|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 22. - Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; or, continually, as the phrase is often translated. Not only are the Israelites not suffering on account of any previous desertion of God, or other misconduct, but they are suffering for their fidelity to God. The heathen hate them, and make war upon them, as worshippers of one exclusive God, Jehovah, and contemners of their many gods, whom they hold to be "no-gods." They are martyrs, like the Christians of the early Church (see Romans 8:36). We are counted as sheep for the slaughter (comp. ver. 11).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long,.... These words are cited by the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:36; and are applied to his times, showing the then close attachment of the saints to Christ, and their strong love and affection for him; and they have the same sense here, being an instance and proof of the church's integrity and faithfulness in the cause of God, amidst the sorest afflictions and persecutions; for the truth of which she appeals to the searcher of hearts; and had their accomplishment in the ten persecutions under the Heathen emperors, and under the Papal tyranny; and may be understood of their being threatened with death, being in danger of it, and exposed unto it continually, 1 Corinthians 15:31; or of their being in such troubles and afflictions, which may be called death, 2 Corinthians 1:8; or of the actual slaying them: and what was done to many of the members of the church she attributes to herself, because of the union between them; and for the sake of the worship of the true God, because they would not worship the gods of the Heathens, nor the image of the beast, multitudes of them were put to death; and that all the day long, and every day, and that for a long series and course of time, or continually; and indeed, ever since the Gospel day or dispensation began, this killing work has been more or less; and it will continue during the reign of antichrist, until the measure of his iniquity is filled up, and the afflictions of the saints are accomplished;
we are counted as sheep for the slaughter; or "as sheep of slaughter" (q); see Zechariah 11:4; that is, either as sheep to be slaughtered for food, their enemies delighting to eat their flesh and drink their blood; See Gill on Psalm 44:11, or for sacrifice, they reckoning it doing God good service to take away their lives, as though they sacrificed a lamb or a sheep unto him; and which, like sheep, they have patiently endured: this is the account made of them, not by the Lord, in whose sight their death is precious; nor by the saints, with whom their memory is dear; but by their furious persecutors, among whom they are as sheep among wolves; see 1 Corinthians 4:13.
(q) "ut pecus mactationis", Montanus, Vatablus; so Musculus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis, Ainsworth.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22. Their protracted sufferings as God's people attests the constancy. Paul (Ro 8:36) uses this to describe Christian steadfastness in persecution.
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