Ezekiel 16:30

30. How weak is your heart, says the Lord God, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman.

30. Quam molle1 est cor tuum! dicit Dominator Iehovah, cum facis hoc totum opus mulieris meretricis robustae.2


The Prophet seems at variance with himself when he compares the Jews to a robust or very strong woman, and yet says that their heart was dissolute. For those who translate an obstinate heart are without a reason for it, for this seems to imply some kind of resistance, as they were strong and bold, and yet of a soft or weak or infirm heart. But in the despisers of God both evils are to be blamed when they flow away like water and yet are hard as rocks. They flow away, then, when there is no strength or constancy in them; for they are drawn aside this way and that, as some explain it, by a distracted heart, but we must always come to the idea of softness. All who revolt from God are borne along by their own levity, so that the minds of the impious are changeable and moveable: for the heart is here taken for the seat of the intellect, as in many other places. Hence the Prophet accuses the Jews of sloth, but under the name of a dissolute heart: as in French we say un coeur lasche, and the Prophet's sense is best explained by that French word -- faint-hearted. But it is sufficient to understand the Prophet's meaning, that the Jews were unstable, and agitated and distracted hither and thither, since there was nothing in them either firm or solid. Meanwhile he compares them to a strong and abandoned woman, since we know the boldness of the despisers of God in sinning against him. Since then they are dissolute, because they have no power of attention, and nothing is stable in their minds: yet they are like rocks, and carry themselves audaciously, and do not hesitate to strive with God. Although therefore these two states of mind appear contrary in their nature, yet we may always see them in the reprobate, though in different ways. Thus he properly calls the Jews not only a robust or abandoned woman, but "a high and mighty dame," as it may best be rendered in French, une maitresse putain ou painarde.3 It is forced to explain the word "lofty," as taking license for her desires. I do not hesitate to interpret it of the people being like dissolute women, who throw aside all modesty, and seek lovers from all quarters, and entertain them all. This is the Prophet's sense. It now follows --

1 Or, "dissolute." -- Calvin.

2 Or. "ruling." -- Calvin.

3 The readers of Shakespeare will readily translate this into idiomatic English.


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