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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 fonian 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 prophe proves 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. On the contrary, the accustomed vehemence prophet 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, but 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 lost 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.-lvii. 12. lviii. 1-7. forget the present and write only of the future, will not be lix. 1-8. xv. 11-14. If Isaiah wrote these prophecies in denied by any one who has observed that Micah, Joel, Hathe 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. lxvi. 9., by the expression mm, the 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 of God, to distinguish the better part of the nation, and to illustrate the madness of idolatry; which last, however, he had done in the first part, not only ch. ii. 18. s., but also ii. 8. viii. 19. 21., although with more brevity than in the latter part. The notice of the fulfilment of former prophecies was especially adapted to convey instruction, whether the author refers to the carrying away of the ten tribes, or to the deliverance of the Jews from the Assyrians, or to some other more ancient predictions: this, therefore, is no proof of a modern date. Such remarks do not occur in the first part of the book, because there the prophet neither teaches nor consoles, but reproves.-The occurrence of certain phrases in one part which are not to be found in the other might prove a difference of authors, if the genius of Isaiah were dry and barren; but not otherwise."
(3.)" The prophecies of events as far as the time of Cyrus are clear and perspicuous; but those which refer to later limes are obscure; hence it may be concluded that the author was contemporary with Cyrus.-For if it had pleased God to grant such very clear prophecies in times so far remote, and even to reveal the name of Cyrus; why is it said, ch. xlv. 14., that the Hebrews, after their return to their country, should participate in the commerce of the Cushites and Sabans, when, as is evident from Ezra, Nehemiah, and Malachi, the event was not so? Nor were the great promises made, ch. Ix. 6-10., ever fulfilled. The contemporaries of Isaiah certainly never could have been able to discern that those things which were prophesied concerning Cyrus should be literally fulfilled, but the others only in part, and figuratively." To this objection Jahn answers, That the prophecies relating to times anterior to Cyrus should be the more perspicuous, but those referring to more distant periods the more obscure, is not to be wondered at; for in visions, as in "In the age of Isaiah there was no Chaldæan monarchy, prospects, the more distant objects appear the more indi nor 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 time fifth year after Hezekiah, and it was not until the one hundred and seventy-sixth year that he overthrew the Chaldæan monarchy. Yet our prophet so long before sees Judæa and Jerusalem devastated by the Chaldæans, xlv. 26-28.; discerns the kingdom which had brought such destruction upon Judæa verging to its ruin, and its enemies already rushing from the north, xlii. 14. xli. 2. 25.; and even designates Cyrus twice by his very name as the deliverer of the Hebrews, xliv. 28. xlv. 1."
(2.) The particularity of the prophecies, and the distance of the events from the time of their prediction.
In answer to this objection, it is urged by Jahn, that "the particularity of the predictions to be accomplished at a period so distant is indeed extraordinary: but the prophet frequently recommends this very circumstance to the attention of the reader as something remarkable; whence it appears that even in his age it seemed incredible to many, and therefore the fact that the remoteness of the fulfilment is noticed in these prophecies is a proof of the antiquity of their author. It has already been shown that the Chaldæans, Medes and Persians, or Elamites, were not in the time of Isaiah such obscure nations as that the prophet, when speaking of them, could not have been understood as far as was necessary. That the prophets have sometimes spoken of very remote events has been already proved by several examples, some of which were even afforded by Isaiah himself: to these may be added, that in this same second part, Jesus the Messiah is predicted, ch. lii. 13.-liii. 12., a passage so clear that all attempts to explain it of any other are perfectly vain and fruitless. Compare also ch. lv. 1-5. Indeed, in his very first vision, ch. vi., the prophet foresees the entire devastation of Judæa, and the subsequent restoration. Lastly, the propagation of religion, predicted in the same second In his larger German Introduction, Prof. Jahn "declares that after repeated perusals, he can find only two such words: nys, ch. lvi. 14. lxiii. 1. which occurs elsewhere only in Jer. ii. 20. xxviii. 12. but yet is not Araman; and, which is found in Isa. xli. 25. and elsewhere only in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, but which cannot be a very modern word, as it was in use among the Assyrians. See Ezek. xxiii. 6. 12. 23.Einleit. S. 485." Notes of Prof. Turner and Mr. Whittingham. 2 L
of Nehemiah, even for the fortifications of Jerusalem. Besides, these passages relate not so much to commercial intercourse with these people, as to their conversion to the worship of the true God. That not a few of them did embrace Judaism, and visit the temple of Jerusalem, as is predicted ch. lx. 6-10., is certain from Acts ii. 10, 11. and viii. 27."2
