5. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto
David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall
execute judgment and justice in the earth.
5. Ecce dies veniunt, dicit Jehova, et suscitabo Davidi germen justum;
et regnabit rex, et prudenter (vel, prospere) aget: faciet judicium et
justitiam in terra.
6. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely;
and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness.
6. Diebus ejus servabitur Jehudah, et Israel habitabit in fiducia
(hoc est, tranquille: et hoc nomen, quo vocabunt eum, Jehova justitia nostra.
The Prophet confirms what he had before said of the renewal of the Church;
for it would not have been in itself sufficiently strong to say "I have
promised pastors who shall faithfully perform their duty," except the only
true Pastor had been set before them, on whom God's covenant was founded,
and from whom was to be expected the accomplishment of the promises which
were hoped for. And it was usual with all the prophets, whenever they gave
the people the hope of salvation, to bring forward the coming of the Messiah,
for in him have God's promises always been, yea, and amen. (2 Corinthians
1:20.) This, indeed, appears now, under the Gospel, more clear than formerly;
but the faith of the Fathers could not have been complete except they directed
their thoughts to the Messiah. As, then, neither the love of God could
have been made certain to the Fathers, nor the testimony of his kindness
and paternal favor be confirmed without Christ, this is the reason why
the prophets were wont to set Christ before their eyes whenever they sought
to inspire the miserable with a good hope, who otherwise must have been
overwhelmed with sorrow and driven into despair.
What, therefore, so often occurs in the prophets is deserving of special
notice, so that we may know that God's promises will become ineffectual
to us, or be suspended, or even vanish away, except we raise all our thoughts
to Christ, and seek in him what would not be otherwise certain and sure
According to this principle the Prophet now says, that the days would
come in which God would raise up to David a righteous branch. He had spoken
generally of pastors; but the Jews might have still been in doubt, and
hesitated to believe that any such thing could be hoped for; hence God
calls here their attention to the Messiah; as though he had said, that
no hope of salvation could be entertained except through the Mediator who
had been promised to them, and that therefore they were not sufficiently
wise except they turned their minds to him. Moreover, as the accomplishment
of salvation was to be expected through the Mediator, God shews that the
promise, that he would give them pastors, ought not to be doubted. Hence
it appears that I rightly stated at the beginning, that the former doctrine
is confirmed by this passage in which God promises the coming of the Mediator.
And the demonstrative particle, behold, as we have elsewhere seen, is intended
to shew certainty; and it was necessary for the Jews to be thus confirmed,
because the time had not as yet arrived, and we know that their faith must
have been grievously shaken by so many and so long trials, had they not
some support. God, then, seems to point out the event as by the finger,
though it was as yet very remote. He does not intimate a short time, but
he thus speaks for the sake of making the thing certain, so that they might
not faint through a long expectation. Come, then, he says, shall the days
in which he will raise up to David a righteous branch.
Though the preposition l, lamed, is often redundant, yet in this place
it seems to me that God has a reference to the covenant which he had made
with David. And the Prophet did this designedly, because the Jews were
unworthy of being at all regarded by God; but he here promises that he
would be faithful to that covenant which he had once made with David, because
David himself was also faithful and embraced with true faith the promise
made to him. God then, as though he would have nothing to do with that
perverse and irreclaimable people, but with his servant David, says, "I
will raise up to David a righteous branch;" as though he had said, "Though
ye were even a hundred times unworthy of having a Deliverer, yet the memory
of David shall ever remain complete with me, as he was perfect and faithful
in keeping my covenant." Now, it cannot be doubted but that the Prophet
speaks here of Christ.
The Jews, in order to obscure this prophecy, will have this to be applied
to all the descendants of David; and thus they imagine an earthly kingdom,
such as it was under Solomon and others. But such a thing cannot certainly
be gathered from the words of the Prophet; for he does not speak here of
many kings, but of one only. The word "branch," I allow, may be taken in
a collective sense; but what is afterwards said? A king shall reign. They
may also pervert this, for the word "king" is often taken for successors
in a kingdom. This is indeed true; but we ought to consider the whole context.
