« ElőzőTovább »
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 omnipoof 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 Discou RSE 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. (xlii. 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 chose 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 Discourse 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 expresDiscours¥ 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. 1-4.), 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. 145.); the folly of worshipping them is then strikingly plain from every part of it, that this chapter is to be understood 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. 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
to restore the Israelites, but to be a light to lighten the GenPart V. comprises the Historical Part of the Prophecy of Isaiah.
tiles, to call them to the knowledge and obedience of the true
God, and to bring them to be one church together with the IsCh. xxxvi. relates the history of the invasion of Sennacherib, and of the miraculous destruction of his army, as a proper in
raelites, and with them to partake of the same common salva
tion, procured for all by the great Redeemer and Reconciler of troduction to ch. xxxvii., which contains the answer of God to Hezekiah's prayer, that could not be properly understood with Discourse 7. predicts the dereliction of the Jews for their
man to God. (xlix.) 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 recovery, and his thanksgiving for restoration to health, together
tation are foretold. (4—11.) The prophet exhorts the believe
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 Ilezekiah'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. “The
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 Discornse 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 DiscoURSE 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 beauty and propriety in this 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
1. Cyrus is called God's Shepherd. --Shepherd was an epithet 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 Mati. xi. 5. xv. 30. xxi. It. John v. 8, 9. Acts iij. 2. viii. 7. till the second year of Darius, one of his successors. There is often a prexiv. 8-10.
cision in the expressions of the prophets, which is as honourable to truth, 3 Smith's Summary View of the Prophets, p. 64.
as it is unnoticed by careless readers." Dr. A. Clarke, on Isa. xliv. 2
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 downtall 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. lx.—Ixvi.) 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 utter 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 Ixiii. 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 opriety, 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 future; 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 ornamented; 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 ihe 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
are frequent, yet not confused; bold, yet not improbable: a * Thou art the confirmed exemplar of measures, Full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty."--Ezek. xxviii. 12.
free, elevated, and truly divine spirit pervades the whole;
nor is there any thing wanting in this ode to defeat its claim Isaiah also greatly excels in all the graces of method, order, to the character of perfect beauty and sublimity. If, indeed, 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."? limits of particular predictions, since, as they are now extant,
"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 custom or burying, those ai discrimination; which injudicious arrangement, on some least of the higher rank, in large sepulchral va ulis hewn in tbe rock. Of occasions, creates almost insuperable difficulties.
this kind of sepulchres there are remains at Jerusalem now extant; and
are 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. chapters of this prophet, as a specimen of the poetic style in ous vault, a vast gloomy cavern, all round the sides of which there are cells, which he delivers his predictions, and has illustrated at some guished sort of state suitable to their foriner rank, each on his own couch, length the various beauties which eminently distinguish the with his arms beside himn, 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 postes 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 Louth's Lectures on Hebrew Poetry, vol. ii. pp. 84-86. vol. i. The prophet, after predicting the liberation of the Jews/22 2010, and
his Translation of Isaiah, vol. ii. pp. 230–22. Jahn, Introd. ad Vet. Fæd. 367.
§ 5. ON THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET JOEL.
the Gospel ; interspersing promises of safety to the faithful
and penitent, which were afterwards signally fulfilled to the I. Author and date.-II. Occasion and scope.-III. Analysis
Christians in that great national calamity. (27—32. Compare of the book.-IV. Observations on its style.
Acts ii. 17-21.)
