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Vengeance on Edom


“Who is this that comes from Edom,

from Bozrah in garments stained crimson?

Who is this so splendidly robed,

marching in his great might?”


“It is I, announcing vindication,

mighty to save.”



“Why are your robes red,

and your garments like theirs who tread the wine press?”



“I have trodden the wine press alone,

and from the peoples no one was with me;

I trod them in my anger

and trampled them in my wrath;

their juice spattered on my garments,

and stained all my robes.


For the day of vengeance was in my heart,

and the year for my redeeming work had come.


I looked, but there was no helper;

I stared, but there was no one to sustain me;

so my own arm brought me victory,

and my wrath sustained me.


I trampled down peoples in my anger,

I crushed them in my wrath,

and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”


God’s Mercy Remembered


I will recount the gracious deeds of the L ord,

the praiseworthy acts of the L ord,

because of all that the L ord has done for us,

and the great favor to the house of Israel

that he has shown them according to his mercy,

according to the abundance of his steadfast love.


For he said, “Surely they are my people,

children who will not deal falsely”;

and he became their savior


in all their distress.

It was no messenger or angel

but his presence that saved them;

in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;

he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.



But they rebelled

and grieved his holy spirit;

therefore he became their enemy;

he himself fought against them.


Then they remembered the days of old,

of Moses his servant.

Where is the one who brought them up out of the sea

with the shepherds of his flock?

Where is the one who put within them

his holy spirit,


who caused his glorious arm

to march at the right hand of Moses,

who divided the waters before them

to make for himself an everlasting name,


who led them through the depths?

Like a horse in the desert,

they did not stumble.


Like cattle that go down into the valley,

the spirit of the L ord gave them rest.

Thus you led your people,

to make for yourself a glorious name.

A Prayer of Penitence


Look down from heaven and see,

from your holy and glorious habitation.

Where are your zeal and your might?

The yearning of your heart and your compassion?

They are withheld from me.


For you are our father,

though Abraham does not know us

and Israel does not acknowledge us;

you, O L ord, are our father;

our Redeemer from of old is your name.


Why, O L ord, do you make us stray from your ways

and harden our heart, so that we do not fear you?

Turn back for the sake of your servants,

for the sake of the tribes that are your heritage.


Your holy people took possession for a little while;

but now our adversaries have trampled down your sanctuary.


We have long been like those whom you do not rule,

like those not called by your name.


15. Look down from heaven. After having, in the name of the whole people, related the benefits of former times, he now applies this to the present subject, and entreats the Lord to pay regard to his people.

Behold from the habitation of thy holiness. By these words he means that the power of God is not diminished, though this does not always appear; for we must supply a contrast, that God at that time might be said to be concealed, and did not shew himself to them as he had shewn himself to the fathers. “Although, therefore, we do not see thee, O Lord, and although thou hast withdrawn from us as if thou wert shut up in heaven, so that thou mayest seem to have altogether ceased to care about us, yet ‘look down from heaven, and from thy habitation’ behold our distresses.” Believers must differ from unbelievers in acknowledging a powerful and kind God, even when they perceive no tokens of his power or kindness; and thus, even when he is at a great distance, they nevertheless call on him; for God never ceases to care about his people, (1 Peter 5:7,) since he governs unceasingly every part of the world.

Where is thy zeal? By these questions believers appear in some measure to reproach God, as if he were not now moved by any affection toward them, or as if his power were diminished; but the Prophet’s meaning is different; for in thus extolling those benefits, his object is, as I have already remarked, to confirm the hope of believers for the future, that they may know that God is always like himself, and will never lay aside his care about his people. This will appear more clearly from what follows.

The multitude of bowels and of compassions denotes God’s vast goodness; for God displays and opens up his bowels, so to speak, when he exercises toward us bounty and kindness, which truly is so great that we cannot praise it in adequate language. Nor is it a new thing that believers, when oppressed by grief, expostulated familiarly with God for shutting up his bowels. They do indeed hold by this principle, that God is always compassionate, because he does not change his nature; and though they impute it to their sins that they do not experience him to be compassionate, yet, that they may not sink into despair, they ask how it is possible that God should treat them with severity, and, as if he had forgotten his natural disposition, should shew nothing but tokens of absolute displeasure? 179179     Luther’s version runs thus, Deine grofe herliche Barmherzigfeit halt eich hart gegen mich. “Thy great compassionate loving-kindness deals hardly with me.” — Ed.

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