|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:3-8 Honour widows that are widows indeed, relieve them, and maintain them. It is the duty of children, if their parents are in need, and they are able to relieve them, to do it to the utmost of their power. Widowhood is a desolate state; but let widows trust in the Lord, and continue in prayer. All who live in pleasure, are dead while they live, spiritually dead, dead in trespasses and sins. Alas, what numbers there are of this description among nominal Christians, even to the latest period of life! If any men or women do not maintain their poor relations, they in effect deny the faith. If they spend upon their lusts and pleasures, what should maintain their families, they have denied the faith, and are worse than infidels. If professors of the gospel give way to any corrupt principle or conduct, they are worse than those who do not profess to believe the doctrines of grace.
Verse 6. - Giveth herself to for liveth in, A.V. Giveth herself to pleasure (ἡ σπαταλῶσα); only here and James 5:5 (ἐσπαταλήσατε "taken your pleasure," R.V., "been wanton," A.V.) in the New Testament, but found (as well as σπατάλη and σπάταλος) in Ecclus. 21:15, and in Polybius (Liddell and Scott). Trench ('Synonyms of New Testament,' p. 191) compares and contrasts στρηνιάω τρυφάω, and σπαταλάω, and says that the latter includes the idea of prodigality. The word brings into the strongest possible contrast the widow who was like Anna, and those whom St. Paul here denounces. Is dead while she liveth; or, has died (is dead) in her lifetime. She is dead to God, and, as Alford suggests, is no longer a living member of the Church of Christ. Compare St. Jude's expression "twice dead" (ver. 12). The expression in Revelation 3:1 is different, unless ζῶσα here can have the same meaning as ὄνομα ἔχει ὅτι ζῇ, "though nominally alive as a Christian," etc.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But she that liveth in pleasure,.... Voluptuously, and deliciously; lives a wanton, loose, and licentious life, serving divers lusts and pleasures:,
is dead while she liveth; is dead in trespasses and sins, while she lives in them; is dead morally or spiritually, while she lives a natural or corporeal life. There is a likeness between a moral and a corporeal death. In a corporeal death, the soul is separated from the body; and in a moral death, souls are separated from God, and are alienated from the life of God; and are without Christ, who is the author and giver of spiritual life; and have not the Spirit, which is the Spirit of life: death defaces and deforms the man, and a moral death lies in the defacing of the image of God, first stamped on man, and in a loss of original righteousness; for as death strips a man naked of all, as he was when he came into the world, so sin, which brings on this moral death, has stripped man of his moral righteousness, whereby he is become dead in law, as well as in sin: and as in death there is a privation of all sense, so such who are dead, morally or spiritually, have no true sense of sin, and of their state and condition; are not concerned about sin, nor troubled for it, but rejoice in it, boast of it, plead for it, and declare it: between such persons and dead men there is a great similitude; as dead men are helpless to themselves, so are they; they can do nothing of, nor for themselves, in matters of a spiritual nature; and as dead men are unprofitable unto others, so are they to God, and man; and as dead men are hurtful and infectious to others, so they by their evil communications corrupt good manners; and as dead bodies are nauseous and disagreeable, so are such persons, especially to a pure and holy Being; and as dead men are deprived of their senses, so are these: they are blind, and cannot see and discern the things of the Spirit of God; they have not ears to hear the joyful sound of the Gospel, so as to understand it, approve of it, and delight in it; they have no feeling, nor are they burdened with the weight of sin; nor have they any taste and savour of the things of God, but only of the things of men; so that in a spiritual sense they are dead, while they are alive. It is a common, saying to be met with in Jewish writers, , "the wicked while alive are said to be dead" (s). And they say (t) also, that men are called "dead", from the time they sin; and that he that sins is accounted "as a dead man" (u).
(s) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 18. 2. & Hieros. Beracot, fol. 4. 4. Midrash Kohelet, fol. 78. 2. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 58. 3. Caphtor, fol. 79. 1, 2. & 84. 1. Jarchi in Gen. xi. 32. & Baal Hatturim in Deuteronomy 17.6. (t) Tzeror Hammer, fol. 5. 9. (u) lb. fol. 6. 2. & 127. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. she that liveth in pleasure—the opposite of such a widow as is described in 1Ti 5:5, and therefore one utterly undeserving of Church charity. The Greek expresses wanton prodigality and excess [Tittmann]. The root expresses weaving at a fast rate, and so lavish excess (see on Jas 5:5).
dead while she liveth—dead in the Spirit while alive in the flesh (Mt 8:22; Eph 5:14).
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