3. EXAMINATION OF THE QUESTION WHETHER ISAIAH WAS THE AUTHOR OF CHAPTERS Xxxvi.-xxxix.?
These "chapters agree verbally in most respects with 2 Kings xviii. 13.-xx. 19.; yet in some they differ. Thus the song of Hezekiah, Isaiah xxxviii. 9-20., is wanting in 2 Kings: on the contrary, the reconciliation of Hezekiah with Sennacherib, 2 Kings xviii. 14-16., is wanting in Isaiah. What we read, 2 Kings xx. 7. s., concerning the lump of figs to be placed upon the boil of Hezekiah, is, in Isa. xxxviii., introduced where it does not belong: its natural place would have been after ver. 6. There are also some other discrepancies of less moment, which it is unnecessary to adduce. From all this it appears that the text of these two passages is so different and yet so similar, that both would seem to have been taken from one common source, namely, from the history of Hezekiah, which Isaiah wrote, 2 Chron. xxxii. 32. The speeches of the ambassadors of Sennacherib, of Hezekiah, and of Isaiah, and the attention paid to minute circumstances, show that the narration was written by a contemporary witness who was himself concerned, as it is certain that Isaiah was, in the transactions which he has recorded. The words no and , which occur in the narration, are not more recent than the time of Isaiah, and even if no were of Aramaan origin, that would not be a proof of a modern date, since some exotic words had already been introduced into the Hebrew language, in the time of Isaiah, as may be observed in the writings of Hosea and Amos. The word has not in this place the signification which it acquired after the captivity, but Jahn's Introduction by Prof. Turner and Mr. Whittingham, pp. 355
designates the Hebrew language, which at that time flourish- | ed only in the kingdom of Judah."
III. The SCOPE of Isaiah's predictions is three-fold; viz. 1. To detect, reprove, and condemn the sins of the Jewish people especially, and also the iniquities of the ten tribes of Israel, and the abominations of many Gentile nations and countries; denouncing the severest judgments against all sorts and degrees of persons, whether Jews or Gentiles.
2. To invite persons of every rank and condition, both Jews and Gentiles, to repentance and reformation, by numerous promises of pardon and mercy. It is worthy of remark that no such promises are intermingled with the denunciations of divine vengeance against Babylon, although they occur in the threatenings against every other people.
3. To comfort all the truly pious (in the midst of all the calamities and judgments denounced against the wicked) with prophetic promises of the true Messiah.2 These predictions seem almost to anticipate the Gospel history, so clearly do they foreshow the divine character of Christ (ch. vii. 14. compared with Matt. i. 18-23. and Luke i. 27-35.; vi. ix. 6. xxxv. 4. xl. 5. 9, 10. xlii. 6-8. lxi. 1. compared with Luke iv. 18. lxii. 11. lxiii. 1-4.); his miracles (ch. XXXV. 5, 6.); his peculiar qualities and virtues (ch. ix. 2, 3. xl. 11. xliii. 1-3.); his rejection (ch. vi. 9-12. viii. 14, 15. liii. 3.); and sufferings for our sins (ch. 1. 6. liii. 4-11.;)3 his death, burial (ch. liii. 8, 9.), and victory over death (ch. xxv. 8. liii. 10-12.); and, lastly, his final glory (ch. xlix. 7, 22, 23. lii. 13-15. liii. 4, 5.), and the establishment, increase (ch. ii. 2—4. ix. 7. xlii. 4. xlvi. 13.), and perfection (ch. ix. 2. 7. xi. 4-10. xvi. 5. xxix. 18-24. xxxii. 1. xl. 4, 5. xlix. 9-13. li. 3-6. lii. 6-10. lv. 1-3. lix. 16-21. lx. lxi. 1-5. lxv. 25.) of his kingdom; each specifically pointed out, and portrayed with the most striking and discriminating characters. It is impossible, indeed, to reflect on these, and on the whole chain of his illustrious prophecies, and not to be sensible that they furnish the most incontestable evidence in support of Christianity."4
IV. The predictions of Isaiah are contained in sixty-six chapters; of which the five first are generally supposed to have been delivered in the reign of Uzziah: the sixth in the reign of Jotham; the seventh to the fifteenth in the reign of Ahaz; and the remainder in that of Hezekiah. Various modes of classifying them have been proposed, in order to present them in the most useful and lucid arrangement; some commentators and critics dividing them into three parts:1. Evangelico-Legal, which contain denunciations of the divine vengeance, intermixed with evangelical promises;2. Historical, comprising the narrative part;-and, 3. Evangelical, comprising prophecies and promises relative to the deliverance of the Jews from captivity, and the yet greater deliverance of mankind from the bondage of sin, by the Messiah. By other writers, the book of the prophet Isaiah is divided into,-1. Reprehensory, including sharp reproofs and threatenings of the Jews for their sins, in which are mingled promises to the penitent;-2. Minatory, containing threatenings against the enemies of the Jewish church, and also against the Jews themselves;-3. Narrative or Historical; and, 4. Consolatory and evangelical promises concerning Messiah and the church. Other classifications have been proposed, which it is not necessary to specify; but, without adopting any of them, we apprehend that the following synopsis will be found to exhibit a clear view of the various topics discussed by the royal prophet. The predictions of Isaiah, then, may be divided into six parts, each containing a number of discourses, delivered by the prophet to the various nations or people whom he was commissioned to address.5
1 Jahn's Introduction, p. 359. Bishop Lowth considers the narrativechapters in Isaiah as a different copy of the relation in the second book of Kings, the account of Hezekiah's sickness only excepted. The difference of the two copies, he is of opinion, is little more than what has manifestly arisen from the mistakes of transcribers: they mutually correct each other; and most of the mistakes may be perfectly rectified by a collation of the two copies with the assistance of the ancient versions. Some few sentences, or members of sentences, are omitted in this copy of Isaiah, which are found in the other copy of the book of Kings; but he doubts whether these omissions were made by design or by mistake. Isaiah, vol. ii. p. 237.
