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DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL. 1. On xxxvi. 4 "| opol. est Satanae lingua et sunt non Rabsacis ipsissimi Diaboli verba, quibus non muros urbis, sed medullam Eze
stand simply divine desertion in general, especially as that conflicts with all the recorded facts. The verse itself only supplies the event of the Babylonian embassy, and we may include of course Isaiah's interpretation of it. To that the Loop left Hezekiah. Comp. 2 Chr. xii. 5" and therefore I have left ("n-1}) you in the hand of Shishak.” It is gratuitous to infer that God left Hezekiah to the workings of his own heart. It is equally so to infer that, because God so left HezeAiah, therefore Hezekiah must first have left God, as in the case just cited. Without leaving God or his own !.umility (ver. 26). Hezekiah might be thus left of God to this extraordinary providence. Comp. Ps. xxii. 1
with Matt. xxvii. 45. An in Djo “to try him," etc., does not imply reproach any more than the trial of Abraham Gen. xxii. 1. The sentiment of these words and even the very words are drawn from Deut. viii. 2, 16. As an obvious quotation from the most familiar part of the Law, the only proper completion of their sentiment must be found in the cornpletion of the quotation. That must be : “to know what was in his heart to know whether, he would keep his (God's) commandment or not.” The records of Isa. xxxix. 8, and 2 Kings xx. 19 furnish the only documentary information of what was revealed by this trial to be in Hezekiah's heart. It was nothing but resignation and acquiescence in the will of God, the only form of obedience and keeping God's commandment that the case admitted. It is, therefore, not only gratuitous to infer that the trial revealed the sinful vanity of Hezekiah's heart, it is contrary to the very record. That he showed his treasures is thought to be evidence of such vanity. But this is only prejudice growing out of the very assumptions now combated. Why should this hospitality be so bad in Hezekiah, when that of Solomon to the queen of Sheba, substantially the same, is mentioned only with approval, and is even elevated to typical importance 2 As for the rest of Hezekiah's answer Isa. xxxix. 8 b : 2 Kings xx. 19 b, “Good is the word of the Lord,” etc., it may be interpreted best in the light of Deut. viii. 16. A promise of good is given there for the latter days of those that stand the proof of God's trials and keep His commandments. Hezekiah had the consciousness of such integrity (Isa. xxxviii. 3), he therefore gratefully rested in the expectation of such good for his latter days; in which he was also justified by the terms of Isaiah's prophecy, if not by some more explicit announcement (2 Chr. xxxii. 26). The event of the Babylonian embassy, as it appears in our book, must be viewed as subservient to the ends of prophecy. It is told for the sake of the prophecy in vers. 5–7. Our Author himself well remarks (at the beginning of the introduction to chapters xxxvi.xxxix.), that our chapters “show how from afar.” spinna, was begun the spinning of the first threads
of that web of complications, that were at last so fatal.” The event of the embassy was providentially ordered for prophetic lo. t may be compared to such events as Melchizedec, Esau selling his birth-right, the queen of Sheba's visit, the birth of Maher-shal-al, the wise men of the east at the crib of Christ, the inquirin
Greeks, Jno. xii. 20–24. The questions of Isaiah, an
the replies of Hezekiah as recorded, bring out precisely the traits needed for the prophecy about to be made. The “from a far country” was a providentially indited expression, like that of Caiophas Jno. xi. 49, sqq. Previous prophecy, likely familiar to Hezekiah, had made known that a visitation of wrath was coming on Judah “from far.” x. 3, xxx. 27. Now this event strangely brings to Jerusalem and its king representatives of the very people that were to be the instruments of this wrath, and the Prophet appears, and identifies them and their destiny. And from this onward the Babylonians become more distinctly the theme of prophecy. Hezekiah submits, not like one receiving a ...] merited rebuke, but like Moses when the people were turned hack from Kadesh-Barnea. All that the Author says about negotiations looking to alliance between Hezekiah and Babylon, does not pretend to be more than shrewd conjecture. As it does not find one word of corroboration in the Scripture, it would be well to make little or no account of it. Comp. the Author's conjectures on vii. 10-16, and the additions by Th. that follow—TR.]
