« AnteriorContinuar »
as a sheep that no man taketh up ; those that used to be like roaring lions and ranging bears, shall be fearful and weak, like a roe or a sheep : they shall every man turn to his own people,
and flee every one into liis own land ; all their allies shall desert 15 them. Every one that is found shall be thrust through ; and
every one that is joined [unto them) shall fall by the sword. 16 Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes;
their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished ; thus cruelly they will use the Jews, (Zech. xiv. 2.) and thus shall they
be treated. The instruments of this desolation are then mentioned, 17 Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not
regard silver ? and (as for] gold, they shall not delight in it ; 18 they shall act as if they only thirsted for blood.* (Their] bows
also shall dash the young men to pieces, and they shall have
no pity on the fruit of the womb ; their eye shall not spare 19 children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of
the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sod. 20 om and Gomorrah, that is, shall be entirely destroyed. It shall
never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation
to generation : neither shall the Arabiant pitch tent there ; 21 neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild
beasts of the desert shall lie there ; and their houses shall be
full of doleful creatures ; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs 22 shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry
in their desolate houses and dragons in (their) pleasant palaces : and her time [is] near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged beyond her set time ; denoting the certainty of the things described, as well as their being ncar.||
For a fast day.
BSERVE and adore the power of God over all the hosts
of the earth. What a sublime description is here given of the universal agency of God! particularly of the use he makes of the contrivances and force of men. He, the Lord of hosts, mus. iereth the hosts of the battle ; he gathers them together, reviews them, and arms them. Their weapons are the weapons of his indignation, and he gives them success. He can easily take away the strength of their opponents to resist, and their courage to en
• This is a remarkable and most wonderful preiliction : for at the time when Isaiah prophesied there was no kingdom of the Medes, they were subject to be king of Assyria ; but about nineteen years after this they revolted, set up a kingdom of their own, and became so powerfuj, that, in conjunction with the Persians, they destroyed Babylon.
+ A wandering people that carried their tents and cattle from place to place, where they could find most convenient food for thein.
What these creatures were, the learned have not agreed; but they were such that loved to dwell in desolate anti ruined places,
As the walls of Babylon were not entirely demolished, the Persian king made it a park for wild beasts ; but afterwards it was deserted; and many travellers tell us that no one went near the ruins, on account of the wild beasts and serpents that abounded there, and that there are scarce any remains of it now to be seen.
dure ; he can make their hands faint, and their hearts melt. It is a delightful thought, that all the hosts of the world are under the sovereign command of the Lord of hosts. This shows the propriety of acknowledging him, and imploring his favour in time of war. It should be our earnest desire, that our soldiers may be sanclified ones, in the best sense of the word; devoted to his fear and service ; that they may rejoice in his highness, and go forth in his strength to the service for which they are called ; and seek his glory in all they do.
2. The fall of Babylon, and its utter desolation, should be a warning to all nations. So Providence undoubtedly intended them to be. When we consider it as the greatest and most powerful monarchy in the world ; the extent, strength, wealth, and grandeur of its cap. jtal ; what little probability there was that it should ever be taken ; and especially that it was predicted, so long before the event, that it should be utterly destroyed and left desolate ; who would not adore that spirit of prophecy which foretold it, and be afraid of the anger of the almighty power that executed the vengeance ! What an awful description of that anger have we been now considering ! 0 inay Britain hear and fear! she is, in the most important respects, the glory of kingdoms, but is not secure from sharing the fate of former kingdoms ; justly therefore may we tremble for ourselves and our country. Let us learn to fear the King of nations, who doeth according to his will in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and implore' mercy for our land. And in order to ob. tain this, let us · 3. Observe the sources of Babylon's ruin, and learn righteousness by it. The ruin of Babylon was occasioned by its iniquities, its idolatry, cruelty, luxury, and love of pleasure, these sins abounded among them, but their arrogance, pride, and haughtiness, are what the principal stress is laid upon in this chapter, they were conceited of their own politics, wealth, power, and strength, v, 11. Hence they thought themselves secure, despised their enemies, and set all danger, and even the judgments of God, at defiance. But there is no contending with the Almighty ; and those that deal in pride he is able and he takes pleasure to abase. Let us then be warned against confidence in our wisdom, strength, and military force, and fix our dependence on God. National humiliations and prayers are exceeding proper and useful, as they tend to abate our pride, and our trust in an arm of flesh, and to convince us that all our strength and sufficiency is of God. If we thus humble ourselves under his mighty hand, we may cheerfully hope that in due time he will exalt us. But the nation or individual that exalts itself, shall in God's time and way be abased and brought low.
CHAP. XIV. 1-27.1. The prophet here foretells the restoration of Israel, and their triumph
1 P OR the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will get
T choose Israel, return to them in mercy, and set them in their'. own land : and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob ; many Chaldeans and
captives, with the Jerus in Babylon, shall become proselytes and're. 2 turn with them to their land. And the people shall take them,
and bring them to their place : and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids : and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were ; and they shall rule over their oppressors ; they shall use
their assistance as they have occasion for it, and receive services 3 from those to whom they had been slaves. And it shall come to
pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sor
row, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein 4 thou wast made to serve, That thou shalt take up this proverb,
this acute and excellent saying, against the king of Babylon, and say, in these sublime and lofty strains, How hath the oppressor
ceased! the golden city ceased ! how was it possible that such 5 a thing should ever be brought about! The LORD hath broken
the staff of the wicked (and the sceptre of the rulers ; it is 6 God's doing, and therefore wonder not at it. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, who was a most barbarous and ungenero1!3 con
queror, he is persecuted, [and] none hindereth ; neither his own no people nor his allies could help him. The whole earth is at rest,
(and) is quiet, now its greatest oppressor is ceased, now Babylon 8 is destroyed : they break forth into singing. Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, [and] the cedars of Lebanon, (saying,] Since
thou art laid down no feller is come up against us; the great and 9 the common people rejoice, over whom he had tyrannized. Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet (thee) at thy coming : it stirreth up the dead for thee, [even] all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations ; the invisible world is roused to make way for so great a monarch ;
the kings that used to be afraid of thee, and were tributary to thee, 10 rise up by way of scorn and insult. All they shall speak and say
unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we ? art thou become Il like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, (and).
