|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 5. - In the midst of this congregation of sinners God is continually manifesting his righteousness; he leaves not himself without witness; and therefore their iniquities are without excuse. The just Lord is in the midst thereof; or, the Lord in the midst of her is righteous (Deuteronomy 32:4). His presence was associated with the temple; his moral government was always being manifested. He would not be "just" if he left sinners unpunished. Every morning; Hebrew," in the morning, in the morning." The phrase is rightly explained in our version (comp. Exodus 16:21; Psalm 87:5). Doth he bring his judgment to light. His prophets proclaim his perfect justice; his judgments on the heathen manifest it (ver. 8; Hosea 6:5). It is not from ignorance of the Law that the people sin. He faileth not; or, it faileth not; Vulgate, non abscoudetur. God never ceases thus to act; or, his justice is clear as (lay. But the unjust knoweth no shame. In spite of this hourly manifestation of God's justice, and the enactments of the Law so well known, the perverse nation will not amend its ways, feels no shame at its backslidings (Jeremiah 3:3; Jeremiah 6:15). The Septuagint Version, according to the Vatican manuscript, is curious here, and in the latter part somewhat like St. Matthew's rendering of Isaiah 42:3, Καὶ οὐκ ἔγνω ἀδικίαν ἐν ἀπαιτήσει, καί οὐκ εἰς νεῖκος ἀδικίαν (comp. Matthew 12:20), which Jerome translates, "Nescit iniquitatem in exactione, nec insempiternum injustitiam," and explains, "When God exacts from every man the sum he has committed to him, he will not be unjust, nor allow injustice to prevail."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The just Lord is in the midst thereof,.... In the midst of the city of Jerusalem, where those princes, judges, prophets and priests, were, that behaved so ill, and saw and observed all their evil actions; and yet they were not deterred from them by his presence, even though he is the "just" and Holy One, who loves righteousness, and hates iniquity, and will punish for it; nor were they directed and allured to do what is righteous and good by his example. This character of the just Lord well agrees with Christ, who is perfectly righteous in both his natures, and in the execution of his offices; and is the author of righteousness to his people; and this is to be understood of his incarnation and personal presence in human nature in Jerusalem, and in the temple, where he taught his doctrine, and wrought his miracles:
he will not do iniquity; Christ was holy in his nature, harmless in his life; he knew no sin; he did not commit any; no violence was done by him, or guile found in him; he was not guilty of sin against God, nor of doing any injury to men; and should have been imitated by the men of the age in which he lived, as well as by others; and should have been valued and esteemed, and not traduced and vilified as he was, as if he had been the worst of men:
every morning doth he bring his judgment to light; the doctrine of the Gospel, which he set in the clearest light, and preached with the greatest constancy, day after day, morning by morning, and very early in the morning, when the people came to hear him in the temple; and he continued in it all the day; he waking morning by morning to this service, as was predicted of him, Isaiah 1:4 see Luke 21:37,
he faileth not; in this work of preaching the word, with the greatest evidence and assiduity:
but the unjust knoweth no shame: those unjust persons, who aspersed the character of Christ, and traduced his doctrine and miracles; though there was nothing in his life, nor in his ministry, that could be justly blamed, yet they blushed not at their sin and wickedness; and though they were sharply reproved by him, and their errors in principle, and sins in practice, were exposed by him, yet they were not ashamed; such were the hardness and obduracy of their hearts.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5-7. The Jews regard not God's justice manifested in the midst of them, nor His judgments on the guilty nations around.
The just Lord—Why then are ye so unjust?
is in the midst thereof—He retorts on them their own boast, "Is not the Lord among us" (Mic 3:11)? True He is, but it is for another end from what ye think [Calvin]; namely, to lead you by the example of His righteousness to be righteous. Le 19:2, "Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy" [Maurer]. But Calvin, "That ye may feel His hand to be the nearer for taking vengeance for your crimes: 'He will not do iniquity' by suffering your sins to go unpunished" (De 32:4).
every morning—literally, "morning by morning." The time in the sultry East for dispensing justice.
bring … to light—publicly and manifestly by the teaching of His prophets, which aggravates their guilt; also by samples of His judgments on the guilty.
he faileth not—He is continually setting before you samples of His justice, sparing no pains. Compare Isa 5:4; 50:4, "he wakeneth morning by morning."
knoweth no shame—The unjust Jews are not shamed by His justice into repentance.
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