19. O inhabitant of Aroer, stand by the way, and espy; ask him that fleeth, and her that escapeth, and say, What is done?
19. Super viam consiste et speculare habitatrix Aroer; interroga fugientem et eam quae elapsa fuerit, dic, Quid factum est (quid accidit?)
We have stated elsewhere why the prophets in describing calamities spoke in so elevated a style; for their object was not to seek fame or the praise of eloquence. They are not these rhetorical ornaments which the prophets used; but they necessarily spoke in a lofty style of the punishments which awaited the ungodly, because such was the hardness of their hearts that they hesitated not to despise God's threatenings, or to regard them as fables. That God's threatenings then might penetrate into the hearts of men, it was necessary to exaggerate them by means of various comparisons, as it is done here and in many places. We ought at the same time to bear in mind what I have said, that the Prophet had a regard to his own people. As the Moabites were like a hid treasure, the Jews could never have thought it possible, that the Chaldeans would at length make an inroad there; but the Prophet declares that the thing was so certain, as though it was seen by their own eyes. In order then to lead the Jews to the very scene itself, the judgments of God are here not only described, but as it were painted.
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