It is said, in his days. Hence it appears evident that some particular
king is intended, and that the words ought not to be applied to many. And
the last clause is a further confirmation, This shall be his name, by which
they shall call him, Jehovah our righteousness. Here also the Jews pervert
the words, for they make God the nominative case to the verb, as though
the words were, "Jehovah shall call him our righteousness;" but this is
contrary to all reason, for all must see that it is a forced and strained
version. Thus these miserable men betray their own perverseness; for they
pervert, without any shame, all the testimonies in favor of Christ; and
they think it enough to elude whatever presses hard on them.
We must now, then, understand that this passage cannot be explained
of any but of Christ only. The design of the Holy Spirit we have already
explained; God had from the beginning introduced this pledge whenever he
intended to confirm faith in his promises; for without Christ God cannot
be a Father and a Savior to men; nor could he have been reconciled to the
Jews, because they had departed from him. How, indeed, could they have
been received into favor without expiation? and how could they have hoped
that God would become a Father to them, except they were reconciled to
him? Hence without Christ they could not rely on the promises of salvation.
Rightly, then, have I said, that this passage ought to be confined to the
person of Christ.
And we know of a certainty that he alone was a righteous branch; for
though Hezekiah and Josiah were lawful successors, yet when we think of
others, we must say, that they were monsters. Doubtless, with the exception
of three or four, they were all spurious and covenant-breakers; yea, I
say, spurious, for they had nothing in common with David, whom they ought
to have taken as an example of piety. Since, then, they were wholly unlike
their father David, they could not have been called righteous branches.
They were, indeed, perfidious and apostates, for they had departed from
God and his law. We hence see that there is here an implied contrast between
Christ and all those spurious children who yet had descended from David,
though wholly unworthy of such an honor on account of their impiety. Therefore
as these kings had roused God's wrath against the people, and had been
the cause of their exile, the Prophet says now, that there would be at
length a righteous branch;1 that is, that though those did all they could
to subvert God's covenant by their wicked deeds, there would come at length
the true and the only Son, who is elsewhere called the first-born in the
whole world, (Psalm 139:27,) and that he would be a righteous branch.
And this ought to be carefully noticed; for neither Hezekiah nor Josiah,
nor any like them, when viewed in themselves, were worthy of this sacred
"I will make him the first-born in the earth;" and further,
"My Son art thou." (Psalm 2:7.)
This could not have been said of any mortal man, viewed in himself.
And then it is said,
"I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son;"
and the Apostle tells us, that this cannot be applied even to angels.
(Hebrews 1:5.) As, then, this dignity is higher than angels' glory, it
is certain that none of David's successors were worthy of such an honor.
Hence Christ is justly called a righteous Branch. At the same time, the
Prophet, as I have already reminded you, seems to set the perfect integrity
of Christ in opposition to the impiety of those who under a false pretense
had exercised authority, as though they were of that sacred race of whom
it had been said, "I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son."
It follows, -- And reign shall a king. This also has not been
added without reason, shortly after Jeconiah had been driven into exile,
and also the whole royal family had been exposed to every kind of reproach.
The crown, indeed, was cast on the ground, as it has already appeared,
and was trodden under feet. There was, therefore, no hope of a future kingdom
when the seed of Abraham had become, as it were, extinct. This is the reason
why God promises what we now hear of the restoration of the throne; and
we may easily infer from what all the prophets have said, that the salvation
of the people was dependent on the person of their king; and whenever God
bade the people to entertain hope, he set a king before their eyes. A king
was to be their head under God's government. We now see the design of the
Prophet in saying, that a king would reign.
