10. They shall walk after the Lord: he shall roar like a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west.
10. Post Jehovam ambulabunt, et quasi leo ruget: quum ipse ruget, tunc pavebunt filii a mari (vel, occidente; mare enim vocatur occidentalis regio, respectu ipsius Judeae.)
11. They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the Lord.
11. Pavebunt quasi passer (vel, avis; tam species est quam genus) ab Aegypto; et quasi columba a terra Assur (hoc est, ab Assyriis) et habitare eos faciam in dominibus suis, dicit Jehova.
When the Prophet says, that they shall walk after Jehovah, he proceeds farther than before; for here he refers not to the mitigation of punishment, but promises restoration. He had said before, that though the Lord would deal severely with his people, there would yet be some moderation in his wrath, so that he would not destroy the whole people. Now, it follows, that God, after having thus restrained himself, will extend his favour even to the restoration of the people, and bring to life those who seemed to have been dead. We now then perceive what the Prophet means.
But to expound this, -- they shall walk after Jehovah, of the obedience of the people, as it is done by interpreters, does not seem right to me. It is indeed certain that no people can be restored except they repent; yea, it is the main beginning of God's favour, when he chastises men and heals them of their wickedness. But here the Prophet handles another thing, even that the Lord will show himself a leader to his people, who had been for a time dispersed. As long as the people were scattered in Assyria and in other distant lands, they were without any head, as a mutilated body. But when the ripened time of restoration came, the Lord revolved to deliver them, and proclaimed himself the leader of his people; and in this manner the people were gathered to God. This is what the Prophet now means when he says, after Jehovah: that is, for a time, indeed, God will forsake them, that they may languish in their dispersion; but at length he will gather them, and show himself as their leader in their journey, that he may restore them to their country. They shall then, he says, follow Jehovah, and he shall roar as a lion: when he shall roar, then children from the sea shall tremble"; that is, God will be formidable to enemies so that none will hinder the return of his people. Many, indeed, will be the enemies, many will labour to set up opposition: but the people shall nevertheless come forth free. How so? For the Lord will fill all with dread, and restrain all the efforts of their enemies; so that they shall be constrained to withdraw from the Assyrians, as well as from the Egyptians. Though, on one side, the Egyptians may resist, and, on the other, the Assyrians, they shall not yet impede the return of the people. Why? Because the Lord will put them to flight, and he will be to them as a lions and fill them all with terror. But the rest we shall defer.
Grant, Almighty God, that since we are too secure and torpid in our sins, thy dread majesty may come to our minds, to humble us, and to remove our fear, that we may learn anxiously to seek reconciliation through Christ, and so abhor ourselves for our sins, that thou mayest then be prepared to receive us: and that unbelief may not shut the door against us, enable us to regard thee to be such as thou hast revealed thyself, and to acknowledge that thou art not like us, but the fountain of all mercy, that we may thus be led to entertain a firm hope of salvation, and that, relying on the Mediator, thy only-begotten Son, we may know him as the throne of grace, full of compassion and mercy. O grant, that we may thus come to thee, that through him we may certainly know that thou art our Father, so that the covenant thou hast made with us may never fail through our fault, even this, that we are thy people, because thou hast once adopted us in thy only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
In the last lecture, we began to explain what the Prophet means by saying, that the Israelites shall come after the Lord: that is, that when the time of the exile shall be completed, God will be the leader of his people in their journey, that they might return safe to their country. And for this reason, he also subjoins, that the Egyptians as well as the Assyrians would be timid; and hence he compares them to doves and sparrows, or birds; for when the nations should attempt to hinder the return of the people, and strive against them with great forces and great efforts, God would break down their courage. For as God had determined to redeem his people, his decree could not have been nullified, no, not by the whole world. Whatever then, the Assyrians, and also the Egyptians, might attempt to do, though powerful in forces, it would yet avail nothing; nay, God would strike into both such fear and dread, that they should not make any stir when the Lord restored his people. There is a similar mode of speaking in Joel 3, except that he does not introduce the similitudes that they would be like birds and doves. But he speaks of the roaring of God, as though he said, that the power of God would be terrible and invincible, so that he would defend and protect his people, and no one would dare to rise up against him; and that if one should dare, he would be constrained instantly to succumb. Let us now proceed --