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their cruelty or spleen : and will not do to others as they desire and expect to be done by. God will reckon with such men at last, and judge them as oppressors. They think by these means to increase the fortunes of their children, but are generally disappointed, for the sced of evil doers'shall never be renowned. Let us fly from all these detestable practices, be strictly just to the rights of others, tender of their ease and comfort, and ready to give up some of our due for their relief and benefit. Let us be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate ; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

CHAP. XIV. 28, to the end. CHAP. XV. XVI.

The fifteenth chapter refers to the calamities brought upon Moab, soon

afier the desiruction of the Assyrian army, because during the disPress of Judah, they did not give them any help, as is intimated in the next chapter. It was probably delivered in the first and executed in the fourth year of Hezekiah. When Shalmaneser invaded the kingdom of Israel, he might march through Moab, and take their principal cities, Ar and Kir.

28 TN the year that king Ahaz died was this burden. Rejoice not 29 I thou, whole Palestina, or land of the Philistines, because the

rod of him that smote thee is broken ; referring to their rejoic. ing on the death of Ahaz, whose father Uzziah had been a dreadful scourge to them: for out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice, or adder, and his fruit [shall be) a fiery flying serpent ; the king who shall succeed him, shall sting them worse than

his grandfather did, which history tells us that he did, 2 Kings 30 xviii. 8. And the firstborn of the poor shall feed, and the

needy shall lie down in safety : and I will kill thy root with famine, and he shall slay thy remnant ; Hezekiah shall be mild and just to his subjects, and they shall enjoy plenty in his reign ;

while the Philistines shall have famine and war, by which they shall 31 be destroyed. Howl, O gate ; cry, O city; thou, whole Palesti

na, (art] dissolved : for there shall come from the north a smoke, that is, a fire from Judea to destroy thee, and none (shall

be] alone in his appointed times ; the Jews shall go willingly to 32 attack thee, and none shall desert or be missing. What shall (one)

then answer the messengers of the nation, who shall come to congratulate Hezekiah's success? That the LORD hath founded Zion, and dwells there by his extraordinary presence, and the poor of his people shall trust in it ; those that were desprised shall betake themselves to it, and find security.

Chap. XV. The burden of Moab. Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, [and] brought to silence, or cut off ; be

cause in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, [and] brought to % silence, suddenly and unexpectedly : He, that is, Moab, is gone up to Bajith, and to Dibon, the high places, to weep, and call upon his gods : Moab shall howl over Nebo, and over Medeba ::

on all their heads (shall be] baldness, (and) every beard cut off, 3 in token of mourning. In their streets they shall gird thema selves with sackcloth : on the tops of their houses, and in their streets, every one shall howl, weeping abundantly. And Heshbon shall cry, and Elealeh : their voice shall be heard [even] unto Jahaz: therefore the armed soldiers of Moab shall cry out ; his life shall be grievous unto him ; even the soldiers shall

be quite dispirited, perceiving the most dreadful calamities coming 5 upon them. My heart shall cry out for Moab ; his fugitives

[shall flee) unto Zoar, an heifer of three years old ; or rather, my heart shall cry unto Zoar, like a heifer lowing after her calf : for by the mounting up of Luhith with weeping 'shall they

go it up ; for in the way of Horonaim, they shall raise up a cry 6 of destruction ; it shall be an universal lamentation. For the

waters of Nimrim shall be desolate : for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth, there is no green thing ; the country shall 7 be depopulated and ruined by the army. Therefore the abund

ance they have gotten, and that which they have laid up, shall

they carry away to the brook of the willows; their enemies shall 8 plunder and carry away all their wealth. For the cry is gone

round about the borders of Moab ; the howling thereof unto 9 Eglaim, and the howling thereof unto Beerelim. For the waters of Dimon shall be full of blood : for I will bring more upon Dimon than has been already mentioned, lions upon hint that escapeth of Moab, and upon the remnant of the land ; great multitudes shall be slain, and those who flee and those who are left

in the land, shall be slain by tions and other savage beasts. I CHAP. XVI, Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from

Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion ;

send the tribute due to the kings of Judah, from all parts of your 2 country, to Jerusalem, where the king's palace is.* For, or else,

it shall be, (that,) as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, (so) the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon ; her chil.

