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I wait for your salvation, O Lord.


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18. I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord. It may be asked, in the first place, what occasion induced the holy man to break the connection of his discourse, and suddenly to burst forth in this expression; for whereas he had recently predicted the coming of the Messiah, the mention of salvation would have been more appropriate in that place. I think, indeed, that when he perceived, as from a lofty watchtower, the condition of his offspring continually exposed to various changes, and even to be tossed by storms which would almost overwhelm them, he was moved with solicitude and fear; for he had not so put off all paternal affection, as to be entirely without care for those who were of his own blood. He, therefore, foreseeing many troubles, many dangers, many assaults, and even many slaughters, which threatened his seed with as many destructions, could not but condole with them, and, as a man, be troubled at the sight. But in order that he might rise against every kind of temptation with victorious constancy of mind, he commits himself unto the Lord, who had promised that he would be the guardian of his people. Unless this circumstance be observed, I do not see why Jacob exclaims here, rather than at the beginning or the end of his discourse, that he waited for the salvation of the Lord. But when this sad confusion of things presented itself to him, which was not only sufficiently violent to shake his faith, but was more than sufficiently burdensome entirely to overwhelm his mind, his best remedy was to oppose to it this shield. I doubt not also, that he would advise his sons to rise with him to the exercise of the same confidence. Moreover, because he could not be the author of his own salvation, it was necessary for him to repose upon the promise of God. In the same manner, also, must we, at this day, hope for the salvation of the Church: for although it seems to be tossed on a turbulent sea, and almost sunk in the waves, and though still greater storms are to be feared in future; yet amidst manifold destructions, salvation is to be hoped for, in that deliverance which the Lord has promised. It is even possible that Jacob, foreseeing by the Spirit, how great would be the ingratitude, perfidy, and wickedness of his posterity, by which the grace of God might be smothered, was contending against these temptations. But although he expected salvation not for himself alone, but for all his posterity, this, however, deserves to be specially noted, that he exhibits the life-giving covenant of God to many generations, so as to prove his own confidence that, after his death, God would be faithful to his promise. Whence also it follows, that, with his last breath, and as if in the midst of death, he laid hold on eternal life. But if he, amidst obscure shadows, relying on a redemption seen afar off, boldly went forth to meet death; what ought we to do, on whom the clear day has shined; or what excuse remains for us, if our minds fail amidst similar agitations?212212     Jewish commentators suppose the patriarch’s exclamation to have been suggested in this place, by a prospective view of the temporal deliverances wrought for Israel, by warriors of the tribe of Daniel So the Chaldee Paraphrast represents him as saying, “I look not for the salvation of Gideon, because it is a temporal salvation; nor for the salvation of Sampson the son of Manoah, because it is transitory; but I look for the redemption of Christ the Son of David, who is to come to call to himself the children, whose salvation my soul desireth.” See Bush and Dr. A. Clarke. Yet there is something affecting in the thought, that the exclamation might be a sudden burst of holy desire for the immediate fruition of the glory which the dying patriarch now saw so near at hand. — Ed.