Matthew Henry's Commentary
O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in Bethhaccerem: for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction.
6:1-8 Whatever methods are used, it is vain to contend with God's judgments. The more we indulge in the pleasures of this life, the more we unfit ourselves for the troubles of this life. The Chaldean army shall break in upon the land of Judah, and in a little time devour all. The day is coming, when those careless and secure in sinful ways will be visited. It is folly to trifle when we have eternal salvation to work out, and the enemies of that salvation to fight against. But they were thus eager, not that they might fulfil God's counsels, but that they might fill their own treasures; yet God thereby served his own purposes. The corrupt heart of man, in its natural state, casts out evil thoughts, just as a fountain casts out her waters. It is always flowing, yet always full. The God of mercy is loth to depart even from a provoking people, and is earnest with them, that by repentance and reformation, they may prevent things from coming to extremity.
I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.
The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch their tents against her round about; they shall feed every one in his place.
Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out.
Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces.
For thus hath the LORD of hosts said, Hew ye down trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this is the city to be visited; she is wholly oppression in the midst of her.
As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness: violence and spoil is heard in her; before me continually is grief and wounds.
Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall throughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine: turn back thine hand as a grapegatherer into the baskets.
6:9-17 When the Lord arises to take vengeance, no sinners of any age or rank, or of either sex escape. They were set upon the world, and wholly carried away by the love of it. If we judge of this sin by God's word, we find multitudes in every station and rank given up to it. Those are to be reckoned our worst and most dangerous enemies, who flatter us in a sinful way. Oh that men would be wise for their souls! Ask for the old paths; the way of godliness and righteousness has always been the way God has owned and blessed. Ask for the old paths set forth by the written word of God. When you have found the good way, go on in it, you will find abundant recompence at your journey's end. But if men will not obey the voice of God and flee to his appointed Refuge, it will plainly appear at the day of judgment, that they are ruined because they reject God's word.
To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.
Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD; I am weary with holding in: I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days.
And their houses shall be turned unto others, with their fields and wives together: for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD.
For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.
They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.
Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.
Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them.
6:18-30 God rejects their outward services, as worthless to atone for their sins. Sacrifice and incense were to direct them to a Mediator; but when offered to purchase a license to go on in sin, they provoke God. The sins of God's professing people make them an easy prey to their enemies. They dare not show themselves. Saints may rejoice in hope of God's mercies, though they see them only in the promise: sinners must mourn for fear of God's judgments, though they see them only in the threatenings. They are the worst of revolters, and are all corrupters. Sinners soon become tempters. They are compared to ore supposed to have good metal in it, but which proves all dross. Nothing will prevail to part between them and their sins. Reprobate silver shall they be called, useless and worthless. When warnings, corrections, rebukes, and all means of grace, leave men unrenewed, they will be left, as rejected of God, to everlasting misery. Let us pray, then, that we may be refined by the Lord, as silver is refined.
Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.
To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.
Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish.
Thus saith the LORD, Behold, a people cometh from the north country, and a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth.
They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in array as men for war against thee, O daughter of Zion.
We have heard the fame thereof: our hands wax feeble: anguish hath taken hold of us, and pain, as of a woman in travail.
Go not forth into the field, nor walk by the way; for the sword of the enemy and fear is on every side.
O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us.
I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way.
They are all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: they are brass and iron; they are all corrupters.
The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away.
Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them.