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II. The prophecy of Obadiah consists of two parts; viz. been impugned by some writers both on the Continent and Part I. is minatory, and denounces the destruction of Edom for in our own country. their Pride and carnal Security (1–9.), and for their cruel
i. On the Continent it has been denied that the last nine Insults and Enmity to the Jews, after the Capture of their chapters are to be attributed to Ezekiel; but the arguments City. (10_16.)
adduced in behalf of this hypothesis are by no means suff
cient to sustain it: for This prediction, according to Archbishop Usher, was fulfilled, about five years after the destruction of Jerusalem, by the not at variance with the opinion that they were written by ·
1. The alleged obscurity of these chapters is “certainly Babylonians subduing and expelling them from Arabia Petræa, Ezekiel, for many other parts of his work are less perspicuof which they never afterwards recovered possession.
ous, not to say, that descriptions of this kind, particularly Part II. is consolatory, and foretells the Restoration of the of buildings, can scarcely be made very intelligible without
Jews (17.), their Victory over their Enemies, and their flou- the aid of drawings. rishing State in consequence. (18-21.)
2. “ These chapters are supposed to contain commands Archbishop Newcome considers this prophecy as fulfilled by the which were disregarded by the Hebrews after their return,
conquest of the Maccabees over the Edomites. (See I Macc. v. and, therefore, it is inferred that they did not then exist, or 3–5. 65, &c.) There is no doubt that it was in part accom
at least were not ascribed to Ezekiel. But this supposition plished by the return from the Babylonian captivity; and by is unfounded; for those chapters do not comain commands, the victories of the Maccabxan princes; but the prediction in but an emblematic or figurative representation intended to the last verse will not receive its complete fulllment until that confirm the certainty of the return, and the re-establishment time when “the kingdoms of the world are become the king
of divine worship. doms of our Lord and of his Christ. (Rev. xi. 15.)
3. “It is further objected, that the prophet could not possibly retain in memory the numbers of so many measure
ments as were perceived by him in his vision. But this is § 6. ON THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET EZEKIEL.
of little weight'; for as the impressions of the visions were
the more vehement on account of the outward senses being I. Author and date.-II. Canonical authority of the prophecies at rest, there would be the less difficulty in retaining them
of Ezekiel. — III. Their scope. — IV. Analysis of them.- in the memory. Besides, there are persons who commit V. Observations on the style of Ezekiel.
numbers to memory with great facility, and if the objectors
to these prophecies allow that visions constitute merely the BEFORE CHRIST, 595—536.
dress and form in which the prophets announce their predicI. Ezekiel, whose name imports the strength of God, was tions, there would have been no need of memory in the case. the son of Buzi, of the sacerdotal race, and one of the captives 4. “ Josephus: attributes to Ezekiel two books concerncarried by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon, with Jehoiachin king ing the Babylonish captivity: but as by the second book of of Judah ; it does not appear that he had prophesied before Ezekiel he means the last nine chapters, how is it possible he came into Mesopotamia. The principal scene of his pre- thence to infer that Ezekiel is not their author? There is no dictions was some place on the river Chebar, which flows necessity, therefore, to apply the language to Jeremiah (as into the Euphrates about two hundred miles to the north of Eichhorn did), which cannot be done without violence to the Babylon, where the prophet resided; though he was, occa- series of the discourse. sionally, conveyed in vision to Jerusalem. He commenced Altogether worthless is the conjecture “ that some Hehis prophetic ministry in the thirtieth year of his age, accord-brew, who returned later than the great body of his brethren, ing to general accounts; or rather, as Calmet thinks, in the made up these chapters, in order to effect a new distribution thirtieth year after the covenant was renewed with God in of the country, by which he might acquire a portion for himthe reign of Josiah, which answers to the fifth year of Eze- self: for no such impostor would have written so largely kiel's and Jehoiachin's captivity (Ezek. i. 1. xl. 1.), the æra and in such a manner of the temple and of the division of the whence he dates his predictions, and it appears from xxix. country among the tribes, and at the same time forget en17. that he continued to prophesy about twenty-one years tirely the distribution among individuals. and three quarters. The events of his life, after his call to Nothing, therefore, can be established in opposition to the prophetic office, are interwoven with the detail which he the genuineness of these prophecies; and it is confirmed by has himself given of his predictions; but the manner of its their contents. The visions, the manner of conveying reproof, termination is nowhere ascertained. The pseudo-Epiphanius, the multitude of circumstantial purticulars, the churacter of the in his lives of the prophets, says that he was put to death by language and style, in all which respects Ezekiel is remarkthe prince or commander of the Jews in the place of his exile, ably distinguished from other writers, prove that he must because this prince was addicted to idolatry, and could not have been the author of these chapters. "No imitation could bear the reproaches of the prophet. No reliance, however, possibly have been so successful."4 can be placed on this account, which is intermixed with ii. In England, an anonymous writers has denied that many fables. Jerome is of opinion, that, as Ezekiel was in " the prophecies in chapters xxv.-xxxii. xxxv. xxxvi. part contemporary with Jeremiah, who prophesied in Judæa xxxviii. and xxxix. are Ezekiel's. His reasons are so exwhile Ezekiel delivered his predictions beyond the Euphrates, ceedingly trifling, that they are not worthy of refutation. their prophecies were interchanged for the consolation and Nor indeed is this necessary, for these very parts of the encouragement of the captive Jews. There is, indeed, a book contain evidence that they are the work of this prophet; striking agreement between the subject-matter and their re- very many particulars which Ezekiel is accustomed to inspective prophecies; but Ezekiel is more vehement than troduce elsewhere are found in these prophecies; as, for Jeremiah" in reproving the sins of his countrymen, and instance, the designation of the year, the month and the day, on abounds more in visions, which render some passages of his which a revelation was communicated; the remarkable book exceedingly difficult to be understood. On this account phraseology, son of man corresponding with the usage in the no Jew was, anciently, permitted to read the writings of this Aramæan dialect; the forms, set thy face towards or againstprophet, until he had completed his thirtieth year."
