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intimate acquaintance with the older Jewish interpretations, knows what a mass of passages are, without any reason, referred to the Messiah, even in them. An auxiliary argument, though not of itself decisive, may be derived from tradition, when, as in the present instance, the tradition can be shown to be both very ancient and unanimous, and when there is nothing in the passage to favor the carnal Messianic hopes of the Jews, and thus furnish an inducement for the Messianic interpretation.

3. This interpretation can be justified also from parallel passages, v. 10. The words, “from sea to sea," &c., are taken from Ps. 72, already shown to be Messianic; the remaining part of the verse refers back to the passage, Mic. 5:9, which is likewise Messianic, (comp. Beitr. 1, p. 363.) 4. But the contents of the prophecy itself furnish the chief

argument after the authority of Christ and his apostles, and one which is in itself entirely decisive. The remarks contained in it of the king are of a kind, which suit no other subject than the historical Christ. Every subject found in the later Jewish history is excluded by his very designation as the king of the covenant people, xar' {foxv, still more, however, by the enigmatical union of apparently the most opposite marks, the deepest abasement and helplessness, and at the same time a dominion, which, not by the power of arms, but the bare word of the king, extends itself over the whole earth, and brings all the heathen nations into a state of peace and obedience. Theodoret : και το πάντων παραδοξότατον, ότι του κλίναι την κεφαλήν ουκ έχων, και το πώλω χρησάμενος πάσης γης και θαλάσσης εθελήσας εκράτησε. That the reference to the ideal Messiah is untenable, its defenders themselves involuntarily testify, by their forced interpretations.

Arguments against the Messianic interpretation to be refuted, we do not find, unless one were to regard as such the trivial objection of R. Lipmann, that the dominion of Christ does not extend over the whole earth, and many wars have been waged since his appearance. The answer has already been given, (Vol. I. 297.) It is still to be remarked, that several fathers, as Theodoret and Eusebius, were led to refer this passage also, like Is. 2, to the peace, which prevailed under the reign of Augustus. By such weak interpretations, arising from an extravagant dread of every thing which could afford the least support to the doctrine of the Chiliasts, they must have strengthened opposers in their error.



CHAP 9: 11.– 10: 12.

That a new portion here commences, or rather that a new scene presents itself to the spiritual eye of the prophet, is so clear from the contents, that it is scarcely conceivable how it could be overlooked by ancient and modern interpreters. The prophet, v. 9, 10, had described a kingdom of peace, which, deprived of all earthly weapons and bulwarks, should be extended over the whole earth, and embrace all the heathen nations. Here on a sudden all is warlike. The covenant people appear in conflict with their mighty oppressors, and as such the Greeks are particularly mentioned. The victory obtained by the aid of the Lord is followed, in connexion with other Theocratic blessings, by that freedom, of which the covenant people under Zechariah were still painfully destitute. And, in order to make the prosperity complete, Ephraimn also, who, at the time of the prophet, appeared, according to human view, to be a branch for ever separated from the vine, is at last led back by the Lord from his dispersion, and again incorporated with the Theocracy.

It is evident from this representation, that the prophecy, with the exception of the last prediction, which reaches to the time of the Messiah, refers not merely in the first instance, but exclusively to the time of the Maccabees. What the Lord would then do to complete the work begun among the covenant people by the restoration from the Babylonish exile, the prophet represents to his contemporaries, who are mourning over the feeble beginnings of the new colony.

This sudden transition from the time of the Messiah to that which preceded it, need not appear strange. The prophet had spoken, v. 1-8, of the expedition of Alexander, and of the protection of the covenant people during its progress. The transition from this point to the times of the Maccabees, would have been altogether more in accordance with the actual succession of events. But in the period between the two events his spiritual eye had fallen upon the far greater blessings, which should be conferred upon the covenant people by the Messiah. This we cannot explain, with Jahn, by supposing a contrast of the great Prince of Peace with the great worldly conqueror described, v. 1-8. Had this been the design of the prophet, the person of the latter in v. 1-8, would not have been kept so much in the back ground. It was rather owing to the fact, that the Messianic hopes so entirely fill the soul of the prophets, that they pass over from every inferior blessing to this last and highest, to which all others refer, uncon rned whether in the mean time other blessings of God still await the covenant people, in the representation of which, in a manner equally easy and unobserved, they again return to the Messianic time, the images of which everywhere force themselves upon them with an irresistible charm, and sometimes even mingle with those of the nearer benefits, (comp. Vol. I. p. 226.)

V. 11. “ Even thou, on account of thy covenant sealed with blood, I release thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no, according to most interpreters, (Mark, Michaelis, Pfeifer, Rosenmüller and others,) stands in contrast with the blessings announced in the preceding context to the heathen nations : "Believe not, O Zion, that the Lord will therefore neglect thee; he will rather cherish for thee an entirely peculiar care." But this supposition is untenable, because the promises in the two foregoing verses directly refer only to the covenant people, and only so far to the heathen, as the predicted extension of the Theocracy over them was also a benefit to the covenant people. It is Zion's king whose dominion extends itself over the whole earth, and in his glory his people also participate. Equally inadmissible is the explanation of Cocceius and others, " Non solum venit rex tuus, sed et dimisi vinctos tuos." For it renders the pron. separatum nx, which must necessarily have a peculiar emphasis, entirely useless, and the connected with it by Makkeph, is referred directly to inny. The correct interpretation is, that mx] " also thou," stands for "even thou,” exactly as v. 12, , even to day," i. q. although thou art in a state of total helplessness, although thou appearest to be lost beyond deliverance. This, so far as we are informed, is peculiar to Calvin : Particula od emphatica est, quasi diceret : Video me non multum proficere apud vos, quia estis quodammodo attoniti malis ; deinde nulla spes vos recreat, quoniam putatis, vos esse quasi centum mortibus obrutos. Ergo utcunque hæc congeries malorum vos eranimet, - tamen redimam vinctos vestros.

