24. Wherefore I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses: I will also make the pomp of the strong to cease; and their holy places shall be defiled.
24. Et venire faciam improbos gentium,1 et possidebunt domos eorum: et cessare faciam superbiam fortium, et polluentur sanctuaria ipsorum.
He repeats what he had said, that enemies would come who should be ministers of God's vengeance. And again we learn from this place, that even the impious are impelled by the hand and secret direction of God, so that they cannot move a finger but by his will. He had formerly said that he would give the Jews into the hands of strangers; but what now? I will cause them to come, says he, as if he would stretch out his hand to them, and induce them. We see, therefore, that God holds the impious under his guidance, as it were, for executing his judgments; but we must consider the difference which I have lately laid down; for God so works by them, as still to have nothing in common with them. For they are carried on by a depraved impulse; but God has a method, wonderful and incomprehensible by us, which impels them hither and thither, so that he does not involve himself in any alliance with their fault. For he calls them the perverse nation, that the Jews might know that the last slaughter was approaching, since they should have to do with the most cruel enemies. He says, shall possess their homes, and because the pride of the people might seem an obstacle to God's exacting the deserved penalty, therefore he adds, I will make the pride of the powerful to cease, says he; for as long as the Jews were swollen with haughtiness and self-confidence, the Prophet could not profit them at all. Therefore he says, that God would make their haughtiness to cease, by which they were vainly puffed up as long as God sustained or bore with them. At length he adds, their sanctuaries shall be polluted. This passage confirms the opinion which I formerly approved. For Ezekiel speaks of the pollution of the sanctuary as of a new thing. For he here draws away from them the vain hope by which they deceived themselves, when they boasted that they dwelt under God's guardianship, since the temple protected themselves and the city. Jeremiah reproves them for trusting in lying words, while they declare that they have the Lord's temple --
"The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord." (Jeremiah 7:4.)
Our Prophet does not speak openly, but he doubtless shows that their security was false, while they oppose the temple to God, as if the temple were a shield to repel his vengeance. God, indeed, dwelt in the temple, but this condition was added, that he was to be purely worshipped there. But when the temple was polluted, God departed from it, as we shall afterwards see. For this reason the Prophet says, the enemies should come who should pollute and contaminate the holy places of the people. Hitherto he had not spoken of the temple, but he now adds, the temple, that the Jews should not rashly boast in the name of God, as if they held him fixed to themselves. It follows --
1 That is, "the wicked and perverse among the Gentiles." -- Calvin.
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