|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:17-22 The people of God express deep concern for the ruins of the temple, more than for any other of their calamities. But whatever changes there are on earth, God is still the same, and remains for ever wise and holy, just and good; with Him there is no variableness nor shadow of turning. They earnestly pray to God for mercy and grace; Turn us to thee, O Lord. God never leaves any till they first leave him; if he turns them to him in a way of duty, no doubt he will quickly return to them in a way of mercy. If God by his grace renew our hearts, he will by his favour renew our days. Troubles may cause our hearts to be faint, and our eyes to be dim, but the way to the mercy-seat of our reconciled God is open. Let us, in all our trials, put our whole trust and confidence in his mercy; let us confess our sins, and pour out our hearts before him. Let us watch against repinings and despondency; for we surely know, that it shall be well in the end with all that trust in, fear, love, and serve the Lord. Are not the Lord's judgments in the earth the same as in Jeremiah's days? Let Zion then be remembered by us in our prayers, and her welfare be sought above every earthly joy. Spare, Lord, spare thy people, and give not thine heritage to reproach, for the heathen to rule over them.
Verses 17, 18. - These verses form a transition to the final appeal. The thought of the desolation of Zion overwhelms the spirit of the poet. But he will soon be able to lift himself up again when he recalls the sublime truth of the inviolable security of Israel's God. Foxes; rather, jackals.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For this our heart is faint,.... Our spirits sink; we are ready to swoon and die away; either for this, that we have sinned; because of our sins, they are so many, so great, and so aggravated; or for those distresses and calamities they have brought upon us before mentioned; or for the desolation of Zion, more especially, after expressed; and so the Targum,
"for this house of the sanctuary, which is desolate, our heart is weak:''
for these things our eyes are dim; or "darkened" (b) almost blinded with weeping; can scarcely see out of them; or as persons in a swoon; for dimness of sight usually attends faintness of spirit.
(b) "contenebrati sunt", V. L. "obtenebrati", Pagninus, Montanus, Calvin, Cocceius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. (La 1:22; 2:11).
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