|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:21-31 Neither holy cities nor royal ones are faithful to their trust, if religion does not dwell in them. Dross may shine like silver, and the wine that is mixed with water may still have the colour of wine. Those have a great deal to answer for, who do not help the oppressed, but oppress them. Men may do much by outward restraints; but only God works effectually by the influences of his Spirit, as a Spirit of Judgment. Sin is the worst captivity, the worst slavery. The redemption of the spiritual Zion, by the righteousness and death of Christ, and by his powerful grace, most fully accord with what is here meant. Utter ruin is threatened. The Jews should become as a tree when blasted by heat; as a garden without water, which in those hot countries would soon be burned up. Thus shall they be that trust in idols, or in an arm of flesh. Even the strong man shall be as tow; not only soon broken, and pulled to pieces, but easily catching fire. When the sinner has made himself as tow and stubble, and God makes himself as a consuming fire, what can prevent the utter ruin of the sinner?
Verse 22. - Thy silver is become dross. Primarily, "thy great men have deteriorated." From pure silver, they have become mere dross, the vile refuse of the smelted ore, only fit to be cast away as worthless. But per-Imps there is some further reference to all that was once precious in Jerusalem; there had been a general deterioration - all the silver was now a debased metal of no value. Thy wine mixed with water. A parallelism; but (as so often happens) a weakened iteration of the preceding sentiment.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thy silver is become dross,.... Meaning either that such persons, who had the appearance of goodness, looked like genuine silver, were now become reprobate, and, as the wicked of the earth, like dross, Jeremiah 6:30 or that the word of God, which is as silver purified seven times, was now corrupted with false glosses and human traditions, which were as dross:
thy wine mixed with water (m); the wine of the divine word, which was mixed and blended with the inventions of men, as before; so the roof of the church's mouth, which is no other than the ministry of the word, is compared to the best wine, Sol 7:9.
(m) It being usual to mix water with wine, and drink it, and this being not at all reproachful, but commendable, Gussetius thinks such a version does not express the sense of the words; he therefore thinks that is the same as contracted, which signified "infatuated"; and so the words should be rendered, "thy wine is infatuated into water"; is degenerated, and has lost its spirit and sprightliness, and is become insipid and tasteless. So Jarchi mentions a Midrash, which interprets it by the same word in Ecclesiastes 2:2. It is a word only used in this place. Joseph Kimchi says that in the Arabic, language has the signification of mixture, but without giving any instance. Indeed, according to Castel, it is used for the lees of oil.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22. Thy princes and people are degenerate in "solid worth," equivalent to "silver" (Jer 6:28, 30; Eze 22:18, 19), and in their use of the living Word, equivalent to "wine" (So 7:9).
mixed—literally, "circumcised." So the Arabic, "to murder" wine, equivalent to dilute it.
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