|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:8-16 Israel was as a cake not turned, half burnt and half dough, none of it fit for use; a mixture of idolatry and of the worship of Jehovah. There were tokens of approaching ruin, as grey hairs are of old age, but they noticed them not. The pride which leads to break the law of God leads to self-flattery. The mercy and grace of God are the only refuge to which obstinate sinners never think of fleeing. Though they may howl forth their terrors in the form of prayers, they seldom cry to God with their hearts. Even their prayers for earthly mercies only seek fuel for their lusts. Their turning from one sect, sentiment, form, or vice, to another, still leaves them far short of Christ and holiness. Such are we by nature. And such shall we prove if left to ourselves. Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us.
Verse 15. - Though I have bound (margin, chastened) and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against me. The first clause of this verse is more accurately translated as follows: And yet I have instructed, have strengthened their arms. Here we have another instance of God's goodness and Israel's ingratitude. He had done much for them, and would fain have done more; and yet the return they made was devising mischief against him. The arms are the seat and symbol of strength, as the hands and fingers symbolize skill; thus, in reference to the latter the psalmist says, "Blessed be the Lord my Strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight;" and with regard to the former he says, "He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms." Two benefits are here included in the prophet's enumeration. He instructed the arms, by which is meant that he showed them how and where to get strength. But this was not all; he not only directed to the source, and taught the secret of acquiring strength, he actually supplied strength, thereby giving them power to contend against and conquer their enemies. At a time when "there was not any shut up, nor any left [that is, 'neither bond nor free'] nor helper for Israel... the Lord... saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash." Notwithstanding all this, they
(1) acted the part of apostates and rebels against him: they devised mischief against him by their idolatry which denied him the Godhead glory which was his due, and by their rebellion which aimed at depriving him of his kingly power and dignity. The reference of the last clause,
(2) according to Ewald, is to the treaties which Israel entered into with Assyria and Egypt for safety and defense; and
(3) according to Kimchi, to Israel's false representations of the government and providence of Jehovah: "For they say the good or evil does not come to them from me, but is purely accidental." With respect to יסר, it must be borne in mind that, like ינח, it has two meanings, viz. the chastisement of punishment (κόλασις) and the chastisement of love (παιδεία).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Though I have bound and strengthened their arms,.... As a surgeon sets a broken arm and swathes and binds it, and so restores it to its former strength, or at least to a good degree of strength again, so the Lord dealt with Israel; their arms were broken, and their strength weakened, and they greatly distressed and reduced by the Syrians in the times of Jehoahaz; but they were brought into a better state and condition in the times of Joash and Jeroboam the second; the former retook several cities out of the hands of the Syrians, and the latter restored the border of Israel, and greatly enlarged it; and as all this was done through the blessing of divine Providence, the Lord is said to do it himself. Some render it, "though I have chastised, I have strengthened their arms" (u); though he corrected them for their sins in the times of Jehoahaz, and suffered their arms to be broken by their enemies, for their instruction, and in order to bring them to repentance for their sins; yet he strengthened them again in the following reigns:
yet do they imagine mischief against me; so ungrateful were they, they contrived to do hurt to his prophets that were sent to them in his name, to warn them of their sins and danger, and exhort them to repent, and forsake their idolatrous worship, and other sins; and they sought by all means to dishonour the name of the Lord, by imputing their success in the reigns of Joash and Jeroboam to their idols, and not unto him; and so hardened themselves against him, and in their evil ways.
(u) "castigavi", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Vatablus, Cocceius, Tarnovius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. I … bound—when I saw their arms as it were relaxed with various disasters, I bound them so as to strengthen their sinews; image from surgery [Calvin]. Maurer translates, "I instructed them" to war (Ps 18:34; 144:1), namely, under Jeroboam II (2Ki 14:25). Grotius explains, "Whether I chastised them (Margin) or strengthened their arms, they imagined mischief against Me." English Version is best.
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