17. As for us, our eyes as yet failed for our vain help: in our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save us.
17. Adhue nobis (hoc est quum adhue staremus; sic intrepretor; quidam exponunt, nobis expectantibus, sed male, meo judicio; quum ergo adhuc staremus,) defecerunt oculi nostri ad auxilium nostrum vanum; in expectatione nostra expectavimus (vel, in speculatione nostra respeximus) ad gentem quae non servaret.
Here the Prophet charges the people with another crime, that neglecting God, and even despising his favor, they had always attached themselves to vain and false hopes. And this was a sacrilege not to be endured, because they thus robbed God of his rights: and what does he demand more than that we should depend on him, and that our minds should acquiesce in him alone? When, therefore, salvation is expected from others rather than from God alone, he is, in a manner. reduced to nothing. The Prophet, then, accuses the Jews of this great, sacrilege, that they never betook themselves to God, nor had any hope in him, but on the contrary wandered here and there for help.
"Our eyes have failed for the living God," (Psalm 69:3;)
that is, We have persevered, and though many trials may have wearied us, yet we have been constant in our hope in God. So now the Prophet says, that the eyes of the people had failed; but he adds, for a vain help, or a help of vanity, by which term he designates the Egyptians: and there is an implied contrast between empty and fallacious help and the help of God, which the people rejected when they preferred the Egyptians.
He afterwards adds
Now the words, to look out and looking out, are not unsuitable, for they refer to those vain imaginations to which the unbelieving give heed; for God called them, but turning away from him they transferred their hope to the Egyptians. It was, then, their own looking out or speculation, when, through a foolish conceit, they imagined that safety would be secured to them by the Egyptians.
He says that they were a
Grant, Almighty God, that as we are beset on every side with so many allurements, and as Satan ceases not to draw us here and there by vain flatteries, -- O grant that we may recumb on thee alone, even on thy power, and, in short, on thy word, nor doubt but thou wilt be our deliverer, whatever may happen, and that we may always so seek thee in our straits, and so acquiesce in the faithfulness of thy promises, that we may calmly sustain all the assaults of afflictions, until thou at length gatherest us into that blessed rest which is prepared for us in heaven by Christ our Lord. -- Amen.
1 The true reading is no doubt
Yet we were, and fail did our eyes
As to our assistance;
In vain by looking out did we look out
To a nation that could not save.
The Syr. connect "in vain," more properly, with the third line. -- Ed.
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