prophesy against-hear the word of Jehovah-thus saith the II. Until of late years the prophecies of Ezekiel have Lord Jehovah—the word of Jehovah came to me--they shall always been acknowledged to be canonical, nor was it ever know that I am Jehovah-take up a lamentation for. În these disputed that he was their author. The Jews, indeed, say chapters, as in ch. i.--xxiv., the terms 7:23 and rows are frethat the sanhedrin deliberated for a long time whether his quently applied to kings, the same devices for conducting book should form
a part of the sacred canon. They objected siegesp, a circumvallation, and asso, a mound, are mento the great obscurity at the beginning and end of his pro- tioned, compare ch, xxvi. 8. with iv. 2. xvii. 17. xxi. 27. phecy; and to what he says in ch. xviii. 20. that the son (22.), and, in fine, the same particularity and multitude of should not bear the iniquity of his father, which they urged circumstances occur. Indeed xxvii. 14. contains a referwas contrary to Moses, who says (Exod. xx. 5.), that God ence to the vision mentioned in i. 13. x. 2. If the mention visits the “ sins of the fathers upon the children unto the ing the regions of the departed more frequently than is usual third and fourth generation.' But it is worthy of remark, (see xxvi. 20. xxxi. 14–17. xxxii. 18–32.) would seem to that Moses himself (Deut. xxiv. 16.) says the very same indicate a foreign origin, it must be considered that the subthing as Ezekiel.2
ject required it, and it can never be alleged with any weight The genuineness of certain chapters of this prophet has
: Antiq. Jud. lib. x. c. 5. $ 1. · Hieronymi Proæm. in lib. i. Comm. in Ezech.
• Prof. Turner's Translation of Jahn, p. 403. • Calmet, Préface sur Ezekiel. Comment. Litt. tom. vi. pp. 353, 354.
• Monthly Magazine, March, 1798, p. 189.
as a proof that these portions of Ezekiel's prophecies disser Sect. 2. Under the type of shaving his head and beard, and in character from the remainder.".
weighing his hair, one-third part of which was to be burnt, Josephus ascribes to this prophet two books concerning another to be cut small with a knife, and the remainder to the Babylonian captivity;2 and says, that, having foretold be burnt (v. 1-4.), are, in vision, denounced the divine in Babylon the calamities which were coming upon the judgments against Jerusalem, by famine, sword, and disperpeople, he sent accounts of them to Jerusalem. 3° But these
sion. (5—17.) The head here represents Jerusalem; the circumstances are not recorded in the predictions now extant; hair, the great number of its inhabitants; and the balances, nor have we any means of ascertaining what foundation
the exactness of God's judginents. Josephus had for his assertion. Most commentators are of
Sect. 3. denounces the divine judgments against the Jews for opinion that the Jewish historian divided the prophecy we
their idolatry (vi. 1—7.), but promises that a remnant shall now have into two books, and that he took that part of the
be saved, and shall be brought to a sense of their sins by prophecy, which contains a description of the temple (xli.- their afflictions. (8-14.) xlviii.) for a distinct book, because it treats on a subject Sect. 4. announces the irreversible judgment of captivity, and wholly different from the topics discussed in the former part
final desolation of the Jews for their idolatry and other of his writings.
heinous sins (vii, 1–22.): the severity of their captivity, III. The chief design of Ezekiel's prophecies is, to comfort his brethren in captivity, who deplored their having too
which is prefigured by a chain. (23—27.) lightly credited the promises of Jeremiah, who had exhorted
Sect. 5. describes the carrying of the prophet, in a vision, to them speedily to submit to the Chaldees, on account of the
Jerusalem (viii, 1–4.), where he is shown the idolatries approaching ruin of Jerusalem. As these captives saw no
committed by the Jews within the precincts of the temple ;
particularly the image of Baal, by a bold tigure called the appearance of the fulfilment of Jeremiah's predictions, God raised up Ezekiel to confirm them in the faith, and to sup
image of Jealousy, from the provocation it gave to God, by port by new prophecies those which Jeremiah had long
setting up a rival against him in the place dedicated to his before published, and even then continued to announce in
worship (5.): the Egyptian (6—12.), the Phenician (13, Judæa. In pursuance of this design, Ezekiel predicts the
14.), and the Persian superstitions. (15, 16.) The prodreadful calamities which soon after were inilicted upon
phet then denounces vengeance against the wicked, and Judæa and Jerusalem, on account of the idolatry, impiety,
foretells the preservation of the pious Jews (17, 18. ix.) ; and profligacy of their inhabitants; the divine judgments
and under the command to scatter coals of fire over the that would be executed on the false prophets and prophet
city (x. 1—7.), and the vision of the Shechinah departing esses, who deluded and hardened the Jews in their rebellion from the temple (8—22.), are prefigured the destruction of against God; the punishments that awaited the Ammonites, Jerusalem, and Jehovah's forsaking the temple. This secEdomites, and Philistines, for their hatred of the Jews, and tion concludes with a severe denunciation against those insulting them in their distress ; the destruction of Tyre; wicked princes and people who remained in Jerusalem, and the conquest of Egypt; the future restoration of Israel and derided the types and predictions of the prophets (xi. 1Judah from their several dispersions; and their ultimately 13.); and the return of the Jews is then foretold (14happy state after the advent and under the government of 21.); Jehovah's utterly forsaking the temple and city is the Messiah.
