Precious in the sight of the Lord [is] the death of
] The Lord has his saints or sanctified ones, who are sanctified or set apart by God the Father from all eternity; who are sanctified in Christ, their head and representative; who are sanctified by his blood, shed for the expiation of their sins; who are sanctified by his Spirit and grace, are called with an holy calling, and have principles of holiness wrought in them, and live holy lives and conversations. The word F15 used also signifies one that has received kindness and favour, and shows it: saints are such, who have received spiritual blessings from the Lord; to whom he has been kind and bountiful; and these are merciful and beneficent to others. Now these die as well as others, though holy and righteous, and though Christ has died for them; he has indeed delivered them from death as a punishment, he has abolished it in this sense; and has freed them from the curse and sting of it, but not from that itself; because it is for their good, and it is precious in the sight of the Lord. Saints are precious to him, living and dying; there is something in their death, or that attends it, that is delightful to him, and of high esteem with him; as when they are in the full exercise of grace at such a season; when they die in faith, and have hope in their death; and their love is drawn out unto him, and they long to be with him: besides, they die in the Lord, and sleep in Jesus, in union with him; with whom he is well pleased, and all in him; and they die unto him, according to his will, and are resigned unto it; and so glorify him in death, as well as in life. It is the time of their ingathering to him; at death he comes into his garden, and gathers his flowers, and smells a sweet savour in them; their very dust is precious to him, which he takes care of and raises up at the last day. The commonly received sense of the words is, that the saints are so dear to the Lord, their lives are so much set by with him, and their blood so precious to him, that he will not easily suffer their lives to be taken away, or their blood to be spilled; and whenever it is, he will, sooner or later, severely revenge it; see ( 1 Samuel 26:21 1 Samuel 26:24 ) ( Psalms 72:14 ) . And to this sense is the Targum,
``precious before the Lord is death sent to (or inflicted on) his saints;''that is, by men. The words will bear to be rendered, "precious in the sight of the Lord is that death", or "death itself, for his saints"; that very remarkable and observable death, even the death of his Son, which was not only for the good of his saints, for their redemption, salvation, justification, pardon, and eternal life; but in their room and stead; and which was very acceptable unto God, of high esteem with him, of a sweet smelling savour to him: not that he took pleasure in it, simply considered; for he that hath no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, even of a sinner, could have none in the death of his Son; but as hereby his justice was satisfied, his law fulfilled, the salvation of his people procured, and his covenant, counsels, purposes, and decrees, accomplished. (htwmh) has a double (h) in it; one at the beginning, and the other at the end of the word; which is very emphatic, and so may point at something very remarkable; and what more so than the death of Christ? and (l) is sometimes used for substitution, and signifies "for", "instead", or "in the room of", another; see ( Exodus 4:16 ) ( 5:12 ) ( Numbers 10:31 ) ( 14:34 ) ( Proverbs 21:18 ) .