Obrazy na stronie

21 9 Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be A.C. 588. turned ; renew our days as of old.

22 * But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very Or, Por wilt wroth against us.

9 Jer. xxxi.

thou utterly
reject us?


Events at Babylon, between the Commencement of the Capti

vity and the Destruction of the Temple.

[ocr errors][merged small]




Condition of Daniel and his Companions at Babylon.

9 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not
defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with
the wine which he drank : therefore he requested of the
prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

9 Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender
love with the prince of the eunuchs.

10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear
my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your
drink : for why should he see your faces + worse liking than +Heb. sadder.
the children which are of your I sort? then shall ye make 10r, term, or,
me endanger my head to the king.

11 Then said Daniel to $ Melzar, whom the prince of the 107, the stow.
eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Aza-

12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let
them give us || pulse * to eat, and water to drink.

13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before Heb. that
thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the
portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy

14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved
them ten days.

15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat.

16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and
the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.

17 q As for these four children, God gave them know-
ledge and skill in all learning and wisdom : and + Daniel +0r, he made
had understanding in all visions and dreams.

18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he
should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought
them in before Nebuchadnezzar.

!! Heb. of

we may eat,


[ocr errors]

Daniel under.

* Heb. wis. dom of under. standing.

[ocr errors]

A.C. 606. 19 And the king communed with them; and among them

all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and
Azariah : therefore stood they before the king.

20 And in all matters of * wisdom and understanding,
that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times
better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all

his realm. He lived to

21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king see that glori. ous time of of Cyrus. his people

SECTION II. bylonian cap. tivity, though

Commission of Ezekiel 22.

from the Ba.

he did not die then. So till is used, Ps. cx. 1. & cxii. 8.


1 The time of Ezekiel's prophecy at Chebar. 4 His vision of four cherubims, 15 of

the four wheels, 26 and of the glory of God.
1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth


2 We have now come to the prophecies of Ezekiel, which were addressed to the captives at Babylon, before and after the captivity of Zedekiah, and the destruction of the temple. They must therefore have been delivered at the same time, and against the same crimes, against which Jeremiah was denouncing the judgments of God at Jerusalem. Both prophets predicted the same eventspromised to the faithful the same consolations, and threatened the disobedient and idolatrous among their countrymen with the same punishments. Both prophets united in denunciations against the false prophets, and in anticipations of the ultimate restoration of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity. The communication between Babylon and Jerusalem, though very limited on account of their great distance, and the inconveniences of travelling, remained still open; and must have afforded the Jews occasional opportunities of learning the fate of their captive brethren. It must have informed them of the predictions of Ezekiel in Chaldea, and of the striking similarity and connexion which existed between them, and those they had received from their own inspired teacher. The distance that separated these two prophets must have precluded all idea of conniyance, and rendered it impossible for any communication to have taken place between them. The believing part of the Jews therefore, both at Jerusalem and Babylon, must in the course of some months have been made acquainted with the separate prophecies of these two inspired persons; and within a few years they actually witnessed the fulfilment of them, in the desolation of Judah, and the captivity of their brethren. Such were the irresistible appeals that God made to the Jews to convince them that his Providence still watched over them, and directed all things for the welfare of his visible church.

Thus in the fourth year of Zedekiah, Jeremiah (Jerem. xxvii. ver. 19 to the end,) declared to the people at Jerusalem, at a time when there was no war between the king of Judea, and the king of Babylon, that Nebuchadnezzar should carry to Babylon the brazen pillars, and the residue of the vessels of the temple, which he had previously spared in the capture of the city, when dehoiachin had been taken: and he further adds, that they should not be melted

[ocr errors]

month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the A.C. 595.

[ocr errors]

down nor destroyed, but preserved at Babylon tilktheir captivity terminated. At
the time this prediction was delivered there appeared no probability of its ac-
complishment: and the prophecy must have been well known to all the inha-
bitants of Jerusalem.

