9. And I that am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast.
9. Ego autem Jehova Deus tuus a terra Aegypti: habitare te faciam in tabernaculis, sicut diebus conventus.
In the first clause God reproaches the Israelites for having forgotten the benefit of his redemption, the memory of which ought ever to have prevailed and flourished among them. I yet, he says, am thy God from the land of Egypt; that is, |It is strange that you are so forgetful that your redemption does not come to your mind, which yet ought to be well known, and be ever, as it were, before your eyes.| That was, as we know, a memorable instance of God's kindness. But when he says that he is the God of that people from the land of Egypt, he points out the end of redemption, as though he said, |I redeemed thee for this end, that thou mightest be forever bound to me.| For we know that when he delivered that people from their cruel tyranny, he at the same time acquired for himself an eternal kingdom; he was then sanctified in his elect people. The end of redemption is then to be observed in the words of the Prophet, |I am,| he says, |thy God from the land of Egypt; how otherwise couldest thou have come forth from thy grave?| For they were like the dead, when God stretched out his hand to them. From the land of Egypt then I am thy God, which means this: |Since thou hast been so wonderfully restored from death to life by my favour, am not I thy God from that day? Thou owest then thyself and all thine to me; for I purchased thee for myself as a peculiar possession. When now thou detest petulantly to reject my Prophets, who speak in my name, it is surely an ingratitude not to be endured, that thou forgettest thy redemptions and the end for which I made known to thee my power and grace.|
But as to the second clause, interpreters vary; some explain it in this way, that God would not cease to show mercy to the Israelites, however unworthy they were, I will make thee to dwell in thy tabernacles; and they take tabernacles, not strictly proper, for houses. Then they say, according to the days of Moed, that is, of ancient agreement, or, according to appointed days; for God had promised to give the land of Canaan to the posterity of Abraham for their perpetual rest. But this exposition seems not suitable. Others say, that the Israelites are here reproved, because they neglected the command of God, who had instituted a festal-day, on which they were to commemorate yearly their redemption. We indeed know that there was the annual feast of tabernacles: so they think the meaning of the Prophet to be this |I not only once redeemed thee, but I also wished that there should be a memorial of this favour; and for what purpose have I commanded you to keep a yearly festival, except that ye might retain in your memory what otherwise might have been forgotten? But I have effected nothing by this rite, for I am now rejected, and my prophets possess no authority among you.| But this sense also is frigid. Some think that the Prophet here threatens the Israelites, as though he said, |God will again drive you out, that you may dwell in tents as you did formerly in the desert.| Though I do not reject this opinion, yet I think there is something more emphatical in the Prophet's words, that is, that God here says in an indirect way, that there was need of a new redemption, that he might bind the people more to himself; as though he said, |I see that you are unmindful of my former redemption; for I see that you esteem it as nothing, as if it were obsolete; I must then lose all my labour, except the memory of my ancient favour be renewed: I will therefore make thee to dwell again in tents. It is necessary to eject thee again from thy heritage, and to restore thee again, and that in a manner unusual and least expected, that thou mayest understand that I am thy Redeemer.
We now then apprehend what the Prophet meant. After God had said that he was the God of Israel from the land of Egypt, he then adds, |Inasmuch as your former redemption has lost all its influence through your wicked forgetfulness, I will become again your Redeemer; I will therefore make thee to abide or dwell in tents as formerly; as your first redemption avails nothing, I will add a second, that you may at length repent, and know how much you are indebted to me.| The days of Moed he takes for their manner of proceeding in the desert as described by Moses; for they assembled together for sacrifices from their camps. Hence God does not speak here of the convention he had made with his people, as if he pointed out some perpetual compact; but he calls those the days of Moed on which the Israelites were assembled, when they were located in their camps according to the account given by Moses. It now follows --