14. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.
14. Et inveniar a vobis, dicit Jehova, et reducam captivitatem vestram, et colligam (vel, congregabo) vox ex omnibus gentibus et ex omnibus locis quo expulero vos illue, dicit Jehova; et redire faciam vos ad locum e quo expuli vos illinc (abundat).
The Prophet now applies what he seemed to have spoken generally. He then shews the effect of God's favor, after having been reconciled to his people, even that he would restore their captivity, and gather them from all places. This was particularly said to the Jews; but the two former verses contain, as I have said, a general doctrine. He had before said, Ye shall find me; but he says now, I shall be found by you, or, I will shew myself to you. There is an implied contrast between the hiding and the manifestation, for God had in a manner hid himself during the time of exile; but he suddenly made his face to shine forth, and thus manifested himself as a Father, after having apparently forgotten his people. Suitably then does the Prophet speak here; for though the Lord ever looks on us, we on the other hand do not see him, nay, we think that he is far from us. But he then only appears to us, when we perceive that he cares for our salvation.
By saying, from all nations and from all places, he evidently obviated a doubt which otherwise might have crept into the minds of many, |How can it ever be that God will gather us after we have been thus dispersed?| For no certain region had been allotted to them, in which they might dwell together so as to form one body; but they had been scattered as by a violent whirlwind like chaff or stubble; and God had so driven them away that there was no hope of being again gathered. As then it was incredible, that a people so dispersed could be collected together, the Prophet says, |from all nations and from all places.| The same thing is declared in the Psalm,
|He will gather the dispersions of Israel.| (Psalm 147:2)
For when the Jews looked on their dreadful dispersion, they could entertain no hope. We see then how the Prophet encouraged them still to hope, and bade them to struggle against this trial. The sentence seems to have been taken from Moses, for he says,
|Though you be scattered through the extreme parts of the world, yet God will gather you.| (Deuteronomy 30:1-3)
We see that Moses there expressly reproves the unbelief of the people, if they despaired of God's mercy and salvation, because they were torn and scattered. he therefore shews that God's power was abundantly sufficient to collect them again, though they were scattered to the four quarters of the world. We now perceive the object of the Prophet.
And hence we may gather a useful doctrine, -- that God in a wonderful manner gathers his Church when scattered, so as to form it into one body, however he may for a time obliterate its name and even its very appearance. And of this he has given us some proof in our time. For who could have thought that what we now see with our eyes, would ever take place? that God would in a secret manner gather his elect, when there was everywhere a dreadful desolation, and no corner found in the world where two or three faithful men could dwell together. We hence see that this prophecy has not been fulfilled only at one time, but that the grace of God is here set forth, which he has often manifested, and still manifests in gathering his Church. It follows, --