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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 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. 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, bat 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. 128. 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 11.79 TON", 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 (3.) “ The prophecies of events as fur 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 Sabxans, 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 these 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 time 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."2 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 boil 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 119179, 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 nnd were of Aramæan origin, that would
not be a proof of a modern date, since some exotic words * 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: nys, ch. Ivi. 11. lxiii. 1. the time of Isaiah, as may be observed in the writings of which occurs elsewhere only in Jer. ii. 20. sxviii. 12. but yet is not Ara- Hosea and Amos. The word 1917 has not in this place mæan; and Dad, which is found in Isa. xli. 25. and elsewhere only in Jere the signification which it acquired after the captivity, but miah, Ezekiel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, but which cannot be a very modern word, as it was in use ainong the
Assyrians. See Ezek. xxiii. 6. 12. 23.- 9 Jahn's Introduction by Prof. Turner and Mr. Whittingham, pp. 355 Einleit. S. 485.” Notes of Prof. Turner and Mr. Whittingham. VOL. II.
designates the Hebrew language, which at that time flourish- | Part I. contains a general Description of the Estate and Coned only in the kingdom of Judah.”
dition of the Jews, in the several Periods of their History; III. "The Scope of Isaiah's predictions is three-fold; viz. the Promulgation and Success of the Gospel and the Coming 1. To detect, reprove, and condemn the sins of the Jewish
of. Messiah to Judgment. (ch. i.- V.)The Predictions in people especially, and also the iniquities of the ten tribes of this Section were delivered during the Reign of Uzziah King Israel, and the abominations of many Gentile nations and
of Judah. countries; denouncing the severest judgments against all Discourse 1. (ch. i. throughout.) The prophecy contained in sorts and degrees of persons, whether Jews or Gentiles.
this first chapters stands single and unconnected, constituting 2. To invite persons of every rank and condition, both Jews
an entire piece of itself. If, as we suppose to have been the and Gentiles, to repentance and reformation, by numerous
case, it was delivered in the reign of Uzziah, the desolation promises of pardon and mercy. It is worthy of remark that
which it describes may refer to the calamities which were no such promises are intermingled with the denunciations of divine vengeance against Babylon, although they occur
occasioned before that time by Jehoash king of Israel (compare in the threatenings against every other people.
2 Kings xiv. 12—14.); or, the prophet may describe scenes yet 3. To comfort all the truly pious (in the midst of all the
future, as already passing before his eyes, to denote their cercalamities and judgments denounced against the wicked)
tainty. As, however, the portrait, which it presents of the with prophetic promises of the true Messiah.2 These pre
desolate and distressed state of the land of Judah, agrees much dictions as seem almost to anticipate the Gospel history, so
better with the wicked and afflicted reign of the apostate Ahaz, clearly do they foreshow the divine character of Christ (ch. than with the flourishing circumstances in the reigns of Uzziah vii. 14. compared with Matt. i. 18—23. and Luke i. 27–35.;
and Jotham (who were both, in the main, good princes) : on vi. ix. 6. xxxv. 4. xl. 5. 9, 10. xlii. 6–8. lxi. 1. compared
this account the learned Dr. John Taylor thinks it probable with Luke iv. 18. lxii. 11. Ixiii. 1—4.); his miracles (ch.
that the prediction in this chapter was uttered in the reign of xxxv. 5, 6.); his peculiar qualities and virtues (ch. ix. 2, 3.
Ahaz, and intends the invasion of Judah by Resin and Pekah, xl. 11. xliii. 1-3.); his rejection (ch. vi. 9–12. viii. 14, 15.