Some think that a king is to be understood as in opposition to a tyrant,
because many kings had departed from their duty, and committed robbery
under that specious authority. I have no doubt but that the word king was
expressed, lest the people should doubt the fulfillment of this prophecy;
for if it had been only said, "I will raise up to David a righteous Branch,
and he shall reign," they might, indeed, have entertained some hope, but
it would have been small, and not full and complete. We, indeed, know that
Zerubbabel and others excelled in some things, and were highly regarded
for David's sake; but there was then no kingdom. God therefore intended
here expressly to testify that there would be the high privilege of a kingdom,
that there might be nothing wanting to the Jews, as the power of Christ
would not be inferior to the power of David. Reign, then, shall a king;
that is, he shall reign gloriously, so that there would not be merely some
remnants of pristine dignity, but that a king would flourish, become strong,
and attain perfection, such as it was under David and Solomon, and much
It follows, -- And shall act prudently, and shall do judgment and
justice in the land; or, "he shall prosper," for lks, shecal, means
both; yet the Prophet seems here to speak of right judgment rather than
of success, for the two clauses ought to be read together, "he shall act
prudently," and "he shall do judgment and justice." It seems then that
he means this in short, -- that Christ would be endued with the spirit
of wisdom as well as of uprightness and equity, so that he would possess
all the qualifications, and fulfill all the duties of a good and perfect
And in the first place, wisdom or prudence is necessary; for probity
alone would not be sufficient in a king. In private individuals indeed
it is of no small value; but probity in a king, without wisdom, will avail
but little, hence, the Prophet here commends Christ for his good discernment,
and then mentions his zeal for equity and justice. It is indeed true that
Christ's excellences are not sufficiently set forth by expressions such
as these; but the similitude is taken from men; for the first endowment
of a king is wisdom, and then integrity in the second place. And we know
that Christ is often compared to earthly kings, or set forth to us under
the image of an earthly king, in which we may see him; for God accommodates
himself to our ignorance. As, then, we cannot comprehend the unspeakable
justice of Christ or his wisdom, hence God, that he may by degrees lead
us to the knowledge of Christ, shadows him forth to us under these figures
or types. Though, then, what is said here does not come up to the perfection
of Christ, yet the comparison ought not to be deemed improper; for God
speaks to us according to the measure of our capacities, and could not
at once in a few words fully express what Christ is. But we must bear in
mind that from earthly kings we must ascend to Christ; for though he is
compared to them, yet there is no equality; after having contemplated in
the type what our minds can comprehend, we ought to ascend farther and
Hence, the difference between the righteousness of Christ and the righteousness
of kings ought to be here noticed. They who rule well can in no other way
administer righteousness and judgment than by being careful to render to
every one his own, and that by checking the audacity of the wicked, and
by defending the good and the innocent; this only is what can be expected
from earthly kings. But Christ is far different; for he is not only wise
so as to know what is right and best, but he also endues his own people
with wisdom and knowledge; he executes judgment and righteousness, not
only because he defends the innocent, aids them who are oppressed, gives
help to the miserable, and restrains the wicked; but he doeth righteousness,
because he regenerates us by his Spirit, and he also doeth judgment, because
he bridles, as it were, the devil. We now then understand the design of
what I said, that we ought to mark the transcendency of Christ over earthly
kings, and also the analogy; for there is some likeness and some difference:
the difference between Christ and other kings is very great, and yet there
is a likeness in some things; and earthly kings are set forth to us as
figures and types of him.
It then follows, that Judah shall be saved in the days of this king.
By days we are not to understand the life only of Christ, which he lived
in this world, but that perpetuity of which Isaiah speaks, when in wonder
"His age who shall declare?" (Isaiah 53:8;)
for he died once, that he might live to God, according to what Paul
says. (Romans 6:10.) It was then but a short beginning of life when Christ
was manifested in the world, and held converse with men; but his life is
to continue for ever. It is then the same thing as though the Prophet had
said, that when Christ came and descended from the Father, the Church would
If it be now asked, "How long shall it be saved?" the answer is, "As
long as the King himself shall continue; and there is no end to his kingdom."
It follows then that the salvation of the Church will be for ever. This
is the import of the whole.
