23. O inhabitant of Lebanon, that makest thy nest in the cedars, how gracious shalt thou be when pangs come upon thee, the pain as of a woman in travail!
23. Sedisti (hoc est, sedem tibi posuisti) in Libano, nidulata es in cedris, quomodo gratiosa fuisti (alii, vertunt, precata es) in veniendo tibi dolores, dolorem quasi parturientis (ad verbum, sed sensus est, quomodo gratiosa eris, ubi venerint tibi dolores, dolor quasi foeminae parturientis.)
The Prophet confirms the same thing in other words; and hence it appears how difficult it is to shake off from men their false confidence, when they give themselves up to earthly things. As soon, then, as false confidence strikes its roots into the hearts of men, they cannot be moved either by any threatenings or by any dangers; even though death itself were hanging over them, they yet remain unconcerned: and hence Isaiah upbraids them and says, That they had made a covenant with death. (Isaiah 28:15.) This was the reason why the Prophet here multiplied words and used greater vehemence; it was for the purpose of correcting that perverseness which prevailed among the Jews; for they thought themselves beyond the reach of those darts which God's hands would throw.
He therefore says, that they had
1 The former part of this passage is differently rendered by all the early versions: the Sept., "thou wilt groan;" the Vulg., "how thou hast groaned;" the Syr., "how much wilt thou groan." The reading adopted was
23. Inhabitress of Lebanon! nestler in the cedars! How graceful (or favored) shalt thou be, When come on thee shall throes, A pain like that of childbearing!
The gender is feminine, and either Jerusalem or the house or family of David is meant. The word for "throes" means girding pains or pangs. The verse is the language of irony. The people were so hardened, that nothing else would have touched them. -- Ed.
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