26. O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us.
26. Filia populi mei, accingere sacco, voluta to in pulvere, luctum unigeniti fac tibi, planctum amaritudinum; quia repente veniet vastator super nos.
The Prophet seems to use more words than necessary; for in a clear matter he appears to extend his discourse too far: but we must consider the design which has been mentioned; for he could not rouse the Jews without urging the matter on them with great vehemence. Known and sufficiently common is the term, "daughter of my people, "as applied to the whole community.
If repentance be thought to be intended here, we know that sackcloth and ashes are, of themselves, of no account before God, but that they were formerly evidences of repentance when God's wrath was humbly deprecated; and hence the prophets often designated the thing signified by the sign. We must yet remember what Joel says, that hearts, and not garments, are to be rent. (Joel 2:13.) But the prophets assume this principle as granted, that we are not to deal falsely with God, but with sincerity. Then by sackcloth and ashes they did not understand false protestations, as it is said, but real manifestations of what they felt, when really and from the heart they sought God's mercy. But as the Prophet seems here to assume the character of a herald, denouncing war, I know not whether repentance is what is here meant. So then I rather understand him as saying, that nothing but extreme mourning remained for the Jews: and hence he says, that destroyers would
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