6. According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.
6. Juxta 1 pascua sua et satiati sunt, saturati sunt, et elevatum est cor ipsorum; propterea obliti sunt mei.
The Prophet shows here that the people were in every way intractable. He has indeed handled this argument in other places; but the repetition is not superfluous. After he had said that the people were ungrateful in not continuing in the service of their Redeemer, by whom they had been so kindly and bountifully treated in the desert, where they must have perished through famine and want, had not the Lord in an unwonted manner brought them help in their great necessity, he now adds, "The Lord would have also allured you by other means, had you not been of a wholly wild and barbarous disposition: but it is hence manifest, that you are utterly disobedient; for after you have been brought out of the desert, you came to rich pastures." For the land of Israel is here compared to rich and fertile pastures; as though he said, "God has placed you in an inheritance where you might eat to the full, as when a shepherd leads his sheep to a spot especially fertile." What did take place?
Since, then, the Israelites had extinguished the memory of their redemption, after the Lord had fed them when hungry in the desert, and since in their fulness they rejected God, and shook off his yoke, and, like ferocious horses, kicked against him, it became evident that their nature was so unnameable, that they could by no means be reduced to obedience or submission. We shall defer the rest till tomorrow.
Grant, Almighty God, that as thou dost so kindly call on us daily by thy voice, meekly and calmly to offer ourselves to be ruled by thee, and since thou hast exalted us to a high degree of honour by freeing us from the dread of the devil, and from that tyranny which kept us in miserable fear, and hast also favoured us with the Spirit of adoption and of hope, -- O grant, that we, being mindful of these benefits, may ever submit ourselves to thee, and desire only to raise our voice for this end, that the whole world may submit itself to thee, and that those who seem now to rage against thee may at length be brought, as well as we, to render thee obedience, so that thy Son Christ may be the Lord of all, to the end that thou alone mayest be exalted, and that we may be made subject to thee, and be at length raised up above, and become partakers of that glory which has been obtained for us by Christ our Lord. Amen.
We observed in our yesterday's lecture, that the Israelites were condemned, because they were, when fed in rich pastures, like mettlesome horses; and this is what commonly happens. And even Moses foretold this in his song,
'My chosen, having become fat, kicked against me,'
What the Prophet said was now fulfilled; fulness had produced ferocity in the people of Israel.
And there is, in the last place, a mention made of their forgetfulness of God. It is impossible, when men are blinded by a wilful self-confidence, but that they will cast aside every fear of God and every concern for religion. And this passage teaches us, that we ought to use our abundance temperately and frugally, and that we ought, in the first place, beware lest the bounty of God should introduce a forgetfulness of him. For it is an extreme perversion, that when the more largely God pours his gifts upon us, our hearts should be more narrow, and that his benefits should be like veils to cover our eyes. We ought then to labour, that the benefits of God may, on the contrary, renew the recollection of him in our minds: and then, as I have said, let moderation and frugality be added. Let us now proceed --
1 A great number of MSS have
5. I knew thee in the desert,
In the land of droughts;
6. In their pastures also when they were filled;
They were filled, and raised up was their heart;
Hence they forgat me.
The change of persons from "thee" to "them" is common throughout this book. -- Ed.