|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
76:7-12 God's people are the meek of the earth, the quiet in the land, that suffer wrong, but do none. The righteous God seems to keep silence long, yet, sooner or later, he will make judgment to be heard. We live in an angry, provoking world; we often feel much, and are apt to fear more, from the wrath of man. What will not turn to his praise, shall not be suffered to break out. He can set bounds to the wrath of man, as he does to the raging sea; hitherto it shall come, and no further. Let all submit to God. Our prayers and praises, and especially our hearts, are the presents we should bring to the Lord. His name is glorious, and he is the proper object of our fear. He shall cut off the spirit of princes; he shall slip it off easily, as we slip off a flower from the stalk, or a bunch of grapes from the vine; so the word signifies. He can dispirit the most daring: since there is no contending with God, it is our wisdom, as it is our duty, to submit to him. Let us seek his favour as our portion, and commit all our concerns to him.
Verse 8. - Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven. By the destruction of Sennacherib's host, God spoke, as it were, with a voice of thunder, to the whole earth. He delivered a "judgment," or a "sentence" (Revised Version), which could not be ignored. The earth feared, and was still. All the world, i.e. all the Oriental world, feared. The attention of the nations of Western Asia generally was attracted (2 Chronicles 32:23), and their minds were affected with a wholesome fear of Jehovah. The result was that they remained at rest and gave Israel rest.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven,.... When an angel was sent down from heaven, and destroyed the Assyrian army, a judgment of God upon them; at which time some think there was a violent clap of thunder, which is the voice of God: and it may refer to the judgments which God has decreed to execute on the antichristian states, the seven vials of his wrath he will pour upon them; for all decrees, as Aben Ezra on the place observes, come from heaven; or to the last judgment, when Christ the Judge shall descend from heaven, the voice of the archangel shall be heard, the last trumpet shall sound, the dead in their graves shall hear it, and rise and stand before the judgment seat, and hear the sentence pronounced:
the earth feared, and was still: or "trembled, and was quiet" (c); that is, again: some think there was an earthquake when the angel smote the Assyrian camp, but was quickly over. It may regard the panic the other nations were in when they heard of it, and therefore were still and quiet, and never offered to give the Israelites any disturbance. Some understand this of the remainder of the army that escaped with Sennacherib; these were seized with fear, and quickly withdrew, and silently departed into their own land. Aben Ezra observes it as the sense of some, "the earth feared", these are the wicked; "and was still", they are the righteous; so the Targum,
"the land of the people feared, the land of Israel was still;''
reference may be had to the consternation, fear, and dread, that will fall on them that escape the judgments inflicted on the antichristian party, Revelation 11:13 and the fear and silence that will attend the last and awful judgment; see Zechariah 2:13.
(c) "terra tremuit, et quievit", V. L.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8, 9. God's judgment on the wicked is His people's deliverance (Ps 9:12; 10:7).
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