12. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd; and their soul shall be as a watered garden: and they shall not sorrow any more at all.
12. Et venient et laudabunt in excelso Zion, et confluent ad beneficentiam Jehovae, ad triticum et ad vinum et ad oleum, et ad gregem pecudum (ad verbum, filios ovium) et armenti ( vel, pecoris; distinguit oves et arietes a bobus et vaccis) et erit anima eorum quasi hortus irriguus, et non adjicient ad dolendum (vel, lugendum) amplius.
He says that they would come to
What then has been hitherto said of the people's return would have been unimportant, had not this promise been added respecting the restoration of God's worship. At the same time he exhorts the Israelites to gratitude by shewing to them the end for which they were to be made free, even that they might sing praises on the height of Zion. We, indeed, know that the Temple was built on the top of that hill. But the Prophet mentions the height or high place, because gratitude was freely expressed when the Jews returned to their own country; for while they lived in exile they were like persons mute. It is hence said in the Psalms,
"How shall we sing a song to God in a foreign land?"
And they might have been still fearful after their return, had not a full liberty been granted them. This then is the benefit which the Prophet refers to when he says, that they would celebrate this favor
Though David was endued with a singular gift of the Spirit, yet he confined himself within his own limits; for he knew that God intended so to rule at that time his Church, as that the manner of teaching should be suitable to children. But now, after we have grown up in Christ, the figures and external images have ceased; for though godliness has promises respecting the present as well as the future life, as Paul testifies, (1 Timothy 4:8) we ought yet to rise above that doctrine which is elementary. Hence when the Prophets promise wine, and oil, and wheat to the faithful, their object is to raise up their minds by degrees and gradually to higher things, according to the condition and comprehension of childhood.
And this ought to be carefully noticed; for many profane men, when they read such sentences, think that the people were addicted only to present gratifications, and that all the Jews were slaves to their appetites, and were fed by God like swine or oxen. But such an opinion is to be altogether abhorred; for they who entertain it not only wrong the Fathers most grievously, whose hope was the same as ours, as thy ever looked forward to an eternal inheritance, being strangers, as the Apostle tells us, in this world, (Hebrews 11:13) but they also disunite the body of the Church, and extinguish the grace of God, which was granted formerly through many ages, though it was only at the coming of Christ that God commenced to proclaim to men his eternal salvation. But we must bear in mind that the holy Fathers were not so brutish in their minds, that they confined their thoughts to this world; for they knew that they had been adopted by God, that they might at last enjoy a celestial life; and hence they called themselves sojourners. Jacob, who had long dwelt in the land of Canaan, says that his whole life had been a continual pilgrimage. (Genesis 47:9) And the Apostle wisely notices this, when he says that they were acknowledged by God as his children, because they were strangers in this world. (Hebrews 11:13) Then the holy fathers had the same hope as we now receive from the Gospel, as they had also the same Christ. But the difference is, that God then set forth his grace under visible figures, and it was, therefore, more obscure, but that now, figures and types had ceased, and Christ has come forth and appeared to us more clearly. I have therefore said, that this doctrine ought to be wisely applied to our use, lest we seek to be fed and crammed when God invites us to the participation of his grace. But we ought to know, that of all men, we are the most miserable, if our hope is confined to this world; and yet, at that time this way of teaching was very necessary, for the return of the people, as it has been stated, required it.
Now, then, let us know that by saying,
He afterwards adds,
He says further,
But we must bear in mind that Christ's kingdom only begins in us here, and in the rest of the world; it is, then, no wonder that we taste so little of the benefits which the Prophets extol in such high terms. When, therefore, a temptation of this kind creeps in, when God treats us more sharply then we desire, "What does this mean? Wert thou one of God's children, would he not deal with thee indulgently as he has promised? Where is that abundance of wheat, wine, and oil, for thou art often in want? Thou always livest in penury, nor does there appear to be anything better for thee to-morrow, as thou art now robbed and art come to a barren country," -- now when such a temptation as this creeps in, such as may draw thee to despair, let this doctrine come to thy mind, "Is the kingdom of God made perfect in thee?" Now if not one of us has hardly entered into God's kingdom, there is no wonder that we are not partakers of all the good things which God has promised to his people; for if Christ's kingdom is weak and feeble in us, it is nothing but right that we should live, as it were, in that penury which tempts us to distrust God; the same is the way with the whole world. There is, then, no reason to wonder that God does not fulfill what he has promised under Christ's kingdom, when men are not capable of receiving so great a kindness; for it is written,
"Open thy mouth and I will fill it." (Psalm 81:10)
But we are straitened in ourselves; hence it is, that hardly the smallest drops of God's bounty come to us. It afterwards follows, --
1 The verb
And they shall be comforted by the bounty of Jehovah, With corn, and with new wine, and with oil, Also with the young of the flock and of the herd; And their soul shall be like a watered garden, And they shall again hunger no more.
And they shall again feel want no more. -- Ed.
2 The verb
Back to BibleStudyGuide.org.
These files are public domain. This electronic edition was downloaded from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.