chiae, hoc est, tenerrimam ejus fidem oppugmat.”— LUTHER. “In this address the chief-butler, Satan performs in the way he uses when he would bring about our apostacy. 1) He urges that we are divested of all human support, ver. 5; 2) We are deprived of divine support, wer. 7 ; 3) God is angry with us because we have greatly provoked Him by our sins, ver. 7; 4) He decks out the splendor, and power of the wicked, vers. 8, 9; 5) He appeals to God's word, and knows how to turn and twist it to his uses. Such poisonous arrows were used by Satan against Christ in the desert, and may be compared with this light (Matt. iv. 2 sqq.). One needs to arm himself against Satan's attack by God's word, and to resort to constant watching and prayer.”– CRAMER. The Assyrian urges four particulars by which he would destroy Hezekiah's confidence, in two of which he was right and in two wrong. He was right in representing that Hezekiah could rely neither on Egypt, nor on his own power. In this respect he was a messenger of God and announcer of divine truth. For everywhere the word of God preaches the same (xxx. 1–3; xxxi. 1–3; Jer. xvii. 5; Ps. cxviii. 8, 9; exlvi. 3, etc.). But it is a merited chastisement if rude and hostile preachers must preach to us what we were unwilling to believe at the mild and friendly voice of God. But in two particulars the Assyrian was wrong, and therein lay Hezekiah's strength. For just on this account the Lord is for him and against the Assyrian. These two things are, that the Assyrian asserts that Hezekiah, cannot put his trust in the LoRD, but rather he, the Assyrian is counseled by the Lord against Hezekiah. That, however, was a lie, and because of this lie, the corresponding truth makes all the deeper impression on Hezekiah, and reminds him how assuredly he may build on the Lord and importune Him. And when the enemy dares to say, that he is commissioned by the Lord to destroy the Holy Land, just that must bring to lively remembrance in the Israelite, that the Lord, who cannot lie, calls the land of Israel His land (Joel. iv. 2; Jer. ii. 7; xvi. 18, etc.), and the people of Israel His people (Exod. iii. 7, 10; v. 1, etc.). 2. On xxxvi.12. [“In regard to the indelicacy of this passage we may observe: 1) The Masorets in the Hebrew text have so printed the words used, that in reading it the offensiveness would be considerably avoided. 2) The customs, habits and modes of expression of people in different nations and times, differ. What appears indelicate at one time or in one country, may not only be tolerated, but common in another; 3) Isaiah is not at all responsible for the indelicacy of the language here. He is simply an historian. 4) It was of importance to give the true character of the attack which was made on Jerusalem. The coming of Sennacherib was at: tended with pride, insolence and blasphemy; and it was important to state the true character of th: transaction, and to record just what was said and done. Let him who used the language, and not him who recorded it bear the blame.”—BARNES in loc.]. 3. On xxxvi. 18 sqq. “Observandum hic, quod apud gentes olim viguerit Food adeo, ut quarris etiam urbs peculiarem habuerit Deum tutelarem.
