The Berean Expositor
Volume 32 - Page 136 of 246
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man. Likewise that to speak of "His heart" is a figure of speech, but so also is it a figure
of speech in the preceding verse, which speaks of the heart of man. In the case of man
"the thoughts of his heart" cannot refer to the muscular organ that circulates the blood; it
can only mean the inner man. So also when the heart of God is spoken of we lose
nothing when we admit it as a figure of speech. What it amounts to is, that just as `grief"
and "repentance" have a definite place in the experience of man, so there are spiritual
equivalents in the experience of God. If this be denied the question is urgent, For what
purpose is Gen. 6: 5, 6 written? Who has made this tremendous mistake? and what
becomes of the inspiration of Scripture? Nor is this all.  Gen. 6: is but one of many
passages which unequivocally predicate "repentance" of the Lord. Let us examine the
usage of this word, to see whether "repentance" is really its true meaning.
Job said "I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42: 6). Is there anyone
who would wish to modify this trenchant passage? "The Lord hath sworn, and will not
repent", wrote the Psalmist (Psa. 110: 4) in relation to the Melchisedec priesthood of
Christ. Again, can there be two minds as to its meaning? What then shall we say of the
following passages?
"Turn from Thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Thy people" (Exod. 32: 12).
"And the Lord repented of the evil which He thought to do unto His people"
(Exod. 32: 14).
"The Lord raised them up judges . . . . . for it repented the Lord because of their
groanings" (Judges 2: 18).
"It repenteth Me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from
following Me" (I Sam. 15: 11).
"The Lord repented that He had made Saul king over Israel" (I Sam. 15: 35).
"And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord
repented him of the evil" (II Sam. 24: 16).
"Return, O Lord, how long? and let it repent Thee concerning Thy servants"
(Psa. 90: 13).
"Nevertheless He regarded their affliction when He heard their cry:  and He
remembered for them His covenant, and repented according to the multitude of His
mercies" (Psa. 106: 44, 45).
The reader will find nearly a score more passages in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Amos,
Jonah, Zechariah and elsewhere. In each case the "repentance" is contingent. Saul's
disobedience, Israel's groaning, or the prospect of the destruction of Jerusalem, are
definitely put forward as reasons for the change of mind and plan.
We are morally certain that many of our readers have been waiting for us to consider
the "proof text" that God does not repent. Here are the words divorced from their
"The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent; for He is not a man that he should
repent" (I Sam. 15: 29).
Their misuse constitutes one of the most glaring examples that we know of falsifying
the intention of Scripture.