Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

altogether laconic and sententious.? " But this very circum- quality of their husbands. Although nothing further is stance, which anciently was supposed to impart uncommon recorded in the Scriptures concerning the wife of Isaiah, we force and elegance, in the present state of Hebrew literature, find two of his sons mentioned in his prophecy, who were is productive of so much obscurity, that although the general types or figurative pledges of God's assurance; and their subject of this writer is sufficiently obvious, he is the most names and actions were intended to awaken a religious attendifficult and perplexed of all the prophets. There is, how- tion in the persons whom they were commissioned to address ever, another reason for the obscurity of his style. Hosea, and to instruct. Thus, Shearjashub (vii. 3.) signifies “a we have seen, prophesied during the reigns of the four kings remnant shall return,” and showed that the captives, who of Judah, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah : the dura- should be carried to Babylon, should return thence after a tion of his ministry, therefore, in whatever manner we calcu- certain time; and Maher-shalal-hashbaz (viii.

1. 3.), which late it, must include a very considerable space of time. We denotes “make speed (or, run swiftly) to the spoil," implied have now only a small volume of his remaining, which, it that the kingdoms of Israel and Syria would in a short time seems, contains his principal prophecies; and these are be ravaged. extant in a continued series, with no marks of distinction as Besides the volume of prophecies, which we are now to to the times when they were published, or of which they consider, it appears from 2 Chron. xxvi. 22. that Isaiah wrote treat. It is, therefore, no wonder if, in perusing the pro- an account of the Acts of Uzziah king of Judah: this has phecies of Hosea, we sometimes find ourselves in a similar perished with some other writings of the prophets, which, predicament with those who consulted the scattered leaves as probably not written by inspiration, were never admitted of the sybil."'2

into the canon of Scripture. There are also two apocryphal

books ascribed to him, viz. “The Ascension of Isaiah," and § 4. ON THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET ISAIAH.

The Apocalypse of Isaiah ;" but these are evidently forgeries

of a later date; and the Apocalypse has long since perished.5 I. Author and date.-II. Genuineness of Isaiah's prophecies.

II. Until the latter part of the eighteenth century, Isaiah III. Scope.-IV. Analysis of the contents of this book.- was universally regarded both by Jews and Christians as the V. Observations on its style.

sole author of the book which bears his name. Koppe was BEFORE CHRIST, 810—698.

the earliest writer who intimated that Ezekiel, or some other Though fifth in the order of time, the writings of the pro- prophet who lived during the exile, might have been the phet Isaiah are placed first in order of the prophetical books, author; as Doederlein was the first of the German commenprincipally on account of the sublimity and importance of tators and critics who expressed a definite suspicion against his predictions, and partly also because the book, which the genuineness of those predictions which were delivered bears his name, is larger than all the twelve minor prophets against the Gentiles, but especially the last twenty-seven put together.

chapters. Justi, Eichhorn, Bauer, Paulus, Rosenmüller, 1. Concerning his family and descent nothing certain has Bertholdt, De Wette, and others, have adopted the notions been recorded, except what he himself tells us (i. 1.), viz. of Doederlein; and by various arguments have endeavoured that he was the son of Amotz, and discharged the prophetic to prove that the chapters in question first originated during office in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, the Babylonian captivity. These arguments have been copikings of Judah, who successively flourished between A. M. ously examined and refuted by Professor Jahn, whose obser3194 and 3305. There is a current tradition that he was of vations may be arranged under the following heads :- viz. the blood-royal; and some writers have affirmed that his 1. Proofs that all the prophecies ascribed to Isaiah are really father Amotz or Amos was the son of Joash, and, conse- his productions ; -2. An examination and refutation, in detail, quently, brother of Uzziah king of Judah. Jerome, on the of objections against particular predictions ;-and, 3. An exaauthority of some rabbinical writers, says, that the prophet mination of the questions whether Isaiah was the author of gave his daughter in marriage to Manasseh king of Judah; chapters xxxvi.—xxxix. but this opinion is scarcely credible, because Manasseh did 1. PROOFS THAT ALL THE PREDICTIONS ASCRIBED TO ISAIAH not commence his reign until about sixty years after Isaiah ARE REALLY HIS PRODUCTIONS. had begun to discharge his prophetic functions.

He must,

i. “The STYLE differs scarcely any in the different propheindeed, have exercised the office of a prophet during a long cies. We find every where the same descriptions of particuperiod of time, if he lived in the reign of Manasseh; for the lar objects, and the same images, taken from trees, especially lowest computation, beginning from the year in which Uzziah cedars, firs, and oaks; from the pains of childbirth, from died, when he is by some supposed to have received his history, and from the golden age. The beginning of the first appointment to that office, brings it to sixty-one years. prophecy constantly enters into the midst of the subject, and But the tradition of the Jews, which has been adopted by every where poetical passages are inserted; as v. 1–6. xii. most Christian commentators, that he was put to death by 1–6. xiv. 4—20. xxv. 1-5.; so, exactly in the same manManasseh, is very uncertain; and Aben Ezra, one of the ner, xlii. 10–13. lii. 9. s. lxi. 10. lxiii. 7. lxiv. 11. Every most celebrated Jewish writers, is rather of opinion that he where the same clearness and obscurity, the same repetitions, died before Hezekiah; which Bishop Lowth thinks most and the same euphony of language, are observable. The probable. It is, however, certain, that he lived at least to visions are similar; comp. ch. xxi, and ch. xl. with ch. vi. the fifteenth or sixteenth year of Hezekiah; which makes Even the same phrases occur repeatedly: e. g. 5999 unp the least possible term of the duration of his prophetic office occurs in the first part seventeen times, in the second twelve to be about forty-eight years.