Cujus ethnicismi exemplum vivum et spirans adhuc habemus apud pontificios, quibus non inscite objici potest illud Jeremiae : Quot civitates tibi, tot etiam Dei (Jer. ii. 28).”—For RSTER. 4. On xxxvi. 21. Answer not a fool according to his folly (Prov. xxvi. 4), much less the blashemer, lest the flame of his wickedness be blown into the greater rage (Ecclus. viii. 3). Did not Christ the Lord answer His enemies, not always with words, but also with silence (Matt. xxvi. 62; xxvii. 14, etc.)? One must not cast pearls before swine (Matt. vii. 6). After FoERSTER and CRAMER. 5. On xxxvi. 21. “Est aureus tertus, qui docet nos, ne cum Satana disputemus. Quando enim vides, quod sumus ejus spectatores et auditores, tum captat occasionem majoris fortitudinis et gravius premit. Petrus dicit, eum circuire et quaerere, quem devoret. Nullum facit insidiarum finem. Tutissimum autem est non respondere, sed contemmere eum.”—LUTHER. 6. [On xxxvii. 1–7. “Rabshakeh intended to frighten Hezekiah from the Lord, but it proves that he frightens him to the Lord. The wind, instead of forcing the traveler's coat from him, makes him wrap it the closer about him. The more Rabshakeh reproaches God, the more Hezekiah studies to honor Him.” On ver, 3. “When we are most at a plunge we should be most earnest in prayer. When pains are most strong, let prayers be most lively. Prayer is the . wife of mercy, that helps to bring it forth.”— M. HENRY, in loc.] 7. On xxxvii. 2 sqq. . Hezekiah here gives a good example. He shows all princes, rulers and peoples what one ought to do when there is a great and common distress, and tribulation. One ought with sackcloth, i.e., with penitent humility, to bring prayers, and intercessions to the LoRD that He would look on and help. 8. On xxxvii. 6 sq. “God takes to Himself all the evil done to His people. For as when one does a great kindness to the saints, God appropriates it to Himself, so, too, when one torments the saints, it is an injury done to God, and He treats sin no other way |. as if done to Himself. He that torments them torments Him (lxiv. 9). Therefore the saints pray: “Arise, O God, plead thine own cause: remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily' (Ps. lxxiv. 22).”— CRAMER. 9. On xxxvii. 7. “God raises up against His enemies other enemies, and thus prepares rest for His own people. Example; the Philistines against Saul who pursued David, 1 Sam. xxiii. 27.”—CRAMER. 10. On xxxvii. 14. VITRINGA here cites the following from Bonfin Rerum Hungar. Dec. III. Lib. VI, p. 464, ad annum 1444: “Amorathes, cum suos laborare cerneret et ab Vladislao rege mon *ine magna caede fuqari, depromtum e sinu codicem initi sanctissime foederis explicat in tent is in coeloom oculis. Haec sunt, inquit ingeminans, Jesu Christe, foedera, quae Christiani tui mecum percussere. Per numen tuum sanctum jurarunt, datamgue sub nomine tuo fidem violarunt, perside suum Deum abnegarunt. Nunc Christe, si Deus es (ut qjunt et nos hallucinamur), tuqs measque hic injurias, te quaeso, ulciscere et his, qui sanctum tuum momen nondum agnovere, violatae fidei poenas os
tende. Wir haec direrat . . . . cum proelium, quod *f; ac dubium diu fuerat, inclinare coepit, etc.” [The desire of Hezekiah was not primarily his own personal safety, or the safety of his kingdom. It was that Jehovah might vindicate His great and holy name from reproach, and that the world might know that He was the only true God. We have here a beautiful model of the object which we should have in view when we come before God. This motive of }. is one that is with great frequency presented in the Bible. Comp. xlii. 8; xliii. 10, 13, 25; Deut. xxxii. 39; Ps. lxxxiii. 18; xlvi. 10; Neh. ix. 6; Dan. ix. 18, 19. Perhaps there could have been furnished no more striking proof that Jehovah was the true God, than would be by the defeat of Sennacherib. The time had come when the great Jehovah could strike a blow which would be felt on all nations, and carry the terror of His name, and the report of His power, throughout the earth. Perhaps this was one of the main motives of the destruction of that mighty army.”—BARNES, on ver, 2]. 11. On xxxvii. 15. “Fides Ezechiae verbo confirmata magis ac magis crescit. Ante non ausus est orare, jam oral et confutat blasphemias omnes Assyrii. Adeo magna vis verbi est, ut longe alius per verbum, quod Jesajas ei nunciari jussit, factus sit.” —LUTHER. 12. On xxxvii. 17. . [“It is bad to talk proudly and profanely, but it is worse, to write so, for this argues more deliberation and design, and what is written spreads further and lasts longer, and does the more mischief. Atheism and irreligion, written, will certainly be reckoned for another day.”—M. HENRY). 13. On xxxvii. 