The subject of this prophecy is the destruction of Judea and
Jerusalem for the sins of the people, and the consolation of the
faithful under national calamities.
he wickedness of the land. The fearful vengeance to be
executed. (1-11) These judgments to be inflicted by a nation
more wicked than themselves. (12-17)
Verses 1-11: The servants of the Lord are deeply afflicted by seeing
ungodliness and violence prevail; especially among those who
profess the truth. No man scrupled doing wrong to his neighbour.
We should long to remove to the world where holiness and love
reign for ever, and no violence shall be before us. God has good
reasons for his long-suffering towards bad men, and the rebukes
of good men. The day will come when the cry of sin will be heard
against those that do wrong, and the cry of prayer for those
that suffer wrong. They were to notice what was going forward
among the heathen by the Chaldeans, and to consider themselves a
nation to be scourged by them. But most men presume on continued
prosperity, or that calamities will not come in their days. They
are a bitter and hasty nation, fierce, cruel, and bearing down
all before them. They shall overcome all that oppose them. But
it is a great offence, and the common offence of proud people,
to take glory to themselves. The closing words give a glimpse of
Verses 12-17: However matters may be, yet God is the Lord our God, our
Holy One. We are an offending people, he is an offended God, yet
we will not entertain hard thoughts of him, or of his service.
It is great comfort that, whatever mischief men design, the Lord
designs good, and we are sure that his counsel shall stand.
Though wickedness may prosper a while, yet God is holy, and does
not approve the wickedness. As he cannot do iniquity himself, so
he is of purer eyes than to behold it with any approval. By this
principle we must abide, though the dispensations of his
providence may for a time, in some cases, seem to us not to
agree with it. The prophet complains that God's patience was
abused; and because sentence against these evil works and
workers was not executed speedily, their hearts were the more
fully set in them to do evil. Some they take up as with the
angle, one by one; others they catch in shoals, as in their net,
and gather them in their drag, their enclosing net. They admire
their own cleverness and contrivance: there is great proneness
in us to take the glory of outward prosperity to ourselves. This
is idolizing ourselves, sacrificing to the drag-net because it
is our own. God will soon end successful and splendid robberies.
Death and judgment shall make men cease to prey on others, and
they shall be preyed on themselves. Let us remember, whatever
advantages we possess, we must give all the glory to God.