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And the offspring of thy body as the pebbles on the shore," Then should not his name have been cut off or destroyed from before me.
—That is to say, they had endured no second captivity; and I have no doubt, that in our rendering of the following verses, we are to carry forward the force of the leading tense of the verbs in the foregoing verses, according to a common practice of the ancient Hebrews; the meaning of the passage will then be clear: —
20. They had come forth from Babylon, -
They had said, “Jehovah hath redeemed his servant Jacob,” 21. And they had not thirsted in the desert, where he had caused them to go. From the rock would he have caused waters to flow for them, Ay, he had cleaved the rock, and forth had gushed the waterS.
22. There is no peace, hath Jehovah said, to the wicked.
Speaking after the manner of men, these glorious expectations might have been realized by Israel returning from Babylon, but for their sin and unbelief. But, as it was, the event was far otherwise. There is no “peace,” or “prosperity,” or no “ completion,” or “fulfilment” of promises to the wicked transgressors: and we shall find, from a comparison of other passages, that the
* This is evidently the intent thereof.” But see Simon in verbo and purport of "mynn. Bishop nyn, “scrupus,” “scrupulus, i. e. Lowth translates, “Like the bowels lapillus tenuis et minutus.
Scripture allows us to entertain the notion of the fulfilment of general promises made to the church being delayed, on the one hand, because “the iniquity” of the enemy “is not at the full ;” on the other hand, because of the sins of the people of God, who, considered as a visible and political body here on earth, have not yet met with their destined chastisement. We shall recollect, that the present series of prophecies began by foreboding the time when the warfare of Zion should be accomplished; and she should have received, at the hand of the Lord, the retribution of all her sins. This era had not yet arrived. Hence the meaner circumstances of the restoration, which this episode foretels. Alas! many yet would be the crimes of that apostate people, and most afflictive still their punishments! Especially, they were to incur the guilt of blood in the slaying of the Lord of glory, as Isaiah's subsequent prophecies clearly show. Hence it was, that there could be no “FULL PEACE"—“no fulfilment” of promises, to these professing Israelites.
T H E THIRD SERIES OF THE PRO PH ecles o f is A 1A H.
The prophetic vision, as we pursue its course, seems to be advancing nearer and nearer the grand object of its revelation—the establishment of the glorious kingdom of Messiah in the last days. In the former series, which ended with the last chapter, we were stationed in the period previous to the Babylonian captivity; and that event was often seen in connexion, in the foreground, as it were, of those far distant scenes, which were disclosed to our view by the Spirit of prophecy. But we may be said, in the last chapter, to have passed by this era of the captivity in Babylon, and to have witnessed the restoration of a small remnant at Jerusalem. We are now again invited to ascend the hill of vision, and to contemplate the same distant scenes on a somewhat nearer station. The captivity and the restoration now lie behind us; they no longer intercept our view, nor are any more pointed out as intervening objects. But a new prospect now more clearly and distinctly opens itself before us, in the space between our station, and those great and glorious scenes, which are still descried as the great and ultimate object of prophecy. We seem now to see lying at our feet the dark valley of the Saviour's humiliation; his rejection, his cross, and
passion, are objects near in view. Often does the light of prophecy dart a bright beam on these scenes; and while our heavenly Director points with one hand to the glorious objects of the second advent, with the other he shows the afflictive disclosures made below: and we learn what “it behoves” the Redeemer “first to suffer,” before “he enters into his glory;”—how he is to appear once to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; and —to them that wait for him—is to appear a second time “without sin unto salvation.” The great business of an expositor of this part of the prophecies, is to mark what belongs to the first, and what to the second advent; for both scenes lie constantly before our view: and though the contrast of the several objects is very great, they are often seen in immediate connexion, or the transition of the enlightening beam from one to the other is quick and sudden.
IN the opening of the forty-ninth chapter, where, as I have observed, the last series of the prophecies of Isaiah begins, “the distant coasts,”— that is, as we have seen before, the maritime countries to the west of Asia, Europe especially, known at that time only by the colonies that Asia and Egypt had planted on its coasts, and which was only visited by the merchants, that passed the seas in “ships of Tarshish ;”—these countries are commanded to attend : —
1. HEARKEN unto me, ye distant coasts;
The event has, indeed, disclosed, that in the ages in contemplation, the word of prophecy would become more the concern and consideration of that part of the globe than of any other, as being the principal residence of the believers in revelation.
The Saviour himself is now introduced as speaking, referring to his miraculous human birth, and to his ministry, as the messenger of the Father—the powerful instrument in his hand to accomplish salvation and deliverance : —
Jehovah hath called me from the womb,
From the bowels of my mother hath he mentioned my name. 2. And he hath made my mouth as a sharp sword,
In the shadow of his hand hath he hid me:
And he hath made me a tempered shaft,
This language seems to imply, that the instrument has indeed been prepared, but, as to the great acts to be achieved, has not yet been used. It is a sword concealed by the sleeve of the wearer, an arrow hid in his quiver. It is, by “the MAN whom he hath appointed,” “God will judge the world:”—
3. And He said to me,
Thou art my servant, Israel,
“Israel, that is,” as Bishop Stock observes, “the prevailer
with God—an event shadowed in Jacob, fulfilled in Jesus Christ.”