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sorrow; they shall be greatly disappointed in their most sanguine expectations, as the husbandman, when, after great pains, the harvest is ruined. We have then a prophecy of the destruction of the Assyrian army, to the end of the next chapter.
12 Wo to the multitude of many people, to the many allies and auxiliaries of the Assyrians, [which] make a noise like the noise of the seas ; and to the rushing of nations, [that] make a lushing like the rushing of mighty waters i who come violently, as if i
13 they would destroy my people at once. The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters ; but [God,] who is able to do it, but whom they do not think of, shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains be* fore the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.
14 And behold at evening tide trouble ; [and] before the morning he [is] not; referring to the destruction of the Assyrians in one night. This [is] the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us; of other enemies as well as those.
1 Chap. XVIII.• Wo to the land shadowing with wings, that stretches out its long wings or armies, which [is] beyond the
3 rivers of Ethiopia, or, which passes to the river of Ethiopia. That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, as well as by land, even in vessels of bulrushes, or reeds, upon the waters, [saying,] Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, thus scornfully and contemptuously shall they speak of the Jews, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers, that is, the Assyrians, (ch.
3 xvii. 12.) have spoiled! All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains ; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye ; observe the prediction and the accomplishment ; see what God will do.
4 For so the Lord said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place, or, regard my set dwelling place, like a clear heat upon herbs, [and] like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest; though I seem to be asleep and unconcerned, yet I will defend my dwelling place, will make it a safe and delightful
5 repose, and continually watch over it. For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away [and] cut down the branches ; when their schemes are ripening,and they think themselves sure of success,the Assyrians shall
6 be utterly destroyed. They, that is,all the enemies of God's people, shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth: and the fowls shall summer upon them,
7 and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them. In that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under
* 'rhr learned are much divided in opinion who this chapter refers to. Some think the. EBy.piians; others. Tirlukih. king of Ethiopia or Arabia, who came to help the Israr1itrs agamst (be AiiytUuu, but were destroyed by them. I r„ifl«r think it refers to th* Aki I uni.
foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount Zion. Here the firo/ihet retorta v/ion the Assyrians : ambassadors shall be sent to congratúlale llezekiah on the destruction of their army ; presents shall be sene from Egyfit and £thic/iia, whom the .4snyrians had conquered, to the mount Xión: or it may mean, that the plunder of the Assyrian cam/i should be brought there.
1. ТТ is very happy when affliction promotes reformation. The JL Israelites had forsaken God, therefore he brought the Assyrians upon them. Some, foreseeing the trouble, repented and returned to God, and put away their idols. Providence intends, by national and personal troubles and dangers, to cure us of sin, of spiritual idolatry, of the love of money, of pleasure, and of trusting in man. They are designed to bring us to look to our Maker, the Holy One of Israel ; to acknowledge his providence ; to humble ourselves before him and pray to him: and it is a merciful affliction that brings us to this; then shall we become objects of the divine care and favour, and he will provide for our security and happiness. Though there be but few of this character, they shall not be lost, but be as a brand Jilucked out of the burning.
2. We here see the source of sin and misery : it is forgetting God, being unmindful of him as our strong defence, and the author of all our mercies and deliverances ; and the consequence will be, disappointment where we most expected comfort and relief. Let us beware then lest we forget the Lord our God. To be continually mindful of him is a most important duty; it is the support of all other duties, and will be the source of serenity and joy amidst all the changes of this mortal life.
3. Let us not think God has forsaken his church, though he may sometimes suffer it to be in adversity and danger; though he seems to say, / will take my rest, and appears like one asleep, or as an unconcerned spectator. Let us not entertain the thought that he is so because he does not immediately iippear; he will regard his dwelling place, take care of his own interest, and his people shall find a sale and delightful repose in him. Let us never indulge unbelieving fears and suspicions, for the Lord is a God of judgment; his church is built upon a rock, and the gates of hell shall never prevail against it. One or another of its strongest earthly pillars may fall, but God will raise up others, and add to the church daily of such as »hall be saved.
This chafitcr refers to the calamities brought upon the Egyptians by intestine commotions. The Israelites were fond of an alliance with them, therefore their distress and inability to help their allies is here foretold; but it is difficult to determine to what period of their history this profihecy refers.
1 T I ^HE burden of Egypt. Behold, the Lord rideth upon a
JL swift cloud, as a judge, and shall come into Egypt : and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, shall be carried captive, and not be able to help their worshippers, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it, the people shall lose
2 all their courage. And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, [and!
-3 kingdom against kingdom.* And the spirit of Egypt, that is,' their courage and wisdom, for both of which they were famous, shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to
4 them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards. And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and at fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the Lord of
5 hosts.f And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up, that is, the Mle which they worshipped, and on the rising of which in spring, and over/lowing their land,
6 their harvest depended, as they had little or no rain. And they shall turn the rivers far away; [and] the brooks of defence shall
7 be emptied and dried up: the reeds and flags shall wither. The paper reeds} by the brooks, by the mouth, or side, of the brooks,' and every thing sown by the brooks, shall wither, be driven
8 away, and be no [more.] The fishers also shall mourn, and all they that cast angle into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish : Egypt was famous for fish, and its inhabitants lived much upon it, as they scrupled to
9 kill many animals for food. Moreover they that work in fine flax, and they that weave net works, shall be confounded: it was also famous for flax and fine linen, for which Solomon traded with the
10 Egyptians. And they shall be broken in the purposes thereof, all that make sluices [and] ponds for fish ; that is, they that were used to get their living by keeping fish in ponds, shall fail of their gain that way; all which intimates a general decay of trade and
11 prosperity. Surely the princes of Zoan, tltat most ancient city,
• After the desth of Sathon there were two yra-.-s an^rc'iy : then rVrlve persons sr tzrd the kingdom, and dlvidr<i it ;imo-.i£ themselves. At lcnc;:!, rs-nninetichus, one of the twelve, by the h' Ip of the Greeks drove out the other eleven, and reigned alone.
r This is undersiood of different persons, but is generally supposed to refer to Psaramrtichus.