The scope of Isaiah's prophecies above given is abridged from Roberts's Clavis Bibliorum, p. 616. The Ethiopian eunuch appears to have been made a proselyte by Saint Philip's explication of this chapter. Vide Acts viii. 32. The whole of it is so minutely descriptive of Christ's passion, that a famous Rabbi, likewise, on reading it, was converted from Judaism.-Who, indeed, can resist its evidence?
4 Gray's Key, pp. 369, 370.
These general divisions of the prophecy are according to the scheme proposed by Vitringa (Comment. in Esaiam, tom. i. p. 24.) and Bishop
PART I. contains a general Description of the Estate and Condition of the Jews, in the several Periods of their History; the Promulgation and Success of the Gospel and the Coming of Messiah to Judgment. (ch. i.-v.) The Predictions in this Section were delivered during the Reign of Uzziah King of Judah.
DISCOURSE 1. (ch. i. throughout.) The prophecy contained in this first chapter stands single and unconnected, constituting an entire piece of itself. If, as we suppose to have been the case, it was delivered in the reign of Uzziah, the desolation which it describes may refer to the calamities which were occasioned before that time by Jehoash king of Israel (compare 2 Kings xiv. 12-14.); or, the prophet may describe scenes yet future, as already passing before his eyes, to denote their certainty. As, however, the portrait, which it presents of the desolate and distressed state of the land of Judah, agrees much better with the wicked and afflicted reign of the apostate Ahaz, than with the flourishing circumstances in the reigns of Uzziah and Jotham (who were both, in the main, good princes): on this account the learned Dr. John Taylor thinks it probable that the prediction in this chapter was uttered in the reign of Ahaz, and intends the invasion of Judah by Resin and Pekah, kings of Syria and Israel. But whichever of these conjectures may be preferred, the chapter contains a severe remonstrance against the inclinations to idolatry, want of inward piety, and other corruptions, prevailing among the Jews of that time, intermixed with powerful exhortations to repentance, grievous threatenings to the impenitent, and gracious promises of better times, when the nation shall have been reformed by the just judgments of God. The whole of this discourse affords a beautiful example of the prophet's elegant and impressive manner of writing.
DISCOURSE 2. (ch. ii. iii. iv.) contains the following particulars :— 1. The kingdom of Messiah, the conversion of the Gentiles, and their admission into it. (ii. 1-5.)
2. A prediction of the punishment of the unbelieving Jews, for their idolatrous practices, for their confidence in their own strength, and distrust of God's protection; and likewise the destruction of idolatry, in consequence of the establishment of Messiah's kingdom. (ii. 6-20.5 3. A prophecy of calamities of the Babylonian invasion (perhaps also of the invasion by the Romans), with a particular amplification of the distress of the proud and luxurious daughters of Sion. (iii. 1-26.8 iv. 1.) 4. A promise to the remnant that should escape this severe purgation, of a restoration to the favour and protection of God. (iv. 2-6.) This prophetic sermon was probably delivered in the time of Jotham, or perhaps in the reign of Uzziah.
DISCOURSE 3. ch. v. This chapter likewise stands single and alone, unconnected with the preceding or following: its subject is nearly the same with that of ch. i., but it exceeds that chapter in force, in severity, in variety, and elegance. It is a general reproof of the Jews for their wickedness, which is represented in the parable of the vineyard (verses 1-5.); and it adds a more express declaration of vengeance by the Babylonian invasion. (verses 6―30.)
PART II. comprises the Predictions delivered in the Reigns of Jotham and Ahaz. (ch. vi.-xii.)
DISCOURSE 1. The vision and prophecy of Isaiah in the reign of Jotham. (ch. vi.)9 As this vision seems to contain a solemn designation of Isaiah to the prophetical office, it is supposed by many interpreters to be the first in order of his prophecies Bishop Lowth, however, conjectures that this may not be the case, because Isaiah is said, in the general title of his predictions, to have prophesied in the time of Uzziah; and is of opinion, that it is a new designation, to introduce, with the greater solemnity, a general declaration of the whole course Tomline. (Elements of Christ. Theol. vol. i. p. 107.) In the analysis of the various discourses, or prophetic sermons comprised under each section, we have principally followed Bishop Lowth, in his admirable transla. tion of, and notes upon, the prophet Isaiah.
6 Commentators are divided in opinion, whether the title in verse 1. (the vision of Isaiah) belongs to the whole book, or only to the prophecy contained in this chapter. The former part of the title seems properly to be long to this particular prophecy; the latter part, which enumerates the kings of Judah, under whom Isaiah exercised his prophetic office, seems to extend it to the entire collection of prophecies delivered in the course of his ministry. Vitringa (with whom Bishop Lowth agrees) has solved this doubt very judiciously. He supposes that the former part of the title was originally prefixed to this single prophecy ; and that, when the collection of all Isaiah's prophecies was made, the enumeration of the kings of Judah was added, to make it at the same time a proper title to the whole book. As such it is plainly taken in 2 Chron. xxxii. 32. where the book of Isaiah is cited by the title of "The Vision of Isaiah the Prophet, the Son of Amos." Vitringa, tom. i. pp. 25-29. Bishop Lowth's Isaiah, vol. ii. p. 4. Scheme of Scripture Divinity, chap. xxxiv. in vol. i. of Bishop Watson's Collection of Tracts, pp. 143, 144.
