|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
147:12-20 The church, like Jerusalem of old, built up and preserved by the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, is exhorted to praise him for all the benefits and blessings vouchsafed to her; and these are represented by his favours in the course of nature. The thawing word may represent the gospel of Christ, and the thawing wind the Spirit of Christ; for the Spirit is compared to the wind, Joh 3:8. Converting grace softens the heart that was hard frozen, and melts it into tears of repentance, and makes good reflections to flow, which before were chilled and stopped up. The change which the thaw makes is very evident, yet how it is done no one can say. Such is the change wrought in the conversion of a soul, when God's word and Spirit are sent to melt it and restore it to itself.
Verse 20. - He hath not dealt so with any nation. Though the Word of God, to a certain extent, "lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9), yet this light of nature is not to be compared to the revelation vouchsafed to Israel. Israel was God's "peculiar people," and had peculiar privileges, which involved special responsibilities. And as for his judgments, they (i.e. the nations) have not known them (comp. Amos 3:2, "You only have I known out of all the families of the earth: therefore will I visit upon you all your iniquities"). Praise ye the Lord (comp. ver. 1).
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He hath not dealt so with any nation,.... Or "every nation" (b); or all the nations under the heavens; only with the Jewish nation: these only for many hundreds of years were favoured with the divine revelation, with the word and ordinances of God; with the law, and with the Gospel, and with the service and worship of God; as well as with promises and prophecies of Christ, and good things to come by him. These were not communicated to anyone nation or body of people besides them; only now and then, to one here and there among the Gentiles: the Gospel was first preached to them at the coming of Christ, and after them to the Gentiles, when rejected by them;
and as for his judgments, they have not known them; by which are meant, not the providential dispensations of God, which are unsearchable, and past finding out, till made manifest; nor punishments inflicted on wicked men, unobserved by them; but the word of God, and the ordinances of it, which the Gentile world for many ages were unacquainted with; see Psalm 19:9;
praise ye the Lord: as literal Israel had reason to do, for those distinguishing instances of his favour and goodness; and as the spiritual Israel of God everywhere have; and particularly our British ones, who are highly favoured with the privileges of having the word of God purely and powerfully preached, and his ordinances truly and duly administered; at least in some parts of it, and that more than in any other nation under the heavens.
(b) "omni genti", Pagninus, Montanus, Gejerus; "omni nationi", V. L.
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