|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-7 The holy God hates sin most in those nearest to him. A sinful state is, and will be, a woful state. Yet they had the tokens of God's presence, and all the advantages of knowing his will, with the strongest reasons to do it; still they persisted in disobedience. Alas, that men often are more active in doing wickedness than believers are in doing good.
Verse 3. - Roaring lions. The princes, who ought to protect the people, are ready to tear them in pieces and devour them (Proverbs 28:15). Probably the violence and arrogance of the chiefs had increased during the minority of the king. This must have been written before the great reformation. Evening wolves (see note on Habakkuk 1:8). The judges, whose duty it was to administer justice and to set an example of equity and virtue, are themselves most cruel and rapacious. They gnaw not the bones till tomorrow; they gnaw no bones in the morning; that is, they are so greedy that they eat up all their prey at once and leave nothing till the morning. The versions drop the metaphor, and render, "They leave not to the morning" (comp. Ezekiel 22:27).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Her princes within her are roaring lions,.... Or, "as roaring lions"; there being a defect of the note of similitude; which is supplied by the Targum, Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions. This is to be understood, not of the princes of the blood; but of civil magistrates in common; the members of the grand sanhedrim; the princes of the Jewish world, that crucified the Lord of glory; and who gaped upon him with their mouths like ravening and roaring lions, as is foretold they should, Psalm 22:12 and who breathed out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of Christ; and by their menaces endeavoured to frighten and deter them from preaching in his name, and from a profession of him; see 1 Corinthians 2:8,
her judges are evening wolves; or, like them, cruel, voracious, never satisfied; especially are very ravenous in the evening, having had no food all day; not daring to go abroad in the daytime to seek their prey; see Jeremiah 5:6. The Septuagint and Arabic versions read "wolves of Arabia"; but wrongly; See Gill on Habakkuk 1:8 such rapacious covetous judges were there in Christ's time; who gives us an instance in one, by which we may judge of the rest, who feared not God, nor regarded men, Luke 18:2 such as these were hungry and greedy after gifts and bribes to pervert judgment, and to devour the poor, the widow, and the fatherless, on whom they had no mercy:
they gnaw not the bones till the morrow; or rather, "in the morning" (z); that is, either they leave not the bones till the morning, as Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it; they are so hungry, that they eat up bones and all at once, and reserve nothing for the next day; which expresses both the greediness of these judges, and the total consumption of the estates of men made by them: or else the sense is, that not having gnawn any bones in the morning, or eaten anything that day, hence they are so greedy in the evening; and so this last clause gives a reason why evening wolves are so voracious; for which such cruel judges are compared to them.
(z) "in mane", Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius; "matutino", Cocceius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. roaring—for prey (Pr 28:15; Eze 22:27; Am 3:4; Mic 2:2).
evening wolves—which are most ravenous at evening after being foodless all day (Jer 5:6; Hab 1:8).
they gnaw not the bones till the morrow—rather, "they put not off till to-morrow to gnaw the bones"; but devour all at once, bones and flesh, so ragingly ravenous are they [Calvin].
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