|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
78:56-72 After the Israelites were settled in Canaan, the children were like their fathers. God gave them his testimonies, but they turned back. Presumptuous sins render even Israelites hateful to God's holiness, and exposed to his justice. Those whom the Lord forsakes become an easy prey to the destroyer. And sooner or later, God will disgrace his enemies. He set a good government over his people; a monarch after his own heart. With good reason does the psalmist make this finishing, crowning instance of God's favour to Israel; for David was a type of Christ, the great and good Shepherd, who was humbled first, and then exalted; and of whom it was foretold, that he should be filled with the Spirit of wisdom and understanding. On the uprightness of his heart, and the skilfulness of his hands, all his subjects may rely; and of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end. Every trial of human nature hitherto, confirms the testimony of Scripture, that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, and nothing but being created anew by the Holy Ghost can cure the ungodliness of any.
Verse 63. - The fire consumed their young men. The reference is not to such passages as Leviticus 10:2; Numbers 11:1; Numbers 16:35, where a literal fire seems to be spoken of, but rather to the fire of war (Numbers 21:28; Isaiah 26:11; Jeremiah 48:45), or more generally to the fire of the Divine anger (Isaiah 10:16-18; Isaiah 47:14, etc.). And their maidens were not given to marriage; literally, were not praised in song; i.e. in the bridal song. The destruction of the young men, either in battle or in any other way, caused there to be more marriageable girls in Israel than there were husbands for (comp. Isaiah 4:1).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The fire consumed their young men,.... Not Nadab and Abihu, as some of the Jewish Rabbins interpret it, of which Jarchi makes mention; but the young men, the choice, the flower, of the Israelitish army, which engaged with the Philistines in the times of Eli; and the fire that consumed them is not to be understood of material fire, or of extraordinary fire from heaven, but either of the wrath of God, as Jarchi, or of the flaming glittering sword of the enemy, which consumed them like fire; see Numbers 21:28.
and their maidens were not given to marriage; the young men to whom they should have been married, and to whom they might have been espoused, being slain in battle: or, "were not honoured" (a); that with marriage, which is honourable to all, Hebrews 13:4, or "were not praised" (b); were not attended with epithalamies and nuptial songs, such as used to be sung at the time of marriage; hence, as Kimchi observes, the nuptial chamber is called , "the house of praise"; and so frequently, when a great calamity is threatened or described, it is said, the voice of the bride and bridegroom is not heard; see Jeremiah 16:9.
(a) "honoratae", Munster; so some in Vatablus. (b) "Celebratae epithalamio", Montanus; "laudatae", Tigurine version, Amama, so Ainsworth; "laudarentur", Junius & Tremellius, Michaelis; "laudabantur", Piscator; "commendabantur", Gejerus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
63. fire—either figure of the slaughter (1Sa 4:10), or a literal burning by the heathen.
given to marriage—literally, "praised"—that is, as brides.
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