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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 1 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 8:3

3. And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, which remain in all the places whither I have driven them, saith the Lord of hosts.

3. Et eligetur (ad verbum esset, electa est) mors (sed debet resolvi in futurum tempus) prae vita ab omnibus reliquiis, quae residuae erunt ab hac prava natione (a natione hac mala) in omnibus locis ubi residui fuerint, ad quae expulero eos (ad quae illuc; sed sm, est supervacuum,) dicit Jehova exercituum.

He intimates in this verse, that all survivors would be doubly miserable, as it would be better for them to die at once than to pine away in unceasing evils: for they who give another meaning to the words, seem not to understand the design of the Prophet. The import then of the passage is, -- that however dreadful God's judgment would be, when slaughters everywhere prevailed, and dead bodies were drawn out which had been previously buried, yet all this would be a slight punishment in comparison with what God would inflict on the rest, such as remained alive: and he also intimates that their life would be more miserable than death itself, yea, than ten deaths.

That those then who would escape death might not think that they gained any advantage, the Prophet says, Chosen shall be death before life by all the residue We hence learn how grievous was to be God's vengeance; for nothing would be better or more desirable than to undergo death at once, as life would be nothing else but a continued languor and torment. Expected then will be death in all places in which there shall be survivors, where I shall drive them He mentions a reason for this twofold misery, -- they would not be allowed to live in their own country, but would become aliens, -- and they would find in their exile God's hand against them, and as it were following them everywhere.

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