|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:8-16 The prophet laments that Israel's case is desperate; but declare it not in Gath. Gratify not those that make merry with the sins or with the sorrows of God's Israel. Roll thyself in the dust, as mourners used to do; let every house in Jerusalem become a house of Aphrah, a house of dust. When God makes the house dust it becomes us to humble ourselves to the dust under his mighty hand. Many places should share this mourning. The names have meanings which pointed out the miseries coming upon them; thereby to awaken the people to a holy fear of Divine wrath. All refuges but Christ, must be refuges of lies to those who trust in them; other heirs will succeed to every inheritance but that of heaven; and all glory will be turned into shame, except that honour which cometh from God only. Sinners may now disregard their neighbours' sufferings, yet their turn to be punished will some come.
Verse 12. - Maroth; bitterness. Its site is unknown; but it was in the immediate neighbourhood of Jerusalem. Ewald suggests that it is the same as Maarath (Joshua 15:59), hod. Beit Ummar, six miles north of Hebron. Waited carefully for good; waited, expecting succour. But the better translation is, writhed in anguish on account of good, which they have lost, whether property or liberty. But evil came; for (or, because) evil is come. Unto the gate of Jerusalem (comp. ver. 9). The prophet refers to the invasion of the Assyrian kings, Sargon or Sennacherib, also mentioned by Isaiah (Isaiah 22:7), and the haughty message (Isaiah 36:2).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good,.... Or, "though they waited for good" (r); expected to have it, yet the reverse befell them: or "verily they were grieved for good" (s); for the good things they had lost, or were likely to lose; and which they had no more hope of, when they saw Jerusalem in distress. Grotius thinks, by transposition of letters, Ramoth is intended by Maroth, or the many Ramahs which were in Judah and Benjamin; but Hillerus (t) is of opinion that Jarmuth is meant, a city of Judah, Joshua 15:35; the word Maroth signifies "bitterness"; see Ruth 1:20; and, according to others, "rough places"; and may design the inhabitants of such places that were in great bitterness and trouble because of the invasion of the enemy, who before that had promised themselves good things, and lived in the expectation of them:
but evil came down from the Lord unto the gate of Jerusalem; meaning the Assyrian army under Sennacherib, which came into the land of Judea by the order, direction, and providence of God, like an overflowing flood; which spread itself over the land, and reached to the very gates of Jerusalem, which was besieged by it, and threatened with destruction: or "because evil came down", &c. that is, "because" of that, the inhabitants of Maroth grieved, or were in pain, as a woman in travail.
(r) "quamvis". (s) "certe doluit propter bonum", Vatablus; "siquidem doluit", Pagninus, Montanus; "quia doluit propter bonum", Burkius. (t) Onomast. p. 87, 951.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. Maroth—possibly the same as Maarath (Jos 15:59). Perhaps a different town, lying between the previously mentioned towns and the capital, and one of those plundered by Rab-shakeh on his way to it.
waited carefully for good—that is, for better fortune, but in vain [Calvin]. Gesenius translates, "is grieved for her goods," "taken away" from her. This accords with the meaning of Maroth, "bitterness," to which allusion is made in "is grieved." But the antithesis favors English Version, "waited carefully (that is, anxiously) for good, but evil came down."
from the Lord—not from chance.
unto the gate of Jerusalem—after the other cities of Judah have been taken.
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