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from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, 16 and from the grievousness of war. For thus hath the LORD said
unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar, the son of Ishmael, another clan or
tribe, shall fail ; within a year all their stocks and power shall 17 fail : And the residue of the number of archers, for which this
iribe was famous, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, · shall be diminished : for the Lord God of Israel hath spoken [it.)
TE here see the vanity of creature dependencies : the ex- ,
pectations of Ethiopia, and of Egypt, the glory of Israel, were all disappointed. The skill of archers, the most numerous forces, and great wealth, are no security to a nation when God de. termines to punish. Let us learn wisdom by these repeaied examples. If we trust in man, and neglect God, or do not make him our chief confidence, he will suffer us to be disappointed, and he is just and kind in it. Truly in vain is salvation looked for from the hills and the inultitude of mountains ; our help is only in the name of our God.
2. See how soon the carnal mirth of men may be turned into sorrow. Another seasonable lesson for us. When the Babylonians were preparing the table, eating, drinking, and making merry, God was preparing slaughter and destruction for them. How suddenly did confusion and misery come on this sensual, riotous people! Thus if we transgress the bounds of temperance and prudence, the night of our pleasure may be turned into fear. Though we escape every other enemy, death may come upon us unawares, and the end of our mirth may be heaviness. Let us therefore never he off our guard, but be peculiarly watchful in seasons of tempta, tion, and remember, that for all these thing's God will bring us into judgement.
3. God's people are dear to him, and he intends their benefit, even when he corrects them. The church is his husbandry. His people are the corn of his floor, valuable in themselves, and dear to him. He may see good to thresh or bruise them by afliictions, but it is to purify them. Hypocrites are as chaff, worthless and con temptible ; he takes no concern about them, suffers them to go on in ease and prosperity :. bul at length they shall be burned with un. quinchable fire. Let us then be patient in tribulation, and wait upon God to make all issue in our salvation.
4. In every time of danger it is our coty immediately to return to God. Ministers are appointed as walchmen, in the name of God to give men warning of the danger they are in, and the destruction that is before them ; and it is their duty to aitend to the warning, to inquire the will of God, and immediately comply with the intimations of it. They must return to bim and their duty, if they desire to escape destruction ; if they linger, it is at their
peril ; for though every thing may now look bright and pleasing as the morning, yet the night cometh when no man can work, and they will sink into blackness of darkness for ever ; therefore, today, while it is called today, let us hear his voice and not harden our hearts.
The title of this chapter, as it stands in our Bible, is a mistake : the
former part relates to the invasion of Judea by Sennacherib in Hezekiah's time; the latter to some changes in his court.
I T HE burden of the valley of vision, that is, of Jerusalem,
1 most of which was in a valley surrounded with mountains. It is called the valley of vision, because there God vas known ; it had the scriptures and the prophets, and other means of seeing, that is, knowing the will of God. What aileth thee now, that thou art
wholly gone up to the house tops, to cbserve the motion of the ene. 2 my, or look out for help ? Thou that art, that is, hast been, full of
stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city, full of trade, hurry, and
diversions : thy slain (men are] not slain with the sword, nor 3 dead in battle, but dead with fear. All thy rulers are fled to
gether, that is, the rulers of the fortified cities that Sennacherib had taken, they are bound by the archers : all that are found in thee are bound together, [which] have fled from far; they are taken
prisoners by the archers and bound like captives, though they are 4 fled far away. Therefore said I, Look away from me: I will
weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, let me alone to indulge
my grief, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people. 5 For [it is) a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of per
plexity by the Lord God of hosts in the valley of vision ; there are dangers without and troubles within, but all are from the Lord of hosts ; breaking down the walls of the cities they had taken: or rather, some of the walls or houses about Jerusalem, to fortify it the better ; and of crying to the mountains ; calling to those who guarded the passes of the mountains to know what intelligence
they had of the enemy, or 10 exhort them to defend their proses viga 6 orously. And Elam bare che quiver with chariots of men [and]
horsemeni, and Kir uncovered the shield ; that is, the Persians
and Medes, who were subject to the king of Assyria, or allies in 7 this war. And it shall come to pass, (that) thy choicest vallies
shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves 8 in array at the gate. And he discovered the covering of Judah,
and thou didst look in that day to the armour of the horse or the forest ; referring Yo Sennacherib's taking ille fenced ciiits, which were a covering to the country ; and especial: 10 lis biing
furnished with arms out of the armoiry that Solomon hud built, 9 and where he put his shields, 1 Kings, x. 17. Ye have seen also
the breaches of the city of David, that they are many ; the ori and castle of the city, and repaired them; and ye gathered to gether the waters of the lower pool; probably conveyed them
under ground to furnish themselves with water, and deprive the 10 enemy of it. And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem,
and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall ; that is,
numbered the houses, either to lay a tax on thein, or to see which 11 might be pulled down, in order the better to defend the walls. Ye
made also a ditch between the two walls, 10 strengthen the city, for the water of the old pool, and conveyed water thither for its security : but ye have not looked unto the inaker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago ; in all this ye
have forgotten Jehovah, who appointed this place for your capital. 12 And in that day did the Lord God of hosts call, by the language.
of his providence, and the voice of his prophet, to weeping and lo
mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth ; to 13 fasting and all the marks of deep humiliation ; And behold joy
and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine : let us eat and drink ; for tomorrow we shall die ; instead of humiliation, there was nothing but mirth and feasting,
ani a stupid despair, grounded upon licentious principles, a disbe14 lief or a contempt of a future state. And it was revealed in mine
ears by the LORD of hosts, that I might publish it, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord God of hosts ; that is, it shall never be purged, ye shall fierish in these your iniquities. Then follows a prophecy of some changes in
Hezekiah's court, 15 Thus saith the Lord God of hosts, Go, get thee unto this
treasurer, (even) unto Shebna, which (is) over the house, * (and 16 say,] What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here, what
estate, family, or relations ? that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here, [as] he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, (and) that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock ?
