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Ezekiel 5:13

13. Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I wilt cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the LORD have spoken it in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them.

13. Et perficietur ira mea, et residere 118118     Or, “rest.” — Calvin. faciem excandescentiam meam in ipsis: et consolationem accipiam: et cognoscent quod ego Iehovah, qui locutus sum in zelo meo 119119     Or, “in my jealousy.” — Calvin. cum perfecero excandescentiam meam in ipsis.

 

In this verse the Prophet only teaches what he had said before, but by way of confirmation, namely, that God’s vengeance would be horrible and unceasing until the destruction and extinction of the people. There are some who think that this was interposed that God might mitigate the rigor of his vengeance, and so this verse, according to them, contains a promise of pardon; but it is rather a threat. For what they assert — that God would cause his anger to cease — cannot stand. For it follows afterwards they shall know that I Jehovah have said it, when I shall have filled up my wrath or anger against them And the context, as we shall afterwards see, will refute that comment. Let this, then, remain fixed, that the Prophet does not here promise the people any mitigation of their punishment, but goes on denouncing the vengeance which he formerly mentioned.

First he says, it shall be filled up: כלה, keleh, signifies sometimes “to finish,” but also, “to be accomplished,” “to consume,” and also, “to be consumed.” In this place God signifies that there should be no end to the punishments until he was satisfied. The image is taken from men desirous of vengeance, whose eagerness does not cease till they satiate themselves with revenge. God, therefore, here likens himself to men when he speaks of the end or fulfillment of his anger. Now he adds, I will cause my fury to rest upon them, that is, my fury shall be, as it were, fixed upon them. For “rest” is not to be received here for “cease,” for wrath is said to rest when it has spent itself, but God wishes here to mark by his Prophet the perseverance or untiring course of his vengeance. My wrath, therefore, shall rest upon them, that is, it shall not remove or pass away; for God is said to withdraw his hand when he ceases to punish us, but here the rest of his wrath is its perpetual continuing. He adds, I will take comfort Here God transfers to himself what properly does not belong to him, for he does not delight himself after the manner of men when he takes vengeance on wickedness; but we know that God’s judgment cannot be comprehended, unless he puts on the character of man, and in some manner transforms himself. Hence he is said to receive comfort in the approbation of just judgment. For this comfort signifies, that God cannot bear the contempt of his law — then that the malice of man is so desperate, that the judge must at length appear in his own nature; not that he indulges in any passions, as is sufficiently known, but because we cannot otherwise conceive him to be a just judge, unless he declare himself pleased with vengeance, when he sees men so utterly abandoned and beside themselves, as not to be otherwise recalled to penitence.

He afterwards adds, and they shall know that I Jehovah have spoken it Here God obliquely blames the stupidity of the people, because they not only despised all prophecies, but also proudly laughed at his threats. As often, then, as the Prophets declared the vengeance and judgments of God, they gave material for laughter to a perverse and impious people, and their obstinacy so blinded them that they did not think it was God who spoke; for they supposed that men only would be their adversaries, and hence their rage against the Prophets. For if they had thought that they had spoken by divine inspiration, they would never have dared to rise against them so madly; but because they thought that the Prophets uttered in public their own comments, therefore they strove with them in forgetfulness of God. The Jews, therefore, did not acknowledge him. But let us mark the source of their ignorance: they turned aside their senses from God of their own accord, as at this time many do not think that God speaks when his truth is openly shown from the Scriptures. Why do they not think so? because they are unwilling. Hence this blindness was voluntary and affected, so to speak, in the ancient people, since they imagined that the prophecies would be without effect. This is the reason why the Prophet says, then they shall know that I have spoken, because, as the proverb is, experience is the fool’s teacher; since, therefore, they rejected all threats, it came to pass that, by the teaching of calamity, they perceived too late that God was the speaker. And so there is an antithesis between experimental knowledge, and blindness which arises from an evil disposition and a contempt of God. For when he says, they shall know when he has fulfilled his wrath, that knowledge shall be too late and unfruitful. Lastly, God here pronounces, that he would inflict just punishment on their voluntary ignorance, from which the Jews should know, whether they would or not, that the prophecies against which they had closed their eyes had proceeded from himself alone.

He says also, that he had spoken in his zeal, or jealousy, because the Prophets were thought to be very furious when they thundered so against the impious. God therefore here acquits those whom we know were commonly esteemed fanatics, and says that he spoke in his zeal, because the impious, when they wish to load the servants of God with envy, object that he is mild and merciful, and that it does not accord with his character to speak roughly and sharply. God therefore says that he also uses zeal, or anger, that the Jews might not think his Prophets carried away with inconsiderate zeal and fervor, since we know that they fell into that grievous error. It follows —


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