|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-11 Observe the sin of the Jews, after their return from captivity in Babylon. Those employed for God may be driven from their work by a storm, yet they must go back to it. They did not say that they would not build a temple, but, Not yet. Thus men do not say they will never repent and reform, and be religious, but, Not yet. And so the great business we were sent into the world to do, is not done. There is a proneness in us to think wrongly of discouragements in our duty, as if they were a discharge from our duty, when they are only for the trial of our courage and faith. They neglected the building of God's house, that they might have more time and money for worldly affairs. That the punishment might answer to the sin, the poverty they thought to prevent by not building the temple, God brought upon them for not building it. Many good works have been intended, but not done, because men supposed the proper time was not come. Thus believers let slip opportunities of usefulness, and sinners delay the concerns of their souls, till too late. If we labour only for the meat that perishes, as the Jews here, we are in danger of losing our labour; but we are sure it shall not be in vain in the Lord, if we labour for the meat which lasts to eternal life. If we would have the comfort and continuance of temporal enjoyments, we must have God as our Friend. See also Lu 12:33. When God crosses our temporal affairs, and we meet with trouble and disappointment, we shall find the cause is, that the work we have to do for God and our own souls is left undone, and we seek our own things more than the things of Christ. How many, who plead that they cannot afford to give to pious or charitable designs, often lavish ten times as much in needless expenses on their houses and themselves! But those are strangers to their own interests, who are full of care to adorn and enrich their own houses, while God's temple in their hearts lies waste. It is the great concern of every one, to apply to the necessary duty of self-examination and communion with our own hearts concerning our spiritual state. Sin is what we must answer for; duty is what we must do. But many are quick-sighted to pry into other people's ways, who are careless of their own. If any duty has been neglected, that is no reason why it should still be so. Whatever God will take pleasure in when done, we ought to take pleasure in doing. Let those who have put off their return to God, return with all their heart, while there is time.
Verse 10. - Over you. This would be a reference to Deuteronomy 28:23. But the preposition is probably not local, but means rather, "on your account," i.e. on account of your sin, as Psalm 44:22. This is not tautological after the preceding "therefore," but more closely defines and explains the illative. Is stayed from dew; hath stayed itself from dew; withholds not only rain, but even dew (comp. Zechariah 8:12). On the importance of dew in the climate of Palestine, see note on Micah 5:7. The dews generally are remarkably heavy, and in the summer months take the place of rain. Dr. Thomson speaks of the dew rolling in the morning off his tent like rain ('Land and the Book,' p. 491). The earth is stayed from her fruit; hath stayed her fruit; according to the threat (Deuteronomy 11:17).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew,.... Or, "therefore over", or "upon you" (a); where should be a stop; that is, because, of your neglect of the house of God; therefore upon you, and upon you only, and not upon other nations, the heaven is restrained from letting down the dew: or, "therefore I am against you" (b); for the above reason, and which the following things show; and sad it is to have God to be an enemy, and against a people! or, "for your sake"; so the Syriac version, to which sense is the Targum,
"therefore for your sins;''
and so Jarchi, "the heaven is stayed from dew"; none descends from it; the Lord, who has the ordering of it, will not suffer it: to have the dew fall upon the earth in the night season is a great blessing; it makes the earth fruitful, revives the corn, plants, and herbs, and causes them to flourish and increase; and to have it restrained is a judgment:
and the earth is stayed from her fruit; from bringing forth its increase, which is the consequence of the dew being withheld.
(a) "propterea super vos", Varenius, Reinbeck, Burkius. (b) "Idcirco contra vos", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. heaven … is stayed from dew—literally, "stays itself." Thus heaven or the sky is personified; implying that inanimate nature obeys Jehovah's will; and, shocked at His people's disobedience, withholds its goods from them (compare Jer 2:12, 13).
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