7. O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name's sake: for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee.
7. Si iniquitates nostrae testificantur contra nos, Jehova, fac propter nomen tuum; quia multiplicatae sunt aversiones nostrae, in te scelerate egimus.
The Prophet, no doubt, intended here to exhort the Jews by his own example to seek pardon; nor does he so assume the character of others, as though he was free himself from guilt; for he was not more righteous than Daniel, who, as we find, testified that he confessed before God, not only the sins of the people, but also his own sins. (Daniel 9:4, 5) And Jeremiah, though not one of God's despisers, nor of the profane, who had provoked God's wrath, was yet one of the people; and here he connects himself with them; and he did this in sincerity and not in dissimulation. But he might have prayed silently at home; why then did he make public his prayer? What was his purpose in consigning it to writing? It was that he might rouse the people, as I have already said, by his example, so that they might flee as suppliants to God's mercy, and seek forgiveness for their sins. This then was the Prophet's object. Thus we see that the prophecy concerning the scarcity and the famine was announced, that the people might through repentance escape the wrath of God; for we know that when God has even taken his sword he may possibly be pacified, as he is in his nature merciful: and besides, the design of all such predictions is, that men, conscious of their sins, may by faith and repentance escape the destruction that awaits them. We now then understand the design of the Prophet in this passage.
He says first,
For he says,
As we now perceive the import of the words, let us learn from this passage, that there is no other way of being reconciled to God than by having him to be propitious to us for his name's sake. And by this truth is refuted everything that has been invented by the Papists, not less foolishly than rashly, respecting their own satisfactions. They indeed know that they stand in need of God's mercy; for no one is so blinded under the Papacy, who does not feel the secret misgivings of his own conscience: so the saintlings, who lay claim to angelic perfection, are yet self -- convicted, and are by necessity urged to seek pardon; but in the mean time they obtrude on God their satisfactions and works of supererogation, by which they compensate for their sins, and thus deliver themselves from the hand of God. Now this is a remarkable passage to confute such a diabolical delirium, for the Prophet brings forward the name of God; as though he had said, "This is the only way by which we can return to God's favor and obtain reconciliation with him, even by having him to
1 All the versions connect "Jehovah" with the next words; and so do Veema, Gataker, and Blayney. The particle
Verily, our perversities, they have responded against us.
2 The latter part may be thus rendered, --
Jehovah! deal with us for thy name's sake: For many have been our defections, Against thee have we sinned.
The Syriac renders fitly the first line, --
O Lord, spare us on account of thy name.-- Ed.
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