|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
38:9-22 We have here Hezekiah's thanksgiving. It is well for us to remember the mercies we receive in sickness. Hezekiah records the condition he was in. He dwells upon this; I shall no more see the Lord. A good man wishes not to live for any other end than that he may serve God, and have communion with him. Our present residence is like that of a shepherd in his hut, a poor, mean, and cold lodging, and with a trust committed to our charge, as the shepherd has. Our days are compared to the weaver's shuttle, Job 7:6, passing and repassing very swiftly, every throw leaving a thread behind it; and when finished, the piece is cut off, taken out of the loom, and showed to our Master to be judged of. A good man, when his life is cut off, his cares and fatigues are cut off with it, and he rests from his labours. But our times are in God's hand; he has appointed what shall be the length of the piece. When sick, we are very apt to calculate our time, but are still at uncertainty. It should be more our care how we shall get safe to another world. And the more we taste of the loving-kindness of God, the more will our hearts love him, and live to him. It was in love to our poor perishing souls that Christ delivered them. The pardon does not make the sin not to have been sin, but not to be punished as it deserves. It is pleasant to think of our recoveries from sickness, when we see them flowing from the pardon of sin. Hezekiah's opportunity to glorify God in this world, he made the business, and pleasure, and end of life. Being recovered, he resolves to abound in praising and serving God. God's promises are not to do away, but to quicken and encourage the use of means. Life and health are given that we may glorify God and do good.
Verse 15. - What shall I say? The strain is suddenly changed. Hezekiah's prayer has been answered, and he has received the answer (vers. 5-8). He is "at a loss to express his wonder and his gratitude" (Cheyne); comp. 2 Samuel 7:20. God has both spoken unto him - i.e., given him a promise of recovery - and also himself hath done it; i.e. has performed his promise. Already he feels in himself the beginnings of amendment - he is conscious that the worst is past, and that the malady has taken a turn for the better. I shall go softly all my years. Delitzsch renders, "I shall walk quietly;" Mr. Cheyne, "I shall walk at ease;" both apparently understanding the expression of a quiet, easy life, made the more pleasant by contrast with past pain. But it seems better to understand the "soft going," with Dr. Kay, of a hushed and subdued spirit, consequent upon the crisis past, and thenceforth continuing - the king walking, as it were, perpetually in God's presence. In the bitterness; rather, after the bitterness (Delitzsch), when it has departed; and "because of it" (Nagelsbach), through its remembrance.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
What shall I say?.... In a way of praise and thankfulness, for the mercies promised and received; I know not what to say; I want words to express the gratitude of my heart for the kindness bestowed. What shall I render to God for all his benefits? So the Targum,
"what praise shall I utter, and I will say it before him?''
for here begins the account of his recovery, and his thanksgiving for it:
he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it; the Lord had sent him a message by the prophet, and assured him that he should recover, and on the third day go up to the temple; and now he had performed what he had promised, he was restored, and was come to the house of God with his thank offering; whatever the Lord says, he does; what he promises, he brings to pass:
I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul; before he did not reckon of a day to live, now he speaks of his years, having fifteen added to his days, during which time he should "go softly", in a thoughtful "meditating" frame of mind (r); frequently calling to remembrance, and revolving in his mind, his bitter affliction, and recovery out of it, acknowledging the goodness and kindness of God unto him: or leisurely,
step by step, without fear of any enemies, dangers, or death, having a promise of such a length of time to live: or go pleasantly and
cheerfully, after the bitterness of my soul (s), as it may be rendered; that is, after it is over, or because of deliverance from it. So the Targum,
"with what shall I serve him, and render to him for all the years he hath added to my life, and hath delivered me from the bitterness of my soul?''
(r) "motitando meditabor", Tigurine version; "leniter, vel pedetentim incedam" Vatablus; "alacriter incedam", Piscator, Vitringa. (s) "post amaritudinem", Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15-20. The second part of the song passes from prayer to thanksgiving at the prayer being heard.
What shall I say?—the language of one at a loss for words to express his sense of the unexpected deliverance.
both spoken … and … done it—(Nu 23:19). Both promised and performed (1Th 5:24; Heb 10:23).
himself—No one else could have done it (Ps 98:1).
go softly … in the bitterness—rather, "on account of the bitterness"; I will behave myself humbly in remembrance of my past sorrow and sickness from which I have been delivered by God's mercy (see 1Ki 21:27, 29). In Ps 42:4, the same Hebrew verb expresses the slow and solemn gait of one going up to the house of God; it is found nowhere else, hence Rosenmuller explains it, "I will reverently attend the sacred festivals in the temple"; but this ellipsis would be harsh; rather metaphorically the word is transferred to a calm, solemn, and submissive walk of life.
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