represented by the departure of the Shechinah (22, 23.); IV. The prophecies of Ezekiel form, in our Bibles, forty- and the prophet returns to communicate his instructions to eight chapters; and, as he is extremely punctual in dating his brethren of the captivity. (24, 25.) them, we have little or no difficulty in arranging them in Sect. 6. Under the types of Ezekiel's removing himself and chronological order. They may be divided into four parts; his household goods (xii. 1—7.), and eating and drinking viz,
“ with quaking, and with carefulness” (17—20.), is prePart I. Ezekiel's Call to the Prophetic Office (i. 1. to the first figured the captivity of Zedekiah and of the Jews still repart of verse 28.), his Commission, Instructions, and En
maining at Jerusalem (8-16.);' and speedy judgment is couragements for executing it. (i. 28. latter clause, ii. iii.
denounced against the Jews for their abuse of the divine 1-21.)
forbearance. (21-28.) Part II. Denunciations against the Jewish People. (iii. 22— Sect. 7. The false prophets (xiii, 1–16.), and false prophet27. iv.-xxiv.)
esses (17—23.), are reproved and threatened with signal Sect. 1. Under the emblem of a siege delineated upon a tile punishment.
is represented the manner in which the Chaldæan army Sect. 8. A denunciation of the divine judgments against the would surround Jerusalem during the reign of Zedekiah. idolatrous elders and their false prophets (xiv, 1–11.), and (iii. 22—27. iv. 1-3.): The inhabitants there encouraged against the Jews for their obstinate impenitency (12—21.); the captives in Chaldæa to hope for a return; and such a a remnant of whom, it is promised, shall be saved. (22, hope they actually cherished, so long as Jerusalem was safe : 23.) but this vision was designed to overthrow their confidence.
Sect. 9. Under the parable of an unfruitful and unprofitable From the specimens preserved in cabinets, it is well known vine is set forth the utter rejection of Jerusalem. (xv.) that the tiles or bricks, anciently used in oriental buildings, Sect. 10. Under the emblem of an exposed and wretched were of considerable size, with one of the surfaces well po- infant is represented the natural state of the Jewish nation, lished, so as to be capable of receiving the representation and the great love of God to it in Egypt, as well as asterdescribed by the prophet. By Ezekiel's lying upon his wards. (xvi. 1-14.) The heinous and unparalleled sins right and left side a certain number of (prophetic) days, is of the Jews are set forth; for which sore judgments are exhibited the number of years, during which God had borne denounced against them. But, notwithstanding all these with the iniquities of the house of Israel. (448.) The provocations, God promises in the end to show thein mercy scanty supply and intermixture of coarse food represented under his new and everlasting covenant. (60–63.) The the scarcity and hard fare which the Jews should have dur- figurative mode of describing adultery, which is of frequent ing the continuance of the siege by Nebuchadnezzar.
occurrence in the prophets, is pursued with great force, and
at considerable length, both in this and the 230 chapter. 1 Prof. Turner's Translation of Jahn, p. 401.
Sect. 11. Under the allegory of two eagles and a vine is - Antiq. Jud. lib. x. c.5. $ 1. 3 Ibid. lib. x. c. 7. $ 2.
represented God's judgment upon the Jews, for revolting * The arrangement proposed by Prof. De Wette coincides very nearly from Babylon to Egypt. (xvii. 1—21.) The “great eagle with that given in this work. He divides the predictions of Ezekiel into four party, viz. I. From chap. i. to chap. xxiv. containing prophecies relat
with great wings” (3.) means Nebuchadnezzar, as the ing to the Jews and anterior to the destruction of Jerusaleni, in chronolo.
