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52. The Cup of the Lord's Wrath

1Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. 2Shake thyself from the dust; arise, sit on thy throne, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bonds of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. 3For thus saith Jehovah, Ye were sold for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money. 4For thus saith the Lord Jehovah, My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there: and the Assyrian hath oppressed them without cause. 5Now therefore, what do I here, saith Jehovah, seeing that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them do howl, saith Jehovah, and my name continually all the day is blasphemed. 6Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak; behold, it is I. 7How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! 8The voice of thy watchmen! they lift up the voice, together do they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when Jehovah returneth to Zion. 9Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for Jehovah hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. 10Jehovah hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 11Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; cleanse yourselves, ye that bear the vessels of Jehovah. 12For ye shall not go out in haste, neither shall ye go by flight: for Jehovah will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rearward. 13Behold, my servant shall deal wisely, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. 14Like as many were astonished at thee (his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men), 15so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they understand.

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5. What have I here? He follows out and confirms what I have already said, that it; is not reasonable that he should silently permit his people to be any longer oppressed. By these words he reproves, in some measure, his own delay; as if he had said, “Shall I not stretch out my hand? Shall I not avenge my people? If Pharaoh did not hinder me, though he was a lawful master, shall the violence of robbers hinder me?” He next enumerates the reasons which ought to move him to bring back the people.

That my people should be carried away for nought. There must be understood an implied contrast to the participle “carried away;” for the Egyptians did not “carry away” Jacob by force; he came down to it of his own accord when he was pressed by famine, yet he was delivered from it; 3939     “Toutes fois sa posterite en a este delivree.” “Yet his posterity was delivered from it.” how much more shall he be rescued out of the hand of those who tore him from his native country, and carried him by violence into captivity?

That they should cause them to howl. In order to express more forcibly the baseness of this conduct, he says that they are constrained to howl without ceasing. Some translate the vero as neuter; 4040     That is, that the verb means “to howl,” instead of “to cause to howl.” — Ed. but I think that it is intended to express the strength of their hatred, and therefore I consider it to be an active verb, expressive of the violence which the Babylonians exercised towards the Jews; for they not only ruled unjustly over them, but also treated them harshly. To “howl” is more than to sigh or weep; for there is reason to believe that the pain which sends forth loud and strong cries is exceedingly severe. The metaphor is taken from wild beasts, and denotes extreme despair.

The third and principal reason why the Lord will deliver his people is, that his name is continually exposed to the reproach and blasphemy of wicked men. For the sake of his own honor the Lord preserves the Church, and defends the pure worship of his name. Because wicked men seize on the Church’s calamitous state as a reason for blasphemy, and insolently mock God, with good reason does he say, that by delivering his people, he will plead his own cause. I do not here relate the various interpretations, or stay to refute them; for it will be enough for me to have briefly explained the Prophet’s real meaning.