He shall lean upon his house
Either the spider or the hypocrite, or the hypocrite as the spider; that is, that which is the ground of his confidence, which is as the spider's house, on that he shall depend, either on his riches and outward prosperity, which he promises himself a long continuance of, and from whence he concludes himself to be high in the favour and good will of God; or on his works of righteousness, his outward profession of religion, attendance on external worship, and a round of duties performed by him; in these he trusts, on these he depends, in such webs he enwraps himself, in such a house he dwells, and imagines himself safe; which is only making flesh his arm, leaning upon a broken reed, and building an house upon the sand: the Septuagint version is, "if he prop up his house", by repeated outward acts of religion:
but it shall not stand:
whether it be riches, these are uncertain things, of no continuance; there are no riches durable but the unsearchable riches of Christ and his grace; or whether it be a man's own righteousness, which he endeavours to establish, or "make to stand", as the phrase is in ( Romans 10:3 ) ; but in vain; it is but a sandy foundation to build on; or the hope and confidence laid upon it is like a house built on the sand, and, when rain falls, floods come, and winds beat upon it, it falls; and great is the fall of it, ( Matthew 7:26 Matthew 7:27 ) ;
he shall hold it fast;
as the worldling does his wealth, his gold and his silver; but it is snatched out of his hand by one providence or another, or however at last death obliges him to part with it; and the self-righteous man holds fast his righteousness, it is his own, he is fond of, an house of his own building, and cannot bear to have it demolished; an idol of his own setting up, and to take it away is to take away his gods; and what has he more? wherefore he holds it as fast as he can, and will not let it go till he can hold it no longer; or, "he shall fortify himself in it" F8, as in a castle or strong hold, which he thinks impregnable, yet will soon and easily be battered down by divine justice:
but it shall not endure;
gold perishes, riches come to nought, wealth is no enduring substance, nor is a man's righteousness lasting; only Christ's righteousness is everlasting; true grace endures to eternal and issues in it; but external gifts, speculative and rational knowledge, and a mere profession of religion, fail, cease, and vanish away.
F8 (qyzxy) "roborabit in eam", Montanus, Bolducius; "firmat se", Vatablus; so the Targum and Ben Gersom.