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1. T T is very happy when affliction promotes reform.
T ation. The Ifraelites had forsaken God, there. fore he brought the Assyrians upon them. Some, foreseeing the trouble, repented and returned to God, and put away their idols. Providence intends, by national and personal troubles and dangers, to cure us of sin, of spiritual idolatry, of the love of money, of pleasure, and of trusting in man.
They are designed to bring us to look to our Maker, · the Holy One of Israel ; to acknowledge his provi. dence ; to humble ourselves before him and pray to him : and it is a merciful affliction that brings us to this, then shall we become objects of the divine care and favour, and he will provide for our security and happiness. Thothere be but few of this character, they shall not be lost, but be as a brand plucked out of the burning.
2. We here see the source of fin and misery: it is forgetting God, being unmindful of him as our strong defence, and the author of all our mercies and deliverances, and the consequence will be, disappointment where we most expected comfort and relief. Let us beware then left we forget the Lord our God. To be continually mindful of him is a most important duty; it is the support of all other duties, and will be the source of serenity and joy amidst all the changes of this mortal life.
3. Let us not think God has forsaken his church, tho' he may sometimes suffer it to be in adversity and danger ; tho' he seems to say, I will take my reft, and appears like one asleep, or as an unconcerned spectator. Let us not entertain the thought that he is so because he does not immediately appear; he will regard his dwelling place, take care of his own interest, and his people shall find a safe and delightful repose in him. Let us never indulge unbelieving fears and suspicions, for the Lord is. a God of judgment; his church is built upon a rock, and the gates of hell shall never prevail against it. One or another of its strongest earthly pillars may fall, but God will raise up others, and add to the church daily of such as shall be laved.
CH A P. XIX.
tians by intestine commotions. The Israelites were fond of an alliance with them, therefore their distress and inability to help their allies is here foretold; but it is difficult to determine to what period of their history this prophecy refers. ITTHE burden of Egypt. Behold, the Lord rideth
1 upon a swift cloud, as a judge, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, mall be carried captive, and not be able to help their worshippers, and the heart of Egypt shall melt
in the midst of it, the people shall lose all their courage. 2 And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians :
and they shall fight every one against his brother, and
every one against his neighbour; city against city, [and] 3 kingdom against kingdom. And the spirit of Egypt,
that is, their courage and wisdom, for both of which they
idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have fa4 miliar fpirits, and to the wizards. And the Egyptians
will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a
fierce king shall rule over them, faith the Lord, the 5 Lord of hosts. And the waters shall fail from the sea,
and the river shall be wasted and dried up; that is, the
Nile, which they worshipped, and on the rising of which in - Spring, and overflowing their land, their harvest depended, 6 as they had little or no rain. And they shall turn the
rivers far away ; [and] the brooks of defence shall be
emptied and dried up: the reeds and flags shall wither. 7 The paper reeds by the brooks, by the mouth, or
1 Side, b'After the death of Sathon there were two years anarchy; then twelve persons seized the kingdom, and divided it among themselves... At length Pfammetichus, one of the twelve, by the help of the Greeks drove out the other eleven, and reigned alone.
© This is understood of different persons, but is generally supposed to refer to Psammetichus. .This was the papyrus, a large reed that grew on the banks of their river and brooks, the broad leaves of which the Egyptians wrote upon, as we do on paper, which from hence took its
. fide, of the brooks, and every thing fown by the brooks, 8 shall wither, be driven away, and be no more.] The
fishers also shall mourn, and all they that caft angle into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish : Egypt was famous for
file, and its inhabitants lived much upon it, as they fcrupled 9 to kill many animals for food. Moreover they that work
in fine fiax, and they that weave networks, shall be
confounded: it was also famous for flax and fine linen, for 10 which Solomon traded with the Egyptians. And they
shall be broken in the purposes thereof, all that make fluices (and) ponds for fish; that is, they that were used to get their living by keeping fish in ponds, Mall fail of their
gain that way; all which intimates a general decay of trade ul and prosperity. Surely the princes of Zoan, that most antient
city, (Numb. xiii. 22.) sare] fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how
fay ye unto Pharaoh, I sam] the son of the wise, the 12 son of antient kingse Where [are] they? where sare.
