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25. Praise to the Lord

1O Jehovah, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things, even counsels of old, in faithfulness and truth. 2For thou hast made of a city a heap, of a fortified city a ruin, a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built. 3Therefore shall a strong people glorify thee; a city of terrible nations shall fear thee. 4For thou hast been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. 5As the heat in a dry place wilt thou bring down the noise of strangers; as the heat by the shade of a cloud, the song of the terrible ones shall be brought low. 6And in this mountain will Jehovah of hosts make unto all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. 7And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering that covereth all peoples, and the veil that is spread over all nations. 8He hath swallowed up death for ever; and the Lord Jehovah will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the reproach of his people will he take away from off all the earth: for Jehovah hath spoken it. 9And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is Jehovah; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. 10For in this mountain will the hand of Jehovah rest; and Moab shall be trodden down in his place, even as straw is trodden down in the water of the dung-hill. 11And he shall spread forth his hands in the midst thereof, as he that swimmeth spreadeth forth his hands to swim; but Jehovah will lay low his pride together with the craft of his hands. 12And the high fortress of thy walls hath he brought down, laid low, and brought to the ground, even to the dust.

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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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