Verse 43. Many times did he deliver them. By reading the book of Judges we shall see how truthful is this sentence: again and again their foes were routed, and they were set free again, only to return with rigour to their former evil ways.
But they provoked him with their counsel. With deliberation they agreed to transgress anew; self will was their counsellor, and they followed it to their own destruction.
And were brought low for their iniquity. Worse and worse were the evils brought upon them, lower and lower they fell in sin, and consequently in sorrow. In dens and caves of the earth they hid themselves; they were deprived of all warlike weapons, and were utterly despised by their conquerors; they were rather a race of serfs than of free men until the Lord in mercy raised them up again. Could we but fully know the horrors of the wars which desolated Palestine, and the ravages which caused famine and starvation, we should shudder at the sins which were thus rebuked. Deeply engrained in their nature must the sin of idolatry have been, or they would not have returned to it with such persistence in the teeth of such penalties; we need not marvel at this, there is a still greater wonder, man prefers sin and hell to heaven and God.
The lesson to ourselves, as God's people, is to walk humbly and carefully before the Lord and above all to keep ourselves from idols. Woe unto those who become partakers of Rome's idolatries, for they will be joined with her in her plagues. May grace be given to us to keep the separated path, and remain undefiled with the fornication of the scarlet harlot of Babylon.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 43. They were brought low for their iniquity. Sin is of a weakening and impoverishing nature; it has weakened all mankind, and taken from them their moral strength to do good; and has brought them to poverty and want; to be beggars on the dunghill; to a pit wherein is no water; and left them in a hopeless and helpless condition; yea, it brings the people of God often times after conversion into a low estate, when God hides his face because of it, temptations are strong, grace is weak, and they become lukewarm and indifferent to spiritual things. --John Gill.