Now, though the Prophet speaks of the deliverance of the people, there
is yet no doubt but that he especially sets forth what properly belongs
to the kingdom of Christ. He is set over us as a king, that he might be
our Savior; and his salvation, though it extends to our bodies, ought yet
to be viewed as properly belonging to our souls; for the kingdom of Christ
is spiritual, and so is everything connected with it. Hence, when the Prophet
says that saved would be Judah, it is the same thing as though he promised
that the happiness of the Church would be real and solid under Christ.
He adds, Israel shall dwell in confidence; for in a happy life
the first thing is, that we possess tranquil and quiet minds; for tranquillity
has not been without reason commended by the ancients. When all things
which men covet are heaped together, and what they think necessary for
happiness, they yet cannot be otherwise than miserable if their minds are
not in a right state. It is not then without cause that tranquillity is
added, when mention is made of salvation. And experience itself teaches
us, that we have no salvation, unless we, relying on Christ the Mediator,
have peace with God, as Paul also mentions it as the fruit of faith, and
shews that we cannot otherwise but be always miserable: we have peace,
he says, with God. (Romans 5:1.) He hence also concludes that our very
miseries are a help to our salvation; for afflictions prove patience, patience
exercises hope, and hope never makes us ashamed; and the proof of this
is added, because God thus really shews that he is present with us.
We hence see how fitly the Prophet connects tranquillity of mind with
happiness. Moreover it is certain that we do not yet enjoy either salvation
or peace, such as are here promised; but let us learn by faith what salvation
is, and also what is rest even in the midst of the agitations to which
we are continually exposed; for we recumb on God when we cast our anchor
in heaven. Since, then, the Prophet says here that Judah would be saved
and that Israel would be in a tranquil state, let us know that he includes
the whole kingdom of Christ from the beginning to the end, and that therefore
it is no wonder that he speaks of that perfect happiness, the first fruits
of which now only appear.
He then adds, And this is the name by which they shall call him,
Jehovah our Righteousness. By these words the Prophet shews more clearly
that he speaks not generally of David's posterity, however excellent they
may have been, but of the Mediator, who had been promised, and on whom
depended the salvation of the people; for he says that this would be his
name, Jehovah our Righteousness.4
Those Jews, who seem more modest than others, and dare not, through
a dogged pertinacity, to corrupt this passage, do yet elude the application
of this title to Christ, though it be suitable to him; for they say that
the name is given to him, because he is the minister of God's justice,
as though it was said, that whenever this king appeared all would acknowledge
God's justice as shining forth in him. And they adduce other similar passages,
as when Moses calls the altar, "Jehovah my banner," or my protection. (Exodus
17:15.) But there is no likeness whatever between an altar and Christ.
For the same purpose they refer to another passage, where it is said,
"And this is the name by which they shall call Jerusalem,
Jehovah our peace." (Ezekiel 48:85)
Now Moses meant nothing else than that the altar was a monument of God's
protection; and Ezekiel only teaches, that the Church would be as it were
a mirror in which God's mercy would be seen, as it would shine forth then,
as it were, visibly. But this cannot for the same reason be applied to
Christ; he is set forth here as a Redeemer, and a name is given to him,
-- what name? the name of God. But the Jews object and say, that he was
God's minister, and that it might therefore be in a sense applied to him,
though he was no more than a man.
But all who without strife and prejudice judge of things, can easily
see that this name is suitably applied to Christ, as he is God; and the
Son of David belongs to him as he is man. The Son of David and Jehovah
is one and the same Redeemer. Why is he called the Son of David? even because
it was necessary that he should be born of that family. Why then is he
called Jehovah? we hence conclude that there is something in him more excellent
than what is human; and he is called Jehovah, because he is the only-begotten
Son of God, of one and the same essence, glory, eternity, and divinity
with the Father.
It hence appears evident to all who judge impartially and considerately,
that Christ is set forth here in his twofold character, so that the Prophet
brings before us both the glory of his divinity and the reality of his
humanity. And we know how necessary it was that Christ should come forth
as God and man; for salvation cannot be expected in any other way than
from God; and Christ must confer salvation on us, and not only be its minister.