times. in, which occurs in all the rest of the Bible only The name of Isaiah, as Vitringa has remarked after several nine times, is found in the first part of Isaiah four times, in preceding commentators, is in some measure descriptive of the second six. D'Ny, which is elsewhere only to be met his high character, since it signifies the Salvation-of-Jehovah; with four times in the book of Job, is found here twice in the and was given with singular propriety, to him who foretold first part, and five times in the second. my is used in lxv. the advent of the Messiah, through whom all flesh shall see 10. just as in xxxiii. 9. xxv. 2.: 0 DN, in xl. 1. xli. 7. 21. the salvation of God. (Compare Isa. xl. 5. with Luke iii. 6. lxvi. 9. just as in i. 11. 18. xxxiii. 10., instead of which the and Acts iv. 12.) Isaiah was contemporary with the pro- other prophets say nun apk, or DN, The expressions apphets Amos, Hosea, Joel, and Micah.

plied to the Sabæans, yupo stretched out, or tall, xviii. 2. 7., Isaiah is uniformly spoken of in the Scriptures as a pro- and 790 JK, men of measure, or tall men, are peculiar to our phet of the highest dignity : Bishop Lowth calls him the prophet, as well as many others, which we have not room prince of all the prophets, and pronounces the whole of his

3 Gray's Key, p. 365.

4 Ibid. p. 372. book to be poetical, with the exception of a few detached 5 Ascensio enim Isaiæ et Apocalypsis Isaiæ hoc habent testimonium. passages. It is remarkable, that his wife is styled a prophet-Jerom. Comment on Isaiah, ch. lxiv. (Op tom. iii. p. 473.) See also tom. ess in viii. 3., whence the rabbinical writers have concluded iv. p. 344. The anabarieon or ascension of Isaiah is mentioned by Epithat she possessed the spirit of prophecy: but it is very pro- the Hieracites, in the fourth century. Hæres. 67. Dr. Lardner's Works. bable that the prophets' wives were called prophetesses, as vol. iii. p. 402. the priests' wives were termed priestesses, only from the ness of Isaiah's predictions, and especially those of Professor Gesonius,

6 The arguments of the various neologian objectors against the genuine1 Præf. in xii. Proph.

are also very fully and ably renewed and refuted, first, by Professor Lee, * Lowth's Prælect. xxi. vol. ii. p. 96. Bishop Horsley differs in opinion in his Sermons and Dissertations on the Study of the Holy Scriptures, from Bishop Lowth, as to the cause of the obscurity which is observable pp. 157—208.; and, secondly, by Dr. Hengstenberg in his "Christologie des in the prophecies of Hosea. Bishop Horsley ascribes it, not to the great Alten Testaments." (Christology of the Old Testament.) That part of Dr. antiquity of the composition, nor to any thing peculiar to the language of H.'s treatise, which relates to the genuineness of Isaiah's predictions, has the author's age, but to his peculiar idioms, frequent changes of person, been translated into English by Professor Robinson of Andover (Massa. his use of the nominative case absolute, his anomalies of number and gen- chusetts), and will be found in the Biblical Repository for the year 1831. der, and the ambiguity of pronouns. See the Preface to his version of (vol. i. pp. 700—733.) As the arguments of these learned writers do not admit Hosea, pp. xxix.- xliii

of abridgment, the reader is necessarily referred to their publications.

here to specify.—The sublimity of the style does not vary more great benefits upon the Jews. Nor was Cyrus the man to throughout all the prophecies, than is usual in poems which suffer recent prophecies scarcely yet published to be palmed are written by the same author at different times, as for ex- upon him for ancient; not to mention that there were many ample, the different Psalms of David; and the style in all is who would have been glad to discover to him the fraud, if such as could by no means be expected from writers of the any had existed. Neither would Cyrus the Magian, who age of the Babylonian captivity. It is granted that style built nothing but pyres to Ormuzd, have been so easily led does not depend entirely upon the age, but in some measure to construct a magnificent temple to the God of the Jews. upon the cultivated genius of the writer ; yet it does not, “ It may, indeed, seem strange that the prophet should therefore, become probable that such poems should be com- say so much concerning the return from Babylon, and yet posed in the age of the Babylonian captivity, so that we may make no express mention of the carrying away. But he cerassert this without any historical testimony or tradition : more tainly does say something concerning this subject, as xxxix. especially as we find nothing similar in the writings of Jere- 4-7. vi. 11–13. v. 5—9. xi. 11-16.; and Micah, the míah or Ezekiel, who wanted neither genius nor polish. The contemporary of Isaiah, speaks clearly of this carrying language itself is not the same as that observable in Jeremiah away, and of the overthrow of Jerusalem ; so that it would and Ezekiel : it is not probable that any one could have cul- seem probable that Isaiah had said more on this subject, tivated the knowledge of the Hebrew during the captivity which has not been preserved to us. If this were the case, more thoroughly than they, nor is such a state of the lan- the prophet who sings the glad return would no more con guage discernible in Zechariah, who is usually cited as an tradict himself by predicting the carrying away, than Jereinstance of it.-Lastly, the arrangement and method of treat- miah does, who has predicted both events. To all this, ing the subject are the me in all these prophecies. Chap. analogy is said to be opposed, according to which, it is vii. contains a prophecy interwoven with a history, which is thought, prophets do not foretell such remote events as those followed, ch. viii.-xii. by prophecies without titles; so also concerning the Chaldæans, the Medes and Persians, Cyrus, in ch. xxxix. the prophecy is woven into the history, and and the return of the Hebrews, which Isaiah has predicted. prophecies without a title follow. As in the first part there But this analogy is by no means universal. Besides, in this are several prophecies concerning Sennacherib; so also in the objection it is supposed that the Chaldæans, Medes, and second, there are several concerning the overthrow of the Persians, were in the age of Isaiah obscure nations, or enChaldæan monarchy, and the return of the Hebrews from tirely unknown; whereas, in fact, the Medes, almost 100 captivity. As in the vision in ch. vi. we read, that the pro- years before Isaiah and Hezekiah (826 before Christ, 149 phet's efforts should not be accompanied by a happy result; after the division), had, under their king Arbaces, joined an so the prophet, ch. xlii

