Lecture One Hundred and Thirty-eighth
6. Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD.
6. Heus! Heus! et fugite e terra Aquilonis, dicit Iehova; quia in quatuor ventos coelorum dispersi vos, dicit Iehova.
That the design of the Prophet may be more clear, we must especially bear in mind the history of the case. When it was allowed the Jews, by the edict of Cyrus and of Darius, to return to their own land, that kindness was suspected by many, as though the two kings had a wish suddenly to oppress them when they had pained their object in their return. Some who dwelt comfortably among the Chaldeans and in other places, preferred to enjoy their rest rather than to return with so much trouble to their own country, where there were no houses prepared, and where there were only dreary desolations. As then the greater part of the people thus slighted the singular favor of God, of which the Prophets had so often spoken, it was necessary that this sloth, connected as it was with great impiety, should be reproved. For if any religion had touched their hearts, they must have preferred Jerusalem to the whole world, and the service of God to all earthly advantages and pleasures. Hence the self-indulgence in which the Jews had become torpid, deserved a sharp and severe reproof. This is the reason why the Prophet treats them here with so much sharpness, for otherwise they could not have been roused.
But the reason which is added seems far-fetched, or even unsuitable --
We now then see what the Prophet had in view: he intimates that the Jews had hitherto suffered punishment from God, because they obeyed not his word, but provoked by their obstinacy his extreme vengeance; they ought then now to entertain hope, because God was pacified towards them and ready to forgive them. As then their exile was from God, the Prophet intimates that their return would not be difficult when God became reconciled to them, because the Jews had to do only with the heavenly Judge himself. In short, the Prophet designs to show that the Jews acted foolishly by continuing in exile, when liberty was given them to return; and therefore he exhorts them to hasten in time, lest the season of God's favor should pass away, and thus the door be again closed against them. That they might not hesitate whether this was possible, he shows that it was in God's power, for he had driven them from their country; it would not therefore be difficult for him to open a way for their return whenever he pleased. 1 He now adds --
1 Provided we adopt [
For as the four winds of heaven
Have I spread you abroad, saith Jehovah.
But its connection with the foregoing he does not clearly print. The view taken by Drusius, followed by Grotius and Marckius, seems most satisfactory. They take the verb [
Flee now from the land of the north, saith Jehovah;
For as the four winds of heaven
Have I expounded you, (or set you free,) saith Jehovah.
They had been allowed liberty to go to any part of the world, which is signified by the four winds. The next verse is --
He! Sion, escape,
Thou who dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.
The two nations are compared to two women, dwelling one with another. -- Ed.
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