26. For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men.
26. Quia inventi sunt (aut, inveniuntur) in populo meo scelerati; aspicient (hoc est, astute observabunt) secundum ponere laqueos (hoc est, ac si decipulas tenderent;) perditionem locant, in qua homines capiant.
What the previous verse contains is here confirmed, -- that the Jews, through their own fault, had deprived themselves of God's favor. It was necessary to do this; for otherwise they would have had some answer to give, inasmuch as hypocrites, being so perverse, do not easily yield. Hence the Prophet confirms what he had said, -- that there were wicked men among God's people. But this ought not to be confined to some among them, as it is done by interpreters, who seem not to explain quite correctly what the Prophet meant. For he does not reprove or condemn some only; but he says that the people, whom God had chosen, were wicked It is then a general condemnation of the whole people, when he says, that there were found wicked men among God's people; as though he had said, |The wicked are not to be sought among heathens, but iniquity so reigns among the elect people, that there is in them nothing sound, nothing pure.|
When he says found, I understand his meaning to be, found guilty, or convicted: for he means that their sins were not secret, so that they could escape by evasions; but he says that they were found, as thieves are found, according to a common saying, in the very act of stealing. The Prophet then intimates that there was no need of long dispute, as though the Jews could find out some excuse, for they were manifestly guilty. But it was much more disgraceful that they should be found wicked, than that the blind and unbelieving should be found so; for God had adopted them as his people on this condition -- that holiness and purity of life should prevail among them. Since then they were not only sinners, but rsym, reshoim, wholly impious and wicked, it was, as I have said, a far more atrocious thing. And thus he takes away from them every pretense for evasion.
He afterwards urges still farther his charge, and says, that every one looked, or espied, for this is the meaning of the verb svr, shur. He indeed changes the number, but the sense is not rendered thereby more obscure: and to look here, is to lie in wait. Then look, or lie in wait, did every one, as though they were laying snares as fowlers do. He then says, that they were furnished with snares, by which they dragged men into destruction, after having caught them. What is particular is here mentioned for what is general: for the Prophet meant to shew that there was then no faithfulness nor integrity among the people, for every one by frauds and wicked crafts oppressed the simple. Since then they were so perfidious one towards another, he fitly compares them to fowlers, who by their snares entrap the simple birds: but he explains this more clearly in what follows --