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gers, unto a nation dragged away and plucked, unto a people wonderful from their beginning hitherto, a nation expecting, expecting, and trampled under foot, whose land rivers have spoiled. 3, All the inhabitants of the world, and dwellers upon earth, shall see the lifting up, as it were, of a banner upon the mountains, and shall hear the sound. ing, as it were, of a trumpet. 4. For thus saith the Lord unto me: I will sit still (but I will keep my eye upon my prepared habitation), as the parching heat just before lightning, as the dewy cloud in the heat of harvest. 5. For afore the harvest, when the bud is coming to perfection, and the blossom is become a juicy berry, he will cut off the useless shoots with pruning hooks, and the bill shall take away the luxuriant branches. 6. They shall be left together to the bird of prey of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth. And upon it shall the bird of prey summer, and all the beasts of the earth upon it shall winter. 7. At that season a present shall be led to the Lord of hosts, a people dragged away and plucked, even of a people wonderful from their beginning hitherto; a nation expecting, expecting, and trampled under foot, whose land rivers have spoiled, unto the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, mount Sion.
xix. 1. The burden of Egypt. Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and cometh unto Egypt: and the idols of Egypt are moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it. 2. And I will cover in tents the Egyptians against the Egyptians and they shall fight, every one against his brother,, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom. 3. And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards. 4. And the Egyptians will I give
* I will cover in tents.] So I have ventured to render ɔɔɔ, attributing to the primitive the sense of one of its derivatives. The context shews, that it cannot mean I will protect. The Vulgate reads concurrere faciam; the L.ΧΧ, επεγερθήσονται Αιγύπτιοι επ' Αιγύπτιες; the Chaldee Paraphrast, concurrere faciam; the Syriac, concitabo; and the Arabic, irruent Eg ptii in Ægyptios. All these convey the very same idea of the Ægyptians being in a state of civil war with the Egyptians.
over into the hand of cruel lords; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts. 5. And the waters shall fail from the sea, even the river shall be wasted and dried up. 6. And the rivers shall be removed away; and the streams of defence shall be emptied and dried up the reeds and flags shall wither. 7. The plants by the streams, by the mouth of the streams, and every thing sown by the streams, shall wither, be driven away, and be no more. 8. The fishers also shall mourn; even all they, that cast the hook into the streams, shall lament; and they, that spread nets upon the waters, shall languish. 9. Moreover they that work in yellow flax, and they that weave nets*, shall be confounded. 10. And their toils † shall be broken, even all they that earn wagest at the fish-pools. 11. Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh § is become brutish: how say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings! 12. Where are thy wise men? and let them tell thee now, and let them know what the Lord of hosts hath counselled against Egypt. 13. The princes of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived, and the corner stones of its tribes have seduced Egypt. 14. The Lord hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to stagger in all its works, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit. 15. Neither shall there be any work for Egypt, which the head or tail, branch or rush, may do. 16. In that day shall Egypt be like unto women and it shall be afraid and fear, because of the shaking of the hand of the Lord of hosts, which he shaketh over it. 17. And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt: every one, that maketh mention thereof, shall be afraid in himself; because of the counsel of the Lord
They that work in yellow flax, and they that weave nets.] Bp. Lowth translates this passage, They that work the fine flax shall be confounded, and they that weave net-work. But the context seems to shew, that not fine flax fit for the purposes of weaving ornamental net-work is here intended, but coarse flax for the making of fishing-nets.
t Their toils.] So I render nnny. See Parkhurst's Heb. Lex. Vox wn. Earn wages.] So I render a wy.
$ The wise counsellors of Pharaoh.] Isaiah describes the future state of Egypt in terms, strictly applicable only to his own times; as, in verses 19, 20, 21, he represents the worship of future times, according to the rites and ceremonies of his own.
of hosts, which he hath determined against it. 18. In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the religious confession of Canaan, and swear to the Lord of hosts: one shall be called the city of Heres *. 19. In that day there shall be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the Lord. 20. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the Lord because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour and a great one, and he shall deliver them. 21. And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall minister sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform it. 22. And the Lord shall smite Egypt; he shall smite, and heal it: and they shall return even to the Lord, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them. 23. In that day there shall be a high-way out of Egypt to Assyria; and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria; and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. 24. In that day shall Israel be third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land. 25. Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.
I am inclined to consider these three chapters as forming jointly a single prophecy, and as containing only a more full and ample account of the matters foretold in the former part of the preceding prophecy. The order observed in both is nearly the same; and both equally harmonize with the collateral prediction of Daniel tin closely connecting the fate of Egypt with the restoration of Judah.
The prophecy now under consideration commences with matter not indeed immediately relating to the prin
*The city of Heres.] Heres or Ares was an oriental name of the Sun. The city of Heres accordingly was called by the Greeks Heliopolis. See my Dissert. on the Cabiri. Vol. i. p. 104.
Isaiah xi. 10-16.
