Behold you among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which you will not believe…
The Jews were such a nation. They prided themselves in the orthodoxy of their faith, in the ceremonials of their worship, in the polity of their Church. The doom threatened was terrible in many respects.
I. IT WAS TO BE WROUGHT BY THE INSTRUMENTALITY OF A WICKED NATION. "I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling-places that are not theirs." "Nabopolassar had already destroyed the mighty empire of Assyria, and founded the Chaldeo-Babylonian rule. He had made himself so formidable that Necho found it necessary to march an army against him, in order to check his progress; and though defeated at Megiddo, he had, in conjunction with his son Nebuchadnezzar, gained a complete victory over the Egyptians at Carchemish. These events were calculated to alarm the Jews, whose country lay between the dominions of the two contending powers; but, accustomed as they were to confide in Egypt and in the sacred localities of their own capital (Isaiah 31:1; Jeremiah 7:4), and being in alliance with the Chaldeans, they were indisposed to listen to, and treated with the utmost incredulity, any predictions which described their overthrow by that people" (Henderson). God employs wicked nations as His instruments. "I will work a work." He says, but how? By the Chaldeans. How does He raise up wicked nations to do His work?
1. Not instigatingly. He does not inspire them with wicked passions necessary to qualify them for the infernal work of violence, war, rapine, bloodshed. God could not do this.
2. Not coercively. He does not force them to it, in no way does He interfere with them. They are the responsible party. How then does He "raise" them up? He permits them. He could prevent them; but He allows them. He gives them life, capacity, and opportunities. Now, would not the fact that their destruction would come upon them from a heathen nation, a nation which they despised, make it all the more terrible?
II. IT WAS TO BE WROUGHT WITH RESISTLESS VIOLENCE.
1. The violence would be uncontrolled. "Their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves." They recognise no authority, and proudly spurn the dictates of others. "They recognise no judge save themselves, and they get for themselves in their own dignity, without needing others' help."
2. The violence would be rapid and fierce. "Swifter than the leopard." "Evening wolves."
III. IT WAS TO BE WROUGHT WITH IMMENSE HAVOC. In the east wind, or simoom; spreading destruction everywhere.
Parallel VersesKJV: Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.