|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
59:9-15 If we shut our eyes against the light of Divine truth, it is just with God to hide from our eyes the things that belong to our peace. The sins of those who profess themselves God's people, are worse than the sins of others. And the sins of a nation bring public judgments, when not restrained by public justice. Men may murmur under calamities, but nothing will truly profit while they reject Christ and his gospel.
Verse 15. - Yea, truth faileth. Truth itself is altogether gone, is missing, not forthcoming. "Tetras Astraea reliquit." This is the worst of all. For truth is the basis of the social fabric, the groundwork of all morality. Once let there be no regard for truth in a state, no discredit attaching to lying, and all virtue is undermined, all soundness is vanished - nothing remains but "wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores" (Isaiah 1:6). He that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey. Evil-doers prosper. The man who "eschews evil," and declines to employ (as others do) the weapons of fraud and violence, simply gives himself over as a prey to those who are less scrupulous than himself. Verses 15-21. - A PROMISE OF DELIVERANCE. TO OPPRESSED ISRAEL. The godly in Israel were suffering a double oppression:
(1) at the hand of their ungodly brethren;
(2) at the hand of the heathen.
The prophet promises a deliverance from both. The deliverance will be followed by the establishment of Messiah's kingdom, which will continue for ever. Verse 15. And the Lord saw it. The division of the verses here requires alteration. The opening clause of ver. 15 belongs to what precedes; the second clause to what follows. "The Lord saw" that condition of things in Israel which is described in vers. 3-15; and it displeased him; literally, it was evil in his eyes, especially in that there was no judgment. Justice was not done between man and man; no one thought of pronouncing just judgments. The circumstances were such as to invite a Divine interposition.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Yea, truth faileth,.... Or, "is deprived" (f); of its life and being; it not only falls in the street, and there lies, without any to show regard unto it; but it fails; it seems as if it had given up the ghost and expired; so very prevalent will error be, before light and truth spring up again and be victorious, as they will:
and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey; he that does not give in to the prevailing vices of the age in which he lives, now become fashionable, but abstains from them, and departs from doctrinal as well as practical evils; from all false doctrines, and from all superstitious modes of worship; becomes a prey to others; a reproach and a laughing stock to them; they scoff at him, and deride him for his preciseness in religion; for his enthusiastic and irrational notions in doctrine; and for his stiffness in matters of worship: or, "he makes himself reckoned a madman" (g); as some render it; and this is a common notion with profane men, and loose professors, to reckon such as madmen that are upright in doctrine, worship, and conversation; see Acts 26:24,
and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment; he took notice of all this, and resented it, though in a professing people, that there was no judgment or discretion in matters of doctrine and worship; no order or discipline observed; no justice done in civil courts, or in the church of God; no reformation in church or state.
(f) "privata"; so "privatio", often with the Rubbins. (g) "facit ut insanus habeatur", Junius & Tremellius; "habitus est pro insano", Vitringa; so Abendana, "he that fears God, and departs from evil", , "they reckon him a fool or a madman."
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. faileth—is not to be found.
he that departeth … prey—He that will not fall in with the prevailing iniquity exposes himself as a prey to the wicked (Ps 10:8, 9).
Lord saw it—The iniquity of Israel, so desperate as to require nothing short of Jehovah's interposition to mend it, typifies the same necessity for a Divine Mediator existing in the deep corruption of man; Israel, the model nation, was chosen to illustrate his awful fact.
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