16. The calamity of Moab is near to come, and his affliction hasteth fast.
16. Propinqua est calamitas Moab (dya, sigificat infortunium et calamitatem, significat etiam interitum, ideo vertunt quidam propinquus est interitus) ad veniendum (ut veniat,) et malum ejus (id est, calamitas) festinat valde.
Here the Prophet expresses something more, that the vengeance of which he spoke was near and hastening. It served to alleviate the sorrow of the faithful, when they understood that the Moabites would shortly be punished; for it was a grievous and bitter trial, when God severely chastened his own children, to see that the wicked were in the meantime spared. As, then, he deferred his judgments as to the wicked, that delay tended to drive the faithful to despair, at least they could not bear with sufficient patience the scourges of God.
This is the reason why the Prophet now says,
"If the prophecy delays, wait for it; for coming it will come, and will not delay." (Habakkuk 2:3)
And this mode of speaking occurs often in the prophets. When, therefore, God denounces punishment on the wicked and the despisers of his Law, he says, "Behold, your day hastens," and he says this, that they might be awakened and begin to fear in due time.
But here, as I have reminded you, Jeremiah had a regard to his own people. For the faithful might have objected, and said, "What can this be? how long will God defer the punishment which he threatens to our enemies?" Hence he says, "Strengthen your minds for a little while, for God will presently stretch forth his hand and show that he is a defender who cares for you and your safety; for he will set himself against the Moabites, because they have been unfaithful and vexatious to you." It is, then, for this reason that he says,
We may hence learn this useful doctrine, that whenever God promises anything, we ought to receive it as a present thing, though yet hidden and even remote. There is no distance which ought to impede our faith; but we ought to regard as certain whatever God promises, and as though it were before our eyes and in our hand. And the same ought to be the case as to threatenings; whenever God denounces anything hard and grievous, it ought to touch and move us the same as though we saw his hand armed with a sword, and as though the very execution of his vengeance was exhibited before our eyes. For we know what the Scripture teaches us elsewhere,
"When the wicked shall say, Peace and security, destruction comes suddenly on them, as the pain of childbearing, which seizes a woman when she thinks nothing of it." (1 Thessalonians 5:3)
Let us then learn to set God's favor ever as present, and also all punishments, so that we may really fear them. It follows --
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