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66. Judgment and Hope

Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? 2For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. 3He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. 4I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

5Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word; your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed. 6A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord that rendereth recompence to his enemies. 7Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. 8Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. 9Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God. 10Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: 11That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. 12For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. 13As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. 14And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the Lord shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies. 15For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. 16For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many. 17They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the Lord. 18For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. 19And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. 20And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord. 21And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the Lord. 22For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. 24And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

4. I also will choose their delusions. 220220     “‘That I may mock them.’ Here the word תעלוליהם (tagnalulehem) means להתעולל בם, (lehithgnolel bam,), that I may mock them,’ in the same sense as the words used in another passage, כי התעללת בי, (ki hith-gnallalt bi) ‘because thou hast mocked me.’ (Numbers 22:29.)” — Jarchi. The Prophet means that the Jews gain nothing by holding out various and plausible pretences and by searching for excuses; because God does not care for the cunning or fine speeches of men. And indeed it is not proper to measure God by our own capacity, and we ought not to depend on human judgment; but it is our duty to judge of the works of God from his word. I will choose; that is, “I will scatter the clouds which they endeavor to spread over themselves, so that their delusions shall be manifest and visible to all; for now they appear to be hidden, but one day they shall be dragged forth to public view.” The meaning may be thus summed up. “Because the Jews have indulged so freely in sinning that everything which they chose was preferred by them to the command ments of God, so also, in his turn, God will lay open their delusions at his pleasure.”

And will bring upon them their terror. 221221     “Et leur feray venir les choses qu’ils craignoyent.” “And will bring (or cause to come) upon them the things which they dreaded.” Under the word “terror” he repeats the same thing, according to the custom of Hebrew writers. “I will cause them to know that they have fallen into a mistake, and that the terrors which they indulged shall fall on their own heads. 222222     “Je feray qu ils cognoistront avoir failli, tellement que ce qu ils craignoyent leur tombera dessus la teste.” “I will cause them to know that they have been mistaken, and that what they dreaded has fallen on their own head.” Thus their excuses or hypocritical pretences will be of no avail for confounding truth and falsehood and veiling superstitions; because the Lord will clearly distinguish between them.

Because I called. The Prophet again condemns the Jews for obstinacy, in not having suffered the Lord to correct them. This is the only remedy that remains for correcting our vices, that we hear the Lord speaking, when he endeavors to bring us back into the right way; but when we sear and harden our hearts, it is the worst of all evils. Whenever therefore men prefer their own inventions to the ordinances and commandments of God, they openly despise God, to whose will they ought to have yielded. This is especially the case when there is added such obstinate hardness of heart as shuts the door against holy warnings, and it is vain for them to allege that they cannot displease God by doing that which they undertake for the purpose of worshipping him; for all that men, by neglecting the word, choose and follow, the Lord rejects and abhors.

Before mine eyes. He repeats what he had formerly said, that the Jews sinned in the sight of God, as if they had resolved to provoke him to anger. At length he adds their manner of doing so, that, with perverse desire, they sought what God had forbidden; nor is it without good reason that he so frequently censures the wicked insolence of men, in defrauding God of his right, by treating contemptuously what he approves.


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