By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be
&c.] Or "expiated", or "atoned" F1; not that afflictions are atonements for sin, or give satisfaction to divine justice for it; but they are the means of bringing the Lord's people to a sense of their sins, and to repentance and humiliation for them, and confession of them, and of leading them to the blood and sacrifice of Christ, by which they are expiated and atoned, and which the Spirit of God brings near, and applies unto them; whereby their sins, they are convicted of by means of afflictions, and which lay heavy upon their consciences, are purged away, and removed from them: and this [is] all the fruit, to take away sin;
this is the design and use of afflictions, the profit and advantage of them to the saints, that, being humbled for their sins, they depart from them, leave and forsake them; as well as the guilt of them is taken away from their consciences, through the application of pardoning grace, upon their repentance; see ( Job 36:8-10 ) this shows another difference between the afflictions of God's people and of others: namely, in the use and end of them. The sin of idolatry seems to be particularly designed by what follows; unless the sin of the present Jews, in their disbelief and rejection of the Messiah, should be rather intended; which, through their long affliction, they will be convinced of in the latter day, and it will be taken away from them, and be purged and expiated through the atoning sacrifice of Christ, the Saviour and Deliverer, they will embrace, ( Romans 11:25 Romans 11:26 ) : when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are
beaten in sunder;
that is, when Jacob, or the people of the Jews, being convinced of their idolatry by their afflictions, shall pull down all their idolatrous altars; perhaps particularly referring to that which Ahaz made, ( 2 Kings 16:10-12 ) and remove the stones thereof, and break them to pieces, as chalkstones for lime, which is easily done: the groves and the images shall not stand up;
erect, to be worshipped; but shall be thrown down, demolished, and broke to pieces; and, by thus abandoning their idols and idolatrous practices, they will show the sense they have of their sins, and the sincerity of their repentance; and it is to be observed, that the Jews, after their return from the Babylonish captivity, never practised idolatry more, not in the literal sense; perhaps some respect may be had here to the time when they shall look on him whom they have pierced, and mourn; and when they shall renounce all their legal sacrifices, traditions of the elders, and their own righteousness, their idols, and look alone to the sacrifice of Christ, and declare against all the idolatry of the church of Rome, and all antichristian worship.