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which the angel shall wave over them as a mark of God's care of Jerusalem, or rather of any party of the Jews, however inconsiderable, saith the LORD), whose fire, or altar, [is] in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem; where God is daily worshipped, and from
whence fire shall come forth to destroy his enemies. 1 Chap. XXXII. Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, 2 and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an
hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest ; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land; referring to the protection, repose, and happiness they
should enjoy in Hezekiah's reign, after the troubles in the reign of 3 his predecessors. And the eyes of them that see shall not be
dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken ; the prophets
shall deliver their message clearly and faithfully, and the people at. 4 tend 10, understand, and obey it. The heart also of the rash, the
hasty and thoughtless, shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly ; rude
and illiterate people shall understand divine things, and speak readily 5 concerning them. The vile person shall be no more called liberal,
nor the churl said (to be] bountiful, or honourable ; a good judgment shall be formed of men ; worthy, valuable persons shall be
promoted, and others discountenanced ; the reason of this is given 6 afterward. For the vile person will speak villany, and his
heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail ; a vile person
will show his iniquity by his practice, his profaneness against God, y and his cruelty to man. The instruments also of the churl (are)
evil : he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right ; he will find some
wicked men to be active in his evil designs, and by specious pre8 tences destroy the needy when he has a good cause. But the lib.
eral deviseth liberal things ; and by liberal things shall he stand; he will aim to do all the good he can, and shall be established in
prosperity and reputation. 9 Rise up, ye women that are at ease ; hear my voice, ye care
less daughters ; give ear unto my speech. The women are ad.
dressed, because grorun e.rlremely delicale and luxurious, and least 10 able to bear public calamitics. Many days and years, or, as in the
margin, many days above a year, or whilst the Assyrian invasion
shall last, shall ye be troubled, ye careless women : for the Il vintage shall fail, the gathering shall not come. Tremble, ye
women that are at ease ; be troubled, ye careless ones' : strip ye of your ornaments, and make ye bare, and gird (sackcloth]
upon (your) loins ; or, as it may be rendered, upon your mourn. 12 ing breasts. They shall lament for the teats, for the loss of their
cattle and milk, for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine. 13 Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns (and) briars ;
yea, upon all the houses of joy [in) the joyous city ; upon the playhouses, gaming houses, and taverns ; the fenced cities of Judah
shall be destroyed and laid waste, and they shall have no heart to
follow their pleasures erien in Jerusalem, while it is besieged: • 14 Because the palaces shall be forsaken ; the multitude of the city
shall be left, or, the city shall be forsaken of its multitude ; the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a
pasture of flocks ; they shall have no heart to repair them again, 15 at least it will be a long time before it can be done ; Until the
spirit be poured upon us from on high, till God shall send his spiritual influence lo reform us, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest ; there shall be good times after the Assyrians are destroyed ; the wilderness shall become so fruitful, that what was before reckoned fruitful shall
appear like a forest in comparison of it ; or it may only denote a 16 great and wonderful change. Then judgment shall dwell in the
wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field ; right
eous judgment shall be executed among the rich and poor in the 17 city and country, in the cultivated lands and in the wilderness. And
the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of
righteousness quietness and assurance for ever ; the increase of 18 righteousness shall promote peace, harmony, and all good. And
my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure 19 dwellings, and in quiet resting places ; When it shall hail,
coming down on the forest ; and the city shall be low in a low place, or, utterly abased ; there shall be no invasion from foreign
enemies, but they shall be destroyed, and their cilies laid low ; or it 20 may signify, you shall be sheltered from the storm. Blessed (are]
ye that sow beside all waters, and send forth (thither] the feet of the ox and the ass ; you shall go out without fear of your enemies, to cultivate your land, and enjoy great plenty as well as peace.
