|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:16-22 Sooner or later, sin will cause sorrow; and those who will not repent of their sin, may justly be left to pine away in it. There are many whose wealth is their snare and ruin; and the gaining the world is the losing of their souls. Riches profit not in the day of wrath. The wealth of this world has not that in it which will answer the desires of the soul, or be any satisfaction to it in a day of distress. God's temple shall stand them in no stead. Those are unworthy to be honoured with the form of godliness, who will not be governed by its power.
Verse 16. - They that escape, etc. The sentence is virtually conditional. They that escape shall, it is true, in one sense, escape the immediate doom; but if so, it shall only be to the mountains. These were, in all times (Genesis 19:17; Judges 6:2; 1 Samuel 13:6; Psalm 11:1; 1 Macc. 2:28; Matthew 24:16; Mark 13:14), the natural refuge for those who fled from danger, but even this should fail those of whom the prophet speaks. They should be like the doves of the mountain gorges, that are fluttered at the appearance of the eagle or the fowler, and seem by note (Isaiah 38:14; Isaiah 59:11) and gesture (Nahum 2:7), to be mourning forevermore. There also they shall lie, every man in his iniquity, and wailing for its punishment. We are reminded of Dante's similitudes in 'Inf.,' 5:40, 46, 82.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But they that escape of them shall escape,.... Some few should escape the pestilence, famine, and sword, and flee to the mountains, where they should live a very miserable and uncomfortable life; so that this is no contradiction to the wrath of God being upon the whole multitude, Ezekiel 7:12; as it follows:
and shall be on the mountains; whither they shall flee, when the city is broken up and taken; and so the Syriac version reads it, in connection with the preceding words, "and they that escape of them shall escape to the mountains"; barren and desert places, where they shall find no subsistence, nor have any agreeable company and conversation, but live in solitude and distress:
like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, everyone for his iniquity: like doves that live in valleys, or gather together there, and hide themselves in the holes of the rocks, on the sides of the valleys, from birds of prey; or are so called, to distinguish them from wild doves, which, when they have lost their mates, make a very mournful noise, though not loud and clamorous. So those Jews that escaped, being in such an uncomfortable condition, turned out of house and home, and deprived of their substance, should lament their fate; not in loud cries, lest they should be heard by the enemy and taken, but in secret sighs, and in a mournful tone; acknowledging to God, and to one another, their sins; they now became sensible of, which brought these calamities upon them. So God's people, the remnant according to the election of grace, who "escape" the general ruin sin has brought on mankind, are for the most part "upon the mountains", in an afflicted and persecuted state; they are like "doves" for their harmlessness, amiableness, cleanness, modesty chastity, sociableness, and timorous disposition; and like doves "of the valleys", in a low estate, through corruption, temptation, desertion, affliction, and persecution; and "mourn" over their own "iniquity", the sin of their nature, their unbelief and various transgressions being committed against a God of love, contrary to his grace, grieving to his Spirit, and dishonourable to his Gospel; and being what break their bereave them of comfort, and deprive them of communion with God.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. (Eze 6:6).
like doves—which, though usually frequenting the valleys, mount up to the mountains when fearing the bird-catcher (Ps 11:1). So Israel, once dwelling in its peaceful valleys, shall flee from the foe to the mountains, which, as being the scene of its idolatries, were justly to be made the scene of its flight and shame. The plaintive note of the dove (Isa 59:11) represents the mournful repentance of Israel hereafter (Zec 12:10-12).
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