Part III. predicts the general Conversion and Return of the I. CONCERNING the family, condition, and pursuits of this
Jews, and the destruction of their opponents, together with
the glorious State of the Church that is to follow. (ii.) prophet, there is great diversity of opinion among learned men. Although several persons of the name of Joel are men- IV. The style of Joel, though different from that of Hosea, tioned in the Old Testament,' we have no information con- is highly poetical : it is elegant, perspicuous, and copious; cerning the prophet himself, except what is contained in the and at the same time nervous, animated, and sublime. In title of his predictions (i. 1.), that he was the son of Pethuel. the two first chapters he displays the full force of the proAccording to some idle reports collected and preserved by phetic poetry; and his description of the plague of locusts, the pseudo-Epiphanius, 2 he was of the tribe of Reuben, and of the deep national repentance, and of the happy state of was born at Bellhoron, a town situated in the confines of the the Christian church, in the last times of the Gospel, are territories of Judah and Benjamin. It is equally uncertain wrought up with admirable force and beauty. under what sovereign he flourished, or where he died. The celebrated Rabbi Kimchi and others place him in the reign
$ 6. ON THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET MICAH. of Joram, and are of opinion that he foretold the seven years' famine which prevailed in that king's reign. (2 Kings viii
. I. Author and date.-II. Occasion and scope.- III. Synopsis 143.) The authors of the two celebrated Jewish Chroni- of its contents.-IV. Prophecies concerning the Messiah. cles entitled Seder Olam (both great and little), Jarchi, and V. Observations on its style. several other Jewish writers, who are also followed by Dru
BEFORE CHRIST, 758–699. sius, Archbishop Newcome, and other Christian commentators, maintain that he prophesied under Manasseh. Tarno- I. Micah, the third of the minor prophets, according to the vius, Eckermann, Calmet, and others, place him in the reign arrangement in the Hebrew and all modern copies, as well of Josiah : but Vitringa, Moldenhawer, Rosenmüller, and as in the Septuagint, was a native of Morasthi, a small town the majority of modern commentators, are of opinion (after in the southern part of the territory of Judah; and, as we Abarbanel), that he delivered his predictions during the reign learn from the commencement of his predictions, he propheof Uzziah: consequently he was contemporary with Amos sied in the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of and Hosea, if indeed he did not prophesy before Amos. This that country; consequently he was contemporary with Isaiah, opinion, which we think more probable than any, is sup- Joel, Hosea, and Amos. "The time, place, and manner of his ported by the following arguments :-1. Only Egypt and death are unknown. The genuineness of his prophecies reEdom (iii. 19.) are enumerated among the enemies of Judah, lating to the complete destruction of Jerusalem, and of the no mention whatever being made of the Assyrians or Baby- temple, is supported by the testimony of Jeremiah. (xxvi. lonians :2. Joel (iii. 4—7.) denounces the same judgments, 18, 19.). as Amos (i. 9-11.), against the Tyrians, Sidonians, and II. The people of Judah and Israel being very profane and Idumeans (who had'invaded the kingdom of Judah, carried impenitent in ihe days of Isaiaho (in consequence of which off its inhabitants, and sold them as slaves to the Gentiles): the Assyrian captivity was then hastening upon Israel, and —3. It appears from Joel ii. 15–17. that at the time he the Babylonian not long after fell upon Judah), the prophet flourished the Jews were in the full enjoyment of their reli- Micah was raised up to second Isaiah, and to confirm his gious worship :-4. More prosperous times are promised to predictions against the Jews and Israelites, whom he inJudæa, together with uncommon plenty (ii. 18, 19.) :- vited to repentance both by threatened judgments and by 5. Although Joel foretells the calamity of famine and barren- promised mercies. 10 ness of the land, it is evident from Amos (iv. 6, 7.) that the III. This book contains seven chapters, forming three Israelites had not only suffered from the same calamity, but parts; viz. were even then labouring under it.
INTRODUCTION or title, i. 1. II. From the palmer-worm, locust, canker-worm, cater- Part I. comprises the Prophecies delivered in the Reigns of pillar, &c. being sent upon the land of Judah, and devouring Jotham King of Judah (with whom Pekah King of Israet its fruits (the certain forerunners of a grievous famine), the was contemporary), in which the Divine Judgments are deprophet takes occasion to exhort the Jews to repentance, fast- nounced against both Israel and Judah for their Sins. (i. ing, and prayer, promising them various temporal and spi- 2–16.) ritual blessings.