In this year Seraiah went to Babylon, (Jer. li. 59.) and Jeremiah commis-
sioned him to take the prophecy he had lately written against Babylon: to read
it there, and then to cast it into the Euphrates. Of the precise time of the year
in which Seraiah went we are not informed in the very brief narrative of Scrip-
ture; but as the distance was great, it is not probable they could be less than
some months in their journey. If they arrived at Babylon about the end of
the fourth, or the beginning of the fifth year of Zedekiah, which was the same
as the fifth of Jehoiachin's captivity; they would receive in that city, a confirma-
tion and explanation of the predictions of Jeremiah, by a prophecy of Ezekiel
delivered to the captives before their arrival; when it was evidently impossible
that any communication could have taken place between the two prophets. Je-
remiah predicted that the vessels of the temple should be taken; Ezekiel
(chap. iv.) predicted the manner in which this prophecy should be accomplished,
by the siege and capture of Jerusalem.

In additional confirmation of the supposition that Ezekiel could not have known of this prophecy of Jeremiah when he delivered his own prediction of the last capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, it must be remembered that Ezekiel was among the captives by the river Chebar, and not at Babylon ; whither we may naturally suppose the embassy would have immediately proceeded.

In Jeremiah xxxvii. 17. we read that Jeremiah prophesied to Zedekiah himself that he should be delivered into the bands of the king of Babylon. Prior to the date of this prediction, Ezekiel bad foretold to the captives in Chaldea the same thing, (chap. xii. 13.) Yet we have no proof that the former had ever heard of the prediction of the latter.

The most undeniable and conclusive proof, however, of this singular and simultaneous coincidence between the two prophets, is to be found in their predictions against Egypt for its treachery and iniquities. Ezekiel immediately before Zedekiah was made prisoner, uttered in Chaldea, that celebrated prediction contained in chap. xxx, ver. 30, to the end ; in which he assures the people that the king of Egypt should be subdued by the king of Babylon. In chap. xxxi, the same prediction is repeated, and it was delivered only one month before Jerusalem was taken. Compare with these two chapters of Ezekiel Jer. xlij. ver. 8, to the end, chap. xlvi. 13, to the end. On the captivity of Zedekiah, Jeremiah was taken by Nebuzaradan, who treated him with much respect, and permitted him to return to his own home, under the government of Gedaliah. Soon after, however, Gedaliah having been murdered by Ishmael, and the chief of the remaining Jews escaping into Egypt for fear of the Chaldeans, Jeremiah was compelled to go with them, and it was on his arrival in this country, that he uttered the prophecies against Egypt.

Ezekiel, whose name imports the strength of God, was the son of Buzi, of the sacerdotal race, and one of the captives carried by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon, with Jehoiachin king of Judah: it does not appear that he had pro

A.C. 595.

captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God 23.

[ocr errors]

* Heb. captivity.

[ocr errors]

phesied before he came into Mesopotamia. The principal scene of his predic-
tions was some place on the river Chebar, which flows into the Euphrates, about
two hundred miles to the north of Babylon, where the prophet resided; though
he was, occasionally, conveyed in vision to Jerusalem. He commenced his
prophetic ministry in the thirtieth year of his age, according to general ac-
counts: or rather, as Calmet thinks, in the thirtieth year after the covenant
was renewed with God in the reign of Josiah, which answers to the fifth year of
Ezekiel's and Jehoiachin's captivity, (Ezek. i. 1. xl. 1.) the æra whence he
dates his predictions; and he continued to prophesy about twenty or twenty-
one years. The events of his life, after his call to the prophetic office, are in-
terwoven with the detail which he has himself given of his predictions : but the
manner of its termination is no where ascertained.