thy wise (men?) thy politicians and astrologers ? and let
them tell thee now, and let them know what the LORD 13 of hosts hath purposed upon Egypt. The princes of
Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph, or Memphis, another antient city, are deceived; they have also seduced Egypt, (even they that are] the stay of the
tribes thereof; the governors, who are the corners or sup14 port of it. The Lord hath mingled a perverse spirit
in the midst thereof; and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken (man] stag
gereth in his vomit; they shall be unsettled in their coun. 15 cils, and follow those that are most mischievous. Neither
shall there be (any) work for Egypt, which the head or tail, branch or rush, may do; their trade shall be lost,
and there mall be no work for the high or the low, they 16 shall have no means to help themselves. In that day shall
Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the Lord of
hosts, • The Egyptians pretended to extraordinary antiquity, and traced up the lifts of their kings higher than any other nation, quite to Ham.
hofts, which shaketh over it; that is, the threatenings he 17 denounces, and the judgments he is bringing upon them. And
the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himfelf, because of the counsel of the Lord of hosts, which
he hath determined against it. 18 In that day shall five, that is, many, cities in the land
of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the Lord of hosts, engage themselves by covenant to be.
come subjeet to them; one shall be called, The city of de19 struction; of Heres, or the sun, that is, Heliopolis. In
that day shall there be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD; the worship of God shall be set up there; and gospel worship is often described by expresions taken from the jewish worship: a pillar shall be set up to let every
one know at their first entrance what religion they are of. 20 And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the
LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the Lord because of the oppressors, and he shall
send them a saviour and a great one, and he shall de21 liver them. And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day,
and f This probably refers to their apprehension of danger when Sennacherib destroyed the fenced cities of Judah, before he besieged Jerusalem; tho' others refer it to the long siege of Alhdod by Pfammetichus, which stopped the course of his victories, and gave him great vexation. There are various opinions among the learned what the next verse refers to: fome say, to the conversion of many of the Egyptians to the religion of the Jews, by their settle. ment among them; but it more probably refers to their conver. fion by the gospel.
& After the fiege abovementioned, the learned say there was an alliance between Egypt, Assyria, and Judah; and the Jews had. actually five cities in the land, where they were allowed the free exercise of their religion. But that this was fact is not fufficiently evident; and I rather prefer the former interpretation.
b Dr. Newton understands this of Alexander the Great, whose successor was Ptolemy the Great, and Soter, or saviour, probably in reference to Christ. Alexander favoured the Jews, settled many in Egypt, allowed them to be governed by their own laws and customs; and there the Greek translation of the Bible, called the Septuagint, is, generally supposed to have been made.
and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow
a vow unto the Lord, and perform [it;] they fall 22 have the means of knowledge and improve them. And the
Lord shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal [it:)
tions fall do them good, and dispose them to receive the 23 gospel. In that day shall there be a highway out of
Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians; tho' Egypt was the house of their bondage, and the Assyrians the invaders of
Judah, yet their enmity shall cease, and they shall join in 24 ferving the Lord. In that day Thall Israel be the third
with Egypt and with Assyria; the land of Israel, which
a blessing in the midst of the land, or, of the earth, as 25 from thence the gospel Mall spread: Whom the Lord of
hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance. God will join them all in his blessing; he will make them a blessing to all about them; they shall be all alike in covenant with him. Accordingly the gospel was early planted among them, and many flourishing christian churches were there.
; REFLECTION S.
1. O BSERVE how easily God can throw a popu.
lous and flourishing nation into confusion and misery; set the people one against the other, and raise a perverse spirit in the midst thereof; infatuate the wifest counsellors, and strike a panick and terror thro' all. He can by this means destroy their trade and commerce, and take away all their comforts. To do this, he needs but shake his hand over them. Who would not fear so great a Being, and wait on him for the continuation and increase of national prosperity? We have need to pray that he would give a spirit of wisdom to our ministers, conduct and cou