. 16. 23. xliii. 8. xlv. 4., and especi- alliance with Belesis the governor of Babylon, and overally xlix. 4. lix. 6., complains that his endeavours had been thrown the first Assyrian monarchy. It is true that the Meunsuccessful.

dian anarchy of seventy-nine years followed, but in the ii. "What is said in ch. lxvi. 1—6. of the temple, does tenth of Hezekiah (728° before Christ, 257 after the divinot suit the latter part of the period of exile, in which Hag- sion), they elected Dejoces king, who founded Ecbatana, gai and Zechariah speak altogether differently on the same and whose son Phraortes (665—643 before Christ, 310– subject. Much less could any one during the captivity write, 332 after the division), attacking the new kingdom of the as in xlviii. 4–8., that the ruin and utter destruction of the Assyrians, was slain while besieging Nineveh; and under city of Babylon had not yet been foretold, when Jeremiah). Cyaxares I., Zoroaster found the kingdom of the Medes li. had plainly predicted it; or speak, as in lii. 4., of the again flourishing. Elam was a celebrated kingdom even in Egyptians and Assyrians as the only enemies of the He- the most ancient times, Gen. ch. xiv., and it is always by brews, and pass over the Chaldæans. The severe reproofs, the ancient name obry, Gen. x. 22. xiv. 1. that Isaiah menIvi. 9.-lix. 20. Ixv. 11–16., especially those denounced tions it, and never by the modern appellation and, which is against the shepherds, i. e. the kings, lvi. 11, &c.; the re- given it, Dan vi. 28. Ezra i. 1, 2. iv. 5. 2 Chron. xxxvi. proaches not only on account of idolatry, but also of the im- 22. s. The Elamites are mentioned as a part of the army molation of children, lvii, 1–13., and of enormous corruption of the Assyrians, Isa. xxii. 6., which prophecy is certainly of morals, lviii. 6——9. lix. 1–8., are entirely at variance Isaiah's, as appears from v. 8—11. compared with 2 Chron. with the times of the captivity. Then, we might rather ex- xxxii. 2–5. Esarhaddon sent some Elamites among his pect mention to be made of the prophecies of Jeremiah, as other colonists to Samaria. (Ezra iv. 9. s.) At a later in Dan. ix. 2. and that more should be said respecting the period Jeremiah, chap. xxv. 25. xlix. 24, &c. mentions Elam Magians or worshippers of Ormuzd, than that one allusion among the powerful kingdoms which should be conquered to the two principles of things, xlv. 7., which certainly were by the Chaldæans, and Ezekiel, ch. xxxii. 24. beholds Elam maintained" by very many in an age older than that of the overthrown. It is only by a long succession of time and captivity.

victories, that nations are enabled to conquer the surrounding lii. • Jeremiah shows that he had read these prophecies, people, and spread themselves so widely as to obtain suffiseven years before the destruction of Jerusalem, Jer. li. 49–cient celebrity to entitle them to an eminent place in his64.; for the connection of the prophecy of Jeremiah con- tory. It was not, therefore, in a short space of time that the tained in Jer. 1. li. with the predictions of Isaiah is evident: Chaldæans, Medes, and Elamites or Persians, emerged from nor can it be said, that the author of the controverted pro- their obscurity into so great a light as to become conspicuous phecies of Isaiah, living toward the end of the captivity, to the world when before they had been utterly unknown. had read the book of Jeremiah; for he is an original and If, then, Isaiah foretells the overthrow of the Chaldæans by independent author, drawing entirely from his own resources, the Medes and Elamites, his prophecy in that age would and never imitating others; while, on the contrary, it is well have been neither more nor less obscure than Zechariah's known that Jeremiah had read the older prophets, and bor- (ix. 13.) concerning the wars of the Jews against the Greeks rowed much from them, especially in his prophecies against in Syria. Isaiah might easily have used the name Cyrus, ~73 foreign nations. Some passages have been observed in other (or Koresh), xliv. 28. xlv. 1., since it means nothing more than prophets also, which have been taken from the controverted king ; for in the language of the Parsees Khor means the prophecies of Isaiah: as Zeph. ii. 14, &c. from Isa. xiii. 21, sun, and SCHID splendour, whence is compounded KORSCHID, &c. ; Ezek. xxxiv. from Isa. lvii. 10, &c.; Ezek. xxvi. 20. the splendour of the sun, and with the addition of the word xxxi. 14–17. xxxii. 18—33. from Isa. xiv. 8—28.; Ezek. PAE or pai, habitation, KORSCHIDPAI, the habitation of the xxvi. 13. from Isa. xxiii. 25.; Ezek. xxxviii. xxxix, from splendour of the sun, which was a customary appellation of Isa. Ixvi. 6—9. 24. That Habakkuk is indebted to Isaiah, the kings of Persia. This appellation corrupted into 0713 has been long since observed : compare Hab. i. 6. with Isa. (Koresh), might become known to the Hebrews by means xxiii. 13.

