Verse 9. "Who is wise, and he shall understand these things?" - What things? Those which relate to the backslidings, iniquity, and punishment of Israel; and to the mercy and kindness of God in their promised restoration. The things which belong to the work of sin in the heart; the things which belong to the work of grace in the soul; and particularly the things mentioned in this wonderful chapter.
Prudent, and he shall know them?] He who endeavours to understand them, who lays his heart to them, such a person shall understand them.
"For the ways of the Lord are right" - This is the conclusion which the prophet makes from the whole. All God's conduct, both in the dispensation of justice and mercy, is right: all as it should be, all as it must be; because he is too wise to err, too good to be unkind.
"The just shall walk, in them" - This is a truth which he will always acknowledge; and illustrate it by a righteous and godly life.
"But the transgressors shall fall therein." - Howsoever good they might have been before, if they do not consider the necessity of depending upon God; of receiving all their light, life, power, and love from him; ever evidencing that faith which worketh by love; maintaining an obedient conduct, and having respect to all God's precepts; they shall fall, even in the "way of righteousness." When still using the Divine ordinances, and associating with God's people, they shall perish from the way; and be like Ephraim, who once "spoke trembling," and "was exalted in Israel," who was "God's beloved son," and "called out of Egypt;" yet, by "offending in Baal," giving way to "the idols of his heart," fell from God, fell into the hands of his enemies, and became a wretched thrall in a heathen land.
"Whoso is wise, let him understand these things! Whoso is prudent, let him know them!" - He who is well instructed will make a proper application of what he has here read; will tremble at the threatenings, and embrace the promises, of his God.
The Targum is worthy the most serious attention.
"The ways of the Lord are right, and the just who walk in them shall live for ever; but the ungodly, because they have not walked in them, shall be delivered into hell." How instructive, how convincing, how awakening, and yet how consolatory, are the words of this prophecy! Reader, lay them to heart. A godly mind cannot consider them in vain; such shall know them, and know that the ways of the Lord are right.