Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.…
The transitions of sentiment with which we meet in the Hebrew prophets are remarkable, but not unaccountable. Threats and promises on God's part, rebellion and penitence on man's part, succeed one another with great rapidity. Yet there is order and method in these changes, which are always dependent upon moral and spiritual relations, and are never arbitrary and capricious.
I. THE OCCASION OF DIVINE RELENTING. The deep-seated cause is to be found in the character, the moral nature, of God himself. He is merciful, and delights in mercy. Yet this attribute can be exercised only upon certain conditions, only towards those in a certain attitude of heart. Penitence: humiliation, contrition, entreaty, on the part of Judah, account for the exercise of compassion on the part of God.
II. DIVINE RELENTING LEADS TO THE REMOVAL OF GRIEVOUS EVILS. The northern army of locusts, and perhaps also a hostile force figured by it, should be driven away, and famine and pestilence averted. The penalties of sin, being intended mainly for the correction of offenders, are not retained when their purpose is accomplished. In the midst of wrath God remembers mercy.
III. DIVINE RELENTING PROVES ITSELF BY AN ABUNDANT BENEFICENCE. The Jews were assured that, as a sign that the storm-cloud of wrath was overpast, they should again enjoy the fruits of the earth - "corn, wine, and oil." Those whom God pardons he blesses too; he takes away the wrath to bestow the loving-kindness; the load of trouble is cast into the sea, and "he loadeth with benefits." - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.