going down to the chambers of death; to enter her chamber, to step into her bed, howsoever decked and adorned, entertaining and inviting it is, not only leads to the chambers of the grave, as the Targum; but to the lowest and innermost parts of hell; the apartments of the second death, the lot of all unclean and idolatrous persons, without repentance and faith. The Phoenicians called Pluto, the god of hell, by the name of Moth (q), a word similar to this used here; and so those chambers are no other than the chambers of hell. Plautus (r) also calls the gate of a whore's house the gate of hell; which agrees with the first clause of the verse.
(p) "viae", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c. (q) Sanchoniatho apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 1. p. 38. (r) "Januam hane orci", Bacchides, Acts 3. Sc. 1. v. 1.
INTRODUCTION TO Proverbs 8
This chapter contains the instructions of Wisdom or Christ; showing the excellency of them, and the author of them, in opposition to the harlot and her allurements, in the preceding chapter. Christ, under the name of Wisdom, is represented as an herald, publishing the Gospel in the ministry of the word, either in person or by his servants, Proverbs 8:1. The places where this proclamation is made are described, Proverbs 8:2; the persons to whom, Proverbs 8:4. The excellency of the things delivered, being right things; truth, agreeably to the word of God, plain and easy to be understood, and of more worth than gold, silver, and precious stones, Proverbs 8:6. And then Wisdom, or Christ, is commended and recommended by his consummate prudence and knowledge, by his hatred of evil, and by his influence on the political affairs of kings and princes, Proverbs 8:12; and the advantages of those that are early seekers of him are pointed out; their enjoyment of his favour, of his riches, honour and righteousness; and their being led by him in right paths now, and inheriting eternal glory hereafter, Proverbs 8:17. And next follows an account of his existence from eternity as a divine Person, illustrated by a variety of phrases, Proverbs 8:22; and of his being with the Father; of his great affection for him, and complacency in him; and of Christ's wonderful delight and pleasure in the sons of men, Proverbs 8:30. And the chapter is concluded with an exhortation to them to hearken to his instructions; setting forth the happiness of those that wait on him in public ordinances, and find him; and the misery of those that hate and reject him.
and understanding put forth her voice? the same with Wisdom, or Christ, see Proverbs 8:14; by whose voice the Gospel is meant, which is the voice of Christ, which is heard and followed by the sheep of Christ, and not the voice of a stranger; and "putting it forth", giving or uttering it, signifies the publication of it.
by the way; the roadside, to instruct and direct passengers as they go along, to show them the right way, and caution them against taking wrong ways; so did Christ, Matthew 16:6;
in the places of the paths; or, "between the paths" (s); where more ways than one met together, and so difficult to know which was the right path to take; here Christ stands in the ministry of the word to direct, and says, "this is the way, walk ye in it", Isaiah 30:21; and as there are many ways which are proposed to men to walk in, some of open profaneness and impiety, and others that have a show of religion and devotion, but both lead men wrong; the ministers of Christ show, and he by them, the way of salvation, and how to avoid such as lead to destruction, Acts 16:17.
(s) "in mediis semitis", V. L. "inter semitas", Tigurine version, Baynus; so some in Vatablus; "in mediis compitis", Schultens; to the Targum, Sept. and Arabic versions.
at the entry of the city; meeting those that came out of the country to the city upon trade and business;
at the coming in at the doors; of the temple, or city, or private houses; all these expressions denote the publicness of the Gospel ministry, both by Christ himself, who spake openly to the world, always taught in the synagogues and temple, and in secret said nothing; and who ordered his disciples to preach what they heard and received from him upon the house tops, John 18:20; so did the Apostle Paul, Acts 20:20.
and my voice is to the sons of men; which some interpret of the poor, as Aben Ezra; or those who are more illiterate, or the common people; so that high and low, rich and poor, have the Gospel preached unto them; but the phrase seems to intend the same as before, the same thing is said in different words.
and ye fools, be of an understanding heart; or "cause the heart to understand"; or "get an understanding heart" (t); make use of all means to get spiritual wisdom and understanding; all men, let them be what they will in other respects, are fools as to a spiritual and experimental knowledge of divine things; and that man can only be said to have truly an understanding heart that knows his own folly, the plague of his heart, his need of Christ, the worth of him; and has an understanding given him to know him and his interest in him.
