19. And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say, Wherefore doeth the Lord our God all these things unto us? then shalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not yours.
19. Et erit quum dixeritis, Quare fecit Jehova Deus noster nobis omnia haec? Tunc dices illis, Sicuti dereliquistis me et serviistis diis alienorum (alieni, ad verbum, sed est enallage numeri) in terra vestra; sic servietis alienis (subaudiunt alii interpretes deos, sed pervertunt sensum Prophetae) in terra non vobis (hoc est, in terra quae non erit vestra.)
It hence appears that what I have said is true, -- that the Prophet did not soften what was severe in the threatenings which we have noticed, but that he treated the Jews according to their perverseness; for he saw that they were untamable; and the Spirit had taught him that such would be their obstinacy, that until they were wholly broken down, they would not bend their necks to receive the yoke. He further assigns the cause here, that they might not contend with God, as hypocrites are wont to do, whenever God sharply chastises them; for they murmur against him, and complain and demand reasons why he treats them so severely, as though they were wholly innocent. As, then, hypocrites made such complaints, the Prophet here replies to them.
God reproves them here for having abused his kindness; for he had expelled the heathen nations from Canaan, and gave that land, which was so pleasant and fruitful, as an inheritance to them, so as to be to them a perpetual rest. God called the land his own rest, because he protected the Jews there, and appointed them as the legitimate heirs of the land even to the end of the world. Hence he says now,
He afterwards adds,
"I had given you my good laws, which if any one keeps he shall live in them; and ye would not obey: I will therefore give you laws which are not good," (Ezekiel 20:21, 25:)
that is, "I will lay on you a tyrannical yoke, and conquerors, and those barbarians whose language shall be unknown to you, shall plunder you and your possessions, because ye have been disobedient and unteachable." It follows --
1 The last clause has been improperly omitted in the Arabic: it is found in the other versions. The word for "strangers" is different from that connected with "gods." They served "the gods of the alien, "or, of the heathen: they would have to serve "strangers, "or, foreigners, in a land not their own. As they had adopted the religion of heathens, they would have to submit to the dominion and tyranny of heathens: and as they did the former in their own land, they would have to do the latter in a foreign land. Thus their idolatry would expel them from their own country, and subject them to the tyranny of those from whom they derived their idolatry. Thus God often makes the tempters of his people (if they succeed) to be their tormentors.-Ed.
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