And then, as he is God, he justifies us, regenerates us, illuminates us
into a hope of eternal life; to conquer sin and death is doubtless what
only can be effected by divine power. Hence Christ, except he was God,
could not have performed what we had to expect from him. It was also necessary
that he should become man, that he might unite us to himself; for we have
no access to God, except we become the friends of Christ; and how can we
be so made, except by a brotherly union? It was not then without the strongest
reason, that the Prophet here sets Christ before us both as a true man
and the Son of David, and also as God or Jehovah, for he is the only-begotten
Son of God, and ever the same in wisdom and glory with the Father, as John
testifies in Jeremiah 17:5, 11.
We now then perceive the simple and real meaning of this passage, even
that God would restore his Church, because what he had promised respecting
a Redeemer stood firm and inviolable. Then he adds what this Redeemer would
be and what was to be expected from him; he declares that he would be the
true God and yet the Son of David; and he also bids us to expect righteousness
from him, and everything necessary to a full and perfect happiness.
But by saying, God our righteousness, the Prophet still more fully shews
that righteousness is not in Christ as though it were only his own, but
that we have it in common with him, for he has nothing separate from us.
God, indeed, must ever be deemed just, though iniquity prevailed through
the whole world; and men, were they all wicked, could do nothing to impugn
or mar the righteousness of God. But yet God is not our righteousness as
he is righteous in himself, or as having his own peculiar righteousness;
and as he is our judge, his own righteousness is adverse to us. But Christ's
righteousness is of another kind: it is ours, because Christ is righteous
not for himself, but possesses a righteousness which he communicates to
us. We hence see that the true character of Christ is here set forth, not
that he would come to manifest divine justice, but to bring righteousness,
which would avail to the salvation of men, For if we regard God in himself,
as I have said, he is indeed righteous, but is not our righteousness. If,
then, we desire to have God as our righteousness, we must seek Christ;
for this cannot be found except in him. The righteousness of God has been
set forth to us in Christ; and all who turn away from him, though they
may take many circuitous courses, can yet never find the righteousness
of God. Hence Paul says that he has been given or made to us righteousness,
-- for what end? that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
(1 Corinthians 1:30.) Since, then, Christ is made our righteousness, and
we are counted the righteousness of God in him, we hence learn how properly
and fitly it has been said that he would be Jehovah, not only that the
power of his divinity might defend us, but also that we might become righteous
in him, for he is not only righteous for himself, but he is our righteousness.5
Grant, Almighty God, that we, having been all slaves to sin and to
iniquity, but regenerated by the Spirit of thy only-begotten Son, may truly
and with sincere desire seek to serve and worship thee alone, and so consecrate
ourselves to thee, that it may appear that we do not falsely profess the
name of Christ, but that we are truly his members, being partakers of that
new life which he brought us; and may we make such progress in it, that,
having finished our course on earth, we may at length come to that fullness
of life and happiness which has been procured for us by him, and which
is laid up in heaven for us. -- Amen.
1 The Sept. and Arab. give, "a righteous sun-rising --
ajnatolh<n di>kaian;" the Vulg., "a righteous branch;" the Syr., "a
ray of righteousness." The Vulg. is alone correct, as there can be no doubt
as to the original words. -- Ed.
2 We cannot express the words in our language without
changing the terms as follows, "And a ruler shall rule," or, "a reigner
Bochart says that this double use of the same word, as
a substantive and a verb, imports in Hebrew what is enhancive, according
to what Calvin says here. The king was to be a king indeed, with full power
and dignity, and with a large extent of empire.
The Welsh will express the words literally, -- A breniniaetha
And so it is rendered in Greek, --
Kai< basileu>sei basileu<v. -- Ed.
