2. And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face.
2. Et non sixerunt in corde suo, omnis malitiae eorum recordatus sum (hoc est, quod recordatus sim omnis malitiae ipsorum:) nunc circumdederunt ipsos facinora eorum, in conspectu meo sunt.
The Prophet shows here that the Israelites had advanced to the highest summit of all wickedness; for they thought that no account was ever to be given by them to God. Hence arises the contempt of God; that is, when men imagine that he is, as it were, sleeping in heaven, and that he rests from every work. They dare not indeed to deny God, and yet they take from him what especially belongs to his divinity, for they exclude him from the office of being a judge. Hence then it is that men allow themselves so much liberty, because they imagine that they have made a truce with God; yea, they think that they can do any thing with impurity, as if they had made a covenant with death and hell, as Isaiah says, (Isaiah 28:15.) Of this sottishness then does the Prophet here arraign the Israelites, They have not said, he says, in their heart, that I remember all their wickedness; that is, |They so audaciously mock me, as though I were not the judge of the world; they consider not that all things are in my sight, and that nothing is hid from me. Since then they suppose me to be like a dead idol, they have no fear, nay, they abandon themselves to every wickedness.|
He then adds, Now their wicked deeds have surrounded them, for they are in my sight; that is, |Though they promise impunity to themselves, and flatter themselves in their hypocrisy, all their works are yet before me; and thus they surround them;| that is, |They shall at last perceive that they are infolded in their own sins, and that no escape will be open to them.| We now understand the object of the Prophet; for after having complained of the stupidity of the people, he now says that they thus flattered themselves with no advantage, because God is not in the meantime blind. Though then they think that a veil is drawn over their sins, they are yet mistaken; for all their sins are in my sight, and this they themselves shall at last find out by experience, because their sins will surround or besiege them.
Let us learn from this place, that nothing ought to be more feared than that Satan should so fascinate us as to make us to think that God rests idly in heaven. There is nothing that can stir us up more to repentance, than when we adorn God with his own power, and be persuaded that he is the judge of the world, and also when we walk as in his sight, and know that our sins cannot come to oblivion, except when he buries them by pardon. This then is what the Prophet teaches in the first part of the verse. Now when we imagine that we have peace with God, and with death and hell, as Isaiah says in the place we have quoted, the prophet teaches that God is yet awake, and that his office cannot be taken from him, for he knows whatever is carried on in this world; and that this will at length be made openly known, when our sins shall surround us, as it is also said in Genesis chapter 4, Sin will lie down at thy door.' For we may for a time imagine that we have many escapes or at least hiding-places; but God will at length show that all this is in vain, for he will come upon us, and has no need of forces, procured from this or that quarter; we shall have enemies enough in our own vices, for we shall be besieged by them no otherwise than if God were to arm the whole world against us. Let us go on --