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Commentary On Joel Amos Obadiah by Jean Calvin

Lecture Fifty-fifth

One thing escaped me yesterday: pain in my head prevented me to look on the book. The Prophet says in the twelfth verse, that the children of Israel would be so delivered as when a shepherd rescues only an ear, or some part of a sheep: he adds, |So the children of Israel shall be rescued who dwell in Samaria in a corner of a bed, and at Damascus on a couch This similitude I did not explain. Some think that Damascus is here compared with Samaria, as the more opulent city; for Jeroboam the Second had extended the limits of his kingdom to that city, and subdued some portion of the kingdom of Syria: they then suppose, that Samaria is called a corner of a bed on account of its confined state, and Damascus a couch; but there is no reason for this. He might have better called Damascus a bed. Others give this exposition, |They who shall escape among the people of Israeli shall not be the valiant and the brave, who will oppose the attack of the enemy, or with arms in hand defend themselves; but those shall be safe who will hide themselves and flee to their beds.| But the Prophet seems here to compare Damascus and Samaria to beds for this reason, because the Israelites thought that they would find in them a safe receptacle: |Thought then ye dwell at Samaria and Damascus as in a safe nest, it will yet be a miracle if a few of you will escape; it will be as when a shepherd carries away the ear of a sheep, after the lion has satiated himself.| This seems to be the genuine meaning of the Prophet; for I doubt not but that he derides the foolish confidence in which the Israelites indulged themselves, thinking that they were secure from all danger when shut up within the gates of Samaria or of Damascus. |Ye think that these nests will be safe for you; but lions, shall break through, and hardly one in a hundred, or in a thousand, shall in a corner of a bed escape; it will be as when a lion leaves an ear or part of a leg.| Let us now proceed --
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