kings of Syria and Israel.? But whichever of these conjecliii. 3.); and sufferings for our sins (ch. 1. 6. liii. 4-11.;)? tures may be preferred, the chapter contains a severe remonhis death, burial (ch. liii. 8, 9.), and victory over death (ch. strance against the inclinations to idolatry, want of inward xxv. 8. liii. 10–12.); and, lastly, his final glory (ch. xlix. piety, and other corruptions, prevailing among the Jews of 7, 22, 23. lii. 13–15. liii. 4, 5.), and the establishment, that time, intermixed with powerful exhortations to repentance, increase (ch. ii. 2–4. ix. 7. xlii. 4. xlvi. 13.), and perfec- grievous threatenings to the im penitent, and gracious promises tion (ch. ix. 2. 7. xi. 4–10. xvi. 5. xxix. 18—24. xxxii. 1. of better times, when the nation shall have been reformed by xl. 4, 5. xlix. 9-13. li. 3—6. lii. 6—10. lv. 1–3. lix. the just judgments of God. The whole of this discourse affords 16–21. Ix. lxi. 1–5. lxv. 25.) of his kingdom ; each speci- a beautiful example of the prophet's elegant and impressive fically, pointed out, and portrayed with the most striking manner of writing. and discriminating characters. "It is impossible, indeed, to Discourse 2. (ch. ii. iii. iv.) contains the following particulars :reflect on these, and on the whole chain of his illustrious
1. The kingdom of Messiah, the conversion of the Gentiles, and their prophecies, and not to be sensible that they furnish the most adınission into it. (ii. 1-5.) incontestable evidence in support of Christianity:"4
2. A prediction of the punishment of the unbelieving Jews, for their
idolatrous practices, for their confidence in their own strength, and IV. The predictions of Isaiah are contained in sixty-six
distrust of God's protection; and likewise the destruction of idolatry, chapters; of which the five first are generally supposed to in consequence of the establishment of Messiah's kingdom. (ii. 6-20.) have been delivered in the reign of Uzziah: the sixth in the 3. A prophecy of calamities of the Babylonian invasion (perhaps also
of the invasion by the Romans), with a particular amplification of the reign of Jotham; the seventh to the fifteenth in the reign distress of the proud and luxurious daughters of Sion. (iii. 1-26.8 iv. 1.) of Ahaz; and the remainder in that of Hezekiah. Various 4. A promise to the remnant that should escape this severe purgation, modes of classifying them have been proposed, in order to
of a restoration to the favour and protection of God. (iv. 26.) present them in the most useful and lucid arrangement; some
This prophetic sermon was probably delivered in the time of commentators and critics dividing them into three parts :- Jotham, or perhaps in the reign of Uzziah. 1. Evangelico-Legal, which contain denunciations of the Discourse 3. ch. v. This chapter likewise stands single and divine vengeance, intermixed with evangelical promises ;- alone, unconnected with the preceding or following : its sub2. Historical, comprising the narrative part;—and, 3. Evan- ject is nearly the same with that of ch. i., but it exceeds that gelical, comprising prophecies and promises relative to the chapter in force, in severity, in variety, and elegance. It is a deliverance of the Jews from captivity, and the yet greater general reproof of the Jews for their wickedness, which is redeliverance of mankind from the bondage of sin, by the presented in the parable of the vineyard (verses 1–5.); and it Messiah. By other writers, the book of the prophet Isaiah adds a more express declaration of vengeance by the Babylois divided into,-1. Reprehensory, including sharp reproofs nian invasion. (verses 6–30.) and threatenings of the Jews for their sins, in which are mingled promises to the penitent;—2. Minatory, containing Part II. comprises the Predictions delivered in the Reigns of threatenings against the enemies of the Jewish church, and
Jotham and Ahaz. (ch. vi.—xii.) also against the Jews themselves;—3. Narrative or Histori- Discourse 1. The vision and prophecy of Isaiah in the reign cal ;-and, 4. Consulatory and evangelical promises concern- of Jotham. (ch. vi.)As this vision seems to contain a solemn ing Messiah and the church. Other classifications have designation of Isaiah to the prophetical office, it is supposed been proposed, which it is not necessary to specify; but, by many interpreters to be the first in order of his prophecies without adopting any of them, we apprehend that the follow- Bishop Lowth, however, conjectures that this may not be the ing synopsis will be found to exhibit a clear view of the case, because Isaiah is said, in the general title of his predicvarious topics discussed by the royal prophet. The predic- tions, to have prophesied in the time of Uzziah; and is of tions of Isaiah, then, may be divided into six parts, each opinion, that it is a new designation, to introduce, with the containing a number of discourses, delivered by the prophet greater solemnity, a general declaration of the whole course to the various nations or people whom he was commissioned to address.
