« AnteriorContinuar »
of an hireling, that is, three exaEt years, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; their riches Mall be loft, and their multitudes become contemptible : and the remnant [fhail be] very small [and] feeble. Y
REFLECTIONS. 1. THE dealings of God with the nations of the
earth, are designed for the establishment of the church. This was the pious answer Hezekiah and his people were to make to those who came to congratulate him on his success. God is still carrying on this as his grand scheme ; and, tho' we may not particularly see how. the means conduce to the end, the thought is very encouraging. And since God has such a regard to his church, and it is so firmly fixed, it is our wisdom to betake ourselves to it, to trust in it, and rejoice in its security amidst all the attempts of its enemies.
2. We are taught from the idolatrous Moabites to make prayer our refuge in the time of trouble. It is natural in distress for every man to cry unto his god. They cried to their idol gods; went up to their high places; wept, and mourned there ; and when one god would not answer, they tried another. How wretched is the case of idolaters ! how happy the people, whose God is the Lord ! to whom they can go at all times, assured that their prayers will not be in vain.
3. We should lament the horrible desolations that war makes in the earth. What a dreadful description is here of the misery of Moab, from the incursions, ravages, and plunders of their enemies. The lords of the heathens devoured or carried away every thing. How should we pity our enemies, or our unkind and wicked neighbours, when they suffer such a calamity. Let us think tenderly L P 4
.. . of I God had long ago determined on their destruction, but now, as their wickedness was increased, he fixed the time for it. Whether this prophecy was sent to Moab, or not, is uncertain : ic probably might be so, and it would serve to confirm the Ifraelites in the belief of the divine foreknowledge and providence, and strengthen their faith in the prophecies relating to themselves, of them, and for their fakes, as well as our own, and our allies, earnestly pray that war may cease. The servants of God, especially his prophets, should imitate the humanity and compassion of Isaiah, who speaks so feelingly of the distress of the enemies of God and Ifrael.
4. Let us learn to cultivate a readiness to help and relieve others in distress, whatever their character or behaviour to us has been. Whether we understand the prophet's advice to Moab as serious or ironical, it naturally suggests to us that we should help our fellow creatures under their sufferings, relieve the outcasts, shelter the oppressed from the cruelty of their oppressors, labour to promote justice, and show humanity and kindness to them that are in trouble; then we may expect the same assistance should we be in like distress; and especially may we hope for the support and confolations of Christ, who fits upon his throne, judging righteously. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
5. We see how uncertain the possessions of this world are, which should lead us not to set our hearts upon them. What the Moabites had gotten and laid up, their enemies carried away. Riches expose men to plunder and rapine, and thus often take away the lives of the owners thereof. Joy may soon cease out of the field; and those who have no better or higher joy than such as the increase of wealth, corn, and wine, and oil affords, will then be very miserable, But there is a treasure that cannot be taken away, a joy that cannot be lost, a treasure laid up in heaven, where neither moth nor rust can corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal; a joy that springs from the light of God's countenance, in whose presence there is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand there are pleasures for evermore. This we should be chiefly concerned to secure. Let the language of our souls be, Lord, lift up upon us the light of thy countenance ; and then, tho' the fig tree does not blossom, tho' there be no fruit on the vine, or calves in the stall, we may joy in the Lord, and rejoice in the God of our salvation...
. C H A P.
