|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
78:9-39. Sin dispirits men, and takes away the heart. Forgetfulness of God's works is the cause of disobedience to his laws. This narrative relates a struggle between God's goodness and man's badness. The Lord hears all our murmurings and distrusts, and is much displeased. Those that will not believe the power of God's mercy, shall feel the fire of his indignation. Those cannot be said to trust in God's salvation as their happiness at last, who can not trust his providence in the way to it. To all that by faith and prayer, ask, seek, and knock, these doors of heaven shall at any time be opened; and our distrust of God is a great aggravation of our sins. He expressed his resentment of their provocation; not in denying what they sinfully lusted after, but in granting it to them. Lust is contented with nothing. Those that indulge their lust, will never be estranged from it. Those hearts are hard indeed, that will neither be melted by the mercies of the Lord, nor broken by his judgments. Those that sin still, must expect to be in trouble still. And the reason why we live with so little comfort, and to so little purpose, is, because we do not live by faith. Under these rebukes they professed repentance, but they were not sincere, for they were not constant. In Israel's history we have a picture of our own hearts and lives. God's patience, and warnings, and mercies, imbolden them to harden their hearts against his word. And the history of kingdoms is much the same. Judgments and mercies have been little attended to, until the measure of their sins has been full. And higher advantages have not kept churches from declining from the commandments of God. Even true believers recollect, that for many a year they abused the kindness of Providence. When they come to heaven, how will they admire the Lord's patience and mercy in bringing them to his kingdom!
Verses 15, 16. - He clave the rocks in the wilderness; rather, he clave rocks. The word has no article. The reference is probably to both Exodus 17:6 and Numbers 20:8-11. And gave them drink as out of the great depths; rather, "and gave them drink abundantly, as out of the depths" (so Cheyne and the Revised Version). On the abundance of the water, see Numbers 20:11, and compare the next verse: He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He clave the rocks in the wilderness,.... The one at Rephidim, Exodus 17:1, and the other at Kadesh, Numbers 20:1 both to be seen at this day; See Gill on Exodus 17:1; see Gill on Exodus 17:2; see Gill on Exodus 17:3; see Gill on Exodus 17:4; see Gill on Exodus 17:5; see Gill on Exodus 17:6; see Gill on Numbers 20:1; see Gill on Numbers 20:2; see Gill on Numbers 20:3; see Gill on Numbers 20:4; see Gill on Numbers 20:5; see Gill on Numbers 20:6; see Gill on Numbers 20:7; see Gill on Numbers 20:8; see Gill on Numbers 20:9; see Gill on Numbers 20:10; see Gill on Numbers 20:11, though of the latter no modern traveller makes mention but one, yet Jerom (b) from Eusebius affirms that it was shown in his day: they were typical of Christ, 1 Corinthians 10:4, who is frequently compared to one for height, strength, and duration, shade, shelter, and protection; and is called the Rock of Israel, the Rock of offence to both houses of Israel, the Rock of salvation, the Rock of refuge, the Rock of strength, the Rock that is higher than the saints, and on which the church is built, and who is the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. The cleaving of the rocks is ascribed to God, which was done by the hands of Moses; and so the Targum adds,
"by the rod of Moses their master;''
but Moses was only the instrument, it was the Lord that did it; Moses with his rod could never have done it, had not the power of God went along with it. This smiting and cleaving the rocks were an emblem of the sufferings of Christ, who was smitten of God with the rod of justice, according to the law of Moses, in a judicial way, for the sins of his people, and in order to obtain salvation for them:
and gave them drink as out of the great depths; such a large quantity of water flowed out of the rocks when smitten, as if it came out of the great sea, which furnished them with drink sufficient, and more than enough for them and their cattle; this was typical of the large abundance of grace, and the blessings of it, which flow freely and plentifully from Christ and his fulness, and through his sufferings and death.
(b) De loc. Heb. fol. 93. L.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15, 16. There were two similar miracles (Ex 17:6; Nu 20:11).
great depths—and—rivers—denote abundance.
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