a See a striking medallic illustration of Isa. iii. 26. in Vol. I. p. 91. For a particular elucidation of this sublime vision, see Bp. Lowth's Isaiah, vol. ii. pp. 72-77. and Dr. Hales's Analysis of Chronology, vol. ii. book i. p.436. et seq.
of God's dispensations towards his people, and the fates of the nation,-events which are still depending, and will not be fully accomplished until the final restoration of Israel. DISCOURSE 2. (ch. vii.-ix. 7.) commences with an historical account of the occasion of the prophecy (vii. 1-3.), and then follows a prediction of the ill success of the designs of the Israelites and Syrians against Judah (vii. 1-16.); to this succeeds the denunciation of the calamities that were to be brought upon the king and people of Judah by the Assyrians, whom they had now hired to assist them. (vii. 17—25.) These predictions are repeated and confirmed in ch. viii., the ninth and tenth verses of which give a repeated general assurance that all the designs of the enemies of God's people shall ultimately be frustrated; and the discourse concludes, after various admonitions and threatenings (viii. 11-22. ix. 1.), with an illustrious prophecy (ix. 2—7.), in the first instance, perhaps, of the restoration of prosperity under Hezekiah, but principally of the manifestation of the Messiah, the transcendent dignity of his character, and the universality and eternal duration of his kingdom.
DISCOURSE 3. (ch. ix. 8.-x. 4.) contains a distinct prophecy and a just poem, remarkable for the regularity of its disposition and the elegance of its plan. It has no relation to the preceding or to the following prophecy, but is exclusively addressed to the kingdom of Israel, and its subject is a denunciation of vengeance awaiting their enemies. DISCOURSE 4. (ch. x. 5. xii.) foretells the invasion of Sennacherib, and the destruction of his army (x. 5—34. xi.); and, according to Isaiah's usual method, he takes occasion, from the mention of a great temporal deliverance by the destruction of the Assyrian host, to launch forth into a display of the spiritual deliverance of God's people by the Messiah, to whom this prophecy relates; for that this prophecy relates to the Messiah we have the express authority of St. Paul in Rom. xv. 12. The hymn in ch. xii. seems, by its whole tenor, as well as by many of its expressions, much better calculated for the use of the Christian than for the Jewish church under any circumstances, or at any time that can be assigned; and the Jews themselves seem to have applied it to the times of the Messiah.
PART III. contains various Predictions against the Babylonians, Assyrians, Philistines, and other Nations with whom the. Jews had any intercourse (ch. xiii.-xxii.); these Predictions are contained in nine Prophetic Poems or Discourses. DISCOURSE 1. (ch. xiii. xiv. 1-28.) contains one entire prophecy, foretelling the destruction of Babylon by the Medes and Persians it was probably delivered in the reign of Ahaz, about two hundred years before its completion. The captivity itself of the Jews at Babylon (which the prophet does not expressly foretell, but supposes in the spirit of prophecy as what was actually to be effected), did not take place till about one hundred and thirty years after this prediction was delivered. And the Medes, who (in xiii. 7.) are expressly mentioned as the principal agents in subverting this great monarchy, and releasing the Jews from that captivity, were at this time an inconsiderable people, having been in a state of anarchy ever since the fall of the great Assyrian empire, of which they had made a part under Sardanapalus; and did not become a kingdom under Deioces, until about the seventeenth year of Hezekiah's reign. The former part of this prophecy, Bishop Lowth remarks, is one of the most beautiful examples that can be given of elegance of composition, variety of imagery, and sublimity of sentiment and diction in the prophetic style; and the latter part consists of a triumphal ode, which, for beauty of disposition, strength of colour, grandeur of sentiment, brevity, perspicuity, and force of expression, stands unrivalled among all the monuments of antiquity. The exact accomplishment of this prophecy is recorded in Dan. v. Jerome (in loc.) says, that, in his time, Babylon was quite in ruins; and all modern travellers unanimously attest that Babylon is so utterly annihilated, that even the place, where this wonder of the world once stood, cannot now be determined with any certainty. On the subject of this prophecy, see Vol. I. p. 126. DISCOURSE 2. (ch. xiv. 29-32.) contains severe prophetic denunciations against the Philistines, the accomplishment of which is recorded in 2 Kings xviii. 8.
DISCOURSE 3. (ch. xv. xvi.) is a prophecy against the Moabites; it was delivered soon after the preceding, in the first year of Hezekiah, and it was accomplished in his fourth year when Shalmaneser invaded the kingdom of Israel. He might, probably, march through Moab; and, to secure eve y thing be
hind him, possess himself of their whole country, by taking their principal strong places. Jeremiah, says Bishop Lowth, has happily introduced much of this prophecy of Isaiah into his own larger prophecy against the same people in his forty eighth chapter; denouncing God's judgments on Moab subsequent to the calamity here foretold, and to be executed by Nebuchadnezzar, by which means several mistakes in the text of both prophets may be rectified.
