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All the nations that are fighting against the altar of God, And all the armies, and all the forts, and them that besiege her.
8. As the hungry ‘man' dreameth, and lo, he eateth; But he awaketh, and his appetite is unsatisfied:
And as the thirsty ‘man' dreameth, and lo, he drinketh;
So shall it be with all the multitude of the nations,
It appears, however, from what follows, that the remnant in the prophet's age left in Jerusalem, as well as that remnant that should appear there at the first advent, *— and, probably, their successors also in the possession of the kingdom among the Gentiles, besotted in their symbolical intoxication, would understand none of these things [ver. 9]. Prophecy would be lost to them, [10, 11, 12]; the truths of revelation rejected as foolish and unjust by their perverse wisdom, [13, 14, 15, 16]. The consequence would be, “that which was now a desert, would become a fruitful field, and the reverse. Or, to quit the figure, the poor and illiterate shall change conditions with the great ones and wise of this world, with respect to happiness, when the Gospel shall be promulgated.” + 17. Is there not yet a very little while,
And Lebanon shall be turned into a campaign,'
18. And the deaf shall hear in that day the words of the book, And out of obscurity and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.
* Compare ver. 13 with xxviii. 7, &c. + Bp. Stock.
'Or “into a Carmel.”—BP. Stock.
This I believe to be a prediction of Gospel illumination, when on Israel's rejection the Gentile nations were called to the knowledge of Christ. But from a comparison of other prophecies, I conceive, a still more glorious period is here also predicted for the church of God, in connexion with the fall of the apostate, and with Israel's
19. And again shall the meek increase their joy in Jehovah, And the poor among men shall exult in the Holy One of Israel;
20. When the man of violence' hath perished, and the scorner is consumed, And those that were forward in iniquity are cut off.
21. Those who caused man to err in the word,
22. Wherefore thus hath Jehovah, the God of the house of Jacob, said, He who redeemed Abraham.
Now, Jacob shall not be ashamed;
23. Surely, when he seeth his children, the work of my hands, In the midst of him shall they sanctify my name.
They shall even sanctify the Holy One of Jacob,
24. And they who erred in spirit shall receive understanding, And they that muttered shall receive instruction.
' The Septuagint has here the Lord shall consume with the **, the very word used by St. spirit of his mouth, and shall dePaul, in his prophecy of the last stroy with the brightness of his days, 2 Thess. ii. 8: “And then coming.” shall that wicked be revealed, whom
Remarks on Parts of the Thirtieth and Thirty-first Chapters.
The thirtieth chapter begins with an expostulation with the people for their disposition to forsake the God of their fathers, and rely for assistance on Egypt. What alliance with this last mentioned nation is particularly in view of the prophet, it is not quite easy to determine. It is a fact, that Egypt was “that broken reed,” on which both houses of Israel leaned to their destruction in the hour of their utmost need : the ten tribes, at the time of their destruction by the Assyrians; and the remnant of Judah, at the time of the Babylonian captivity. It is probable, that the Holy Ghost has both these ill-judged expeditions in view; for if the first bids fair to be the occasion of the oracle, its language in many respects belongs more particularly to the circumstances of the latter; and it evidently embraces, in the sequel, what concerns the whole united people of Israel in the latter days. See 2 Kings, xvii. 4, &c., and Jeremiah, xlii., xliii., xliv, and xlvi. In the seventeenth verse, we meet with the usual prophetic symbol of the very low state to which the remnant shall be reduced by “the consumption decreed:” –
17. —— Until ye be left as a staff on the top of a hill, And as a beacon on a mountain:
18. Yet, notwithstanding, Jehovah will wait to be gracious to you;
Yet, notwithstanding, he will arise to have pity upon you:
19. Surely a people shall dwell ‘quietly' in Zion,
20. And though the Lord give you the bread of distress, and the water of affliction, Yet he will not again cover thy instructors.
And thine eyes shall see thy instructors, 21. And thine ear shall hear a word behind thee; Saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, When ye turn to the right or to the left: 22. And ye shall treat as defiled the coverings of your silver idols, And your ephods interwoven with gold.
Thou shalt cast them away as a polluted garment,
This prophecy places before us a remnant of restored Israelites, dwelling at Jerusalem, whose happiness it is to wait for Jehovah. They are not yet a people so saved, as never more to taste of affliction; which is the description of the state of this people, after the appearance of the glory of the Lord. They are to see distress and affliction, in that last attack of the adversary; but are never more to suffer for want of knowledge, or to be led astray by blind
' own, perhaps, signifies in this place, consideration in moderating judgments,
guides. This proves that it cannot be the remnant of Judah of the first advent. We are, therefore, compelled to refer it to Jerusalem at the eve of the second coming of Christ. There will then, we may argue, be a people there made ready for the Lord. We thought we had gathered, concerning the Jews of the second advent, that not idolatry, but self-righteousness and superstition, would still, as at the first advent, characterize the main body. A difficulty may seem, therefore, to arise from the last lines I have transcribed, which seems to represent the remnant as renouncing idolatry. But, on a more attentive examination of the passage, it will be found that it is not the idols themselves that are referred to, but the sumptuous coverings and garments of gold and silver tissue and embroidery used in the idolatrous worship. This affords a meet emblem of the formalities of hypocrisy, and the vain professions of self-righteousness; and is in strict analogy with other metaphorical Scriptures. A picture of prosperity follows, which, I should suppose, must be referred to the final settlement of the nation: –
23. And he shall give rain for thy seed, With which thou shalt sow thy ground:
And bread shall thy soil produce,
24. The oxen and asses, that shall till the ground,
25. And there shall be upon every high hill,
* Stock. - straw, and made to ferment.”— * “Barley mixed with chopped Bocharr.