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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.

Here the Prophet assumes the character of the Church and repels a temptation, which proves very severe to us in adversities; for there is not so much bitterness in the evil itself, as in the mockery of the wicked, when they petulantly insult us and deride our faith. And to noble minds reproach is ever sharper than death itself: and yet the devil almost always employs this artifice; for when he sees that we stand firm in temptations, he suborns the wicked and sharpens their tongues to speak evil of use and to wound us with slanders. This is the reason why the Prophet directs his discourse now to the enemies of the Church. But as God calls the Church his spouse, and as she is described to us under the character of a woman, so also he compares here the enemies of the holy people to a petulant woman. As, therefore, when there is emulation between two women, she, who sees her enemy pressed down by evils and adverse events, immediately raises up herself and triumphs; so also the Prophet says respecting the enemies of the Church; they sharpened their tongues, and vomited forth their bitterness, as soon as they saw the children of God in trouble or nearly overwhelmed with adversities. We now then understand the design of the Prophet, — that he wished to arm us, as I have said, against the taunts of the ungodly, lest they should prevail against us when God presses us down with adversities, but that we may stand courageously, and with composed and tranquil minds, swallow down the indignity.

Rejoice not over me, he says, O my enemy Why not? He adds a consolation; for it would not be enough for one to repel with disdain the taunts of his enemy; but the Prophet says here, Rejoice not, for should I fall, I shall rise; or though I fall, I shall rise: and the passage seems to harmonize better when there is a pause after Rejoice not over me; and then to add, Though I fall, I shall rise, though I sit in darkness, Jehovah shall be a light to me 189189     This is not exactly the Hebrew. The verb for rising, as well as that for falling, is in the past tense. The verse, literally rendered, is the following: —
   Rejoice not, my enemy, on my account;
Though I have fallen, I have risen;
Though I shall sit in darkness,
will be a light to me.

   There are no copies which give a different reading as to the verb “I have risen.” Newcome follows the Septuagint, and thinks that a conversive ו is left out. It ought rather perhaps to be considered as the language of faith, realizing the event before it arrived. The fall and “the darkness” refer no doubt to the outward calamities of the Church, its troubles and afflictions. — Ed.
The Prophet means, that the state of the Church was not past hope. There would be ample room for our enemies to taunt us, were it not that this promise cannot fail us, — seven times in the day the just falls, and rises again, (Proverbs 24:16.) — How so? For God puts under him his own hand. We now perceive the meaning of this passage. For if God deprived us of all hope, enemies might justly deride us, and we must be silent: but since we are surely persuaded that God is ready at hand to restore us again, we can boldly answer our enemies when they annoy with their derisions; though I fall, I shall rise: “There is now no reason for thee to triumph over me when I fall; for it is God’s will that I should fall, but it is for this end — that I may soon rise again; and though I now lie in darkness, yet the Lord will be my light.”

We hence see that our hope triumphs against all temptations: and this passage shows in a striking manner, how true is that saying of John, — that our faith gains the victory over the world, (1 John 5:4.) For when sorrow and trouble take possession of our hearts, we shall not fail if this comes to our mind — that God will be our aid in the time of need. And when men vomit forth their poison against us, we ought to be furnished with the same weapons: then our minds shall never succumb, but boldly repel all the taunts of Satan and of wicked men. This we learn from this passage.

Now, from what the Prophet says, Though I fall, I shall rise again, we see what God would have us to expect, even a happy and joyful exit at all times from our miseries; but on this subject I shall have to speak more copiously a little farther on. As to the latter clause, When I sit in darkness, God will be my light, it seems to be a confirmation of the preceding sentence, where the Prophet declares, that the fall of the Church would not be fatal. But yet some think that more is expressed, namely, that in the very darkness some spark of light would still shine. They then distinguish between this clause and the former one, which speaks of the fall and the rise of the faithful, in this manner, — that while they lie, as it were, sunk in darkness, they shall not even then be without consolation, for God’s favor would ever shine on them. And this seems to be a correct view: for it cannot be that any one will expect the deliverance of which the Prophet speaks, except he sees some light even in the thickest darkness, and sustains himself by partaking, in some measure, of God’s goodness: and a taste of God’s favor in distresses is suitably compared to light; as when one is cast into a deep pit, by raising upward his eyes, he sees at a distance the light of the sun; so also the obscure and thick darkness of tribulations may not so far prevail as to shut out from us every spark of light, and to prevent faith from raising our eyes upwards, that we may have some taste of God’s goodness. Let us proceed —

