|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:11-21 Bildad describes the destruction wicked people are kept for, in the other world, and which in some degree, often seizes them in this world. The way of sin is the way of fear, and leads to everlasting confusion, of which the present terrors of an impure conscience are earnests, as in Cain and Judas. Miserable indeed is a wicked man's death, how secure soever his life was. See him dying; all that he trusts to for his support shall be taken from him. How happy are the saints, and how indebted to the lord Jesus, by whom death is so far done away and changed, that this king of terrors is become a friend and a servant! See the wicked man's family sunk and cut off. His children shall perish, either with him or after him. Those who consult the true honour of their family, and its welfare, will be afraid of withering all by sin. The judgments of God follow the wicked man after death in this world, as a proof of the misery his soul is in after death, and as an earnest of that everlasting shame and contempt to which he shall rise in the great day. The memory of the just is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot, Pr 10:7. It would be well if this report of wicked men would cause any to flee from the wrath to come, from which their power, policy, and riches cannot deliver them. But Jesus ever liveth to deliver all who trust in him. Bear up then, suffering believers. Ye shall for a little time have sorrow, but your Beloved, your Saviour, will see you again; your hearts shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh away.
Verse 15. - It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his; either, it (i.e. terror) shall dwell in his tabernacle which is no longer his; or, they shall dwell in his tabernacle that are none of his; i.e. strangers st, all inhabit the place where he dwelt heretofore (compare the Revised Version). Brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation. As God rained fire and brimstone out of heaven upon the cities of the plain (Genesis 19:24), so shall brimstone be scattered upon his habitation to ruin and destroy it (comp. Deuteronomy 29:23; Psalm 11:6).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
It shall dwell in his tabernacle,.... What shall dwell in it is not said; there are various conjectures about it, and different supplements are made; the Targum is,
"his wife shall dwell in a tabernacle not his;''
and to the same purpose Jarchi; as if it was one part of the punishment of a wicked man, that he should leave a widow behind him, and no house of his own for her to dwell in; but this is the case of the widows of many good men, who themselves, in their lifetime, have no houses of their own, and some no certain dwelling places, yea, have lived in caves and dens of the earth; the mother of our Lord, who seems to have been a widow at his death, was taken by one of his disciples to his own home, which shows she had none of her own. The Vulgate Latin version is,
"his neighbours shall dwell in his tabernacle;''
which some understand of their coming into it after his death, to mourn and bewail him; but as such a visit of his family upon his decease cannot be called dwelling, so this is rather a benefit and favour to his family, than a distress: rather it may signify, that such neighbours whom he had oppressed, and who hated him for his tyranny and cruelty, now should dwell in his house; what he had built, strangers should inhabit, which is a punishment of sin and sinners, Deuteronomy 28:30. Aben Ezra supplies it thus, a strange or evil beast shall dwell in it, as they do in desolate places; and it is frequently given as a sign and token of desolation in countries, cities, and palaces, that they are become the habitations of wild and savage creatures, see Isaiah 13:19; but it seems best to supply it from the context, either thus, famine, hunger, want of food, shall dwell in it; poverty and want shall come like an armed man into it, and take possession; there shall appear all the marks and signs of penury and distress; or destruction ready at his side shall take up its abode in it, and it shall be called the house of destruction, as a certain city is called the city of destruction, because devoted to it, Isaiah 19:18; or the firstborn of death, some deadly disease, as the pestilence; or death itself, the king of terrors, who is sometimes represented as a person coming up into the windows of a palace, and entering it, and cutting off great numbers; so that it goes ill with him that is left in a tabernacle, where he has his habitation, Jeremiah 9:21; or terror, as Ben Gersom; everyone of the terrors before mentioned, so that no body will care to dwell in it, but forsake it as an haunted house: in short, from the whole it may be gathered, that the curse of God should alight upon it, and remain in it, as it does in the house of the wicked; the same with the flying roll in the vision of Zechariah, the curse of God's righteous law, which enters into the house of the thief and perjurer, and consumes it, Proverbs 3:33; the reason follows,
because it is none of his; not by right, being bought or built with mammon of unrighteousness, with money not honestly got, and therefore shall not prosper; or because it is no longer his, he being taken from it by death, the king of terrors, and that not knowing or owning him any more as its master or proprietor, and therefore strangers shall dwell in it; or because there is none that shall be after him, because he shall have none left, or he shall have no survivor (h), all his family being taken away by death; and therefore nothing but desolation and destruction shall be seen in it, see Amos 6:9;
brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation; that is, his house should be burnt down by lightning, which is often sulphurous, and sometimes very sensibly has the smell of brimstone in it (i). Bildad may refer either to the fire of heaven that destroyed Job's sheep, which was of this kind; or rather to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, by a shower of fire and brimstone from heaven, a fact well known in those times. Moreover, brimstone scattered upon the wicked man's dwelling place may denote the desolation of it, that it should lie in ruins, and be unfit to be inhabited; and the desolation of places is sometimes signified by their being salt, brimstone and burning pitch, Deuteronomy 29:23; yea, this may be carried further, and denote the eternal damnation of all in his house, seeing the burning of Sodom with brimstone was an example to ungodly men suffering the vengeance of eternal fire, Jde 1:7; and which is sometimes expressed by brimstone, and a lake burning with fire and brimstone, Revelation 20:10. Some (k) think respect is had to the purifying of houses with sulphur, to drive away demons, and remove impurity, to make them fit to dwell in (l); and others think it refers to the burning of sulphur in houses at funerals, to testify and exaggerate mourning (m).
(h) So Syr. Ar & Schmidt. (i) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 35. c. 35. (k) Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 4. p. 709, 710. (l) Vid. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 35. c. 15. Theocrit. Idyll. 25. ver. 95. Homer. Odyss. 22. prope finem. (m) Vid. Menochium de Repub. Heb. l. 8. c. 6. col. 792.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. It—"Terror" shall haunt, &c., and not as Umbreit, "another," which the last clause of the verse disproves.
none of his—It is his no longer.
brimstone—probably comparing the calamity of Job by the "fire of God" (Job 1:16) to the destruction of guilty Sodom by fire and brimstone (Ge 19:24).
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