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For a brief moment I abandoned you,

but with great compassion I will gather you.


In overflowing wrath for a moment

I hid my face from you,

but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,

says the Lord, your Redeemer.


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7. For a little moment I forsook thee. The Prophet explains more fully the former statement, and shows what will be the nature of this divorce, namely, that she shall be speedily restored to her former condition. He magnifies the mercy of God, and extenuates the sorrow by which the hearts of believers might be oppressed. It was not enough for believers to expect some revival, if they were not convinced that God’s wrath would be of short duration. We quickly lose courage and faint, if the Lord be not nigh, and if he do not quickly stretch out his hand to us. For this reason Isaiah, after having spoken of restoring the Church, adds that this divorce shall last but “for a moment,” but that his mercy shall be everlasting

When he says that he forsook his people, it is a sort of admission of the fact. 6767     “C’est comme s’il accordoit qu’il fust ainsi.” “It is as if he admitted that this was actually the case.” We are adopted by God in such a manner that we cannot be rejected by him on account of the treachery of men; for he is faithful, so that he will not cast off or abandon his people. What the Prophet says in this passage must therefore refer to our feelings and to outward appearance, because we seem to be rejected by God when we do not perceive his presence and protection. And it is necessary that we should thus feel God’s wrath, even as a wife divorced by her husband deplores her condition, that we may know that we are justly chastised. But we must also perceive his mercy; and because it is infinite and eternal, we shall find that all afflictions in comparison of it are light and momentary. Whenever, therefore, we are pressed by adversity, we ought to betake ourselves to this consolation. At the same time it ought to be observed, that what was said was actually true as to the whole body of the people, who had been divorced on account of their wickedness; and although God did not receive all of them indiscriminately into favor with him, but only the elect remnant, yet there is nothing absurd or improper in addressing his discourse as if it had been to the same persons. 6868     ”En ce qu’il addresse sa parole a tous.” “In addressing his discourse to all.”

8. In a moment of wrath. He again repeats and enforces this statement, in order to impress it more deeply on the hearts of believers, that they may not be at all discouraged by adversity, and with good reason; for, amidst that frightful darkness, it was not easy for the captives to behold God’s smiling face. And although the literal sense in which the “wrath” is here said to last but for “a moment” 6969     In explaining the words בשצף קצף (beshetzeph ketzeph,) commentators differ, being uncertain as to the meaning of the word; שצף, (shetzeph.) Most commentators, on no other grounds, as Kimchi himself acknowledges, than the context of this passage, think that it denotes ‘something little,’ which some, concurring with the Chaldee interpreter, refer to ‘a little time;‘ but as this is afterwards expressed by the word רגע, (regang,) others refer it to ‘a small measure,’ agreeing with the Septuagint, which translate it ἐν Θυμῷ μικρῷ, ‘for a short time,’ compared with Zechariah 1:15. But A. Schultens, in his Animadversiones Philologicae on this passage, has justly remarked that there are good grounds for hesitation as to this received interpretation, because in none of the cognate languages can any trace of this meaning of the word; שצף (shetzeph) be found, nor even from the context is it very evident. By comparison with an Arabic root, he makes it signify ‘In vehemence of wrath I hid,’ etc. ‘In great wrath’ is the sense justly expressed by the Syriac version.” ­ Rosenmuller be, that God in due time brought back the captives to their native country, yet we draw from it a general doctrine, that the afflictions of the Church are always momentary, when we raise our eyes to its eternal happiness. We ought to remember what Paul has taught us, (2 Corinthians 4:17) that all the afflictions of believers are light and easy to be endured, and are justly considered to be momentary, while they look at the “eternal weight of glory;” for if we do not attend to this comparison, every day will seem to us like a year. There would be no propriety in comparing the seventy years of the captivity of the Jews to “a moment,” if it were not contrasted with the uninterrupted progress of the grace of God.