are a nation of kings and priests (1Pe 2:9; Re1:5), attending this Priest and King, clothed in those eminent graces which the beautiful vestmentsof the Aaronic priests (Le 16:4) typified. The last very obscure clause—from the womb … youth—may, according to this view, be thus explained: The word "youth"denotes a period of life distinguished for strength and activity (compare Ec 11:9)—the "dew" is aconstant emblem of whatever is refreshing and strengthening (Pr 19:12; Ho 14:5). The Messiah,then, as leading His people, is represented as continually in the vigor of youth, refreshed andstrengthened by the early dew of God's grace and Spirit. Thus the phrase corresponds as a memberof a parallelism with "the day of thy power" in the first clause. "In the beauties of holiness" belongsto this latter clause, corresponding to "Thy people" in the first, and the colon after "morning" isomitted. Others prefer: Thy youth, or youthful vigor, or body, shall be constantly refreshed bysuccessive accessions of people as dew from the early morning; and this accords with the NewTestament idea that the Church is Christ's body (compare Mic 5:7).4. The perpetuity of the priesthood, here asserted on God's oath, corresponds with that of thekingly office just explained.after the order—(Heb 7:15) after the similitude of Melchisedek, is fully expounded by Paul,to denote not only perpetuity, appointment of God, and a royal priesthood, but also the absence ofpriestly descent and succession, and superiority to the Aaronic order.5. at thy right hand—as Ps 109:31, upholding and aiding, which is not inconsistent with Ps110:1, where the figure denotes participation of power, for here He is presented in another aspect,as a warrior going against enemies, and sustained by God.strike through—smite or crush.kings—not common men, but their rulers, and so all under them (Ps 2:2, 10).914JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson6. The person is again changed. The Messiah's conquests are described, though His work andGod's are the same. As after a battle, whose field is strewn with corpses, the conqueror ascends theseat of empire, so shall He "judge," or "rule," among many nations, and subduethe head—or (as used collectively for "many") "the heads," over many lands.wound—literally, "smite," or "crush" (compare Ps 110:5).7. As a conqueror, "faint, yet pursuing" [Jud 8:4], He shall be refreshed by the brook in theway, and pursue to completion His divine and glorious triumphs.PSALM 111Ps 111:1-10. The Psalmist celebrates God's gracious dealings with His people, of which asummary statement is given.1. Praise ye the Lord—or, Hallelujah (Ps 104:35). This seems to serve as a title to those ofthe later Psalms, which, like this, set forth God's gracious government and its blessed fruits. Thispraise claims thewhole heart—(Ps 86:12), and is rendered publicly.upright—a title of the true Israel (Ps 32:11).2. His works, that is, of providence and grace aresought—or, carefully studied, by all desiring to know them.3, 4. honourable and glorious—literally, "honor and majesty," which illustrate His gloriousperfections.righteousness—(Ps 7:17; 31:1), which He has made memorable by wonders of love and mercy,in supplying the wants of His people according to covenant engagements.6-8. His power was shown especially in giving them the promised land, and His faithfulnessand justice thus displayed are, like His precepts, reliable and of permanent obligation.9. The deliverance He provided accorded to His established covenant. Thus He manifestedHimself in the sum of His perfections (Ps 20:1, 7; 22:3) worthy of reverence.10. And hence love and fear of such a God is the chief element of true wisdom (compare Pr1:7; 9:10).PSALM 112Ps 112:1-10. This Psalm may be regarded as an exposition of Ps 111:10, presenting the happinessof those who fear and obey God, and contrasting the fate of the ungodly.1. True fear produces obedience and this happiness.2, 3. Temporal blessings follow the service of God, exceptions occurring only as they are seenby God to be inconsistent with those spiritual blessings which are better.4. light—figurative for relief (Ps 27:1; 97:11).the upright—are like God (Lu 6:36; Ps 111:4).5-9. Generosity, sound judgment in business, and confidence in God, form a character whichpreserves from fear of evil and ensures success against enemies. While a man thus truly pious isliberal, he increases in substance.6. not be moved—(compare Ps 13:4; 15:5).915JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson8. heart is established—or, firm in right principles.see his desire—(Ps 50:23; 54:7).10. Disappointed in their malevolent wishes by the prosperity of the pious, the wicked arepunished by the working of their evil passions, and come to naught.PSALM 113Ps 113:1-9. God's majesty contrasted with His condescension and gracious dealings towardsthe humble furnish matter and a call for praise. The Jews, it is said, used this and Psalms 114-118on their great festivals, and called them the Greater Hallel, or Hymn.1-3. Earnestness and zeal are denoted by the emphatic repetitions.servants of the Lord—or, all the people of of the Lord—perfections (Ps 5:11; 111:9).3. From the rising, &c.—all the world.4-6. God's exaltation enhances His condescension;7, 8. which condescension is illustrated as often in raising the worthy poor and needy to honor(compare 1Sa 2:8; Ps 44:25).9. On this special case, compare 1Sa 2:21. Barrenness was regarded as a disgrace, and is a typeof a deserted Church (Isa 54:1).the barren woman … house—literally, "the barren of the house," so that the supplied wordsmay be omitted.PSALM 114Ps 114:1-8. The writer briefly and beautifully celebrates God's former care of His people, towhose benefit nature was miraculously made to contribute.1-4. of strange language—(compare Ps 81:5).4. skipped … rams—(Ps 29:6), describes the waving of mountain forests, poetically representingthe motion of the mountains. The poetical description of the effect of God's presence on the seaand Jordan alludes to the history (Ex 14:21; Jos 3:14-17). Judah is put as a parallel to Israel, becauseof the destined, as well as real, prominence of that tribe.5-8. The questions place the implied answers in a more striking form.7. at the presence of—literally, "from before," as if affrighted by the wonderful display ofGod's power. Well may such a God be trusted, and great should be His praise.PSALM 115Ps 115:1-18. The Psalmist prays that God would vindicate His glory, which is contrasted withthe vanity of idols, while the folly of their worshippers is contrasted with the trust of God's people,who are encouraged to its exercise and to unite in the praise which it occasions.1-3. The vindication of God's mercy and faithfulness (Ps 25:10; 36:6) is the "glory" of His"name," which is desired to be illustrated in the deliverance of His people, as the implied mode of916JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonits manifestation. In view of the taunts of the heathen, faith in His dominion as enthroned in theheaven (Ps 2:4; 11:4) is avowed.2. Where is now, &c.—"now" is "not a particle of time, but of entreaty," as in our forms ofspeech, "Come now," "See now," &c.4-7. (Compare Isa 40:18-20; 44:9-20).7. speak … throat—literally, "mutter," not even utter articulate sounds.8. every one that trusteth—they who trust, whether makers or not.9-13. The repetitions imply earnestness.14. Opposed to the decrease pending and during the captivity.15-17. They were not only God's peculiar people, but as living inhabitants of earth, assignedthe work of His praise as monuments of divine power, wisdom, and goodness.18. Hence let us fulfil the purpose of our creation, and evermore show forth His praise.PSALM 116Ps 116:1-19. The writer celebrates the deliverance from extreme perils by which he was favored,and pledges grateful and pious public acknowledgments.1, 2. A truly grateful love will be evinced by acts of worship, which calling on God expresses(Ps 116:13; Ps 55:16; 86:7; compare Ps 17:6; 31:2).3, 4. For similar figures for distress see Ps 18:4, 5.gat hold upon me—Another sense ("found") of the same word follows, as we speak of diseasefinding us, and of our finding or catching disease.5-8. The relief which he asked is the result not of his merit, but of God's known pity andtenderness, which is acknowledged in assuring himself (his "soul," Ps 11:1; 16:10) of rest andpeace. All calamities [Ps 116:8] are represented by death, tears, and falling of the feet (Ps 56:13).9. walk before the Lord—act, or live under His favor and guidance (Ge 17:1; Ps 61:7).land of the living—(Ps 27:13).10, 11. Confidence in God opposed to distrust of men, as not reliable (Ps 68:8, 9). He speaksfrom an experience of the result of his faith.11. in my haste—literally, "terror," or "agitation," produced by his affliction (compare Ps31:22).12-14. These are modes of expressing acts of worship (compare Ps 116:4; Ps 50:14; Jon 2:9).13. the cup of salvation—the drink offering which was part of the thank offering (Nu 15:3-5).14. now—(compare Ps 115:2). "Oh, that (I may do it)" in the presence, &c.15, 16. By the plea of being a homeborn servant, he intimates his claim on God's covenant loveto His people.17-19. An ampler declaration of his purpose, designating the place, the Lord's house, or earthlyresidence in Jerusalem.PSALM 117917JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonPs 117:1, 2. This may be regarded as a doxology, suitable to be appended to any Psalm ofsimilar character, and prophetical of the prevalence of God's grace in the world, in which aspectPaul quotes it (Ro 15:11; compare Ps 47:2; 66:8).2. is great toward us—literally, "prevailed over" or "protected us."PSALM 118Ps 118:1-29. After invoking others to unite in praise, the writer celebrates God's protecting anddelivering care towards him, and then represents himself and the people of God as entering thesanctuary and uniting in solemn praise, with prayer for a continued blessing. Whether composedby David on his accession to power, or by some later writer in memory of the restoration fromBabylon, its tone is joyful and trusting, and, in describing the fortune and destiny of the JewishChurch and its visible head, it is typically prophetical of the Christian Church and her greater andinvisible Head.1-4. The trine repetitions are emphatic (compare Ps 118:10-12, 15, 16; 115:12, 13).Let … say—Oh! that Israel may—as in Ps 115:2; so in Ps 118:3, 4. After "now say" supply "give thanks."that his mercy—or, "for His mercy."5. distress—literally, "straits," to which "large place" corresponds, as in Ps 4:1; 31:8.6, 7. Men are helpless to hurt him, if God be with him (Ps 56:9), and, if enemies, they will bevanquished (Ps 54:7).8, 9. Even the most powerful men are less to be trusted than God.10-12. Though as numerous and irritating as bees [Ps 118:12], by God's help his enemies wouldbe destroyed.12. as the fire of thorns— the name, &c.—by the power (Ps 20:5; 124:8).13-16. The enemy is triumphantly addressed as if present.15. rejoicing and salvation—the latter as cause of the former.16. right hand … is exalted—His power greatly exerted.17, 18. He would live, because confident his life would be for God's glory.19-21. Whether an actual or figurative entrance into God's house be meant, the purpose ofsolemn praise is intimated, in which only the righteous would or could engage.22, 23. These words are applied by Christ (Mt 21:42) to Himself, as the foundation of the Church(compare Ac 4:11; Eph 2:20; 1Pe 2:4, 7). It may here denote God's wondrous exaltation to powerand influence of him whom the rulers of the nation despised. Whether (see on Ps 118:1) David orZerubbabel (compare Hag 2:2; Zec 4:7-10) be primarily meant, there is here typically representedGod's more wonderful doings in exalting Christ, crucified as an impostor, to be the Prince andSaviour and Head of His Church.24. This is the day—or period distinguished by God's favor of all others.25. Save now—Hebrew, "Hosanna" (compare Ps 115:2, &c., as to now) a form of prayer (Ps20:9), since, in our use, of praise.918JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson26. he that cometh … Lord—As above intimated, this may be applied to the visible head ofthe Jewish Church entering the sanctuary, as leading the procession; typically it belongs to Him ofwhom the phrase became an epithet (Mal 3:1; Mt 21:9).27-29. showed us light—or favor (Ps 27:1; 97:11). With the sacrificial victim brought boundto the altar is united the more spiritual offering of praise (Ps 50:14, 23), expressed in the terms withwhich the Psalm opened.PSALM 119Ps 119:1-176. This celebrated Psalm has several peculiarities. It is divided into twenty-twoparts or stanzas, denoted by the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each stanza containseight verses, and the first letter of each verse is that which gives name to the stanza. Its contentsare mainly praises of God's Word, exhortations to its perusal, and reverence for it, prayers for itsproper influence, and complaints of the wicked for despising it. There are but two verses (Ps 119:122,132) which do not contain some term or description of God's Word. These terms are of variousderivations, but here used, for the most part, synonymously, though the use of a variety of termsseems designed, in order to express better the several aspects in which our relations to the revealedword of God are presented. The Psalm does not appear to have any relation to any special occasionor interest of the Jewish Church or nation, but was evidently "intended as a manual of pious thoughts,especially for instructing the young, and its peculiar artificial structure was probably adopted toaid the memory in retaining the language."ALEPH. (Ps 119:1-8).1. undefiled—literally, "complete," perfect, or sincere (compare Ps 37:37).in—or, "of"the way—course of life.walk—actin the law—according to it (compare Lu 1:6).law—from a word meaning "to teach," is a term of rather general purport, denoting the instructionof God's Word.2. testimonies—The word of God is so called, because in it He testifies for truth and him—that is, a knowledge of Him, with desire for conformity to His will.3. his ways—the course He reveals as right.4-6. precepts—are those directions which relate to special conduct, from a word meaning "toinspect."statutes—or ordinances, positive laws of permanent nature. Both words originally denote ratherpositive than moral laws, such as derive force from the divine appointment, whether their natureor the reasons for them are apprehended by us or not.commandments—or institutions. The term is comprehensive, but rather denotes fundamentaldirections for conduct, both enjoining and forbidding.have respect unto—or regard carefully as to their whole purport.7. judgments—rules of conduct formed by God's judicial decisions; hence the wide sense ofthe word in the Psalms, so that it includes decisions of approval as well as condemnation.919JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson8. Recognizes the need of divine grace.BETH. (Ps 119:9-16).9. The whole verse may be read as a question; for,by taking heed—is better, "for" taking heed, that is, so as to do it. The answer is implied, andinferable from Ps 119:5, 10, 18, &c., that is, by God's grace.10-16. We must carefully treasure up the word of God, declare it to others, meditate on it, andheartily delight in it; and then by His grace we shall act according to it.GIMEL. (Ps 119:17-24).17-20. Life is desirable in order to serve God; that we may do so aright, we should seek to haveour eyes opened to behold His truth, and earnestly desire fully to understand it.21-24. God will rebuke those who despise His word and deliver His servants from their reproach,giving them boldness in and by His truth, even before the greatest men.DALETH. (Ps 119:25-32).25-27. Submitting ourselves in depression to God, He will revive us by His promises, and leadus to declare His mercy to others.28-32. In order to adhere to His word, we must seek deliverance from temptations to sin as wellas from despondency.enlarge—or, "expand"my heart—with gracious affections.HE. (Ps 119:33-40).33-38. To encourage us in prayer for divine aid in adhering to His truth, we are permitted tobelieve that by His help we shall succeed.the way of thy statutes—that is, the way or manner of life prescribed by them. The help wehope to obtain by prayer is to be the basis on which our resolutions should rest.37. Turn away mine eyes—literally, "Make my eyes to pass, not noticing evil."vanity—literally, "falsehood;" all other objects of trust than God; idols, human power, &c. (Ps31:6; 40:4; 60:11; 62:9).quicken … in thy way—make me with living energy to pursue the way marked out by Thee.Revive me from the death of spiritual helplessness (Ps 119:17, 25, 40, 50; 116:3).38. who is devoted to thy fear—or better, "which (that is, Thy word) is for Thy fear," forproducing it. "Which is to those who fear Thee." God's word of promise belongs peculiarly to such(compare Ge 18:19; 1Ki 2:4; 8:25) [Hengstenberg].39, 40. Our hope of freedom from the reproach of inconsistency is in God's power, quickeningus to live according to His Word, which He leads us to love.for thy judgments are good—The time must therefore be at hand when Thy justice will turnthe "reproach" from Thy Church upon the world (Isa 25:8; 66:5; Zep 2:8-10).VAU. (Ps 119:41-48).41-44. The sentiment more fully carried out. God's mercies and salvation, as revealed in HisWord, provide hope of forgiveness for the past and security in a righteous course for the future.42. The possession of God's gift of "salvation" (Ps 119:41) will be the Psalmist's answer to thefoe's "reproach," that his hope was a fallacious one.45-48. To freedom from reproach, when imbued with God's truth, there is added "great boldnessin the faith" [1Ti 3:13], accompanied with increasing delight in the holy law itself, which becomesan element of happiness.920JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson48. My hands … lift up unto … commandments—that is, I will prayerfully (Ps 28:2) directmy heart to keep Thy commandments.ZAIN. (Ps 119:49-56).49-51. Resting on the promises consoles under affliction and the tauntings of the insolent.upon which—rather, "Remember Thy word unto Thy servant, because," &c. So the Hebrewrequires [Hengstenberg].50. for—rather, "This is my comfort … that," &c. [Maurer].hath quickened—What the Word has already done is to faith a pledge of what it shall yet do.52-56. The pious take comfort, when harassed and distressed by wickedness of men who forsakeGod's law, in remembering that the great principles of God's truth will still abide; and also God'sjudgments of old—that is, His past interpositions in behalf of His people are a pledge that Hewill again interpose to deliver them; and they become the theme of constant and delightful meditation.The more we keep the more we love the law of God.53. Horror—rather, "vehement wrath" [Hengstenberg].54. songs—As the exile sings songs of his home (Ps 137:3), so the child of God, "a strangeron earth," sings the songs of heaven, his true home (Ps 39:12). In ancient times, laws were put inverse, to imprint them the more on the memory of the people. So God's laws are the believer' of my pilgrimage—present life (Ge 17:8; 47:9; Heb 11:13).56. Rather, "This is peculiarly mine (literally, to me), that I keep Thy precepts" [Hengstenbergand Maurer].CHETH. (Ps 119:57-64).57-60. Sincere desires for God's favor, penitence, and activity in a new obedience, truly evincethe sincerity of those who profess to find God a portion (Nu 18:20; Ps 16:5; La 3:24).58. favour—Hebrew, "face" (Ps 45:12).59. So the prodigal son, when reduced to straits of misery (Lu 15:17, 18).61, 62. This the more, if opposition of enemies, or love of ease is overcome in thus honoringGod's law.have robbed me—better, surrounded me, either as forcible constraints like fetters, or as thecords of their nets. Hengstenberg translates, "snares."62. At midnight—Hengstenberg supposes a reference to the time when the Lord went forth toslay the Egyptian first-born (Ex 11:4; 12:29; compare Job 34:20). But it rather refers to the Psalmist'sown praises and prayers in the night time. Compare Paul and Silas (Ac 16:25; compare Ps 63:6).63. The communion of the saints. Delight in their company is an evidence of belonging to them(Ps 16:3; Am 3:3; Mal 3:16).64. While opposed by the wicked, and opposing them, the pious delight in those who fear God,but, after all, rely for favor and guidance not on merit, but mercy.TETH. (Ps 119:65-72).65-67. The reliance on promises (Ps 119:49) is strengthened by experience of past dealingsaccording with promises, and a prayer for guidance, encouraged by sanctified affliction.66. Teach me good judgment and knowledge—namely, in Thy word (so as to fathom its deepspirituality); for the corresponding expression (Ps 119:12, 64, 68), is, "Teach me Thy statutes."67. Referred by Hengstenberg to the chastening effect produced on the Jews' minds by the captivity(Jer 31:18, 19). The truth is a general one (Job 5:6; Joh 15:2; Heb 12:11).921JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson68. Compare as to the Lord Jesus (Ac 10:38).69, 70. The crafty malice of the wicked, in slandering him, so far from turning him away, butbinds him closer to God's Word, which they are too stupid in sin to appreciate. Hengstenberg refersthe "lie" to such slanders against the Jews during the captivity, as that in Ezr 4:1-6, of sedition.70. fat as grease—spiritually insensible (Ps 17:10; 73:7; Isa 6:10).71, 72. So also affliction of any kind acts as a wholesome discipline in leading the pious morehighly to value the truth and promises of God.JOD. (Ps 119:73-80).73. As God made, so He can best control, us. So as to Israel, he owed to God his whole internaland external existence (De 32:6).74. So when He has led us to rely on His truth, He will "make us to the praise of His grace" byothers. "Those who fear Thee will be glad at my prosperity, as they consider my cause their cause"(Ps 34:2; 142:7).75-78. in faithfulness—that is, without in the least violating Thy faithfulness; because my sinsdeserved and needed fatherly chastisement. Enduring chastisement with a filial temper (Heb 12:6-11),God's promises of mercy (Ro 8:28) will be fulfilled, and He will give comfort in sorrow (La 3:22;2Co 1:3, 4).77. Let thy tender mercies come unto me—As I am not able to come unto them. But thewicked will be confounded.78. but I … meditate in thy precepts—and so shall not be "ashamed," that is, put to shame(Ps 119:80).79, 80. Those who may have thought his afflictions an evidence of God's rejection will then beled to return to Him; as the friends of Job did on his restoration, having been previously led throughhis afflictions to doubt the reality of his religion.80. Let my … be sound—that is, perfect, sincere.ashamed—disappointed in my hope of salvation.CAPH. (Ps 119:81-88).81-83. In sorrow the pious heart yearns for the comforts of God's promises (Ps 73:26; 84:2).82. Mine eyes fail for thy word—that is, with yearning desire for Thy word. When the eyesfail, yet faith must not.83. bottle in the smoke—as a skin bottle dried and shriveled up in smoke, so is he witheredby sorrow. Wine bottles of skin used to be hung up in smoke to dry them, before the wine was putin them [Maurer].84-87. The shortness of my life requires that the relief afforded to me from mine enemies shouldbe speedy.85. pits—plots for my destruction.which—rather, "who," that is, "the proud"; "pits" is not the antecedent.87. consumed me upon earth—Hengstenberg translates, "in the land"; understanding "me" ofthe nation Israel, of which but a small remnant was left. But English Version is simpler; either,"They have consumed me so as to leave almost nothing of me on earth"; or, "They have almostdestroyed and prostrated me on the earth" [Maurer].I forsook not—Whatever else I am forsaken of, I forsake not Thy precepts, and so am notmistaken of Thee (Ps 39:5, 13; 2Co 4:8, 9), and the injuries and insults of the wicked increase the922JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonneed for it. But, however they act regardless of God's law, the pious, adhering to its teaching, receivequickening grace, and are sustained steadfast.LAMED. (Ps 119:89-96).89-91. In all changes God's Word remains firm (1Pe 1:25). Like the heavens, it continuallyattests God's unfailing power and unchanging care (Ps 89:2).is settled in—that is, stands as firmly as the heaven in which it dwells, and whence it emanated.90. thou hast established the earth, and it abideth—(Ps 33:9).91. They—the heaven (Ps 119:89) and the earth (Ps 119:90). Hengstenberg translates, "They standfor thy judgment," that is, ready, as obedient servants, to execute them. The usage of this Psalmfavors this view. But see Jer 33:25.92-94. Hence the pious are encouraged and inclined to seek a knowledge of it, and persevereamidst the efforts of those planning and waiting to destroy delights—plural, not merely delight, but equal to all other delights.93. The bounds of created perfection may be defined, but those of God's law in its nature,application, and influence, are infinite. There is no human thing so perfect but that something iswanting to it; its limits are narrow, whereas God's law is of infinite breadth, reaching to all cases,perfectly meeting what each requires, and to all times (Ps 19:3, 6, 7-11; Ec 3:11). It cannot becramped within any definitions of man's dogmatical systems. Man never outgrows the Word. Itdoes not shock the ignorant man with declared anticipations of discoveries which he had not yetmade; while in it the man of science finds his newest discoveries by tacit anticipations providedfor.MEM. (Ps 119:97-104).97. This characteristic love for God's law (compare Ps 1:2) ensures increase.98-100. of knowledge, both of the matter of all useful, moral truth, and an experience of itsapplication.wiser than mine enemies—with all their carnal cunning (De 4:6, 8).they are ever with me—The Hebrew is, rather singular, "it is ever with me"; the commandmentsforming ONE complete whole, Thy law.99. understanding—is practical skill (Ps 2:10; 32:8).100. more than the ancients—Antiquity is no help against stupidity, where it does not accordwith God's word [Luther] (Job 32:7-9). The Bible is the key of all knowledge, the history of theworld, past, present, and to come (Ps 111:10). He who does the will of God shall know of thedoctrine (Joh 7:17).101-104. Avoidance of sinful courses is both the effect and means of increasing in divineknowledge (compare Ps 19:10).NUN. (Ps 119:105-112).105. Not only does the Word of God inform us of His will, but, as a light on a path in darkness,it shows us how to follow the right and avoid the wrong way. The lamp of the Word is not the sun.He would blind our eyes in our present fallen state; but we may bless God for the light shining asin a dark place, to guide us until the Sun of Righteousness shall come, and we shall be made capableof seeing Him (2Pe 1:19; Re 22:4). The lamp is fed with the oil of the Spirit. The allusion is to thelamps and torches carried at night before an Eastern caravan.106-108. Such was the national covenant at Sinai and in the fields of Moab.923JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson108. freewill offerings—the spontaneous expressions of his gratitude, as contrasted with theappointed "offerings" of the temple (Ho 14:2; Heb 13:15). He determines to pursue this way, relyingon God's quickening power (Ps 119:50) in affliction, and a gracious acceptance of his "spiritualsacrifices of prayer and praise" (Ps 50:5, 14, 23).109, 110. In the midst of deadly perils (the phrase is drawn from the fact that what we carry inour hands may easily slip from them, Jud 12:3; 1Sa 28:21; Job 13:14; compare 1Sa 19:5), andexposed to crafty enemies, his safety and guidance is in the truth and promises of God.111, 112. These he joyfully takes as his perpetual heritage, to perform the duties and receivethe comforts they teach, evermore.SAMECH. (Ps 119:113-120).113. vain thoughts—better, "unstable persons," literally, "divided men," those of a divided,doubting mind (Jas 1:8); "a double-minded man" [Hengstenberg], skeptics, or, skeptical notions asopposed to the certainty of God's word.114. hiding-place—(Compare Ps 27:5).shield—(Ps 3:3; 7:10).hope in thy word—confidently rest on its teachings and promises.115-117. Hence he fears not wicked men, nor dreads disappointment, sustained by God inmaking His law the rule of life.Depart from me—Ye can do nothing with me; for, &c. (Ps 6:8).118-120. But the disobedient and rebellious will be visited by God's wrath, which impressesthe pious with wholesome fear and awe.their deceit is falsehood—that is, all their cunning deceit, wherewith they seek to entrap thegodly, is in vain.120. The "judgments" are those on the wicked (Ps 119:119). Joyful hope goes hand in handwith fear (Hab 3:16-18).AIN. (Ps 119:121-128).121-126. On the grounds of his integrity, desire for God's word, and covenant relation to Him,the servant of God may plead for His protecting care against the wicked, gracious guidance to theknowledge of truth, and His effective vindication of the righteous and their cause, which is alsoHis own.122. Be surety—Stand for me against my oppressors (Ge 43:9; Isa 38:14).127, 128. Therefore—that is, In view of these benefits, or, Because of the glory of Thy law,so much praised in the previous parts of the Psalm.I love … [and] Therefore (repeated)—All its precepts, on all subjects, are estimable for theirpurity, and lead one imbued with their spirit to hate all evil (Ps 19:10). The Word of God admitsof no eclecticism; its least title is perfect (Ps 12:6; Mt 5:17-19).PE. (Ps 119:129-136).129. wonderful—literally, "wonders," that is, of moral excellence.130. The entrance—literally, "opening"; God's words, as an open door, let in light, orknowledge. Rather, as Hengstenberg explains it, "The opening up," or, "explanation of thy word." Tothe natural man the doors of God's Word are shut. Lu 24:27, 31; Ac 17:3; Eph 1:18, confirm thisview, "opening (that is, explaining) and alleging," &c.unto the simple—those needing or desiring it (compare Ps 19:7).924JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson131-135. An ardent desire (compare Ps 56:1, 2) for spiritual enlightening, establishment in aright course, deliverance from the wicked, and evidence of God's favor is expressedI opened my mouth, and panted—as a traveller in a hot desert pants for the cooling breeze(Ps 63:1; 84:2).132. Look … upon me—opposed to hiding or averting the face (compare Ps 25:15; 86:6;102:17).as thou usest to do—or, "as it is right in regard to those who love Thy name." Such have aright to the manifestations of God's grace, resting on the nature of God as faithful to His promiseto such, not on their own merits.133. Order my steps—Make firm, so that there be no halting (Ps 40:2).any iniquity—Ps 119:34 favors Hengstenberg, "any iniquitous man," any "oppressor." But theparallel first clause in this (Ps 119:33) favors English Version (Ps 19:13). His hope of deliverancefrom external oppression of man (Ps 119:34) is founded on his deliverance from the internal"dominion of iniquity," in answer to his prayer (Ps 119:33).136. Zealous himself to keep God's law, he is deeply afflicted when others violate it (comparePs 119:53). Literally, "Mine eyes come down (dissolved) like water brooks" (La 3:48; Jer 9:1).because, &c.—(Compare Eze 9:4; Jer 13:17).TZADDI. (Ps 119:137-144).137-139. God's justice and faithfulness in His government aggravate the neglect of the wicked,and more excite the lively zeal of His people.139. (Ps 69:9).140. very pure—literally, "refined," shown pure by trial.141. The pious, however despised of men, are distinguished in God's sight by a regard for Hislaw.142-144. The principles of God's government are permanent and reliable, and in the deepestdistress His people find them a theme of delightful meditation and a source of reviving power (Ps119:17, 116).law is the truth—It therefore cannot deceive as to its promises.everlasting—(Ps 111:3), though to outward appearance seeming dead.KOPH. (Ps 119:145-152).145-149. An intelligent devotion is led by divine promises and is directed to an increase ofgracious affections, arising from a contemplation of revealed truth.147. prevented—literally, "came before," anticipated not only the dawn, but even the usualperiods of the night; when the night watches, which might be expected to find me asleep, come,they find me awake (Ps 63:6; 77:4; La 2:19). Such is the earnestness of the desire and love forGod's truth.149. quicken me—revive my heart according to those principles of justice, founded on Thineown nature, and revealed in Thy law, which specially set forth Thy mercy to the humble as wellas justice to the wicked (compare Ps 119:30).150-152. Though the wicked are near to injure, because far from God's law, He is near to help,and faithful to His word, which abides for ever.RESH. (Ps 119:153-160).925JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson153-155. Though the remembering of God's law is not meritorious, yet it evinces a filial temperand provides the pious with promises to plead, while the wicked in neglecting His law, reject Godand despise His promises (compare Ps 9:13; 43:1; 69:18).154. Plead, &c.—Hengstenberg translates, "Fight my fight." (See Ps 35:1; 43:1; Mic 7:9).156. (See on Ps 119:149).157. (Compare Ps 119:86, 87, 95).158. (Compare Ps 119:136).transgressors—or, literally, "traitors," who are faithless to a righteous sovereign and side withHis enemies (compare Ps 25:3, 8).159. (Compare Ps 119:121-126, 153-155).quicken me, O Lord, according to thy lovingkindness—(Ps 119:88). This prayer occurs herefor the ninth time, showing a deep sense of frailty.160. God has been ever faithful, and the principles of His government will ever continue worthyof confidence.from the beginning—that is, "every word from Genesis (called so by the Jews from its firstwords, 'In the beginning') to the end of the Scriptures is true." Hengstenberg translates more literally,"The sum of thy words is truth." The sense is substantially the same. The whole body of revelationis truth. "Thy Word is nothing but truth" [Luther].SCHIN. (Ps 119:161-168).161-165. (Compare Ps 119:46, 86).awe—reverential, not slavish fear, which could not coexist with love (Ps 119:163; 1Jo 4:8).Instead of fearing his persecutors, he fears God's Word alone (Lu 12:4, 5). The Jews inscribe inthe first page of the great Bible (Ge 28:17), "How dreadful is this place! This is none other but thehouse of God, and this is the gate of heaven!"162. (Compare Mt 13:44, 45). Though persecuted by the mighty, the pious are not turned fromrevering God's authority to seek their favor, but rejoice in the possession of this "pearl of greatprice," as great victors in spoils. Hating falsehood and loving truth, often, every day, praising Godfor it, they find peace and freedom from temptation.163. lying—that is, as in Ps 119:29, unfaithfulness to the covenant of God with His people;apostasy.165. nothing shall offend them—or, "cause them to offend" (compare Margin).166-168. As they keep God's law from motives of love for it, and are free from slavish fear,the are ready to subject their lives to His inspection.168. all my ways are before thee—I wish to order my ways as before Thee, rather than inreference to man (Ge 19:1; Ps 73:23). All men's ways are under God's eye (Pr 5:21); the godlyalone realize the fact, and live accordingly.TAU. (Ps 119:169-176).169, 170. The prayer for understanding of the truth precedes that for deliverance. The fulfilmentof the first is the basis of the fulfilment of the second (Ps 90:11-17). On the terms "cry" and"supplication" (compare Ps 6:9; 17:1).171, 172. shall utter—or, "pour out praise" (compare Ps 19:2); shall cause Thy praises tostream forth as from a bubbling, overflowing fountain.926JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson172. My tongue shall speak of thy word—literally, "answer Thy Word," that is, with praise,respond to Thy word. Every expression in which we praise God and His Word is a response, oracknowledgment, corresponding to the perfections of Him whom we praise.173, 174. (Compare Ps 119:77, 81, 92).I have chosen—in preference to all other objects of delight.175. Save me that I may praise Thee.thy judgments—as in Ps 119:149, 156.176. Though a wanderer from God, the truly pious ever desires to be drawn back to Him; and,though for a time negligent of duty, he never forgets the commandments by which it is taught.lost—therefore utterly helpless as to recovering itself (Jer 50:6; Lu 15:4). Not only the sinnerbefore conversion, but the believer after conversion, is unable to recover himself; but the latter,after temporary wandering, knows to whom to look for restoration. Ps 119:175, 176 seem to sumup the petitions, confessions, and professions of the Psalm. The writer desires God's favor, that hemay praise Him for His truth, confesses that he has erred, but, in the midst of all his wanderingsand adversities, professes an abiding attachment to the revealed Word of God, the theme of suchrepeated eulogies, and the recognized source of such great and unnumbered blessings. Thus thePsalm, though more than usually didactic, is made the medium of both parts of devotion—prayerand praise.PSALM 120Ps 120:1-7. This is the first of fifteen Psalms (Psalms 120-134) entitled "A Song of Degrees"(Ps 121:1—literally, "A song for the degrees"), or ascents. It seems most probable they weredesigned for the use of the people when going up (compare 1Ki 12:27, 28) to Jerusalem on thefestival occasions (De 16:16), three times a year. David appears as the author of four, Solomon ofone (Ps 127:1), and the other ten are anonymous, probably composed after the captivity. In thisPsalm the writer acknowledges God's mercy, prays for relief from a malicious foe, whose punishmenthe anticipates, and then repeats his complaint.2, 3. Slander and deceit charged on his foes implies his innocence.tongue—as in Ps 52:2, 4.4. Sharp arrows of the mighty—destructive inflictions.coals of juniper—which retain heat long. This verse may be read as a description of the wicked,but better as their punishment, in reply to the question of Ps 120:3.5. A residence in these remote lands pictures his miserable condition.6, 7. While those who surrounded him were maliciously hostile, he was disposed to peace. ThisPsalm may well begin such a series as this, as a contrast to the promised joys of God's worship.PSALM 121Ps 121:1-8. God's guardian care of His people celebrated.1. I will lift up mine eyes—expresses desire (compare Ps 25:1), mingled with expectation. Thelast clause, read as a question, is answered,927JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson2. by avowing God to be the helper, of whose ability His creative power is a pledge (Ps 115:15),to which,3, 4. His sleepless vigilance is be moved—(Compare Ps 38:16; 66:9).5. upon thy right hand—a protector's place (Ps 109:31; 110:5).6-8. God keeps His people at all times and in all perils.nor the moon by night—poetically represents the dangers of the night, over which the moonpresides (Ge 1:16).8. thy going out, &c.—all thy ways (De 28:19; Ps 104:23).evermore—includes a future state.PSALM 122Ps 122:1-9. This Psalm might well express the sacred joy of the pilgrims on entering the holycity, where praise, as the religious as well as civil metropolis, is celebrated, and for whose prosperity,as representing the Church, prayer is offered.1, 2. Our feet shall stand—literally, "are standing."2. gates—(Compare Ps 9:14; 87:2).3-5. compact together—all parts united, as in David's time.4. testimony—If "unto" is supplied, this may denote the ark (Ex 25:10-21); otherwise the actof going is denoted, called a testimony in allusion to the requisition (De 16:16), with which it wasa compliance.5. there are set thrones—or, "do sit, thrones," used for the occupants, David's sons (2Sa 8:18).6, 7. Let peace—including prosperity, everywhere prevail.8, 9. In the welfare of the city, as its civil, and especially the religious relations, was involvedthat of—as in Ps 115:2.9. Let me say—house of … God—in wider sense, the Church, whose welfare would be promotedby the good of Jerusalem.PSALM 123Ps 123:1-4. An earnest and expecting prayer for divine aid in distress.1. (Compare Ps 121:1).thou that dwellest—literally, "sittest as enthroned" (compare Ps 2:4; 113:4, 5).2. Deference, submission, and trust, are all expressed by the figure. In the East, servants inattending on their masters are almost wholly directed by signs, which require the closest observanceof the hands of the latter. The servants of God should look (1) to His directing hand, to appointthem their work; (2) to His supplying hand (Ps 104:28), to give them their portion in due season;(3) to His protecting hand, to right them when wronged; (4) to His correcting hand (Isa 9:13; 1Pe5:6; compare Ge 16:6); (5) to His rewarding hand.3. contempt—was that of the heathen, and, perhaps, Samaritans (Ne 1:3; 2:19).928JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson4. of those that are at ease—self-complacently, disregarding God's law, and despising Hispeople.PSALM 124Ps 124:1-8. The writer, for the Church, praises God for past, and expresses trust for future,deliverance from foes.1, 2. on our side—for us (Ps 56:9).now—or, "oh! let Israel"2. rose … against, &c.—(Ps 3:1; 56:11).3. Then—that is, the time of our danger.quick—literally, "living" (Nu 16:32, 33), description of ferocity.4, 5. (Compare Ps 18:4, 16).5. The epithet proud added to waters denotes insolent enemies.6, 7. The figure is changed to that of a rapacious wild beast (Ps 3:7), and then of a fowler (Ps91:3), and complete escape is denoted by breaking the net.8. (Compare Ps 121:2).name—in the usual sense (Ps 5:11; 20:1). He thus places over against the great danger theomnipotent God, and drowns, as it were in an anthem, the wickedness of the whole world and ofhell, just as a great fire consumes a little drop of water [Luther].PSALM 125Ps 125:1-5. God honors the confidence of His people, by protection and deliverance, and leaveshypocrites to the doom of the wicked.1, 2. Mount Zion—as an emblem of permanence, and locality of Jerusalem as one of security,represent the firm and protected condition of God's people (compare Ps 46:5), supported not onlyby Providence, but by covenant promise. Even the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed,but God's kindness shall not depart, nor His covenant of peace be removed (Isa 54:10).They that trust—are "His people," (Ps 125:2).3. Though God may leave them for a time under the "rod," or power (Ps 2:9), and oppressionof the wicked for a time, as a chastisement, He will not suffer them to be tempted so as to fall intosin (1Co 10:13). The wicked shall only prove a correcting rod to them, not a destroying sword;even this rod shall not remain ("rest") on them, lest they be tempted to despair and apostasy (Ps73:13, 14). God may even try His people to the uttermost: when nothing is before our eyes but puredespair, then He delivers us and gives life in death, and makes us blessed in the curse (2Co 1:8, 9)[Luther].the lot—the possession, literally, "Canaan," spiritually, the heavenly inheritance of holinessand bliss which is appointed to the righteous. Sin's dominion shall not permanently come betweenthe believer and his inheritance.4. (Compare Ps 7:10; 84:11).5. Those who turn aside (under temptation) permanently show that they are hypocrites, andtheir lot or portion shall be with the wicked (Ps 28:3).929JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesoncrooked ways—(Compare De 9:16; Mal 2:8, 9).their—is emphatic; the "crooked ways" proceed from their own hearts. The true Israel is heredistinguished from the false. Scripture everywhere opposes the Jewish delusion that mere outwarddescent would save (Ro 2:28, 29; 9:6, 7; Ga 6:16). The byways of sin from the way of life.PSALM 126Ps 126:1-6. To praise for God's favor to His people is added a prayer for its continuedmanifestation.1-3. When the Lord, &c.—The joy of those returned from Babylon was ecstatic, and elicitedthe admiration even of the heathen, as illustrating God's great power and goodness.turned again the captivity—that is, restored from it (Job 39:12; Ps 14:7; Pr 12:14). Hengstenbergtranslates: "When the Lord turned Himself to the turning of Zion" (see Margin), God returns to Hispeople when they return to Him (De 30:2, 3).4. All did not return at once; hence the prayer for repeated the streams in the south—or, the torrents in the desert south of Judea, dependent on rain(Jos 15:9), reappearing after dry seasons (compare Job 6:15; Ps 68:9). The point of comparison isjoy at the reappearing of what has been so painfully missed.5, 6. As in husbandry the sower may cast his seed in a dry and parched soil with despondingfears, so those shall reap abundant fruit who toil in tears with the prayer of faith. (Compare thehistory, Ezr 6:16, 22).6. He that goeth forth—literally, better, "He goes—he comes, he comes," &c. The repetitionimplies there is no end of weeping here, as there shall be no end of joy hereafter (Isa 35:10).precious seed—rather, seed to be drawn from the seed box for sowing; literally, "seed-draught."Compare on this Psalm, Jer 31:9, &c.PSALM 127Ps 127:1-5. The theme of this Psalm, that human enterprises only succeed by the divine blessing,was probably associated with the building of the temple by Solomon, its author. It may have beenadopted in this view, as suited to this series especially, as appropriately expressing the sentimentsof God's worshippers in relation to the erection of the second temple.1, 2. suggest the view of the theme given.2. so he giveth his beloved sleep—that is, His providential care gives sleep which no effortsof ours can otherwise procure, and this is a reason for trust as to other things (compare Mt 6:26-32).3-5. Posterity is often represented as a blessing from God (Ge 30:2, 18; 1Sa 1:19, 20). Childrenare represented as the defenders (arrows) of their parents in war, and in litigation.5. adversaries in the gate—or place of public business (compare Job 5:4; Ps 69:12).PSALM 128930JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonPs 128:1-6. The temporal blessings of true piety. The eighth chapter of Zecariah is a virtualcommentary on this Psalm. Compare Ps 128:3 with Zec 8:5; and Ps 128:2 with Le 26:16; De 28:33;Zec 8:10; and Ps 128:6 with Zec 8:4.1. (Compare Ps 1:1).2. For thou shalt eat—that is, It is a blessing to live on the fruits of one's own industry.3. by the sides—or, "within" (Ps 48:2).olive plants—are peculiarly luxuriant (Ps 52:8).5. In temporal blessings the pious do not forget the richer blessings of God's grace, which theyshall ever enjoy.6. Long life crowns all other temporal favors. As Ps 125:5, this Psalm closes with a prayer forpeace, with prosperity for God's people.PSALM 129Ps 129:1-8. The people of God, often delivered from enemies, are confident of His favor, bytheir overthrow in the future.1, 2. may Israel now say—or, "oh! let Israel say" (Ps 124:1). Israel's youth was the sojourn inEgypt (Jer 2:2; Ho 2:15).2. prevailed—literally, "been able," that is, to accomplish their purpose against me (Ps 13:4).3, 4. The ploughing is a figure of scourging, which most severe physical infliction aptlyrepresents all kinds.4. the cords—that is, which fasten the plough to the ox; and cutting denotes God's arrestingthe persecution;5, 6. The ill-rooted roof grass, which withers before it grows up and procures for those gatheringit no harvest blessing (Ru 2:4), sets forth the utter uselessness and the rejection of the wicked.PSALM 130Ps 130:1-8. The penitent sinner's hope is in God's mercy only.1, 2. depths—for great distress (Ps 40:2; 69:3).3. shouldest mark—or, "take strict account" (Job 10:14; 14:16), implying a confession of theexistence of sin.who shall stand—(Ps 1:6). Standing is opposed to the guilty sinking down in fear andself-condemnation (Mal 3:2; Re 6:15, 16). The question implies a negative, which is thus morestrongly stated.4. Pardon produces filial fear and love. Judgment without the hope of pardon creates fear anddislike. The sense of forgiveness, so far from producing licentiousness, produces holiness (Jer 33:9;Eze 16:62, 63; 1Pe 2:16). "There is forgiveness with thee, not that thou mayest be presumed upon,but feared."5, 6. wait for the Lord—in expectation (Ps 27:14).watch for, &c.