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Verse 4

They have said, Come, and let us cut them off ... - Let us utterly destroy them, and root them out from among the nations. Let us combine against them, and overpower them; let us divide their land among ourselves, attaching it to our own. The nations referred to Psalms 83:6-8 were those which surrounded the land of Israel; and the proposal seems to have been to partition the land of the Hebrews among themselves, as has been done in modern times in regard to Poland. On what principles, and in what proportions, they proposed thus to divide the land is not intimated, nor is it said that the project had gone so far that they had agreed on the terms of such a division. The formation of such a purpose, however, was in itself by no means improbable. The Hebrew people were offensive to all the surrounding nations by their religion, their prosperity, and the constant rebuke of tyranny and idolatry by their religious and their social institutions. There had been enough, also, in their past history - in the remembrance of the successful wars of the Hebrews with those very nations - to keep up a constant irritation on their part. We are not to be surprised, therefore, that there was a deeply-cherished desire to blot out the name and the nation altogether.

That the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance - That the nation as such may be utterly extinct and forgotten; that the former triumphs of that nation over us may be avenged; that we may no longer have in our very midst this painful memorial of the existence of one God, and of the demands of his law; that we may pursue our own plans without the silent or the open admonition derived from a religion so pure and holy. For the same reason the world has often endeavored to destroy the church; to cause it to be extinct; to blot out its name; to make the very names Christ and Christian forgotten among mankind. Hence, the fiery persecutions under the Roman government in the time of the Emperors; and hence, in every age, and in every land, the church has been exposed to persecution - originated with a purpose to destroy it as long as there was any hope of accomplishing that end. That purpose has been abandoned by Satan and his friends only because the result has shown that the persecution of the church served but to spread its principles and doctrines, and to fix it more firmly in the affections and confidence of mankind, so that the tendency of persecution is rather to overthrow the persecutor than the persecuted. Whether it can be destroyed by prosperity and corruption - by science - by error - seems now to be the great problem before the mind of Satan.

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