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Judgment on Idolatrous Israel


The word of the L ord came to me: 2O mortal, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, 3and say, You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord G od! Thus says the Lord G od to the mountains and the hills, to the ravines and the valleys: I, I myself will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. 4Your altars shall become desolate, and your incense stands shall be broken; and I will throw down your slain in front of your idols. 5I will lay the corpses of the people of Israel in front of their idols; and I will scatter your bones around your altars. 6Wherever you live, your towns shall be waste and your high places ruined, so that your altars will be waste and ruined, your idols broken and destroyed, your incense stands cut down, and your works wiped out. 7The slain shall fall in your midst; then you shall know that I am the L ord.

8 But I will spare some. Some of you shall escape the sword among the nations and be scattered through the countries. 9Those of you who escape shall remember me among the nations where they are carried captive, how I was crushed by their wanton heart that turned away from me, and their wanton eyes that turned after their idols. Then they will be loathsome in their own sight for the evils that they have committed, for all their abominations. 10And they shall know that I am the L ord; I did not threaten in vain to bring this disaster upon them.

11 Thus says the Lord G od: Clap your hands and stamp your foot, and say, Alas for all the vile abominations of the house of Israel! For they shall fall by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. 12Those far off shall die of pestilence; those nearby shall fall by the sword; and any who are left and are spared shall die of famine. Thus I will spend my fury upon them. 13And you shall know that I am the L ord, when their slain lie among their idols around their altars, on every high hill, on all the mountain tops, under every green tree, and under every leafy oak, wherever they offered pleasing odor to all their idols. 14I will stretch out my hand against them, and make the land desolate and waste, throughout all their settlements, from the wilderness to Riblah. Then they shall know that I am the L ord.

By these words the Prophet signifies that God’s wrath would be manifest, because he impresses certain marks by which it may be judged that the Israelites had provoked his anger; because they had departed from the pure and genuine order of the law. He says, therefore, I will place the carcases of the sons of Israel before their idols, when the carcases were so mingled with the idols, hence it appeared that God was greatly offended. For we know that it was detestable in all sacrifices that either human bones or carcases should be joined with the victims: so that the religion of the Israelites was openly condemned by this sign, so that unless they had been utterly blind, they would acknowledge all their worship to have been abominable. We understand, therefore, the design of God when he says, that he would cast the carcases of the sons of Israel before their idols: as if he had said, I will defile all your rites which seem to you sacred, and I will make them stink even before the unbelievers. But how? for the altar is polluted by contact with a carcase; but the carcases shall be cast there, that the contagion may spread to the altars. And I will sprinkle, says he, your bones around your altars Lastly, he signifies that he would profane those sacred rites which the Israelites had fabricated for themselves with their carcases: by which he understands that they would be doubly disgraced whilst they defiled by their pollutions what they had thought beautiful. The Prophets constantly proclaimed that these rites were folly and an abomination, but still those who were attached to those superstitions pleased themselves. When, therefore, God’s servants effected nothing by their sacred admonitions, at length a real and actual proof was added, when their altars were polluted, and that, too, with their own defilement. For in this God’s remarkable vengeance appeared, as I have formerly said.

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