And it shall come to pass at that time, [that] I will search
Jerusalem with candles
To find out the sins of the inhabitants of it, and the authors of them, and punish them for them, however hid and concealed from the eyes of others, or thought to be: this must be understood consistent with the omniscience of God, who knows all persons and things; nothing is hid from him; men may fancy their sins are hid, being privately and secretly committed; but all will be manifest, sooner or later; if not now, yet at the day of judgment; and sometimes they are made manifest by God in this life, as here; for what the Lord here says he would do, he did it by instruments, by the Chaldeans, whom he sent to Jerusalem; and to whom the gates of the city, the doors of houses, and the innermost recesses of them, were opened and plundered by them; and all for the sins of the people, which were hereby exposed. So the Targum,
``and it shall be at that time that I will appoint searchers, and they shall search Jerusalem, as they that search with candles;''and no doubt but this was literally true of the Chaldeans, who with candles might search vaults and cellars, and such like dark places, where they supposed goods and riches were concealed. The allusion may be to the searching with lamps for leaven on the fourteenth of Nisan, when the passover began, in every corner of a house, and, when they found it, burnt it F21; or in general to searching for anything which lies concealed in dark places, where the light of the sun comes not, and can only be discovered by the light of candles; and denotes that nothing should escape the sight and knowledge of God, by whom a full discovery would be made of their persons and sins, and cognizance taken of them in a vindictive way, as follows: and punish the men that are settled on their lees;
``it is not the good pleasure of God to do good to the righteous, or to do evil to the wicked;''than which nothing is more false! the Lord does good to all in a providential way, and to many in a way of special grace; and rewards with a reward of grace all good men, both here and hereafter; and though he does not do any moral evil, yet he executes the evil of punishment in this world, and in that to come, on evildoers.