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The Righteousness of God’s Judgment


I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask,

to be found by those who did not seek me.

I said, “Here I am, here I am,”

to a nation that did not call on my name.


I held out my hands all day long

to a rebellious people,

who walk in a way that is not good,

following their own devices;


a people who provoke me

to my face continually,

sacrificing in gardens

and offering incense on bricks;


who sit inside tombs,

and spend the night in secret places;

who eat swine’s flesh,

with broth of abominable things in their vessels;


who say, “Keep to yourself,

do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.”

These are a smoke in my nostrils,

a fire that burns all day long.


See, it is written before me:

I will not keep silent, but I will repay;

I will indeed repay into their laps


their iniquities and their ancestors’ iniquities together,

says the L ord;

because they offered incense on the mountains

and reviled me on the hills,

I will measure into their laps

full payment for their actions.


Thus says the L ord:

As the wine is found in the cluster,

and they say, “Do not destroy it,

for there is a blessing in it,”

so I will do for my servants’ sake,

and not destroy them all.


I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,

and from Judah inheritors of my mountains;

my chosen shall inherit it,

and my servants shall settle there.


Sharon shall become a pasture for flocks,

and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down,

for my people who have sought me.


But you who forsake the L ord,

who forget my holy mountain,

who set a table for Fortune

and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny;


I will destine you to the sword,

and all of you shall bow down to the slaughter;

because, when I called, you did not answer,

when I spoke, you did not listen,

but you did what was evil in my sight,

and chose what I did not delight in.


Therefore thus says the Lord G od:

My servants shall eat,

but you shall be hungry;

my servants shall drink,

but you shall be thirsty;

my servants shall rejoice,

but you shall be put to shame;


my servants shall sing for gladness of heart,

but you shall cry out for pain of heart,

and shall wail for anguish of spirit.


You shall leave your name to my chosen to use as a curse,

and the Lord G od will put you to death;

but to his servants he will give a different name.


Then whoever invokes a blessing in the land

shall bless by the God of faithfulness,

and whoever takes an oath in the land

shall swear by the God of faithfulness;

because the former troubles are forgotten

and are hidden from my sight.


The Glorious New Creation


For I am about to create new heavens

and a new earth;

the former things shall not be remembered

or come to mind.


But be glad and rejoice forever

in what I am creating;

for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,

and its people as a delight.


I will rejoice in Jerusalem,

and delight in my people;

no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,

or the cry of distress.


No more shall there be in it

an infant that lives but a few days,

or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;

for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,

and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.


They shall build houses and inhabit them;

they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.


They shall not build and another inhabit;

they shall not plant and another eat;

for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,

and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.


They shall not labor in vain,

or bear children for calamity;

for they shall be offspring blessed by the L ord

and their descendants as well.


Before they call I will answer,

while they are yet speaking I will hear.


The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,

the lion shall eat straw like the ox;

but the serpent—its food shall be dust!

They shall not hurt or destroy

on all my holy mountain,

says the L ord.


12. Therefore I will number you to the sword. He alludes to the number of the gods; and the Lord declares that he will easily ascertain how numerous they are, for he “will number them to the sword.” And hence we see that the Prophet, in the preceding verse, does not speak of the two planets, Jupiter and Mercury, as some think, but means that they were not satisfied with one God, and collected for themselves various idols. It is an idle conjecture that the word מני (meni) denotes Mercury, because מנה (manah) signifies “to number,” and Mercury presided over numbers and merchants. 210210     “Et que Mercure estoit le dieu des marchans qui out leurs livres de contes.” “And because Mercury was the god of merchants, who have their account-books.” The design of the Prophet is manifest, who declares that the people “shall be numbered to the sword,” because they delighted in a vast number of gods, and did not choose to rely on one God.

Because I called, and ye did not answer. He heightens the extent and heinousness of that treason, by saying that the Jews sinned through deliberate malice, and on purpose, rather than through ignorance. They had been often instructed and warned, but had disdainfully rejected all warnings, and consequently were far less excusable than others, to whom no prophets were sent; for although ignorance cannot be pleaded as an excuse by any man, yet much less can it be pleaded by the Jews and those to whom the word of God is proclaimed, and who, on that account, will be condemned and punished more severely than others.

I spake, and ye did not hear. He describes the manner of calling, namely, that he exhorted the people by the prophets; for by the word “speak” he twice repeats the same thing, as we have already stated to be the custom of Hebrew writers. To “hear” the Lord is to obey his word; for it would be a trivial matter to lend our ears, if we did not submit to the word; and it would then be with us as the proverb says, “They listen with the ears of an ass.” 211211     “Comme aux asnes qui font signe d’oreilles.” “As with asses that make a show of ears.”
Greek proverbs of the same kind are still more abundant. ́̓Ονῳ τὶς ἔλεγε μῦθον· ὁ δὲ τὰ ὦτα ἐκίνει “One told a story to an ass, and he pricked up his ears.” ́̓Ονος λύρας ἀκοῦων κίνει τὰ ὦτα “An ass, listening to a lyre, pricks up his ears.” — Ed.
God wishes to be heard sincerely, and does not approve of a pretended hearing; and he shews how it came that they rejected the calling. It was because they shut their ears to the doctrine of the prophets; for the beginning of obedience is to bring a desire to learn.

And ye did evil before mine eyes. The phrase, “before mine eyes,” is of the same import as “to my face;” a mode of expression which he made use of a little before. (Verse 3.) All men, indeed, sin “before the eyes” of the Lord, and none can withdraw from his presence. But in a peculiar sense we are said to sin “before his eyes,” when, having been called by him, we do not dread his presence; for he approaches nearer to those whom he calls by the prophets, and, so to speak, exhibits himself as present to them. Far more detestable, therefore, and worthy of severe chastisements, is the impiety of those who, laying aside all shame, despise and scorn God when he draws near to call and invite them.

And chose the things in which I took no pleasure. From this concluding clause of the verse it is evident that they are condemned, not for gross crimes, but for foolish devotions, by which they corrupted the worship of God. Although they zealously devoted themselves to sacrifices contrived by themselves, because they thought that in this way they would become entitled to the favor of God; yet he declares that he abhors their wicked practices. It is not permitted that any person shall have a free choice to follow whatever he thinks fit, but all must observe what God approves, and must not turn aside from it in any way whatever. Now we see that it was not a fault peculiar to a single age that men should follow their own caprice in the worship of God, and should adore their own inventions instead of God; but whatever “pleasure” men “take in these things,” the Lord solemnly declares that he condemns and abhors them.

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