|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 9. - Either something has fallen out in the first clause of this verse, or there is a most unusual ellipse of the verb "said" which our translators have supplied, very properly. There seems to be nothing emphatic in the words, "on mine ears" (see Isaiah 22:14; Ezekiel 9:1, 5; Ezekiel 10:13). Many houses shall be desolate. The greed of adding house to house will be punished by the death of those who have so sinned, and the extinction of their families, either through war, or through a more direct divine judgment.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
In mine ears, said the Lord of hosts,.... This may be understood either of the ears of the Lord of hosts, into which came the cry of the sins of covetousness and ambition before mentioned; these were taken notice of by the Lord, and he was determined to punish them; or of the ears of the prophet, in whose hearing the Lord said what follows: so the Targum,
"the prophet said, with mine ears I have heard, when this was decreed from before the Lord of hosts:''
of a truth many houses shall be desolate; or "great" ones (z); such as the houses of the king, of the princes, and nobles, judges, counsellors, and great men of the earth; not only the house of God, the temple, but a multitude of houses in Jerusalem and elsewhere; which was true not only at the taking of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, but at the destruction of it by the Romans, to which this prophecy belongs, Matthew 23:38 the words are a strong asseveration, and in the form of an oath, as Jarchi and Kimchi observe; , "if not"; if many houses are not left desolate, let it be so or so, I swear they shall:
even great and fair, without inhabitants: houses of large and beautiful building shall be laid in such a ruinous condition, that they will not be fit for any to dwell in, nor shall any dwell in them: and this is the judgment upon them for joining house to house; that for laying field to field follows.
(z) "domus magnificae, sive sumptuosae", Vatablus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. In mine ears … the Lord—namely, has revealed it, as in Isa 22:14.
desolate—literally, "a desolation," namely, on account of the national sins.
great and fair—houses.
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