Verse 21. Evil shall slay the wicked. Their adversaries shall be killing; they are not medicine, but poison. Ungodly men only need rope enough and they will hang themselves; their own iniquities shall be their punishment. Hell itself is but evil fully developed, torturing those in whom it dwells. Oh! happy they who have fled to Jesus to find refuge from their former sins, such, and such only will escape. And they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. They hated the best of company, and they shall have none; they shall be forsaken, despoiled, wretched, despairing. God makes the viper poison itself. What desolation of heart do the damned feel, and how richly have they deserved it!
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 21. Evil. Afflictions though in the plural, prove not ruinous to the righteous, for the Lord delivers him out of them all, whereas evil in the singular slays the wicked, to signify the difference of God's economy towards righteous and wicked men. The former is permitted to fall into many pressures, the latter is not so frequently exercised with them, yet the many that befall the one do no hurt, but work good for him, whereas the few that befall the wicked, or perhaps the one singular affliction of his life is the utter ruin of him. Henry Hammond.
Verse 21. --
Conscience self the culprit tortures, gnawing him with pangs unknown; For that now amendment's season is for ever past and gone, And that late repentance findeth pardon none for all her moan.
S. Peter Damiano, 988-1072.
Verse 21. Shall be desolate. In the margin it is, shall be guilty. And this is the proper meaning of the original word, (wmfay). They are guilty, and liable to punishment. Thus the word is frequently rendered in our version (see Leviticus 4:13 Leviticus 4:22 ); and generally includes it in the idea of guilt, and the punishment incurred by it. Samuel Chandler, D.D.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 21. Wickedness, its own executioner, illustrated by scriptural cases, by history, by the lost in hell. Lessons from the solemn fact.
The forlorn condition of a man of malicious spirit.
Verse 21-22. Who shall and who shall not be desolate.