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This chafiter has a reference to the invasion and destruction of the Assyrians, and the happy effects of it to Israel.
1 T T TO to thee that spoilest, and thou [wast] not spoiled; and V V dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously wllh 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 sfioil and conquer when no in
3 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 Israelites shall gather the sfioil, as easily as locusts or caterpiU
5 lers devour a field or a tree. The Lord is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness; he displays his power, and the effect if it shall be reforma
6 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 treasure; the worship of God, and promoting piety 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 vain to ofipose; the ambassadors of peace, that shall be sent by Hezekiah to treat for peace, shall weep bitterly, because the A*
8 Syrians will be so unreasonable, proud and insolent. The highways 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
9 fenced cities, and have no compassion. The earthy or the land, mourneth [and] Ianguisheth: Lebanon is ashamed [and] hewn down: Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel shake off [their fruits ;] the fruitful parts 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
11 shall seem despera'e, will I lift up myself. Ye Assyrians shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath, or anil 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 he burned in the fire; they shall meet with entire destruction, tike stones burned to time, or thorns 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 are afraid; Tearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites, taho scorn the law of God and the threalenings of the firojihet; though they keefi aft the afi/iearance of religion, when they think the Assyrians iviU 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 ovin how awful God is, and how dreadful when he comes to fiunish. 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 think» it beneath him, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, when put into his hand secretly, that stopped] his ears from hearing of blood, mill not hear any scheme tending to shtd 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 extremity of the siege. Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty, that is, Hezekiah, having put off his sackcloth and appraring in his royal robes with a fileasant as/iect: they shall behold the land that is very far off; the people who had been shut ufi during the siege shall travel abroad, which after their confinement
18 would be peculiarly fileasant. Thine heart shall meditate terror; review its former fears audits 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 shall 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 jlssyriant,
20 who had a deefi, harsh language, carrying terror ivii/i it. Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall sec Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle [that] shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken; an allusion to a
21 lent, no fiart 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 Jerusalem, only a little brook, God will be as a broad river to it, over
2*2 which no s/ii/i shall /lass to hurt or dexlroy it. For the Lord [is] our judge, the Lord [is] our lawgiver, the Lord [is] our king; htí 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, iahen 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
34 neither Jigh: nor purtue shall have a fart. And the inhabitant
• The apostle Pan! applici tVu to the »Cttss of the goipel «тет heilben jxwen »nd
loieply. I C-jr. ¡. ы.
•ball not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein [shall be] forgiven [their] iniquity ; they thaU forget their xickness, for joy of l hit great deliverance, which will be a comfortable token that their tint art forgiven them.
1. "ТЖ7" E аге here shown the most effectual way to secure na\ V tional deliverance and happiness, namely, to continue intiant infirayer, 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 religion, and cherish the fear of the Lord. This is our best treasure, and vill do more to defend us than all our forces.
2„,YVe are taught not to despair when in the deepest distress. Jerusalem never was in so much danger. It|> inhabitants were never so much terrified as at this time, v. 7, 8. Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without: the ambßssdOor.s of peace ¿hall me rfi bitterly. The highway» lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaset/i: he hath broken the covenant, he bath desfiised the cities^ be rcgardeth no man. Лот will I urine, taith ¡he 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 thçm, God, thus sometimes suffers his people to be brought into the lowest distress, that he may' make his appearance more conspicuous, their deliverapce mprc valued, and better improved. Let us therefore trust him in the greatest danger, and in the mount if difficulty the Lord will be »err,
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 burnejd ; though they made a jest of the threatening before, and were secure and careless, yet now thry were struck with fear, and sunk into despair. Thus cowardly and uneasy does guilt make men. And no wonder if it affects the hyp'écrites under the gospel in this manner, when they think of those devouring (lames and everlasting burnings, which are threatened against aU the workers of iniquity. On the other hand, the good man, who fears God, gives all their due, and abhors every unjustf dishonourable, and mean action, is safe, courageous, and happy: God will protect him, and provide for him j 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 Uiiikt the burden of sjckness, when the burden of guilt is taken away. Such »hall walk in the light ijf God's countenance here, and at length see the King of kings in all the beauties of the heavenly hind.
4. Let us rejoice in God's care of the church amidst all its dangers and alarms. It is indeed desirable to have tJie city of our eolcmnitiea a quiet habitation, and God can make it so. It needs no ri.ver to keep off invading foes, no force to repel them ; his al
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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-prosperity, 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 aiay cheerfully trust in his protection, and be assured that he will bliss us.
Some refer this chapter to the destruction brought ufion the nations which bordered upon Israel, by the Asayrians and Babylonians: but J rather think it has a general reference to the destruction of all that ofiposed tl^ ftngdom and interest of God among men.
1 OMEtriear) ye naifensyto hear ; and hearken, ye people: V>4 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 4uwi/,-*nd 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
4 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 confusiom 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
s7 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 [it 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, ancrflie 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 preparatinn which made^fhem hard enough to take a sharp edge; thus God's sword is represented as batht<l in h-.avrn, in erlrstisl fire, that it might strike like lightning. Idumea, or the Edemites, hire, as in many other places, is put foe 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 possess 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 /ilummmet, of emptiness; he will deal with them in strict jus
12 lice. They shall call the nobles thereof to assist in managing the affairs o/the kingdom, but none [shall be] there, and all her princes shall be nothing ; they shall have no heart or sfiirit left.
13 And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of drag
14 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 hi9 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, anfc 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 prophecy 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 lot: they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein. >
l."TT7"E may reflect with pleasure on the righteousness of V V 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 comethfor judgment, v. 5. Desolation doth not proceed .at random, but in strict equity; by line and plummet i it works as regularly as cities are built, and countries planted: even the wild beasts and birds have their share, as if divided by lot. Let this comfort our minds amidst the confusions of the earth; and lead us to adore the righteousness of the LorjL who is holy in all his ways.
2. How beautiful is it to observe the correspondence between history and prophecy, v. 16. The book of the prophets is ihe 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