Tomline. (Elements of Christ. Theol. vol. i. p. 107.) In the analysis of the various discourses, or prophetic sermons comprised under each sec.
tion, we have principally followed Bishop Lowth, in his admirable transla. 1 Jahn's Introduction, p. 359. Bishop Lowth considers the narrative. tion of, and notes upon, the prophet Isaiah. chapters in Isaiah as a different copy of the relation in the second book of 5 Commentators are divided in opinion, whether the title in verse 1. (the Kings, the account of Hezekiah's sickness only excepted. The difference vision of Isaiah) belongs to the whole book, or only to the prophecy conof the two copies, he is of opiuion, is little more than what has manifestly tained in this chapter. The former part of the title seems properly to be. arisen from the mistakes of transcribers: they mutually correct each long to this particular prophecy; the latter part, which enumerates the other; and most of the mistakes may be perfecily rectified by a collation kings of Judah, under whom Isaiah exercised his prophetic office, seems of the two copies with the assistance of the ancient versions. Some few to extend it to the entire collection of prophecies delivered in the course sentences, or members of sentences, are onnitted in this copy of Isaiah, of his ministry. Vitringa (with whom Bishop Lowth agrees) has solved which are found in the other copy of the book of Kings; but he doubts this doubt very judiciously. He supposes that the former part of the title whether these omissions were made by design or by mistake." Isaiah, was originally prefixed to this single prophecy; and that, when the collec. vol. ii. p. 237.
tion of all Isaiah's prophecies was made, the enumeration of the kings of , The scope of Isaiah's prophecies above given is abridged from Ro. Judah was added, to make it at the same time a proper title to the whole berts's Clavis Bibliorum, p. 616.
book. As such it is plainly taken in 2 Chron. xxxii. 32. where the book of • The
Ethiopian eunuch appears to have been made a proselyte by Saint Isaiah is cited by the title of “The Vision of Isaiah the Prophet, the Son of Philip's explication of this chapter. Vide Acts viii. 32. The whole of it is Amos." Vitringa, tom. i. pp. 25–29. Bishop Lowth's Isaiah, vol. ii. p. 4. so minutely descriptive of Christ's passion, that a famous Rabbi, likewise, 1 Scheme of Scripture Divinity, chap. xxxiv. in vol. i. of Bishop Watson's on reading it, was converted from Judaism.--Who, indeed, can resist its Collection of Tracts, pp. 143, 144. evidence ?
* See a striking medallic illustration of Isa. iii. 26. in Vol. I. p. 91. + Gray's Key, pp. 369, 370.
9 For a particular elucidation of this sublime vision, see Bp. Lowth's • These general divisions of the prophecy are according to the scheme Isaiah, vol. ii. pp. 72–77. and Dr. Hales's Analysis of Chronology, vol. ii. proposed by Vitringa (Conment. in Esaiain, tom. I. p. À.) and Bishop book i. p.436. et seq.
of God's dispensations towards his people, and the fates of the hind him, possess himself of their whole country, by taking nation,-events which are still depending, and will not be fully their principal strong places. Jeremiah, says Bishop Lowth, accomplished until the final restoration of Israel.
has happily introduced much of this prophecy of Isaiah into Discounse 2. (ch. vii.-ix. 7.) commences with an historical his own larger prophecy against the same people in his forty account of the occasion of the prophecy (vii
. 1–3.), and then eighth chapter; denouncing God's judgments on Moab subsefollows a prediction of the ill success of the designs of the quent to the calamity here foretold, and to be executed by Israelites and Syrians against Judah (vii. 1-16.); to this Nebuchadnezzar, by which means several mistakes in the text succeeds the denunciation of the calamities that were to be of both prophets may be rectified. brought upon the king and people of Judah by the Assyrians, Discourse 4. (ch. xvii.) is a prophecy chiefly directed against whom they had now hired to assist them. (vii. 17–25.) Damascus or the kingdom of Syria, with whose sovereign the These predictions are repeated and confirmed in ch. viii., the king of Samaria (or Israel) had confederated against the kingninth and tenth verses of which give a repeated general assu- dom of Judah. Bishop Lowth conjectures that it was derance that all the designs of the enemies of God's people shall livered, soon after the prophecies of the seventh and eighth ultimately be frustrated ; and the discourse concludes, after chapters, in the commencement of Ahab's reign. It was fulvarious admonitions and threatenings (viii. 11–22. ix. 1.), filled by - Tiglath-Pileser's taking Damascus (2 Kings xvi. 9.), with an illustrious prophecy (ix. 2–7.), in the first instance, overrunning a very considerable part of the kingdom of perhaps, of the restoration of prosperity under Hezekiah, but Israel, and carrying a great number of the Israelites also capprincipally of the manifestation of the Messiah, the transcen- tives into Assyria; and still more fully in regard to Israel, by dent dignity of his character, and the universality and eternal the conquest of the kingdom, and the captivity of the people, duration of his kingdom.
