Zephaniah 2:8
I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Zephaniah 2:8-11. I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of Ammon — These countries were destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, about five years after the destruction of Jerusalem: see the places referred to in the margin, where, as well as here, they are threatened with destruction, for their insulting over the Jews in their calamities. And magnified themselves against their border — Have invaded their territories: see Jeremiah 49:1. Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and Ammon as Gomorrah — Proverbial expressions signifying utter destruction; and a perpetual desolation — That shall never more be possessed by its former inhabitants. The residue of my people shall spoil them — Judas Maccabeus and his brethren subdued the Ammonites: see 1Ma 5:6. “But this and the seventh verse,” says Lowth, “will receive their utmost completion at the general restoration of the Jewish nation. Those that then escape, and return from their several dispersions, are elsewhere called by the name of the residue, and the remnant:” compare chap. Zephaniah 3:13; and see note on Micah 4:7. The Lord will be terrible unto them — Or, The Lord, who is to be feared, is against, or above them, and will make it appear that he is terrible in his judgments. For he will famish all the gods of the earth — Such as Dagon, Chemosh, Moloch, &c., all those that are gods nowhere else but upon the earth, among the deceived sons of earth, vile, spurious gods. Though their altars are now filled with sacrifices, and their bowls run over, as if it were designed to make them fat, they shall be famished, or starved, by being deprived of their sacrifices and drink-offerings. Instead of, He will famish, Houbigant reads, He will dissipate: but it is justly observed by Bishop Warburton, that the expression, as it stands in our version, is noble, alluding to the popular superstitions of paganism, which conceived that the gods were nourished by the steam of sacrifices. And men shall worship him, every one from his place — Or, in his place: that is, not only at Jerusalem, but everywhere: see the margin. Even all the isles of the heathen — “By the earth the Jews understood the great continent of all Asia and Africa, to which they had access by land; and by the isles of the sea they understood the places to which they sailed by sea, particularly all Europe.” — Sir I. Newton, on Daniel, p. 216. Chrysostom cites this passage, according to the version of the LXX., and applies it to gospel times, as an argument against the Jews, and surely it was chiefly meant of those times; for never were the false gods so famished, or so destroyed, as they were by the preaching of the gospel. Then especially did men, in every place where the gospel prevailed, worship the true God alone. It is true, many of the people, among whom the Jews were dispersed in the time of their captivity, and also with whom they had commerce after their return, were instructed by them in the knowledge of the one living and true God; yet, what is said here seems to be much more applicable to the times of the gospel, than to any conversion of the heathen to the worship of Jehovah, which was ever effected by the Jews, before Christ sent out his apostles to preach his gospel through all the world.2:4-15 Those are really in a woful condition who have the word of the Lord against them, for no word of his shall fall to the ground. God will restore his people to their rights, though long kept from them. It has been the common lot of God's people, in all ages, to be reproached and reviled. God shall be worshipped, not only by all Israel, and the strangers who join them, but by the heathen. Remote nations must be reckoned with for the wrongs done to God's people. The sufferings of the insolent and haughty in prosperity, are unpitied and unlamented. But all the desolations of flourishing nations will make way for the overturning Satan's kingdom. Let us improve our advantages, and expect the performance of every promise, praying that our Father's name may be hallowed every where, over all the earth.I-- Dionysius: "God, Who know all things, "I heard" that is, have known within Me, in My mind, not anew but from eternity, and now I shew in effect that I know it; wherefore I say that I hear, because I act after the manner of one who perceiveth something anew." I, the just Judge, heard (see Isaiah 16:6; Jeremiah 48:39; Ezekiel 35:12-13). He was present and "heard," even when, because He avenged not, He seemed not to hear, but laid it up in store with Him to avenge in the due time Deuteronomy 32:34-35.

