He will ·settle his argument with Israel [or oppose her; contend with her] by sending her far away. ·Like a hot desert wind [L With his fierce breath in the day of the east wind; C the east wind came from the desert], he will drive her away.
Has God punished Israel as much as he has punished her enemies? No, for he has devastated her enemies, while he has punished Israel but a little, exiling her far from her own land as though blown away in a storm from the east.
Has God knocked them to the ground as he knocked down those who hit them? Oh, no. Were they killed as their killers were killed? Again, no. He was hard on them all right. The exile was a harsh sentence. He blew them away on a fierce blast of wind. But the good news is that through this experience Jacob’s guilt was taken away. The evidence that his sin is removed will be this: He will tear down the alien altars, take them apart stone by stone, And then crush the stones into gravel and clean out all the sex-and-religion shrines. For there’s nothing left of that pretentious grandeur. Nobody lives there anymore. It’s unlivable. But animals do just fine, browsing and bedding down. And it’s not a bad place to get firewood. Dry twigs and dead branches are plentiful. It’s the leavings of a people with no sense of God. So, the God who made them Will have nothing to do with them. He who formed them will turn his back on them.
In measure against measure, when it shall be cast away, he shall deem it; he bethought in his hard spirit, by the day of heat. (In measure for measure, when they were cast away, he judged them; he took them away into exile, with his hard wind from the east.)
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