23. Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked.
23. Ecce tempestas (sed subaudienda est nota similitudinis k, sicut tempestas) Jehovae furor (vel, iracundia) egredietur, tempestas sese involvens, super caput impiorum residebit.
The Prophet seems to speak abruptly; for nothing could be more delightful than the promise that God gives, that he would be a Father to the people; but he immediately adds, that there would arise an involving whirlwind, which would abide on the head of the wicked. These things, at the first view, seem not to harmonize. But the latter sentence may be applied to the heathens, or to any of the enemies of the Church; for whenever God appears as the Savior of his people, his vengeance goes forth, and is poured on the wicked. Hence such declarations as the following often occur,
|The day of my vengeance is nigh, and the year of my visitation.| (Isaiah 63:4)
Isaiah joins both, the favor of God and his vengeance: and this is often done by the other Prophets, in order that we may see that God's mercy cannot be clearly and distinctly perceived towards the faithful, except when his judgment on the other hand be made conspicuous as to the wicked. So this passage may be explained. But we may well thus connect the words of the Prophet, -- that he kindly endeavored to allure the people by offering them God's favor; but that having seen that it would be despised, as we stated yesterday, by the greater part of them, he now seasonably threatens them, that if they refused the favor offered them, such ingratitude could not be borne by God. And this is a mode of teaching common in Scripture. For God on his part thus manifests his kindness so as to stimulate men; but as he sees them not only slothful and tardy, but also wicked and ungrateful, he declares that they shall not be unpunished if they despise his favor. The former truth then well agrees with what the Prophet now says, -- that the wrath of God would arise like a tempestuous storm.
He afterwards adds, a whirling or involving tempest, properly, a tempest gathering itself. The verb is gvr gur, in a reduplicate form and in Hithpael. A similar sentence is found in Jeremiah 23:19; but there the Prophet used another word as required by the subject. Some render it |falling,| for gvr, gur, means to fall; and this meaning is suitable, |a falling storm,| that is, impetuously descending, so as to abide on the head of the wicked. But the former sense has been more generally taken, and I am disposed to embrace it; for it tends to shake men with terror, when the storm is said to be like a whirlwind, for it turns and twists around, so that it cannot be avoided. The meaning then is, that God's vengeance would be fatal to all the wicked. But we may take the wicked, rsym reshoim, for the despisers of God, though boasting of his name, as well as for aliens: but I am inclined to include both, even domestic and foreign enemies of God; as though the Prophet had said, that no remedy remained, except they fled to the mercy of God. It afterwards follows, --