16. And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it, neither shall that be done any more.
16. Et erit, cum multiplicati fueritis et fructificaveritis (vel, creveritis) in terra diebus illis, dicit Jehova, non dicent amplius, Arca foederis Jehovae, et non ascendet in cor, et non recordabuntur ejus, et non visitabunt, et non fiet amplius.
Interpreters have perverted this verse, for none of them have understood the design of the Prophet. The Jews, for the most part, have adduced frigid and far -- fetched glosses, -- that they would no more bring out to battles the Ark of the Covenant, as no enemy would invade their land. They think then that a peaceable state is promised to the people, as they would be constrained by no hostile force to carry the Ark of the Covenant here and there. But we clearly see that the words mean no such thing: it is then a comment wholly foreign to the subject. Others say, that what is said must be applied to the time of the Messiah, and none even of the Jews deny this; for it afterwards follows, that the Israelites would return with the tribe of Judah. This had not yet been fulfilled; it hence follows, that the Prophet here predicts of the kingdom of Christ. But the Jews, while allowing this, do not understand that anything is said of the abrogation of legal ceremonies; it has yet been thought by almost all Christians, that the Prophet here teaches us, that when Christ should come, an end would be put to all the shadows of the law, so that there would be no more any Ark of the Covenant, as the fullness of the Godhead would dwell in Christ.
This indeed is a view which seems plausible, but the meaning of the Prophet, as I think, is wholly different: for he refers here to that divorce or division which had for a long time existed between the kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel. Though the kingdom of Israel, as to the number of its men, largeness of territory and wealth, was more flourishing and prosperous than the kingdom of Judah; yet there remained these advantages to the Jews, -- that they had a Temple built according to God's command, -- that its place had been chosen by God, -- that they had the Ark of the Covenant as a symbol of God's presence. Hence there was contention between the kingdom of Judah and the ten tribes: the Israelites were elated on account of their number and their riches, and other temporal advantages; and the Jews gloried in their Temple and the Ark of the Covenant. And what now does the Prophet say? He declares that such would be the concord between the Israelites and the Jews, that the Jews would no more say, |The Ark of the Covenant,| |The Temple of God;| for God would be present with them all. And the Prophet proceeds to confirm more fully what I have just said: it is therefore necessary to add the two following verses. He then says --