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Ezekiel 5:12

12. A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.

12. Tertia pars peste morietur, et fame peribunt in medio tui: et tertia pars per gladium cadent in circuitu tuo, et tertiam partem in quemlibet ventum dispergam, et gladium evaginabo post eos.

 

Now he explains without a figure what he had previously proposed figuratively. For he had been commanded to shave off the hairs of his head and of his beard with a razor, and to divide them so that the pestilence should consume one part, the sword another, and the famine a third. Now he repeats the same thing but in another manner. Hence God explains why he had offered a vision of this kind to his servant. But he shortens what we formerly saw, because he omits the fourth member; for he was commanded to take some portion and to hide it under his armpit, or in the hem of his garment: but here there is no mention of that part, and yet it was not spoken in vain, but God speaks in various manners, and that by his own right. Meanwhile, both the figure and its application agree, because God was consuming the whole people by either famine, pestilence, or the sword. What was said concerning the fourth part was not in vain, but it was not necessary to repeat it. To this end then the Prophet tended, since some were survivors it might seem that they were exempt from the common slaughter: that he might take away that hope, he said, that they also, or at least many of them, should perish by burning, so that they should light up a fire in the whole people of Israel. For it happened through the unconquerable obstinacy of the people, that the wretched exiles were more hated; those who had already spared them began afresh to rage against them with cruelty, because the name of the people became detestable among all men. Because, therefore, the remnant of the citizens who remained at Jerusalem perished, hence it happened that the burning penetrated to the ten tribes, and to those wretched exiles who were captives in remote lands. But now our Prophet is silent on this point. In the meanwhile, he comprehends whatever we saw before, although more briefly: only that explanation was wanting, which, although it was formerly useful, yet ought not of necessity to be repeated. A third part, therefore, shall die by pestilence, and shall perish by hunger in the midst of thee; then a third part shall perish by the sword around thee, and a third part shall be scattered towards every wind: although God claims this for himself, I will scatter, says he, the third part, and draw out the sword after them, so that they also shall perish in their dispersion. Now that dispersion is by itself miserable, but God pronounces that he would not be content with that moderate punishment until he utterly consumed them. It follows —

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