Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

16 And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land.

10 Or, grow, or, speak.

Verse 9. "Lowly, and riding upon an ass."-This, which was literally fulfilled by Christ, affords an interesting intimation that riding on horseback had at this time become so familiar to the Jews, that riding on an ass had come to be considered an act of humility and lowliness. In short, they had arrived at much the same ideas on the subject as are still entertained in the East, and which we have already had different opportunities of explaining. The ass is not by any means despised; but so much dignity and consequence is attached to riding on horseback, that men of moderate means will submit to great discomforts in order to keep one or more horses; and hence, for one who can obtain a horse, to prefer to ride on an ass, is considered a manifestation of great humbleness of mind. Hence, in Persia, for example, the ecclesiastics (so to call them) who have not yet attained to any high station, and wish to convey the impression of their humble and self-denying character, make it a point to ride on asses.

11. "The pit wherein is no water.”—Evidently a dry well or cistern, used as a prison.

13. "Greece."-In the original Javan (1), by which the Greeks are usually understood. In the present instance it is generally supposed to denote the Syro-Macedonians, with whom the Jews had such bitter conflicts in the times of the Maccabees. Archbishop Newcome, however, conceives the language employed to be too strong for these events; and is therefore disposed to place this among the prophecies which remain to be fulfilled in future time. But the former explanation does still seem preferable.

15. "Corners of the altar."-The blood of the sacrifices was poured out upon the "horns" or corners of the altar (Lev. iv. 25). To this the prophet seems to allude.

16. "The stones of a crown."-The Vulgate has lapides sancti, sacred stones; which is the sense conveyed by all the ancient versions, which appear to have understood the prophet to refer to such stones, or heaps of stones, as the Hebrews were accustomed to set up in commemoration of blessings conferred or promised, or of victories obtaine 1. These were sometimes anointed; but at any rate were separated, set apart or consecrated to a particular purpose. Hence, Blayney has "consecrated stones; Houbigant, after Capellus, crowned stones"-supposing them to have been stones set up as trophies, and crowned with garlands, a practice of which we find nothing in Scripture; Newcome. "crowned trophies; Boothroyd, simply "trophies." The difference of these versions is less than may appear, as they all agree that the stones in question were stones of memoria

06

CHAPTER X.

1 God is to be sought unto, and not idols. 5 As he visited his flock for sin, so he will save and restore them.

ASK ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make 'bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.

2

2 For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they 'were troubled, because there was no shepherd.

17 For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men "chearful, and new wine the maids.

3 Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I 'punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.

4 Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor toge

ther.

1 Or, lightnir.gs.

5 And they shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle: and they shall

[blocks in formation]

10 I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not

be found for them.

11 And he shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall Jer 10.8. Habak. 2. 18. 3 Heh. teraphims. 4 Or, answered that, &c. 5 Heb, visited upon.

*Or, they shall make the riders on horses ashamed.

dry up: and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away.

CHAPTER XI.

1 The destruction of Jerusalem. 3 The elect being cared for, the rest are rejected. 10 The staves of Beauty and Bands broken by the rejection of Christ. 15 The type and curse of a foolish shep

herd

OPEN thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.

2 Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the 'mighty is spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down.

3¶ There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled.

4 Thus saith the LORD my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter;

5 Whose possessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty: and they that sell them say, Blessed be the LORD; for I am rich: and their own shepherds pity them

not.

6 For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD: but, lo, I will 'deliver the men every one into his neighbour's hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them.

7 And I will feed the flock of slaughter, *even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called 'Bands; and I fed the flock.

8 Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul 'lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me.

9 Then said I, I will not feed you: "that

12 And I will strengthen them in the LORD; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the LORD.

1 Or, gallants. 2 Or, the defenced forest. Heb. was straitened for them. 7 Jer. 15. 2.

10 If it be good in your eyes. 11 Matt. 26. 15.

that dieth, let it die; and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another.

10 And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people.

:

11 And it was broken in that day and 'so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD.

12 And I said unto them, "If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they "weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.

13 And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.

14 Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.

15 And the LORD said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd.

16 For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, which shall not visit those that be "cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor "feed that that standeth still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces.

17 Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.

4 Or, verily the poor.
5 Or, Binders.
Or, the poor of the flock, &c. certainly know.
13 Or, Binders. 14 Or, hidden. 15 Or, beur.
16 Jer. 23. 1. Ezek. 34. 2. John 10. 12.

Heb. make to be found.
8 Heb. of Matt. 27. 9, 10.
his fellow, or, neighbour.

