|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:8-21 Those are ripening apace for ruin, whose hearts are unhumbled under humbling providences. For that which God designs, in smiting us, is, to turn us to himself; and if this point be not gained by lesser judgments, greater may be expected. The leaders of the people misled them. We have reason to be afraid of those that speak well of us, when we do ill. Wickedness was universal, all were infected with it. They shall be in trouble, and see no way out; and when men's ways displease the Lord, he makes even their friends to be at war with them. God would take away those they thought to have help from. Their rulers were the head. Their false prophets were the tail and the rush, the most despicable. In these civil contests, men preyed on near relations who were as their own flesh. The people turn not to Him who smites them, therefore he continues to smite: for when God judges, he will overcome; and the proudest, stoutest sinner shall either bend or break.
Verse 13. - The people. The people of Israel, as distinct from the people of Judah. The particular judgment announced in vers. 11, 12 is clearly to fall on them. Neither do they seek the Lord of hosts. Israel had set itself to seek after Baal from the time of Ahab (1 Kings 16:31). The reform of Jehu (2 Kings 10:28) had gone but skin-deep. Baal was still "sought to," rather than Jehovah, when the final judgment came (2 Kings 17:16; Hosea 2:13).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For the people turneth not to him that smiteth them,.... Who was the Lord of hosts, as it is explained in the next clause; it was he that had smote the people with the rod of correction and chastisement, by various afflictions and distresses which he had brought upon them; in order to bring them to a sense of their sin and duty, to reclaim and recover them from their backslidings; but they had not such an effect upon them; they returned not to him by repentance and reformation, from whom they had turned themselves by their evil ways; nor to his worship, as the Targum interprets it, to his word and ordinances; for afflictions; unless sanctified, are of no use to restore backsliders. This is to be understood of the people of Israel, the ten tribes, whom the prophet calls "the people", not my people, nor the people of the Lord, because unworthy of that character. The Septuagint render the words, "the people returned not until they were smitten", and so the Syriac version intimating, as if they did return when smitten; but the following words, and the whole context, show the contrary:
neither do they seek the Lord of hosts; by prayer and supplication, for pardoning grace and mercy through Christ the Mediator; nor in his word and ordinances, for his presence and communion with him, or instruction or doctrine from him, as the Targum; to be taught true doctrine, and their duty to God and man; this is one part of the character of an unregenerate man, Romans 3:11.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13-17. Second strophe.
turneth not—the design of God's chastisements; not fulfilled in their case; a new cause for punishment (Jer 2:20; 5:3).
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