Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.
Thus saith the Lord, the people which were left of the sword,.... Which were not consumed by the sword of Pharaoh, who perished not through his cruel edicts, and by his sword, when drawn at the Red sea; nor by the sword of the Amalekites and Amorites; or of their own brethren, who sometimes, for their sins, were ordered to slay many, as on account of the molten calf, and joining to Baalpeor: but there was a remnant that escaped, who
found grace in the wilderness; in the sight of God, who went before them, protected and defended them from their enemies; gave them his holy law, his statutes, and his judgments; fed them with manna and quails; clave the rocks, and gave them water to drink; and supplied them with everything necessary for them, Psalms 78:5;
even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest; went before him in a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night; and in the ark, the symbol of his presence; and not only to search out a resting place for them for a few days, but to bring them to Canaan, the land of rest, which he had promised them, Exodus 13:21; now this past instance of divine goodness is mentioned, to encourage faith in the fulfilment of the above promise. The whole is paraphrased by the Targum thus,
"these things saith the Lord, who gave mercies to the people that came out of Egypt; he supplied their necessities in the wilderness, when they fled from before those who slay with the sword; he led them by his word, to cause Israel to dwell in a place of rest.''
Some render the words in the future, "shall find grace", &c. "shall go to his rest", &c. and so apply it to the Jews that escaped the sword of the Chaldeans, and found favour in the wilderness of the people into which they were brought, and as they returned into their own land from the captivity. And it, nay be also applied to the Jews that were left of the sword of the Romans in their last destruction, who have found much favour among the nations; as they do in ours, and others, now; and who in time will return to their own land, and be in rest, Jeremiah 30:10. Yea, it is applicable enough to the church and people of God in their present state; who are left of the sword of the Papists, and are now in the wilderness, where they are nourished for a time, and times, and half a time; and before long will be brought into a state of settled rest and tranquillity.