51. We are confounded, because we have heard reproach: shame hath covered our faces; for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the Lord's house.
51. Pudefacti sumus, quia audivimus opprobrium; operuit igno minia facies nostras, quia venerunt extranei in sanctuaria domus Jehovae.
It is thought that these words were spoken by the Prophet to the faithful, to confirm them as to their return. But I rather think that they were spoken by way of anticipation. They who think that they were spoken as a formula to the Israelites, that they might with more alacrity prepare themselves for their return, suppose a verb understood, "Say ye, we are confounded (or ashamed), because we have heard reproach;" even that sorrow would wound the minds of the faithful, to the end that they might nevertheless go through all their difficulties. But as I have said, the Prophet here repeats what the faithful might have of themselves conceived in their own minds; and he thus speaks by way of concession, as though he said, "I know that you have in readiness these words, 'We are ashamed, we are overwhelmed with reproaches; strangers have entered into the sanctuary of God: since the temple is polluted and the city overthrown, what any more remains for us? and doubtless we see that all things supply reasons for despair.'"
As, then, the thoughts of the flesh suggested to the faithful such things as might have dejected their minds, the Prophet meets them and recites their words. He then says, as in their person,
To the same purpose is what he adds,
"I will dwell in the midst of you; this is my rest, here will I dwell." (Psalm 132:13, 14)
As, then, God was pleased to choose for himself that throne and habitation in the world, it was, as I have said, the principal dignity of the people. But when the temple was overthrown, what more remained for them? it was as though religion was wholly subverted, and as though God also had left them and moved elsewhere; in short, all their hope of divine aid and of salvation was taken away from there.
We now, then, understand why the Prophet speaks thus according to the common thoughts of the people, even that they were
"This is your glory," said Moses, "before all nations; for what people so noble, what nation so illustrious, as to have gods so near to it!" (Deuteronomy 4:6-8)
When, therefore, God ceased to dwell familiarly with the Jews, all their glory fell, and they were overwhelmed with shame. But after the Prophet recited these complaints, he immediately subjoins a consolation, --
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