A fruitful land into barrenness
Or, "into saltness" F20; as Sodom and the land adjacent became a salt sea; and the land of Canaan was threatened to become brimstone, salt and burning, like Sodom; in which nothing was sown, and which bore no grass; see ( Genesis 14:3 ) ( Deuteronomy 29:3 ) and so the Targum,
``the land of Israel, which brought forth fruit, he hath destroyed, as Sodom was overthrown.''
For the wickedness of them that dwell therein;
this was the cause of the overthrow of Sodom, and of the destruction of that fine country, as also of Canaan afterwards; see ( Genesis 13:13 ) ( Deuteronomy 29:22 Deuteronomy 29:23 ) . The very Heathens had a notion that barrenness and unfruitfulness in countries were owing to the sins of men; hence the sterility and famine at Mycenas were attributed to the wickedness of Atreus F21. This may figuratively be understood of the present state and condition of the Jews; who were once a people well watered with the word and ordinances, and had the first preaching of the Gospel among them; but, rejecting and despising it, are now become like a desert, barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of divine things: and it might be illustrated by the case of several Christian churches; the seven churches of Asia, and others, once as well watered gardens, but now are no more; and the places where they stood are destitute of spiritual knowledge, and the means of it.
F20 (hxlml) "in salsuginem", Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Vatablus, Piscator, Gejerus, Michaelis; so Junius & Tremellius; "in salsam", Cocceius.
F21 Hygin. Fab. 88.