21 sqq. [“Those who receive messages of terror from men with patience, and send messages of faith to God by prayer, may expect messages of grace and peace from God for their comfort, even when they are most cast down. Isaiah sent a long answer to Hezekiah's prayer in God's name, sent it in writing (for it was too long to be sent by word of mouth), and sent it by way of return to his prayer, relation being thereunto had: ‘Whereas thou hast prayed to me, know, for thy comfort, that thy prayer is heard.' Isaiah might have referred him to the prophecies he had delivered "particularly to that of chap. x.), and bid him pick out an answer from thence. The correspondence between earth and heaven is never let fall on God's side.”—M. HENRY.]. 14. On xxxvii. 31 sqq. “This is a promise of great extent. For it applies not ...} to those that then remained, and were spared the impending destruction and captivity by, the Assy; rians, but to all subsequent times, when they should enjoy a deliverance; as after, the Babylonish captivity, and after the persecutions of Antiochus. Yea, it applies even to New Testament times from the first to the last, since therein, in the order of conversion to Christ, the Jews will take root and bring forth fruit, and thus in the Jews (as also in the converted Gentiles) will appear in a spiritual and corporal sense, what God at that time did to their fields in the three following years.”—STARKE. 15. On xxxviii. 1. “Isaiah, although of a noble race and condition, does not for that regard it disgraceful, but rather an honor, to be a pastor and visitor of the sick, I would say, a prophet, teacher and comforter of the sick. God save the mark How has the world become so different in our day, especially in our evangelical church. Let a family be a little noble, and it is regarded as a reproach and injury to have a clergyman among its relations and friends, not to speak of a son studying theology and becoming a servant of the church. , I speak not of all; I know that some have a better mind; yet such is the common course. Jeroboam's maxim must rather obtain, who made priests of the lowest of the people (1 Kings xii. 31). For thus the parsons may be firmly held in rein (sub ferula) and in political submission. It is not at all good where the clergy have a say, says an old state-rule of our Politicorum.” FEUERLEIN, pastor in Nuremberg, in his Norissimorum primum, 1694, p. 553. The same quotes SPENER: “Is it not so, that among the Roman Catholics the greatest lords are not ashamed to stand in the spiritual office, and that many of them even discharge the spiritual functions? Among the Reformed, too, persons born of the noblest families are not ashamed of the of. fice of preacher. But, it seems, we Lutherans are the only ones that hold the service of the gospel so low, that, where from a noble or otherwise prominent family an ingenium has an inclination to theological study, almost every one seeks to hinder him, or, indeed, afterwards is ashamed of his friendship, as if it were something much too base for such people, by which more harm comes to our church than one might suppose. That is to be ashamed of the gospel.” 16. On xxxviii. 1. [“We see here the boldness and fidelity of a man of God. Isaiah was not afraid to go in freely and tell even a monarch that he must die. The subsequent part of the narrative would lead us to suppose that, until this announcement, Hezekiah j' not regard himself as in immediate danger. . It is evident here, that the physician of Hezekiah had not informed him of it—perhaps from the apprehension that his disease would be aggravated by the agitation of his mind on the subject. The duty was, therefore, left, as it is often, to the minister of religion —a duty which even many ministers are slow to perform, and which many physicians are reluctant to have performed. No danger, is to be apprehended commonly from announcing to those who are sick their true condition. Physicians and friends often err in this. There is no species of cruelty greater than to suffer a friend to lie on a dying bed under a delusion. There is no sin more aggravated than that of designedly deceiving a dying man, and flattering him with the hope of recovery, when there is a moral certainty that he will not and cannot recover. And there is evidently no danger to be apprehended from communicating to the sick their true condition. It should be done tenderly and with affection; but it should be done faithfully. I have had many opportunities of witnessing the effect of apprising the sick of their situation, and of the moral certainty that they must die. And I cannot now recall an instance in which the announcement has had any unhappy effect on the disease. Often, on the contrary, the
effect is to calm the mind, and to lead the dying to look up to God, and peacefully to repose on Him. And the effect of THAT is always salutary.” BARNEs in loc.] 17. On xxxviii. 2. It is an old opinion, found even in the CHALD., that by the wall is meant the wall of the temple as a holy direction in which to pray, as the Mahometans pray in the direction
of Mecca. But YPT cannot mean that. Rather
that is correct which is said by For ERIUs:
“Nolunt pii homines testes habere suarum lacryma.
rum, ut eas liberius fundant, neque sensu distrahi,
cum orare Deum er animo volunt.” 18. On xxxviii. 8:—
“Non Deus est numen Parcarum carcere clausum.
