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Joel 3:7

7. Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompense upon your own head:

7. Ecce ego excitabo eos e loco in quem vendidistis eos, et rependam mercedem vestram in caput vestrum.


The Prophet declares here more fully and expressly, that God had not so deserted the Jews, but that he intended, in course of time, to stretch forth his hand to them again. It was indeed a temporary desertion: but it behaved the faithful in the meantime to rely on this assurance, — that God purposed again to restore his people: and of this the Prophet now speaks, Behold, he says, I will raise them from the place unto which ye have sold them; as though he said “Neither distance of place, nor the intervening sea, will hinder me from restoring my people.” As then the Syrians and Sidonians thought that the Jews were precluded a return to their country, because they were taken away into distant parts of the world, God says that this would be no obstacle in his way to collect again his Church.

But it may he asked, When has this prediction been fulfilled? as we indeed know that the Jews have never returned to their own country: for shortly after their return from exile, they were in various ways diminished; and at length the most grievous calamities followed, which consumed the greatest part of the people. Since this then has been the condition of that nation, we ought to inquire whether Christ has collected the Jews, who had been far dispersed. We indeed know that they were then especially scattered; for the land of Judea never ceased to be distressed by continual wars until Jerusalem was destroyed, and the people were almost wholly consumed. Since then it has been so, when can we say that this prediction has been fulfilled? Many explain the words allegorically, and say, that the Prophet speaks of apostles and martyrs, who, through various persecutions, were driven into different parts; but this is a strained view. I therefore do not doubt, but that here he refers to a spiritual gathering: and it is certain that God, since the appearance of Christ, has joined together his Church by the bond of faith; for not only that people have united together in one, but also the Gentiles, who were before alienated from the Church, and had no intercourse with it, have been collected into one body. We hence see, that what the Prophet says has been spiritually fulfilled; even the children of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have been redeemed by the Lord, and restored again, not on foot or by sea; for Jerusalem has been built everywhere as it is said in Zechariah.

I will therefore gather them, he says; and he adds, I will return recompense on your head He again confirms what he said before, — that though the ungodly should exult, while ruling over the children of God, their cruelty would not be unpunished; for they shall find that the Church is never neglected by God; though he may subject it to various troubles, and exercise its patience, and even chastise it, he will yet be ever its defender. It follows —

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