of merchants travelling between Judæa and Persia ; and iv. “Cyrus, in his written proclamation (Ezra i. 2.), Isaiah, who did not hesitate to call Cyrus the anointed, noon, says, that the God of heaven had given him all kingdoms of may have called him by the appellative of the kings of the earth, and had charged him to build to Him a temple at Jerusalem. These words, as well as the acts of Cyrus, in announcing future events.

1 Prophets are not, like historians, confined to the order of chronology

This is plain from their writings, which namely, his dismission of the Jews to their own country, always give perspective views. Zechariah predicted a kingdom for the his grant of a sum of money for the building of the temple, high priest, without noticing the destruction of the Persian monarchy and and his restitution of the valuable holy vessels, can only be ites from the Assyrian captivity, without saying any thing of the intervenexplained on the supposition that

he had seen the prophe- ing revolutions by the Chaldæans, Medes, and Persians. "In prophecy the cies of Isaiah concerning him, as Josephus states, and was more remote events are often introduced, while the intermediate are unno induced, by their manifestly divine origin, to confer such

9 Comp. Prideaux, Conn. Part I. Book I.

ticed.

Persia, which became afterwards the proper name of that because the same devastation is predicted by Jeremiah xlix. particular king."

7. ss., and by Ezekiel xxv. 12. ss., and after a long time was 2. EXAMINATION AND REFUTATION OF OBJECTIONS AGAINST first effected by Nebuchadnezzar, which is thought to be too PARTICULAR PREDICTIONS OF Isaiah.

distant from the time of the prophet. But it has not been These may be referred to three heads; viz. i. Prophecies disproved that Isaiah is speaking, ch. xxxiv., of another against the Egyptians, Elamites, Idumæans, &c. ;-—1i. The calamity, to be inflicted on Idumea by the Assyrians, of prophecies against Tyre;-and, iii. The prophecy concerning which Amos, ch. i. 11–15., had spoken before him. the subversion of the Chaldæo-Babylonian empire, and the (9.) “ The xxxyth chapter of Isaiah is entirely destitute return of the Hebrews from captivity.

of any thing which could give countenance to the supposition i. Prophecies against the Egyptians, Elamites, Idumæuns, of a more recent origin, and ver. 8. compared with 2 Kings Gc.

xvii. 25. proves it to belong to the age of Hezekiah."2 (1.) “Some have said that the passage in Isa. ii. 2–4. is ii. The Prophecy against Tyre. Isa. xxiii. inserted by mistake by the person whom they suppose to “The prophecy concerning the destruction of Tyre by the have collected the several prophecies into this one book, Chaldæans, Isa. xxiii., points out its own age in ver. 13., about the end of the Babylonish captivity ; but others have where the Chaldæans are said to be a recent nation, to whoni already remarked that this passage may have been taken by a district of country lying on the Euphrates had been assigned Isaiah from Micah iv. 1–3., or by Micah from Isaiah, or by by the Assyrians, who must, consequently, have been at the: both from some more ancient prophecy.

time the prevailing power. For as Habakkuk also, who (2.) “ Chapters xi. and xii

. have been supposed not to lived under Manasseh, asserts (i. 6.) that the Chaldæans belong to Isaíah, because in ch. xi. 11—16. the very distant were a late people, who were endeavouring to possess themevent of the return of the Israelites from Assyria and Egypt selves of the territories of others, it is plain that the time of and other regions is predicted. But this return was predicted the delivery of the prophecy in Isa. xxiii. could not have also by Micah, the contemporary of Isaiah, by Hosea, and been far distant from that of Habakkuk. It is, indeed. by Amos.

uncertair whether Isaiah lived till the reign of Manasseh ; (3.) “The prophecy in chapters xv. xvi. is thought to but as the Chaldæans made frequent irruptions out of their have been written three years before the devastation of Moab own settlements in the eastern and northern parts of Armenia by Nebuchadnezzar, xiv. 13, &c., because Zephaniah, ii. 8, into the more southern territories, during a long period of time, &c. and Jeremiah, ch. xlviii., threaten the Moabites with the without doubt these incursions had begun as early as the same calamity. But who can show that Isaiah did not speak latter years of the reign of Hezekiah, since the kingdom of of another calamity to be inflicted upon them by the Assy- Assyria was at that time so much weakened by the assassirians ? or who would suppose that the Assyrians spared the nation of Sennacherib and the intestine tumults which followMoabites ? Their country was devastated, therefore, ased that event, as to afford a sufficient inducement for such Isaiah foretold, by the Assyrians, and then again by the expeditions.—Without sufficient reason also is it asserted Chaldæans, of whom Zephaniah and Jeremiah prophesied. that the 70 years mentioned Isa. xxiii. 10. are a prophetic That this prophecy of Isaiah was much older than the time number taken from Jeremiah xxv. 11, 12. xxix. 10., and that of Jeremiah, is certain ; for Jeremiah, ch. xlviii., borrows therefore the whole prophecy must be later than the time of many ideas from it, as must be evident to every one who Jeremiah. If either of the prophets borrowed this number compares the two. That it is the production of Isaiah from the other, it is certainly more reasonable to conclude himself is shown by the time of its fulfilment being stated, that Jeremiah, who, we know, has borrowed from prophets which is according to Isaiah's usual practice. See vii. 14– more ancient than himself, took it from the prophecy of 17. viii. 4.