The reproach of Moab and the reviling of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached My people - Both words, "reproached, reviled," mean, primarily, cutting speeches; both are intensive, and are used of blaspheming God as unable to help His people, or reviling His people as forsaken by Him. If directed against man, they are directed against God through man. So David interpreted the taunt of Goliah, "reviled the armies of the living God" (1 Samuel 17:26, 1 Samuel 17:36, 1 Samuel 17:45, coll. 10. 25), and the Philistine cursed David "by his gods" 1 Samuel 17:43. In a Psalm David complains, "the reproaches of them that reproached Thee are fallen upon me" (Psalm 69:10 (9)); and a Psalm which cannot be later than David, since it declares the national innocency from idolatry, connects with their defeats, the voice of him "that reproacheth and blasphemeth" (Psalm 44:16 (17), joining the two words used here). The sons of Corah say, "with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me, while they say daily unto me, where is thy God?" Psalm 42:10. So Asaph, "The enemy hath reproached, the foolish people hath blasphemed Thy Name" Psalm 74:10, Psalm 74:18; and, "we are become a reproach to our neighbors. Wherefore should the pagan say, where is their God? render unto our neighbors - the reproach wherewith they have reproached Thee, O Lord" Psalm 79:4, Psalm 79:10, Psalm 79:12. And Ethan, "Remember, Lord, the reproach of Thy servants - wherewith Thine enemies have reproached, O Lord, wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of Thine Anointed" Psalm 89:50-51.

In history the repeated blasphemies of Sennacherib and his messengers are expressed by the same words. In earlier times the remarkable concession of Jephthah, "Wilt not thou possess what Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess? so whomsoever the Lord our God shall drive out before us, them will we possess" Judges 11:24, implies that the Ammonites claimed their land as the gift of their god Chemosh, and that that war was, as that later by Sennacherib, waged in the name of the false god against the True.

The relations of Israel to Moab and Ammon have been so habitually misrepresented, that a review of those relations throughout their whole history may correct some wrong impressions. The first relations of Israel toward them were even tender. God reminded His people of their common relationship and forbade him even to take the straight road to his own future possessions, across their hand against their will. "Distress them not, nor contend with them," it is said of each, "for I will not give thee of their land for a possession, for I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession" Deuteronomy 2:9, Deuteronomy 2:19. Idolaters and hostile as they were, yet, for their father's sake, their title to their land had the same sacred sanction, as Israel's to his. "I," God says, "have given it to them as a possession." Israel, to their own manifest inconvenience, "went along through the wilderness, and compassed the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, but came not within the border of Moab" Judges 11:18. By destroying Sihon king of the Amorites and Og king of Bashan, Israel removed formidable enemies, who had driven Moab and Ammon out of a portion of the land which they had conquered from the Zamzummim and Anakim Deuteronomy 2:10, Deuteronomy 2:20-21, and who threatened the remainder, "Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites" Numbers 21:25, Numbers 21:31.

Heshbon, Dibon, Jahaz, Medeba, Nophah "were cities in the land of the Amorites, in" which "Israel dwelt." The exclusion of Moab and Ammon from the congregation of the Lord to the tenth generation Deuteronomy 23:3 was not, of course, from any national antipathy, but intended to prevent a debasing intercourse; a necessary precaution against the sensuousness of their idolatries. Moab was the first in adopting the satanic policy of Balaam, to seduce Israel by sensuality to their idolatries; but the punishment was appointed to the partners of their guilt, the Midianites Numbers 25:17; 31, not to Moab. Yet Moab was the second nation, whose ambition God overruled to chasten His people's idolatries. Eglon, king of Moab, united with himself Ammon and Amalek against Israel. The object of the invasion was, not the recovery of the country which Moab had lost to the Amorites but, Palestine proper.

The strength of Moab was apparently not sufficient to occupy the territory of Reuben. They took possession only of "the city of palm trees" Judges 3:13; either the ruins of Jericho or a spot close by it; with the view apparently of receiving reinforcements or of securing their own retreat by the ford. This garrison enabled them to carry their forays over Israel, and to hold it enslaved for 18 years. The oppressiveness of this slavery is implied by the cry and conversion of Israel to the Lord, which was always in great distress. The memory of Eglon, as one of the oppressors of Israel, lived in the minds of the people in the days of Samuel 1 Samuel 12:9. In the end, this precaution of Moab turned to its own destruction, for, after Eglon was slain, Ephraim, under Ehud, took the fords, and the whole garrison, 10,000 of Moab's warriors, "every strong man and every man of might" Judges 3:29, were intercepted in their retreat and perished. For a long time after this, we hear of no fresh invasion by Moab. The trans-Jordanic tribes remained in unquestioned possession of their land for 300 years Judges 40:26, when Ammon, not Moab, raised the claim, "Israel took away my land" Judges 11:13, although claiming the land down to the Arnon, and already being in possession of the southernmost portion of that land, Aroer, since Israel smote him "from Aroer unto Minnith" Judges 11:33. The land then, according to a law recognized by nations, belonged by a twofold right to Israel;

