For thus saith the Lord
This is a reason enforcing the exhortation in the preceding verse, and shows that the same people that are spoken of here are addressed there. Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once;
meaning the inhabitants of the land of Judea; or otherwise the prophet would never have expressed such a concern for them as he does in the following verse. Their captivity is signified by the slinging of a stone out of a sling, and shows how sudden, swift, and certain, it would be: and that it would as easily and swiftly be done, and with equal force and rapidity, as a stone is slung out of a sling; and that it would be done by the Lord himself, whoever were the instruments: and will distress them;
or "straiten" F26 them, on every side; it seems to intend the siege; or bring them into great straits and difficulties, through the pestilence, famine, sword, and captivity: that they may find it;
so as he had spoken by his prophets, it coming to pass exactly as they had foretold. The Targum is,
``that they may receive the punishment of their sins;''and so the Septuagint and Arabic versions, "that thy stroke may be found"; but the Syriac version is very different from either, "that they may seek me and find"; which is an end that is sometimes answered by afflictive dispensations.