—in earnestness and anxiety.7, 8. Let Israel, &c.—that is, All are invited to seek and share divine forgiveness.from all his iniquities—or, "punishments of them" (Ps 40:12, &c.).931JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonPSALM 131Ps 131:1-3. This Psalm, while expressive of David's pious feelings on assuming the royal office,teaches the humble, submissive temper of a true child of God.1. eyes lofty—a sign of pride (Ps 18:27).exercise myself—literally, "walk in," or "meddle with."2. Surely, &c.—The form is that of an oath or strongest assertion. Submission is denoted bythe figure of a weaned child. As the child weaned by his mother from the breast, so I still the motionsof pride in me (Mt 18:3, 4; Isa 11:8; 28:9). Hebrew children were often not weaned till three yearsold.soul—may be taken for desire, which gives a more definite sense, though one included in theidea conveyed by the usual meaning, myself.PSALM 132Ps 132:1-18. The writer, perhaps Solomon (compare Ps 132:8, 9), after relating David's piouszeal for God's service, pleads for the fulfilment of the promise (2Sa 7:16), which, providing for aperpetuation of David's kingdom, involved that of God's right worship and the establishment of thegreater and spiritual kingdom of David's greater Son. Of Him and His kingdom both the templeand its worship, and the kings and kingdom of Judah, were types. The congruity of such a topicwith the tenor of this series of Psalms is obvious.1-5. This vow is not elsewhere recorded. It expresses, in strong language, David's intense desireto see the establishment of God's worship as well as of His kingdom.remember David—literally, "remember for David," that is, all his troubles and anxieties onthe matter.5. habitation—literally, "dwellings," generally used to denote the sanctuary.6. These may be the "words of David" and his pious friends, who,at Ephratah—or Beth-lehem (Ge 48:7), where he once lived, may have heard of the ark, whichhe found for the first timein the fields of the wood—or, Jair, or Kirjath-jearim ("City of woods") (1Sa 7:1; 2Sa 6:3, 4),whence it was brought to Zion.7. The purpose of engaging in God's worship is avowed.8, 9. The solemn entry of the ark, symbolical of God's presence and power, with the attendingpriests, into the sanctuary, is proclaimed in the words used by Solomon (2Ch 6:41).10-12. For thy servant David's sake—that is, On account of the promise made to him.turn … anointed—Repulse not him who, as David's descendant, pleads the promise to perpetuatehis royal line. After reciting the promise, substantially from 2Sa 7:12-16 (compare Ac 2:30, &c.),an additional plea,13. is made on the ground of God's choice of Zion (here used for Jerusalem) as His dwelling,inasmuch as the prosperity of the kingdom was connected with that of the Church (Ps 122:8, 9).14-18. That choice is expressed in God's words, "I will sit" or "dwell," or sit enthroned. Thejoy of the people springs from the blessings of His grace, conferred through the medium of thepriesthood.17. make the horn … to bud—enlarge his power.932JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesona lamp—the figure of prosperity (Ps 18:10, 28; 89:17). With the confounding of his enemiesis united his prosperity and the unceasing splendor of his crown.PSALM 133Ps 133:1-3. The blessings of fraternal unity.1, 2. As the fragrant oil is refreshing, so this affords delight. The holy anointing oil for the highpriest was olive oil mixed with four of the best spices (Ex 30:22, 25, 30). Its rich profusion typifiedthe abundance of the Spirit's graces. As the copious dew, such as fell on Hermon, falls in fertilizingpower on the mountains of Zion, so this unity is fruitful in good works.3. there—that is, in Zion, the Church; the material Zion, blessed with enriching dews, suggeststhis allusion the source of the influence enjoyed by the spiritual Zion.commanded the blessing—(Compare Ps 68:28).PSALM 134Ps 134:1-3. 1, 2. The pilgrim bands arriving at the sanctuary call on the priests, whostand in the house of the Lord—at the time of the evening sacrifice, to unite in praising Godin their name and that of the people, using appropriate gestures, to which the priests reply,pronouncing the Mosaic blessing which they alone could pronounce. A fit epilogue to the wholepilgrim-book, Psalms night—the evening service (Ps 141:2), as opposed to morning (Ps 92:2).2. Lift up your hands—(Compare Ps 28:2).3. After the manner directed (Nu 6:23).out of Zion—the Church, as His residence, and thus seat of blessings. Thus close the songs ofdegrees.PSALM 135Ps 135:1-21. A Psalm of praise, in which God's relations to His Church, His power in the naturalworld, and in delivering His people, are contrasted with the vanity of idols and idol-worship.1-3. In the general call for praise, the priests, that stand in the house of the Lord, are speciallymentioned.4-7. God's choice of Israel is the first reason assigned for rendering praise; the next, Hismanifested greatness in creation and providence.6. heaven, and … seas, and all … ends of the earth—denote universality.8, 9. The last plague [Ex 12:29] is cited to illustrate His "tokens and wonders."10-12. The conquest of Canaan was by God's power, not that of the people.13. heritage—or, "possession."name … memorial—Each denote that by which God is made known.14. will judge—do justice (Ps 72:2).repent himself—change His dealings (Ps 90:13).933JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson15-18. (Compare Ps 115:4-8).18. are like unto them—or, "shall be like," &c. Idolaters become spiritually stupid and perishwith their idols (Isa 1:31).19-21. (Compare Ps 115:9-11). There we have "trust" for "bless" here.21. out of Zion—(Compare Ps 110:2; 134:3). From the Church, as a center, His praise is diffusedthroughout the earth.PSALM 136Ps 136:1-26. The theme is the same as that of Psalm 135. God should be praised for His worksof creation and providence, His deliverance and care of His people, and judgments on their enemies,and His goodness to all. The chorus to every verse is in terms of that of Ps 106:1; 118:1-4, and wasperhaps used as the Amen by the people, in worship (compare 1Ch 16:36; Ps 105:45).1-3. The divine titles denote supremacy.4. alone—excluding all help.5, 6. by wisdom—or, "in wisdom" (Ps 104:24).made—literally, "maker of."above the waters—or, "higher than the waters" (Ps 24:2).12. Compare similar expressions (Ex 3:20; De 4:34, &c.).15. overthrew—literally, "shook off," as in Ex 14:27, as a contemptuous rejection of a reptile.23. remembered us—or, "for us" (Ps 132:1).our low estate—that is, captivity.24. And hath redeemed us—or, literally, "snatched us"—alluding to the sudden deliveranceeffected by the overthrow of Babylon.25. To the special favors to His people is added the record of God's goodness to all His creatures(compare Mt 6:30).26. God of heaven—occurs but once (Jon 1:9) before the captivity. It is used by the later writersas specially distinguishing God from idols.PSALM 137Ps 137:1-9. This Psalm records the mourning of the captive Israelites, and a prayer and predictionrespecting the destruction of their enemies.1. rivers of Babylon—the name of the city used for the whole country.remembered Zion—or, Jerusalem, as in Ps 132:13.2. upon the willows—which may have grown there then, if not now; as the palm, which wasonce common, is now rare in Palestine.3, 4. Whether the request was in curiosity or derision, the answer intimates that a compliancewas incongruous with their mournful feelings (Pr 25:20).5, 6. For joyful songs would imply forgetfulness of their desolated homes and fallen Church.The solemn imprecations on the hand and tongue, if thus forgetful, relate to the cunning or skill inplaying, and the power of singing.7-9. Remember … the children of Edom—(Compare Ps 132:1), that is, to punish.934JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthe day of Jerusalem—its downfall (La 4:21, 22; Ob 11-13).8. daughter of Babylon—the people (Ps 9:13). Their destruction had been abundantly foretold(Isa 13:14; Jer 51:23). For the terribleness of that destruction, God's righteous judgment, and notthe passions of the chafed Israelites, was responsible.PSALM 138Ps 138:1-8. David thanks God for His benefits, and anticipating a wider extension of God'sglory by His means, assures himself of His continued presence and faithfulness.1. I will praise thee with my whole heart—(Compare Ps 9:1).before the gods—whether angels (Ps 8:5); or princes (Ex 21:6; Ps 82:6); or idols (Ps 97:7);denotes a readiness to worship the true God alone, and a contempt of all other objects of worship.2. (Compare Ps 5:7).thy word above all thy name—that is, God's promise (2Sa 7:12-16), sustained by His mercyand truth, exceeded all other manifestations of Himself as subject of praise.3-5. That promise, as an answer to his prayers in distress, revived and strengthened his faith;and, as the basis of other revelations of the Messiah, it will be the occasion of praise by all whohear and receive it (Ps 68:29, 31; Isa 4:3).5. for great is the glory—or, "when the glory shall be great," in God's fulfilling His purposesof redemption.6, 7. On this general principle of God's government (Isa 2:11; 57:15; 66:2), he relies for God'sfavor in saving him, and overthrowing his enemies.knoweth afar off—their ways and deserts (Ps 1:6).8. God will fulfil His promise.PSALM 139Ps 139:1-24. After presenting the sublime doctrines of God's omnipresence and omniscience,the Psalmist appeals to Him, avowing his innocence, his abhorrence of the wicked, and his readysubmission to the closest scrutiny. Admonition to the wicked and comfort to the pious are alikeimplied inferences from these doctrines.PSALM 140Ps 140:1-13. The style of this Psalm resembles those of David in the former part of the book,presenting the usual complaint, prayer, and confident hope of relief.1. evil man—Which of David's enemies is meant is not important.2-5. This character of the wicked, and the devices planned against the pious, correspond to Ps10:7; 31:13; 58:4, &c.3. sharpened … like a serpent—not like a serpent does, but they are thus like a serpent incunning and venom.5. snare [and] net—for threatening dangers (compare Ps 38:12; 57:6).935JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson6. (Compare Ps 5:1-12; 16:2).7. day of battle—literally, "of armor," that is, when using it.8. (Compare Ps 37:12; 66:7).lest they exalt themselves—or, they will be exalted if permitted to prosper.9. Contrasts his head covered by God (Ps 140:7) with theirs, or (as "head" may be used for"persons") with them, covered with the results of their wicked deeds (Ps 7:16).10. (Compare Ps 11:6; 120:4).cast into the fire; into deep pits—figures for utter destruction.11. an evil speaker—or, "slanderer" will not be tolerated (Ps 101:7). The last clause may betranslated: "an evil (man) He (God) shall hunt," &c.12. (Compare Ps 9:4).13. After all changes, the righteous shall have cause for praise. Suchshall dwell—shall sit securely, under God's protection (Ps 21:6; 41:12).PSALM 141Ps 141:1-10. This Psalm evinces its authorship as the preceding, by its structure and the characterof its contents. It is a prayer for deliverance from sins to which affliction tempted him, and fromthe enemies who caused it.PSALM 142Ps 142:1-7. Maschil—(See on Ps 32:1, title). When he was in the cave—either of Adullam (1Sa22:1), or En-gedi (1Sa 24:3). This does not mean that the Psalm was composed in the cave, but thatthe precarious mode of life, of which his refuge in caves was a striking illustration, occasioned thecomplaint, which constitutes the first part of the Psalm and furnishes the reason for the prayer withwhich it concludes, and which, as the prominent characteristic, gives its name.1. with my voice—audibly, because earnestly.2. (Compare Ps 62:8).I poured out my complaint—or, "a sad musing."3. thou knewest … path—The appeal is indicative of conscious innocence; knowest it to beright, and that my affliction is owing to the snares of enemies, and is not deserved (compare Ps42:4; 61:2).4. Utter desolation is meant.right hand—the place of a protector (Ps 110:5).cared for—literally, "sought after," to do good.5. (Compare Ps 31:14; 62:7).6. (Compare Ps 17:1).7. (Compare Ps 25:17).that I may praise—literally, "for praising," or, "that Thy name may be praised," that is, by therighteous, who shall surround me with sympathizing joy (Ps 35:27).936JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonPSALM 143Ps 143:1-12. In structure and style, like the preceding (Psalms 104-142), this Psalm is clearlyevinced to be David's. It is a prayer for pardon, and for relief from enemies; afflictions, as usual,producing confession and penitence.1. in thy faithfulness … and … righteousness—or, God's regard to the claims which He haspermitted His people to make in His covenant.2. enter … judgment—deal not in strict justice.shall no … justified—or, "is no man justified," or "innocent" (Job 14:3; Ro 3:20).3, 4. The exciting reason for his prayer—his afflictions—led to confession as just made: henow makes the those that have been long dead—deprived of life's comforts (compare Ps 40:15; 88:3-6).5, 6. The distress is aggravated by the contrast of former comfort (Ps 22:3-5), for whose returnhe longs.a thirsty land—which needs rain, as did his spirit God's gracious visits (Ps 28:1; 89:17).7. spirit faileth—is exhausted.8. (Compare Ps 25:1-4; 59:16).the way … walk—that is, the way of safety and righteousness (Ps 142:3-6).9. (Compare Ps 31:15-20).10. (Compare Ps 5:8; 27:11).land of uprightness—literally, "an even land" (Ps 26:12).11. (Compare Ps 23:3; 119:156).12. God's mercy to His people is often wrath to His and their enemies (compare Ps 31:17).thy servant—as chosen to be such, entitled to divine regard.PSALM 144Ps 144:1-15. David's praise of God as his all-sufficient help is enhanced by a recognition of theintrinsic worthlessness of man. Confidently imploring God's interposition against his enemies, hebreaks forth into praise and joyful anticipations of the prosperity of his kingdom, when freed fromvain and wicked men.PSALM 145Ps 145:1-21. A Psalm of praise to God for His mighty, righteous, and gracious government ofall men, and of His humble and suffering people in particular.1, 2. (Compare Ps 30:1).bless thy name—celebrate Thy perfections (Ps 5:11). God is addressed as king, alluding toHis government of men.3. (Compare Ps 18:3; 48:1).greatness—as displayed in His works.4. shall declare—literally, "they shall declare," that is, all generations.5. I will speak—or, "muse" (Ps 77:12; 119:15).937JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthy wondrous works—or, "words of thy wonders," that is, which described them (Ps 105:27,Margin).6. terrible acts—which produce dread or fear.7. memory—(Ps 6:5), remembrance, or what causes to be remembered.righteousness—as in Ps 143:1, goodness according to covenant engagement.8, 9. (Compare Ps 103:8; 111:4).over all, &c.—rests on all His works.10. bless—as in Ps 145:1, to praise with reverence, more than merely to praise.11, 12. The declaration of God's glory is for the extension of His knowledge and perfectionsin the world.13. (Compare Da 4:3, 34).14. (Compare Ps 37:17; 54:4).15, 16. eyes of … thee—or, look with expecting faith (Ps 104:27, 28).17. holy … works—literally, "merciful" or "kind, goodness" (Ps 144:2) is the correspondingnoun.righteous—in a similar relation of meaning to "righteousness" (Ps 145:7).18, 19. (Compare Ps 34:7, 10).20. Those who fear Him (Ps 145:19) are those who are here said to love Him.21. (Compare Ps 33:21).all flesh—(Ps 65:2). The Psalm ends, as it began, with ascriptions of praise, in which the piouswill ever delight to join.PSALM 146Ps 146:1-10. An exhortation to praise God, who, by the gracious and faithful exercise of Hispower in goodness to the needy, is alone worthy of implicit trust.PSALM 147Ps 147:1-20. This and the remaining Psalms have been represented as specially designed tocelebrate the rebuilding of Jerusalem (compare Ne 6:16; 12:27). They all open and close with thestirring call for praise. This one specially declares God's providential care towards all creatures,and particularly His people.1. (Compare Ps 92:1; 135:3).2. (Compare Ps 107:3; Isa 11:12).3. Though applicable to the captive Israelites, this is a general and precious truth.wounds—(Compare Margin).4, 5. God's power in nature (Isa 40:26-28, and often) is presented as a pledge of His power tohelp His people.telleth … stars—what no man can do (Ge 15:5).6. That power is put forth for the good of the meek and suffering pious, and confusion of thewicked (Ps 146:8, 9).7-9. His providence supplies bountifully the wild animals in their mountain homes.938JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonSing … Lord—literally, "Answer the Lord," that is, in grateful praise to His goodness, thusdeclared in His acts.10, 11. The advantages afforded, as in war by the strength of the horse or the agility of man,do not incline God to favor any; but those who fear and, of course, trust Him, will obtain Hisapprobation and aid.13. strengthened … gates—or, means of defense against invaders,14. maketh … borders—or, territories (Ge 23:17; Isa 54:12).filleth thee, &c.—(Compare Margin).15-18. God's Word, as a swift messenger, executes His purpose, for with Him to command isto perform (Ge 1:3; Ps 33:9), and He brings about the wonders of providence as easily as men castcrumbs.17. morsels—used as to food (Ge 18:5), perhaps here denotes hail.19, 20. This mighty ruler and benefactor of heaven and earth is such especially to His chosenpeople, to whom alone (De 4:32-34) He has made known His will, while others have been left indarkness. Therefore unite in the great hallelujah.PSALM 148Ps 148:1-14. The scope of this Psalm is the same as that of the preceding.1. heavens [and] heights—are synonymous.2. hosts—(compare Ps 103:21).4. heavens of heavens—the very highest.waters—clouds, resting above the visible heavens (compare Ge 1:7).5. praise the name—as representing His perfections.he commanded—"He" is emphatic, ascribing creation to God alone.6. The perpetuity of the frame of nature is, of course, subject to Him who formed it.a decree … pass—His ordinances respecting them shall not change (Jer 36:31), or perish (Job34:20; Ps 37:36).7-10. The call on the earth, as opposed to heaven, includes seas or depths, whose inhabitantsthe dragon, as one of the largest (on leviathan, see on Ps 104:26), is selected to represent. The mostdestructive and ungovernable agents of inanimate nature are introduced.8. fulfilling his word—or, law, may be understood of each. Next the most distinguishedproductions of the vegetable world.9. fruitful trees—or, "trees of fruit," as opposed to forest trees. Wild and domestic, large andsmall animals are comprehended.11, 12. Next all rational beings, from the highest in rank to little children.princes—or, military leaders.13. Let them—all mentioned.excellent—or, exalted (Isa 12:4).his glory—majesty (Ps 45:3).above the earth and heaven—Their united splendors fail to match His.14. exalteth the horn—established power (Ps 75:5, 6).praise of—or literally, "for"939JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhis saints—that is, occasions for them to praise Him. They are further described as "His people,"and "near unto Him," sustaining by covenanted care a peculiarly intimate relation.PSALM 149Ps 149:1-9. This Psalm sustains a close connection with the foregoing. The chosen people areexhorted to praise God, in view of past favors, and also future victories over enemies, of whichthey are impliedly assured.1. (Compare Ps 96:1).2. God had signalized His relation as a sovereign, in restoring them to their land.3. in the dance—(Ps 30:11). The dance is connected with other terms, expressive of the greatjoy of the occasion. The word may be rendered "lute," to which the other instruments are joined.sing praises—or, sing and play.4. taketh pleasure—literally, "accepts," alluding to acceptance of propitiatory offerings (comparePs 147:11).beautify, &c.—adorn the humble with faith, hope, joy, and peace.5. in glory—the honorable condition to which they are raised.upon their beds—once a place of mourning (Ps 6:6).6. high praises—or, "deeds." They shall go forth as religious warriors, as once religious laborers(Ne 4:17).7. The destruction of the incorrigibly wicked attends the propagation of God's truth, so that themilitary successes of the Jews, after the captivity, typified the triumphs of the Gospel.9. the judgment written—either in God's decrees, or perhaps as in De 32:41-43.this honour—that is, to be thus employed, will be an honorable service, to be assignedhis saints—or, godly ones (Ps 16:3).PSALM 150Ps 150:1-6. This is a suitable doxology for the whole book, reciting the "place, theme, mode,and extent of God's high praise."1. in his sanctuary—on earth.firmament of his power—which illustrates His power.2. mighty acts—(Ps 145:4).excellent greatness—or, abundance of greatness.3, 4. trumpet—used to call religious assemblies;4. organs—or pipe, a wind instrument, and the others were used in worship.5. cymbals—suited to loud praise (Ne 12:27).6. Living voices shall take up the failing sounds of dead instruments, and as they cease on earth, those of intelligentransomed spirits and holy angels, as with the sound of mighty thunders, will prolong eternally the praise, saying: "Alleluia!Salvation, and Glory, and Honor, and Power, unto the Lord our God;" "Alleluia! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."Amen!940

      JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson


      Commentary by A. R. Faussett


      I. The Nature and Use of Proverbs.—A proverb is a pithy sentence, concisely expressing somewell-established truth susceptible of various illustrations and applications. The word is of Latinderivation, literally meaning for a word, speech, or discourse; that is, one expression for many.The Hebrew word for "proverb" (mashal) means a "comparison." Many suppose it was used, becausethe form or matter of the proverb, or both, involved the idea of comparison. Most of the proverbsare in couplets or triplets, or some modifications of them, the members of which correspond instructure and length, as if arranged to be compared one with another. They illustrate the varietiesof parallelism, a distinguishing feature of Hebrew poetry. Compare Introduction to Poetical Books.Many also clearly involve the idea of comparison in the sentiments expressed (compare Pr 12:1-10;25:10-15; 26:1-9). Sometimes, however, the designed omission of one member of the comparison,exercising the reader's sagacity or study for its supply, presents the proverb as a "riddle" or "darksaying" (compare Pr 30:15-33; 1:6; Ps 49:4). The sententious form of expression, which thus becamea marked feature of the proverbial style, was also adopted for continuous discourse, even when notalways preserving traces of comparison, either in form or matter (compare Pr 1:1-9:18). In Eze17:1; 24:3, we find the same word properly translated "parable," to designate an illustrative discourse.Then the Greek translators have used a word, parabola ("parable"), which the gospel writers (exceptJohn) employ for our Lord's discourses of the same character, and which also seems to involve theidea of comparison, though that may not be its primary meaning. It might seem, therefore, that theproverbial and parabolic styles of writing were originally and essentially the same. The proverb isa "concentrated parable, and the parable an extension of the proverb by a full illustration." Theproverb is thus the moral or theme of a parable, which sometimes precedes it, as in Mt 19:30(compare Pr 20:1); or succeeds it, as in Mt 22:1-16; Lu 15:1-10. The style being poetical, andadapted to the expression of a high order of poetical sentiment, such as prophecy, we find the sameterm used to designate such compositions (compare Nu 23:7; Mic 2:4; Hab 2:6).Though the Hebrews used the same term for proverb and parable, the Greek employs two,though the sacred writers have not always appeared to recognize a distinction. The term for proverbis, paroimia, which the Greek translators employ for the title of this book, evidently with specialreference to the later definition of a proverb, as a trite, sententious form of speech, which appearsto be the best meaning of the term. John uses the same term to designate our Saviour's instructions,in view of their characteristic obscurity (compare Pr 16:25-29, Greek), and even for his illustrativediscourses (Pr 10:6), whose sense was not at once obvious to all his hearers. This form of instructionwas well adapted to aid the learner. The parallel structure of sentences, the repetition, contrast, orcomparison of thought, were all calculated to facilitate the efforts of memory; and precepts ofpractical wisdom which, extended into logical discourses, might have failed to make abidingimpressions by reason of their length or complicated character, were thus compressed into pithy,and, for the most part, very plain statements. Such a mode of instruction has distinguished thewritten or traditional literature of all nations, and was, and still is, peculiarly current in the East.In this book, however, we are supplied with a proverbial wisdom commended by the seal ofdivine inspiration. God has condescended to become our teacher on the practical affairs belonging941JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonto all the relations of life. He has adapted His instruction to the plain and unlettered, and presented,in this striking and impressive method, the great principles of duty to Him and to our fellow men.To the prime motive of all right conduct, the fear of God, are added all lawful and subordinateincentives, such as honor, interest, love, fear, and natural affection. Besides the terror excited byan apprehension of God's justly provoked judgments, we are warned against evil-doing by theexhibition of the inevitable temporal results of impiety, injustice, profligacy, idleness, laziness,indolence, drunkenness, and debauchery. To the rewards of true piety which follow in eternity, arepromised the peace, security, love, and approbation of the good, and the comforts of a clearconscience, which render this life truly happy.II. Inspiration and Authorship.—With no important exception, Jewish and Christian writers havereceived this book as the inspired production of Solomon. It is the first book of the Bible prefacedby the name of the author. The New Testament abounds with citations from the Proverbs. Its intrinsicexcellence commends it to us as the production of a higher authority than the apocryphal writings,such as Wisdom or Ecclesiasticus. Solomon lived five hundred years before the "seven wise men"of Greece, and seven hundred before the age of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. It is thus very evident,whatever theory of his sources of knowledge be adopted, that he did not draw upon any heathenrepositories with which we are acquainted. It is far more probable, that by the various migrations,captivities, and dispersions of the Jews, heathen philosophers drew from this inspired fountainmany of those streams which continue to refresh mankind amid the otherwise barren and parcheddeserts of profane literature.As, however, the Psalms are ascribed to David, because he was the leading author, so theascription of this book to Solomon is entirely consistent with the titles of the thirtieth and thirty-firstchapters, which assign those chapters to Agur and Lemuel respectively. Of these persons we knownothing. This is not the place for discussing the various speculations respecting them. By a slightchange of reading some propose to translate Pr 30:1: "The words of Agur, the son of her who wasobeyed Massa," that is, "the queen of Massa"; and Pr 31:1: "The words of Lemuel, king of Massa";but to this the earliest versions are contradictory, and nothing other than the strongest exegeticalnecessity ought to be allowed to justify a departure from a well-established reading and versionwhen nothing useful to our knowledge is gained. It is better to confess ignorance than indulge inuseless conjectures.It is probable that out of the "three thousand proverbs" (1Ki 4:32) which Solomon spoke, heselected and edited Pr 1:1-24:34 during his life. Pr 25:1-29:27 were also of his production, andcopied out in the days of Hezekiah, by his "men," perhaps the prophets Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah.Such a work was evidently in the spirit of this pious monarch, who set his heart so fully on areformation of God's worship. Learned men have endeavored to establish the theory that Solomonhimself was only a collector; or that the other parts of the book, as these chapters, were also selectionsby later hands; but the reasons adduced to maintain these views have never appeared so satisfactoryas to change the usual opinions on the subject, which have the sanction of the most ancient andreliable authorities.III. Divisions of the Book.—Such a work is, of course, not susceptible of any logical analysis. Thereare, however, some well-defined marks of division, so that very generally the book is divided intofive or six parts.1. The first contains nine chapters, in which are discussed and enforced by illustration,admonition, and encouragement the principles and blessings of wisdom, and the pernicious schemes942JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand practices of sinful persons. These chapters are introductory. With few specimens of the properproverb, they are distinguished by its conciseness and terseness. The sentences follow very strictlythe form of parallelism, and generally of the synonymous species, only forty of the synthetic andfour (Pr 3:32-35) of the antithetic appearing. The style is ornate, the figures bolder and fuller, andthe illustrations more striking and extended.2. The antithetic and synthetic parallelism to the exclusion of the synonymous distinguish Pr10:1-22:16, and the verses are entirely unconnected, each containing a complete sense in itself.3. Pr 22:16-24:34 present a series of admonitions as if addressed to a pupil, and generally eachtopic occupies two or more verses.4. Pr 25:1-29:27 are entitled to be regarded as a distinct portion, for the reason given above asto its origin. The style is very much mixed; of the peculiarities, compare parts two and three.5. Pr 30:1-33 is peculiar not only for its authorship, but as a specimen of the kind of proverbwhich has been described as "dark sayings" or "riddles."6. To a few pregnant but concise admonitions, suitable for a king, is added a most inimitableportraiture of female character. In both parts five and six the distinctive peculiarity of the originalproverbial style gives place to the modifications already mentioned as marking a later composition,though both retain the concise and nervous method of stating truth, equally valuable for its deepimpression and permanent retention by the memory.CHAPTER 1Pr 1:1-33. After the title the writer defines the design and nature of the instructions of the book.He paternally invites attention to those instructions and warns his readers against the enticementsof the wicked. In a beautiful personification, wisdom is then introduced in a most solemn andimpressive manner, publicly inviting men to receive its teachings, warning those who reject, andencouraging those who accept, the proffered instructions.1-4. (See Introduction, Part I).2. To know … instruction—literally, "for knowing," that is, such is the design of these writings.wisdom—or the use of the best means for the best ends, is generally employed in this book fortrue piety.instruction—discipline, by which men are perceive—literally, "for perceiving," the design (as above)understanding—that is, words which enable one to discern good and evil.3. To receive … of wisdom—For receiving that discipline which discretion imparts. TheHebrew for "wisdom" differs from that of Pr 1:2, and denotes rather discreet counsel. Compare theopposite traits of the fool (Pr 16:22).justice … equity—all the attributes of one upright in all his relations to God and man.4. simple—one easily led to good or evil; so the parallel.young man—one inexperienced.subtilty—or prudence (Pr 3:21; 5:21).discretion—literally, "device," both qualities, either good or bad, according to their use. Heregood, as they imply wariness by which to escape evil and find good.5, 6. Such writings the wise, who pursue right ends by right means, will value.943JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonlearning—not the act, but matter of it.wise counsels—or the art and principles of governing.6. To understand—so as to … such will be the result.interpretation—(Compare Margin).words of the wise—(Compare Pr 1:2).dark sayings—(Compare Ps 49:4; Joh 16:25; and see Introduction, Part I).7. The fear of the Lord—the principle of true piety (compare Pr 2:5; 14:26, 27; Job 28:28; Ps34:11; 111:10; Ac 9:31).beginning—first part, foundation.fools—the stupid and indifferent to God's character and government; hence the wicked.8. My son—This paternal form denotes a tender regard for the reader. Filial sentiments ranknext to piety towards God, and ensure most distinguished rewards (compare Pr 6:20; Eph 6:2, 3).9. On the figures of Pr 1:9, compare Ge 41:42; So 1:10; 4:9.10-19. A solemn warning against temptation.entice—literally, "open the way."consent … not—Sin is in consenting or yielding to temptation, not in being tempted.11-14. Murder and robbery are given as specific illustrations.lay wait … lurk privily—express an effort and hope for successful concealment.swallow … grave—utterly destroy the victim and traces of the crime (Nu 16:33; Ps 55:15).Abundant rewards of villainy are promised as the fruits of this easy and safe course.15, 16. The society of the wicked (way or path) is dangerous. Avoid the beginnings of sin (Pr4:14; Ps 1:1; 119:101).17-19. Men warned ought to escape danger as birds instinctively avoid visibly spread nets. Butstupid sinners rush to their own ruin (Ps 9:16), and, greedy of gain, succeed in the very schemeswhich destroy them (1Ti 6:10), not only failing to catch others, but procuring their own destruction.20-33. Some interpreters regard this address as the language of the Son of God under the nameof Wisdom (compare Lu 11:49). Others think that wisdom, as the divine attribute specially employedin acts of counsel and admonition, is here personified, and represents God. In either case the addressis a most solemn and divine admonition, whose matter and spirit are eminently evangelical andimpressive (see on Pr 8:1).Wisdom—literally, "Wisdoms," the plural used either because of the unusual sense, or asindicative of the great excellency of wisdom (compare Pr 9:1).streets—or most public places, not secretly.21. The publicity further indicated by terms designating places of most common resort.22. simple ones—(Compare Pr 1:4).simplicity—implying ignorance.scorners—(Ps 1:1)—who despise, as well as reject, truth.fools—Though a different word is used from that of Pr 1:7, yet it is of the same meaning.23. reproof—implying conviction deserving it (compare Joh 16:8, Margin).pour out—abundantly spirit—whether of wisdom personified, or of Christ, a divine agent.24. stretched … hand—Earnestness, especially in beseeching, is denoted by the figure (compareJob 11:13; Ps 68:31; 88:9).25. set at naught—rejected as of no value.944JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwould none of—literally, "were not willing or inclined to it."26, 27. In their extreme distress He will not only refuse help, but aggravate it by derision.27. fear—the object of it.desolation—literally, "a tumultuous noise," denoting their utter confusion.destruction—or calamity (Pr 1:26) compared to a whirlwind, as to fatal rapidity.distress—(Ps 4:1; 44:11).anguish—a state of inextricable oppression, the deepest despair.28. Now no prayers or most diligent seeking will avail (Pr 8:17).29, 30. The sinner's infatuated rejection brings his ruin.31. fruit … way—result of conduct (Isa 3:10; Eze 11:21; Ro 6:21; Ga 6:7, 8).be filled—even to repletion (Ps 123:4).32. turning away—that is, from the call of Pr 1:23.simple—as in Pr 1:22.prosperity—quiet, implying indifference.33. dwell safely—literally, "in confidence" (De 12:10).be quiet—or at ease, in real prosperity.from fear—without fear.CHAPTER 2Pr 2:1-22. Men are invited to seek wisdom because it teaches those principles by which theymay obtain God's guidance and avoid the society and influence of the wicked, whose perniciouscourses are described.1-5. Diligence in hearing and praying for instruction must be used to secure the great principleof godliness, the fear of God.hide … with thee—lay up in store (compare Pr 7:1).2. Listen attentively and reflect seriously (Pr 1:24; Ps 130:2).understanding—right perception of truth.3. Yea, if—literally, "When if," that is, in such a case.knowledge—or, "discrimination."understanding—as in Pr 2:2.4. There must be earnest prayer and effort.5. understand—or, "perceive intelligently."find—obtain.6. For—God is ready (Jas 1:5; 4:8).out of his mouth—by revelation from Him.7. sound wisdom—literally, "substance," opposed to what is fictitious. According to the context,this may be assistance, as here corresponding withbuckler—or safety, or wisdom, which procures it (compare Pr 3:21; 8:14; 18:1; Job 6:13;12:13).layeth up—provides, ever ready.8. keepeth … way—God defends the right way, and those in it.saints—objects of favor (compare Ps 4:3, &c.). He guides and guards them.945JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson9. Then—emphatic, in such a case.righteousness … path—all parts of duty to God and man.10, 11. Idea of Pr 2:9, amplified; on terms, compare Pr 2:2 and Pr 2:4.12-15. To deliver—as from great danger (Pr 6:5).way … man—(Ps 1:1).froward things—perversity (Pr 6:14; 23:23), what is opposed to truth.13. paths of uprightness—or, "plainness."walk—habitually act;14. and that with pleasure, in ignorance of good and pursuit of evil.frowardness—Not only their own perversity, but that of others is their delight. They love mostthe worst things.15. crooked—tortuous, unprincipled.froward—literally, (they) are going back, not only aside from right, but opposite to it.16-19. Deliverance from another danger.the strange woman—This term is often used for harlot, or loose woman (Jud 11:1, 2), married(Pr 7:5, 19) or not (1Ki 11:1), so called, because such were, perhaps at first, foreigners, though"strange" may also denote whatever is opposed to right or proper, as "strange fire" (Nu 3:4); "strangeincense" (Ex 30:9).flattereth—literally, "smooths."her words—(Ps 5:9).17. guide … youth—lawful husband (Jer 3:4).covenant … God—of marriage made in God's name.18. inclineth—sinks down (compare Nu 13:31).the dead—or shades of the departed (Ps 88:10).19. that is, such as remain impenitent (compare Ec 7:26).paths of life—(Ps 16:11), opposed to paths unto the dead.20. That … way of good—that is, Such is the object of these warnings.21, 22. (Compare Ps 37:3, 9, 22, 27).22. transgressors—or impious rebels (compare Jer 9:2).rooted out—utterly destroyed, as trees plucked up by the roots.CHAPTER 3Pr 3:1-35. The study of truth commended. God must be feared, honored, and trusted, and filialsubmission, under chastisement, exhibited. The excellence of wisdom urged and illustrated by itsplace in the divine counsels. Piety enforced by a contrast of the destiny of the righteous and thewicked.1. law [and] commandments—all divine instructions (see on Ps 119:1 and Ps 119:4).let thine heart keep—or sincerely observe (Pr 4:13; 5:2).2. length … life—often promised as blessings (Ps 21:4; 91:16).peace—includes prosperity (Ps 125:5).add—abound to thee.946JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson3. mercy and truth—God's faithfulness to His promises is often expressed by these terms (Ps25:10; 57:3). As attributes of men, they express integrity in a wide sense (Pr 16:6; 20:28).bind … write … heart—outwardly adorn and inwardly govern motives.4. favour—grace, amiability (Pr 22:11; Ps 45:2); united with this,a good understanding—(Compare Margin), a discrimination, which secures the sight … man—such as God and man approve.5. Trust … heart—This is the center and marrow of true wisdom (Pr 22:19; 28:25). The positiveduty has its corresponding negation in the admonition against self-confidence.6. ways—(Ps 1:1).acknowledge—by seeking His wise aid (Pr 16:3; Ps 37:5; Jer 9:23, 24).direct—literally, "make plain" (compare Heb 12:13).7. (Compare Pr 27:2; Ro 12:16).fear … evil—reverentially regarding His law.8. It—This—(Compare Margin).to thy navel—for all the organs of nourishment.marrow—(Compare Margin).bones—frame of body. True piety promotes bodily health.9, 10. (Compare Pr 11:25; Ex 23:19; De 18:4; Isa 32:8; 2Co 9:13).10. presses—or wine fats (Joe 2:24; 3:13).11, 12. The true intent of afflictions considered; they do not contradict the assertion of theblessed state of the pious (Job 5:17; Heb 12:5, 6).12. he delighteth—or receiveth as denoting reconciliation regarding the offense which producedchastisement.13. findeth—literally, "reaches," or "obtains by seeking."getteth—literally, "draws out," as metals by digging.14, 15. The figure of Pr 3:13 carried—that is, wisdom.merchandise of silver—acquisition by trading.fine gold—dug gold, solid as a nugget.15. rubies—gems, or pearls.16, 17. Wisdom personified as bringing the best blessings (compare Mt 6:33; 1Ti 4:8).17. Her ways—such as she directs us to take.18. Wisdom allegorized asa tree of life—(Ge 2:9; 3:22) whose fruit preserves life, gives all that makes living a blessing.19, 20. The place of wisdom in the economy of creation and providence commends it to men,who, in proportion to their finite powers, may possess this invaluable attribute, and are thusencouraged by the divine example of its use to seek its possession.21. sound wisdom—(compare Pr 2:7).let … eyes—that is, these words of instruction.22-24. assign reasons in their value for happiness and ornament, guidance and support in dangers,both when waking and sleeping.25. Be not—or, "You shall not be."sudden fear—what causes it (Pr 1:27), any unlooked-for evil (Ps 46:3; 91:12; 1Pe 3:14).947JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesondesolation—(Pr 1:27).26. The reason; such as are objects of God's thy confidence—literally, "in thy confidence," in the source of thy strength (compare Na3:9, for the same construction, Hebrew).27, 28. Promptly fulfil all obligations both of justice and charity (compare Jas 2:15, 16).29, 30. Do not abuse confidence and avoid litigation.31. oppressor—or man of mischief. The destiny of successful evildoers warns against desiringtheir lot (Ps 37:1, 2, 35, 36).32-35. Reasons for the warning.froward—(Pr 2:15).secret … righteous—in their communion (Am 3:7).33. curse … wicked—It abides with them, and will be manifested.34. The retribution of sinners, as in Ps 18:26.35. inherit—as a portion.shame—or disgrace, as opposed to honor.promotion—(Compare Margin); as honor for well-doing makes men conspicuous, so fools aresignalized by disgrace.CHAPTER 4Pr 4:1-27. To an earnest call for attention to his teachings, the writer adds a commendation ofwisdom, preceded and enforced by the counsels of his father and teacher. To this he adds a caution(against the devices of the wicked), and a series of exhortations to docility, integrity, and uprightness.1, 2. (Compare Pr 1:8).to know—in order to know.doctrine—the matter of learning (Pr 1:5), such as he had received (La 3:1).3. father's son—emphatic, a son specially regarded, and so called tender, as an object of specialcare (compare 1Ch 22:7; 29:1); an idea further expressed byonly beloved—or, "as an only son" (Ge 22:2), though he had brothers (see on 1Ch 3:5).4. He taught—or directed me.retain—as well as receive.keep … and live—observe, that you may live (Pr 7:2).5. Get—as a possession not to be given up.neither decline—that is, from obeying my word.6. Not only accept but love wisdom, who will keep thee from evil, and evil from thee.7. (Compare Job 28:28).getting—or possession; a desire for wisdom is wise.8. As you highly esteem her, she will raise you to honor.embrace her—with fond affection.9. ornament—such as the chaplet or wreath of conquerors.deliver—(Compare Ge 14:20). The allusion to a shield, contained in the Hebrew, suggestsprotection as well as honor (compare Pr 4:6).10. (Compare Pr 2:1; 3:2).948JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson11, 12. way of wisdom—which it prescribes.led thee—literally, "caused thee to tread," as a path (Ps 107:7).not be straitened—have ample room (Ps 18:36).13. (Compare Pr 3:18). The figure of laying hold with the hand suggests earnest effort.14. (Compare Ps 1:1). Avoid all temptations to the beginning of evil.16, 17. The reason is found in the character of sinners, whose zeal to do evil is forcibly depicted(Pr 6:4; Ps 36:5). They live