|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:8-13 Though Christians cannot always be exactly of the same mind, yet they should have compassion one of another, and love as brethren. If any man desires to live comfortably on earth, or to possess eternal life in heaven, he must bridle his tongue from wicked, abusive, or deceitful words. He must forsake and keep far from evil actions, do all the good he can, and seek peace with all men. For God, all-wise and every where present, watches over the righteous, and takes care of them. None could or should harm those who copied the example of Christ, who is perfect goodness, and did good to others as his followers.
Verse 12. - For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers. The apostle adds the conjunction "for" (ὅτι, because) to mark the connection. God's people must turn away from evil and do good, because the all-seeing eye is upon them; they will find strength to do so, because God heareth prayer. Perhaps when the apostle was writing these words he remembered how once "the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter." But the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. The preposition in the two clauses is the same (ἐπί, over, or upon). The Lord's eye is upon the good and the evil. The apostle omits the words that follow in the psalm, "to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth," perhaps because he wishes us to regard the spiritual rather than the temporal consequences of our actions.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous,.... Who are so not merely in the sight of men, but of God; nor in their own account, and by their own works, but in the esteem of God, through the imputation of the righteousness of his Son unto them: and because he loves this righteousness, and is well pleased with it, seeing by it his law is magnified and made honourable, therefore his countenance beholds with pleasure and delight those righteous ones who are clothed with it; his eyes of omniscience, love, care, and protection, are always upon them, watching over them, delighting in them, running to and fro in the earth on behalf of them; he sees every injury done them, and in his own time and way will do them justice; which is a reason why they should not take vengeance themselves, but leave it with him, whose it is:
and his ears are open to their prayers; or "prayer"; in the Hebrew text, "to their cry"; he is a God hearing prayer, and his righteous ones have his ear; he hears them while they are speaking, and will sooner or later answer, and avenge his elect, who cry unto him day and night; for as he has an ear to hear their cries, which is not heavy, he has an arm to save them, which is not shortened; and this is another reason why they should behave as before directed, and which is still strengthened by what follows,
but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil; it is added in the psalm, "to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth": by "the face of the Lord" is meant, as the Jewish writers (y) interpret it, the anger of the Lord; it intends, not his kind, pleasant, and loving countenance, but his angry one with the former he beholds the upright, and with it he looks upon his righteous ones; but the latter is upon and against the wicked, and is dreadful and intolerable, and the consequence of it is everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power,
(y) Jarchi & Menachem apud ib. & Aben Ezra in loc.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. Ground of the promised present and eternal life of blessedness to the meek (1Pe 3:10). The Lord's eyes are ever over them for good.
ears … unto their prayers—(1Jo 5:14, 15).
face … against—The eyes imply favorable regard; the face of the Lord upon (not as English Version, "against") them that do evil, implies that He narrowly observes them, so as not to let them really and lastingly hurt His people (compare 1Pe 3:13).
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