In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment
This signifies much the same as before, when God hides his face from his people, withdraws his gracious presence, and does not grant the discoveries of his love; or they are under the frowns of his providence, and have not the smiles of his face and the light of his countenance as formerly, then they think they are forsaken by him; though all this is but for a moment, a small period of time; and though it seems to be in "wrath", it is but "little wrath"; and this wrath is no other than the displeasure of a loving and tender hearted father. The Syriac version renders it, "great wrath"; and so Schultens F15 thinks the word signifies "overflowing wrath" F16, and the vehemency of it; to which agrees R. Menachem F17, who interprets it, "the heat of wrath"; so the Lord's suffering such a scene of bloody persecutions to attend his church in the first ages of Christianity might seem to be: but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord
all the dealings of God with his people, however dark and dismal they be, whatever appearances there are in them of wrath and displeasure, they are all agreeable to, and do not contradict, his everlasting love; and sooner or later he will make it manifest, he has mercy in store for his people, which he does and will exercise towards them; this mercy flows from his love and kindness to them, which kindness is everlasting, and continues in and through all states and conditions into which they come; the consideration of which is very comfortable and encouraging, and of which they may be assured from the relation the Lord stands in to them as their Redeemer; for, having redeemed them at the expense of his blood, he will effectually gather them by grace in calling, and will never lose them, or suffer them to perish here or hereafter.
F15 Animadv. in Job, p. 145, 146.
F16 (Puq Puvb) "pauxillo irae exundantis, [vel] exiguo irae ebullientis", Vitringa.
F17 Apud Jarchi, Kimchi, & Ben Melech, in loc.