8. Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.
8. Erudire Jerusalem, ne discedat (vel, avellatur) anima mea abs to; ne ponam to desertum (vel, solitudinem) et terram inhabitabilem (hoc est, quae non habitatur.)
Though the Prophet had spoken as though there was no remedy for the evils of Jerusalem, he yet exhorts it to seek peace with God, and addresses men past remedy in his name. It is then the same as though God was stopping in the middle course of his wrath, and saying, "What is to be done? Shall I destroy the city which I have chosen?" He then attributes here to God a paternal feeling, as we also find in several other places: God appeared as unwilling to proceed to extreme rigor in punishing his people.
"Alas! I will now take vengeance on mine enemies,"
he says by Isaiah. (Isaiah 1:24)
He called them enemies, and justly too; for as it was said before, they ceased not to carry on war against him; but he spoke with grief: "Alas! must I take vengeance on mine enemies; I would, however, willingly spare them, were it possible." God is not indeed subject to grief or to repentance; but his ineffable goodness cannot be otherwise expressed to us but by such mode of speaking. So also, in this place, we see that God as it were restrains himself; for he had previously commanded the enemies to ascend quickly the walls, to overturn the towers, and to destroy the whole city; but now, as though he had repented, he says,
There is no doubt but the object of the threatenings of the prophets was to lead the people to know their sins, and suppliantly to seek pardon; for why were the unbelieving threatened, except that God thereby proved whether they were healable? It is indeed true that the reprobate are known by God, and that God does not try or seek to find what is in their hearts, as though he did not know their obstinacy; but as I have already said, God speaks here after the manner of men: and he also shews what is the end of teaching, which is to lead men to repentance; and this cannot be done without giving them the hope of pardon and reconciliation. The Prophet thus briefly shews here for what purpose he had hitherto so dreadfully threatened the Jews, even to lead them at length to repentance.
The Prophet in short shews in this verse, that however grievously offended God was with his people, there was yet a hope of pardon; for he would be propitious to the people, if they turned and humbly confessed their sins, and sought to return into favor with him. It follows --
1 Or, "Be warned, "or, "Be reformed." The verb in Niphal is found in four other places, Leviticus 26:23; Psalm 2:10; Proverbs 29:19; Jeremiah 31:18, and rendered reformed, instructed, corrected, and chastised. It is the same as to receive correction and to become reformed.-Ed.
2 Or, "Lest forced shall be my soul from thee." The verb means to drive, to thrust, to force. To "depart, "as rendered by the ancient versions, and by our version, is too weak, and is not the idea; and still worse is "alienated, "as rendered by Blayney. It intimates God's unwillingness, as it were, to give up his chosen people, according to what Calvin observes.-Ed.
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