1. L OW kind is God who invites sinners to return to him,
11 and promises thedi protection and happiness! Those perverse people that trusted in Egypt and their own politics, and had affronted the only wise and powerful God, were invited to return, yea, though they had deeply revolted. Thus does God still address sinners, though their backslidings are great and aggravated, and long continued in ; yet if they turn to him, he will receive and bles3 them. Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die, O house of Israel? · 2. See the happiness of a good prince, and a righteous government. This was designed to encourage Hezekiah in his reforming work, to teach the people how to value and improve the blessings w:sich they enjoyed under him, and to give instruction to future kings and princes. Let us bless God that we have a king over us, who, we hope, will always rule in righteousness, be a covert to the persecuted and oppressed, advance the worthy and virtuous, discountenance and frown upon the wicked, and thus secure the reputation of religion, and promote the public peace. And let us pray that this may be more and more his character; and the blessings here described, be the blessings of his reign.
3. It is a good sign, when men and things are called by their proper names ; when vile persons are not called liberal, or gentle. men ; and churls, men of a selfish, surly disposition, stiled honourable. It is happy for a nation, when only good things are called by good names ; when virtue and virtuous men are esteemed, and held in reputation ; when men are valued, not by their rank and titles, but by their beneficence and usefulness. If difference of character was not so wretchedly confounded as it is in our common lan. guage, and there was greater openness and plainness of discourse, it would tend greatly to the support of righteousness. Let us then emulate the character of a citizen of Zion, in whose eyes a vile per. son is contemned, and who honoureth them that fear the Lord.
4. Liberality is not the way to contempt and ruin, for the liberal man deviseth liberal things, und by them shall he stand. He contrives how he may be able to do good; he retrenches superfluities, and saves needless expenses, not that he may hoard up wealth, but that he may do the more good. He endeavours to be as extensively beneficent as possible, and by his charity he shall stand ; his prosperity shall be increased by the blessing of heaven ; he shall be esteemed by men, have peace in his own mind, and obtain favour of the Lord; and he that does not think this an abundant equivalent for parting with his money, is a vile and churlish person.
5. We see the wisdom of being religious, v. 17. The pious shall enjoy peace, undisturbed by the crosses of the world. Reli. gious exercises are pleasant ; there is great satisfaction in reflecting upon them, and a gracious reward awaits them, even everlasting quietness and assurance. These inestimable blessings are only to be found in the way of righteousness; in that way therefore let us walk, and never turn aside from it.
6. Let us rejoice in the government of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the happiness of his faithful subjects, ch. xxxii. v. 1, &c. Though this has a primary reference to Hezekiah, yet it has also a reference to Christ, and the blessings of his gospel, as is common in the prophets. He reigns in righteousness, being himself perfectly holy, and his administration inflexibly just. He is a shelter and refreshment to his people in every storm. By his gospel, knowledge, holiness, liberality, peace, and joy are promoted and diffused. Let us show, by the practice of these virtues, that we have received its influence ; and earnestly pray that the spirit may be poured forth from on high upon us, our churches, and all the world ; that the wilderness may be a fruiiful field, and the earth may become like the paradise of God above.
This chapter has a reference to the invasion and destruction of the
Assyrians, and the happy effects of it 10 Israel.
TO to thee that spoilest, and thou (wast] not spoiled ; and VV dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; [and] when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee ; because thou hast broken the
treaty of peace, and endeavoured to spoil and conquer when no in2 jury had been received. O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have
waited for thee; the prayer of Israel in their distress : be thou
their arm every morning, the arm of Hezekiah and his soldiers, 3 our salvation also in the time of trouble. At the noise of the
tumult the people fed ; at the lifting up of thyself the nations that were allied to the Assyrians were scattered. And your spoil shall be gathered (like) the gathering of the caterpiller : as the running to and fro of locusts shall he run upon them; that is,
the Israelites shall gather the spoil, as easily as locusts or caterpil. 5 lers devour a field or a tree. The Lord is exalted; for he dwel
leth on high : he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteous.
