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25. And I will gorge thy oppressors with their own flesh,
And I will drench them with their blood as with new wine;
And all flesh shall know,
That I, Jehovah, am thy Saviour,
And thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
This, then, is the time of the appearing of the Just One, the great Redeemer from heaven. Jerusalem, as before addressed, was only comforted in anticipation of the result of the impending conflict; she was then at her last gasp of hope before the enemy that had surrounded her. She is shown the wonderful preparations that are making, in certain directions, for the return of her lost children. While her last great enemy is ravaging her country, and ready to lay her waste, other nations of the earth are gathering her children, and coming, with the utmost reverence for her high destinies, to present their present to Jehovah in Zion. This passage, therefore, is evidently parallel to the prophecy in the eighteenth chapter, where our attention was directed to a country "extending the shadow of its wings, which is beyond the rivers of Gush, that sendeth ambassadors by sea," &c.; and it is described, at a "signal" " given," as bringing "a present to Jehovah Sabaoth, of a people scattered and cast away," Sic. We saw reason, in expounding that part of the prophecy, to think the ten tribes dispersed by the Assyrian were particularly intended. "Beyond the rivers of Gush," we were inclined to understand as denoting an eastern direction beyond the Tigris and Euphrates, though the Nile had some pretension to the title of a river of Cush. In the passage before us, the assembled people are described as coming, some from a country afar off, some from the north, some from the west or from the
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sea, and some from the land of Sinim. The position of the land of Sinim it seems difficult to settle: Bishop Stock, after Arias Montanus, has China; the north he refers to Tartary, and the west or sea to Europe. The Chaldee interpreter, and some of the Jewish expositors, place Sinim in the south; and by the land afar off would designate the east to its remotest regions: so that it should seem the swift messengers, in then: ships, are sent in all directions on this wonderful occasion.
1. Thus hath Jehovah said,
Where is the bill of divorcement
Or who is he among my creditors,
The church of Israel is here contemplated in her present rejected and banished state. It is asked, Why has this former spouse of God been discarded with her children? Had the God of Israel acted the capricious husband? Or, had the Father of her children been compelled by poverty to sell them? Had the Almighty wanted power, that his chosen people are found in this extraordinary and most wretched situation? No.
Lo, you have been sold for your iniquities,
And for your transgressions hath your mother been put away.
Their particular crimes, which had brought on this judgment, are next pointed out: —
2. Wherefore, when I came, was there no man?
Is my hand so weakened that it cannot redeem?
The incarnate Eloah speaks —" He came to his own, and his own received him not." The Jews of the first advent despised their meek and lowly Saviour, and regarded him as too weak and contemptible to be "the hope of Israel." But that arm which they despised would one day show itself mighty to save: —
Behold, at my rebuke I will dry up the sea,
Their fish shall become putrid for want of water,
3. I will clothe the heavens with blackness,
The same Jesus whom they betrayed and delivered up to be crucified, will prove to be the great Redeemer and Avenger of the last times. He will one day quell the turbulent uproar of the conflicting nations of the earth, the symbolical rivers and floods that have destroyed his land by their overflowings, and will dissipate them for ever. Then the powers of heaven, the political heavens, shall be shaken, and extinguished in eternal darkness.
The vision still continues to set before us the Saviour, as seen at the time of his rejection by the Jews: —
4. The Lord Jehovah hath given to me the tongue of the in
structed, That I might know, on occasion, to speak to the fainting. He wakeneth me morning after morning,
He wakeneth my ear to hear as the instructed.
5. The Lord Jehovah opened mine ear, And I did not resist or fly backward.
This, beyond all doubt, is the "holy child Jesus," "growing in wisdom, and in stature, and in favour with God and man." He is represented in the character of a scholar or disciple, one instructed by use and discipline, and, as it were, by the vigilant-pains of an instructor; so that what he hath himself learned and experienced, he is able to teach to those who are fainting in the same course. This exactly corresponds with the representation of the apostle: —" Though he was a son, yet learned he obedience by the things that he suffered:"—" In bringing many sons to glory," God "made the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering." And he tells us : — "For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." "He that sanctifieth" was submissive and obedient, and by the obedience of this one are " the many" " made righteous."
A part of the discipline that the Saviour was to endure arose from the insults and cruel oppression of man. This seems to be next referred to: —
6. I gave my back to the smiters,
And my cheek to them that plucked off the beard.
I hid not my face
From shame and spitting.
The last scenes of our Saviour's sufferings, when he was arraigned before the tribunal of the high priest, and of Herod and Pilate, will well explain this. He was struck and insulted, blindfolded and spit upon; but the holy victim meekly resigns himself—not from the consciousness of guilt, unmoved by passion or anger, " he committeth himself to him that judgeth righteously: —
7. But the ' Lord' Jehovah ' is* my Helper,
Therefore have I set my face as a flint,
8. He is near that vindicateth my rights!
Who will contend against me?
Who is my opponent?
9. Lo, the Lord Jehovah will help me,
Lo, all they shall wear out like a garment,
God is near to justify the innocent whom unrighteous judges have condemned: and in this patient submission of Christ to his unjust judges, and in his appeal to God, he has left us, as St. Peter tells us, an example, that when we do well and suffer for it, we should take it patiently. And what has become of all the persecutors who, on this occasion and on others, have perverted the ordinances of justice to condemn the just? Poor, dying mortals! they soon perished as a moth-eaten garment! and the everlasting Judge hath vindicated the Martyr's wrongs!
The next verse evidently addresses those among the people who did receive the Saviour and obey his voice: —
Who is there among you that hath feared Jehovah, 10. And hath hearkened to the voice of his servant?