|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-10 To expect unchanging happiness in a changing world, must end in disappointment. To bring ourselves to our state in life, is our duty and wisdom in this world. God's whole plan for the government of the world will be found altogether wise, just, and good. Then let us seize the favourable opportunity for every good purpose and work. The time to die is fast approaching. Thus labour and sorrow fill the world. This is given us, that we may always have something to do; none were sent into the world to be idle.
Verse 4. - A time to weep, and a time to laugh, grouped naturally with a time to mourn, and a time to dance. The funeral and the wedding, the hired mourners and the guests at the marriage-feast, are set against one another. The first clause intimates the spontaneous manifestation of the feelings of the heart; the second, their formal expression in the performances at funerals and weddings and on other solemn occasions. The contrast is found in the Lord's allusion to the sulky children in the market-place, who would not join their companions' play: "We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented" (Matthew 11:17). Dancing sometimes accompanied religious sere-monies, as when David brought up the ark (2 Samuel 6:14, 16).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A time to weep, and a time to laugh,.... There is a time for these things, as it goes ill or well with persons, as to their health, estate, or friends; and as it goes ill or well with kingdoms and states. The Jews wept when they were in Babylon, and their mouths were filled with laughter when their captivity was returned, Psalm 137:1; and as it goes ill or well with the church of Christ, when there are corruptions in doctrine and worship, a neglect of ordinances, declensions in faith and practice, few instances of conversion, and there are divisions and contentions, it is a time for the mourners in Zion to weep but when God creates Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy, or makes her an eternal excellency, and the praise of the whole earth, then it is a time to rejoice and be glad, Isaiah 61:3; and as it is, with believers, when Christ is withdrawn from them, it is a time to lament, but, when the bridegroom is with them, it is a time of joy; when it is a night of darkness and desertion, weeping endures, but when the morning comes, the day breaks, and the sun of righteousness arises, joy comes with it, Matthew 9:15 John 16:19. Now in the present state is the saints' weeping time; in the time to come they will laugh, or be filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory, Luke 6:21;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance; to mourn at funerals, and to dance at festivals; in a spiritual sense, God sometimes turns the mourning of his people into dancing, or joy, which that is expressive of; see Psalm 30:11.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. mourn—namely, for the dead (Ge 23:2).
dance—as David before the ark (2Sa 6:12-14; Ps 30:11); spiritually (Mt 9:15; Lu 6:21; 15:25). The Pharisees, by requiring sadness out of time, erred seriously.
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