“ feathers of divers colours" mean the various nations that gical order; II. From chap. xxv. to chap. xxxii. containing prophecies relating to various heathen nations, disposed according to the order of 6 Bishop Warburton has an excellent illustration of this prediction in his subjects; II. From chap. xxxiii. to xlviii. containing prophecies posterior Divine Legation of Moses, book iv. sect. 6. (Works, vol. iv. pp. 295–300.); to the destruction of Jerusalem, in chronological order.
the most material parts of which are inserted in Bishop Mant's and Dr. The propbetical types and figures are often adapted to the genius and D'Oyly's Commentary on the Bible. education of the prophets. Amos, for instance, derives his figures from Josephus informs us that Zedekiah, thinking the prophecy of Ezekiel objects which were familiar to a shepherd or a husbandman. As Eze in the thirteenth verse of this chapter (that he should be brought to Baby. kiel seems to have had a peculiar talent for architecture, several of his lon, which, however, he should not see, though he should die there), in. representations are suitable to that profession. “And they that suppose consistent with the prediction of Jeremiah (xxxii. 4. and xxxiv. 3.) that the the emblem here made use of to be below the dignity of the prophetic Jewish king should see the eyes of the king of Babylon,--determined to office, may as well accuse Archimedes of folly for inaking lines in the give no credit to either of them. Both prophecies, as we have already dust." W. Lowth on Ezek. i.; from whose summaries of chapters and seen (Vol. I. p. 124.) were literally fulfilled, and the event convinced the inarginal abstracts of Mr. Reeves this analysis of Ezekiel is chietly him that they were not irreconcilabile. Compare Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib derived, in the present as well as in former editions of this work.
X. c. 8. 92. with 2 Kings xxv.4-7. and Jer. lii. 8-11.
were subject to his sway. The other “great eagle" (7.) A pries) king of Egypt (xxix. 148.), and the conquest of means the king of Egypt. The preaching of the Gospel, that country by Nebuchadnezzar (9—21. xxx.xxxii.), are and the universal kingdom of the Messiah, are foretold. foretold. The imagery of the latter part of this prophecy (22—24.)
is both sublime and terrible. These predictions were in the Secr. 12. The Jews, in Ezekiel's time, having complained tenth, twenty-seventh, eleventh, and twelfth years of Jehoi
(xviii. 1, 2.) of the divine justice, as if the calamities which achin's captivity. had befallen them were inflicted merely for the sins of their Part IV. contains a Series of Exhortations and consolatory forefathers, this section contains a vindication of God's
Promises to the Jews, of future Deliverance under Cyrus, brit eternal rules of justice in punishing no one eternally for
principally of their final Restoration and Conversion under the sins of another, and in pardoning the wicked on their the Kingdom of Messiah. (xxxiii. xlviii.) These Predictrue repentance. (3–32.)
tions were probably delivered in the twelfth year of JehoiaSect. 13. Under the parable of a lion's whelps are foretold chin's Captivity. the cruelty and captivity of Jehoahaz, who was deposed by
Sect. 1. sets forth the duty of a prophet or minister of God, the king of Egypt,' and of Jehoiakim, who was deposed
exemplified by that of a watchman, in warning a people of by the king of Babylon. (xix. 1-9.) And under the
their sins. (xxxiii. 1-9.) Then follows an earnest exhorparable of a vine scorched by the east wind, torn up and transplanted in the wilderness, are set forth the desolation
tation to repentance, vindicating the equity of the divine
government, and declaring the terms of acceptance (as in and captivity of the whole Jewish people. (10— 14.)
ch. xviii.) to be without respect of persons; so that the ruin Sect. 14. A deputation of the elders having come to the pro
of obstinate and impenitent sinners must be attributed to phet, in the seventh year of Jehoiakim's and his own cap
themselves. (xxxii. 10—20.) While Ezekiel was thus tivity, to request him to ask counsel of God in the midst
under the prophetic impulse, tidings being brought to him of their calamity, Ezekiel, by divine command, reminds
of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians (21, them of God's mercies to them, and of their idolatry, and
22.), he takes occasion to predict the utter desolation of rebellions against him, from their departure out of Egypt to
Judæa, to check the vain confidence of those who still rethat very day. (xx. 1-39.) Yet, notwithstanding all
main there, and he also reproves the hypocrisy of those their provocations, their return from captivity is foretold,
Jews who were of the captivity. (23–33.) and also that the twelve tribes shall serve God at Jeru
Sect. 2. In this section God reproves the conduct of the civil salem.
and ecclesiastical governors of the Jewish people (xxxiv. 1 Sect. 15. Under the emblem of a forest, doomed to be con
-10.), and promises a general restoration of the people. sumed by fire, is foretold the destruction of Jerusalem,
Their happy condition under the reign of Messiah their termed the “ forest of the south,” because that city lay to
king is described in the most beautiful terms. (11-31.) the south of Chaldæa, where the prophet then was. (xx.
Sect. 3. contains a renewal of the prophet's former denuncia. 45–49.) And under the emblem of a sharp sword is pre
tions against the Edomites (see xxv. 12.) as a just punishdicted the destruction of the Jews (xxi, 1–17.), of Jeru
ment for their insults to the Jews during their calamities. salem (18—27.), and of the Ammonites (28–32.), by Nebu
(xxxv.) chadnezzar. The prophecy against the Ammonites was
Sect. 4. announces the general restoration of the Jews, of accomplished about five years after Jerusalem was destroyed.
which the return of the two tribes from Babylon may be Sect. 16. contains a recital of the sins committed in Jerusa
considered an earnest, and their consequent felicity. (xxxvi.) lem, and by all orders and classes of people in that city;
The same subject is further illustrated under the vision of for which the severest judgments are denounced. (xxii.)
