5. He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.
5. Non revertetur in terram AEgypti; Assur dominabitur ipsis, quia noluerunt converti (renuerunt ad convertendum.)
Here the Prophet denounces a new punishment, that the people in vain hoped that Egypt would be a place of refuge or an asylum to them; for the Lord would draw them away to another quarter. For the Israelites had cherished this hope, that if by any chance the Assyrians should be too powerful for them, there would yet be a suitable refuge for them in Egypt among their friends, with whom they had made a treaty. Since, then, they promised themselves a hospitable exile in Egypt, the Prophet here exposes their vain confidence: "This their expectation," he says, "that they shall find a way open to Egypt, shall disappoint the people: it is shut up," he says,
He afterwards gives the reason,
There is, at the same time, to be understood, an implied comparison between the former bondage they endured in Egypt, and the new bondage which awaited them. They had known of what sort was the hospitality of Egypt, and yet so great a blindness possessed their minds, that they wished to return there. Their fathers had been kindly enough received; but their posterity were grievously burdened; nay, they were not far from being entirely destroyed. What madness was this, to wish of themselves to return to Egypt, when they knew how great was the ferociousness and cruelty of the Egyptians? But as I have said, something more grievous awaited them; they were not worthy to return to Egypt. To return there would have been indeed a dreadful calamity; but the Lord would not, however open a way for them to go there; for he would force them to pass to another country; yea, they were to be by force dragged away by their conquerors into Assyria. The drift of the whole is, that though the people had been cruelly treated in Egypt, there was now drawing nigh a more grievous tyranny; for the Assyrians would double the injuries, and the violence, and all kinds of wrongs and reproaches, which had been exercised against this people.
Some think that it was added for consolation, that God, though greatly provoked by the people, was yet unwilling to lead them again into Egypt, lest the former redemption should be made void; but that a middle course was prepared by which he would chastise the ungrateful and yet retain them as his peculiar possession. But I have already shown what I mostly approve. At the same time, whichever view is taken, we see how grievous and severe was the denunciation of the Prophet.
Grant, Almighty God, that as thou hast deigned to choose us before the foundations of the world were laid, and included us in thy free adoption when we were the children of wrath and doomed to utter ruin, and afterwards embraced us even from the womb, and hast at length favoured us with a clearer proof of thy love, in calling us by thy gospel into a union and communion with thy only-begotten Son, -- O grant, that we may not be unmindful of so many and so singular benefits, but respond to thy holy calling, and labour to devote ourselves wholly to thee, and labour, not for one day, but for the whole time designed for us here, both to live and to die according to thy good pleasure, so that we may glorify thee to the end, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
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