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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.

Yet here another promise is added, which may temper the bitterness of so sorrowful a prophecy. For hitherto God shows that he burns with indignation against the land of Israel, so that he determined to destroy it, since it was polluted everywhere, and at all corners. Nothing could therefore be hoped for, if Ezekiel had spoken precisely; therefore a promise is added in mitigation — I will leave a remnant, says he, that you may have some who escape the sword; that is, that some of you may survive. But how? God does not promise simple pardon, that he may leave the Israelites quiet and safe in the land, but he says that their safety shall be in exile. Hence therefore we collect that they were so depraved that they were unable to obtain pardon, because God says that his patience was their scorn and aversion. Although, therefore, he gives the Israelites some hope of favor, yet he also admonishes them that they could not obtain safety in any other way, except by a kind of death, namely exile. I will leave a remnant, says he, of you, who shall escape the sword; but how? whom shall the enemy have spared so that they do not change their place? nay, he says, when ye shall be dispersed among the Gentiles He promises them life, therefore, but a wretched one, because it was united with exile. But God’s favor cannot be sufficiently estimated from these words, unless what follows immediately is added.


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