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CHAP. XXXIII. This chapter has a reference to the invasion and destruction of the

Assyrians, and the happy effects of it to Israel.

W O to thee that spoilest, and thou (wast] not spoiled ; and

V dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; [and] when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee; because thou hast broken the

treaty of peace, and endeavoured to spoil and conquer when no in? jury had been received. O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee; the prayer of Israel in their distress : be thou

their arm every morning, the arm of Hezekiah and his soldiers, 3 our salvation also in the time of trouble. At the noise of the

tumult the people fled ; at the lifting up of thyself the nations 4 that were allied to the Assyrians were scattered. And your spoil

shall be gathered (like) the gathering of the caterpiller : as the running to and fro of locusts shall he run upon them; that is,

the Israeliles shall gather the spoil, as easily as locusts or caterpil. 5 lers devour a field or a tree. The Lord is exalted; for he dwel

leth on high : he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteous

ness; he displays his power, and the effect of it shall be reforma6 tion. And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy

times, [and] strength of salvation; piety and prudence shall establish Hezekiah's throne : the fear of the LORD [is] his treas

ure; the worship of God, and promoting picty in others, shall be a 7 better security than treasures or forces. Behold, their valiant • ones shall cry without ; they shall be disheartened, and think it

in voin 10 oppose ; the ambassadors of peace, that shall be sent by

Hezekiah to treat for peace, shall weep bitterly, because the As. 8 syrians will be so unreasonable, proud and insolent. The high

ways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth : he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man; Sennacherib will not stand to his agreement, he will despise the fenced cities, and have no compassion. The earth, or the land, mourneth (and) languislıeth : Lebanon is ashamed (and) hewn down: Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel

shake off [their fruits ;] the fruitful paris will be laid waste, and 10 her substance plundered. Now will I rise, saith the LORD ; now

will I be exalted ; now, when things are at the worst, and the case Il shall seem despera'e, will I lift up myself. Ye Assyrians shall

conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble : your breath, or an12 ger against Israel, [as] fire, shall devour you. And the people,

the Assyrians, notwithstanding their great expectations, shall be [as] the burnings of lime : (as) thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire ; they shall meet with entire destruction, like

stones burned to lime, or chorns that are utterly consumed. 13 Hear, ye (that are] far off, what I have done ; and ye (that 14 are] near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion arc afraid ; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites, who scorn the luw of God and the threatenings of the prophet ; though they keep up the appearance of religion, when they think the Assyrians will destroy Jerusalem, they shall be terribly afraid. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings ? they will own how awful God is, and

how dreadful when he comes 10 punish. On the other hand, good 15 men shall be calm and secure : He that walketh righteously, and

speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, who thinks it beneath him, that shaketh his hands from holding of Bribes, when put into his hand secretly, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, will not hear any scheme tending to shed blood, or to gratify revenge, and shutteth his eyes from seeing

evil, will not willingly see evil committed, but has a great aversion 16 to it ; He shall dwell on high : his place of defence shall be] • the munitions of rocks : bread shall be given him ; his waters

[shall be] sure ; he shall be defended and supplied during the 17 ertremity of the siege. Thine eyes shall see the king in his

beauty, that is, Hezekiah, having put off his sackcloth and appear. ing in his royal robes with a pleasant aspect : they shall behold the land that is very far off ; the people who had been shut up

during the siege shall travel abroad, which after their confinement 18 would be peculiarly pleasant. Thine heart shall meditate terror;

review its former fears and its triumph over the Assyrians. Where [is] the scribe ? where [is] the receiver ? where [is] he that

counted the towers ? where is the secretary of war, the paymaster, 19 the chief engineer ?* Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people

of deeper speech than thou canst perceive ; of a stammering

tongue, [that thou canst] not understand ; that is, the Assyrians, 20 who had a deep, harsh language, carrying terror with it. Look

upon Zion, the city of our solemnities : thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle (that) shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, nei.

ther shall any of the cords thereof be broken ; an allusion 10 a 21 lent, no part of which should be damaged by the enemy. But there

the glorious LORD (will be) unto us a place of broad rivers (and] streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby; though there is no river about Jerusa

lem, only a little brook, God will be as a broad river to it, over 22 cwhich no ship shall pass 10 hurt or destroy it. For the LORD [is]

our judge, the LORD [is] our lawgiver, the LORD [is] our king;

he will save us; God's relation to Israel will engage him to protect 23 it. Thy tacklings are loosed; they could not well strengthen

their mast, they could not spread the sail; the Assyrian force, when attempting to pass the broad river, mentioned v. 21, shall be shipwrecked : then is the prey of a great spoil divided ; the

lame take the prey ; it shall be so abundant, that those who can 24 neither fighe nor pursue shall have a part. And the inhabitant

The apostle Paul applies this to the success of the gospel over heathen powers and

philosophy.

shall not say, I am sick : the people that dwell therein [shall
be] forgiven (their) iniquity ; they shall forget their sickness,
for joy of this great deliverance, which will be a comfortable token
that their sins are forgiven them.

REFLECTIONS.

1. TTT E are here shown the most effectual way to secure na

V tional deliverance and happiness, namely, to continue ine stant in prayer, v, 2. Let us entreat that all our actions and affairs may be governed by justice ; that we may be faithful to our treaties ; and that particular persons may act uprightly, support relig. ion, and cherish the fear of the Lord. *This is our best treasure, and will do more to defend us than all our forces.