Here the Church of God animates and encourages herself to exercise patience, and does so especially by two arguments. She first sets before herself her sins, and thus humbles herself before God, whom she acknowledges to be a just Judge; and, in the second place, she embraces the hope of the forgiveness of her sins, and from this arises confidence as to her deliverance. By these two supports the Church sustains herself, that she fails not in her troubles, and gathers strength, as I have already said, to endure patiently.

First then he says, The wrath 190190     Iram, זעף, which means a stormy anger or displeasure, which agitates and raises tempests, and such were the calamities which came on the Jewish nation. of Jehovah will I bear, for sinned have I against him This passage shows, that when any one is seriously touched with the conviction of God’s judgment, he is at the same time prepared to exercise patience; for it cannot be, but that a sinner, conscious of evil, and knowing that he suffers justly will humbly and thankfully submit to the will of God. Hence when men perversely glamour against God, or murmur, it is certain that they have not as yet been made sensible of their sins. I allow indeed that many feel guilty who yet struggle against God, and fiercely resist his hand as much as they can, and also blaspheme his name when he chastises them: but they are not touched hitherto with the true feeling of penitence, so as to abhor themselves. Judas owned indeed that he had sinned, and freely made such confession, (Matthew 27:3.) Cain tried to cover his sin, but the Lord drew from him an unwilling confession, (Genesis 4:13.) They did not yet repent; nay, they ceased not to contend with God; for Cain complained that his punishment was too heavy to be borne; Judas despaired. And the same thing happens to all the reprobate. They seemed then to have been sufficiently convinced to acknowledge their guilt, and, as it were, to assent to the justice of God’s judgment; but they did not really know their sins, so as to abhor themselves, as I have said, on account of their sins. For true penitence is ever connected with the submission of which the Prophet now speaks. Whosoever then is really conscious of his sins, renders himself at the same time obedient to God, and submits himself altogether to his will. Thus repentance does ever of itself lead to the bearing of the cross; so that he who sets himself before God’s tribunal allows himself to be at the same time chastised, and bears punishment with a submissive mind: as the ox, that is tamed, always takes the yoke without any resistance, so also is he prepared who is really touched with the sense of his sins, to bear any punishment which God may be pleased to inflict on him. This then is the first thing which we ought to learn from these words of the Prophet, The wrath of Jehovah will I bear, for sinned have I against him.

We also learn from this passage, that all who do not patiently bear his scourges contend with God; for though they do not openly accuse God, and say that they are just, they do not yet ascribe to him his legitimate glory, by confessing that he is a righteous judge. — How so? Because these two things are united together and joined by an indissoluble knot — to be sensible of sin — and to submit patiently to the will of the Judge when he inflicts punishment.

Now follows the other argument, Until he decides my cause, and vindicates my right; he will bring me forth into the light, I shall see his righteousness Here the Church leans on another support; for though the Lord should most heavily afflict her, she would not yet cast aside the hope of deliverance; for she knew, as we have already seen, that she was chastised for her good: and indeed no one could even for a moment continue patient in a state of misery, except he entertained the hope of being delivered, and promised to himself a happy escape. These two things then ought not to be separated, and cannot be, — the acknowledgment of our sins, which will humble us before God, — and the knowledge of his goodness, and a firm assurance as to our salvation; for God has testified that he will be ever propitious to us, how much soever he may punish us for our sins, and that he will remember mercy, as Habakkuk says, in the midst of his wrath, (Habakkuk 3:2.) It would not then be sufficient for us to feel our evils, except the consolation, which proceeds from the promises of grace, be added.

