17. Or if I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it:
17. Vel gladium transire fecero super terram illam, et dixero gladio, Transi per terram, ut excidatur ex ea homo et jumentum.
18. Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they only shall be delivered themselves.
18. Et tres viri isti in medio ejus, vivo ego, dicit Dominator Iehovah, non liberabunt filios et filias, quia ipsi soli liberabuntur.
The Prophet now descends to the third kind of punishment. Hence God says, if he send a sword upon a land, he cannot be entreated so as not to consume it utterly, neither will he admit any man's intercession, although the most holy dwell there, namely, Job, Noah, and Daniel. But the phrase used must be marked: if I shall say to the sword, pass through to exterminate and blot out the whole land, or cut off from it, both man and beast, because we here gather the great power of God's secret government. For we think that wars are stirred up at random: and as men are in agitation, so also we imagine war to be nothing but confusion and turbulence. But God governs even wars by his inestimable wisdom, and also men and their swords: men are enraged, their swords fly about in their hands, and they seem to go hither and thither at random by blind impulse. But God here announces that he permits swords to pass through a land, and to destroy both men and cattle. If he had said, after the language used in many places, that he would arm men, it would not have been very wonderful: for everywhere throughout the Prophets he calls the Chaldaeans and Assyrians executors of his judgment. Hence that sentence of Jeremiah, Cursed is he who has done God's work negligently. (Jeremiah 48:10.) But that work of God was the slaughter at Jerusalem. So also Nebuchadnezzar is called God's servant and minister when he laid waste Egypt, and God promises him the reward of his labor. (Ezekiel 29:20.) So here Ezekiel proceeds further, not only that the hands of men are directed as God wishes, but also that their swords listen to his secret command, so that they neither pass by nor strike any man or animal except as far as God pleases. But if God so commands the swords, let us know that whenever men rise up against us, that our patience is exercised and our sins chastised in this way: and that the impious are God's agents: and let us determine that we shall never profit by noise and resistance, since there is but one remedy, to humble ourselves under God's strong hand. Now the fourth kind of punishment follows --