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[and] there a little ; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken ; rejecting God's
word and despising his methods of instruction, will be the cause 14 of their calamity. Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye
scornful men, that rule this people which [is] in Jerusalem ; ye 15 chief magistrates that scorn my threatenings. Because ye have
said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; we have taken as effectual methods to secure ourselves from danger as if we had done so ; when the overflow. ing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us : for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood, that is, idols and foreign alliances, have we bid ourselves.
Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, I will direct you to a surer refuge, Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone,) a sure foundation : he that believeth shall not make haste ; shall not hurry to and fro, shall not be confounded.
Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet ; that is, I will deal with you in strict justice ; an allusion to builders : and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place ; my judgmenis
shall be like a storm of hail, or a flood that carries all before it. 18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your
agreement with hell shall not stand ; when the overflowing
scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it; 19 it shall suddenly overwhelm you like an inundation. From the time
that it goeth forth it shall take you : for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night, and it stall be a vexation only [to] understand the report ; when you think you have put it by, it shall turn again with greater fury : even the report of its coming upon others shall vex you, and occasion painful fears.
Some render it, nothing but vexation will make you understand 20 instruction. For the bed is shorter than that [a man] can
stretch himself [on it :) and the covering narrower than that
he can wrap himself (in it.] A proverbial expression, as if he had 21 said, All your stratagems and confederacies skall fail. For the
LORD shall rise up as [in] mount Perazim, where David slev the Philistines, he shall be wroth as [in] the valley of Gibeon, where Joshua destroyed the Canaanites, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act; when God's professing frcople are hypocrites, he will treat them as he used to do their enemies; though this is strange work, disagreeable
to him, and such as his people have not been used to feel, yet it is 22 necessary. Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be
made strong ; lest you be brought under a foreign yoke : for I have heard from the Lord God of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth, or the whole land, that is, against the two remaining tribes, as well as the ten qhich I have prophesied against before. The prophet then concludes with a beautiful fiarable, which is designed to show, thai as the husband.
mati has times and methods for ploughing and manuring the ground, sowing and threshing the grain, and the like, 80 God has seasons of mercy and judgment, and takes different measures for amendmena or destruction.
Give ye ear, and hear my voice ; hearken, and hear my 24 speech. Doth the ploughman plough all day, or every day, to
sow? doth he every day open and break the clods of his ground? 25 When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad
the fitches,and scatter the cummin, andeast in the principal wheat
and the appointed barley, or, the wheat in the principal place, and 26 barley in the appointed place, and the rye in their place ? For
his God doth instruct him to discretion, [and] doth teach him. 27 For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument,
neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin ; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod ;
different kinds of threshing instruments are used, according to the 28 kind and strength of the grain. Bread (corn) is bruised ; be.
cause he will not ever be threshing it, nor break [it with] the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it (with] his horsemen ; bread corn
must be bruised in a mortar, or ground in a mill, because other in. 39 struments are not capable of making it small enough. This skill in
husbandry, or rather, this judgment and consumption, also cometh forth from the LORD of hosts, (which) is wonderful in counsel, [and] excellent in working ; who afflicts his people more or less, as their characters and cases require.
1. URTE here see the detestable nature and great guilt of drunk.
VV enness. It overcomes men, deprives them of their reason, stupifies their understandings, leads them into fatal errors, and exposes them to the practice of every iniquity. Of all drunkards, those of Ephraim were the worst ; they were God's professing people, had been better instructed than others, and should therefore have set an example of temperance and sobriety. The word of God pronounces a wo upon such ; and the New Testament assures us that they shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Let us all there. fore be warned, and take heed to ourselves, lest at any time our hearts are overcharged with gluttony and drunkenness, and that day of judgment come upon us unawares.
2. We learn how graciously God condescends to teach men their duty ; he gives precept upon precept ; here a little, and there a little ; he gives his instructions in a plain, concise manner ; and they are often repeated ; both to help our memories and impress our hearts. Thus should parents teach their children, and not overburden their memories and confound their judgments. Thus also should ministers teach their hearers ; give them short, plain, familiar views of their duty ; and frequently repeat their admonitions, even though some nicer hearers may nauseate them. The design of all is to afford present refreshment, and lead to eternal rest. But if men
will not hear, they will be broken, and snared, and taken ; and the word will be a savour of death unto death to their souls.
3. Let us regard the Lord Jesus Christ as a sure foundation stone, and trust in him. The sixteenth verse is expressly applied to him in the New Testament. He is a corner stone, which unites and supports the whole building ; precious in the sight of God and all true believers : he is a sure stone, that cannot be broken or removed. He that builds his final hopes on this foundation shall not be confounded ; but whatever else we build upon, it will be a refuge of lies, which the hail will sweep away. There is no security but in Christ ; and blessed are all they that trust in him.
