30. In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion.
30. Frustra (vel, in vanum) castigavi filios tuos, correctionem non receperunt; voravit gladius vester prophetas vestros quasi leo vastator.
Some expound the beginning of this verse as though the meaning were, -- that God chastised the Jews on account of their folly, because they habituated themselves to falsehoods: but the latter clause does not correspond. There is therefore no doubt but that God here expostulates with the Jews, because he had tried to bring them to the right way and found them wholly irreclaimable. A similar expostulation is found in Isaiah,
|In vain,| he says, |have I chastised you; for from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head there is no soundness.| (Isaiah 1:6)
There God shews that he had tried every remedy, but that the Jews, being wholly refractory in their spirit, were wholly incurable. Jeremiah speaks now on the same subject: and God thus exaggerates the wickedness of the people; for he testifies that he had tried whether they would be taught, not only by words, but also by scourges and chastisements, but that his labor in both instances had been in vain. He spoke before of teaching, |Keep thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst.| The Prophets, then, had exhorted the Jews by God's command to rest quietly. This teaching had been useless and unfruitful. God now adds, that he had tried in another way to bring them back to a right mind; but this effort had been also useless and in vain: In vain have I chastised you; for ye have not received correction
But he speaks of children, in order to shew that the whole people were unteachable: for though lusts boil more in youth, yet their obduracy is not so great as in the old; as he who has through his whole life hardened himself in the contempt of God, can hardly be ever healed and be amended by correction; for old age is of itself morose and difficult to be pleased, and the old also think, that wrong is in a manner done them when they are reproved: but when the insolence and obduracy of the young are so great that they reject all correction, it is more strange and monstrous. The Prophet then shews that there was nothing sound or right in that people, since their very children refused correction.
We now perceive his object, -- that, as God had sent his prophets, and as their labor availed nothing, he now shews, that not only the ears of the people had been deaf to wholesome teaching, but that they were hard -- necked and untamable; for he had tried to correct them by scourges, but effected nothing. It follows, their sword has devoured the prophets But I cannot finish now.