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against them that lift it up, [or] as if the staff should lift up [itself, as if it were] no wood ; is not the staff when lified up wood still ? and shall a dead, lifeless instrument boast itself against
him that uses it ? As absurd is it for the king of Assyria io boast 16 of what he hath done, when he is but my tool. Therefore shall
the Lord, the LORD of hosts, send among his fat ones, his chief officers and great men, leanness ; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire ; he shall deprive hiin
of his honour and power, and destroy his army, which is his glory, 17 And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a
flame : and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briars in one day ; he who is the sufijort and comfort of Israil, shall be a
fire to the Assyrians, and will destroy his army as easily as fire 18 burns briars and thorns ; And shall consume the glory of his
forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body : and they shall be as when a standard bearer fainteth ; though he be as strong as the trees in a forest, or as numerous as the cornfields, yet God will consume both soul and body ; the chief commanders and the main body of the army itself shall be iotally routed, and the
remainder shall be dispirited, as the whole army is put into confu19 sion when a standard bearer fainteth. And the rest of the trees
of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them ; there
shall be no occasion for a muster master, a child may keep the roll. 20 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the remnant of
Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him, that is, the Assyrian, that smote
them ; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, 21 in truth, and not inypocritically. The remnant shall return, 22 [even] the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. For though
thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, [yet] a remnant of them shall return : the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness ; though many shall be destroyed by the Assyrians,
yet a remnant of the righteous shall be saved ; and all shall be 23 done with strict justice.* For the Lord God of hosts shall make
a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land; he hath determined exactly how far it shall extend, and how long
it shall continue. 24 Therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, () my people that
dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian : he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the
manner of Egypt; he shall do thee some injury and threaten 25 more, talk big, like Pharaoh ; but fear no?, For, yet a very little
while, and the indignation against thee shall cease, and mine
anger in their destruction ; my anger shall show itself in the utter 26 destruction of the Assyrians. And the LORD of hosts shall stir
up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb : and [as] his rod (was] upon the sea, so
• St. Pant applies this to the Jews, in Rom. ix. 27. to prove that it is no new thing for Golto abandonary of Abrahain's secl, though the promise holls good, there shall still be a
shall he list it up after the manner of Egypt ; he will bring on their destruction as suddenly, and by as unlikely means, as the destruction of the Midianites and Egyptians. A beautiful contrast ;
he shall threaten you after the manner of Egypt, and I will smite 27 him in the same manner. And it shall come to pass in that day,
[that] his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing ; thou shalt have no fear of his invasions,
and pay no more tribute, for the sake of the Messiah. 28 He is come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron ; at Michmash 29 he hath laid up his carriages : They are gone over the passage ;
they have taken up their lodging at Geba; Ramah is afraid ; 30 Gibeah of Saul is fled. Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gal., 31 lim : cause it to be heard unto Laish, O poor Anathoth. Mad.
menah is removed ; the inhabitants of Gebim gather them
selves to flee ; denoting the fear, hurry, and confusion of the peo32 pile, upon the news of his invasion. As yet shall he remain at
Nob that day, from whence he might see Jerusalem : he shall
shake his hand, and that shall be all, (against] the mount of the 33 daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem. Behold, the Lord, the
LORD of hosts, shall lop the bow with terror : and the high ones
of stature (shall be) hewn down, and the haughty shall be hum34 bled. And he shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron,
and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one, that is, the destroying angel; the image is taken from cutting down a forest ; the A88yrian army, with their swords, bowe, and prikes lifted up, look like a moving forest, but they shall be entirely and irrecoverably cut down.
1. THE greatest kings and most powerful armies are only in
1 struments in God's hand ; without him they can do no more than an ax or a saw without a hand to use it. They can do Do more than he permits, for he doeth according to his will in the ar mies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of this world. This should dispel all unreasonable fears of our enemies, abate our confi. dence in our own strength, and engage us to make sure of his frienda ship and alliance.
2. The counsels of God and those of princes often differ and are contrary ; but his shall prevail. The Assyrian came against Judah to conquer and plunder it, and not suspecting that he was then fula filling the divine design to punish an hypocritical people, and bring them to repentance. Thus our enemies are often performing God's work upon us, without intending it ; that is, to humble us for our pride and security, and lead us to seriousness and reformation, What a delightful thought that the schemes of Providence are carrying on by the sinful passions and pursuits of men, and that though there be many devices in the heart of man, God's counsel shall sland.
3. We learn that pride goes before destruction. It is common for proud men to boast what they will do ; and, because they have met with some success, to think that they shall carry all before them. So the king of Assyria talked, Have I not conquered this place, and those gods ? and shall I not subdue Jerusalem ? and be too hard for Jehovah ? whom he impiously calls an idol : but he was mistaken. Such language is as ridiculous as for an ax or saw to boast what destruction they have made among the trees. Let us beware of this temper, for we are nothing ; it is robbing God of his glory, and provoking him to strip us of all we possess.
4. When God has appeared to defend and succeed his people, it is their duty to return to him and trust in him. This good effect the Assyrian invasion produced ; and this is the design of God in sending afflictions upon us. It is comfortable to think that the consumption is determined in righteousness ; the consumption of our national numbers, strength or treasures ; the consumption of our substance, health or friends ; all is particularly determined, when, and how, and to what degree ; God is just in all our afflictions, and kind in the measure and duration of them. May they all have this effect, to bring us to cease from man, and stay ourselves upon the holy one of Israel. But let us see that we do it in truth ; and with sincerity ; in the use of proper means, to remove every affliction ; and in humble dependence on God for a blessing. When we make conscience of our duty to God, and use no sinful means for security, then, and then only, should we have confidence in him.
