Thursday, April 7, 2016

Pity and Punishment Are Both Wrought in Righteousness

Continuing my posts of patristic texts coinciding with this Sunday’s Psalm study.

To him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
and brought Israel out from among them,
    for His steadfast love endures forever;
with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
    for His steadfast love endures forever.  (Ps 136:10-12)

Perhaps, however, you might be at a loss to explain how the provision for death is due to mercy.  Consider, then, the solution offered by the present words: He has pity on the wronged and punishes the wrongdoers, which is in fact what the inspired author added at this point.  Mercy in Israel’s regard inflicted punishment on the others, though even former and latter are regarded in righteousness.  It was righteous of Him to have mercy on the ones, and just of Him to punish the others.  He called His operation hand and His strength arm.  Through both, however, He indicated that by the salvation worked for the people He revealed His peculiar power.

            Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentary on the Psalms 136.5

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