Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?
Consider the work of God,.... This is dressed to those who thought the former days better than the present, and were ready to quarrel with the providence of God, Ecclesiastes 7:10; and are therefore advised to consider the work of God; not the work of creation, but of providence; which is the effect of divine sovereignty, and is conducted and directed according to the counsel of his will, and is always wisely done to answer the best ends and purposes: everything is beautiful in its season; contemplate, adore, and admire the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, displayed therein; it is such as cannot be made better, nor otherwise than it is;
for who can make that straight which he hath made crooked? or which seems to be so, irregular and disagreeable? No man can mend or make that better he finds fault with and complains of; nor can he alter the course of things, nor stay the hand, nor stop the providence of God: if it is his pleasure that public calamities should be in the world, or in such a part of it, as famine, pestilence, or the sword; or any affliction on families, and particular persons, or poverty and meanness in such and such individuals, there is no hindering it; whatever he has purposed and resolved, his providence effects, and there is no frustrating his designs; it signifies nothing for a creature to murmur and complain; it is best to submit to his will, for no alteration can be made but what he pleases. Some understand this of natural defects in human bodies, with which they are born, or which attend them, as blindness, lameness, &c. so the Targum,
"consider the work of God, and his strength, who made the blind, the crooked, and the lame, to be wonders in the world; for who can make straight one of them but the Lord of the world, who made him crooked?''
Others, of spiritual defects in such who walk in crooked ways, and are hardened in them; who can correct them, and make them other ways, if God does not give them his grace to convert them, and soften their hard hearts? he hardens whom he will, and who hath resisted his will? Jarchi's paraphrase is,
"who can make straight after death what he has made crooked in life?''
See Gill on "Ecclesiastes 1:15". Alshech interprets it of the first man Adam.