(1) that it had been won, not from Moab, but from the conquerors of Moab, the right of Moab having passed to its conquerors ;

(2) that undisputed and unbroken possession "for time immemorial" as we say, 300 years, ought not to be disputed .

The defeat by Jephthah stilled them for near 50 years until the beginning of Saul's reign, when they refused the offer of the "men of Jubesh-Gilead" to serve them, and, with a mixture of insolence and savagery, annexed as a condition of accepting that entire submission, "that I may thrust out all your right eyes, to lay it as a reproach to Israel" 1 Samuel 11:1-2. The signal victory of Saul 1 Samuel 11:11 still did not prevent Ammon, as well as Moab, from being among the enemies whom Saul "worsted" . The term "enemies" implies that "they" were the assailants. The history of Naomi shows their prosperous condition, that the famine, which desolated Judah Ruth 1:1, did not reach them, and that they were a prosperous land, at peace, at that time, with Israel. If all the links of the genealogy are preserved Ruth 4:21-22, Jesse, David's father, was grandson of a Moabitess, Ruth, and perhaps on this ground David entrusted his parents to the care of the king of Moab 1 Samuel 22:3-4.

Sacred history gives no hint, what was the cause of his terrible execution upon Moab. But a Psalm of David speaks to God of some blow, under which Israel had reeled. "O God, Thou hast abhorred us, and broken us in pieces; Thou hast been wroth: Thou hast made the land to tremble and cloven it asunder; heal its breaches, for it shaketh; Thou hast showed Thy people a hard thing, Thou hast made it drink wine of reeling" Psalm 60:3-5; and thereon David expresses his confidence that God would humble Moab, Edom, Philistia. While David then was engaged in the war with the Syrians of Mesopotamia and Zobah (Psalm 60:1-12 title), Moab must have combined with Edom in an aggressive war against Israel. "The valley of salt" , where Joab returned and defeated them, was probably within Judah, since "the city of salt" Joshua 15:62 was one of the six cities of the wilderness. Since they had defeated Judah, they must have been overtaken there on their return .

Yet this too was a religious war. "'Thou,'" David says "hast given a 'banner to them that fear Thee,' to be raised aloft because of the truth" Psalm 60:4.

There is no tradition, that the kindred Psalm of the sons of Corah, Psalm 44 belongs to the same time. Yet the protestations to God of the entire absence of idolatry could not have been made at any time later than the early years of Solomon. Even were there Maccabee Psalms, the Maccabees were but a handful among apostates. They could not have pleaded the national freedom from unfaithfulness to God, nor, except in two subordinate and self-willed expeditions (1 Macc. 5:56-60, 67), were they defeated. Under the Persian rule, there were no armies nor wars; no immunity from idolatry in the later history of Judah. Judah did not in Hezekiah's time go out against Assyria; the one battle, in which Josiah was slain, ended the resistance to Egypt. Defeat was, at the date of this Psalm, new and surprising, in contrast with God's deliverances of old Psalm 44:1-3; yet the inroad, by which they had suffered, was one of spoiling Psalm 44:10, Psalm 44:12, not of subdual. Yet this too was a religious war, from their neighbors. They were slain for the sake of God Psalm 44:22, they were covered with shame on account of the reproaches and blasphemies Psalm 44:13-14 of those who triumphed over God, as powerless to help; they were a scorn and derision to the petty nations around them. It is a Psalm of unshaken faith amid great prostration: it describes in detail what the lxth Psalm sums up in single heavy words of imagery; but both alike complain to God of what His people had to suffer for His sake.

