Since thou wast precious in my sight
As the saints are; not that they are valuable in themselves; they have no intrinsic worth in them; they are in no wise better than others; they are of the same mass and lump with others; they are of the fallen race of Adam, and are earthly and simple as he was; nor are they precious in their own sight, and much less in the eyes of the world; they are mean and despicable: but they are precious in the sight of God and Christ; in the sight of God the Father, who has chosen them, and taken them into his family, and blessed them with all spiritual blessings; and in the sight of Christ, who desired them, and betrothed them to himself, and undertook for them in eternity, and died for them in time; hence they are compared to things of value, to gold, to jewels, and precious stones, to a pearl of great price, to rich treasure; and are reckoned by Christ as his portion, and are as dear to him as the apple of his eye: thou hast been honourable;
ever since precious, and that was from all eternity; for though they became dishonourable in themselves, through the fall of Adam, and their own transgressions, and are dishonourable in the esteem of men, yet honourable in the esteem of God and Christ; they appear to be so, by their birth, by regeneration, being born of God; by their marriage to the Son of God, the Lord of the whole earth; by their characters of kings and priests unto God; and by their clothing, the robe of righteousness, and garments of salvation clothing of wrought gold; and by their being favoured with the presence of God and Christ, and their nearness to them: and I have loved thee;
which is the source and spring of all; hence they became precious and honourable; this is a past act, an act in eternity; it is an act of complacency and delight; a continued one, God rests in his love; and it is an act of undeserved grace and layout, and unchangeably the same; it never alters: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life:
as, of old, the Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Sabeans, were given for the people of Israel, as in the preceding verse; so, in New Testament times, the enemies of God's people should be given for them; that is, their enemies should be destroyed, and they should be spared and saved; so that all Jews that rejected Christ, and persecuted his people, were given up to destruction. The Pagan empire was demolished, and so will Rome Papal too be destroyed, and the church of God will be preserved, and his interest revive, and all the kingdoms of the world become his; of which the conversions among the Gentiles in the first ages of Christianity were a pledge, prophesied of in the next words. The Talmudists F7, by "Adam", rendered "man", understand "Edom", by which Rome is often meant in Jewish writings.
F7 T. Bab. Beracot fol. 62. 2.