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will ye leave your glory ? your wealth that you gained by oppres4 sion, who shall secure it? Without me they shall bow down un
der the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain ; because you have cast me off, and I have forsaken you, ye shall be taken prisoners and slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand [is] stretched out still.
W H AT a blessing is the gospel that brings light, joy and
VV liberty to the nations. Without it the world was in darkness and danger ; but when the sun of righteousness arose, a glorious light spread itself; and men are guided by it in the way of truth, peace, and happiness. The burden of grief and guilt is taken away by the word and spirit of God, the yoke of sin and Satan is broken, and they become free. No wonder this occasions great joy; especially when the gospel comes with power on particular souls, and produces these blessed effects.
2. A glorious idea is here given us of the person, offices, and government of Christ, which it is proper and comfortable to reflect upon. He is wonderful in his person and offices; a counsellor, as he discovers the most important truths, and the gracious purposes of God; a mighty God, able to save unto the uttermost; the father of the age, the greatest friend and benefactor to it ; and he is the prince of peace, whose administration is righteous, peaceful, and happy ; and whatever opposition may be made to it, it shall increase and prosper, till it terminates in everlasting glory ; of his government and peace there shall be no end. Let us reverence this glorious prince, and magnify the Lord of hosts, whose pity, love, and zeal have performed all this for us.
3. We are taught the design of affliction. God smites us that we may turn to him, and seek him with sincerity and fervour. If this end be not answered, his hand will be stretched out still to correct us more heavily. Let us therefore humble ourselves under his mighty hand, and comply with the designs of his providence, that the stroke may be turned away from us, and our afflictions be succeeded by hope and joy.
4. We see the sad consequences of continuing unreformed by: the judgments of God, ch. x. 3. A day of visitation will come ; a day of judgment and strict inquiry into our conduct, and the principles on which we have acted ; and a day of desolation to the impenitent, when no place shall be found to which they may fly; all their glory shall vanish, and they shall find it no more. It becomes us all seriously to think of this day of visitation, and secure a refuge in Jesus Christ ; that we may obtain that salvation, which is by him unio eternal glory.
CHAP. X. 5, to the end.
We have here an account of the design of the Assyrians in invading
Judah, and God's design in permitting it ; and also a prophecy of their destruction, and the deliverance of God's people.
ASSYRIAN, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their
hand is mine indignation ; the Assyrian monarch is my 6 instrument ; my anger against Israel gives him all his power. I
will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets; the Israelites are hypocritical, they are not hearty in Hezekiah's reformation, nor sincere in their
prayers and professions ; therefore the Assyrian shall plunder their 7 country, and strip them of their wealth. Howbeit he meaneth
not so, neither doth his heart think so ; he does not intend to do my will ; but [it is) in his heart to destroy and cut off nations
not a few ; to enlarge his dominions, and gratify his ambition. 8 For he saith, sare] not my princes altogether kings ? have not
I many princes tributary to me, and are not my courtiers and offi9 cers as great as kings ? [Is not Calno as Carchemish? (Is) not Hamath as Arpad ? (is) not Samaria as Damascus ? are not the
cities of Judah as easy to be taken as those I have already conquer. 10 ed ? As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and
whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Sama11 ria ; Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do
to Jerusalem and her idols ? as my hand hath destroyed kingdoms
and cities whose gods are reckoned more powerful than Jeho12 vah, shall I not as easily destroy Judah ? Wherefore it shall
come to pass, (that) when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, when I shall have done what I intended, and chastened and humbled my people, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and
the glory of his high looks. I will punish his high words, which are 13 the fruit of his proud heart. For he saith, by the strength of my
hand I have done [it,) and by my wisdom ; for I am prudent : and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant (man ;] I have shown my wisdom, strength, and valour, by removing the bounds of the people and transplanting colonies. And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people : and as one gathereth eggs (that are] left, have I gathered all the earth ; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped ; I have carried away their wealth, as easily as a man robs a bird's nest, and they durst not complain. Thus the
great king of 1ssyria boasted and threatened ; we shall now see 15 what a greater king saith to him. Shall the ax boast itself against
him that heweth therewith ! [or] shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake (itself] against them that lift it up, [or) as if the staff should lift up [itself, as if it were) no wood ; is not the staff when lifted up wood still ? and shall a dead, lifeless instrument boast itself against
him that uses it? As absurd is it for the king of Assyria to boast 16 of what he hath done, when he is but my tool. Therefore shall
the LORD, the LORD of hosts, send among his fat ones, his chief officers and great men, leanness ; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire ; he shall defirive him
of his honour and power, and destroy his army, which is his glory. 17 And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a
flame : and it shall burn and devour'his thorns and his briars in one day ; he who is the support and comfort of Israel, shall be a
fire, to the Assyrians, and will destroy his army as easily as fire 18 burns briars and thorns ; And shall consume the glory of his
forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body : and they shall be as when a standard bearer fainteth ; though he be as strong as the trees in a forest, or as numerous as the cornfields, yet God will consume both soul and body ; the chief commanders and the main body of the army itself shall be iotally routed, and the
remainder shall be dispirited, as the whole army is put into confu19 sion when a standard bearer sainteth. And the rest of the trees
of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them ; there
shall be no occasion for a muster master, a child may keep the roll. 20 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the remnant of
Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him, that is, the Assyrian, that smote
them ; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, 21 in truth, and not hypocritically. The remnant shall return, 22 (even] the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. For though
thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, (yet) a remnant of them shall return : the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness ; though many shall be destroyed by the Assyrians,
yet a remnant of the righteous shall be saved ; and all shall be 23 done with strict justice. * For the Lord God of hosts shall make
a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land ; he hath determined exactly how far it shall extend, and how long
it shall continue. 24 Therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, O my people that
dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian : he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the
manner of Egypt ; he shall do thee some injury and threaten 25 more, talk big, like Pharaoh ; but fear not, For, yet a very little
while, and the indignation against thee shall cease, and mine
anger in their destruction ; my anger shall show itself in the utter 26 destruction of the Assyrians. And the Lord of hosts shall stir
up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb : and [as] his rod (was) upon the sea, so
St. Paul applies this to the Jews, in Rom. ix. 27. to prove that it is no new thing for Gol to abandon many of Abraham's seed, though the promise holds good, there shall still be a remnant
shall he lift it up after the manner of Egypt; he will bring on their destruction as suddenly, and by as unlikely means, as the destruction of the Midianites and Egyptians. A beautiful contrast ;
he shall threaten you after the manner of Egypt, and I will smite 27 him in the same manner. And it shall come to pass in that day,
[that] his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing ; thou shall have no fear of his invasions,
and pay no more tribule, for the sake of the Messiah. 28 He is come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron ; at Michmash 29 he hath laid up his carriages : They are gone over the passage ;
they have taken up their lodging at Geba ; Ramah is afraid ; so Gibeah of Saul is îled. Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gal31 lim : cause it to be heard unto Laish, O poor Anathoth. Mad
menah is removed ; the inhabitants of Gebim gather them
selves to flee ; denoting the fear, hurry, and confusion of the peo32 pile, union the news of his invasion. As yet shall he remain at
Nob that day, from whence he might see Jerusalem : he shall
shake his hand, and that shall be all, (against] the mount of the 33 daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem. Behold, the Lord, the
LORD of hosts, shall lop the bow with terror : and the high ones
of stature (shall be] hewn down, and the haughty shall be hum34 bled. And he shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron,
and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one, that is, the destroying angel ; the image is taken from cutting down a forest ; the Assyrian army, with their swords, bows, and pikes lifted up, look like a moving forest, but they shall be entirely and irrecoverably cut down.
1. THE greatest kings and most powerful armies are only in
1 struments in God's hand ; without him they can do no more than an ax or a saw without a hand to use it. They can do no more than he permits, for he doeth according 10 his will in the urmies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of this world. This should dispel all unreasonable fears of our enemies, abate our confidence in our own strength, and engage us to make sure of his friendship and alliance.
2. The counsels of God and those of princes often differ and are contrary ; but his shall prevail. The Assyrian came against Judah to conquer and plunder it, and not suspecting that he was then fulfilling the divine design to punish an hypocritical people, and bring them to repentance. Thus our enemies are often performing God's work upon us, without iutending it ; that is, to humble us for our pride and security, and lead us to seriousness and refcrmation. What a delightful thought! that the schemes of Providence are carrying on by the sinful passions and pursuits of men, and that though there be many devices in the heart of man, God's counsel shall stand.
3. We learn that pride goes before destruction. It is common for proud men to boast what they will do ; and, because they have met with some success, to think that they shall carry all before them. So the king of Assyria talked, Have I not conquered this place, and those gods ? and shall I not subdue Jerusalem ? and be too hard for Jehovah ? whom he impiously calls an idol : but he was mistaken. Such language is as ridiculous as for an ax or saw to boast what destruction they have made among the trees. Let us beware of this temper, for we are nothing ; it is robbing God of his glory, and provoking him to strip us of all we possess.
4. When God has appeared to defend and succeed his people, it is their duty to return to him and trust in him. This good effect the Assyrian invasion produced ; and this is the design of God in sending afflictions upon us. It is comfortable to think that the consumption is determined in righteousness; the consumption of our national numbers, strength or treasures ;, the consumption of our substance, health or friends ; all is particularly determined, when, and how, and 10 what degree ; God is just in all our affictions, and kind in the measure and duration of them. May they all have this effect, to bring us to cease from man, and stay ourselves upon the holy one of Israel. But let us see that we do it in truth ; and with sincerity ; in the use of proper means, to remove every affliction ; and in humble dependence on God for a blessing. When we make conscience of our duty to God, and use no sinful means for security, then, and then only, should we have confidence in him.
The prophet having mentioned the deliverance of Judah from the king
of Assyria, naturally proceeds to their greater deliverance by the Messiah ; as a descendant of Darid, on whom the Shirit would rest, in whose days peace should be propagated, Israel and Judah retur to their own land, be united, and made victorious,
1 AND there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,
I and a Branch shall grow out of his roots ; a reference to the foregoing verses ; there shall come a tender shoot out of a stock
that has long lain in the ground, that is the family of David, then 3 sunk into meanness anil obscurity : And the Spirit of the LORD
shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding; in divine and natural things, the spirit of counsel and might, to advise, contrive, and execute, the spirit of knowledge, in the divine
larv, and of the fear of the LORD, of true religion ; he shall not 3 only inculcate it, but be an eminent example of it ; And this spirit
shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD ; he shall be eminent for all branches of wisdom and godliness, and know the real characters of men: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of bis ears,