14. Thus saith the Lord against all mine evil neighbors, that touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit; Behold, I will pluck them out of their land, and pluck out the house of Judah from among them.
14. Sic dicit Jehova, Super omnes vicinos meos malos qui tangunt haereditatem meam, quam haereditare obtinui, populum meum Israel; ecce ego evellam ipsos e terra ipsorum, et demum Jehudah evellam e medio ipsorum.
The Prophet now begins to mitigate what might have beyond measure exasperated the minds of the people; and this he did, not so much for the sake of the people in general, as for the sake of the elect, a few of whom still remained. We have indeed seen that it was all over with the body of the people; for it had been said to Jeremiah,
"Pray not for them, for I will not hear them,"
The Prophet then knew the immutable purpose of God as to the mass of the people. Nor did he intend here to soften what might have appeared grievous in what he had taught. But as we have said elsewhere, and indeed often repeated, the prophets used reproofs only as to the whole community, and then spoke as it were apart to the elect; for there ever was a remnant among that people, inasmuch as God never suffered his covenant to be made void. As then the Church was still existing, the Prophet had regard to the hidden seed, and therefore blended consolation with those grievous and dreadful predictions which we have noticed.
This is the reason why he now says that God would be the avenger of that cruelty which their neighbors had exercised towards the Jews. For this temptation might have greatly disturbed the minds of the godly, -- "What means this, that God rages so violently against us, while he spares the heathens? Have the Moabites, or the Ammonites, or the Idumeans, deserved nothing? Why then does God bear with them, while he deals so severely with us?" The Prophet then meets this objection, and says, that punishment was nigh those nations, and such as they deserved, and that for the sake of the chosen people. If indeed he had only said that the Moabites and the Idumeans, and the rest, would be summoned before God's tribunal, that they in their turn might be punished, it would have given no relief to the miserable Jews; for it would have been a very empty consolation to have only so many associates in their misery: but the Prophet also adds, that God would be thus propitious to his elect; for it was a sign of his paternal favor, when he inflicted punishment on all those neighhors by whom they had been so cruelly treated.
He begins by saying,
"He who touches you, touches the apple of my eye." (Zechariah 2:8)
Then he adds,
We hence see why God calls here Israel his
He then adds,
"I have planted and will pluck up," (Jeremiah 45:4:)
We have also seen the following,
"I have set thee to plant and to pluck up," (Jeremiah 1:10)
this was to shew the power of prophetic truth. And he says here, "I will pluck up," or eradicate them, as some render it; but as this word (eradicabo) is not Latin, let us retain evellam -- I will pluck up; only you must understand that what it properly means is, to draw up by the roots, and that by force:
"Remember the children of Edom, who said in the day of Jerusalem," etc., (Psalm 137:7)
and we shall hereafter see that this was fulfined; for the Prophet will presently speak of all these nations, in order that the Jews might perceive that God's judgment would extend to all parts of the earth. But here the Prophet briefly threatens these nations with vengeance, that he might alleviate the sorrow of the small portion which remained. For as we have said, the body of the people was without hope, as God had given them up, according to what they deserved, to final destruction.
But as God ever reserved a remnant, the Prophet says in this place,
And this also have we found in our time; for how hard was our bondage under the Papacy? and was not also its tyranny almost unconquerable? But God put forth his power and drew forth a few from under its cruel domination. In the same manner he promised formerly to the remnant of his people, that he would be so merciful to them as to rescue them from the yoke of tyranny. It follows --
1 No doubt the people of Israel were often called the heritage of God; but the word heritage means here evidently the land. The version of Calvin cannot be admitted; the verb is in Hiphil and must be rendered, "I have caused to inherit;" and so it is rendered in all the versions and Targum. The verse runs thus, --
14. Thus saith Jehovah, -- As to all my neighbors, Who have done evil, who have touched the heritage, Which I have caused my people Israel to inherit, -- Behold, I will root them up from their land, And the house of Judah will I root up from the midst of them.
There is here a promise of two removals, -- that of heathens from the Iand of Canaan, -- and that of the Jews from the land of heathens. -- Ed.
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