Part II. contains the Predictions delivered in the Reigns oj III. This book consists of three chapters, which may be Ahaz King of Judah (with whom his Son Hezekiah was assidivided into three discourses or parts ; viz.
ciated in the Government during the latter Part of his Life), Part I. is an Exhortation, both to the Priests and to the Peo
and of Pekah King of Israel, who was also contemporary ple, to repent, by reason of the Famine brought upon them by
with him. (ii.-iv. 8.) the Palmer-worm, &c. in comsequence of their Sins (i. 1- In this prophetic discourse, Micah foretells the captivity of both 20.); and is followed by a Denunciation of still greater Ca- nations (ii. 1–5.), and particularly threatens Israel for their lamities, if they continued impenitent. (ii. 1–11.)
enmity to the house of David (6—13.), and Judah for their This discourse contains a double ophecy, applicable, in its pri- cruelty to the pious. (iii. 1-7.) He then vindicates his pro
mary sense, to a plague of locusts, which was to devour the phetic mission, and denounces to the princes of Israel, that, land, and was to be accompanied with so severe a drought and though they should“ build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem famine as should cause the public service of the temple to be
with iniquity,” for their sake Zion should be ploughed as a interrupted; and, in its secondary sense, it denotes the Baby
field, and Jerusalem should become heaps. (8--12.) This lonian invasion, and perhaps also the invasions of the Per- prophecy had its utmost completion in the final destruction of sians, Greeks, and Romans, by whom the Jews were succes
the city and temple by the Romans. We learn from Jer. sively subjugated.
xxvi. 18, 19. 24., that this particular prediction was uttered in Part II. An Exhortation to keep a public and solenın Fast
the time of Hezekiah ; and that in the reign of Jehoiakim it (ji. 12–17.), with a promise of removing the Calamities of
was a means of preserving Jeremiah from being delivered into the Jews on their Repentance. (18—26.)
the hands of the people who were desirous of putting him to
death. In ch. iv. 1-3. the glorious and peaceful kingdom of From the fertility and prosperity of the land described in these
Messiah is foretold, together with the establishment of the verses, the prophet makes an easy transition to the copious church. blessings of the Gospel, particularly the effusion of the gifts of the Holy Spirit: with these he connects the destruction of PART III. includes the Prophecies delivered by Micah during the Jewish nation and polity in consequence of their rejecting
the Reign of Hezekiah King of Judah, the first six years of
whose Government were contemporary with the greater Part 1 See Simonis Onomasticon Vet. Test. p. 517. 9 De Vitis Prophetarum in Epiphanii op. tom. ii. p. 245.
.: Early in the last century, Mr. Hermann Von der Hardt, whom, from 3 Relandi Palestina, p. 633.
his love of philosophical paradoxes, Bp. Lowth has termed the " Har. * Typus Doctrina Prophet. cap. iv. p. 35. et seq.
douin of Germany,'' attempted to reduce Joel's elegies to iambic verse. s Introductio in Libros Canonicos Vet. et Nov. Test. pp. 120, 121. He accordingly published the three first elegies at Helmstadt, in 1705 ; and 6 Scholia in Vet. Test. Partis septimæ, vol. i. pp. 133, 134.
again, with additions, at the same place, in 1720, in 8vo. • The famine predicted by Joel, Jahn refers to that which took place in 3 Compare 2 Kings xv. xix. 2 Chron. xxvi.xxxi. Isa. xxxvi.- xxxviii. the time of the Maccabees. See 1 Macc. ix. 23-27.
10 Roberts's Clavis Bibliorum, p. 671.
Among the thousands of Juduh?