(t) "facite cor intelligere", Baynus, Mercerus; "facite ut cor vestrum intelligat", so some in Vatablus; "acquirite animum sapientem", Gejerus.
and the opening of my lips shall be right things: agreeable to right reason, though above it; consonant to the righteous law of God, and even to the perfection of God's righteousness, which is greatly glorified by the obedience, sufferings, and death of Christ, and redemption through him; and these are the excellent and principal doctrines of the Gospel, even justification by Christ's righteousness, atonement by his sacrifice, and redemption through his blood; all which are consistent with and greatly display the justice of God: nor are any of the doctrines of the Gospel licentious ones, but on the contrary teach men to live soberly and righteously; as well as they are plain and easy to such who are conversant with them, as is often expressed, and may be the sense of the word here used also.
(u) "principalia, i.e. digna principibus", Mercerus, Gejerus, Michaelis; "ducalia", Gussetius, p. 485. (w) "Praecipua quaedam", Tigurine versions.
and wickedness is an abomination to my lips; the sin of lying more especially, as opposed to truth; this is detestable to wisdom, what Christ never suffered his lips to utter; for no lie is of the truth, but of Satan the father of lies; and, as it is abhorred by Christ, it ought to be by all good men.
there is nothing froward or perverse in them; that is contrary to right reason, or to the law of God, or to the Scriptures of truth, or to the analogy of faith; nor is there any contradiction in the doctrines of the Gospel one to another, but an entire harmony and uniformity in them; they are not "yea" and "nay".
(x) "cum justitia", Piscator, Gejerus, Michaelis; , Sept. (y) "Gloriatio de justitia sua, vel invitatio ad accipiendam justitiam per fidem", Cocceius.
and right to them that find knowledge; a spiritual and experimental knowledge of Christ and his truths. The Targum is,
"to them who desire knowledge;''
and so the Syriac version; that seek for it heartily and diligently, in a right way, in the use of proper means, under the direction and by the assistance of the Spirit of God.
and knowledge rather than choice gold; that is, the knowledge of Christ, and the knowledge of God in Christ; the knowledge of the Gospel, and the truths of it; a spiritual and experimental knowledge of these things is of more value than the finest gold, than the gold of Ophir; see Psalm 19:10.
and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it; See Gill on Proverbs 3:15.
(z) "gemmis", Baynus; "prae gemmis politis", Schultens. (a) "Margaritas", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Mercerus, Gejerus, Michaelis; "unionibus", Cocceius. (b) "Carbunculis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
and find out knowledge of witty inventions; the word is sometimes used in an ill sense, and is rendered "wicked devices", Proverbs 12:2; and may be taken in this sense here. Christ, who is God omniscient, knows all that is in the hearts of men; all their thoughts, schemes, and devices; he found out, he scented the knowledge of them when here on earth; he was privy to the secret thoughts and wickedness of men's hearts; he knew all the hypocritical designs and views of the Pharisees, when they tempted him with ensnaring questions; he was apprised of all the ways and methods they devised to take away his life before the time, and so escaped them; he found out the knowledge of Judas's wicked scheme to betray him, and spoke of it to him and others before it was executed; and he knew all the wicked devices and stratagems of Satan against himself, in tempting him in the wilderness, and in putting it into the heart of Judas to betray him; and he knows all his wiles and artful schemes to decoy his people, and makes them known unto them, so that they are not ignorant of his devices. Moreover, it may be understood and interpreted in a good sense, of the thoughts, devices, and purposes of God's heart, as in Jeremiah 23:20; and particularly as relating to man's redemption and salvation: this is a device or "invention" of God; sin is man's invention, by which he fell; but the recovery of man is the invention of God; he found out the persons to be saved in his eternal decrees; and the person that should be the Saviour of them in his council and covenant, and appointed him for the work; and he found out the way and manner of saving men by him, even by the ransom and sacrifice of himself: and this is a "witty" invention, wherein God has abounded in all wisdom and prudence; as appears by settled upon so proper a person to be the Saviour as his own Son; by bringing it about in a way so agreeable to all his perfections, to the satisfaction of his justice, and the honour of his law; and in making such partakers of it, and in such a way, as most glorifies the riches of his grace. And this scheme Christ has full knowledge of, being in the bosom of his Father, as one brought up with him; and was the Angel of the great council, and present when the design was formed; and besides he has found it to his cost, even at the expense of his precious blood; and so has "obtained", or "found redemption" for us, as the phrase is in Hebrews 9:12, and having found it, and the knowledge of it, he makes it known to others by his Spirit, word, and ministers. Likewise these "witty inventions" may be interpreted of the whole Gospel, and the doctrines of it; the Gospel is an "invention", not of men, but of God; not a scheme and device of men, but of God; it is not taught by men, and learned of them, or of them only, but of God; and a "witty" one it is, it is the wisdom of God, the manifold wisdom of God, though esteemed foolishness by men. This Christ has "found out the knowledge of"; he has full and perfect knowledge of it, it is hid in him; it came and was preached by him, as it never was before or since; and he communicated, and still does communicate the knowledge of it; and blessed are they that know the joyful sound!
