|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
107:17-22 If we knew no sin, we should know no sickness. Sinners are fools. They hurt their bodily health by intemperance, and endanger their lives by indulging their appetites. This their way is their folly. The weakness of the body is the effect of sickness. It is by the power and mercy of God that we are recovered from sickness, and it is our duty to be thankful. All Christ's miraculous cures were emblems of his healing diseases of the soul. It is also to be applied to the spiritual cures which the Spirit of grace works. He sends his word, and heals souls; convinces, converts them, makes them holy, and all by the word. Even in common cases of recovery from sickness, God in his providence speaks, and it is done; by his word and Spirit the soul is restored to health and holiness.
Verses 17-22. - A third class of persons under God's displeasure are punished by grievous sickness, and brought to the very verge of the grave. They, too, in many cases, turn to God, and, "crying to him," are delivered from their peril. It is for them, under such circumstances, to make a return by means of praise and thanks giving. Verse 17. - Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. Some read חולִים, "sick men," for ךאוִלִים, "fools," here. But the change is not necessary. Folly and sin are regarded as two aspects of the same moral condition by the sacred writers, and sickness is spoken of as an ordinary punishment for them (Job 33:17-22; 2 Kings 5:27; 2 Chronicles 21:15; 2 Chronicles 26:16-19; Acts 12:23).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Fools, because of their transgression,.... Or, "because of the way" (h) "of it"; their sinful course of life; for it is not for a single transgression they are afflicted, but for a continued series of sinning, which is a transgression of the law of God. By "fools" are meant not idiots, men devoid of common sense and natural understanding, but immoral persons; such who have no understanding of divine and spiritual things; are destitute of the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom; without the true knowledge of God himself; place their happiness in sensual enjoyments; seek only the gratification of their lust; scoff at religion, make a mock at sin, and have no concern about a future state, and the welfare of their immortal souls.
And because of their iniquities, are afflicted; or "afflict themselves", or "find themselves afflicted" (i); rather "bring affliction on themselves" (k). Not that these are the only persons that are afflicted; for many truly wise, good, and gracious persons, have a large share of afflictions; though not in a way of punishment for sin, or in wrath and hot displeasure, but in a way of fatherly chastisement, and in love: nor are fools for the most part afflicted, nor so much as others; they are not in trouble and plagued as other men; which has been a stumbling to good men: however, sometimes they are afflicted in this life, and in a way of punishment for sin; and very often are but the more hardened by it; though to some it is an ordinance for good; they are awakened by it to a sense of sin, and acknowledgment of it, and to seek for pardoning grace and mercy. This is the "third" instance of persons in distress calling on the Lord, and finding relief (l), and being under obligation to praise him.
(h) "propter viam", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator. (i) "sese adflictos sentiebant", Michaelis. (k) So Tigurine version. (l) "Flectitur iratus voce rogante Deus", Ovid. de Arte Amandi, l. 1.
The Treasury of David
17 Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.
18 Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.
19 Then they cry unto the Logo in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.
20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.
21 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.
"Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted." Many sicknesses are the direct result of foolish acts. Thoughtless and lustful men by drunkenness, gluttony, and the indulgence of their passions fill their bodies with diseases of the worst kind. Sin is at the bottom of all sorrow, but some sorrows are the immediate results of wickedness; men by a course of transgression afflict themselves and are fools for their pains. Worse still, even when they are in affliction they are fools still; and if they were brayed in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet would not their folly depart from them. From one transgression they go on to many iniquities, and while under the rod they add sin to sin. Alas, even the Lord's own people sometimes play the fool in this sad manner.
"Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat." Appetite departs from men when they are sick: the best of food is nauseous to them, their stomach turns against it. "And they draw near unto the gates of death." From want of food, and from the destructive power of their malady, they slide gradually down till they lie at the door of the grave; neither does the skill of the physician suffice to stay their downward progress. As they cannot eat there is no support given to the system, and as the disease rages their little strength is spent in pain and misery. Thus it is with souls afflicted with a sense of sin, they cannot find comfort in the choicest promises, but turn away with loathing even from the gospel, so that they gradually decay into the grave of despair. The mercy is that though near the gates of death they are not yet inside the sepulchre.
"Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble." They join the praying legion at last. Saul also is among the prophets. The fool lays aside his motley in prospect of the shroud, and betakes himself to his knees. What a cure for the soul sickness of body is often made to be by the Lord's grace I "And he saveth them out of their distresses." Prayer is as effectual on a sick bed as in the wilderness or in prison; it may be tried in all places and circumstance with certain result. We may pray about our bodily pains and weaknesses, and we may look for answers too. When we have no appetite for meat we may have an appetite for prayer. He who cannot feed on the word of God may yet turn to God himself and find mercy.
"He sent his word and healed them." Man is not healed by medicine alone, but by the word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God is man restored from going down to the grave. A word will do it, a word has done it thousands of times. "And delivered them from their destructions." They escape though dangers had surrounded them, dangers many and deadly. The word of the Lord has a great delivering power; he has but to speak and the armies of death flee in an instant. Sin-sick souls should remember the power of the Word, and be much in hearing it and meditating upon it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17-22. Whether the same or not, this exigency illustrates that dispensation of God according to which sin brings its own punishment.
are afflicted—literally, "afflict themselves," that is, bring on disease, denoted by loathing of food, and drawing
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