Until the time that she which shall bear
Unto the ends of the earth,
of the Reign of Hoshea, the last King of Israel. (iv. 9–13. 5. The blessed virgin of Isaiah's former prophecy (vii. 14.) V.-vii.
is evidently alluded to by Micah, and also the return of the In this portion of the book of Micah, the Jews are threatened remnant of the Jews (Isa. x. 20, 21.), and of the final peace
with the Babylonish captivity (iv. 9, 10.): this event took of his kingdom. (Isa. ix. 6, 7.) place almost one hundred and fifty years after Micah's time; This prophecy of Micah is, perhaps, the most important and the Chaldæans, who were to be the instruments in effect- single prophecy in the Old Testament, and the most compreing it, had not arisen in the prophets age to any distinction hensive, respecting the personal character of the Messiah, among the nations. The total overthrow of Sennacherib's and his successive manifestation to the world. It crowns the forces is foretold (11—13.); and the pious king Hezekiah is whole chain of prophecies descriptive of the several limitaassured of God's preservation by a new promise of the Mes- tions of the blessed seed of the woman to the line of Shem, to siah, who should descend from him (and the place of whose the family of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to the tribe of Judah, nativity is particularly indicated), and by a prediction of and to the royal house of David here terminating in his birth Sennacherib's murder. (v. 1–15.)' The people are then fore- at Bethlehem," the city of David.” It carefully distinguishes warned of the judgments that would befall them for their sins his human nativity from his eternal generation; foretells the in the reign of Manasseh (vi. 1–16.): the wickedness of whose rejection of the Israelites and Jews for a season; their final reign is further described, together with his captivity and re- restoration, and the universal peace destined to prevail throughturn from Babylon, as also the return of the Jews from Baby- basis of the New Testament, which begins with his human
It forms, therefore, the lon, and from their general dispersion after they shall be con- birth at Bethlehem, the miraculous circumstances of which verted to the Gospel. (vii.)
are recorded in the introductions of Matthew's and Luke's IV. The book of Micah, who (we have seen) was the con- Gospels; his eternal generation, as the Oracle or Wisdom, temporary of Isaiah, contains a summary of the prophecies in the sublime introduction of John's Gospel: his prophetic delivered by the latter concerning the Messiah and the final character, and second coming, illustrated in the four Gospels return of the Jews, which are thus translated and arranged and Epistles, ending with a prediction of the speedy approach by Dr. Hales :
of the latter in the Apocalypse. (Rev. xxii. 20.)' CHAP. V. 2 "And art thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, little to be esteemed]
V. The style of Micah is, for the most part, forcible,
pointed, and concise, sometimes approaching the obscurity From thee shall issue (THE LEADER),
of Hosea; in many parts animated and sublime, and in Who shall rule my people, the Israel (of God) (But his issuings are from old,
general truly poetical. His tropes are very beautiful, and From days of eternity).
varied according to the nature of the subject.
§ 7. ON THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET NAHUM.
I. Author and date.-II. Scope and synopsis of its contents.
III. Observations on its style.
BEFORE CHRIST, 720—698.
I. Nahum, the seventh of the minor prophets, is supposed to
have been a native of Elkosh, or Elkosha, a village in Galilee, “ This prophecy,” Dr. Hales remarks, “consists of four and situate in the territory that had been apportioned to the parts, 1. The human birth-place of Christ. 2. His eternal tribe of Simeon. There is very great uncertainty concerning the generation. 3. His temporary desertion of the Jews, until precise time when he lived; some making him contemporary his miraculous birth of the Virgin, after which they are to with Jotham, others, with Manasseh, and others, with Josiah. return with the true Israelites. *4. His spiritual and univer- The most probable opinion is that which places him between sal dominion.
the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, about the year 715 The application of the first part of this prophecy was de- before the Christian æra; and, as the design of this prophet cided at the time of our Saviour's birth, by the most respect their cruel tyranny over the Israelites, and as the captivity
is to denounce ruin upon Nineveh and the Assyrians, for able Jewish synod that ever sat, convened by Herod, to determine from prophecy the birth-place of the Messiah, of the ten tribes took place in the ninth year of Hoshea king which they agreed to be Bethlehem, upon the authority of of Israel (2 Kings xvii
. 6. &c. compared with 2 Kings xviii. Micah, which they cited. Their citation, of the first part 9–11.), it is most likely that Nahum prophesied against the only, is given by the evangelist Matthew, in an improved Assyrians for the comfort of the people of God towards the translation of the original, greatly superior to any of the an- close of Hezekiah's reign, and not long after the subversion cient versions.
of the kingdom of Israel by Shalmaneser.
