|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:7-17 The same almighty power can, for repenting sinners, easily turn affliction and sorrow into prosperity and joy, and as easily turn the prosperity of daring sinners into utter darkness. Evil times will not bear plain dealing; that is, evil men will not. And these men were evil men indeed, when wise and good men thought it in vain even to speak to them. Those who will seek and love that which is good, may help to save the land from ruin. It behoves us to plead God's spiritual promises, to beseech him to create in us a clean heart, and to renew a right spirit within us. The Lord is ever ready to be gracious to the souls that seek him; and then piety and every duty will be attended to. But as for sinful Israel, God's judgments had often passed by them, now they shall pass through them.
Verse 15. - Reverse your former conduct, undo what ye have done (ver. 10). This verse emphasizes the preceding; hating and loving are more real and hearty than mere seeking. The LXX. makes this clause to be what the people said, Ον τρόπον εἴπατε, μεμισήκαμεν τὰ πονρὰ καὶ ἠγαπήσαμεν τὰκαλά, "As ye said, We have hated evil, and loved good." Establish judgment. Maintain justice in your tribunals (in contrast to ver. 7); then it may be that the Lord will have mercy on you or some of you. The remnant of Joseph; implying that only a few of them will be saved after this heavy chastisement, which points to the final ruin of their city and nation. The prophet speaks of the "remnant of Joseph" instead of Ephraim, to remind them of their forefather, who received the patriarchal blessing of Jacob, for whose sake this remnant should be spared (comp. Isaiah 6:13; Isaiah 10:21, etc.; Joel 2:32; Romans 11:4, etc.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Hate the evil, and love the good,.... Evil is not only not to be sought, but to be hated, especially the evil of sin, because of its evil nature, and pernicious effects and consequences; and, if it was for no other reason but because it is hateful and abominable unto God, therefore they that love him should hate evil, even with a perfect hatred; as all good men do, though it is present with them, and cleaves unto them, and they do it, Psalm 97:10; and "good" is to be loved for its goodness' sake; and the good effects of it; a good God is to be loved, and all good men, and all good things; the good word of God, and his commands and ordinances; and highly to be esteemed, and affectionately regarded:
and establish judgment in the gate; openly, publicly, in every court of judicature, which used to be kept in the gates of cities; not only execute judgment and justice in all, cases brought into court, but let it have its constant course, and be always practised according to the settled laws of it:
it may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph: who should escape the fire that should break out of his house, and devour it, even the ten tribes, Amos 5:6; such of them as should seek the Lord, and that which is good; for in the worst of times God reserves a remnant for himself, as in the times of Elijah, Isaiah, Christ, and his apostles; a remnant according to the election of grace, to whom he has been gracious in the choice and reserve he has made of them; in the stores of grace he has hid up for them; in the provision and mission of his Son as a Saviour; and in waiting the time of their conversion, when he is gracious to them, in regenerating, quickening, pardoning, and justifying of them; and still will be in the visits of his love; in the supplies of his grace, in supporting them under afflictions, temptations, desertions, &c. and in giving them his word and ordinances for their comfort and relief: nor is this "may be" to be understood in a way of doubt or hesitation, but of good hope, yea, of a holy confidence; and so some render it, "without doubt the Lord God of hosts will be gracious" (g), &c. see Zephaniah 2:3.
(g) "sine dubio", Tarnovius; so Burkius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. Hate … evil … love … good—(Isa 1:16, 17; Ro 12:9).
judgment in the gate—justice in the place where causes are tried.
it may be that the Lord … will be gracious—so, "peradventure" (Ex 32:30). Not that men are to come to God with an uncertainty whether or no He will be gracious: the expression merely implies the difficulty in the way, because of the want of true repentance on man's part, so as to stimulate the zealous earnestness of believers in seeking God (compare Ge 16:2; Joe 2:14; Ac 8:22).
the remnant of Joseph—(see Am 5:6). Israel (represented by "Ephraim," the leading tribe, and descendant of Joseph) was, as compared to what it once was, now but a remnant, Hazael of Syria having smitten all the coasts from Jordan eastward, Gilead and Bashan, Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh (2Ki 10:32, 33) [Henderson]. Rather, "the remnant of Israel that shall have been left after the wicked have been destroyed" [Maurer].
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