Jeremiah 48:43-44

43. Fear, and the pit, and the snare, shall be upon thee, O inhabitant of Moab, saith the Lord.

43. Terror et fovea et laqueus super to, habitator Moab, dicit Jehova.

44. He that fleeth from the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that getteth up out of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for I will bring upon it, even upon Moab, the year of their visitation, saith the Lord.

44. Qui fugerit a facie terroris incidet in foveam; et qui ascenderit e fovea laqueo capietur; quoniam adducam super eam, super Moab, annum visitationis ipsorum, dicit Jehova.


By these words the Prophet skews, that though the Moabites should adopt many means of escape, yet they should be taken, for God's hand would everywhere entrap them. He mentions terror first, then the pit, and thirdly, the snare,1 that is, "Thou wilt be so frightened that terror will compel thee to flee; but when thou fleest, pits will be in the way into which thou wilt fall: but if thou wilt rise from the pit, snares will surround thee, and thou wilt be taken." We then see that by these similitudes nothing else is meant but God's judgment, which impended over the Moabites, so that it could by no means be averted by them; for no ways could be found out by which they could escape, because fear would force them to flee, and would, as it is usually the case, deprive them of mind and thought, and thus they would be driven here and there, and could not move from any place without meeting with a pit, and, as it has been said, after the pit there would be the snare.

Now all this has not been expressed without reason, because we know with how many flatteries men are wont to delude themselves when God summons them to judgment; for they immediately look around here and there, and promise themselves impunity, and then they hope for light punishment, as though they were at peace with God. But the unbelieving harden themselves, as Isaiah says, as though they had made a covenant with death and a compact with hell. (Isaiah 28:15.) As, then, the wicked set up security in opposition to God, the Prophet here shews that there are many ways in his hand, by which he can take the fugitives, and those who seem to think that they can escape through their own astuteness; and hence he said, He who flees from terror, that is, from present danger, shall fall into the pit, that is, when the Moabites shall now think themselves secure, they shall meet with new dangers, and new deaths will surround them.

But we must notice what is added at the end of the verse, Because I will bring on Moab the year of their visitation. Here God sustains the minds of the godly, that they might not faint on account of long delay. As, then, the faithful might have been worn out with weariness while God prolonged the time as to the Moabites, the Prophet says, "Come at length shall the year of their visitation." For as it has been stated elsewhere, by this mode of speaking God intimates that though he for a time passes by things and connives at them, he will at length show himself to be the judge of the world. We would have God ever to act in haste; and hence, when he exhorts us to patience, all our feelings rebel. This happens, because we do not consider that the fitness of times is determined by his will. Hence he speaks now of the year of visitation, as though he had said, "I may for a time appear to disregard human affairs and to neglect my own, while my people are cruelly oppressed by the wicked; but the time of visitation will come." For by this word "visitation," God means that there are changes, or, as they commonly say, revolutions, which are fixed and certain. We now then understand the design of God, when he says, that he would bring a visitation on the Moabites. It follows, --

1 There is a striking alliteration in these words, fear, pit, snare -- peched, pechet, pech. -- Ed.


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