13. Then shall ye know that I am the Lord, when their slain men shall be among their idols round about their altars, upon every high hill, in all the tops of the mountains, and under every green tree, and under every thick oak, the place where they did offer sweet savor to all their idols.
13. Et cognoscetis quod ego Iehovah, cure vulnerati eorum1 in medio idolorum ipsorum2 in circuitu altarium ipsorum, super omnem collem excelsum, in omnibus capitibus3 montium, et sub omni arbore frondosa, et sub omni quercu densa,4 in loco ubi obtulerint suffitum bonae fragrantiae omnibus idolis suis.
Now he again announces that they shall know what they have long neglected. But here a different knowledge from the former seems to be marked; for he has lately said that they should so remember as to be ashamed, and acknowledge that the slaughters predicted by the Prophets had not been in vain: but here he mentions nothing of this kind, but only speaks of that experimental knowledge which is common to the ungodly. And, in truth, this doctrine seems to be extended promiscuously to all the commonalty. For although for the most part they did not profit by it, yet all perceived that God was a judge, because so clear and conspicuous was the proof of his vengeance, that they were compelled to feel, whether they would or not, that their punishment was just. We may perceive, then, that the Prophet intends the phrase -- then ye shall know, etc., in a wide sense, because he addresses all the Israelites without exception, even those who should perish. For, we said, such was the character of that knowledge, that it only frightened them, and did not bend them to humility. And, truly, the words which follow show only the terrible vengeance of God, when they shall be slain, says he, that is, shall fall, near their idols. But we have said that they would more clearly acknowledge the vengeance of God from this -- that he rendered their false gods an object of ridicule. But, as I have said before, the Prophet uses an opprobrious name when speaking of idols. Since, therefore, they so fell near their idols, under the confidence and protection of which they thought that they would always be safe; and although the idols themselves were thus involved in the condemnation, this made God's vengeance more manifest. And this is the reason, as I have before suggested, why the Prophet enters into these details. What follows is to the same purpose -- by the circuit of all their altars. This, then, was profanation of all altars, to be defiled by carcases being drawn over them, and then sprinkled with human blood. But he also points out the places where they worshipped false gods; for we have said that lofty places were chosen for them, but here he puts lofty hills, and then the tops of the mountains. But as idol-worshippers heaped to themselves various and numerous games, when they were satiated with their high places, they had shady valleys, for their altars were under trees, where they offered incense. The Prophet therefore pronounces that there was no place which God did not condemn with infamy. When, therefore, he says that the incense had a pleasing smell, the opposite is doubtless intended, since this incense was foul before God: as when an immodest woman desires to please an adulterer, it moves the wrath of her husband, so here God silently complains that he was provoked by that foul incense with which the Israelites wished and desired to gratify their idols.
Grant, Almighty God, since thou not only proposest to us this day the ancient examples of thine anger, by which we may be restrained within thy pure and perfect worship, but also hast so clearly manifested thyself to us, through thine only-begotten Son, that we cannot err unless we are insane, -- grant, I say, that we may be not only docile and moral, but attentive to that doctrine which is contained in thy gospel, so that we may be directed by this perfect light, until we arrive at length at the full and solid alliance with the Sun of righteousness, Christ, thy Son. -- Amen.
1 Or, "slain." -- Calvin.
2 "The person is here changed, but this does not obscure the sense." -- Calvin.
3 That is, "the tops." -- Calvin.
4 "Some translate 'elm,' but it is also oak." -- Calvin.
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