ness; he displays his power, and the effect of it shall be reforma6 tion. And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy
times, [and] strength of salvation ; piety and prudence shall establish Hezekiah’s throne : the fear of the LORD [is] his treas
ure; the worship of God, and promoting piety in others, shall be a 7 better security than treasures or forces. Behold, their valiant
ones shall cry without ; they shall be disheartened, and think it in vain to oppose ; the ambassadors of peace, that shall be sent by
Hezekiah to treat for peace, shall weep bitterly, because the As. 3 syrians will be so unreasonable, proud and insolent. The high
ways lie waste, the way faring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man;
Sennacherib will not stand to his agreement, he will desfiise the 9 fenced cities, and have no compassion. The earth, or the land, mourneth (and) languislieth : Lebanon is ashamed (and] hewn down : Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel
shake off [their fruits ;] the fruitful parts will be laid waste, and 10 her substance plundered. Now will I rise, saith the LORD ; now
will I be exalted; now, when things are at the worst, and the case Il shall seem desperale, will I lift up myself. Ye Assyrians shall
conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble : your breath, or an12 ger against Israel, [as] fire, shall devour you. And the people,
the Assyrians, notwithstanding their great expectations, shall be (as) the burnings of lime : [as] thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire ; they shall mect with entire destruction, like
stones burned to lime, or thorns that are utterly consumed. 13 Hear, ye [that are] far off, what I have done ; and ye [that 14 are] near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid ; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites, who scorn the luw of God and the threatenings of the prophet ; though they keep up the appearance of religion, when they think the Assyrians will destroy Jerusalem, they shall be terribly afraid, Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings ? they will own how awful God is, and
how dreadful when he comes 10 punish. On the other hand, good 15 men shall be calm and secure : He that walketh righteously, and
speaketh uprightly ; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, who thinks it beneath him, that shaketh his hands from holding of Bribes, when put into his hand secretly, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, will not hear any scheme lending to shed blood, or to gratify revenge, and shutteth his eyes from seeing
evil, will not willingly see evil committed, but has a great aversion 16 to it; He shall dwell on high : his place of defence (shall be]
the munitions of rocks : bread shall be given him ; his waters
[shall be] sure ; he shall be defended and supplied during the 17 ertremity of the siege. Thine eyes sball see the king in his
beauty, that is, Hezekiah, having put off his sackcloth and appearing in his royal robes with a pleasant aspect : they shall behold the land that is very far ofl'; the people who had been shut us
during the siege shall travel abroad, which after their confinement 18 would be peculiarly pleasant. Thine heart shall meditate terror ;
review its former fears and its triumph over the Assyrians. Where [is] the scribe ? where [is] the receiver ? where [is] he that
counted the towers ? where is the secretary of rvar, the paymaster, 19 the chief engineer ?* Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people
of deeper speech than thou canst perceive ; of a stammering
tongue, [that thou canst] not understand ; that is, the Assyrians, 20 who had a deep, harsh language, carrying terror with it. Look
upon Zion, the city of our solemnities : thine eyes shall see Je. rusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle (that) shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, nei
ther shall any of the cords thereof be broken ; an allusion 10 a 21 lent, no part of which should be damaged by the enemy. But there
the glorious LORD (will be) unto us a place of broad rivers (and] streams ; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby; though there is no river about Jerusa
lom, only a little brook, God will be as a broad river to it, over 22 which no ship shall pass to hurt or lestroy il. For the LORD [is]
our judge, the Lord [is] our lawgiver, the LORD [is] our king;
he will save us; God's relation to Israel will engage him to protect 23 it. Thy tackling's are loosed ; they could not well strengthen
their mast, they could not spread the sail; the Assyrian force, when attempting to pass the broad river, mentioned v. 21, shall be ship wrecked: then is the prey of a great spoil divided ; the
lame take the prey ; it shall be so abundant, that those who can 24 neither fight nor pursue shall have a part. And the inhabitant
• The apostle Paul applies this to the success of the gospel over heathen. powers and philosophy. i Cor. i. 20.