6. Neither said they, Where is the Lord that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness; through a land of deserts, and of pits; through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death; through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?
6. Et non dixerunt, (hoc est, non cogitarunt apud se,) Ubi est Jehova, qui eduxit nos e terra Egypti, et proficisci fecit nos per desertum in terra solitaria (vel, vasta) et squalida, in terra horribili et umbrae mortis; in terra per quam vir non transtit, et in qua non habitavit homo?
7. And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof, and the goodness thereof: but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination.
7. Et introduxi vos in terram fertilem, ad comedendos fructus ejus (vel, ad comedendum fructum ejus, in singulari,) et ubertatem ejus (ad verbum est, ad bonum ejus;) et ingressi estis et polluistis terram meam, et haereditatem meam posuistis in abominationem.
The Prophet goes on with the same subject; for God adduces here no small crime against his people, as they had buried his favom's in oblivion. Indeed, a redemption so wonderful was worthy of being celebrated in all ages, not only by one nation, but by all the nations of the earth. As then the Jews had thus buried the memory of a favor so remarkable and valuable, their base impiety appeared evident. Had they not experienced the power and kindness of God, or had they only witnessed them in an ordinary way, their guilt might have been extenuated; but as God had from heaven made an unusual display of his power, and as his majesty had been manifested before the eyes of the people, how great was their sottishness in afterwards forgetting their God, who had openly and with such proofs made himself known to them!
We now then understand what the Prophet means by saying,
Here then the Prophet meets the objection of the hypocrites, who might have said, that they had been deceived, and had relapsed through ignorance; for they have ever some evasions ready at hand, when they are called to an account for their sins. But lest the Jews should make any pretense of this kind, the Prophet here shews that they had not been through a mistake deceived, but that they had followed after falsehood through a wicked disposition, for they had willfully despised God and refused to inquire respecting him, though he was sufficiently nigh them.
This passage deserves to be especially noticed; for there is nothing more common than for the ungodly, when they are proved guilty, to have recourse to this subterfuge, -- that they acted with good intention, when they gave themselves up to their own superstitions. The Prophet then takes off this mask, and shews that where God is once known, his name and his glory cannot be obliterated, except through the depravity of men, as they knowingly and willfully depart from him. Hence all apostates are by this one clause condemned, that they may no more dare to make evasions, as though they have been through more simplicity deceived: for when the matter is examined, their malignity and ingratitude are discovered, because they deign not to inquire,
And he afterwards adds what explains this sentence. I have said that other nations are not here condemned, but the Jews, who had known by clear experience that God was their father. As then God had, by many testimonies, made himself known to them, they had no pretext for their ignorance. Hence the Prophet says, that they did not consider where God was who
But the first thing to be observed is, that the Jews were inexcusable, who had not considered that their fathers had been wonderfully and in an unusual manner preserved by God's hand for forty years; for they had no bread to eat, nor water to drink. God drew water for them from a rock, and satisfied them with heavenly bread; and their garments did not wear out during the whole time. We then see that all those circumstances enhanced their guilt. Then follows what I have referred to: the Prophet calls the desert a dry or a waste land, a
He afterwards adds,
Hence he adds,
1 Though the general import of this verse is given, yet the version is not very accurate. I offer the following-
And they have not said, " Where is Jehovah, Who brought us up from the land of Egypt, Who led us in the wilderness, Through a land of waste and of the pit, Through a land of drought and of the shadow of death, Through a land in which no man traveled, And no human being dwelt there?"
The word "pit" is used poetically, the singular for the plural, and correctly rendered "pits" in our version. It is probably an allusion to the practice of digging pits and covering them over, in order to catch wild beasts; and the word is used here only to express hidden dangers. "The shadow of death" means a barren dreariness. After "land," in the last line but one,
Who conducted you in the wilderness,
In a land unknown and inaccessible (
In a land without water and barren (
In a land through which no man passed,
And no son of man inhabited there.
The word "barren" is rendered more literally by Theodotion, "
2 That the word means a fruitful field or country is evident from Isaiah 10:18; Isaiah 16:10; Jeremiah 4:26, etc. there was also a city bearing this name, situated in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:55, and also a mountain belonging to the tribe of Manasseh, Joshua 19:26.-Ed.
3 "And ye came" is left out. The same verb in a causative sense is used at the beginning of the verse, rendered, "I brought." It would be more striking to retain the same verb, and not to use " but when" in the latter instance, as in our version,-
And I caused you to come into a fruitful land, To eat its fruit and its rich produce; And ye came and polluted my land, And made mine heritage an abomination.
The whole runs thus much better, and has the conciseness of poetry: and the idea intended to be conveyed is more apparent-God caused them to come, and they came.-Ed.
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