2. The floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her.
2. Area et torcular non pascet eos, et mustum mentietur in ea.
God now denounces such a punishment as the Israelites deserved. They had been drawn away, as we have said, from the pure worship of God by allurements; they hoped for more profit from superstitions. Hence God shows, that he would on this account punish them by taking away from them their wine and corn, as we have already noticed in Hosea 2: for it is the only way by which the Lord restores men to a sane mind, or at least renders them inexcusable, to deprive them of his blessings. The harlot, as long as gain is to be had, as long as she surpasses all honest and chaste matrons in her dress and mode of living, is pleased with herself and blinded by her own splendour; but when she is reduced to extreme want, when she sees herself to be the laughing-stock of all, and when she drags a miserable life in poverty, she then sighs and owns how infatuated she had been in leaving her husband. So the Lord now declares by his Prophet, that he would thus deal with the Israelites, that they might no longer please themselves with such delusions.
Hence he says, The floor and the wine-press shall not feed them, and the new wine shall disappoint them, (mentietur illis -- shall lie to them;) -- that is, the vineyards shall not answer their expectation. It is the same as though he said, |As these men regard only their stomach, as they deem nothing of any moment but provision, therefore the floor and the wine-press shall not feed them; I will deprive them of their support, that they may understand that they in vain worship false gods.| Let us take a common similitude: We see some boys so disingenuous as not to be moved either by disgrace or even by stripes; but as they are subject to the cravings of appetite, when the father deprives them of bread, they nearly lose all hope. Stripes do no good, all warnings are slighted; but when the boy who loves excess sees that bread is denied him, he finds out that his father's displeasure ought to be feared. Thus God corrects men addicted to excessive indulgence; for they are so insensible, that no other remedy can do them any good.
We now, then, apprehend the meaning of the Prophet. He first reproaches the Israelites for loving a reward, for hastening after fictitious gods, that they might glut themselves with great abundance of things: but when the Lord saw that they had become stupefied in their fatness, he said, |I will deprive them of all their provisions; neither wine nor wheat shall be given them; this want will at length drive them to repentance.| We hence see how the Lord deals with men according to their disposition. And his manner of speaking ought to be noticed; he says, that neither the floor nor the wine-press shall feed them. He does not say, that the fields shall be barren; he does not say, that he would send hail or storm; but he says, that neither the floor nor the wine-press shall feed them; and further, that the new wine shall disappoint them; that is, when they shall think themselves to be blessed with all plenty, when the harvest shall appear abundant, and when they shall have already, by anticipation, swallowed up the large produce of their vineyards, all this shall come to nothing; for neither the floor nor the wine-press shall feed them; nay, the very wine which they thought to have been prepared shall disappoint them. It follows --