Isaiah, than that the author of this prophecy, who every (4.) “No other reason is brought to prove that the passage where else appears to rely solely upon his own resources ch. xix. 18—25. is not Isaiah's, than this, that in the same was indebted for it to Jeremiah. What confirms this concluchapter, ver. 1–15., a prophecy of the calamity of Egypt sion is, that particular specifications of time are altogether had preceded, whereas ver. 18—25. predict prosperity. But in character with Isaiah's manner. The distance of the this is nothing more than is common with the prophets-to event predicted is no objection; for Amos had before the promise better fortune after predicting calamity. As the time of Isaiah, denounced the destruction of Tyre. The Egyptians are called, ver. 25., the people of Jehovah, and Chaldaisms, Isa. xxiii. 11. nuyn 2005, will disappear, if we the Assyrians, the work of the hands of Jehovah, the

TIT prophecy must necessarily have been the production of a point the words yn ypvb, to destroy her weakened or expelled Hebrew, and it is much more probable that Isaiah should ones.''3 have written it, than any more modern author.

iji. Prophecies concerning the Subversion of the Chaldæo(5.) “ Isa. xxii, 1–11. is rejected as spurious, because Babylonian Empire, and the return of the Hebrews from Capthe Elamites are mentioned, ver. 6.; but from a comparison tivity. (Isa. xiii. 1–14. 23. xxi. and xl.lxvi.) of ver. 8—11. with 2 Chron. xxxii. 245. and Isa. vii., it These predictions, it has been affirmed, must have been appears that the subject is the irruption of Sennacherib: the written in the time of the Babylonish captivity, for the folmention of the Elamites, therefore, must be at least as lowing reasons; viz. old as the time of Isaiah: why, then, seek for any other (1.) “ The difference of style : for in the last twenty-seven author than Isaiah, who is mentioned in the title of the chapters, the better part of the people is distinguished as the prophecy?

serrant or worshipper of Jehovah, xli. 8, 9. xlii. 1, &c. xliv. 1. (6.) “They who contend that it is not natural that Isaiah xlviii. 12. 20. xlix. 7. lii. 13., which is not the case in the should have uttered so many prophecies concerning the former part of the book.—Idolatry is exposed to derision and irruption of Sennacherib alone, do not consider that this contempt, xl. 19, 20. xliv. 9—17. xlvi. 5—7., an exhibition not event was one of great importance, and contributed very to be found in those passages of the former part; e. g. ii. 19., much to confirm the Hebrews in their religion, so that it wherein idolatry is reprehended. The accomplishment of well deserved a multitude of prophetic notices. The style former prophecies is frequently noticed, xli. 21—24. 26–29. and construction, too, confirm the opinion that they are pro- xliv. 6. s. xlv. 21. xlviii

. 5., which argues a modern author, ductions of Isaiah, since they do not differ more from each and is not to be found in the first part.-Lastly, words and other in this respect, than do the various Conferences of phrases of frequent occurrence in the first part are not disHariri, or the different Psalms of David.

coverable in the second.” (7.) “ The prophecy, Isa. xxiv.-xxvii., is referred to a To this objection Professor Jahn replies, that "the lanmore recent date, on account of the frequent occurrence of guage, style, and composition are certainly not such as must paronomasiæ. Now we know that these are considered necessarily be referred to the time of the captivity, and could singular beauties in the Oriental style, and that Micah, the not have been produced by Isaiah. On the contrary, the contemporary of Isaiah, makes frequent use of them, so that purity of the language, the sublimity of the style, and the they are no proof of a recent date. Besides, Isaiah himself elegance of the composition, are such as could not be exelsewhere frequently uses paronomasiæ. See Isa. i. 7. 23. pected from the leaden age of Hebrew literature; but show iii. 1.5. vii. 7, 8. 22. s. xxix. 16.; compare Hos.i. 4. s. v. 1. their origin to have been in the silver age. The difference and Mic. i. 14. s. iii. 12. iv. 10.

of style in the two parts is not greater than the difference of (8.) “ The xxxivth chapter of Isaiah, in which the devas- Micah i.-v. from vi. vii., and is less than that which may tation of Idumea is predicted, is thought to be of later origin, be observed in Hosea i. iii. compared with ii. iv.-xiv., or

T!:,:

: Prof. Turner's and Mr. Whittingham's translation of Jahn's Introduc. tion, pp. 346-350.

