O that there were such an heart in them
Not that there is properly speaking such volitions and wishes in God; but, as Aben Ezra observes, the Scripture speaks after the language of the children of men; and may be considered as upbraiding them with want of such an heart, and with weakness to do what they had promised; and, at most, as approving of those things they spoke of as grateful to him, and profitable to them: the words may be rendered, "who will give F12 that they had such an heart"; not to me, but to them, as Aben Ezra notes; they cannot give it to themselves, nor can any creature give it to them; none but God can, and therefore they ought to have prayed to him to give them an heart to hearken and do; agreeably to which is the Arabic version,
``it is to be wished by them, that such an heart would continue with them;''which they by their language signified was in them: that they would fear me; which is not naturally in the heart of man, is a gift of God, a part of the covenant of grace, is implanted in regeneration, and is no inconsiderable branch of it; it is opposed to pride, and is consistent with faith and joy, and is increased by views of the grace and goodness of God, and is a distinguishing character of a good man:
and keep all my commandments always;
not only one, but all, and not only at some certain times, but continually; and which are to be kept in faith from a principle of love, with a view to the glory of God, and in the strength of Christ; and to this the fear of God is necessary, for where there is no fear of God, there is no regard to his commandments; but where there is a reverential fear of God, there are faith, hope, love, and every other grace; yea, the Spirit, the author of all, who is in the saints, to enable them to walk in the statutes of the Lord, and to keep his judgments and do them; and such keep the commandments of God, not from a slavish fear, but from a sense of divine goodness:
that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever;
for the fear of God, and the keeping of his commandments, issue in the good of men, in their own good, their inward peace, and spiritual welfare; in the good of others, their neighbours, servants, and children, by way of example and instruction; and even in the public peace and prosperity of a nation in which they dwell: not that these things are meritorious of eternal life, but are what are approved of by the Lord, and are grateful to him; which is the chief view in the expression of the text.
F12 (Nty ym) "quis det", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Drusius; "quis dabit", Piscator.