O thou afflicted, tossed with tempests, and not comforted,
&c.] Or, "O thou poor" F19 church; for the first Christian churches chiefly consisted of poor persons, not many mighty and noble being called; and which were greatly "afflicted" with false teachers, who broached errors and heresies, and made schisms among them; and "tossed with tempests" like a ship at sea; or "stormed" F20 with the rage and fury of violent persecutors, such as the Roman emperors were; and not "comforted", having none to administer any external comfort or relief to them; none of the kings or princes of the earth, or any civil magistrate to protect and defend them; what comfort they had was internal and spiritual; what they had from Christ and his Spirit, and by the word and ordinances; or rather this may describe the state of the church under Papal tyranny and persecution, which brings it nearer to the times of peace and prosperity after promised: behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours;
or, "with paint" F21; such as women used to paint their faces or eyes with, ( 2 Kings 9:30 ) ( Jeremiah 4:30 ) . The Targum is,
``behold, I will lay with paint the stones of thy pavement;''
and the words seem plainly to design the stones of a pavement, and perhaps by an hypallage or transposition may be rendered, I will lay thy pavement with glistering stones
so the word is translated ( 1 Chronicles 29:2
) or, "with stones of paint" F23
; which are of the colour of the "stibium", or paint before mentioned, and which was of a black colour; and Aben Ezra says the word here signifies a precious stone of a black colour; perhaps black marble is meant, a stone fit for pavements; but, be these stones what they will, they design in the spiritual sense the materials of a Gospel church, those "lively stones" which are built up a spiritual house
and which are beautified with the gifts and graces of the Spirit of God; and may also denote that the lowest and meanest of the Lord's people, pointed out by stones of the pavement, should be thus adorned: and lay thy foundations with sapphires
a precious stone of a white colour, according to R. Saadiah Gaon; but, according to Aben Ezra, of a red colour; though the sapphire is usually said to be of a sky colour, shining with specks of gold. The Targum renders it, "with precious stones"; and so the foundation of the wall of the New Jerusalem is said to be garnished with all manner of precious stones, ( Revelation 21:19 Revelation 21:20
) , this may respect Christ, the sure foundation God has laid in Zion, the foundation of the apostles and prophets; the one and only foundation of the church of Christ, and all true believers, who is more precious than sapphires, or all the most precious stones; he always has been the foundation of his church in all ages; but the meaning is, that he shall now appear most clearly and manifestly to be the foundation, and to be a firm, rich, and glorious one; see ( Exodus 24:10
F19 (hyne) V. L. Munster, Pagninus; "O paupercula", Tigurine version; "inops", Cocceius.
F20 (hrewo) "tempestate obruta"; Munster, Vatablus, Forerius.
F21 (Kwpb) "in fuco", Tigurine version; "in stibio", Sanctius.
F23 "Stibinis lapidibus", Forerius.