2 Jahn's Introduction by Prof. Turner and Mr. Whittingham, pp. 352, 353. 3 Ibid. p. 354.

in Amos i.—vi. compared with vii. viii., or in the different part, was itself exceedingly distant from the end of the Baby psalms of David. The concurrence of some words or phrases Ionian captivity; so that even allowing, for argument's sake, not to be found in the other writings of the age of Isaiah the hypothesis concerning the recent origin of these propheproves nothing: for it is not to be expected that in the small cies to be correct, there will yet remain a prophecy verified remains of Hebrew literature, all the words and phrases of in a remote posterity, the Hebrew people, and more particuany particular age should repeatedly occur. Yet there are larly the better part of that people, being pointed out as the in the writings in question exceedingly few words or phrases instruments of its completion.--It is certainly true that the of this kind. i_On the contrary, the accustomed vehemence prophét discerns the hostile kingdom of the Chaldæo-Babyof Isaiah, the same dismemberment of objects, and the same lonians, the cities of Judæa overthrown, the ruins of Jerusaantithesis between Jacob and Israel, are observable in both lem, and the downfall of the Chaldæan monarchy, and parts of these prophecies. All the difference is, that the names not only the Medes and Elamites, hat even Cyrus prophet, who in the first part was censuring wickedness, in himself. But that Isaiah, receiving such revelations in the the latter endeavours rather to teach and console, as the na- time of Hezekiah or Manasseh, might so totally have Icst ture of his subject required : yet even here he sometimes himself in the contemplation of a very distant period, as to inveighs against different vices, lvi. 9.vii. 12. lviii. 1—7. forget the present and write only of the future, will not be lix. 148. Ixv. 11–14. If Isaiah wrote these prophecies in denied by any one who has observed that Micah, Joel, Ilathe latter years of his life, it is easy to conceive that the bakkuk, and Nahum are altogether conversant with far disprophet, now old (in the time of Manasseh, as appears from tant ages. And Isaiah himself warns his reader of this, every part of these prophecies), filled with consolatory pros- ch. xl.

1. xli. 7. 21. Ixvi. 9., by the expression 1.79 728, th:e pects, chose rather to teach than to rebuke: but it was pecu- LORD WILL say. Compare Isa. xliv. 5." liarly proper for a teacher to address the people as the servant (3.) The prophecies of events as far as the time of Cyrus of God, to distinguish the better part of the nation, and to are clear and perspicuous ; but those which refer to later times illustrate the madness of idolatry; which last, however, he are obscure ; hence it may be concluded that the author was had done in the first part, not only ch. ii. 18. s., but also ii. contemporary with Cyrus. -For if it had pleased God to grant 8. viii. 19. 21., although with more brevity than in the latter such very clear prophecies in times so far remcte, and even part. The notice of the fulfilment of former prophecies was to reveal the name of Cyrus; why is it said, ch. xlv. 11., especially adapted to convey instruction, whether the author that the Hebrews, after their return to their country, shruld refers to the carrying away of the ten tribes, or to the de participate in the commerce of the Cushites and Sabaans, liverance of the Jews from the Assyrians, or to some other when, as is evident from Ezra, Nehemiah, and Malachi, the more ancient predictions: this, therefore, is no proof of a event was not so? Nor were the great promises made, ch. modern date. Such remarks do not occur in the first part of Ix. 6–10., ever fulfilled. The contemporaries of Isaiah the book, because there the prophet neither teaches nor con- certainly never could have been able to discern that those soles, but reproves.—The occurrence of certain phrases in things which were prophesied concerning Cyrus should be one part which are not to be found in the other might literally fulfilled, but the others only in part, and figuratively." prove a difference of authors, if the genius of Isaiah were To ihis objection Jahn answers, " That the prophecies dry and barren; but not otherwise.”

relating to times anterior to Cyrus should be the more per(2.) “ The particularity of the prophecies, and the distance spicuous, but those referring to more distant periods the of the events from the time of their prediction.

more obscure, is not to be wondered at; for in vísions, as in “ In the age of Isaiah there was no Chaldæan monarchy, prospects, the more distant objects appear the more indisnor were the Medes and Elamites, who are predicted to be tinctly marked. That the Cushites and Sabæans formerly the destroyers of the Chaldæan monarchy, nations of any carried on a considerable commerce and brought merchandise celebrity. From the fourteenth year of Hezekiah to the to the Hebrews even after the captivity, cannot be doubted : founding of that monarchy was ninety years: it was one nor were the Hebrews of that time so universally poor as is hundred and fifteen to the birth of Cyrus, who was appoint- pretended; for, Hag. i., they built ceiled houses, and suped general of the Median army in the one hundred and fifty- plied funds for the building of the temple, and, in the tiine fifth year after Hezekiah, and it was not until the one hun- of Nehemiah, even for the fortifications of Jerusalem. Bedred and seventy-sixth year that he overthrew the Chaldæan sides, these passages relate not so much to commercial inmonarchy. Yet our prophet so long before sees Judæa and | tercourse with these people, as to their conversion to the Jerusalem devastated by the Chaldæans, xlv. 26–28.; dis- worship of the true God. That not a few of them did emcerns the kingdom which had brought such destruction upon brace Judaism, and visit the temple of Jerusalem, as is preJudæa verging to its ruin, and its enemies already rushing dicted ch. lx. 6–10., is certain from Acts ii. 10, 11. and from the north, xlii. 14. xli. 2. 25.; and even designates viii. 27."? Cyrus twice by his very name as the deliverer of the He- 3. EXAMINATION OF THE QUESTION WHETHER Isaiah WAS brews, xliv. 28. xlv. 1."

THE AUTHOR OF CHAPTERS Xxxvi.-xxxix.? In answer to this objection, it is urged by Jahn, that the These “ chapters agree verbally in most respects with particularity of the predictions to be accomplished at a pe- 2 Kings xviii. 13.-xx. 19.; yet in some they differ. Thus riod so distant is indeed extraordinary: but the prophet fre- the song of Hezekiah, Isaiah xxxviii. 9–20., is wanting in quently recommends this very circumstance to the attention 2 Kings: on the contrary, the reconciliation of Hezekiah of the reader as something remarkable; whence it appears with Sennacherib, 2 Kings xviii. 14–16., is wanting in that even in his age it seemed incredible to many, and there- Isaiah. What we read, 2 Kings xx. 7. s., concerning the fore the fact that the remoteness of the fulfilment is noticed lump of figs to be placed upon the bcil of Hezekiah, is, in in these prophecies is a proof of the antiquity of their au- Isa. xxxviii., introduced where it does not belong: its natuthor.-It has already been shown that the Chaldæans, Medes ral place would have been after ver. 6. There are also some and Persians, or Elamites, were not in the time of Isaiah other discrepancies of less moment, which it is unnecessary such obscure nations as that the prophet, when speaking of to adduce. “From all this it appears that the text of these them, could not have been understood as far as was neces- two passages is so different and yet so similar, that both sary. That the prophets have sometimes spoken of very re- would seem to have been taken from one common source, mote events has been already proved by several examples, namely, from the history of Hezekiah, which Isaiah wrote, some of which were even afforded by Isaiah himself': to 2 Chron. xxxii. 32. The speeches of the ambassadors of these may be added, that in this same second part, Jesus the Sennacherib, of Hezekiah, and of Isaiah, and the attention Messiah is predicted, ch. lii. 13.—liii. 12., a passage so paid to minute circumstances, show that the narration was clear that all attempts to explain it of any other are perfectly written by a contemporary witness who was himself convain and fruitless." Compare also ch. lv. 1–5. Indeed, in cerned, as it is certain that Isaiah was, in the transactions his very first vision, ch. vi., the prophet foresees the entire which he has recorded. The words nnd and 999179, which devastation of Judæa, and the subsequent restoration. Lastly, occur in the narration, are not more recent than the time of the propagation of religion, predicted in the same second Isaiah, and even if and were of Aramæan origin, that would

not be a proof of a modern date, since some exotic words 1 In his larger German Introduction, Prof. Jahn “ declares that after re- had already been introduced into the Hebrew language, in peated perusals, he can find only two such words: y3, ch. Ivi. 14. lxiii. 1. the time of Isaiah, as may be observed in the writings of which occurs elsewhere only in Jer. ii. 20. xxviii. 12. but yet is not Ara-Hosea and Amos. The word 79997, has not in this place mæan;

and Dad, which is found in Isa. xli. 5. and elsewhere only in Jere the signification which it acquired after the captivity, but miah, Ezekiel, Ezra, and Neliemiah, but which cannot be a very modern word, as it was in use ainong the

Assyrians. See Ezek. xxiii. 6. 12. 23- 2 Jahn's Introduction by Prof. Turner and Mr. Whittingham, pp. 355 Einleit. S. 485." Notes of Prof. Turner and Mr. Whittingham. VOL. 11.

2 L

-358.

vivid colours and with images that are truly pathetic and discharge the duties of his function with unremitting dili sublime.

gence and fidelity during a course of at least forty-two years

reckoned from the thirteenth year of Josiah's reign. In the 8. ON THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET ZEPHANIAH.

course of his ministry he met with great difficulties and oppo

sition from his countrymen of all degrees, whose persecution I. Author and date.-II. Scope and analysis of this book. and ill usage sometimes wrought so far upon his mind, as to BEFORE CHRIST, 640—609.

draw from him expressions, in the bitterness of his soul,

which many have thought difficult to reconcile with his reliI. This prophet, who was “the son of Cushi, the son of gious principles; but which, when duly weighed, may be Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah” (i. 1.), found to demand our pity rather than censure. He was, in is supposed to have been of the tribe of Simeon; but, though truth, a man of unblemished piety and conscientious integrity: he has mentioned his ancestors for no less than four genera- a warm lover of his country, whose miseries he pathetically tions, nothing certain can be inferred from thence, as to the deplores ; and so affectionately attached to his countrymen, family to which he belonged. We learn, however, from his notwithstanding their injurious treatment of him, that he prophecy, that he delivered his predictions in the reign of chose rather to abide with them, and undergo all hardships Josiah ; consequently he prophesied about the time that Jere- in their company, than separately to enjoy a state of ease and miah entered on his prophetic office, and in method and sub- plenty, which the favour of the king of Babylon would have ject he greatly resembles him.

secured to him. At length, after the destruction of JerusaOn this account Zephaniah has been considered as the ab- lem, having followed the remnant of the Jews into Egypt, breviator of Jeremiah'; but it is evident that he prophesied whither they had resolved to retire, though contrary to his before Jeremiah, because the latter (Jer. ii. 5. 20. 22.) seems advice, upon the murder of Gedaliah, whom the Chaldæans to speak of those abuses as partially removed, which the had left governor in Judæa, he there continued warmly to former (Zeph. i. 4, 5. 9.) describes as existing in the most remonstrate against their idolatrous practices, foretelling the flagitious extent. From his account of the disorders prevail- consequences that would inevitably follow. But his freedom ing in Judah, it is probable that he discharged the prophetic and zeal are said to have cost him his life ; for there is a office before the eighteenth year of Josiah; that is, before tradition, that the Jews at Tahpanhes were so offended at his this prince had reformed the abuses and corruptions

of his faithful remonstrances, that they stoned him to death, which dominions. The style of Zeplianiah is poetical, though it is account of the manner of his decease, though not absolutely not characterized by any striking or uncommon beauties. certain, is at least very likely to be true, considering the temper

