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Lecture Forty-Third.

We began yesterday to explain another point of which the Prophet treats, namely, the liberation of the people. For then was the fitting time in which God espoused them to himself. He now adds, that he spread out the skirt of his garment to cover the foulness and disgrace of the people. This spreading comprehends all the virtues which God exercised in freeing his people. For he then delivered them from all reproaches by which they were shamefully and disgracefully treated in Egypt. Some think that it was a nuptial rite for a spouse or husband to cover the bride with his garment, but this is only a conjecture. Hence I simply interpret it, the border of the garment was spread out, when God vindicated his people from the reproaches by which they had been deformed. He afterwards adds, and I have sworn to thee, and come into covenant with thee. There is no doubt that this thought to be referred to the promulgation of the law. For although God had long ago made a covenant with Abraham, and the adoption of the people was founded upon it, yet that favor on the people’s part had almost vanished away, as I yesterday said; hence God pronounces that he had, as it were, adopted the people afresh. It was like the renewal of the covenant, when God bound the people to himself by a fixed law, and prescribed a fixed method of worship. These, then, were the accustomed marriage rites. But God deservedly announces that he had come into covenant, because he then coupled the people to himself; whence also that eulogy of Moses — What nation is so illustrious under heaven, which has God so near them, as thy God approaches unto thee? You shall be to me a kingdom of priests; you shall be my inheritance. (Deuteronomy 4:7; Exodus 19:6.) We should remark the word swear as emphatic, for God increases his indulgence when he says that he swore. If we think of the majesty of God, and of what his people was, this is surely incredible, that God should deign to descend so far as to swear like men accustomed to pledge their faith, and to sanction it by an oath. Now, therefore, we see the singular benefit expressed here with which God adorned his people, when, at the giving of the law, he chose them as his own, and appointed them to be a kingdom of priests. It now follows —

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