6. Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.
6. Propterea ecce ego concludo viam tuam spius, et circumdo (circumdabo) sepem (ad verbum, sepire sepem; sed tamen sensus clarus est, circumdabo sepem, vel maceriem) et semitam suam non reperiet.
The Prophet here pursues the subject we touched upon yesterday; for he shows how necessary chastisement is, when people felicitate themselves in their vices. And God, when he sees that men confess not immediately their sins, defends as it were his own cause, as one pleading before a judge. In a word, God here shows that he could not do otherwise than punish so great an obstinacy in the people, as there appeared no other remedy.
Therefore, he says, behold I -- There is a special meaning in these words; for God testifies that he becomes the avenger of impieties, when people are brought into straits; as though he said, |Though the Israelites are not ready to confess that they suffer justly, yet I now declare that to punish them will be my work, when they shall be deprived of their pleasures, and when the occasion of their pride shall be removed from them.| And he intimates by the metaphorical words he uses, that he would so deal with them, as to keep the people from wandering, as they had done hitherto, after their idols; but he retains the similitude of a harlot. Now when an unchaste wife goes after her paramours, the husband must either connive at her, or be not aware of her base conduct. However this may be, wives cannot thus violate the marriage-vow, except they are set at liberty by their husbands. But when a husband understands that his wife plays the wanton, he watches her more closely, notices all her ways day and night. God now takes up this comparison, I will close up, he says, her way with thorns, and surround her with a mound, that there may be no way of access open to adulterers.
But by this simile the Prophet means that the people would be reduced to such straits, that they might not lasciviate, as they had done, in their superstitions; for while the Israelites enjoyed prosperity, they thought everything lawful for them; hence their security, and hence their contempt of the word of the Lord. By hedge, then, and by thorns, God means those adversities by which he restrains the ungodly, so that they may cease to flatter themselves, and may not thoughtlessly follow, as they were before wont to do, their own superstitions. She shall not then find her ways; that is, |I will constrain them so to groan under the burden of evils, that they shall no longer, as they have hitherto done, allow loose reins to themselves.| It afterwards follows --