Moreover the LORD said, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes…
The graphic pen of the prophet brings before us the thoughts -
I. THAT THE LAST AND SADDEST SYMPTOM OF NATIONAL DECLINE IS FOUND IN WOMANLY FOLLY. "Moreover... the daughters of Zion," etc. (ver. 16). Corruption may have spread far and done much evil work in the community, but there is hope for the city or the Church so long as the wives and the mothers, the daughters and the sisters, retain their moral and spiritual integrity. When that is gone all is gone. Purity and worth find their last retreat under the domestic roof; if they be driven thence they are doomed to die, and with them perish the prospects of the land.
II. THAT PRIDE AND VANITY IN WOMAN ARE OFFENSIVE IN THE SIGHT OF GOD. His prophet here condemns them "because they are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks" (ver. 16); he also describes, evidently in the spirit of strong reprobation, the various articles and instruments of vanity (vers. 18-23). Here are denounced the two sins of pride and vanity - the overweening estimate of self, and the foolish desire to excite the attention and the passing admiration of others. To be blind to our own defects and, at the same time, to magnify our own excellences, thus gaining and exhibiting a sense of our own goodness and importance quite beyond the measure of our deserts, - such pride is hateful to God (Psalm 18:27; Psalm 101:5; Proverbs 6:17; 1 Peter 5:5). And vanity is nearly as offensive as pride. To be studying, by every art, to attract the notice of our fellows, and to be peevishly, nervously anxious to secure their praise, instead of seeking first the approval of God and then the commendation of our own conscience, - this is sinful in the sight of the holy and the true One. We may safely say -
III. THAT THESE ARE NOT ONLY HEINOUS OFFENCES AGAINST GOD, BUT PITIABLE MISTAKES IN THE SIGHT OF MAN.
1. Those who assume a worth to which they are not entitled, and hence walk arrogantly before the world, do not receive the tribute of honor which they claim; they only excite derision and contempt.
2. They who, by meretricious ornamentations of their person or their style, endeavor to draw to themselves admiring observation, only succeed in provoking the smile of pity or disdain.
IV. THAT FRIVOLITY IN MAN OR WOMAN WILL MEET ITS DOOM IN THE DAY OF DIVINE PENALTY. (Vers. 24-26.) This will involve:
1. The removal of the sources of frivolous delight. These "the Lord will take away" (ver. 18). For how brief a day do the pleasures of sense last! How soon the sun goes down on the trivialities and temporalities with which the sons and daughters of men amuse themselves and waste their time!
2. A visitation answering to the folly (ver. 24). Sin finds itself paid in its own coin.
3. The sorrow which comes with a sense of desolation (ver. 26). The "arm of flesh" will fail; the human admiration and attention will soon pass. And if the esteem of the wise and the favor of God have been unsought, there is nothing left; everything is in ruins. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: