5. And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.
5. Et erit in die illa et conteram arcum (vel -- confringum) Israel in valle Jizreel.
This verse was intentionally added; for the Israelites were so inflated with their present good fortune, that they laughed at the judgement denounced. They indeed knew that they were well furnished with arms, and men, and money; in short, they thought themselves in every way unassailable. Hence the Prophet declares, that all this could not prevent God from punishing them. |Ye are,| he says, |inflated with pride; ye set up your valour against God, thinking yourselves strong in arms and in power; and because ye are military men, ye think that God can do nothing; and yet your bows cannot restrain his hand from destroying you. But when he says, I will break the bow, he mentions a part for the whole; for under one sort he comprehends every kind of arms. But as to what the Prophet had in view, we see that his only object was to break down their false confidence; for the Israelites thought that they should not be exposed to the destruction which Hosea had predicted; for they were dazzled with their own power, and thought themselves beyond the reach of any danger, while they were so well fortified on every side. Hence the Prophet says, that all their fortresses would be nothing against God; for in that day, when the ripe time for vengeance shall come, the Lord will break all their bows, he will tear in pieces all their arms, and reduce to nothing their power.
We are here warned ever to take heed, lest any thing should lead us to a torpid state when God threatens us. Though we may have strength, though fortune (so to speak) may smile on us, though, in a word, the whole world should combine to secure our safety, yet there is no reason why we should felicitate ourselves, when God declares himself opposed to and angry with us. Why so? Because, as he can preserve us when unarmed whenever he pleases, so he can spoil us of all our arms, and reduce our power to nothing. Let this verse then come to our minds whenever God terrifies us by his threatening; and what it teaches us is, that he can take away all the defences in which we vainly trust.
Now, as Jezreel was the metropolis of the kingdom, the Prophet distinctly mentions the place, I will break in pieces the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel; that is, the Lord sees what sort of fortress there is in Samaria, in Jezreel; but he will make an end of you there, in the very midst of the land. Ye think that you have there a place of safety and a firm position; but the Lord will bring you to nothing even in the valley of Jezreel. It follows --