13. Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts.
13. Et fuit, sicuti clamavit et non audierunt, sic clamabunt et non audiam, dicit Iehova exercituum.
The Prophet sets forth more fully the dreadfulness of this punishment -- that they in vain groaned and complained, for God was deaf to their complaints and cryings. When God in some measure fulminates and becomes soon reconciled, he does not seem to be greatly incensed, but when the miserable whom he afflicts by his hand, avail nothing by their entreaties and prayers, it then appears evident that God is in no common degree offended. This then is what the Prophet meant by saying, that they were not heard by God when they cried.
But we must notice what is said of their perverseness; for he says, that God had called, and that he was not heard by them. Now it cannot be deemed an unjust reward, that God should punish the contempt of his word; for how great is the honor by which he favors miserable wretches, when he invites them to himself, and most expressly invites them? When, therefore, the calling of God is thus rejected and despised, do not they who are so refractory deserve what the Prophet declares here -- that they would have to cry in vain, as God would be deaf to their groanings?
As to the words, the change of person may embarrass the unlettered, but it is a mode of speaking common to the Prophets, for they assume the person of God in order to gain more authority to their doctrine; and they spoke sometimes in the third and sometimes in the first person: when in the first God himself speaks, and when in the third it is in the character of ministers, who declare and deliver, as it were from hand to hand, what had been committed to them by God. Hence the Prophet in the first clause speaks as God's minister; he afterwards assumes his person, as though he were God himself. But this, as it has been said, was done with regard to the word delivered. It was, that as he called and they heard not, etc. Who called? It is not right to apply this, as some do, to the Prophet; he, therefore, charges here the Jews, no doubt, with the sin of turning a deaf ear to God's word. So, he says, they shall call, and I will not hear. It might have been said, |so they shall call, and the Lord will not hear.| There is in the meaning, as we see, nothing obscure or ambiguous.
The import of the whole then is, that God had not threatened in vain by his ancient Prophets; but that as he had denounced vengeance by the mouth of Isaiah, so it had been executed on the Jews, for they had without effect cried, and found God a severe judge, whose voice they had previously despised. We indeed know, that it is a truth often repeated, that the ungodly are not heard by God; nay, that their prayers are abominable; for they profane God's name by an impure heart and mouth whenever they flee to him, as they approach him without faith and repentance. We then learn from these words, that those who perversely despise God's word deservedly rot in their own calamities; for it is by no means right or reasonable that the Lord should be ready to hear the crying of those who turn a deaf ear to his voice. It follows --