18. As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the neighbor cities thereof, saith the Lord, no man shall abide there, neither shall a son of man dwell in it.
18. Secundum subversionem Sodomae et Gomorrae et vicinarum ejus, dicit Jehova, non habitabit illie vir, et non manebit in ea filius hominis.
He expresses more at large what he had briefly included in one word: he had said, that Edom would become a waste; but he now shews what sort of waste it would be, even such as that of
And hence again we learn, that there was no hope left for the Idumeans; as though the Prophet had said, that their final overthrow was inevitable, because God would have them wholly destroyed, and their memory obliterated. It is yet probable that there were some remnant of the nation; but this was not inconsistent with this prophecy, because they who remained alive became so scattered, that they never formed one people, nor had any name. And though God might have chosen some from that nation, yet this favor remained hid, and, as it was unknown to men, it can hardly be taken to the account. However this may have been, we must bear in mind what I have before briefly referred to, -- that the Idumeans were so accursed, that their calamity was much severer than that of other nations; and this they had deserved by their unnatural cruelty and many contumelies towards the miserable Israelites, their own relatives. This, then, was the reason why Jeremiah compared the land to,
And yet it appears, from history, that that country was afterwards inhabited, for even the Romans placed there a garrison. But the Prophet, as I have already said, meant that none of the Idumeans would survive to possess the land, so as to become a nation. Though, then, other inhabitants might have afterwards possessed the land, this was nothing to the Idumeans; for that people had perished, and from that time no restoration followed: this was sufficient as a fulfillment of this prophecy. Nay, it was a harder thing, that their land should receive aliens and strangers, than if it had been left desolate.
But we must also bear in mind the common mode of speaking adopted by the Prophets; for when they adduce Sodom and Gomorrah as examples, they speak hyperbolically; and there is no need here to accumulate passages to prove this; for they who are in any tolerable measure acquainted with Scripture, must know that whenever mention is made of Sodom and Gomorrah, all pardon and alleviation of punishment are excluded. Isaiah, extolling God's mercy towards his chosen people, says,
"Had not God left us a very small seed, we must have been as Sodom and like to Gomorrah." (Isaiah 1:9)
And this mode of speaking, as I have said, often occurs in Scripture; yea, even our Prophet threatened the Israelites with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, (Jeremiah 23:14.) The words, no doubt, are used hyperbolically; for God had not fulminated against other lands or nations and sunk them in the deep, as he had done to Sodom and Gomorrah. But in comparisons all parts do not correspond.
Now, some one may ask, Why does God thus exceed due limits in speaking? To this I answer, that it is not done without just reason and necessity. We indeed see that men are indifferent to God's judgments; for such is their sloth and insensibility, that they disregard as a light thing, or deem as nothing, what God threatens. As then men are so brutish, being unmoved by God's threatenings, it is necessary that such indifference should be roused and awakened. He therefore sets Sodom and Gomorrah before their eyes; and as Jude also says, there an example of all the punishments which await the reprobate has been exhibited. (Jude 7.) God therefore designed to represent once for all, as in a mirror, how dreadful will be his vengeance on all the wicked. Since it is so, to the same end is this threatening, that God would destroy the Idumeans and all like them, as he did Sodom and Gomorrah, so that none would survive, though aliens might come and succeed the Idumeans and occupy their inheritance. I cannot now finish; we shall leave the other comparison.
Grant, Almighty God, that as thou hast been pleased to stretch forth thine hand to us, we may be raised by faith above the world, and learn to submit to thee in true humility, and to know how miserable must be our condition and life, except we wholly recumb on thee alone, so that we may be made partakers of that glory which thou hast purchased for us in Heaven, and which thine only-begotten Son, our Lord, has obtained for us. -- Amen.
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