|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:19-31 Unhumbled hearts are ready to charge God with being unjust in their afflictions. But they may read their sin in their punishment. If men will inquire wherefore the Lord doeth hard things unto them, let them think of their sins. The restless waves obeyed the Divine decree, that they should not pass the sandy shores, which were as much a restraint as lofty mountains; but they burst all restraints of God's law, and were wholly gone into wickedness. Neither did they consider their interest. While the Lord, year after year, reserves to us the appointed weeks of harvest, men live on his bounty; yet they transgress against him. Sin deprives us of God's blessings; it makes the heaven as brass, and the earth as iron. Certainly the things of this world are not the best things; and we are not to think, that, because evil men prosper, God allows their practices. Though sentence against evil works is not executed speedily, it will be executed. Shall I not visit for these things? This speaks the certainty and the necessity of God's judgments. Let those who walk in bad ways consider that an end will come, and there will be bitterness in the latter end.
Verse 26. - They lay wait, etc.; rather, they spy (literally, one spieth), as fowlers lie in wait. A trap; literally, a destroyer; i.e. an instrument of destruction (comp. Isaiah 54:16, where" the waster" (or destroyer) probably means the weapon referred to previously).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For among my people are found wicked men,.... Not a few only, but in general they appeared to be so, upon an inquiry into their character and conduct; for otherwise it would not have been so difficult to find a good man among them, as is suggested Jeremiah 5:1,
they lay wait as he that setteth snares; or, "they look about" (c); that is, as Kimchi interprets it, every man looks in the ways, to see if a man passed by, that he might rob him of what he had; as a man that lays snares, or sets a trap to catch birds in: or, "everyone looks out, when they that lay snares rest" (d); and so they are more diligent and constant in catching men than such persons are in catching birds:
they set a trap; or "dig a pit, or ditch" (e); for men to fall in; see Psalm 7:15,
they catch men; and rob them of their substance; or by their ill examples and counsels draw them into sin, and so into ruin; or circumvent them in trade and business.
(c) "aspicit", Vatablus, i. e. "quisque eorum", Piscator; "aspicient", Pagninus. (d) "contemplatur quisque, cum quiescunt aucupes", De Dieu; so Ben Melech; "et cum resident aucupes", Piscator, Gataker; "sit quiet and unmoved, that they may not frighten the birds by any noise, watching and expecting when they would get into the net"; so Gussetius. (e) "fodiunt foveas", Tigurine version.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
26. (Pr 1:11, 17, 18; Hab 1:15).
as he that setteth snares—rather, "as fowlers crouch" [Maurer].
trap—literally, "destruction": the instrument of destruction.
catch men—not as Peter, to save (Lu 5:10), but to destroy men.
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