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Jeremiah 31:29-30

29. In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.

29. In diebus illis non dicent amplius, Patres comederunt omphacium (uvam acerbam) et dentes filiorum obstupuerunt:

30. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.

30. Quin potius vir (hoc est; quisque) in sun iniquitate morietur; omnis homo comedens (hoc est, quisquis comederit) uvam acerbam obstupescent dentes ejus (aut, omnis viri qui comederit, dentes obstupescent)


Ezekiel shews that it was a complaint commonly prevailing among the people, that they suffered for the sins of their fathers, as Horace also says, a heathen and a despiser of God, “O Roman, thou dost undeservedly suffer for the faults of thy fathers.” 5151     Carm., Lib. 3, Od. 6. Such, then, was the arrogance of the Jews, as to strive with God, as though he punished them, while they were innocent; and they expressed this by using a proverb, “If our fathers have eaten sour grapes, what is the reason that our teeth are set on edge?” We know that teeth are set on edge when unripe fruits are eaten; but the word properly means sour grapes, which the Greeks call omphakes. Then the Prophet says, that this proverb would be no longer used, for after having been tamed by evils, they would at length know that God had not dealt so severely with them without a just cause.

We now perceive the meaning of the Prophet. And he says, In those days, that is, after God had punished the people, and also embraced them through his mercy; for both these things were necessary, that is, that their perverseness and pride should be subdued, and that they should cease to expostulate with God, and also that the gratuitous favor of God should be manifested to them. At that time then, he says, they shall not use this impious proverb, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth have been blunted: 5252     The Targum thus interprets this proverb, “The fathers have sinned, and the children have been smitten.” “Blunted,” or deprived of feeling, obstupuerunt, is both the Vulg. and the Syr.Ed. but on the contrary, he adds, every one shall die in his own iniquity; and whosoever eateth a sour grape, his teeth shall be blunted; that is, at that time the just judgment of God shall be exalted, so that there will be no place for these insolent and blasphemous clamors; the mercy of God will also be made manifest, for men, worthy of death, will be delivered, but not otherwise than through the gratuitous goodness of God.

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