|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:4-11 Sometimes Israel and Judah seemed disposed to repent under their sufferings, but their goodness vanished like the empty morning cloud, and the early dew, and they were as vile as ever. Therefore the Lord sent awful messages by the prophets. The word of God will be the death either of the sin or of the sinner. God desired mercy rather than sacrifice, and that knowledge of him which produces holy fear and love. This exposes the folly of those who trust in outward observances, to make up for their want of love to God and man. As Adam broke the covenant of God in paradise, so Israel had broken his national covenant, notwithstanding all the favours they received. Judah also was ripe for Divine judgments. May the Lord put his fear into our hearts, and set up his kingdom within us, and never leave us to ourselves, nor suffer us to be overcome by temptation.
Verse 11. - Also, O Judah, he hath set an harvest for thee. The subject of shath is the indeterminate third person, like the French on, and our "they" or "one." The third person singular masculine, the third person plural, the second person singular masculine, and the passive voice are all used in this way. So here it is: "One hath appointed (set) a harvest for thee," or "a harvest is appointed for thee." The harvest is either recompense or retribution, and thus it is either good or evil, for as a man sows he maps. The context shows that the reaping here is punishment. Judah had sinned like Israel; and, in the case of both, a seed-time of sin produced a harvest of suffering and sorrow. When I returned (better, return, or, restore) the captivity of my people. The restoration here mentioned is thought
(1) by some to be the bringing back of the captives; but
(2) Keil and others, with good reason, understand it to be turning of the captivity, and that figuratively, that is to say, the restoration of his people's well-being. The shebhuth is the misery of the Hebrew people; the shubh shebhuth, recovery end restoration of them to their true destroy, But this necessitates a previous purification by punishment: with this Judah, as well as Israel, shall be visited. It is as though God said, "Let not Judah claim superiority over Israel, nor expect to escape Divine judgment more than Israel. Each reaps what he sows. When Israel has received the deserved chastisement, Judah's turn shall then come also." The "turning of captivity" is a formula denoting the restoration of the lost fortune or well-being of a people or person; thus Job 42:10, "And the Lord turned the captivity of Job."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Also, O Judah, he hath set an harvest for thee,.... That is, God hath set and appointed a time of wrath and vengeance for thee, which is sometimes signified by a harvest, Revelation 14:15; because thou hast been guilty of idolatry also, as well as Ephraim or the ten tribes: or rather it may be rendered, "but, O Judah" (h), he, that is, God, hath set an harvest for thee; appointed a time of joy and gladness, as a time of harvest is:
when I returned, or "return" (i),
the captivity of my people; the people of Judah from the Babylonish captivity; so that here is a prophecy both of their captivity, and of their return from it: and it may be applied unto their return from their spiritual captivity to sin, Satan, and the law, through the Gospel of Christ and his apostles, first published in Judea, by means of which there was a large harvest of souls gathered in, and was an occasion of great joy.
(h) "sed", V. L. Munster, Grotius. (i) "cum ego reduco", Calvin.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. an harvest—namely, of judgments (as in Jer 51:33; Joe 3:13; Re 14:15). Called a "harvest" because it is the fruit of the seed which Judah herself had sown (Ho 8:7; 10:12; Job 4:8; Pr 22:8). Judah, under Ahaz, lost a hundred twenty thousand "slain in one day (by Israel under Pekah), because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers."
when I returned the captivity of my people—when I, by Oded My prophet, caused two hundred thousand women, sons, and daughters, of Judah to be restored from captivity by Israel (2Ch 28:6-15). This prophecy was delivered under Pekah [Ludovicus De Dieu]. Maurer explains, When Israel shall have been exiled for its sins, and has been subsequently restored by Me, thou, Judah, also shalt be exiled for thine. But as Judah's punishment was not at the time when God restored Israel, Ludovicus De Dieu's explanation must be taken. Grotius translates, "When I shall have returned to make captive (that is, when I shall have again made captive) My people." The first captivity of Israel under Tiglath-pileser was followed by a second under Shalmaneser. Then came the siege of Jerusalem, and the capture of the fenced cities of Judah, by Sennacherib, the forerunner of other attacks, ending in Judah's captivity. But the Hebrew is elsewhere used of restoration, not renewed punishment (De 30:3; Ps 14:7).
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