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An oracle concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh.


The Consuming Wrath of God


A jealous and avenging God is the L ord,

the L ord is avenging and wrathful;

the L ord takes vengeance on his adversaries

and rages against his enemies.


The L ord is slow to anger but great in power,

and the L ord will by no means clear the guilty.


His way is in whirlwind and storm,

and the clouds are the dust of his feet.


He rebukes the sea and makes it dry,

and he dries up all the rivers;

Bashan and Carmel wither,

and the bloom of Lebanon fades.


The mountains quake before him,

and the hills melt;

the earth heaves before him,

the world and all who live in it.



Who can stand before his indignation?

Who can endure the heat of his anger?

His wrath is poured out like fire,

and by him the rocks are broken in pieces.


The L ord is good,

a stronghold in a day of trouble;

he protects those who take refuge in him,


even in a rushing flood.

He will make a full end of his adversaries,

and will pursue his enemies into darkness.


Why do you plot against the L ord?

He will make an end;

no adversary will rise up twice.


Like thorns they are entangled,

like drunkards they are drunk;

they are consumed like dry straw.


From you one has gone out

who plots evil against the L ord,

one who counsels wickedness.


Good News for Judah


Thus says the L ord,

“Though they are at full strength and many,

they will be cut off and pass away.

Though I have afflicted you,

I will afflict you no more.


And now I will break off his yoke from you

and snap the bonds that bind you.”



The L ord has commanded concerning you:

“Your name shall be perpetuated no longer;

from the house of your gods I will cut off

the carved image and the cast image.

I will make your grave, for you are worthless.”



Look! On the mountains the feet of one

who brings good tidings,

who proclaims peace!

Celebrate your festivals, O Judah,

fulfill your vows,

for never again shall the wicked invade you;

they are utterly cut off.

Though a part of what is here delivered belongs to the Israelites and to the Jews, he yet calls his Book by what it principally contains; he calls its the burden of Nineveh Of this word משא, mesha, we have spoken elsewhere. Thus the Prophets call their prediction, whenever they denounce any grievous and dreadful vengeance of God: and as they often threatened the Jews, it hence happened, that they called, by way of ridicule, all prophecies by this name משא, mesha, a burden. 206206     The word comes from נשא, to bear, to carry. Some regard it as the message carried or borne by the Prophets from God to the people, and hence the same as Prophecy. Others consider it to be the judgment to be borne by the people respecting whom it was announced. The latter seems to be its meaning here, where it is said, “the burden of Nineveh.” It was the judgment laid on them, and which that city was to bear, endure, and undergo. — Ed. But yet the import of the word is suitable. It is the same thing as though Nahum had said that he was sent by God as a herald, to proclaim war on the Ninevites for the sake of the chosen people. The Israelites may have hence learnt how true and unchangeable God was in his covenant; for he still manifested his care for them, though they had by their vices alienated themselves from him.

He afterwards adds, ספר חזון, sapher chezun, the book of the vision This clause signifies, that he did not in vain denounce destruction on the Ninevites, because he faithfully delivered what he had received from God. For if he had simply prefaced, that he threatened ruin to the Assyrian,, some doubt might have been entertained as to the event. But here he seeks to gain to himself authority by referring to God’s name; for he openly affirms that he brought nothing of his own, but that this burden had been made known to him by a celestial oracle: for חזה, cheze, means properly to see, and hence in Hebrew a vision is called חזון, chezun,. But the Prophets, when they speak of a vision, do not mean any fantasy or imagination, but that kind of revelation which is mentioned in Numbers 14, where God says, that he speaks to his Prophets either by vision or by dream. We hence see why this was added — that the burden of Nineveh was a vision; it was, that the Israelites might know that this testimony respecting God’s vengeance on their enemies was not brought by a mortal man, and that there might be no doubt but that God was the author of this prophecy.

Nahum calls himself an Elkoshite. Some think that it was the name of his family. The Jews, after their manner, say, that it was the name of his father; and then they add this their common gloss, that Elkos himself was a Prophet: for when the name of a Prophet’s father is mentioned, they hold that he whose name is given was also a Prophet. But these are mere trifles: and we have often seen how great is their readiness to invent fables. Then the termination of the word leads us to think that it was, on the contrary, the proper name of a place; and Jerome tells us that there was in his time a small village of this name in the tribe of Simon. We must therefore understand, that Nahum arose from that town, and was therefore called “the Elkoshite.” 207207     “It has been thought, and not without reason, by some, that Capernaum, Heb. כפד נחום, most properly rendered, the village of Nahum, derived its name from our Prophet having resided in it.” — Henderson. Let us now proceed —

Nahum 1:2

2. God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.

2. Deus aemulator (sic vertunt,) et ulciscens Jehova; ulciscens Jehova, et Dominus irae (vel, possidens iram;) ulciscens Jehova hostes suos, et servans (vel, responens) idem (vel, ipse) inimicis suis.


