The LORD brings this charge against the elders and leaders of His people: "You have devoured the vineyard; the plunder of the poor is in your houses.
I. THAT THE NATURAL RESULT OF FOLLY IS TO BE GOVERNED BY THOSE WHO HAVE NO RIGHT TO RULE.
1. The nation suffers this penalty. As with Judah now (ver. 12), so with each and every country in its turn and in its way. Unmanliness, frivolity, wickedness among the people, will be reflected in the sovereign power. A nation that lives supremely for material enrichment, or for military conquest, or for pleasurable excitement, must expect to see upon the throne - in the government - men who will represent their evil genius, who will pamper their evil tastes, who will "cause them to err" more wildly, and "destroy them in the way of thy paths." Action and reaction are here as everywhere; the folly of the people expresses itself in the weakness and perversity of the ruler, and these qualities on his part tell in their time and measure upon them.
2. The Church endures the same evil. Unspirituality, discord, unbelief, laxity in the Christian community, will certainly issue in a degenerate ecclesiastical authority, and the ruler, using or abusing his opportunity, will lead astray and destroy.
3. The individual finds the same natural law operating on him and on his life. By his folly he allows passions instead of principles, impulses instead of convictions, men instead of God, to be his rulers, his "oppressors;" and these cause him to err; they pervert the way of his paths.
II. THAT THEY WHO ARE GUILTY OF MISRULE AND PERVERSITY MUST LOOK FOR THE RIGHTEOUS VISITATION OF GOD. (Vers. 13-15.) "The Lord standeth up to plead," "to judge the people." He confronts and confounds those who have wronged and oppressed his people. If the usurper, the tyrant, the oppressor, the debauchee, the misleader of the nation (the Church), should not meet with the resentment and feel the blows of those whom he has wronged, he must lay his account with the facts that God takes note of all that passes in our human communities, that he holds those who are in power responsible for the effects of their administration, that he regards with severest indignation those who abuse their trust, that he will visit them in his own time and way, here or hereafter, with proofs of his Divine displeasure. - C.
The Lord will enter into judgment.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
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