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Ezekiel 5:15

15. So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment unto the nations that are round about thee, when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I the LORD have spoken it.

15. Et eris probrum, et subsannatio, castigatio, et stupor gentibus quae in circuitu tuo sunt, dum fecero in to judicia in ira, et excandescentia, et increpationibus excandescentiæ: ego Iehovah locutus sum.

 

He further explains how the Jews should be devastated and become a reproach among the nations. Now, he does not speak of their dispersion, but uses two words for one idea: he puts חרפה, cherepheh, which signifies a reproach, and adds גדופה, gedopheh, which signifies a taunt and a mocking: but this could not take place without the slaughter of the people. Unless the profane heathen had some ground for it, there was no reason why they should utter their taunts and hissings against the Jews. Hence destruction and complete slaughter are comprehended under the words reproach and taunt, or laughing-stock. But this sentence belongs to the former verse: there it was said, I will make thee: here, thou shalt be Meanwhile the execution of God’s vengeance is marked; when, therefore, God reproaches us, we are compelled to lie under the power of his hand, because an attempt to resist him is vain. We shall wrestle, indeed, as the ungodly do, but unless we yield willingly, the violence of his power will crush us. Hence we must observe the context: I will make thee a reproach, and thou shalt be one, because God signifies that his threats should not be either empty or in vain. He adds, thou shalt be a correction: מוסר, moser, signifies discipline and instruction, but is often used for that correction which springs from a sense of God’s wrath. When, therefore, God chastises his people, if they repent, they are said to profit by his discipline, since they have learnt themselves to be sinners by the punishments which he has inflicted on them. But he says that the Jews should be a correction to the profane nations, because they should grow wise by their punishments; for while we apply examples to our use, this is a timely correction, since we do not wait till God strikes us; but when he takes vengeance on the despisers of his law at a distance, if we are moved by such examples, this is, as I said, correction in good time: for the Prophet now applies it to the nations, not without the disgrace of the elect people: as if he had said that their punishment would be so notorious that the very blind would recognize them, and tremble at the perception of their import.

Afterwards he adds — in astonishment These words, indeed, do not seem sufficiently in agreement with the Jews being for a wonder and a correction; but the Prophet does not simply mean that those who perceived the judgment of God should be either stupid or docile, he only means that in God’s severity material would be proposed for all, as well of correction as of astonishment, so that they should be horrified when they saw God treating his elect people so harshly. For he adds, when I shall execute judgments on thee in wrath, and in fury, and in burnings of anger. He confirms what we saw before, namely, that God’s judgment would be remarkable, because he had so long borne with a reprobate people. Since he had so long borne their impiety, he broke forth at length in one impulse, and then exercised the formidable judgment of which he speaks. This is the reason why he says the nations shall be astonished when I execute my judgments upon thee. What, then, were these judgments? — in truth, anger, and burning, and furious rebukes. Here the Prophet seems verbose; but he could not be too much so, since the sluggishness of the people was so great that they were not moved by any prophecies. As we have formerly seen, he had been, doubtless, derided by those Jews in Chaldea, who as yet remained at home tranquil, as it were, in their nests. “Does he, the wretched exile, threaten us? let him be content with his own lot: since God has spared us, he seems to be stirred up to vex us by envy alone; but we have no reason to fear the envy of a captive and an exile.” Since, then, the Prophet knew that he was contemptible among the Jews, it was necessary to heap up such forms of speech, that his teaching might have more weight: nor does he look: at the Jews alone, but at those people also who had been dragged into the same exile; for he has to advise them, for the reasons which we have formerly explained. Now, therefore, we understand his meaning when he speaks concerning anger and burning, and adds, at the same time, burning rebukes He adds also, I Jehovah have spoken it: which he will repeat at the last verse of the chapter. And this confirmation is also very useful, because when both the Israelites and the Jews looked at a mortal and abject man, a captive and a slave of an impious people, they would doubtless have despised all his prophecies. Hence he sets God before them, by which he means that he was not the author of the threats, but spoke only from the mouth of God, as the organ of the Spirit. It follows —

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