DISCOURSE 4. (ch. xvii.) is a prophecy chiefly directed against Damascus or the kingdom of Syria, with whose sovereign the king of Samaria (or Israel) had confederated against the kingdom of Judah. Bishop Lowth conjectures that it was delivered, soon after the prophecies of the seventh and eighth chapters, in the commencement of Ahab's reign. It was fulfilled by Tiglath-Pileser's taking Damascus (2 Kings xvi. 9.), overrunning a very considerable part of the kingdom of Israel, and carrying a great number of the Israelites also captives into Assyria; and still more fully in regard to Israel, by the conquest of the kingdom, and the captivity of the people, effected a few years after by Shalmaneser. The three last verses of this chapter seem to have no relation to the prophecy to which they are joined: they contain a noble description of the formidable invasion and sudden overthrow of Sennacherib, which is intimated in the strongest terms and most expressive images, exactly suitable to the event.
DISCOURSE 5. (ch. xviii.) contains one of the most obscure prophecies in the whole book of Isaiah. Vitringa considers it as directed against the Assyrians; Bishop Lowth refers it to the Egyptians; and Rosenmüller, and others, to the Ethiopians. DISCOURSE 6. (ch. xix. xx.) is a prophecy against Egypt, the conversion of whose inhabitants to the true religion is intimated in verses 18-25. of ch. xix. DISCOURSE 7. (ch. xxi. 1-10.) contains a prediction of the taking of Babylon' by the Medes and Persians. "It is a passage singular in its kind for its brevity and force, for the variety and rapidity of the movements, and for the strength and energy of colouring with which the action and event are painted." The eleventh and twelfth verses of this chapter contain a prophecy concerning Dumah or Idumæa, the land of the Edomites, Mount Seir; which, from the uncertainty of the occasion on which it was delivered, as well as from the brevity of the expression, is very obscure. The five last verses comprise a prophecy respecting Arabia, which was fulfilled within a year after its delivery.
DISCOURSE 8. (ch. xxii.) is a prophecy concerning the capture of the Valley of Vision, or Jerusalem (verses 1-14.), the captivity of Shebna (15-19.), and the promotion of Eliakim. (20-24.) The invasion of Jerusalem here announced is either that by the Assyrians under Sennacherib; or by the Chaldæans under Nebuchadnezzar. Vitringa is of opinion that the prophet had both in view; viz. the invasion of the Chaldæans in verses 1-5. and that of the Assyrians in verses 8-11. Compare 2 Kings xxv. 4, 5. and 2 Chron. xxxii. 2-5. DISCOURSE 9. (ch. xxiii.) denounces the destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar2 (1-17.), the restoration of its prosperity, and the conversion of the Tyrians. Accordingly a Christian church was early formed at Tyre, which became a kind of mother-church to several others, which were connected with it. See Acts xxi. 1-6.3
PART IV. contains a Prophecy of the great Calamities that should befall the People of God, His merciful Preservation of a Remnant of them, and of their Restoration to their Country, of their Conversion to the Gospel, and the Destruction of Antichrist. (ch. xxiv.-xxxv.)
DISCOURSE 1. (ch. xxiv. xxv. xxvi.) was probably delivered before the destruction of Moab by Shalmaneser, in the beginning of Hezekiah's reign; but interpreters are not agreed whether the desolation announced in ch. xxiv. was that caused by the invasion of Shalmaneser, the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, or the destruction of the city and nation by the Romans. Vitringa is singular in referring it to the persecution by Antiochus Epiphanes; and Bishop Lowth thinks it may have a view to all the three great desolations of the country, especially to the last. In verses 21-23. it is announced that God shall at length revisit and restore his people in the last age; and
Isaiah and other prophets against Babylon. See his Dissertation on the 1 Bishop Newton has collected and illustrated the various predictions of Prophecies, vol. i. diss. ix. See also Vol. I. p. 126. supra. Bishop Newton's Dissertations, vol. i. diss. xi. See also Vol. I. pp. 124, 125. 2 On the accomplishment of the various prophecies against Tyre, see
Scott, on Isa. xxiii. 18,
then the kingdom of God shall be established in such perfection as wholly to obscure and eclipse the glory of the temporary, typical, preparatory kingdom now subsisting. On a review of this extensive scene of God's providence in all its parts, the prophet breaks out into a sublime and beautiful song of praise, in which his mind seems to be more possessed by the prospect of future mercies than by the recollection of past events (xxv.); this is followed by another hymn in ch. xxvi. In verse 19. the deliverance of the people of God from a state of the lowest misery is explained by images plainly taken from the resurrection of the dead.
DISCOURSE 2. (ch. xxvii.) treats on the nature, measure, and design of God's dealings with his people. DISCOURSE 3. (ch. xxviii.) contains a prophecy directed both to the Israelites and to the Jews. The destruction of the former by Shalmaneser is manifestly denounced in verses 1-5.; and the prophecy "then turns to the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, the remnant of God's people, who were to continue a kingdom after the final captivity of the Israelites. It commences with a favourable prognostication of their affairs under Hezekiah; but soon changes to reproofs and threatenings for their disobedience and profaneness." In verses 23-29. the wisdom of Providence is illustrated by the discretion of the husbandman.