The insolence of Ammon in answer to David's message of kindness to their new king, like that to the men of Jabesh Gilead, seems like a deliberate purpose to create hostilities. The relations of the previous king of Ammon to David, had been kind 2 Samuel 10:2-3, perhaps, because David being a fugitive from Israel, they supposed him to be Saul's enemy. The enmity originated, not with the new king, but with "the princes of the children of Ammon" 2 Samuel 10:3. David's treatment of these nations 2 Samuel 8:2; 2 Samuel 12:31 is so unlike his treatment of any others whom he defeated, that it implies an internecine warfare, in which the safety of Israel could only be secured by the destruction of its assailants.

Mesha king of Moab records one war, and alludes to others, not mentioned in Holy Scripture. He says, that before his own time, "Omri, king of Israel, afflicted Moab many days;" that "his son (Ahab) succeeded him, and he too said, 'I will afflict Moab.'" This affliction he explains to be that "Omri possessed himself of the land of Medeba" (expelling, it is implied, its former occupiers) "and that" (apparently, Israel) , "dwelt therein," "(in his days and in) the days of his son forty years." He was also in possession of Nebo, and "the king of Israel" (apparently Omri,) "buil(t) Jahaz and dwelt in it, when he made war with me" . Jahaz was near Dibon. In the time of Eusebius, it was still "pointed out between Dibon and Medeba" .

continued...

8. I have heard—A seasonable consolation to Judah when wantonly assailed by Moab and Ammon with impunity: God saith, "I have heard it all, though I might seem to men not to have observed it because I did not immediately inflict punishment."

magnified themselves—acted haughtily, invading the territory of Judah (Jer 48:29; 49:1; compare Zep 2:10; Ps 35:26; Ob 12).

I have heard: either the prophet for himself, or for the people, speaks this; or else, more likely, in the name of God, assures the Jews that God had heard, observed, resented, and was highly displeased with that he heard.

The reproach of Moab; a people of near kin to the Jews, born of Lot’s daughter, seated eastward of Canaan, upon the Dead Sea and Jordan, a powerful people, and as proud; whose pride broke out on all occasions against the Jews, as appears from first to last: Isaiah 16:6, and Jeremiah 48:29,30, brand them as very proud.

The revilings of the children of Ammon; a people as near as Moab to Jewish blood, and as bitter against them, Nehemiah 4:2,3, bitter scoffers and jeerers.

Whereby they have reproached my people; either in the war, or at the taking of Jerusalem, or when the captive Jews were led by their borders into captivity: Ezekiel 25:3 puts these all together.

Magnified themselves; either boasting what they themselves were, or what they would have done, or what they will do against Israel, recovering their old pretended right and estate.

Against their border; invading their frontiers, and spoiling them with insolence.

I have heard: either the prophet for himself, or for the people, speaks this; or else, more likely, in the name of God, assures the Jews that God had heard, observed, resented, and was highly displeased with that he heard.

The reproach of Moab; a people of near kin to the Jews, born of Lot’s daughter, seated eastward of Canaan, upon the Dead Sea and Jordan, a powerful people, and as proud; whose pride broke out on all occasions against the Jews, as appears from first to last: Isaiah 16:6, and Jeremiah 48:29,30, brand them as very proud.

The revilings of the children of Ammon; a people as near as Moab to Jewish blood, and as bitter against them, Nehemiah 4:2,3, bitter scoffers and jeerers.

Whereby they have reproached my people; either in the war, or at the taking of Jerusalem, or when the captive Jews were led by their borders into captivity: Ezekiel 25:3 puts these all together.

Magnified themselves; either boasting what they themselves were, or what they would have done, or what they will do against Israel, recovering their old pretended right and estate.

Against their border; invading their frontiers, and spoiling them with insolence.

I have heard: either the prophet for himself, or for the people, speaks this; or else, more likely, in the name of God, assures the Jews that God had heard, observed, resented, and was highly displeased with that he heard.

The reproach of Moab; a people of near kin to the Jews, born of Lot’s daughter, seated eastward of Canaan, upon the Dead Sea and Jordan, a powerful people, and as proud; whose pride broke out on all occasions against the Jews, as appears from first to last: Isaiah 16:6, and Jeremiah 48:29,30, brand them as very proud.

The revilings of the children of Ammon; a people as near as Moab to Jewish blood, and as bitter against them, Nehemiah 4:2,3, bitter scoffers and jeerers.