by flagrant vices (Pr 1:13). Some prefer to render, "Their bread iswickedness, their drink violence" (compare Job 15:16; 34:7).18, 19. As shining light increases from twilight to noonday splendor, so the course of the justincreases in purity, but that of the wicked is as thickest darkness, in which one knows not on whathe stumbles.20-22. (Compare Pr 4:10, 13; Pr 3:8, &c.).22. health … flesh—by preserving from vices destructive of health.23. with all diligence—or, "above," or "more than all," custody (compare Margin), all that iskept (compare Eze 38:7), because the heart is the depository of all wisdom and the source ofwhatever affects life and character (Mt 12:35; 15:19).24. a froward mouth—that is, a mouth, or words of ill nature. The Hebrew word differs fromthat used (Pr 2:15; 3:32).perverse—or, "quarreling."lips—or, "words."25. Let … before thee—that is, pursue a sincere and direct purpose, avoiding temptations.26. Ponder—Consider well; a wise course results from wise forethought.27. (Compare Pr 4:25). Avoid all by-paths of evil (De 2:27; 17:11). A life of integrity requiresattention to heart, speech, eyes, and conduct.CHAPTER 5Pr 5:1-23. A warning against the seductive arts of wicked women, enforced by considering theadvantages of chastity, and the miserable end of the wicked.1. This connection of wisdom and understanding is frequent (Pr 2:2; 3:7); the first denotes theuse of wise means for wise ends; the other, the exercise of a proper discrimination in their discovery.2. regard—or, "observe."keep—preserve constantly.3. (Compare Pr 2:16). Her enticing promises are deceitful.4. her end—literally, "her future," in sense of reward, what follows (compare Ps 37:37; 73:17).Its nature is evinced by the use of figures, opposite those of Pr 5:3. The physical and moral sufferingof the deluded profligate are notoriously terrible.5. feet … , steps—that is, course of life ends in death.6. her ways … know—Some prefer, "that she may not ponder the path of life," &c.; but perhapsa better sense is, "her ways are varied, so as to prevent your knowledge of her true character, andso of true happiness."8, 9. Avoid the slightest temptation.9. thine honour—in whatever consisting, strength (Pr 3:13) or wealth.949JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthy years—by cutting them off in dissipation.unto the cruel—for such the sensual are apt to become.10. wealth—literally, "strength," or the result of it.labours—the fruit of thy painful exertions (Ps 127:2). There may be a reference to slavery, acommuted punishment for death due the adulterer (De 22:22).11. at the last—the end, or reward (compare Pr 5:4).mourn—roar in pain.flesh and … body—the whole person under incurable disease.12-14. The ruined sinner vainly laments his neglect of warning and his sad fate in being broughtto public disgrace.14. evil—for affliction, as in Ge 19:20; 49:15.15-20. By figures, in which well, cistern, and fountain [Pr 5:15, 18] represent the wife, andrivers of waters [Pr 5:16] the children, men are exhorted to constancy and satisfaction in lawfulconjugal enjoyments. In Pr 5:16, fountains (in the plural) rather denote the produce or waters of aspring, literally, "what is from a spring," and corresponds with "rivers of waters."17. only thine own—harlots' children have no known father.18. wife … youth—married in youth.19. loving … roe—other figures for a wife from the well-known beauty of these animals.breasts—(Compare So 1:13; Eze 23:3, 8).ravished—literally, "intoxicated," that is, fully satisfied.21. The reason, God's eye is on you,22, 23. and He will cause sin to bring its punishment.23. without instruction—literally, "in want of instruction," having refused it (compare Job13:18; Heb 11:24).go astray—literally, "be drunken." The word "ravished" (Pr 5:19) here denotes fulness ofpunishment.CHAPTER 6Pr 6:1-35. After admonitions against suretyship and sloth (compare Pr 6:6-8), the character andfate of the wicked generally are set forth, and the writer (Pr 6:20-35) resumes the warnings againstincontinence, pointing out its certain and terrible results. This train of thought seems to intimatethe kindred of these vices.1, 2. if—The condition extends through both surety—art pledged.stricken … hand—bargained (compare Job 17:3).with a stranger—that is, for a friend (compare Pr 11:15; 17:18).3. come … friend—in his power.humble … sure thy friend—urge as a suppliant; that is, induce the friend to provide otherwisefor his debt, or secure the surety.4, 5. The danger requires promptness.6-8. The improvident sluggards usually want sureties. Hence, such are advised to industry bythe ant's example.950JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson9, 10. Their conduct graphically described;11. and the fruits of their self-indulgence and indolence … travelleth—literally, "one who walks backwards and forwards," that is, a highwayman.armed man—that is, one prepared to destroy.12. A naughty person—literally, "A man of Belial," or of worthlessness, that is, for good, andso depraved, or wicked (compare 1Sa 25:25; 30:22, &c.). Idleness and vice are allied. Thoughindolent in acts, he actively and habitually (walketh) is ill-natured in speech (Pr 4:24).13, 14. If, for fear of detection, he does not speak, he uses signs to carry on his intrigues. Thesesigns are still so used in the East.14. Frowardness—as in Pr 2:14.deviseth—literally, "constructs, as an artisan."mischief—evil to others.discord—especially litigation. Cunning is the talent of the weak and lazy.15. Suddenness aggravates evil (compare Pr 6:11; 29:1).calamity—literally, "a crushing weight."broken—shivered as a potter's vessel; utterly destroyed (Ps 2:9).16-19. six … seven—a mode of speaking to arrest attention (Pr 30:15, 18; Job 5:19).17. proud look—literally, "eyes of loftiness" (Ps 131:1). Eyes, tongue, &c., for persons.19. speaketh—literally, "breathes out," habitually speaks (Ps 27:12; Ac 9:1).20-23. (Compare Pr 1:8; 3:3, &c.).22. it—(compare Pr 6:23); denotes the instruction of parents (Pr 6:20), to which all the qualitiesof a safe guide and guard and ready teacher are ascribed. It prevents the ingress of evil by supplyinggood thoughts, even in dreams (Pr 3:21-23; Ps 19:9; 2Pe 1:19).23. reproofs—(Pr 1:23) the convictions of error produced by instruction.24. A specimen of its benefit. By appreciating truth, men are not affected by lying flattery.25. One of the cautions of this instruction, avoid alluring beauty.take—or, "ensnare."eyelids—By painting the lashes, women enhanced beauty.26. The supplied words give a better sense than the old version: "The price of a whore is a pieceof bread."adulteress—(Compare Margin), which the parallel and context (Pr 6:29-35) sustain. Of similarresults of this sin, compare Pr 5:9-12.will hunt—alluding to the snares spread by harlots (compare Pr 7:6-8).precious life—more valuable than all else.27-29. The guilt and danger most obvious.30, 31. Such a thief is pitied, though heavily punished.31. sevenfold—(compare Ex 22:1-4), for many, ample (compare Ge 4:24; Mt 18:21), even ifall his wealth is taken.32. lacketh understanding—or, "heart"; destitute of moral principle and prudence.33. dishonour—or, "shame," as well as hurt of body (Pr 3:35).reproach … away—No restitution will suffice;34, 35. nor any terms of reconciliation be admitted.regard—or, "accept" any ransom.951JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonCHAPTER 7Pr 7:1-27. The subject continued, by a delineation of the arts of strange women, as a caution tothe unwary.1-4. Similar calls (Pr 3:1-3; 4:10, &c.).2. apple … eye—pupil of eye, a custody (Pr 4:23) of special value.3. Bind … fingers—as inscriptions on rings.5. The design of the teaching (compare Pr 2:16; 6:24).6. For—or, "Since," introducing an example to illustrate the warning, which, whether a narrativeor a parable, is equally pertinent.window—or, "opening"looked—literally, "watched earnestly" (Jud 5:28).casement—or, "lattice."7. simple—as in Pr 1:4.void of, &c.—(Compare Pr 6:32).8. her corner—where she was usually found.went … house—implying, perhaps, confidence in himself by his manner, as denoted in thewordwent—literally, "tread pompously."9. The time, twilight, ending in … night—literally, "pupil," or, "eye," that is, middle of night.10. attire—that of harlots was sometimes peculiar.subtile—or, "wary," "cunning."11, 12. loud—or, "noisy," "bustling."stubborn—not submissive.without … streets, … corner—(Compare 1Ti 5:13; Tit 2:5).13-15. The preparations for a feast do not necessarily imply peculiar religious professions. Theofferer retained part of the victim for a feast (Le 3:9, &c.). This feast she professes was preparedfor him whom she boldly addresses as one sought specially to partake of it.16, 17. my bed—or, "couch," adorned in the costliest manner.17. bed—a place for sleeping.18-20. There is no fear of discovery.20. the day appointed—perhaps, literally, "a full moon," that is, a fortnight's time (comparePr 7:19).21. caused … yield—or, "inclines."flattering—(Compare Pr 5:3).forced him—by persuasion overcoming his scruples.22. straightway—quickly, either as ignorant of danger, or incapable of resistance.23. Till—He is now caught (Pr 6:26).24. The inferential admonition is followed (Pr 7:26, 27), by a more general allegation of theevils of this vice.26, 27. Even the mightiest fail to resist her deathly allurements.952JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonCHAPTER 8Pr 8:1-36. Contrasted with sensual allurements are the advantages of divine wisdom, whichpublicly invites men, offers the best principles of life, and the most valuable benefits resulting fromreceiving her counsels. Her relation to the divine plans and acts is introduced, as in Pr 3:19, 20,though more fully, to commend her desirableness for men, and the whole is closed by an assurancethat those finding her find God's favor, and those neglecting ruin themselves. Many regard thepassage as a description of the Son of God by the title, Wisdom, which the older Jews used (andby which He is called in Lu 11:49), as Joh 1:1, &c., describes Him by that of Logos, the Word. Butthe passage may be taken as a personification of wisdom: for, (1) Though described as with God,wisdom is not asserted to be God. (2) The use of personal attributes is equally consistent with apersonification, as with the description of a real person. (3) The personal pronouns used accordwith the gender (feminine) of wisdom constantly, and are never changed to that of the person meant,as sometimes occurs in a corresponding use of spirit, which is neuter in Greek, but to whichmasculine pronouns are often applied (Joh 16:14), when the acts of the Holy Spirit are described.(4) Such a personification is agreeable to the style of this book (compare Pr 1:20; 3:16, 17; 4:8;6:20-22; 9:1-4), whereas no prophetical or other allusions to the Saviour or the new dispensationare found among the quotations of this book in the New Testament, and unless this be such, noneexist. (5) Nothing is lost as to the importance of this passage, which still remains a most ornate andalso solemn and impressive teaching of inspiration on the value of wisdom.1-4. The publicity and universality of the call contrast with the secrecy and intrigues of thewicked (Pr 7:8, &c.).5. wisdom—literally, "subtilty" in a good sense, or, "prudence."fools—as Pr 1:22.6. excellent things—or, "plain," "manifest."opening … things—upright words.7. For … truth—literally, "My palate shall meditate," or (as Orientals did) "mutter," mythoughts expressed only to myself are truth.wickedness—specially falsehood, as opposed to truth.8. in righteousness—or, "righteous" (Ps 9:8,11:7).froward—literally, "twisted," or contradictory, that is, to truth.9. plain … understandeth—easily seen by those who apply their minds.that find—implying search.10. not silver—preferable to it, so last clause implies comparison.11. (Compare Pr 3:14, 15).12. prudence—as in Pr 8:5. The connection of "wisdom" and "prudence" is that of the dictatesof sound wisdom and its application.find … inventions—or, "devices," "discreet ways" (Pr 1:4).13. For such is the effect of the fear of God, by which hatred to evil preserves from it.froward mouth—or, "speech" (Pr 2:12; 6:14).14. It also gives the elements of good character in counsel.sound wisdom—(Pr 2:7).I … strength—or, "As for me, understanding is strength to me," the source of power (Ec 9:16);good judgment gives more efficiency to actions;15, 16. of which a wisely conducted government is an example.953JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson17. early—or, "diligently," which may include the usual sense of early in life.18. durable riches … righteousness—Such are the "riches," enduring sources of happinessin moral possessions (compare Pr 3:16).19. (Compare Pr 8:11; 3:16).20, 21. The courses in which wisdom leads conduct to a true present prosperity (Pr 23:5).22-31. Strictly, God's attributes are part of Himself. Yet, to the poetical structure of the wholepassage, this commendation of wisdom is entirely consonant. In order of time all His attributes arecoincident and eternal as Himself. But to set forth the importance of wisdom as devising the productsof benevolence and power, it is here assigned a precedence. As it has such in divine, so should itbe desired in human, affairs (compare Pr 3:19).possessed—or, "created"; in either sense, the idea of the beginning—or simply, "beginning," in apposition with "me."before … of old—preceding the most ancient deeds.23. I was set up—ordained, or inaugurated (Ps 2:6). The other terms carry out the idea of theearliest antiquity, and illustrate it by the details of creation [Pr 8:24-29].24. brought forth—(Compare Ps 90:2).abounding—or, "laden with water."25. settled—that is, sunk in foundations.26. fields—or, "out places," "deserts," as opposite to (habitable) "world."highest part—or, "sum," all particles together,27. when he set … depth—marked out the circle, according to the popular idea of the earth,as circular, surrounded by depths on which the visible concave heavens rested.28. established … deep—that is, so as to sustain the waters above and repress those below thefirmament (Ge 1:7-11; Job 26:8).29. commandment—better, the shore, that is, of the sea.foundations—figuratively denotes the solid structure (Job 38:4; Ps 24:2).30, 31. one brought up—an object of special and pleasing regard. The bestowal of wisdom onmen is represented by its finding a delightful residence and pleasing God.32-36. Such an attribute men are urged to seek.34. watching … waiting—literally, "so as to watch"; wait, denoting a most sedulous attention.35. (Compare Lu 13:23, 24).36. sinneth … me—or better, "missing me," as opposed to "finding" [Pr 8:35].love death—act as if they did (compare Pr 17:9).CHAPTER 9Pr 9:1-18. The commendation of wisdom is continued, under the figure of a liberal host, andits provisions under that of a feast (compare Lu 14:16-24). The character of those who are invitedis followed by a contrasted description of the rejectors of good counsel; and with the invitations ofwisdom are contrasted the allurement of the wicked woman.1. house—(compare Pr 8:34).her—or, "its" (the house).seven pillars—the number seven for many, or a sufficiency (Pr 6:31).954JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson2. mingled—to enhance the flavor (Pr 23:30; Isa 5:22).furnished—literally, "set out," "arranged."3. maidens—servants to invite (compare Ps 68:11; Isa 40:9).highest places—ridges of heights, conspicuous places.4-6. (Compare Pr 1:4; 6:32). Wisdom not only supplies right but forbids wrong principles.7, 8. shame—(Compare Pr 3:35).a blot—or, "stain on character." Both terms denote the evil done by others to one whosefaithfulness secures a wise man's love.9. The more a wise man learns, the more he loves wisdom.10. (Compare Pr 1:7).of the holy—literally, "holies," persons or things, or both. This knowledge gives right perception.11. (Compare Pr 3:16-18; 4:10).12. You are mainly concerned in your own conduct.13. foolish woman—or literally, "woman of folly," specially manifested by such as are described.clamorous—or, "noisy" (Pr 7:11).knoweth nothing—literally, "knoweth not what," that is, is right and proper.14. on a seat—literally, "throne," takes a prominent place, impudently and haughtily.15, 16. to allure those who are right-minded, and who are addressed as in Pr 9:4, assimple—that is, easily led (Pr 1:4) and unsettled, though willing to do right.17. The language of a proverb, meaning that forbidden delights are sweet and pleasant, as fruitsof risk and danger.18. (Compare Pr 2:18, 19; 7:27).CHAPTER 10Pr 10:1-32. Here begins the second part of the book, Pr 10:1-22:16, which, with the third, Pr22:16-25:28, contains series of proverbs whose sense is complete in one or two verses, and which,having no logical connection, admit of no analysis. The parallelisms of Pr 10:1-15:33 are mostlyantithetic; and those of Pr 16:1-22:16, synthetic. The evidences of art in the structure are very clear,and indicate, probably, a purpose of facilitating the labor of memorizing.1. wise [and] foolish—as they follow or reject the precepts of wisdom.maketh … father—or, "gladdens a father."heaviness—or, "grief."2. Treasures … nothing—that is, Ill-gotten gains give no true happiness (compare Pr 4:17;Mt 6:19).righteousness—especially beneficence (Ps 112:9).death—the greatest of all evils.3. (Compare Ps 37:16-20). The last clause is better: "He will repel the greedy desires of thewicked."4. slack—literally, "deceitful," failing of its purpose (compare Ho 7:16).maketh rich—(compare Pr 10:22).5. son—as Pr 1:8, 10, and often.sleepeth—in indolence, and not for rest.955JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesoncauseth shame—literally, "is base" (compare Pr 14:35; 17:2).6. Blessings—literally, "Praises." The last clause is better: "The mouth of the wicked covereth(or concealeth) violence (or mischievous devices)" to be executed in due time (Ps 5:9; 10:7; Ro3:14), and hence has no praises (compare Pr 10:11).7. blessed—literally, "for a blessing," or praise.shall rot—literally, "be worm-eaten," useless and disgusting.8. wise, &c.—(compare Pr 9:8, 9, 16), opposed toprating fool—or, "fool of lips of wicked language."fall—headlong, suddenly.9. perverteth his ways—acts deceitfully.known—discovered and punished.10. Two vices contrasted; hypocrisy, or insinuating evil against one (Pr 6:13; Ps 35:19), andrashness of speech. In each case, the results are on the evildoers.11. a well—or, "source" of good to himself and others (Joh 7:37, 38). On last clause, see on Pr10:6.12. strifes—or, "litigations."covereth—by forgiveness and forbearance.13. In the lips … found—hence, not beaten, as the wicked-speaking fool.void of understanding—(Pr 6:32; 7:7).14. lay up knowledge—that is, as treasures for good use.mouth … destruction—or, "as to the mouth," &c., destruction is near; they expose themselvesto evil by prating.15. Both by trusting in "uncertain riches" (1Ti 6:17), or by the evils of poverty (Pr 30:9), men,not fearing God, fall into dangers.16. The industry of the righteous is alone truly successful, while the earnings of the wickedtempt and lead to sin.17. keepeth—observes (Pr 3:18; 4:22).refuseth—or, "turns from reproof," which might direct him aright.18. Both vices must one day be known and punished, and hence their folly.19. Much speech involves risk of sin; hence the wisdom of restraining the tongue (Ps 39:1; Jas1:26).20. Right speech is the fruit of a good heart, but the wicked show theirs to be useless.21. Fools not only fail to benefit others, as do the righteous, but procure their own ruin (comparePr 10:11, 17; Ho 4:6).22. it maketh, &c.—"it" is emphatic. Riches from God are without the sorrow of ill-gottenwealth (compare Ec 2:21-23; 1Ti 6:9, 10, 17).23. Sin is the pleasure of the wicked; wisdom that of the good.24. it—the very thing. The wicked get dreaded evil; the righteous, desired good.25. (Compare Ps 1:4; 37:9, 10, 36).righteous … foundation—well laid and firm (Mt 7:24, 25).26. that is, causes vexation.27. (Compare Pr 9:11; Ps 55:23).28. gladness—in confidence of realizing it.expectation … perish—in disappointment.956JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson29. The way, &c.—that is, God's providence sustains the righteous and overthrows the wicked(Ho 14:9).30. (Compare Pr 12:3; Ps 37:9-11; 102:28).earth—or, "land of promise."31. bringeth forth—literally, "germinates" as a plant.froward—(Compare Pr 2:12, 14).cut off—as an unproductive plant.32. know—regard and provide for (Ps 1:6).frowardness—all kinds of deceit and ill-nature. The word is plural.CHAPTER 11Pr 11:1-31.1. (Compare Margin). The Hebrews used stones for weights.just—complete in measure.2. Self-conceit is unteachable; the humble grow wise (compare Pr 16:18; 18:12).3. guide—to lead, as a shepherd (Pr 6:7; Ps 78:52).perverseness—ill-nature.destroy—with violence.4. (Compare Pr 10:2).wrath—that is, of God.5. direct—or, "make plain"; wicked ways are not plain (Pr 13:17).6. deliver them—that is, from evil, which the wicked suffer by their own doings (Pr 5:22; Ps9:16).7. expectation … perish—for death cuts short all his plans (Lu 16:25).hope of unjust—better, "hope of wealth," or "power" (compare Isa 40:29, Hebrew). This givesan advance on the sentiment of the first clause. Even hopes of gain die with him.8. Perhaps the trouble prepared by the wicked, and which he inherits (compare Pr 11:6).9. (Compare Ps 35:16; Da 11:32). The just is saved by superior discernment.10, 11. The last may be a reason for the first. Together, they set forth the relative moral worthof good and bad men.11. By the blessing—implying active benevolence.12. despiseth—or, "reviles," a course contrasted with the prudent silence of the wise.holdeth his peace—as if neither hearing nor telling.13. tale-bearer—(Compare Margin), one trading as a peddler in scandal, whose propensity totalk leads him to betray confidence.14. counsel—the art of governing (Pr 1:5).counsellors—literally, "one giving counsel"; the participle used as a collective.15. (Compare Pr 6:1).suretiship—(Compare Margin), the actors put for the action, which may be lawfully hated.16. retaineth—or literally, "lay hold of as a support." Honor is to a feeble woman thus asvaluable as riches to men.957JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson17. merciful—kind to others; opposed to cruel. Such benefit themselves by doing good to others(compare Pr 24:5), while the cruel injure themselves as well as others.flesh—that is, his body, by penuriousness (Col 2:23).18. a deceitful work—or, "wages," which fail to satisfy, or flee away (Pr 10:2; 23:5).sure reward—or, "gain," as from trading (Ho 10:12; Ga 6:8, 9).19. Inference from Pr 11:18 (compare Pr 11:5, 6; 10:16).20. (Compare Pr 11:5).froward—as in Pr 2:15, opposed to the simplicity and purity of the their way—or, "conduct."21. The combined power of the wicked cannot free them from just punishment, while the unaidedchildren of the righteous find deliverance by reason of their pious relationship (Ps 37:25, 26).22. Jewels were often suspended from the nose (Ge 24:47; Isa 3:21). Thus adorned, a hogdisgusts less than a fair and indiscreet woman.23. (Compare Pr 10:28).wrath—is that of God.24-31. The scope of the whole is a comment on Pr 11:23. Thus liberality, by God's blessing,secures increase, while penuriousness, instead of expected gain, procures poverty.25. liberal soul—(Compare Margin).made fat—prospers (Pr 28:25; De 32:15; Lu 6:38).watereth … watered—a common figure for blessing.26. Another example of the truth of Pr 11:23; the miser loses reputation, though he saves corn.selleth it—that is, at a fair price.27. good [and] mischief—that is, of others.procureth … seeketh—implying success.28. (Compare Pr 10:15; Ps 49:6; 1Ti 6:17).righteous … branch—(Ps 1:3; Jer 17:8).29. troubleth—as Pr 15:27 explains, by greediness for gain (compare Pr 11:17).inherit … wind—Even successful, his gains are of no real value. So the fool, thus acting, eithercomes to poverty, or heaps up for others.30. a tree of life—Blessings to others proceed from the works of the righteous (Pr 3:18).winneth souls—(Compare Margin) to do them good as opposed to Pr 6:25; Eze 13:18 (compareLu 5:10).31. Behold—Thus calling attention to the illustrations (compare Pr 11:23), the sentiment ofwhich is confirmed even in time, not excluding future rewards and punishments.CHAPTER 12Pr 12:1-28.1. loveth knowledge—as the fruit of instruction or training (Pr 1:2).hateth reproof—(Pr 10:17).brutish—stupid, regardless of his own welfare (Ps 49:10; 73:22).3. Wickedness cannot give permanent prosperity.root … not be moved—firm as a flourishing tree—(Ps 1:3; 15:5; Jer 17:8).958JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson4. A virtuous woman—in the wide sense of well-disposed to all moral duties (Pr 31:10).maketh ashamed—that is, by misconduct.rottenness—an incurable evil.5. thoughts—or, "purposes."are right—literally, "are judgment," that is, true decisions.counsels—(Compare Pr 11:14).deceit—contrary to truth and honesty.6. The words—or, "expressed designs" of the wicked are for evil purposes.the mouth—or, "words" of the righteous delivering instead of ensnaring men.7. Such conduct brings a proper return, by the destruction of the wicked and well-being of therighteous and his family.8. despised—as opposed to commended (Pr 11:12).perverse heart—or, "wicked principles," as opposed to one of wisdom.9. despised—held in little repute, obscure (1Sa 18:23; Isa 3:5).hath a servant—implying some means of honest living.honoureth himself—is self-conceited.10. regardeth—literally, "knoweth" (Ps 1:6).mercies … cruel—as acts of compassion ungraciously rendered to the needy. The righteousmore regards a beast than the wicked a man.11. The idler's fate is the result of indolence and want of principle (Pr 6:32; 7:7).12. the wicked … evil—They love the crafty arts of deception.the root … fruit—their own resources supply them; or, it may be rendered: "He (God) giveth,or, sets (Eze 17:22) the root of the righteous," and hence it is firm: or, the verb is impersonal; "Asto the root … it is firm" (Pr 17:19).13, 14. The wicked is snared, &c.—The sentiment expanded. While the wicked, such as liars,flatterers, &c., fall by their own words, the righteous are unhurt. Their good conduct makes friends,and God rewards them.15. The way … eyes—The fool is self-conceited (compare Pr 12:1; 1:32; 10:17; Jas 3:17).16. prudent … shame—He is slow to denounce his insulters (Jas 1:19).18. speaketh—literally, "speaketh hastily," or indiscreetly (Ps 106:33), as an angry man retortsharsh and provoking invectives.tongue … health—by soothing and gentle language.19. Words of truth are consistent, and stand all tests, while lies are soon discovered and exposed.20. that imagine—or, "plan" (Pr 3:29). They design a deceitful course, to which, with all itsevils and dangers to others and themselves, the happiness of peace-makers is opposed (compareMt 5:9; Ro 12:18).21. no evil—(as in Ps 91:10), under God's wise limitations (Ro 8:28).mischief—as penal evil.22. deal truly—or, "faithfully," that is, according to promises (compare Joh 3:21).23. concealeth—by his modesty (Pr 10:14; 11:13).heart … proclaimeth—as his lips speak his thoughts (compare Ec 10:3).24. slothful—(Compare Margin), so called because he fails to meet his promises.under tribute—not denoting legal taxes, but the obligation of dependence.25. a good word—one of comfort.959JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson26. more excellent—(Compare Margin); or, "more successful," while the wicked fail; or, wemay read it: "The righteous guides his friend, but," &c., that is, The ability of the righteous to aidothers is contrasted with the ruin to which the way of the wicked leads themselves.27. (Compare Pr 12:24).took in hunting—or, "his venison." He does not improve his advantages.the substance … precious—or, "the wealth of a man of honor is being diligent," or "diligence."precious—literally, "honor" (Ec 10:1).28. (Compare Pr 8:8, 20, &c.). A sentiment often stated; here first affirmatively, then negatively.CHAPTER 13Pr 13:1-25.1. (Compare Pr 6:1-5; 10:1, 17).2. shall eat—that is, obtain (Pr 12:14).transgressors—as in Pr 2:22.violence—or, "mischief" to themselves.3. He … mouth … life—because evil speeches may provoke violence from others.he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction—On last clause, compare Pr 10:14.4. (Compare Pr 12:11, 27).5. loathsome … shame—better, causeth shame and reproach (compare Pr 19:26), by slander,&c., which the righteous hates.6. A sentiment of frequent recurrence, that piety benefits and sin injures.7. In opposite ways men act hypocritically for gain of honor or wealth.8. Riches save some from punishment, while others suffer because they will not heed the rebukeof sloth, which makes and keeps them poor.9. light … lamp—prosperity; the first, the greater, and itrejoiceth—burns brightly, or continues, while the other, at best small, soon fails.10. The obstinacy which attends self-conceit, produces contention, which the well-advised,thus evincing modesty, avoid.11. by vanity—or, "nothingness," that is, which is vain or useless to the public (as card playingor similar vices).gathereth … labour—(Compare Margin), little by little, laboriously.12. desire cometh—is realized.a tree of life—or, "cause of happiness."13. the word—that is, of advice, or, instruction (compare Pr 10:27; 11:31).14. (Compare Pr 10:11).fountain—or, "source of life."to depart—(compare Pr 1:2-4), or, "for departing," &c., and so gives life.15. Right perception and action secure good will, while evil ways are difficult as a stony road.The wicked left of God find punishment of sin in sinning.hard—or, "harsh" (compare Hebrew: De 21:4; Jer 5:15).16. dealeth—acts with foresight.a fool … folly—for want of caution.960JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson17. A wicked—or, "unfaithful"messenger falleth into mischief—or, "by mischief," or "evil," and so his errand fails. Contrastedis the character of the faithful, whose faithfulness benefits others.18. (Compare Pr 10:17; 12:1).19. Self-denial, which fools will not endure, is essential to success.20. The benefits of good and evil of bad society are contrasted.21. (Compare Pr 11:31).good … repaid—or, "He (God) will repay good."22. wealth … just—While good men's estates remain in their families, God so orders that thegains of sinners enure to the just (compare Pr 28:8; Ps 37:18, 22, 26, &c.).23. The laboring poor prosper more than those who injudiciously or wickedly strive, by fraudand violence, to supersede the necessity of lawful labor.24. spareth—or, "withholds."rod—of correction.hateth—or, acts as if he hated him (compare Pr 3:12; 8:36).chasteneth … betimes—or, "diligently seeks for him all useful discipline."25. The comparative temporal prosperity of the righteous and wicked, rather than contentmentand discontent, is noted.CHAPTER 14Pr 14:1-35.1. Every wise, &c.—literally, "The wisdoms" (compare Pr 9:1) "of women," plural, a distributiveform of speech.buildeth … house—increases wealth, which the foolish, by mismanagement, lessen.2. uprightness—is the fruit of fearing God, as falsehood and ill-nature (Pr 2:15; 3:32) ofdespising Him and His law.3. rod of pride—that is, the punishment of pride, which they evince by their words. The wordsof the wise procure good to them.4. crib is clean—empty; so "cleanness of teeth" denotes want of food (compare Am 4:6). Menget the proper fruit of their doings (Ga 6:7).5. A faithful witness, &c.—one tested to be such.utter lies—or, "breathe out lies"—that is, habitually lies (Pr 6:19; compare Ac 9:1). Or thesense is, that habitual truthfulness, or lying, will be evinced in witness-bearing.6. An humble, teachable spirit succeeds in seeking (Pr 8:9; Joh 7:17; Jas 1:5, 6).7. Avoid the society of those who cannot teach you.8. Appearances deceive the thoughtless, but the prudent discriminate.9. Fools make a mock at sin—or, "Sin deludes fools."righteous … favour—that is, of God, instead of the punishment of sin.10. Each one best knows his own sorrows or joys.11. (Compare Pr 12:7). The contrast of the whole is enhanced by that of house and tabernacle,a permanent and a temporary dwelling.12. end thereof—or, "reward," what results (compare Pr 5:4).961JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonways of death—leading to it.13. The preceding sentiment illustrated by the disappointments of a wicked or untimely joy.14. filled … ways—receive retribution (Pr 1:31).a good man … himself—literally, "is away from such," will not associate with him.15. The simple … word—He is credulous, not from love, but heedlessness (Pr 13:16).16. (Compare Pr 3:7; 28:14).rageth—acts proudly and conceitedly.17. He … angry—literally, "short of anger" (compare Pr 14:29, opposite idea).man … hated—that is, the deliberate evildoer is more hated than the rash.18. inherit—as a portion (compare Pr 3:35).are crowned—literally, "are surrounded with it," abound in it.19. Describes the humbling of the wicked by the punishment their sins incur.20. This sad but true picture of human nature is not given approvingly, but only as a fact.21. For such contempt of the poor is contrasted as sinful with the virtuous compassion of thegood.22. As usual, the interrogative negative strengthens the affirmative.mercy and truth—that is, God's (Ps 57:3; 61:7).23. labour—painful … penury—idle and vain promises and plans.24. (Compare Pr 3:16).foolishness … folly—Folly remains, or produces folly; it has no benefit.25. Life often depends on truth-telling.a deceitful … lies—He that breathes out lies is deceit, not to be trusted (Pr 14:5).26. The blessings of piety descend to children (Pr 13:22; 20:7; Ex 20:6).27. (Compare Pr 13:14).fear of the Lord—or, "law of the wise," is wisdom (Ps 111:10).28. The teaching of a true political economy.29. slow … understanding—(Compare Pr 14:17).hasty—(Compare Pr 14:17).exalteth folly—makes it conspicuous, as if delighting to honor it.30. A sound heart—both literally and figuratively, a source of health; in the latter sense,opposed to the known effect of evil passions on health.31. reproacheth his Maker—who is the God of such, as well as of the rich (Pr 22:2; Job 31:15;and specially 1Sa 2:8; Ps 113:7).32. driven—thrust out violently (compare Ps 35:5, 6).hath hope—trusteth (Pr 10:2; 11:4; Ps 2:12), implying assurance of help.33. resteth—preserved in quietness for use, while fools blazon their folly (Pr 12:23; 13:16).34. Righteousness—just principles and actions.exalteth—raises to a reproach—brings on them the ill-will of others (compare Pr 13:6).35. wise—discreet or prudent.causeth shame—(Pr 10:5; 12:4) acts basely.962JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonCHAPTER 15Pr 15:1-33.1. soft—tender or gentle.turneth … wrath—from any one.stir up—as a smouldering fire is excited.2. useth … aright—commends knowledge by its proper use.poureth out—utters abundantly (Pr 12:23), and so disgusts others.3. beholding—watching (compare Pr 5:21; Ps 66:7).4. A wholesome tongue—(Compare Margin), pacifying and soothing language.tree of life—(Pr 3:18; 11:30).perverseness therein—cross, ill-natured language.breach … spirit—(compare Isa 65:14, Hebrew), grieves, instead of appeasing.5. (Compare Pr 4:1; 10:17; 13:1-18).is prudent—acts discreetly.6. treasure—implying utility.trouble—vexation and affliction.7. (Compare Pr 10:20, 21).heart … not so—not right, or vain.8, 9. The sacrifice [and] prayer—are acts of worship.way … followeth … righteousness—denote conduct. God's regard for the worship and deedsof the righteous and wicked respectively, so stated in Ps 50:17; Isa 1:11.10. (Compare Pr 10:17).the way—that in which God would have him to go (Pr 2:13; Ps 119:1).11. Hell—(Ps 16:10).destruction—or, "Abaddon," the place of the destroyer. All the unseen world is open to God,much more men's hearts.12. (Compare Pr 9:8).go unto the wise—to be instructed.13. maketh … countenance—or, "benefits the countenance."spirit is broken—and so the countenance is sad.14. (Compare Pr 10:21, 22). The wise grow wiser, the fools more foolish (Pr 9:9).15. The state of the heart governs the outward condition.evil—sad, contrasted with the cheerfulness of a feast.16. trouble—agitation, implying the anxieties and perplexities attending wealth held byworldlings (Pr 16:18; 1Ti 6:6).17. dinner—or, "allowance" (2Ki 25:30)—of herbs—and that the plainest.and hatred—(compare Pr 10:12, 18).18. (Compare Pr 14:29; 16:32).19. The difficulties of the slothful result from want of energy; the righteous find aplain [and open] way—literally, "a highway," by diligence (1Sa 10:7; Ps 1:3).20. (Compare Pr 10:1).21. walketh uprightly—and so finds his joy (Pr 3:6; 10:23).963JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson22. Without counsel—or, "deliberation," implying a wise deference to the opinions of the wiseand good, contrasted with rashness.23. Good advice blesses the giver and receiver.24. (Compare Col 3:2). Holy purposes prevent sinning, and so its evils.25. The most desolate who have God's aid have more permanent good than the self-reliantsinner (Pr 2:22; 12:7).border—or, "boundary for possessions" (Ps 78:54).26. are pleasant words—that is, pleasing to God (Pr 8:8, 9).27. (Compare Pr 11:17). Avarice brings trouble to him and his.hateth gifts—or, "bribes" (Ex 23:8; Ps 15:5), and is not avaricious.28. (Compare Pr 15:14; 10:11). Caution is the fruit of wisdom; rashness of folly.29. far … wicked—in His love and favor (Ps 22:11; 119:155).30. light of the eyes—(Pr 13:9). What gives light rejoiceth the heart, by relieving from anxietyas to our course; sogood report—or, "doctrine" (Isa 28:9; 53:1),maketh … fat—or, "gives prosperity" (Pr 3:13-17; 9:11). The last clause is illustrated by thefirst.31, 32. (Compare Pr 10:17).reproof of life—which leads to life.abideth … wise—is numbered among them.32. refuseth—or, "neglects," "passes by" (Pr 1:25; 4:15).despiseth … soul—so acts as if esteeming its interests of no value.33. The fear … wisdom—Wisdom instructs in true piety.before … humility—(compare Lu 24:26; 1Pe 1:11); opposite (compare Pr 16:18).CHAPTER 16Pr 16:1-33.1. preparations— man—or literally, "to man," belonging, or pertaining to him.the answer … Lord—The efficient ordering is from God: "Man proposes; God disposes."2. clean—or, "faultless."weigheth—or, "tries," "judges," implying that they are faulty (Pr 21:2; 24:12).3. (Compare Margin). Rely on God for success to your lawful purposes.4. for himself—"for its answer," or "purpose," that is, according to God's plan; the wicked arefor the day of evil (Ps 49:5; Jer 17:18); sinning and suffering answer to each other, are indissolublyunited.5. (Compare Pr 3:32).6. By mercy and truth—that is, God's (Ps 85:10); He effects the atonement, or covering ofsin; and the principles of true piety incline men to depart from evil; or, "mercy" and "truth" maybe man's, indicative of the gracious tempers which work instrumentally in procuring pardon.purged—expiated (as in Le 16:33; Isa 27:9, Hebrew).7. Persecutions, of course, excepted.964JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson8. (Compare Pr 15:6, 16, 17).9. (Compare Pr 16:3).directeth—establisheth.10. The last clause depends on the first, expressing the importance of equity in decisions, soauthoritative.11. are the Lord's … his work—that is, what He has ordered, and hence should be observedby men.12. Rulers are rightly expected, by their position, to hate evil; for their power is sustained byrighteousness.13. A specification of the general sentiment of Pr 16:12.14. This wrath, so terrible and certain, like messengers of death (1Ki 2:25), can be appeasedby the wise.15. light of … countenance—favor (Ps 4:6).life—preserves it, or gives blessings which make it valuable.the latter rain—fell just before harvest and matured the crop; hence specially valuable (De11:14).16. (Compare Pr 3:16; 4:5).17. The highway—A common, plain road represents the habitual course of the righteous indeparting from evil.keepeth—observes.18, 19. (Compare Pr 15:33). Haughtiness and pride imply self-confidence which producescarelessness, and hencea fall—literally, "sliding."19. divide the spoil—that is, conquer. Avoid the society of the proud (Jas 4:6).20. handleth a matter—wisely considers "the word," that is, of God (compare Pr 13:13).trusteth—(Compare Ps 2:12; 118:8, 9).21. wise in heart—who rightly consider duty.sweetness of the lips—eloquent discourse, persuades and instructs others.22. Understanding—or, "discretion," is a constant source of blessing (Pr 13:14), benefitingothers; but fools' best efforts are folly.23. The heart is the source of wisdom flowing from the mouth.24. (Compare Pr 15:26). Gentle, kind words, by soothing the mind, give the body health.25. (Compare Pr 14:2).26. Diligence is a duty due to one's self, for his wants require labor.27. ungodly man—(Compare Pr 6:12).diggeth up evil—labors for his lips … fire—His words are calumniating (Jas 3:6).28. (Compare Pr 6:14; 10:31).whisperer—prater, talebearer (Pr 18:8; 26:20).29. violent man—or, "man of mischief" (Pr 3:31).enticeth—(Pr 1:10).30. He shutteth his eyes—denoting deep thought (Ps 64:6).moving his lips—or, "biting his lips"—a determined purpose (Pr 6:13).31. (Compare Pr 20:29).965JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonif—or, which may be supplied properly, or without it the sense is as in Pr 3:16; 4:10, that pietyis blessed with long life.32. (Compare Pr 14:29).taketh a city—that is, by fighting.33. Seemingly the most fortuitous events are ordered by God.CHAPTER 17Pr 17:1-28.1. sacrifices—or, "feasts" made with part of them (compare Pr 7:14; Le 2:3; 7:31).with—literally, "of."strife—its product, or attendant.2. (Compare Pr 14:35).causeth shame—(Pr 10:5).shall … inheritance—that is, share a brother's part (compare Nu 27:4, 7).3. God only knows, as He tries (Ps 12:6; 66:10) the heart.4. Wicked doers and speakers alike delight in calumny.5. (Compare Pr 14:31).glad at calamities—rejoicing in others' evil. Such are rightly punished by God, who knowstheir hearts.6. Prolonged posterity is a blessing, its cutting off a curse (Pr 13:22; Ps 109:13-15), hencechildren may glory in virtuous ancestry.7. Excellent speech—(Compare Margin). Such language as ill suits a fool, as lying (ought tosuit) a prince (Pr 16:12, 13).8. One so corrupt as to take a bribe evinces his high estimate of it by subjection to its influence(Pr 18:16; 19:6).9. seeketh love—(Compare Margin). The contrast is between the peace-maker and tale-bearer.10. Reproof more affects the wise than severe scourging, fools.11. Such meet just retribution (1Ki 2:25).a cruel messenger—one to inflict it.12. They are less rational in anger than wild beasts.13. (Compare Ps 7:4; 35:12).evil—injury to another (Pr 13:21).14. letteth … water—as a breach in a dam.before … meddled with—before strife has become sharp, or, by an explanation better suitingthe figure, before it rolls on, or increases.15. abomination … Lord—as reversing His method of acting (Pr 3:32; 12:2).16. Though wealth cannot buy wisdom for those who do not love it, yet wisdom procures wealth(Pr 3:16; 14:24).17. To the second of these parallel clauses, there is an accession of meaning, that is, that abrother's love is specially seen in adversity.18. (Compare Pr 6:1-5; 11:15).in the presence, &c.