the noise of thy viols : the worm is spread under thee, and the
worms cover thee, instead of thy rich garments and sumptuous 12 carpets. How art thon fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the
morning ; tho!l who eccelledst other princes in glory, as much as
the morning star does the other stars in lustre : [how] art thou 13 cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For
thou hadst said in tl ine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will
exalt my throne above the stars, or angels, of God; an hyperbole, to express his great pride, or that he really expected divine honours : I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in
the sides of the north ; I will place my royal throne upon mount 14 Zion, and in the temple at Jerusalem : yea, I will ascend above 15 the heights of the clouds : I will be like the most High. Yet 16 thou shalt bé brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They
that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, [and] consider thee, [saying, Is] this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; they shall be astonished at thty fall, and
look attentively before they can believe it is thou that art fallen so 17 low; (That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the
cities thereof; [that] opened not the house of his prisoners ?
intimaling bo!h his power and cruelty, he granted them no release : 18 All the kings of the nations, [even) all of them lie in glory, every
one in his own house, or sepulchre ; they were buried with marks 19 of honour and distinction : But thou art cast out of thy grave
Jike an abominable branch, like some noisome plant, tha! lies rotting above ground, (and as] the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, the raiment of a malefactor besmeared with blood and dirt, that go down to the stones of the pit ; as a carcass trodden under feet ; like a putrifying carcass, which is suffered to lie a while unburied, and then is thrown into
some quarry or pit, which probably was the case with Belshazzal's 20 body. Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, that is, with
thine ancestors in an honourable burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, [and] slain thy people ; destroyed thy subjects, and brought ruin upon thy land : the seed of evil doers shall never, or
not ever, be renowned. And because he has been so notorious a 21 transgressor, therefore Prepare slaughter for his children for the
iniquity of their fathers; who tread in the cruel steps of their ane cestors ; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the
face of the world with cities ; that they may not recover their 22 former flourishing condition.* For I will rise up against them,
saith the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and
remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD; all the posterity 23 and kindred of the king of Babylon. I will also make it a pos.
session for the bittern, and pools of water :t and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts. A 90ble, though beautiful image ; intimating the vile nature of sin, the tolal extirpation of that wicked people, and the perfect ease with which the righteous God would exccute his intended vengeance. Then comes a prophecy of the speedy destruction of the Assyrians in Hezekial's time, avhich was designed to confirm their faith in this
fironhecy of the fall of Babylon. 24 The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have
thought, so shall it come to pass ; and as I have purposed, (so]
• Bekhazzır's children and family were probably slain with him,
+ This prophecy was exa:ly accomplished, for Cyrus took Babylon by turning the channel of the river Euphrates that ran through it and br neglecting to repair the banks, the river overflowed the country about it, and it became, and now is, a filtby, noisome massk.
shall it stand ; and therefore let not my people doubt of it, though 25 it seem ever so incredible : That I will break the Assyrian in my · land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot; the army of
Sennacherib, as a pledge of the full destruction of Babylon : then
shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from 26 off their shoulders. This [is] the purpose that is purposed
upon the whole earth : and this [is] the hand that is stretched 27 out upon all the nations that rise up against Israel. For the
Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul [it ?] and his hand [is] stretched out, and who shall turn it back ?
1. IT should be the desire and care of God's people to spread
1 the knowledge of their religion, and their pleasure, to see others embrace it. It is mentioned as an instance of God's goodness to the Jews, that many of their enemies should become proselytes to their religion, and return with them in order to worship their God. His appearances for them, and their good behaviour, gained upon their enemies, and induced them to return with them. Thus should it be our care to behave in so holy, just, and friendly a manner, that others seeing our good works, may glorify our Father who is in heaven. It should be our ambition to see the church enlarged ; pious strangers should cheerfully be received into it; and it should be our peculiar care that our servants should possess the best blessings, and learn wisdom and goodness from our admonition and example.
2. This sublime parable, concerning the king of Babylon, intimates to us, that there is a world of spirits, in which they know and converse with each other. These poetical flights are grounded on that truth, that there is an invisible world, into which human sculs are removed, princes and kings as well as others, and that they have acquaintance and converse with each other. It may also intimate to us, that the inhabitants of hell have no reverence for the former greatness, wealth, dignity, and authority of their fellow sufferers, nor any fear of their power ; that there is no distance kept, no distinction made, nor deference paid in that place of torments; that the cutting sneers and keen railleries of those whom they tyrannized over here, will be a considerable torment to the great and proud. Let this thought excite us to fly from the wrath to come, and secure a mansion among the blessed ; to do all the good we can to others, that they may receive us into the everlasting habitations, and we for ever enjoy their thanks and friendship for the services we have done them.
3. Let God's great and just indignation against tyrants, as here particularly specified, caution us against every degree of cruelty and oppression. There are many petty tyrants among christians, who oppress all under their power, and would be as bad as the king of Babylon, had they equal authority and opportunity. They distress their servants, workmen, tenants, and dependants, to gratify