Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. The mountains, &c. That is, the princes, the great ones of the people. (Challoner) — But Hebrew intimates real mountains, which had witnessed the impiety of the people, (Calmet) and had been defiled with their altars, &c. Protestants, “Contend thou before the,” &c., (Haydock) as God’s advocate. He condescends to justify his conduct towards Israel, Isaias iii. 13. (Calmet) — He had shewn them great favours, but they were ungrateful. (Office for Good Friday) (Worthington)
Ver. 4. Slaves. Their prison, in Algiers, &c., is dreadful. (Calmet) — Mary. She taught the women. (Chaldean; Theodotion) — She was a figure of Christ’s mother, as Moses and Aaron were of himself. (Worthington)
Ver. 5. From Setim to Galgal. He puts them in mind of the favour he did them, in not suffering them to be quite destroyed by the evil purpose of Balach and the wicked counsel of Balaam; and then gives them a hint of the wonders he wrought in order to bring them into the land of promise, by stopping the course of the Jordan, in their march from Setim to Galgal. (Challoner) — Galgala, “limits,” may denote those of the Jordan, between which river and Setim Israel was encamped, Numbers xxii., and xxv. — Justices. Symmachus, “mercies.” (Calmet)
Ver. 6. What shall I offer, &c. This is spoken in the person of the people, desiring to be informed what they are to do to please God. (Challoner) — They can answer nothing in their own defence.
Ver. 7. Fat. Hebrew, “torrents of oil.” — First-born, like Jephte, or the king of Moab, Judges xi., and 4 Kings iii. 27. Saturn taught the Phœnicians this impiety. (Eusebius, pręp. iv. 16.) (Calmet)
Ver. 8. Solicitous. Hebrew also, “humbly.” (Haydock) — This was preferable to all other sacrifices of the old law, (Worthington) and was frequently inculcated, Deuteronomy x. 12., Psalm xlix. 9., and Isaias i. 11. Yet the carnal Jews always made perfection consist in exterior ceremonies.
Ver 9. City, to all mankind. — Salvation. Hebrew, “wisdom shall consider thy name.” Syriac, “doctrine to those who fear his name.” — It? Who will attend? (Calmet)
Ver 10. Full of wrath, &c. That is, highly provoking in the sight of God. (Challoner) — False weights are often condemned, Deuteronomy xxxv. 13. (Calmet)
Ver. 14. And thy. Septuagint, “I will cast thee away into thyself.” (Haydock) — Hold of some fruit. (Calmet) — Thy wife shall miscarry; (Vatable, &c.) or if she bring forth, the children shall perish by the sword.
Ver 15. New. Septuagint, “grave.” (Haydock) — “It is good for thee, when thou knowest thy error, to have no disciples.” (St. Jerome)
Ver. 16. The statutes of Amri, &c. The wicked ways of Amri and Achab, idolatrous kings. (Challoner) — They were the most infamous of Israel, 3 Kings xvi. 25, 30. (Worthington) — Hebrew, “the statutes of Amri are kept.” Septuagint, “The precepts (ami) of my people shall parish” (Haydock) — You, rich men. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “you shall receive the reproach of people.” (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
God expostulates with the Jews for their ingratitude and sins: for which they shall be punished.
1 Hear ye what the Lord saith: Arise, contend thou in judgment against the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice.
2 Let the mountains hear the judgment of the Lord, and the strong foundations of the earth: for the Lord will enter into judgment with his people, and he will plead against Israel.
3 *O my people, what have I done to thee, or in what have I molested thee? answer thou me.
4 For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and delivered thee out of the house of slaves: and I sent before thy face Moses, and Aaron, and Mary?
5 *O my people, remember, I pray thee, what Balach, the king of Moab, purposed: and what Balaam, the son of Beor, answered him, from Setim to Galgal, that thou mightest know the justices of the Lord.
6 What shall I offer to the Lord that is worthy? wherewith shall I kneel before the high God? shall I offer holocausts unto him, and calves of a year old?
7 May the Lord be appeased with thousands of rams, or with many thousands of fat he-goats? shall I give my first-born for my wickedness, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 I will shew thee, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requireth of thee: *Verily, to do judgment, and to love mercy, and to walk solicitous with thy God.
9 The voice of the Lord crieth to the city, and salvation shall be to them that fear thy name: hear, O ye tribes, and who shall approve it?
10 As yet there is a fire in the house of the wicked, the treasures of iniquity, and a scant measure full of wrath.
11 Shall I justify wicked balances, and the deceitful weights of the bag?
12 By which her rich men were filled with iniquity, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue was deceitful in their mouth.
13 And I therefore began to strike thee with desolation for thy sins.
14 Thou shalt eat, but shalt not be filled: and thy humiliation shall be in the midst of thee: and thou shalt take hold, but shalt not save: and those whom thou shalt save, I will give up to the sword.
15 *Thou shalt sow, but shalt not reap: thou shalt tread the olives, but shalt not be anointed with the oil: and the new wine, but shalt not drink the wine.
16 For thou hast kept the statutes of Amri, and all the works of the house of Achab: and thou hast walked according to their wills, that I should make thee a desolation, and the inhabitants thereof a hissing, and you shall bear the reproach of my people.
3: Jeremias ii. 5.
5: Numbers xxii. 23.
8: Zacharias vii. 9.; Matthew xxiii. 23.; Deuteronomy vi. 2. and xxvi. 16.
15: Deuteronomy xxviii. 38.; Aggeus i. 6.