The Prophet shows further, that the Church was innocent, with regard to its enemies, though justly suffering punishment. And this ought to be carefully observed; for whenever we have to do with the wicked, we think that there is no blame belonging to us. But these two things ought to be considered, — that the wicked trouble us without reason, and thus our cause as to them is just, — and yet that we are justly afflicted by God; for we shall ever find many reasons why the Lord should chastise us. These two things, then, ought to be both considered by us, as the Prophet seems to intimate here: for at the beginning of the verse he says, The wrath of God will I bear, for sinned have I against him; and now he adds, The Lord will yet vindicate my right, literally, “will debate my dispute,” that is, plead my cause. Since the Church is guilty before God, nay, waits not for the sentence of the judge, but anticipates it, and freely confesses herself to be worthy of such punishment, what does this mean, — that the Lord will decide her quarrel, that he will undertake her cause? These two things seem to militate the one against the other: but they agree well together when viewed in their different bearings. The Church had confessed that she had sinned against God; she now turns her eyes to another quarter; for she knew that she was unjustly oppressed by enemies; she knew that they were led to do wrong by cruelty alone. This then is the reason why the Church entertained hope, and expected that God would become the defender of her innocence, that is, against the wicked: and yet she humbly acknowledged that she had sinned against God. Whenever, then, our enemies do us harm, let us lay hold on this truth, — that God will become our defender; for he is ever the patron of justice and equity: it cannot then be, that God will abandon us to the violence of the wicked. He will then at length plead our pleading, or undertake our cause, and be its advocate. But, in the meantime, let our sins be remembered by us, that, being truly humbled before God, we may not hope for the salvation which he promises to us, except through gratuitous pardon. Why then are the faithful bidden to be of good comfort in their afflictions? Because God has promised to be their Father; he has received them under his protection, he has testified that his help shall never be wanting to them. But whence is this confidence? Is it because they are worthy? Is it because they have deserved something of this kind? By no means: but they acknowledge themselves to be guilty, when they humbly prostrate themselves before God, and when they willingly condemn themselves before his tribunal, that they may anticipate his judgment. We now see how well the Prophet connects together these two things, which might otherwise seem contradictory.

Now follow the words, He will bring me to the light, I shall see his righteousness! 191191     “I shall see the equity of his proceedings concerning me, and the performance of his promises to me.” — Henry. The Church still confirms herself in the hope of deliverance: art it is hence also manifest how God is light to the faithful in obscure darkness, because they see that there is prepared for them an escape from their evils; but they see it at a distance, for they extend their hope beyond the boundaries of this life. As then the truth of God diffuses itself through heaven and earth, so the faithful extend their hope far and wide. Thus it is, that they can see light afar off, which seems to be very remote from them. And having this confidence, the Prophet says, The Lord will bring me into the light. They have, in the meantime, as I have already said, some light; they enjoy a taste of God’s goodness in the midst of their evils: but the Prophet now refers to that coming forth which we ought to look for even in the worst circumstances.

He then adds, I shall see his righteousness By God’s righteousness is to be understood, as it has been elsewhere stated, his favor towards the faithful; not that God returns for their works the salvation which he bestows, as ungodly men foolishly imagine; for they lay hold on the word righteousness, and think that whatever favors God freely grants us are due to our merits. — How so? For God in this way shows his own righteousness. But far different is the reason for this mode of speaking. God, in order to show how dear and precious to him is our salvation, does indeed say, that he designs to give an evidence of his justice in delivering us: but there is a reference in this word righteousness to something else; for God has promised that our salvation shall be the object of his care, hence he appears just whenever he delivers us from our troubles. Then the righteousness of God is not to be referred to the merits of works, but, on the contrary, to the promise by which he has bound himself to us; and so also in the same dense God is often said to be faithful. In a word, the righteousness and faithfulness of God mean the same thing. When the Prophet says now in the person of the Church, I shall see his righteousness, he means, that though God concealed his favor for a time, and withdrew his hand, so that no hope of aid remained, it could not yet be, as he is just, but that he would succor us: I shall see then his righteousness, that is, God will at length really show that he is righteous. It now follows —

