Therefore his people return hither - There are very few verses in the Bible that have been more variously translated than this; and, like the man in the fable, they have blown the hot to cool it, and the cold to warm it. It has been translated, "Therefore God's people fall off to them; and thence they reap no small advantage." And, "Therefore let his people come before them; and waters in full measure would be wrung out from them." That is, "Should God's people come before them, they would squeeze them to the utmost; they would wring out all the juice in their bodies." The Chaldee has, "Therefore, are they turned against the people of the Lord, that they may bruise and beat them with mallets; that they may pour out to them abundance of tears." The Vulgate, "Therefore shall my people return here, and days of abundance shall be found by them." The Septuagint is the same. The Ethiopic, Arabic, and Syriac, nearly the same. The Hebrew text is, למו ימצו מלא ומי הלם עמו ישוב לכן lachen yashub ammo (עמי ammi ) halom ; umey male yimmatsu lamo ; "Therefore shall my people be converted, where they shall find abundance of waters." That is, The people, seeing the iniquity of the Babylonians, and feeling their oppressive hand, shall be converted to me; and I shall bring them to their own land, where they shall find an abundance of all the necessaries of life. I believe this to be the meaning; and thus we find their afflictions were sanctified to them; for they obliged them to return to God, and then God caused them to return to their own land. The Vulgate translates מלא ומי umey male, "abundance of waters," by et dies pleni, "and days of plenty;" for it has read ימי yemey, days, for ומי umey, and waters. Almost all the Versions support this reading; but it is not acknowledged by any MS. The old Psalter is here mutilated.
Therefore his people - Those that truly love God; the pious in the earth.
Return hither - Return to this subject. In their musings - their meditations on divine things - they come back to this inquiry. The subject occupies their minds, and they recur to it as a subject which perplexes them; as a thing that is incomprehensible. They think it over again and again, and are more and more perplexed and embarrassed. The difficulties which these facts suggest about God and his government are such that they cannot solve them.
And waters of a full cup are wrung out to them - literally, “waters of fullness;” or, full waters. The Chaldee renders this, “Many tears flow from them.” The Septuagint, and the Latin Vulgate, “And full days shall be found by them.” The word rendered “are wrung out” - from מצה mâtsâh - means properly to “suck;” then, to suck out; to drink greedily. See Isaiah 51:17. It is applied to one who drinks greedily of an intoxicating cup; and then, to one who drinks a cup of poison to the dregs. Psalm 75:8. The meaning here is, that the facts in the case, and the questions which arose in regard to those facts, and which so perplexed them, were like a bitter cup; a cup of poison, or an intoxicating cup which overpowered their faculties - and that they, in their perplexities, “exhausted” the cup. They drank it all, even to the dregs. They did not merely taste it; but they drank it. It was a subject full of perplexity; a subject that wholly overpowered all their faculties, and “exhausted” all their powers.
The accounts of every business, the details of every transaction, pass the scrutiny of unseen auditors, agents of Him who never compromises with injustice, never overlooks evil, never palliates wrong. Ed 144.1
“If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice, ... marvel not at the matter: for He that is higher than the highest regardeth.” “There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.” Ecclesiastes 5:8; Job 34:22. Ed 144.2
“They set their mouth against the heavens.... And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the Most High?” “These things hast thou done,” God says, “and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes,” Psalm 73:9-11; 50:21. Ed 144.3Read in context »