—that is, he either fails to consult his friend, or to follow his advice.966JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson19. strife—contention is, and leads to, sin.he that exalteth his gate—gratifies a vain love of costly building.seeketh—or, "findeth," as if he sought (compare "loveth death," Pr 8:36).20. The second clause advances on the first. The ill-natured fail of good, and the cavilling andfault-finding incur evil.21. (Compare Pr 23:24). Different words are rendered by "fool," both denoting stupidity andimpiety.22. (Compare Pr 14:30; 15:13). The effect of the mind on the body is well known.medicine—or, "body," which better corresponds with "bone."drieth—as if the marrow were exhausted.23. a gift … bosom—Money and other valuables were borne in a fold of the garment, calledthe pervert—that is, by bribery.24. Wisdom … him—ever an object of regard, while a fool's affections are unsettled.25. a grief—or cross, vexation (compare Pr 17:21; 10:1).26. Also—that is, Equally to be avoided are other sins: punishing good subjects, or resistinggood rulers.27, 28. Prudence of speech is commended as is an excellent or calm spirit, not excited to vainconversation.CHAPTER 18Pr 18:1-24.1. Through desire … seeketh—that is, seeks selfish gratification.intermeddleth … wisdom—or, "rushes on" (Pr 17:14) against all wisdom, or what is valuable(Pr 2:7).2. that his heart … itself—that is, takes pleasure in revealing his folly (Pr 12:23; 15:2).3. So surely are sin and punishment connected (Pr 16:4).wicked, for "wickedness," answers toignominy, or the state of such; andcontempt, the feeling of others to them; and toreproach, a manifestation of contempt.4. Wise speech is like an exhaustless stream of benefit.5. accept the person—(Compare Ps 82:2). "It is not good" is to be supplied before "tooverthrow."6, 7. The quarrelsome bring trouble on themselves. Their rash language ensnares them (Pr 6:2).8. (Compare Pr 16:28).as wounds—not sustained by the Hebrew; better, as "sweet morsels," which men gladly swallow.innermost … belly—the mind, or heart (compare Pr 20:27-30; Ps 22:14).9. One by failing to get, the other by wasting wealth, grows poor.waster—literally, "master of washing," a prodigal.10. name of the Lord—manifested perfections (Ps 8:1; 20:2), as faithfulness, power, mercy,&c., on which men rely.967JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonis safe—literally, "set on high, out of danger" (Ps 18:2; 91:4).11. contrasts with Pr 18:10 (compare Pr 10:15). Such is a vain trust (compare Ps 73:6).12. (Compare Pr 15:33; 16:18).13. Hasty speech evinces self-conceit, and ensures shame (Pr 26:12).14. infirmity—bodily sickness, or outward evil. The spirit, which sustains, being wounded, nosupport is left, except, as implied, in God.15. (Compare Pr 1:5, 15, 31).16. (Compare Pr 17:8, 23). Disapproval of the fact stated is implied.17. One-sided statements are not reliable.searcheth—thoroughly (Pr 17:9, 19).18. The lot—whose disposal is of God (Pr 16:13), may, properly used, be a right mode ofsettling disputes.19. No feuds so difficult of adjustment as those of relatives; hence great care should be used toavoid them.20. (Compare Pr 12:14; 13:2). Men's words are the fruit, or, increase of his lips, and when good,benefit them.satisfied with—(Compare Pr 1:31; 14:14).21. Death and life—or, the greatest evil and good.that love it—that is, the tongue, or its use for good or … fruit—(Compare Pr 18:19; Jas 1:19).22. The old versions supply "good" before the "wife," as the last clause and Pr 19:14 imply(compare Pr 31:10).23. the rich … roughly—He is tolerated because rich, implying that the estimate of men bywealth is wrong.24. A man … friendly—better, "A man … (is) to, or, may triumph (Ps 108:9), or, shout forjoy (Ps 5:11), that is, may congratulate himself." Indeed, there is a Friend who is better than abrother; such is the "Friend of sinners" [Mt 11:19; Lu 7:34], who may have been before the writer'smind.CHAPTER 19Pr 19:1-29.1. (Compare Pr 28:6). "Rich" for fool here. Integrity is better than riches (Pr 15:16, 17; 16:8).2. The last illustrates the first clause. Rashness, the result of ignorance, brings trouble.3. perverteth … way—turns him back from right (Pr 13:6; Jas 1:13); and he blames God forhis failures.4. (Compare Pr 14:20). Such facts are often adduced with implied disapprobation.5. Compare Pr 19:9, where perish explains not escape here (compare Ps 88:9, 10).8. (Compare Margin; Pr 15:32).loveth … soul—or, "himself," which he evinces by regarding his best interests.keepeth—or, "regards."968JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson10. (Compare Pr 17:7). The fool is incapable of properly using pleasure as knowledge, yet forhim to have it is less incongruous than the undue elevation of servants. Let each abide in his calling(1Co 7:20).11. (Compare Pr 14:29; 16:32). This inculcation of a forgiving spirit shows that true religionis always the same (Mt 5:22-24).12. (Compare Pr 16:14, 15; 20:2). A motive to submission to lawful authority.13. calamity—literally, "calamities," varied and many.continual dropping—a perpetual annoyance, wearing out patience.14. A contrast of men's gifts and God's, who, though author of both blessings, confers the latterby His more special providence.and—or, "but," implying that the evils of Pr 19:13 are only avoided by His care.15. a deep sleep—a state of utter indifference.idle soul—or, "person" (compare Pr 10:4; 12:24).16. (Compare Pr 10:17; 13:13).despiseth … ways—opposed to keeping or observing, neglects (Pr 16:17) (as unworthy ofregard) his moral conduct.17. (Compare Pr 14:21; Ps 37:26).hath pity—shown by acts (compare Margin).18. (Compare Pr 13:24; 23:13).let not … spare—literally, "do not lift up thy soul" (Ps 24:4; 25:1), that is, do not desire to hisdeath; a caution to passionate parents against angry chastisement.19. Repeated efforts of kindness are lost on ill-natured persons.20. (Compare Pr 13:18-20).latter end—(Pr 5:11). In youth prepare for age.21. (Compare Pr 16:1, 9; Ps 33:10, 11). The failure of man's devices is implied.22. desire—that is, to do good, indicates a kind disposition (Pr 11:23); and the poor thus affectedare better than liars, who say and do not.23. The fear … life—(Compare Pr 3:2).abide—or, "remain contented" (1Ti 4:8).not visited with evil—(Pr 10:3; Ps 37:25), as a judgment, in which sense visit is often used (Ps89:32; Jer 6:15).24. bosom—literally, a wide dish in which the hand was plunged in eating (Mt 26:23). ComparePr 26:15, the sentiment expressed with equal irony and less exaggeration.25. Such is the benefit of reproof; even the simple profit, much more the wise.26. Unfilial conduct often condemned (Pr 17:21-25; 20:20; De 21:18, 21).27. Avoid whatever leads from truth.28. ungodly witness—(Compare Margin), one false by bad principles (compare Pr 6:12).scorneth judgment—sets at naught the dictates of justice.devoureth—literally, "swalloweth," as something delightful.29. Their punishment is sure, fixed, and ready (compare Pr 3:34; 10:13).CHAPTER 20969JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonPr 20:1-30.1. mocker—scorner. Such men are made by wine.strong drink—made by spicing wine (compare Isa 5:11, 22); and it may include wine.raging—or boisterous as a drunkard.deceived—literally, "erring," or reeling.2. (Compare Pr 19:12). Men who resist authority injure themselves (Ro 13:2).3. to cease from strife—or, better, "to dwell from or without strife," denoting the habit of life.fool … meddling—(Pr 17:14).4. shall … beg—literally, "ask" (in this sense, Ps 109:10).5. Counsel … water—that is, deeply hidden (Pr 18:4; Ps 13:2). The wise can discern well.6. Boasters are unreliable.goodness—or, "kind disposition."7. The conduct of good men proclaims their sound principles. God's covenant and their goodexample secure blessing to their children (Pr 4:26; Ps 112:1, 2).8. As in Pr 14:35; 16:10, 15, this is the character of a good king, not of all kings.9. The interrogation in the affirmative strengthens the implied negation (compare Job 15:14;Ec 7:20).10. Various measures, implying that some are wrong (compare Pr 11:1; 16:11).11. The conduct of children even is the best test of principle (compare Mt 7:16).12. Hence, of course, God will know all you do (Ps 94:9).13. Activity and diligence contrasted with sloth (Pr 6:9; 10:11).lest … poverty—literally, "be deprived of inheritance."14. when … his way—implying that he goes about boasting of his bargains.15. The contrast denotes the greater value of knowledge (compare Pr 3:14-16).16. Take his garment—implies severe exaction, justified by the surety's rashness.a strange woman—by some readings "strangers," but the former here, and in Pr 27:13, isallowable, and strengthens the sense. The debauchee is less reliable than the merely careless.17. Bread … sweet—either as unlawfully (Pr 9:17) or easily obtained.mouth … gravel—well expresses the pain and grief given at last.18. (Compare Pr 15:22). Be careful and considerate in important plans.19. Those who love to tell news will hardly keep secrets.flattereth … lips—(compare Margin; Pr 1:10).meddle … him—literally, "join," or "associate with."20. his lamp—(Compare Pr 13:9; 24:20).21. gotten hastily—contrary to God's providence (Pr 28:20), implying its unjust or easyattainment; hence the man is punished, or spends freely what he got easily (compare Pr 20:17).22. (Compare Ps 27:14; Ro 12:17-19).23. (Compare Pr 20:10; 11:1).24. Man's goings—literally, "Stately steppings of a strong man."a man—any common man.understand—or, "perceive."25. devoureth … holy—or, better, "who rashly speaks promises," or "devotes what is holy,"consecrating any thing. This suits better the last clause, which expresses a similar view of the resultsof rashly vowing.970JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson26. (Compare Pr 20:8).bringeth … over them—The wheel was used for threshing grain. The figure denotes severity(compare Am 1:3).27. The spirit … Lord—Men's minds are God's gifts, and thus able to search one another(compare Pr 20:5; Pr 18:8, 17; 1Co 2:11).28. (Compare Pr 3:3; 16:6, 12).29. The glory of young men … the beauty of old men—Each age has its peculiar excellence(Pr 16:31).30. blueness—literally, "joining," the process of uniting the edges of a wound throws offpurulent matter.stripes … belly—So punishment provides healing of soul (Pr 18:8), by deterring from evilcourses.CHAPTER 21Pr 21:1-31.1. rivers—irrigating channels (Ps 1:3), whose course was easily turned (compare De 11:10).God disposes even kings as He pleases (Pr 16:9; Ps 33:15).2. (Compare Pr 14:2; 16:2-25).3. (Compare Ps 50:7-15; Isa 1:11, 17).4. high look—(Compare Margin; Ps 131:1).proud heart—or, "heart of breadth," one that is swollen (compare Ps 101:5).ploughing—better "lamp," a frequent figure for prosperity (Pr 20:20); hence joy or delight.5. The contrast is between steady industry and rashness (compare Pr 19:2).6. The getting—or, "what is obtained" (compare Job 7:2; Jer 22:13, Hebrew).vanity … to and fro—as fleeting as chaff or stubble in the wind (compare Pr 20:17-21; Ps62:10). Such gettings are unsatisfactory.them … death—act as if they did (Pr 8:36; 17:19).7. robbery—or, "destruction," especially oppression, of which they are authors.shall destroy—literally, "cut with a saw" (1Ki 7:9), that is, utterly ruin them. Their sins shallbe visited on them in do judgment—what is just and right.8. of man—any one; his way is opposed to truth, and also estranged from it. The pure proveshimself such by his right conduct.9. corner—a turret or arbor on the roof.brawling—or contentious.wide house—literally, "house of fellowship," large enough for several families.10. So strongly does he desire to do evil (Ps 10:3; Ec 8:11), that he will not even spare his friendif in his way.11. (Compare Pr 19:25). That which the simple learn by the terrors of punishment, the wiselearn by teaching.12. (Compare Ps 37:35-38; 73:17, 20).house—family or interests.971JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonoverthroweth—either supply "God" (compare Pr 10:24), or the word is used impersonally.13. The principles of retribution, often taught (compare Ps 18:26; Mt 7:1-12).14. The effect of bribery (Pr 17:23) is enhanced by secrecy, as the bribed person does not wishhis motives made known.15. But the just love right and need no bribes. The wicked at last meet destruction, though fora time happy in concealing corruption.16. the way of understanding—(Compare Pr 12:26; 14:22).remain—that is, rest as at a journey's end; death will be his unchanging home.17. Costly luxuries impoverish.18. (Compare Pr 11:8). By suffering what they had devised for the righteous, or brought onthem, the wicked became their ransom, in the usual sense of substitutes (compare Jos 7:26; Es 7:9).19. (Compare Pr 21:9).wilderness—pasture, though uninhabitable ground (Ps 65:12).20. The wise, by diligence and care, lay up and increase wealth, while foolsspend—literally, "swallow it up," greedily.21. He who tries to act justly and kindly (Ps 34:14) will prosper and obtain justice and honor.22. "Wisdom is better than strength" (Ec 7:19; 9:15).strength … thereof—that in which they confide.23. (Compare Pr 13:2, 3; Jas 3:6-10).24. The reproachful name is deserved by those who treat others with anger and contempt.25. desire—that is, of ease and idleness brings him to starvation.26. The sin of covetousness marks the sluggard, as the virtue of benevolence the righteous.27. God regards the heart, and hypocrisy is more odious than open inconsistency.wicked mind—or, "design" (Pr 1:4).28. (Compare Pr 19:5).that heareth—or heeds instruction, and so grows wise.speaketh constantly—or sincerely (compare Hab 1:5), and hence is believed (Pr 12:19; Jas1:19).29. hardeneth his face—is obstinate.directeth … way—considers it, and acts advisedly.30, 31. Men's best devices and reliances are vain compared with God's, or without His aid (Pr19:21; Ps 20:7; 33:17).CHAPTER 22Pr 22:1-29.1. A good name—(Job 30:8, Hebrew); "good" is supplied here from Ec 7:1.loving favour—kind regard, that is, of the wise and good.2. Before God all are on the same footing (Pr 14:31; 17:5).3. are punished—that is, for their temerity; for the evil is not necessarily punitive, as the prudentmight otherwise be its objects.4. humility and the fear of the Lord—are in apposition; one produces the other. On the results,compare Pr 3:16; 8:18.972JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson5. he that … them—Those who properly watch over their own souls are thus preserved fromthe dangers which attend the way of perverse men (Pr 16:17).6. Train—initiate, or early instruct.the way—literally, "his way," that selected for him in which he should go; for early trainingsecures habitual walking in it.7. The influence of wealth sets aside moral distinctions is implied, and, of course, disapproved(compare Pr 19:6; 21:14, &c.).8. (Compare Pr 11:18; Ps 109:16-20; Ga 6:7, 8).the rod … fail—His power to do evil will be destroyed.9. a bountiful eye—that is, a beneficent disposition.for he giveth … poor—His acts prove it.10. Cast out—or drive away. Scorners foster strife by taunts and revilings.11. (Compare Margin).pureness of heart—and gentle, kind words win favor, even from kings.12. preserve—or guard.knowledge—its principles and possessors.overthroweth—utterly confounds and destroys the wicked.13. Frivolous excuses satisfy the indolent man's conscience.14. The mouth—or flattering speeches (Pr 5:3; 7:5) ensnare man, as pits, beasts. God makestheir own sin their punishment.15. is bound—or firmly fixed. Chastisement deters from crime and so leads to reformation ofprinciple.16. These two vices pertain to the same selfish feeling. Both are deservedly odious to God andincur punishment.17. Here begins another division of the book, marked by those encouragements to the pursuitof wisdom, which are found in the earlier chapters. It will be observed that at Pr 22:22-24:12, theproverbs are generally expressed in two verses instead of one (see Introduction).18. These lessons must be laid up in the mind, andfitted—or better, "fixed" in the lips so as to be ever ready.19. That … Lord—This is the design of the instruction.20. excellent things—or probably of former times.counsels and knowledge—both advice and instruction.21. Specially he desires to secure accuracy, so that his pupil may teach others.22, 23. Here follow ten precepts of two verses each. Though men fail to defend the poor, Godwill (Pr 17:5; Ps 12:5).in the gate—place of public gathering (Job 5:4; Ps 69:12).24, 25. (Compare Pr 2:12-15; 4:14).25. a snare … soul—The unsuspecting are often misled by bad company.26, 27. (Compare Pr 6:1; 17:18).27. should he take, &c.—that is, the creditor.28. (Compare Pr 23:10). Do not entrench on others (De 19:14; 27:17).29. Success rewards diligence (Pr 10:4; 21:5).973JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonCHAPTER 23Pr 23:1-35.1. Avoid the dangers of gluttony.2. put a knife—an Eastern figure for putting restraint on the appetite.3. are deceitful meat—though well tasted, injurious.4, 5. (Compare 1Ti 6:9, 10).thine own wisdom—which regards riches intrinsically as a blessing.5. Wilt … eyes—As the eyes fly after or seek riches, they are not, that is, either become transitoryor unsatisfying; fully expressed by their flying away.6-8. Beware of deceitful men, whose courtesies even you will repent of having accepted.evil eye—or purpose (Pr 22:9; De 15:9; Mt 6:23).8. The morsel … words—that is, disgusted with his true character, all pleasant intercoursewill be destroyed.9. (Compare Pr 9:8). "Cast not your pearls before swine" (Mt 7:6).10, 11. (Compare Pr 22:22, 23).11. redeemer—or avenger (Le 25:25, 26; Nu 35:12), hence advocate (Job 19:25).plead … thee—(Compare Job 31:21; Ps 35:1; 68:5).12. Here begins another series of precepts.13, 14. While there is little danger that the use of the "divine ordinance of the rod" will producebodily harm, there is great hope of spiritual good.15, 16. The pleasure afforded the teacher by the pupil's progress is a motive to diligence.16. my reins—(Compare Ps 7:9).17, 18. (Compare Margin). The prosperity of the wicked is short.18. an end—or, "hereafter," another time, when apparent inequalities shall be adjusted (comparePs 37:28-38).19-21. guide … way—or direct thy thoughts to a right course of conduct (compare Pr 4:4; 9:6).20. riotous … flesh—prodigal, or eating more than necessary. Instead of "their flesh" (compareMargin), better, "flesh to them," that is, used for pleasure.21. drowsiness—the dreamy sleep of the slothful.22. Hearken—that is, obey (Pr 1:8; Eph 6:1).despise … old—Adults revere the parents whom, as children, they once obeyed.23. Buy—literally, "get" (Pr 4:5).truth—generally and specially as opposed to errors of all kinds.24, 25. (Compare Pr 10:1; 17:21, 25).26-35. A solemn warning against whoredom and drunkenness (Ho 4:11).give me—This is the address of that divine wisdom so often presented (Pr 8:1; 9:3, &c.).heart—confidence.observe— ways—such as I teach you (Pr 3:17; 9:6).27, 28. deep ditch—a narrow pit, out of which it is hard to climb.lieth in wait—to ensnare men into the pit, as hunters entrap game (compare Pr 22:14).28. increaseth … transgressors—(Pr 5:8-10). The vice alluded to is peculiarly hardening tothe heart.29, 30. This picture is often sadly realized now.974JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonmixed wine—(Compare Pr 9:2; Isa 5:11).31. when … red—the color denoting greater strength (compare Ge 49:11; De 32:14).giveth … cup—literally, "gives its eye," that is, sparkles.moveth … aright—Perhaps its foaming is meant.32. The acute miseries resulting from drunkenness contrasted with the temptations.33, 34. The moral effects: it inflames passion (Ge 19:31, 35), lays open the heart, producesinsensibility to the greatest dangers, and debars from reformation, under the severest sufferings.35. awake—that is, from drunkenness (Ge 9:24). This is the language rather of acts than of thetongue.CHAPTER 24Pr 24:1-34.1, 2. (Compare Pr 23:3, 17; Ps 37:1).2. studieth— … mischief—Their expressed purposes are to do evil.3, 4. (Compare Pr 14:1; Isa 54:14).house—including the family.4. by knowledge … riches—(Pr 8:18; 21:20).5, 6. The general statement (Ec 9:16, 18) is specially illustrated (compare Pr 21:22; Ps 144:1).7. (Compare Pr 14:16).in the gate—(Compare Pr 22:22).8. So called even if he fails to do evil.9. Same thought varied.10. Literally, "If thou fail in the day of straits (adversity), strait (or, small) is thy strength,"which is then truly tested.11, 12. Neglect of known duty is sin (Jas 4:17).ready—literally, "bowing down"to be slain—that is, unjustly. God's retributive justice cannot be avoided by professed ignorance.13, 14. As delicious food whets the appetite, so should the rewards of wisdom excite us to seekit.14. reward—literally, "after part," the proper result (compare Pr 23:18; Ps 37:37, 38).15, 16. The plots of the wicked against the good, though partially, shall not be fully successful(Ps 37:24); while the wicked, falling under penal evil, find no help.16. seven times—often, or many (Pr 6:16, 31; 9:1).17, 18. Yet let none rejoice over the fate of evildoers, lest God punish their wrong spirit byrelieving the sufferer (compare Pr 17:5; Job 31:29).19, 20. (Ps 37:1, 38; 18:28).20. candle—or, "prosperity"; it shall come to an end (Pr 13:9; 20:20).21, 22. A warning against impiety and resistance to lawful rule (Ro 13:1-7; 1Pe 2:17).meddle … change—(Compare Margin), literally, "mingle not yourself," avoid the society ofrestless persons.975JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson22. their calamity, &c.—either what God and the king inflict, or what changers and theircompany suffer; better the first.23. These … wise—literally, "are of the wise," as authors (compare "Psalms of David," Hebrew)."These" refers to the verses following, Pr have respect—literally, "to discern faces," show partiality,24, 25. of which an example is justifying the wicked, to which is opposed, rebuking him, whichhas a blessing.26. kiss his lips—love and obey, do homage (Ps 2:12; So 8:1).right answer—literally, "plain words" (compare Pr 8:9), opposed to deceptive, or obscure.27. Prepare … in the field—Secure, by diligence, a proper support, and then build; providenecessaries, then comforts, to which a house rather pertained, in a mild climate, permitting the useof tents.28. Do not speak even truth needlessly against any, and never falsehood.29. Especially avoid retaliation (Mt 5:43-45; Ro 12:17).30, 31. A striking picture of the effects of sloth.32-34. From the folly of the sluggard learn wisdom (Pr 6:10, 11).CHAPTER 25Pr 25:1-28.1. The character of these proverbs sustains the title (see Introduction).also—refers to the former part of the book.copied out—literally, "transferred," that is, from some other book to this; not given frommemory.2. God's unsearchableness impresses us with awe (compare Isa 45:15; Ro 11:33). But kings,being finite, should confer with wise counsellors;3. Ye wisely keeping state secrets, which to common men are as inaccessible heights and depths.4, 5. As separating impurities from ore leaves pure silver, so taking from a king wickedcounsellors leaves a wise and beneficent government.5. before—or, "in presence of," as courtiers stood about a king.6, 7. Do not intrude into the presence of the king, for the elevation of the humble is honorable,but the humbling of the proud disgraceful (Lu 14:8-10).8. (Compare Pr 3:30).lest … shame—lest you do what you ought not, when shamed by defeat, or "lest thou art shutout from doing any thing."9, 10. (Compare Mt 5:25, Margin).secret—that is, of your opponent, for his disadvantage, and so you be disgraced, not havingdiscussed your difficulties with him.11. a word fitly—literally, "quickly," as wheels roll, just in time. The comparison as apples… silver gives a like sense.apples, &c.—either real apples of golden color, in a silver network basket, or imitations onsilver embroidery.976JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson12. Those who desire to know and do rightly, most highly esteem good counsel (Pr 9:9; 15:31).The listening ear is better than one hung with gold.13. Snow from mountains was used to cool drinks; so refreshing is a faithful messenger (Pr13:17).14. clouds—literally, "vapors" (Jer 10:13), clouds only in appearance.a false gift—promised, but not given.15. Gentleness and kindness overcome the most powerful and obstinate.long forbearing—or, "slowness to anger" (Pr 14:29; 15:18).16, 17. A comparison, as a surfeit of honey produces physical disgust, so your company, howeveragreeable in moderation, may, if excessive, lead your friend to hate you.18. A false witness is as destructive to reputation, as such weapons to the body (Pr 24:28).beareth … witness—literally, "answereth questions," as before a judge, against his neighbor.19. Treachery annoys as well as deceives.20. Not only is the incongruity of songs (that is, joyful) and sadness meant, but an accessionof sadness, by want of sympathy, is implied.21, 22. (Compare Mt 5:44; Ro 12:20). As metals are melted by heaping coals upon them, so isthe heart softened by kindness.23. Better, "As the north wind bringeth forth (Ps 90:2) or produces rain, so does a concealedor slandering tongue produce anger."24. (Compare Pr 21:9, 19).25. (Compare Pr 25:13).good news—that is, of some loved interest or absent friend, the more grateful as coming fromafar.26. From troubled fountains and corrupt springs no healthy water is to be had, so when therighteous are oppressed by the wicked, their power for good is lessened or destroyed.27. Satiety surfeits (Pr 25:16); so men who are self-glorious find not glory—"not" is supplied from the first clause, or "is grievous," in which sense a similarword is used (Pr 27:2).28. Such are exposed to the incursions of evil thoughts and successful temptations.CHAPTER 26Pr 26:1-28.1. The incongruities of nature illustrate also those of the moral world. The fool's unworthinessis also implied (Pr 17:7; 19:10).2. Though not obvious to us,the bird—literally, "sparrow"—andswallow—have an object in their motions, so penal evil falls on none without a reason.3. The rod is as much needed by fools and as well suited to them, as whips and bridles are forbeasts.4, 5. Answer not—that is, approvingly by like folly.5. Answer—by reproof.6. A fool fails by folly as surely as if he were maimed.977JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesondrinketh damage—that is, gets it abundantly (Job 15:16; 34:7).7. legs … equal—or, "take away the legs," or "the legs … are weak." In any case the idea isthat they are the occasion of an awkwardness, such as the fool shows in using a parable or proverb(see Introduction; Pr 17:7).8. A stone, bound in a sling, is useless; so honor, conferred on a fool, is thrown away.9. As vexatious and unmanageable as a thorn in a drunkard's hand is a parable to a fool. He willbe as apt to misuse is as to use it rightly.10. Various versions of this are proposed (compare Margin). Better perhaps—"Much He injures(or literally, "wounds") all who reward," &c., that is, society is injured by encouraging evil men.transgressors—may be rendered "vagrants." The word "God" is improperly supplied.11. returneth … folly—Though disgusting to others, the fool delights in his folly.12. The self-conceited are taught with more difficulty than the stupid.13. (Compare Pr 22:13).14. (Compare Pr 6:10; 24:33).15. (Compare Pr 19:24).16. The thoughtless being ignorant of their ignorance are conceited.17. meddleth—as in Pr 20:19; 24:21; as either holding a dog by the ears or letting him goinvolves danger, so success in another man's strife or failure involves a useless risk of reputation,does no good, and may do us harm.18, 19. Such are reckless of results.20, 21. The talebearers foster (Pr 16:28), and the contentious excite, strife.22. (Compare Pr 18:8).23. Warm professions can no more give value to insincerity than silver coating to rudeearthenware.24. dissembleth—though an unusual sense of the word (compare Margin), is allowable, andbetter suits the context, which sets forth hypocrisy.25. Sentiment of Pr 26:24 carried abominations in his heart—that is, very many (compare Pr 24:16).26, 27. Deceit will at last be exposed, and the wicked by their own arts often bring on retribution(compare Pr 12:13; Ps 7:16; 9:17, &c.).28. Men hate those they injure.A lying tongue—"lips" for the persons (compare Pr 4:24; Ps 12:3).CHAPTER 27Pr 27:1-27.1. Do not confide implicitly in your plans (Pr 16:9; 19:21; Jas 4:13-15).2. Avoid self-praise.3. heavy—The literal sense of "heavy," applied to material subjects, illustrates its figurative,"grievous," applied to moral.a fool's wrath—is unreasonable and excessive.4. envy—or, "jealousy" (compare Margin; Pr 6:34), is more unappeasable than the simpler badpassions.978JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson5, 6. secret love—not manifested in acts is useless; and even, if its exhibition by rebukes woundsus, such love is preferable to the frequent (compare Margin), and hence deceitful, kisses of anenemy.7. The luxury of wealth confers less happiness than the healthy appetite of labor.8. Such are not only out of place, but out of duty and in danger.9. rejoice the heart—the organ of perceiving what pleases the senses.sweetness … counsel—or, "wise counsel is also pleasing."10. Adhere to tried friends. The ties of blood may be less reliable than those of genuinefriendship.11. The wisdom of children both reflects credit on parents and contributes to their aid indifficulties.12, 13. (Compare Pr 20:16; 22:3).14. Excessive zeal in praising raises suspicions of selfishness.15. (Compare Pr 19:13).very … day—literally, "a day of showers."16. hideth—or, "restrains" (that is, tries to do it); is as fruitless an effort, as that of holding thewind.the ointment of his right hand—the organ of power (Ps 17:7; 18:35). His right hand endeavorsto repress perfume, but vainly. Some prefer: "His right hand comes on oil," that is, "cannot takehold." Such a woman cannot be tamed.17. a man sharpeneth … friend—that is, conversation promotes intelligence, which the faceexhibits.18. Diligence secures a reward, even for the humble servant.19. We may see our characters in the developed tempers of others.20. Men's cupidity is as insatiable as the grave.21. Praise tests character.a man to his praise—according to his praise, as he bears it. Thus vain men seek it, weak menare inflated by it, wise men disregard it, &c.22. The obstinate wickedness of such is incurable by the heaviest inflictions.23, 24. flocks—constituted the staple of wealth. It is only by care and diligence that the mostsolid possessions can be perpetuated (Pr 23:5).25-27. The fact that providential arrangements furnish the means of competence to those whoproperly use them is another motive to diligence (compare Ps 65:9-13).The hay appeareth—literally, "Grass appeareth" (Job 40:15; Ps 104:14).27. household—literally, "house," the family (Ac 16:15; 1Co 1:16).CHAPTER 28Pr 28:1-28.1. A bad conscience makes men timid; the righteous are alone truly bold (Pr 14:26; Ps 27:1).2. Anarchy producing contending rulers shortens the reign of each.but by a man … prolonged—or, "by a man of understanding—that is, a good ruler—he whoknows or regards the right, that is, a good citizen, shall prolong (his days)." Good rulers are a979JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonblessing to the people. Bad government as a punishment for evil is contrasted with good as blessingto the good.3. A poor man, &c.—Such, in power, exact more severely, and so leave subjects bare.4. They that forsake … wicked—Wrongdoers encourage one another.5. (Compare Joh 7:17). Ignorance of moral truth is due to unwillingness to know it.6. (Compare Pr 10:6). Riches cannot compensate for sin, nor the want of them affect integrity.7. (Compare Pr 17:25).riotous men—or, "gluttons" (Pr 23:20, 21).8. usury … unjust gain—(Compare Margin). The two terms, meaning nearly the same, maydenote excessive interest. God's providence directs the proper use of wealth.9. (Compare Pr 15:8; 21:27).hearing—that is, obeying. God requires sincere worshippers (Ps 66:18; Joh 4:24).10. (Compare Pr 26:27).11. A poor but wise man can discover (and expose) the rich and self-conceited.12. great glory—or, cause for it to a people, for the righteous rejoice in good, and righteousnessexalts a nation (Pr 14:34).a man … hidden—that is, the good retire, or all kinds try to escape a wicked rule.13. (Compare Ps 32:3-5). Concealment of sin delivers none from God's wrath, but He showsmercy to the humble penitent (Ps 51:4).14. feareth—that is, God, and so repents.hardeneth his heart—makes himself insensible to sin, and so will not repent (Pr 14:16; 29:1).15. The rapacity and cruelty of such beasts well represent some wicked men (compare Ps 7:2;17:12).16. The prince … understanding—that is, He does not perceive that oppression jeopards hissuccess. Covetousness often produces oppression, hence the contrast.17. doeth violence … blood, &c.—or, that is oppressed by the blood of life (Ge 9:6), whichhe has the pit—the grave or destruction (Pr 1:12; Job 33:18-24; Ps 143:7).stay him—sustain or deliver him.18. (Compare Pr 10:9; 17:20). Double dealing is eventually fatal.19. (Compare Pr 10:4; 20:4).vain persons—idle, useless drones, implying that they are also wicked (Pr 12:11; Ps 26:4).20. maketh haste … rich—implying deceit or fraud (Pr 20:21), and so opposed to "faithful"or reliable.21. respect of persons—(Pr 24:23). Such are led to evil by the slightest motive.22. (Compare Pr 28:20).evil eye—in the general sense of Pr 23:6, here more specific for covetousness (compare Pr22:9; Mt 20:15).poverty … him—by God's providence.23. (Compare Pr 9:8, 9; 27:5). Those benefited by reproof will love their monitors.24. (Compare Mt 15:4-6). Such, though heirs, are virtually thieves, to be ranked withhighwaymen.25. of a proud heart—literally, "puffed up of soul"—that is, self-confident, and henceoverbearing and litigious.980JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonmade fat—or, "prosperous" (Pr 11:25; 16:20).26. (Compare Pr 3:6-8).walketh wisely—that is, trusting in God (Pr 22:17-19).27. (Compare Pr 11:24-26).hideth his eyes—as the face (Ps 27:9; 69:17), denotes inattention.28. The elevation of the wicked to power drives men to seek refuge from tyranny (compare Pr28:12; 11:10; Ps 12:8).CHAPTER 29Pr 29:1-27.1. hardeneth … neck—obstinately refuses counsel (2Ki 17:14; Ne 9:16).destroyed—literally, "shivered" or "utterly broken to pieces."without remedy—literally, "without healing" or repairing.2. (Compare Pr 11:10; 28:28).in authority—(Compare Margin), increased in power.3. (Compare Pr 4:6, 7; 10:1, &c.).4. by judgment—that is, righteous decisions, opposed to those procured by gifts (compare Pr28:21), by which good government is—for nation.5. (Compare Pr 26:28).spreadeth … feet—By misleading him as to his real character, the flatterer brings him to evil,prepared by himself or others.6. In—or, "By"the transgression—he is brought into difficulty (Pr 12:13), but the righteous go on prospering,and so sing or rejoice.7. considereth—literally, "knows," as Ps 1:6.the cause—that is, in courts of justice (compare Pr 29:14). The voluntary neglect of it by thewicked (Pr 28:27) occasions oppression.8. Scornful men—those who contemptuously disregard God's law.bring—(Compare Margin), kindle strife.turn away wrath—that is, "abate wrath."9. contendeth—that is, in law.whether … laugh—The fool, whether angry or good-humored, is unsettled; or referring thewords to the wise man, the sense is, that all his efforts, severe or gentle, are unavailing to pacifythe fool.10. bloodthirsty—(Compare Margin), murderers (Ps 5:6; 26:9).hate, &c.—(Pr 1:11; Ge 3:4).seek … soul—that is, to preserve it.11. (Compare Pr 12:16; 16:32).mind—or, "spirit," for anger or any ill passion which the righteous restrain.12. His servants imitate him.13. (Compare Pr 22:2).981JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesondeceitful man—literally, "man of vexations," an exactor.the Lord … their eyes—sustains their lives (1Sa 14:27; Ps 13:3); that is, both depend on Him,and He will do justice.14. (Compare Pr 20:28; 25:5). Such is the character of the King of kings (Ps 72:4, 12).15. (Compare Pr 13:24; 23:13).16. (Compare Pr 29:2, 12; Ps 12:1-8).shall see … fall—and triumph in it (Ps 37:34-38; 58:10, 11).17. (Compare Pr 29:3, 15; Pr 19:18).give thee rest—peace and quiet (compare Pr 29:9).18. no vision—instruction in God's truth, which was by prophets, through visions (1Sa 3:1).people perish—(Compare Margin), are deprived of moral restraints.keepeth the law—has, and observes, instruction (Pr 14:11, 34; Ps 19:11).19. A servant—who lacks good principle.corrected—or discovered.will not answer—that is, will not obey.20. (Compare Pr 21:5).hasty in … words?—implying self-conceit (Pr 26:12).21. become his son—assume the place and privileges of one.22. (Compare Pr 15:18). Such are delighted by discord and violence.23. (Compare Pr 16:18; 18:12).honour … spirit—or, "such shall lay hold on honor" (Pr 11:16).24. hateth … soul—(Compare Pr 8:36).heareth cursing—(Le 5:1), risks the punishment, rather than reveal truth.25. The fear … snare—involves men in difficulty (compare Pr 29:6).shall be safe—(Compare Margin; Pr 18:10).26. (Compare Margin; Ps 27:8). God alone will and can do exact justice.27. (Compare Pr 3:32). On last clause, compare Pr 29:16; Ps 37:12.CHAPTER 30Pr 30:1-33.1. This is the title of this chapter (see Introduction).the prophecy—literally, "the burden" (compare Isa 13:1; Zec 9:1), used for any divineinstruction; not necessarily a prediction, which was only a kind of prophecy (1Ch 15:27, "a song").Prophets were inspired men, who spoke for God to man, or for man to God (Ge 20:7; Ex 7:14, 15,16). Such, also, were the New Testament prophets. In a general sense, Gad, Nathan, and otherswere such, who were divine teachers, though we do not learn that they ever predicted.the man spake—literally, "the saying of the man"; an expression used to denote any solemnand important announcement (compare 2Sa 23:1; Ps 36:1; 110:1; Isa 1:24, &c.). Ithiel and Ucalwere perhaps pupils.2-4. brutish—stupid, a strong term to denote his lowly self-estimation; or he may speak ofsuch as his natural condition, as contrasted with God's all-seeing comprehensive knowledge andalmighty power. The questions of this clause emphatically deny the attributes mentioned to be those982JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonof any creature, thus impressively strengthening the implied reference of the former to God (compareDe 30:12-14; Isa 40:12; Eph 4:8).5. (Compare Ps 12:6; 119:140).6. Add … words—implying that his sole reliance was on God's all-sufficient teaching.reprove thee—or, "convict thee"—and so the falsehood will appear.7-9. A prayer for exemption from wickedness, and the extremes of poverty and riches, the twothings mentioned. Contentment is implied as desired.8. vanity—all sorts of sinful acts (Job 11:11; Isa 5:18).9. be full … deny—that is, puffed up by the pride of prosperity.take the name … vain—This is not (Hebrew) the form (compare Ex 20:7), but "take" ratherdenotes laying violent hold on any thing; that is, lest I assail God's name or attributes, as justice,mercy, &c., which the poor are tempted to do.10. Accuse not—Slander not (Ps 10:7).curse … guilty—lest, however lowly, he be exasperated to turn on thee, and your guilt be madeto appear.11-14. Four kinds of hateful persons—(1) graceless children, (2) hypocrites, (3) the proud, (4)cruel oppressors (compare on Pr 30:14; Ps 14:4; 52:2)—are now illustrated; (1) Pr 30:15, 16, theinsatiability of prodigal children and their fate; (2) Pr 30:17, hypocrisy, or the concealment of realcharacter; (3 and 4) Pr 30:18-20, various examples of pride and oppression.15, 16. horse leech—supposed by some to be the vampire (a fabulous creature), as being literallyinsatiable; but the other subjects mentioned must be taken as this, comparatively insatiable. Theuse of a fabulous creature agreeably to popular notions is not inconsistent with inspiration.There are three … yea, four—(Compare Pr 6:16).17. The eye—for the person, with reference to the use of the organ to express mockery andcontempt, and also as that by which punishment is received.the ravens … eagles … eat—either as dying unnaturally, or being left unburied, or both.18-20. Hypocrisy is illustrated by four examples of the concealment of all methods or tracesof action, and a pertinent example of double dealing in actual vice is added, that is, the adulterouswoman.20. she eateth … mouth—that is, she hides the evidences of her shame and professes innocence.21-23. Pride and cruelty, the undue exaltation of those unfit to hold power, produce those viceswhich disquiet society (compare Pr 19:10; 28:3).23. heir … mistress—that is, takes her place as a wife (Ge 16:4).24-31. These verses provide two classes of apt illustrations of various aspects of the moralworld, which the reader is left to apply. By the first (Pr 30:25-28), diligence and providence arecommended; the success of these insignificant animals being due to their instinctive sagacity andactivity, rather than strength. The other class (Pr 30:30, 31) provides similes for whatever is majesticor comely, uniting efficiency with gracefulness.26. conies—mountain mice, or rabbits.28. spider—tolerated, even in palaces, to destroy flies.taketh … hands—or, uses with activity the limbs provided for taking prey.32. As none can hope, successfully, to resist such a king, suppress even the thought of an attempt.lay … hand upon thy mouth—"lay" is well supplied (Jud 18:19; Job 29:9; 40:4).983JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson33. That is, strife—or other ills, as surely arise from devising evil as natural effects from naturalcauses.CHAPTER 31Pr 31:1-31.1. On the title of this, the sixth part of the book, see Introduction.prophecy—(See on Pr 30:1).2. What, my son?—that is, What shall I say? Repetitions denote earnestness.son of my womb—as our phrase, "my own son," a term of special affection.son of my vows—as one dedicated to God; so the word "Lemuel" may mean.3-9. Succinct but solemn warnings against vices to which kings are peculiarly tempted, as carnalpleasures and oppressive and unrighteous government are used to sustain sensual indulgence.strength—mental and bodily resources for health and comfort.thy ways—or course of that … kings—literally, "to the destroying of kings," avoid destructive pleasures (comparePr 5:9; 7:22, 27; Ho 4:11).4, 5. Stimulants enfeeble reason, pervert the heart, and do not suit rulers, who need clear andsteady minds, and well-governed affections (compare Pr 20:1; 22:29).pervert … afflicted—They give unrighteous decisions against the poor.6, 7. The proper use of such drinks is to restore tone to feeble bodies and depressed minds(compare Ps 104:15).8, 9. Open … cause—Plead for those who cannot plead for themselves, as the orphan, stranger,&c. (compare Ps 72:12; Isa 1:17).appointed to destruction—who are otherwise ruined by their oppressors (compare Pr 29:14,16).10-31. This exquisite picture of a truly lovely wife is conceived and drawn in accordance withthe customs of Eastern nations, but its moral teachings suit all climes. In Hebrew the verses beginwith the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order (compare Introduction to Poetical Books).Who … woman—The question implies that such are rare, though not entirely wanting (comparePr 18:22; 19:14).virtuous—literally, "of strength," that is, moral courage (compare Pr 12:4; Ru 3:11).her price, &c.