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the screech-owl shall pitch, and shall find for herself a place of rest. 15. There shall the night-raven make her nest, and lay her eggs; and she shall hatch them, and gather her young under her shadow there also shall the vultures be gathered together; every one of them shall join her mate. 16. Consult ye the book of the Lord, and read: not one of these shall be missed; not a female shall lack her mate: for the mouth of the Lord hath given the command; and his spirit itself hath gathered them. 17. And he hath cast the lot for them; and his hand hath meted out their portion by the line: they shall possess the land for a perpetual inheritance; from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.
xxxv. 1. The desert, and the waste, shall be glad : and the wilderness shall rejoice and flourish. 2. Like the rose shall it beautifully flourish; and the well-watered plain of Jordan shall rejoice: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the beauty of Carmel and of Sharon; these shall behold the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.
3. Strengthen ye the feeble hands, and confirm ye the tottering knees. 4. Say ye to the faint-hearted: Be ye strong; fear ye not; behoid your God! Vengeance will come, the retribution of God: he himself will come, and will deliver you. 5. Then shall the eyes of the blind be unclosed; and the ears of the deaf shall be opened: 6. Then shall the lame bound like the hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing: for in the wilderness shall burst forth waters, and torrents in the desert.. 7. And the glowing sand shall become a pool; and the thirsty soil, bubbling springs: and in the haunt of dragons shall spring forth the grass, with the reed, and the bulrush. 8. And a highway shall be there; and it shall be called The way of holiness: no unclean person shall pass through it; but He himself shall be with them, walking in the way, and the foolish shall not err therein. 9. No lion shall be there; nor shall the tyrant of the beasts come up thither: neither shall he be found there; but the redeemed shall walk in it.
10. Yea, the ransomed of the Lord shall return; and they shall come to Zion with triumph; and perpetual
gladness shall crown their heads. Joy and gladness shall they obtain; and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
"These two chapters," says Bp. Lowth, "make one distinct prophecy; an entire, regular, and beautiful poem, consisting of two parts: the first containing a denunciation of divine vengeance against the enemies of the people or Church of God; the second describing the flourishing state of the Church of God, consequent upon the execution of these judgments. The event foretold is represented as of the highest importance, and of universal concern: all nations are called upon to attend to the declaration of it: and the wrath of God is denounced against all the nations; that is, all those that had provoked to anger the defender of the cause of Zion. Among these, Edom is particularly specified. The principal provocation of Edom was their insulting the Jews in their distress, and joining against them with their enemies the Chaldeans*. Accordingly the Edomites were, together with the rest of the neighbouring nations, ravaged and laid waste by Nebuchadnezzart. The general devastation, spread through all these countries by Nebuchadnezzar, may be the event which the prophet has primarily in view in the 34th chapter: but this event, as far as we have any account of it in history, seems by no means to come up to the terms of the prophecy, or to justify so high-wrought and so terrible a description. And it is not easy to discover what connection the extremely flourishing state of the Church or people of God, described in the next chapter, could have with those events; and how the former could be the consequence of the latter, as it is there represented to be. By a figure, very common in the prophetical writings, any city people, remarkably distinguished as enemies of the people and kingdom of God, is put for those enemies in general. This seems here to be the case with Edom and Bozrah. It
*See Amos i. 11.-Ezek. xxv. 12.—xxxv. 15.-Psalm cxxxvii. 7.
† See Jerem. xxv. 15-26.-Malachi i. 3, 4.-and see Marsham. Can. Chron. Sæc. xviii, who calls this the age of the devastation of cities.
seems therefore reasonable to suppose, with many learned expositors, that this prophecy has a further view to events still future; to some great revolutions to be effected in later times, antecedent to the more perfect state of the kingdom of God upon earth, and serving to introduce it, which the holy Scriptures warrant us to expect*.
"That the 35th chapter has a view beyond any thing, that could be the immediate consequence of those events, is plain from every part, especially from the middle of it †, where the miraculous works wrought by our blessed Saviour are so clearly specified, that we cannot avoid making the application: and our Saviour himself has moreover plainly referred to this very passage as speaking of him and his works. He bids the disciples of John to go and report to their master the things which they heard and saw; that the blind received their sight, the lame walked, and the deaf heard ‡ and leaves it to him to draw the conclusion in answer to his inquiry, whether he, who performed the very works which the prophets foretold should be performed by the Messiah, was not indeed the Messiah himself. And where are these works so distinctly marked by any of the prophets, as in this place? and how could they be marked more distinctly? To these the strictly literal interpretation of the prophet's words directs us. According to the allegorical interpretation, they may have a further view: this part of the prophecy may run parallel with the former, and relate to the future advent of Christ; to the conversion of the Jews, and their restitution to their land; to the extension and purification of the Christian faith; events predicted in the holy Scriptures, as preparatory to it §."
