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55. But if ye will not drive out. We have elsewhere seen why God’s wrath was so greatly aroused against those nations, that He desired them to be exterminated. Even in Abraham’s time gross indulgence of sin had begun to prevail there, as we gather from God’s word, when He said that “their iniquity was not yet full.” After they had abused the forbearance of God Himself for 400 years, who will deny that their destruction was the just and reasonable reward of their long obstinacy? Still, in cutting them off, God had regard to His elect people, in order that they might be separated from the heathen, and never turn aside to foreign superstitions. But the punishment which is here threatened the Israelites deserved twice over by their remissness, for they neither performed their duty in executing God’s vengeance, and, as far as in them lay, they detracted from His grace. He had conferred upon them no common honor, when He appointed them to be His ministers for executing His judgments. It was therefore base supineness in them to be remiss on this point. But again, He had given them the whole land; when, then, they contented themselves with part of it, and neglected the rest, their perverse ingratitude betrayed itself by their indifference. Besides, they had willfully entangled themselves in deadly nerds, by mixing with heathen nations, from whom they had been separated by God, lest they should imitate their habits, and corrupt religious ceremonies. God, therefore, threatens that these nations shall be as prickles to pierce their eyes, and thorns in their sides. That this was fulfilled, the Book of Judges affords the clearest and most ample testimony, although, even to the days of David, this punishment was constantly in course of infliction upon their eyes and sides. Thus, also, is their untamable headstrongness proved, since such a solemn admonition had no effect in causing f227 them to go forwards, no less in the open punishment of iniquity, than in a course of victory and success.



Numbers 34



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