(c) "habito astutim", Cocceius; "prudentiam", Michaelis; "solertiam", Schultens.
pride and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate; these are the particulars of evil, which Wisdom, or Christ, declares his hatred of. "Pride", which appears in men in thinking too highly of themselves, in speaking too well of themselves, in despising others, in setting up and trusting to their own righteousness for salvation, and in crying up the purity and power of human nature; this is very contrary to the spirit of the meek and lowly Jesus, and must be hateful to him: "arrogancy" differs little from pride, and the two words in the Hebrew are very much the same, very little differ; it is an ascribing that to a man's self which does not belong to him, whether in things natural, civil, or spiritual; when men attribute their justification and salvation to their own works, it is arrogancy, and must be hateful to Christ; who been at so much pains and expense to bring in everlasting righteousness, and work out salvation for men: it is the height of arrogancy in a man to conceit he a power to regenerate, renew, and convert himself, and, with the haughty Arminian, Grevinchovius, to say, he has made himself to differ from others; this must be hateful to Christ, by whose Spirit and grace this only is done: and it is a piece of arrogancy when men ascribe all the good works done by them to their own power, when without Christ they can do nothing; which therefore must be displeasing to him. "The evil way", as Aben Ezra observes, is an evil custom and course of sinning; a man's own way, which he chooses and delights in, and which leads to destruction: "and the froward mouth" is the mouth that speaks perverse things; things contrary to a man's own heart, contrary to truth, to the rule of the divine word, to the Gospel, to Christ and his people, and to all men; which must be hateful and abominable to him who is truth itself.
I am understanding; essentially as a divine person; his understanding is infinite; there is no searching of it; it reaches to all persons and things: as Mediator, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding rests on him without measure, by which he was furnished for his prophetic office; as man, his understanding was amazing to all that knew him, and heard him. Christ not only has an understanding, but he is understanding itself; he is the fountain, author, and giver of understanding; of all the natural understanding there is in men; of the light of nature and reason, of those intellectual faculties which men are possessed of; and of all the spiritual understanding in divine things, which his people are partakers of, 1 John 5:20;
I have strength; as the mighty God; which appears in his creation of all things out of nothing, in his upholding all things by his power, and in his government of the world. As Mediator, he has the Spirit of might upon him; all power in heaven and earth is given him; his strength is manifest in the salvation of his people, when he came travelling in the greatness of it to save them; by fulfilling the law for them; by bearing their sins, and the punishment due to them; and by destroying all their enemies: and in his plucking them out of the hands of Satan, out of the burning, out of the mire and clay at conversion; in bearing and supporting them under all their burdens, afflictions, and temptations, and in preserving them safe to his kingdom and glory; and in giving them strength in the mean time to bear the cross, to withstand temptations and corruptions, to exercise the graces of the spirit, and perform the duties of religion.
