« AnteriorContinuar »
waste, carried the inhabitants into captivity, and put their king to death; and a few years after the kingdom of Israel, having made a league with the Assyrians against the kingdom of Judah, was likewise subdued and totally extinguished by the same Assyrians, who had conquered Damascus. By this means the Syrians and the Israelites, who had unjustly attacked the king of Judah, were punished for fheir injustice, as Isaiah had several times foretold; and the Israelites, in particular, received the punishment which their idolatry justly merited. Thus the divine justice, and the truth of Isaiah's predictions, appeared in the destruction of both these kingdoms.
This chapter is attended with obscurity, and it is difficult to say with certainty what is the precise meaning of it, by reason of the figurative expressions we meet with in it, which may be explained more ways than one; and because history does not afford us sufficient light on this subject. However, the most probable interpretation seems to be, that the king of Ethiopia, when he was going to march against the king of Assyria, who had attacked the Jews, would invite the Egyptians to join him; but that God would confound the designs of the Assyrians, and deliver Jerusalem by his own power alone.
In the nineteenth chapter of the Second Book of Kings, we find the two events which the prophet Isaiah here takes notice of. One is, that Tirhahah, king of Ethiopia, came with his army against Sennacherib, king of Assyria, who at that time was besieging Jerusalem. The other is, that Sennacherib's army was utterly destroyed by an angel; and that prince, returning to his own country, perished in a miserable manner. God therefore himself, and not the king of Ethiopia, was the deliverer of Jerusalem, and took vengeance on the Assyrians; wherein he displayed his infinite power, and his love for his people.
This chapter is a prophecy against the Egyptians, which foretells, I. Their confusion and dissension among themselves, till a powerful king should execute the judgments of God against them. II. He foretells, that Egypt should come to the knowledge and worship of the true God.
History perfectly clears the predictions contained in this chapter. After the death of Sethon, king of Egypt, the Egyptians had twelve kings, who were at war together a long time; after which, all Egypt was under the dominion of one prince only, named Psammitichus. The Egyptians were afterwards attacked by the king of Assyria, and by Nebuchadnezzar, who subdued them; and in some time Egypt, Judah, and Assyria, were governed by the same monarch. At the end of this chapter, Isaiah says, that the cities in the land of Egypt should speak the language of Canaan; that there should be an altar to the Lord in that land, and that the Egyptians should call upon God and do sacrifice to him. This relates first, to what happened when the Jews retired into Egypt, after the destruction of Jerusalem, and afterwards built a temple there, called the temple of Onias, which engaged many of the Egyptians to worship the true God. But this prophecy was not fully completed till the times of the Gospel, when the Egyptians and other nations were converted, and by that means accounted the people of God, as well as the Israelites.
God commands Isaiah to walk barefoot and naked, that is, without his robe, having on only his under garments; to signify, that in three years the Egyptians and the Ethiopians should be led into captivity naked and barefoot, by the Assyrians ; and that this should convince the Jews, that they had done wrong to imagine that the king of Egypt should deliver them from the king of Assyria.
This prophecy was verified when the king of Assyria carried his arms as far as Egypt, took several cities in it, and carried a great number of Egyptians captives into his own country. This must needs undeceive the Jews, who trusted on the Egyptians, and teach them to trust in God only.
This chapter contains two predictions: The first is concerning the destruction of the Babylonians, who were to fall into the hands of the Medes and Persians. The second relates to the people of Dumah and the Arabians of Kedar, who were likewise to be exposed to the utmost miseries. The people of Dumah were of the posterity of the Ishmaelites.
In this chapter Isaiah foretells the taking of Babyton by the Medes and Persians; He calls them to besiege it and to conquer it; and expressly mentions their taking that city in a night, when the king of Babylon should be feasting, and taking his fill of pleasures. Thus it actually came to pass, as history informs us, and we read at the end of the fifth chapter of Daniel. This prophecy, which was pronounced so long beforehand, contains in it a most evident mark of majesty and divinity. The Edomites and Arabians, who are here mentioned, were also invaded by the Assyrians. By which God was pleased to punish the idolatry of those nations, and avenge the injuries they had done to the Jews.
After the prophet had foretold, in the foregoing chapters, the destruction of those idolatrous people who had oppressed the Jews, he denounces, in this chapter, the miseries that would befall the Jews themselves, notwithstanding all the precautions taken by the inhabitants of Jerusalem to secure them from their enemies; and he says, that this would come upon them, because they had abandoned themselves to dissolute pleasures, at a time when God called them to repentance. Isaiah foretells, likewise, that Shebna, one of king Hezekiah's chief officers, when Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem, should be removed from his place, and that Eliakim should succeed him. What is here said of Shebna, gives room to suppose that this prophecy relates to what happened when the Assyrians came against Jerusalem, and carried captive to Babylon, Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, as we read 2 Chron. xxxiii. 11.
The threatenings which are here denounced against Jerusalem by the prophet, after he had threatened the other nations, show, that God spares not his own people, and those who profess to serve him, when they offend him; and that the nations and cities, where impiety reigns, are at last exposed to his vengeance, which nothing can secure them from. But what is chiefly to be observed here is, that one of the greatest signs of hardness of heart, and that which most provokes God to punish men, is their being insensible of his judgments, and giving themselves up to mirth and pleasures, and dissoluteness, at a time when he callsthem to humiliation and repentance. Isaiah's prediction of Shebna:'s being turned out, and Eliakim's being preferred, proves, that what happens to private persons is directed by Providence, as well as what befalls princes and nations; and that God exalts and abases whom he pleases, as may best answer his wise designs.
This chapter foretells the humbling of the Tyrians who were neighbours to the Jews, and prided themselves in their riches and power.
Reflections. The prediction contained in this chapter was fulfilled when Nebuchadnezzar, after a tedious siege, took the city of Tyre. It is remarkable, that the prophet, in this chapter, says expressly, that Tyre should be desolate seventy years; that at the end of that time it should be restored; that its trade should again flourish, and part of its riches be consecrated to God. All these things happened to the city of Tyre: After it had fallen under the power of the Babylonians, it recovered from its ruins, became very considerable, and enjoyed its liberty in the time of Alexander the Great: After this the Jews reaped many advantages from the Tyrians, and at last, the Gospel was preached in the land of Tyre. In all this, we see evident proofs of the divinity of these prophecies, and that Providence governs the world, and presides over all events.
This chapter treats of the extreme desolation of Judea, occasioned by the sins of the Jews. Isaiah promises, however, that Jerusalem should be restored.
In this chapter we find a prediction of the miseries that threatened the Jews. Isaiah declares, that their land would shortly be entirely desolate, because it had been profaned and defiled by the sins of its inhabitants, and they had broken the divine covenant By this we see what they have reason to expect, who imitate the Jews in their rebellion and ingratitude, God at length puts in execution against them the decrees of his justice, and overwhelms them with his