15. Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands.
15. Atque etiam ego manure meam sustuli ipsis in deserto, ne inducerem eos in terram quam dederam ipsis fluentem lacte et melle, quae desiderium est cunctis terris.1
God here shows that his threats were ineffectual, even when he inflicted severe punishment, yet the people were not broken down and subdued: and this is a sign of a most perverse disposition. The foolish are at length corrected with rods, but when those who are chastised become worse instead of repenting, they betray their desperate character. God therefore here signifies that the Israelites were of an abandoned disposition, because there were no means of bringing them back to good conduct. At first he enticed them by his mercy, then gave them the law, and added a sacrament, as we have seen; but this proved wholly useless: what remained then, except to terrify them partly by threats and partly by punishments? He tried both, for he threatened them when they sinned, without any advantage: then he showed them in reality that theirs was no vain terror, since all those died in the desert who had refused to go forward when he called them into the land of Canaan. (Numbers 32:10.) Since, they were not bent by those signs of God's wrath, their contumacy appears so great, that they ought to perish a hundred times over. I also, says he, raised my hand; he doubtless means that he swore, as we gather from Moses and from the Psalms, I swore in my wrath if they should enter into my rest. (Psalm 95:11.) He says then that he raised his hand; we have explained whence the simile is taken, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them. Here God emphatically shows how formidable that punishment was, as it deprived them of that sure heritage which he had bestowed on them: for before they were born they were lords of the land of Canaan -- since four hundred years before it was promised to Abraham in their name. Since they cast themselves off from this inheritance, they plainly displayed their slothfulness: I had given them an inheritance, says he, for they compelled me to swear: I swore that they should not reach it. He adds, a land flowing with milk and honey, desired by all nations. By these words he enlarges upon the people's ingratitude, since they despised no mean benefit, but a land in which they might dwell happily. For God had so enriched it with his gifts, that they might have been as it were in paradise. Since then such fertility did not attract them to obey God, hence it appears, that they were in every way refractory. It afterwards follows --
1 Or, "is desirable." -- Calvin.
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