|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
81:8-16 We cannot look for too little from the creature, nor too much from the Creator. We may have enough from God, if we pray for it in faith. All the wickedness of the world is owing to man's wilfulness. People are not religious, because they will not be so. God is not the Author of their sin, he leaves them to the lusts of their own hearts, and the counsels of their own heads; if they do not well, the blame must be upon themselves. The Lord is unwilling that any should perish. What enemies sinners are to themselves! It is sin that makes our troubles long, and our salvation slow. Upon the same conditions of faith and obedience, do Christians hold those spiritual and eternal good things, which the pleasant fields and fertile hills of Canaan showed forth. Christ is the Bread of life; he is the Rock of salvation, and his promises are as honey to pious minds. But those who reject him as their Lord and Master, must also lose him as their Saviour and their reward.
Verse 14. - I should soon have subdued (rather, I should won subdue) their enemies. Israel is still surrounded by enemies, anxious for his destruction. God could subdue them and sweep them away in a moment, if he pleased; and would do so, if Israel would repent and return to him. The appeal is to the living Israel - the Israel of the psalmist's time, which is given one more chance of triumph over its enemies. And turned my hand against their adversaries. Logically, the two clauses should have been inverted, since the subjugation of Israel's enemies would be the effect of God's hand being turned against them.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I should soon have subdued their enemies,.... The Canaanites, and others: this he would have done in a very little time, or at once, and that easily, and without any trouble; he would quickly have humbled them, and brought them on their knees, as the word (g) signifies, to terms of peace; for when a man's ways please the Lord, he makes his enemies to be at peace with him, Proverbs 16:7 so those that hearken to the voice of Christ, and walk in his ways, he subdues their iniquities, and will bruise Satan under their feet shortly, and make them more than conquerors: through himself, over the world; the men and things of it he has overcome:
and turned my hand against their adversaries; that troubled, distressed, and oppressed them; and it is a righteous thing with God to render tribulation to them that trouble his people; he turns his chastising hand off of them, which sometimes is heavy upon them, and presses them sore, and turns it in a way of wrath and vindictive justice against their adversaries; and so the Targum,
"and turned the stroke of my power against their adversaries;''
this is the lighting down of his arm with the indignation of his anger, which is intolerable, Isaiah 30:30.
(g) "flecterem", Cocceius.
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