Nahum begins with the nature of God, that what he afterwards subjoins respecting the destruction of Nineveh might be more weighty, and produce a greater impression on the hearers. The preface is general, but the Prophet afterwards applies it to a special purpose. If he had only spoken of what God is, it would have been frigid at least it would have been less efficacious; but when he connects both together, then his doctrine carries its own force and power. We now apprehend the design of the Prophet. He might indeed have spoken of the fall of the city Nineveh: but if he had referred to this abruptly, profane men might have regarded him with disdain; and even the Israelites would have been perhaps less affected. This is the reason why he shows, in a general way, what sort of Being God is. And he takes his words from Moses; and the Prophets are wont to borrow from him their doctrine: 208208     How far this language is right, may be questioned. The Prophets, under the immediate direction of the Divine Spirit, can hardly be said to borrow from a previous writer. They have no doubt announced the same sentiments, and in some instances, used the same words, as those found in the writings of Moses; but they derived them not from those writings, but from Divine inspiration: and, as Calvin has often observed, they adduced nothing but what they received from God. But this language is not peculiar to Calvin: he adopted it from the fathers. — Ed. and it is from that most memorable vision, when God appeared to Moses after the breaking of the tables. I have therefore no doubt but that Nahum had taken from Exodus 34 what we read here: he does not, indeed, give literally what is found there; but it is sufficiently evident that he paints, as it were, to the life, the image of God, by which his nature may be seen.

He says first, that God is jealous; (amulus — emulous); for the verb קנא, kona, means to irritate, and also to emulate, and to envy. When God is said to be קנוא, konua, the Greeks render it jealous, ζηλωτην, and the Latins, emulous, (amulatorem) But it properly signifies, that God cannot bear injuries or wrongs. Though God then for a time connives at the wickedness of men? he will yet be the defender of his own glory. He calls him afterwards the avenger, and he repeats this three times, Jehovah avengeth, Jehovah avengeth and possesseth wrath, he will avenge. When he says that God keeps for his enemies, he means that vengeance is reserved for the unbelieving and the despisers of God. There is the same mode of speaking in use among us, Je lui garde, et il la garde a ses ennemis. This phrase, in our language, shows what the Prophet means here by saying, that God keeps for his enemies. And this awful description of God is to be applied to the present case, for he says that he proclaims war against the Ninevites, because they had unjustly distressed the Church of God: it is for this reason that he says, that God is jealous, that God is an avenger; and he confirms this three times, that the Israelites might feel assured that this calamity was seriously announced; for had not this representation been set before them, they might have thus reasoned with themselves, — “We are indeed cruelly harassed by our enemies; but who can think that God cares any thing for our miseries, since he allows them so long to be unavenged?” It was therefore necessary that the Prophet should obviate such thoughts, as he does here. We now more fully understand why he begins in a language so vehement, and calls God a jealous God, and an avenger.

He afterwards adds, that God possesses wrath I do not take חמה, cheme, simply for wrath, but the passion or he it of wrath. We ought not indeed to suppose, as it has been often observed, that our passions belong to God; for he remains ever like himself. But yet God is said to be for a time angry, and for ever towards the reprobate, for he is our and their Judge. Here, then, when the Prophet says, that God is the Lord of wrath, or that he possesses wrath, he means that he is armed with vengeance and that, though he connives at the sins of men, he is not yet indifferent, nor even delays because he is without power, or because he is idle and careless, but that he retains wraths as he afterwards repeats the same thing, He keeps for his enemies 209209     The following may be proposed as the literal rendering of this verse, —
   A God jealous and an avenger is Jehovah;
is Jehovah, and one who has indignation:
is Jehovah on his adversaries,
And watch does he for his enemies.

