52. E regione quidera videbis terram, sed illuc non ingredieris ad terram illam quam do filiis Israelis.
1.Give ear, O ye heavens. Moses commences in a strain of magnificence, lest the people should disdain this song with their usual pride, or even reject it altogether, being exasperated by its severe censures and reproaches. For we well know how the world naturally longs to be flattered, and that no strain can be gratifying to it unless it tickles and soothes the ear with praise. But Moses here not only inveighs bitterly against the vices of the people, but with the utmost possible vehemence stigmatizes their perverse nature, their utterly corrupt morals, their obstinate ingratitude, and incorrigible contumacy. Moreover, he desired that these accusations, whereby he rendered their name detestable, should daily echofrom their tongues; and thus they became still more offensive. It was, therefore, requisite that their impatience should be bridled, as it were, in order that they might patiently and humbly receive these just reproofs, however severe they might be. If, therefore,they should repudiate this song, or should turn a deaf ear to it, he declares at the outset that heaven and earth would be witnesses of their prodigious obtuseness; nay, he turns and addresses himself to heavenand earth, and thus signifies that it was worthy of the attention of all creatures, even although they were without intelligence or feeling. For it is a hyperbolical mode of expression, when he assigns the faculty of hearing, and being instructed, to the senseless elements; just as Isaiah, when he would intimate that he found none to give heed to him amongst the whole people, in like manner appeals to the heavens and the earth, and even summons them to bear witness to the prodigious iniquity, that there should be less of intelligence amongst the whole people than in oxen and asses. (<230102>Isaiah 1:2, 3.) For it is but a meager exposition, which some give of these words, that they are used, by metonymy, for angels and men. f247