All the sinners of my people - Those who are the boldest and most incredulous; especially they who despise my warnings, and say the evil day shall not overtake nor prevent us; they shall die by the sword. It is no evidence of a man's safety that he is presumptuously fearless. There is a blessing to him who trembles at God's word.
All the sinners of My people shall perish - At the last, when the longsuffering of God has been despised to the uttermost, His Providence is exact in His justice, as in His love. As not “one grain should fall to the earth,” so not one sinner should escape. Jerome: “Not because they sinned aforetime, but because they persevered in sin until death. The Aethiopians are changed into sons of God, if they repent; and the sons of God pass away into Aethiopians, if they fall into the depth of sin.”
Which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us - Their security was the cause of their destruction. They perished the more miserably, being buoyed up by the false confidence that they should not perish. So it was in both destructions of Jerusalem. Of the first, Jeremiah says to the false prophet Hananiah, “Thus saith the Lord, Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron” Jeremiah 28:13; and to Zedekiah, “Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the Lord, which I speak unto thee; so shall it be well unto thee, and thy soul shall live. But if thou refuse to go forth - thou shalt not escape out of their hand, but shalt be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon, and thou shalt burn this city with fire” (Jeremiah 38:20, Jeremiah 38:23; add Jeremiah 27:9-10, Jeremiah 27:19). At the second, while thee Christians (mindful of our Lord‘s words) fled to Pella, the Jews were, to the last, encouraged by their false prophets to resist. “The cause of this destruction,” at the burning of the temple, says their own historian, “was a false prophet, who on that day proclaimed to those in the city, ‹God commands to go up to the temple, to receive the signs of deliverance.‘ There were too, at that time, among the people many prophets suborned by the tyrants, bidding them await the help from God, that they might not desert, and that hope might prevail with those, who were above fear and restraint. Man is soon persuaded in calamity. And when the deceiver promises release from the evils which are upon him, the sufferer gives himself wholly up to hope. These dcceivers then and liars against God at this time mispersuaded the wretched people, so that they neither regarded, nor believed, the plain evident prodigies, which foretokened the coming desolation, but, like men stupefied, who had neither eyes nor mind, disobeyed the warnings of God.” Then, having related some of the prodigies which occurred, he adds; “But of these signs‘ some they interpreted after their own will, some they despised, until they were convicted of folly by the capture of their country and their own destruction.”
So too now, none are so likely to perish forever, as they “who say, The evil shall not overtake us.” “I will repent hereafter.” “I will make my peace with God before I die.” “There is time enough yet.” “Youth is for pleasure, age for repentance.” “God will forgive the errors of youth, and the heat of our passions.” “Any time will do for repentance; health and strength promise long life;” “I cannot do without this or that now.” “I will turn to God, only not yet.” “God is merciful and full of compassion.” Because Satan thus deludes thousands upon thousands to their destruction, God cuts away all such vain hopes with His word, “All the sinners of My people shall die which say, the evil shall not overtake nor come upon us.”
From generation to generation the Lord had borne with His wayward children, and even now, in the face of defiant rebellion, He still longed to reveal Himself to them as willing to save. “O Ephraim,” He cried, “what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.” Hosea 6:4. PK 285.1
The evils that had overspread the land had become incurable; and upon Israel was pronounced the dread sentence: “Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.” “The days of visitation are come, the days of recompense are come; Israel shall know it.” Hosea 4:17; 9:7. PK 285.2
The ten tribes of Israel were now to reap the fruitage of the apostasy that had taken form with the setting up of the strange altars at Bethel and at Dan. God's message to them was: “Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; Mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency? For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces.” “The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Beth-aven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced on it.... It shall be also carried unto Assyria for a present to King Jareb” (Sennacherib). Hosea 8:5, 6; 10:5, 6. PK 285.3
“Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saying that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the Lord. For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.” PK 285.4Read in context »