Dan. xi. 41, 42, 43, 45. xii. 1.
cipal subject of it, yet affording an opportunity of a sufficiently easy digression. "The burden of Damascus, opened at the beginning of the 17th chapter, naturally brings the prophet to speak of the subversion of the kingdom of Israel, in those days in alliance with the Syrians and to be overthrown by the same enemy at the same time. The prediction of the subversion of the kingdom of Israel leads the prophet to warn the Jewish people in general of the judgments which await them, with manifest allusion in the 11th verse, as Casaubon has observed, to the final dispersion of the nation by the Romans. And the allusion to this final dispersion leads, as it almost always does, to a prediction of the final restoration. This is delivered generally in the 12th, 13th, and 14th verses of the 17th chapter*."
In foretelling the dispersion of the Jews, and its various concomitant circumstances, Isaiah is wonderfully particular. He declares, that they should be cut down and carried away from the country of their fathers, in the same manner as a husbandman reaps his corn and conveys it from the fields where it had grown; and yet that a few stragglers, the wreck of a once mighty people, should remain, like gleanings, in the land †-Great however as
* Bp. Horsley's Letter on Isaiah xviii. p. 100.
†The figures here used by the prophet are peculiarly apposite. The Jews should not only be cut down, as in the ordinary calamities of war; but the whole nation should be utterly taken away from their own land, as a reaper gathers the ears of corn. Yet, notwithstanding their general dispersion, a remnant should be left, strangers and pilgrims, in the land of their fathers, like the few grapes that remain at the gathering in of the vintage, or the few olive-berries that are overlooked in the season of making oil. As the prophecy was, such has been the event. "When the emperor Adrian had subdued the rebellious Jews, he published an edict, forbidding them upon pain of death to set foot in Jerusalem, or even to approach the country round about it. Tertullian and Jerome say, that they were prohibited from entering into Judea. From that time to this their country hath been in the possession of foreign lords and masters, few of the Jews dwelling in it, and those only of a low servile condition. Benjamin of Tudela in Spain, a celebrated Jew of the 12th century, travelled into all parts to visit those of his own nation, and to learn an exact state of their affairs: and he hath reported, that Jerusalem was almost entirely abandoned by the Jews. He found there not above two hundred persons, who were for the most part dyers of wool, and who every year purchased the privilege of the monopoly of that trade. They lived all together under David's tower, and made there a very little figure. If Jerusalem had so few Jews in it, the rest of the holy land was still more depopu late. He found two of them in one city, twenty in another; most whereof were dyers. In other places there were more persons; but in upper Galilee, where the nation was in the greatest repute after the ruin of Jerusalem, he
their sins and their calamities should be, during the whole time of their dispersion they at least should keep themselves from their former besetting crime, an infatuated attachment to the idolatrous vanities of the Gentiles *. Nevertheless their worship, though free from idolatry, should not be pleasing unto God. In consequence of their forgetting the God of their salvation, and disregarding the rock of their strength, their strong cities should be forsaken; there should be a great desolation in the land; and they themselves, while strangers in foreign countries, should be given up to the folly of painfully accumulating riches and never deriving any benefit from them t.
Here "the prophet, by a sudden exclamation of surprize (ill rendered in our common English version Woe to), gives notice, that a new scene suddenly breaks him. He sees the armies of Antichrist rushing on in the full tide of conquest, and pouring like a deluge over the
found hardly any Jews at all. A very accurate and faithful traveller of our own nation (Sandys) who was himself also in the holy land, saith, that it is for the most part now inhabited by Moors and Arabians; those possessing the vallies, and these the mountains. Turks there be few; but many Greeks, with other Christians of all sects and nations, such as impute to the place an inherent holiness. Here be also some Jews: yet inherit they no part of the land, but in their own country do live as aliens." Bp. Newton's Dissert. viii.
*It is almost superfluous to observe, that, during the whole period of their present dispersion, the Jews have been as remarkable for their detestation of idolatry, as they were heretofore notoriously prone to it. Although some of them may have been constrained by the tortures of the inquisition to worship the images of the Papists, force and the fear of death have alone compelled them to violate what they justly esteem the fundamental precept of the Law. Thus have prophecies, apparently contradictory to each other, been minutely fulfilled. Some declare, that the Jews should never, during their dispersion, relapse into idolatry; others, that they should serve gods, the work of men's hands. Accordingly, they have never voluntarily and nationally become idolaters, since the destruction of their polity by the Romans; although many individuals among them have been constrained by the Papists to bow down before the idols of the Latin church. Vide supra Commentary on Prophecy I. and infra on Prophecy XVII.
The idea of the passage seems to be, that the Jews, in consequence of their rejecting the Messiah, should be judicially given up to the most sordid avarice. Ever labouring to accumulate riches in foreign lands; rising early in the morning, and late taking rest, and eating the bread of carefulness; they should still reap no harvest from their toil, but the day of their expected enjoyment should be a day of grief and heavy trouble. The various oppressions, which this sordid people (most unjustly no doubt) have suffered, are almost endless. "What frequent seizures have been made of their effects in almost all countries! How often have they been fined and fleeced by almost all governments! How often have they been forced to redeem their lives with what is almost as dear as their lives, their treasure! Instances are