   God is said to be jealous in the second commandment, being one who will not allow his own honor to be given to another. Avenger, נקם, is a vindicator of his own rights; and he is said to have indignation, or hot wrath, or great displeasure; בעל חמה, possessor, holder, or keeper of indignation. His adversaries, צריו, rather, his oppressors; the oppressors of his people were his own oppressors. נוטר means to watch, rather than to keep. Its meaning here is to watch the opportunity to take than to keep. Its meaning here is to watch the opportunity to take vengeance on his enemies. The description here is remarkable, and exactly adapted to the oppressive state of the Jews. The dishonor done to God’s people was done to him. He is jealous, a defender of his own rights, full of indignation, and watches and waits for a suitable time to execute vengeance, to vindicate his own honor. — Ed.
In short, by these forms of speaking the Prophet intimates that God is not to be rashly judged of on account of his delay, when he does not immediately execute His judgments; for he waits for the seasonable opportunity. But, in the meantime there is no reason for us to think that he forgets his office when he suspends punishment, or for a season spares the ungodly. When, therefore, God does not hasten so very quickly, there is no ground for us to think that he is indifferent, because he delays his wrath, or retains it, as we have already said; for it is the same thing to retain wrath, as to be the Lord of wrath, and to possess it. It follows —

The Prophet goes on with the same subject; and still longer is the preface respecting the nature of God, which however is to be applied, as I have said, to the special objects which hereafter he will state. He says here that God is slow to wrath Though this saying is taken also from Moses yet the Prophet speaks here for the purpose of anticipating an objection; for he obviates the audacity of the ungodly who daringly derided God, when any evil was denounced on them, — Where is the mercy of God? Can God divest himself of his kindness? He cannot deny himself. Thus profane men, under the pretense of honoring God, cast on him the most atrocious slander, for they deprive him of his own power and office: and there is no doubt but that this was commonly done by many of the ungodly in the age of our Prophet. Hence he anticipates this objection, and concedes that God is slow to wrath. There is then a concession here; but at the same time he says that God is great in strength, and this he says, that the ungodly may not flatter and deceive themselves, when they hear these high attributes given to God, that he is patient, slow to wrath, merciful, full of kindness. “Let them,” he says, “at the same time remember the greatness of God’s power, that they may not think that they have to do with a child.”

We now then see the design of the Prophet: for this declaration — that God hastens not suddenly to wrath, but patiently defers and suspends the punishment which the ungodly deserve. This declaration would not have harmonized with the present argument, had not the Prophet introduced it by way of concession; as though he said, — “I see that the world everywhere trifle with God, and that the ungodly delude themselves with such Sophistries, that they reject all threatening. I indeed allow that God is ready to pardon, and that he descends not to wrath, except when he is constrained by extreme necessity: all this is indeed true; but yet know, that God is armed with his own power: escape then shall none of those who allow themselves the liberty of abusing his patience, notwithstanding the insolence they manifest towards him.”

He now adds, By clearing he will not clear. Some translate, “The innocent, he will not render innocent.” But the real meaning of this sentence is the same with that in Exodus 34; and what Moses meant was, that God is irreconcilable to the impenitent. It has another meaning at the end of Joel 3, where it is said, ‘I will cleanse the blood which I have not cleansed.’ On that text interpreters differ; because they regard not the change in the tense of the verb; for God means, that he would cleanse the filth and defilements of his Church, which he had not previously cleansed. But Moses means, that God deals strictly with sinners, so as to remit no punishment. By clearing then I will not clear; that is, God will rigidly demand an account of all the actions of men; and as there is nothing hid from him, so everything done wickedly by men must come forth, when God ascends his tribunal; he will not clear by clearing, but will rigidly execute his judgment.

There seems to be some inconsistency in saying, — that God is reconcilable and ready to pardon, — and yet that by clearing he will not clear. But the aspect of things is different. We have already stated what the Prophet had in view: for inasmuch as the ungodly ever promise impunity to themselves, and in this confidence petulantly deride God himself, the Prophet answers them, and declares, that there was no reason why they thus abused God’s forbearance, for he says, By clearing he will not clear, that is, the reprobate: for our salvation consists in a free remission of sins; and whence comes our righteousness, but from the imputation of God, and from this — that our sins are buried in oblivion? yea, our whole clearing depends on the mercy of God. But God then exercises also his judgment, and by clearing he clears, when he remits to the faithful their sins; for the faithful by repentance anticipate his judgment; and he searches their hearts, that he may clear them. For what is repentance but condemnation, which yet turns out to be the means of salvation? As then God absolves none except the condemned, our Prophet here rightly declares, that by clearing he will not clears that is, he will not remit their sins, except he tries them and discharges the office of a judge; in short, that no sin is remitted by God which he does not first condemn. But with regard to the reprobate, who are wholly obstinate in their wickedness, the Prophet justly declares this to them, — that they have no hope of pardon, as they perversely adhere to their own devices, and think that they can escape the hand of God: the Prophet tells them that they are deceived, for God passes by nothing, and will not blot out one sin, until all be brought to mind.