—(compare Pr 3:15).11. heart … trust in her—He relies on her prudence and need of spoil—does not lack profit or gain, especially, that obtained by the risk of war.12. do … good—contribute good to him.13, 14. Ancient women of rank thus wrought with their hands; and such, indeed, were thecustoms of Western women a few centuries since. In the East also, the fabrics were articles ofmerchandise.15. She diligently attends to expending as well as gathering wealth;16. and hence has means to purchase property.17, 18. To energy she adds a watchfulness in bargains, and a protracted and painful industry.The last clause may figuratively denote that her prosperity (compare Pr 24:20) is not short lived.984JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson19. No work, however mean, if honest, is disdained.20. Industry enables her to be charitable.21. scarlet—or, "purple," by reason of the dyes used, the best fabrics; as a matter of taste also;the color suits cold.22. coverings of tapestry—or, "coverlets," that is, for—or, "linen" (compare Ex 26:1; 27:9)and purple—that is, the most costly goods.23. in the gates—(compare Pr 22:22). His domestic comfort promotes his advancement inpublic dignity.24. fine linen—or, "linen shirts," or the material for them.girdles—were often costly and highly valued (2Sa 18:11).delivereth—or, "giveth as a present" or "to sell."25. Strength and honour—Strong and beautiful is her clothing; or, figuratively, for moralcharacter, vigorous and honorable.shall rejoice … come—in confidence of certain maintenance.26. Her conversation is wise and gentle.27. (Compare 1Ti 5:14; Tit 2:5). She adds to her example a wise management of those underher control.28. She is honored by those who best know her.29. The words are those of her husband, praising her.virtuously—(Compare Pr 31:10).30. Favour—or, "Grace" of personal—of face, or form (compare Pr 11:22). True piety alone commands permanent respectand affection (1Pe 3:3).31. The result of her labor is her best eulogy. Nothing can add to the simple beauty of thisadmirable portrait. On the measure of its realization in the daughters of our own day rest untoldresults, in the domestic, and, therefore, the civil and religious, welfare of the people.ECCLESIASTES; OR THE PREACHER.THE GREEK TITLE IN THE LXX.Commentary by A. R. FaussettINTRODUCTIONThe Hebrew title is Koheleth, which the speaker in it applies to himself (Ec 1:12), "I, Koheleth,was king over Israel." It means an Assembler or Convener of a meeting and a Preacher to such ameeting. The feminine form of the Hebrew noun, and its construction once (Ec 7:27) with a feminineverb, show that it not only signifies Solomon, the Preacher to assemblies (in which case it is construedwith the verb or noun masculine), but also Divine Wisdom (feminine in Hebrew) speaking by themouth of the inspired king. In six cases out of seven it is construed with the masculine. Solomonwas endowed with inspired wisdom (1Ki 3:5-14; 6:11, 12; 9:1-9; 11:9-11), specially fitting himfor the task. The Orientals delight in such meetings for grave discourse. Thus the Arabs formerlyhad an assembly yearly, at Ocadh, for hearing and reciting poems. Compare "Masters of assemblies"(see on Ec 12:11, also Ec 12:9). "The Preacher taught the people knowledge," probably viva voce985JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson("orally"); 1Ki 4:34; 10:2, 8, 24; 2Ch 9:1, 7, 23, plainly refer to a somewhat public divan met forliterary discussion. So "spake," thrice repeated (1Ki 4:32, 33), refers not to written compositions,but to addresses spoken in assemblies convened for the purpose. The Holy Ghost, no doubt, signifiesalso by the term that Solomon's doctrine is intended for the "great congregation," the Church of allplaces and ages (Ps 22:25; 49:2-4).Solomon was plainly the author (Ec 1:12, 16; 2:15; 12:9). That the Rabbins attribute it to Isaiahor Hezekiah is explicable by supposing that one or the other inserted it in the canon. The differenceof its style, as compared with Proverbs and Song of Solomon, is due to the difference of subjects,and the different period of his life in which each was written; the Song, in the fervor of his firstlove to God; Proverbs, about the same time, or somewhat later; but Ecclesiastes in late old age, asthe seal and testimony of repentance of his apostasy in the intervening period: Ps 89:30, 33 proveshis penitence. The substitution of the title Koheleth for Solomon (that is, peace), may imply that,having troubled Israel, meantime he forfeited his name of peace (1Ki 11:14, 23); but now, havingrepented, he wishes to be henceforth a Preacher of righteousness. The alleged foreign expressionsin the Hebrew may have been easily imported, through the great intercourse there was with othernations during his long reign. Moreover, supposed Chaldaisms may be fragments preserved fromthe common tongue of which Hebrew, Syriac, Chaldee, and Arabic were offshoots.The Scope of Ecclesiastes is to show the vanity of all mere human pursuits, when made the chiefend, as contrasted with the real blessedness of true wisdom, that is, religion. The immortality ofthe soul is dwelt on incidentally, as subsidiary to the main scope. Moses' law took this truth forgranted but drew its sanctions of rewards and punishments in accordance with the theocracy, whichwas under a special providence of God as the temporal King of Israel, from the present life, ratherthan the future. But after Israel chose an earthly king, God withdrew, in part, His extraordinaryprovidence, so that under Solomon, temporal rewards did not invariably follow virtue, andpunishments vice (compare Ec 2:16; 3:19; 4:1; 5:8; 7:15; 8:14; 9:2, 11). Hence the need arises toshow that these anomalies will be rectified hereafter, and this is the grand "conclusion," therefore,of the "whole" book, that, seeing there is a coming judgment, and seeing that present goods do notsatisfy the soul, "man's whole duty is to fear God and keep his commandments" (Ec 12:13, 14),and meanwhile, to use, in joyful and serene sobriety, and not abuse, the present life (Ec 3:12, 13).It is objected that sensual epicurism seems to be inculcated (Ec 3:12, 13, 22, &c.); but it is acontented, thankful enjoyment of God's present gifts that is taught, as opposed to a murmuring,anxious, avaricious spirit, as is proved by Ec 5:18, compare with Ec 5:11-15, not making them thechief end of life; not the joy of levity and folly; a misunderstanding which he guards against in Ec7:2-6; 11:9; 12:1. Again, Ec 7:16; 9:2-10, might seem to teach fatalism and skepticism. But theseare words put in the mouth of an objector; or rather, they were the language of Solomon himselfduring his apostasy, finding an echo in the heart of every sensualist, who wishes to be an unbeliever,and, who, therefore, sees difficulties enough in the world around wherewith to prop up his wilfulunbelief. The answer is given (Ec 7:17, 18; 9:11, 12; 11:1, 6; 12:13). Even if these passages betaken as words of Solomon, they are to be understood as forbidding a self-made "righteousness,"which tries to constrain God to grant salvation to imaginary good works and external strictnesswith which it wearies itself; also, that speculation which tries to fathom all God's inscrutable counsels(Ec 8:17), and that carefulness about the future forbidden in Mt 6:25.The Chief Good is that the possession of that which makes us happy, is to be sought as the end,for its own sake; whereas, all other things are but means towards it. Philosophers, who made it the986JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesongreat subject of inquiry, restricted it to the present life, treating the eternal as unreal, and only usefulto awe the multitude with. But Solomon shows the vanity of all human things (so-called philosophyincluded) to satisfy the soul, and that heavenly wisdom alone is the chief good. He had taught sowhen young (Pr 1:20; 8:1); so also; in Song of Solomon, he had spiritualized the subject in anallegory; and now, after having long personally tried the manifold ways in which the worldly seekto reach happiness, he gives the fruit of his experience in old age.It is divided into two parts—Ec 1:1-6:10 showing the vanity of earthly things; Ec 6:10-12:14,the excellence of heavenly wisdom. Deviations from strict logical methods occur in these divisions,but in the main they are observed. The deviations make it the less stiff and artificial, and the moresuited to all capacities. It is in poetry; the hemistichal division is mostly observed, but occasionallynot so. The choice of epithets, imagery, inverted order of words, ellipses, parallelism, or, in itsabsence, similarity of diction, mark versification.CHAPTER 1Ec 1:1-18. Introduction.1. the Preacher—and Convener of assemblies for the purpose. See my Preface. Koheleth inHebrew, a symbolical name for Solomon, and of Heavenly Wisdom speaking through and identifiedwith him. Ec 1:12 shows that "king of Jerusalem" is in apposition, not with "David," but "Preacher."of Jerusalem—rather, "in Jerusalem," for it was merely his metropolis, not his whole kingdom.2. The theme proposed of the first part of his discourse.Vanity of vanities—Hebraism for the most utter vanity. So "holy of holies" (Ex 26:33); "servantof servants" (Ge 9:25). The repetition increases the force.all—Hebrew, "the all"; all without exception, namely, earthly things.vanity—not in themselves, for God maketh nothing in vain (1Ti 4:4, 5), but vain when put inthe place of God and made the end, instead of the means (Ps 39:5, 6; 62:9; Mt 6:33); vain, also,because of the "vanity" to which they are "subjected" by the fall (Ro 8:20).3. What profit … labour—that is, "What profit" as to the chief good (Mt 16:26). Labor isprofitable in its proper place (Ge 2:15; 3:19; Pr 14:23).under the sun—that is, in this life, as opposed to the future world. The phrase often recurs, butonly in Ecclesiastes.4. earth … for ever—(Ps 104:5). While the earth remains the same, the generations of menare ever changing; what lasting profit, then, can there be from the toils of one whose sojourn onearth, as an individual, is so brief? The "for ever" is comparative, not absolute (Ps 102:26).5. (Ps 19:5, 6). "Panting" as the Hebrew for "hasteth"; metaphor, from a runner (Ps 19:5, "astrong man") in a "race." It applies rather to the rising sun, which seems laboriously to mount upto the meridian, than to the setting sun; the accents too favor Maurer, "And (that too, returning) tohis place, where panting he riseth."6. according to his circuits—that is, it returns afresh to its former circuits, however many beits previous veerings about. The north and south winds are the two prevailing winds in Palestineand Egypt.7. By subterraneous cavities, and by evaporation forming rain clouds, the fountains and riversare supplied from the sea, into which they then flow back. The connection is: Individual men are987JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesoncontinually changing, while the succession of the race continues; just as the sun, wind, and riversare ever shifting about, while the cycle in which they move is invariable; they return to the pointwhence they set out. Hence is man, as in these objects of nature which are his analogue, with allthe seeming changes "there is no new thing" (Ec 1:9).8. Maurer translates, "All words are wearied out," that is, are inadequate, as also, "man cannotexpress" all the things in the world which undergo this ceaseless, changeless cycle of vicissitudes:"The eye is not satisfied with seeing them," &c. But it is plainly a return to the idea (Ec 1:3) as toman's "labor," which is only wearisome and profitless; "no new" good can accrue from it (Ec 1:9);for as the sun, &c., so man's laborious works move in a changeless cycle. The eye and ear are twoof the taskmasters for which man toils. But these are never "satisfied" (Ec 6:7; Pr 27:20). Nor canthey be so hereafter, for there will be nothing "new." Not so the chief good, Jesus Christ (Joh 4:13,14; Re 21:5).9. Rather, "no new thing at all"; as in Nu 11:6. This is not meant in a general sense; but thereis no new source of happiness (the subject in question) which can be devised; the same round ofpetty pleasures, cares, business, study, wars, &c., being repeated over and over again [Holden].10. old time—Hebrew, "ages."which was—The Hebrew plural cannot be joined to the verb singular. Therefore translate: "Ithath been in the ages before; certainly it hath been before us" [Holden]. Or, as Maurer: "That whichhas been (done) before us (in our presence, 1Ch 16:33), has been (done) already in the old times."11. The reason why some things are thought "new," which are not really so, is the imperfectrecord that exists of preceding ages among their successors.those that … come after—that is, those that live still later than the "things, rather the personsor generations, Ec 1:4, with which this verse is connected, the six intermediate verses being merelyillustrations of Ec 1:4 [Weiss], that are to come" (Ec 2:16; 9:5).12. Resumption of Ec 1:1, the intermediate verses being the introductory statement of his thesis.Therefore, "the Preacher" (Koheleth) is repeated.was king—instead of "am," because he is about to give the results of his past experience duringhis long Jerusalem—specified, as opposed to David, who reigned both in Hebron and Jerusalem;whereas Solomon reigned only in Jerusalem. "King of Israel in Jerusalem," implies that he reignedover Israel and Judah combined; whereas David, at Hebron, reigned only over Judah, and not,until he was settled in Jerusalem, over both Israel and Judah.13. this sore travail—namely, that of "searching out all things done under heaven." Not humanwisdom in general, which comes afterwards (Ec 2:12, &c.), but laborious enquiries into, andspeculations about, the works of men; for example, political science. As man is doomed to get hisbread, so his knowledge, by the sweat of his brow (Ge 3:19) [Gill].exercised—that is, disciplined; literally, "that they may thereby chastise, or humble themselves."14. The reason is here given why investigation into man's "works" is only "sore travail" (Ec1:13); namely, because all man's ways are vain (Ec 1:18) and cannot be mended (Ec 1:15).vexation of—"a preying upon"the Spirit—Maurer translates; "the pursuit of wind," as in Ec 5:16; Ho 12:1, "Ephraim feedethon wind." But old versions support the English Version.988JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson15. Investigation (Ec 1:13) into human ways is vain labor, for they are hopelessly "crooked"and "cannot be made straight" by it (Ec 7:13). God, the chief good, alone can do this (Isa 40:4;45:2).wanting—(Da 5:27).numbered—so as to make a complete number; so equivalent to "supplied" [Maurer]. Or, rather,man's state is utterly wanting; and that which is wholly defective cannot be numbered or calculated.The investigator thinks he can draw up, in accurate numbers, statistics of man's wants; but these,including the defects in the investigator's labor, are not partial, but total.16. communed with … heart—(Ge 24:45).come to great estate—Rather, "I have magnified and gotten" (literally, "added," increased),&c.all … before me in Jerusalem—namely, the priests, judges, and two kings that precededSolomon. His wisdom exceeded that of all before Jesus Christ, the antitypical Koheleth, or "Gathererof men," (Lu 13:34), and "Wisdom" incarnate (Mt 11:19; 12:42).had … experience—literally, "had seen" (Jer 2:31). Contrast with this glorying in worldlywisdom (Jer 9:23, 24).17. wisdom … madness—that is, their effects, the works of human wisdom and follyrespectively. "Madness," literally, "vaunting extravagance"; Ec 2:12; 7:25, &c., support EnglishVersion rather than Dathe, "splendid matters." "Folly" is read by English Version with somemanuscripts, instead of the present Hebrew text, "prudence." If Hebrew be retained, understand"prudence," falsely so called (1Ti 6:20), "craft" (Da 8:25).18. wisdom … knowledge—not in general, for wisdom, &c., are most excellent in their place;but speculative knowledge of man's ways (Ec 1:13, 17), which, the farther it goes, gives one themore pain to find how "crooked" and "wanting" they are (Ec 1:15; 12:12).CHAPTER 2Ec 2:1-26.He next tries pleasure and luxury, retaining however, his worldly "wisdom" (Ec 3:9), but allproves "vanity" in respect to the chief good.1. I said … heart—(Lu 12:19).thee—my heart, I will test whether thou canst find that solid good in pleasure which was notin "worldly wisdom." But this also proves to be "vanity" (Isa 50:11).2. laughter—including prosperity, and joy in general (Job 8:21).mad—that is, when made the chief good; it is harmless in its proper place.What doeth it?—Of what avail is it in giving solid good? (Ec 7:6; Pr 14:13).3-11. Illustration more at large of Ec 2:1, 2.I sought—I resolved, after search into many plans.give myself unto wine—literally, "to draw my flesh," or "body to wine" (including allbanquetings). Image from a captive drawn after a chariot in triumph (Ro 6:16, 19; 1Co 12:2); or,one "allured" (2Pe 2:18, 19).989JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonyet acquainting … wisdom—literally, "and my heart (still) was behaving, or guiding itself,"with wisdom [Gesenius]. Maurer translates: "was weary of (worldly) wisdom." But the end of Ec 2:9confirms English Version.folly—namely, pleasures of the flesh, termed "mad," Ec 2:2.all the days, &c.—(See Margin and Ec 6:12; Job 15:20).4. (1Ki 7:1-8; 9:1, 19; 10:18, &c.).vineyards—(So 8:11).5. gardens—Hebrew, "paradises," a foreign word; Sanskrit, "a place enclosed with a wall";Armenian and Arabic, "a pleasure ground with flowers and shrubs near the king's house, or castle."An earthly paradise can never make up for the want of the heavenly (Re 2:7).6. pools—artificial, for irrigating the soil (Ge 2:10; Ne 2:14; Isa 1:30). Three such reservoirsare still found, called Solomon's cisterns, a mile and a half from Jerusalem.wood that bringeth forth—rather, "the grove that flourisheth with trees" [Lowth].7. born in my house—These were esteemed more trustworthy servants than those bought (Ge14:14; 15:2, 3; 17:12, 13, 27; Jer 2:14), called "songs of one's handmaid" (Ex 23:12; compare Ge12:16; Job 1:3).8. (1Ki 10:27; 2Ch 1:15; 9:20).peculiar treasure of kings and … provinces—contributed by them, as tributary to him (1Ki4:21, 24); a poor substitute for the wisdom whose "gain is better than fine gold" (Pr 3:14, 15).singers—so David (2Sa 19:35).musical instruments … of all sorts—introduced at banquets (Isa 5:12; Am 6:5, 6); rather, "aprincess and princesses," from an Arabic root. One regular wife, or queen (Es 1:9); Pharaoh'sdaughter (1Ki 3:1); other secondary wives, "princesses," distinct from the "concubines" (1Ki 11:3;Ps 45:10; So 6:8) [Weiss, Gesenius]. Had these been omitted, the enumeration would be incomplete.9. great—opulent (Ge 24:35; Job 1:3; see 1Ki 10:23).remained—(Ec 2:3).10. my labour—in procuring pleasures.this—evanescent "joy" was my only "portion out of all my labor" (Ec 3:22; 5:18; 9:9; 1Ki10:5).11. But all these I felt were only "vanity," and of "no profit" as to the chief good. "Wisdom"(worldly common sense, sagacity), which still "remained with me" (Ec 2:9), showed me that thesecould not give solid happiness.12. He had tried (worldly) wisdom (Ec 1:12-18) and folly (foolish pleasure) (Ec 2:1-11); henow compares them (Ec 2:12) and finds that while (worldly)wisdom excelleth folly (Ec 2:13, 14), yet the one event, death, befalls both (Ec 2:14-16), andthat thus the wealth acquired by the wise man's "labor" may descend to a "fool" that hath not labored(Ec 2:18, 19, 21); therefore all his labor is vanity (Ec 2:22, 23).what can the man do … already done—(Ec 1:9). Parenthetical. A future investigator canstrike nothing out "new," so as to draw a different conclusion from what I draw by comparing"wisdom and madness." Holden, with less ellipsis, translates, "What, O man, shall come after theking?" &c. Better, Grotius, "What man can come after (compete with) the king in the things whichare done?" None ever can have the same means of testing what all earthly things can do towardssatisfying the soul; namely, worldly wisdom, science, riches, power, longevity, all combined.990JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson13, 14. (Pr 17:24). The worldly "wise" man has good sense in managing his affairs, skill andtaste in building and planting, and keeps within safe and respectable bounds in pleasure, while the"fool" is wanting in these respects ("darkness," equivalent to fatal error, blind infatuation), yet oneevent, death, happens to both (Job 21:26).15. why was I—so anxious to become, &c. (2Ch 1:10).Then—Since such is the case.this—namely, pursuit of (worldly) wisdom; it can never fill the place of the true wisdom (Job28:28; Jer 8:9).16. remembrance—a great aim of the worldly (Ge 11:4). The righteous alone attain it (Ps112:6; Pr 10:7).for ever—no perpetual memorial.that which now is—Maurer, "In the days to come all things shall be now long ago forgotten."17. Disappointed in one experiment after another, he is weary of life. The backslider ought tohave rather reasoned as the prodigal (Ho 2:6, 7; Lu 15:17, 18).grievous unto me—(Job 10:1).18, 19. One hope alone was left to the disappointed worldling, the perpetuation of his nameand riches, laboriously gathered, through his successor. For selfishness is mostly at the root ofworldly parents' alleged providence for their children. But now the remembrance of how he himself,the piously reared child of David, had disregarded his father's dying charge (1Ch 28:9), suggestedthe sad misgivings as to what Rehoboam, his son by an idolatrous Ammonitess, Naamah, shouldprove to be; a foreboding too fully realized (1Ki 12:1-18; 14:21-31).20. I gave up as desperate all hope of solid fruit from my labor.21. Suppose "there is a man," &c.equity—rather "with success," as the Hebrew is rendered (Ec 11:6), "prosper," though Margingives "right" [Holden and Maurer].evil—not in itself, for this is the ordinary course of things, but "evil," as regards the chief good,that one should have toiled so fruitlessly.22. Same sentiment as in Ec 2:21, interrogatively.23. The only fruit he has is, not only sorrows in his days, but all his days are sorrows, and histravail (not only has griefs connected with it, but is itself), grief.24. English Version gives a seemingly Epicurean sense, contrary to the general scope. TheHebrew, literally is, "It is not good for man that he should eat," &c., "and should make his soul seegood" (or "show his soul, that is, himself, happy"), &c. [Weiss]. According to Holden and Weiss, Ec3:12, 22 differ from this verse in the text and meaning; here he means, "It is not good that a manshould feast himself, and falsely make as though his soul were happy"; he thus refers to a falsepretending of happiness acquired by and for one's self; in Ec 3:12, 22; 5:18, 19, to real seeing, orfinding pleasure when God gives it. There it is said to be good for a man to enjoy with satisfactionand thankfulness the blessings which God gives; here it is said not to be good to take an unrealpleasure to one's self by feasting, &c.This also I saw—I perceived by experience that good (real pleasure) is not to be taken at will,but comes only from the hand of God [Weiss] (Ps 4:6; Isa 57:19-21). Or as Holden, "It is theappointment from the hand of God, that the sensualist has no solid satisfaction" (good).25. hasten—after indulgences (Pr 7:23; 19:2), eagerly pursue such enjoyments. None cancompete with me in this. If I, then, with all my opportunities of enjoyment, failed utterly to obtain991JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonsolid pleasure of my own making, apart from God, who else can? God mercifully spares His childrenthe sad experiment which Solomon made, by denying them the goods which they often desire. Hegives them the fruits of Solomon's experience, without their paying the dear price at which Solomonbought it.26. True, literally, in the Jewish theocracy; and in some measure in all ages (Job 27:16, 17; Pr13:22; 28:8). Though the retribution be not so visible and immediate now as then, it is no less real.Happiness even here is more truly the portion of the godly (Ps 84:11; Mt 5:5; Mr 10:29, 30; Ro8:28; 1Ti 4:8).that he—the sinnermay give—that is, unconsciously and in spite of himself. The godly Solomon had satisfactionin his riches and wisdom, when God gave them (2Ch 1:11, 12). The backsliding Solomon had nohappiness when he sought it in them apart from God; and the riches which he heaped up becamethe prey of Shishak (2Ch 12:9).CHAPTER 3Ec 3:1-22.Earthly pursuits are no doubt lawful in their proper time and order (Ec 3:1-8), but unprofitablewhen out of time and place; as for instance, when pursued as the solid and chief good (Ec 3:9, 10);whereas God makes everything beautiful in its season, which man obscurely comprehends (Ec3:11). God allows man to enjoy moderately and virtuously His earthly gifts (Ec 3:12, 13). Whatconsoles us amidst the instability of earthly blessings is, God's counsels are immutable (Ec 3:14).1. Man has his appointed cycle of seasons and vicissitudes, as the sun, wind, and water (Ec1:5-7).purpose—as there is a fixed "season" in God's "purposes" (for example, He has fixed the "time"when man is "to be born," and "to die," Ec 3:2), so there is a lawful "time" for man to carry out his"purposes" and inclinations. God does not condemn, but approves of, the use of earthly blessings(Ec 3:12); it is the abuse that He condemns, the making them the chief end (1Co 7:31). The earth,without human desires, love, taste, joy, sorrow, would be a dreary waste, without water; but, onthe other hand, the misplacing and excess of them, as of a flood, need control. Reason and revelationare given to control them.2. time to die—(Ps 31:15; Heb 9:27).plant—A man can no more reverse the times and order of "planting," and of "digging up," andtransplanting, than he can alter the times fixed for his "birth" and "death." To try to "plant" out ofseason is vanity, however good in season; so to make earthly things the chief end is vanity, howevergood they be in order and season. Gill takes it, not so well, figuratively (Jer 18:7, 9; Am 9:15; Mt15:13).3. time to kill—namely, judicially, criminals; or, in wars of self-defense; not in malice. Out ofthis time and order, killing is heal—God has His times for "healing" (literally, Isa 38:5, 21; figuratively, De 32:39; Ho6:1; spiritually, Ps 147:3; Isa 57:19). To heal spiritually, before the sinner feels his wound, wouldbe "out of time," and so injurious.time to break down—cities, as Jerusalem, by Nebuchadnezzar.992JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonbuild up—as Jerusalem, in the time of Zerubbabel; spiritually (Am 9:11), "the set time" (Ps102:13-16).4. mourn—namely, for the dead (Ge 23:2).dance—as David before the ark (2Sa 6:12-14; Ps 30:11); spiritually (Mt 9:15; Lu 6:21; 15:25).The Pharisees, by requiring sadness out of time, erred seriously.5. cast away stones—as out of a garden or vineyard (Isa 5:2).gather—for building; figuratively, the Gentiles, once castaway stones, were in due time madeparts of the spiritual building (Eph 2:19, 20), and children of Abraham (Mt 3:9); so the restoredJews hereafter (Ps 102:13, 14; Zec 9:16).refrain … embracing—(Joe 2:16; 1Co 7:5, 6).6. time to get—for example, to gain honestly a livelihood (Eph 4:23).lose—When God wills losses to us, then is our time to be content.keep—not to give to the idle beggar (2Th 3:10).cast away—in charity (Pr 11:24); or to part with the dearest object, rather than the soul (Mr9:43). To be careful is right in its place, but not when it comes between us and Jesus Christ (Lu10:40-42).7. rend—garments, in mourning (Joe 2:13); figuratively, nations, as Israel from Judah, alreadyforetold, in Solomon's time (1Ki 11:30, 31), to be "sewed" together hereafter (Eze 37:15, 22).silence—(Am 5:13), in a national calamity, or that of a friend (Job 2:13); also not to murmurunder God's visitation (Le 10:3; Ps 39:1, 2, 9).8. hate—for example, sin, lusts (Lu 14:26); that is, to love God so much more as to seem incomparison to hate "father or mother," when coming between us and God.a time of war … peace—(Lu 14:31).9. But these earthly pursuits, while lawful in their season, are "unprofitable" when made byman, what God never intended them to be, the chief good. Solomon had tried to create an artificialforced joy, at times when he ought rather to have been serious; the result, therefore, of his labor tobe happy, out of God's order, was disappointment. "A time to plant" (Ec 3:2) refers to his planting(Ec 2:5); "laugh" (Ec 3:4), to Ec 2:1, 2; "his mirth," "laughter"; "build up," "gather stones" (Ec 3:3,5), to his "building" (Ec 2:4); "embrace," "love," to his "princess" (see on Ec 2:8); "get" (perhapsalso "gather," Ec 3:5, 6), to his "gathering" (Ec 2:8). All these were of "no profit," because not inGod's time and order of bestowing happiness.10. (See on Ec 1:13).11. his time—that is, in its proper season (Ps 1:3), opposed to worldlings putting earthly pursuitsout of their proper time and place (see on Ec 3:9).set the world in their heart—given them capacities to understand the world of nature asreflecting God's wisdom in its beautiful order and times (Ro 1:19, 20). "Everything" answers to"world," in the that—that is, but in such a manner that man only sees a portion, not the whole "frombeginning to end" (Ec 8:17; Job 26:14; Ro 11:33; Re 15:4). Parkhurst, for "world," translates: "YetHe hath put obscurity in the midst of them," literally, "a secret," so man's mental dimness of sightas to the full mystery of God's works. So Holden and Weiss. This incapacity for "finding out"(comprehending) God's work is chiefly the fruit of the fall. The worldling ever since, not knowingGod's time and order, labors in vain, because out of time and place.993JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson12. in them—in God's works (Ec 3:11), as far as relates to man's duty. Man cannot fullycomprehend them, but he ought joyfully to receive ("rejoice in") God's gifts, and "do good" withthem to himself and to others. This is never out of season (Ga 6:9, 10). Not sensual joy andself-indulgence (Php 4:4; Jas 4:16, 17).13. Literally, "And also as to every man who eats … this is the gift of God" (Ec 3:22; 5:18).When received as God's gifts, and to God's glory, the good things of life are enjoyed in their duetime and order (Ac 2:46; 1Co 10:31; 1Ti 4:3, 4).14. (1Sa 3:12; 2Sa 23:5; Ps 89:34; Mt 24:35; Jas 1:17).for ever—as opposed to man's perishing labors (Ec 2:15-18).any thing taken from it—opposed to man's "crooked and wanting" works (Ec 1:15; 7:13).The event of man's labors depends wholly on God's immutable purpose. Man's part, therefore, isto do and enjoy every earthly thing in its proper season (Ec 3:12, 13), not setting aside God's order,but observing deep reverence towards God; for the mysteriousness and unchangeableness of God'spurposes are designed to lead "man to fear before Him." Man knows not the event of each act:otherwise he would think himself independent of God.15. Resumption of Ec 1:9. Whatever changes there be, the succession of events is ordered byGod's "everlasting" laws (Ec 3:14), and returns in a fixed cycle.requireth that … past—After many changes, God's law requires the return of the same cycleof events, as in the past, literally, "that which is driven on." The Septuagint and Syriac translate:"God requireth (that is, avengeth) the persecuted man"; a transition to Ec 3:16, 17. The parallelclauses of the verse support English Version.16. Here a difficulty is suggested. If God "requires" events to move in their perpetual cycle,why are the wicked allowed to deal unrighteously in the place where injustice ought least of all tobe; namely, "the place of judgment" (Jer 12:1)?17. Solution of it. There is a coming judgment in which God will vindicate His righteous ways.The sinner's "time" of his unrighteous "work" is short. God also has His "time" and "work" ofjudgment; and, meanwhile, is overruling, for good at last, what seems now dark. Man cannot now"find out" the plan of God's ways (Ec 3:11; Ps 97:2). If judgment instantly followed every sin, therewould be no scope for free will, faith, and perseverance of saints in spite of difficulties. The previousdarkness will make the light at last the more glorious.there—(Job 3:17-19) in eternity, in the presence of the Divine Judge, opposed to the "there,"in the human place of judgment (Ec 3:16): so "from thence" (Ge 49:24).18. estate—The estate of fallen man is so ordered (these wrongs are permitted), that God might"manifest," that is, thereby prove them, and that they might themselves see their mortal frailty, likethat of the beasts.sons of men—rather, "sons of Adam," a phrase used for "fallen men." The toleration of injusticeuntil the judgment is designed to "manifest" men's characters in their fallen state, to see whetherthe oppressed will bear themselves aright amidst their wrongs, knowing that the time is short, andthere is a coming judgment. The oppressed share in death, but the comparison to "beasts" appliesespecially to the ungodly oppressors (Ps 49:12, 20). They too need to be "manifested" ("proved"),whether, considering that they must soon die as the "beasts," and fearing the judgment to come,they will repent (Da 4:27).19. Literally, "For the sons of men (Adam) are a mere chance, as also the beast is a merechance." These words can only be the sentiments of the skeptical oppressors. God's delay in judgment994JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesongives scope for the "manifestation" of their infidelity (Ec 8:11; Ps 55:19; 2Pe 3:3,4). They are"brute beasts," morally (Ec 3:18; Jude 10); and they end by maintaining that man, physically, hasno pre-eminence over the beast, both alike being "fortuities." Probably this was the language ofSolomon himself in his apostasy. He answers it in Ec 3:21. If Ec 3:19, 20 be his words, they expressonly that as regards liability to death, excluding the future judgment, as the skeptic oppressors do,man is on a level with the beast. Life is "vanity," if regarded independently of religion. But Ec 3:21points out the vast difference between them in respect to the future destiny; also (Ec 3:17) beastshave no "judgment" to come.breath—vitality.21. Who knoweth—Not doubt of the destination of man's spirit (Ec 12:7); but "how few, byreason of the outward mortality to which man is as liable as the beast and which is the ground ofthe skeptic's argument, comprehend the wide difference between man and the beast" (Isa 53:1).The Hebrew expresses the difference strongly, "The spirit of man that ascends, it belongeth to onhigh; but the spirit of the beast that descends, it belongeth to below, even to the earth." Theirdestinations and proper element differ utterly [Weiss].22. (Compare Ec 3:12; 5:18). Inculcating a thankful enjoyment of God's gifts, and a cheerfuldischarge of man's duties, founded on fear of God; not as the sensualist (Ec 11:9); not as the anxiousmoney-seeker (Ec 2:23; 5:10-17).his portion—in the present life. If it were made his main portion, it would be "vanity" (Ec 2:1;Lu 16:25).for who, &c.—Our ignorance as to the future, which is God's "time" (Ec 3:11), should lead usto use the present time in the best sense and leave the future to His infinite wisdom (Mt 6:20, 25,31-34).CHAPTER 4Ec 4:1-16.1. returned—namely, to the thought set forth (Ec 3:16; Job 35:9).power—Maurer, not so well, "violence."no comforter—twice said to express continued suffering without any to give comfort (Isa53:7).2. A profane sentiment if severed from its connection; but just in its bearing on Solomon'sscope. If religion were not taken into account (Ec 3:17, 19), to die as soon as possible would bedesirable, so as not to suffer or witness "oppressions"; and still more so, not to be born at all (Ec7:1). Job (Job 3:12; 21:7), David (Ps 73:3, &c.), Jeremiah (Jer 12:1), Habakkuk (Hab 1:13), allpassed through the same perplexity, until they went into the sanctuary, and looked beyond thepresent to the "judgment" (Ps 73:17; Hab 2:20; 3:17, 18). Then they saw the need of delay, beforecompletely punishing the wicked, to give space for repentance, or else for accumulation of wrath(Ro 2:15); and before completely rewarding the godly, to give room for faith and perseverance intribulation (Ps 92:7-12). Earnests, however, are often even now given, by partial judgments of thefuture, to assure us, in spite of difficulties, that God governs the earth.3. not seen—nor experienced.995JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson4. right—rather, "prosperous" (see on Ec 2:21). Prosperity, which men so much covet, is thevery source of provoking oppression (Ec 4:1) and "envy," so far is it from constituting the chiefgood.5. Still thefool (the wicked oppressor) is not to be envied even in this life, who "folds his hands together"in idleness (Pr 6:10; 24:33), living on the means he wrongfully wrests from others; for such a oneeateth his own flesh—that is, is a self-tormentor, never satisfied, his spirit preying on itself(Isa 9:20; 49:26).6. Hebrew; "One open hand (palm) full of quietness, than both closed hands full of travail.""Quietness" (mental tranquillity flowing from honest labor), opposed to "eating one's own flesh"(Ec 4:5), also opposed to anxious labor to gain (Ec 4:8; Pr 15:16, 17; 16:8).7. A vanity described in Ec 4:8.8. not a second—no partner.child—"son or brother," put for any heir (De 25:5-10).eye—(Ec 1:8). The miser would not be able to give an account of his infatuation.9. Two—opposed to "one" (Ec 4:8). Ties of union, marriage, friendship, religious communion,are better than the selfish solitariness of the miser (Ge 2:18).reward—Advantage accrues from their efforts being conjoined. The Talmud says, "A manwithout a companion is like a left hand without the right.10. if they fall—if the one or other fall, as may happen to both, namely, into any distress ofbody, mind, or soul.11. (See on 1Ki 1:1). The image is taken from man and wife, but applies universally to thewarm sympathy derived from social ties. So Christian ties (Lu 24:32; Ac 28:15).12. one—enemy.threefold cord—proverbial for a combination of many—for example, husband, wife, andchildren (Pr 11:14); so Christians (Lu 10:1; Col 2:2, 19). Untwist the cord, and the separate threadsare easily "broken."13. The "threefold cord" [Ec 4:12] of social ties suggests the subject of civil government. Inthis case too, he concludes that kingly power confers no lasting happiness. The "wise" child, thougha supposed case of Solomon, answers, in the event foreseen by the Holy Ghost, to Jeroboam, thena poor but valiant youth, once a "servant" of Solomon, and (1Ki 11:26-40) appointed by God throughthe prophet Ahijah to be heir of the kingdom of the ten tribes about to be rent from Rehoboam. The"old and foolish king" answers to Solomon himself, who had lost his wisdom, when, in defianceof two warnings of God (1Ki 3:14; 9:2-9), he forsook God.will no more be admonished—knows not yet how to take warning (see Margin) God had byAhijah already intimated the judgment coming on Solomon (1Ki 11:11-13).14. out of prison—Solomon uses this phrase of a supposed case; for example, Joseph raisedfrom a dungeon to be lord of Egypt. His words are at the same time so framed by the Holy Ghostthat they answer virtually to Jeroboam, who fled to escape a "prison" and death from Solomon, toShishak of Egypt (1Ki 11:40). This unconscious presaging of his own doom, and that of Rehoboam,constitutes the irony. David's elevation from poverty and exile, under Saul (which may have beenbefore Solomon's mind), had so far their counterpart in that of Jeroboam.whereas … becometh poor—rather, "though he (the youth) was born poor in his kingdom"(in the land where afterwards he was to reign).996JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson15. "I considered all the living," the present generation, in relation to ("with") the "second youth"(the "legitimate successor" of the "old king," as opposed to the "poor youth," the one first spokenof, about to be raised from poverty to a throne), that is, his stead—the old king's.16. Notwithstanding their now worshipping the rising sun, the heir-apparent, I reflected that"there were no bounds, no stability (2Sa 15:6; 20:1), no check on the love of innovation, of all thathave been before them," that is, the past generation; soalso they that come after—that is, the next generation,shall not rejoice in him—namely, Rehoboam. The parallel, "shall not rejoice," fixes the senseof "no bounds," no permanent adherence, though now men rejoice in him.CHAPTER 5Ec 5:1-20.1. From vanity connected with kings, he passes to vanities (Ec 5:7) which may be fallen intoin serving the King of kings, even by those who, convinced of the vanity of the creature, wish toworship the Creator.Keep thy foot—In going to worship, go with considerate, circumspect, reverent feeling. Theallusion is to the taking off the shoes, or sandals, in entering a temple (Ex 3:5; Jos 5:15, whichpassages perhaps gave rise to the custom). Weiss needlessly reads, "Keep thy feast days" (Ex 23:14,17; the three great feasts).hear—rather, "To be ready (to draw nigh with the desire) to hear (obey) is a better sacrificethan the offering of fools" [Holden]. (Vulgate; Syriac). (Ps 51:16, 17; Pr 21:3; Jer 6:20; 7:21-23;14:12; Am 5:21-24). The warning is against mere ceremonial self-righteousness, as in Ec 7:12.Obedience is the spirit of the law's requirements (De 10:12). Solomon sorrowfully looks back onhis own neglect of this (compare 1Ki 8:63 with Ec 11:4, 6). Positive precepts of God must be kept,but will not stand instead of obedience to His moral precepts. The last provided no sacrifice forwilful sin (Nu 15:30, 31; Heb 10:26-29).2. rash—opposed to the considerate reverence ("keep thy foot," Ec 5:1). This verse illustratesEc 5:1, as to prayer in the house of God ("before God," Isa 1:12); so Ec 5:4-6 as to vows. Theremedy to such vanities is stated (Ec 5:6). "Fear thou God."God is in heaven—Therefore He ought to be approached with carefully weighed words, bythee, a frail creature of earth.3. As much "business," engrossing the mind, gives birth to incoherent "dreams," so many words,uttered inconsiderately in prayer, give birth to and betray "a fool's speech" (Ec 10:14), [Holden andWeiss]. But Ec 5:7 implies that the "dream" is not a comparison, but the vain thoughts of the fool(sinner, Ps 73:20), arising from multiplicity of (worldly) "business." His "dream" is that God hearshim for his much speaking (Mt 6:7), independently of the frame of mind [English Version andMaurer].fool's voice—answers to "dream" in the parallel; it comes by the many "words" flowing fromthe fool's "dream."997JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson4. When thou vowest a vow unto God—Hasty words in prayer (Ec 5:2, 3) suggest the subjectof hasty vows. A vow should not be hastily made (Jud 11:35; 1Sa 14:24). When made, it must bekept (Ps 76:11), even as God keeps His word to us (Ex 12:41, 51; Jos 21:45).5. (De 23:21, 23).6. thy flesh—Vow not with "thy mouth" a vow (for example, fasting), which the lusts of theflesh ("body," Ec 2:3, Margin) may tempt thee to break (Pr 20:25).angel—the "messenger" of God (Job 33:23); minister (Re 1:20); that is, the priest (Mal 2:7)"before" whom a breach of a vow was to be confessed (Le 5:4, 5). We, Christians, in our vows (forexample, at baptism, the Lord's Supper, &c.) vow in the presence of Jesus Christ, "the angel of thecovenant" (Mal 3:1), and of ministering angels as witnesses (1Co 11:10; 1Ti 5:21). Extenuate notany breach of them as a slight error.7. (See on Ec 5:3). God's service, which ought to be our chief good, becomes by "dreams"(foolish fancies as of God's requirements of us in worship), and random "words," positive "vanity."The remedy is, whatever fools may do, "Fear thou God" (Ec 12:13).8. As in Ec 3:16, so here the difficulty suggests itself. If God is so exact in even punishing hastywords (Ec 5:1-6), why does He allow gross injustice? In the remote "provinces," the "poor" oftenhad to put themselves for protection from the inroads of Philistines, &c., under chieftains, whooppressed them even in Solomon's reign (1Ki 12:4).the matter—literally, "the pleasure," or purpose (Isa 53:10). Marvel not at this dispensationof God's will, as if He had abandoned the world. Nay, there is coming a capital judgment at last,and an earnest of it in partial punishments of sinners meanwhile.higher than the highest—(Da 7:18).regardeth—(2Ch 16:9).there be higher—plural, that is, the three persons of the Godhead, or else, "regardeth not onlythe 'highest' kings, than whom He 'is higher,' but even the petty tyrants of the provinces, namely,the high ones who are above them" (the poor) [Weiss].9. "The profit (produce) of the earth is (ordained) for (the common good of) all: even the kinghimself is served by (the fruits of) the field" (2Ch 26:10). Therefore the common Lord of all, highand low, will punish at last those who rob the "poor" of their share in it (Pr 22:22, 23; Am 8:4-7).10. Not only will God punish at last, but meanwhile the oppressive gainers of "silver" find nosolid "satisfaction" in it.shall not be satisfied—so the oppressor "eateth his own flesh" (see on Ec 4:1 and Ec 4:5).with increase—is not satisfied with the gain that he makes.11. they … that eat them—the rich man's dependents (Ps 23:5).12. Another argument against anxiety to gain riches. "Sleep … sweet" answers to "quietness"(Ec 4:6); "not suffer … sleep," to "vexation of spirit." Fears for his wealth, and an overloadedstomach without "laboring" (compare Ec 4:5), will not suffer the rich oppressor to sleep.13, 14. Proofs of God's judgments even in this world (Pr 11:31). The rich oppressor's wealthprovokes enemies, robbers, &c. Then, after having kept it for an expected son, he loses it beforehandby misfortune ("by evil travail"), and the son is born to be heir of poverty. Ec 2:19, 23 gives anotheraspect of the same subject.16. Even supposing that he loses not his wealth before death, then at least he must go strippedof it all (Ps 49:17).laboured for the wind—(Ho 12:1; 1Co 9:26).998JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson17. eateth—appropriately put for "liveth" in general, as connected with Ec 5:11, 12, 18.darkness—opposed to "light (joy) of countenance" (Ec 8:1; Pr 16:15).wrath—fretfulness, literally, "His sorrow is much, and his infirmity (of body) and wrath."18. Returns to the sentiment (Ec 3:12, 13, 22); translate: "Behold the good which I have seen,and which is becoming" (in a man).which God giveth—namely, both the good of his labor and his life.his portion—legitimately. It is God's gift that makes it so when regarded as such. Such a onewill use, not abuse, earthly things (1Co 7:31). Opposed to the anxious life of the covetous (Ec 5:10,17).19. As Ec 5:18 refers to the "laboring" man (Ec 5:12), so Ec 5:19 to the "rich" man, who getswealth not by "oppression" (Ec 5:8), but by "God's gift." He is distinguished also from the "rich"man (Ec 6:2) in having received by God's gift not only "wealth," but also "power to eat thereof,"which that one has take his portion—limits him to the lawful use of wealth, not keeping back from God Hisportion while enjoying his own.20. He will not remember much, looking back with disappointment, as the ungodly do (Ec2:11), on the days of his life.answereth … in the joy—God answers his prayers in giving him "power" to enjoy his blessings.Gesenius and Vulgate translate, "For God (so) occupies him with joy," &c., that he thinks not muchof the shortness and sorrows of life. Holden, "Though God gives not much (as to real enjoyment),yet he remembers (with thankfulness) the days; for (he knows) God exercises him by the joy," &c.(tries him by prosperity), so Margin, but English Version is simplest.CHAPTER 6Ec 6:1-12.1. common—or else more literally,—"great upon man," falls heavily upon man.2. for his soul—that is, his enjoyment.God giveth him not power to eat—This distinguishes him from the "rich" man in Ec 5:19."God hath given" distinguishes him also from the man who got his wealth by "oppression" (Ec 5:8,10).stranger—those not akin, nay, even hostile to him (Jer 51:51; La 5:2; Ho 7:9). He seems tohave it in his "power" to do as he will with his wealth, but an unseen power gives him up to hisown avarice: God wills that he should toil for "a stranger" (Ec 2:26), who has found favor in God'ssight.3. Even if a man (of this character) have very many (equivalent to "a hundred," 2Ki 10:1)children, and not have a "stranger" as his heir (Ec 6:2), and live long ("days of years" express thebrevity of life at its best, Ge 47:9), yet enjoy no real "good" in life, and lie unhonored, without"burial," at death (2Ki 9:26, 35), the embryo is better than he. In the East to be without burial isthe greatest degradation. "Better the fruit that drops from the tree before it is ripe than that left tohang on till rotten" [Henry].4. he—rather "it," "the untimely birth." So "its," not "his name."999JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwith vanity—to no purpose; a type of the driftless existence of him who makes riches the chiefgood.darkness—of the abortive; a type of the unhonored death and dark future beyond the grave ofthe avaricious.5. this—yet "it has more rest than" the toiling, gloomy miser.6. If the miser's length of "life" be thought to raise him above the abortive, Solomon answersthat long life, without enjoying real good, is but lengthened misery, and riches cannot exempt himfrom going whither "all go." He is fit neither for life, nor death, nor eternity.7. man—rather, "the man," namely, the miser (Ec 6:3-6). For not all men labor for the mouth,that is, for selfish gratification.appetite—Hebrew, "the soul." The insatiability of the desire prevents that which is the onlyend proposed in toils, namely, self-gratification; "the man" thus gets no "good" out of his wealth(Ec 6:3).8. For—"However" [Maurer]. The "for" means (in contrast to the insatiability of the miser), Forwhat else is the advantage which the wise man hath above the fool?"What—advantage, that is, superiority, above him who knows not how to walk uprightlyhath the poor who knoweth to walk before the living?—that is, to use and enjoy life aright(Ec 5:18, 19), a cheerful, thankful, godly "walk" (Ps 116:9).9. Answer to the question in Ec 6:8. This is the advantage:Better is the sight of the eyes—the wise man's godly enjoyment of present seen blessingsthan the (fool's) wandering—literally, walking (Ps 73:9), of the desire, that is, vague, insatiabledesires for what he has not (Ec 6:7; Heb 13:5).this—restless wandering of desire, and not enjoying contentedly the present (1Ti 6:6, 8).10. Part II begins here. Since man's toils are vain, what is the chief good? (Ec 6:12). The answeris contained in the rest of the book.That which hath been—man's various circumstancesis named already—not only has existed, Ec 1:9; 3:15, but has received its just name, "vanity,"long ago,and it is known that it—vanityis man—Hebrew, "Adam," equivalent to man "of red dust," as his Creator appropriately namedhim from his frailty.neither may he contend, &c.—(Ro 9:20).11. "Seeing" that man cannot escape from the "vanity," which by God's "mighty" will is inherentin earthly things, and cannot call in question God's wisdom in these dispensations (equivalent to"contend," &c.),what is man the better—of these vain things as regards the chief good? None whatever.12. For who knoweth, &c.—The ungodly know not what is really "good" during life, nor "whatshall be after them," that is, what will be the event of their undertakings (Ec 3:22; 8:7). The godlymight be tempted to "contend with God" (Ec 6:10) as to His dispensations; but they cannot fullyknow the wise purposes served by them now and hereafter. Their sufferings from the oppressorsare more really good for them than cloudless prosperity; sinners are being allowed to fill up theirmeasure of guilt. Retribution in part vindicates God's ways even now. The judgment shall makeall clear. In Ec 7:1-29, he states what is good, in answer to this verse.1000JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonCHAPTER 7Ec 7:1-29.1. (See on Ec 6:12).name—character; a godly mind and life; not mere reputation with man, but what a man is inthe eyes of God, with whom the name and reality are one thing (Isa 9:6). This alone is "good,"while all else is "vanity" when made the chief end.ointment—used lavishly at costly banquets and peculiarly refreshing in the sultry East. TheHebrew for "name" and for "ointment," have a happy paronomasia, Sheem and Shemen. "Ointment"is fragrant only in the place where the person is whose head and garment are scented, and only fora time. The "name" given by God to His child (Re 3:12) is for ever and in all lands. So in the caseof the woman who received an everlasting name from Jesus Christ, in reward for her preciousointment (Isa 56:5; Mr 14:3-9). Jesus Christ Himself hath such a name, as the Messiah, equivalentto Anointed (So 1:3).and the day of [his] death, &c.