« AnteriorContinuar »
it; and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him." This passage is applied to the Messiah. Abendani note in Mich. Yophi, in loco. Others consider it a compound, and signifying, "to whom gifts be; long" or "shall be brought." This also agrees well with the Messiah, of whom it is said, Ps. 72: 10, 15, that presents and gifts should be brought to him. Others, again, derive it from the root which signifies to be quiet, peaceable, and prosperous. This also suits the character of the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, whose voice was not to be heard in the streets, who was to make peace between God and men, and in whose hands the pleasure of the Lord was to prosper. Thirdly, That the Messiah is intended by Shiloh, is farther evident from the sentence immediately following. Whether it signifieth “to him shall the gathering of the people be," or “to him shall be the expectation" or " obe-dience of the people," it suits none so well as the Messiah, ." in whom all tho nations were to be blessed," and of whom
Isaiah saith, ch. 11 : 10, “ In that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” Micah also predicted the same glorious event, ch. 4: 1, "The mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established on the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.” And by the prophet Haggai, ch. 2:7, he is emphatically called "the desire of all nations." Fourthly, We have also the unanimous testimony of the best and most ancient commentators of our nation, that by Shiloh is meant King Messiah. To their testimony I shall frequently appeal ; first, because it shows what were the sentiments and opinions of our ancient fathers; and secondly, because the generality of our people give more credit to the sayings of our wise men than to the word of God itself. But to quote their expressions, and especially in Hebrow, would take up too much room : I shall therefore give only references. Targums of Onkelos, Jonathan and Jeru
sulem in loco. Zohar Numb. f. 101, 2. Raya Nechimna Ex. f. 4. Tal. Sanhed. f. 98. c. 2. Ber. Rab. Yarchi, and Baal Hatt. in loco. Kimchi in lib. Shorash Rad. Shil. Niz. Vet. p. 29. Nach, Disp. cum. frat. Paulo, p. 53.
§ 10. Thus, dear Benjamin, I have endeavored to show you that by Shiloh is meant the Messiah. Let us now see at what time he was to appear. It is evident that he was to come before the sceptre and law giver ceased from Judah, or rather during the existence of the tribe of Judah, distinctly known by genealogy. The Hebrew word here translated, sceptre, is shevet, the radical signification of which is a rod or staff of any kind. Now, although the word is sometimes used figuratively as a sceptre, yet that cannot be the meaning in this passage; for (as Bishop Sherlock and others have justly observed) that it could not with any sort of propriety be said that the sceptre should not depart from Judah, when Judah had no sceptre, nor was to have any
many generations afterward; beside, the royal authority departed from Judah above five hundred years before the birth of Christ. The true and legitimate meaning, therefore, of the word, is the same as in verses 16 and 28 of this very chapter. " Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel." “ All these are the twelve tribes of Israel.” The import of this part of the prediction, therefore, is plainly this: that the tribe of Judah should not be scattered and confounded, as the rest of the tribes of Jacob would be, but should remain a distinct tribe, known by genealogy until the Messiah should have come. Thus great care was taken, by numbering this tribe, 1 Sam. 11 : 8. 2 Sam. 24, to preserve its genealogy. 2 Chron. 12: 15. 13: 22.
§ 11. The next sentence descriptive of the time of Mes. siah's advent is thus expressed: "Nor a lawgiver from between his feet.” The word mechokek is variously translated, The radical meaning of the word is “ to engrave.” Hence are derived laws, statutes, kings, rulers, leaders, scribes, teachers. Now the word in this passage cannot mean a
lawgiver; for no tribe had a right to make any laws; for God himself was the lawgiver, and by his laws the king himself was to be governed. But each tribe had its prince or ruler, not to make laws, but, like magistrates, to judge the tribe by the laws of God; or, as the three Targums and other Jewish writers expound it, “the scribes and teachers of the law."
From what has been said, I trust my dear Benjamin will perceive that Shiloh, the Messiah, was to appear whilst Judah was a distinct tribe, having its genealogies, and its magistrates, scribes, lawyere, and expounders of God's laws. But it is an undeniable fact that the tribe of Judah, as well as all the other tribes, has lost its genealogies for more than seventeen hundred years; and therefore the Messiah must nave appeared, or the prediction is false. To assert the latter, would be blasphemy; to deny the former, is unreasonble.
$ 1. It was a law in Israel, that " at the mouth of tivo or three witnesses the matter was to be established.” In my
last letter I have shown, from the testimony of the patriarch Jacob, that the Messiah must have come long since, for the distinction of the tribe of Judah has utterly departod. I shall now appeal to the testimony of the prophets, who declare that the Messiah vas to appear during the existence
of the second temple. We shall first attend to that of Hag. gai, ch. 2: 1–9.“ In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of the Lord by the prophet Haggai, saying, Speak now to Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua, the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying, Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do you see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing ? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work : for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts. According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my Spirit remaineth among you : fear ye not. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the 'heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the Desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts : and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.” I shall endeavor to show, that by this house is meant the second, and not a third temple; and that by the desire of all nations is meant the Messiah.
§ 2. To begin with the former, viz. that by this house is meant the second temple, and not a third. Our Rabbins, convinced that, if the second temple is meant, the Messiah must have come, have recourse to those
of Scripture which speak of a third temple. That a third temple will be built, I have no doubt, but what has that to do with the subject under consideration ? It is certain the prophet spake of the temple that was then building, as appears, 1, from the design of the prophecy, which was to encourage them in heir work. No sooner had our fathers com.
menced the work of the Lord, and laid the foundation of the second temple, but they were greatly discouraged, partly by the opposition and actual prohibition of the kings of Persia, who had given credit to slanderous and false reports; (as it will ever be the experience of those who are sincerely engaged in doing the Lord's work;) and partly by the consideration of their poverty and inability to make this house any thing like the glorious and magnificent temple of Solomon. Hence, the old men among
people, who had seen the former house in its glory, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this laid, Ezra, 4:12, 13. This caused the building to cease for some years. The former of these discouragements being removed by the good will of Darius Hystaspes, the Lord sent the prophet to remove the second, and to support them by the promise, that notwithstanding their own poverty and inability to make this temple as splendid and glorious as the former was, yet he would make it exceed the former in glory, by sending the Desire of all nations, &c. This was calculated, indeed, to produce the desirable effect which it actually did produce, viz. to encourage and animate them in the good cause of building the house of God; but if a third temple had been understood, what encouragement would that have been to the generation who could not expect to behold its glory? Nor, 2, would a third temple agree with the time mentioned, “yet a little while,” which, if the Messiah has not yet come, is more than two thousand years, and can in no sense be called a " little time." 3. The pronoun this, prefixed to the word house, and the repetition of the definite article, is as if the prophet had pointed with the finger, and said, this house which you now build, which you see before your eyes, and which is considered 60 contemptible, will be more glorious than the former. 4. The manner of expressing the comparison, by opposing the latter to the former, is the same as in Exod. 4: 8, 9, where it is allowed on all hands, that it means the first and