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Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah, to be witnesses that I now 3 delivered and recorded these prophecies. And I went unto the
prophetess my wife ; and she conceived and bare a son. Then
said the LORD to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz, which 4 signifies, make speed to the spoil ; hasten to the prey.' For be
fore the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, that is, before the child shall be able to speak plain enough to say father and mother, the first thing that children commonly learn, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be . taken away before, or by, the king of Assyria, and the wealth
thereof sent into his own country; (which accordingly came to pass, 2 5 Kings xvi.9.xv. 29.) The LORD spake also unto me again, saying, 6 Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah, a little
brook that ran through Jerusalem, that go softly, and rejoice in
Rezin and Remaliah's son; are many of them uneasy at Hezeki. 7 ah's reforma'ion, and wish well to the confederaleș ; Now there.
fore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river Euphrates, strong and many ; a great power, as much superior to theirs as Euphrates was superior 10 Shiloah ; (even] the king of Assyria, and all his glory : and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks; not keep within
his own bounds, but invade and overrun the whole land of Israel, 8 as an overflowing river does the neighbouring meadows : And he
shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach [even) to the neck, 10 Jerusalem ; 80 that the kingdom shall be like a man up to his neck in water and in danger of drowning ; and the stretching out of his wings, his spreading army, shall fill the breadth of thy land, () Immanuel ; a plain intimation that Judah should not be quite forsaken, since it was
Christ's land; he was to be born, to live, and to die there. 9 Associate yourselves, () ye people of Syria and Israel, and ye
shall be broken in pieces ; and give ear all ye of far countries,
ye Assyrians i gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; 10 gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. Take counsel
together, and it shall come to pought ; speak the word, and it shall not stand ; however confident of success, all is in vain ; for God [is] with us, or, it is Immanuel's land.
For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, by art extraordinary impulse he infused courage into me, and instructed
me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, 12 Say ye not, A confederacy, to all [them to] whom this people
shall say, A confederacy; though this is the popular cry, and
every one is afraid of it, yet neither fear ye their fear, nor, be 13 afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and (let] him [be]
your fear, and (let) him (be) your dread ; give him glory for his 14 power and providence. And he shall be for a sanctuary, that is,
a place of defence ; or He, according to some, refers to Immanuel, spoken of before ; he shall be a sanctuary to all believers, especially among the gentiles ; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, that is, both Benjamin and Judah, who would not believe, for a gin and for a snare to the
15 inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stum
ble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken ; their sin shall be aggravated, and their punishment increased, by what
Christ shall do ; and he will give them up 10 a spirit of blindness 16 and error.
Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. These are the words of Christ; as if he had said, Let the meaning of these prophecies be in righteous judgment concealed from the wicked Jews, but let my disciples receive them, that is; understand and believe them : the accomplishment will explain
them, be an evidence of God's truth, and a justification of those 17 who depend upon him. And I will wait upon the LORD, that
hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. This, some think, is the language of the prophet ; as if he had said, I will firmly expect this happy event, though I see no present marks of the divine favour to Israel : but it is rather, the
language of Christ ; I will wait for him to manifest his favour to 18 the gentiles. Behold, I and the chiidren whom the Lord hath
given me [are) for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion; which may mean, that the children of the prophet were types and figures of great things ; or rather, that the gentiles, Christ's spiritual seed, the
children of Abraham by faith, should be wondered at for believing 19 these promises, and trusting in the Messial. And when they
shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter ; the pious Israeliles shall answer, should not a people seek unto their God? for
the living to the dead? Should they seek for living men to dead 20 idols ? how absurd and stupid were this! To the law and to the
testimony, keep close to them : if they speak not according to
this word, [it is] because (there is) no light, no understanding, 21 no piety in them. And they shall pass through it, hardly be
stead and hungry; distressed and famished: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they sball fret themselves, and curse their king and their god, and look upward ; that is,
when unbelievers pass through the land, they shall curse their king 22 or rulers for hiring the Assyrians. And they shall look on the
earth ; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish, they shall look upward and downward, and see nothing but per. plexity and sorrow; and (they shall be] driven to darkness, 10 gloom and accumulated distress.
1. ET us reflect with pleasure on the care which the prophets
took to prove their prophecies authentic. They did not merely speak them, and commit them to memory or tradition, but wrote them a plain, legible manner; and did it before witnesses, who probably subscribed the same, and were ready to declare upon oath that they saw the prophet write or attest it, that it might be read and appealed to in order to support the faith of the people in
what they foretold. This remark tends to confirm our faith in the prophecies ; and the same remark, in some measure, is applicable to the whole scripture.
2. There is need of great resolution not to be led away by popu. bar panics or common errors. The prophet himself seems to have been in danger of catching the fears of the people, therefore it was that God warned him against it with a strong hand, with a considerable force on his mind. We are ready to catch the groundless terrors of others, to imitate their example, and walk in the way of the people around us. We ought to watch against this, and labour after a sober singularity ; earnestly praying that God would secure us against the infection of ill examples, and preserve us in the way of holiness and peace.
3. A holy fear of God is the best remedy against the fear of man. 1 Peter iii. 14. Sanctify the Lord of hosts in your hearts ; and make him your fear and your dread ; give him the glory of his power, providence, and promises ; reverence his universal dominion ; fear his displeasure ; and acquiesce in his disposals. This will keep our minds in peace ; preserve us from that fear which hath torment : and he will be our refuge and strength, and a very present help in time of trouble.