19. On xxxviii. 12. “Beautiful parables that picture to us the transitoriness of this temporal life. For the parable of the shepherd's tent means how restless a thing it is with us, that we have here no abiding place, but are driven from one locality to another, until at last we find a restingspot in the church-yard. The other parable of the weaver's thread means how uncertain is our life on earth. For how easily the thread breaks.” CRAMER. “When the weaver's work is progressing best, the thread breaks before he is aware. Thus when a man is in his best work, and supposes he now at last begins really to live, God breaks the thread of his life and lets him die. The rational heathen knew something of this when they, so to speak, invented the three goddesses of life (the three Parcas minime parcas) and included them in this little verse:
Clotho colum gestat, Lachesis trahit, Atropos occat.
But what does the weaver when the thread breaks? Does he stop his work at once? O no! He knows how to make a clever weaver's knot, so that one cannot observe the break. Remember thereby that when thy life is broken off, yet the Lord Jesus, as a master artisan, can bring it together again at the last *. He will make such an artful, subtle weaver's-knot as shall make us wonder through all etermity. It will do us no harm to have died.” Ibid.—Omnia sunt hominum tenui pendentio filo. [“As suddenly as the tent of a shepherd is taken down, folded §§ and transferred to another place. There is doubtless the idea here that he would continue to exist, but in another place, as the shepherd would pitch his tent in another place. He was to be cut off from the earth, but he expected to dwell among the dead. The whole passage conveys the idea that he expected to dwell in another state.” BARNEs in o 20. On xxxviii. 17. .."; 1) When God pardons sin, He casts it behind His back as not designing to look upon it with an eye of justice and jealousy. He remembers it no more, to visit for it. The pardon does not make the sin not to have been, or not to have been sin, but not to be unished as it deserves. When we cast our sins |. our back, and take no care to repent of them, God sets them before His face, and is ready to reckon for them; but when we set them before our face in true repentance, as David did when his sin was ever before him, God casts them behind His back. 2) When God pardons sin, He pardons all, casts them all behind His back, though they have been as scarlet and crimson. 3) The pardoning of sin is the delivering the soul from the pit of corruption. 4) It is pleasant indeed to think of our recoveries from sickness when we see them flowing from the remission of sin; then the cause is removed, and then it is in love to the soul.” M. HENRY in loc.] 21. On xxxviii. 18. [Cannot hope for thy truth. “They are shut out from all the means by which Thy truth is brought to mind, and the offers of salvation are presented. Their probation is at an end; their privileges are closed; their destiny is sealed up. The idea is, it is a privilege to live because this is a world where the offers of salvation are made, and where those who are conscious of guilt may hope in the mercy of God.” BARNES in loc.] God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. iii. 9). Such is the New Testament sense of these Old Testament words. For though Hezekiah has primarily in mind the preferableness of life in the earthly body to the life in Hades, yet this whole manner of representation passes away with Hades itself. But Hezekiah's words still remain true so far as they apply to heaven and hell. For of course in î. the place of the damned, one does not praise God. But those that live praise Him. These, however, are in heaven. Since then God wills rather that men praise Him than not praise Him, so He is not willing that men should perish, but that all should turn to repentance and live. 22. On xxxix. 2. “Primo (Deus) per obsidiomem et bellum, deinde per graven morbum Ezechiam serraverat, ne in praesumtionem laberetur. Nondum tamen vinci potuit antiquus serpens, sed redit et levat caput suum. Adeo non possumus consistere, nisi Deos nos affligat. Vides igitur hic, quis sit afflictionum usus, ut mortificent scilicet carnem, quae mon potest res ferre secundas.” LUTHER. 23. On xxxix. 7. “God also punishes the misdeeds of the parents on the children (Exod. xx. 5) because the children not only follow the misdeeds of their parents, but they also increase and heap them up, as is seen in the posterity of Hezekiah, viz.: Manasseh and Amon.”—CRAMER.
