|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
33:15-24 The true believer watches against all occasions of sin. The Divine power will keep him safe, and his faith in that power will keep him easy. He shall want nothing needful for him. Every blessing of salvation is freely bestowed on all that ask with humble, believing prayer; and the believer is safe in time and for ever. Those that walk uprightly shall not only have bread given, and their water sure, but they shall, by faith, see the King of kings in his beauty, the beauty of holiness. The remembrance of the terror they were in, shall add to the pleasure of their deliverance. It is desirable to be quiet in our own houses, but much more so to be quiet in God's house; and in every age Christ will have a seed to serve him. Jerusalem had no large river running by it, but the presence and power of God make up all wants. We have all in God, all we need, or can desire. By faith we take Christ for our Prince and Saviour; he reigns over his redeemed people. All that refuse to have Him to reign over them, make shipwreck of their souls. Sickness is taken away in mercy, when the fruit of it is the taking away of sin. If iniquity be taken away, we have little reason to complain of outward affliction. This last verse leads our thoughts, not only to the most glorious state of the gospel church on earth, but to heaven, where no sickness or trouble can enter. He that blotteth out our transgressions, will heal our souls.
Verse 18. - Thine heart shall meditate terror; i.e. "thou shalt look back upon the past time of terror, the dreadful period of the siege, and contrast it with thy present happiness." Mr. Cheyne quotes as an illustration, appositely enough, Virgil's "Et haec olim meminisse juvabit." Where is the scribe... the receiver?.... he that counted the towers? Where now are the Assyrian officials - the scribe, who registered the amount of the tribute and booty ('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 1. p. 476); the receiver, who weighed the gold and silver carefully in a balance (Layard, 'Nineveh and its Remains,' vol. 2. p. 377); and the engineer officer who surveyed the place to be besieged, estimated its strength, and counted its towers? All have perished or have fled away in dismay.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thine heart shall meditate terror,.... shall recollect, and think of with pleasure and thankfulness, the terror they were formerly seized with, when surrounded and oppressed by their enemies, particularly at the time of the slaying of the witnesses, which will be a terrible time to the church and people of God; but when that is over, they will call it to mind with gratitude, for deliverance from it (e). This is commonly understood of the terror and consternation the Jews were in when besieged by the Assyrian army; and so the following words,
Where is the scribe? where is the receiver? where is he that counted the towers? are taken to be either the words of the Jews in their distress, calling for such and such officers to go to their respective posts, and do their duty; as the "scribe", or muster master, to see that he has his full quota of men; the "receiver" or treasurer, and paymaster of the soldiers, to give the men money and wages, that they may be encouraged to fight; and "the counter of towers", or engineer, to take care of the fortifications, and give directions about them: or else, as now insulting the Assyrians after the defeat of them, inquiring where were now such and such officers in their army, whom before they dreaded, signifying they were all perished and gone. The apostle cites these words, or at least alludes to them, 1 Corinthians 1:20 when he says, "where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world?" triumphing over the wise doctors of the Jews, and the philosophers of the Gentiles, as not being able to face and withstand the power and wisdom of the Gospel; See Gill on 1 Corinthians 1:20. So here, when the people of God will be recovered from their fright, and be brought out of their low estate, and will have ascended into heaven, or be come into a glorious church state, they will then triumph over their enemies, who will be no more, and say, where are the pope and his clergy? his cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests, monks, friars, &c.; what are become of them? they are all gone, and will be no more. The Targum is,
"thine heart shall think of great things; where are the scribes? where are the princes? where are the counters? let them come, if they can count the numbers of the slain, the heads of mighty armies;''
which may well enough be illustrated by Revelation 11:13.
(e) So Ben Melech interprets it,
"thine heart, which was meditating terror before this.''
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. meditate—on the "terror" caused by the enemy, but now past.
where, &c.—the language of the Jews exulting over their escape from danger.
scribe—who enrolled the army [Maurer]; or, who prescribed the tribute to be paid [Rosenmuller]; or, who kept an account of the spoil. "The principal scribe of the host" (2Ki 25:19; Jer 52:25). The Assyrian records are free from the exaggerations of Egyptian records. Two scribes are seen in every Assyrian bas-relief, writing down the various objects brought to them, the heads of the slain, prisoners, cattle, sheep, &c.
receiver—"weigher," Margin. Layard mentions, among the Assyrian inscriptions, "a pair a scales for weighing the spoils."
counted … towers—he whose duty it was to reconnoitre and report the strength of the city to be besieged.
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