If the scourge slay suddenly
Not Satan, as Jarchi and Bar Tzemach; but any sore calamity which surrounds a man, lashes, cuts, and distresses him, as a whip or scourge; such as any of God's sore judgments, the sword, famine, pestilence, or evil beasts, which sometimes come suddenly, unawares, unthought of, and unexpected; and are sometimes only chastisements in love, the scourgings of a father, though generally in wrath and hot displeasure, and are an overflowing scourge, which carry all before them; and therefore some restrain it to wicked men, as the Septuagint version; and some understand it as if they were more mildly and gently dealt with, by being suddenly and at once slain with such a scourge, in their persons, families, and substance, while others have their afflictions protracted, and linger long under them, as in the next clause:
he will laugh at the trial of the innocent;
not that are free from sin entirely; for there are none such, no, not newborn infants; though they may be comparatively so, yet they are not in an absolute sense, being conceived in sin and shapen in iniquity: besides, here it means adult persons, good men, that are truly gracious, sincere, upright, harmless in their lives and conversations, whose afflictions are "trials" of their faith and patience, and other graces; and when God is said to "laugh" at them, who seems to be designed here, this must be understood consistent with his pity to his people, his sympathy with them under all their afflictions, he not willingly afflicting or grieving the children of men; nor can it be thought that he has them in derision and contempt, or laughs at their calamities, or in reality, as he does at wicked men; but that he carries it so oftentimes, in the dispensations of his providence, as if he made no difference between them, but mocked at the one as well as the other; seemingly giving no heed to their cries; not hastening to their help and deliverance, but lengthening out their troubles for the trial of their graces; and so indeed is greatly delighted with the exercise of them under them, and with seeing them bear them with so much patience, courage, and greatness of mind and submission to his will. Some interpret this of a wicked man laughing at the calamities of the righteous, as the Ammonites and Edomites rejoiced at the destruction of the Jews; the church's enemy at her fall, and as the Papists will at the witnesses being slain; but the former sense seems best; rather the scourge itself laughs at the trial of the innocent; so Schultens.