Verse 16. Because that he remembered not to shew mercy. Because he had no memory to show mercy the Judge of all will have a strong memory of his sins. So little mercy had he ever shown that he had forgotten how to do it, he was without common humanity, devoid of compassion, and therefore only worthy to be dealt with after the bare rule of justice.
But persecuted the poor and needy man. He looked on poor men as a nuisance upon the earth, he ground their faces, oppressed them in their wages, and treated them as the mire of the streets. Should he not be punished, and in his turn laid low? All who know him are indignant at his brutalities, and will glory to see him overthrown.
That he might even slay the broken in heart. He had malice in his heart towards one who was already sufficiently sorrowful, whom it was a superfluity of malignity to attack. Yet no grief excited sympathy in him, no poverty ever moved him to relent. No, he would kill the heart broken and rob their orphans of their patrimony. To him groans were music, and tears were wine, and drops of blood precious rubies. Would any man spare such a monster? Will it not be serving the ends of humanity if we wish him gone, gone to the throne of God to receive his reward? If he will turn and repent, well: but if not, such a up as tree ought to be felled and cast into the fire. As men kill mad dogs if they can, and justly too, so may we lawfully wish that cruel oppressors of the poor were removed from their place and office, and, as an example to others, made to smart for their barbarities.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 16. Because. Why, what is the crime? Because that he remembered not to shew mercy, etc. See what a long vial full of the plagues of God is poured out upon the unmerciful man! --Thomas Watson.
Verse 16. But persecuted the poor. If any man will practise subtraction against the poor, God will use it against him, and take his name out of the book of life. If he be damned that gives not his own, what shall become of him that takes away another man's? (Augustine.) If judgment without mercy shall be to him that shows no mercy ( James 2:13 ) where shall subtraction and rapine appear? Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let strangers spoil his labour, Psalms 109:11 : there is one subtraction, his estate. Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out, Ps 109:13: there is another subtraction, his memory. Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children, Psalms 109:12 : there is another subtraction, a denial of all pity to him and his, Let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin, Psalms 109:7 : there is another subtraction, no audience from heaven. Let another take his office; there is a subtraction of his place: let his days be few, Psalms 109:8 : there is a subtraction of his life. Let him be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous, Psalms 69:28 ; there is the last, the subtraction of his soul. This is a fearful arithmetic: if the wicked add sins, God will add plagues. If they subtract from others their rights, God shall subtract from them his mercies. --Thomas Adams.