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have had this passage in their minds, when, in reply to our Lord's rejection of their claim to be " the children of Abraham," though they were "his seed," they observe, "We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God." * But our Lord shows, by his answer, that they were this symbolical child of fornication; "they were of their father, the devil." Then, and in the subsequent rejection of the nation, was fulfilled the awful prediction; " Ye are not my people, and I will not be your God."
Immediately there follows a prophecy, which the reader will soon recognise to be parallel to several delivered before: —
10. Yet shall the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of
Notwithstanding this rejection of both houses of Israel, yet the promise made to Abraham respecting the vast multiplication of his seed would not be forgotten. How, then, would it be fulfilled? In the first instance, as the event has shown, "God would visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name." They would for a time fill up the chasm made in Israel, "by the casting away of so many in apostate Judah." But this would not be all; "when this fulness of the Gentiles should be come in," there would be then a resumption of the natural Israel, and the promise made to Abraham would be fulfilled in its utmost extent.
And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was
said to them, "Ye are not my people;"l
There shall it be said unto them, "Ye are the sons of the living God."
11. And the sons of Judah, and the sons of Israel, shall be
And shall come up out of the land; *
"They shall unite in one confession, and in one polity, under one King, Christ the Saviour."3 The great day of Jezreel, or of the seed of God, evidently refers to the season predicted in former prophecies: "He shall be King in Jeshuron," when the chiefs of the people shall be assembled with the people of the God of Abraham; " then shall be fulfilled the promise to Abraham and to his seed, that he shall be heir of the world."
Again, in the following chapter, after a clear prediction of the rejection of Israel, and of the desolation of their country, under the metaphor of a faithless wife, given up to shame and poverty by her husband, we have* another remarkable prediction of Israel's restoration, very similar in its language to those oracles which
1 "That is, at Jerusalem, or of Judah," 8tc.—Uorsley.
at least in Judea, where this pro- * " And come up from the
phecy was delivered, and where earth, i. e. from all parts of the
the execution of the sentence earth, to Jerusalem."—Idem.
took place."—" This must relate 'Idem, to the natural Israel of the house
* Verse 14.
we have already consulted, and which describe a through the desert, conducted in a manner that renders it as wonderful as the exodus from Egypt.
14. Notwithstanding, lo! I myself will' allure her, And will lead her ' in'' the desert,
And will speak cheeringly to her:
15. And I will give her from hence her cultivated country, Even the valley of Achor * for a door of hope:
And there shall she join in responsive song, as in the days
of her youth, Even as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
I see no necessity for understanding this in any other than a literal sense. We have ascertained from other prophecies, that there will be a party of restored Israelites conducted by special providence through the deserts towards Zion. The valley of Achor will lie in their way; and its possession may be to restored Israel as an earnest of future blessings: or — referring to the story of Achan, Joshua, vii. — in the spot where the " sinners of the people are cut off," shall hope begin to dawn upon returning Israel. We read in Isaiah, "And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains." —" And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in/' * &c.3
1 Or, " when she shall be in lit, -ray, eonturbati, scil. populi
the desert." Israelitici." —Simon.
'"Valley of tribulation." * "This perpetual allusion to
HoasLEr. the exodus, to the circumstances
"Top, conturbatui: unde val- of the march through the wiider
• Chap. Uv. 9, 10. Compare Psalm Ixviii.
The happy state and most abundant prosperity of the people so restored, is next described, and in a manner perfectly analogous to former prophecies: —
16. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith Jehovah, That thou shalt call me, " my husband;"
Thou shalt no more call me, " my master;"
17. For I will take away the names of masters' out of her mouth, And their name they shall mention no more.
"It is in vain," says Bishop Horsley, " to look for a purity of religious worship, answerable to this prophecy, among the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity. This part of the prophecy, with all the rest, will receive its accomplishment in the converted race in the latter days." To illustrate the meaning of the language, we may compare our Lord's address to his disciples, John, xv. 14: "Henceforth, I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth; but I have called you friends," &c. Gospel privileges are but a foretaste and earnest of the felicities of these times.
18. And I will on their behalf sanction a covenant in that day, With the beasts of the field,
And with the birds of the air,
To sanction or make a covenant, often implies the imposing of a law, or the will of the Supreme upon his
ness, and the first entrance into under that leader, of whom Moses
the Holy Land, plainly points the was the type."-—Hoksley. prophecy to a similar deliverance, '"These lords."—Horsley,.
by the immediate power of God, Literally Baalim.
creatures. This prediction is parallel with the latter part of the eighth psalm: "Thou hast put all things under his feet," 8tc.: and with Isaiah, xi. 9, and Ixv. 25, "They shall not hurt nor destroy," &c. The powers of nature are then to be subjected in a more complete manner to the service of mankind.
And the bow, and the sword, and the armour,
Will I destroy from off the earth,
And I will cause them to dwell in security.1
Exactly similar to Isaiah, "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares," &c.; and to Psalm xlvi., " He maketh wars to cease in all the world," &c.
The metaphor of an espousal and marriage, as in the forty-fifth psalm, and in the sixty-second chapter of Isaiah, is again used to describe the relation in which his favoured people will then stand to their God: —
19. And I will espouse thee unto me for ever;
Ay, I will espouse thee unto me with righteousness,
And with judgment, and with tender love, and with com-
Ay, I will espouse thee to me with faithfulness,"
Taking these terms in the usual sense in which we
1 "Lie down in their beds." p-w, his own justice; owo, his
Horsley. perfect obedience to the law; icn,
1 " A noun substantive after exuberant kindness l nrcm, tender the verb, Bhk with a prefixed, de- love; mm*, faithfulness, steady adnotes the dowry, or that which a herence on his part in. the covenant man gives to obtain his spouse of between the Holy Three."—Bphis parents. Christ gave, for the Horsley. espousal of the church, his bride,