|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:1-16 Is any afflicted? Let him pray; and let him in prayer pour out his complaint to God. The people of God do so here; they complain not of evils feared, but of evils felt. If penitent and patient under what we suffer for the sins of our fathers, we may expect that He who punishes, will return in mercy to us. They acknowledge, Woe unto us that we have sinned! All our woes are owing to our own sin and folly. Though our sins and God's just displeasure cause our sufferings, we may hope in his pardoning mercy, his sanctifying grace, and his kind providence. But the sins of a man's whole life will be punished with vengeance at last, unless he obtains an interest in Him who bare our sins in his own body on the tree.
Verse 12. - Princes are hanged up by their hand; i.e. by the hand of the enemy. Impalement after death was a common punishment with the Assyrians and Babylonians. Thus Sennacherib says that, after capturing rebellious Ekron, he hung the bodies of the chief men on stakes all round the city ('Records of the Past,' 1:38). Benomi gives a picture of such an impalement from one of the plates in Botta's great work ('Nineveh and its Palaces,' p. 192).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Princes are hanged up by their hand,.... According to some, as Aben Ezra observes, by the hand of the servants before mentioned; however, by the hand of the Chaldeans or Babylonians; see Jeremiah 52:10. Some understand it of their own hands, as if they laid violent hands upon themselves, not being able to bear the hardships and disgrace they were subjected to but I should rather think this is to be understood of hanging them, not by the neck, but by the hand, could any instance be given of such a kind of punishment so early used, and by this people; which has been in other nations, and in more modern times:
the faces of elders were not honoured; no reverence or respect were shown to elders in age or office, or on account of either; but were treated with rudeness and contempt.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. hanged … by their hand—a piece of wanton cruelty invented by the Chaldeans. Grotius translates, "Princes were hung by the hand of the enemy"; hanging was a usual mode of execution (Ge 40:19).
elders—officials (La 4:16).
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