24 Therefore will I scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness.
24 Et dispergam (vel, dissipabo) eos quasi stipulam transeuntem ad ventum deserti.
This is an inference which Jeremiah draws from the last verse. As long as there is any hope of repentance, there is also room for mercy; God often declares that he is long-suffering. Then the most wicked might object and say, that God is too rigid, because he waits not until they return to a sound mind. Now the Prophet had said that it was all over with the people: here therefore he meets the objection, and shews that extreme calamity was justly brought on them by God, because the Jews had obstinately hardened themselves in their vices and wickedness.
After having shewn, therefore, that corruption was inherent in them, as blackness in the skin of an Ethiopian, and as spots in panthers, he now comes to this conclusion --
Let us then learn from this passage not to abuse the patience of God: for though he may suspend for a time the punishment we deserve, yet when he sees that we go on in our wickedness, he will come to extreme measures, and will deal with us without mercy as those who are past remedy. It follows --
1 Our version begins with "therefore," giving this meaning to
And I will scatter them like the stubble That is subject to the wind of the desert.
To pass over to a thing is to become within its range, or to its possession. The sense would be given by the following version, --
That is carried away by the wind of the desert.
The meaning is not what the Septuagint give, "carried by the wind to the desert;" nor what the Vulgate presents, "carried by the wind in the desert;" but what is meant is, "the wind of the desert," or, as Calvin says, the south wind. When the stubble was exposed to that, it is carried away with the greatest violence: such would be the scattering of the Jews. -- Ed.
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