|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
19:11. He attains the most true glory who endeavours most steadily to overcome evil with good. 12. Christ is a King, whose wrath against his enemies will be as the roaring of a lion, and his favour to his people as the refreshing dew. 13. It shows the vanity of the world, that we are liable to the greatest griefs where we promise ourselves the greatest comfort.
Verse 12. - The king's wrath is as the roaring of a lion, which inspires terror, as preluding danger and death. The same idea occurs in Proverbs 20:2 (comp. Amos 3:4, 8). The Assyrian monuments have made us familiar with the lion as a type of royalty; and the famous throne of Solomon was ornamented with figures of lions on each of its six steps (1 Kings 10:19, etc.). Thus St. Paul. alluding to the Roman emperor, says (2 Timothy 4:17), "I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion." "The lion is dead," announced Marsyas to Agrippa, on the decease of Tiberius (Josephus, 'Ant.,' 18:06, 10). The mondist here gives a monition to kings to repress their wrath and not to let it rage uncontrolled, and a warning to subjects not to offend their ruler, lest he tear them to pieces like a savage beast, which an Eastern despot had full power to do. But his favour is as dew upon the grass. In Proverbs 16:15 the king's favour was compared to a cloud of the latter rain; here it is likened to the dew (comp. Psalm 72:6). We hardly understand in England the real bearing of this comparison. "The secret of the luxuriant fertility of many parts of Palestine," says Dr. Geikie ('Holy Land and Bible,' 1:72, etc.), "lies in the rich supply of moisture afforded by the seawinds which blow inland each night, and water the face of the whole land. There is no dew, properly so called in Palestine, for there is no moisture in the hot summer air to be chilled into dewdrops by the coolness of the night, as in a climate like ours. From May till October rain is unknown, the sun shining with unclouded brightness day after day. The heat becomes intense, the ground hard; and vegetation would perish but for the moist west winds that come each night from the sea. The bright skies cause the heat of the day to radiate very quickly into space, so that the nights are as cold as the day is the reverse.... To this coldness of the night air the indispensable watering of all plant life is due. The winds, loaded with moisture, are robbed of it as they pass over the land, the cold air condensing it into drops of water, which fall in a gracious rain of mist on every thirsty blade. In the morning the fog thus created rests like a sea over the plains, and far up the sides of the hills, which raise their heads above it like so many islands The amount of moisture thus poured on the thirsty vegetation during the night is very great. Dew seemed to the Israelites a mysterious gift of Heaven, as indeed it is. That the skies should be stayed from yielding it was a special sign of Divine wrath, and there could be no more gracious conception of a loving farewell address to his people than where Moses tells them that his speech should distil as the dew. The favour of an Oriental monarch could not be more boneficially conceived than by saying that, while his wrath is like the roaring of a lion, his favour is as the dew upon the grass." רצון (ration), "favour," is translated by the Septuagint, τὸ ἱλαρόν, and by the Vulgate, hilaritas, "cheerfulness" (as in Proverbs 18:22), which gives the notion of a smiling, serene, benevolent countenance as contrasted with the angry, lowering look of displeased monarch.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The king's wrath is as the roaring of a lion,.... Which is very terrible when hungry, and is after its prey, and has got it. Kings, especially tyrannical ones, are compared to lions; as Nebuchadnezzar by Jeremiah, Jeremiah 4:17; and Nero by the Apostle Paul, 2 Timothy 4:7; and the rage of such is very dreadful, as Ahasuerus's was to Haman. Jarchi interprets the king, of the holy blessed God. It may be applied to Jesus Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah; who is said to cry with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth; and whose wrath is terrible to wicked men, and even to the kings of the earth, Revelation 5:5;
but his favour is as dew upon the grass; which refreshes and revives it, and causes it to grow and flourish: and so the favour and good will of a king to his subjects delights them, and causes joy and cheerfulness in them; and such an effect has the love of God and Christ on the children of men, Hosea 14:6.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. (Compare Pr 16:14, 15; 20:2). A motive to submission to lawful authority.
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