14. Is Israel a servant? is he a home -- born slave? why is he spoiled?
14. An servus Israel? An (vel, si) genitus domi? (hoc est, an verna? accipiunt enim puerum, domi natum pro verna:) quare factus est in praedam?
15. The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burnt without inhabitant.
15. Super eum rugient (vel, rugiunt) leones (alii vertunt, catulos leonum, et soepe significat minores leones hoc nomen sed ubi adjungitur reliquis, ubi autem solum ponitur, ego semper interpretor generaliter pro leonibus,) miserunt vocem suam; posuerunt terram ejus in vastitatem; urbes ejus exustae sunt (vel, destructae, nam,
16. Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head.
16. Etiam filii Noph (hoc est, Mempheos, vocant enim Hebroei Noph urbem quae fuit olim metropo!is Egypti) et Thaphanes (vel, Thaphis, ut vertunt Grraeci) frangent tibi verticem.
17. Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, when he led thee by the way?
17. An non hoc fuit tibi, deserere tuum, (hoc est, quod deserueris) Jehovam Deum tuum, quo tempore ducebat to per viam.
These verses are to be read together; for the Prophet first shews that Israel was not as to his original condition miserable, but that this happened through a new cause, and then he mentions the cause. He then first asks,
Hence the Prophet, as though astonished at something new and strange, asks this question,
But that what he says may be more clear, we must remember that he reminds the people, by way of reproach, of the benefits which God had conferred on them. As then the children of Abraham had been honored with so many singular favors that they had the preeminence over all the world, this dignity is now referred to, but only for the purpose of exposing their base conduct, as though he had said, "God did not deceive you, when he promised to be bountiful to you; his adoption is not deceptive nor in vain: hence you would have been happier than all other nations, had not your own wickedness rendered you miserable." We now see for what end the Prophet asked,
And by saying,
"How should one chase a thousand, and ten should put to flight as many thousands, except God had given us up as captives, except we had been shut up by his hand." (Deuteronomy 32:30.)
For Moses in that passage does also in an indirect manner remind the people how often and how wonderfully God had given them victories over their enemies, and thus he leaves it to their posterity, when in distress, to consider how the change came that one should chase a thousand; that is, how could it be, that they, possessing great forces, should yet be put to flight by their enemies; for they were not wont to turn their backs, but to conquer their enemies: it then follows, that they were made captives by God, and not by the men who chased them. So also here the Prophet shews, that Israel would not have been made a prey, had they not been deprived of God's assistance.
He afterwards adds,
He then adds, without a metaphor, that
By way of amplification he adds,
Now follows the cause; the Prophet, after having shewn that Israel were forsaken by God, now mentions the reason why it so happened,
And he further exaggerates this sin by saying,
"My people, what have I done to thee, or in what have I been troublesome to thee?" (Micah 6:4)
for God in that passage shews that he was prepared to defend his own cause, and to clear himself from whatever the people might object to him. So also he does in this place, "I have led thee," he says, "in the way;" that is, "Thou didst live happily under my government, and yet I could not retain thee by my goodness while I kindly treated thee; and thou knewest that nothing could be better for thee than to continue under my protection; but thou hast determined to go over into the service of idols. Now what excuse hast thou, or what pretense is left thee?" We hence see, that the sin of the people is greatly enhanced, for they were induced by no temptation or trial to forsake God, but through mere perfidy gave themselves up to idols: and a confirmation of this verse follows --
1 The difficulty of understanding this passage has arisen from not considering the questions in a negative sense, as implying a strong denial-"Is Israel a servant (or, rather a slave)?" No, by no means. "Is he one begotten in the house," that is, in a state of bondage? No, by no means. Then the following question comes naturally; since he is neither a purchased slave, nor a slave born in the house, "why has he become a prey?" That there were two sorts of slaves of this kind is evident from many parts of Scripture. See Genesis 17:12, Genesis 17:23, Genesis 17:27; Exodus 21:4; Leviticus 22: l1. This is the view taken evidently in our version, by Jun and Trem., Piscator, Gataker, Grotius, Henry, and Scott.
Blarney renders the two first lines thus,-
Is Israel a slave? or if a child of the household, Wherefore is he exposed to spoil?
He considers "the child of the household" to be the son and the heir, as Isaac was, and refers to Galatians 4:7. Horsley coincides with him. But the usus loquendi gives no countenance to this view, while it confirms the other. To refer to filiusfamilias in Latin is to no purpose. "The child of the house," as the expression literally is, and similar phrases, ever mean in Scripture those who were born slaves in a family.-Ed.
2 The verse literally is as follows,-
Over him shall young lions roar; They have uttered their voice,
And have made his land a waste; His cities are grown over with grass, Without an inhabitant.
The verb in the first line is future, the other verbs are in the past tense; and Blarney thinks that they are so put to denote the certainty of what is said, as it is often done by the prophets: and this is rendered probable by what is contained in Jeremiah 4:7, where the same judgment is spoken of. The verb
3 There have been many expositions of this latter clause, which may be seen in the Assembly's Annotations, which were written, as to Isaiah and Jeremiah, by the learned Gataker. He gives the preference to the idea, that the crown of the head means the best and the principal part of the land, and to break the crown means the plunder of this portion. See Isaiah 28:4. This seems to correspond in meaning with the previous verse. It was the opinion of Blarney that an allusion is prophetically made to the slaying of Josiah by the Egyptians. The words literally are,
They shall break thee, the crown of the head.
"The crown of the head" seems to be explanatory of "thee;" it might then be rendered,-
They shall break thee, even the crown of thy head.
The Septuagint mistook one letter for another, and took the verb to be,
The next verse literally rendered is as follows,-
Is not this what thou wilt do for thyself, By thy forsaking of Jehovah thy God, At the time he was leading thee in the way?
The first verb is no doubt future, whether it be rendered in the second or third person. The sentence may be rendered in Welsh without "Is," or the relative "what," and word for word,-
Ai nid hyn a wnai i'th hun? And the future is understood as the present. Blayney's version is, Shall not this be done unto thee, Because thou hast forsaken Jehovah thy God, At the time that he led thee in the way?-Ed.
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