—not a general censure upon God for creating man; but,connected with the previous clause, death is to him, who hath a godly name, "better" than the dayof his birth; "far better," as Php 1:23 has it.2. Proving that it is not a sensual enjoyment of earthly goods which is meant in Ec 3:13; 5:18.A thankful use of these is right, but frequent feasting Solomon had found dangerous to piety in hisown case. So Job's fear (Ec 1:4, 5). The house of feasting often shuts out thoughts of God andeternity. The sight of the dead in the "house of mourning" causes "the living" to think of their own"end."3. Sorrow—such as arises from serious thoughts of eternity.laughter—reckless mirth (Ec 2:2).by the sadness … better—(Ps 126:5, 6; 2Co 4:17; Heb 12:10, 11). Maurer translates: "In sadnessof countenance there is (may be) a good (cheerful) heart." So Hebrew, for "good," equivalent to"cheerful" (Ec 11:9); but the parallel clause supports English Version.5. (Ps 141:4, 5). Godly reproof offends the flesh, but benefits the spirit. Fools' songs in thehouse of mirth please the flesh, but injure the soul.6. crackling—answers to the loud merriment of fools. It is the very fire consuming them whichproduces the seeming merry noise (Joe 2:5). Their light soon goes out in the black darkness. Thereis a paronomasia in the Hebrew, Sirim ("thorns"), Sir ("pot"). The wicked are often compared to"thorns" (2Sa 23:6; Na 1:10). Dried cow-dung was the common fuel in Palestine; its slowness inburning makes the quickness of a fire of thorns the more graphic, as an image of the sudden endof fools (Ps 118:12).7. oppression—recurring to the idea (Ec 3:16; 5:8). Its connection with Ec 7:4-6 is, the sightof "oppression" perpetrated by "fools" might tempt the "wise" to call in question God's dispensations,and imitate the folly (equivalent to "madness") described (Ec 7:5,6). Weiss, for "oppression,"translates, "distraction," produced by merriment. But Ec 5:8 favors English Version.a gift—that is, the sight of bribery in "places of judgment" (Ec 3:16) might cause the wise tolose their wisdom (equivalent to "heart"), (Job 12:6; 21:6, 7; 24:1, &c.). This suits the parallelismbetter than "a heart of gifts"; a benevolent heart, as Weiss.8. connected with Ec 7:7. Let the "wise" wait for "the end," and the "oppressions" which now(in "the beginning") perplex their faith, will be found by God's working to be overruled to their1001JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesongood. "Tribulation worketh patience" (Ro 5:3), which is infinitely better than "the proud spirit"that prosperity might have generated in them, as it has in fools (Ps 73:2, 3, 12-14, 17-26; Jas 5:11).9. angry—impatient at adversity befalling thee, as Job was (Ec 5:2; Pr 12:16).10. Do not call in question God's ways in making thy former days better than thy present, asJob did (Job 29:2-5). The very putting of the question argues that heavenly "wisdom" (Margin) isnot as much as it ought made the chief good with thee.11. Rather, "Wisdom, as compared with an inheritance, is good," that is, is as good as aninheritance; "yea, better (literally, and a profit) to them that see the sun" (that is, the living, Ec 11:7;Job 3:16; Ps 49:19).12. Literally, (To be) in (that is, under) the shadow (Isa 30:2) of wisdom (is the same as to be)in (under) the shadow of money; wisdom no less shields one from the ills of life than money, that—rather, "the excellency of the knowledge of wisdom giveth life," that is, life in thehighest sense, here and hereafter (Pr 3:18; Joh 17:3; 2Pe 1:3). Wisdom (religion) cannot be lost asmoney can. It shields one in adversity, as well as prosperity; money, only in prosperity. The questionin Ec 7:10 implies a want of it.13. Consider as to God's work, that it is impossible to alter His dispensations; for who can, &c.straight … crooked—Man cannot amend what God wills to be "wanting" and "adverse" (Ec1:15; Job 12:14).14. consider—resumed from Ec 7:13. "Consider," that is, regard it as "the work of God"; for"God has made (Hebrew, for 'set') this (adversity) also as well as the other (prosperity)." "Adversity"is one of the things which "God has made crooked," and which man cannot "make straight." Heought therefore to be "patient" (Ec 7:8).after him—equivalent to "that man may not find anything (to blame) after God" (that is, after"considering God's work," Ec 7:13). Vulgate and Syriac, "against Him" (compare Ec 7:10; Ro 3:4).15. An objection entertained by Solomonin the days of his vanity—his apostasy (Ec 8:14; Job 21:7).just … perisheth—(1Ki 21:13). Temporal not eternal death (Joh 10:28). But see on Ec 7:16;"just" is probably a self-justiciary.wicked … prolongeth—See the antidote to the abuse of this statement in Ec 8:12.16. Holden makes Ec 7:16 the scoffing inference of the objector, and Ec 7:17 the answer ofSolomon, now repentant. So (1Co 15:32) the skeptic's objection; (1Co 15:33) the answer. However,"Be not righteous over much," may be taken as Solomon's words, forbidding a self-maderighteousness of outward performances, which would wrest salvation from God, instead of receivingit as the gift of His grace. It is a fanatical, pharisaical righteousness, separated from God; for the"fear of God" is in antithesis to it (Ec 7:18; 5:3, 7; Mt 6:1-7; 9:14; 23:23, 24; Ro 10:3; 1Ti 4:3).over wise—(Job 11:12; Ro 12:3, 16), presumptuously self-sufficient, as if acquainted with thewhole of divine truth.destroy thyself—expose thyself to needless persecution, austerities and the wrath of God;hence to an untimely death. "Destroy thyself" answers to "perisheth" (Ec 7:15); "righteous overmuch," to "a just man." Therefore in Ec 7:15 it is self-justiciary, not a truly righteous man, that ismeant.17. over much wicked—so worded, to answer to "righteous over much." For if not taken thus,it would seem to imply that we may be wicked a little. "Wicked" refers to "wicked man" (Ec 7:15);"die before thy time," to "prolongeth his life," antithetically. There may be a wicked man spared1002JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonto "live long," owing to his avoiding gross excesses (Ec 7:15). Solomon says, therefore, Be not sofoolish (answering antithetically to "over wise," Ec 7:16), as to run to such excess of riot, that Godwill be provoked to cut off prematurely thy day of grace (Ro 2:5). The precept is addressed to asinner. Beware of aggravating thy sin, so as to make thy case desperate. It refers to the days ofSolomon's "vanity" (apostasy, Ec 7:15), when only such a precept would be applicable. By litotesit includes, "Be not wicked at all."18. this … this—the two opposite excesses (Ec 7:16, 17), fanatical, self-wise righteousness,and presumptuous, foolhardy wickedness.he that feareth God shall come forth of them all—shall escape all such extremes (Pr 3:7).19. Hebrew, "The wisdom," that is, the true wisdom, religion (2Ti 3:15).than ten mighty—that is, able and valiant generals (Ec 7:12; 9:13-18; Pr 21:22; 24:5). These"watchmen wake in vain, except the Lord keep the city" (Ps 127:1).20. Referring to Ec 7:16. Be not "self-righteous," seek not to make thyself "just" before Godby a superabundance of self-imposed performances; "for true 'wisdom,' or 'righteousness,' showsthat there is not a just man," &c.21. As therefore thou being far from perfectly "just" thyself, hast much to be forgiven by God,do not take too strict account, as the self-righteous do (Ec 7:16; Lu 18:9, 11), and thereby shortentheir lives (Ec 7:15, 16), of words spoken against thee by others, for example, thy servant: Thouart their "fellow servant" before God (Mt 18:32-35).22. (1Ki 2:44).23. All this—resuming the "all" in Ec 7:15; Ec 7:15-22 is therefore the fruit of his dearly boughtexperience in the days of his "vanity."I will be wise—I tried to "be wise," independently of God. But true wisdom was then "far fromhim," in spite of his human wisdom, which he retained by God's gift. So "over wise" (Ec 7:16).24. That … far off … deep—True wisdom is so when sought independently of "fear of God"(Ec 7:18; De 30:12, 13; Job 11:7, 8; 28:12-20, 28; Ps 64:6; Ro 10:6, 7).25. Literally, "I turned myself and mine heart to." A phrase peculiar to Ecclesiastes, andappropriate to the penitent turning back to commune with his heart on his past life.wickedness of folly—He is now a step further on the path of penitence than in Ec 1:17; 2:12,where "folly" is put without "wickedness" prefixed.reason—rather, "the right estimation" of things. Holden translates also "foolishness (that is,sinful folly, answering to 'wickedness' in the parallel) of madness" (that is, of man's mad pursuits).26. "I find" that, of all my sinful follies, none has been so ruinous a snare in seducing me fromGod as idolatrous women (1Ki 11:3, 4; Pr 5:3, 4; 22:14). As "God's favor is better than life," shewho seduces from God is "more bitter than death."whoso pleaseth God—as Joseph (Ge 39:2, 3, 9). It is God's grace alone that keeps any fromfalling.27. this—namely, what follows in Ec 7:28.counting one by one—by comparing one thing with another [Holden and Maurer].account—a right estimate. But Ec 7:28 more favors Gesenius. "Considering women one by one."28. Rather, referring to his past experience, "Which my soul sought further, but I found not."one man—that is, worthy of the name, "man," "upright"; not more than one in a thousand ofmy courtiers (Job 33:23; Ps 12:1). Jesus Christ alone of men fully realizes the perfect ideal of"man." "Chiefest among ten thousand" (So 5:10). No perfect "woman" has ever existed, not even1003JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthe Virgin Mary. Solomon, in the word "thousand," alludes to his three hundred wives and sevenhundred concubines. Among these it was not likely that he should find the fidelity which one truewife pays to one husband. Connected with Ec 7:26, not an unqualified condemnation of the sex,as Pr 12:4; 31:10, &c., prove.29. The "only" way of accounting for the scarcity of even comparatively upright men andwomen is that, whereas God made man upright, they (men) have, &c. The only account to be"found" of the origin of evil, the great mystery of theology, is that given in Holy Writ (Ge 2:1-3:24).Among man's "inventions" was the one especially referred to in Ec 7:26, the bitter fruits of whichSolomon experienced, the breaking of God's primeval marriage law, joining one man to "one"woman (Mt 19:4, 5, 6). "Man" is singular, namely, Adam; "they," plural, Adam, Eve, and theirposterity.CHAPTER 8Ec 8:1-17.1. Praise of true wisdom continued (Ec 7:11, &c.). "Who" is to be accounted "equal to the wiseman? … Who (like him) knoweth the interpretation" of God's providences (for example, Ec 7:8,13, 14), and God's word (for example, see on Ec 7:29; Pr 1:6)?face to shine—(Ec 7:14; Ac 6:15). A sunny countenance, the reflection of a tranquil conscienceand serene mind. Communion with God gives it (Ex 34:29, 30).boldness—austerity.changed—into a benign expression by true wisdom (religion) (Jas 3:17). Maurer translates, "Theshining (brightness) of his face is doubled," arguing that the Hebrew noun for "boldness" is neverused in a bad sense (Pr 4:18). Or as Margin, "strength" (Ec 7:19; Isa 40:31; 2Co 3:18). But theadjective is used in a bad sense (De 28:50).2. the king's—Jehovah, peculiarly the king of Israel in the theocracy; Ec 8:3, 4, prove it is notthe earthly king who is meant.the oath of God—the covenant which God made with Abraham and renewed with David;Solomon remembered Ps 89:35, "I have sworn," &c. (Ps 89:36), and the penalties if David's childrenshould forsake it (Ps 89:30-32); inflicted on Solomon himself; yet God not "utterly" forsaking him(Ps 89:33, 34).3. hasty—rather, "Be not terror-struck so as to go out of His sight." Slavishly "terror-struck"is characteristic of the sinner's feeling toward God; he vainly tries to flee out of His sight (Ps 139:7);opposed to the "shining face" of filial confidence (Ec 8:1; Joh 8:33-36; Ro 8:2; 1Jo 4:18).stand not—persist not.for he doeth—God inflicts what punishment He pleases on persisting sinners (Job 23:13; Ps115:3). True of none save God.4. God's very "word" is "power." So the gospel word (Ro 1:16; Heb 4:12).who may say, &c.—(Job 9:12; 33:13; Isa 45:9; Da 4:35). Scripture does not ascribe sucharbitrary power to earthly kings.5. feel—experience.time—the neglect of the right "times" causes much of the sinful folly of the spiritually unwise(Ec 3:1-11).1004JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonjudgment—the right manner [Holden]. But as God's future "judgment" is connected with the"time for every purpose" in Ec 3:17, so it is here. The punishment of persisting sinners (Ec 8:3)suggests it. The wise man realizes the fact, that as there is a fit "time" for every purpose, so for the"judgment." This thought cheers him in adversity (Ec 7:14; 8:1).6. therefore the misery, &c.—because the foolish sinner does not think of the right "times"and the "judgment."7. he—the sinner, by neglecting times (for example, "the accepted time, and the day of salvation,2Co 6:2), is taken by surprise by the judgment (Ec 3:22; 6:12; 9:12). The godly wise observe thedue times of things (Ec 3:1), and so, looking for the judgment, are not taken by surprise, thoughnot knowing the precise "when" (1Th 5:2-4); they "know the time" to all saving purposes (Ro13:11).8. spirit—"breath of life" (Ec 3:19), as the words following require. Not "wind," as Weiss thinks(Pr 30:4). This verse naturally follows the subject of "times" and "judgment" (Ec 8:6, 7).discharge—alluding to the liability to military service of all above twenty years old (Nu 1:3),yet many were exempted (De 20:5-8). But in that war (death) there is no exemption.those … given to—literally, the master of it. Wickedness can get money for the sinner, butcannot deliver him from the death, temporal and eternal, which is its penalty (Isa 28:15, 18).9. his own hurt—The tyrannical ruler "hurts" not merely his subjects, but himself; so Rehoboam(1Ki 12:1-33); but the "time" of "hurt" chiefly refers to eternal ruin, incurred by "wickedness," at"the day of death" (Ec 8:8), and the "time" of "judgment" (Ec 8:6; Pr 8:36).10. the wicked—namely, rulers (Ec 8:9).buried—with funeral pomp by man, though little meriting it (Jer 22:19); but this only formedthe more awful contrast to their death, temporal and eternal, inflicted by God (Lu 16:22, 23).come and gone from the place of the holy—went to and came from the place of judicature,where they sat as God's representatives (Ps 82:1-6), with pomp [Holden]. Weiss translates, "Buriedand gone (utterly), even from the holy place they departed." As Joab, by Solomon's command, wassent to the grave from the "holy place" in the temple, which was not a sanctuary to murderers (Ex21:14; 1Ki 2:28, 31). The use of the very word "bury" there makes this view likely; still "who hadcome and gone" may be retained. Joab came to the altar, but had to go from it; so the "wickedrulers" (Ec 8:9) (including high priests) came to, and went from, the temple, on occasions of solemnworship, but did not thereby escape their doom.forgotten—(Pr 10:7).11. The reason why the wicked persevere in sin: God's delay in judgment (Mt 24:48-51; 2Pe3:8, 9). "They see not the smoke of the pit, therefore they dread not the fire" [South], (Ps 55:19).Joab's escape from the punishment of his murder of Abner, so far from "leading him to repentance,"as it ought (Ro 2:4), led him to the additional murder of Amasa.12. He says this, lest the sinner should abuse the statement (Ec 7:15), "A wicked man prolongethhis life."before him—literally, "at His presence"; reverently serve Him, realizing His continual presence.13. neither shall he prolong—not a contradiction to Ec 8:12. The "prolonging" of his daysthere is only seeming, not real. Taking into account his eternal existence, his present days, howeverseemingly long, are really short. God's delay (Ec 8:11) exists only in man's short-sighted view. Itgives scope to the sinner to repent, or else to fill up his full measure of guilt; and so, in either case,1005JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesontends to the final vindication of God's ways. It gives exercise to the faith, patience, and perseveranceof saints.shadow—(Ec 6:12; Job 8:9).14. An objection is here started (entertained by Solomon in his apostasy), as in Ec 3:16; 7:15,to the truth of retributive justice, from the fact of the just and the wicked not now receiving alwaysaccording to their respective deserts; a cavil, which would seem the more weighty to men livingunder the Mosaic covenant of temporal sanctions. The objector adds, as Solomon had said, that theworldling's pursuits are "vanity" (Ec 8:10), "I say (not 'said') this also is vanity. Then I commendmirth," &c. [Holden]. Ec 8:14, 15 may, however, be explained as teaching a cheerful, thankful useof God's gifts "under the sun," that is, not making them the chief good, as sensualists do, which Ec2:2; 7:2, forbid; but in "the fear of God," as Ec 3:12; 5:18; 7:18; 9:7, opposed to the abstinence ofthe self-righteous ascetic (Ec 7:16), and of the miser (Ec 5:17).15. no better thing, &c.—namely, for the "just" man, whose chief good is religion, not for theworldly.abide—Hebrew, "adhere"; not for ever, but it is the only sure good to be enjoyed from earthlylabors (equivalent to "of his labor the days of his life"). Still, the language resembles the skepticalprecept (1Co 15:32), introduced only to be refuted; and "abide" is too strong language, perhaps,for a religious man to apply to "eating" and "mirth."16. Reply to Ec 8:14, 15. When I applied myself to observe man's toils after happiness (someof them so incessant as not to allow sufficient time for "sleep"), then (Ec 8:17, the apodosis) I sawthat man cannot find out (the reason of) God's inscrutable dealings with the "just" and with the"wicked" here (Ec 8:14; Ec 3:11; Job 5:9; Ro 11:33); his duty is to acquiesce in them as good,because they are God's, though he sees not all the reasons for them (Ps 73:16). It is enough to know"the righteous are in God's hand" (Ec 9:1). "Over wise" (Ec 7:16); that is, Speculations above whatis written are vain.CHAPTER 9Ec 9:1-18.1. declare—rather, explore; the result of my exploring is this, that "the righteous, &c., are inthe hand of God. No man knoweth either the love or hatred (of God to them) by all that is beforethem," that is, by what is outwardly seen in His present dealings (Ec 8:14, 17). However, from thesense of the same words, in Ec 9:6, "love and hatred" seem to be the feelings of the wicked towardsthe righteous, whereby they caused to the latter comfort or sorrow. Translate: "Even the love andhatred" (exhibited towards the righteous, are in God's hand) (Ps 76:10; Pr 16:7). "No man knowethall that is before them."2. All things … alike—not universally; but as to death. Ec 9:2-10 are made by Holden theobjection of a skeptical sensualist. However, they may be explained as Solomon's language. Herepeats the sentiment already implied in Ec 2:14; 3:20; event—not eternally; but death is common to all.good—morally.clean—ceremonially.1006JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonsacrificeth—alike to Josiah who sacrificed to God, and to Ahab who made sacrifice to Himcease.sweareth—rashly and falsely.3. Translate, "There is an evil above all (evils) that are done," &c., namely, that not only "thereis one event to all," but "also the heart of the sons of men" makes this fact a reason for "madly"persisting in "evil while they live, and after that," &c., sin is "madness."the dead—(Pr 2:18; 9:18).4. For—rather, "Nevertheless." English Version rightly reads as the Margin, Hebrew, "that isjoined," instead of the text, "who is to be chosen?"hope—not of mere temporal good (Job 14:7); but of yet repenting and being—metaphor for the vilest persons (1Sa 24:14).lion—the noblest of animals (Pr 30:30).better—as to hope of salvation; the noblest who die unconverted have no hope; the vilest, solong as they have life, have hope.5. know that they shall die—and may thereby be led "so to number their days, that they mayapply their hearts to wisdom" (Ec 7:1-4; Ps 90:12).dead know not anything—that is, so far as their bodily senses and worldly affairs are concerned(Job 14:21; Isa 63:16); also, they know no door of repentance open to them, such as is to all onearth.neither … reward—no advantage from their worldly labors (Ec 2:18-22; 4:9).memory—not of the righteous (Ps 112:6; Mal 3:16), but the wicked, who with all the pains toperpetuate their names (Ps 49:11) are soon "forgotten" (Ec 8:10).6. love, and … hatred, &c.—(referring to Ec 9:1; see on Ec 9:1). Not that these cease in afuture world absolutely (Eze 32:27; Re 22:11); but as the end of this verse shows, relatively topersons and things in this world. Man's love and hatred can no longer be exercised for good or evilin the same way as here; but the fruits of them remain. What he is at death he remains for ever."Envy," too, marks the wicked as referred to, since it was therewith that they assailed the righteous(see on Ec 9:1).portion—Their "portion" was "in this life" (Ps 17:14), that they now "cannot have any more."7. Addressed to the "righteous wise," spoken of in Ec 9:1. Being "in the hand of God," whonow accepteth "thy works" in His service, as He has previously accepted thy person (Ge 4:4), thoumayest "eat … with a cheerful (not sensually 'merry') heart" (Ec 3:13; 5:18; Ac 2:46).8. white—in token of joy (Isa 61:3). Solomon was clad in white (Josephus, Antiquities, 8:7,3);hence his attire is compared to the "lilies" (Mt 6:29), typical of the spotless righteousness of JesusChrist, which the redeemed shall wear (Re 3:18; 7:14).ointment—(Ps 23:5), opposed to a gloomy exterior (2Sa 14:2; Ps 45:7; Mt 6:17); typical, also(Ec 7:1; So 1:3).9. wife … lovest—godly and true love, opposed to the "snares" of the "thousand" concubines(Ec 7:26, 28), "among" whom Solomon could not find the true love which joins one man to onewoman (Pr 5:15, 18, 19; 18:22; 19:14).10. Whatsoever—namely, in the service of God. This and last verse plainly are the languageof Solomon, not of a skeptic, as Holden would explain it.hand, &c.—(Le 12:8, Margin; 1Sa 10:7, Margin).thy might—diligence (De 6:5; Jer 48:10, Margin).1007JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonno work … in the grave—(Joh 9:4; Re 14:13). "The soul's play-day is Satan's work-day; theidler the man the busier the tempter" [South].11. This verse qualifies the sentiment, Ec 9:7-9. Earthly "enjoyments," however lawful in theirplace (Ec 3:1), are to give way when any work to be done for God requires it. Reverting to thesentiment (Ec 8:17), we ought, therefore, not only to work God's work "with might" (Ec 9:10), butalso with the feeling that the event is wholly "in God's hand" (Ec 9:1).race … not to the swift—(2Sa 18:23); spiritually (Zep 3:19; Ro 9:16).nor … battle to … strong—(1Sa 17:47; 2Ch 14:9, 11, 15; Ps 33:16).bread—livelihood.favour—of the great.chance—seemingly, really Providence. But as man cannot "find it out" (Ec 3:11), he needs"with all might" to use opportunities. Duties are ours; events, God's.12. his time—namely, of death (Ec 7:15; Isa 13:22). Hence the danger of delay in doing thework of God, as one knows not when his opportunity will end (Ec 9:10).evil net—fatal to them. The unexpected suddenness of the capture is the point of comparison.So the second coming of Jesus Christ, "as a snare" (Lu 21:35).evil time—as an "evil net," fatal to them.13. Rather, "I have seen wisdom of this kind also," that is, exhibited in the way which is describedin what follows [Maurer].14, 15. (2Sa 20:16-22).bulwarks—military works of besiegers.15. poor—as to the temporal advantages of true wisdom, though it often saves others. It receiveslittle reward from the world, which admires none save the rich and man remembered—(Ge 40:23).16. Resuming the sentiment (Ec 7:19; Pr 21:22; 24:5).poor man's wisdom is despised—not the poor man mentioned in Ec 9:15; for his wisdomcould not have saved the city, had "his words not been heard"; but poor men in general. So Paul(Ac 27:11).17. The words of wise, &c.—Though generally the poor wise man is not heard (Ec 9:16), yet"the words of wise men, when heard in quiet (when calmly given heed to, as in Ec 9:15), are moreserviceable than," &c.ruleth—as the "great king" (Ec 9:14). Solomon reverts to "the rulers to their own hurt" (Ec8:9).18. one sinner, &c.—(Jos 7:1, 11, 12). Though wisdom excels folly (Ec 9:16; 7:19), yet a "littlefolly (equivalent to sin) can destroy much good," both in himself (Ec 10:1; Jas 2:10) and in others."Wisdom" must, from the antithesis to "sinner," mean religion. Thus typically, the "little city" maybe applied to the Church (Lu 12:32; Heb 12:22); the great king to Satan (Joh 12:31); the despisedpoor wise man, Jesus Christ (Isa 53:2, 3; Mr 6:3; 2Co 8:9; Eph 1:7, 8; Col 2:3).CHAPTER 10Ec 10:1-20.1. Following up Ec 9:18.1008JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhim that is in reputation—for example, David (2Sa 12:14); Solomon (1Ki 11:1-43);Jehoshaphat (2Ch 18:1-34; 19:2); Josiah (2Ch 35:22). The more delicate the perfume, the moreeasily spoiled is the ointment. Common oil is not so liable to injury. So the higher a man's religiouscharacter is, the more hurt is caused by a sinful folly in him. Bad savor is endurable in oil, but notin what professes to be, and is compounded by the perfumer ("apothecary") for, fragrance. "Flies"answer to "a little folly" (sin), appropriately, being small (1Co 5:6); also, "Beelzebub" means princeof flies. "Ointment" answers to "reputation" (Ec 7:1; Ge 34:30). The verbs are singular, the nounplural, implying that each of the flies causes the stinking savor.2. (Ec 2:14).right—The right hand is more expert than the left. The godly wise is more on his guard thanthe foolish sinner, though at times he slip. Better a diamond with a flaw, than a pebble without one.3. by the way—in his ordinary course; in his simplest acts (Pr 6:12-14). That he "saith," virtually,"that he" himself, &c. [Septuagint]. But Vulgate, "He thinks that every one (else whom he meets)is a fool."4. spirit—anger.yielding pacifieth—(Pr 15:1). This explains "leave not thy place"; do not in a resisting spiritwithdraw from thy post of duty (Ec 8:3).5. as—rather, "by reason of an error" [Maurer and Holden].6. rich—not in mere wealth, but in wisdom, as the antithesis to "folly" (for "foolish men")shows. So Hebrew, rich, equivalent to "liberal," in a good sense (Isa 32:5). Mordecai and Haman(Es 3:1, 2; 6:6-11).7. servants upon horses—the worthless exalted to dignity (Jer 17:25); and vice versa (2Sa15:30).8. The fatal results to kings of such an unwise policy; the wrong done to others recoils onthemselves (Ec 8:9); they fall into the pit which they dug for others (Es 7:10; Ps 7:15; Pr 26:27).Breaking through the wise fences of their throne, they suffer unexpectedly themselves; as whenone is stung by a serpent lurking in the stones of his neighbor's garden wall (Ps 80:12), which hemaliciously pulls down (Am 5:19).9. removeth stones—namely, of an ancient building [Weiss]. His neighbor's landmarks [Holden].Cuts out from the quarry [Maurer].endangered—by the splinters, or by the head of the hatchet, flying back on himself. Pithyaphorisms are common in the East. The sense is: Violations of true wisdom recoil on the perpetrators.10. iron … blunt—in "cleaving wood" (Ec 10:9), answering to the "fool set in dignity" (Ec10:6), who wants sharpness. More force has then to be used in both cases; but "force" withoutjudgment "endangers" one's self. Translate, "If one hath blunted his iron" [Maurer]. The preferenceof rash to judicious counsellors, which entailed the pushing of matters by force, proved to be the"hurt" of Rehoboam (1Ki 12:1-33).wisdom is profitable to direct—to a prosperous issue. Instead of forcing matters by main"strength" to one's own hurt (Ec 9:16, 18).11. A "serpent will bite" if "enchantment" is not used; "and a babbling calumniator is no better."Therefore, as one may escape a serpent by charms (Ps 58:4, 5), so one may escape the sting of acalumniator by discretion (Ec 10:12), [Holden]. Thus, "without enchantment" answers to "not whetthe edge" (Ec 10:10), both expressing, figuratively, want of judgment. Maurer translates, "There isno gain to the enchanter" (Margin, "master of the tongue") from his enchantments, because the1009JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonserpent bites before he can use them; hence the need of continual caution. Ec 10:8-10, caution inacting; Ec 10:11 and following verses, caution in speaking.12. gracious—Thereby he takes precaution against sudden injury (Ec 10:11).swallow up himself—(Pr 10:8, 14, 21, 32; 12:13; 15:2; 22:11).13. Illustrating the folly and injuriousness of the fool's words; last clause of Ec 10:12.14. full of words—(Ec 5:2).a man cannot tell what shall be—(Ec 3:22; 6:12; 8:7; 11:2; Pr 27:1). If man, universally(including the wise man), cannot foresee the future, much less can the fool; his "many words" aretherefore futile.15. labour … wearieth—(Isa 55:2; Hab 2:13).knoweth not how to go to the city—proverb for ignorance of the most ordinary matters (Ec10:3); spiritually, the heavenly city (Ps 107:7; Mt 7:13, 14). Maurer connects Ec 10:15 with thefollowing verses. The labor (vexation) caused by the foolish (injurious princes, Ec 10:4-7) harasseshim who "knows not how to go to the city," to ingratiate himself with them there. English Versionis simpler.16. a child—given to pleasures; behaves with childish levity. Not in years; for a nation maybe happy under a young prince, as in the morning—the usual time for dispensing justice in the East (Jer 21:12); here, givento feasting (Isa 5:11; Ac 2:15).17. son of nobles—not merely in blood, but in virtue, the true nobility (So 7:1; Isa 32:5, 8).in due season—(Ec 3:1), not until duty has first been attended to.for strength—to refresh the body, not for revelry (included in "drunkenness").18. building—literally, "the joining of the rafters," namely, the kingdom (Ec 10:16; Isa 3:6;Am 9:11).hands—(Ec 4:5; Pr 6:10).droppeth—By neglecting to repair the roof in time, the rain gets through.19. Referring to Ec 10:18. Instead of repairing the breaches in the commonwealth (equivalentto "building"), the princes "make a feast for laughter (Ec 10:16), and wine maketh their life glad(Ps 104:15), and (but) money supplieth (answereth their wishes by supplying) all things," that is,they take bribes to support their extravagance; and hence arise the wrongs that are perpetrated (Ec10:5, 6; 3:16; Isa 1:23; 5:23). Maurer takes "all things" of the wrongs to which princes are instigatedby "money"; for example, the heavy taxes, which were the occasion of Rehoboam losing ten tribes(1Ki 12:4, &c.).20. thought—literally, "consciousness."rich—the great. The language, as applied to earthly princes knowing the "thought," is figurative.But it literally holds good of the King of kings (Ps 139:1-24), whose consciousness of every evilthought we should ever realize.bed-chamber—the most secret place (2Ki 6:12).bird of the air, &c.—proverbial (compare Hab 2:11; Lu 19:40); in a way as marvellous andrapid, as if birds or some winged messenger carried to the king information of the curse so uttered.In the East superhuman sagacity was attributed to birds (see on Job 28:21; hence the proverb).1010JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonCHAPTER 11Ec 11:1-10.1. Ec 11:2 shows that charity is here inculcated.bread—bread corn. As in the Lord's prayer, all things needful for the body and soul. Solomonreverts to the sentiment (Ec 9:10).waters—image from the custom of sowing seed by casting it from boats into the overflowingwaters of the Nile, or in any marshy ground. When the waters receded, the grain in the alluvial soilsprang up (Isa 32:20). "Waters" express multitudes, so Ec 11:2; Re 17:15; also the seeminglyhopeless character of the recipients of the charity; but it shall prove at last to have been not thrownaway (Isa 49:4).2. portion—of thy—the perfect number.eight—even to more than seven; that is, "to many" (so "waters," Ec 11:1), nay, even to verymany in need (Job 5:19; Mic 5:5).evil—The day may be near, when you will need the help of those whom you have bound toyou by kindnesses (Lu 16:9). The very argument which covetous men use against liberality (namely,that bad times may come), the wise man uses for it.3. clouds—answering to "evil" (Ec 11:2), meaning, When the times of evil are fully ripe, evilmust come; and speculations about it beforehand, so as to prevent one sowing seed of liberality,are vain (Ec 11:4).tree—Once the storm uproots it, it lies either northward or southward, according as it fell. Soman's character is unchangeable, whether for hell or heaven, once that death overtakes him (Re22:11, 14, 15). Now is his time for liberality, before the evil days come (Ec 12:1).4. Therefore sow thy charity in faith, without hesitancy or speculation as to results, becausethey may not seem promising (Ec 9:10). So in Ec 11:1, man is told to "cast his bread corn" on theseemingly unpromising "waters" (Ps 126:5, 6). The farmer would get on badly, who, instead ofsowing and reaping, spent his time in watching the wind and clouds.5. spirit—How the soul animates the body! Thus the transition to the formation of the body"in the womb" is more natural, than if with Maurer we translate it "wind" (Ec 1:6; Joh 3:8).bones … grow—(Job 10:8, 9; Ps 139:15, 16).knowest not the works of God—(Ec 3:11; 8:17; 9:12).6. morning … evening—early and late; when young and when old; in sunshine and underclouds.seed—of godly works (Ho 10:12; 2Co 9:10; Ga 6:7).prosper—(Isa 55:10, 11).both … alike—Both the unpromising and the promising sowing may bear good fruit in others;certainly they shall to the faithful sower.7. light—of life (Ec 7:11; Ps 49:19). Life is enjoyable, especially to the godly.8. But while man thankfully enjoys life, "let him remember" it will not last for ever. The "manydays of darkness," that is, the unseen world (Job 10:21, 22; Ps 88:12), also days of "evil" in thisworld (Ec 11:2), are coming; therefore sow the good seed while life and good days last, which arenot too long for accomplishing life's duties.All that cometh—that is, All that followeth in the evil and dark days is vain, as far as work forGod is concerned (Ec 9:10).1011JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson9. Rejoice—not advice, but warning. So 1Ki 22:15, is irony; if thou dost rejoice (carnally, Ec2:2; 7:2, not moderately, as in Ec 5:18), &c., then "know that … God will bring thee into judgment"(Ec 3:17; 12:14).youth … youth—distinct Hebrew words, adolescence or boyhood (before Ec 11:10), andfull-grown youth. It marks the gradual progress in self-indulgence, to which the young especiallyare prone; they see the roses, but do not discover the thorns, until pierced by them. Religion willcost self-denial, but the want of it infinitely more (Lu 14:28).10. sorrow—that is, the lusts that end in "sorrow," opposed to "rejoice," and "heart cheer thee"(Ec 11:9), Margin, "anger," that is, all "ways of thine heart"; "remove," &c., is thus opposed to"walk in," &c. (Ec 11:9).flesh—the bodily organ by which the sensual thoughts of the "heart" are embodied in acts.childhood—rather, "boyhood"; the same Hebrew word as the first, "youth" in Ec 11:9. A motivefor self-restraint; the time is coming when the vigor of youth on which thou reliest, will seem vain,except in so far as it has been given to God (Ec 12:1).youth—literally, the dawn of thy days.CHAPTER 12Ec 12:1-14.1. As Ec 11:9, 10 showed what youths are to shun, so this verse shows what they are to follow.Creator—"Remember" that thou art not thine own, but God's property; for He has created thee(Ps 100:3). Therefore serve Him with thy "all" (Mr 12:30), and with thy best days, not with thedregs of them (Pr 8:17; 22:6; Jer 3:4; La 3:27). The Hebrew is "Creators," plural, implying theplurality of persons, as in Ge 1:26; so Hebrew, "Makers" (Isa 54:5).while … not—that is, before that (Pr 8:26) the evil days come; namely, calamity and old age,when one can no longer serve God, as in youth (Ec 11:2, 8).no pleasure—of a sensual kind (2Sa 19:35; Ps 90:10). Pleasure in God continues to the godlyold (Isa 46:4).2. Illustrating "the evil days" (Jer 13:16). "Light," "sun," &c., express prosperity; "darkness,"pain and calamity (Isa 13:10; 30:26).clouds … after … rain—After rain sunshine (comfort) might be looked for, but only a briefglimpse of it is given, and the gloomy clouds (pains) return.3. keepers of the house—namely, the hands and arms which protected the body, as guards doa palace (Ge 49:24; Job 4:19; 2Co 5:1), are now palsied.strong men … bow—(Jud 16:25, 30). Like supporting pillars, the feet and knees (So 5:15);the strongest members (Ps 147:10).grinders—the molar teeth.cease—are idle.those that look out of the windows—the eyes; the powers of vision, looking out from beneaththe eyelids, which open and shut like the casement of a window.4. doors—the lips, which are closely shut together as doors, by old men in eating, for, if theydid not do so, the food would drop out (Job 41:14; Ps 141:3; Mic 7:5).in the streets—that is, toward the street, "the outer doors" [Maurer and Weiss].1012JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonsound of … grinding—The teeth being almost gone, and the lips "shut" in eating, the soundof mastication is scarcely heard.the bird—the cock. In the East all mostly rise with the dawn. But the old are glad to rise fromtheir sleepless couch, or painful slumbers still earlier, namely, when the cock crows, before dawn(Job 7:4) [Holden]. The least noise awakens them [Weiss].daughters of music—the organs that produce and that enjoy music; the voice and ear.5. that which is high—The old are afraid of ascending a hill.fears … in the way—Even on the level highway they are full of fears of falling, &c.almond … flourish—In the East the hair is mostly dark. The white head of the old among thedark-haired is like an almond tree, with its white blossoms, among the dark trees around [Holden].The almond tree flowers on a leafless stock in winter (answering to old age, in which all the powersare dormant), while the other trees are flowerless. Gesenius takes the Hebrew for flourishes from adifferent root, casts off; when the old man loses his gray hairs, as the almond tree casts its whiteflowers.grasshoppers—the dry, shrivelled, old man, his backbone sticking out, his knees projectingforwards, his arms backwards, his head down, and the apophyses enlarged, is like that insect. Hencearose the fable, that Tithonus in very old age was changed into a grasshopper [Parkhurst]. "The locustraises itself to fly"; the old man about to leave the body is like a locust when it is assuming itswinged form, and is about to fly [Maurer].a burden—namely, to himself.desire shall fail—satisfaction shall be abolished. For "desire," Vulgate has "the caper tree,"provocative of lust; not so well.long home—(Job 16:22; 17:13).mourners—(Jer 9:17-20), hired for the occasion (Mt 9:23).6. A double image to represent death, as in Ec 12:1-5, old age: (1) A lamp of frail material, butgilded over, often in the East hung from roofs by a cord of silk and silver interwoven; as the lampis dashed down and broken, when the cord breaks, so man at death; the golden bowl of the lampanswers to the skull, which, from the vital preciousness of its contents, may be called "golden";"the silver cord" is the spinal marrow, which is white and precious as silver, and is attached to thebrain. (2) A fountain, from which water is drawn by a pitcher let down by a rope wound round awheel; as, when the pitcher and wheel are broken, water can no more be drawn, so life ceases whenthe vital energies are gone. The "fountain" may mean the right ventricle of the heart; the "cistern,"the left; the pitcher, the veins; the wheel, the aorta, or great artery [Smith]. The circulation of theblood, whether known or not to Solomon, seems to be implied in the language put by the HolyGhost into his mouth. This gloomy picture of old age applies to those who have not "rememberedtheir Creator in youth." They have none of the consolations of God, which they might have obtainedin youth; it is now too late to seek them. A good old age is a blessing to the godly (Ge 15:15; Job5:26; Pr 16:31; 20:29).7. dust—the dust-formed body.spirit—surviving the body; implying its immortality (Ec 3:11).8-12. A summary of the first part.Vanity, &c.—Resumption of the sentiment with which the book began (Ec 1:2; 1Jo 2:17).9. gave good heed—literally, "he weighed." The "teaching the people" seems to have beenoral; the "proverbs," in writing. There must then have been auditories assembled to hear the inspired1013JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwisdom of the Preacher. See the explanation of Koheleth in the Introduction, and chapter 1 (1Ki4:34).that which is written, &c.—rather, (he sought) "to write down uprightly (or, 'aright') wordsof truth" [Holden and Weiss]. "Acceptable" means an agreeable style; "uprightly … truth," correctsentiment.11. goads—piercing deeply into the mind (Ac 2:37; 9:5; Heb 4:12); evidently inspired words,as the end of the verse proves.fastened—rather, on account of the Hebrew genders, (The words) "are fastened (in the memory)like nails" [Holden].masters of assemblies—rather, "the masters of collections (that is, collectors of inspired sayings,Pr 25:1), are given ('have published them as proceeding' [Holden]) from one Shepherd," namely, theSpirit of Jesus Christ [Weiss], (Eze 37:24). However, the mention of "goads" favors the EnglishVersion, "masters of assemblies," namely, under-shepherds, inspired by the Chief Shepherd (1Pe5:2-4). Schmidt translates, "The masters of assemblies are fastened (made sure) as nails," so Isa22:23.12. (See on Ec 1:18).many books—of mere human composition, opposed to "by these"; these inspired writings arethe only sure source of "admonition."