11. The Scope of this prophecy is, to denounce the certain Matt. ii. 6. "And thou Bethlehem, territory of Judah,
and imminent destruction of the Assyrian empire, and particuArt by no means least among the captains of Judah; Froin thee shall issue THE LEADER,
larly the inhabitants of its metropolis Nineveh ; who, after a Who shall guide my people, the Israel [of God)."
transient repentance in consequence of Jonah's preaching, 1. Here the evangelist has removed the ambiguity of the had relapsed into their former sins, which they even aggraquestion proposed by the prophet, by supplying the answer
With this denunciation, the
vated by their wickedness. in the negative. As in Nathan's prophecy, ** Shalt thou prophet introduces consolation for his countrymen, whom he build me a house ?”. (2 Sam. vii. 5.) the parallel passage encourages to trust in God: answers in the negative, “ Thou shalt not build me a house."
His prophecy is one entire poem, which, opening with a (1 Chron. xvii. 4.)
sublime description of the justice and power of God tempered 2. He has supplied a chasm in the Masorete text, of 7:13, destruction of Sennacherib's forces, and the subversion of
by long-suffering and goodness (i.'1-8.), foretells the Nagid, a usual' epithet of the Messiah (1 Chron, v. 2. , Isa, the Assyrian empire (9—12.), together with the deliverance 1v. 4. Dan. ix. 25.), usually rendered 'Hy superos, "leader,” by of Hezekiah and the death of Sennacherib. (13—15.) The the Septuagint, and retained here by the evangelist, as a destruction of Nineveh is then predicted, and described with necessary distinction of his character, as supreme commander, singular minuteness. (ii. iii.)? This prophecy, Archbishop from * the captains of thousands," styled 'Hgico!, judiciously Newcome observes, was highly interesting to the Jews, as substituted for the thousands themselves in Micah, to mark the Assyrians had often ravaged their country, and had the analogy more correctly.
3. He has also determined the pastorul nature of the recently destroyed the kingdom of Israel. MESSIAH'S “ rule” by the verb meile2156, “shall guide as a
III. In boldness, ardour, and sublimity, Nahum is superior shepherd,” afterwards intimated by Micah, nyni, xu FCILRY, exordium of his prophecy, which fornis a regular and perfect
to all the minor prophets. His language
is as there rendered by the Septuagint. For He is " the shepherd of Israel” (Gen. xlix. 24. Psal. lxxx. 1.), “ the chief shepherd” poem, is not merely magnificent, it is truly majestic. The (1 Pet. v. 4.), and “ the good shepherd” (John x. 14.), who preparation for the destruction of Nineveh, and the descripappointed his apostles to “guide and pasture his sheep." tion of its downfall and desolation, are expressed in the most (John xxi. 16.)
1 Dr. Hales's Analysis of Chronology, vol. ij. book j. pp. 462, 463. 4. The human birth of the Messiah is carefully distin- 2 Lowth's Lectures, vol ii. p. 95. guished by Micah from his eternal generation, in the paren- Newtow's Dissertations (vol. i. pp. 111–153.); in which he has ahly, illus
3 The best commentary, perhaps, on this prophet, is the ninth of Bishop thetical clause, which strongly resembles the account of the trated the predictions of Nahum and other prophcts who foretold ihe deprimeval birth of Wisdom. (Prov. viii. 22–25.)
pure; and the vivid colours and with images that are truly pathetic and discharge the duties of his function with unremitting dilisublime.