The prophet having mentioned the deliverance of Judah from the king
of Assyria, naturally proceeds to their greater deliverance by the Messiah ; as a descendant of David, on whom the Spirit would rest, in whose days peace should be propagated, Israel and Judah return to their own land, be united, and made victorious.
1 AND there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,
1 and a Branch shall grow out of his roots ; a reference to the foregoing verses ; there shall come a tender shoot out of a stock
that has long lain in the ground, that is the family of David, then 2 sunk into meanness and obscurity : And the Spirit of the Lord
shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, in divine and natural things, the spirit of counsel and might, to advise, contrive, and execute, the spirit of knowledge, in the divine
law, and of the fear of the LORD, of true religion ; he shall not 3 only inculcate it, but be an eminent erample of it ; And this spirit
shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD ; he shall be eminent for all branches of wisdom and godliness, and know the real characters of men : and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears, 4. that is, upon uncertain reports : But with righteousness shall be
judge the poor, and reprovế with equity for the week of the earth; he shall defend the poor, and condemn their opfiressors :
and he shall smite the earth with the rod, or sword, of his mouth, 5 and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.* And
righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the
girdle of his reins; he shall have a strict regard to justice and 6 integriry, which, like a girdle, adorn and defend a person. The
wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie
down with the kid ; and the calf and the young lion and the fat7 ling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow
and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together : 8 and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child
shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den ; a beautiful image, especially as Those countries abounded with wild beasts and serpents : the meaning is, that Jews and Gentiles should be united, the irregular tempers
of men corrected, so that the mischievous should become innocent 9 and useful, and a peaceable disposition universally prevail. They
shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain ; (a proof that the above expressions are all figurative :) for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea ; knowledge and holiness shall be promoted, and the effect shall be meekness, peace, and love. The remainder of the chapier refers
to the conversion of the Jews in the latter day. 10 And in that day there shall be a branch out of the root of Jesse,
which shall stand for an ensign of the people, to gather them together, (Rom. xv. 12.) to it shall the gentiles seek : and his rest
shall be glorious, that is, the church, where he rests and dwells, u shall be glorious by the accession of the gentiles. And it shall
come to pass in that day, in the illustrious time I am speaking of, [that] the LORD shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, as he did first out of Babylon, which shall be left, froin Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea, that is, all coun
tries on the sea coast as well as islands, and rtfers to these western 12 parts of the world. And he shall set up an ensign for the na
tions, that is, the doctrine of the gospel, and shall assemble the
outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah 13 from the four corners of the earth. The envy also of Ephrajin
shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off :
Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim, 14 they shall cease from open hostilities and secret animosities. But
they shall fiy upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west ; they shall spoil them of the east together : they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Anmon shall obey them ; these being the ancient enemies of Israel, are put
• This is applied to antichrist, Res six. 15. The Lord stall destroy him.
figuratively for the enemies of the christian church; and the passage
intimates, that the converted Jews shall triumph over all that oppose 15 their relurn to their own land. And the LORD shall utterly de.
stroy the tongue, or bay, of the Egyptian sca; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make (men) go over dry
shod; he shall overcome all opposition in their way, as he divided 16 the Red sea for Israel to go out of Egypi.* And there shall be
an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left from Assyria ; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt; there shall be a free passage, and all difficulties shall be removed which hinder their return.
1. THE extraordinary endowments of Christ, as a teacher and
1 king, render hin worthy of the highest regard. He was gloriously qualified for his work by the spirit which was given him without measure, He had all treasures of wisdom and knowledge, for his own use, and to bestow on his people. Meekness and courage, wisdom and strength, justice and gentleness, were united in him. Happy are the subjects of such a prince, the disciples of such a teacher! And blessed be God for his high exaltation and glorious qualifications ; so that in him we may safely trust. And O that his churches every where may be glorious, by the supply of the spirit which is in Christ !
2. How solicitous should we be to answer the design of his gospel, and to have these illustrious prophecies of its good effects fulfilled in us. Let us make it appear that we are christians indeed, by the peaceableness and gentleness of our disposition, the softness and sweetness of our tempers! Let nothing malicious, revengeful, sour, contentious, or unkind, be ever found in us. Let us cultivate peace ; labour to promote each other's happiness; and in this, fol. low on to know the Lord ; and by increasing in our acquaintance with him, who is love, be conformed to his image, and walk in love, even as Christ hath loved us.
3, Let us rejoice in the prospect of that day, when christianity shall have a more illustrious triumph, and Jews and Gentiles be gathered into his church. It is delightful to think, when we hear of the poor Jews dispersed and evil entreated every where, that there is mercy in store for them ; that they shall at length become christians, and be as much esteemed and beloved as they are now hated and despised. Many signs and wonders will introduce and attend this great event. God will overcome all difficulties which lie in the way, and in the mean time, our heart's desire and prayer for Israel should be that they may be saved.
• This is expressed in Rev. xvi. 12. by drying up Euphrates.