33. And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction.
33. Et verterunt mihi cervicem et non faciem; et docendo eos, et mane surgendo et docendo, et non audierunt (et ipsi non audientes, ad verbum, sed, non audierunt) ut reciperent correctionum (vel, disciplinam)
Here the Prophet expresses more clearly the perverseness of the people, as though he had said, that they had deliberately rejected every instruction, and had shewn no regard for God; for he who turns his back on us, does this knowingly and wilfully, and indeed not without contempt. When any one addresses me, and I look another way, is it not a manifest sign of contempt or disdain? and he who speaks, does he not see that he is disregarded? Thus God then complains that the Jews had not fallen away through ignorance, but as it were through a premeditated obstinacy:
Then he amplifies their guilt by saying,
"A Prophet will I raise up for thee from the midst of thy brethren." (Deuteronomy 18:18)
For he intimates that this benefit would be perpetual in the Church, so that there would never be wanting Prophets to shew the right way to the people. For he sets Prophets in opposition to soothsayers, diviners, foretellers, and all other ministers of Satan, as though he had said, that there was no reason for the people to seek the fallacies of Satan, since the Prophets were sufficient. Lest the Jews then should complain that they were hardly dealt with, God here shews that he had taught them, for he ascribes to himself what he had done by his Prophets: and doubtless Prophets and teachers are nothing else but the instruments of the Holy Spirit; for no one is fit to teach, but when he is guided by the Spirit of God. Justly then does God claim for himself these offices, so that all the praise for the building up of his Church is due to him, though he employs the labors of men. In this sense it is, that he says, that he had taught them.
Then he adds, that he
Now this manner of speaking ought to be particularly observed, as we hence learn how base their ingratitude is who reject the teaching of the Prophets; for they not only disregarded men, but God himself, as Christ also declares,
"He who hears you, hears me; and he who rejects you, rejects me." (Luke 10:16)
This form of speaking, then, commends the truth of the doctrine taught by the Prophets; for God comes forth and shews that he speaks by his servants. And on the other hand, we learn what an incomparable blessing it is to have faithful and true teachers; for God, through them and their labors, with certainty declares that he cares for our salvation, as though he watched over us, as though he rose up early, as though he visited us; and the preaching of the Gospel is not without reason called the visitation of God. There is, then, no reason for us to seek anything better, when God is present with us by his word; for we have a sure testimony of his presence whenever true and faithful teachers rise up.
2 The words for teaching, and early rising, are participles, dependent on "me," in the previous clause, and by making a little change in the order of the words, the sense would be more evident, --
And they turned the neck and not the face to me, while teaching them, early-rising and teaching; yet they hearkened not to receive instruction.
They turned their back, while God was teaching them! -- Ed.
3 It is true that the word means correction as well as instruction; but as "teaching" is what was previously mentioned, our version, which gives the latter word, seems to present the true meaning here. It is so rendered by Blayney. -- Ed.
Back to BibleStudyGuide.org.
These files are public domain. This electronic edition was downloaded from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.