DISCOURSE 4. (ch. xxix.-xxxiii.) predicts the invasion of SenInacherib, the great distress of the Jews while it continued (xxix. 1-4.), and their sudden and immediate deliverance by God's interposition in their favour; and the subsequent prosperous state of the kingdom under Hezekiah; interspersed with severe reproofs and threats of punishment for their hypocrisy, stupidity, infidelity, their want of trust in God, and their vain reliance on assistance from Egypt; and with promises of better times both immediately to succeed and to be expected in the future age. (18-24. xxx.-xxxiii.) DISCOURSE 5. (ch. xxxiv. xxxv.) makes one distinct prophecy, an entire, regular, and beautiful poem, consisting of two parts; the first containing a denunciation of the divine vengeance against the enemies of the people or church of God; the second part describing the flourishing state of the church of God consequent upon the execution of those judgments. It is plain from every part of it, that this chapter is to be understood of Gospel times. The fifth and sixth verses of ch. xxxv. were literally accomplished by our Saviour and his apostles. In a secondary sense, Bishop Lowth remarks, they may have a further view; and, running parallel with the former part of the prophecy, may relate to the future advent of Christ, to the conversion of the Jews, and their restoration to their own land; and to the extension and purification of the Christian faith;— events predicted in the Holy Scriptures as preparatory to it. PART V. comprises the Historical Part of the Prophecy of Isaiah.
Ch. xxxvi. relates the history of the invasion of Sennacherib, and of the miraculous destruction of his army, as a proper introduction to ch. xxxvii., which contains the answer of God to Hezekiah's prayer, that could not be properly understood without it. On the subject of these chapters, see p. 265. supra. Ch. xxxviii. and xxxix. relate Hezekiah's sickness and recovery, and his thanksgiving for restoration to health, together with the embassy of the king of Babylon.
PART VI. (ch. xl.-lxvi.) comprises a series of Prophecies, delivered, in all probability, towards the close of Hezekiah's Reign. This portion of Isaiah's predictions constitutes the most elegant part of the sacred writings of the Old Testament. "The chief subject is the restoration of the church. This is pursued with the greatest regularity; containing the deliverance of the Jews from captivity-the vanity and destruction of idols-the vindication of the divine power and truth-consolations and invitations to the Jews--denunciations against them for their infidelity and impiety-their rejection, and the calling of the Gentiles--the happiness of the righteous and the final destruction of the wicked. But, as the subject of this very beautiful series of prophecies is chiefly of the consolatory kind, they are introduced with a promise of the restoration of the kingdom, and the return from the Babylonian captivity, through the merciful interposition of God. At the same time, this redemption from Babylon is employed as an image to shadow out a redemption of an infinitely higher and more important nature. 1 Smith's Summary View of the Prophets, p. 56.
The prophet, Bishop Lowth remarks, connects these two events together, scarcely ever treating of the former without throwing in some intimations of the latter; and sometimes he is so fully possessed with the glories of the future more remote kingdom of the Messiah, that he seems to leave the immediate subject of his commission almost out of the question. This part consists of twelve prophetic poems or discourses. DISCOURSE 1. (ch. xl. xli.) contains a promise of comfort to the people of God, interspersed with declarations of the omnipo tence and omniscience of Jehovah, and a prediction of the restoration of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity by Cyrus.
DISCOURSE 2. The advent and office of the Messiah are foretold (xlii. 1-17.); for rejecting whom the incredulity of the Jews is reproved. (18-25.) A remnant of them, however, it is promised, shall be preserved, and ultimately restored to their own land. (xliii. 1-13.) The destruction of Babylon and the restoration of the Jews are again foretold, as also (perhaps) their return after the Roman dispersion (14-20.); and they are admonished to repent of those sins which would otherwise bring the severest judgments of God upon them. (21-28.) DISCOURSE 3. contains promises of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, intermingled with an exposure of the folly of idolatry (xliv. 1-20.), which, in force of argument, energy of expression, and elegance of composition, far surpasses any thing that was ever written upon the subject. The prophet then announces by name the instrument of their deliverance, Cyrus, (21—28. xlv. 1—5.); and, after adverting, in splendid imagery, to the happy state of the people of God, restored to their country, and flourishing in peace and plenty, in piety and virtue, he proceeds to answer or prevent the objections and cavils of the unbelieving Jews, disposed to murmur against God, and to arraign the wisdom and justice of his dispensations in regard to them; in permitting them to be oppressed by their enemies, and in promising them deliverance instead of preventing their captivity. (6-25.) St. Paul has borrowed the prophet's imagery, and has applied it to the like purpose with equal force and elegance in Rom. ix. 20, 21. DISCOURSE 4. foretells the carrying away of the idols of Babylon (xlvi. 1-5.); the folly of worshipping them is then strikingly contrasted with the attributes and perfections of Jehovah (6— 13.); and the divine judgments upon Babylon and Chaldæa are further denounced. (xlvii.)
