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Lecture One Hundred and Seventy-first

We began yesterday to explain why the Prophet, denouncing on the Moabites the punishment they had deserved, directed his speech to the Chaldeans, even that his prophecy might have greater force and produce greater effect. The metaphor of drunkenness which he uses, is common; for when Scripture intimates that any are made miserable, as they say, to satiety, or more than what can be well borne, it compares them to those who are made drunk. For as a drunken man loses his senses, so they who are overwhelmed with miseries, are almost stunned with evils, so that they become deprived of reason and judgment. This then is the drunkenness which the Prophet now mentions. And following up the same idea, he adds, And Moab is rolled in his own vomit Some by vomit understand intemperate joy, and render the words in the past tense, “And Moab shouted in his own vomit,” that is, he luxuriated in his own abundance, and when he gorged himself with wine and with all kinds of luxuries, he loudly exulted; and therefore he shall be also a reproach This contrast is not unsuitable, that Moab immediately exulted when in prosperity, and that therefore God would shortly punish him, so as to make him a reproach or a derision.

But I follow what has been generally approved, that Moab shall be rolled, or shall clap hands even in his own vomit: so that by vomit the Prophet means excessive grief. For the drunkard delights in drinking, but afterwards by vomiting he suffers the punishment of his intemperance, when his head, his stomach, his legs and other members shake and tremble. So also, it is no unsuitable comparison, when the Prophet calls sorrow, arising from calamity, vomiting. He then says, that when Moab shall clap his hands, or roll himself 1212     The word has no other meaning than that of smiting, striking, or clapping the hand. A drunkard rejoices by clapping his hands, even in his filth, and thus makes himself an object of ridicule and derision; or he may strike his hands in agony: but it is by the first he renders himself ridiculous, the thing evidently intended here. It is observed justly by Blayney, that the first verb in the verse is in the singular number, used for the plural; and he regarded this verb to be the same; and his version is, —
   And clap at Moab in his vomiting.

   The objection to this is, the verb in this sense is not used without a preposition after it; see Lamentations 2:15: otherwise this would suit the passage: it was suggested by Gataker.Ed.
(for the word is variously rendered) in his own miseries, he shall be even a derision Why he says, that he would be a derision, we may learn from the next verse, for he says, Has not Israel been a derision to thee?

But the higher cause for the drunkenness mentioned here ought to be observed, even because Moab exalted himself against God. For after having spoken of the pride through which he exulted over God, he adds an explanation, Has not Israel been a derision to thee? See then how the Moabites acted proudly towards God, even because they treated his Church reproachfully. And this ought especially to be noticed; for God intimates by these words, that he is so connected with the faithful as to regard their cause as his own, as it is said elsewhere,

“He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of my eye.” (Zechariah 2:8)

God then so takes the faithful under his own protection, that whatever injury is done to them, he counts it as done to him. This connection is well expressed by the Prophet, when he says, “The Moabites have raised themselves against God;” and at the same time he shews the way and manner, even because they exulted over the Israelites. Were any one to object and say, that the Moabites injured mortal men only and not God; the answer has already been given, even that God has so adopted his Church as to identify himself with it. Let us then know, that God, when he sees us suffering anything unjustly, regards the wrong as done to himself. As then the people of Israel had been a derision to the Moabites, the Prophet threatens them with a similar punishment for their pride.

And then he adds, Has he been found among thieves? It is, indeed, certain, that the people of Israel deserved very severe scourges, and that when they were subjected to so many adversities, a just reward was rendered to them for their iniquities. With regard to God this is certain; but with regard to the Moabites, the people of Israel were innocent; for these ungodly men could not object anything to the Israelites, for they were altogether like them, or even worse. God then compares here his chosen people with aliens, and says that the Israelites were not thieves. Under one thing he comprehends everything, as though he had said, “Of what wickedness have the Israelites been guilty, that you have thus become so enraged against them?” We hence see what the words of the Prophet mean, even that the Moabites were impelled by nothing but cruelty and pride, when they so basely raged against the Israelites, and so disdainfully oppressed them; for as I have already said, there was no cause why the Moabites should have been so hostile to the miserable people. Thus their crime was doubled, for they acted proudly towards God’s people, and they acted thus without a cause; for with regard to them, God’s people were innocent.

By saying that they were moved, or excited whenever they spoke of the Israelites, he intimates that they were carried away by malevolence, so as to wish all kinds of evil to the miserable, and then, as far as they could, to lay snares for them. As then they thus raged furiously against the Israelites, the Prophet includes everything of this kind in the word “moved,” or raised an uproar. 1313     The Vulg. and the Targ. give the best version of these words, —
   Surely for the abundance of thy words against him, thou shalt be quickly removed, or, led captive.

   Then, in the following verse, Moab is bidden to quit his cities — Ed.
It follows —


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