|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:4-19 In every prayer we must make confession, not only of the sins we have been guilty of, but of our faith in God, and dependence upon him, our sorrow for sin, and our resolutions against it. It must be our confession, the language of our convictions. Here is Daniel's humble, serious, devout address to God; in which he gives glory to him as a God to be feared, and as a God to be trusted. We should, in prayer, look both at God's greatness and his goodness, his majesty and mercy. Here is a penitent confession of sin, the cause of the troubles the people for so many years groaned under. All who would find mercy must thus confess their sins. Here is a self-abasing acknowledgment of the righteousness of God; and it is evermore the way of true penitents thus to justify God. Afflictions are sent to bring men to turn from their sins, and to understand God's truth. Here is a believing appeal to the mercy of God. It is a comfort that God has been always ready to pardon sin. It is encouraging to recollect that mercies belong to God, as it is convincing and humbling to recollect that righteousness belongs to him. There are abundant mercies in God, not only forgiveness, but forgivenesses. Here are pleaded the reproach God's people was under, and the ruins God's sanctuary was in. Sin is a reproach to any people, especially to God's people. The desolations of the sanctuary are grief to all the saints. Here is an earnest request to God to restore the poor captive Jews to their former enjoyments. O Lord, hearken and do. Not hearken and speak only, but hearken and do; do that for us which none else can do; and defer not. Here are several pleas and arguments to enforce the petitions. Do it for the Lord Christ's sake; Christ is the Lord of all. And for his sake God causes his face to shine upon sinners when they repent, and turn to him. In all our prayers this must be our plea, we must make mention of his righteousness, even of his only. The humble, fervent, believing earnestness of this prayer should ever be followed by us.
Verse 14. - Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice. The Greek versions agree with this, save that the LXX. has "Lord God" in the first case as well as the second. The Peshitta, when one remembers the different division of the verses, is also identical. There is an obvious resemblance here to Jeremiah 44:27, "Behold, I am watching over you for evil, and not for good." The verb shaqad is somewhat rare, occurring only twelve times in Scripture, and five of these times in Jeremiah. It is not always an evil watching; in Jeremiah 31:28 the two meanings are contrasted. Then follows an acknowledgment of the righteousness of God in so dealing with them Bar. 2:9 is really a version of this verse; the original Hebrew would be almost identical. There are few indications which, did this verse stand alone, would enable one to decide which is the more primitive.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us,.... The evil of punishment; he watched the fit and proper time to bring it upon them; indeed, he watches over the evil of sin, to bring upon men the evil of chastisement or punishment, Job 14:16, but the latter is here meant; see Jeremiah 31:28, the word used has the signification of hastening; and so Jarchi and Saadiah explain it, "he hath hastened" (h): the almond tree, as the latter observes, has its name from hence, because it prevents other trees, and is quicker in putting out its blossom than they, Jeremiah 1:11 and so this may denote the purity of the Lord; his displicency at sin; his strict justice in punishing it; and his diligence and activity in executing judgment for it, which slumbers not, as some imagine:
for the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth; the prophet is all along careful to clear God from any imputation of injustice in any of his works, even in his strange work, punitive justice; though he watches over the evil to bring it, yet he is righteous in so doing; no charge of unrighteousness is to be exhibited against him on this account:
for we obeyed not his voice; neither in his word, nor in his providences; neither by his prophets, nor by his judgments; and being guilty of the evil of fault, it was but just they should bear the evil of punishment.
(h) "festinavit", Paguinus, Vatablus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. watched upon the evil—expressing ceaseless vigilance that His people's sins might not escape His judgment, as a watchman on guard night and day (Job 14:16; Jer 31:28; 44:27). God watching upon the Jews' punishment forms a striking contrast to the Jews' slumbering in their sins.
God is righteous—True penitents "justify" God, "ascribing righteousness to Him," instead of complaining of their punishment as too severe (Ne 9:33; Job 36:3; Ps 51:4; La 3:39-42).
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