12. He that is far off shall die of the pestilence; and he that is near shall fall by the sword; and he that remaineth and is besieged shall die by the famine: thus will I accomplish my fury upon them.
Now the Prophet explains himself how the Israelites were to be destroyed by famine, the sword, and pestilence, namely, those who shall be far off shall die by pestilence; that is, after they think themselves hidden in secret places, so that no danger nor inconvenience can overtake them, they shall die there by pestilence. For when they were dragged into distant exile, they thought themselves altogether remote from all harm. But pestilence, he says, shall attack them although the sword shall cease. Then those who shall be at hand, that is, those who remain at home, the sword shall consume. Now the remnant, he says, who had been besieged and hemmed in, shall die by famine. And so he confirms what we formerly saw, that there should be no cause why the Israelites should sleep amidst their sins when God spared them: because if they do not all perish by the sword, God has other means of punishing them; for he has pestilence and famine in his hand, so that he can extinguish those who are far off, since pestilence will pursue them even there; then if any are left, they shall perish -- even in the midst of peace -- nevertheless, because God will destroy them by famine and want. Then he adds, I will fulfill my burning wrath against them: by which words God signifies that he had borne with that impious people thus far, but if at any time he pleased to exercise rigor, that he had not yet exacted sufficient punishment for their wickedness. Hence God blames them, though he had borne with them thus far, and although he had sometimes stricken them with his rods, yet he was not a rigid judge, but admonishes them as a father to return to the right way. But since they had so obstinately abused God's forbearance, he here pronounces that his last act was approaching, and for this reason he speaks of the fulfilling of his burning anger: thus the Prophet turns away all envy from God, that the Israelites should not charge him with cruelty; thus he shows them that whatever evils they suffered were only a prelude to a horrible slaughter which was overhanging them, and which they still despised. It follows --
1 "Some translate ' shall fall on the sword,' but too harshly. Already, in the last verse, the Prophet used the same word in a different sense, therefore I change nothing: he who is near shall fall by the sword." -- Calvin.
2 Or, "burning." -- Calvin.
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