25. How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy!
25. Quomodo non est relicta urbs laudis? civitas gaudii mei?
Some think "my" to be redundant, and therefore render it "the city of joy;"1 but they seem to be induced by no good reason; for they think it absurd that it should be called a city of joy to the Prophet, since he ought not to have regarded Damascus with any love or kindness. But the prophets, we know, do not always speak according to their own feelings, but assume the persons of others. We might then fitly read the words as they are,
But we must ever bear in mind what we have often stated, that the prophets, when they thus speak in astonishment, do not adopt an elevated style as rhetoricians do, to show their eloquence, but have always a regard to what is profitable. It was necessary powerfully to impress the minds of men, when the Prophet spoke of the ruin of so great a city. Then this astonishment includes what they call an anticipation; for it obviated a doubt which might have prevented credit from being given to this prophecy. This might have immediately occurred to every one, "How can it be that Damascus is to perish?" Then the Prophet anticipates this, and shews, that though this was contrary to the judgment commonly formed, yet, as the Lord had so decreed, the destruction of that city was certain. We now then perceive the design of the Prophet. It afterwards follows, --
1 So the versions, (except the Sept.) and also the Targ., the
2 The Syr. rendered it "spared;" the Vulg. has left out the negative not. There are two difficulties, the verb
Venema's view is different; his version is, --
Why not? forsaken has been the city of praise, The city of my joy.
That is, Why should not Damascus be compelled to flee, since Jerusalem had been forsaken, the city of praise and of his joy. "Therefore," in this sense, refers to the slaughter of those who would not flee. -- Ed.
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