He afterwards says, that the way of God is in the whirlwind and the tempest; that is, that God, as soon as he shows himself, disturbs the whole atmosphere, and excites storms and tempests: and this must be applied to the subject in hand; for the appearance of God is in other places described as lovely and gracious: nay, what else but the sight of God exhilarated the faithful? As soon as God turns away his face, they must necessarily be immersed in dreadful darkness, and be surrounded with horrible terrors. Why then does the Prophet say here, that the way of God is in the whirlwind and storms? Even because his discourse is addressed to the ungodly, or to the despisers of God himself, as in Psalm 18; where we see him described as being very terrible, — that clouds and darkness are around him, that he moves the whole earth, that he thunders on every side, that he emits smoke frown his nostrils, and that he fills the whole world with fire and burning. For what purpose was this done? Because David’s object was to set forth the judgments of God, which he had executed on the ungodly. So it is in this place; for Nahum speaks of the future vengeance, which was then nigh the Assyrians; hence he says, The way of God is in the whirlwind and tempest; that is, when God goes forth, whirlwinds and tempests are excited by his presence, and the whole world is put in confusion.

He adds, that the clouds are the dust of his feet When any one with his feet only moves the dust within a small space, some dread is produced: but God moves the dust, not only in one place, — what then? he obscures, and thus covers the whole heaven, The clouds then are the dust of his feet 210210     I offer the following translation of this verse, —
   Jehovah is slow to wrath, though great in power;
Absolving, Jehovah will not absolve:
In the whirlwind and in the storm
is his way;
And the cloud is the dust of his feet.

   The second line presents some difficulty. It is evidently an imperfect sentence; most supply the word, guilty; but rather the “enemies” mentioned before are to be understood. The meaning appears to be this, — Jehovah is slow to wrath, that is, to execute his vengeance, though he is great in power, capable of doing so; but though he delays, he will not eventually clear or absolve his enemies. With the Septuagint I connect “Jehovah” with the second and not with the third line, and agreeably with the idiom of the Hebrew; the verb generally precedes its nominative. The order of the words in Welsh would be exactly the same, —

   Gan ddieuogi ni ddiuoga Jehova.

   — Ed.
We now apprehend the whole meaning of the Prophet, and the purpose for which this description is given. Of the same import is what follows —

Nahum continues his discourse, — that God, in giving proof of his displeasure, would disturb the sea or make it dry. There may be here an allusion to the history, described by Moses; for the Prophets, in promising God’s assistance to his people, often remind them how God in a miraculous manner brought up their fathers from Egypt. As then the passage through the Red Sea was in high repute among the Jews, it may be that the Prophet alluded to that event, (Exodus 14:22.) But another view seems to me more probable. We indeed know how impetuous an element is that of the sea; and hence in Jeremiah 5, God, intending to set forth his own power, says, that it is in his power to calm the raging of the sea, than which nothing is more impetuous or more violent. In the same manner also is the majesty of God described in Job 28. The meaning of this place, I think, is the same, — that God by his chiding makes the sea dry, 211211     Literally, “chiding the sea, he even made it dry.” The ו here, though conversive, must be rendered, “even,” for the first verb is a participle. By taking the words in their poetical order, the whole verse may be thus rendered, —
   Chiding the sea, he even made it dry;
And all the rivers he dried up:
Wither did Bashan and Carmel,
And the bud of Lebanon withered.

   The verbs in this, and in the following verse, are in the past tense; reference is made to the past works of God, and in some instances to those performed in the wilderness. — Ed.
and that he can dry up the rivers That the prophet connects rivers with the sea, confirms what I have just said, — that the passage through the Red Sea is not here referred to; but that the object is to show in general how great is God’s power in governing the whole world.