effected a few years after by Shalmaneser. The three last DISCOURSE 3. (ch. ix. 8.—x. 4.) contains a distinct prophecy verses of this chapter seem to have no relation to the prophecy
and a just poem, remarkable for the regularity of its disposi- to which they are joined: they contain a noble description of
Discourse 5. (ch. xviii.) contains one of the most obscure proDiscoURSE 4. (ch. x. 5. xii.) foretells the invasion of Senna- phecies in the whole book of Isaiah. Vitringa considers it as
cherib, and the destruction of his army (x. 5–34. xi.) ; and, directed against the Assyrians ; Bishop Lowth refers it to the
ites, Mount Seir; which, from the uncertainty of the occasion Part III. contains various Predictions against the Babylonians,
on which it was delivered, as well as from the brevity of the Assyrians, Philistines, and other Nations with whom the
expression, is very obscure. The five, last verses comprise a Jews had'any intercourse (ch. xiii.—xxii.); these Predic
prophecy respecting Arabia, which was fulfilled within a year
after its delivery. tions are contained in nine Prophetic Poems or Discourses.
Discourse 8. (ch. xxii.) is a prophecy concerning the capture Discourse 1. (ch. xiii. xiv. 1—28.) contains one entire prophecy,
of the Valley of Vision, or Jerusalem (verses 1-14.), the foretelling the destruction of Babylon by the Medes and Per
captivity of Shebna (15—19.), and the promotion of Eliakim. sians: it was probably delivered in the reign of Ahaz, about
(20—24.) The invasion of Jerusalem here announced is two hundred years before its completion. The captivity itself
either that by the Assyrians under Sennacherib; or by the of the Jews at Babylon (which the prophet does not expressly Chaldæans under Nebuchadnezzar. Vitringa is of opinion foretell, but supposes in the spirit of prophecy as what was
that the prophet had both in view; viz. the invasion of the actually to be effected), did not take place till about one hun
Chaldæans in verses 1–5. and that of the Assyrians in verses dred and thirty years after this prediction was delivered. And
8–11. Compare 2 Kings xxv. 4,5. and 2 Chron. xxxii. 245. the Medes, who (in xiii. 7.) are expressly mentioned as the DiscouRSE 9. (ch. xxiii.) denounces the destruction of Tyre by principal agents in subverting this great monarchy, and re- Nebuchadnezzar2 (1–17.), the restoration of its prosperity, leasing the Jews from that captivity, were at this time an
and the conversion of the Tyrians. Accordingly a Christian inconsiderable people, having been in a state of anarchy ever
church was early formed at Tyre, which became a kind of since the fall of the great Assyrian empire, of which they had
mother-church to several others, which were connected with made a part under Sardanapalus; and did not become a king
it. See Acts xxi, 1–6.3 dom under Deioces, until about the seventeenth year of Hezekiah's reign. The former part of this prophecy, Bishop Lowth Part IV. contains a Prophecy, of the great Calamities that remarks, is one of the most beautiful examples that can be
should befall the People of God, His merciful Preservation given of elegance of composition, variety of imagery, and sub
of a Remnant of them, and of their Restoration to their limity of sentiment and diction in the prophetic style ; and the Country, of their Conversion to the Gospel, and the Destruclatter part consists of a triumphal ode, which, for beauty of tion of Antichrist. (ch. xxiv.—xxxv.) disposition, strength of colour
, grandeur of sentiment, brevity, Discourse 1. (ch. xxiv. xxv. xxvi.) was probably delivered beperspicuity, and force of expression, stands unrivalled among
fore the destruction of Moab by Shalmaneser, in the beginall the monuments of antiquity. The exact accomplishment of this prophecy is recorded in Dan. v. Jerome (in loc.) says,
ning of Hezekiah's reign; but interpreters are not agreed that, in his time, Babylon was quite in ruins; and all modern
whether the desolation announced in ch. xxiv. was that caused travellers unanimously attest that Babylon is so utterly anni
by the invasion of Shalmaneser, the invasion of Nebuchadhilated, that even the place, where this wonder of the world nezzar, or the destruction of the city and nation by the Romans. once stood, cannot now be determined with any certainty.