In the following arrangement of Ezekiel, Archbishop Newcome’s disposition
of the several prophecies, and divisions of the chapters are observed. The pro-
phet being extremely careful throughout, in dating each prophecy, the place is
usually assigned by internal evidence; and there is little or no difficulty in
arranging each prophetical discourse in its historical and chronological order.
For the sake of clearness in apprehending the history of this period, I have in-
serted the events which took place in Babylon, in a separate chapter from those
which occurred at the same time in Judea.–Vide Gray's Key; Horne ; Calmet ;
the Commentators Introduction to Ezekiel; Archb. Newcome.

23 Chronologers and commentators have been much divided as to the thirtieth year, mentioned in ver. 1. of this chapter. Usher, Prideaux, Lowth, and Lightfoot, reckon the thirty years here spoken of, as well as the forty days or years, (chap. iv. ver. 6.) from the covenant made by Josiah in the eighteenth year of his reign. According to which computation this thirtieth year will be 595, B.C. Others suppose it to be the thirtieth year of Ezekiel's age. The divine instructions were first revealed to him in a glorious vision, appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord,” attended by his cherubims symbolically pourtrayed. “The word of the Lord came expressly" unto him, and he received his communication by a voice, which was followed by a forcible influence of the Spirit, and by awful directions for his conduct, (chap. i. . iii. to ver. 22.)

Many of these directions were figurative and communicated in vision, and were given by way of metaphorical instruction; for when Ezekiel is commanded to "eat the roll of prophecy,” we understand that he is enjoined only to receive, and thoroughly to digest its contents; and when he professes to have complied with the command, we perceive that he speaks only of a transaction in vision. With respect to some other relations of this nature contained in Ezekiel's book, whether we suppose them to be descriptive of real or imaginary events, they are very reconcilable with the divine intention in the employment of the prophet

. On a supposition that they were real, we may reasonably suppose a miraculous assistance to have been afforded them when necessary; and if we consider them as imaginary, they might be represented equally as emblematical forewarnings revealed to the prophet.-Gray's Key, p. 396.

" the

2 In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year A.C. 595. of king Jehoiachin's captivity,

3 The word of the LORD came expressly unto * Ezekiel 1. Heb. Jehenthe priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there

upon him.

4 924 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire +infolding itself, and Heb. catch

ing itself. a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.

5 Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their

appearance; they had the likeness of a man.

6 And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.

7 And their feet were & straight feet; the sole of their feet 1 Heb. , was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the straight foot. colour of burnished brass.

24 Few subjects have occasioned so much discussion as the cherubim, which are so repeatedly spoken of in the Old Testament. The first time we read of the cherubim is in Genesis-—" God placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword." It is generally supposed that the words translated a flaming sword, signify more properly a bright flame of waving fire. That this appearance was permanent at the gate of Paradise, and that it was the same glory of the Lord, or the Shechinah which afterward appeared to Moses. Under the Levitical economy the cherubíc symbols and the burning flame were united, both in the tabernacle, and in the temple. The cherubim appear to have been considered as emblems of the visible church, and the burning flame as the symbol of the divine presence. The time had now arrived when the visible church was to be removed from the holy land, and established among the faithful worshippers of Jehovah, who were taken captives to Babylon. This removal is denoted in the vision by the appearance of the cherubim, of the glory of the Lord, and of the angel Jehovah, or the form of the man, the head and protector of the visible church, to the prophet Ezekiel. He receives his commission as prophet from the angel Jehovah, speaking out of the midst of a burning filame. Ezekiel recognised in the appearance of a man, speaking from between the cherubim, and from the midst of the flame, the same mysterious and divine being who was well known to have formerly appeared to the patriarchs, to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. He fell upon his face, as St. Paul and St. John afterwards did, when the same Almighty Being manifested himself, on the road to Damascus, and in the Island of Patmos. Ezekiel fell down before him, as all mankind will fall, when the same angel Jehovah, of the Patriarchal and Levitical church, the Messiah of the Christian church, shall descend to judgment; when he shall again appear, not as a friendless, insulted, and crucified man, but in the glory of his godhead, which he bad with the Father before the world was, (Juhn xvii. 5.)


« PoprzedniaDalej »