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Lecture One Hundred and Seventeenth

We explained yesterday why the Prophet says that God went forth for the salvation of the elect people with his Christ. His purpose was to confirm still more the faithful in the hope of their deliverance; for God is not only the same, and never changes his purpose, but the same Mediator also performs his office, through whom the people were formerly preserved. We must also notice this difference, to which I referred yesterday; for as God had then more clearly manifested Christ, with more cheerfulness it behaved the faithful to go on, as they had so remarkable a pledge of God’s favor, inasmuch as God had promised that the kingdom of God would be for ever.

He adds, that wounded was the head from the house of the wicked; that is, that there was no power which had not been laid prostrate by God for the sake of his people; and we know that all the great kings were formerly destroyed, in order that favor might be shown to God’s people. The other comparison seems different, and yet its object is the same—that God had made bare the foundation to the neck; that is, that he had destroyed from the roots his enemies; for by foundation he means, in a metaphorical sense, whatever stability there was in these enemies, and that this was torn up and overthrown to the very neck, that is, to the very summit; for the body of men, we know, is covered from the neck to the feet. And he says that their houses, that is their families, were made bare to the neck, for the Lord had destroyed them all from the bottom to the top. We now understand what the Prophet meant.

As to the word סלה, selah, I have hitherto said nothing; but I shall now briefly refer to what the Hebrew interpreters think. Some explain it by לעולם, laoulam, "for ever;” and by עד ועד, od uod, “yet and yet;” as though, when this word is inserted, the Holy Spirit pronounced what is to be for ever. Others render it by אמן, amen, as though God testified that what is said is true and indubitable. But as it never occurs except in this song and in the Psalms, and does not always comport with what they say, that is, that it denotes certainty or perpetuity, I prefer embracing the opinion of those who think that it refers to singing, and not to things. And what they add is also probable, if we regard its etymology, for the word means to raise or to elevate; and it was therefore put down to remind the singers to raise their voice. But as it is a thing of no great importance, it is enough shortly to state what others think. Let us now go on—

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