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8. Sin and Punishment

At that time, saith the Lord, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves: 2And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth. 3And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, which remain in all the places whither I have driven them, saith the Lord of hosts.

4Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord; Shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away, and not return? 5Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. 6I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. 7Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the Lord. 8How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain. 9The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them? 10Therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall inherit them: for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. 11For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. 12Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the Lord.

13I will surely consume them, saith the Lord: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them. 14Why do we sit still? assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defenced cities, and let us be silent there: for the Lord our God hath put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the Lord. 15We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold trouble! 16The snorting of his horses was heard from Dan: the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones; for they are come, and have devoured the land, and all that is in it; the city, and those that dwell therein. 17For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the Lord.

18 When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me. 19Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the Lord in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities? 20The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. 21For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

He confirms, as I have said, what he had declared in the last verse, tie had said, that there would be the ruin of the whole people: for the same purpose he now adds, Destroying I will destroy them The verb אסף, asaph, properly means “to collect, “but metaphorically, “to destroy;” as we say in our language, Trousser; Je les trousserai tous ensemble. And hence it more fully appears, that the Prophet explains what he had said, that destruction was nigh them all, so that none would remain, that is, with regard to the people as a body, as a community; for God ever preserved a remnant. We have, indeed, said elsewhere, and we shall have to notice the same thing often again, that the prophets, regarding the people as a body, threatened them all with destruction; but when they addressed the elect, and the faithful, they added a modification: Destroying I will then destroy them

He afterwards shews the manner: No grapes shall be on the vines, and no figs on the fig trees The word for “fig” means the fruit as well as the tree, as it is well known. And that he might more fully set forth God’s vengeance, he says, that the very leaves would wither. The meaning is, that God would soon come as an avenger, however securely the Jews might be resting in their sins: and he shews the kind of vengeance that awaited them, — that God would deprive them of all sustenance and support; by mentioning a part for the whole, he includes everything necessary for life. He speaks not of wine, and of corn, and of oil; but by figs and grapes, as I have said, he comprehends every kind of sustenance; and even the leaves would wither and fall.

In the second place, he adds, Even, what I shall give them shall pass away from them Some apply this to the fruit in the granaries and cellars, as though he had said, “Even if they should have provisions in their storehouses and cellars, and be furnished with plenty, all this shall yet avail them nothing, for it shall be all taken away; for to pass away has often this meaning; and the מ, mem, affixed, is the same as though it was מהם, meem, from them. Others render the words, “they shall pass over them;” but this is too strained. They refer to the precepts granted to the Jews, which they had rendered void or neglected: but this cannot suit the passage. And as to the first explanation, it seems to me too limited. I therefore take this to be the meaning, — “Even if the grapes and figs come to maturity, yet what they shall consider as already prepared shall be taken away.” The Prophet then means, that there would be various ways by which the Jews would be reduced to penury and want; for either the enemies would rob them of their grapes and figs, or he himself would send sterility; or, when they thought their provisions secured to them, they would not yet be allowed to enjoy them. This is the import of the whole. 227227     The verse may be thus rendered, —
   13. I will gather their ingathering, saith Jehovah: No grapes shall be on the vine, And no figs on the fig-tree, Even the leaf shalt fade away; For I will give these to those who shall pass through them.

   God threatens the Jews with the deprivation of the fruits of the earth. He would gather their fruits by means of their enemies, such as would pass through them; and there would be no limits for them. As to the last line, it is a common thing in Hebrew to leave out the relative “who” before a verb in the future tense. So it is in Welsh

   Canys rhoddav y rhain iddynt hwy a dramwyant trwyddynt.

   The most literal and the most suitable to the context is this rendering. — Ed.
It follows —

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