Verse 6. But the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth: why, then, shall I flee from these wicked men? If God hateth them, I will not fear them. Haman was very great in the palace until he lost favour, but when the king abhorred him, how bold were the meanest attendants to suggest the gallows for the man at whom they had often trembled! Look at the black mark upon the faces of our persecutors, and we shall not run away from them. If God is in the quarrel as well as ourselves, it would be foolish to question the result, or avoid the conflict. Sodom and Gomorrah perished by a fiery hail, and by a brimstone shower from heaven; so shall all the ungodly. They may gather together like Gog and Magog to battle, but the Lord will rain upon them "an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone:" Ezekiel 38:22 . Some expositors think that in the term "horrible tempest," there is in the Hebrew an allusion to that burning, suffocating wind, which blows across the Arabian deserts, and is known by the name of Simoom. "A burning storm," Lowth calls it, while another great commentator reads it "wrath wind;" in either version the language is full of terrors. What a tempest will that be which shall overwhelm the despisers of God! Oh! what a shower will that be which shall pour out itself for ever upon the defenceless heads of impenitent sinners in hell! Repent, ye rebels, or this fiery deluge shall soon surround you. Hell's horrors shall be your inheritance, your entailed estate, the portion of your cup. The dregs of that cup you shall wring out, and drink for ever. A drop of hell is terrible, but what must a full cup of torment be? Think of it -- a cup of misery, but not a drop of mercy. O people of God, how foolish is it to fear the faces of men who shall soon be faggots in the fire of hell! Think of their end, their fearful end, and all fear of them must be changed into contempt of their threatenings, and pity for their miserable estate.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 6. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares. Snares to hold them; then if they be not delivered, follow fire and brimstone, and they cannot escape. This is the case of a sinner if he repent not; if God pardon not, he is in the snare of Satan's temptation, he is in the snare of divine vengeance; let him therefore cry aloud for his deliverance, that he may have his feet in a large room. The wicked lay snares for the righteous, but God either prevents them that their souls ever escape them, or else he subverts them: "The snares are broken and we are delivered." No snares hold us so fast as those of our own sins; they keep down our heads, and stoop us that we cannot look up: a very little ease they are to him that hath not a seared conscience. Samuel Page, 1646.
Verse 6. He shall rain snares. As in hunting with the lasso, the huntsman casts a snare from above upon his prey to entangle its head or feet, so shall the Lord from above with many twistings of the line of terror, surround, bind, and take captive the haters of his law. C.H.S.
Verse 6. He shall rain snares, etc. He shall rain upon them when they least think of it, even in the midst of their jollity, as rain falls on a fair day. Or, he shall rain down the vengeance when he sees good, for it rains not always. Though he defers it, yet it will rain. William Nicholson, Bishop of Gloucester, in "David's Harp Strung and Tuned", 1662.
Verse 6. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest. The strange dispensation of affairs in this world is an argument which doth convincingly prove that there shall be such a day wherein all the involucra and entanglements of providence shall be clearly unfolded. Then shall the riddle be dissolved, why God hath given this and that profane wretch so much wealth, and so much power to do mischief: is it not that they might be destroyed for ever? Then shall they be called to a strict account for all that plenty and prosperity for which they are now envied; and the more they have abused, the more dreadful will their condemnation be. Then it will be seen that God gave them not as mercies, but as "snares." It is said that God "will rain on the wicked snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest:" when he scatters abroad the desirable things of this world, riches, honours, pleasures, etc., then he rains "snares" upon them; and when he shall call them to an account for these things, then he will rain upon them "fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest" of his wrath and fury. Dives, who caroused on earth, yet, in hell could not obtain so much as one poor drop of water to cool his scorched and flaming tongue: had not his excess and intemperance been so great in his life, his fiery thirst had not been so tormenting after death; and therefore, in that sad item that Abraham gives him ( Luke 16:25 ), he bids him "remember that thou, in thy lifetime, receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented." I look upon this as a most bitter and a most deserved sarcasm; upbraiding him for his gross folly, in making the trifles of this life his good things. Thou hast received thy good things, but now thou art tormented. Oh, never call Dive's purple and delicious fare good things, if they thus end in torments! Was it good for him to be wrapped in purple who is now wrapped in flames? Was it good for him to fare deliciously who was only thereby fatted up against the day of slaughter? Ezekiel Hopkins.
Verse 6. Snares, fire and brimstone, storm and tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. After the judgment follows the condemnation: prefigured as we have seen, by the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah. "Snares:" because the allurements of Satan in this life will be their worst punishments in the next; the fire of anger, the brimstone of impurity, the tempest of pride, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. "This shall be their portion;" compare it with the psalmist's own saying, "The Lord himself is the portion of my inheritance and my cup." Psalms 16:5 . Cassidorus, in J. M. Neale's Commentary.
Verse 6. The portion of their cup. Hebrew, the allotment of their cup. The expression has reference to the custom of distributing to each guest his mess of meat. William French and George Skinner, 1842.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 6. He shall rain. Gracious rain and destroying rain.
Verse 6. The portion of the impenitent.