Nam tunc poterat occurrere hæc dubitatio : Quid iste nos ad ingentem lætitiam hortatur, cum. tamen partim adhuc captiva sit ecclesia dei, partim autem misere et crudeliter ab hostibus suis vexentur, qui reversi sunt in patriam. Huic objectioni in dei persona respondet propheta, quod scilicet deus ad suos liberandos sufficiet, etiamsi demersi sint in profundissimo gurgite." anda,“ in the blood of thy covenant," is by several

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interpreters referred to innbv. It would not then be necessary to attribute an unauthorized meaning to . The action of deliverance would be represented as resting in the blood of the covenant, or depending upon it. But this connexion is contrary to the accents which bind the words closely with moda, and separate them from nazw : “ also thou, in the blood of thy covenant I dismiss," &c., i. q. “ however miserable thou mayst be, nevertheless, because thou art in the blood of the covenant, thou art thereby freed from sin, and consecrated to me,” &c. After the conclusion of the covenant on Sinai, Moses had sprinkled the people with the blood of the victims, saying: “Behold that is the blood of the covenant, which the Lord makes with you concerning all these words.” Exod. 24 : 8.

- By this symbolical act, the blood a sign and means of deliverance from sin, Levit. 17:11; Heb. 9: 18 sq., were the people solemnly declared as purified, consecrated to the Lord, and, therefore, at the same time also under his peculiar protection, a declaration, which was constantly repeated by the sacrificial instituțions ordained by God. The blood of the covenant was accordingly a sure pledge to the covenant people of deliverance from every distress, so long as they did not make its promises of none effect by a wicked violation of the conditions, which God had imposed. Calvin : “ Si sacrificia vestra neque frustra instituit deus, neque etiam frustra vos servatis, certe effectus tandem in lucem prodibit. Vos quotidie offertis victimas et sanguis funditur in altari ; hoc deus noluit frustra fieri. Jam cum ideo vos recipiat deus in gratiam, ut salvi sitis: liberabit ergo vinctos ecclesiæ suæ.several interpreters, as Jarchi, Kimchi, Drusius, Grotius, Blayney, Rosenmüller, and others, as a proper prater : “ As I formerly brought back thy captives from Egypt, so (v. 12) also shall ye now return to your native land." Tarnov: “ Non est, quod de complemento præcedentium (others : sequentium) promissionum quicquam dubites : respice saltem recens tibi præstitum beneficium, quo ex Bubylone es educta, id quod tibi, quando promittebatur per prophetas ejus, fx tūv aduvátwv esse videbatur.But there is no doubt, that innow is the prateritum propheticum, and that the prophet speaks of a future deliverance of the covenant people. On the opposite supposition the discourse is too abrupt, and requires something to be supplied. The expression, "return to the stronghold,” v. 12, which, as will hereafter appear,

relates 'to the pit in which there is no water,” shows, that we are not here to look for a designation of an

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affliction which has long since passed; and besides the reference to the oppression in Egypt, and in general to any calamity which had already taken place, is irreconcilable with the correct interpretation of the first words of the verse. In what follows also, and which is generally acknowledged to relate to the future, the præter is constantly interchanged with the future, comp. e. g. v. 13. Empty cisterns were used in the East instead of prisons; hence the latter, even when they were not cisterns, received the name 9i3. In consequence of the mud remaining in them, they were exceedingly unwholesome and noxious. 13 21" is taken by several, as Calvin, as a designation of a second distress, not necessarily connected with confinement in the cistern : Deinde siti etiam arescere, ita ut sponte illis immineat mors, nisi liberentur mirabiliter a deo.But this addition, which, so far as the language is concerned, alludes to Gen. 38: 24, Din is j'8 p!? 9197!, serves rather for a more accurate description of the niä itself. It was only into cisterns without water, that prisoners were thrown. Mark, therefore, is likewise in error when he perceives herein an allusion to a quality of the pit itself, which would make it insupportable : “ Cum fovea negantur aqua, possit in ea indirecte videri positum lutum profundum, fædum et fætidum." Ps. 40: 3; Jer. 38: 6. - Many interpreters suppose the abiding in the pit, to be a figurative designation of imprisonment; so Grotius, Rosenmüller, Eichhorn, Forberg. But this supposition has no justification in the figure itself. It rather occurs elsewhere also in a wider sense, as a designation of the deepest distress and misery. Thus e. g. Ps. 40: 3, 88:7; Lam. 3: 53, where the reference to a special event in the life of Jeremiah is evidently

Also Is. 42: 22, the image of a prison stands for a designation of the deepest misery. That this wider meaning, however, prevails in this passage appears from the following grounds. 1. As the stronghold in v. 12, is an image of prosperity and security, so must its contrast also, the pit, be an image of misfortune and helplessness. We find entirely the same antithesis, Ps. 40: 3. “He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock.2. The way in which the covenant people, according to v. 13, shall be delivered from their distress by a brave effort, favored by the Lord, shows, that it is not a carrying away into exile, connected with a deprivation of all the means of defence, which is intended. Finally, it must still be added, that the supposition of a captivity in a strange land, being here the subject

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