Look not on me, because I am black, because the sun has looked on me: my mother's children were angry with me…
1. The greatest enemies of the Church are such as are the nearest in relation unto her. Where there is the greatest sympathy, when divided, turns to the greatest antipathy. Hereof David complaineth (Psalm 69:9). Such was the enmity of Cain towards Abel, of Esau towards Jacob, of Absalom towards David.
2. The greatest pretenders to religion and holiness, prove many times the greatest enemies to the same (Philippians 3:5, 6). Paul had a zeal, but not according to knowledge; and therefore none more forward to persecute the saints than Paul; none more greater enemies to Christ than the Scribes and Pharisees; none more opposite to the apostles than the devout Jew, one that was zealous for legal observances.
3. Those that are nearest in relation to the saints, and those that pretend most holiness, if such prove false brethren, they afflict and hurt the saints most of all.
(1) Such are most apt to seduce them, and draw them from the truth (Acts 20:30). Josephus, in his "Book of Antiquities," reporteth that when Jerusalem was besieged by the Romans, the Jews received more damage by their several divisions within their city than from the Romans without, who were their besiegers: so a false brother doth more endanger the welfare of the saints than an open enemy.
(2) Such as are false brethren do not only seduce the saints but grievously afflict them; they know how to strike where it will most smart; they know the conscience to be the most tender place, and therefore aim to oppress that most. did the saints more hurt than any persecutor beside: so none was more fit to betray Christ than Judas.
(3) False brethren persecute with the greatest heat and indiguation. Of this the Church complaineth here: "My mother's sons were angry with me," they were incensed with indignation, and with burning heat and choler; with wrath and envy they were set against her.
Parallel VersesKJV: Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.