(d) "essentia", Montanus, Tigurine version; "quicquid est", Junius & Tremellius; "realitas", Michaelis; "soliditas", Schultens.
and princes decree justice; these may design such who are under kings, are assisting to them in government; who are of their privy council, and give advice in making laws, and putting them into execution. Here it particularly regards their making just and righteous laws for the good of the state, in which they are employed by kings; or their advising to them, and assisting in drawing them up: and now all the wisdom that is necessary hereunto, and which is conspicuous herein, is all from Christ; who has the spirit of princes in his hands, and orders and directs them as he pleases. The Targum is,
"I anoint princes with justice.''
and nobles, even all the judges of the earth; the word (e) for nobles signifies persons of a "free" spirit, generous, bountiful men; such as are called "benefactors", Luke 22:25; so one of the Ptolemys, king of Egypt, was called Evergetes. Such who govern, not in a cruel and rigorous manner, but with clemency and gentleness; who, as they are "free" and noble themselves, their subjects are a free people, and enjoy their privileges and liberties fully and quietly. And "the judges of the earth" are such, as sit on benches of justice, hear and try causes, and pass sentence on men; which requires great skill and knowledge, and much faithfulness and integrity, which all that perform their office aright have from Christ. How great therefore must he be! how wise and just! from whom all rulers, supreme and subordinate, have their power; prudence, generosity, and justice!
(e) "munifici sive liberales", Vatablus; "ingenui", Junius & Tremellius, Gejerus; "munifici", Piscator; "generosi", Schultens.
and those that seek me early shall find me: and they are such who see their need of Christ, and know the worth of him; and those seek to him in the use of means, the word and ordinances, and as assisted by his Spirit and grace, for pardon, righteousness, life, and salvation, which are only to be had in him: and they may be said to "seek him early", or "morning him" (f), who seek him in the morning of youth, or in the first place, above all things else, and that with the greatest eagerness and earnestness, diligence and importunity; and such always are successful; they "find" Christ, and life, righteousness, and salvation in him, and every blessing, and therefore are happy; see Gill on Proverbs 3:13.
(f) "quaerentes diluculo me", Montanus; "qui me mane quaerunt", Tigurine version, Michaelis.
yea, durable riches and righteousness; which last some understand as another adjunct and epithet of riches, and represent them in opposition to mammon of unrighteousness, or to riches either ill-gotten or ill-managed; and expresses another property of Christ's riches of grace and glory, as being what are come by in a way of righteousness into his hands, and are distributed faithfully by him; though rather it respects a distinct thing which is with Christ, and in his hands to give, even his justifying righteousness, consisting of his active and passive obedience, which he has wrought out, is in him, and given by him to his people; and is what is called the righteousness of God and of faith; which secures from condemnation and entitles to eternal life; and is an everlasting one, as durable as his riches are, which are his fulness that ever continues with him: pardon is "simul" and "semel" (g), and for ever; sanctifying grace, as faith, hope, and love, always abide; and about the riches of glory there can be no doubt of the permanency of them; and the same may be said of honour both here and hereafter.
(g) "At once" and "once for all".
and my revenue than choice silver; as the former word refers to fruits that grow on trees, this to such as spring from seed sown in the earth; see Leviticus 23:39, where the same word is used as here, and is also rendered "revenue" in Jeremiah 12:13; Christ himself is compared to seed, and so his word, John 12:24; and the fruit or revenue thereof is the same as before: or else the allusion is to the profit arising from riches, from estates, and their annual rent; or from money put out to use, or improved by commerce, and so signifies the same with the gain and merchandise of wisdom; see Gill on Proverbs 3:14. Aben Ezra construes the words thus, "my revenue is choicer than silver"; but our version is best.
in the midst of the paths of judgment: of truth and holiness; in his commandments and ordinances; in all which they are led not against their wills but with them; and not only walk but run with the greatest cheerfulness in those ways and paths of his.
and I will fill their treasures; the treasures of their hearts, Matthew 12:35; Christ now fills their understandings with spiritual knowledge, their souls with grace, their minds with peace and joy, and their hearts with food and gladness; and hereafter he will fill them to full satisfaction with knowledge, holiness, and joy, and will be all in all to them.
(g) "quod est", Junius & Tremellius; "rem solido vereque subsistentem", Gejerus; "solidum illud", Schultens.
before his works of old; the creation of the heavens and the earth; a detail of which there is in the following verses.