Whereby they have reproached my people; either in the war, or at the taking of Jerusalem, or when the captive Jews were led by their borders into captivity: Ezekiel 25:3 puts these all together.

Magnified themselves; either boasting what they themselves were, or what they would have done, or what they will do against Israel, recovering their old pretended right and estate.

Against their border; invading their frontiers, and spoiling them with insolence.

I have heard: either the prophet for himself, or for the people, speaks this; or else, more likely, in the name of God, assures the Jews that God had heard, observed, resented, and was highly displeased with that he heard.

The reproach of Moab; a people of near kin to the Jews, born of Lot’s daughter, seated eastward of Canaan, upon the Dead Sea and Jordan, a powerful people, and as proud; whose pride broke out on all occasions against the Jews, as appears from first to last: Isaiah 16:6, and Jeremiah 48:29,30, brand them as very proud.

The revilings of the children of Ammon; a people as near as Moab to Jewish blood, and as bitter against them, Nehemiah 4:2,3, bitter scoffers and jeerers.

Whereby they have reproached my people; either in the war, or at the taking of Jerusalem, or when the captive Jews were led by their borders into captivity: Ezekiel 25:3 puts these all together.

Magnified themselves; either boasting what they themselves were, or what they would have done, or what they will do against Israel, recovering their old pretended right and estate.

Against their border; invading their frontiers, and spoiling them with insolence. I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon,.... Two people that descended from Lot, through incest with his daughters; and are therefore mentioned together, as being of the same cast and complexion, and bitter enemies to the people of the Jews; whom they reproached and reviled, for the sake of their religion, because they adhered to the word and worship of God: this they did when the Jews were most firmly attached to the service of the true God; and the Lord heard it, and took notice of it; and put it down in the book of his remembrance, to punish them for it in due time; even he who hears, and sees, and knows all things:

whereby they have reproached my people; whom he had chosen, and avouched to be his people; and who were called by his name, and called on his name, and worshipped him, and professed to be his people, and to serve and obey him; and as such, and because they were the people of God, they were reproached by them; and hence it was so resented by the Lord; and there being such a near relation between God and them, he looked upon the reproaches of them as reproaches of himself:

and magnified themselves against their border; either they spoke reproachfully of the land of Israel, and the borders of it, and especially of the inhabitants of the land, and particularly those that bordered upon them; or they invaded the borders of their land, and endeavoured to add it to theirs; or as the Jews were carried captive by the Chaldeans, as they passed by the borders of Moab and Ammon, they insulted them, and jeered them, and expressed great pleasure and joy in seeing them in such circumstances; see Ezekiel 25:3. Jarchi represents the case thus; when the children of Israel went into captivity to the land of the Chaldeans, as they passed by the way of Ammon and Moab, they wept, and sighed, and cried; and they distressed them, and said, what do you afflict yourselves for? why do ye weep? are not you going to the house of your father, beyond the river where your fathers dwelt of old? thus jeering them on account of Abraham's being of Ur of the Chaldees.

I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and {f} magnified themselves against their border.

(f) These nations presumed to take from the Jews that country which the Lord had given them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8–11. Moab and Ammon

8. I have heard the reproach of Moab] It is the Lord who speaks. The “reproach” or contempt of Moab is most likely that expressed in words, not that exhibited m insulting deeds; cf. Jeremiah 48:27-29; Ezekiel 35:12. Isaiah 16:6, “We have heard of the pride of Moab, he is very proud; … the injuriousness of his boastings.”

revilings of the children of Ammon] These revilings seem also to denote spoken obloquy (Ezekiel 21:28), though the term is also used of opprobrious deeds, Numbers 15:30, Ezekiel 20:27. Comp. Ezekiel 25:3; Ezekiel 25:6; Ezekiel 25:8, “Because thou saidst, Aha! against my sanctuary, when it was profaned.”

