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57. God's Accusation Against Wicked

The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. 2He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.

3But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore. 4Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood, 5Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks? 6Among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion; they, they are thy lot: even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered a meat offering. Should I receive comfort in these? 7Upon a lofty and high mountain hast thou set thy bed: even thither wentest thou up to offer sacrifice. 8Behind the doors also and the posts hast thou set up thy remembrance: for thou hast discovered thyself to another than me, and art gone up; thou hast enlarged thy bed, and made thee a covenant with them; thou lovedst their bed where thou sawest it. 9And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase thyself even unto hell. 10Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet saidst thou not, There is no hope: thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved. 11And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me, nor laid it to thy heart? have not I held my peace even of old, and thou fearest me not? 12I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee.

13When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain; 14And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people. 15For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. 16For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. 17For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. 18I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. 19I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him. 20But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

4. On whom have ye made sport? The Prophet shows that there is no reason why the Jews should boast so proudly on the pretense of their birth, seeing that they mocked at God and the prophets. They thought that they had to deal with men, when they rejected the word; as we see that wicked men in the present day, while they fearlessly despise the doctrine of God and laugh at ministers, nevertheless shelter themselves, and falsely glory in the name of God. This is the reason why the Prophet bears hard upon them and censures with severity.

On whom have ye opened the mouth? The meaning of the words is, “When ye put forth the tongue against God, and mock his word, do ye think that ye have to deal with a mortal man?” The question (“On whom?“) means that they resorted to disguises and concealments, in order to conceal their impiety; for wicked men do not confess that they are rebels against God, and even complain that they are very unjustly treated. But they must be dragged to the light and convicted of their wickedness; for if there be a God in heaven, they carry on war with him, by attacking and rejecting his word and treating it as a fable.

To “open the mouth” and to “put forth the tongue” mean the same thing, except that by these expressions he has more fully described their wickedness, in not only rejecting God, but also mocking him. The inward contempt of the heart had driven them to open jeers and blasphemies, so that they were not moved by any fear of disgrace.

Seed of the adulterer and the whore. At length he concludes that they are treacherous children, a lying seed, and that he has justly reproached them with being “the children of the whore;” for such contempt of God could not be found in the children of Abraham. Hence we learn in what manner wicked men ought to be treated, and with what severity they ought to be reproved, that they may not flatter themselves; and the more they despise everything that is held out in the name of God, the more ought their sacrilegious wickedness to be exposed and dragged forth to public view.

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