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Lecture Thirty-eighth

The dwellers under his shadow shall return, (so it is literally;) they shall revive themselves with corn, (or, revive as the corn;) they shall grow as the vine: his odour shall be as the wine of Libanus. The Prophet proceeds with the same subject, that God would show himself bountiful to his people, that it might plainly appear from their different state that they had before suffered just punishment. And he says, The dwellers under his shadow shall return. But the verb ישבו, ishibu, in this place rightly means, “to be refreshed,” as in Psalm 19; where the law of God is spoken of as משיבת, meshibet, converting the soul; which signifies the same as refreshing or restoring the soul. So the Prophet intimates, that after the Israelites shall begin to flourish again, their shadow would be vivifying, such as would restore and refresh those lying under it. He calls the “dwellers under his shadow”, all those who belong to the people; and compares the common state of the people of Israel to a tree full of leaves, which extends its branches far and wide, so that they who flee under its shadow are defended from the heat of the sun. We now see the design of this metaphor, and what the Prophet means by the verb ישבו, ishibu

He afterwards adds They shall vivify themselves with corn, or, revive as corn. If we read the word in the nominative case, the preposition כ, caph, is to be understood. The ablative case is more approved by some, “They shall vivify themselves with corn.” But the former sense seems more suitable; for, as I have said yesterday, the Prophet, as he handles a truth difficult to be believed, does on this account accumulate similitudes, such as serve for confirmation. Hence they shall revive as corn; that is, they shall increase. As from one grain, we know, many stalks proceed; so also, since the prophet speaks of the increase of the people after their restoration to God’s favour, he says that they would grow like corn.

But he adds, They shall germinate as the vine This similitude strengthens what I have just said, that the people are compared both to trees and to corn, and also to vines. And what is said of dwellers ought not to appear strange, for he wished more fully to express how this common benefit would come, that is, to every one. He afterwards adds, His odour shall be as the wine of Libanus; that is, when they shall germinate as the vine, they shall not produce common or sour wine, but the sweetest, such as is made on Mount Libanus, and which is of the best odour. But the Prophet means no other thing than that the Israelites will be happy, and that their condition will be prosperous and joyful, when they shall be converted from their superstitions and other vices, and shall wholly surrender themselves to be governed by God. This is the meaning. Let us now proceed —

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