7. Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee.
7. Quis non timebit to rex gentium? quia tibi convenit; nam inter omnes sapientes gentium et in omnibus regnis eorum, a nullo tempore similis tibi, (vel, sicut tu, ad verbum.)
The Prophet exclaims, Who will not fear thee? This question is very emphatical, as though he indignantly rebuked the stupidity of all those who acknowledged not the only true God, as if he had said, "Whence is it that thou art not feared throughout the whole world? Surely were there a spark of right knowledge in men, they would acknowledge thee as the only true God, and having found this truth, would submit to thy power. When, therefore, men invent for themselves various gods, and when every one is led here and there without any judgment, it is a monstrous thing; for when the subject is pressed on the attention of the rudest, they confess that there, is some supreme deity, and are at length constrained to allow that there is but one true God; whence then is it that there is such a multitude and variety of gods in the world? How is it that they who hold this principle -- that God ought to be worshipped -- fall away, and adopt many gods, and never can determine who the true God is, or how he is to be worshipped?" We now understand the object of the Prophet in exclaiming, as through astonishment, Who will not fear thee, the King of nations?
We know that the true God was then despised by the heathens; and we also know that his law was regarded with contempt, and even els an abomination: What then does this question mean? even what I have already stated: The Prophet indignantly says, that it was a monstrous thing, bordering on madness, that men paid no regard to the only true God, but went astray after their own foolish devices. And he calls him the King of the nations, not that the nations submitted to his authority, but because he manifested evidences of his power everywhere, which might have induced the rudest to shew him reverence, were they not extremely stupid. We then see that this is not said to the honor of the nations, but on the contrary, that their ingratitude might be exposed to shame in not honoring God, who manifested his power among them.
Then follows what confirms this: For to thee it belongs; for among all the wise of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, from no time has there been one like to thee. He says that it belongs to God, that is, that all the world should fear him. Some render htay iate, as a noun, and take it as signifying "honor;" and others render it "government," or authority; but this cannot be received. He then says, it belongs to God. What? Some say, "glory or dominion belongs to thee." But it must be referred to the beginning of the verse: there is here a figure called Zeugma, and the meaning is, God deserves this, that is, to be feared by all. H.e then speaks of fear, and says that it belongs to God. What is meant is, that the glory of God shines so much as to be sufficient to arrest and engage all the thoughts of men, and that they are therefore extremely stupid when they pass by and forsake him, and turn to their own devices, and invent gods according to their own fancies.1
The Prophet then confirms what we have already said -- that all men who worship not nor fear the only true God are detestable beings, because so much of his glory shines forth, that renders all bound to acknowledge him. It then follows, that those who are carried away into various superstitions are to the last degree stupid and brutish; for God renders his glory conspicuous everywhere, so that it ought to engage and occupy the thoughts of all men; and it would do so were they not led away by their own vanity.
We hence also learn that the pretext of ignorance made by unbelievers is wholly vain. There are those who on the first view seem to be excusable for their error, as they have not been taught, and never understood who the true God is; but yet there is in them the blame of neglect as well as of wickedness, for they wilfully neglect and despise the only true God. As then the unbelieving take delight in their errors, they are to be held guilty. And this is what the Prophet means by saying that God was worthy of glory -- the glory of being feared by all: and this he more fully confirms when he says, "Among all the wise, and in all kingdoms," that is, among all the princes who seemed to excel in wisdom in governing the world, "no other God could be found throughout all the ages."
He repeats again the word Nyam main, of which we spoke yesterday.2 It is the same as though the Prophet had said, "Let all the wise men and philosophers come forth, let ,all those counsellors who assume great wisdom appear, and let them adduce whatever they can allege; doubtless God will ever defend his own glory against all their frivolous arguments, so that they must depart confounded; nor shall they be able, however willing they may be, to bring any solid objection against him." By these words, then, the Prophet intimates that it is vain to boast of philosophic reasons, and that the counsels of princes, who esteem themselves very acute in civil affairs, will be adduced in vain; for all will be covered with shame, and be constrained to be silent, when God makes known his glory. Indeed the glory of God appears everywhere so conspicuously, that the rudest ought to perceive it, that the wise, who fly above the heavens as philosophers, who search all the secrets of nature, do not understand what is, as they say, abroad in the open air; for God manifests himself to the simple, and even to children. We now perceive the design of the Prophet, when he says, From no times has been found any like to God, not only among the vulgar or common men, but among the wise, and princes, and kings' counsellors.He afterwards adds --
"When he shall approach unto thee."
But this has hardly a meaning here, and far less has the rendering of Horsley, --
"Surely unto thee shall be the coming;"
i.e.," The general coming, the universal resort." The bishop saw predictions everywhere. The explanation of Calvin is the most satisfactory. The act mentioned in the preceding clause, "fear," is to be understood as the nominative case. -- Ed.