3 The verb lks first means to be wise or prudent, and
in Hiphil, as here, to understand, to act wisely or prudently; and secondly,
as the natural effect of wisdom, it means sometimes to prosper. But the
first sense is given to it here by all the Versions: "and shall understand,"
is the Septuagint; "and shall be wise," the Vulgate; "and shall act prudently,"
the Syriac. Our version is the Targum, Blayney gives the same idea with
Calvin, "and shall act wisely;" which is no doubt the correct one. -- Ed.
4 See the Preface to this volume.
5 "This king," says Venema, "is the true God, the meritorious
cause and pledge of our righteousness, and also the efficient cause and
exemplar of all holiness, piety, and virtue." He holds that Messiah alone
is spoken of here, and blames Grotius for applying the passage in the first
place to Zerubbabel, and maintains that what is said here cannot be applied
to any but to the Messiah. He mentions, as a proof of this, his name --
"a righteous Branch;" his royal dignity -- "a king shall reign;" his title
-- "Jehovah our righteousness," his prosperity and the security of his
kingdom. All these things comport with the character of no one, but with
that of our Lord Jesus Christ. -- Ed.
7. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall
no more say, the Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out
of the land of Egypt;
7. Propterea ecce dies veniunt, (venient,) dicit Jehova, quibus
non dicetur (ad verbum, et non dicetur, -- non dicent) amplius, Vivit Jehova,
qui eduxit filios Israel e terra Egypti;
8. But, the Lord liveth, which brought up, and which led the seed
of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries
whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.
8. Quin potius, Vivit Jehova, qui eduxit et adduxit (ascendere fecit
et introduxit, ad verbum) semen domus Israel e terra Aquilonis, et ex omnibus
terris, ad quas expuleram eos illue; et habitabunt super terram suam. 1
The Prophet, after having spoken of the Redeemer who was to be sent,
now sets forth in high terms that great favor of God, and says that it
would be so remarkable and glorious, that the former redemption would be
nothing to the greatness and excellency of this. When the children of Israel
were brought up out of Egypt, God, we know, testified his power by many
miracles, in order that this favor towards his people might appear the
more illustrious; and rightly did the Prophets exhort and encourage the
faithful to entertain good hope by calling to their minds what was then
done. But our Prophet enhances the second redemption by this comparison,
that hereafter the kindness of God, with which he favored his people when
he delivered them from the bondage of Egypt, would not be remembered, but
that something more remarkable would be done, so that all would talk of
it, and that all would proclaim the immense benefit, which God would confer
on them in delivering them from their exile in Babylon.2
He then says that the days would come in which it would not be said,
Live does Jehovah, who brought his people from Egypt, but who brought his
people from the land of the North.3 Yet he does not mean that the memory
of God's favor towards the Israelites, when he brought them from Egypt,
was to be abolished; but he reasons here from the less to the greater,
as though he had said that it was an evidence of God's favor that could
not be sufficiently praised, when he delivered his people from the land
of Egypt, that if it were taken by itself, it was worthy of being for ever
remembered; but that when compared with the second deliverance it would
appear almost as nothing. The meaning is, that the second redemption would
be so much more remarkable than the first, that it would obscure the remembrance
of it, though it would not obliterate it.
And this passage deserves to be especially noticed, for we hence learn
how much we ought to value that redemption which we have obtained through
the only-begotten Son of God. And hence, also, it follows that we are more
bound to God than the Fathers under the Law, as he has dealt far more bountifully
with us, and has put forth his power more fully and effectually in our
behalf. We further learn, that the Prophet does not in this prophecy include
a few years only, but the whole kingdom of Christ and its whole progress.
He indeed speaks of the return of the people to their own country, and
this ought to be allowed, though Christians have been too rigid in this
respect; for passing by the whole intermediate time between the return
of the people and the coming of Christ, they have too violently turned
the prophecies to spiritual redemption. There is no doubt but that the
Prophet makes a beginning with the free return of the people from captivity;
but, as I have said, Christ's redemption is not to be separated from this,
otherwise the accomplishment of the promise would not appear to us, for
a small portion only returned to their own land. We also know that they
were harassed with many and continual troubles, so that their condition
was always miserable, for nothing is worse than a state of disquietude.
