14. Why do we sit still? assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defenced cities, and let us be silent there: for the Lord our God hath put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the Lord.
14. Ut quid nos sedemus? congregate vos, et ingrediamur urbes munitas (urbes munitionis, ad verbum,) et quiescamus illic: certe Jehova Deus noster silere nos (vel, quiescere nos) fecit, et potavit nos a quis venenatis (vel, aquis fellis; nam
This verse, and those which follow, are explained in different. ways; but I will briefly shew the meaning of the Prophet. I have no doubt but that he speaks here in the name of the whole people. The Prophet, then, in these words, represents what occupied their minds, and the counsels which the Jews adopted: and further, there is no doubt but that he shews in these words that they, as hypocrites are wont to do, had recourse to expedients, by which they thought they could protect themselves from God's wrath. For they who think that the Prophet spoke his own sentiments are greatly mistaken: on the contrary, he relates here the purposes which the Jews formed; and at the same time he reproves their hardness in turning here and there, and in thinking that they could turn aside the judgment of God; for hypocrites, unless constrained, never ascend to the first cause; that is, they never acknowledge nor regard the hand of him who strikes them, as it is said in another place. (Isaiah 9:13.) They indeed feel their evils, and seek to apply remedies; but they stop at the nearest reliefs, without seeking to pacify God and to return into favor with him; and when the smallest hope is given them, they think themselves to be safe, if they betake themselves to this or that hiding-place.
This feeling is what the Prophet describes:
We hence see, that on the one hand is declared what might have given some comfort to the Jews, for there were fortified cities which might have protected them from the assaults of enemies; but, on the other hand, the Prophet shews that they were greatly mistaken, for God would make them to rest in a different manner, as he would reduce them to nothing; for the dead are said to rest, or to be silent. In short, he means a quiet state when speaking in the name of the people; but he refers to destruction when speaking by God's command.
He afterwards confirms the same thing in a metaphorical language,
1 The verb
14. Why do we sit still? be ye assembled, And let us go into fortified cities, And let us be silent there; For Jehovah our God has reduced us to silence; And he has given us to drink the water of hemlock, Because we have sinned against Jehovah.
Horsley renders the third and the fourth line as follows:-
And let us there sit in despair, Since the Lord our God hath brought us to despair.-- Ed.