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be called the city of Heres *. 19. In that day there shall be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the Lord. 20. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the Lord because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour and a great one, and he shall de liver them. 21. And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall minister sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform it. 22. And the Lord shall smite Egypt; he shall smite, and heal it: and they shall return even to the Lord, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them. 03. In that day there shall be a high-way out of Egypt to Assyria ; and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria ; and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. 24. In that day shall Israel be third with Egypt and with Assyria, eyen a blessing in the midst of the land. 25. Whom the Lord of hosts shall blets, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.
+ The city of Heres.] Heres or Ares was an oriental name of the Sun. The city of Heres accordingly was called by the Greeks Heliopolis. See ny Dissert. on the Cabiri. Vol. i. p. 104. L. 4
COMMENTARY. I am inclined to consider these three chapters as forming jointly a single prophecy, and as containing only a more full and ample account of the matters foretold in the former part of the preceding prophecy * The order observed in both is nearly the same; and both equally harmonize with the collateral prediction of Daniel † in closely connecting the fate of Egypt with the restoration of Judah.
The prophecy now under consideration commences with matter not indeed immediately relating to the principal subject of it, yet affording an opportunity of a sufficiently easy digression. 5 The burden of Damascus, opened at the begin“ ning of the 17th chapter, naturally brings the « prophet to speak of the subversion of the king« dom of Israel, in those days in alliance with the “ Syrians : and to be overthrown by the same “ enemy at the same time. The prediction of the * subversion of the kingdom of Israel leads the “ prophet to warn the Jewish people in general of
the judgments which await them, with manifest " allusion in the 11th verse, as Casaubon has ob“ served, to the final dispersion of the nation by " the Romans. And the allusion to this final dis
* Isaiah xi. 10–16.
“ persion leads, as it almost always does, to a pre
diction of the final restoration. This is delivered “ generally in the 12th, 13th, and 14th verses of " the 17th chapter *."
In foretelling the dispersion of the Jews, and its various concomitant circumstances, Isaiah is wonderfully particular. He declares, that they should be cut down and carried away from the country of their fathers, in the same manner as a husbandman reaps his corn and conveys it from the fields where it had grown ; and yet that a few stragglers, the wreck of a once mighty people, should remain, like gleanings, in the land t-Great lowever as
* Bp. Horsley's Letter on Isaiah xviii. p. 100.
+ The figures here used by the prophet are peculiarly apposite. The Jews should not only be cut down, as in the ordinary calamities of war; but the whole nation should be utterly taken away from their own land, as a reaper gathers the ears of corn. Yet, notwithstanding their general dispersion, a remnant should be left, strangers and pilgrims, in the land of their fathers, like the few grapes that remain at the gathering in of the vintage, or the few olive-berries that are overlooked in the season of making oil. As the prophecy was, such has been the event. " When the emperor Adrian " had subdued the rebellious Jews, he published an edict, for
bidding them upon pain of death to set foot in Jerusalem, # or even to approach the country round about it. Tertul. “ lian and Jerome say, that they were prohibited from enso tering into Judèa. From that time to this their country “ hath been in the possession of foreign lords and masters, $6 few of the Jews dwelling in it, and those only of a low serLe vile condition. Benjamin of Tudela in Spain, a celebrated
their sins and their calamities should be, during the whole time of their dispersion they at least should keep themselves from their former besetting crime, an infatuated attachment to the idolatrous vanities of the gentiles *. Nevertheless their wor
" Jew of the 12th century, travelled into all parts to visit " those of his own nation, and to learn an exact state of * their affairs : and he hath reported, that Jerusalem was “ almost entirely abandoned by the Jews. He found there « not above two hundred persons, who were for the most
part dyers of wool, and who every year purchased the pri" vilege of the monopoly of that trade. They lived all to
gether under David's tower, and made there a very « little figure. If Jerusalem had so few Jews in it, the rest " of the holy land was still more depopulate. He found two s of them in one city, twenty in another; most whereof were • dyers. In other places there were more persons; but in " upper Galilee, where the nation was in the greatest repute " after the ruin of Jerusalem, he found hardly any Jews at all. • A very accurate and faithful traveller of our own nation * (Sandys) who was himself also in the holy land, saith, that as it is for the most part now inhabited by Moors and * Arabians; those possessing the vallies, and these the moun* tains, Turks there be few; but many Greeks, with other " Christians of all sects and nations, such as impute to the " place an inherent holiness. Here be also some Jews: yet ." inherit they no part of the land, but in their own country " do live as aliens.” Bp. Newton's Dissert. viii. .
* It is almost superfluous to observe, that, during the whole period of their present dispersion, the Jews have been as remarkable for their detestation of idolatry, as they were heretofore notoriously prone to it. Although some of them may have been constrained by the tortures of the inquisition to
worship ship, though free from idolatry, should not be pleasing unto God. In consequence of their forgetting the God of their salvation, and disregarding the rock of their strength, their strong cities should be forsaken ; there should be a great deso. lation in the land; and they themselves, while strangers in foreign countries, should be given up to the folly of painfully accumulating riches and never deriving any benefit from them *
worship the images of the Papists, force and the fear of death have alone compelled them to violate what they justly esteem the fundamental precept of the Law. Thus have prophecies, apparently contradictory to each other, been minutely fulfilled. Some declare, that the Jews should never, during their dispersion, relapse into idolatry; others, that they should serve gods, the work of men's hands. Accordingly, they have never voluntarily and nationally become idolaters, since the destruction of their polity by the Romans; although many individuals among them have been constrained by the Papists to bow down before the idols of the Latin church. Vide supra Cominentary on Prophecy I. and infra on Prophecy XVII.
* The idea of the passage seems to be, that the Jews, in consequence of their rejecting the Messiah, should be judicially given up to the most sordid avarice. Ever labouring to accumulate riches in foreign lands; rising early in the morning, and late taking rest, and eating the bread of carefulness; they should still reap ino harvest from their toil, but the day of their expected enjoyment should be a day of grief and heavy trouble. The various oppressions, which this sordid people (most unjustly no doubt) have suffered, are almost endless. " What frequent seizures have been made of their effects in
. “ almost