(h) "possidet me principium viae suae", Pagninus, Michaelis, Schultens; "habuit me principium viae suae", Cocceius.
"and there were given to me power, dominion, and greatness;''
all which suppose the eternity of his person; for had he not existed from everlasting, he could not have been set up, and anointed as Mediator, or invested with his office as such;
from the beginning, or ever the earth was; or from the first of the earth, or the original of it; that is, before all time, before the earth or anything was created; this further confirms the eternal existence of Christ's person, the antiquity of his office, the early provision of grace in him as Mediator for his people, and may lead to entertain high and honourable thoughts of him.
(i) "uncta sum", Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens; "inuncta fui", Gejerus.
when there were no fountains abounding with water; or "heavy", or "honoured" (k) with it; when the fountains of the great deep were not; and when there were no other fountains which form rivers, and water the earth; when there were none but God the fountain of living waters; then was Christ as the only begotten son of God; and who was also set up as the fountain of all grace, life, and salvation for his people.
(k) "aggravati", Pagninus; "praegravati", Vatablus; "gravati", Michaelis; "honorabiles", Gejerus.
before the hills was I brought forth; which is repeated partly to show the importance of it; this being a matter of infinite moment and concern, and deserving of the strictest attention and observation; and partly to show the certainty of it; the eternal generation of Christ being an article of faith most surely to be believed.
(l) "defixi", Montanus; "mergerentur", Tigurine version; "immersi", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius.
nor the fields; the plain parts of the earth, in opposition to the mountains and hills before mentioned; the valleys and meadows that lay between them, full of grass, flowers, and fruits; pleasant to behold, and profitable to be enjoyed; so the word is also rendered Job 5:10; and "valleys", by the Targum here: or the "out parts" (m); the extremities of the earth, the two poles of it; the uninhabitable parts of the earth, as distinct from the habitable part of it afterwards mentioned: or all with out it; the ambient and spacious ether;
nor the highest part of the dust of the world: meaning, not the mountains and hills, which are before mentioned, and are the highest part of the earth; but rather "the chief of the dust of the earth" (n), as the words may be rendered; these are the metals and minerals within it; the gold, silver, and precious stones, of which we read very early, Genesis 2:12; or the "beginning", the first and chief, the "prima materia", even the dusts of the world, out of which man and all the creatures were made, Genesis 2:6. Dr. Lister (o) was of opinion that sand was once the most exterior and general cover of the surface of the whole earth; partly because all our northern mountains are covered with it, more or less, at this day; and partly because of its great hardness, durableness, and unalterable quality; and the higher the mountains be, he says, still the more and coarser the sand is; and if so, this might with propriety be called the highest part of the dust of the earth. But Christ was before any of them, as well as is more excellent than they. Or it may be man is designed, who was made of the dust of the earth; even the first man Adam, so Jarchi, Genesis 2:7; before whom Christ was: yea, the human nature of Christ himself may be meant, which is fairer than any of the children of men, and the chief of all the individuals of human nature; being without sin, and united to the Son of God, and also the curious workmanship of the Spirit of God. Now Christ, as the Son of God, as the only begotten of the Father, existed before his human nature did, or before he was the Son of man.
(m) "quae extra sunt", Tigurine version, Vatablus; "exteriora", Cocceius, Michaelis. (n) "caput", Montanus, Tigurine version; "summam", Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens. (o) In Philosoph. Transact. abridged, vol. 2. p. 452, 453.
when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: or "compassed the waters with bounds", as Job says, Proverbs 26:10; or made the earth with the sea globular, which make one terraqueous globe: or "made a circle" (p); all around it, called the circle of the earth, on which he sits, Isaiah 40:22; this compass may design the vast expanse or firmament of heaven, which is stretched and drawn around the terraqueous globe as a canopy or curtain. Christ was with his Father on the first day's creation of the heavens; and on the second day, when the firmament was made, and was before them both.
