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3. Future of Jerusalem
1Wo [to] the rebellious and polluted, The oppressing city! 2She hath not hearkened to the voice, She hath not accepted instruction, In Jehovah she hath not trusted, Unto her God she hath not drawn near. 3Her heads in her midst [are] roaring lions, Her judges [are] evening wolves, They have not gnawn the bone in the morning. 4Her prophets unstable -- men of treachery, Her priests have polluted the sanctuary, They have violated the law. 5Jehovah [is] righteous in her midst, He doth not do perverseness, Morning by morning His judgment he giveth to the light, It hath not been lacking, And the perverse doth not know shame. 6I have cut off nations, Desolated have been their chief ones, I have laid waste their out-places without any passing by, Destroyed have been their cities, Without man, without inhabitant. 7I have said: Only, ye do fear Me, Ye do accept instruction, And her habitation is not cut off, All that I have appointed for her, But they have risen early, They have corrupted all their doings. 8Therefore, wait for Me -- an affirmation of Jehovah, For the day of My rising for prey, For My judgment [is] to gather nations, To assemble kingdoms, To pour out on them Mine indignation, All the heat of Mine anger, For by the fire of My jealousy consumed is all the earth. 9For then do I turn unto peoples a pure lip, To call all of them by the name of Jehovah, To serve Him [with] one shoulder. 10From beyond the rivers of Cush, my supplicants, The daughter of My scattered ones, Do bring My present. 11In that day thou art not ashamed because of any of thine actions, Wherewith thou hast transgressed against Me, For then do I turn aside from thy midst The exulting ones of thine excellency, And thou dost add no more to be haughty, In My holy mountain. 12And I have left in thy midst a people humble and poor, And they have trusted in the name of Jehovah. 13The remnant of Israel do no perversity, nor speak lies, Nor found in their mouth is a deceitful tongue, For they have delight, and have lain down, And there is none troubling. 14Cry aloud, O daughter of Zion, shout, O Israel, Rejoice and exult with the whole heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. 15Jehovah hath turned aside thy judgments, He hath faced thine enemy, The king of Israel, Jehovah, [is] in thy midst, Thou seest evil no more. 16In that day it is said to Jerusalem, `Fear not, O Zion, let not thy hands be feeble. 17Jehovah thy God [is] in thy midst, A mighty one doth save, He rejoiceth over thee with joy, He doth work in His love, He joyeth over thee with singing.` 18Mine afflicted from the appointed place I have gathered, from thee they have been, Bearing for her sake reproach. 19Lo, I am dealing with all afflicting thee at that time, And I have saved the halting one, And the driven out ones I do gather, And have set them for a praise and for a name, In all the land of their shame. 20At that time I bring you in, Even at the time of My assembling you, For I give you for a name, and for a praise, Among all peoples of the land, In My turning back [to] your captivity before your eyes, said Jehovah!
The Prophet now mitigates the asperity of his doctrine, which might have greatly terrified the godly; nay, it might have wholly disheartened them, had no consolation been applied. God then moderates here what he had previously threatened; for if the Prophet had only said this—My purpose is to gather all the nations, and thus the whole earth shall be devoured by the fire of indignation, what could the faithful have concluded but that they were to perish with the rest of the world? It was therefore necessary to add something to inspire hope, such as we find here.
We must at the same time bear in mind what I have reminded you of elsewhere—that the Prophet directs his discourse one while to the faithful only, who were then few in number, and that at another time he addresses the multitude indiscriminately; and so when our Prophet threatens, he regards the whole body of the people; but when he proclaims the favor of God, it is the same as though he turned his eyes towards the faithful only, and gathered them into a place by themselves. As for instance, when a few among a people are really wise, and the whole multitude unite in hastening their own ruin, he who has an address to make will make a distinction between the vast multitude and the few; he will severely reprove those who are thus foolish, and live for their own misery; and he will afterwards shape his discourse so as to suit those with whom he has not so much fault to find. Thus also the Lord changes his discourse; for at one time he addresses the ungodly, and at another he turns to the elect, who were but a remnant. So the Prophet has hitherto spoken by reproofs and threatening, for he addressed the whole body of the people; but now he collects, as I have said, the remnant as it were by themselves, and sets before them the hope of pardon and of salvation.
Hence he says, But then
[כי אן], “For then,” Henderson; “Surely then,” Newcome; “Postea vero—but afterwards,” Dathius and Grotius. And Newcome says, that [אן] is used here largely, for “afterwards.” It refers to the time after the execution of the judgments previously mentioned.
“The pure lip” is evidently not the language which God would adopt in addressing the nations, but the language they would adopt in addressing him. What is meant is a pure heart; what gives utterance to the heart is mentioned for the heart itself; as the “shoulder” is afterwards used for the service that is rendered to God.
