4. How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? the beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our last end.
4. Quousque lugebit terra.et herba omnis agri arescet prae malitia habitantium in ea? defecit bestiae (hoc est, consumptae sunt besiae) et avis (hoe est, aves, est enallage numeri tam in verbo quam in nomine;) quia dixerunt, Non videbit novissimum nostrum (vel, finem nostrum)
Jeremiah confirms the former sentence and more strongly reproves the Jews, who still continued obstinately to despise what he had said: "What do you mean, he says? for God's judgment appears as to brute beasts and birds; and what have birds and sheep and oxen deserved? Ye know that there is no fault in miserable animals, and yet the curse of God is through them set before you; ye see that God is offended with brute animals, but the fault is doubtless in you. And will God spare you, when he has already begun, and long ago begun to inflict punishment on innocent animals? how can he hear with you to the end, who are full of so many and the most atrocious sins?" This then is a confirmation of his former doctrine.
And hence we also learn that he did not speak for his own sake, nor express his own private feelings, but that he defended the doctrine which he had announced, that the Jews might know that God was angry with them, and that they were not to expect that he would always conceal himself, though he for a time connived at them.
And more clearly still does he express his meaning, when he says,
Grant, Almighty God, that though the same hardness is inbred in us as in thine ancient people, we may not become rooted in it; but do thou rouse us by thy Spirit, that we may suffer ourselves to be gently governed by thyi word, and be so touched by thy threatenings, that we may not defer the time whenever thou an -- nouncest to us thy judgment, but strive to be immediately reconciled to thee: and as there is no other way of being reconciled except through thine only -- begotten Son, may we in true faith embrace the favor which thou offerest to us in thy gospel, and also devote ourselves wholly to thee, being truly penitent of our sins; and as we ought to make progress to the end of life, may we strive more and more to put off all the lusts of our flesh, until we shall at length be made partakers of that glory which thine only -- begotten Son has prepared for us. -- Amen.
1 Both Gataker and Venema regard the meaning of the last clause differently. Here ends the expostulation of Jeremiah; and they consider that he mentions here what his persecutors said of him, that he would not see their end, or their ruin, which he had foretold. Were
How long shall mourn the land And the grass of every field wither? For the evil of those who dwell in it, Swept away has been the beast and the bird, Though they have said, "Hewill not see our end."
The third line connects better with what follows than with what precedes it; and it is so rendered in the Syriac. The word for "beast," though in a plural form, is used elsewhere as a singular, Psalm 73:22; and so it is here, and so rendered by the Vulgate and the Targum. -- Ed.
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