[The reader is referred to the ample hints covering the same matter to be found in the volume on 2 Kings, chapters xviii.-xx. It is expedient to take advantage of that for the sake of keeping the present volume within reasonable bounds. Therefore but a minimum is here given of what the Author offers, much of which indeed is but the repetition in another form of matter already given.—TR.]
1. On xxxvii. 36. “1)The scorn and mockery of the visible world. , 2) The scorn and mockery of the unseen world.” Sermon of Domprediger ZAHN in Halle, 1870.
2. On the entire xxxviii, chapter, beside the 22 sermons, in FEUERLEIN's Novissimorum primum, there is a great number of homiletical ela
borations of an early date; WALTHER MAGIRUs, Idea mortis et vitae in two parts, the second of which contains 20 penitential and consolatory sermons on Isa. xxxviii. Danzig, 1640 and 1642. DANIEL SCHALLER (STENDAL) 4 sermons on the sick Hezekiah, on Isa. xxxviii. Magdeburg, 1611. PETER SIEGMUND PAPE in “Gott geheilighte Wochenpredigten,” Berlin, 1701, 4 sermons. JAcoBTICHLERUs (ELBURG ) Hiskiae Aufrichtigkeit bewiesen in Gesundheit, Krankheit und Genesung, 18 sermons on Isa. xxxviii. (Dutch), Campen, 1636. These are only the principal ones. 3. On xxxviii. 1. “I will set my house in order. This, indeed, will not be hard for me to do. My debt account is crossed out; my best possession I take along with me; my children I commit to the great Father of orphans, to whom heaven and earth belongs, and my soul to the Lord, who has sued for it longer than a human age, and bought it with His blood. Thus I am eased and ready for the journey.” THOLUck, Stunden der Andacht, p. 620. 4. On xxxviii. 1. “Now thou shouldest know that our word ‘order his house' has a very broad meaning. It comprehends reconciliation to God by faith, the final confession of sin, the last Lord's Supper, the humble committing of the soul to the grace of the Lord, and to death and the grave in the hope of the resurrection. In One W.i. There is an ordering of the house above. In reliance on the precious merit of my Saviour, I order my house above in which I wish to dwell. Moreover taking leave of loved ones, and the blessing of them belongs to ordering the house. And finally order must be taken concerning the guardianship of children, the abiding of the widow, and the friend on whom she must
especially lean in her loneliness, also concerning earthly ; uests.” AHLFELD, Das Leben in Lichte des Wortes Gottes, Halle, 1867, p. 522.
5. On xxxviii. 2–8. This account has much that seems strange to us Christians, but much, too, that quite corresponds to our Christian consciousness. Let us contemplate the difference between an Old Testament, and a New Testament suppliant, by noticing the differences and the resemblances. I. THE RESEMBLANCEs. 1) Distress and grief there are in the Old, as in the New Testament (ver. 3). 2) Ready and willing to help beyond our prayers or comprehension (vers. 5, 6) is the LoRD in the Old as in the New Testament. II. THE DIFFERENCEs. 1) The Old Testament suppliant appealed to his having done nothing bad (ver. 3). oil. New Testament suppliant says: “God be merciful to me a sinner,” and “Give me through grace for Christ's sake what it pleases Thee to give me.” 2) The Old Testament suppliant demands a sign (vers. 7, 8; comp. ver. 22); the New Testament suppliant requires no sign but that of the crucified Son of man, for He knows that to those who bear this sign is given the promise of the hearing of all their prayers (Jno. xvi. 23). 3) In Hezekiah's case, the prayer of the Old Testament o: is indeed heard (ver. 5), yet in general it has not the certainty of being heard, whereas the New Testament suppliant has this certainty.
III.--THE SECOND PART.
THE TOTAL SALVATION TO COME, BEGINNING WITH REDEMPTION FROM THE BABYLONIAN EXILE AND CONCLUDING WITH THE CREATION OF A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH.
