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Lecture One Hundred and Seventh

In the lecture of yesterday the Prophet began to show from whom the Jews were to expect the vengeance of God, even from the Chaldeans, who would come, not by their own instinct, but by the hidden impulse of God. God indeed testifies that he should be the author of this war, and that the Chaldeans would fight, as it were, under his auspices. I am he, he says, who excites, etc. Then by calling the Chaldeans a bitter and hasty nation, he intended seriously to terrify the Jews, who had heedlessly despised all threatenings. 1212     "Bitter” rendered “cruel” by Drusius. To be “bitter” in mind means passively, to be grieved, or distressed, or discontented, 1 Samuel 22:2; and actively, to be revengeful, cruel, or inhuman, Jude 18-25—“Hasty” signifies to be rash, inconsiderate, or soon excited and made angry. It is obvious that the order is reversed; what follows is mentioned first, and then what precedes it; for to be hasty in entertaining anger is first, and then follows cruelty in executing it. A similar order is found in the next verse; the worst feature is mentioned first, that the nation would be “terrible;” and then what is less, that it would be “fearful.” This is what is often done by the writers of both of the Old and New Testament.—Ed. It was not indeed a subject of praise to the Chaldeans, that they were bitter and impetuous: but the Lord could turn these vices to a good purpose, inasmuch as he elicits light from darkness. When, therefore, we read that the Chaldeans were bitter, and also hasty, God thus intimates that he can employ the vices of men in executing his judgements, and yet contract hence no spot nor blemish; for we cannot possibly pollute him with our filth, as he scatters it far away by the brightness of his justice and equity.

He afterwards adds, They shall march through the latitudes 1313     The word, [מרהבים], means “breadths” or broad places, or wide regions, as Henderson renders it.—Ed. of the earth, to possess habitations not their own. He means that there would be no obstacles in the way of the Chaldeans, but that they would spread themselves over the whole earth, and occupy regions far remote. For they who fear, dare not thus disperse themselves, but, on the contrary, they advance cautiously with a collected army; but those, who have already obtained victory, march on to lay waste the land. This is what the Prophet says the Chaldeans would do.

The meaning is—that they would not come to carry on an uncertain warfare, but that they would enjoy a victory; for they would by an impetuous course fill the land, so as to occupy tents or habitations not their own. It was indeed a matter of blame in the Chaldeans, that they thus made inroads on their own neighbors: but, as I have said, God intended only to fill the Jews with terror, because he found that all threatenings were despised. He therefore meant to show how terrible the Chaldeans would be, and he confirms the same in the next verse.

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