|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:11-14 Here was a token of God's highest displeasure. At any time, and most in a time of trouble, a famine of the word of God is the heaviest judgment. To many this is no affliction, yet some will feel it very much, and will travel far to hear a good sermon; they feel the loss of the mercies others foolishly sin away. But when God visits a backsliding church, their own plans and endeavours to find out a way of salvation, will stand them in no stead. And the most amiable and zealous would perish, for want of the water of life, which Christ only can bestow. Let us value our advantages, seek to profit by them, and fear sinning them away.
Verse 12. - They shall wander; literally, they shall reel. The verse implies the eagerness of their unsatisfied desire, which seeks everywhere for the revelation which for their sin is denied them. From sea to sea. This expression is taken, by Keil and others, to mean here "all the world over," as Psalm 72:8; Micah 7:12; Zechariah 9:10; but it is probably used by the prophet in a more restricted sense, as it would not be natural for him to refer in the first place to the seeking of the words of God beyond the limits of the Holy Land. Therefore "from sea to sea" means from the Sea of Galilee or the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean; and from the north even to the east - from the north round again to the east, the south not being mentioned, because there alone was the true worship of God to be found, and they refused to seek it there (Pusey). Of course, according to the wide scope taken by prophecy, which is not exhausted by one fulfilment, we may see here the fate of the Jews to the present time hopelessly seeking Messiah and the Word of God, never finding that which they once recklessly rejected. By some error the LXX. render, Σαλευθήσονται ὕδατα ἀπὸ τῆς θαλάσσης κ.τ.λ., unless they mean, "They shall be tossed as waters," etc.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And they shall wander from sea to sea,.... From the sea of Tiberias, or Galilee; or from the Dead sea, the lake Asphaltites; or from the Red sea, which was to the south of the land of Israel, to the great sea, which is to the west, as Aben Ezra: so the Targum,
"from the sea to the west;''
that is, to the Mediterranean sea:
and from the north even to the east; proceeding from the south to the west, they shall turn from thence to the north, and so to the east, which describes the borders of the land of Canaan, Numbers 34:3; and the sense is, that
they shall go to and fro; throughout the whole land, and all over it,
to seek the word of the Lord; not the written word, but the interpretation of it; doctrine from before the Lord, as the Targum; the preaching of the word, or ministers to instruct them in it; or the word of prophecy, and prophets to tell them when it would be better times, and how long their present distress should last:
and shall not find it; there should be no ministry, no preaching, no prophesying; as never since among the ten tribes, so it has been the case of the Jews, the two tribes, upon the rejection of the Messiah; the Gospel was taken from them; no tidings could they hear of the Messiah, though they ran to and fro to find him, it being told them Lo, here, and Lo, there; see John 7:34.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. they shall wander from sea to sea—that is, from the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean, from east to west.
from … north … to … east—where we might expect "from north to south." But so alienated was Israel from Judah, that no Israelite even then would think of repairing southward, that is, to Jerusalem for religious information. The circuit is traced as in Nu 34:3, &c., except that the south is omitted. Their "seeking the word of the Lord" would not be from a sincere desire to obey God, but under the pressure of punishment.
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