(over much) study—in mere human books, wearies the body, without solidly profiting thesoul.13. The grand inference of the whole book.Fear God—The antidote to following creature idols, and "vanities," whether self-righteousness(Ec 7:16, 18), or wicked oppression and other evils (Ec 8:12, 13), or mad mirth (Ec 2:2; 7:2-5), orself-mortifying avarice (Ec 8:13, 17), or youth spent without God (Ec 11:9; 12:1).this is the whole duty of man—literally, "this is the whole man," the full ideal of man, asoriginally contemplated, realized wholly by Jesus Christ alone; and, through Him, by saints nowin part, hereafter perfectly (1Jo 3:22-24; Re 22:14).14. For God shall bring every work into judgment—The future judgment is the test of whatis "vanity," what solid, as regards the chief good, the grand subject of the book.THESONG OF SOLOMON.Commentary by A. R. FaussettINTRODUCTIONThe Song of Solomon, called in the Vulgate and Septuagint, "The Song of Songs," from theopening words. This title denotes its superior excellence, according to the Hebrew idiom; so holyof holies, equivalent to "most holy" (Ex 29:37); the heaven of heavens, equivalent to the highestheavens (De 10:14). It is one of the five volumes (megilloth) placed immediately after the Pentateuchin manuscripts of the Jewish Scriptures. It is also fourth of the Hagiographa (Cetubim, writings) orthe third division of the Old Testament, the other two being the Law and the Prophets. The Jewishenumeration of the Cetubim is Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes,Esther, Daniel, Ezra (including Nehemiah), and Chronicles. Its canonicity is certain; it is found in1014JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonall Hebrew manuscripts of Scripture; also in the Greek Septuagint; in the catalogues of Melito, bishopof Sardis, A.D. 170 (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 4.26), and of others of the ancient Church.Origen and Jerome tell us that the Jews forbade it to be read by any until he was thirty years old.It certainly needs a degree of spiritual maturity to enter aright into the holy mystery of love whichit allegorically sets forth. To such as have attained this maturity, of whatever age they be, the Songof Songs is one of the most edifying of the sacred writings. Rosenmuller justly says, The suddentransitions of the bride from the court to the grove are inexplicable, on the supposition that itdescribes merely human love. Had it been the latter, it would have been positively objectionable,and never would have been inserted in the holy canon. The allusion to "Pharaoh's chariots" (So1:9) has been made a ground for conjecturing that the love of Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter isthe subject of the Song. But this passage alludes to a remarkable event in the history of the OldTestament Church, the deliverance from the hosts and chariots of Pharaoh at the Red Sea. (However,see on So 1:9). The other allusions are quite opposed to the notion; the bride is represented at timesas a shepherdess (So 1:7), "an abomination to the Egyptians" (Ge 46:34); so also So 1:6; 3:4; 4:8;5:7 are at variance with it. The Christian fathers, Origen and Theodoret, compared the teachings ofSolomon to a ladder with three steps; Ecclesiastes, natural (the nature of sensible things, vain);Proverbs, moral; Canticles, mystical (figuring the union of Christ and the Church). The Jewscompared Proverbs to the outer court of Solomon's temple, Ecclesiastes to the holy place, andCanticles to the holy of holies. Understood allegorically, the Song is cleared of all difficulty."Shulamith" (So 6:13), the bride, is thus an appropriate name, Daughter of Peace being the feminineof Solomon, equivalent to the Prince of Peace. She by turns is a vinedresser, shepherdess, midnightinquirer, and prince's consort and daughter, and He a suppliant drenched with night dews, and aking in His palace, in harmony with the various relations of the Church and Christ. As Ecclesiastessets forth the vanity of love of the creature, Canticles sets forth the fullness of the love which joinsbelievers and the Saviour. The entire economy of salvation, says Harris, aims at restoring to theworld the lost spirit of love. God is love, and Christ is the embodiment of the love of God. As theother books of Scripture present severally their own aspects of divine truth, so Canticles furnishesthe believer with language of holy love, wherewith his heart can commune with his Lord; and itportrays the intensity of Christ's love to him; the affection of love was created in man to be atranscript of the divine love, and the Song clothes the latter in words; were it not for this, we shouldbe at a loss for language, having the divine warrant, wherewith to express, without presumption,the fervor of the love between Christ and us. The image of a bride, a bridegroom, and a marriage,to represent this spiritual union, has the sanction of Scripture throughout; nay, the spiritual unionwas the original fact in the mind of God, of which marriage is the transcript (Isa 54:5; 62:5; Jer3:1, &c.; Eze 16:1-63; 23:1-49; Mt 9:15; 22:2; 25:1, &c.; Joh 3:29; 2Co 11:2; Eph 5:23-32, wherePaul does not go from the marriage relation to the union of Christ and the Church as if the formerwere the first; but comes down from the latter as the first and best recognized fact on which therelation of marriage is based; Re 19:7; 21:2; 22:17). Above all, the Song seems to correspond to,and form a trilogy with, Psalms 45 and 72, which contain the same imagery; just as Psalm 37answers to Proverbs, and the Psalms 39 and 73 to Job. Love to Christ is the strongest, as it is thepurest, of human passions, and therefore needs the strongest language to express it: to the pure inheart the phraseology, drawn from the rich imagery of Oriental poetry, will not only appear notindelicate or exaggerated, but even below the reality. A single emblem is a type; the actual rites,incidents, and persons of the Old Testament were appointed types of truths afterwards to be revealed.1015JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonBut the allegory is a continued metaphor, in which the circumstances are palpably often purelyimagery, while the thing signified is altogether real. The clue to the meaning of the Song is not tobe looked for in the allegory itself, but in other parts of Scripture. "It lies in the casket of revelationan exquisite gem, engraved with emblematical characters, with nothing literal thereon to break theconsistency of their beauty" [Burrowes]. This accounts for the name of God not occurring in it.Whereas in the parable the writer narrates, in the allegory he never does so. The Song throughoutconsists of immediate addresses either of Christ to the soul, or of the soul to Christ. "Theexperimental knowledge of Christ's loveliness and the believer's love is the best commentary onthe whole of this allegorical Song" [Leighton]. Like the curiously wrought Oriental lamps, which donot reveal the beauty of their transparent emblems until lighted up within, so the types and allegoriesof Scripture, "the lantern to our path" [Ps 119:105], need the inner light of the Holy Spirit of Jesusto reveal their significance. The details of the allegory are not to be too minutely pressed. In theSong, with an Oriental profusion of imagery, numbers of lovely, sensible objects are aggregatednot strictly congruous, but portraying jointly by their very diversity the thousand various andseemingly opposite beauties which meet together in Christ.The unity of subject throughout, and the recurrence of the same expressions (So 2:6, 7; 3:5;8:3, 4; 2:16; 6:3; 7:10; 3:6; 6:10; 8:5), prove the unity of the poem, in opposition to those who makeit consist of a number of separate erotic songs. The sudden transitions (for example, from themidnight knocking at a humble cottage to a glorious description of the King) accord with thealternations in the believer's experience. However various the divisions assigned be, mostcommentators have observed four breaks (whatever more they have imagined), followed by fourabrupt beginnings (So 2:7; 3:5; 5:1; 8:4). Thus there result five parts, all alike ending in full reposeand refreshment. We read (1Ki 4:32) that Solomon's songs were "a thousand and five." The oddnumber five added over the complete thousand makes it not unlikely that the "five" refers to theSong of songs, consisting of five parts.It answers to the idyllic poetry of other nations. The Jews explain it of the union of Jehovahand ancient Israel; the allusions to the temple and the wilderness accord with this; some Christiansof Christ and the Church; others of Christ and the individual believer. All these are true; for theChurch is one in all ages, the ancient typifying the modern Church, and its history answering tothat of each individual soul in it. Jesus "sees all, as if that all were one, loves one, as if that onewere all." "The time suited the manner of this revelation; because types and allegories belonged tothe old dispensation, which reached its ripeness under Solomon, when the temple was built" [MoodyStuart]. "The daughter of Zion at that time was openly married to Jehovah"; for it is thenceforth thatthe prophets, in reproving Israel's subsequent sin, speak of it as a breach of her marriage covenant.The songs heretofore sung by her were the preparatory hymns of her childhood; "the last andcrowning 'Song of Songs' was prepared for the now mature maiden against the day of her marriageto the King of kings" [Origen]. Solomon was peculiarly fitted to clothe this holy mystery with thelovely natural imagery with which the Song abounds; for "he spake of trees, from the cedar inLebanon, even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall" (1Ki 4:33). A higher qualificationwas his knowledge of the eternal Wisdom or Word of God (Pr 8:1-36), the heavenly bridegroom.David, his father, had prepared the way, in Psalms 45 and 72; the son perfected the allegory. Itseems to have been written in early life, long before his declension; for after it a song of holygladness would hardly be appropriate. It was the song of his first love, in the kindness of his youthfulespousals to Jehovah. Like other inspired books, its sense is not to be restricted to that local and1016JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesontemporary one in which the writer may have understood it; it extends to all ages, and shadows fortheverlasting truth (1Pe 1:11, 12; 2Pe 1:20, 21)."Oh that I knew how all thy lights combine, and the configurations of their glorie,Seeing not only how each verse doth shine, but all the constellations of the storie."—Herbert.Three notes of time occur [Moody Stuart]: (1) The Jewish Church speaks of the Gentile Church(So 8:8) towards the end; (2) Christ speaks to the apostles (So 5:1) in the middle; (3) The Churchspeaks of the coming of Christ (So 1:2) at the beginning. Thus we have, in direct order, Christ aboutto come, and the cry for the advent; Christ finishing His work on earth, and the last supper; Christascended, and the call of the Gentiles. In another aspect we have: (1) In the individual soul thelonging for the manifestation of Christ to it, and the various alternations in its experience (So 1:2,4; 2:8; 3:1, 4, 6, 7) of His manifestation; (2) The abundant enjoyment of His sensible consolations,which is soon withdrawn through the bride's carelessness (So 5:1-3, &c.), and her longings afterHim, and reconciliation (So 5:8-16; 6:3, &c.; So 7:1, &c.); (3) Effects of Christ's manifestation onthe believer; namely, assurance, labors of love, anxiety for the salvation of the impenitent, eagernessfor the Lord's second coming (So 7:10, 12; 8:8-10, 14).CHAPTER 1So 1:1-17. Canticle I.—(So 1:2-2:7)—The Bride Searching for and Finding the King.1. The song of songs—The most excellent of all songs, Hebrew idiom (Ex 29:37; De 10:14).A foretaste on earth of the "new song" to be sung in glory (Re 5:9; 14:3; 15:2-4).Solomon's—"King of Israel," or "Jerusalem," is not added, as in the opening of Proverbs andEcclesiastes, not because Solomon had not yet ascended the throne [Moody Stuart], but because hispersonality is hid under that of Christ, the true Solomon (equivalent to Prince of Peace). The earthlySolomon is not introduced, which would break the consistency of the allegory. Though the bridebears the chief part, the Song throughout is not hers, but that of her "Solomon." He animates her.He and she, the Head and the members, form but one Christ [Adelaide Newton]. Aaron prefiguredHim as priest; Moses, as prophet; David, as a suffering king; Solomon, as the triumphant prince ofpeace. The camp in the wilderness represents the Church in the world; the peaceful reign of Solomon,after all enemies had been subdued, represents the Church in heaven, of which joy the Song givesa foretaste.2. him—abruptly. She names him not, as is natural to one whose heart is full of some muchdesired friend: so Mary Magdalene at the sepulchre (Joh 20:15), as if everyone must know whomshe means, the one chief object of her desire (Ps 73:25; Mt 13:44-46; Php 3:7,8).kiss—the token of peace from the Prince of Peace (Lu 15:20); "our Peace" (Ps 85:10; Col 1:21;Eph 2:14).of his mouth—marking the tenderest affection. For a king to permit his hands, or even garment,to be kissed, was counted a great honor; but that he should himself kiss another with his mouth isthe greatest honor. God had in times past spoken by the mouth of His prophets, who had declaredthe Church's betrothal; the bride now longs for contact with the mouth of the Bridegroom Himself(Job 23:12; Lu 4:22; Heb 1:1, 2). True of the Church before the first advent, longing for "the hopeof Israel," "the desire of all nations"; also the awakened soul longing for the kiss of reconciliation;1017JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand further, the kiss that is the token of the marriage contract (Ho 2:19, 20), and of friendship (1Sa20:41; Joh 14:21; 15:15).thy love—Hebrew, "loves," namely, tokens of love, loving—which makes glad "the heavy heart" of one ready to perish, so that he "remembers hismisery no more" (Pr 31:6, 7). So, in a "better" sense, Christ's love (Hab 3:17, 18). He gives thesame praise to the bride's love, with the emphatic addition, "How much" (So 4:10). Wine wascreated by His first miracle (Joh 2:1-11), and was the pledge given of His love at the last supper.The spiritual wine is His blood and His spirit, the "new" and better wine of the kingdom (Mt 26:29),which we can never drink to "excess," as the other (Eph 5:18; compare Ps 23:5; Isa 55:1).3. Rather, "As regards the savor of thy ointments, it is good" [Maurer]. In So 4:10, 11, theBridegroom reciprocates the praise of the bride in the same terms.thy name—Christ's character and office as the "Anointed" (Isa 9:6; 61:1), as "the savor ofointments" are the graces that surround His person (Ps 45:7, 8). Ec 7:1, in its fullest sense, appliesto Him. The holy anointing oil of the high priest, which it was death for anyone else to make (soAc 4:12), implies the exclusive preciousness of Messiah's name (Ex 30:23-28, 31-38). So Marybrake the box of precious ointment over Him, appropriately (Mr 14:5), the broken box typifyingHis body, which, when broken, diffused all grace: compounded of various spices, &c. (Col 1:19;2:9); of sweet odor (Eph 5:2).poured—(Isa 53:12; Ro 5:5).therefore—because of the manifestation of God's character in Christ (1Jo 4:9, 19). So thepenitent woman (Lu 7:37, 38, 47).virgins—the pure in heart (2Co 11:2; Re 14:4). The same Hebrew is translated, "thy hiddenones" (Ps 83:3). The "ointment" of the Spirit "poured forth" produces the "love of Christ" (Ro 5:5).4. (1) The cry of ancient Israel for Messiah, for example, Simeon, Anna, &c. (2) The cry of anawakened soul for the drawing of the Spirit, after it has got a glimpse of Christ's loveliness and itsown helplessness.Draw me—The Father draws (Joh 6:44). The Son draws (Jer 31:3; Ho 11:4; Joh 12:32). "Draw"here, and "Tell" (So 1:7), reverently qualify the word "kiss" (So 1:2).me, we—No believer desires to go to heaven alone. We are converted as individuals; we followChrist as joined in a communion of saints (Joh 1:41, 45). Individuality and community meet in—Her earnestness kindles as she prays (Isa 40:31; Ps 119:32, 60).after thee—not before (Joh 10:4).king … brought me into—(Ps 45:14, 15; Joh 10:16). He is the anointed Priest (So 1:3); King(So 1:4).chambers—Her prayer is answered even beyond her desires. Not only is she permitted to runafter Him, but is brought into the inmost pavilion, where Eastern kings admitted none but the mostintimate friends (Es 4:11; 5:2; Ps 27:5). The erection of the temple of Solomon was the first bringingof the bride into permanent, instead of migratory, chambers of the King. Christ's body on earth wasthe next (Joh 2:21), whereby believers are brought within the veil (Eph 2:6; Heb 10:19, 20). Entranceinto the closet for prayer is the first step. The earnest of the future bringing into heaven (Joh 14:3).His chambers are the bride's also (Isa 26:20). There are various chambers, plural (Joh 14:2).be glad and rejoice—inward and outward thee—(Isa 61:10; Php 4:1, 4). Not in our spiritual frames (Ps 30:6, 7).1018JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonremember—rather, "commemorate with praises" (Isa 63:7). The mere remembrance of spiritualjoys is better than the present enjoyment of carnal ones (Ps 4:6, 7).upright—rather, "uprightly," "sincerely" (Ps 58:1; Ro 12:9); so Nathanael (Joh 1:47); Peter(Joh 21:17); or "deservedly" [Maurer].5. black—namely, "as the tents of Kedar," equivalent to blackness (Ps 120:5). She draws theimage from the black goatskins with which the Scenite Arabs ("Kedar" was in Arabia-Petræa) covertheir tents (contrasted with the splendid state tent in which the King was awaiting His bride accordingto Eastern custom); typifying the darkness of man's natural state. To feel this, and yet also feel one'sself in Jesus Christ "comely as the curtains of Solomon," marks the believer (Ro 7:18, &c.; 8:1);1Ti 1:15, "I am chief"; so she says not merely, "I was," but "I am"; still black in herself, but comelythrough His comeliness put upon her (Eze 16:14).curtains—first, the hangings and veil in the temple of Solomon (Eze 16:10); then, also, the"fine linen which is the righteousness of saints" (Re 19:8), the white wedding garment providedby Jesus Christ (Isa 61:10; Mt 22:11; 1Co 1:30; Col 1:28; 2:10; Re 7:14). Historically, the darktents of Kedar represent the Gentile Church (Isa 60:3-7, &c.). As the vineyard at the close istransferred from the Jews, who had not kept their own, to the Gentiles, so the Gentiles are introducedat the commencement of the Song; for they were among the earliest enquirers after Jesus Christ(Mt 2:1-12): the wise men from the East (Arabia, or Kedar).daughters of Jerusalem—professors, not the bride, or "the virgins," yet not enemies; invitedto gospel blessings (So 3:10, 11); so near to Jesus Christ as not to be unlikely to find Him (So 5:8);desirous to seek Him with her (So 6:1; compare So 6:13; 7:1, 5, 8). In So 7:8, 9, the bride's Belovedbecomes their Beloved; not, however, of all of them (So 8:4; compare Lu 23:27, 28).6. She feels as if her blackness was so great as to be gazed at by all.mother's children—(Mt 10:36). She is to forget "her own people and her father's house," thatis, the worldly connections of her unregenerate state (Ps 45:10); they had maltreated her (Lu 15:15,16). Children of the same mother, but not the same father [Maurer], (Joh 8:41-44). They made hera common keeper of vineyards, whereby the sun looked upon, that is, burnt her; thus she did "notkeep her own" vineyard, that is, fair beauty. So the world, and the soul (Mt 16:26; Lu 9:25). Thebeliever has to watch against the same danger (1Co 9:27). So he will be able, instead of theself-reproach here, to say as in So 8:12.7. my soul loveth—more intense than "the virgins" and "the upright love thee" (So 1:3, 4; Mt22:37). To carry out the design of the allegory, the royal encampment is here represented as movingfrom place to place, in search of green pastures, under the Shepherd King (Ps 23:1-6). The bride,having first enjoyed communion with him in the pavilion, is willing to follow Him into labors anddangers; arising from all absorbing love (Lu 14:26); this distinguishes her from the formalist (Joh10:27; Re 14:4).feedest—tendest thy flock (Isa 40:11; Heb 13:20; 1Pe 2:25; 5:4; Re 7:17). No single typeexpresses all the office of Jesus Christ; hence arises the variety of diverse images used to portraythe manifold aspects of Him: these would be quite incongruous, if the Song referred to the earthlySolomon. Her intercourse with Him is peculiar. She hears His voice, and addresses none but Himself.Yet it is through a veil; she sees Him not (Job 23:8, 9). If we would be fed, we must follow theShepherd through the whole breadth of His Word, and not stay on one spot alone.makest … to rest—distinct from "feedest"; periods of rest are vouchsafed after labor (Isa 4:6;49:10; Eze 34:13-15). Communion in private must go along with public following of Him.1019JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonturneth aside—rather one veiled, that is, as a harlot, not His true bride (Ge 38:15), [Gesenius];or as a mourner (2Sa 15:30), [Weiss]; or as one unknown [Maurer]. All imply estrangement from theBridegroom. She feels estranged even among Christ's true servants, answering to "thy companions"(Lu 22:28), so long as she has not Himself present. The opposite spirit to 1Co 3:4.8. If—she ought to have known (Joh 14:8, 9). The confession of her ignorance and blackness(So 1:5) leads Him to call her "fairest" (Mt 12:20). Her jealousy of letting even "His companions"take the place of Himself (So 1:7) led her too far. He directs her to follow them, as they follow Him(1Co 11:1; Heb 6:10, 12); to use ordinances and the ministry; where they are, He is (Jer 6:16; Mt18:19, 20; Heb 10:25). Indulging in isolation is not the way to find Him. It was thus, literally, thatZipporah found her bridegroom (Ex 2:16). The bride unhesitatingly asks the watchmen afterwards(So 3:3).kids—(Joh 21:15). Christ is to be found in active ministrations, as well as in prayer (Pr 11:25).shepherds' tents—ministers in the sanctuary (Ps 84:1).9. horses in Pharaoh's chariots—celebrated for beauty, swiftness, and ardor, at the Red Sea(Ex 14:15). These qualities, which seem to belong to the ungodly, really belong to the saints [MoodyStuart]. The allusion may be to the horses brought at a high price by Solomon out of Egypt (2Ch1:16, 17). So the bride is redeemed out of spiritual Egypt by the true Solomon, at an infinite price(Isa 51:1; 1Pe 1:18, 19). But the deliverance from Pharaoh at the Red Sea accords with the allusionto the tabernacle (So 1:5; 3:6, 7); it rightly is put at the beginning of the Church's call. The ardorand beauty of the bride are the point of comparison; (So 1:4) "run"; (So 1:5) "comely." Also, likePharaoh's horses, she forms a great company (Re 19:7, 14). As Jesus Christ is both Shepherd andConqueror, so believers are not only His sheep, but also, as a Church militant now, His chariotsand horses (So 6:4).10. rows of jewels—(Eze 16:11-13). Olerius says, Persian ladies wear two or three rows of pearlsround the head, beginning on the forehead and descending down to the cheeks and under the chin,so that their faces seem to be set in pearls (Eze 16:11). The comparison of the horses (So 1:9)implies the vital energy of the bride; this verse, her superadded graces (Pr 1:9; 4:9; 1Ti 2:9; 2Pe1:5).11. We—the Trinity implied by the Holy Ghost, whether it was so by the writer of the Song ornot (Ge 1:26; Pr 8:30; 30:4). "The Jews acknowledged God as king, and Messiah as king, ininterpreting the Song, but did not know that these two are one" [Leighton].make—not merely give (Eph 2:10).borders of gold, with studs of silver—that is, "spots of silver"—Jesus Christ delights to givemore "to him that hath" (Mt 25:29). He crowns His own work in us (Isa 26:12). The "borders" hereare equivalent to "rows" (So 1:10); but here, the King seems to give the finish to her attire, byadding a crown (borders, or circles) of gold studded with silver spots, as in Es 2:17. Both the royaland nuptial crown, or chaplet. The Hebrew for "spouse" (So 4:8) is a crowned one (Eze 16:12; Re2:10). The crown is given at once upon conversion, in title, but in sensible possession afterwards(2Ti 4:8).12. While—It is the presence of the Sun of Righteousness that draws out the believer's odorsof grace. It was the sight of Him at table that caused the two women to bring forth their ointmentsfor Him (Lu 7:37, 38; Joh 12:3; 2Co 2:15). Historically fulfilled (Mt 2:11); spiritually (Re 3:20);and in church worship (Mt 18:20); and at the Lord's Supper especially, for here public communionwith Him at table amidst His friends is spoken of, as So 1:4 refers to private communion (1Co1020JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson10:16, 21); typically (Ex 24:9-11); the future perfect fulfilment (Lu 22:30; Re 19:9). The allegorysupposes the King to have stopped in His movements and to be seated with His friends on the divan.What grace that a table should be prepared for us, while still militant (Ps 23:5)!my spikenard—not boasting, but owning the Lord's grace to and in her. The spikenard is alowly herb, the emblem of humility. She rejoices that He is well pleased with her graces, His ownwork (Php 4:18).13. bundle of myrrh—abundant preciousness (Greek), (1Pe 2:7). Even a little myrrh wascostly; much more a bundle (Col 2:9). Burrowes takes it of a scent-box filled with liquid myrrh; theliquid obtained by incision gave the tree its chief value.he—rather, "it"; it is the myrrh that lies in the bosom, as the cluster of camphire is in thevineyards (So 1:14).all night—an undivided heart (Eph 3:17; contrast Jer 4:14; Eze 16:15, 30). Yet on account ofthe everlasting covenant, God restores the adulteress (Eze 16:60, 62; Ho 2:2, &c.). The night is thewhole present dispensation till the everlasting day dawns (Ro 13:12). Also, literally, "night" (Ps119:147, 148), the night of affliction (Ps 42:8).14. cluster—Jesus Christ is one, yet manifold in His graces.camphire—or, "cypress." The "hennah" is meant, whose odorous flowers grow in clusters, ofa color white and yellow softly blended; its bark is dark, the foliage light green. Women deck theirpersons with them. The loveliness of Jesus Christ.vineyards—appropriate in respect to Him who is "the vine." The spikenard was for the banquet(So 1:12); the myrrh was in her bosom continually (So 1:13); the camphire is in the midst of naturalbeauties, which, though lovely, are eclipsed by the one cluster, Jesus Christ, pre-eminent abovethem all.En-gedi—in South Palestine, near the Dead Sea (Jos 15:62; Eze 47:10), famed for aromaticshrubs.15. fair—He discerns beauty in her, who had said, "I am black" (So 1:5), because of theeverlasting covenant (Ps 45:11; Isa 62:5; Eph 1:4,5).doves' eyes—large and beautiful in the doves of Syria. The prominent features of her beauty(Mt 10:16), gentleness, innocence, and constant love, emblem of the Holy Ghost, who changes usto His own likeness (Ge 8:10, 11; Mt 3:16). The opposite kind of eyes (Ps 101:5; Mt 20:15; 2Pe2:14).16. Reply of the Bride. She presumes to call Him beloved, because He called her so first. Thoucallest me "fair"; if I am so, it is not in myself; it is all from Thee (Ps 90:17); but Thou art fair inThyself (Ps 45:2).pleasant—(Pr 3:17) towards Thy friends (2Sa 1:26).bed … green—the couch of green grass on which the King and His bride sit to "rest at noon."Thus her prayer in So 1:7 is here granted; a green oasis in the desert, always found near waters inthe East (Ps 23:2; Isa 41:17-19). The scene is a kiosk, or summer house. Historically, the literalresting of the Babe of Beth-lehem and his parents on the green grass provided for cattle (Lu 2:7,12). In this verse there is an incidental allusion, in So 1:15, to the offering (Lu 2:24). So the "cedarand fir" ceiling refers to the temple (1Ki 5:6-10; 6:15-18); type of the heavenly temple (Re 21:22).17. our house—see on So 1:16; but primarily, the kiosk (Isa 11:10), "His rest." Cedar is pleasingto the eye and smell, hard, and never eaten by worms.1021JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonfir—rather, "cypress," which is hard, durable, and fragrant, of a reddish hue [Gesenius, Weiss,and Maurer]. Contrasted with the shifting "tents" (So 1:5), His house is "our house" (Ps 92:13; Eph2:19; Heb 3:6). Perfect oneness of Him and the bride (Joh 14:20; 17:21). There is the shelter of aprincely roof from the sun (Ps 121:6), without the confinement of walls, and amidst rural beauties.The carved ceiling represents the wondrous excellencies of His divine nature.CHAPTER 2So 2:1-17.1. rose—if applied to Jesus Christ, it, with the white lily (lowly, 2Co 8:9), answers to "whiteand ruddy" (So 5:10). But it is rather the meadow-saffron: the Hebrew means radically a plant witha pungent bulb, inapplicable to the rose. So Syriac. It is of a white and violet color [Maurer, Gesenius,and Weiss]. The bride thus speaks of herself as lowly though lovely, in contrast with the lordly"apple" or citron tree, the bridegroom (So 2:3); so the "lily" is applied to her (So 2:2),Sharon—(Isa 35:1, 2). In North Palestine, between Mount Tabor and Lake Tiberias (1Ch 5:16).Septuagint and Vulgate translate it, "a plain"; though they err in this, the Hebrew Bible not elsewherefavoring it, yet the parallelism to valleys shows that, in the proper name Sharon, there is here a tacitreference to its meaning of lowliness. Beauty, delicacy, and lowliness, are to be in her, as they werein Him (Mt 11:29).2. Jesus Christ to the Bride (Mt 10:16; Joh 15:19; 1Jo 5:19). Thorns, equivalent to the wicked(2Sa 23:6; Ps 57:4).daughters—of men, not of God; not "the virgins." "If thou art the lily of Jesus Christ, takeheed lest by impatience, rash judgments, and pride, thou thyself become a thorn" [Luther].3. Her reply. apple—generic including the golden citron, pomegranate, and orange apple (Pr25:11). He combines the shadow and fragrance of the citron with the sweetness of the orange andpomegranate fruit. The foliage is perpetual; throughout the year a succession of blossoms, fruit,and perfume (Jas 1:17).among the sons—parallel to "among the daughters" (So 2:2). He alone is ever fruitful amongthe fruitless wild trees (Ps 89:6; Heb 1:9).I sat … with … delight—literally, "I eagerly desired and sat" (Ps 94:19; Mr 6:31; Eph 2:6;1Pe 1:8).shadow—(Ps 121:5; Isa 4:6; 25:4; 32:2). Jesus Christ interposes the shadow of His crossbetween the blazing rays of justice and us sinners.fruit—Faith plucks it (Pr 3:18). Man lost the tree of life (Ge 3:22, 23). Jesus Christ regainedit for him; he eats it partly now (Ps 119:103; Joh 6:55, 57; 1Pe 2:3); fully hereafter (Re 2:7; 22:2,14); not earned by the sweat of his brow, or by his righteousness (Ro 10:1-21). Contrast theworldling's fruit (De 32:32; Lu 15:16).4. Historically fulfilled in the joy of Simeon and Anna in the temple, over the infant Saviour(Lu 2:25-38), and that of Mary, too (compare Lu 1:53); typified (Ex 24:9-11). Spiritually, the brideor beloved is led (So 2:4) first into the King's chambers, thence is drawn after Him in answer toher prayer; is next received on a grassy couch under a cedar kiosk; and at last in a "banquetinghall," such as, Josephus says, Solomon had in his palace, "wherein all the vessels were of gold"(Antiquities, 8:5,2). The transition is from holy retirement to public ordinances, church worship,1022JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand the Lord's Supper (Ps 36:8). The bride, as the queen of Sheba, is given "all her desire" (1Ki10:13; Ps 63:5; Eph 3:8, 16-21; Php 4:19); type of the heavenly feast hereafter (Isa 25:6, 9).his banner … love—After having rescued us from the enemy, our victorious captain (Heb2:10) seats us at the banquet under a banner inscribed with His name, "love" (1Jo 4:8). His loveconquered us to Himself; this banner rallies round us the forces of Omnipotence, as our protection;it marks to what country we belong, heaven, the abode of love, and in what we most glory, thecross of Jesus Christ, through which we triumph (Ro 8:37; 1Co 15:57; Re 3:21). Compare with"over me," "underneath are the everlasting arms" (De 33:27).5. flagons—Maurer prefers translating, "dried raisin cakes"; from the Hebrew root "fire," namely,dried by heat. But the "house of wine" (So 2:4, Margin) favors "flagons"; the "new wine" of thekingdom, the Spirit of Jesus Christ.apples—from the tree (So 2:3), so sweet to her, the promises of God.sick of love—the highest degree of sensible enjoyment that can be attained here. It may be atan early or late stage of experience. Paul (2Co 12:7). In the last sickness of J. Welch, he wasoverheard saying, "Lord, hold thine hand, it is enough; thy servant is a clay vessel, and can holdno more" [Fleming, Fulfilling of the Scriptures]. In most cases this intensity of joy is reserved forthe heavenly banquet. Historically, Israel had it, when the Lord's glory filled the tabernacle, andafterwards the temple, so that the priests could not stand to minister: so in the Christian Church onPentecost. The bride addresses Christ mainly, though in her rapture she uses the plural, "Stay (ye)me," speaking generally. So far from asking the withdrawal of the manifestations which hadoverpowered her, she asks for more: so "fainteth for" (Ps 84:2): also Peter, on the mount oftransfiguration (Lu 9:33), "Let us make … not knowing what he said."6. The "stay" she prayed for (So 2:5) is granted (De 33:12, 27; Ps 37:24; Isa 41:16). None canpluck from that embrace (Joh 10:28-30). His hand keeps us from falling (Mt 14:30, 31); to it wemay commit ourselves (Ps 31:5).left hand—the left is the inferior hand, by which the Lord less signally manifests His love,than by the right; the secret hand of ordinary providence, as distinguished from that of manifestedgrace (the "right"). They really go together, though sometimes they seem divided; here both arefelt at once. Theodoret takes the left hand, equivalent to judgment and wrath; the right, equivalentto honor and love. The hand of justice no longer is lifted to smite, but is under the head of thebeliever to support (Isa 42:21); the hand of Jesus Christ pierced by justice for our sin supports us.The charge not to disturb the beloved occurs thrice: but the sentiment here, "His left hand," &c.,nowhere else fully; which accords with the intensity of joy (So 2:5) found nowhere else; in So 8:3,it is only conditional, "should embrace," not "doth."7. by the roes—not an oath but a solemn charge, to act as cautiously as the hunter would withthe wild roes, which are proverbially timorous; he must advance with breathless circumspection,if he is to take them; so he who would not lose Jesus Christ and His Spirit, which is easily grievedand withdrawn, must be tender of conscience and watchful (Eze 16:43; Eph 4:30; 5:15; 1Th 5:19).In Margin, title of Ps 22:1, Jesus Christ is called the "Hind of the morning," hunted to death by thedogs (compare So 2:8, 9, where He is represented as bounding on the hills, Ps 18:33). Here He isresting, but with a repose easily broken (Zep 3:17). It is thought a gross rudeness in the East toawaken one sleeping, especially a person of love—in Hebrew, feminine for masculine, the abstract for concrete, Jesus Christ being theembodiment of love itself (So 3:5; 8:7), where, as here, the context requires it to be applied to Him,1023JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonnot her. She too is "love" (So 7:6), for His love calls forth her love. Presumption in the convert isas grieving to the Spirit as despair. The lovingness and pleasantness of the hind and roe (Pr 5:19)is included in this image of Jesus Christ.Canticle II.—(So 2:8-3:5)—John the Baptist's Ministry.8. voice—an exclamation of joyful surprise, evidently after a long silence. The restlessness ofsin and fickleness in her had disturbed His rest with her, which she had professed not to wishdisturbed "till He should please." He left her, but in sovereign grace unexpectedly heralds Hisreturn. She awakes, and at once recognizes His voice (1Sa 3:9, 10; Joh 10:4); her sleep is not sosinfully deep as in So 5:2.leaping—bounding, as the roe does, over the roughest obstacles (2Sa 2:18; 1Ch 12:8); as thefather of the prodigal "had compassion and ran" (Lu 15:20).upon the hills—as the sunbeams glancing from hill to hill. So Margin, title of Jesus Christ (Ps22:1), "Hind of the morning" (type of His resurrection). Historically, the coming of the kingdomof heaven (the gospel dispensation), announced by John Baptist, is meant; it primarily is the gardenor vineyard; the bride is called so in a secondary sense. "The voice" of Jesus Christ is indirect,through "the friend of the bridegroom" (Joh 3:29), John the Baptist. Personally, He is silent duringJohn's ministration, who awoke the long slumbering Church with the cry. "Every hill shall be madelow," in the spirit of Elias, on the "rent mountains" (1Ki 19:11; compare Isa 52:7). Jesus Christ isimplied as coming with intense desire (Lu 22:15; Heb 10:7), disregarding the mountain hindrancesraised by man's sin.9. he standeth—after having bounded over the intervening space like a roe. He often standsnear when our unbelief hides Him from us (Ge 28:16; Re 3:14-20). His usual way; long promisedand expected; sudden at last: so, in visiting the second temple (Mal 3:1); so at Pentecost (Ac 2:1,2); so in visiting an individual soul, Zaccheus (Lu 19:5, 6; Joh 3:8); and so, at the second coming(Mt 24:48, 50; 2Pe 3:4, 10). So it shall be at His second coming (1Th 5:2, 3).wall—over the cope of which He is first seen; next, He looks through (not forth; for He isoutside) at the windows, glancing suddenly and stealthily (not as English Version, "showingHimself") through the lattice. The prophecies, types, &c., were lattice glimpses of Him to the OldTestament Church, in spite of the wall of separation which sin had raised (Joh 8:56); clearer glimpseswere given by John Baptist, but not unclouded (Joh 1:26). The legal wall of partition was not to beremoved until His death (Eph 2:14, 15; Heb 10:20). Even now, He is only seen by faith, throughthe windows of His Word and the lattice of ordinances and sacraments (Lu 24:35; Joh 14:21); notfull vision (1Co 13:12); an incentive to our looking for His second coming (Isa 33:17; Tit 2:13).10, 11. Loving reassurance given by Jesus Christ to the bride, lest she should think that He hadceased to love her, on account of her unfaithfulness, which had occasioned His temporary withdrawal.He allures her to brighter than worldly joys (Mic 2:10). Not only does the saint wish to depart tobe with Him, but He still more desires to have the saint with Him above (Joh 17:24). Historically,the vineyard or garden of the King, here first introduced, is "the kingdom of heaven preached" byJohn the Baptist, before whom "the law and the prophets were" (Lu 16:16).11. the winter—the law of the covenant of works (Mt 4:16).rain is over—(Heb 12:18-24; 1Jo 2:8). Then first the Gentile Church is called "beloved, whichwas not beloved" (Ro 9:25). So "the winter" of estrangement and sin is "past" to the believer (Isa44:22; Jer 50:20; 2Co 5:17; Eph 2:1). The rising "Sun of righteousness" dispels the "rain" (2Sa23:4; Ps 126:5; Mal 4:2). The winter in Palestine is past by April, but all the showers were not over1024JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesontill May. The time described here is that which comes directly after these last showers of winter.In the highest sense, the coming resurrection and deliverance of the earth from the past curse ishere implied (Ro 8:19; Re 21:4; 22:3). No more "clouds" shall then "return after the rain" (Ec 12:2;Re 4:3; compare Ge 9:13-17); "the rainbow round the throne" is the "token" of this.12. flowers—tokens of anger past, and of grace come. "The summoned bride is welcome," saysome fathers, "to weave from them garlands of beauty, wherewith she may adorn herself to meetthe King." Historically, the flowers, &c., only give promise; the fruit is not ripe yet; suitable to thepreaching of John the Baptist, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand"; not yet fully come.the time of … singing—the rejoicing at the advent of Jesus Christ. Gregory Nyssenus refers thevoice of the turtledove to John the Baptist. It with the olive branch announced to Noah that "therain was over and gone" (Ge 8:11). So John the Baptist, spiritually. Its plaintive "voice" answersto his preaching of repentance (Jer 8:6, 7). Vulgate and Septuagint translate, "The time of pruning,"namely, spring (Joh 15:2). The mention of the "turtle's" cooing better accords with our text. Theturtledove is migratory (Jer 8:7), and "comes" early in May; emblem of love, and so of the HolyGhost. Love, too, shall be the keynote of the "new song" hereafter (Isa 35:10; Re 1:5; 14:3; 19:6).In the individual believer now, joy and love are here set forth in their earlier manifestations (Mr4:28).13. putteth forth—rather, "ripens," literally, "makes red" [Maurer]. The unripe figs, which growin winter, begin to ripen in early spring, and in June are fully matured [Weiss].vines with the tender grape—rather, "the vines in flower," literally, "a flower," in appositionwith "vines" [Maurer]. The vine flowers were so sweet that they were often put, when dried, intonew wine to give it flavor. Applicable to the first manifestations of Jesus Christ, "the true Vine,"both to the Church and to individuals; as to Nathanael under the fig tree (Joh 1:48).Arise, &c.—His call, described by the bride, ends as it began (So 2:10); it is a consistent whole;"love" from first to last (Isa 52:1, 2; 2Co 6:17, 18). "Come," in the close of Re 22:17, as at Hisearlier manifestation (Mt 11:28).14. dove—here expressing endearment (Ps 74:19). Doves are noted for constant attachment;emblems, also, in their soft, plaintive note, of softened penitents (Isa 59:11; Eze 7:16); other pointsof likeness are their beauty; "their wings covered with silver and gold" (Ps 68:13), typifying thechange in the converted; the dove-like spirit, breathed into the saint by the Holy Ghost, whoseemblem is the dove; the messages of peace from God to sinful men, as Noah's dove, with the olivebranch (Ge 8:11), intimated that the flood of wrath was past; timidity, fleeing with fear from sinand self to the cleft Rock of Ages (Isa 26:4, Margin; Ho 11:11); gregarious, flocking together tothe kingdom of Jesus Christ (Isa 60:8); harmless simplicity (Mt 10:16).clefts—the refuge of doves from storm and heat (Jer 48:28; see Jer 49:16). Gesenius translatesthe Hebrew from a different root, "the refuges." But see, for "clefts," Ex 33:18-23. It is only whenwe are in Christ Jesus that our "voice is sweet (in prayer, So 4:3, 11; Mt 10:20; Ga 4:6, because itis His voice in us; also in speaking of Him, Mal 3:16); and our countenance comely" (Ex 34:29;Ps 27:5; 71:3; Isa 33:16; 2Co 3:18).stairs—(Eze 38:20, Margin), a steep rock, broken into stairs or terraces. It is in "secret places"and rugged scenes that Jesus Christ woos the soul from the world to Himself (Mic 2:10; 7:14). SoJacob amid the stones of Beth-el (Ge 28:11-19); Moses at Horeb (Ex 3:1-22); so Elijah (1Ki 19:9-13);Jesus Christ with the three disciples on a "high mountain apart," at the transfiguration (Mt 17:1);John in Patmos (Re 1:9). "Of the eight beatitudes, five have an afflicted condition for their subject.1025JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonAs long as the waters are on the earth, we dwell in the ark; but when the land is dry, the dove itselfwill be tempted to wander" [Jeremy Taylor]. Jesus Christ does not invite her to leave the rock, but init (Himself), yet in holy freedom to lay aside the timorous spirit, look up boldly as accepted in Him,pray, praise, and confess Him (in contrast to her shrinking from being looked at, So 1:6), (Eph 6:19;Heb 13:15; 1Jo 4:18); still, though trembling, the voice and countenance of the soul in Jesus Christare pleasant to Him. The Church found no cleft in the Sinaitic legal rock, though good in itself,wherein to hide; but in Jesus Christ stricken by God for us, as the rock smitten by Moses (Nu 20:11),there is a hiding-place (Isa 32:2). She praised His "voice" (So 2:8, 10); it is thus that her voice also,though tremulous, is "sweet" to Him here.15. Transition to the vineyard, often formed in "stairs" (So 2:14), or terraces, in which, amidstthe vine leaves, foxes hid.foxes—generic term, including jackals. They eat only grapes, not the vine flowers; but theyneed to be driven out in time before the grape is ripe. She had failed in watchfulness before (So1:6); now when converted, she is the more jealous of subtle sins (Ps 139:23). In spiritual wintercertain evils are frozen up, as well as good; in the spring of revivals these start up unperceived,crafty, false teachers, spiritual pride, uncharitableness, &c. (Ps 19:12; Mt 13:26; Lu 8:14; 2Ti 2:17;Heb 12:15). "Little" sins are parents of the greatest (Ec 10:1; 1Co 5:6). Historically, John the Baptistspared not the fox-like Herod (Lu 13:32), who gave vine-like promise of fruit at first (Mr 6:20), atthe cost of his life; nor the viper-Sadducees, &c.; nor the varied subtle forms of sin (Lu 3:7-14).16. mine … his—rather, "is for me … for Him" (Ho 3:3), where, as here, there is the assuranceof indissoluble union, in spite of temporary absence. So 2:17, entreating Him to return, shows thatHe has gone, perhaps through her want of guarding against the "little sins" (So 2:15). The order ofthe clauses is reversed in So 6:3, when she is riper in faith: there she rests more on her being His;here, on His being hers; and no doubt her sense of love to Him is a pledge that she is His (Joh14:21, 23; 1Co 8:3); this is her consolation in His withdrawal now.I am his—by creation (Ps 100:3), by redemption (Joh 17:10; Ro 14:8; 1Co 6:19).feedeth—as a "roe," or gazelle (So 2:17); instinct is sure to lead him back to his feeding ground,where the lilies abound. So Jesus Christ, though now withdrawn, the bride feels sure will return toHis favorite resting-place (So 7:10; Ps 132:14). So hereafter (Re 21:3). Ps 45:1, title, terms hislovely bride's "lilies" [Hengstenberg] pure and white, though among thorns (So 2:2).17. Night—is the image of the present world (Ro 13:12). "Behold men as if dwelling insubterranean cavern" [Plato, Republic, 7.1].Until—that is, "Before that," &c.break—rather, "breathe"; referring to the refreshing breeze of dawn in the East; or to the airof life, which distinguishes morning from the death-like stillness of night. Maurer takes this verseof the approach of night, when the breeze arises after the heat of day (compare Ge 3:8, Margin,with Ge 18:1), and the "shadows" are lost in night (Ps 102:11); thus our life will be the day; death,the night (Joh 9:4). The English Version better accords with (So 3:1). "By night" (Ro 13:12).turn—to me.Bether—Mountains of Bithron, separated from the rest of Israel by the Jordan (2Sa 2:29), notfar from Bethabara, where John baptized and Jesus was first manifested. Rather, as Margin, "ofdivisions," and Septuagint, mountains intersected with deep gaps, hard to pass over, separating thebride and Jesus Christ. In So 8:14 the mountains are of spices, on which the roe feeds, not ofseparation; for at His first coming He had to overpass the gulf made by sin between Him and us1026JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson(Zec 4:6, 7); in His second, He will only have to come down from the fragrant hill above to takehome His prepared bride. Historically, in the ministry of John the Baptist, Christ's call to the bridewas not, as later (So 4:8), "Come with me," but "Come away," namely, to meet Me (So 2:2, 10,13). Sitting in darkness (Mt 4:16), she "waited" and "looked" eagerly for Him, the "great light" (Lu1:79; 2:25, 38); at His rising, the shadows of the law (Col 2:16, 17; Heb 10:1) were to "flee away."So we wait for the second coming, when means of grace, so precious now, shall be superseded bythe Sun of righteousness (1Co 13:10, 12; Re 21:22, 23). The Word is our light until then (2Pe 1:19).CHAPTER 3So 3:1-11.1. By night—literally, "By nights." Continuation of the longing for the dawn of the Messiah(So 2:17; Ps 130:6; Mal 4:2). The spiritual desertion here (So 2:17; 3:5) is not due to indifference,as in So 5:2-8. "As nights and dews are better for flowers than a continual sun, so Christ's absence(at times) giveth sap to humility, and putteth an edge on hunger, and furnisheth a fair field to faithto put forth itself" [Rutherford]. Contrast So 1:13; Ps 30:6, 7.on … bed—the secret of her failure (Isa 64:7; Jer 29:13; Am 6:1, 4; Ho 7:14).loveth—no want of sincerity, but of diligence, which she now makes up for by leaving her bedto seek Him (Ps 22:2; 63:8; Isa 26:9; Joh 20:17). Four times (So 3:1-4) she calls Jesus Christ, "Himwhom my soul loveth," designating Him as absent; language of desire: "He loved me," would belanguage of present fruition (Re 1:5). In questioning the watchmen (So 3:3), she does not evenname Him, so full is her heart of Him. Having found Him at dawn (for throughout He is the morning),she charges the daughters not to abridge by intrusion the period of His stay. Compare as to thethoughtful seeking for Jesus Christ in the time of John the Baptist, in vain at first, but presentlyafter successful (Lu 3:15-22; Joh 1:19-34).found him not—Oh, for such honest dealings with ourselves (Pr 25:14; Jude 12)!2. Wholly awake for God (Lu 14:18-20; Eph 5:14). "An honest resolution is often to (the doingof) duty, like a needle that draws the thread after it" [Durham]. Not a mere wish, that counts not thecost—to leave her easy bed, and wander in the dark night seeking Him (Pr 13:4; Mt 21:30; Lu14:27-33).the city—Jerusalem, literally (Mt 3:5; Joh 1:19), and spiritually the Church here (Heb 12:22),in glory (Re 21:2).broad ways—open spaces at the gates of Eastern cities, where the public assembled for business.So, the assemblies of worshippers (So 8:2, 3; Pr 1:20-23; Heb 10:25). She had in her first awakeningshrunk from them, seeking Jesus Christ alone; but she was desired to seek the footsteps of the flock(So 1:8), so now in her second trial she goes forth to them of herself. "The more the soul grows ingrace, and the less it leans on ordinances, the more it prizes and profits by them" [Moody Stuart] (Ps73:16, 17).found him not—Nothing short of Jesus Christ can satisfy her (Job 23:8-10; Ps 63:1, 2).3. watchmen—ministers (Isa 62:6; Jer 6:17; Eze 3:17; Heb 13:17), fit persons to consult (Isa21:11; Mal 2:7).found me—the general ministry of the Word "finds" individually souls in quest of Jesus Christ(Ge 24:27, end of verse Ac 16:14); whereas formalists remain unaffected.1027JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson4. Jesus Christ is generally "found" near the watchmen and means of grace; but they are notHimself; the star that points to Beth-lehem is not the Sun that has risen there; she hastens past theguideposts to the goal [Moody Stuart]. Not even angels could satisfy Mary, instead of Jesus Christ(Joh 20:11-16).found him—(Isa 45:19; Ho 6:1-3; Mt 13:44-46).held him, &c.