In the last lecture I repeated the tenth verse of the last chapter, in which the prophet adds, as a cause of the greatest joy, that the enemies of the Church shall see granted, to their great mortification, the wonderful favor of which the Prophet had been speaking. But he describes these enemies, under the character of an envious woman, as the Church of God is also compared to a woman: and this mode of speaking is common in Scripture. He then calls Jerusalem his rival, or Babylon, or some city of his enemies.

And he says, Covered shall she be with shame We know that the ungodly grow insolent when fortune smiles on them: hence in prosperity they keep within no bounds, for they think that God is under their feet. If prosperity most commonly has the effect of making the godly to forget God and even themselves, it is no wonder that the unbelieving become more and more hardened, when God is indulgent to them. With regard then to such a pride, the Prophet now says, When my enemy shall see, shame shall cover her; that is, she will not continue in her usual manner, to elate herself with her own boastings: nay, she will be compelled for shame to hide herself; for she will see that she had been greatly deceived, in thinking that I should be wholly ruined.

He afterwards adds, Who said to me, Where is Jehovah thy God? The Church of God in her turn triumphs here over the unbelieving, having been delivered by divine power; nor does she do this for her own sake, but because the ungodly expose the holy name of God to reproach, which is very common: for whenever God afflicts his people, the unbelieving immediately raise their crests, and pour forth their blasphemies against God, when yet they ought, on the contrary, to humble themselves under his hand. But since God executes his judgments on the faithful, what can be expected by his ungodly despisers? If God’s vengeance be manifested in a dreadful manner with regard to the green tree, what will become of the dry wood? And the ungodly are like the dry wood. But as they are blind as to God’s judgments, they petulantly deride his name, whenever they see the Church afflicted, as though adversities were not the evidences of God’s displeasure: for he chastises his own children, to show that he is the judge of the world. But, as I have already said, the ungodly so harden themselves in their stupor, that they are wholly thoughtless. The faithful, therefore, after having found God to be their deliverer, do here undertake his cause; they do not regard themselves nor their own character, but defend the righteousness of God. Such is this triumphant language, Who said, Where is now Jehovah thy God? “I can really show that I worship the true God, who deserts not his people in extreme necessity: after he has assisted me, my enemy, who dared to rise up against God, now seeks hiding-places.”

She shall now, he says, be trodden under foot as the mire of the streets; and my eyes shall see her. What the Prophet declares in the name of the Church, that the unbelieving shall be like mire, is connected with the promise, which we already noticed; for God so appears as the deliverer of his Church, as not to leave its enemies unpunished. God then, while he aids his own people, leads the ungodly to punishment. Hence the Church, while embracing the deliverance offered to her, at the same time sees the near ruin, which impends on all the despisers of God. But what is stated, See shall my eyes, ought not to be so taken, as though the faithful exult with carnal joy, when they see the ungodly suffering the punishment which they have deserved; for the word to see is to be taken metaphorically, as signifying a pleasant and joyful sight, according to what it means in many other places; and as it is a phrase which often occurs, its meaning must be well known. See then shall my eyes, that is, “I shall enjoy to look on that calamity, which now impends over all the ungodly.” But, as I have already said, carnal joy is not what is here intended, which intemperately exults, but that pure joy which the faithful experience on seeing the grace of God displayed and also his judgment. But this joy cannot enter into our hearts until they be cleansed from unruly passions; for we are ever excessive in fear and sorrow, as well as in hope and joy, except the Lord holds us in, as it were, with a bridle. We shall therefore be only then capable of this spiritual joy, of which the Prophet speaks, when we shall put off all disordered feelings, and God shall subdue us by his Spirit: then only shall we be able to retain moderation in our joy. The Prophet proceeds —