To the same purpose is what he adds, Bashan shall be weakened, and Carmel, and the branch of Lebanon shall be weakened, or destroyed. By these words he intimates, that there is nothing so magnificent in the world, which God changes not, when he gives proofs of his displeasure; as it is said in Psalm 104,

‘Send forth thy Spirit, and they shall be renewed;’

and again, ‘Take away thy Spirit,’ or remove it, ‘and all things will return to the dust;’ yea, into nothing. So also Nahum says in this place, “As soon as God shows his wrath, the rivers will dry up, the sea itself will become dry, and then the flowers will fade and the grass will wither;” that is, though the earth be wonderfully ornamented and replenished, yet all things will be reduced to solitude and desolation whenever God is angry. And he afterwards adds —

Nahum continues still on the same subject, — that when God ascended his tribunal and appeared as the Judge of the world, he would not only shake all the elements, but would also constrain them to change their nature. For what can be less consonant to nature than for mountains to tremble, and for hills to be dissolved or to melt? This is more strange than what we can comprehend. But the Prophet intimates that the mountains cannot continue in their own strength, but as far as they are sustained by the favor of God. As soon, then, as God is angry, the mountains melt like snow, and flow away like water. And all these things are to be applied to this purpose, and are designed for this end, — that the wicked might not daringly despise the threatening of God, nor think that they could, through his forbearance, escape the punishment which they deserved: for he will be their Judge, however he may spare them; and though God is ready to pardon, whenever men hate themselves on account of their sins, and seriously repent; he will be yet irreconcilable to all the reprobate and the perverse. The mountains, then, before him tremble, and the hills dissolve or melt.

This useful instruction may be gathered from these words, that the world cannot for a moment stand, except as it is sustained by the favor and goodness of God; for we see what would immediately be, as soon as God manifests the signals of his judgment. Since the very solidity of mountains would be as snow or wax, what would become of miserable men, who are like a shadow or an apparition? They would then vanish away as soon as God manifested his wrath against them, as it is so in Psalm 39, that men pass away like a shadow. This comparison ought ever to be remembered by us whenever a forgetfulness of God begins to creep over us, that we may not excite his wrath by self-complacencies, than which there is nothing more pernicious. Burned, 212212     This sense has been given to the verb by the Rabbins, which is inconsistent with it as found here without any variations, and with the Greek versions. תשא is either from נשא, to lift up, or from שאה, to be laid waste, or to be confounded, the final ה being dropped; and this is what Newcome adopts. Marckius and Henderson take the former meaning in the sense of being raised up or heaving. “Ανεσταλη, was removed,” Sept.;Εκινηθη, was moved,” Symmachus;Εφριξεν, trembled,” Aquila. The idea of being confounded or laid waste harmonizes best with all parts of the sentence; for the idea of having does not apply well to the inhabitants. We see here that all the Greek versions have the verb in the past tense; and so are the previous verbs in the verse as given in the Septuagint, and agreeably with the Hebrew.
   Mountains have shaken through him,
And hills have melted away;
And confounded has been the earth at his presence,
Yea, the world and all its inhabitants.
then shall be the earth, and the world, and all who dwell on it

The Prophet shows here why he gave in the part noticed in the last lecture, such an awful description of God; it was that men might know, that when they shall come before his tribunal, no one will be able to stand unless supported by his favor. Of the Prophet’s main object we have sufficiently spoken, nor is it necessary to repeat here what has been stated. It is enough to bear this in mind, — that as the enemies of the Church relied on their power; and daringly and immoderately raged against it, the judgment of God is here set before them, that they might understand that an account was to be rendered to him whose presence they were not able to bear. But the question has more force than if the Prophet had simply said, that the whole world could not stand before God: for he assumes the character of one adjuring. After having shown how terrible God is, he exclaims, Who shall stand before his indignation? and who shall be able to bear his wrath? 213213     
   And who shall rise up against his hot anger? — Newcome.
And who can subsist in the heat of his anger? — Henderson.

   Neither of these versions convey the meaning. The verb קום, with a ב after it, signifies to rise up against or resist. Τις αντιστησεται — Who shall resist? — Sept. So the line should be thus rendered, —

   And who can resist the burning of his wrath?

   This line conveys the same idea as the former, only in stronger terms. For displeasure or anger we have here the burning of his wrath, and for standing we have resisting. Can is better than will; the Hebrew future ought often to be thus rendered. With the view of giving the words here used their distinctive character, I offer the following version of the whole verse, —

   Before his anger who can stand?
And who can resist the burning of his wrath?
His indignation has been poured forth like fire;
And rocks have been broken in pieces by him.