Vitringa is singular in referring it to the persecution by AnOn the subject of this prophecy, see Vol. I. p. 126.
tiochus Epiphanes; and Bishop Lowth thinks it may have a Discourse 2. (ch. xiv. 29–32.) contains severe prophetic de
view to all the three great desolations of the country, especially nunciations against the Philistines, the accomplishment of
tu the last. In verses 21–23. it is announced that God shall which is recorded in 2 Kings xviii. 8.
at length revisit and restore his people in the last age; and DiscourSE 3. (ch. xv. xvi.) is a prophecy against the Moabites ;
: Bishop Newton has collected and illustrated the various predictions of it was delivered soon after the preceding, in the first year of Isaiah and other prophets against Babylon. See his Dissertation on the Hezekiah, and it was accomplished in his fourth year when Prophecies, vol. i. diss. ix. See also Vol. I. p. 126. supra. Shalmaneser invaded the kingdom of Israel. He might, pro
2 On the accomplishment of the various prophecies against Tyre, see bably, march through Moab; and, to secure eve y tining be- / Bishoo Newton's Dissertations, vol. i. diss. xl. See also Vol. 1. pp. 1A, 12.
then the kingdom of God shall be established in such perfec- The prophet, Bishop Lowth remarks, connects these two events tion as wholly to obscure and eclipse the glory of the tempo- together, scarcely ever treating of the former without throwing rary, typical, preparatory kingdom now subsisting. On a re- in some intimations of the latter ; and sometimes he is so fully view of this extensive scene of God's providence in all its possessed with the glories of the future more remote kingdom parts, the prophet breaks out into a sublime and beautiful song of the Messiah, that he seems to leave the immediate subject of praise, in which his mind seems to be more possessed by the of his commission almost out of the question. This part conprospect of future mercies than by the recollection of past sists of twelve prophetic poems or discourses. events (xxv.); this is followed by another hymn in ch. xxvi. | DISCOURSE 1. (ch. xl. xli.) contains a promise of comfort to the In verse 19. the deliverance of the people of God from a state people of God, interspersed with declarations of the omnipo of the lowest misery is explained by images plainly taken from tence and omniscience of Jehovah, and a prediction of the the resurrection of the dead.
restoration of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity by DISCOURSE 2. (ch. xxvii.) treats on the nature, measure, and Cyrus. design of God's dealings with his people.
DISCOURSE 2. The advent and office of the Messiah are foretold Discourse 3. (ch. xxviii.) contains a prophecy directed both to (xlii. 1—17.); for rejecting whom the incredulity of the Jews
the Israelites and to the Jews. The destruction of the former is reproved.' (18—25.) A remnant of them, however, it is by Shalmaneser is manifestly denounced in verses 1-5.; and promised, shall be preserved, and ultimately restored to their the prophecy " then turns to the two tribes of Judah and Ben- own land. (xliii, 1–13.) 'The destruction of Babylon and the jamin, the remnant of God's people, who were to continue a restoration of the Jews are again foretold, as also (perhaps) kingdom after the final captivity of the Israelites. It com- their return after the Roman dispersion (14–20.); and they mences with a favourable prognostication of their affairs under are admonished to repent of those sins which would otherwise Hezekiah; but soon changes to reproofs and threatenings for bring the severest judgments of God upon them. (21—28.) their disobedience and profaneness.”! In verses 23—29. the Discor RSE 3. contains promises of the pouring out of the Holy wisdom of Providence is illustrated by the discretion of the Spirit, intermingled with an exposure of the folly of idolatry husbandman.
(xliv. 1—20.), which, in force of argument, energy of expresDiscourse 4. (ch. xxix.—xxxiii.) predicts the invasion of Sen- sion, and elegance of composition, far surpasses any thing that
nacherib, the great distress of the Jews while it continued was ever written upon the subject. The prophet then an(xxix. 144.), and their sudden and immediate deliverance by nounces by name the instrument of their deliverance, Cyrus, God's interposition in their favour ; and the subsequent pros- (21—28. xlv. 1—5.);' and, after adverting, in splendid imagery, perous state of the kingdom under Hezekiah ; interspersed to the happy state of the people of God, restored to their country, with severe reproofs and threats of punishment for their and flourishing in peace and plenty, in piety and virtue, he hypocrisy, stupidity, infidelity, their want of trust in God, and proceeds to answer or prevent the objections and cavils of the their vain reliance on assistance from Egypt; and with pro- unbelieving Jews, disposed to murmur against God, and to mises of better times both immediately to succeed and to be arraign the wisdom and justice of his dispensations in regard to expected in the future age. (18—24. xxx.—xxxiii.)
