On "Did I become a wilderness to the house of Israel," up to, "or a dry land?"
THE LORD SAYS in the beginning of the reading that he had neither become a desert nor a land made dry to Israel. Who then, faced with this reading, would not scrutinize it to seek the purpose of what was written? Suppose that God had not become a desert to Israel, had not become to Israel a land made dry. Does this mean then that the Lord has become a desert to Israel today or is now a land made dry to it? What then? When he was not a desert or a land made dry to Israel, was he a desert and land made dry to the pagan nations? For if he was not always and for all a desert and always and for all a land made dry, what need is there of the statement he makes especially for Israel: Did I become a desert or a land made dry to the house of Israel? But it is necessary to come to the universal benefits1. of God, and then, after his universal benefits, to what is particular.
2. The God who brings forth the sun on the evil and the good is a desert to no one. To no one is he who rains on the just and unjust ever a land made dry.2. How is he a desert, when he brings forth the day and causes the night to rest? How is he a desert, when he causes the land to bear fruit? How is he a desert, when he provides for each person in his soul so that it is endowed with reason, so that it can grasp knowledge and exercise its intelligence, and in the body so that it has____________________