Micah pursues the subject on which he had previously spoken, — that though the Church thought itself for a time to be wholly lost, yet God would become its deliverer. He says first, that the day was near, in which they were to build the wall. The word גדר, gidar, means either a mound or a wall; so it ought to be distinguished from a wall, that is, a strong fortress. He then intimates that the time would come, when God would gather his Church, and preserve it, as though it were defended on every side by walls. For we know that the scattering of the Church is compared to the pulling down of walls or fences: as when a person pulls down the fence of a field or a vineyard, or breaks down all enclosures; so when the Church is exposed as a prey to all, she is said to be like an open field or a vineyard, which is without any fence. Now, on the other hand, the Prophet says here, that the time would come, when the faithful shall again build walls, by which they may be protected from the assaults and plunder of enemies, A day then to build thy walls

Then he adds, This day shall drive afar off the edict; some render it tribute; but the word properly means an edict, and this best suits the passage; for the Prophet’s meaning is, that the people would not, as before, be subject to the tyranny of Babylon. For after the subversion of Jerusalem, the Babylonians, no doubt, triumphed very unfeelingly over the miserable people, and uttered dreadful threatening. The Prophet, therefore, under the name of edict, includes that cruel and tyrannical dominion which the Babylonians for a time exercised. We know what God denounces on the Jews by Ezekiel,

‘Ye would not keep my good laws;
I will therefore give you laws which are not good,
which ye shall be constrained to keep;
and yet ye shall not live in them,’
(Ezekiel 20:25.)

Those laws which were not good were the edicts of which the Prophet now speaks. That day then shall drive far away the edict, that the Jews might not dread the laws of their enemies. For the Babylonians no doubt forbade, under the severest punishment, any one from building even a single house in the place where Jerusalem formerly was; for they wished that place to remain desolate, that the people might know that they had no hope of restoration. That day then shall put afar off; or drive to a distance, the edict; for liberty shall be given to the Jews to build their city; and then they shall not tremblingly expect every hour, until new edicts come forth, denouncing grievous punishments on whomsoever that would dare to encourage his brethren to build the temple of God.

Some draw the Prophet’s words to another meaning: they first think that he speaks only of the spiritual kingdom of Christ, and then they take רחק, rechek, in the sense of extending or propagating, and consider this to be the Gospel which Christ, by the command of the Father, promulgated through the whole world. It is indeed true that David uses the word decree in Psalm 2, while speaking of the preaching of the Gospel; and it is also true, that the promulgation of that decree is promised in Psalm 110, ‘The rod of his power will Jehovah send forth from Zion.’ But this passage ought not to be thus violently perverted; for the Prophet no doubt means, that the Jews would be freed from all dread of tyranny when God restored them to liberty; and רחק, rechek, does not mean to extend or propagate, but to drive far away. That day then shall drive away the decree, so that the faithful shall be no more subject to tyrannical commands. We now perceive the true meaning of the Prophet.

The faithful doubtless prayed in their adversities, and depended on such prophecies as we find in Psalm 102,

‘The day is now come to show mercy to Zion, and to build its walls; for thy servants pity her stones.’

Nor did the faithful pray thus presumptuously, but taking confidence, as though God had dictated a form of prayer by his own mouth, they dealt with God according to his promise, “O Lord, thou hast promised the rebuilding of the city, and the time has been prefixed by Jeremiah and by other Prophets: since then the time is now completed, grant that the temple and the holy city may again be built.”

Some render the words, “In the day in which thou shalt build (or God shall build) thy walls — in that day shall be removed afar off the decree.” But I doubt not but that the Prophet promises here distinctly to the faithful both the restoration of the city and a civil freedom; for the sentence is in two parts: the Prophet intimates first, that the time was now near when the faithful would build their own walls, that they might not be exposed to the will of their enemies, — and then he adds, that they would be freed from the dread of tyranny; for God, as it is said by Isaiah, would break the yoke of the burden, and the scepter of the oppressor, (Isaiah 9:4;) and it is altogether the same kind of sentence.

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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