|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:1-9 God bears long, but he will not bear always with a provoking people. The remembrance of the mercies we formerly received, like the produce of the earth of the former growth, should make us submissive to the will of God, when we meet with disappointments in the latter growth. The Lord has many ways of humbling a sinful nation. Whatever trouble we are under, we should be most earnest with God for the forgiveness of sin. Sin will soon make a great people small. What will become of Israel, if the hand that should raise him be stretched out against him? See the power of prayer. See what a blessing praying people are to a land. See how ready, how swift God is to show mercy; how he waits to be gracious. Israel was a wall, a strong wall, which God himself reared as a defence to his sanctuary. The Lord now seems to stand upon this wall. He measures it; it appears to be a bowing, bulging wall. Thus God would bring the people of Israel to the trial, would discover their wickedness; and the time will come, when those who have been spared often, shall be spared no longer. But the Lord still calls Israel his people. The repeated prayer and success of the prophet should lead us to seek the Saviour.
Verses 4-6. - § 2. The second vision devouring fire, represents a more severe judgment than the preceding one, involving greater consequences, but still one which was again modified by the prayers of the righteous prophet. Verse 4. - Called to contend by fire; Septuaguint, ἐκάλεσε τὴν δίκην ἐν πυρί, "called for judgment by fire;" Vulgate, vocabat judicium ad ignem. God called the people to try their cause with him by sending fire as a punishment among them (comp. Isaiah 66:16; Ezekiel 38:22); and in the vision the fire is represented as so vehement that it devoured the great deep, drank up the very ocean itself (Genesis 7:11; Isaiah 51:10); or the subterranean fountains and springs, as Genesis 49:25. And did eat up a part; τὴν μερίδα κυρίου (Septuagint). This version takes eth-hacheleq as the "inheritance" or "portion" of the Lord, i.e. the land of Israel (Jeremiah 12:10); but Canaan is nowhere called absolutely "the portion;" nor were the ten tribes specially so designated. Rather, the portion (not a part) is that part of the land and people which was marked out for judgment. The particular calamity alluded to is the second invasion of Tigiath-Pileser II, when he conquered Gilead and the northern part of the kingdom, and carried some of the people captive to Assyria (2 Kings 15:29).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thus hath the Lord showed unto me,.... Another vision after this manner:
and, behold, the Lord God called to contend by fire; gave out that he would have a controversy with his people Israel, and proclaimed the time when he would try the cause with them, and that by fire: or he called his family, as Jarchi; that is, his angels, as Kimchi, to cause fire to descend upon Israel, as upon Sodom and Gomorrah; so other Rabbins Kimchi mentions: or, as he interprets it, the scorching heat of the sun, like fire that restrained the rain, dried up the plants, and lessened the waters of the river, and so brought on a general drought, and in consequence famine: or rather a foreign army, involving them in war, burning their cities and towns; see Amos 1:4;
and it devoured the great deep; it seemed, as if it did; as the fire from heaven, in Elijah's time, licked up the water in the trench, 1 Kings 18:38; so this, coming at God's command, seemed to dry up the whole ocean; by which may be meant the multitude of people, nations, and kingdoms, subdued by the Assyrians; see Revelation 17:15;
and did eat up a part; a part of a field, as Jarchi and Aben Ezra; of the king's field, Amos 7:1; as Kimchi; showing, as he observes, that the reigning king was a bad king, and that this was for his sin: or rather a part of the land of Israel; and so refers, as is generally thought, to Tiglathpileser's invasion of the land, who carried captive a part of it, 2 Kings 15:29.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. called to contend—that is, with Israel judicially (Job 9:3; Isa 66:16; Eze 38:22). He ordered to come at His call the infliction of punishment by "fire" on Israel, that is, drought (compare Am 4:6-11), [Maurer]. Rather, war (Nu 21:28), namely, Tiglath-pileser [Grotius].
devoured the … deep—that is, a great part of Israel, whom he carried away. Waters are the symbol for many people (Re 17:15).
did eat up a part—namely, all the land (compare Am 4:7) of Israel east of Jordan (1Ch 5:26; Isa 9:1). This was a worse judgment than the previous one: the locusts ate up the grass: the fire not only affects the surface of the ground, but burns up the very roots and reaches even to the deep.
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