|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-16 This prophecy is against Edom. Its destruction seems to have been typical, as their father Esau's rejection; and to refer to the destruction of the enemies of the gospel church. See the prediction of the success of that war; Edom shall be spoiled, and brought down. All the enemies of God's church shall be disappointed in the things they stay themselves on. God can easily lay those low who magnify and exalt themselves; and will do it. Carnal security ripens men for ruin, and makes the ruin worse when it comes. Treasures on earth cannot be so safely laid up but that thieves may break through and steal; it is therefore our wisdom to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven. Those that make flesh their trust, arm it against themselves. The God of our covenant will never deceive us: but if we trust men with whom we join ourselves, it may prove to us a wound and dishonour. God will justly deny those understanding to keep out of danger, who will not use their understandings to keep out of sin. All violence, all unrighteousness, is sin; but it makes the violence far worse, if it be done against any of God's people. Their barbarous conduct towards Judah and Jerusalem, is charged upon them. In reflecting on ourselves, it is good to consider what we should have done; to compare our practice with the Scripture rule. Sin, thus looked upon in the glass of the commandment, will appear exceedingly sinful. Those have a great deal to answer for, who are idle spectators of the troubles of their neighbours, when able to be active helpers. Those make themselves poor, who think to make themselves rich by the ruin of the people of God; and those deceive themselves, who call all that their own on which they can lay their hands in a day of calamity. Though judgment begins at the house of God, it shall not end there. Let sorrowful believers and insolent oppressors know, that the troubles of the righteous will soon end, but those of the wicked will be eternal.
Verse 5, 6. - To prove the completeness of the destruction that shall befall Eden, the prophet supposes two cases of despoiling in which something would be left behind. It will be far worse than any mere raid of thieves; nothing will be spared. Verse 5. - Thieves... robbers. The former are ordinary thieves who pilfer secretly; the latter are robbers who act with violence, or members of a marauding expedition. How art thou cut off! An interposed ejaculation of the prophet, sympathizing with the Edomites for the utter desolation which he sees in vision. Septuagint, Ποῦ ἄν ἀπεῥῤίφης; "Where wouldst thou have been east away?" taking a different reading; Vulgate, Quomodo conticuisses? "How wouldst thou have been silent?" i.e. for fear. Till they had enough. Would they not have taken such plunder as they wanted, and then decamped? The grape gatherers would leave some bunches untouched, which escaped their notice. There is no reference to the charitable law in Leviticus 19:10; Deuteronomy 24:21, which would not affect, or be known unto, these grape plunderers.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
If thieves came to thee, if robbers by night,.... Whether the one came by day, and the other by night, or both by night, the same being meant by different words, whose intent is to plunder and steal, and carry off what they can; thy condition would not be worse, nor so bad as now it is: for
how art thou cut off! from being a nation, wholly destroyed; thy people killed, or carried captive; thy fortresses demolished, towns and cities levelled with the ground, and all thy wealth and substance carried off, and nothing left: these are either the words of God, or of the prophet, setting forth their utter ruin, as if it was already; or of the nations round about, wondering at their sudden destruction. Some render it, "how silent art thou!" (q) that is, under all these calamities: or, "how art thou asleep!" or "stupefied!" as the Targum and Jarchi; not to be upon thy guard against the incursions of the enemy, but careless, secure, and stupid, and now stripped of everything: had common thieves and robbers broke in upon thee,
would they not have stolen till they had enough? as much as they came for, or could carry off; they seldom strip a house into which they enter of everything in it; they come for some particular things, and, meeting with them, they go off, and leave the rest:
if the grape gatherers come to thee, would they not leave some grapes? that is, if men should come into thy vineyards, and gather the grapes, and carry them off by force or stealth, would they take them all a way? doubtless they would leave some behind; some would be hid under the boughs, and be left unobserved by them: or the allusion is to gatherers of grapes, who gather them for the owners, and at their direction, who were wont to leave some clusters for the poor to glean after them; but in the case of Edom it is suggested that nothing should be left, all should be clean carried off; the destruction would he complete and entire. The Targum is,
"if spoilers as grape gatherers should come unto thee, &c.''
see Jeremiah 49:9.
(q) "quomodo redactus es in silentium?" Calvin; "quomodo siles?" some in Tarnovius; so Syr.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. The spoliation which thou shalt suffer shall not be such as that which thieves cause, bad as that is, for these when they have seized enough, or all they can get in a hurry, leave the rest—nor such as grape-gatherers cause in a vineyard, for they, when they have gathered most of the grapes, leave gleanings behind—but it shall be utter, so as to leave thee nothing. The exclamation, "How art thou cut off!" bursting in amidst the words of the image, marks strongly excited feeling. The contrast between Edom where no gleanings shall be left, and Israel where at the worst a gleaning is left (Isa 17:6; 24:13), is striking.
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