   The two last verbs are in the past tense, and are more expressive when so rendered. — Ed.
for his indignation, he says, is poured forth as fire. The Hebrew interpreters have here toiled in vain: as the verb נתך, nutae, means to pour forth it seems to them an inconsistent expression, that the wrath of God should be poured forth as fire; for this would be more suitably said of some metal than of fire. But to be poured forth here is nothing else than to be scattered far and wide. Poured forth then is thy wrath as fire; that is, it advances every moment, as when a fire seizes a whole forest; and when it grows strong, we know how great is its violence, and how suddenly it spreads here and there. But if a different meaning be preferred, I do not much object to it, “His wrath, which is like fire, is poured out.”

Some think that the Prophet alludes to lightnings, which, as it were, melt through the air, at least as they appear to us. But as the meaning of the Prophet is sufficiently evident, there is no need of anxiously inquiring how fire is poured out: for I have already mentioned, that the Prophet means no other thing than the wrath of God spreads itself, so that it immediately takes hold, not only of one city but also of the widest regions and of the whole world, and is therefore like fire, for it passes through here and there, and that suddenly.

He then says, that rocks are also broken or dissolved before him We must be aware how great our brittleness is. Since there is no hardness which melts not before God, how can men, who flow away of themselves like water, be so daring as to set themselves up against him? We hence see that the madness of men is here rebuked, who, trusting in their own strength, dare to contend even with God, because they forget their own frailty. This is the import of the whole. It now follows —

The Prophet expresses more clearly here what we referred to in our last lecture, — that God is hard and severe toward refractory men, and that he is merciful and kind to the teachable and the obedient, — not that God changes his nature, or that like Proteus he puts on various forms; but because he treats men according to their disposition. 214214     “This glorious description of the Sovereign of the world, like the pillar of cloud and fire, has a bright side towards Israel, and a dark side towards the Egyptians.” — Henry. As then the Prophet has hitherto taught us, that God’s wrath cannot be sustained by mortals; so now, that no one might complain of extreme rigor, he, on the other hand, shows that God favors what is right and just, that he is gentle and mild to the meek, and therefore ready to bring help to the faithful, and that he leaves none of those who trust in him destitute of his aid.

First, by saying that God is good, he turns aside whatever might be objected on the ground of extreme severity. There is indeed nothing more peculiar to God than goodness. Now when he is so severe, that the very mention of his name terrifies the whole world, he seems to be in a manner different from himself. Hence the Prophet now shows that whatever he had hitherto said of the dreadful judgment of God, is not inconsistent with his goodness. Though God then is armed with vengeance against his enemies he yet ceases not to be like himself, nor does he forget his goodness. But the Prophet does here also more fully confirm the Israelites and the Jews in the belief, that God is not only terrible to the ungodly, but that, as he has promised to be the guardian of his Church, he would also succor the faithful, and in time alleviate their miseries. Good then is Jehovah; and it is added for help The intention of the Prophet may be hence more clearly understood, when he says that he is for strength in the day of distress; as though he said, — “God is ever ready to bring help to his people:” 215215     This is no doubt the right view. The object here is not to assert generally that God is good, but that he is good for aid and help in the day of distress. The versions then both of Newcome and Henderson are faulty; for they divide into two clauses what is one in the original, —
   Good is Jehovah for protection in the day of distress;
And he knoweth them who trust in him.

   The word מעיז is from עז, strength, and having the formative מ, it attains a causative sense, and means that which affords or gives strength, — a fortress, a stronghold, or protection. — Ed.
And he adds, in the day of distress, that the faithful may not think that they are rejected, when God tries their patience by adversities. How much soever then God may subject his people to the cross and to troubles, he still succors them in their distress.

He lastly adds, He knows them who hope in him. This to know, is no other thing than not to neglect them. Hence God is said to know them who hope in him, because he always watches over them, and takes care of their safety: in short, this knowledge is nothing else but the care of God, or his providence in preserving the faithful. The Prophet, at the same time, distinguishes the godly and sincere worshipers of God from hypocrites: when God leaves many destitute who profess to believe in him, he justly withholds from them his favor, for they do not from the heart call on him or seek him.

We now then understand the Prophet’s meaning. He shows, on the one hand, that God is armed with power to avenge his enemies; And, on the other, he shows that God, as he has promised, is a faithful guardian of his Church. How is this proved? He sets before us what God is, that he is good; and then adds, that he is prepared to bring help. But he does not in vain mention this particular, — that he takes care of the faithful, who truly, and from the heart, hope in him; it is done, that they may understand that they are not neglected by God, and also that hypocrites may know that they are not assisted, because their profession is nothing else but dissimulation, for they hope not sincerely in God, however they may falsely boast of his name. It now follows —

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