21. And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth;
21. Et erit in die illa, exaudiam, dicit Dominus, exaudiam coelos, etaudient terram:
22. And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel.
22. Et terra exaudiet frumentum et mustum et oleum, et ipsa exaudient Jezreel.
The Lord promises again that he will not be wanting to the people, when they shall be reconciled to him. We must, indeed, in the first place, seek that God may be propitious to us; for they are very foolish who desire to live well and happily, and in the meantime care nothing for God's favor. The Prophet shows when the happiness of men begins; it begins when God adopts them for his people, and when, having abolished their sins, he espouses them to himself. It is therefore necessary, in the first place, to seek this; for as we have said, the desire of being happy is preposterous, when we first seek the blessings of an earthly life, when we first seek ease, abundance of good things, health of body, and similar things. Hence the Prophet now shows, that we are then only happy when the Lord is reconciled to us, and not only so, but when he in his love embraces us, and contracts a holy marriage with us, and on this condition, that he will be a father and preserver to us, and that we shall be safe and secure under his protection and defense.
But at the same time he comes down to things of the second rank. Our happiness is, indeed, as we have said, in the enjoyment of God's love; but there are accessions which afterwards follow; for the Lord provides for us, and exercises a care over us, so that he supplies whatever is needful for the support of life. Of this later part the Prophet now treats: he says, In that day. We see that he reminds us of the covenant, lest we be content with worldly abundance; for as it has been said, men are commonly devoted to their present advantages. Hence the Prophet sets here before our eyes the Lord's covenant; he afterwards adds, that God's favor would reach to the corn, and to the wine, and the oil.
But we must notice the Prophet's words, I will hear, he says, or I will answer, (nh, one, means to answer, but it is here equivalent to hear,) I will hear then, I will hear the heavens, and they will hear the earth. The repetition is not superfluous; for the Israelites had been for some time consumed by famine, before they were led away into exile; as though the heavens were iron, no drop of rain came down. They might hence have thought that there was now no hope; but God here raises them up, I will hear, I will hear, he says; as though he said, |There is no reason for the miserable condition in which I have suffered you long to languish as your sins deserved, to discourage you; for I will hereafter hear the heavens.| As the Prophet before reminded them that when the beasts were cruel to them, it was a token of God's wrath; so also he teaches by these words that the heavens are not dry through any hidden influence; but that when God withholds his favor, there is no rain by which the heavens irrigate the earth. Then God here plainly shows that the whole order of nature, as they say, is in his hand, that no drop of rain descends from heaven except by his bidding, nor can the earth produce any grass; in short, that all nature would be barren were he not to fructify it by his blessing. And this is the reason why he says, I will hear the heavens and they will hear the earth, and the earth will hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil, and all these will hear Jezreel
The Prophet used the word, Jezreel, before in a bad sense; for his purpose was to reproach the Israelites with their unfaithfulness: when they boasted of being the seed of Abraham, and always claimed that honorable and noble distinction, the Lord said, Ye are Jezreel, and not Israel.' It may be that the Prophet wished to show again what they deserved; but he teaches, at the same time, that God would by no means be prevented from showing kindness to the unworthy when reconciled to him. Though, then, they were rather Jezreelites than Israelites, yet their unworthiness would be no impediment, that God should not deal bountifully with them. There may also be an allusion here to a new people; for it follows in the next verse, vzrtyh, usarotie, and I will sow her; and the word, Jezreel, has an affinity to this verb, it is indeed derived from zr, saro, which is to sow: and as the Prophet presently adds, that Jezreel is, as it were, the seed of God, I do not disapprove of this supposed allusion. But yet the Prophet seems here to commend the grace of God, when he declares that they were Jezreelites with whom God would deal so kindly as to fructify the earth for their sake.
Let us now again repeat the substance of the whole, The corn, and the wine, and the oil, will hear Jezreel The Israelites were famished, and as it is usual with those in want of food, they cried out, Who will give us bread, and wine, and oil?' For the stomach, as it is said, has no ears; nor has it reason and judgment: when there is extreme want, men, as if they were distracted, will call for bread, and wine, and oil. God then has regard for these blind instincts of men, which only crave what will gratify them: hence he says, The corn, and wine, and oil, will hear Jezreel, -- but when? Even when the earth will supply trees with sap and moisture, and extend to the seed its strength; it is then that the earth will hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil: for these grow not of themselves, but derive supplies from the earth; and hence the earth is said to hear them. But cannot the earth of itself hear the corn, or the wine, or the oil? By no means, except rain descends from heaven. Since, then, the earth itself draws moisture and wetness from heaven, we see that men in vain cry out in famine, except they look up to heaven: and heaven is ruled by the will of God. Let men, therefore, learn to ascend up to God, that they may seek from him their daily bread.
We now, then, see how suitable is this gradation employed by the Prophet, by which God, on account of the rude and weak comprehension of men, leads them up at last to himself. For they turn their thoughts to bread, and wine, and oil; from these they seek food: they are in this matter very stupid. Be it so; God is indulgent to their simplicity and ignorance; for by degrees he proceeds from corn, and wine, and oil, to the earth, and then from the earth to heaven; and he afterwards shows that heaven cannot pour down rain except at his will. It follows at last --