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The Destruction of Israel


I saw the L ord standing beside the altar, and he said:

Strike the capitals until the thresholds shake,

and shatter them on the heads of all the people;

and those who are left I will kill with the sword;

not one of them shall flee away,

not one of them shall escape.



Though they dig into Sheol,

from there shall my hand take them;

though they climb up to heaven,

from there I will bring them down.


Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,

from there I will search out and take them;

and though they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea,

there I will command the sea-serpent, and it shall bite them.


And though they go into captivity in front of their enemies,

there I will command the sword, and it shall kill them;

and I will fix my eyes on them

for harm and not for good.



The Lord, G od of hosts,

he who touches the earth and it melts,

and all who live in it mourn,

and all of it rises like the Nile,

and sinks again, like the Nile of Egypt;


who builds his upper chambers in the heavens,

and founds his vault upon the earth;

who calls for the waters of the sea,

and pours them out upon the surface of the earth—

the L ord is his name.



Are you not like the Ethiopians to me,

O people of Israel? says the L ord.

Did I not bring Israel up from the land of Egypt,

and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?


The eyes of the Lord G od are upon the sinful kingdom,

and I will destroy it from the face of the earth

—except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,

says the L ord.



For lo, I will command,

and shake the house of Israel among all the nations

as one shakes with a sieve,

but no pebble shall fall to the ground.


All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword,

who say, “Evil shall not overtake or meet us.”


The Restoration of David’s Kingdom


On that day I will raise up

the booth of David that is fallen,

and repair its breaches,

and raise up its ruins,

and rebuild it as in the days of old;


in order that they may possess the remnant of Edom

and all the nations who are called by my name,

says the L ord who does this.



The time is surely coming, says the L ord,

when the one who plows shall overtake the one who reaps,

and the treader of grapes the one who sows the seed;

the mountains shall drip sweet wine,

and all the hills shall flow with it.


I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel,

and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them;

they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine,

and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit.


I will plant them upon their land,

and they shall never again be plucked up

out of the land that I have given them,

says the L ord your God.

The Prophet describes now in general terms the power of God, that he might the more impress his hearers, and that they might not heedlessly reject what he had previously threatened respecting their approaching ruin; for he had said, ‘Lo, God will smite the land, and it shall tremble.’ This was special. Now as men received with deaf ears those threatening, and thought that God in a manner trifled with them, the Prophet added, by way of confirmation, a striking description of the power of God; as though he said, “Ye do hear what God denounces: now, as he has clothed me with his own authority, and commanded me to terrify you by setting before you your punishment, know ye that you have to do with God himself, whose majesty ought to make you all, and all that you are, to tremble: for what sort of Being is this God, whose word is regarded by you with contempt? God is he who builds for himself chambers 6262     Caenacula, in other places, ascensiones, and more correctly; for מעלות is properly ascents, steps to ascend, stairs; and hence, the places ascended to, chambers. in the heavens, who founds his jointings 6363     Coagmentationes suas — his joinings, cementings; but אנדתו is in the singular number. It is difficult to ascertain its meaning. It occurs not as a verb, but from its application, its ideal meaning seems to be, to join or bind together, so as to form a compact body. It is applied in 2 Samuel 2:25, to designate a troop, a compact body of men. It signifies in Exodus 12:22, a bundle of hyssop. Newcome renders it a storehouse, deriving its meaning from the Chaldee; and Henderson renders it vault, tracing it from the Arabic, and says that it signifies the vault or arch of heaven, the hemispheric expanse, which apparently to the eye is founded on the earth; but a band or troop has been its most common acceptation.
   It must be borne in mind, that it must be something on earth that corresponds or forms a contrast with ascents in the heavens. God has his ascendings, or as it were, his steps or stairs in the heavens, along which, speaking after the manner of men, he ascends: then what has he on earth? It seems to me that something firm, solid, compacted, is intended; and the earth is said to be his footstool. Hence a firm footing, standing, or station, appears to be the meaning of the word.
The French translation is —

   Qui fonde son batiment sur la terre
“Who founds his
building on the earth.”

   — Ed.
(some render it bundles) in the earth, who calls the waters of the sea, and pours them on the face of the earth”; in a word, He is Jehovah, whose being is in himself alone: and ye exist only through his powers and whenever he pleases, he can with-draw his Spirits and then vanish must this whole world, of which ye are but the smallest particles. Since then He alone is God, and there is in you but a momentary strength, and since this great power of God, the evidences of which he affords you through the whole order of nature, is so conspicuous to you, how is it that ye are so heedless?” We now perceive why the Prophet exalts in so striking a manner the power of God.

First, in saying that God builds for himself his ascendings (ascensiones) in the heavens, he alludes no doubt, to the very structure of the heavens; for the element of air, we know, rises upwards, on account of its being light; and then the element of fire comes nearer to what heaven is; then follow the spheres as then the whole world above the earth is much more favorable to motion, this is the reason why the Prophet says that God has his ascents in the heavens. God indeed stands in no need of the heavens or of the air as an habitation, for he is contained in no place, being one who cannot be contained: but it is said, for the sake of men, that God is above all heavens: he is then located in his own elevated throne. But he says that he founds for himself his jointing on the earth, for this part of the world is more solid, the element of earth being grosser and denser, and therefore more firm. So also the waters, though lighter than the earth, approach it nearest. God then builds in the heavens. It is a mechanism which is in itself wonderful: when one raises to heaven his eyes, and then looks on the earth, is he not constrained to stand amazed? The Prophet then exhibits here before our eyes the inconceivable power of God, that we may be impressed by his words, and know with whom we have to do, when he denounces punishment.

He further says, Who calls the waters of the sea, and pours them on the face of the earth This change is in itself astonishing; God in a short time covers the whole heaven: there is a clear brightness, in a moment clouds supervene, which darken the whole heaven, and thick waters are suspended over our heads. Who could say that the whole sky could be so suddenly changed? God by his own command and bidding does all this alone. He calls then the waters of the sea, and pours them down Though rains, we know, are formed in great measure by vapors from the earth, yet we also know that these vapors arise from the sea, and that the sea chiefly supplies the dense abundance of moisture. The Prophet then, by taking a part for the whole, includes here all the vapors, by which rain is formed. He calls them the waters of the sea; God by his own power alone creates the rain, by raising vapors from the waters; and then he causes them to descend on the whole face of the earth. Since then the Lord works so wonderfully through the whole order of nature, what do we think will take place, when he puts forth the infinite power of his hand to destroy men, having resolved to execute the extreme judgment which he has decreed?

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