|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
107:33-43 What surprising changes are often made in the affairs of men! Let the present desolate state of Judea, and of other countries, explain this. If we look abroad in the world, we see many greatly increase, whose beginning was small. We see many who have thus suddenly risen, as suddenly brought to nothing. Worldly wealth is uncertain; often those who are filled with it, ere they are aware, lose it again. God has many ways of making men poor. The righteous shall rejoice. It shall fully convince all those who deny the Divine Providence. When sinners see how justly God takes away the gifts they have abused, they will not have a word to say. It is of great use to us to be fully assured of God's goodness, and duly affected with it. It is our wisdom to mind our duty, and to refer our comfort to him. A truly wise person will treasure in his heart this delightful psalm. From it, he will fully understand the weakness and wretchedness of man, and the power and loving-kindness of God, not for our merit, but for his mercy's sake.
Verse 34. - A fruitful land into barrenness; literally, into saltness. The judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah is probably in the writer's mind. For the wickedness of them that dwell therein. God does not capriciously withdraw his blessings from a land. If he turns a fruitful land into a barren one, we may be sure that the inhabitants have provoked him by their sins.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A fruitful land into barrenness,.... Or, "into saltness" (t); as Sodom and the land adjacent became a salt sea; and the land of Canaan was threatened to become brimstone, salt and burning, like Sodom; in which nothing was sown, and which bore no grass; see Genesis 14:3 and so the Targum,
"the land of Israel, which brought forth fruit, he hath destroyed, as Sodom was overthrown.''
For the wickedness of them that dwell therein; this was the cause of the overthrow of Sodom, and of the destruction of that fine country, as also of Canaan afterwards; see Genesis 13:13. The very Heathens had a notion that barrenness and unfruitfulness in countries were owing to the sins of men; hence the sterility and famine at Mycenas were attributed to the wickedness of Atreus (u). This may figuratively be understood of the present state and condition of the Jews; who were once a people well watered with the word and ordinances, and had the first preaching of the Gospel among them; but, rejecting and despising it, are now become like a desert, barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of divine things: and it might be illustrated by the case of several Christian churches; the seven churches of Asia, and others, once as well watered gardens, but now are no more; and the places where they stood are destitute of spiritual knowledge, and the means of it.
(t) "in salsuginem", Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Vatablus, Piscator, Gejerus, Michaelis; so Junius & Tremellius; "in salsam", Cocceius. (u) Hygin. Fab. 88.
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