them; in permitting them to be oppressed by their enemies, Discourse 5. (ch. xxxiv. xxxv.) makes one distinct prophecy, and in promising them deliverance instead of preventing their
an entire, regular, and beautiful poem, consisting of two parts ; captivity. (6_25.) St. Paul has borrowed the prophet's the first containing a denunciation of the divine vengeance imagery, and has applied it to the like purpose with equal against the enemies of the people or church of God; the se- force and elegance in Rom. ix. 20, 21. cond part describing the flourishing state of the church of Discourse 4. foretells the carrying away of the idols of Babylon God consequent upon the execution of those judgments. "It is (xlvi. 1-5.); the folly of worshipping them is then strikingly plain from every part of it, that this chapter is to be undurstood contrasted with the attributes and perfections of Jehovah (6– of Gospel times. The fifth and sixth verses of ch. xxxv, were 13.); and the divine judgments upon Babylon and Chaldæa literally accomplished by our Saviour and his apostles.2 In a are further denounced. (xlvii.) secondary sense, Bishop Lowth remarks, they may have a fur- DISCOURSE 5. contains an earnest reproof of the Jews for their ther view; and, running parallel with the former part of the infidelity and idolatry (xlviii. 1-19, 21, 22.); and foretells prophecy, may relate to the future advent of Christ, to the con- their deliverance from the Babylonian captivity. (20.) version of the Jews, and their restoration to their own land; DiscouRSE 6. The Messiah (whose character and office had been and to the extension and purification of the Christian faith ;- generally exhibited in ch. xlii.) is here introduced in person,
events predicted in the Holy Scriptures as preparatory to it. declaring the full extent of his commission, which is, not only Part V. comprises the Historical Part of the Prophecy of
to restore the Israelites, but to be a light to lighten the GenIsaiah.
tiles, to call them to the knowledge and obedience of the true
God, and to bring them to be one church together with the Is Ch. xxxvi. relates the history of the invasion of Sennacherib,
raelites, and with them to partake of the same common salva and of the miraculous destruction of his army, as a proper in
tion, procured for all by the great Redeemer and Reconciler of troduction to ch. xxxvii., which contains the answer of God to
man to God. (xlix.) Hezekiah's prayer, that could not be properly understood with Discourse 7. predicts the dereliction of the Jews for their out it. On the subject of these chapters, see p. 265. supra.
rejection of the Messiah (1. 1--3.), whose sufferings and exalCh. xxxviii, and xxxix. relate Hezekiah's sickness and reco
tation are foretold. (4-11.) The prophet exhorts the believvery, and his thanksgiving for restoration to health, together
ing Jews, after the pattern of Abraham, to trust in Christ, and with the embassy of the king of Babylon.
foretells their future restoration after the Babylonish captivity, Part VI. (ch. xl.-Ixvi.) comprises a series of Prophecies, deli- as also their ultimate conversion to Christianity. (li. lii. 1–12.)
vered, in all probability, towards the close of Hezekiah's Reign. DiscounSE 8. predicts the humiliation of Christ, which had been This portion of Isaiah's predictions constitutes the most elegant
intimated in 1. 5, 6., and obviates the offence which would be part of the sacred writings of the Old Testament.
occasioned by it, by declaring the important and necessary chief subject is the restoration of the church. This is pursued
cause of it, and foreshowing the glory which should follow it. with the greatest regularity ; containing the deliverance of the
(lii, 13—15. liii.) Jews from captivity—the vanity and destruction of idols-the Discourse 9. foretells the amplitude of the church, when Jews vindication of the divine power and truth--consolations and
and Gentiles should be converted. (liv.) invitations to the Jews--denunciations against them for their DiscounSE 10. is an invitation to partake of the blessings of the infidelity and impiety—their rejection, and the calling of the
Gospel, from which none shall be excluded who come on the Gentiles--the happiness of the righteous and the final destruc
terms prescribed. (lv. Ivi, 1-8.) tion of the wicked. But, as the subject of this very beautiful Discourse 11. denounces calamities against the inhabitants of series of prophecies is chiefly of the consolatory kind, they are
Judah, who are sharply reproved for their idolatry and hypointroduced with a promise of the restoration of the kingdom,
crisy, Bishop Lowth is of opinion, that the prophet probably and the return from the Babylonian captivity, through the merciful interposition of God. At the same time, this redemp
* Isa. xliv, 28. “There is a remarkable beanty and propriety in this
verse: 1. Cyrus is called God's Shepherd. --Shepherd was an epithet tion from Babylon is employed as an image to shadow out a which Cyrus took to himself
, and which he gave to all good kings. 2. This redemption of an infinitely higher and more important nature. 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 1 Smith's Summary View of the Prophets, p. 56.
