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The connexion also of what follows corroborates this interpretation: —
7. Before she shall be in travail, she shall bring forth;
8. Who hath heard the like to this?
Shall a country be brought forth in one day?
That Zion should at once conceive and bring forth her
9. Shall I bring to the birth, and not make to come forth?
Shall I make to come forth, and restrain the birth?
Immediately connected with that work of vengeance, which overwhelms the enemy of Jerusalem at the second advent, we have ever seen, in the prophetic vision, the sudden and wonderful manifestation of the sons of God, the children of Zion. The symbol here used of a woman being delivered of a child, without the usual process of nature in the pains of labour; and the reference of this, to the birth of a whole people in a day, in an instant, with what is said in the last verse quoted above, that every - > step of this birth is a supernatural operation of God, leads us to assign this passage as a parallel to chapter the fiftyfourth, verse the first.
Rejoice, thou barren that didst not bear, &c.
Which Scripture an inspired apostle has taught us to apply, not to the earthly society of Jerusalem that then was; and which we know is to be restored, and her dispersed children gathered from all the nations where they are scattered; but to "the Jerusalem that is above, the mother of all" true believers. We are guided, therefore, to interpret this symbol, not of the sudden gathering of the Israelites from all lands—which does, however, take place about the same time—but of the sudden appearance of the Lord and his holy myriads, as it was represented in the sixty-eighth psalm: —
God rideth on amid myriads, thousands of thousands;
The friends of Jerusalem are called upon to rejoice with her, for her final establishment under this glorious dispensation will be the cause of the universal restitution of all the surviving nations of the earth, which have not perished in the terrible conflict of the " battle of the great day of Almighty God."
10. Rejoice for Jerusalem,
And exult with her, all ye that love her.
Be exceeding glad for her,
11. That ye may suck, and be satisfied,
That ye may draw near, and delight yourselves,
This is evidently parallel to chapter the sixtieth, and is addressed to the survivors of mankind, to whom Jerusalem is to become the source of endless peace and felicity.
12. For thus hath Jehovah said:
I will extend peace to her like a river,
And the glory of the nations like a flowing torrent:
And ye shall be suckled, in the arms shall ye be carried,
13. As one whom his mother comforteth,
In Jerusalem shall ye be comforted:
14. And ye shall see, and your heart shall rejoice, And your bones shall flourish as an herb.
Thus is Jerusalem established to be the joy of the whole earth, and caused to stand in the relation of a nursing mother to all the nations of the earth. Then, we may observe again, will be realized the prediction to Abraham; " In thee, and in thy seed, shall all the families of the earth be blessed."
But we are reminded, as usual, that the work of vengeance precedes the extension of mercy: —
And the hand of Jehovah shall be manifested on his servants,
15. For behold, Jehovah will come in fire,
To recompense in the heat of his anger,
16. For by fire shall Jehovah execute judgment,
And the slain of Jehovah shall be many.
The close of Moses' song of remembrance, and the parallel passages in the oracles already consulted, clearly ascertain the objects and the time of this judgment.
To what persons the next verse particularly alludes, is not, perhaps, easy to determine: from the figurative language used, we may conjecture, to the faithless and profane in Israel, to those " who say they are Jews, and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan:" or the following lines are a description of the apostate and idolatrous enemies of the last days in general, spoken of as usual in allusion to the abominable practices which marked the corruption of true religion in the days of the prophets.'
17. They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves, In the gardens, after One in the midst.'
Eating the flesh of swine,
The abomination, and the field-mouse.
They shall be consumed together, Jehovah hath said.
18. For I know their works and devices.
1 — " Interpretes Judseos, licet falsa bypothesi nixos, in peccatoribus hie descriptis videre Muhammedanos et pontificos Romancnses."—Vitringa.
* Of this difficult and uncertain passage, the fourth meaning adduced by Simon, is : " Alii ad unum omnei semovebo (quasi scriptum csset, imo Ihnk, quanquam ita scribi necesse non erat) non male: parallelismo certe favent«, iw nrr. Bishop Lowth has, " After the rites of Achad. The Assyrians worshipped a god called Adad." But against this interpretation see Simon. The Septuagint translates this seventeenth verse as follows:
"They who are sanctified, and cleansed for the gardens, and in the porches eat flesh, swine's 'flesh,' and abominable tilings, and the mouse," &c.
The Vulgate: —
"Who are sanctified, and count themselves pure in the gardens behind the door on the outside, who cat swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse," &c.
Vitringa's observations are very pertinent to the occasion: "Pharisaei, summam religionis sua constituentes in purificationibus et lustrationibus externis; et hoc nomine sectam fncientes; intus pleni rapina, intemperantia et omni iinmunditie; iidemque repulsajustitiil Dei evangel io oblata, spem fundantes in justitia operum erant nSsXulyxs coram Deo; eorumque hffic superstitio, eodein loco apud Deum habebatur, quo Syro-Macedonum et Phoenicum, qui lustrationibus et februis in lucis, Heliopoliuino aut Antiocheno vocabant/' &c.
'The time' is coming to gather together all nations and all
19. And I will appoint to them a sign,
And I will send of them, those that have escaped, unto the nations.
I should venture to suppose, from the parallel passages, that the assembled nations are those that are gathered to the day of vengeance on the mountains of Israel; but that a remnant, spared and rescued from this destruction, are sent to tell to the remaining nations the glory they have witnessed.
'Unto' Tarshish, Pul, and Lud,
'Unto' the far distant coasts,
Who had not heard the report of me,
And who had not seen my glory.
The nations here mentioned it is not difficult to point out generally. Tarshish, and the ships of Tarshish, are frequently mentioned in Scripture: there seems little doubt that some region or nation to the west of Europe is intended; the great maritime nation, probably, before not obscurely alluded to in former prophecies, but certainly not that part of Europe designated by the term of "Chittim," and symbolized by " Edom"and " Bosra." Pul and Lud are supposed, by Bochart, to be nations of
1 Bp. Stock. Euxine and the Caspian seas, and
'Lowth suspects that the properly joined with "jan, the
words nvp -ym are n corruption of Tabereni, &c.
the word ivo, Mo?chi; the name See first part of Wells' Geo
of a nation situated between the graphy.