|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:4. God makes use of the wicked to execute righteous vengeance on each other; and he will be glorified by their destruction at last. 5. Though sinners strengthen themselves and one another, they shall not escape God's judgments. 6. By the mercy and truth of God in Christ Jesus, the sins of believers are taken away, and the power of sin is broken. 7. He that has all hearts in his hand, can make a man's enemies to be at peace with him. 8. A small estate, honestly come by, will turn to better account than a great estate ill-gotten. 9. If men make God's glory their end, and his will their rule, he will direct their steps by his Spirit and grace. 10. Let kings and judges of the earth be just, and rule in the fear of God. 11. To observe justice in dealings between man and man is God's appointment.
Verse 4. - The Lord hath made all things for himself. So the Vulgate, propter semetipsum; and Origen ('Praef. in Job'), δἰ ἑαυτόν. That is, God hath made everything for his own purpose, to answer the design which he hath intended from all eternity (Revelation 4:11). But this translation is not in accordance with the present reading, לַמַּעַנֵהוּ, which means rather "for its own end," for its own proper use. Everything in God's design has its own end and object and reason for being where it is and such as it is; everything exhibits his goodness and wisdom, and tends to his glory. Septuagint, "All the works of the Lord are with righteousness." Yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. This clause has been perverted to support the terrible doctrine of reprobation - that God, whose will must be always efficacious, has willed the damnation of some; whereas we are taught that God's will is that "all men should be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth," and that "God sent his Son not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved" (1 Timothy 2:4; John 3:17; comp. Ezekiel 33:11). Man, having freewill, can reject this gracious purpose of God, and render the means of salvation nugatory; but this does not make God the cause of man's destruction, but man himself. In saying that God "made the wicked," the writer does not mean that God made him as such, but made him as he made all other things, giving him powers and capacities which he might have used to good, but which, as a fact, he uses to evil. It will be useful here to quote the wise words of St. Gregory ('Moral.,' 6:33), "The Just and Merciful One, as he disposes the deeds of mortals, vouchsafes some things in mercy, and permits other things in anger; and the things which he permits he so bears with that he turns them to the account of his purpose. And hence it is brought to pass in a marvellous way that even that which is done without t,e will of God is not contrary to the will of God. For while evil deeds are converted to a good use, the very things that oppose his design render service to his design." The day of evil is the hour of punishment (Isaiah 10:3; Job 21:30), which by a moral law will inevitably fall upon the sinner. God makes man's wickedness subserve his purposes and manifest his glory, as we see in the case of Pharaoh (Exodus 9:16), and the crucifixion of our blessed Lord (Acts 2:23; comp. Romans 9:22). It is a phase of God's moral government that an evil day should be appointed for transgressors, and it is from foreknowledge of their deserts that their punishment is prepared. The perplexing question, why God allows men to come into the world whom he knows will meet with perdition, is not handled here. Septuagint, "But the impious is kept for an evil day." Cato, 'Dist.,' 2:8 -
"Nolo putes pravos homines peccata lucrari:
Temporibus peccata latent, sed tempore patent."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The Lord hath made all things for himself,.... This is true of the Lord with respect to the creation of all things by him. All things are made by him, the heaven, earth, and sea; and all that are in them, angels, men, beasts, birds, fishes, and all creatures: and these are made for himself, and not another; not for the pure or good men, as Aben Ezra, though all things are for the elect's sake; but for God himself, besides whom there was no other before the creation, nor is there any other God but him, who is the first cause and last end of all things: nor were those all things made for him, through any want he had of them, being God all sufficient and blessed for evermore, but to show his greatness, and communicate his goodness; they are made for his service, which all creatures are obliged unto, and whom all in their way obey, and for his honour and glory. It is also true of his works of providence, and of his ordering and disposing of all things in the course of that, to answer ends of his own glory; his kingdom of providence rules over all; there is a general providence, which respects all creatures and things; and there is a particular providence attending the Lord's own people; and in all the glory of his wisdom, justice, truth, and goodness, is conspicuous: but this is chiefly, if not solely, to be understood of God's decrees and purposes; and of his ordering and appointing all things to bring about his own glory. Every thing is appointed of God; he has foreordained whatever comes to pass; there is a purpose for everything under the heavens, and a time fixed for the execution of it. Junius restrains it to "all men"; but it is true of all creatures and things, though especially men: all things are appointed by the Lord, respecting the temporal estate of men; their birth, and the time of it, with all the circumstances attending it; the place of their abode, their calling, station of life, and usefulness; all adverse and prosperous dispensations; their death, with all the events leading to it: and so likewise all things respecting their spiritual and eternal estate; the choice of them to salvation; their redemption by Christ; the time of his coming, sufferings, and death, and the circumstances thereof; the conversion of God's elect, the time, place, and means; these are all according to the purpose of God; as are also all their times of affliction, temptation, desertion, and of joy and comfort. In a word, the final state of all men, good and bad, is fixed by the Lord; and all this is "for himself", which some render, "to answer to himself" (c); all creatures are made to answer to his original design in making them, to the laws of their creation, and to answer his ends and purposes; and which is ultimately his own glory: or for his praise, as Jarchi; for his will and pleasure, as R. Isaac; for the thing in which he is well pleased, as R. Jonah or for his own sake, as Kimchi; and all which agree, as with the sense of the words, so with Revelation 4:11. The Targum and Syriac version very wrongly render them,
"all the works of God, or the Lord, are for them that obey him;''
yea, even the wicked for the day of evil; this is added to illustrate the general proposition in the preceding clause, and to obviate an objection, that might be taken from the destruction of the wicked, against all things being for the glory of God; for even the destruction of the wicked, which is under a divine appointment, is for his glory. It is not the sense of this text, nor of any other passage of Scripture, that God made man to damn him; nor is this to be inferred from the doctrine of predestination: God made man, neither to damn him, nor to save him, but for his own glory; and that is secured, whether in his salvation or damnation; nor did or does God make men wicked; he made man upright, and he has made himself wicked; and, being so, God may justly appoint him to damnation for his wickedness, in doing which he glorifies his justice. "The day of evil", or "evil day", is the day of wrath and ruin, unto which wicked men are reserved by the appointment of God, agreeably to the Targum, Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions. This is true of wicked angels, wicked men, and particularly of that wicked one, the man of sin and son of perdition, antichrist; the word here used is in the singular number.
(c) "ad responsum suum", Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaells; "ad responsum proprium ejus", Gussetius, p. 623. "ad responsum sui", Schultens.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. for himself—"for its answer," or "purpose," that is, according to God's plan; the wicked are for the day of evil (Ps 49:5; Jer 17:18); sinning and suffering answer to each other, are indissolubly united.
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