|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
58:1-5 When wrong is done under the form of law, it is worse than any other; especially it is grievous to behold those who profess to be children of God, joining together against any of his people. We should thank the Lord for merciful restraints; we should be more earnest in seeking renewing grace, more watchful over ourselves, and more patient under the effects of fallen nature in others. The corruption of their nature was the root of bitterness. We may see in children the wickedness of the world beginning. They go astray from God and their duty as soon as possibly they can. And how soon will little children tell lies! It is our duty to take pains to teach them, and above all, earnestly to pray for converting grace to make our children new creatures. Though the poison be within, much of it may be kept from breaking forth to injure others. When the Saviour's words are duly regarded, the serpent becomes harmless. But those who refuse to hear heavenly wisdom, must perish miserably, for ever.
Verse 4. - Their poison is like the poison of a serpent (comp. Psalm 140:3; Song of Sirach 25:15). They are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear. The "adder" was supposed to be deaf, on account of its being very difficult to charm. It was thought obstinately to set itself against the charmer, and, as it were, stop its ears against him.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Their poison is like the poison of a serpent,.... Either their "wrath" and fury, as the word (x) may be rendered, against God, his people, and even one another, is like that of a serpent when irritated and provoked; or their mischievous and devouring words are like the poison of asps under their lips, Romans 3:13; or the malignity of sin in them is here meant, which, like the poison of a serpent, is latent, hid, and lurking in them; is very infectious to all the powers and faculties of the soul, and members of the body; and is deadly and incurable, without the grace of God and blood of Christ;
they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; the adder is a kind of serpent, in Hebrew called "pethen"; hence the serpent "Python". This is not, deaf naturally, otherwise it would have no need to stop its ear, but of choice; and naturalists (y) observe, that it is quicker of hearing than of sight. Jarchi indeed says, when it grows old it becomes deaf in one of its ears, and it stops its other ear with dust, that it may not hear the voice of the charmer; though others say (z) it stops one ear with its tail, and lays the other to the ground; but these seem fabulous. David speaks of it figuratively, that it acts as if it was deaf, regarding no enchantments, but bites notwithstanding; these having no influence on it, which, if they had any, could not be hindered by its deafness; and he compares wicked men to it, who are wilfully deaf to all good counsel and advice given them (a).
(x) Sept. "furor", V. L. (y) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 23. (z) Isidor. Hispal. Origin. l. 12. c. 4. (a) Vid. Gataker. Adversaria, c. 8. p. 70, &c.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. stoppeth her—literally, "his."
ear—that is, the wicked man (the singular used collectively), who thus becomes like the deaf adder which has no ear.
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