|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
64:1-5 They desire that God would manifest himself to them and for them, so that all may see it. This is applicable to the second coming of Christ, when the Lord himself shall descend from heaven. They plead what God had used to do, and had declared his gracious purpose to do, for his people. They need not fear being disappointed of it, for it is sure; or disappointed in it, for it is sufficient. The happiness of his people is bound up in what God has designed for them, and is preparing for them, and preparing them for; what he has done or will do. Can we believe this, and then think any thing too great to expect from his truth, power, and love? It is spiritual and cannot be comprehended by human understanding. It is ever ready. See what communion there is between a gracious God and a gracious soul. We must make conscience of doing our duty in every thing the Lord our God requires. Thou meetest him; this speaks his freeness and forwardness in doing them good. Though God has been angry with us for our sins, and justly, yet his anger has soon ended; but in his favour is life, which goes on and continues, and on that we depend for our salvation.
Verse 2. - As when the melting fire burneth, etc.; rather, as when fire kindles brushwood, and makes water to boil. Connect the similes with the last clause of ver. 1. The mountains shall be as powerless to resist Jehovah, as brushwood or water to resist fire. To make thy Name known (comp. Isaiah 63:12). Such an "epiphany" as the Church prays for would make the Name of Jehovah known far and wide, exalting him high above all gods, and causing "the nations" - i.e. the whole heathen world - to "tremble at his presence" and refrain from injuring his people.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
As when the melting fire burneth,.... Or, "the fire of melting" (k); a strong vehement fire, as Kimchi, such as is used under a furnace for melting metals; though De Dieu thinks a slow gentle fire is intended, such as is sufficient to keep the liquor boiling; which he concludes from the use of the word in the Arabic language, which, according to an Arabic lexicographer (l) he quotes, so signifies; and to the same purpose Hottinger (m), by the help of the Arabic language, interprets the word of a small low noise, the hissing of a boiling pot; though, as Vitringa observes, could it be granted, which can not, that a slow fire raises great bubbles in water, such as when it boils; yet the fire, with which God consumes his enemies, in a figurative sense, is represented as most vehement and noisy. It seems much better, with R. Jonah, quoted by Kimchi, to understand it of "dry stubble", which makes a great blaze and noise, and causes water to boil and rise up in bubbles; and with this agree some other versions, which render it by "bavins" (n), dry sticks and branches of trees; which being kindled,
the fire causeth the waters to boil; as the fire, under the pot, causes the waters to boil in it; the church here prays that the wrath of God might break forth upon his and her enemies, like fire that melts metals, and boils water. The figures used seem to denote the fierceness and vehemency of it. The Targum is,
"as when thou sendedst thine anger as fire in the days of Elijah, the sea was melted, the fire licked up the water;''
as if the allusion was to the affair in 1 Kings 18:38, but rather the allusion is, as Kimchi and others think, to the fire that burnt on Mount Sinai, when the Lord descended on it, and the cloud which flowed with water, as the above writer supposes, and which both together caused the smoke:
to make thy name known to thine adversaries; his terrible name, in the destruction of them; his power and his glory:
that the nations may tremble at thy presence; as Sinai trembled when the Lord was on it; and as the antichristian states will when Christ appears, and the vials of his wrath will be poured out; and the Lord's people will be delivered, and the Jews particularly converted.
(k) "ignis liquefactionum", Calvin, Vatablus; "igne liquationum", Cocceius. (l) Eliduri in Lexico Arabico tradit "significare quemvis lenem et submissum strepitum", De Dieu. (m) "Quemadmodum accenso igne fit lenis submissusque strepitus, sibilus et stridor ferventis ollae, et ignis excitat bullas", Hottinger. Smegma Orientale, I. 1. c. 7. p. 146. (n) "Quemadmodum conflagrante igne cremia", Junius & Tremellius; "nam quum accendit ignis cremia", Piscator; "sicut ardente igne ex ramalibus", Grotius; "ut ignis cremia consumens strepero motu exsilit", Vitringa.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. Oh, that Thy wrath would consume Thy foes as the fire. Rather, "as the fire burneth the dry brushwood" [Gesenius].
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