a resurrection of dry bones. (xxxvii. 1–14.) The address Sect. 17. represents the idolatries of Samaria and Jerusalem
to the dry bones in ver. 4. is by some commentators conby the lewd practices of two common harlots (xxiii. 1—21.);
sidered as a prophetical representation of that voice of the for which crimes God denounces very severe judgments
Son of God, which all that are in their graves shall hear at against them both. (22—49.)
the last day, and come forth. Under the emblem of the Sett. 18. Under the figure of a boiling pot is shown the
union of two sticks is foretold the incorporation of Israel destruction of Jerusalem and its inhabitants (xxiv. 1-14.);
and Judah into one state and church, which will enjoy the and, by the prophet's being forbidden to mourn for his
land of Canaan and the blessings of the Gospel under the wife, it is signified that the calamities of the Jews shall be
Messiah. (15—28.) so astonishing as to surpass all expressions of sorrow.
Sect. 5. contains a remarkable prophecy against Gog and all (15—27.)
his allies, and the victory of Israel over them (xxxviii. xxxix. Part III. comprises Ezekiel's Prophecies against various neigh- 1-22.), together with a promise of deliverance from capbouring Nations, Enemies to the Jews. (xxv.—xxxii.)
tivity, and of the final restoration and conversion of the Sect. 1. denotes the judgments of God against the Ammon- Jews to the Gospel, under the Messiah. (23—29.) This
ites (xxv. 1-7.), Moabites (8—11. , Edomites (12—14.), prophecy relates to the latter ages of the world, and will be and Philistines (15–17.), on account of their hatred of best understood by its accomplishment. his people, and insulting them in the time of their distress. Sect. 6. contains a representation, partly literal and partly According to Archbishop Usher and Josephus, these pre- mystical, of Solomon's temple; also a mystical representadictions were fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar about five years tion of the city of Jerusalem, and mystical directions conafter the destruction of Jerusalem. 3
cerning the division of the Holy Land ;—all which were Sect. 2. announces, in language singularly elegant and ani- designed to give the Jews a greater assurance of their re
mated, the destruction of Tyre (xxvi. xxvii. xxviii. 1- turning into their own country from the Babylonish capti19.), whose vast trade, riches, splendour, and power are vity; and, more remotely, of their return after their general largely described. This prediction was accomplished, nine- conversion to Christianity, and of the lasting and firmly teen years after its delivery, by Nebuchadnezzar, who cap- settled and prosperous state they shall then enjoy in their tured Tyre after besieging it for thirteen years, and utterly own country. It seems that no model of Solomon's temple destroyed that city. The destruction of Židon, the mother had remained. To direct the Jews, therefore, in the dimencity of Tyre (in whose prosperity and adversity she gene- sions, parts, order, and regulations of the new temple, on rally participated), is then declared (20—23.); and this their return from the Babylonish captivity, is one reason section of prophecy concludes with promises of the happy why Ezekiel is so particular in his description of the old state of the Jews on their deliverance from all their ene- temple; to which the new was conformable in figure and mies, together with their general conversion to Christianity. parts, though inferior in magnificence on account of the (24—26.)
poverty of the nation at that time. Whatever was august Sect. 3. The deposition and death of Pharaoh-Hophrah (or or illustrious in the prophetic figures, and not literally ful
filled in or near their own time, the ancient Jews justly 1 See 2 Kings xxiii. 33. and 2 Chron. xxxvi. 4.
considered as belonging to the times of the Messiah.6 AcSee 2 Kings xxiv. and 2 Chron. xxxvi. 6. • Crserii Annales, ad A. M. 3419. Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. x. c. 11. $ 1.
. Though these predictions chiefly relate to Old Tyre, yet Dr. Prideaux * This prophecy was accomplished in the conquest of the Edomites, first is of opinion that they also comprehend New Tyre, which was erected on by the Nabatheans, and secondly by John Hyrcanus, who compelled them an island about half a mile distant from the shore, and was conquered by to embrace the Jewish religion; in consequence of which they at length Alexander the Great. Connection, part i. book ii. sub anno 573. (vol. i. pp. became incorporated with that nation. Dr. Prideaux's Connection, part ii. 91, 92) See Vol. I. pp. 124, 125. for the proofs of the literal accomplish book v. sub anno 129. (vol. ii. pp. 307, 308.). ment of Ezekiel's prophecy, that Tyre should be a place “to spread nets € See particularly 1 Cor. iii. 16. 2 Cor. vi. 16. Eph. ii. 20—22. 1 Tim. ill. 18. upon," and be "built no more." (xxvi 14.)
