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6. Prophecy Against the Mountains

And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 2Son of man, set thy face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, 3And say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys; Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. 4And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken: and I will cast down your slain men before your idols. 5And I will lay the dead carcases of the children of Israel before their idols; and I will scatter your bones round about your altars. 6In all your dwellingplaces the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished. 7And the slain shall fall in the midst of you, and ye shall know that I am the Lord.

8Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries. 9And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations. 10And they shall know that I am the Lord, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.

11Thus saith the Lord GOD; Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, Alas for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel! for they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence. 12He that is far off shall die of the pestilence; and he that is near shall fall by the sword; and he that remaineth and is besieged shall die by the famine: thus will I accomplish my fury upon them. 13Then shall ye know that I am the Lord, when their slain men shall be among their idols round about their altars, upon every high hill, in all the tops of the mountains, and under every green tree, and under every thick oak, the place where they did offer sweet savour to all their idols. 14So will I stretch out my hand upon them, and make the land desolate, yea, more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblath, in all their habitations: and they shall know that I am the Lord.

Hence it appears how greatly obedience pleases God, and how true it is that it is better than sacrifices. (1 Samuel 15:22; I Kings 12.) For it is certain that the Israelites extolled their own fictions exorbitantly, as if they were worshipping God correctly In the beginning, indeed, Jeroboam cunningly devised those new rites, that he might alienate the ten tribes from the family of David, and at length the error spread, so that they thought that God approved that impious worship. But we see that God abominates them. We should always hold this principle, that although men think that they obey God when they thrust in their own fictions, yet they produce no other effect than to provoke the wrath of God against them. This vengeance, therefore, had not been taken against altars, unless God had been greatly offended with the impious mixture. Your altars, therefore, shall come to ruin and destruction, and then your idols shall be destroyed. Here some understand the idols of the sun, as the noun is taken from heat, which is afterwards repeated: but this divination seems to be too contracted Hence I do not doubt that the idols are so called on account of the mad love with which the worshippers were seized: for throughout the Prophets they are said to be like adulterers, and our Prophet also uses the same language. Idols therefore may very properly derive their name from heat, because their superstitious worshippers inflame themselves with love, and like adulterers run after harlots, as we shall again see. He afterwards uses another word, when he says, I will lay prostrate your slain before your idols: for they call idols גלולים, gelolim, on account of their foulness, nay even filth. We see then in the first place that the fury with which the Israelites were inflamed is condemned by the Prophet, since they perverted the pure and lawful worship of God: then he reproves their enormity because they willingly remained in filth and defilement. But here also we are taught how mightily God is angry with all superstitions, when he not only cites mankind to his tribunal because they profane true piety, but is angry with external instruments — as stones and wood, and, as it were, involves these instruments of idolatry with their authors. It follows —


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