Psalm 109:9, 10
Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.…
Let his children be orphans, and his wife a widow. There are few Bible difficulties more perplexing than that which is created by the fact, that a man's punishments are recognized as righteously affecting, not himself only, but also his children, and those dependent on him. We naturally resist this, and say, "Every man ought to bear his own burden," and a man's punishment should be limited to himself. It is not so; it never has been so; it never can be so, because men are so closely bound together, and related, that if "one member suffers, all the members suffer with it." While this has a trying side, involving a sad extension of suffering, we should never forget that it has also a bright side, involving a most glorious extension of our privileges and pleasures. The vicarious feature in life is the sweet secret of three parts of its blessedness.
I. VICARIOUS SUFFERING IS THE UNIVERSAL FACT OF LIFE. Diseased parents involve their children in disease. Sinful parents convey evil tendencies to their children. Unthrifty parents bring their children into misery. Unfortunate parents lead all belonging to them into misfortune. So unworthy kings bring woe on all their people. The consequences of wrong-doing never can be circumscribed. Every man that lives is the victim of some vicarious disability. However we may explain it, we must take the principle into account.
II. VICARIOUS SUFFERING IS TAKEN UP, AND USED, BY RELIGION. It is recognized in the Divine punishment of the first act of self-will; and in the first act of murder. Cain's posterity suffer for Cain's sin. It is declared as a principle in connection with the Decalogue (Exodus 20:5). It is illustrated in the judgments on Korah and Dathan and Achan; and also in the family of King Saul. It is seen on its brighter side in the Christian baptism of a man and his household; as see Acts 16:31-33.
III. VICARIOUS SUFFERING IS PLACED UNDER STRICT CHRISTIAN LIMITATIONS. It is seen to concern only physical and temporal disabilities. And the Christian rule of life ever tends to limit the conveyance of bodily evils. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.