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11

Though they spread out their hands in the midst of it,

as swimmers spread out their hands to swim,

their pride will be laid low despite the struggle of their hands.


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11. And he shall spread out. The Prophet now explains and confirms the former statement; but he employs a different metaphor, by which he means, that the Lord will spread out his hand to the innermost part of the country of Moab, and not merely to its extremities. Some explain the metaphor thus: “As the arms are stretched out in swimming, so the Lord will chastise the Moabites on all sides.” Others think that it expresses the doubling of punishments, as if he had said, “The Lord will not only punish the Moabites, but will again and again take vengeance for the cruelty which they exercised against the children of God.”

But we might take another way of explaining that metaphor. Those who swim do not rush forward with the utmost violence, but gently spread out and quickly draw back their arms, and yet they cut and subdue the waters. In like manner, the Lord does not always put forth great strength to cut down the wicked, but without any effort, without the use of armies, without any noise or uproar, he destroys and puts them to flight, however valiant or well prepared for battle they may appear to be. And I approve of this explanation, because it takes nothing from the meaning formerly given, and explains more clearly, that the wicked are often brought to nothing by the hand of God, though he do not openly thunder from heaven. When he says, “In the midst of it,” he shews that no part will be hidden in such a manner as not to be overtaken by this vengeance.




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