|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
32:9-20 When there was so much provocation given to the holy God, bad times might be expected. Alas! how many careless ones there are, who support self-indulgence by shameful niggardliness! We deserve to be deprived of the supports of life, when we make them the food of lusts. Let such tremble and be troubled. Blessed times shall be brought in by the pouring out of the Spirit from on high; then, and not till then, there will be good times. The present state of the Jews shall continue until a more abundant pouring out of the Spirit from on high. Peace and quietness shall be found in the way and work of righteousness. True satisfaction is to be had only in true religion. And real holiness is real happiness now, and shall be perfect happiness, that is, perfect holiness for ever. The good seed of the word shall be sown in all places, and be watered by Divine grace; and laborious, patient labourers shall be sent forth into God's husbandry.
Verse 14. - The palaces shall be forsaken; literally, the palace; but the word is used in a generic sense. The prophet sees in vision Jerusalem deserted by her inhabitants, the grand houses of the rich empty, the strongholds haunted by wild beasts, and the slopes of the hills fed on by sheep, and even occasionally visited by the timid and solitude-loving wild ass. The description suits well the time of the Babylonian captivity, but not any earlier period. Probably it was not revealed to the prophet how soon the condition would be reached. The multitude of the city shall be left. The real meaning is, as Bishop Lowth expresses it, "The populous city shall be left desolate." But the whole passage is. as Delitzsch observes, "grammatically strange, the language becoming more complicated, disjointed, and difficult, the greater the wrath and indignation of the poet." The forts and towers; rather, hill and tower, with (perhaps) a special reference to the part of Jerusalem called Ophel (2 Chronicles 27:3; Nehemiah 3:26, etc.), the long projecting spur from the eastern hill, which points a little west of south, and separates the Kedron valley from the Tyropoeon. Shall be for dens; literally, for caves; but dens for wild beasts seem to be meant (comp. Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 34:14; Jeremiah 50:39). For ever. This expression must not be pressed. Hyperbole is a recognized feature of poetry written under strong excitement. A joy of wild asses. The wild ass is not now found nearer Palestine than Mesopotamia, or perhaps Northern Syria. It is exceedingly shy, and never approaches the habitations of men.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Because the palaces shall be forsaken,.... The palaces of the princes and nobles shall be forsaken by them, they being obliged to flee from the enemy, or being taken, and either slain, or carried captive. The word in the Hebrew is in the singular number, "the palace", meaning the royal palace; and so Aben Ezra and Jarchi interpret it of the king's palace; though the Targum paraphrases it the house of the sanctuary, or the temple, so Kimchi; which was left desolate, as Christ foretold it should be, Matthew 23:38,
the multitude of the city shall be left; to take care of themselves, and to the fury of their enemies, their princes and nobles being killed or fled; or, "the city shall be left of the multitude" (p); the multitude of inhabitants that were in it shall forsake it, and flee, or be destroyed in it, so that few or none shall remain:
the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever; Ophel and Bachan, which some take to be the names of two towers of Jerusalem; of Ophel we read in 2 Chronicles 27:3 but rather these intend in general the high towers and strong fortifications of Jerusalem, which being cut out of rocks, when demolished served for dens for thieves and robbers, and wild creatures; and this being "for ever", that is, for a very long time, shows that it cannot be applied to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, and the seventy years' captivity; but it is to be understood of the last destruction, which continues unto this day:
a joy of wild asses; which delight in wild and desert places; see Job 39:5.
a pasture of flocks; where flocks of sheep feed, instead of being inhabited by men. Jarchi's note is pretty remarkable,
"for the desire, or at the will, of the Ishmaelites, and for the feeding of the Grecians, and their army;''
and certain it is that Jerusalem now is in the hands of the Ishmaelites, or Turks. The Targum is,
"the place which was a house of joy and gladness for kings is now become a spoil for armies.''
(p) So Gataker.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. palaces—most applicable to Jerusalem (see on Isa 32:13).
multitude … left—the noisy din of the city, that is, the city with its noisy multitude shall lie forsaken [Maurer].
forts—rather, "Ophel" (that is, the mound), the term applied specially to the declivity on the east of Zion, surrounded with its own wall (2Ch 27:3; 33:14; 2Ki 5:24), and furnished with "towers" (or watchtowers), perhaps referred to here (Ne 3:26, 27).
for ever—limited by thee, "until," &c., Isa 32:15, for a long time.
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