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Remark* on Parts of the Thirtieth and Thirty-first Chapters.
The thirtieth chapter begins with an expostulation with the people for their disposition to forsake the God of their fathers, and rely for assistance on Egypt.
What alliance with this last mentioned nation is partidularly in view of the prophet, it is not quite easy to determine. It is a fact, that Egypt was "that broken reed," on which both houses of Israel leaned to their destruction in the hour of their utmost need: the ten tribes, at the time of their destruction by the Assyrians; and the remnant of Judah, at the time of the Babylonian captivity. It is probable, that the Holy Ghost has both these ill-judged expeditions in view, for if the first bids fair to be the occasion of the oracle, its language in many respects belongs more particularly to the circumstances of the latter; and it evidently embraces, in the sequel, what concerns the whole united people of Israel in the latter days. See 2 Kings, xvii. 4, &c., and Jeremiah, xlii., xliii., xliv., and xlvi.
In the seventeenth verse, we meet with the usual prophetic symbol of the very low state to which the remnant shall be reduced by " the consumption decreed:" —
17. Until ye be left as a staff on the top of a hill,
And as a beacon on a mountain:
18. Yet, notwithstanding, Jehovah will wait to be gracious to
For Jehovah is a God of judgment,1
19. Surely a people shall dwell ' quietly' in Zion,
He will be very gracious to thee at the voice of thy cry,
20. And though the Lord give you the bread of distress, and the
water of affliction,
And thine eyes shall see thy instructors,
21. And thine ear shall hear a word behind thee;
Saying, This is the way, walk ye in it,
22. And ye shall treat as defiled the coverings of your silver
Thou shalt cast them away as a polluted garment,
This prophecy places before us a remnant of restored Israelites, dwelling at Jerusalem, whose happiness it is to wait for Jehovah. They are not yet a people so saved, as never more to taste of affliction; which is the description of the state of this people, after the appearance of the glory of the Lord. They are to see distress and affliction, in that last attack of the adversary; but are never more jto suffer for want of knowledge, or to be led astray by blind
a, perhaps, signifies in this place, consideration in moderating judgments.
guides. This proves that it cannot be the remnant of Judah of the first advent. We are, therefore, compelled to refer it to Jerusalem at the eve of the second coming of Christ. There will then, we may argue, be a people there made ready for the Lord. We thought we had gathered, concerning the Jews of the second advent, that not idolatry, but self-righteousness and superstition, would still, as at the first advent, characterize the main body. A difficulty may seem, therefore, to arise from the last lines I have transcribed, which seems to represent the remnant as renouncing idolatry. But, on a more attentive examination bf the passage, it will be found that it is not the idols themselves that are referred to, but the sumptuous coverings and garments of gold and silver tissue and embroidery used in the idolatrous worship. This affords a meet emblem of the formalities of hypocrisy, and the vain professions of self-righteousness; and is in strict analogy with other metaphorical Scriptures. A picture of prosperity follows, which, I should suppose, must be referred to the final settlement of the nation: —
23. And he shall give rain for thy seed, With which thou shalt sow thy ground:
And bread shall thy soil produce,
And it shall be rich and nourishing,'
And thy cattle shall feed in that day in wide pastures.
24. The oxen and asses, that shall till the ground, Shall eat well fermented maslin,'
Which has been winnowed with a fan and a shovel:
25. And there shall be upon every high hill,
1 Stock. straw, and made to ferment."—
'"Barleymixed witl) chopped Bochart.
And on every lofty eminence,
In the day of the great slaughter, when the mighty fall, *
26. Then shall the light of the moon he as the light of the sun, And the light of the sun shall be sevenfold."
In the day when Jehovah bindeth up the breach of his
This "day of the great slaughter," is evidently that day already so often predicted, when the great adversary from Chittim, that comes as master of Egypt, falls on the holy mountains. But a brighter day succeeds, and brighter luminaries arise in exchange for those that sat in darkness. The delegated authorities in church and state, as held by mortal man, symbolized by the sun and moon, are exchanged for the reign of Christ and his saints. So effectually is the breach allowed to be made by the last enemy upon restored Israel, healed!
The approach of the Great Avenger, to execute this judgment on the adversary, is next described: —
27. Behold the name of Jehovah4 cometh from afar,
His lips are filled with indignation,
e, probably, the little 4 "The great angel of his pre
chauneli cut, in these climates, for sence, spoken of, Exod. v»iii. 21."
distributing water to aach tree and — Bp. Stock.
plant. * Either of flame or smoke.
'See Bishop Lowlh's note. ,, , , ,
. „.. ... , "1 he rising flame is violent. This passage i> applied, by
Irenseu>, to the time of the first Horsiiy. resurrection.
28. His breath is as an overflowing torrent, Even to the neck shall it reach.
To toss the nations in the sieve of vanity,
And to fix a misleading bridle on the jaws of the peoples.1
This last verse might, perhaps, be rendered, " while he is dissipating the nations with the useless winnowing fan" —useless, because all pass off as chaff, without leaving any corn remaining.
But while he is judicially, by his overruling providence, driving on these enemies to their destruction,—
29. A song shall be with you,
As on the night when a feast is sanctified;
And rejoicing of heart, as when one marcheth with pipes,
'Dreadful as is the era to the nations, Israel's enemies, it will be a joyful occasion to the preserved remnant; like the cheering sound of music, that proclaims, amid the solemn hours of night, the approach of some great festival.
30. And Jehovah shall cause his glorious voice to be heard,
With angry blast, and flame of devouring fire;
31. For by the voice of Jehovah shall he be struck with terror, Who shall smite with a rod:'
1 " To toss the nations with of destruction."—Hobsley. the van of perdition."—Bp.lowth, s Veb, dissipatio. Schultens exafter Kimchi. But, after all, Park- pouit quassatio, excussio. Bishop hurst's is, probably, the true inter- Lowth renders it" a violent storm." pretation: "to stretch [the hand] 'Archbishop Seeker saw the over the nations with a stretching necessity of the relative itnt in this VOL. I. R