|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:8-15 The destruction of impenitent sinners is not mere talk, to frighten them, it is a sentence which will not be recalled. And it is a mercy that we have timely warning given us, that we may flee from the wrath to come. Compliance with the commandments of men, who thwart the commandments of God, ripens a people for ruin. The judgments of God are sometimes to a sinful people as a moth, and as rottenness, or as a worm; as these consume the clothes and the wood, so shall the judgments of God consume them. Silently, they shall think themselves safe and thriving, but when they look into their state, shall find themselves wasting and decaying. Slowly, for the Lord gives them space to repent. Many a nation; as well as many a person, dies of a consumption. Gradually, God comes upon sinners with lesser judgments, to prevent greater, if they will be wise, and take warning. When Israel and Judah found themselves in danger, they sought the protection of the Assyrians, but this only helped to make their wound the worse. They would be forced to apply to God. He will bring them home to himself, by afflictions. When men begin to complain more of their sins than of their afflictions, then there begins to be some hope of them; and when under the conviction of sin, and the corrections of the rod, we must seek the knowledge of God. Those who are led by severe trials to seek God earnestly and sincerely, will find him a present help and an effectual refuge; for with him is plenteous redemption for all who call upon him. There is solid peace, and there only, where God is.
Verse 10. - The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound. The individual who had the temerity to remove his neighbor's landmark was not only guilty of a great sin, but obnoxious to a grievous curse. Thus Deuteronomy 19:14, "Thou shall not remove thy neighbor's landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance;" and again Deuteronomy 27:17, "Cursed be he that removeth his neighbor's landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen." The removal of the landmark characterizes the conduct of men entirely regardless of the rights of others - utterly reckless. The Jewish nobles, the king's ministers and high officers of state, are compared to those who remove the landmark, disregarding alike what was due to their fellow-men and to their God. The Jewish commentators differ in their exposition between tact and figure - some of them taking the removal of the boundary as a matter of fact, the caph being for confirmation; thus D. Kimchi; while I. Kimchi explains it of the rejection of the appeal for justice against removers of landmarks; others understanding it figuratively, and the whole as expressing general lawlessness, thus Rashi: "Like a man who removes his neighbor's landmark, just so they hasten to hold fast the ways of Israel their neighbors... according to the literal sense, They grasped at the fields; but this, in my opinion, is harsh, for then the prophet must have written merely מסיגי, and not נמסיגי." Similarly Aben Ezra: "They exercise violence towards those who are in their power, whilst they are like those who secretly remove the landmark." The people of Judah had also sinned, and, like Israel in sin, they resemble them in suffering. There-tore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water. The word "wrath" here is from a root which signifies "to overflow;" it is thus the overflowing of Divine indignation; while the outpouring thereof denotes the full flood of wrath that will overwhelm those lawless leaders of a misguided and misgoverned people. The execution of the threatening was reserved for the Assyrians. who, under Tiglath-pileser and Sennacherib, invaded and laid waste the land. And yet those judgments, though so severe and plentiful, were not to end in total and lasting devastation as in the case of Israel. The following vers. 11-15 teach the inevitable nature of the judgments that were coming upon both Israel and Judah, and from which no earthly power could deliver them. The only relief possible depended on their seeking God in the day of their distress.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound,.... Or landmark, which to do was contrary to the law, Deuteronomy 19:14; and has always been reckoned a heinous sin among all nations, and is only done by such who have no regard to right and wrong, and by them secretly; and such were the kings, princes, and nobles of Judah; they secretly committed the grossest iniquities, yea, were abandoned to their vile lusts, and could not be contained within any bounds. The "caph" here used is, according to Kimchi and Ben Melech, not a note of similitude, but of certainty; and then the sense is, that the princes of Judah did remove the bound; either, in a literal sense, by force and violence seized on the possessions and inheritances of their neighbours which lay next to theirs; or, in a figurative sense, they broke through all bounds and limits, and transgressed the laws of God and men, being not to be restrained by either:
therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water; in great abundance, and with such force and vehemence, as not to be stopped, but utterly destroy; like a flood of water, which overflows the banks, or breaks them down, and carries all before it; or like the flood of water that came upon the earth, and carried off the world of the ungodly; in like manner should the wrath of God be poured down from heaven upon these princes without measure, exceeding all bounds, in just retaliation for their removing the bounds of their neighbours, or transgressing the laws of God: this was fulfilled either in the times of Ahaz, when Rezin king of Syria, and Pekah king of Israel, as well as Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, greatly afflicted Judah, 2 Chronicles 28:1; or at the time of the Babylonish captivity.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. remove the bound—(De 19:14; 27:17; Job 24:2; Pr 22:28; 23:10). Proverbial for the rash setting aside of the ancestral laws by which men are kept to their duty. Ahaz and his courtiers ("the princes of Judah"), setting aside the ancient ordinances of God, removed the borders of the bases and the layer and the sea and introduced an idolatrous altar from Damascus (2Ki 16:10-18); also he burnt his children in the valley of Hinnom, after the abominations of the heathen (2Ch 28:3).
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