6. For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her.
6. Et major fuit poena filiae populi mei poena Sodomae (ad verbum est, iniquitas filiae populi mei peccato vel scelere Sodomae; sed statim, dicam cur de poena exponam potius quam de ipso scelere,) quae eversa fuit tanquam momento; non manserunt in ea plagae (alii vertunt, et non castrametatae sunt manus; sed postea etiam dicam cur mihi magis placeat illa versio.)
The Prophet says first,, that the punishment of his people was heavier than that of Sodom. If any one prefers the other version, I will not contend, for it is not unsuitable; and hence also a most useful doctrine may be drawn, that we are to judge of the grievousness of our sins by the greatness of our punishment for God never exceeds what is just when he takes vengeance on the sins of men. Then his severity shews how grievously men have sinned. Thus, Jeremiah may have reasoned from the effect to the cause, and declared that the people had been more wicked than the Sodomitites. Nor is this unreasonable; for if the Jews had not fallen into that great wickedness of which the Sodomites were guilty, yet the Prophets everywhere charged them as men who not only equaled but also surpassed the Sodomites, especially Ezekiel, (Ezekiel 16:46, 47.) Isaiah also called them the people of Gomorrha, and the king's counselors and judges, the princes of Sodom, (Isaiah 1:9, 10.) This mode of speaking is then common in the Prophets, and the meaning is not unsuitable.
But as he dwells only on the grievousness of their punishment, the other explanation seems more simple; for I regard not what is plausible, but accept the true meaning. Let us then repeat the Prophet's words:
There is yet no doubt but that the Prophet summoned the Jews to God's tribunal, that they might know that they deserved such a vengeance, and that they might perceive that they were worse than the Sodomites. For it was not the Prophet's object to expostulate with God, or to charge him with having been too rigid in destroying the city of Jerusalem. As, then, the Prophet does not charge God either with injustice or with cruelty, it is certain that punishment is what is here set forth, in order that the people might know what they deserved. 1
But the words declare nothing more than that God's vengeance had been severer towards the Jews than towards the Sodomites. How so? it is evident from this reason,
We hence see that the destruction of the city was like a slow consumption: and that thus strokes remained there as it were fixed, which did not happen to Sodom; for Sodom suddenly perished when God thundered against it; but the hand of God did not depart from the Jews, and the strokes or smitings, as I have said, were fixed on them and continued. It follows, --
1 The early versions and the Targ. render the words "iniquity," and
"sin;" but modern critics agree with Calvin. Penalty and punishment
might be suitably adopted. -- Ed.
2 The clause might be rendered, --
And not wearied against (or, over) her were hands.
This is substantially the Sept. and the Syr. Grotius says that the meaning is, that Sodom was destroyed not by human means, that is, not by a siege, as Jerusalem had been. -- Ed.
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