Cyrus, the Ammonites having prevented the building;
nor was it resumed * 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 pre. xiv. 8-10.
cision in the expressions of the prophets, which is as honourable to truth, > Smith's Summary View of the Prophets, p. 64.
as it is unnoticed by careless readers.” Dr. A. Clarke, on Isa. xliv. 28.
has in view the destruction of their city and polity by the from their severe captivity in Babylon, and their restoration Chaldæans, and perhaps, by the Romans. (lvi. 9-12. lvii.-to their own country (verses 1–3.), introduces a chorus of lix. 1–15.) The fifty-ninth chapter, he observes, is remark- them, expressing their surprise and astonishment at the sudable for the beauty, strength, and variety of the images with den downfall of Babylon, and the great reverse of fortune which it abounds, as well as for the elegance of the composition that had befallen the tyrant, who, like his predecessors, had and the exact construction of the sentences.
oppressed his own, and harassed the neighbouring kingdoms Discourse 12. chiefly predicts the general conversion of the These oppressed kingdoms, or their rulers, are represented
Jews to the Gospel, the coming in of the fulness of the Gen- under the image of the fir trees and the cedars of Libanus tiles, the restoration of the Jews, and the happy state of the which is frequently used to express any thing in the political Christian church. (lix. 16–21. Ix.lxvi.) 'In ch. Ix. and or religious world that is supereminently great and majestic · lxi. the great increase and flourishing state of the church of the whole earth shouts for joy; the cedars of Libanus atter a God, by the conversion and accession of the heathen nations severe taunt over the fallen tyrant, and boast their security to it, are set forth in such ample and exalted terms, as plainly now he is no more. (verses 4–8.) show, that the full completion of the prophecy is reserved for
This is followed (9.) by one of the boldest and most future times. This subject is displayed in the most splendid animated personifications of Hades, or the regions of the colours, under a great variety of highly poetical images, de- dead, that was ever executed in poetry. Hades excites his signed to give a general idea of the glories of that perfect of monarchs. These illustrious shades arise at once from
inhabitants, the shades of princes, and the departed spirits state of the church, which we are taught to expect in the lat-their couches as from their thrones ;! and advancing to the ter times; when the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in, and entrance of the cavern to meet the king of Babylon, they the Jews shall be converted and gathered from their disper-insult and deride him on being reduced to the same low state sions; and the kingdoms of this world shall become the king of impotence and dissolution with themselves. (10, 11.) doms of our Lord and of his Christ.”. (Bp. Lowth.) The The Jews now resume the speech (12.): they address the remarkable prophecy in lxiii. 1—6., which some expositors king of Babylon as the morning-star fallen from heaven, as refer to Judas Maccabæus, the learned prelate applies primarily the first in splendour and dignity in the political world fallen to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish polity; which from his high state : they introduce him as uttering the most in the Gospel is called the “ coming of Christ," and the “ days extravagant vaunts of his power and ambitious designs in his of vengeance” (Matt. xvi. 28. Luke xxi. 22.); but he thinks former glory; these are strongly contrasted, in the close, with it may ultimately refer to the yet unfulfilled predictions, which his present low and abject condition. (13—15.) intimate a great slaughter of the enemies of God and his peo- Immediately follows a different scene, and a most happy ple. The two last chapters of this prophecy manifestly relate image, to diversify the same subject, and give it a new turn to the calling of the Gentiles, the establishment of the Chris- and additional force. Certain persons are introduced, who tian dispensation, and the reprobation of the apostate Jews, light upon the corpse of the king of Babylon, cast out and and their destruction executed by the Romans.