The same metaplior is also pursued in 2 Thess. ii. 4., and occurs repeate
cordingly, when they found that the second temple fell short, deserve to be compared with Homer, on account of his beauat least in their opinion, of the model of the temple de- tiful conceptions, his illustrious comparisons, and his extenscribed by Ezekiel, they supposed the prophecy to refer, at sive knowledge of various subjects, particularly of architecleast in part, to the period now mentioned: and, doubtless, ture. Bishop Lowth, in his twenty-first lecture on the sacred the temple and temple worship were a figure of Christ's poetry of the Hebrews, gives us the following description of church, frequently represented in the New Testament under the peculiar and discriminating characters of this prophet. the metaphor of a temple, in allusion to the beauty, sym- “Ezekiel," says he, “ is much inferior to Jeremiah in elemetry, and firmness of that erected by Solomon, to its or- gance; in sublimity he is not even excelled by Isaiah : but derly worship, and to the manifestations of the divine pre- his sublimity is of a totally different kind. He is deep, vesence there vouchsafed. This section comprises the last hement, tragical; the only sensation he affects to excite is nine chapters of Ezekiel's prophecy; which are thus ana- the terrible; his sentiments are elevated, fervid, full of fire, lyzed by Dr. Smith :2
indignant; his imagery is crowded, magnificent, terrific, Ch. xl. contains a description of the two outer courts, and of the cham sometimes almost to disgust; his language is pompous, so
bers belonging to thein (1–47.), together with the porch of the tem lemn, austere, rough, and at times unpolished : he employs Ch. xli. describes the measures, parts, and ornaments of the temple but from the vehemence of passion and indignation. What
frequent repetitions, not for the sake of grace or elegance, Ch. xlii. describes the priests' chainbers and their use, and the dimen. ever subject he treats of, that he sedulously pursues, from sions of the holy mount on which the temple stood.
that he rarely departs, but cleaves as it were to it; whence Ch. xliii. represents the glory of the Lord as returning to the temple, the connection is in general evident and well preserved. In
sake those sins which caused him to depart from thein. (1-11.) The many respects he is perhaps excelled by the other prophets; measures of the altar and the ordinances relating to it are set down. but in that species of composition to which he seems by na
(12--27.) Ch. xliv. describes the glory of God as actually returned to the temple,
ture adapted,—the forcible, the impetuous, the great and soand reproves the Jews for suffering idolatrous priests to profane the lemn, - not one of the sacred writers is superior to him. temple with their ministrations. (1--14.) Ordinances are then given His diction is sufficiently perspicuous, all his obscurity con
for ibe deportinent of God's true priests, and the maintenance due to sists in the nature of the subject. Visions (as for instance, Ch. xlv. appoints the several portions of land for the sanctuary and its among others, those of Hosea, Amos, and Jeremiah) are ministers (1–5.), for the city (6.), and for the prince (î, 8.); and insti. necessarily dark and confused. The greater part of Ezekiel, tutes various ordinances concerning the provisions for the ordinary towards the middle of the book especially, is poetical, and extraordinary sacrifices. (9–35. xlvi. 1-15.) Ch. xlvi. (16—21.) gives directions concerning the inheriting of any part whether we regard the matter or the diction."
His periods, of the prince's portion, and also concerning the boiling and baking any however, are frequently so rude, that Bishop Lowth expresses part of the holy oblations.
himself as being often at a loss how to pronounce concerning Ch. xlvii. contains the vision of the holy waters issuing out of the tem
ple, and their virtue (1–12.); a most beautiful emblem of the gradual his performance in this respect. In another place the same progress of the Gospel, and of the power of divine grace under ii learned prelate remarks, that Ezekiel should be oftener which is capable of healing all but the incorrigibly impenitent, and classed among the orators than the poets; and he is of opinion after all the care or culture that can be bestowed upon it, continues that, with respect to style, we may justly assign to Ezekiel barren and unprofitable. The extent and division of the Holy Land the same rank among the Hebrews, as Homer, Simonides, are then described, which is to be indiscriminately shared between and Æschylus hold among the Greeks. the Israelites and proselytes sojourning among them (13—23.); mysti. cally denoting the incorporation of the Gentiles into the same church From this high praise of Bishop Lowth's, his learned anwith the Jews. (Compare Eph. iii. 6.)
notator, Michaelis, dissents; and is so far from esteeming Ch. xlviii. comprises a description of the several portions of land belong; Ezekiel as equal to Isaiah in sublimity, that he is disposed
to the sanctuary (8–14.), the city (15--19.), and the prince (20—22.); to think the prophet displays more art and luxuriance in amand also the measures and names of the gates of the new cily plifying and decorating his subject, than is consistent with
poetical fervour, or, indeed, with true sublimity. Michaelis The points in these prophecies, which are principally further pronounces Ezekiel to be in general an imitator, who worthy of attention, are ihe following :1. What the prophet, more than one hundred miles distant but not of grandeur and sublimity, to all his compositions ;
possesses the art of giving an air of novelty and ingenuity, from the scene, should have announced the beginning of the and is of opinion that, as the prophet lived at a period when siege of Jerusalem on the very day it took place; and, like the Hebrew language was visibly on the decline; and also Jeremiah, should have constantly predicted the conquest and that, if we compare him with the Latin poets who succeeded destruction of the city, and the carrying away of the inhabi- the Augustan age, we may find some resemblance in the 2. That he should have foreseen also the flight of Zede- these sentiments the English translator of Bishop Lowth's
style, something that indicates the old age of poetry. In kiah through the broken walls at night, together with these lectures partially acquiesces, observing that Ezekiel's fault circumstances; viz. that he should be overtaken by the Chal- is a want of neither novelty nor sublimity, but of grace and dæans, and that he should not be slain, but carried into their uniformity; while Eichhorn minutely discusses his claims country, which, however, he should not see. This was to originality. Archbishop Newcome, however, has comverified by Nebuchadnezzar's causing his eyes to be put out. pletely vindicated the prophet's style. He observes, with
3. That moreover, like Jeremiah, he should plainly predict equal truth and judgment, that Ezekiel is not to be considered the return of the Jews to their country, and their perseve- as the framer of those august and astonishing visions, and rance in the worship of God, events so remote and in them- of those admirable poetical representations which he comselves improbable,—and also the conquest of Idumæa by the mitted to writing; but as an instrument in the hands of God, Hebrews.