1 This was the papyrus. a large rred th;vt p-ew on the hanks of their river mi brooks', the broid leaves of which the Egyptians wrote upou,~-as wc do on pape-.-, which fr na hence took its name.
Vol. V. W
(Numb. xiii. 22.) [are] fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say ye unto Pharaoh, I
12 [am] the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings ?• Where [are] they ? where [are] thy wise [men ?] thy politicians and astrologers? and let them tell thee now, and let them know what
13 the Lord of hosts hath purposed upon Egypt. The princes of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph, or Memphis,anothtr ancient city, are deceived; they have also seduced Egypt, [even they that are] the stay of the tribes thereof; the governors, who
14 qre the corners or support of it. The Lord hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken [man] staggereth in his vomit; they shall be unsettled in their councils, and follow
15 those that are most mischievous. Neither shall there be [any] work for Egypt, which the head or tail, branch or rush, may.do; their trade shall be lost, and there shall be no work for the high or
15 the low, they shall have no means to hclfi themselves. In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and feat, because of the shaking of the hand of the Lord of hosts, which shaketh over it; that is, the thrcatenings he denounces, and the
17 judgments he is bringing ufion them. And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the Lord of boats, which he hath determined against it.f
18 In that day shall five, that is, many, cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the Lord of hosts, engage themselves by covenant to become subject to them; one shall be called, The city of destruction ; of Heres, or the sun,
19 that in, }feliofwlis.\ In that day shall there be an altar to the • Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at The border thereof to the Lord; the worship of God shall be set up there; and gosfiel worshifi is often described by expressions taken from the Jewish worshifi: a pillar shall be set up to let every one know at
20 their first entrance what religion they are of. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the Lord because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour and a great one, and
2:1 he shall deliver then>.|| And the Lord shall be known to Egypt,
• The t'gyptians pretended to extraordinary antiquity, and traced up the lists of the irkingi higher than any other nation, quite to Ham.
t This urubably refers ro their apprehension of danger when Sennacherib destroyed the feu,--d cities of J'au ih. before he Desi:ed Jerusalem; tnough others refer it to the long siege of Ashdod hv Psammetichus, which stopped the course of his victories, and gave him great vex.tion. These are varinus opinions amons the learned what tne next verse refers to: soin: s.iy, to the conversion of many of the Egypti.ms to the religion of the Jews, by thtir settlement among them; but it more probably rcfi rs to their conversion by the gospel.
f \ftcr the siege abovemnnrumrd, the learned say there was an alliance between Egypt, Assyrii, ard Jud-lh; and the Jews had' actually five cities in the land, where they were' allowed the free exercne of their religion. Bat that this was fact is not sufficiently evident; a,.d 1 rath-.-r prefer tisc fo mer interpretation.
"Dr. Newton understands this of Alexander the Great, whose successor was Ptolemy the: Grc.it. and Soter, or saviour, probably in reference-to Christ. Alexander favoured the Jews, settled many in Egypt, allowed them To be governed by their 'own laws and customs; aui there the Greek translation of the Bible. c.iH-'d the Septuagint, is generally supposed te have been znde.
and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in tTiat day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation ; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform [it;] they shall have the means of knowledge
22 and imfirove them. And the Lord shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal [it:] and they shall return [even] to the Lord, and he shall be entreated of them, and shall heal them ; their afflictions shall do them good, and disfiosc than to receive the got
23 pel. In that day shall there be a highway out of -Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians; though Egypt was the house of their bondage, and the Assyrians the invaders of Judah, yet their enmity shall cease, and they
24 shall join in serving the Lord. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria; the land of Israel which is between Egyju and Assyria, shall be the centre of union to the three nations which had been so often at variance, [even] a blessing in the midst of the land, or, of the earth, as from thence the gosficl
25 shall spread: Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying,' Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance. God will join them all in his blessing; he will make them a blessing to all about them; they shall be all alike in covenant with him. Accordingly the gospel was early f.lan'ed among them, <Kid many flourishing christiun churches were there.
1. /"^VB SERVE how easily God can throw a populous and V-/ flourishing nation into confusion and misery ; set the people one against the other, and raise a perverse spirit in the midst thereof; infatuate the wisest counsellors, and strike a panic and terror through all. He can by this means destroy their trade and commerce, and take away all their comforts. To do this, he needs but shake his hand over them. Who would not fear so great a Being, and wait on him for the continuation and increase of national prosperity? We have need to pray that he would give a spirit of wisdom to our ministers, conduct and courage to our commanders and soldiers, and continue our unanimity, that we may not feel these dreadful evils.
2. See what a happy change the gospel makes in the state of nations, when it is cordially received. God would show favour to Egypt; and this is described, not by replenishing their rivers, multiplying their fish, increasing their trade, and establishing their concord ; but by the spread of true religion among them ; banishing idolatry and sin ; disposing men to receive the gospel ; to give themselves to the Lord, and worship him according to his institution. We may learn from this passage, what improvement we are to make of the gospel ; to be thankful for Christ, that Saviour a;id great one ; publicly and boldly to profess our relation and regard to him, and cultivate that peace and love which he requires of his peo^