Verse 5. A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. In the wilderness the people were like an orphan nation, but God was more than a father to them. As the generation which came out of Egypt gradually died away, there were many widows and fatherless ones in the camp, but they suffered no want or wrong, for the righteous laws and the just administrators whom God had appointed, looked well to the interests of the needy. The tabernacle was the Palace of Justice; the ark was the seat of the great King. This was a great cause for joy to Israel, that they were ruled by the ONE who would not suffer the poor and needy to be oppressed. To this day and for ever, God is, and will be, the peculiar guardian of the defenceless. He is the President of Orphanages, the Protector of Widows. He is so glorious that he rides on the heavens, but so compassionate that he remembers the poor of the earth. How zealously ought his church to cherish those who are here marked out as Jehovah's especial charge. Does he not here in effect say, "Feed my lambs"? Blessed duty, it shall be our privilege to make this one of our life's dearest objects. The reader is warned against misquoting this verse; it is generally altered into "the husband of the widow," but Scripture had better be left as God gave it.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 5. A father of the fatherless. In a spiritual sense, the orphans, whose father God is, says Hilary, are those who have renounced their father the Devil, and those to whom Christ, at his departure, sent another Comforter, according to his promise -- "I will not leave you orphans." Lorinus.
Verse 5. Does not James 1:27 refer to this verse, for we have the fatherless, the widow, and then the holiness, of the God we serve? Andrew A. Bonar.
Verse 5. God in his holy habitation. Albeit the Lord be infinite and uncomprehended by any place, yet hath he appointed a trysting place where his people shall find him by his own ordinance, to wit, the assembly of his saints, his holy temple shadowing forth Christ to be incarnate, who now is in heaven, now is incarnate, and sitting at the right hand of God, in whom dwells the Godhead; here, here is God to be found. David Dickson.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 5. The claims of widows and orphans upon the church of God, from God's relation to them and his indwelling in the church.