O that you had listened to my commandments! then had your peace been as a river, and your righteousness as the waves of the sea:
Peace may be compared to a river — I. IN ITS ORIGIN; small, joyous, sparkling, vigorous, rapid. II. IN ITS PROGRESS — widening and deepening; receiving new tributaries on the right and left, from the various means of grace, as they are supplied with the dew of heaven and showers of blessings; sweeping away — as it rolls on in its strength — the obstacles of unsanctified affections and unconquered lusts. III. The beautiful figure of the text conveys the idea also of OVERFLOWING ABUNDANCE. The ancient heathen, in order to represent the universal power and beneficence of Jupiter, used the symbol of a river flowing from his throne. The prophet Isaiah speaks of the "perfect peace" enjoyed by God's true children. The Psalmist describes it as "great peace." St. Paul refers to it as "the peace of God which passeth all understanding." We make mention of it in our daily prayers as "that peace which the world cannot give." It is not a scanty, fluctuating, failing stream, but a full tide of peace, both wide and deep, and supplying to the utmost every longing of the soul. IV. The language suggests the idea of PERPETUITY. It is not uniform, indeed, any more than the course of the river. Now it is half hidden in a narrow channel, among overhanging mountains and forests; and now spread over a wide bed conspicuous in the plain. Again, it is seen contracting and deepening itself, and moving onward with tenfold velocity and strength. Such, too, are the variations in the Christian's peace. V. The promise of "peace as a river" includes the idea of INCREASE. It shall grow stronger and more pervading. As the mighty river may be traced back to an insignificant spring, far up the mountain-side, so is it with the beginnings of peace in the soul.
(J. N. Norton.)
Parallel VersesKJV: O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea: