|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-9 God was about to deprive Judah of every stay and support. The city and the land were to be made desolate, because their words and works had been rebellious against the Lord; even at his holy temple. If men do not stay themselves upon God, he will soon remove all other supports, and then they must sink. Christ is the Bread of life and the Water of life; if he be our Stay, we shall find that is a good part not to be taken away, Joh 6:27. Here note, 1. That the condition of sinners is exceedingly woful. 2. It is the soul that is damaged by sin. 3. Whatever evil befals sinners, be sure that they bring it on themselves.
Verse 9. - The show of their countenance doth witness against them. This is not in itself a sin, but it is a sign of frequent and habitual sin. Vice, long indulged in, stamps its mark upon the countenance, giving men what is called "a bad expression" - a guilty and hardened look. It does not require a skilled physiognomist to detect at a glance the habitual criminal or sensualist. They declare their sin as Sodom. Not only does their countenance betray them, but, like the Sodomites (Genesis 19:5, 9), they boldly and impudently declare their wicked purposes beforehand, and make no attempt at concealment. Hypocrisy has been said to be the homage that vice pays to virtue. Where there is none, where vice has ceased to shroud or veil itself, a very advanced stage of wickedness has been reached. They have rewarded evil unto themselves. They have "received in themselves the recompense of their error which was meet" (Romans 1:27). Their sins have at once marred their countenance and injured their moral nature.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The shew of their countenance doth witness against them,.... The word translated "shew" is only used in this place. Some derive it from "to know", in the conjugations Piel and Hiphil; and render it, "the knowledge of their countenance" (f); that is, that which may be known by their countenances; the countenance oftentimes shows what is in the heart, the cruel disposition of the mind, the pride and vanity of it, the uncleanness and lasciviousness that is in it; to this our version agrees, and which is confirmed by the Chaldee paraphrase,
"the knowledge of their countenance in judgment doth testify against them;''
as they appear there, so it may be judged of them; their guilt flies in their face, and fills them with shame and confusion; and so the Septuagint and Arabic versions render it, "the shame of their face"; but others derive it from which has the signification of hardness in the Arabic language, and as it is thought by some to have in Job 19:3 and render it, "the hardness of their countenance"; so R. Joseph Kimchi, and others (g), meaning their impudence (h); not only their words and actions, but their impudent looks, show what they are; which agrees with what follows:
and they declare their sin as Sodom, and
hide it not; commit it openly, without fear or shame; glory in it, and boast of it, as the Jews did in their crucifixion of Christ, and their evil treatment of him:
woe to their soul, for they have rewarded evil unto themselves; they have brought upon themselves, soul and body, the just recompence of reward; they have been the cause of their own ruin, and have wronged their own souls.
(f) "cognitio vultus eorum", Munster, Vatablus, V. L. (g) "Obfermatio", Janius & Tremellius; "durities", Piscator. (h) So Schindler renders the Arabic word, "hacar", impudence. Vid. Castel. Lexic. col. 846.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. show—The Hebrew means, "that which may be known by their countenances" [Gesenius and Weiss]. But Maurer translates, "Their respect for person"; so Syriac and Chaldee. But the parallel word "declare" favors the other view. Kimchi, from the Arabic, translates "their hardness" (Job 19:3, Margin), or impudence of countenance (Jer 3:3). They have lost not only the substance of virtue, but its color.
witness—literally, "corresponds" to them; their look answers to their inner character (Ho 5:5).
declare—(Jude 13). "Foaming out their own shame"; so far from making it a secret, "glorying" in it (Php 3:19).
unto themselves—Compare "in themselves" (Pr 1:31; 8:36; Jer 2:19; Ro 1:27).
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