DISCOURSE 5. contains an earnest reproof of the Jews for their infidelity and idolatry (xlviii. 1–19. 21, 22.); and foretells their deliverance from the Babylonian captivity. (20.) DISCOURSE 6. The Messiah (whose character and office had been generally exhibited in ch. xlii.) is here introduced in person, declaring the full extent of his commission, which is, not only to restore the Israelites, but to be a light to lighten the Gentiles, to call them to the knowledge and obedience of the true God, and to bring them to be one church together with the Is raelites, and with them to partake of the same common salva tion, procured for all by the great Redeemer and Reconciler of man to God, (xlix.) DISCOURSE 7. predicts the dereliction of the Jews for their rejection of the Messiah (1. 1--3.), whose sufferings and exaltation are foretold. (4-11.) The prophet exhorts the believing Jews, after the pattern of Abraham, to trust in Christ, and foretells their future restoration after the Babylonish captivity, as also their ultimate conversion to Christianity. (li. lii. 1—12.) DISCOURSE 8. predicts the humiliation of Christ, which had been intimated in l. 5, 6., and obviates the offence which would be occasioned by it, by declaring the important and necessary cause of it, and foreshowing the glory which should follow it. (lii. 13-15. liii.)
DISCOURSE 9. foretells the amplitude of the church, when Jews and Gentiles should be converted. (liv.) DISCOURSE 10. is an invitation to partake of the blessings of the Gospel, from which none shall be excluded who come on the terms prescribed. (lv. lvi. 1-8.)
DISCOURSE 11. denounces calamities against the inhabitants of Judah, who are sharply reproved for their idolatry and hypocrisy. Bishop Lowth is of opinion, that the prophet probably
4 Isa. xliv, 28. "There is a remarkable beauty and propriety in this verse: 1. Cyrus is called God's Shepherd.-Shepherd was an epithet which Cyrus took to himself, and which he gave to all good kings. 2. This Cyrus should say to the temple-Thy foundation shall be laid; not, Thou shalt be built. The fact is, only the foundation was laid in the days of Cyrus, the Ammonites having prevented the building; nor was it resumed
2 Compare Matt. xi. 5. xv. 30. xxi. 14. John v. 8, 9. Acts iii. 2. viii. 7. till the second year of Darius, one of his successors. There is often a prexiv. 8-10.
→ Smith's Summary View of the Prophets, p. 64.
cision in the expressions of the prophets, which is as honourable to truth, as it is unnoticed by careless readers." Dr. A. Clarke, on Isa. xliv. 23.
has in view the destruction of their city and polity by the Chaldæans, and perhaps, by the Romans. (lvi. 9-12. lvii. lix. 1-15.) The fifty-ninth chapter, he observes, is remarkable for the beauty, strength, and variety of the images with which it abounds, as well as for the elegance of the composition and the exact construction of the sentences. DISCOURSE 12. chiefly predicts the general conversion of the Jews to the Gospel, the coming in of the fulness of the Gentiles, the restoration of the Jews, and the happy state of the Christian church. (lix. 16-21. lx.-lxvi.) In ch. lx. and Ixi. the great increase and flourishing state of the church of God, by the conversion and accession of the heathen nations to it, are "set forth in such ample and exalted terms, as plainly show, that the full completion of the prophecy is reserved for future times. This subject is displayed in the most splendid colours, under a great variety of highly poetical images, designed to give a general idea of the glories of that perfect state of the church, which we are taught to expect in the latter times; when the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in, and the Jews shall be converted and gathered from their dispersions; and the kingdoms of this world shall become the king doms of our Lord and of his Christ." (Bp. Lowth.) The remarkable prophecy in Ixiii. 1-6., which some expositors refer to Judas Maccabæus, the learned prelate applies primarily to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish polity; which in the Gospel is called the "coming of Christ," and the "days of vengeance" (Matt. xvi. 28. Luke xxi. 22.); but he thinks it may ultimately refer to the yet unfulfilled predictions, which intimate a great slaughter of the enemies of God and his people. The two last chapters of this prophecy manifestly relate to the calling of the Gentiles, the establishment of the Christian dispensation, and the reprobation of the apostate Jews, and their destruction executed by the Romans.
V. Isaiah has, with singular propriety, been denominated the "evangelical prophet," on account of the number and variety of his prophecies concerning the advent and character, the ministry and preaching, the sufferings and death, and the extensive permanent kingdom of the Messiah. So explicit and determinate are his predictions, as well as so numerous, that he seems to speak rather of things past than of events yet future; and he may rather be called an evangelist, than a prophet. No one, indeed, can be at a loss in applying them to the mission and character of Jesus Christ, and to the events which are cited in his history by the writers of the New Testament. This prophet, says Bishop Lowth, abounds in such transcendent excellencies, that he may be properly said to afford the most perfect model of prophetic poetry. He is at once elegant and sublime, forcible and ornamented; he unites energy with copiousness, and dignity with variety. In his sentiments there is uncommon elevation and majesty; in his imagery, the utmost propriety, elegance, dignity, and diversity; in his language, uncommon beauty and energy; and, notwithstanding the obscurity of his subjects, a surprising degree of clearness and simplicity. To these we may add, that there is such sweetness in the poetical composition of his sentences, whether it proceed from art or genius, that, if the Hebrew poetry at present is possessed of any remains of its native grace and harmony, we shall chiefly find them in the writings of Isaiah; so that the saying of Ezekiel may most justly be applied to this prophet,
"Thou art the confirmed exemplar of measures,
Full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty."-Ezek. xxviii. 12.