CHA P. XVII, XVIII. As Syria and Israel had been confederates against Judah, the
destruction of both of them is here foretold. I T HE burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus
l is, or shall be, taken away from [being] a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap; it was soon after made to 2 by the king of Asyria, see 2 Kings xvi. 9. The cities of
Aroer [are) forsaken; the province of Syria shall be utter
ly desolate: they shall be for flocks which shall lie down, 3 and none shall make"(them) afraid. The fortress also
Thall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria, which shall be no longer a kingdom, but a province to Allyria : they shall be
as the glory of the children of Israel, faith the Lord of 4 hosts; they mall pare in a common destruction. And in
that day it shall come to pass, [that] the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his fesh shall
wax lean; Mall be wasted away, like a man in a confump5 tion. And it shall be as when the harvest man gathereth
the corn, and reapeth the ears with his arm; and it shall be as he that gathereth ears in the valley of Rephaim, a fruitful valley near Jerusalem; he hall make clear riddance, so that none shall be left; the Ifraelites shall be carried into captivity by the Asyrians, (2 Kings
xv. 29. xvii. 6.) with as much ease as a field of corn is 6 reaped and carried in. Yet gleaning grapes shall be left
in it, (the image of the harvest is still carried on,) as the shaking of an olive tree, two [or] three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, which were out of reach, four or] five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof,
faith the LORD God of Israel; a small remnant Mall be 7 reformed, and saved, and return to Judah. At that day
shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have
respect to the Holy One of Israel, and small worship and 8 ferve him. And he shall not look to the altars, the
work of his hands, neither shall respect [that] which
his fingers have made, either the groves, or the images; 9 he shall no more trust in idols, or images in groves. In that
day shall his strong cities be as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch,” which they left because of the children of Israel; like the cities which they, that is, the Canaanites, left to Israel: and there shall be desolation; as the land cast them out, so it Mall Ifrael; or, as the Canaanites for fook their cities for fear of the children of Il
rael, when they came to posess the land, so they shall be 10 forsaken again now for fear of the Assyrians. Because thou
hast forgotten the God of thy falvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt
thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange II flips : In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow,
and in the morning shalt thou make thy feed to flourish;
but the harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow; they Mall be greatly disappointed in their most sanguine expectations, as the husbandman, when, after great pains, the harvest is ruined. We have then a prophecy of the destruction of the Asyrian army, to the end of
the next chapter. 12 Woe to the multitude of many people, to the many
allies and auxiliaries of the Asyrians, (which) make a noise like the noise of the seas, and to the rushing of nations, (that) make a rushing like the rushing of mighty
waters! who come violently, as if they would destroy my 13 people at once. The nations shall rush like the rushing
of many waters; but (God,] who is able to do it, but whom they do not think of, shall rebuke them, and they fhall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the
mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing 14 before the whirlwind. And behold at evening tide
trouble; [and] before the morning he [is] not; referring to the destruction of the Allyrians in one night. This [is] the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of
them that rob us; of other enemies as well as those. 1 CHAP. XVIII.a Woe to the land shadowing with
wings, % The Seventy render it, As the Hivites and Amorites. .
2 The learned are much divided in opinion who this chapter refers to. Some think the Egyptians; others, Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia or Arabia, who came to help the Israelites against the Assyrians, but were destroyed by them. I rather think it refers to the Assyrians.
, wings, that Pretchès out its long wings or armies, which
sisī beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, or, which palles to 2 the river of Ethiopia. That sendeth ambassadors by the
sea, as well as by land, even in vessels of bulrushes, or reeds, upon the waters, (saying,] Go, ye swift melsengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, thus fcornfully ·
and contemptuously shall they Speak of the jews, to a people - terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted
out and trodden down, whose land the rivers, that is, 3 the Assyrians, (ch. xvii. 12.) have spoiled! All ye in
habitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains ; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye; observe the
prediEtion and the accomplishment ; see what God will do. 4 For fo the Lord said unto me, I will take my rest, and
I will consider in my dwelling place, or, regard my fet dwelling place, like a clear heat upon herbs, [and] like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest; iho' I seem to be asleep and unconcerned, yet I will defend my dwelling place,
will make it a safe and delightful repose, and continually 5 watch over it. For afore the harvest, when the bud is
perfect, and the four grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away [and] cut down the branches; when their
schemes are ripening, and they think themselves fure of fuc6 cess, the Assyrians shall be utterly destroyed. They, that
is, all the enemies of God's people, shall be left together unto the fowis of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth : and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them. In that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount Zion. Here' the prophet retorts upon the Allyrians : ambassadors shall be sent to congratulate Hezekiah on the destruction of their army'; presents shall be sent from Egypt and Ethiopia, whom the Assyrians had conquered, to the mount Zion; or it may mean, that the plunder of the Alyrian camp should be brought there. ,