The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger is not turned away…
I. THE DESIGN AND INTENTION OF GOD IN SENDING JUDGMENT UPON A PEOPLE; that is, to reclaim them from all their sins, implied in these words, "for the people turneth not to Him that smiteth them." This, indeed, is the intention of all God's dispensations towards us in this world. The end of all His mercies is to take us off from our sins and win us to our duty (Romans 2:4). This is the way wherein God delights to deal with us. The way of judgment is that which He is more averse from. Though the judgments of God be evils in themselves, yet considering the intentions of God in them, they are no real objections against His goodness, but rather arguments for it.
1. The judgments of God are proper for the cure of a far greater evil of another kind — the evil of sin. We take wrong measures of things, when we judge those to be the greatest evils which afflict our bodies, wound our reputation, and impoverish our estates. For those certainly are far the greatest which affect our noblest part; which vitiate our understandings, deprave our wills, and wound and defile our souls. Now it is very agreeable with the goodness and mercy of the Divine providence, to administer to us whatever is proper for the cure of so great an evil.
2. The judgments of God are likewise proper for the preventing of far greater evils of the same kind; I mean, further punishments. In sending temporal judgments upon sinners God usually proceeds by degrees.
3. The judgments of God are not only proper to these ends, but in many cases very necessary. Our condition many times is such as to require this severe way of proceeding, because no other course God hath taken, or can take with us, will probably do us good. The providence. of God makes use of hunger and extreme necessity to bring home the prodigal (Luke 15).
II. THE REASON OF THE CONTINUANCE OF GOD'S JUDGMENTS — because the people were not reclaimed by them. And how can t be expected it should be otherwise, when incorrigibleness under the judgments of God is a provocation of so high a nature, a sign of a most depraved temper, and an argument of the greatest obstinacy in evil? (2 Chronicles 28:22; Leviticus 26:22, etc.; Deuteronomy 28:58, 59; Isaiah 1:4, 5; Hosea 7:9, 10; Amos 4:11, 12; Psalm 18:26.)
(J. Tillotson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.