Verse 5. A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees. Once men were renowned for felling the cedars and preparing them for building the temple, but now the axe finds other work, and men are as proud of destroying as their fathers were of erecting. Thus in the olden times our sires dealt sturdy blows against the forests of error, and laboured hard to lay the axe at the root of the trees; but, alas! their sons appear to be quite as diligent to destroy the truth and to overthrow all that their fathers built up. O for the good old times again! O for an hour of Luther's hatchet, or Calvin's mighty axe!
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 4-7. See Psalms on "Psalms 74:4" for further information.
(Under Titus.) And now the Romans, upon the flight of the seditious into the city, and upon the burning of the holy house itself, and of all the buildings lying round about it, brought their ensigns to the temple, and set them over against its eastern gate; and there did they offer sacrifices to them, and there did they make Titus imperator, with the greatest acclamation of joy. Josephus.
Verse 5. A man was famous, etc. It enhances the cruelty of the enemy that the temple which had been at the cost of so much treasure, adorned with such great elegance and splendour, and finished with untiring industry and consummate skill, was not saved thereby from their barbarous hands, but was utterly overthrown. There is a simile in these verses. The enemies breaking to pieces with great violence and casting down the altars and beams of the temple, are compared to the woodman, who with axe in hand cuts down the strong trees of the wood. Mollerus.
Verse 5. A man was famous, etc. That is, very renowned were the workmen, who, by Hiram's order, cut down the rough cedars and firs in the thick Tyrian forests, for the building of thy Temple, and thereby they did an acceptable service to thee. Thomas Fenton.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 5. True fame. To build for God with labour, daring, diligence, skill, etc.