Verse 15. But judgment shall return unto righteousness. The great Judge will come, the reign of righteousness will commence, the course of affairs will yet be turned into the right channel, and then all the godly will rejoice. The chariot of right will be drawn in triumph through our streets, and all the upright in heart shall follow it, as in happy procession. A delightful hope is here expressed in poetic imagery of much beauty. The government of the world has been for a while in the hands of those who have used it for the basest and most vicious ends; but the cry of prayer will bring back righteousness to the throne, and then every upright heart will have its portion of joy.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 15. My text contains two parts; the providence of God to his
people, and the prosperity of the providence among them. The providence of God to his people lies much in after games: God seems to go away from his, and then the wicked have the better: anon he returns, and then his people carry the day. Judgment shall return unto righteousness; or justice shall return unto judgment; a phrase of speech frequent in the Old Testament to note retaliation, quid for quo, like for like. The term is distinct as well as the phrase, and helps to give the sense of the Spirit of God here; qrc from qrc, se asseruit, justice shall assert herself; Christ shall assert his people, his promises, his threatenings. "Shall return," retro-agi: what evil men do to good shall be redone to them, done back again upon them by God. Or this root, here rendered "return," may be rendered to abide and rest. In Psalms 23:6 , it is so rendered: "I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." Justice doth, as it were, go from home sometimes, when it visits the saints; but it returns to its home and dwelling, i.e., the wicked. Justice is, as it were, from home, till it returns to the wicked, there it abides and dwells. "Justice shall dwell and rest in judgment," i.e., in the execution of punishments upon wicked men. jpfm, from jpf, judicium exercuit, notes the exercise and execution of justice: a thing rests in its end; justice dwells and rests in judgment, i.e., in its execution, in its end for which, and unto which and whom it is appointed. Nicholas Lockyer, 1612-1684-5.
Verse 15. Shall follow it. The right reading is in the margin, -- shall be after it, or after that; that is,
- shall observe it. "He poureth contempt upon princes; he setteth the poor on high from affliction; whose is wise shall observe these things," etc., Ps 107:43: this Scripture, I think, in part explains the text.
- "Shall be after it," that is, shall confess and acknowledge it. It is not a small thing to bring men to confess the justice of God in his dealings.
- "Shall be after it," that is, shall triumph in it, and so to be compared with and opened by Psalms 58:10-11 .
- "Shall be after it;" that is, the works of God shall be of effectual operation, to bring such as are upright in heart more to love and obey God, and so it is to be compared with Psalms 31:23 . Nicholas Lockyer.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- Judgment suspended.
- Judgment returned.
- Judgment acknowledged. G. R.