To these remarks of Bp. Lowth I have but little to add. They appear to me to be perfectly just, with a single exception: I much doubt whether the Edom, here
"The enemies of God's Church are often represented by the name of some country which was remarkable for its hatred and ill usage of the Jews, such as Egypt, Babylon, Edom, and Moab; and thus Edom or Idumèa may be taken here The words here seem to describe a more general judgment, of which the destruction of Edom was an imperfect representation." Mr. Lowth's Comment. on Isaiah xxxiv. 5.
Matt. xi. 4, 5..
† Ver. 5, 6.
SBp. Lowth's Isaiah in loc,
spoken of, can with any degree of propriety be applied to the literal Edom in the days of Nebuchadnezzar. Independent of the magnificence of the images being but little applicable to the sufferings of Edom, as the Bishop himself remarks; the restoration of Judah from Babylon cannot surely be esteemed the result of those sufferings, when it did not take place till several years after, and that, not in consequence of the devastation of Edom by Nebuchadnezzar, but in consequence of the overthrow of the Babylonian empire by Cyrus. The prophet however, at the close of the 35th chapter, plainly represents some restoration of the Jews, as being the consequence of some destruction of Edom. This restoration therefore cannot be the restoration from Babylon. And, if it be not the restoration from Babylon, it can only be the yet future restoration; at which period, the literal Edom will long have ceased to be a people. Hence the Edom, whose overthrow is represented by the prophet as being closely connected with the yet future restoration of the Jews, certainly cannot be at all the literal Edom; because the overthrow of the literal Edom was connected with no restoration of the Jews.
In fact, the mystic Edom of this prediction, as the Rabbies have ever believed *, and as I shall state at large in considering a subsequent prophecy closely connected with the present: the mystic Edom is the Roman empire, in the last stage of its existence; that is to say, when so organized as to have become, agreeably to the declaration of St. John, one great confederacy under the influence of Antichrist †.
The overthrow of this mystic Edom, whose desolation (it may be observed) is described in a manner closely resembling that in which the desolation of Babylon is described ‡, will strongly mark the era of the restoration of Judah, and will prepare a way for the restoration of Israel. In the 35th chapter, the two events of the first and second advent of our Lord, are, in a manner very
"The Jewish writers do generally suppose, that Edom in the writings of the prophets stands for Rome." Mr. Lowth's Comment. on Isaiah xxxiv. 5. † See Rev. xvi. 12---16. xix. 17---21.
Compare Isaiah xxxiv. 8---17. with xiii. 19---22. and Rev. xviii.
usual among the prophets, mingled together. Christ healed all manner of diseases in the day of his first advent; but the restoration of Judah will assuredly not take place till the day of his second advent. Yet, even that part of the prophecy, which relates to the healing of the sick, the unclosing the eyes of the blind, the opening the ears of the deaf, and the causing the tongue of the dumb to sing, may hereafter receive a yet more ample, though not more exact, accomplishment than it has hitherto done. If the Messiah, during the period of his humiliation only, wrought many miracles of this nature in the land of Judea exclusively; I can discover nothing very improbable in the supposition, that those miracles of beneficence may be repeated to a much greater extent during his tri umphant millennian reign upon earth. At least, I may say with Mr. Mede, that there is certainly nothing derogatory to the glory of God in entertaining even the most magnificent conceptions of what his Spirit hath been pleased to describe so magnificently.
The first advent-The second advent-The overthrow of Antichrist-The conversion and restoration of the spiritually blind Jews-A denunciation against Babylon.
Isaiah xlii. 1. Behold my servant, whom I will uphold; my chosen, in whom my soul delighteth: I will make my spirit rest upon him; and he shall publish judgment to the nations-3. The bruised reed he shall not break; and the dimly burning flax he shall not quench: he shall publish judgment, so as to establish it perfectly. 4. His force shall not be abated nor broken; until he hath firmly seated judgment in the earth: and the distant nations shall earnestly wait for his law-9. The former predictions, lo! they are come to pass; and new events I now declare: before they spring forth, I make them known unto you.
10. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise