7. And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth: but he that remaineth, even he, shall be for our God, and he shall be as a governor in Judah, and Ekron as a Jebusite.
7. Et auferam sanguines ejus ex ore ejus, et abominationes ejus e medio dentium ejus; et qui residuus erit, etiam ipse, erit Deo nostro; et erit quasi dux in Iehuda, et Ekron quasi Iebusaeus.
Interpreters do also pervert the whole of this verse; and as to the following verse, that is, the next, they do nothing else but lead the readers far astray from its real meaning. God says now, that he will take away blood from the mouth of enemies; as though he had said, |I will check their savage disposition, that they may not thus swallow down the blood of my people.| For here is not described any change, as though they were to become a different people, as though the Syrians, the Sidonians, the Philistine, and other nations, who had been given to plunders, and raged cruelly against the miserable Jews, were to assume the gentleness of lambs: this the Prophet does not mean; but he introduces God here as armed with power to repress the barbarity of their enemies, and to prevent them from cruelly assaulting the Church.
I will take away blood, he says, from their mouth; and he says, from their mouth, because they had been inured in cruelty. I will cause, then, that they may not as hitherto satiate their own lust for blood. He adds, and abominations, that is, I will take from the midst of their teeth their abominable plunders; for he calls all those things abominations which had been taken by robbery and violence. And he compares them to wild beasts, who not only devour the flesh, but drink also the blood and tear asunder the raw carcass. In short, he shows here, under the similitude of wolves and leopards and wild boars, how great had been the inhumanity of enemies to the Church; for they devoured the miserable Jews, as wild and savage beasts are wont to devour their prey.
It afterwards follows, and he who shall be a remnant. Some translate, |and he shall be left,| and explain it of the Philistine and other nations of whom mention is made. But the Prophet doubtless means the Jews; for though few only had returned to their country as remnants from their exile, he yet says that this small number would be sacred to God, and that all who remained would be, as it were, leaders in Judah, however despised they might have been. For there was no superiority even in the chief men among them; only they spontaneously paid reverence to Zerubbabel, who was of the royal seed, and to Joshua on account of the priesthood; while yet all of them were in a low and mean condition. But the Prophet says, that the most despised of them would be leaders and chiefs in Judah. We now perceive the Prophet's meaning; for after having predicted the ruin that was nigh all the enemies of the Church, he now sets forth the end and use of his prophecy; for God would provide for the good of the miserable Jews, who had been long exiles, and who, though now restored to their country, were yet exposed to the ill treatment of all, and also despised and made even the objects of scorn to their enemies. He then who shall be a remnant, even he shall be for our God, as though he had said, |Though the Lord had for a time repudiated you as well as your fathers, when he drove you here and there and scattered you, yet now God has gathered you, and for this end -- that you may be his people: ye shall then be the peculiar people of God, though ye are small in number and contemptible in your condition.|
Then he adds, these remnants shall be as leaders in Judah, that is, God will raise them to the highest honor; though they are now without any dignity, they shall yet be made by God almost all of them princes. It then follows, And Ekron shall be as a Jebusite. Some explain thus -- that the citizens of Ekron would dwell in Jerusalem, which the Jebusites had formerly possessed; and others give another view, but nothing to the purpose. The Prophet speaks not here of God's favor to the citizens of Ekron, but on the contrary shows the difference between God's chosen people and heathen nations, who gloried in their own good fortune: hence he says, that they should be like the Jebusites, for they at length would have to endure a similar destruction. We indeed know, that the Jebusites had been driven out of that town, when Jerusalem was afterwards built; but it was done late, even under David. As then they had long held that place and were at length dislodged, this is the reason why the Prophet says, that though the citizens of Ekron seemed now to be in the very middle of the holy land, they would be made like the Jebusites, for the Lord would drive away and destroy them all. He afterwards adds --