|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
22:1-9 The king of Judah is spoken to, as sitting upon the throne of David, the man after God's own heart. Let him follow his example, that he may have the benefit of the promises made to him. The way to preserve a government, is to do the duty of it. But sin will be the ruin of the houses of princes, as well as of meaner men. And who can contend with destroyers of God's preparing? God destroys neither persons, cities, nor nations, except for sin; even in this world he often makes it plain for what crimes he sends punishment; and it will be clear at the day of judgement.
Verse 6. - Unto the king's house of Judah; rather, concerning the house of the King of Judah; i.e. the royal palace, which, on account of its height and its being constructed so largely out of cedar-weed (comp. vers. 14, 23), is called "Gilead, and the summit of Lebanon," just as Solomon's palace was called "the house of the forest of Lebanon" (1 Kings 7:2). Of Gilead in general, Canon Tristram writes, "No one can fairly judge of Israel's heritage who has not seen the luxuriant exuberance of Gilead, as well as the bard rocks of Judaea." And again, "Lovely knolls and dells open out at every turn, gently rising to the wooded plateau above. Then we rise to higher ground and ride through noble forests of oak. Then for a mile or two through luxuriant green corn, or perhaps through a rich forest of scattered olive trees, left untended and uncared for, with perhaps patches of corn in the open glades" ('Bible Places,' p. 322). The cedars of Lebanon, however diminished, still bear witness to the ancient fame of this splendid mountain district. A wilderness, and cities which are not inhabited. The comparison has a terrible significance when read in the light of De Vogue's and Freshfield's discoveries. For Gilead itself is full of ruined cities of massive stone architecture. "It is no uncommon thing," says Mr. F.A. Eaton, "to see these houses in a complete state of preservation, built of huge blocks of black basalt, with slabs of the same for the roof, twelve feet long, a foot and a half wide, and half a foot thick, and entrance doors also of basalt... great solid stones of the same material being used as lintels at the top and bottom" (Speech at the meeting for setting on foot the survey of Eastern Palestine, November 30, 1880: Statement of Palestine Exploration Fund, January, 1880, p. 11). Cities which are not inhabited; not, indeed, the cities of Gilead of the time of Jeremiah, but constructed of materials which may reasonably be presumed to have been chiseled in a far more remote antiquity. (The date of the cities in their present state is subsequent to the Christian era.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For thus saith the Lord unto the king's house of Judah,.... That is, to the family of the king of Judah; though it may be rendered, "concerning the house of the king of Judah" (z); and so refer to his palace as before:
thou art Gilead unto me, and the head of Lebanon; or, though like to Gilead (which was a very fruitful country) for wealth, riches, and all kind of valuable things; and like to the top of Mount Lebanon (a), being set with tall cedars, for stateliness. So the Targum is,
"although thou art beloved before me more than the sanctuary, which is high upon the top of the mountains:''
or thou shall be as Gilead, and Mount Lebanon, which belonged to the ten tribes of Israel, and are put for the whole kingdom of Israel, which was wasted by the king of Assyria; and in like condition should the royal palace at Jerusalem be, notwithstanding all its riches and grandeur, and so the city and temple likewise; as follows:
yet surely I will make thee a wilderness, and cities which are not inhabited; though as fruitful as Gilead, yet shall become like a barren desert; and though full of children, courtiers, princes, and nobles, yet shall be like cities quite depopulated: or, "if I do not make thee" (b), &c. it is in the form of an oath, as Kimchi and Ben Melech observe; and to be supplied thus, if I do not do as I have said, let me never be believed; let me be reckoned a liar, or not thought to be God, and the like. It shows the certain accomplishment of these things.
(z) "de domo regis", Cocceius, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (a) "velut Gilead, ut caput Libani", Junius & Tremellius. (b) "si non posuero te", Vatablus, Pagninus, Montanus, Schmidt.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. Though thou art as beautiful as Gilead, and as majestic in Mine eyes (before Me) as the summit of Lebanon, yet surely (the Hebrew is a formula of swearing to express certainly: "If I do not make thee … believe Me not ever hereafter": so "as truly as I live," Nu 14:28; "surely," Nu 14:35). The mention of Gilead may allude not only to its past beauty, but covertly also to its desolation by the judgment on Israel; a warning now to Judah and the house of David. "Lebanon" is appropriately mentioned, as the king's house was built of its noble cedars.
cities—not other cities, but the different parts of the city of Jerusalem (2Sa 12:27; 2Ki 10:25) [Maurer].
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