|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
48:16-22 The Holy Spirit qualifies for service; and those may speak boldly, whom God and his Spirit send. This is to be applied to Christ. He was sent, and he had the Spirit without measure. Whom God redeems, he teaches; he teaches to profit by affliction, and then makes them partakers of his holiness. Also, by his grace he leads them in the way of duty; and by his providence he leads in the way of deliverance. God did not afflict them willingly. If their sins had not turned them away, their peace should have been always flowing and abundant. Spiritual enjoyments are ever joined with holiness of life and regard to God's will. It will make the misery of the disobedient the more painful, to think how happy they might have been. And here is assurance given of salvation out of captivity. Those whom God designs to bring home to himself, he will take care of, that they want not for their journey. This is applicable to the grace laid up for us in Jesus Christ, from whom all good flows to us, as the water to Israel out of the rock, for that Rock was Christ. The spiritual blessings of redemption, and the rescue of the church from antichristian tyranny, are here pointed to. But whatever changes take place, the Lord warned impenitent sinners that no good would come to them; that inward anguish and outward trouble, which spring from guilt and from the Divine wrath, must be their portion for ever.
Verse 18. - Oh that thou hadst hearkened! (comp. Psalm 81:13-16, "Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries," etc.) Some render, "Oh that thou wouldst hearken!" etc., on the analogy of Isaiah 64:1; but unnecessarily. Dr. Kay says that God "upbraideth not," referring to James 1:5. But he may expostulate. What is it but expostulation, when our Lord says, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate" (Matthew 23:27, 28)? To look back on the past, and see what we have missed, is a good lesson for the future. Then had thy peace been as a river; literally, as the river (i.e. the Euphrates), abounding, overflowing, continuous. Thy righteousness. Not "thy prosperity" (Cheyne), but "thy good deeds." If Israel had clung to God, then God's blessing would have been poured upon them, and have enabled them to bring forth abundant fruits of righteousness. As the waves of the sea; i.e. innumerable and unceasing.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments,.... Which the Jews did not, but slighted and despised them, and were not obedient to them. So, in the times of Christ, they disregarded his doctrines, though so profitable; and despised his ordinances and commands, which were not grievous; they neither hearkened to them themselves, nor would suffer others; wherefore our Lord expresses his great concern at it, and his desire, as man, after their welfare; see Matthew 23:13,
then had thy peace been as a river: their prosperity, temporal and spiritual, had been abundant, and would have always continued, have been increasing and ever flowing, yea, overflowing, like the waters of a river. The Targum is, the river Euphrates, a river which ran through Babylon: but they had no regard to the things which related to their temporal, spiritual, and eternal peace, these were hid from their eyes, Luke 19:42,
and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea: large, abundant, numerous as the waves of the sea; which may regard acts of justice and righteousness, which are the support of a people and state, and blessings the fruit thereof; and which God of his goodness bestows on such a people, as all kind of prosperity, protection, safety, and continuance.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. peace—(Ps 119:165). Compare the desire expressed by the same Messiah (Mt 23:37; Lu 19:42).
river—(Isa 33:21; 41:18), a river flowing from God's throne is the symbol of free, abundant, and ever flowing blessings from Him (Eze 47:1; Zec 14:8; Re 22:1).
righteousness—religious prosperity; the parent of "peace" or national prosperity; therefore "peace" corresponds to "righteousness" in the parallelism (Isa 32:17).
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