a grand sepulchre, like a palace, to keefi up thy memory to succeed. 17 ing times, as if sure of continuing in thy frost? Behold, the LORD
will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee; or, the Lord, who covered thee with an excellent cove ering, and clothed thee gorgeously,shall surely cover thee with dis
grace, as criminals when led 10 execution, were covered, as if 18 unworthy to see the light. He will surely violently turn and toss
thee (like) a ball into a large country : there shalt thou die, in a far country, and obscurity, and there the chariots of thy glory, in which thou hast been used to ride in state, [shall be] the shame
of thy lord's house, that is, of Ahaz, who probably advanced him 19 to this dignity. And I will drive thee from thy station, and from 20 thy state shall he pull thee down, that is, God shall do it. And it
shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Elia21 kim the son of Hilkiah : And I will clothe him with thy
robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, he shall have thy
* So ne suppose him to have been a foreigner, as his father is not mentioned; and the Jews say, that he kept up a traiterous correspondence with the Assyriais.
honour and power, and I will commit thy government into his hand : and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
and to the house of Judah; he shall take a tender care of the city 22 and country. And the key of the house of David will I lay upon
his shoulder, that is, he shall be lord steward of the household,
bearing a key as the badge of his office; so he shall open, and 23 none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And
I will fasten him (as) a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for
a glorious throne to his father's house ; he shall be fixed in his 24 station, and be an honour to his family. And they shall hang
upon him all the glory of his father's house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of fagons, that is, large and small vessels, (the allusion to a nail being still carried on,) his relations and de
pendants shall fare the better for him, and be advanced by him, 25 and he shall not be removed like his predecessors. In that day,
saith the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall ; and the burden that (was) upon it shall be cut off, that is, Shebna, and all his dependants : for the Lord hath spoken (it.]
1.W E are again taught how vain all military preparations are,
VV without a dependence on God. The prophet mentions the particular methods that were taken to fortify and defend the city ; these were wise and right, and they are not blamed for taking them, but for trusting to them, and forgetting God ; for not looking to him, as the strength of his people ; not having respect to him, who alone can give deliverance. There are too many wise counsellors and brave soldiers, that never look to their Maker; their measures may be prudent and vigorous, but, without God, they will all be in vain. It is peculiarly inexcusable for a people who live in a valley of vision, in a land of light and religious privileges, to trust to an arm of flesh. Let us guard againt this error, have continual respect to the LORD JEHOVAH, and pray that all who have the direction of our public concerns may do so too.
2. It is highly provoking to God for his professing people to follow diversions, and be making merry, when he calls to humiliation and devotion. When his judgments are abroad in the earth, when we are engaged in war, when our expenses are great, and our burdens heavy, it is then a time for humiliation and prayer ; his providence calls us to it; his word commands it. The intent of his judgments is to promote humiliation ; and that is a proper qualificatoin for his mercy. But alas! how little of this appears ! Luxury, mirth, and diversions, dissipation of thought, forgetfulness of God, and licentious principles prevail among us ; and there is reason to fear that for these things (which are peculiarly unseaSonable and mischievous amidst public troubles and dangers) God
should bring ruin upon us. Let us, like the prophet, bewail such days of public trouble and perplexity ; and in the day of adversity consider; humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt us in due time."
3. See in what slippery places great men stand. Shebna was the chief officer in Hezekiah's court, bis prime minister ; he thought of no change, his dependants thought of none; he concluded he should live and die in honour at Jerusalem, and be buried in his stately sepulchre. But he and his adherents were cast off, and he died in shame and obscurity. We see even in the present day such changes in courts; which should cool our ardor for wealth and greatness, and lead us to seek the favour of the King of kings, and the honour that comes from him ; for he will never cast off his faithful servants. Nor let us think ourselves secure in any private station, however comfortable; we may be tossed to distant places, die, and be buried, we know not where. Let us then rejoice, as though we rejoiced not ; and seek an inheritance above, that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.
4. The hand of God should be owned in the change of placemen and courtiers. God made those changes in Hezekiah's court, by elisposing his mind to turn out Shebna, and to put Eliakim into his place ; and promotion still cometh from him. Though we imagine that it depends on the pleasure and fancy of princes, and those who influence them, it is He sets up and pulls down whom he pleaseth. Let us think of this when we hear of such changes in favour of some whom we think are less favourable to the true interest of our country than we could wish. It should excite.our earnest pravers, that God, who has the king's heart in his hand, would dispose him to make a wise choice of servants and officers, who shall be more intent on the public welfare than on aggrandizing their families, or advancing their dependants ; yea, who may be like Eliakim, faithers of their country, and take the tenderest care of the interest of the people. Many seek the ruler's favour, but every man's judgmeni proceedleth from the Lord.
5. The character of Eliakim naturally leads our thoughts to the Lord Jesus Christ, whom God bath exalted to the highest authority over his house and kingdom, Rev. ii. 7. He has the highest dignity in his heavenly court, and unlimited authority over his church below. He is a nail in a sure place, who shall never be removed, never lose his interest in bis father's esteem. All true christians confide upon him ; he is the support of their spiritual life, and their possessing eternal life depends on him ; they derive their honour from him ; and they are for ever secured by him. No other nail will support them ; but he is able to bear the stress of all those concerns which by faith are hung upon him. Let us then trust in him ourselves, and be earnestly desirous that our offspring and their interest may be hung upon him also ; that we may be able to say in life and death, I know in whom I have believe ed, and an persuaded he is able to keep what I have commilied to him till that day.