|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 39. - Again. There is no "again" in the original, but merely the usual yaw conjunctive. Still, in the thought, there is no doubt an abrupt transition. The writer turns to the darker side of the picture. They are minished and brought low. God shows his providence, not merely in blessing, but also in chastising. Even the very nation which has been the most highly favored may, by misconduct, fall under his displeasure and suffer at his hands. Their population is diminished; they arc "bowed down" (Revised Version), or "brought low." Calamities of various kinds befall them. Sometimes their decline is brought about through oppression, which may be either the cruel rule of a native monarch, such as Saul, or the still heavier yoke of a foreign power, like Egypt or Babylon. Sometimes it comes from such an affliction as bad harvests, plagues of locusts, or pestilence. Sometimes it is brought about by sorrow - the death of a good ruler in the flower of his age, the extinction of a royal stock, the destruction of a nation's best and bravest on battle-fields, and the like. But in all calamities alike it is God's hand that deals the blow.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Again they are minished,.... Or "lessened", in their families, cattle, and substance; either the same persons as before, or others. The Targum paraphrases it,
"but when they sin, they are lessened:''
for sin is the cause of it, as follows:
and brought low through oppression, affliction and sorrow; either because of their oppression of the poor, the evil they do to them, and the sorrow they bring upon them; or they are brought into a low estate through the tyranny and oppression of others, and by the afflictions and sorrows they are brought into by them. This may be applied to the Jews, at their destruction by the Romans, when they were greatly lessened and brought low by their oppression of them: or rather to the Christians; not under the Heathen persecutions, for then they increased more and more; but under antichristian tyranny, when the beast had power over them, and overcame and slew them; and their numbers were so reduced, that the whole world is said to wonder after the beast, Revelation 13:3, and which will be the case again, when the witnesses will be slain: the number of Christians is greatly lessening now; there are but a few names in Sardis; Jacob is small, but will be smaller and fewer still.
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