2...We are taught not to despair when in the deepest distress. Jerusalem never was in so much danger. Its inhabitants were never so much terrified as at this time, v. 7, 8. Behold, their val. iant ones shall cry without : the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly. The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceascth : he hath broken the covenant, he bath despised the cities, he regardeth no man. Now will I urise, saith the Lord: ; now will I be exalted. He seemed before to have been an unconcerned spectator ; but then it was time to arise and act vigorously for them. God, thus sometimes suffers his people to be brought into the lowest distress, that he may make his appearance more conspicuous, their deliverance more valued, and better improved. Let us therefore trust him in the greatest danger, and in the mount of difficulty the Lord will be seer,

3. The difference between bad and good men in times of affliction and calamity, is seen, v, 14, 15. There were hypocrites in Zion, and those of the worst sort. When they expected the city to be taken, plundered, and burned ; though they made a jest of the threatening before, and were secure and careless, yet now they were struck with fear, and sunk into despair. Thus cowardly and

yneasy does guilt make men. And no wonder if it affects the hyp*ocrites under the gospel in this manner, when they think of those

devouring flames and everlasting burnings, which are threatened against all the workers of iniquity. On the Qther hand, the good man, who fears God, gives all their due, and abhors every unjusti dishonourable, and mean action, is safe, courageous, and happy : God will protect him, and provide for him ; and he will have a cheerful hope in the deepest distress. He will have no, cause to complain of lesser evils when the greatest is removed, nor sink under the burden of sickness, when the burden of guilt is taken away. Such shall walk in the light of God's countenance here, and at length see the King of kings in all the beauties of the heavenly land.

4. Let us rejoice in God's care of the church amidst all its dangers and alarms. It is indeed desirable to have the city of our solemnities a quiet habitation, and God can make it so. It needs no river to keep off invading foes, no force to repel them ; his al Vol. V.

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. mighty power is sufficient. Let us think what he did for Israel, what he has done for his church, yea, for our own land. Let us review our fears, v. 18. and give glory to God for our national pros. perity, success, and peace ; and be careful to behave toward him, as those who know that the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king : he will save us. Let us commit our cause to him, and observe his law; then we may cheerfully trust in his protection, and be assured that he will bless us.

CHAP. XXXIV.

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Some refer this chapter to the destruction brought upon the nations

which bordered upon Israel, by the Assyrians and Babylonians : but :
I rather think it has a general reference to the destruction of all
that opposed the kingdom and interest of God among men.
I N OME near, ye nations, to hear ; and hearken, ye people :

W let the earth hear, and all that is therein ; the world, and » 2 all things that come forth of it. For the indignation of the Lord ,

[is] upon all nations, and (his} fury upon all their armies : he

hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the 3 slaughter. Their slain also shall be cast out, they shall find no burial, and their stink shall come up out of their carcasses, and the mountains about Jerusalem shall be melted with their blood; it shall be shed in such quantities that it shall run down like springs from the mountains. And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll : ‘and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off

from the vine, and as a falling (fig) from the fig tree; hyperboli. 5 cal expressions, denoting great desolation and confusion. For my

sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon 6 Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment.* The

sword of the Lord is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, [and] with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the

kidnies of rams : for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a 7 great slaughter in the land of Idumea. And the unicorns shall

come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls, and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with

fatness ; both the greatest and the meanest shall be alike destroyed. 8 For sit is] the day of the LORD's vengeance, [and] the year 9 of recompenses for the controversy of Zion. And the streams

thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into

brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch ; . 10 an allusion to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall

not be quenched night nor day ; the smoke thereof, a black,

• Probably the ancients used to bathe their swords in some preparation which made them hard enough to take a sharp edge ; thus God's sword is represented as bathed in heaven, in celestial fire, that it might strike like lightning. Idumnea, or the Edomites, here, as in many other places, is put for all the enemies of God's church and people in general.

sulphureous vapour, shall go up for ever : from generation to

generation it shall lie waste ; none shall pass through it for 11 ever and ever. But the cormorant and the bittern shall pos

sess it ; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it : and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones,

or plummmet, of emptiness; he will deal with them in strict jus12 tice. They shall call the nobles thereof to assist in managing

the affairs of the kingdom, but none [shall be) there, and all her

princes shall be nothing ; they shall have no heart or spirit left. 13 And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles

in the fortresses thereof :' and it shall be an habitation of drag14 ons, (and) a court for owls. The wild beasts of the desert

shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr

shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there 15 and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl

make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadOw: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate ; creatures that love desolate places, whether sandy or marshy, shall meet together, and breed there ; intimating

that the desolation shall be long continued. 16 Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read ; let'the prophe

ecy be compared with the event, to show that not one of these dismal creatures shall be wanting ; no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate : for my mouth it hath commanded, and his

spirit it hath gathered them ; God hath so ordered it, and brought 17 them together by the instincts he hath given them. And he hath

cast the lot for them, and his hand hath divided it unto them by line : these creatures shall have the land divided among them as if it was done by lol : they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein. "

REFLECTIONS.

1. WAT E may reflect with pleasure on the righteousness of

VV God, when his judgments are abroad in the earth. This dreadful hyperbolical description is answered by the desolations that war often makes in cities and countries; but let us rejoice that infinite wisdom and righteousness preside over these affairs. God's sword is the sword of justice, and cometh for judgment, v. 5. Des. olation doth not proceed at random, but in strict equity ; by line and plummet ; it works as regularly as cities are built, and countries planted : even the wild beasts and birds have their share, as if di. vided by lot. Let this comfort our minds amidst the confusions of the earth; and lead us to adore the righteousness of the Lord, who is holy in all his way8.

2. How beautiful is it to observe the correspondence between history and prophecy, v. 16. The book of the prophets is the book of the Lord, inspired by the Holy Ghost. It is our duty to read it, to seek and search it out. Where we have light from ancient his

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