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An Oracle concerning Damascus


An oracle concerning Damascus.


See, Damascus will cease to be a city,

and will become a heap of ruins.


Her towns will be deserted forever;

they will be places for flocks,

which will lie down, and no one will make them afraid.


The fortress will disappear from Ephraim,

and the kingdom from Damascus;

and the remnant of Aram will be

like the glory of the children of Israel,

says the L ord of hosts.



On that day

the glory of Jacob will be brought low,

and the fat of his flesh will grow lean.


And it shall be as when reapers gather standing grain

and their arms harvest the ears,

and as when one gleans the ears of grain

in the Valley of Rephaim.


Gleanings will be left in it,

as when an olive tree is beaten—

two or three berries

in the top of the highest bough,

four or five

on the branches of a fruit tree,

says the L ord God of Israel.


7 On that day people will regard their Maker, and their eyes will look to the Holy One of Israel; 8they will not have regard for the altars, the work of their hands, and they will not look to what their own fingers have made, either the sacred poles or the altars of incense.

9 On that day their strong cities will be like the deserted places of the Hivites and the Amorites, which they deserted because of the children of Israel, and there will be desolation.



For you have forgotten the God of your salvation,

and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge;

therefore, though you plant pleasant plants

and set out slips of an alien god,


though you make them grow on the day that you plant them,

and make them blossom in the morning that you sow;

yet the harvest will flee away

in a day of grief and incurable pain.



Ah, the thunder of many peoples,

they thunder like the thundering of the sea!

Ah, the roar of nations,

they roar like the roaring of mighty waters!


The nations roar like the roaring of many waters,

but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far away,

chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind

and whirling dust before the storm.


At evening time, lo, terror!

Before morning, they are no more.

This is the fate of those who despoil us,

and the lot of those who plunder us.


7. At that day shall a man look to his Maker. He now shews the fruit of this chastisement, and this is the second consolation with which the godly ought to fortify themselves amidst their afflictions. Although they perceive nothing but the wrath of God, yet they ought to reflect that the Lord, who never forgets himself, will continually preserve his Church, and not only so, but that the chastisements will be advantageous to them. After having spoken, therefore, about the continual existence of the Church, he next adds, that men will look to God This is the most desirable of all, for when men betake themselves to God, the world, which was formerly disordered, is restored to its proper order; but when we have been estranged from him, no one repents of his own accord, and therefore there is no other way in which we can be brought back than to be driven by the scourge of chastisements. We are thus reminded that we ought not to be so impatient in enduring chastisements, which cure us of the fearfully dangerous disease of apostasy.

To look to God means nothing else than that, when we have turned away, we return to a state of favor with him, betake ourselves and are converted to him. For how comes it that men abandon themselves to every kind of wickedness but because they forget God? Where the knowledge of God exists, there reverence dwells; where forgetfulness of God is found, there contempt of him also prevails. Yet this relates properly to faith, as if he had said, “When chastisements so severe shall have tamed the Israelites, they will then perceive that there is no help for them but in God.” For this reason he immediately adds the expression, To his Maker. It was indeed a proof of abominable indolence that they did not rely on God alone, who had bestowed on them so many precious gifts. The Prophet therefore says, that when they had been subdued by distresses and afflictions, they would afterwards return to a sound mind, so as to begin to hope in him who had bound them to himself by so many acts of kindness. And indeed he calls God their Maker, not as having created the whole human race, but in the same sense in which he likewise calls him The Holy One of Israel. Although therefore all men were created after the image of God, (Genesis 1:27), yet Israel was peculiarly his workmanship, because he was his heritage, and his holy and chosen people (Exodus 19:6). This repetition, in accordance with the ordinary custom of the Hebrew language, is employed to denote the same thing. He therefore calls God Holy, not only as viewed in himself, but from the effect produced, because he has sanctified or separated to himself the children of Abraham. Hence it follows, that the creation which he speaks of must be understood to relate to spiritual reformation, in reference to which he is especially called the Maker of Israel (Isaiah 45:11; Hosea 8:14).

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