Proverbs 1:27
When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
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1:20-33 Solomon, having showed how dangerous it is to hearken to the temptations of Satan, here declares how dangerous it is not to hearken to the calls of God. Christ himself is Wisdom, is Wisdoms. Three sorts of persons are here called by Him: 1. Simple ones. Sinners are fond of their simple notions of good and evil, their simple prejudices against the ways of God, and flatter themselves in their wickedness. 2. Scorners. Proud, jovial people, that make a jest of every thing. Scoffers at religion, that run down every thing sacred and serious. 3. Fools. Those are the worst of fools that hate to be taught, and have a rooted dislike to serious godliness. The precept is plain; Turn you at my reproof. We do not make a right use of reproofs, if we do not turn from evil to that which is good. The promises are very encouraging. Men cannot turn by any power of their own; but God answers, Behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you. Special grace is needful to sincere conversion. But that grace shall never be denied to any who seek it. The love of Christ, and the promises mingled with his reproofs, surely should have the attention of every one. It may well be asked, how long men mean to proceed in such a perilous path, when the uncertainty of life and the consequences of dying without Christ are considered? Now sinners live at ease, and set sorrow at defiance; but their calamity will come. Now God is ready to hear their prayers; but then they shall cry in vain. Are we yet despisers of wisdom? Let us hearken diligently, and obey the Lord Jesus, that we may enjoy peace of conscience and confidence in God; be free from evil, in life, in death, and for ever.Desolation - Better, tempest. The rapid gathering of the clouds, the rushing of the mighty winds, are the fittest types of the suddenness with which in the end the judgment of God shall fall on those who look not for it. Compare Matthew 24:29 etc.; Luke 17:24. 27. fear—the object of it.

desolation—literally, "a tumultuous noise," denoting their utter confusion.

destruction—or calamity (Pr 1:26) compared to a whirlwind, as to fatal rapidity.

distress—(Ps 4:1; 44:11).

anguish—a state of inextricable oppression, the deepest despair.

As desolation; as some desolating sword or judgment, which quickly overruns a whole country.

As a whirlwind; which instantly spreadeth itself from place to place with great and irresistible violence, and doing much mischief.

When your fear cometh as desolation,.... When such will be the calamity that will occasion this fear, that it shall be like some desolating judgment, as famine, sword, and pestilence, which lays all waste: and such was the destruction of the Jews by the Romans; it not only laid Jerusalem and the temple waste, but the whole country of Judea. These are the "desolations" said to be "determined", or "the consummation and that determined", which should be "poured upon the desolate", Daniel 9:26;

and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; suddenly and unthought of, fierce, and boisterous, throwing down and carrying all before it: so the said destruction did; it threw down the walls and houses of the city of Jerusalem, and the temple, and its fine buildings, so that not one stone was left upon another not thrown down, Matthew 24:2;

when distress and anguish cometh upon you; as they did at that time with a witness, when Jerusalem was besieged by the Romans: what with the sword of the enemy without, and the famine within; together with the vast number of cutthroats and seditious persons among themselves; it was such a time of distress and tribulation as never was from the beginning of the world, nor ever will be, Matthew 24:22. Josephus's history of those times is a proper comment on these words.

When {u} your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.

(u) That is, your destruction, which you feared.

27. desolation] So R.V. marg. Comp. Zephaniah 1:15, where both in A.V. and R.V. this and a cognate Heb. word are rendered “wasteness and desolation.” The parallel, however, is better preserved if, with R.V. text we render storm, as in Ezekiel 38:9, A.V. and R.V. LXX. has θόρυβος; Vulg. repentina calamitas.

Verse 27. - When your fear cometh as desolation. The imagery in this verse is borrowed from nature - from the tempest and whirlwind, which, in their impetuous fury, involve all in irretrievable ruin. The two leading ideas here in the writer's mind are calamity and fear. These - their fear, that which causes their fear; and their destruction, i.e. calamity - both representing Wisdom's, and so God's, judgment, will come on sinners as a wasting tempest and sweeping hurricane. The terror and devastation caused by these latter as they pass over the face of nature are employed to depict the alarm and ruin of sinners. Desolation; שַׁאֲוָה (shaavah) is a wasting, crashing tempest (cf. Proverbs 3:25; Zephaniah 1:15), derived from שָׁאַה (shaah). "to make a crash," as of a house falling. The Vulgate reads, repentura calamitas; the LXX., ἄφνω θόρυβος; both bringing out the idea of suddenness, and the latter that of the uproar of the tempest. The Khetib, or traditional text of the manuscripts (כְשַׁאֲוָה), is equivalent to the Keri, or emended reading (כְשׁואָה), and both appear to have the same root meaning. Destruction (אֵיד, eyd); the same as "calamity ' in the preceding verse. Whirlwind; סוּפָה (suphah), from the root סוּפ (suph), "to snatch, or carry away," means a whirlwind carrying everything before it - the καταγίς of the LXX., or hurricane, as in Arist., 'Mund.,' 4, 16. Distress and anguish (צָרָה וְצוּקָה, tsarah v'tzukah). A corresponding alliteration occurs in Isaiah 30:6 and Zephaniah 1:15. The root signification of the former is that of compression, reproduced in the LXX. θλίψις, and the Vulgate tribulatio; that of the latter is narrowness. LXX., πολιορκία, "a beleaguering;" VUlgate, angustga. The LXX. adds, at the close of this verse, η} ὅταν ἔρχηται ὑμῖν ὅλεθρος as explanatory. Proverbs 1:27שׂחק, as Proverbs 31:25 shows, is not to be understood with בּ; בּ is that of the state or time, not of the object. Regarding איד, calamitas opprimens, obruens (from אוּד equals Arabic âda, to burden, to oppress), see at Psalm 31:12. בא is related to יאתה as arriving to approaching; פחדּכם is not that for which they are in terror - for those who are addressed are in the condition of carnal security - but that which, in the midst of this, will frighten and alarm them. The Chethı̂b שאוה is pointed thus, שׁאוה (from שׁאו equals שׁאה, as ראוה, זעוה after the form אהבה, דּאבה); the Kerı̂ substitutes for this infinitive name the usual particip. שׁאה (where then the Vav is יתיר, "superfluous"), crashing (fem. of שׁאה), then a crash and an overthrow with a crash; regarding its root-meaning (to be waste, and then to sound hollow), see under Psalm 35:8. סוּפה (from סוּף equals ספה), sweeping forth as a (see Proverbs 10:25) whirlwind. The infinitive construction of 27a is continued in 27b in the finite. "This syntactical and logical attraction, by virtue of which a modus or tempus passes by ו or by the mere parallel arrangement (as Proverbs 2:2) from one to another, attracted into the signification and nature of the latter, is peculiar to the Hebr. If there follows a new clause or section of a clause where the discourse takes, as it were, a new departure, that attraction ceases, and the original form of expression is resumed; cf. 1:22, where after the accent Athnach the future is returned to, as here in 27c the infinitive construction is restored" (Fl.). The alliterating words צרה וצוּקה, cf. Isaiah 30:6; Zephaniah 1:15, are related to each other as narrowness and distress (Hitzig); the Mashal is fond of the stave-rhyme.

(Note: Jul. Ley, in his work on the Metrical Forms of Hebrew Poetry, 1866, has taken too little notice of these frequently occurring alliteration staves; Lagarde communicated to me (8th Sept. 1846) his view of the stave-rhyme in the Book of Proverbs, with the remark, "Only the Hebr. technical poetry is preserved to us in the O.T. records; but in such traces as are found of the stave-rhyme, there are seen the echoes of the poetry of the people, or notes passing over from it.")

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