We know further, that they were spoiled, and that often, and were also
reduced to a state of bondage. We know how cruelly they were treated at
one time by the Egyptians, and at another by the kings of Syria. Then more
was promised by Jeremiah than what God has really performed, except we
include in this prophecy the kingdom of Christ. But as God so restored
his Church by the hand of Cyrus, that it might be a kind of prelude to
a future and perfect redemption, it is no wonder that the prophets, whenever
they spoke of the people's return and of the end of their exile, should
look forward to Christ and to his spiritual kingdom.
We now, then, see the design of the Prophet, when he says that the days
would come in which their first redemption would not be spoken of by the
people, as a remarkable or as the chief evidence of God's favor and power,
as their second redemption would far exceed it.
As to the formula or manner of speaking, Live does Jehovah, we know
that the ancients used such words in making a solemn oath, and whenever
they sought to animate themselves with hope under adversities. Whenever,
then, they found themselves so pressed down that they had no other escape
from evil than through God's favor, they usually said that the God who
had formerly been the Redeemer of his people still lived, and that there
was no diminution of his power, so that he could ten times, or a hundred
times, or a thousand times, if necessary, bring help to his Church and
to every member of it.
He says, from all the lands to which I shall have driven them, and
he says this for two reasons, which we shall presently state. The change
of person does not obscure the meaning: Live, he says, does Jehovah, who
brought out and led his people from the land of the north, and from all
the lands to which I had driven them; but there is no ambiguity in the
As to the subject itself, it seems that God in the first place intended
to remind the Jews of their sins, as this knowledge was to be the way to
repentance, or a preparation for it. For except they were convinced that
they were chastised for their sins by God's hand, they would either have
thought that their exile was by chance, or have given way to murmuring
complaints as they often did. But God here declares that he was the author
of their exile, in order that the Jews might know that God justly punished
them for their many and grievous sins. But God, in the second place, shews
that it was in his power, whenever he pleased, to restore those whom he
had afflicted. It was the same as to raise from death those whom he had
slain, according to what is said elsewhere,
"God is he who kills, and who brings to life."
(1 Samuel 2:6.)
Many indeed can destroy, but they cannot heal the wound which they may
have made. But with regard to God, he is both a righteous Judge and a merciful
Savior. As, then, death is in his power whenever he punishes men for their
wickedness, so also he has life in his hand and at his bidding, whenever
he intends to shew mercy. We now, then, perceive what the Prophet had in
view in saying that the Jews had been driven away by God.
He afterwards adds, They shall dwell in their own land. It was
necessary that the Jews should have been sustained by this support until
the coming of Christ, for they saw that they would be in that inheritance
which had been promised to the fathers as a pledge of eternal life and
of the heavenly kingdom.
1 These two verses are omitted here in the Sept. and
Arab., but are given at the end of the chapter. -- Ed.
2 It is a fact worthy of being observed, that what God
effected in the course of his providence was more remarkable, and is represented
as more astonishing, than what he did by means of many and wonderful miracles:
the secret working of his providence on the minds of men is more wonderful
and effects greater things than his power when put forth to reverse the
course of nature. Though he performs no miracles now, yet he works in a
way more wonderful than if he did. We cannot but see this if we notice
the course of events with enlightened eyes. -- Ed.
3 The verse begins with Nkl, rendered "therefore," or,
"on this account," by the Vulg., the Syr., and by our own version; but,
"after this," by Blayney, and "moreover," by Gataker. It might be rendered
"surely," or doubtless, as it is by Venema, --
Surely, behold the days are coming, saith Jehovah, When
they shall no more say, Jehovah lives, etc.
It is better to render the w, "when," than "that," as
in our version. The Sept. and Vulg, render it "and," which gives no meaning
in either language. Calvin follows the Syr., and gives the sense, "in which."