Whereby they have reproached my people] Rather: wherewith … and they have magnified. The phrase have magnified themselves, &c. is scarcely explanatory either of “reproach” or “revilings,” but expresses an additional delinquency—they have presumptuously violated the border of Israel and seized his territory. The charge is an old one against Ammon: Amos 1:13, “They have ripped up the women with child of Gilead that they might enlarge their border”; Jeremiah 49:1, “Hath Israel no sons? hath he no heir? why then doth Milcom possess Gad?” Moab also, whenever possible, overstepped what Israel regarded as its frontier and took possession of the territory of Reuben and Gad, as appears from the Moabite Stone. After Israel beyond Jordan was carried captive by Tiglath Pileser (b.c. 734), and especially after the fall of the northern kingdom (722), Moab and other peoples would naturally overflow the depopulated districts. For “their border” Sept. has “my borders”; cf. Jeremiah 48:26; Jeremiah 48:42, “he (Moab) hath magnified himself against the Lord.”Verses 8-10. - 3. The punishment shall fall next upon the Moabites and Ammonites, representing the east. Verse 8. - The reproach of Moab. As this refers to past actions, it must signify the hostile attitude which Moab always assumed towards Israel. The revilings of the children of Ammon. Both these descendants of Lot proved themselves bitter enemies of the Jews. Keil refers to Numbers 15:30 and Ezekiel 20:27, where the word gadaph is used in the sense "to revile or blaspheme by actions." (For the persistent hostility of Moab, see note on Amos 2:1, and for that of Ammon, the note on Amos 1:13.) Magnified themselves against their border. They carried themselves haughtily, showed their pride by violating the territory of the Israelites. This pride and self-exaltation is a leading feature of the character of these two nations (comp. Isaiah 16:6; Jeremiah 48:29, etc.). The destruction of the kingdom of Israel and the weakness of that of Judah gave occasion to these neighbours to display their haughtiness and independence. The LXX. has, "my borders." God himself assigned its boundaries to Israel, as to other nations (Deuteronomy 32:8); and to invade these was an offence against him. This trouble the people bring upon themselves by their ungodly conduct. With this thought the divine threatening is rounded off and closed. Micah 6:16. "And they observe the statutes of Omri, and all the doings of the house of Ahab, and so ye walk in their counsels; that I may make thee a horror, and her inhabitants a hissing, and the reproach of my people shall ye bear." The verse is attached loosely to what precedes by Vav. The first half corresponds to Micah 6:10-12, the second to Micah 6:13-15, and each has three clauses. השׁתּמּר, as an intensive form of the piel, is the strongest expression for שׁמר, and is not to be taken as a passive, as Ewald and others suppose, but in a reflective sense: "It (or one) carefully observes for itself the statutes of Omri instead of the statutes of the Lord" (Leviticus 20:23; Jeremiah 10:3). All that is related of Omri, is that he was worse than all his predecessors (1 Kings 16:25). His statutes are the Baal-worship which his son and successor Ahab raised into the ruling national religion (1 Kings 16:31-32), and the introduction of which is attributed to Omri as the founder of the dynasty. In the same sense is Athaliah, who was a daughter of Jezebel, called a daughter of Omri in 2 Chronicles 22:2. All the doing of the house of Ahab: i.e., not only its Baal-worship, but also its persecution of the Lord's prophets (1 Kings 18:4; 1 Kings 22:27), and the rest of its sins, e.g., the robbery and murder committed upon Naboth (1 Kings 21). With ותּלכוּ the description passes over into a direct address; not into the preterite, however, for the imperfect with Vav rel. does not express here what has been the custom in both the past and present, but is simply the logical deduction from what precedes, "that which continually occurs." The suffix attached to בּמעצותם refers to Ahab and Omri. By למען the punishment is represented as intentionally brought about by the sinners themselves, to give prominence to the daring with which men lived on in godlessness and unrighteousness. In אתך the whole nation is addressed: in the second clause, the inhabitants of the capital as the principal sinners; and in the third, the nation again in its individual members. שׁמּה does not mean devastation here; but in parallelism with שׁרקה, horror, or the object of horror, as in Deuteronomy 28:37; Jeremiah 25:9; Jeremiah 51:37, and 2 Chronicles 29:8. Cherpath ‛ammı̄: the shame which the nation of God, as such, have to bear from the heathen, when they are given up into their power (see Ezekiel 36:20). This shame will have to be borne by the several citizens, the present supporters of the idea of the nation of God.
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