O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself
Though the Lord was a lion, a leopard, and a bear to them, yet their destruction was not owing to him, but to themselves; he was not chargeable with it, but they only; the fault and blame was theirs; their own sins brought it on them, and provoked him to such righteous wrath and vengeance before expressed: this is said to clear the Lord from any imputation of this kind, and to lay it where it should be It may be rendered, "it hath destroyed thee" F11; either the calf, as Kimchi, and the worshipping of that, their idolatry; or their king, as others, taking it from the following verse by way of anticipation; or rather it may refer to all their sins before observed, their idolatry, luxury, and ingratitude. Gussetius F12 thinks the word (yb) has the signification of "burning", as in ( Isaiah 3:24 ) ; and renders it, "burning in me hath destroyed thee, [even] in him who is thy help"; that is, by their sins they had made God their enemy, who is a consuming fire, and whose burning wrath destroyed them, in whom otherwise they would have had help. Now though this may primarily regard the destruction of the civil state and kingdom of Israel for their sins, yet it may be applied to the spiritual and eternal state of men. Man is a lost, ruined, and undone creature; he is depraved and corrupted in his whole nature, soul and body; the image of God in him is marred and spoiled; there is no holiness in him, nor any righteousness upon him; no will nor power to that which is good; though he has not lost the natural liberty of his will, he has lost the moral liberty of it, and is a slave to his lusts, and a vassal to Satan; he has no true knowledge of that which is good, no inclination to it, nor strength to perform it he is dead in sin, and dead in law; he is under the curse of it, and in the open way to everlasting ruin and destruction; and is in himself both helpless and lifeless; and he is a self-destroyed creature; his destruction is not owing to Satan only, though he was an instrument of the ruin of mankind; nor to the first parents of human nature only, in whom all men naturally and federally were, in whom they sinned, and with whom they fell; but to their own actual sins and transgressions. However, their destruction is not to be charged upon God, or ascribed to any decree of his, which is no cause of man's damnation, but sin only; nor to any sentence of condemnation passed by him, or the execution of it, which both belong to him as a righteous Judge; but to themselves and their sins, as is owned both by good men, who under true and saving convictions acknowledge their damnation would be just, if God should execute it on them; and by bad men, even the damned in hell; this will be the never dying worm, the remorse of a guilty conscience, that they have brought all this ruin on themselves; but in me [is] thine help;
not in themselves, not in any creature, but in the Lord alone; the Word of the Lord, as the Targum; the essential Word, the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, on whom his divine Father has laid the help of his people; and who has helped them, and saved them from their sins, the cause of their destruction, and from wrath, which they deserved by reason of them; and has brought them out of a wretched state, a pit wherein is no water, into a comfortable, glorious, and happy one, and delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies; and helps them to what they want, to holiness, righteousness, and strength; to all supplies of grace here, and glory hereafter. Some render the particle as causal, "for in me" F13 and so make it to be a reason either proving that God could not be the cause of their destruction, because in him was their help, and in him only; or that their destruction was owing to themselves; "for in" or "against me, against thine help"; thou hast transgressed and rebelled; so Jarchi.
F11 (Ktxv) "perdidit te", Vatablus, Calvin, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Zanchius, De Dieu, Rivet; "corrupit te", Cocceius.
F12 Comment, Ebr. p. 367.
F13 (yb yk) "quia in me", Montanus, Calvin, Schmidt.