—willing to be held; not willing, if not held (Ge 32:26; Mt 28:9; Lu 24:28, 29;Re 3:11). "As a little weeping child will hold its mother fast, not because it is stronger than she,but because her bowels constrain her not to leave it; so Jesus Christ yearning over the believercannot go, because He will not" [Durham]. In So 1:4 it is He who leads the bride into His chambers;here it is she who leads Him into her mother's. There are times when the grace of Jesus Christ seemsto draw us to Him; and others, when we with strong cries draw Him to us and ours. In the East onelarge apartment often serves for the whole family; so the bride here speaks of her mother's apartmentand her own together. The mention of the "mother" excludes impropriety, and imparts the idea ofheavenly love, pure as a sister's, while ardent as a bride's; hence the frequent title, "mysister—spouse." Our mother after the Spirit, is the Church, the new Jerusalem (Joh 3:5-8; Ga 4:19,26); for her we ought to pray continually (Eph 3:14-19), also for the national Jerusalem (Isa 62:6,7; Ro 10:1), also for the human family, which is our mother and kindred after the flesh; these ourmother's children have evilly treated us (So 1:6); but, like our Father, we are to return good for evil(Mt 5:44, 45), and so bring Jesus Christ home to them (1Pe 2:12).5. So So 2:7; but there it was for the non-interruption of her own fellowship with Jesus Christthat she was anxious; here it is for the not grieving of the Holy Ghost, on the part of the daughtersof Jerusalem. Jealously avoid levity, heedlessness, and offenses which would mar the graciouswork begun in others (Mt 18:7; Ac 2:42, 43; Eph 4:30).Canticle III.—(So 3:6-5:1)—The Bridegroom with the Bride.Historically, the ministry of Jesus Christ on earth.6. New scene (So 3:6-11). The friends of the Bridegroom see a cortege approach. His palanquinand guard.cometh out—rather, "up from"; the wilderness was lower than Jerusalem [Maurer].pillars of smoke—from the perfumes burned around Him and His bride. Image from Israeland the tabernacle (answering to "bed," So 3:7) marching through the desert with the pillar of smokeby day and fire by night (Ex 14:20), and the pillars of smoke ascending from the altars of incenseand of atonement; so Jesus Christ's righteousness, atonement, and ever-living intercession. Balaam,the last representative of patriarchism, was required to curse the Jewish Church, just as it afterwardswould not succumb to Christianity without a struggle (Nu 22:41), but he had to bless in languagelike that here (Nu 24:5, 6). Angels too joyfully ask the same question, when Jesus Christ with thetabernacle of His body (answering to "His bed," So 3:7; Joh 1:14, "dwelt," Greek "tabernacled,"Joh 2:21) ascends into heaven (Ps 24:8-10); also when they see His glorious bride with Him (Ps68:18; Re 7:13-17). Encouragement to her; amid the darkest trials (So 3:1), she is still on the roadto glory (So 3:11) in a palanquin "paved with love" (So 3:10); she is now in soul spiritually "coming,"exhaling the sweet graces, faith, love, joy, peace, prayer, and praise; (the fire is lighted within, the"smoke" is seen without, Ac 4:13); it is in the desert of trial (So 3:1-3) she gets them; she is the"merchant" buying from Jesus Christ without money or price (Isa 55:1; Re 3:18); just as myrrh andfrankincense are got, not in Egypt, but in the Arabian sands and the mountains of Palestine. Hereaftershe shall "come" (So 3:6, 11) in a glorified body, too (Php 3:21). Historically, Jesus Christ returning1028JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonfrom the wilderness, full of the Holy Ghost (Lu 4:1, 14). The same, "Who is this," &c. (Isa 63:1,5).7. In So 3:6 the wilderness character of the Church is portrayed; in So 3:7, 8, its militant aspect.In So 3:9, 10, Jesus Christ is seen dwelling in believers, who are His "chariot" and "body." In So3:11, the consummation in glory.bed—palanquin. His body, literally, guarded by a definite number of angels, threescore, orsixty (Mt 26:53), from the wilderness (Mt 4:1, 11), and continually (Lu 2:13; 22:43; Ac 1:10, 11);just as six hundred thousand of Israel guarded the Lord's tabernacle (Nu 2:17-32), one for everyten thousand. In contrast to the "bed of sloth" (So 3:1).valiant—(Jos 5:13, 14). Angels guarding His tomb used like words (Mr 16:6).of Israel—true subjects, not mercenaries.8. hold—not actually grasping them, but having them girt on the thigh ready for use, like theirLord (Ps 45:3). So believers too are guarded by angels (Ps 91:11; Heb 1:14), and they themselvesneed "every man" (Ne 4:18) to be armed (Ps 144:1, 2; 2Co 10:4; Eph 6:12, 17; 1Ti 6:12), and"expert" (2Co 2:11).because of fear in the night—Arab marauders often turn a wedding into mourning by a nightattack. So the bridal procession of saints in the night of this wilderness is the chief object of Satan'sassault.9. chariot—more elaborately made than the "bed" or travelling litter (So 3:7), from a Hebrewroot, "to elaborate" [Ewald]. So the temple of "cedar of Lebanon," as compared with the temporarytabernacle of shittim wood (2Sa 7:2, 6, 7; 1Ki 5:14; 6:15-18), Jesus Christ's body is the antitype,"made" by the Father for Him (1Co 1:30; Heb 10:5), the wood answering to His human nature, thegold, His divine; the two being but one Christ.10. pillars—supporting the canopy at the four corners; curtains at the side protect the personwithin from the sun. Pillars with silver sockets supported the veil that enclosed the holy of holies;emblem of Jesus Christ's strength (1Ki 7:21), Margin, "silver," emblem of His purity (Ps 12:6); sothe saints hereafter (Re 3:12).bottom—rather, "the back for resting or reclining on" (Vulgate and Septuagint) [Maurer]. Sothe floor and mercy seat, the resting-place of God (Ps 132:14) in the temple, was gold (1Ki 6:30).covering—rather, "seat," as in Le 15:9. Hereafter the saints shall share His seat (Re 3:21).purple—the veil of the holiest, partly purple, and the purple robe put on Jesus Christ, accordwith English Version, "covering." "Purple" (including scarlet and crimson) is the emblem of royalty,and of His blood; typified by the passover lamb's blood, and the wine when the twelve sat orreclined at the Lord's table.paved—translated, like mosaic pavement, with the various acts and promises of love of Father,Son, and Holy Ghost (Zep 3:17; 1Jo 4:8, 16), in contrast with the tables of stone in the "midst" ofthe ark, covered with writings of stern command (compare Joh 19:13); this is all grace and love tobelievers, who answer to "the daughters of Jerusalem" (Joh 1:17). The exterior silver and gold,cedar, purple, and guards, may deter, but when the bride enters within, she rests on a pavement oflove.11. Go forth—(Mt 25:6).daughters of Zion—spirits of saints, and angels (Isa 61:10; Zec 9:9).crown—nuptial (Eze 16:8-12), (the Hebrews wore costly crowns or chaplets at weddings), andkingly (Ps 2:6; Re 19:12). The crown of thorns was once His nuptial chaplet, His blood the wedding1029JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwine cup (Joh 19:5). "His mother," that so crowned Him, is the human race, for He is "the Son ofman," not merely the son of Mary. The same mother reconciled to Him (Mt 12:50), as the Church,travails in birth for souls, which she presents to Him as a crown (Php 4:1; Re 4:10). Not beingashamed to call the children brethren (Heb 2:11-14), He calls their mother His mother (Ps 22:9;Ro 8:29; Re 12:1, 2).behold—(2Th 1:10).day of his espousals—chiefly the final marriage, when the number of the elect is complete (Re6:11).gladness—(Ps 45:15; Isa 62:5; Re 19:7). Moody Stuart observes as to this Canticle (So 3:6-5:1),the center of the Book, these characteristics: (1) The bridegroom takes the chief part, whereaselsewhere the bride is the chief speaker. (2) Elsewhere He is either "King" or "Solomon"; here Heis twice called "King Solomon." The bride is six times here called the "spouse"; never so before orafter; also "sister" four times, and, except in the first verse of the next Canticle [So 5:2], nowhereelse. (3) He and she are never separate; no absence, no complaint, which abound elsewhere, are inthis Canticle.CHAPTER 4So 4:1-16.1. Contrast with the bride's state by nature (Isa 1:6) her state by grace (So 4:1-7), "perfectthrough His comeliness put upon her" (Eze 16:14; Joh 15:3). The praise of Jesus Christ, unlike thatof the world, hurts not, but edifies; as His, not ours, is the glory (Joh 5:44; Re 4:10, 11). Sevenfeatures of beauty are specified (So 4:1-5) ("lips" and "speech" are but one feature, So 4:3), thenumber for perfection. To each of these is attached a comparison from nature: the resemblancesconsist not so much in outward likeness, as in the combined sensations of delight produced bycontemplating these natural objects.doves'—the large melting eye of the Syrian dove appears especially beautiful amid the foliageof its native groves: so the bride's "eyes within her locks" (Lu 7:44). Maurer for "locks," has "veil";but locks suit the connection better: so the Hebrew is translated (Isa 47:2). The dove was the onlybird counted "clean" for sacrifice. Once the heart was "the cage of every unclean and hateful bird."Grace makes the change.eyes—(Mt 6:22; Eph 1:18; contrast Mt 5:28; Eph 4:18; 1Jo 2:16). Chaste and guileless("harmless," Mt 10:16, Margin; Joh 1:47). John the Baptist, historically, was the "turtledove" (So2:12), with eye directed to the coming Bridegroom: his Nazarite unshorn hair answers to "locks"(Joh 1:29, 36).hair … goats—The hair of goats in the East is fine like silk. As long hair is her glory, andmarks her subjection to man (1Co 11:6-15), so the Nazarite's hair marked his subjection andseparation unto God. (Compare Jud 16:17, with 2Co 6:17; Tit 2:14; 1Pe 2:9). Jesus Christ caresfor the minutest concerns of His saints (Mt 10:30).appear from—literally, "that lie down from"; lying along the hillside, they seem to hang fromit: a picture of the bride's hanging tresses.Gilead—beyond Jordan: there stood "the heap of witness" (Ge 31:48).1030JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson2. even shorn—the Hebrew is translated (1Ki 6:25), "of one size"; so the point of comparisonto teeth is their symmetry of form; as in "came up from the washing," the spotless whiteness; andin "twins," the exact correspondence of the upper and lower teeth: and in "none barren," nonewanting, none without its fellow. Faith is the tooth with which we eat the living bread (Joh 6:35,54). Contrast the teeth of sinners (Ps 57:4; Pr 30:14); also their end (Ps 3:7; Mt 25:30). Faith leadsthe flock to the washing (Zec 13:1; 1Co 6:11; Tit 3:5).none … barren—(2Pe 1:8). He who is begotten of God begets instrumentally other sons ofGod.3. thread—like a delicate fillet. Not thick and white as the leper's lips (type of sin), which weretherefore to be "covered," as "unclean" (Le 13:45).scarlet—The blood of Jesus Christ (Isa 6:5-9) cleanses the leprosy, and unseals the lips (Isa57:19; Ho 14:2; Heb 13:15). Rahab's scarlet thread was a type of it (Jos 2:18).speech—not a separate feature from the lips (Zep 3:9; Col 4:6). Contrast "uncircumcised lips"(Ex 6:12). Maurer and Burrowes translate, "thy mouth."temples—rather, the upper part of the cheek next the temples: the seat of shamefacedness; so,"within thy locks," no display (1Co 11:5, 6, 15). Mark of true penitence (Ezr 9:6; Eze 16:63).Contrast Jer 3:3; Eze 3:7.pomegranate—When cut, it displays in rows seeds pellucid, like crystal, tinged with red. Hermodesty is not on the surface, but within, which Jesus Christ can see into.4. neck—stately: in beautiful contrast to the blushing temples (So 4:3); not "stiff" (Isa 48:4;Ac 7:51), as that of unbroken nature; nor "stretched forth" wantonly (Isa 3:16); nor burdened withthe legal yoke (La 1:14; Ac 15:10); but erect in gospel freedom (Isa 52:2).tower of David—probably on Zion. He was a man of war, preparatory to the reign of Solomon,the king of peace. So warfare in the case of Jesus Christ and His saints precedes the coming rest.Each soul won from Satan by Him is a trophy gracing the bride (Lu 11:22); (each hangs on Him,Isa 22:23, 24); also each victory of her faith. As shields adorn a temple's walls (Eze 27:11), sonecklaces hang on the bride's neck (Jud 5:30; 1Ki 10:16).5. breasts—The bust is left open in Eastern dress. The breastplate of the high priest was madeof "two" pieces, folded one on the other, in which were the Urim and Thummim (lights andperfection). "Faith and love" are the double breastplate (1Th 5:8), answering to "hearing the word"and "keeping it," in a similar connection with breasts (Lu 12:27, 28).roes—He reciprocates her praise (So 2:9). Emblem of love and satisfaction (Pr 5:19).feed—(Ps 23:2).among the lilies—shrinking from thorns of strife, worldliness, and ungodliness (2Sa 23:6; Mt13:7). Roes feed among, not on the lilies: where these grow, there is moisture producing greenpasturage. The lilies represent her white dress (Ps 45:14; Re 19:8).6. Historically, the hill of frankincense is Calvary, where, "through the eternal Spirit He offeredHimself"; the mountain of myrrh is His embalmment (Joh 19:39) till the resurrection "daybreak."The third Canticle occupies the one cloudless day of His presence on earth, beginning from thenight (So 2:17) and ending with the night of His departure (So 4:6). His promise is almost exactlyin the words of her prayer (So 2:17), (the same Holy Ghost breathing in Jesus Christ and His prayingpeople), with the difference that she then looked for His visible coming. He now tells her that whenHe shall have gone from sight, He still is to be met with spiritually in prayer (Ps 68:16; Mt 28:20),until the everlasting day break, when we shall see face to face (1Co 13:10, 12).1031JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson7. Assurance that He is going from her in love, not in displeasure (Joh 16:6, 7).all fair—still stronger than So 1:15; So spot—our privilege (Eph 5:27; Col 2:10); our duty (2Co 6:17; Jude 23; Jas 1:27).8. Invitation to her to leave the border mountains (the highest worldly elevation) between thehostile lands north of Palestine and the Promised Land (Ps 45:10; Php 3:13).Amana—south of Anti-Libanus; the river Abana, or Amana, was near Damascus (2Ki 5:12).Shenir—The whole mountain was called Hermon; the part held by the Sidonians was calledSirion; the part held by the Amorites, Shenir (De 3:9). Infested by the devouring lion and the stealthyand swift leopard (Ps 76:4; Eph 6:11; 1Pe 5:8). Contrasted with the mountain of myrrh, &c. (So4:6; Isa 2:2); the good land (Isa 35:9).with me—twice repeated emphatically. The presence of Jesus Christ makes up for the absenceof all besides (Lu 18:29, 30; 2Co 6:10). Moses was permitted to see Canaan from Pisgah; Peter,James, and John had a foretaste of glory on the mount of transfiguration.9. sister … spouse—This title is here first used, as He is soon about to institute the Supper, thepledge of the nuptial union. By the term "sister," carnal ideas are excluded; the ardor of a spouse'slove is combined with the purity of a sister's (Isa 54:5; compare Mr 3:35).one—Even one look is enough to secure His love (Zec 12:10; Lu 23:40-43). Not merely theChurch collectively, but each one member of it (Mt 18:10, 14; Lu 15:7, 24, 32).chain—necklace (Isa 62:3; Mal 3:17), answering to the "shields" hanging in the tower of David(So 4:4). Compare the "ornament" (1Pe 3:4); "chains" (Pr 1:9; 3:22).10. love—Hebrew, "loves"; manifold tokens of thy love.much better—answering to her "better" (So 1:2), but with increased force. An Amoebeanpastoral character pervades the Song, like the classic Amoebean idylls and—The love of His saints is a more reviving cordial to Him than wine; for example, at thefeast in Simon's house (Lu 7:36, 47; Joh 4:32; compare Zec 10:7).smell of … ointments than all spices—answering to her praise (So 1:3) with increased force.Fragrant, as being fruits of His Spirit in us (Ga 5:22).11. drop—always ready to fall, being full of honey, though not always (Pr 10:19) actuallydropping (So 5:13; De 32:2; Mt 12:34).honeycomb—(Pr 5:3; 16:24).under thy tongue—not always on, but under, the tongue, ready to fall (Ps 55:21). Contrast herformer state (Ps 140:3; Ro 3:13). "Honey and milk" were the glory of the good land. The changeis illustrated in the penitent thief. Contrast Mt 27:44 with Lu 23:39, &c. It was literally with "one"eye, a sidelong glance of love "better than wine," that he refreshed Jesus Christ (So 4:9, 10). "To-dayshalt thou be with Me (compare So 4:8) in Paradise" (So 4:12), is the only joyous sentence of Hisseven utterances on the cross.smell of … garments—which are often perfumed in the East (Ps 45:8). The perfume comesfrom Him on us (Ps 133:2). We draw nigh to God in the perfumed garment of our elder brother(Ge 27:27; see Jude 23).Lebanon—abounding in odoriferous trees (Ho 14:5-7).12. The Hebrew has no "is." Here she is distinct from the garden (So 5:1), yet identified withit (So 4:16) as being one with Him in His sufferings. Historically the Paradise, into which the soulof Jesus Christ entered at death; and the tomb of Joseph, in which His body was laid amid "myrrh,"&c. (So 4:6), situated in a nicely kept garden (compare "gardener," Joh 20:15); "sealed" with a1032JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonstone (Mt 27:66); in which it resembles "wells" in the East (Ge 29:3, 8). It was in a garden of lightAdam fell; in a garden of darkness, Gethsemane, and chiefly that of the tomb, the second Adamretrieved us. Spiritually the garden is the gospel kingdom of heaven. Here all is ripe; previously(So 2:13) it was "the tender grape." The garden is His, though He calls the plants hers (So 4:13)by His gift (Isa 61:3, end).spring … fountain—Jesus Christ (Joh 4:10) sealed, while He was in the sealed tomb: it pouredforth its full tide on Pentecost (Joh 7:37-39). Still He is a sealed fountain until the Holy Ghost opensit to one (1Co 12:3). The Church also is "a garden enclosed" (Ps 4:3; Isa 5:1, &c.). Contrast Ps80:9-12. So "a spring" (Isa 27:3; 58:11); "sealed" (Eph 4:30; 2Ti 2:19). As wives in the East aresecluded from public gaze, so believers (Ps 83:3; Col 3:3). Contrast the open streams which "passaway" (Job 6:15-18; 2Pe 2:17).13. orchard—Hebrew, "a paradise," that is, a pleasure-ground and orchard. Not only flowers,but fruit trees (Joh 15:8; Php 1:11).camphire—not camphor (So 1:14), hennah, or cypress blooms.14. calamus—"sweet cane" (Ex 30:23; Jer 6:20).myrrh and aloes—Ointments are associated with His death, as well as with feasts (Joh 12:7).The bride's ministry of "myrrh and aloes" is recorded (Joh 19:39).15. of—This pleasure-ground is not dependent on mere reservoirs; it has a fountain sufficientto water many "gardens" (plural).living—(Jer 17:8; Joh 4:13, 14; 7:38, 39).from Lebanon—Though the fountain is lowly, the source is lofty; fed by the perpetual snowsof Lebanon, refreshingly cool (Jer 18:14), fertilizing the gardens of Damascus. It springs uponearth; its source is heaven. It is now not "sealed," but open "streams" (Re 22:17).16. Awake—literally, "arise." All besides is ready; one thing alone is wanted—the breath ofGod. This follows rightly after His death (So 6:12; Ac 2:1-4). It is His call to the Spirit to come(Joh 14:16); in Joh 3:8, compared to "the wind"; quickening (Joh 6:63; Eze 27:9). Saints offer thesame prayer (Ps 85:6; Hab 3:2). The north wind "awakes," or arises strongly, namely, the HolyGhost as a reprover (Joh 16:8-11); the south wind "comes" gently, namely, the Holy Ghost as thecomforter (Joh 14:16). The west wind brings rain from the sea (1Ki 18:44, 45; Lu 12:54). The eastwind is tempestuous (Job 27:21; Isa 27:8) and withering (Ge 41:23). These, therefore, are notwanted; but first the north wind clearing the air (Job 37:22; Pr 25:23), and then the warm southwind (Job 37:17); so the Holy Ghost first clearing away mists of gloom, error, unbelief, sin, whichintercept the light of Jesus Christ, then infusing spiritual warmth (2Co 4:6), causing the graces toexhale their odor.Let my beloved, &c.—the bride's reply. The fruit was now at length ripe; the last passover,which He had so desired, is come (Lu 22:7, 15, 16, 18), the only occasion in which He took chargeof the preparations.his—answering to Jesus Christ's "My." She owns that the garden is His, and the fruits in her,which she does not in false humility deny (Ps 66:16; Ac 21:19; 1Co 15:10) are His (Joh 15:8; Php1:11).CHAPTER 51033JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonSo 5:1-16.1. Answer to her prayer (Isa 65:24; Re 3:20).am come—already (So 4:16); "come" (Ge 28:16).sister … spouse—As Adam's was created of his flesh, out of his opened side, there being noneon earth on a level with him, so the bride out of the pierced Saviour (Eph 5:30-32).have gathered … myrrh—His course was already complete; the myrrh, &c. (Mt 2:11; 26:7-12;Joh 19:39), emblems of the indwelling of the anointing Holy Ghost, were already gathered.spice—literally, "balsam."have eaten—answering to her "eat" (So 4:16).honeycomb—distinguished here from liquid "honey" dropping from trees. The last supper,here set forth, is one of espousal, a pledge of the future marriage (So 8:14; Re 19:9). Feasts oftentook place in gardens. In the absence of sugar, then unknown, honey was more widely used thanwith us. His eating honey with milk indicates His true, yet spotless, human nature from infancy(Isa 7:15); and after His resurrection (Lu 24:42).my wine—(Joh 18:11)—a cup of wrath to Him, of mercy to us, whereby God's Word andpromises become to us "milk" (Ps 19:10; 1Pe 2:2). "My" answers to "His" (So 4:16). The myrrh(emblem, by its bitterness, of repentance), honey, milk (incipient faith), wine (strong faith), inreference to believers, imply that He accepts all their graces, however various in—He desires to make us partakers in His joy (Isa 55:1, 2; Joh 6:53-57; 1Jo 1:3).drink abundantly—so as to be filled (Eph 5:18; as Hag 1:6).friends—(Joh 15:15).Canticle IV.—(So 5:2-8:4)—From the Agony of Gethsemane to the Conversion of Samaria.2. Sudden change of scene from evening to midnight, from a betrothal feast to cold repulse. Hehas gone from the feast alone; night is come; He knocks at the door of His espoused; she hears, butin sloth does not shake off half-conscious drowsiness; namely, the disciples' torpor (Mt 26:40-43),"the spirit willing, the flesh weak" (compare Ro 7:18-25; Ga 5:16, 17, 24). Not total sleep. Thelamp was burning beside the slumbering wise virgin, but wanted trimming (Mt 25:5-7). It is Hisvoice that rouses her (Jon 1:6; Eph 5:14; Re 3:20). Instead of bitter reproaches, He addresses herby the most endearing titles, "my sister, my love," &c. Compare His thought of Peter after thedenial (Mr 16:7).dew—which falls heavily in summer nights in the East (see Lu 9:58).drops of the night—(Ps 22:2; Lu 22:44). His death is not expressed, as unsuitable to theallegory, a song of love and joy; So 5:4 refers to the scene in the judgment hall of Caiaphas, whenJesus Christ employed the cock-crowing and look of love to awaken Peter's sleeping conscience,so that his "bowels were moved" (Lu 22:61, 62); So 5:5, 6, the disciples with "myrrh," &c. (Lu24:1, 5), seeking Jesus Christ in the tomb, but finding Him not, for He has "withdrawn Himself"(Joh 7:34; 13:33); So 5:7, the trials by watchmen extend through the whole night of His withdrawalfrom Gethsemane to the resurrection; they took off the "veil" of Peter's disguise; also, literally thelinen cloth from the young man (Mr 14:51); So 5:8, the sympathy of friends (Lu 23:27).undefiled—not polluted by spiritual adultery (Re 14:4; Jas 4:4).3. Trivial excuses (Lu 14:18).coat—rather, the inmost vest, next the skin, taken off before going to bed.washed … feet—before going to rest, for they had been soiled, from the Eastern custom ofwearing sandals, not shoes. Sloth (Lu 11:7) and despondency (De 7:17-19).1034JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson4. A key in the East is usually a piece of wood with pegs in it corresponding to small holes ina wooden bolt within, and is put through a hole in the door, and thus draws the bolt. So Jesus Christ"puts forth His hand (namely, His Spirit, Eze 3:14), by (Hebrew, 'from,' so in So 2:9) the hole"; in"chastening" (Ps 38:2; Re 3:14-22, singularly similar to this passage), and other unexpected waysletting Himself in (Lu 22:61, 62).bowels … moved for him—It is His which are first troubled for us, and which cause ours tobe troubled for Him (Jer 31:20; Ho 11:8).5. dropped with myrrh—The best proof a bride could give her lover of welcome was to anointherself (the back of the hands especially, as being the coolest part of the body) profusely with thebest perfumes (Ex 30:23; Es 2:12; Pr 7:17); "sweet-smelling" is in the Hebrew rather, "spontaneouslyexuding" from the tree, and therefore the best. She designed also to anoint Him, whose "head wasfilled with the drops of night" (Lu 24:1). The myrrh typifies bitter repentance, the fruit of the Spirit'sunction (2Co 1:21, 22).handles of the lock—sins which closed the heart against Him.6. withdrawn—He knocked when she was sleeping; for to have left her then would have endedin the death sleep; He withdraws now that she is roused, as she needs correction (Jer 2:17, 19), andcan appreciate and safely bear it now, which she could not then. "The strong He'll strongly try"(1Co 10:13).when he spake—rather, "because of His speaking"; at the remembrance of His tender words(Job 29:2, 3; Ps 27:13; 142:7), or till He should answer—(Job 23:3-9; 30:20; 34:29; La 3:44). Weak faith receives immediate comfort (Lu8:44, 47, 48); strong faith is tried with delay (Mt 15:22, 23).7. watchmen—historically, the Jewish priests, &c. (see on So 5:2); spiritually, ministers (Isa62:6; Heb 13:17), faithful in "smiting" (Psalm 141. 5), but (as she leaves them, {v.} 8) too harsh;or, perhaps, unfaithful; disliking her zeal wherewith she sought Jesus Christ, first, with spiritualprayer, "opening" her heart to Him, and then in charitable works "about the city"; miscalling itfanaticism (Isa 66:5), and taking away her veil (the greatest indignity to an Eastern lady), as thoughshe were positively immodest. She had before sought Him by night in the streets, under strongaffection (So 3:2-4), and so without rebuff from "the watchmen," found Him immediately; but nowafter sinful neglect, she encounters pain and delay. God forgives believers, but it is a serious thingto draw on His forgiveness; so the growing reserve of God towards Israel observable in Judges, asHis people repeat their demands on His grace.8. She turns from the unsympathizing watchmen to humbler persons, not yet themselves knowingHim, but in the way towards it. Historically, His secret friends in the night of His withdrawal (Lu23:27, 28). Inquirers may find ("if ye find") Jesus Christ before she who has grieved His Spirit findsHim again.tell—in prayer (Jas 5:16).sick of love—from an opposite cause (So 2:5) than through excess of delight at His presence;now excess of pain at His absence.9. Her own beauty (Eze 16:14), and lovesickness for Him, elicit now their enquiry (Mt 5:16);heretofore "other lords besides Him had dominion over them"; thus they had seen "no beauty inHim" (Isa 26:13; 53:2).10. (1Pe 3:15).1035JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwhite and ruddy—health and beauty. So David (equivalent to beloved), His forefather afterthe flesh, and type (1Sa 17:42). "The Lamb" is at once His nuptial and sacrificial name (1Pe 1:19;Re 19:7), characterized by white and red; white, His spotless manhood (Re 1:14). The Hebrew forwhite is properly "illuminated by the sun," white as the light" (compare Mt 17:2); red, in Hisblood-dyed garment as slain (Isa 63:1-3; Re 5:6; 19:13). Angels are white, not red; the blood ofmartyrs does not enter heaven; His alone is seen there.chiefest—literally, "a standard bearer"; that is, as conspicuous above all others, as a standardbearer is among hosts (Ps 45:7; 89:6; Isa 11:10; 55:4; Heb 2:10; compare 2Sa 18:3; Job 33:23; Php2:9-11; Re 1:5). The chief of sinners needs the "chiefest" of Saviours.11. head … gold—the Godhead of Jesus Christ, as distinguished from His heel, that is, Hismanhood, which was "bruised" by Satan; both together being one Christ (1Co 11:3). Also Hissovereignty, as Nebuchadnezzar, the supreme king was "the head of gold" (Da 2:32-38; Col 1:18),the highest creature, compared with Him, is brass, iron, and clay. "Preciousness" (Greek, 1Pe 2:7).bushy—curled, token of Headship. In contrast with her flowing locks (So 4:1), the token ofher subjection to Him (Ps 8:4-8; 1Co 11:3, 6-15). The Hebrew is (pendulous as) the branches of apalm, which, when in leaf, resemble waving plumes of—implying youth; no "gray hairs" (Ps 102:27; 110:3, 4; Ho 7:9). Jesus Christ was crucifiedin the prime of vigor and manliness. In heaven, on the other hand, His hair is "white," He beingthe Ancient of days (Da 7:9). These contrasts often concur in Him (So 5:10), "white and ruddy";here the "raven" (So 5:12), the "dove," as both with Noah in the ark (Ge 8:11); emblems of judgmentand mercy.12. as the eyes of doves—rather, "as doves" (Ps 68:13); bathing in "the rivers"; so combiningin their "silver" feathers the whiteness of milk with the sparkling brightness of the water tricklingover them (Mt 3:16). The "milk" may allude to the white around the pupil of the eye. The "waters"refer to the eye as the fountain of tears of sympathy (Eze 16:5, 6; Lu 19:41). Vivacity, purity, andlove, are the three features typified.fitly set—as a gem in a ring; as the precious stones in the high priest's breastplate. Rather,translate as Vulgate (the doves), sitting at the fulness of the stream; by the full stream; or, as Maurer(the eyes) set in fulness, not sunk in their sockets (Re 5:6), ("seven," expressing full perfection),(Zec 3:9; 4:10).13. cheeks—the seat of beauty, according to the Hebrew meaning [Gesenius]. Yet men smoteand spat on them (Isa 50:6).bed—full, like the raised surface of the garden bed; fragrant with ointments, as beds witharomatic plants (literally, "balsam").sweet flowers—rather, "terraces of aromatic herbs"—"high-raised parterres of sweet plants,"in parallelism to "bed," which comes from a Hebrew root, meaning "elevation."lips—(Ps 45:2; Joh 7:46).lilies—red lilies. Soft and gentle (1Pe 2:22, 23). How different lips were man's (Ps 22:7)!dropping … myrrh—namely, His lips, just as the sweet dewdrops which hang in the calyx ofthe lily.14. rings set with … beryl—Hebrew, Tarshish, so called from the city. The ancient chrysolite,gold in color (Septuagint), our topaz, one of the stones on the high priest's breastplate, also in thefoundation of New Jerusalem (Re 21:19, 20; also Da 10:6). "Are as," is plainly to be supplied, seein So 5:13 a similiar ellipsis; not as Moody Stuart: "have gold rings." The hands bent in are compared1036JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonto beautiful rings, in which beryl is set, as the nails are in the fingers. Burrowes explains the rings ascylinders used as signets, such as are found in Nineveh, and which resemble fingers. A ring is thetoken of sonship (Lu 15:22). A slave was not allowed to wear a gold ring. He imparts His sonshipand freedom to us (Ga 4:7); also of authority (Ge 41:42; compare Joh 6:27). He seals us in the nameof God with His signet (Re 7:2-4), compare below, So 8:6, where she desires to be herself asignet-ring on His arms; so "graven on the palms," &c., that is, on the signet-ring in His hand (Isa49:16; contrast Hag 2:23, with Jer 22:24).belly—Burrowes and Moody Stuart translate, "body." Newton, as it is elsewhere, "bowels"; namely,His compassion (Ps 22:14; Isa 63:15; Jer 31:20; Ho 11:8).bright—literally, "elaborately wrought so as to shine," so His "prepared" body (Heb 10:5); the"ivory palace" of the king (Ps 45:8); spotless, pure, so the bride's "neck is as to tower of ivory" (So7:4).sapphires—spangling in the girdle around Him (Da 10:5). "To the pure all things are pure."As in statuary to the artist the partly undraped figure is suggestive only of beauty, free fromindelicacy, so to the saint the personal excellencies of Jesus Christ, typified under the ideal of thenoblest human form. As, however, the bride and bridegroom are in public, the usual robes on theperson, richly ornamented, are presupposed (Isa 11:5). Sapphires indicate His heavenly nature (soJoh 3:13, "is in heaven"), even in His humiliation, overlaying or cast "over" His ivory human body(Ex 24:10). Sky-blue in color, the height and depth of the love of Jesus Christ (Eph 3:18).15. pillars—strength and steadfastness. Contrast man's "legs" (Ec 12:3). Allusion to the temple(1Ki 5:8, 9; 7:21), the "cedars" of "Lebanon" (Ps 147:10). Jesus Christ's "legs" were not broken onthe cross, though the thieves' were; on them rests the weight of our salvation (Ps 75:3).sockets of fine gold—His sandals, answering to the bases of the pillars; "set up from everlasting"(Pr 8:22, 23). From the head (So 5:11) to the feet, "of fine gold." He was tried in the fire and foundwithout alloy.countenance—rather, "His aspect," including both mien and stature (compare 2Sa 23:21,Margin; with 1Ch 11:23). From the several parts, she proceeds to the general effect of the wholeperson of Jesus Christ.Lebanon—so called from its white limestone rocks.excellent—literally, "choice," that is, fair and tall as the cedars on Lebanon (Eze 31:3, &c.).Majesty is the prominent thought (Ps 21:5). Also the cedars' duration (Heb 1:11); greenness (Lu23:31), and refuge afforded by it (Eze 17:22, 23).16. Literally, "His palate is sweetness, yea, all over loveliness," that is, He is the essence ofthese qualities.mouth—so So 1:2, not the same as "lips" (So 5:13), His breath (Isa 11:4; Joh 20:22). "All over,"all the beauties scattered among creatures are transcendently concentrated in Him (Col 1:19; 2:9).my beloved—for I love friend—for He loves me (Pr 18:24). Holy boasting (Ps 34:2; 1Co 1:31).CHAPTER 6So 6:1-13.1037JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson1. Historically, at Jesus Christ's crucifixion and burial, Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus,and others, joined with His professed disciples. By speaking of Jesus Christ, the bride does goodnot only to her own soul, but to others (see on So 1:4; Mal 3:16; Mt 5:14-16). Compare thehypocritical use of similar words (Mt 2:8).2. gone down—Jerusalem was on a hill (answering to its moral elevation), and the gardenswere at a little distance in the valleys below.beds of spices—(balsam) which He Himself calls the "mountain of myrrh," &c. (So 4:6), andagain (So 8:14), the resting-place of His body amidst spices, and of His soul in paradise, and nowin heaven, where He stands as High Priest for ever. Nowhere else in the Song is there mention ofmountains of spices.feed in … gardens—that is, in the churches, though He may have withdrawn for a time fromthe individual believer: she implies an invitation to the daughters of Jerusalem to enter His spiritualChurch, and become lilies, made white by His blood. He is gathering some lilies now to plant onearth, others to transplant into heaven (So 5:1; Ge 5:24; Mr 4:28, 29; Ac 7:60).3. In speaking of Jesus Christ to others, she regains her own assurance. Literally, "I am for mybeloved … for me." Reverse order from So 2:16. She now, after the season of darkness, groundsher convictions on His love towards her, more than on hers towards Him (De 33:3). There, it wasthe young believer concluding that she was His, from the sensible assurance that He was hers.4. Tirzah—meaning "pleasant" (Heb 13:21); "well-pleasing" (Mt 5:14); the royal city of oneof the old Canaanite kings (Jos 12:24); and after the revolt of Israel, the royal city of its kings,before Omri founded Samaria (1Ki 16:8, 15). No ground for assigning a later date than the time ofSolomon to the Song, as Tirzah was even in his time the capital of the north (Israel), as Jerusalemwas of the south (Judah).Jerusalem—residence of the kings of Judah, as Tirzah, of Israel (Ps 48:1, &c.; 122:1-3; 125:1,2). Loveliness, security, unity, and loyalty; also the union of Israel and Judah in the Church (Isa11:13; Jer 3:18; Eze 37:16, 17, 22; compare Heb 12:22; Re 21:2, 12).terrible—awe-inspiring. Not only armed as a city on the defensive, but as an army on theoffensive.banners—(See on So 5:10; Ps 60:4); Jehovah-nissi (2Co 10:4).5. (So 4:9; Ge 32:28; Ex 32:9-14; Ho 12:4). This is the way "the army" (So 6:4) "overcomes"not only enemies, but Jesus Christ Himself, with eyes fixed on Him (Ps 25:15; Mt 11:12).Historically, So 6:3-5, represent the restoration of Jesus Christ to His Church at the resurrection;His sending her forth as an army, with new powers (Mr 16:15-18, 20); His rehearsing the sameinstructions (see on So 6:6) as when with them (Lu 24:44).overcome—literally, "have taken me by storm."6. Not vain repetition of So 4:1, 2. The use of the same words shows His love unchanged afterher temporary unfaithfulness (Mal 3:6).8. threescore—indefinite number, as in So 3:7. Not queens, &c., of Solomon, but witnesses ofthe espousals, rulers of the earth contrasted with the saints, who, though many, are but "one" bride(Isa 52:15; Lu 22:25, 26; Joh 17:21; 1Co 10:17). The one Bride is contrasted with the many wiveswhom Eastern kings had in violation of the marriage law (1Ki 11:1-3).9. Hollow professors, like half wives, have no part in the one bride.only one of her mother—namely, "Jerusalem above" (Ga 4:26). The "little sister" (So 8:8) isnot inconsistent with her being "the only one"; for that sister is one with herself (Joh 10:16).1038JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonchoice—(Eph 1:4; 2Th 2:13). As she exalted Him above all others (So 5:10), so He now her.daughters … blessed her—(Isa 8:18; 61:9; Eze 16:14; 2Th 1:10). So at her appearance afterPentecost (Ac 4:13; 6:15; 24:25; 26:28).10. The words expressing the admiration of the daughters. Historically (Ac 5:24-39).as the morning—As yet she is not come to the fulness of her light (Pr 4:18).moon—shining in the night, by light borrowed from the sun; so the bride, in the darkness ofthis world, reflects the light of the Sun of righteousness (2Co 3:18).sun—Her light of justification is perfect, for it is His (2Co 5:21; 1Jo 4:17). The moon has lesslight, and has only one half illuminated; so the bride's sanctification is as yet imperfect. Her futureglory (Mt 13:43).army—(So 6:4). The climax requires this to be applied to the starry and angelic hosts, fromwhich God is called Lord of Sabaoth. Her final glory (Ge 15:5; Da 12:3; Re 12:1). The ChurchPatriarchal, "the morning"; Levitical, "the moon"; Evangelical, "the sun"; Triumphant, "the banneredarmy" (Re 19:14).11. The bride's words; for she everywhere is the narrator, and often soliloquizes, which Henever does. The first garden (So 2:11-13) was that of spring, full of flowers and grapes not yet ripe;the second, autumn, with spices (which are always connected with the person of Jesus Christ), andnothing unripe (So 4:13, &c.). The third here, of "nuts," from the previous autumn; the end ofwinter, and verge of spring; the Church in the upper room (Ac 1:13, &c.), when one dispensationwas just closed, the other not yet begun; the hard shell of the old needing to be broken, and its innersweet kernel extracted [Origen] (Lu 24:27, 32); waiting for the Holy Ghost to usher in spiritualspring. The walnut is meant, with a bitter outer husk, a hard shell, and sweet kernel. So the Wordis distasteful to the careless; when awakened, the sinner finds the letter hard, until the Holy Ghostreveals the sweet inner spirit.fruits of the Valley—Maurer translates, "the blooming products of the river," that is, the plantsgrowing on the margin of the river flowing through the garden. She goes to watch the first sproutingsof the various plants.12. Sudden outpourings of the Spirit on Pentecost (Ac 2:1-13), while the Church was using themeans (answering to "the garden," So 6:11; Joh 3:8).Ammi-nadib—supposed to me one proverbial for swift driving. Similarly (So 1:9). Rather,"my willing people" (Ps 110:3). A willing chariot bore a "willing people"; or Nadib is the Prince,Jesus Christ (Ps 68:17). She is borne in a moment into His presence (Eph 2:6).13. Entreaty of the daughters of Jerusalem to her, in her chariot-like flight from them (compare2Ki 2:12; 2Sa 19:14).Shulamite—new name applied to her now for the first time. Feminine of Solomon, Prince ofPeace; His bride, daughter of peace, accepting and proclaiming it (Isa 52:7; Joh 14:27; Ro 5:1; Eph2:17). Historically, this name answers to the time when, not without a divine design in it, the youngChurch met in Solomon's porch (Ac 3:11; 5:12). The entreaty, "Return, O Shulamite," answers tothe people's desire to keep Peter and John, after the lame man was healed, when they were aboutto enter the temple. Their reply attributing the glory not to themselves, but to Jesus Christ, answersto the bride's reply here, "What will ye see" in me? "As it were," &c. She accepts the name Shulamite,as truly describing her. But adds, that though "one" (So 6:9), she is nevertheless "two." Her gloriesare her Lord's, beaming through her (Eph 5:31, 32). The two armies are the family of Jesus Christin heaven, and that on earth, joined and one with Him; the one militant, the other triumphant. Or1039JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonJesus Christ and His ministering angels are one army, the Church the other, both being one (Joh17:21, 22). Allusion is made to Mahanaim (meaning two hosts), the scene of Jacob's victoriousconflict by prayer (Ge 32:2, 9, 22-30). Though she is peace, yet she has warfare here, between fleshand spirit within and foes without; her strength, as Jacob's at Mahanaim, is Jesus Christ and Hishost enlisted on her side by prayer; whence she obtains those graces which raise the admiration ofthe daughters of Jerusalem.CHAPTER 7So 7:1-13.1. thy feet—rather, "thy goings" (Ps 17:5). Evident allusion to Isa 52:7: "How beautiful … arethe feet of him … that publisheth peace" (Shulamite, So 6:13).shoes—Sandals are richly jewelled in the East (Lu 15:22; Eph 6:15). She is evidently "on themountains," whither she was wafted (So 6:12), above the daughters of Jerusalem, who thereforeportray her feet first.daughter—of God the Father, with whom Jesus Christ is one (Mt 5:9), "children of (the) God"(of peace), equivalent to Shulamite (Ps 45:10-15; 2Co 6:18), as well as bride of Jesus Christ.prince's—therefore princely herself, freely giving the word of life to others, not sparing her"feet," as in So 5:3; Ex 12:11. To act on the offensive is defensive to ourselves.joints—rather, "the rounding"; the full graceful curve of the hips in the female figure; like therounding of a necklace (as the Hebrew for "jewels" means). Compare with the English Version,Eph 4:13-16; Col 2:19. Or, applying it to the girdle binding together the robes round the hips (Eph6:14).cunning workman—(Ps 139:14-16; Eph 2:10, 22; 5:29, 30, 32).2. navel—rather, "girdle-clasp," called from the part of the person underneath. The "shoes" (So7:1) prove that dress is throughout presupposed on all parts where it is usually worn. She is "a brideadorned for her husband"; the "uncomely parts," being most adorned (1Co 12:23). The girdle-claspwas adorned with red rubies resembling the "round goblet" (crater or mixer) of spice-mixed wine(not "liquor," So 8:2; Isa 5:22). The wine of the "New Testament in His blood" (Lu 22:20). Thespiritual exhilaration by it was mistaken for that caused by new wine (Ac 2:13-17; Eph 5:18).belly—that is, the vesture on it. As in Ps 45:13, 14, gold and needlework compose the bride'sattire, so golden-colored "wheat" and white "lilies" here. The ripe grain, in token of harvest joy,used to be decorated with lilies; so the accumulated spiritual food (Joh 6:35; 12:24), free fromchaff, not fenced with thorns, but made attractive by lilies ("believers," So 2:2; Ac 2:46, 47; 5:13,14, in common partaking of it). Associated with the exhilarating wine cup (Zec 9:17), as here.3. The daughters of Jerusalem describe her in the same terms as Jesus Christ in So 4:5. Thetestimonies of heaven and earth coincide.twins—faith and love.4. tower of ivory—In So 4:4, Jesus Christ saith, "a tower of David builded for an armory."Strength and conquest are the main thought in His description; here, beauty and polished whiteness;contrast So 1:5.fishpools—seen by Burckhardt, clear (Re 22:1), deep, quiet, and full (1Co 2:10, 15).1040JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonHeshbon—east of Jordan, residence of the Amorite king, Sihon (Nu 21:25, &c.), afterwardsheld by Gad.Bath-rabbim—"daughter of a multitude"; a crowded thoroughfare. Her eyes (So 4:1) are calledby Jesus Christ, "doves' eyes," waiting on Him. But here, looked on by the daughters or Jerusalem,they are compared to a placid lake. She is calm even amidst the crowd (Pr 8:2; Joh 16:33).nose—or, face.tower of Lebanon—a border-fortress, watching the hostile Damascus. Towards Jesus Christher face was full of holy shame (see on So 4:1; So 4:3); towards spiritual foes, like a watchtower(Hab 2:1; Mr 13:37; Ac 4:13), elevated, so that she looks not up from earth to heaven, but downfrom heaven to earth. If we retain "nose," discernment of spiritual fragrance is meant.5. upon thee—the headdress "upon" her.Carmel—signifying a well-cultivated field (Isa 35:2). In So 5:15 He is compared to majesticLebanon; she here, to fruitful Carmel. Her headdress, or crown (2Ti 4:8; 1Pe 5:4). Also the soulswon by her (1Th 2:19, 20), a token of her fruitfulness.purple—royalty (Re 1:6). As applied to hair, it expresses the glossy splendor of black hair(literally, "pendulous hair") so much admired in the East (So 4:1). While the King compares herhair to the flowering hair of goats (the token of her subjection), the daughters of Jerusalem compareit to royal purple.galleries—(so So 1:17, Margin; Re 21:3). But Maurer translates here, "flowing ringlets"; withthese, as with "thongs" (so Lee, from the Arabic translates it) "the King is held" bound (So 6:5; Pr6:25). Her purple crowns of martyrdom especially captivated the King, appearing from His galleries(Ac 7:55, 56). As Samson's strength was in his locks (Jud 16:17). Here first the daughters see theKing themselves.6. Nearer advance of the daughters to the Church (Ac 2:47; 5:13, end). Love to her is the firsttoken of love to Him (1Jo 5:1, end).delights—fascinating charms to them and to the King (So 7:5; Isa 62:4, Hephzi-bah). Hereafter,too (Zep 3:17; Mal 3:12; Re 21:9).7. palm tree—(Ps 92:12). The sure sign of water near (Ex 15:27; Joh 7:38).clusters—not of dates, as Moody Stuart thinks. The parallelism (So 7:8), "clusters of the vine,"shows it is here clusters of grapes. Vines were often trained (termed "wedded") on other trees.8. The daughters are no longer content to admire, but resolve to lay hold of her fruits, highthough these be. The palm stem is bare for a great height, and has its crown of fruit-laden boughsat the summit. It is the symbol of triumphant joy (Joh 12:13); so hereafter (Re 7:9).breasts—(Isa 66:11).the vine—Jesus Christ (Ho 14:7, end; Joh 15:1).n