14. For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him
14. Quia ego tanquam leo ipsi Ephraim, et tanquam leunculus domui Jehudah: ego, ego rapiam, et abibo; tollam et nemo eripiet.
As I have said, the Prophet confirms this truth, that Israel had recourse in vain to false physicians, when they left God. How so? Because the whole world, were it to favor us, could not yet help us, against the will of God and his opposing power. But God here declares that he would be adverse to the Israelites; as though he said, |Provide human aids as much as you please; but will the Assyrian be superior to me in power? Can he hinder me from pursuing you as I have determined?| Thus God shows that he would deal in a new and different manner with the Israelites and the Jews: |I will not,| he says, |be any longer like a moth and a worm; I shall come like a lion to you, with an open mouth to devour you: now let the Assyrian king come forth, when I shall thus go armed against you; can he put any hindrance in my way, that I should not execute my vengeance, as it shall seem good to me?| We now then perceive the design of the Prophet.
He had said, that God would punish the Israelites and the Jews, by consuming them by degrees, that there might be more time for repentance: but he says that this would be useless, for they would not think that it was done seriously. They would therefore deceive themselves with vain fallacies. What would then at last remain? Even this, |I will,| he says, |put on a new form and go to battle: I will be to you as a lion and a young lion; I will rage against you as a fierce wild beast: your grievance shall not now be from moths and worms; but you shall have an open and dreadful contest with the lion and the young lion. What then will the Assyrian king avail you?| And this place teaches, that men, when they attempt to oppose vain helps to the wrath of God, gain only this, that they more and more provoke and inflame his wrath against themselves. After God has first gnawed, he will at length devour; after he has pricked, he will deeply wound; after he has struck, he will wholly destroy. All this we bring on ourselves by our perverse attempts, when we try to seek escapes for ourselves. Except, then, we would willingly kindle God's displeasure, that he may appear as a lion and rage against us with the whole force of his wrath, let us take heed, that we deceive not ourselves by vain reliefs.
He therefore says, I, I will take away, or, |tear,| or, |tear in pieces;| for srph, shereph, properly means this, and it agrees better with the rest of the context. |I will then, as lions and young lions are wont to do, tear in pieces, limb from limb, the whole people.| Then he says, I will go away as a lion, who, after he has enjoyed his prey, departs a conqueror with more courage being not put to flight, for he is moved by no fear. So also the Prophet says, |Let the Assyrian king come, he will not constrain me to retreat, nor will he rescue the spoil from me: and when I shall be satiated with your destruction, I shall not then have any fear on account of the Assyrian king, that I should stealthily flee away, as foxes are wont to do; I will not craftily contend; but I will go forth openly, my violence will be sufficient to put him to flight: I will thus depart of my own accord; for your subsidies will occasion me no fear. I will take away, he says, and none shall rescue.| We now comprehend the whole meaning of the Prophet.