|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:1-8 All God's people are praying people. Here earnest steadiness in prayer for spiritual mercies is taught. The widow's earnestness prevailed even with the unjust judge: she might fear lest it should set him more against her; but our earnest prayer is pleasing to our God. Even to the end there will still be ground for the same complaint of weakness of faith.
Verse 7. - And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him? The Master tells us that God permits suffering among his servants, long after they have begun to pray for deliverance. But we are counselled here to cry day and night unto him, and, though there be no signor reply, our prayers shall be treasured up before him, and in his own good time they will be answered. Though he bear long with them. With whom does God bear long? With the wrong-doers, whose works and words oppress and make life heavy and grievous to the servants of God; with these who have no claim to consideration will God bear long. And this announcement gives us some clue to the meaning of the delay we often experience before we get an answer to many of our prayers. The prayer is heard, but God, in the exercise of mercy and forbearance, has dealings with the oppressors. It were easy for the Almighty to grant an immediate answer, but only at the cost often of visiting some of the oppressors with immediate punishment, and this is not his way of working. God bears long before his judgments swift and terrible are sent forth. This has ever been his way of working with individuals as with nations. Was it not thus, for instance, that he acted towards Egypt and her Pharaohs during the long period of the bitter Hebrew bondage? We who would he God's servants must be content to wait God's time, and, while waiting, patiently go on pleading, sure that in the end "God will avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And shall not God avenge his own elect,.... Who are a select number, a special people, whom he has loved with an everlasting love, so as of his own sovereign good will and pleasure to choose in his Son Jesus Christ unto everlasting life and salvation, through certain ways and means of his own appointing, hence they are peculiarly his: and these he will avenge and vindicate, right their wrongs, do them justice, and deliver them from their adversaries, and take vengeance on them; as may be concluded from his hatred of sin, his justice, and his holiness, from his promises, and from his power, and from the efficacy of prayer, and the regard he has to it: for it follows,
which cry unto him day and night; whose prayers he always hears; whose tears he puts up in his bottle; and whose importunity must surely be thought to have more regard with him, than that of the poor widow with the unjust judge:
though he bear long with them? either with their adversaries, their oppressors, and persecutors, who are vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction, whom he endures with much longsuffering, till the sufferings of his people are accomplished, and the iniquities of these men are full; or rather with the elect, for the words may be rendered, "and is longsuffering towards them": delays his coming, and the execution of vengeance, as on the Jewish nation, so upon the whole world of the ungodly, till his elect are gathered in from among them; see 2 Peter 3:9.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. shall not God—not unjust, but the infinitely righteous Judge.
avenge—redeem from oppression.
his own elect—not like this widow, the object of indifference and contempt, but dear to Him as the apple of the eye (Zec 2:8).
cry day and night—whose every cry enters into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth (Jas 5:4), and how much more their incessant and persevering cries!
bear long with them—rather, "in their case," or "on their account" (as) Jas 5:7, "for it"), [Grotius, De Wette, &c.].
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