(p) "describendo circulum", Montanus, Mercerus, Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens.
when he strengthened the fountains of the deep; gave them strength, and still continues it, to cast out their waters, which run into the main sea, and feed and fill it, and return to their place again; which strength of flowing and reflowing can be attributed to nothing else but to the great power of God, Genesis 7:11.
when he appointed the foundations of the earth; which are laid on the seas and floods; nay, the earth is hung like a ball in the air upon nothing; and yet its foundations are such as that it shall not be removed; being the purpose and decree, the power and might, of the Lord himself, Job 26:7. Now Christ was present when those were laid, for he was concerned in the laying of them himself, Hebrews 1:10. The Lord asks Job where he was then, Job 38:4; he was not theft in being, but Christ was.
and I was daily his delight; or "delights" (u); exceeding delightful to him. The Father loved the Son from all eternity, with a love of complacency and delight, John 17:24; this delight was founded in relation to him, in sonship; and in likeness, he being the express image of his person; in sameness of nature, he being of the same nature and perfections with his Father: and he delighted in him as a workman, in the works which he did, being the same he saw him do; and in him as Mediator, in his constitution as such, and in engaging as a surety, to obey and suffer in the stead of his people, Isaiah 42:1; he not only delighted in him day by day, throughout the six days of the creation, when he was by him as a workman, but before, and even from the days of eternity; from the date of his commencement as Mediator; in the foreviews of his human nature, obeying and suffering in it; and of the salvation of the elect by him, and of his own glory in it;
rejoicing always before him; being always in his presence, and acceptable to him; rejoicing in having the same nature and perfections with him, and in the relation he stood in to him; and also in the view of the works of creation and redemption he would be jointly concerned in with him; which joy always did and ever will continue. There is a mutual pleasure and delight which the Father and Son have in each other, and in all that they are concerned; and especially in what respects the salvation of the chosen people. The allusion in the word used in this clause is to children's playing in the presence of their parents; which is a diversion to the one, and a pleasure to the other.
(q) "cum eo", V. L. "apud eum", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c. (r) Sept. "cuneta componens", V. L. "artifex vel opifex", Gejerus; so Schindler, Colossians 90. (s) "Nutritius", Montanus, Pagninus, Baynus; "educans", Junius & Tremellius. (t) "Alumnus", Vatablus, Piscator, Mercerus; "alumna", Schultens; "in sinu gestatus filius", Cocceius; so Gussetius, p. 77. and Noldius, p. 379. No. 1884. and Stockins, p. 71. (u) "deliciae", Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis; "obleclationes", Schultens.
and my delights were with the sons of men; or of Adam, of fallen Adam; not with angels, but with men; not with all men, only some; and those as considered as the objects of his own and his Father's love; as beheld in the glass of his Father's decrees; as chosen in him, and given him by his Father; as his children, and as his spouse and bride. The word for "delights" is not only in the plural number, but its two first radical letters are doubled, which, in the Hebrew language, increases the signification of the word; and so expresses the exceeding great delight and pleasure which Christ took in his people from everlasting; his love was then a love of the utmost complacency and delight, and continued, notwithstanding their fall in Adam, though by nature children of wrath, and transgressors from the womb. This appears by his early engagement as a surety for them; by his espousing their persons and their cause; by assuming their nature in time; by suffering and dying in their room and stead, and working out salvation for them; by bearing them on his heart in heaven, and there interceding for them; by taking them out of a state of nature; by visiting them with his grace and presence; and by bringing them, through a variety of trials, safe to his kingdom and glory.
(w) "ludens", V. L. Montanus, Piscator, Cocceius; "ludebam", Pagninus; "ludo", Tigurine version, Mercerus, Gejerus; "lusitans", Michaelis, Schultens. (x) "Laetificans in orbe habitabili terram ejus", Junius & Tremellius, Amama; "ridens, vel faciens ridere alios", Baynus.
for blessed are they that keep my ways; it is a happiness to be in the ways of Christ, to be kept in them, and to keep them; Christ has promised and does vouchsafe his presence in them; there is a pleasure enjoyed in observing them; and though not for keeping, yet in keeping Christ's commands, there is great reward, Psalm 19:11.
