26. Mischief shall come upon mischief, and rumour shall be upon rumour; then shall they seek a vision of the prophet; but the law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the ancients.
26. Calamitas super calamitatem veniet, et rumor super rumorem erit: et quærent visionem a propheta, et lex transibit sacerdote, et concilium a senibus.
The Prophet here explains more at length the nature of that slaughter of which he was a herald. And again he deprives the Jews of all ground for hope, and shows that they should look around on all sides in vain, because God would deprive them of all help. This is the meaning of the passage. Hence he says, calamities shall come, and that some shall follow one portion, and others another. In this way he advises the Jews that they should catch at security in vain, as if, at the passing away of one evil, they were already free. For the wicked as soon as God with-draws his hand, think themselves escaped from all trouble, and so despise God more carelessly: for they fancy that God has done with them just like a debtor who has paid a small sum to his creditor, and thus has obtained a relaxation, is careless; so the reprobate harden themselves when God grants them some respite: for they think that they have an agreement with him that he should not trouble them more. But the Prophet denounces that there would be such a heap of evils that one calamity should have many companions, because God would not cease to add evils to evils. He adds, rumor upon rumor This is referred to the object of fear, because rumors of wars and of the cruelty of enemies would be spread abroad. Since, therefore, the Jews are deaf and stupid, the Prophet announces that God would continue exercising his vengeance, so that one calamity should be only the forerunner of another, until they should perish a hundred times rather than that God would suffer them to escape with impunity.
Afterwards he adds, they shall seek a vision Here the Prophet again shows that the Jews should be stripped bare of every help. For although they boldly despised God, yet we know that they wickedly abused his name. For they so threw aside all modesty that. they did not hesitate to ridicule God and all his gifts. Hence their last refuge in their calamities was to seek a vision, that is, to enquire what God was about to do. Hence he says, they shall seek a vision from the Prophet. It seems to me that the expression is too abrupt, that they shall seek a vision from a Prophet, because nothing is added except concerning the priest and elders. m is sometimes taken negatively when words are united: I know not whether the language will properly bear our saying, they shall seek a vision, but there shall be no Prophet And yet the sense would flow better, if Ezekiel denied there should be any Prophets: for this is a sign of desertion, when no consolation occurs which assists us in our wars. Thus the Church complains in the Psalms, (Psalm 76:9,) that it was reduced to the greatest straits, and that no Prophet appeared: we do not see our signs, nor is there a Prophet among us. And, in truth, Ezekiel meant that the Jews would seek a Prophet in vain, because God would take away that gift from them. As far then as the sense is concerned there is no ambiguity, though the diction is, as I have said, rather obscure. The meaning is, when they think God so bound to them that he will never deprive them of visions which are prepared for their comfort, yet they are already deprived of this good, and since they are destitute nothing remains except that utter destruction which he has mentioned. We must leave the rest for to-morrow.