dren shall be turned out of their habitations, and shall not know 3 where to fly. Take counsel, how the ruin may be prevented, exea

cule judgment, do justice to my people ; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noon day ; hide the outcasts ; bewray

not him that wandereth ; shelter them under their sufferings, and 4 do not betray them to their enemies. Let mine outcasts, those that

fee from the Assyrian invasion, dwell with thee, Moab ; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler : for the extortioner is at an end, that is, shall quickly be 80, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. This is probably iron. ical ; as if he had said, Thus you should have done, but, thanks be

to God, now we have no occasion for such an irstance of your kind. $ ness. And in mercy shall the throne of Hezekiah be establish

• David had conquered the Moabites, and made them tributaries, and the tribute was part, in sheep, but this they bad neglected to send for some time, 2 Kings iii. 4,

ed : and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting to execute right

eousnesss. 6 We have heard of the pride of Moab; all his neighbours know

it ; [he is) very proud : [even) of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath : {but] his lies (shall] not (be) so ; his

strength and power are not equal to his pride, he is deceived in them. 7 Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab, every one shall howl :

for the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn ; surely 8 (they are] stricken. For the fields of Heshbon languish, [and]

the vine of Sibmah : the lords of the heather, the Assyrian officers, have broken down the principal plants thereof, they are come [even) unto Jazer, they wandered [through] the wilderness : her branches are stretched out, they are gone over the

sea ; their fruitful country is wasted, so that they are obliged 10 9 flee. Therefore I will bewail thee with the weeping of Jazer, sor, with weeping bewail Jazer; the vine of Sibmah: I will water

thee with my tears, O Heshbon, and Elealeh : for the shouting 10 for thy summer fruits and for thy harvest is fallen. And glad.

ness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field ; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting : the treaders shall tread out no wine in (their) presses ; I have made their vintage) shouting to cease ; there shall be

no more shouting and joy in harvest, or the vintage, because all 11 shall be laid waste. Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an . harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kirharesh : the

prophet himself was deeply impressed with the prospect of their 12 calamities. And it shall come to pass, when it is seen that Moab

is weary on the high place, that he shall come to his sanctuary

to pray; he shall first try his high places, then come to the temple 13 of Chemosh, his god, to pray ; but he shall not prevail. This

[is] the word that the Lord hath spoken concerning Moab since 14 that time. But now the LORD hath spoken, saying, Within

three years, as the years of an bireling, that is, three exact years, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude ; their riches shall be lost, and their multitudes become contemptible : and the remnant [shall be] very small [and] feeble.*

REFLECTIONS.

1. THE dealings of God with the nations of the earth, are de

I signed 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, though we may not particularly see

• God had long ago determined on their destruction, but now, as their wickedness was increased, 'e fixed the time for it. Whether this prophecy was sent to Moab, or not, is uncertain: it probably might be so, and it would serve to confirm the Israelites in the belief of the divine freknowledge and Providence, and strengthen their faith in the prophecies relating to themselves.

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 of them; and for their sakes, 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 Israel.

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 consolations of Christ, who sits 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 ever. more. 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, though the fig tree does not blossom, though 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.

CHAP. XVII, XVIII.

As Syria and Israel had been confederates against Judah, the de.

struction of both of them is here foretold.

THE burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is, or shall

1 be, taken away from [being] a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap ; it was soon after made so by the king of Assyria, see 2 2 Kings xvi. 9. The cities of Aroer [are) forsaken ; the province

of Syria shall be utterly desolate : they shall be for flocks which 3 shall lie down, and none shall make (themafraid. The fortress

also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damas. cus, and the remnant of Syria, which shall be no longer a kingdom, but a province 10 Assyria : they shall be as the glory of the chil

dren of Israel, saith the LORD of hosts; they shall share in a com4 mon destruction. And in that day it shall come to pass, [that]

the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh

shall wax lean ; shall be wasted away, like a man in a consump. 5 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 shall make clear riddance, so that none shall be left ; the Israelites shall be carried into captitity by the Assyriane,

(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 uttermost bough, which were out of reach, four (or] five in the outmost

fruitful branches thereof, saith the Lord God of Israel ; a small 7 remnant shall be 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 shall worship and serve 8 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 ; he shall no more trust in idols, or im. 9 ages in groves. In that day shall his strong cities be as a for

saken 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 shall Israel; or, as the Canaanites forsook their cities for fear of the children of Israel, when they came

to possess the land, so they shal be forsaken again now for fear of 10 the Assyrians. Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy

salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange slips : In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy seed to flourish ; [but] the harvest (shall be) a heap in the day of grief and of desperate

• The Seventy render it, As the Hivites and Ainorites.

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