As far as the east is from the west
Which Kimchi thinks is mentioned because it contains the length of the habitable world; and therefore it is not said as far as the north is from the south; since a man can go from east to west, but not from north to south, because of the extreme heat and cold. But this distance is not given with respect to those opposite parts of the earth, which scarcely exceed 12700 miles; but with respect to those opposite points in the heavens: and the meaning is, that as far as the eastern point of the heavens is from the western point of them; which more illustrates the matter in hand, or the blessing later mentioned, than the other.
So far hath he removed our transgressions from us;
which removed men and angels from God, and set them at a distance from him; and which, if not removed, are such burdens as must sink men down into the lowest hell; and yet cannot be removed by anything that they can do; not by any sacrifices, services, or duties of any kind; nor in any other way, nor by any other person, than the Lord himself: and this is to be understood not of a removal of the being of sin out of his people, for that is not done in this life; rather of the removal of the guilt of sin, by a special application of pardoning grace and mercy; see ( 2 Samuel 12:13 ) ( Zechariah 3:4 ) , but, best of all, of a removal of sins to Christ, and of them by his sacrifice and satisfaction: Christ engaged as a surety for his people; Jehovah the Father considered him as such; and therefore did not impute their sins to them, but to him; and when he sent him in the likeness of sinful flesh, he removed them from them, and laid them upon him; who voluntarily took them on himself, cheerfully bore them, and, by bearing them, removed the iniquity of the land in one day; and carried them away to the greatest distance, and even put them away for ever by the sacrifice of himself; and upon the satisfaction he gave to divine justice, the Lord removed them both from him and them; justified and acquitted him, and his people in him: and by this means so effectually, and so far, are their transgressions removed, that they shall never be seen any more, nor ever be imputed to them, nor be brought against them to their condemnation; in consequence of which, pardon is applied to them, and so sin is removed from their consciences, as before observed; see ( Leviticus 16:21 ) ( Zechariah 3:9 ) .