|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 17. Then shall the lambs feed. Dr. Kay takes the "lambs" to be the remnant of Israel that survived the judgment, who will feed freely, cared for by the good Shepherd; but the parallelism so generally affected by Isaiah seems to require a meaning more consonant with the later clause of the verse. Most commentators, therefore, expound the passage literally, "Then shall lambs feed [on the desolated estates of the covetous]" (see vers. 8-10). After their manner; or, after their own guidance; i.e. at their pleasure, as they list (so Lowth and Rosenmüller). And the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat. Goim, i.e. nomad tribes, shall consume the produce of the wasted fields once possessed by the Hebrew grandees. Ewald proposes to make the verse immediately follow ver. 10; but this is not necessary. The occupation of their lands by wandering tribes, Arabs and others, was a part of the punishment that fell on all the nobles, not on those only who accumulated large estates.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then shall the lambs feed after their manner,.... That is, the people of God, the disciples of Christ, either apostles and ministers of the Gospel, whom he sent forth as lambs among wolves, Luke 10:3 who fed the flock of Christ after their usual manner, and as directed by him; even with knowledge and understanding, by the ministry of the word, and administration of ordinances; or the people of God fed by them, who are comparable to lambs for their harmlessness and innocence; and who feed in green pastures, "according as they are led"; as the word used may be rendered (f); or "according to their word"; the doctrine of the ministers of the Gospel, by whom they are instructed and directed to feed on Christ, as he is held forth in the word and ordinances. The Targum is,
"and the righteous shall be fed as is said of them;''
and so Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it of the righteous:
and the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat; that is, the Gentiles, who are aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise; the other sheep that were not of the Jewish fold, Ephesians 2:12 these shall come in the room of the fat ones of the land of Judea, the rulers, elders, Scribes, and Pharisees; and feed on those pastures which were despised and left desolate by them; enjoy the Gospel they put away from them, and the ordinances of it, which they rejected. The Targum is,
"and they shall be multiplied, and the substance of the ungodly shall the righteous possess.''
(f) "juxta ductum suum", Montanus, Vatablus; "juxta verbum ipsorum", Forerius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. after their manner—literally, "according to their own word," that is, at will. Otherwise, as in their own pasture [Gesenius]: so the Hebrew in Mic 2:12. The lands of the Scenite tent dwellers (Jer 35:7). Arab shepherds in the neighborhood shall roam at large, the whole of Judea being so desolate as to become a vast pasturage.
waste … fat ones—the deserted lands of the rich ("fat," Ps 22:29), then gone into captivity; "strangers," that is, nomad tribes shall make their flocks to feed on [Maurer]. Figuratively, "the lambs" are the pious, "the fat ones" the impious. So tender disciples of Jesus Christ (Joh 21:15) are called "lambs"; being meek, harmless, poor, and persecuted. Compare Eze 39:18, where the fatlings are the rich and great (1Co 1:26, 27). The "strangers" are in this view the "other sheep not of the" the Jewish "fold" (Joh 10:16), the Gentiles whom Jesus Christ shall "bring" to be partakers of the rich privileges (Ro 11:17) which the Jews ("fat ones," Eze 34. 16) fell from. Thus "after their (own) manner" will express that the Christian Church should worship God in freedom, released from legal bondage (Joh 4:23; Ga 5:1).
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