35. Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me: behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned,
35. Et dixisti (hoc est, dixisti tamen; nam copula hic accipitur pro tamen,) certe (nam
The Prophet here shews that the Jews were possessed of such a brazen front, that they could not be led by any admonitions to feel any shame. Though then they were like adulterous women, and though they gave meretricious hire to such as they ran to in all parts, and though also they had murdered the prophets and the pious ministers of God, yet they boasted, as persons conscious of no evil, that they were innocent.
Now also in this part we perceive the design of the Prophet: it was to shew, that the Jews not only dared dishonestly and proudly to claim innocency for themselves, but hesitated not to contend with God, and to intimate that he with too much severity oppressed them, and did not treat them justly, but announced a cruel sentence for the purpose of overwhelming them.
We may hence gather a profitable instruction. Let it in the first place be observed, that nothing is so displeasing to God as this headstrong presumption, that is, when we seek to appear innocent, while our own conscience condemns us. Then in the second place observe, that all who thus perversely rebel and strive dishonestly and shamelessly to defend their own vices, contend at the same time with God: for false excuses have ever this tendency -- to charge God with unjust severity. But we see what such men gain for themselves; for God shews that he will be at length their judge, and that he will openly discover the vices of those who thought that they could excuse themselves by evasions and by false charges against himself. They then who thus obstinately resist God, must at length, according to what the Prophet declares, come to this end, -- that they will be constrained to acknowledge that God has not been too violently angry with them, but has only executed a just punishment.1
Grant, Almighty God, that since we are loaded with so many vices, and provoke thee so often, yea, daily and in ways innumerable, -- O grant, that we may not at last become hardened against thy godly admonitions, but be teachable and submissive and in time repent, lest our wantonness and hardness should constrain thee to put forth thy powerful hand against us; but as we have hitherto experienced thy patental kindness, so may we in future be made partakers of it, and thus become more and more accustomed to bear thy yoke, until having at length completed our warfare, we shall come to that blessed rest, which has been provided for us in heaven, through Christ our Lord. -- Amen.
1 The literal rendering of this verse is as follows:-
35. And thou hast said, "Verily I have been innocent; Surely turned away has he his anger from me: " Behold I will contend in judgment with thee, On account of thy saying, "I have not sinned."
The Septuagint have rendered the second line, "Let his anger be turned away from me;" the Vulgate and the Arabic are the same. The Syriac is, "therefore he turns away his anger from me." "Turned away is his anger, "is the Targum, Piscator, Jun. and Trem. Blayney renders it,-
Surely his wrath shall turn from me.
There is no reason for construing the verb in the future tense, or in the imperative mood. It is in the past tense, and there is no other reading. The claim of innocency is made on the supposition that God had turned away his displeasure. Hence the declaration that follows-that God would contest the matter-would bring it as it were into trial, as the verb here when in Niphal means.-Ed.
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