struction of Nineveh.
gence and fidelity during a course of at least forty-two years, reckoned from the thirteenth year of Josiah's reign. In the
course of his ministry he met with great difficulties and oppo8. ON THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET ZEPHANIAH.
sition from his countrymen of all degrees, whose persecution I. Author and date.-II. Scope and analysis of this book. and ill usage sometimes wrought so far upon his mind, as to
draw from him expressions, in the bitterness of his soul, BEFORE CHRIST, 640-609.
which many have thought difficult to reconcile with his reliI. This prophet, who was "the son of Cushi, the son of gious principles; but which, when duly weighed, may be Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah” (i. 1.), found to demand our pity rather than censure. He was, in is supposed to have been of the tribe of Simeon; but, though truth, a man of unblemished piety and conscientious integrity : he has mentioned his ancestors for no less than four genera- a warm lover of his country, whose miseries he pathetically tions, nothing certain can be inferred from thence, as to the deplores; and so affectionately attached to his countrymen, family to which he belonged. We learn, however, from his notwithstanding their injurious treatment of him, that he prophecy, that he delivered his predictions in the reign of chose rather to abide with them, and undergo all hardships Josiah ; consequently he prophesied about the time that Jere- in their company, than separately to enjoy a state of ease and miah entered on his prophetic office, and in method and sub- plenty, which the favour of the king of Babylon would have ject he greatly resembles him.
secured to him. At length, after the destruction of JerusaOn this account Zephaniah has been considered as the ab- lem, having followed the remnant of the Jews into Egypt, breviator of Jeremiah ́; but it is evident that he prophesied whither they had resolved to retire, though contrary to his before Jeremiah, because the latter (Jer. ii. 5. 20. 22.) seems advice, upon the murder of Gedaliah, whom the Chaldæans to speak of those abuses as partially removed, which the had left governor in Judæa, he there continued warmly to former (Zeph. i. 4, 5. 9.) describes as existing in the most remonstrate against their idolatrous practices, foretelling the flagitious extent. From his account of the disorders prevail- consequences that would inevitably follow. But his freedom ing in Judah, it is probable that he discharged the prophetic and zeal are said to have cost him his life ; for there is a office before the eighteenth year of Josiah ; that is, before tradition, that the Jews at Tahpanhes were so offended at his this prince had reformed the abuses and corruptions of his faithful remonstrances, that they stoned him to death, which domínions. The style of Zephaniah is poetical, though it is account of the manner of his decease, though not absolutely not characterized by any striking or uncommon beauties. certain, is at least very likely to be true, considering the temper
II. In consequence of the idolatry and other iniquities pre- and disposition of the parties concerned. Their wickedness, vailing in the kingdom of Judah, whose inhabitants had dis- however, did not long pass without its reward; for, in a few regarded the denunciations and admonitions of former pro- years after, they were miserably destroyed by the Babylophets, Zephaniah was commissioned to proclaim the enormity nian armies which invaded Egypt, according to the prophet's of their wickedness, and to denounce the imminent desola- prediction. (xliv. 27, 28.) Some Jewish writers, however, tion that awaited them; to excite them to repentance, to fore-affirm that he returned to Judæa, while others say that he went tell the destruction of their enemies, and to comfort the pious to Babylon, and died there; and a third class are of opinion Jews with promises of future blessings.
that he died in Egypt, far advanced in years, and broken by His prophecy, which consists of three chapters, may be the calamities which had happened both to himself and his divided into four sections; viz.
country. This prophet's writings are all in Hebrew, except Sect. 1. A denunciation against Judah for their idolatry. (i.) the eleventh verse of the tenth chapter, which is Chaldee. Sect. 2. Repentance the only means to avert the divine ven- His predictions concerning the seventy years of the captivity geance. (ii. 1-3.)
