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Commentary On Joel Amos Obadiah by Jean Calvin

Lecture fifty-eighth

Ye who convert judgment into wormwood, and leave righteousness on the ground. We stated yesterday why the Prophet added this sentence: he wished in every way to prove the Israelites guilty. Having inveighed against their superstitions, he now adds, that they acted also falsely and iniquitously towards men. And he attacks the chiefs who ruled the people, not because they were alone culpable, but because they drew with them the whole community. We know that diseases descend from the head to the whole body: and this is the reason why the Prophet directs his address especially to the rulers. He says that they turned judgment to wormwood. This similitude often occurs. Nothing, we know, is sweeter than justice, when every one gains his own right; for this serves much to preserve peace. Hence nothing can be more gratifying to us, than when uprightness and equity prevail. This is the reason why the Prophet calls that iniquitous state of things bitterness, when no regard is had for justice and rectitude. He says also that righteousness was cast down on the ground, or thrown to the ground. Now the judges ought to have defended what was right among the people: for this, we know, is the duty enjoined them: and the Prophet now lays this to their charge that they left justice on the ground -- that they suffered it to lie prostrate. We now perceive the Prophet's design. It follows --
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