20. But, O Lord of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them; for unto thee have I revealed my cause.
20. Et, Jehova exercituum, judicans justintam, (ant, judex justitiae) scrutans (vel, inquirens) renes et cor, videam ultionem tuam de ipsis; quia tibi revelavi causam meam, (litem meam, ad verbum)
Here the Prophet, after having found that the impiety of the people was so great that he was speaking to the deaf, turns his address to God:
"Zeal for thine house hath eaten me, and the reproaches of those who upbraided thee have fallen on me." (Psalm 69:9; John 2:17; Romans 15:3)
The Prophet then had previously freed himself from all suspicion by saying that he was prepared for the slaughter, as though he were a lamb or a calf; but he now shews that he was, notwithstanding, not destitute of zeal for God. Here then he gives vent to this new fervor when he says, "O Jehovah, who searchest the reins and the heart, may I see thy vengeance on them."
The Prophet, no doubt, was free from every carnal feeling, and pronounced what we read through the influence of the Spirit. Since then the Holy Spirit dictated this prayer to the holy man, he might still have offered himself a voluntary sacrifice, while yet he justly appealed to God's tribunal to take vengeance on the impiety of a reprobate people; for he did not indiscriminately include them all, but imprecated God's judgment on the abandoned and irreclaimable.
It is indeed true, that we may regard the Prophet as predicting what he knew would happen to his people: and some give this explanation; they consider it as a prediction only and no prayer. But they are terrified without reason at the appearance of inconsistency, as they think it inconsistent in the Prophet to desire the perdition of his own people: for he might have wished it through the influ ence of that zeal, as I have said, which the Holy Spirit had kindled in his heart, and according to the words which the same Spirit had dictated.
He calls God the
Now, we are taught in this passage, that even were the whole world united to suppress the light of truth, Prophets and teachers ought not to despond, nor to rely on the judgment of men, for that is a false and deceptive balance; but that they ought to persevere in the discharge of their office, and to be satisfied with this alone -- that they render their office approved of God, and exercise it as in his presence. We may also learn, that the ungodly and hypocrites in vain make shifts and evasions, while they try to elude the authority of the Prophets; for they will at length be led before God's tribunal. When therefore we find teachers rightly and sincerely discharging their office, let us know that we cannot possibly escape the judgment of God except we submit to their teaching. And Prophets and pastors themselves ought to learn from this passage, that though the whole world, as I have already said, were opposed to them, they ought not yet to cease from their perseverance, nor be changeable, but to consider it enough that God approves of their cause. It afterwards follows --
1 The beginning of the verse is differently rendered: "O Lord," in the vocative case, by the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the Syriac; "The Lord," by the Arabic and Targum. All the versions agree as to the imprecation, "May I see --
20.But Jehovah of hosts, who art a righteous judge, The trier of the reins and of the heart, I shall see thy vengeance on them; For on thee have I devolved my cause.
"Jehovah of hosts" is a nominative absolute -- a form of expression very common in the Prophets. -- Ed.
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