|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 14. - Therefore hell hath enlarged herself; rather, hath enlarged her desire (comp. Habakkuk 2:5). "Hell" here represents the underworld, into which souls descended at death, not yet perhaps recognized as comprehending two divisions, but regarded much as the Greeks regarded their Hades - as a general receptacle of the dead, dark and silent. Hades (Sheol), not viewed as a person, but personified by poetical license, "enlarges her desire" and "opens her mouth" to receive the crowd that is approaching the crowd of those who in captivity succumb to the hardships of their lot. Their glory; literally, her glory - the glory, i.e., of Jerusalem, which is especially in the prophet's thoughts. "Her glory, and her crowd, and her pomp, and he that is joyful in her, shall go down" into the sheol that gapes for them.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Therefore hell hath enlarged herself,.... That is, the grave, to receive the dead which die with famine and thirst; signifying that the number of the dead would be so great, that the common burying places would not be sufficient to hold them; but additions must be made to them; or some vast prodigious pit must be dug, capable of receiving them; like Tophet, deep and large: or "hath enlarged her soul" (d); her desire after the dead, see Habakkuk 2:5 being insatiable, and one of those things which are never satisfied, or have enough, Proverbs 30:15 wherefore it follows:
and opened her mouth without measure; immensely wide; there being no boundary to its desires, nor any end of its cravings, or of filling it. And so the Targum renders it, "without end". Moreover, by "hell" may be meant the miserable estate and condition of the Jews upon the destruction of Jerusalem, when they were in the utmost distress and misery; see Gill on Luke 16:23.
And their glory; their glorious ones, their nobles, as the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions; and the Targum, their princes, rulers, civil and ecclesiastical; which were the glory of the nation:
and their multitude; meaning the common people; or rather their great and honourable ones, as the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions render the word; and in which sense it may be used in the preceding verse Isaiah 5:13; since not of the poor, but of the rich, the context speaks; even of such who indulged themselves in luxury and pleasure:
and their pomp; the Septuagint version, "their rich ones"; such who live in pomp and splendour: but the word (e) signifies noise and tumult; and so the Targum renders it; and it designs noisy and tumultuous ones, who sing and roar, halloo and make a noise at feasts; and who may be called , "sons of tumult", or "tumultuous ones"; Jeremiah 48:45 wherefore it follows:
and he that rejoiceth, that is, at their feasts,
shall descend into it; into hell, or the grave: or, "he that rejoiceth in it", that is, in the land or city; so the Targum,
"he that is strong among them;''
so Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it.
(d) "dilatavit suam animam", V. L. Munster, Montanus, Cocceius. (e) "et strepitus ejus", Montanus, Forerius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. hell—the grave; Hebrew, sheol; Greek, hades; "the unseen world of spirits." Not here, "the place of torment." Poetically, it is represented as enlarging itself immensely, in order to receive the countless hosts of Jews, which should perish (Nu 16:30).
their—that is, of the Jewish people.
he that rejoiceth—the drunken reveller in Jerusalem.
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