26. Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me.
26. Propterea expergefaetus sum et vidi, et somnus meus dulcis fuit mihi, (vel utilis)
Here the Prophet comes forth, and by his own example encourages the faithful to be confident, even to recumb on God's promise, as though they really enjoyed already what was as yet hid from them, nay, as it has been said, incredible. He then says, that he awoke and saw. This metaphor ought to be applied to a feeling contrary to that by which the Prophet had been, as it were, astonished. For though the Jews were not yet led into exile, yet the ten tribes were in that miserable bondage, -- their kingdom had fallen and perished, and final ruin was nigh the kingdom of Judah. While then the Prophet was considering these dreadful vengeances of God, he was, as it were, overwhelmed with sleep. He now says that he awoke. As in darkness men lose the rigor of their minds, and sleep also prevails, so that they cannot distinguish between black and white; so also the Prophet confesses that he was for a time, as it were, lifeless; he then says, that he awoke, that is, when God's favor shone forth, not by its own effect, but in this prophecy.
We then see that he knew as through a mirror what was yet far distant; for the term of seventy years had not as yet commenced: but faith, as it is well known, is the seeing of things hid, and the substance of things absent; for except the word of God obtains in our hearts this assurance, we betray our unbelief. The Prophet gave a proof of his faith, for he fully acknowledged that all that had been by God predicted, though far distant, would yet be accomplished in due time. We now understand why he says, that he awoke.
And he adds,
But we have said that the sorrow by which the mind of the Prophet had been for a time overwhelmed, is compared to a sleep.1 He now adds, --
1 It is difficult to see exactly the purport of this verse: what does "beheld," or saw mean? May not the verb be considered as in Hophal, "I was made to see," or, had a vision? The verb is often used in this sense: see Zechariah 3:1. Then we may give this version, --
Hereupon I awoke and had a vision;
And my sleep had been pleasant to me.
Visions were of two kinds, given in sleep, and given to persons awake: the previous vision was given to the Prophet while he was asleep. -- Ed.
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