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church by the rites appointed for that purpose. Having obliged themselves, in the most solemn manner, to pay a sacred regard to the laws and ordinances of Israel, they were inviolably to adhere to them, as the girdle cleaves to the loins of him that weareth it. They would also cleave to the house of Jacob; discovering, on every proper occasion, a strong attachment to them, and their interests, by a careful observance of the divine institutions established among them, and by a steady regard to divine truths and precepts delivered for their instruction and government.——, After the laudable example of those who are the subjects of this prediction, let us cleave unto the Lord, and his people, with purpose of heart. Look diligently to yourselves, brethren, lest there be in any of you a froward, a false, a deceitful, and evil heart of unbelief, which may prompt you to depart from the living God, and to abandon connection with his people,
2 And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall pofless them in the land of the Lord, for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were, and they shall rule over their oppressors.
The benefits to be derived by the people of Israel, from the accomplishment of the foregoing predictions, are here mentioned. They Jhall take
them; namely, the strangers who were joined to them, and who steadily adhered to the profession of friendship which they had made:—And bring them to their place, which God gave them for inheritance, that they might share in the important advantages which they themselves possessed. They were to be admitted members of the commonwealth of Israel, to whom pertained the adoption, the glory, and the covenants, the giving of the law, and the service of
God, and the promises. And the house of Israel
pall possess them. The house of Israel may denote, as in other passages of the prophetic writings, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, with those of the other ten tribes, who were mingled with them. There Were many belonging to the ten tribes, who, perceiving that Jeroboam intended to establish idolatry among them, separated from their brethren, and joined the house of Judah. Hence we read, that' those who set
* their hearts to seek the Lord, came to Jerusalem, to
* sacrifice j and strengthened the kingdom of Judah*.* And afterward, in the days of Asa, < many fell to him 'out of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon f.' Under the reign of Hezekiah, * divers of After, Manasseh,
* and Zebulon, humbled themselves, and came to Je'rusalem J.' From these and other places of the Old Testament history, we learn, that the house of Israel comprehended, not only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, but likewise all those who joined them from among their brethren. This house was to possess the strangers who cleaved to them in the land of the
Lord. They were to enjoy considerable benefit
from the kind services, and various offices, of humanity, benevolence, and affection, which they would perform toward Israel, whom they ftould consider, not only as their friends, but as their instructers. This advantage they were to enjoy in the land of the Lord; in the land of Canaan, which justly merited this description, on account of its superior excellence to all other lands, and because it was the object of his peculiar care and kind regard.
And they Jhall take them captives, whose captives they were, and they Jhall rule over their oppressors. The import of this prediction is easy to be understood: it plainly intimates, that some of those various nations, who had made captives of the people of Israel, were, in their turn, to be made captives by them;—that
* z Chron. xi. 16,17. f 2 Qkroo. xv. 0. t 2 Chron. xxx. 11.
when God would turn again their captivity, they should exercise authority over those who had crushed them by violence;—that their condition was to be entirely reversed from what it once was, in so much that they were not only to be delivered from a state of captivity to their enemies, and subjection to their tyranny, but to be invested with power to retaliate the injuries which they had sustained from those who afflicted them. The righteous Governor of the world, in the course of his providence, often recompenses men according to their doings. The Tyrians, who exulted at the destruction of Jerusalem, were hissed at by the merchants among the people, in the day of their calamity*. Upon the Edomites, who dealt cruelly with the house of Judah, God laid his vengeance, by the hand of his people Israel f. After the house of Jacob returned from captivity at Babylon, they waxed strong, became terrible, and consumed like sire the Edomites, who had despised and insulted them. A similar change in their circumstances is here foretold by our prophet, in respect to other nations who had oppressed them, which was remarkably verified in the respectable condition to which they .were advanced, and the considerable influence that they attained, at the period wherein this prophecy
was fulfilled. Such dispensations inculcate upon
us diligent attention to the maxim of Jesus Christ, who hath said, ' With what measure ye mete, it shall 'be measured to you again J.' The law of retaliation was the first which was published after the fall of man: * Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall * his blood be shed It was engrossed in the law of Moses, where it is thus written: 'Eye for eye, and 'tooth for tooth.' IUs transcribed and illustrated in the whole of the divine procedure toward individuals »ad societies. They have moved me to jealousy,
* Compare Ezekiel xxvi. 2. with chap, xxvii. 36. f See
Prophecies of Obao^ah. f Matth. vii. 2. |] Gen. vi. 9
faith the Lord, by that which is not God; and I will move them to jealousy, by those who are not a people. And again, ~* As he cried* and they would not hear; 'so they cried, and 1 would not hear, faith the Lord 'of hosts.'
3 And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve.
The particular period is here marked wherein the preceding prophecy should receive its accomplishment. In the day the Lord Jhall give thee rejl
from thy sorrow, &c. Sorrow, fear, and hard bondage, hath, at certain seasons, been the lot of the posterity of Israel, who were, from time to time, subjected to the greatest calamities. Sorrow is that uneasy sensation which is excited by distress, and the natural effect of the affliction from whence it takes its rife. Transgression is the cause of all the calamities which befal mankind; and calamities are the source of grief and sorrow, from which the house of Israel were not
exempted. Fear sometimes expresses in scripture,
the uneasy passion which bears that name, and at other times the dreaded object from whence it arises. Between the passion, and the object which occasions it, there is a very intimate connection, in so much that when the latter is removed, the former commonly ceases. The fear from which the Lord was to give Israel rest, was that perplexing and tormenting passion which proceeds from the dreaded approach of those formidable evils that embarrass and enfeeble the mind, and incapacitate for action those
on whom it seizeth. The hard service which they
were made to serve, may chiefly refer to the very painful and difficult labours wherein they were employed, with great rigour and severity, by the Babylonians. At the time in which God was to deliver
them them from the sorrow, fear, and bondage, that they had experienced, they were to enjoy the benesits foretold in the preceding verses.
This remarkable prophecy was accomplished soon after the destruction of the Babylonish empire. The Ephraimites having been carried away into Assyria and Media, the Jews were led captive to Babylon. At the expiration of seventy years, the period fixed for their continuance in a state of exile, God was pleased to shew them mercy, to restore them to theitf own land, and to perform what is here foretold. For this purpose, he raised up his servant Cyrus, who issued the memorable decree, recorded 2 Chron. xxxvi. 29, To carry forward this great work, of rescuing his people from their sorrow and bondage, he employed Ezra the scribe, whose name signifies a Helper, and Nehemiah the governor, whose name denotes the Consolation of the Lord, to assist and comfort them* These great men, with Zerubbabel and Joshua, conducted from the captivity and thraldom in which they had been detained at Babylon, above forty-two thousand of them, besides more than seven thousand men and women servants, who were probably strangers that had joined them. About the fame time, many proselytes were made to the Jewish religion, who joined the house of Jacob, as we learn from the book of Esther; where we read, that, after Mordecai's promotion, 'the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and
* a good day: and many of the people of the land
* became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon
* them V Thus the Lord gave them, in some measure, rest from sorrow, fear, and bondage. "The *' circumstances mentioned in this prophecy (fays the "learned Dr. Lowth, in his Notes) which did not, in ** any complete fense, accompany the return from the "captivity at Babylon, seem to intimate, that this "whole prophecy extends its views beyond that
* Esther vlii. if.
Yolii. Q "event,"