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The Total Corruption of the People


Woe is me! For I have become like one who,

after the summer fruit has been gathered,

after the vintage has been gleaned,

finds no cluster to eat;

there is no first-ripe fig for which I hunger.


The faithful have disappeared from the land,

and there is no one left who is upright;

they all lie in wait for blood,

and they hunt each other with nets.


Their hands are skilled to do evil;

the official and the judge ask for a bribe,

and the powerful dictate what they desire;

thus they pervert justice.


The best of them is like a brier,

the most upright of them a thorn hedge.

The day of their sentinels, of their punishment, has come;

now their confusion is at hand.


Put no trust in a friend,

have no confidence in a loved one;

guard the doors of your mouth

from her who lies in your embrace;


for the son treats the father with contempt,

the daughter rises up against her mother,

the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;

your enemies are members of your own household.


But as for me, I will look to the L ord,

I will wait for the God of my salvation;

my God will hear me.


Penitence and Trust in God


Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy;

when I fall, I shall rise;

when I sit in darkness,

the L ord will be a light to me.


I must bear the indignation of the L ord,

because I have sinned against him,

until he takes my side

and executes judgment for me.

He will bring me out to the light;

I shall see his vindication.


Then my enemy will see,

and shame will cover her who said to me,

“Where is the L ord your God?”

My eyes will see her downfall;

now she will be trodden down

like the mire of the streets.


A Prophecy of Restoration


A day for the building of your walls!

In that day the boundary shall be far extended.


In that day they will come to you

from Assyria to Egypt,

and from Egypt to the River,

from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain.


But the earth will be desolate

because of its inhabitants,

for the fruit of their doings.



Shepherd your people with your staff,

the flock that belongs to you,

which lives alone in a forest

in the midst of a garden land;

let them feed in Bashan and Gilead

as in the days of old.


As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt,

show us marvelous things.


The nations shall see and be ashamed

of all their might;

they shall lay their hands on their mouths;

their ears shall be deaf;


they shall lick dust like a snake,

like the crawling things of the earth;

they shall come trembling out of their fortresses;

they shall turn in dread to the L ord our God,

and they shall stand in fear of you.


God’s Compassion and Steadfast Love


Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity

and passing over the transgression

of the remnant of your possession?

He does not retain his anger forever,

because he delights in showing clemency.


He will again have compassion upon us;

he will tread our iniquities under foot.

You will cast all our sins

into the depths of the sea.


You will show faithfulness to Jacob

and unswerving loyalty to Abraham,

as you have sworn to our ancestors

from the days of old.

He afterwards adds, In that day also to thee shall they come from Asshur. There is some obscurity in the words; hence interpreters have regarded different words as being understood: but to me the meaning of the Prophet appears not doubtful. In that day, he says, to thee shall they come from Asshur, and cities of the fortress and from the fortress even to the river, and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain; but some think הר, er, to be a proper name, and render the last clause, “And from mount Hor:” and we know that Aaron was buried on this mount. But the Prophet, no doubt, alludes here to some other place; and to render it mount Hor is a strained version. I doubt not, therefore, but that the Prophet repeats a common name, as though he said, “From mountains to mountains.”

Let us now see what the Prophet means. With regard to the passage, as I have said, there is no ambiguity, provided we bear in mind the main subject. Now the Prophet had this in view, — That Jerusalem, when restored by God, would be in such honor along all nations that there would be flowing to her from all parts. He then says, that the state of the city would be very splendid, so that people from all quarters would come to it: and therefore the copulative vau is to be taken twice for even for the sake of emphasis, In that day, even to thee, and then, even to the river; for it was not believed that Jerusalem would have any dignity, after it had been entirely destroyed, together with the temple. It is no wonder then that the Prophet so distinctly confirms here what was by no means probable, at least according to the common sentiments of men, — that Jerusalem would attract to itself all nations, even those far away. Come, then, shall they, (for the verb יבוא, ibua, in the singular number must be taken indefinitely as having a plural meaning,) Come, then, shall they from Asshur even to thee. But the Assyrians had previously destroyed every land, overturned the kingdom of Israel, and almost blotted out its name; and they had also laid waste the kingdom of Judah; a small portion only remained. They came afterwards, we know, with the Chaldeans, after the seat of empire was translated to Babylon, and destroyed Nineveh. Therefore, by naming the Assyrians, he no doubt, taking a part for the whole, included the Babylonians. Come, then, shall they from Asshur, and then, from the cities of the fortress, that is, from every fortress. For they who take צור, tsur, for Tyre are mistaken; for מצור, metsur 192192     It is somewhat singular that Newcome renders the first “fenced” and the second “Egypt:” but Henderson renders both “Egypt.” It is not the common name for Egypt, which is מצרים; the places referred to, 2 Kings 19:24, and Isaiah 19:6, do not justify this application. The word “day” in three instances is here without a preposition: it may therefore be regarded as the nominative absolute, or the verb, is nigh, or approaches, as Jerome proposes, is understood. I would give this version of the two verses, —
   11. The day for building thy walls!
That day! Removed far shall be the decree:

   12. That day! Even to thee shall they come,
From Assyria and cities of fortress,
And from the fortress even to the river,
from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain,
or, word for word,
And from the fortress even to the river and the sea,
From the sea and the mountain of the mountain.

   The last expression seems to mean, “every mountain.” — Ed.
is mentioned twice, and it means citadels and strongholds. And then, even to the river, that is, to utmost borders of Euphrates; for many take Euphrates, by way of excellence, to be meant by the word river; as it is often the case in Scripture; though it might be not less fitly interpreted of any or every river, as though the Prophet had said, that there would be no obstacle to stop their course who would hasten to Jerusalem. Even to the river then, and from sea to sea, that is, they shall come in troops from remote countries, being led by the celebrity of the holy city; for when it shall be rebuilt by God’s command, it shall acquire new and unusual honor, so that all people from every part shall assemble there. And then, from mountain to mountain, that is, from regions far asunder. This is the sum of the whole.

The Prophet then promises what all men deemed as fabulous, — that the dignity of the city Jerusalem should be so great after the return of the Jews from exile, that it would become, as it were, the metropolis of the world. One thing must be added: They who confine this passage to Christ seem not indeed to be without a plausible reason; for there follows immediately a threatening as to the desolation of the land; and there seems to be some inconsistency, except we consider the Prophet here as comparing the Church collected from all nations with the ancient people. But these things will harmonize well together if we consider, that the Prophet denounces vengeance on the unbelieving who then lived, and that he yet declares that God will be merciful to his chosen people. But the restriction which they maintain is too rigid; for we know that it was usual with the Prophets to extend the favor of God from the return of the ancient people to the coming of Christ. Whenever, then, the Prophets make known God’s favor in the deliverance of his people, they make a transition to Christ, but included also the whole intermediate time. And this mode the Prophet now pursues, and it ought to be borne in mind by us. Let us go on —

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