lying naked upon the bare ground, among the common slain, V. Isaiah has, with singular propriety, been denominated just after the taking of the city, covered with wounds, and the “ evangelical prophet,” on account of the number and va- so disfigured, that it is some time before they know him. riety of his prophecies concerning the advent and character, They accost him with the severest taunts, and bitterly reproach the ministry and preaching, the sufferings and death, and the him with his destructive ambition, and his cruel usage of the extensive permanent kingdom of the Messiah. So explicit conquered : which have deservedly brought upon him this and determinate are his predictions, as well as so numerous, ignominious treatment, so different from that which those of that he seems to speak rather of things past than of events his rank usually meet with, and which shall cover his yet fulure; and he may rather be called an evangelist, than posterity with disgrace. (16–20.) a prophet. No one, indeed, can be at a loss in applying them To complete the whole, God is introduced, declaring the to the mission and character of Jesus Christ, and to the events fate of Babylon, the utter extirpation of the royal family, which are cited in his history by the writers of the New and the total desolation of the city; the deliverance of his Testament. This prophet, says Bishop Lowth, abounds in people, and the destruction of their enemies; confirming the such transcendent excellencies, that he may be properly said irreversible decree by the awful sanction of his oath. (21—27.) to afford the most perfect model of prophetic poetry. He is “ How forcible,” says Bishop Lowth, “is this imagery, at once elegant and sublime, forcible and ornainented; he how diversified, how sublime! how elevated the diction, the unites energy with copiousness, and dignity with variety. figures, the sentiments !-- The Jewish nation, the cedars of In his sentiments there is uncommon elevation and majesty: Lebanon, the ghosts of departed kings, the Babylonish in his imagery, the utmost propriety, elegance, dignity, and monarch, the travellers who find his corpse, and last of all diversity; in his language, uncommon beauty and energy;
JEHOVAH himself, are the characters which support this and, notwithstanding the obscurity of his subjects, a surpris-beautiful lyric drama. One continued action is kept up, or ing degree of clearness and simplicity. To these we may rather a series of interesting actions are connected together add, that there is such sweetness in the poetical composition in an incomparable whole; this, indeed, is the principal and of his sentences, whether it proceed from art or genius, that, distinguished excellence of the sublimer ode, and is displayed if the Hebrew poetry at present is possessed of any remains in its utmost perfection in this poem of Isaiah, which may be of its native grace and harmony, we shall chiefly find them considered as one of the most ancient, and certainly one of in the writings of Isaiah ; so that the saying of Ezekiel may the most finished, specimens of that species of composition most justly be applied to this prophet,
which has been transmitted to us. The personifications here “Thou art the confirmed exemplar of measures,
are frequent, yet not confused; bold, yet not improbable; a Full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty."--Ezek. xxviii. 12.
free, elevated, and truly divine spirit pervades the whole; Isaiah also greatly excels in all the graces of method, order, to the character of perfect beauty and sublimity. If, indeed,
nor is there any thing wanting in this ode to defeat its claim connection, and arrangement: though in asserting this we i may be indulged in the free declaration of my own sentimust not forget the nature of the prophetic impulse, which (ments on this occasion, I do not know a single instance, in bears away the mind with irresistible violence, and frequently the whole compass of Greek and Roman poetry, which, in in rapid transitions from near to remote objects, from human every excellence of composition, can be said to equal, or to divine; we must likewise be careful in remarking the even to approach it."2 limits of particular predictions, since, as they are now extant,
1 "The image of the dead," so admirably described by the prophet, they are often improperly connected, without any marks of Bishop Lowth observes, " is taken from their custoin of burying, those at discrimination, which injudicious arrangement, on some least of the higher rank, in large sepulchral vaults hewn in ite rock. of occasions, ereates almost insuperable difficulties. Bishop Lowth has selected the thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth drell
, p. 76. You are to form to yourself an idea of an immense subterrane.
some that are said to be the sepulchres of the kings of Judah. See Maun. chapters
of this prophet, as a specimen of the poetic style in ous vault, a vast gloomy cavern, all ronnd the sides of which there are cells whích he delivers his predictions, and has illustrated at some to receive the dead bodies: here the deceased tnonarchs lie in a distin. length the various beauties which eminently distinguish the with his arms beside him, his sword at his head, and the bodies of his simple, regular, and perfect poem contained in those chapters. chiefs and companions round about him. See Ezek. xxxii. 27. On which But the grandest specimen of his poetry is presented in the place Sir John Chardin's manuscript note is as follows :-'En Mingrelie ils fourteenth chapter, which is one of the most sublime odes et on les enterre de mesme, leurs armes posées de cette façon.'” Bp. occurring in the Bible, and contains the noblest personifications Lowth's Translation of Isaiah, vol. ii. p. 121. to be found in the records of poetry.
» Bishop Lowth's Lectures on Hebrew Poetry, vol. ii. pp. 81–86. vol. i. The prophet, after predicting the liberation of the Jews. 2. and his Translation of Isaiah, vol. ii. pp. 230–32. Jahn, Introd.