|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
64:6-12 The people of God, in affliction, confess and bewail their sins, owning themselves unworthy of his mercy. Sin is that abominable thing which the Lord hates. Our deeds, whatever they may seem to be, if we think to merit by them at God's hand, are as rags, and will not cover us; filthy rags, and will but defile us. Even our few good works in which there is real excellence, as fruits of the Spirit, are so defective and defiled as done by us, that they need to be washed in the fountain open for sin and uncleanness. It bodes ill when prayer is kept back. To pray, is by faith to take hold of the promises the Lord has made of his good-will to us, and to plead them; to take hold of him, earnestly begging him not to leave us; or soliciting his return. They brought their troubles upon themselves by their own folly. Sinners are blasted, and then carried away, by the wind of their own iniquity; it withers and then ruins them. When they made themselves as an unclean thing, no wonder that God loathed them. Foolish and careless as we are, poor and despised, yet still Thou art our Father. It is the wrath of a Father we are under, who will be reconciled; and the relief our case requires is expected only from him. They refer themselves to God. They do not say, Lord, rebuke us not, for that may be necessary; but, Not in thy displeasure. They state their lamentable condition. See what ruin sin brings upon a people; and an outward profession of holiness will be no defence against it. God's people presume not to tell him what he shall say, but their prayer is, Speak for the comfort and relief of thy people. How few call upon the Lord with their whole hearts, or stir themselves to lay hold upon him! God may delay for a time to answer our prayers, but he will, in the end, answer those who call on his name and hope in his mercy.
Verse 11. - Our holy and our beautiful house. This is the true meaning. The exiles have the tenderest and most vivid remembrance of the holiness and the beauty (or glory) of that edifice, which had formed the centre of the national life for above four centuries, and had been a marvel of richness and magnificence. Many of them had seen it with their own eyes (Ezra 3:12), and could never forget its splendours. Where our fathers praised thee. Though in the later times of the Captivity there were still some of the exiles who had seen the temple, and probably worshipped in it, yet with the great majority it was otherwise. They thought of the temple as the place where their "fathers" had worshipped. Burned up with fire (see 2 Kings 25:9; 2 Chronicles 36:19; Jeremiah 52:13). Our pleasant things; or, our delectable things - as in Isaiah 44:9; the courts, gardens, outbuildings of the temple, are probably meant.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Our holy and our beautiful house,.... Meaning the temple, the house of God, as Aben Ezra: called "holy", because dedicated to holy uses; where the holy sacrifices were offered up, the holy service of God performed; and where the holy God granted his presence, and where were the symbols of it: and "beautiful", in its building, as the first temple was that was built by Solomon; but here the second temple is meant, built by Zerubbabel, which being repaired and beautified by Herod, was a very beautiful building; and the Jews say (d), that
"he who has not seen the building of Herod has never seen a beautiful building;''
or it may be rendered, "the house of our holiness, and of our glory" (e); where their holy services were performed, and which was the glory of their nation, and on which they gloried and boasted:
where our fathers praised thee: with psalms and songs; the singers in the temple, as Aben Ezra; and the priests and all the people also, who, by their various services, as well as songs, gave praise and glory to God in this place; they do not mention their own services and praises, which they had been very negligent of, or not sincerely performed; but their fathers, which had been acceptable to the Lord, and therefore would bear mentioning when theirs would not: now this place, in which the glory of God and the interest of his people were concerned,
is burnt up with fire; this is true, as Kimchi observes, both of the first and second temple; the first was burnt with fire by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Jeremiah 52:13, and the second by the Romans under Titus the man emperor, as Josephus (f) relates:
and all our pleasant things are laid waste; their pleasant land, and pleasant cities, and especially Jerusalem, the palaces of their princes and nobles, and all the riches and grandeur of them, the temple, and all the rich vessels and utensils in it.
(d) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 4. 1. & Succa, fol. 51. 2.((e) "domus sanctitatis nostae, et gloriae nostrae", Calvin, Junius & Tremellius, Forerius. (f) De Bello Judaeorum, l. 6. c. 4. sect. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. house—the temple.
beautiful—includes the idea of glorious (Mr 13:1; Ac 3:2).
burned—(Ps 74:7; La 2:7; 2Ch 36:19). Its destruction under Nebuchadnezzar prefigured that under Titus.
pleasant things—Hebrew, "objects of desire"; our homes, our city, and all its dear associations.
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