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2. The cities of the vale' are forsaken;
They are given up to the flocks,
And they lie down, and no one puts them in fear. 3. As well shall the fortress cease from Ephraim,
As the kingdom from Damascus :
Saith Jehovah Sabaoth."
Damascus and her dependent cities are to become ruins; their populous country is to be desolated. Not less, indeed, would be the desolation of the ten tribes; but here would be the difference: the bulk or mass of the Israelites would be destroyed, and a remnant left. With respect to the Syrians of Damascus, their destruction would be complete; their very remnant would be destroyed. This, however, had not yet taken place when Jeremiah prophesied :ť a sufficient indication that we are not to confine the scope of these prophecies to the ravages of the Assyrian king, who had already begun to execute the divine vengeance on these nations.
Having thus contrasted the destinies of these two confederate nations, the prophecy proceeds to show what would befall the ten tribes, – the preserved remnant of
pyoy Cælosyria, proprie Syria cavæ, à , uw profundum, cavum volis, unde yy volis valima. SIMON.
* There is no occasion. I conceive, with Houbigant and Lowth, to have recourse to conjecture in
this passage, by substituting any for 7. We have only to take mas in the sense of copia, and there will be a just opposition between the parallel terms. Compare mao and its parallel term in the next couplet.
* Chap. xvii.
+ Chap. xlix. 24, 27.
this part of the family of Abraham in the latter days;a very small remnant would be left.
4. And it shall come to pass in that day;
That the bulk of Jacob shall be diminished,
And the fatness of his flesh shall become lean; 5. And it shall be as when one hath gathered the standing
Saith Jehovah Sabaoth.
The remainder of the prophecy we must admit to be involved in much obscurity. The cause of this obscurity arises probably from this, that the prophecy has not yet been accomplished. The following verses are, however, so far clear as to foretel the destruction, at a certain period, of all idolatry, and under the symbol of its ancient rites, as I believe, of all false and superstitious modes of worship 7. In that day shall man look to his Maker,
And his eyes shall be directed to the Holy One of Israel: 8. He shall not look to the altars, the work of his own hand, Neither shall he have regard to that which his fingers have
May we, then, understand by this, the conversion
Literally " suns," or "solar images."
of all nations to the true religion? This, we know, will be the result of that dispensation of the kingdom, which restores Israel in the last days. If this statement be right, what follows appertains to those times :
9. And in that day shall the cities of HIS strength become
As the gleanings of the harvest and of the highest bough,
We may justly ask, to whom does the pronoun his refer? I would answer, from the analogy of prophecy, to 'him to whom the cities belong - to the great enemy of God's people. The day shall come when the cities of the adversary shall be destroyed with as small a remnant as the more immediate enemy, the Assyrian, type of the last destroyer, should have left of the cities of Israel.
The next verse, perhaps, assigns the cause of this calamity. The last enemy, as we know from former prophecies, would appear in the character of an apostate from the true religion.
10. For thou hast forgotten the Elohim of thy salvation,
Neither hast thou remembered thy strong Maker.'
What follows is certainly most mysterious.
11. Wherefore, when thou shalt have planted thy pleasant
plantations, And shalt have set them with cuttings from a foreign soil: • Though' in the day of thy planting thou makest it to
grow, And in the morning of thy setting thou makest it to shoot ;
"Or, thy founder,' who was ' thy protector.'
The harvest is taken away in the day of the inundation,
We can only conjecture to what this will refer. Perhaps it is addressed to the remnant of Israel, respecting some early and premature attempt at their restoration; or to some great power, endeavouring to form a settlement of Israelites in the land of promise : * the fulfilment can alone disclose. The expedition or undertaking, whatever it may be, bids fair at first, but ends in almost total disappointment. The cause of this disappointment, the destruction of the vineyard at the very season of its harvest, seems to be stated in the next verses; and from a comparison of former prophecies, it appears to be the great inroad of the last enemy, so often mentioned under the metaphor of an inundation.
12. Oh! this tumultuous noise of many nations,
They sound like the tumultuous noise of the seas :
This is so much like the former symbolical representation of the last inundation," overflowing in righteousness,” in the passages referred to below, + that we can scarcely mistake its meaning: and the final catastrophe of those enemies that destroy this vineyard by divine permission, is exactly similar.
1 “ The produce is gone in the
[) day of the torrent,
“ And the calamity is incurable."-HORSLEY.
the [ביום נחלה] day of inundation
Compare Psalm cvii. 36, &c.
13. The nations roar like the roaring of many waters ;
But He rebuketh them, and they flee far away.
Before the morning, they are no more!
The eighteenth chapter, I conceive to be a continuation of the same series of predictions, relating, as to their principal object, to the dispersion of the ten tribes, their preservation, and their restoration. 1
After the former prophecy respecting the successful invasion, and final destruction of the many nations, we seem to have another nation brought upon
the scene of the prophetical vision, as an instrument of real good to the dispersed and disappointed Israelites.
1. Au! country, continually extending the shadow of its wings,'
Which is beyond the rivers of Cush!
1 “ Judæi, Jarchius et Kim vium," i. e. “ velorum."-SIMON : chius, prophetam à temporali libe where see more. I prefer, on the ratione ad spiritualem transire whole, the interpretation of Bishop opinantes, hic vident prostratos Horsley, extending continually the Gogum et Magogum, ultimos po wing of protection. “In this paspuli Dei adversarios, tempore Mes sage,” be observes, “ the broad siah."-VITRINGA.
shadowing wings may be intended D'da 5x5x, variè exponitur: to characterize some great people, quidam intelligunt, "strepiti tum who should be famous for the pros alarum," vel “bellicarum.” Col. tection they should give," &c. c. viij. 8; Dan. ix. 27 ; vel “