5. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.
5. Ego quasi ros Israeli; florebit quasi lilium (alii vertunt, rosam:) figet radices suas quasi Libanus (vel, quasi Libani.)
The Prophet now again repeats what he had said, that God, after restoring the people to favour, would be so beneficent, as to render apparent the fruit of reconciliation. Seeing that the Israelites had been afflicted, they ought to have imputed this to their own sins, they ought to have perceived by such proofs, the wrath of God. They had been so stupid as to have on the contrary imagined, that their adversities happened to them by chance. The Prophet had been much engaged in teaching this truth, that the Israelites would be ever miserable until they turned to God, and also, that all their affairs would be unhappy until they obtained pardon. He now speaks of a change, that God would not only by words show himself propitious to them, but would also give a proof by which the Israelites might know that they were now blessed, because they had been reconciled to God; for his blessing would be the fruit of his gratuitous love. Thus then ought this sentence, I will be to Israel as the dew, to be connected: He intimates that they were before dry, because they had been deprived of God's favour. He compares them to a rose or lily: for when the fields or meadows are burnt up by the heat of the sun, and there is no dew distilling from heaven, all things wither. How then can lilies and roses flourish, except they derive moisture from heaven, and the dew refreshes the grounds that they may put forth their strength? The reason then for the similitude is this, because men become dry and destitute of all vigour, when God withdraws his favour. Why? Because God must, as it were, distil dew, otherwise, as it has been said, we become wholly barren and dry. I will be then as dew to Israel.
And further, He shall Flourish as the lily, and his roots he shall send forth. Some render Kyw, vaic, "and he will strike;" and hkn, nuke, means to strike. Others render the words, "His branches will extend:" but the verb is in the singular number, and the noun, "roots," is in the plural. The Prophet then speaks of Israel, that he strikes his roots; but he means to fix in a metaphorical sense: he will then fix his roots. As when we strike, we fetch a blow, and extend our arms; so he will spread forth his roots as Libanus. This is the second effect of God's favour and blessing; which means, that the happiness of the people would be perpetual. With regard to the rose or lily, the meaning of the metaphor is, that God would suddenly, and as in a moment, vivify the Israelites, though they were like the dead. as in one night the lily rises, and unexpectedly also the rose; so sudden would be the change signified by this metaphor. But as the lilies and the roses soon wither, it was not enough to promise to Israel that their salvation would come suddenly; but it was needful to add this second clause, -- that though they would be like lilies and roses, they yet would be also like tall trees, which have deep roots in the ground, by which they remain firm and for a long time flourish.
We now then perceive the meaning of the Prophet. He mentions here the twofold effect of God's blessing as to the Israelites, -- that their restoration would be sudden, as soon as God would distil like the dew his favour upon them, and also that this happiness would not be fading, but enduring and permanent. And the words may be rendered, as Libanus, or as those of Libanus: as Libanus he shall cast forth his roots, as the trees which grow there; or, he shall cast forth his roots as the trees which are in Libanus. But as to the sense there is no difference. It follows --