This second principal part is occupied with the redemption of Israel. And the Prophet contemplates this redemption as a total, although from its beginning, which coincides with redemption from the Babylonian exile, to its conclusion, it takes up thousands of years. For to the gaze of the Prophet, that, which in point of time, is most remote, is just as near as that which is nearest in point of time. He sees degrees, it is true; but the intervals of time that separate the degrees one from another he is unable to measure. Things of the same kind he sees along side of one another, although as to fact, the single moments of their realization take place one after another. Consequences that evolve out of their premises only after a long time he contemplates along with the latter. Thus it happens that the representations of the Prophet have often the appearance of disorder. To this is joined still another thing. Although, in general,
the Prophet's view point is in the midst of the people as already suffering punishment and awaiting their redemption out of it, thus the viewpoint of the Exile, yet at times this relative (ideal, prophetic) present merges into the absolute, i. e., actual history of his own time where both have an inherent likeness. But this inherent likeness becomes especially prominent where the punishment of sin is concerned, which is the concern of both epochs in common, that is the epoch in which the Prophet lived, and the epoch of the Exile.
These are the chief points of view, which must be held fast in order to make it possible to understand this grand cycle of prophecy.
The twenty-seven chapters that compose this cycle subdivide into three parts containing each nine chapters. (This was first noticed by FRIEDRich RUECKERT, Heb. Propheten übers. u. erläutert, 1831.)
The first Ennead (chapters xl.-xlviii.), has Kores” Cyrus) for its middle point: the second (chapters xlix-lvii.), the personal Servant of Jehovah; the third (chapters viii.-lxvi.), the new creature.
In regard to the critical questions, see the Introduction.
[in regard to the above division the following may be appropriate which DR. J. A. ALExANDER says concerning the division proposed by himself, and which does not materially differ from the one above, though it makes three heads of what above is comprised in the first (xl.xlviii.). “These are the subjects of the Prophet's whole discourse, and may be described as
resent to his mind throughout; but the degree
in which they are respectively made prominent is different in different parts. The attempts which have been made to show that they are taken up successively, and treated one by one, are unsuccessful, because inconsistent with the frequent repetition and recurrence of the same theme. The order is not that of strict succession, but of alternation. It is still true, however, that the relative prominence of these great themes is far from being constant. As a general fact, it may be said that their relative positions in this respect answer to those they hold in the enumeration above given. The character of Israel, both as a nation and a church, is chiefly prominent in the beginning, the Exile and the Advent in the middle, the contrast and change of dispensations at the end. With this general conception of the Prophecy, the reader can have very little difficulty in perceiving the unity of the discourse, and marking its transitions for himself. Abridged Ed. Vol. II. p. 18.].
• The Author uses this Hebrew form of the name throughout the following context. We substitute for it the common form.—TR.].
The first Ennead of chaps. xl.-lxvi. has two characteristic elements that distinguish it from the two following Enneads: 1) The Promise of a Hero that will come from the east, that will redeem Israel out of the Babylonian captivity, and who in fact, is called by his name “Kores” xliv. 28; xlv. 1: 2) The affirmation that Jehovah, from the fulfilment of this fact predicted by Him, must also necessarily be acknowledged as the only true God, as also, on the other hand, from the inability of idols to prophesy and to fulfil must evidently be concluded that they are no gods. One sees from this that the Prophet wishes primarily to attain a double object by the first nine chapters of this book of consolation:
First, Israel shall have the prospect presented of
bodily deliverance by Cyrus; but Second, its deliverance also from the worship of idols shall be made possible by means of that promise. For the Lord intends to make it so evident that the deliverance by Cyrus is His work, and at the same time His victory over the idols that Israel can no longer resist acknowledging Him as alone divine. These two aims manifestly go hand in hand. But now a Third is added to them. Cvrus and Israel are themselves prophetic types that point to a third and higher one. Each of them represents one factor of the development of salvation. In that third both factors find their common sulfilment. Cyrus is only the initiator of the redemption. He brings to an end the seventy years' exile, and opens up the era of sal