40. As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and the neighbor cities thereof, saith the Lord; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein.
40. Secundum subversionem Dei in Sodomam et Gomorram et vicinos ejus, dicit Jehova, non habitabit illie vir, et non morabitur in ea filius hominis.
This verse confirms and explains the previous verse. But that the design of the Prophet may be more evident, we must remember what Jude in his epistle (Jude 7) says, that the destruction of Sodom is as it were a mirror in which we behold God's vengeance on all the ungodly. God overthrew Sodom; but he does not proceed in the same way with other lands and nations; yet the same is the lot of all the unbelieving, of the despisers of God, and reprobates; for they are exposed to his vengeance, which they cannot escape, though it may be for a time suspended. When, therefore, the Prophet says now that Babylon would be overthrown, as Sodom was overthrown, he does not mean that this would be after seventy years, when taken by Cyrus and Darius, nor when retaken after its revolt, nor when taken by Alexander; for it remained a long time after this, even to the reign of Augustus Caesar. As, then, it has been so, it follows that our Prophet does not speak of its first, second, or third assault, but that he had in view what I have already stated, -- that when God summons the wicked to judgment, it is a certain prelude of eternal and final destruction. His way with the godly is another; for though God may sink them down to the grave, nay, to the center of the earth, yet hope is still left them; hence their death is never like the destruction of Sodom. And to the same purpose is what we have already quoted from Isaiah,
"Except a seed had been left us, we should have been as Sodom, and like to Gomorrah." (Isaiah 1:9)
That exception shows the difference between God's children and the reprobate, even because he often delivers them from ruin.
We now then understand the Prophet's meaning when he says that Babylon would become desolate and solitary, so that no
Moreover, we learn from what is here said, that the unbelieving are overwhelmed with despair even under the least punishment, because they see nothing but the vengeance of God; for though God does not immediately slay them, yet the least puncture denotes what impends over them; nay, he inflicts a deadly wound when he seems only to touch them lightly. There is then only one consolation, which can sustain us in our miseries, even to know that we are separated from the Sodomites through the mercy of God alone; because we have deserved the same destruction, and the Lord has spared us according to his infinite goodness. This, then, is the meaning, It follows, --
1 Rather "sojourn," according to the Sept. -- Ed.
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