were known to and read by the prophet Daniel. (ix. 1.) Sect. 3. Prophecies against the Philistines (ii. 4—7.), Moab- II. The idolatrous apostasy and other criminal enormities
ites, and Ammonițes (8—11.), Ethiopia (12.), and Nine of the people of Judah, and the severe judgments which God veh. (13— 15.)
was preparing to inflict upon them, though not without a disSect. 4. The captivity of the Jews by the Babylonians fore- tant prospect of future restoration and deliverance, form the
told (iii. 1—7.), together with their future restoration and principal subjects of the prophecies of Jeremiah; except the the ultimate prosperous state of the chi ch. (8—20.)
forty-fifth chapter, which relates personally to Baruch, and the six following chapters, which respect the fortunes of some particular heathen nations."
It is evident, from various passages of this book, that there SECTION III.
were four distinct collections of Jeremiah's prophecies. The
first was that mentioned in chap. xxxvi. 2. and made by IN THE PROPHETS WHO FLOURISHED NEAR TO AND DURING THE In this collection were contained all the predictions which he
divine command in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim.
had delivered and published, to that time, as well against § 1. ON THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET JEREMIAH. other nations as against the Jews: the prophecies against 1. Author and date.-II. Occasion of his prophecies. -Differ- end of the book, as being in some measure unconnected with
the Gentiles are, in our Bibles, placed by themselves at the ent collections of them.—III. Synopsis of their contents. -- those denounced against the Jews; but in the present copies IV. Prophecies concerning the Messiah.–V. Observations of the Septuagint, they follow immediately after the thiron their style.
teenth verse of the twenty-fifth chapter. This first collecBEFORE CHRIST, 628–586.
tion comprised chapters i.-XX. XXV. xxvi. xxxv. xxxvi. xlv. 1. The prophet Jeremiah was of the sacerdotal race, being - i. inclusive. (as he himself records), one of the priests that dwelt at Ana
The second collection is that mentioned in chap. xxx. 2., thoth (i. 1.) in the land of Benjamin, a city appropriated out and contained chapters xxvii. xxxi. inclusive : it was made of that tribe to the use of the priests, the sons of Aaron (Josh. in the reign of Zedekiah, and, as may be inferred from xxviii xxi. 18.), and situate, as we learn from Jerome, about three 1., after the fourth year of the reign of Zedekiah. Roman miles north of Jerusalem. Some critics have con
The third collection was made soon after the destruction jectured that his father was the same Hilkiah, the high- of Jerusalem, as is plainly indicated by the prophet himself priest, who found the book of the law in the temple, in the in the general preface to his book, where he says that the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah (2 Kings xxii. 8.): word of Jehovah came to him “in the days of Josiah the son but for this opinion there is no better ground than that he of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign; bore the same name, which was of frequent occurrence among and came in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of the Jews ; for, if Hilkiah had really been the high-priest, he Judah, until the completion of the eleventh year of Zedekiah would doubtless have been distinguished by that title, and the son of Josiah king of Judah, until the carrying away of
Conwould not have been placed on a level with priests of an or- Jerusalem into captivity in the fifth month." (i. 1-3.) dinary and inferior class. Jeremiah appears to have been sequently, this third collection included chapters xxi.- xxiv. very young when he was called to the exercise of the pro- xxxii.—xxxiv. and xxxvii.-xxxix. phetical office, from which he modestly endeavoured to ex- 3 Dr. Blayney's Translation of Jeremiah, pp. 221, 222. 2d edit. cuse himself, by, pleading his youth and incapacity; but • Ibid. p. 222. being overruled by the divine authority, he set himself to
Carpzov has written an elaborate disquisition on the variations between
the Hebrew and the Septuagint, in the order of Jeremiah's prophecies; · Lowth's Lectures, vol. ii. p. 99.
and has given a table illustrating those variations. See his Introd. ad Libros Hieronymi Comm. in Jer. cc. i. xi. and xxxi. Eusebii Onomast. voce. Biblicos Vel. Test. pars iii. c. 111. $ 4. pp. 141-152.