|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:8-14 God's judgements upon Israel of old for their sins, were written to warn Christians. The duties required are, not keeping fasts and offering sacrifices, but doing justly and loving mercy, which tend to the public welfare and peace. The law of God lays restraint upon the heart. But they filled their minds with prejudices against the word of God. Nothing is harder than the heart of a presumptuous sinner. See the fatal consequences of this to their fathers. Great sins against the Lord of hosts, bring great wrath from his power, which cannot be resisted. Sin, if regarded in the heart, will certainly spoil the success of prayer. The Lord always hears the cry of the broken-hearted penitent; yet all who die impenitent and unbelieving, will find no remedy or refuge from miseries which while here they despised and defied, but which they then will not be able to bear.
Verse 14. - I scattered them; I will scatter them. What had happened in the past is a sign of what shall befall them in the future in punishment of like obduracy. The form of the sentence denotes that God is recounting what he had said to the people in past time; hence it is best to translate the verbs in the future tense. Scattered them with a whirlwind; Septuagint, ἐκβαλῶ αὐτούς, "I will cast them out;" Vulgate, dispersi eos (comp. Job 27:21; Amos 1:14). Nations whom they knew not. This is the usual phrase for people of strange tongue (Deuteronomy 28:33; Jeremiah 16:13). Thus the land was desolate. This was the result of God's threatenings. Some make the words of Jehovah continue to "nor returned," but the punctuation is against them. After them; i.e. after they were carried away in captivity. No man passed through nor returned. No one went to and fro - a picture of extreme desolation (comp. Isaiah 33:8; Jeremiah 9:12; and for the phrase, see Zechariah 9:8; Ezekiel 35:7). For they laid the pleasant land desolate. The pronoun refers to the disobedient Jews, their sin being the cause of the desolation; or the verb may be taken impersonally, "So the pleasant land was made desolate." "The pleasant land" is literally, "the land of desire." Septuagint, γῆν ἐκλεκτήν (Psalm 106:24; Jeremiah 3:19).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But I scattered them with a whirlwind,.... Denoting the fierceness of his wrath, and the strength of his fury, seen in their dispersion:
among all the nations whom they knew not; such as the Babylonians, Medes, and Persians, people before unknown to the Jews:
thus the land was desolate after them; that is, the land of Judea was destitute of inhabitants, or had but few remaining in it, after the Jews were carried captive into Babylon; for the rest, after the death of Gedaliah, fled into Egypt:
that no man passed through, nor returned; neither from Egypt, nor from Babylon, until the seventy years of captivity were ended; nor indeed did any from other nations pass through and fro, or settle in it, during this time, that we have any account of:
for they laid the pleasant land desolate; either the Israelites by their iniquities, which were the cause of it; or the Babylonians, as the instruments of God's vengeance. This pleasant land is the land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey; the glory of all lands, for its great fruitfulness, and delightful situation; and especially for being the seat of the divine Majesty, and where his people dwelt, and where his temple was, and he was worshipped; see Ezekiel 20:6 Deuteronomy 8:7.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. whirlwind—of wrath (Na 1:3).
nations whom they knew not—foreign and barbarous.
desolate after them—after their expulsion and exile. It was ordered remarkably by God's providence, that no occupants took possession of it, but that during the Jews' absence it was reserved for them against their return after seventy years.
they laid … desolate—The Jews did so by their sins. The blame of their destruction lay with themselves, rather than with the Babylonians (2Ch 36:21).
pleasant land—Canaan. Literally, "the land of desire" (Jer 3:19).
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