and be wise; this is the way to be wise to that which is good, both as to the knowledge and practice of it; to be wise unto salvation, and with respect to everlasting things and a future state; and the Gospel instruction teaches men to behave wisely, to walk in wisdom towards them that are without;
and refuse it not; for this is not to be wise, but to act the part of fools; and such as do so despise their own souls, show that they have no care of them, or concern for their eternal welfare, Proverbs 1:7; for, if this is rejected, there is no escaping eternal damnation, Hebrews 2:3.
watching daily at my gates; the gates of Wisdom's house, the church of Christ, which are the public ordinances thereof; called in Scripture the gates of Zion, Psalm 87:2; in allusion to the gates of cities, where Wisdom cries, or the ministers of Christ preach, Proverbs 1:21; see Isaiah 26:1; or to the gates of kings, palaces, where courtiers watch to be admitted and received as favourites, or to give in their petitions for themselves or others, Esther 6:10. The church is the palace of the great King; it is an honour to be admitted here, to have a name and a place here, and to sit with the King at his table. Or to the door of the tabernacle, where the people of Israel assembled for worship; or to the gates of the temple, where the priests and Levites watched, Exodus 29:42. "Watching" is opposed to sleep, both to bodily sleep and to sleepy frames of soul; and to intemperance, not only by eating and drinking, but with the cares of this life; and it denotes circumspection, diligence, and attention. Here sensible sinners watch in the ministry of the word and ordinances, if anything drops that they can catch at, suitable to their case and circumstances; as Benhadad's servants did, 1 Kings 20:33; and here souls, under darkness and desertion, watch for spiritual light and comfort, as they that watch for the morning; and here every believer watches for his spiritual edification and establishment in the truth; and which should be "daily" or "day after day", one Lord's day after another; taking all opportunities, in season and out of season, consistent with the duties of their calling, to hear the word; and so they are to continue to the end of life; for happy is he that shall be found thus watching when his Lord cometh, Luke 12:37;
waiting at the posts of my doors; either in allusion to scholars, who wait the opening of the school doors to go in first, as Jarchi observes: Christ is a teacher; sensible souls are his disciples or scholars; the church is the school where they learn of him, and learn him; and waiting at the door posts of it shows early seeking to Christ, and eagerness for instruction from him, Luke 21:38. Or the allusion may be to clients, waiting at the doors of counsellors (y), for counsel, and for patronage and protection, to plead their cause for them; Christ is the wonderful Counsellor, the Advocate with the Father, the Redeemer, mighty and strong, to plead the cause of his people; and therefore it is right to wait at his doors, with whom are counsel and sound wisdom: or else to beggars, that wait at the door for alms; who knock, and wait until the door is opened; tell their case, and wait for relief; receive repulses, and wait still; and will not depart till something is given. So saints should wait at the throne of grace, and upon the word and ordinances, for answers of prayer, performance of promises, and the presence of God and Christ: and so should sinners wait on the outward ministry of the word, remembering the ease of the poor man at the pool, who waited long, and at last had a cure, John 5:5; since faith comes hereby; the Spirit and his graces, Christ and the knowledge of him, are had by such means, as follows.
(y) "Sub galls cantum consultor ubi ostia pulsat", Horat. Sat. l. 1. Sat. 1. v. 10.
and shall obtain favour of the Lord; by which is meant, not favour among men, though that is had from the Lord, it is he that gives it; nor temporal blessings, for in this sense favour is not to men of spiritual skill and wisdom; rather spiritual blessings, an access to God, acceptance with him; the presence of God, and communion with him; peace of conscience, and every needful supply of grace: but it seems most principally to design the love, grace, and good will of God, the spring and fountain of all blessings: and "obtaining" it does not intend getting an interest in it, for that is free and sovereign; nor is there anything in men, or done by them, which can procure it; but an enjoyment of it. The word (a) used signifies a drawing it out, as water out of a well; and denotes that it is before it is drawn out or manifested; that it is in the heart of God, and lies hid there, from whence it flows as from a well or fountain; and is enjoyed in the exercise of the grace of faith; when the Lord remembers his people, and encompasses them about with it; or draws it out in great lengths, or grants continued and comfortable manifestations of it; see Psalm 36:10.
(z) "vitas", Montanus. (a) "educet", Pagninus, Montanus; "hauriet", V. L. "haurit", Vatablus, Mercerus, Gejerus; "depromit", Schultens.