Verse 1. “Lebanon... thy cedars."-Without now again adverting to the question whether the N, erez, of Scripture should be identified with the tree called the cedar of Lebanon, we shall take this opportunity of noticing what are considered the remains, or rather the humbled representatives, of those forests of cedars which existed in Lebanon ; and concerning which it is particularly observable that the natives give to them the Scriptural name Arsileban.

These trees occur in a clump or small wood, upon uneven ground, at the foot of the steep declivities of those higher divisions of the mountain, the summits of which command noble and extensive views over the whole region. The situation of the place may be marked by its vicinity to the village of Bshirrai, which stands about three miles to the west, on a spot less elevated. The village of Eden, Eddin, or Eydhen, as it is differently spelt, and that of Kanobin, the seat of the Maronite Patriarch, are also in the neighbourhood, though more distant than Bshirrai-the one to the north of the cedars, and the other to the north-west. The trees are now few in number; and, from the statements of different travellers, it would appear that the largest and oldest have remained for several centuries in nearly the same state as at present. Dr. Harris, indeed, in his Natural History of the Bible,' and some other writers, have given statements from different travellers, to show that the trees had decreased from 28 to 24, from the middle to the end of the sixteenth century; from 24 to 16, during the seventeenth century; and from 16 to 7, from 1699 to 1818. But, on comparing

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[graphic]

CEDARS OF LEBANON.-CASSAS.

for ourselves, there seems to have been a much less diminution, as the older travellers, in giving their numbers, include all the larger trees; and the moderns say that these are still 25 or 20 (Burckhardt, Buckingham), but distinguish that among these large ones there are from seven to twelve enormously large. The accounts therefore of the old and recent travellers differ little as to the number of the greater and older trees. In evidence of this view, it may be enough to quote William Biddulph, who was at the spot near the end of the sixteenth century, and like other travellers of the time, counted 24 large trees; and it is clear that he counted all the large ones that he saw. "From Eden we rode ten miles further up the mountayne, to see certayne cedar trees, where we saw foure and twentie cedar trees growing together, as bigge as the greatest oakes, with divers rowes of branches one over another, stretching straight out, as though they were kept by art. Although we read of great store of cedars which have growne on Mount Lybanus, yet now there are very few, for we saw none but these foure and twentie, neither heard we of any other but in one place more." From this it would seem that these twenty-four were not only all the larger cedars, but the only cedars he saw; and if this be correct, it would show not merely the correctness of our inference, but, beyond this, that the cedars have actually increased rather than diminished; those of middling and small size, which now appear together with the great ones, having grown up since the time of his visit. Burckhardt's statement, dated in 1810, is that there were then eleven or twelve of the oldest and best-looking trees, twenty-five very large ones, about fifty of middling size, and more than three hundred smaller and young ones. "The oldest trees are distinguished by foliage and small branches at the top only, and by four, five, or even seven trunks springing from one base: the branches and foliage of the others were lower, but I saw none whose leaves touched the ground, like those in Kew Gardens. The trunks of the old trees are covered with the names of travellers and other persons who have visited them: I saw a date of the seventeenth century. The trunks of the oldest trees seem to be quite dead; the wood is of a gray tint." Of the many descriptions which travellers have supplied, the following, from Dr. Richardson, seems best calculated to give the reader a general idea of the scene. In descending from the higher summit of Lebanon, "The descent is rather precipitous, and winds by a long circuitous direction down the side of the mountain. In a few minutes we came in sight of the far famed cedars, that lay before us on our right. At first they appeared like a dark spot on the base of the mountain, and afterwards like a clump of dwarfish shrubs, that possessed neither dignity nor beauty, nor anything to entitle them to a visit but the name. In about an hour and a half we reached them. They are large and tall, and beautiful, the most picturesque productions of the vegetable creation that we had ever seen. There are in this clump two generations of trees; the oldest are large and massy, rearing their heads to an enormous height, and spreading their branches afar. We measured one of them, which we afterwards saw was not the largest in the clump, and found it thirty-two feet in circumference. Seven of these trees have a particularly ancient appearance; the rest are younger, but equally tall, though, for want of space, their branches are not so spreading; yet the spectator views them with an elevation and warmth of heart, and feels as if he were introduced to the venerable descendants of an illustrious family, who, tired with the persecution and assaults of fortune, had taken up their abode in this sequestered and sunny spot, which they hallow by their presence, where they grow uncontaminated, and look with a lordly pre-eminence over the ground which, in better days, their ancestors called their own. The clump is so small that a person may walk round it in half an

hour. The old cedars are not found in any other part of Lebanon. Young trees are occasionally met with; they are very productive, and cast many seeds annually. The surface all around is covered with rock and stone, with a partial but luxuriant vegetation springing up in the interstices."

