|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:8-23 Here is a woe to those who set their hearts on the wealth of the world. Not that it is sinful for those who have a house and a field to purchase another; but the fault is, that they never know when they have enough. Covetousness is idolatry; and while many envy the prosperous, wretched man, the Lord denounces awful woes upon him. How applicable to many among us! God has many ways to empty the most populous cities. Those who set their hearts upon the world, will justly be disappointed. Here is woe to those who dote upon the pleasures and the delights of sense. The use of music is lawful; but when it draws away the heart from God, then it becomes a sin to us. God's judgments have seized them, but they will not disturb themselves in their pleasures. The judgments are declared. Let a man be ever so high, death will bring him low; ever so mean, death will bring him lower. The fruit of these judgments shall be, that God will be glorified as a God of power. Also, as a God that is holy; he shall be owned and declared to be so, in the righteous punishment of proud men. Those are in a woful condition who set up sin, and who exert themselves to gratify their base lusts. They are daring in sin, and walk after their own lusts; it is in scorn that they call God the Holy One of Israel. They confound and overthrow distinctions between good and evil. They prefer their own reasonings to Divine revelations; their own devices to the counsels and commands of God. They deem it prudent and politic to continue profitable sins, and to neglect self-denying duties. Also, how light soever men make of drunkenness, it is a sin which lays open to the wrath and curse of God. Their judges perverted justice. Every sin needs some other to conceal it.
Verse 11. - Woe unto them that... follow strong drink. We have here the second woe. It is pronounced on drunkenness and revelry. Drunkenness is an infrequent Oriental vice; but it seems to have been one whereto many among the Jews were at all times prone (see Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 23:29-32; Ecclesiastes 10:17; Hosea 4:11; Isaiah 28:7, etc.). Even the priests and the soi-disant prophets erred through strong drink and were swallowed up of wine" (Isaiah 28:7). That rise up early in the morning. Great banquets were held by the "princes" and "nobles," beginning at an early hour (Ecclesiastes 10:10), and accompanied by music of an exciting kind (Amos 6:5, 6), which were "continued until night," or rather, "into the night" (Revised Version), and terminated in general drunkenness, perhaps in general licentiousness. (See Proverbs 23:27-30 and Hosea 4:11 for the connection of inebriety with whoredom.) Two kinds of intoxicating liquor seem to have been consumed at these banquets, viz. ordinary grape wine, and a much stronger drink, which is said to have been "made of dates, pomegranates, apples, honey, barley, and other ingredients," which was known as shekar (Greek, σίκερα), and is called "strong drink" in the Authorized Version. Till wine inflame them; or, the wine inflaming them.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning,.... To rise up early in the morning is healthful, and to rise to do business is commendable; but to spend the day in drunkenness and intemperance is very criminal, which is here meant:
that they may follow, strong drink; not only drink it, but follow on to drink; diligently seek after it, where the best is to be had; go from house to house till they have found it; closely follow the drinking of it, till inebriated with it:
that continue until night; at their pots, with their drinking companions, even all the day till night comes, the twilight either of the evening or of the morning:
till wine inflame them; their bodies with heat, and their souls with lust.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. Second Woe—against intemperance.
early—when it was regarded especially shameful to drink (Ac 2:15; 1Th 5:7). Banquets for revelry began earlier than usual (Ec 10:16, 17).
strong drink—Hebrew, sichar, implying intoxication.
continue—drinking all day till evening.
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