who vouchsafed to reveal himself, through a long succession 4. That he should have announced not only the demolition of ages, not only in divers parts constituting a magnificent of Tyre, to be rebuilt no more (for the new city was founded and uniform whole, but also in different manners, as by voice, upon an island), but also that its ruins should be thrown into by dreams, by inspiration, and by plain or enigmatical vision. the sea; a prediction which Alexander unconsciously veri- If he is circumstantial in describing the wonderful scenes fied.
which were presented to him in the visions of God, he should 5. Lastly, that like Jeremiah, he should have foretold the be regarded as a faithful representer of the divine revelations, advent of Messiah the great son of David, at a period when for the purpose of information and instruction, and not as ex, David's family were deprived of royal dignity.
hausting an exuberant fancy in minutely filling up an ideal V. Most biblical critics concur in opinion as to the excel- picture. The learned prelate thinks it probable that Buzi, lency and sublimity of Ezekiel's style.. Grotius observes, the prophet's father, had preserved his own family from the that he possessed great erudition and genius; so that, setting taint of idolatry, and had' educated his son for the priestly aside his gift of prophecy, which is incomparable, he may office in all the learning of the Hebrews, and particularly in
he study of their sacred books. Being a youth at the time of edly in the Revelation of St. John, who not only describes the heavenly his captivity,—a season of life when the fervour of imagination sanctuary by representations taken from the Jewish temple (see Rev. xi. is natural in men of superior endowments,--his genius led 19. xiv. 17. xv. 5. 8.), but also transcribes several of Ezekiel's expressions him to amplification, like that of some of the Roman poets; from the state of the first temple, not of the second temple which
existed though he occasionally shows himself capable of the austere in our Saviour's time; as if the former had a more inmediate reference and concise style, of which the seventh chapter is a remark. to the times of the Gospel. Compare Rev. iv. 1. &c. with Ezek i. 6. et seq. able instance. But the Divine Spirit did not overrule the
natural bent of his mind. Variety is thus produced in the - View of the Prophets, pp. 153, 154. • Præf. ad Ezechiel, in Crit. Sacr. tom. iv. p. 8.
• Bishop Lowth's Lecturos, vol. ii. pp. 89—95.
-Lowth on Ezek. xl.
1 Reeves and Lowth on Ezek. xl.
sacred writings. Nahum sounds the trumpet of war; Hosea when he treats of the advent of the Messiah, whom he is sententious, Isaiah sublime, Jeremiah pathetic, Ezekiel emphatically terms “ the desire of all nations." copious. This diffuseness of manner in mild and affectionate exhortation, this vehement enlarging on the guilt and consequent sufferings of his countrymen, seems wisely adapted to their capacities and circumstances, and must have
§ 2. ON THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET ZECHARIAH. had a forcible tendency to awaken them from their lethargy.' I. Author and date.-II. Analysis of its contents.—III. Obser
vations on its style.-IV. The last six chapters proved to be
BEFORE CHRIST, 520–518.
1. Although the names of Zechariah's father and grand
father are specified (Zech. i. 1.), it is not known from what ON THE PROPHETS WHO FLOURISHED AFTER THE RETURN OF
tribe or family this prophet was descended, nor where he was THE JEWS FROM BABYLON.
born; but that he was one of the captives who returned to $1. ON THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET HAGGAI.
Jerusalem in consequence of the decree of Cyrus, is unques
tionable. As he opened his prophetic commission in the 1. Author and date.-II. Argument and scope.-III. Analysis eighth month of the second year of Darius the son of Hysof its contents.-IV. Observations on its style.
taspes, that is, about the year 520 before the Christian æra, BEFORE CHRIST, 520–518.
it is evident that he was contemporary with Haggai, and his
authority was equally effectual in promoting the building of I. Nothing is certainly known concerning the tribe or the temple. From an expression in ch. ii. 4. we have every birth-place of Haggai, the tenth in order of the minor prophets, reason to believe that Zechariah was called to the prophetic but the first of the three who were commissioned to make ministry when he was a young man. known the divine will to the Jews after their return from
II. The prophecy of Zechariah consists of two parts, the captivity. The general opinion, founded on the assertion of first of which concerns the events which were then taking the pseudo-Epiphanius, is that he was born at Babylon, and place, viz. the restoration of the temple, interspersing predicwas one of the Jews who returned with Zerubbabel, in con- tions relative to the advent of the Messiah. The second part sequence of the edict of Cyrus. The same author affirms comprises prophecies relative to more remote events, particuthat he was buried at Jerusalem among the priests, whence larly the coming of Jesus Christ, and the war of the Romans some have conjectured that he was of the family of Aaron. against the Jews. The times of his predictions, however, are so distinctly marked by himself, that we have as much certainty on this Part I. contains the Prophecies delivered in the second Year of point as we have with respect to any of the prophets.