4. Let us be thankful for the law and the testimony, and keep close to them. What is sealed up from the blinded Jews, is opened to us, the disciples of Christ, who have seen many of these pro« phecies fulfilled. Let us learn hence, to reverence and study the scriptures, to abhor the wicked practices of those who use spells and charms, wbo pretend to discover secrets and tell fortunes : this is heinous wickedness, and ought never to be encouraged by any that believe in the providence and word of God. It is our duty to seek direction from him by prayer, and consult his word ; to conform to it in sentiments and practice ; otherwise we shall displease him, and wander in the paths of error, sin, and ruin, Let his testimonies be our delight and our counsellors ; they will guide us in a safe and pleasant way, and conduct us to a happy end.
CHAP. IX. CHAP. X. 1-4.
The same prophecy is continued, as in the former chapter. It is here
foretold that the troubles of Judah should not be so great as those of the other ten tribes, because they should be but short, and then the piromised Messiah should come.
TEVERTHELESS the dimness (shall] not [be] such as
(was) in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtal, and afterward did more grievously afflict [her ;] or, as it may be better transe lated, as the first time made vile the land of Zebulun, (thal is, by she Assyrians,) 80 the latter time shall make them glorious, [by] the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.* 2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light :
they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, that is, the
thickest and most perplexing darkness, upon them hath the light 3 shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, [and] not increased
the joy ; or rather, and hast increased the joy to him, or to it, that is, to the Jewish nation : they joy before thee according to the
joy in harvest, (and) as (men) rejoice when they divide the 4 spoil, their joy shall be exceeding great.
For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian; as when Gideon over
threw the Midianites, (Judges vii. 22.) by such unlikely and con5 temptible means. For every battle of the warrior [is] with con
fused noise, with shouls, and groans, and sounding of arms, and garments rolled in blood; but [this] shall be with burning (and] fuel of fire ; referring to the deliverance of God's people by Christ, from the yoke of sin and Satan. The preaching of the gospel mighe seem an unlikely means, but it should be successful, owing to the
influences of the Spirit which should be like fire, and spread like a 6 flane. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given ; and
the government shall be upon his shoulder : this deliverance shall certainly be accomplished, for Christ shall be born for our redemption, and his name shall be called, that is, he shall be the Wonderful, Counsellor, acquainted with the counsels of God, 80 as to reveal the most important truths to men, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, the great almighty governor, and the futher of the ages, or the dispensation to come, and the Prince of
Peace ;t he shall be peaceful himself, and promote the peace of his 7 subjects. Of the increase of [his) government and peace
(there shall be) no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his • kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this, for his own honour and the happiness of mankind. The following verses contain a prophecy of the ca
lamity and destruction of the ten tribes. 8 The LORD sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon
Israel ; because they would not regard it, therefore it fell upon 9 them with great violence, as an insupportable burden. And the
threatening shall be accomplished, for, all the people shall know,
and feel the truth of it, [even) Ephraim and the inhabitant of 10 Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart, The
bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones : the sycamores are cut down by our enemies, but we will change them
• It is called Galilee of the Gentiles, because it was peopled by many of the heathen, by, reason of its nearness to Tyre and Sidon, and to distinguish it from the other Galilee ; and thus it agrees exactly with the quotation in the New Testament. Bp. Lowth translates the verse thus : ' But there shall not hereafter be darkness in the land which was distressed. In the former time he debased the land Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the latter time he hath made it glorious, even the way of the sea beyond Jordan, Galilee of the nations."
+ Bp. Lowth translates it, • The mighty God, the father of the everlasting age, the prince peace. Vol. V.
11 into] cedars ; thus defying the judgments of God, Therefore
the LORD shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, that is, Israel ; and join his enemies together ; the Syrians, Is
rael's allies, being conquered by the Assyrians, shall be forced to 12 serve against Israel. The Syrians before, and the Philistines
behind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth, like a wild beast. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his
hand [is] stretched out still ; he will continue to punish them. 13 For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither 14 do they seek the LORD of hosts. Therefore the LORD will cut
off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day ; the 15 rich and poor, the noble and the base. The ancient and honoura
ble, the prince and the magistrale ; he [is] the head ; and the
prophet that teacheth lies, he [is] the tail, the most contemptible 16 of all the people. For the leaders of this people, their governors
and prophets, cause (them) to err, and (they that are] led of 17 them (are) destroyed. Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in
their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless. and widows : for every one [is] an hypocrite, a profane person, and an evil doer, and every mouth speaketh tolly ; they have no frity on those that used to be the objects of complacency, or of com
passion. For all this, because all are alike corrupt, his anger is 18 not turned away, but his hand [is] stretched out still. For
wickedness burneth as the fire : it shall devour the briars and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up (like) the lifting up of smoke ; it produceth mis
ery and causeth ruin, and the high and low shall be devoured by it. 19 Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts is the land darkened,
and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire : no man shall
spare his brother ; civil wars shall be among them, and they shall 20 destroy one another. And he shall snatch on the right hand,
and be hungry ; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied : there shall be a grievous famine, 80 that they will be ready to eat their own flesh; they shall eat every man
the flesh of his own arm ; shall prey upon those that might have 31 defended them. Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manas
seh ; even they who have been leagued together against Judah, shall devour one another ; [and] they together (shall be) against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand
[is] stretched out still. 1 CHAP. X. Wo unto them, to those lérarlites, that decrec
unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness (which) they have prescribed, who are guilty of injustice and oppression, of
passing unrighteous sentences, and those who put them in exect:2 tion. To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take
away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may 3 be their prey, and [that] they may rob the fatherless! And
what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation (which) shall come from far, from the Assyrians ? to whom will ye fee for help? what ally will ye seek to ihen? and where