[graphic][merged small]

2. "Fir-tree...cedar...oaks."-In the preceding note we have introduced the cedar of Lebanon, conformably to our impression that the Hebrew name, erez, was a general name for trees of the kind to which the cedar belonged, and therefore including the cedar without being confined to that tree in particular. In like manner, the word rendered "firtree" ( berosh) need not perhaps be limited to any particular species. We have already illustrated it as possibly represented by the Pinus laricio (Isa. xli. 19; Ezek. xxvii. 5), but would not contend that it might not comprehend the Pinus sylvestris, or Scotch fir, and other kindred trees. And then as to the pallon, rendered "oak," we have in other places been disposed to identify it with the terebinth-tree; yet still we think that it may be a general word for all very large trees other than pines, and therefore sometimes meaning an oak; and we are strengthened in this opinion by finding that the same word, with a slight alteration, denotes a tree in general, in the Syriac language. One thing is certain, that the oak (Quercus robur) and the Scotch fir (Pinus sylvestris) are trees of Palestine; and therefore we are quite safe when now, in accommodation to different views, we add to our previous illustrations a group of these trees, which, if they be unnecessary to assist the eye in discrimination, will serve to impress upon the mind the fact that they are probably alluded to in connection with others, if they have not a special mention in the Scriptures.

10. "I took my staff... and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant."-The idea of breaking or cutting a staff or wand, in token of the termination of an engagement or obligation, happens to be one that is very familiar to ourselves. The memory and meaning of what was an act among our fathers, is still preserved; for while this work has been in progress our readers have had occasion to learn that, at the funeral of our sovereign, the great officers of the royal household break over the grave their wands of office, to denote the termination of their functions and obligations. That their duties and engagements were undertaken under the sanction of an oath, gives the more force to this illus tration, as the breaking of the staves seems, in connection with this circumstance, to be designed to express the final

disruption of a sworn covenant. In the present text, and in the obvious and literal acceptation, the breaking of the staff appears to express the termination of the engagement of the shepherd who had been out to the pasture-grounds with the flock.

12. "Give me my price."-The price of his services as a shepherd. We have explained, on former occasions, that the shepherds to whom the flocks are intrusted often remain long abroad with them in distant pastures.

"They weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver."-Most commentators observe that this was the price of a slave in the time of Moses (Exod. xxi. 32); and therefore infer the unworthiness of the price. But the inference does not seem to us just; and indeed we should rather draw a contrary inference from this very circumstance. For a slave is generally costly and valuable; and if therefore they gave for the services of a shepherd, during one season in which he had been out with the flock, such a sum as would have purchased the perpetual services of a slave, they must have considered that they were making him a very fair remuneration. Their mistake probably lay in their acting as in a matter of real business, without understanding of, or reference to, the figurative and typical meaning of the prophet. Thus, that which would have been sufficient in a real affair of the nature described, would have been utterly unworthy-as all price must have been-when understood with reference to the latent and ulterior meaning. That meaning cannot be otherwise explained than as referring to the circumstances which attended the betrayal of Christ by Judas-the price at which he was valued by the chief priests-and the use to which that price was finally applied. Indeed the Evangelist expressly declares the present passage to be a prediction which was fulfilled on the occasion mentioned. (Matt. xxvii. 9, 10.)

CHAPTER XII.

1 Jerusalem a cup of trembling to herself, 3 and a burdensome stone to her adversaries. 6 The vic

torious restoring of Judah. 9 The repentance of

Jerusalem.

THE burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.

2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of 'trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.

3¶ And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

4 In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness.

5 And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, "The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.

6

In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.

[blocks in formation]

11 In that day shall there be a great 'mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.

12 And the land shall mourn, 'every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart;

13 The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart;

14 All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.

1 Or, slumber, or, poison. * Or, and also against Judah shall he be which shall be in siege against Jerusalem. 8 Or, There is strength to me and to the inhabitants, &c. Or, abject. 5 Heb. fallen. John 19. 34, 37. Revel. 1. 7. 7 Acts 2.3%. 8 2 Chron. 35. 24. 9 Heb. families, families.

Verse 3. "A burdensome stone."-It is not impossible that this allusion may be explained by a custom which Jerome describes as common in his time throughout Judea. Large and heavy round stones were kept in the towns and vil lages; and the youths exercised themselves in a sort of game which consisted in lifting such a stone; he who lifted it highest being the victor. This exercise differed from the common ones of the athlete of Greece and Rome. However something like it was not unknown; for Jerome goes on to say, that in the tower at Athens, near the statue of Minerva,

1

« PoprzedniaDalej »