|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
44:17-26 In afflictions, we must not seek relief by any sinful compliance; but should continually meditate on the truth, purity, and knowledge of our heart-searching God. Hearts sins and secret sins are known to God, and must be reckoned for. He knows the secret of the heart, therefore judges of the words and actions. While our troubles do not drive us from our duty to God, we should not suffer them to drive us from our comfort in God. Let us take care that prosperity and ease do not render us careless and lukewarm. The church of God cannot be prevailed on by persecution to forget God; the believer's heart does not turn back from God. The Spirit of prophecy had reference to those who suffered unto death, for the testimony of Christ. Observe the pleas used, ver. 25,26. Not their own merit and righteousness, but the poor sinner's pleas. None that belong to Christ shall be cast off, but every one of them shall be saved, and that for ever. The mercy of God, purchased, promised, and constantly flowing forth, and offered to believers, does away every doubt arising from our sins; while we pray in faith, Redeem us for thy mercies' sake.
Verse 19. - Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons; rather, in the place of jackals; i.e. in wild and desolate regions, where jackals abound (comp. Isaiah 13:22; Isaiah 34:13). The expression is probably used metaphorically. And covered us with the shadow of death. Brought us, i.e., into imminent peril of destruction (see vers. 10, 11).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons,.... Where men, comparable to dragons or their poison and cruelty, dwell; particularly in Rome, and the Roman jurisdiction, both Pagan and Papal, the seat of Satan the great red dragon, and of his wretched brood and offspring, the beast, to whom he has given his power; here the saints and followers of Christ have been sorely afflicted and persecuted, and yet have held fast the name of Christ, and not denied his faith; see Revelation 2:13; the wilderness is the habitation of dragons; and this is the name of the place where the church is said to be in the times of the Papacy, and where she is fed and preserved for a time, and times, and half a time, Revelation 12:6;
and covered us with the shadow of death; as the former phrase denotes the cruelty of the enemies of Christ's church and people, this their dismal afflictions and forlorn state and condition; see Psalm 23:4, Isaiah 9:2; and may have some respect to the darkness of Popery, when it was at the height, and the church of Christ was covered with it, there being very little appearances and breakings forth of Gospel light any where. According to Arama, the "place of dragons" denotes the captivity of Egypt, which is the great dragon; and the "shadow of death", he says, was a name of Egypt in ancient times, as say the Rabbins; and observes that Psalm 44:25 explains this; see Genesis 3:14.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. sore broken—crushed.
place of dragons—desolate, barren, rocky wilderness (Ps 63:10; Isa 13:22),
shadow of death—(Compare Ps 23:4).
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