|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
27:1-25 Those who live at ease are to be lamented, if they are not prepared for trouble. Let none reckon themselves beautified, any further than they are sanctified. The account of the trade of Tyre intimates, that God's eye is upon men when employed in worldly business. Not only when at church, praying and hearing, but when in markets and fairs, buying and selling. In all our dealings we should keep a conscience void of offence. God, as the common Father of mankind, makes one country abound in one commodity, and another in another, serviceable to the necessity or to the comfort and ornament of human life. See what a blessing trade and merchandise are to mankind, when followed in the fear of God. Besides necessaries, an abundance of things are made valuable only by custom; yet God allows us to use them. But when riches increase, men are apt to set their hearts upon them, and forget the Lord, who gives power to get wealth.
Verse 19. - Dan also; Hebrew, Vedan. The Authorized Version, following the Vulgate, takes the first syllable as the common conjunction "and;" but no other verse in the chapter begins in this way, and the Revised Version is probably right in giving the Hebrew word as its stands. Dan, it may be added, was hardly likely to have been singled out of all the tribes after the mention of Judah and Israel, especially as it had shared in the exile of the ten tribes. Smend identifies it with Waddan, between Mecca and Medina, or with Aden. Javan, too. already named in Ver. 13, can scarcely here be Greece, though it may possibly refer to Greek traders. It also has been identified conjecturally with an Arabian city. The words, going to and fro, have been rendered "from Uzal" (Genesis 10:27), the ancient name of the capital of Yemen, in Arabia; or, as in the Revised Version, with yarn. The bright iron describes the steel used for sword-blades, for which Yemen was famous. Cassia (Exodus 30:24; Psalm 45:8) and calamus (Exodus 30:23; Song of Solomon 4:14) both belong to the class of perfumes for which Arabia was famous. It is probably the Acorns fragraas, the "sweet cane" of Isaiah 43:24; Jeremiah 6:20.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Dan also and Javan, going to and fro, occupied in thy fairs,.... Either the inhabitants of the tribe of Dan in general; or of Laish, sometime called Dan, and in later times Caesarea Philippi, which was in that tribe: though Grotius thinks that Taprobane, or the isle of Zeilan, is meant, where, and not in Dan, were the things after mentioned, in plenty; and where also, according to Ptolemy (t), was a city called Dana or Dagana: and Bochart takes Javan not to be Greece, but a people of a country in Arabia, the metropolis of which was Uzal; and so he renders it, as some of the Greek versions do, Javan of Uzal, or Asel, to distinguish it from the other Javan, Ezekiel 27:13, where also, and not in Greece, the sweet spices grew, which these are said to trade in:
bright iron, cassia, and calamus, were in thy market; brought from the above places; polished iron or steel, and the sweet spices of cassia and calamus, or the aromatic cane or reed, which came from afar, Jeremiah 6:20.
(t) Geograph. l. 7. c. 4.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. Dan also—None of the other places enumerated commence with the copula ("also"; Hebrew, ve). Moreover, the products specified, "cassia, calamus," apply rather to places in Arabia. Therefore, Fairbairn translates, "Vedan"; perhaps the modern Aden, near the straits of Bab-el-man-deb. Grotius refers it to Dana, mentioned by Ptolemy.
Javan—not the Greeks of Europe or Asia Minor, but of a Greek settlement in Arabia.
going to and fro—rather, as Hebrew admits, "from Uzal." This is added to "Javan," to mark which Javan is meant (Ge 10:27). The metropolis of Arabia Felix, or Yemen; called also Sanaa [Bochart]. English Version gives a good sense, thus: All peoples, whether near as the Israelite "Dan," or far as the Greeks or "Javan," who were wont to "go to and fro" from their love of traffic, frequented thy marts, bringing bright iron, &c., these products not being necessarily represented as those of Dan or Javan.
bright iron—Yemen is still famed for its sword blades.
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