(30) Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense.--This quotation from Deuteronomy 32:35 completely preserves the sense of the original words, "To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence," whilst departing from their form. The LXX. shows still wider divergence, neglecting entirely the emphasis which rests on the words "to Me" It is therefore very remarkable that this quotation is given, in exactly the same form, in Romans 12:19. As, however, the words "I will recompense" are found in the most ancient of the Targums (that of Onkelos) it is very possible that St. Paul may have there adopted a form already current amongst the Jews. (See Note on Romans 12:19.) If so, there is no difficulty in accounting for the coincidence in this place. But, even if this supposition is. without foundation, and the saying in this form was first used in Romans 12:19, is there any real cause for wonder if a disciple of St. Paul in a single instance reproduces the Apostle's words? It should be observed that the words "saith the Lord" must be omitted from the text, according to the best authorities.
The Lord shall judge his people.--This, again, is a quotation, and from the same chapter (Deuteronomy 32:36). If the context of the original passage be examined, there will be no doubt as to the meaning of the words. As in Psalm 43:1; Psalm 135:14, "to judge," as here used, signifies to maintain the right of one who is exposed to wrong. "The Lord shall judge His people" (see Hebrews 10:27) when He shall appear to establish their cause by taking vengeance on His enemies and theirs. With what impressive force would the quotations in this section (Hebrews 10:27-28; Hebrews 10:30)--differing widely in form, but presenting a very striking agreement in their meaning--fall on the ears of readers familiar from childhood with the ideas and language of the Old Testament Scriptures!
vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompence, saith the Lord. Vengeance belongs to God, not as to the affection, as if there was any such passion in him; but as to the effect, there being that produced by him, which answers to the effect of such a passion among men, namely punishment: and punishment for sin belongs to God, against whom it is committed; and not to Heathen deities, one of which goes by the name of Vengeance, Acts 28:4 nor to Satan, and his spiteful angels; nor to men, to exercise it in a private and personal way; though civil magistrates, being in God's stead, are allowed to exercise it in a public way, according to the laws of God: and there is good reason to believe, that what the Lord here says, "I will recompence", or revenge sin, shall be done; which may be concluded from his hatred of sin; from his purity, holiness, and justice; from his faithfulness to his word; from his omnipotence; from the notice he takes of sin, in his own people, in a way of chastisement, and correction; and from the vengeance he has poured on his own Son, as their surety.
And again, in Deuteronomy 32:36 the Lord shall judge his people; such as are truly so, his chosen and covenant people, his redeemed and called ones; these he judges by chastising them in a fatherly way, that they may not be condemned with the world; and by governing and protecting them; and by vindicating and pleading their cause, and avenging them on their enemies: or else such as are only his people by profession; on these he will write a "Lo-ammi"; he distinguishes them from his own, and judges between them and his people, and will condemn them; nor will their profession screen them from his wrath and vengeance.