|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:12-17 A burden of affliction is apt to make the Christian's hands hang down, and his knees grow feeble, to dispirit him and discourage him; but against this he must strive, that he may better run his spiritual race and course. Faith and patience enable believers to follow peace and holiness, as a man follows his calling constantly, diligently, and with pleasure. Peace with men, of all sects and parties, will be favourable to our pursuit of holiness. But peace and holiness go together; there can be not right peace without holiness. Where persons fail of having the true grace of God, corruption will prevail and break forth; beware lest any unmortified lust in the heart, which seems to be dead, should spring up, to trouble and disturb the whole body. Falling away from Christ is the fruit of preferring the delights of the flesh, to the blessing of God, and the heavenly inheritance, as Esau did. But sinners will not always have such mean thoughts of the Divine blessing and inheritance as they now have. It agrees with the profane man's disposition, to desire the blessing, yet to despise the means whereby the blessing is to be gained. But God will neither sever the means from the blessing, nor join the blessing with the satisfying of man's lusts. God's mercy and blessing were never sought carefully and not obtained.
Verse 13. - And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but that it rather be healed. The ideas in this verse correspond to, and may be suggested by, those that follow in Isaiah the passage above referred to. For there too the prophet goes on to speak, among other things, of the lame leaping, and of a way of holiness along which none should err. But the words themselves are suggested by Proverbs 4:26, Αοτὸς δὲ ὀρθὰς ποιήσει τὰς τροχιάς σου (LXX.), the verb διαστρέφεσθαι having been previously used for turning out of the way. It is observable that the words, καὶ τροχιάς, etc., are arranged so as to form an hexameter line. This may have been unintentional, but it is at any rate effective. Delitzsch remarks on it. "The duty to which the writer urges, his, readers is courageous self-recovery m Gods strength. The tone and language are elevated accordingly, and ver. 12 is like a trumpet-blast. It need not surprise us, then, if our author here turns poet, and proceeds in heroic measures." With regard to the purport of this verse, we observe that, while the figure of running is still continued, a new idea is introduced - that of pursuing a straight course with a view to others who are to follow on the same track. "That which is lame (τὸ χωλόν)" denotes the weak and wavering brethren - the ἀσθενοῦντες, such as are referred to in Romans 14. and 1 Corinthians 8. The expression well suits (specially those among the Hebrew Christians who halted between two opinions - between the Church and the synagogue (cf. 1 Kings 18:21, Ἕως πότε ὑμεῖς χωλανεῖτε επ ἀμφοτέραις ταῖς ἰγνύαις;). The strong in faith ought to desire and aim at the healing of such lame ones, i.e. their being strengthened in the faith, rather than expose them to the risk of apostasy by any wavering of their own.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And make straight paths for your feet,.... By "feet" are meant the walk and conversation of the saints, both in the church, and in the world, Sol 7:1 and there are paths made ready for these feet to walk in; as the good old paths of truth, of the word and worship of God, of faith and holiness: and to make these paths "straight", is to make the word of God the rule of walking; to avoid carefully joining anything with it as a rule; to attend constantly on the ordinances of Christ; to go on evenly in a way of believing on him; to walk in some measure worthy of the calling wherewith we are called, and by way of example to others.
Lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; a lame member, as the Syriac version, a lame member of the body of Christ, the church; or a lame person, as the Arabic version, a weak believer; one that is ready to halt, either through the corruption of nature, or through the weakness of grace, or through want of light and judgment, and through instability and inconstancy; lest such an one should, through the irregular walk and conversation of others, be stumbled and offended, and go out of the way, and leave the paths of righteousness and truth. God takes care of, and has a regard to such, and he would have others also, Micah 4:6. The Ethiopic version reads, "that your halting may be healed, and not offended": that you yourselves may not halt and stumble.
But let it rather be healed; the fallen believer be restored, the weak brother be confirmed, the halting professor be strengthened, and everyone be built up and established upon the most holy faith, and in the pure ways of the Gospel.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. Quoted from Pr 4:26, Septuagint, "Make straight paths for thy feet."
straight—that is, leading by a straight road to joy and grace (Heb 12:1, 2, 15). Cease to "halt" between Judaism and Christianity [Bengel].
paths—literally, "wheel tracks." Let your walk be so firm and so unanimous in the right direction that a plain track and "highway" may be thereby established for those who accompany and follow you, to perceive and walk in (Isa 35:8) [Alford].
that which is lame—those "weak in the faith" (Ro 14:1), having still Judaizing prejudices.
be turned out of the way—(Pr 4:27); and, so missing the way, lose the prize of "the race" (Heb 12:1).
rather he healed—Proper exercise of itself contributes to health; the habit of walking straight onward in the right way tends to healing.
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