Darius King of Persia. (i.-vi.) II. The Jews, who were released from captivity in the first DISCOURSE 1. An exhortation to the Jews who had returned year of the reign of Cyrus (Ezra i. 1. et seq.), having re- from captivity, to guard against those sins which had drawn turned to Jerusalem and commenced the rebuilding of the so much distress upon their ancestors, and to go on with the temple (Ezra ii. iii.), were interrupted in their undertakings building of the temple (i. 1–6.), which it is predicted that by the neighbouring satraps, who contrived to prejudice the Darius should permit (7–17.); and that the Samaritans Persian monarch (the pseudo-Smerdis) against them (Ezra should be compelled to suspend their opposition to the buildiv. 1. with 24.) until the second year of Darius. Discou- ing. (18—21.) Further to encourage the Jews in their work, raged by these impediments, the people ceased, for fourteen the prophet foretells the prosperity of Jerusalem (ii. 1--5.), years, to prosecute the erection of the second temple, as if and admonishes the Jews to depart from Babylon before her the time were not yet come, and applied themselves to the destruction (6—9.), promising them the divine presence. building of their own houses: but God, disposing that sove- (10—13.) These promises, though primarily to be underreign to renew the decree of Cyrus, raised up the prophet stood of the Jews after their return from Babylon, are seconHaggai about the year 520 before Christ; and, in conse
darily and principally to be understood of the restoration of the quence of his exhortations, they resumed the work, which
Jews, and their conversion to the Gospel. was completed in a few years.
Discourse 2. Under the type of Joshua the high-priest, clothed Further, in order to encourage them to proceed in this
with new sacerdotal attire, is set forth the glory of Christ as undertaking, the prophet assured them from God, that the
the chief corner-stone of his church. (8-10.) glory of this latter house should far exceed the glory of the Discourse 3. Under the vision of the golden candlestick and former.
two olive trees is typically represented the success of ZerubIII. The book of the prophet Haggai comprises three dis
babel and Joshua in rebuilding the temple and restoring its tinct prophecies or discourses, viz.
service. (iv.) Discourse 1. The prophet reproves the delay of the people in Discourse 4. Under the vision of a flying roll, the divine judgrebuilding the temple; which neglect he denounces as the
ments are denounced against robbery and perjury (v. 1-4.); reason why they were punished with great drought and un- and the Jews are threatened with a second captivity, if they productive seasons. (i. 1-12.) He then encourages them to continue in sin. (5—11.). undertake the work, and promises them Divine assistance. Discourse 5. Under the vision of the four chariots, drawn by (13—15.)
several sorts of horses, are represented the succession of the DISCOURSE 2. The prophet further encourages the builders by a
Babylonians, Persians, Macedo-Greek and Roman empires promise, that the glory of the second temple should surpass (vi. 1—8.), and by the two crowns placed upon the head of that of the first; and that in the following year God would Joshua are set forth primarily, the re-establishment of the bless them with a fruitful harvest. (ii. 1-19.) This pro- civil and religious polity of the Jews under Zerubbabel and phecy was fulfilled by Jesus Christ honouring the second Joshua; and, secondarily but principally, the high-priesthood temple with his presence, and there publishing his saving doc- and kingdom of Christ, here emphatically termed the Branch trine to the world. See Luke xix. 47. xx, 1. xxi. 38. John
(9—15.), who is to be both king and high-priest of the church xviii. 20.2
of God. Discor rse 3. The prophet foretells the setting up of the Mes- Part 2. Prophecies delivered in the fourth Year of the Reign siah's kingdom under the name of Zerubbabel. (ii. 20—23.)
of Darius. (vii.-xiv.) IV. The style of this prophet is for the most part plain Discourse 1. Some Jews having been sent to Jerusalem from and prosaic, and vehement when he reproves; it is, however,
the exiles then at Babylon, to inquire of the priests and prointerspersed with passages of much sublimity and pathos
phets whether they were still bound to observe the fasts that
had been instituted on account of the destruction of Jeru1 Archbishop Newcome's Preface to his Translation of Ezekiel, pp. xxvii. xxvii. To justify the character above given, the learned prelaie
salem, and which had been observed during the captivity descends to particulars (which we have not room to specify), and gives op. (vii, 1–3.),—the prophet is commanded to take this occasion porite examples, not only of the clear, the flowing, and the nervous, but
of enforcing upon them the weightier matters of the law, viz. also of the sublime. He concludes his observations on the style of Ezekiel by stating it to be his deliberate opinion, that, if the prophet's "style is judgment and mercy, lest the same calamities should befall the old age of the Hebrew language and composition, it is a firm and vigor. them which had been inflicted upon their fathers for their neg. ous one, and should induce us to trace its youth and manhood with the
lect of those duties. (4—14.) In the event of their obedience, most assiduous attention.” Ibid. pp. xxviii.---xii. · W. Lowth's Commentary on Haggai.
God promises the continuance of his favour (viii. 148.);