4. We see the danger of making a jest of the word of God. There were scornful men in Jerusalem, who ridiculed the prophet's reproofs and admonitions, therefore God made their bands strong ; and gave them up to their hearts' lusts. They were held in fetters of iniquity, as well as made captives by the Assyrians. We should be particularly cautious against this sin. If what ministers say should not be quite agreeable to our inclinations, or their manner to our taste, we should not be mockers. Serious things must not be turned into a jest ; for God and his word jest with no man. What is honestly intended ought to be well taken, and what is seriously spoken ought to be seriously regarded. When men despise the word, and become sermon proof, sin gains dominion over them ; and whether they heed and believe them or not, the threatenings of God shall be executed, and the consumption determined shall destroy them.
5. God is to be acknowledged in all the skill and sagacity of mankind ; and in the different circumstances and conditions of human life. The business of the husbandman seems to require no great instruction or discretion, but in reality it does ; and it is to be wished, that farmers would not plod on in the way of their fathers, without considering how far it is right; but endeavour by reading, experience, and observation to improve upon it. Especially should they ask instruction and discretion from God in their business, and give him praise for their success. Let the different dispensations of Providence to us, to our friends, and to the world, be considered as the appointments of him who is wonderful in counsel ; that we may not mourn and complain, but in patience possess our souls, and cheerfully commit all events to God, who gives men all their wisdoin and understanding, and must himself be infinitely wise.
This prophecy refers to the Assyrian invasion. It contains promises
and threatenings, reproofs and encouragements, according to the character of the people.
V O to Ariel, to Ariel, the city (where] David dwelt !*
V add ye year to year ; let them kill sacrifices ; go up regularly to your solemn feasts, and kill sacrifices as usual, but all 2 will be in vain, while you continue hypocritical ; for Yet I will dis
tress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow ; notwithstanding this your formal worship, wherein you confide so much, both city and temple shall be brought into great straits : and it shall be unto me as Ariel ; both Jerusalem and the neighbourhood about it shall be like the altar, filled with the bodies of dead men ; many shall be killed in sallying out, and many die within the city. 3 And I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege 4 against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee. And
thou shalt be brought down, [and] shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust; thou shalt be very huma
ble, and speak low, through faintness or fear of the enemy ; yet 5 God will deliver thee. Moreover the multitude of thy strangers
shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones [shall be) as chaff that passeth away : yea, it shall be at an in
stant suddenly ; referring to the destruction of the Assyrians. 6 Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and
with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and 7 the flame of devouring fire. And the multitude of all the na
tions that fight against Ariel, even all that fight against her and
her munition, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a 8 night vision. It shall even be as when an hungry (man) dream
eth, and, behold, he eateth ; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty : or as when a thirsty (man) dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh ; but he awaketh, and, behold, she is] faint, and his soul hath appetite : so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion ; their hopes shall be disappointed ; they think 10 enrich themselves with its spoil, and swallow it up in their imagination ; but they shall be deceived, and their disap,
pointment be the more grievous. 9 Stay yourselves, and wonder ; cry ye out, and cry : they are
drunken, but not with wine ; they stagger, but not with strong
drink ; referring to the stupidity of the people in the midst of these 10 alarming providences. For the Lord hath poured upon you the
spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes : the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered ; that is, God haih
Ariel signifies, the Lion of God; it means Jerusalem, and has a particular reference to the altar of burnt offerings there, which cuisund the sacrifices.
given them up to a stupid, heavy, senseless temper, aad permitted
the eyes of their understanding to be covered, because they would * Il not consider. And the vision of all is become unto you as the
words of a book that is sealed, which (men] deliver to one that
is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee : and he saith, I can. 12 not ; for it [is] sealed : And the book is delivered to him that
is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray theė : and he saith, I am not learned. Though the learned know it to be a book that is a prophecy, and an important ane 100, yet they are not desirous nor willing to read it ; and the unlearned complain that it is dark and obscure, above their capacities, and therefore they give them selves no concern about it ; thus the prejudices of the learned, and
the ignorance of the unlearned, will defeat the end of the prophet's 13 instructions. Wherefore the LORD said, Forasmuch as this
people draw near (me) with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men, by false pro
phets, or traditions of their teachers, as our Lord explains it : 14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among
this people, (even) a marvellous work and a wonder : for the wisdom of their wise (men) shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent (men) shall be hid ; because they will not under, stand, they shall not ; their sins shall be their punishment ; and this shall be a marvellous thing, the people shall lose their under.
standing in a wonderful degree, especially those who are now fa. 15 mous for it. Wo unto them that seek deep to hide their coun:
sel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? Wo to the politicians who think God does not know their schemes, and who have formed them without any regard to his word, his prophets, or his provi,
dence ; who know their counsels are not agreeable to his will, and 16 therefore wish to conceal them. Surely your turning of things
upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay : for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding ? Their inverting the order of things, and leaving God out of their politics, without whom they have no more power 10 do any thing than clay has without the polier, is in effect denying him
to be their Creator, or denying his wisdom. 17 [IS] it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned
into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest? A proverbial expression of a grcat and surprising altera.
tion, and is applicable both to the happy consequences of Sennache. * rib's defeat, and Hezekiah's forwarding a reformation among them. 18 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and
the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of dark19 ness. The meek also shall increase (their) joy in the LORD,
and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel ;
the book shall be no longer sealed ; humble souls shall learn God's 20 will, shall do it, and rejoice in it. For the terrible one, the Assy