Verse 4. Evening sacrifice - When the people used to assemble together. All good people ought to own those that appear and act for God against vice and profaneness. Every one that fears God, ought to stand by them, and do what he can to strengthen their hands.
Verse 5. Heaviness - From that mournful posture, and put myself into the posture of a petitioner. He did this at the time of the evening sacrifice, because then devout people used to come into the courts of the temple, that hearing his confession, they likewise might be made sensible of the sins of the people. And he had an eye to that great propitiation, of which that sacrifice was a peculiar type.
Verse 6. Our - He includes himself in the number of the transgressors, because he himself was guilty of many sins; and because the princes and priests, and so many of the people having done this, the guilt was now become national.
Verse 7. Have we been - We are not purged from the guilt of our fathers sins, but we are still feeling the sad effects of them; yea, and are repeating the same sins.
Verse 8. A little space - It is but a little while since God hath delivered us, and yet we are already returned to our sin. A remnant - The far greatest part of the Israelitish nation were yet in captivity. A nail - Some kind of settlement; whereas before we were tossed and removed from place to place as our masters pleased. It is a metaphor from tents, which are fastened by cords and nails, or pins. Holy place - In Jerusalem, called the holy city, Neh. xi, 1, 18 Dan. ix, 24, which is peculiarly mentioned, because of the temple, which was the nail that fastened their tents and gave them some hopes of continuing in their land. To lighten - That he might revive and comfort our hearts. For as darkness is often put for a state of sorrow and affliction, so light is put for joy and comfort. In bondage - For we are not quite delivered, being even here in subjection to our former lords.
Verse 9. A wall - The favour of the kings of Persia whose edicts were their security against all those enemies wherewith they were encompassed: and the gracious providence of God, which had planted them in their own land, and watched over them from time to time.
Verse 11. It is unclean - This land is as corrupt as any of the rest of the heathen nations.
Verse 12. Strong - Although you may fancy making leagues and marriages with them, as the only way to establish you, yet I assure you, it will weaken and ruin you, and the contrary course will make you strong.
Verse 15. We are - We are here in thy presence, and so are all our sins; we are arraigning ourselves before thy tribunal, acknowledging thee to be just, if thou destroy us. Before thee - In judgment, as that word is often used, we must needs fall and perish at thy presence.