Isaiah also greatly excels in all the graces of method, order, connection, and arrangement: though in asserting this we must not forget the nature of the prophetic impulse, which bears away the mind with irresistible violence, and frequently in rapid transitions from near to remote objects, from human to divine; we must likewise be careful in remarking the limits of particular predictions, since, as they are now extant, they are often improperly connected, without any marks of discrimination, which injudicious arrangement, on some occasions, creates almost insuperable difficulties.
Bishop Lowth has selected the thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth chapters of this prophet, as a specimen of the poetic style in which he delivers his predictions, and has illustrated at some length the various beauties which eminently distinguish the simple, regular, and perfect poem contained in those chapters. But the grandest specimen of his poetry is presented in the fourteenth chapter, which is one of the most sublime odes occurring in the Bible, and contains the noblest personifications to be found in the records of poetry.
The prophet, after predicting the liberation of the Jews
from their severe captivity in Babylon, and their restoration to their own country (verses 1-3.), introduces a chorus of them, expressing their surprise and astonishment at the sudden downfall of Babylon, and the great reverse of fortune that had befallen the tyrant, who, like his predecessors, had oppressed his own, and harassed the neighbouring kingdoms These oppressed kingdoms, or their rulers, are represented under the image of the fir trees and the cedars of Libanus which is frequently used to express any thing in the political or religious world that is supereminently great and majestic. the whole earth shouts for joy; the cedars of Libanus utter a severe taunt over the fallen tyrant, and boast their security now he is no more. (verses 4-8.)
This is followed (9.) by one of the boldest and most animated personifications of Hades, or the regions of the dead, that was ever executed in poetry. Hades excites his of monarchs. These illustrious shades arise at once from inhabitants, the shades of princes, and the departed spirits their couches as from their thrones; and advancing to the entrance of the cavern to meet the king of Babylon, they insult and deride him on being reduced to the same low state of impotence and dissolution with themselves. (10, 11.) The Jews now resume the speech (12.): they address the king of Babylon as the morning-star fallen from heaven, as the first in splendour and dignity in the political world fallen from his high state: they introduce him as uttering the most extravagant vaunts of his power and ambitious designs in his former glory; these are strongly contrasted, in the close, with his present low and abject condition. (13-15.)
Immediately follows a different scene, and a most happy image, to diversify the same subject, and give it a new turn and additional force. Certain persons are introduced, who light upon the corpse of the king of Babylon, cast out and lying naked upon the bare ground, among the common slain, just after the taking of the city, covered with wounds, and so disfigured, that it is some time before they know him. They accost him with the severest taunts, and bitterly reproach him with his destructive ambition, and his cruel usage of the conquered: which have deservedly brought upon him this ignominious treatment, so different from that which those of his rank usually meet with, and which shall cover his posterity with disgrace. (16-20.)
To complete the whole, God is introduced, declaring the fate of Babylon, the utter extirpation of the royal family, and the total desolation of the city; the deliverance of his people, and the destruction of their enemies; confirming the irreversible decree by the awful sanction of his oath. (21-27.)
"How forcible," says Bishop Lowth, "is this imagery, how diversified, how sublime! how elevated the diction, the figures, the sentiments!-The Jewish nation, the cedars of Lebanon, the ghosts of departed kings, the Babylonish monarch, the travellers who find his corpse, and last of all JEHOVAH himself, are the characters which support this beautiful lyric drama. One continued action is kept up, or rather a series of interesting actions are connected together in an incomparable whole; this, indeed, is the principal and distinguished excellence of the sublimer ode, and is displayed in its utmost perfection in this poem of Isaiah, which may be considered as one of the most ancient, and certainly one of the most finished, specimens of that specics of composition which has been transmitted to us. The personifications here are frequent, yet not confused; bold, yet not improbable: a free, elevated, and truly divine spirit pervades the whole; nor is there any thing wanting in this ode to defeat its claim to the character of perfect beauty and sublimity. If, indeed, may be indulged in the free declaration of my own sentiments on this occasion, I do not know a single instance, in the whole compass of Greek and Roman poetry, which, in every excellence of composition, can be said to equal, or even to approach it."2
1 "The image of the dead," so admirably described by the prophet, Bishop Lowth observes, "is taken from their custom of burying, those at least of the higher rank, in large sepulchral vaults hewn in the rock. Of this kind of sepulchres there are remains at Jerusalen now extant; and some that are said to be the sepulchres of the kings of Judah. See Maundrell, p. 76. You are to form to yourself an idea of an immense subterrane ous vault, a vast gloomy cavern, all round the sides of which there are cells, guished sort of state suitable to their former rank, each on his own couch, with his arms beside him, his sword at his head, and the bodies of his chiefs and companions round about him. See Ezek. xxxii. 27. On which place Sir John Chardin's manuscript note is as follows:-'En Mingrelie ils dorment tous leurs épées sous leurs têtes, et leurs autres armes à leur côté ; et on les enterre de mesme, leurs armes posées de cette façon."" Bp. Lowth's Translation of Isaiah, vol. ii. p. 121.
to receive the dead bodies: here he deceased monarchs lie in a distin
2 Bishop Lowth's Lectures on Hebrew Poetry, vol. ii. pp. 84-86. vol. i.
PP. 294-301. and his Translation of Isaiah, vol. ii. pp. 230-232. Jahn, Introd.
ad Vet. Fœd. p. 367.