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Psalms 58:6

Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
8. "God hath broken utterly the teeth of them in their own mouth" (ver. 6). Of whom? Of them to whom indignation is as the similitude of a serpent, and of an asp closing up its ears, so that it heareth not the voice of men charming, and of medicine medicated by the wise man. The Lord hath done to them what? "Hath broken utterly the teeth of them in their own mouth." It hath been done, this at first hath been done, and now is being done. But it would have sufficed, my brethren, that it should have been said, "God hath broken utterly the teeth of them." The Pharisees would not hear the Law, would not hear the precepts of truth from Christ, being like to that serpent and asp. For in their past sins they took delight, and present life they would not lose, that is, joys earthly for joys heavenly. ...What is, "in their own mouth"? In such sort, that with their own mouth against themselves they should make declaration: He hath compelled them with their mouth against themselves to give sentence. They would have slandered Him, because of the tribute: He said not, "It is lawful to pay tribute," or, "It is not lawful to pay tribute." And He willed to break utterly their teeth, wherewith they were gaping in order to bite; but in their own mouth He would do it. If He said, Let there be paid to Caesar tribute, they would have slandered Him, because He had spoken evil to the nation of the Jews, by making it a tributary. For because of sin they were paying tribute, having been humbled, as to them in the Law had been foretold. We have Him, say they, a maligner of our nation, if He shall have bidden us to pay tribute: but if He say, Do not pay, we have Him for saying that we should not be under allegiance to Caesar. Such a double noose as it were to catch the Lord they laid. But to whom had they come? To Him that knew how to break utterly the teeth of them in their own mouth. "Show to Me the coin," He saith. Why tempt ye Me, ye hypocrites?" Of paying tribute do ye think? To do justice are ye willing? the counsel of justice do ye seek? "If truly justice ye speak, judge right things, ye sons of men." But now because in one way ye speak, in another way judge, hypocrites ye are: "Why tempt ye Me, ye hypocrites?" Now I will break utterly your teeth in your mouth: "show to Me the coin." And they showed it to Him. And He saith not, it is Caesar's: but asketh Whose it is? in order that their teeth in their own mouth might be utterly broken. For on His inquiring, of whom it had the image and inscription, they said, of Caesar. Even now the Lord shall break utterly the teeth of them in their own mouth. Now ye have made answer, now have been broken utterly your teeth in your mouth. "Render unto Caesar the things which are of Caesar, and unto God the things which are of God." Caesar seeketh his image; render it: God seeketh His image; render it. Let not Caesar lose from you his coin: let not God lose in you His coin. And they found not what they might answer. For they had been sent to slander Him: and they went back, saying, that no one to Him could make answer. Wherefore? Because broken utterly had been the teeth of them in their own mouth. Of that sort is also the following: "In what power doest Thou these things? I also will ask of you one question, answer me." And He askedthem of John, whence was the Baptism of John, from heaven, or of men? so that whatever they might answer might tell against themselves. ... 9. The Lord displeased that Pharisee, who to dinner had bidden Him, because a woman that was a sinner drew near to His feet, and he murmured against Him, saying, "If this man were a prophet, He would know what woman drew near to His feet." O thou that art no prophet, whence knowest thou that He knew not what woman drew near to His feet? Because indeed He kept not the purifying of the Jews, which outwardly was as it were kept in the flesh, and was afar from the heart, this thing he suspected of the Lord. And in order that I may not speak at length on this point, even in his mouth He willed to break utterly the teeth of him. For He set forth to him: "A certain usurer had two debtors, one was owing five hundred pence, the other fifty: both had not wherewithal to pay, he forgave both. Which loved him the more?" To this end the one asketh, that the other may answer: to this end he answereth that the teeth of him in his mouth may be broken utterly. ... 10. "The jaw-bones of lions the Lord hath broken utterly." Not only of asps. What of asps? Asps treacherously desire to throw in their venom, and scatter it, and hiss. Most openly raged the nations, and roared like lions. "Wherefore have raged the nations, and the peoples meditated empty things?" When they were lying in wait for the Lord. Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or is it not lawful? Asps they were, serpents they were, broken utterly were the teeth of them in their own mouth. Afterwards they cried out, "Crucify, Crucify." Now is there no tongue of asp, but roar of lion. But also "the jaw-bones of lions the Lord hath broken utterly." Perchance here there is no need of that which he hath not added, namely, "in the mouth of them." For men lying in wait with captious questions, were forced to be conquered with their own answer: but those men that openly were raging, were they by any means to be confuted with questions? Nevertheless, even their jaw-bones were broken utterly: having been crucified, He rose again, ascended into heaven, was glorified as the Christ, is adored by all nations, adored by all kings. Let the Jews now rage, if they are able. We have also in the case of heretics this as a warning and precedent, because themselves also we find to be serpents with indignation made deaf, not choosing to hear the "medicine medicated by the wise man:" and in their own mouth the Lord hath broken utterly the teeth of them. ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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