II. In consequence of the idolatry and other iniquities pre- and disposition of the parties concerned. Their wickedness, vailing in the kingdom of Judah, whose inhabitants had dis- however, did not long pass without its reward ; for, in a few regarded the denunciations and admonitions of former pro- years after, they were miserably destroyed by the Babylophets, Zephaniah was commissioned to proclaim the enormity nian armies which invaded Egypt, according to the prophet's of their wickedness, and to denounce the imminent desola- prediction. (xliv. 27, 28.) Some Jewish writers, however, tion that awaited them; to excite them to repentance, to fore- affirm that he returned to Judæa, while others say that he went tell the destruction of their enemies, and to comfort the pious to Babylon, and died there; and a third class are of opinion Jews with promises of future blessings.

that he died in Egypt, far advanced in years, and broken by His prophecy, which consists of three chapters, may be the calamities which had happened both to himself and his divided into four sections; viz.

country. This prophet's writings are all in Hebrew, except Sect. 1. A denunciation against Judah for their idolatry. (i.) the eleventh verse of the tenth chapter, which is Chaldee. Sect. 2. Repentance the only means to avert the divine ven- His predictions concerning the seventy years of the captivity geance. (ii. 1-3.)

were known to and read by the prophet Daniel. (ix. 1.) Sect. 3. Prophecies against the Philistines (ii. 4—7.), Moab- II. The idolatrous apostasy and other criminal enormities

ites, and Ammonites (8—11.), Ethiopia (12.), and Nine- of the people of Judah, and the severe judgments which God veh. (13—15.)

was preparing to inflict upon them, though not without a disSect. 4. The captivity of the Jews by the Babylonians fore- tant prospect of future restoration and deliverance, form the

told (iii, 1–7.), together with their future restoration and principal subjects of the prophecies of Jeremiah ; except the the ultimate prosperous state of the church. (8–20.)

forty-fifth chapter, which relates personally to Baruch, and

the six following chapters, which respect the fortunes of some particular heathen nations.

It is evident, from various passages of this book, that there SECTION III.

were four distinct collections of Jeremiah's prophecies. The

first was that mentioned in chap. xxxvi. 2. and made by IN THE PROPHETS WHO FLOURISHED NEAR TO AND DURING THE divine command in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim. BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY.

In this collection were contained all the predictions which he

had delivered and published, to that time, as well against § 1. ON THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET JEREMIAH. other nations as against the Jews: the prophecies against I. Author and date.-II. Occasion of his prophecies.-Differ- end of the book, as being in some measure unconnected with

the Gentiles are, in our Bibles, placed by themselves at the ent collections of them.-—III. Synopsis of their contents. those denounced against the Jews; but in the present copies IV. Prophecies concerning the Messiah.V. Observations of the Septuagint, they follow immediately after the thiron their style.

teenth verse of the twenty-fifth chapter. This first collec REFORE CHRIST, 628—586.

tion comprised chapters i.:-xx. xxv. xxvi. xxxv. xxxvi. xlv. 1. The prophet Jeremiah was of the sacerdotal race, being -li. inclusive. (as he himself records) one of the priests that dwelt at Ana- The second collection is that mentioned in chap. xxx. 2., thoth (i. 1.) in the land of Benjamin, a city appropriated out and contained chapters xxvii.-xxxi. inclusive : it was made of that tribe to the use of the priests, the sons of Aaron (Josh. in the reign of Zedekiah, and, as may be inferred from xxviii xxi. 18.), and situate, as we learn from Jerome, about three 1., after the fourth year of the reign of Zedekiah. Roman miles north of Jerusalem. Some critics have con- The third collection was made soon after the destruction jectured that his father was the same Hilkiah, the high- of Jerusalem, as is plainly indicated by the prophet himself priest, who found the book of the law in the temple, in the in the general preface to his book, where he says that the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah (2 Kings xxii. 8.): word of Jehovah came to him “in the days of Josiah the son but for this opinion there is no better ground than that he of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign; bore the same name, which was of frequent occurrence among and came in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of the Jews; for, if Hilkiah had really been the high-priest, he Judah, until the completion of the eleventh year of Zedekiah would doubtless have been distinguished by that title, and the son of Josiah king of Judah, until the carrying away of would not have been placed on a level with priests of an or- Jerusalem into captivity in the fifth month." (i. 1-3.) Čondinary and inferior class. Jeremiah appears to have been sequently, this third collection included chapters xxi.- xxiv very young when he was called to the exercise of the pro- xxxii.-xxxiv. and xxxvii.-xxxix. phetical office, from which he modestly endeavoured to ex- : Dr. Blayney's Translation of Jeremiah, pp. 221, 222. 2d edit. cuse himself, by, pleading his youth and incapacity ; but

Ibid. p. 222 being overruled by the divine authority, he set himself to the Hebrew and the Septuagint, in the order of Jeremiah's prophecies;

* Carpzov

has written an elaborate disquisition on the variations between Lowth's Lectures, vol. ii. p. 99.

and has given a table illustrating those variations. See his Introd. ad Libros Hieronymi

Comm. in Jer. cc. i. xi. and xxxi. Eusebil Onomast. voce. Biblicos Vet. Test. pars iii. c. iii. $ 4. pp. 144-152.

« ElőzőTovább »