|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:17-29 Blessed Paul complains that he was sold under sin, Ro 7:14, as a poor captive against his will; but Ahab was willing, he sold himself to sin; of choice, and as his own act and deed, he loved the dominion of sin. Jezebel his wife stirred him up to do wickedly. Ahab is reproved, and his sin set before his eyes, by Elijah. That man's condition is very miserable, who has made the word of God his enemy; and very desperate, who reckons the ministers of that word his enemies, because they tell him the truth. Ahab put on the garb and guise of a penitent, yet his heart was unhumbled and unchanged. Ahab's repentance was only what might be seen of men; it was outward only. Let this encourage all that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe the holy gospel, that if a pretending partial penitent shall go to his house reprieved, doubtless, a sincere believing penitent shall go to his house justified.
Verse 29. - Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? [The repentance, if it was not profound, or enduring, was nevertheless, while it lasted, sincere. The Searcher of hearts saw in it a genuine self-abasement. And "He will not break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax;" Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 12:20.] Because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil [There is a manifest reference to ver. 21, where the same words are used] in his days; but in his son's days [There is no injustice here - no threat of punishment against the innocent instead of the guilty - as might at first sight appear. For in the first place, God knew well what the son would be, and in the second place, if the son had departed from his father's sins he would have been spared (Ezekiel 18:14 sqq.); the sentence would have been revoked. Judgment was deferred to give the house of Ahab another chance. When Ahab lapsed into sin, he suffered in his own person: when his sons persisted in sin, excision befell the family] will I bring the evil [ver. 19] upon his house [ver. 22],
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me?.... Which yet was but an external humiliation, to be seen only with bodily eyes, as were all his actions and postures, before observed. Some Jewish writers (i) think his repentance was true and perfect, and his conversion thorough and real: they tell us (k), that he was in fasting and prayer morning and evening before the Lord, and was studying in the law all his days, and returned not to his evil works any more, and his repentance was accepted: but the contrary appears manifest; we never read that he reproved Jezebel for the murder of Naboth, nor restored the vineyard to his family, which he would have done had he been a true penitent; nor did he leave his idols; we quickly hear of his consulting with the four hundred prophets of the groves, and expressing his hatred of a true prophet of the Lord, 1 Kings 22:6, his humiliation arose from dread of punishment, and not from the true fear of God; however, it was such as was never seen in any of his wicked predecessors, and is taken notice of by the Lord. Luther (l) from these words concluded, and was persuaded, that he was saved:
because he humbled himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days, but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house; this was not a pardon, only a reprieve; the sentence pronounced on him and his family was not taken off, nor countermanded, only the execution of it prolonged; it is promised that the destruction of his family should not be in his lifetime, but after his death, in his son's days, otherwise he himself died a violent death, and the dogs licked his blood, as were foretold; however, this may be an encouragement to those who are truly humbled for their sins, and really repent of them, that they shall receive forgiveness at the hand of God, since he showed so much regard to an outward humiliation and repentance.
(i) Bereshit Rabba in Abarbinel in loc. (k) Pirke Eliezer, c. 43. (l) Mensal. Colloqu. c. 32. p. 360.
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