The verb [הפך], to turn, means to change the form, condition, or course of a thing, conveying perhaps here the idea, that the pure lip is substituted for that which is impure: “I will give them as a change, instead of what they have, a pure lip.” Μεταστρεψω—“I will change,” Sept. and Sym.; στρεψω—“I will turn,” Aq. and Theod. It is rendered “reddam“ and “restituam“ by Drusius and Grotius
Newcome, following the conjecture of Houbigant, reads [אשפך], “I will pour out,” contrary to all the ancient versions, and without the countenance of a single MS.
Though the word, [עמים], peoples, most frequently means the nations, yet there are instances in which it means the people of Israel, inasmuch as they were composed of various tribes. See 1 Kings 22:28; Joel 2:6. And if we render the verb, “restore,” with Drusius and Grotius, then we must adopt this meaning. Eleven MSS. have “and,” [ו], before the verb to “serve:” and as there is no preposition before “shoulder,” we may render the verse—
But I will then restore to the people a pure lip,
That they may, all of them, call on the name of Jehovah, —
And one shoulder, that they may serve him.
—Ed. (for I take כי, ki, as an adversative) will I turn to the people a pure lip. God intimates that he would propagate his grace wider, after having cleansed the earth; for he will be worshipped not only in Judea, but by foreign nations, and even by the remotest. For it might have been objected, Will God then extinguish his name in the world? For what will be the state of things when Judea is overthrown and other nations destroyed, except that God’s name will be exposed to reproach! It will nowhere be invoked, and all will outvie one another in blasphemies against him. The Prophet meets this objection, and says, that God has in his own hand the means by which he will vindicate his own glory; for he will not only defend his Church in Judea, but will also gather into it nations far and wide, so that his name shall be everywhere celebrated.
But he speaks first of a pure lip, I will turn, he says, to the nations a pure lip. By this word he means, that the invocation of God’s name is his peculiar work; for men do not pray through the suggestion of the flesh, but when God draws them. It is indeed true, that God has ever been invoked by all nations; but it was not the right way of praying, when they heedlessly cast their petitions into the air: and we also know, that the true God was not invoked by the nations; for there was no nation then in the world which had not formed for itself some idol. As then the earth was full of innumerable idols, God was not invoked except in Judea only. Besides, though the unbelieving had an intention to pray to God, yet they could not have prayed rightly, for prayer flows from faith. God then does not without reason promise, that he would turn pure lips to the nations; that is, that he would cause the nations to call on his name with pure lips. We hence then learn what I have stated—that God cannot be rightly invoked by us, until he draws us to himself; for we have profane and impure lips. In short, the beginning of prayer is from that hidden cleansing of the Spirit of which the Prophet now speaks.
But if it be God’s singular gift, to turn a pure lip to the nations, it follows that faith is conferred on us by him, for both are connected together. As God then purifies the hearts of men by faith, so also he purifies their lips that his name may be rightly invoked, which would otherwise be profaned by the unbelieving. Whenever they pretend to call on God’s name, it is certain that it is not done without profanation.
As to the word all, it is to be referred to nations, not to each individual; for it has not been that every one has called on God; but there have been some of all nations, as Paul also says in the first chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians 1 Corinthians 1:1: for in addressing the faithful, he adds, ‘With all who call on the name of the Lord in every place’—that is, not only in Judea; and elsewhere he says,
‘I would that men would stretch forth hands to heaven in every place.’
(1 Timothy 2:8.)
He afterwards adds, That they may serve him with one shoulder; that is, that they may unitedly submit to God in order to do him service; for to serve him with the shoulder is to unite together, so as to help one another. The metaphor seems to have been derived from those who carry a burden; for except each assists, one will be overpowered, and then the burden will fall to the ground. We are said then to serve God with one shoulder when we strive by mutual consent to assist one another. And this ought to be carefully noticed, that we may know that our striving cannot be approved by God, except we have thus the same end in view, and seek also to add courage to others, and mutually to help one another. Unless then the faithful thus render mutual assistance, the Lord cannot approve of their service. 115115 The expression “with one shoulder” is rendered by the Septuagint, “under one yoke”—ὑπὸ ζυγὸν ἕνα. The idea is that of oxen drawing together. To serve God under one yoke, is to do the same service unitedly. “A metaphor,” says Newcome, “from the joint efforts of yoked beasts.”—Ed.
We now see how foolishly they talk who so much extol free-will and whatever is connected with it: for the Lord demands faith as well as other duties of religion; and he requires also from all, love and the keeping of the whole law. But he testifies here that his name cannot be invoked, as the lips of all are polluted, until he has consecrated them, cleansing by his Spirit what was before polluted: and he shows also that men will not undertake the yoke, unless he joins them together, so as to render them willing. I must not proceed farther.