9. And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;
9. Et aspexi, et ecce marius emissa ad me, et ecce in ea volumen libri;
10. And he spread it before me: and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.
10. Et explicuit coram facie mea, et ecce scriptum erat volumen a facie et retro,1 et scriptura2 lamentationes, et carmen, et we.
Now the Prophet more fully explains what we have just dwelt upon. He narrates how a volume of a book was offered to him: that is, a book in the form of a roll was offered to him. For the noun which he uses, tlgm, megleth, comes from llg, gelel, to roll, as the word volume among the Latins. For they were formerly accustomed to write on rolls, that is, they had not the form of books so compact and well arranged as we now use, but they had volumes, which barbarians call rolls. Ancient documents were written in this way, for there is nothing ancient in the archives of princes which is not written on rolls. Hence the phrase, "In the volume of the book it is written of me," etc. (Psalm 40:8; Hebrews 10:7.) Now the Prophet says, such a volume was offered to ,me that I might eat it; and he adds, it was offered to me by a hand sent forth, But by this symbol God more clearly shows that the volume was not merely formed in the air, nor was produced anywhere but in heaven. For if the Prophet had only seen a volume presented to him, he might doubt whether it was sent by God or not. But when the hand which offers the volume appears, and is truly sent forth from God, nothing is wanting for full and complete certainty.
He adds, after the volume was unrolled, that he saw it written on each side: by which words he understands not that any brief command was given to him, but that a length of much time was imposed. For if he had only spoken concerning the roll, the Jews might have contemptuously rejected him after three or four days, as if he had come to an ends" A roll was indeed offered to thee, but now thou hast spoken three or four times, is not this sufficient?" Hence, as the Prophet might meet with neglect, he says, the roll was written before and behind. He now says, for such was his argument, that lamentations only were written there. hgh, hegeh, signifies sometimes meditation and speech simply, but here, because it is connected with lamentations, there is no doubt that it is to be taken for a mournful strain. At length the particle yh, hei, is added in the sense of grieving. On the whole then, the Prophet teaches, that the instruction contained in the book was not sweet or pleasant, but full of sorrow, since truly God here showed proofs of his anger, and this cannot be apprehended unless by its causing grief and lamentations. Now, therefore, we understand that the Israelites were more and more exasperated, when the Prophet said, that he came like a herald who denounced war in the name of God, and, at the same time, had no message of peace. As to the rest of the people, we shall see afterwards, in many places, that he was a messenger of God's mercy, but his duty was to rouse up the Jews, that they might feel God their adversary: thus the Prophet was sent with no other object than that of going, as an armed man, into the midst,, and uttering threats in the name of God. I cannot now proceed further, although what follows is connected with this subject.
Grant, Almighty God, since thou hast this day deigned to invite us to thyself with the testimony of thy paternal favor, that we may not be as the beasts of the forest, but submit ourselves calmly to thee, and so follow where thou callest us, that we may in reality feel thee to be our Father; and thus may we live under the protection of thy hand as long as we are pilgrims in this world, so that at length being gathered unto thy heavenly kingdom, we may cleave entirely to thee and thine only-begotten Son, who is our felicity and glory. -- Amen.