« PreviousContinue »
7. And I will make her that was barren a remnant, And her that was removed afar off" a strong nation:
And Jehovah shall reign over them in Mount Zion,
She that was barren appears to be a symbol of Jerusalem and Judah; she that was “driven out,” or “removed,” of the ten tribes. Over both these nations the Lord, who cometh with his holy myriads, will exercise his peaceful dominion, and Jerusalem is to be the throne of his kingdom: —
8. And thou, O Tower of the flock,
Even the first dominion shall come,
But, ere this final establishment of her kingdom, the prophet proceeds to predict she must suffer many things; and “be in pangs, like a travailing woman”—she must be carried to Babylon–verse 10–but from hence God will rescue her.
The vision then passes through many ages to the last siege of Jerusalem, which terminates, as we have often learned, in the entire discomfiture of the enemy: —
11. And now many nations are gathered against thee, Who say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look in triumph on Zion. -
12. But they know not the designs of Jehovah, Neither understand they his determination; For he hath assembled them as a sheaf for the threshing floor.
* So Archbishop Newcombe; or, perhaps, “she that was sick or grieved in mind.” WOL. I. H. H.
13. Arise, and tread out the grain, O daughter of Zion,
And thou shalt beat to pieces mighty nations,
The prophet, however, summons the Israelitish nation to hear their more immediate doom :—
1. Now assemble in troops, O daughter, Siege is laid to thee.
With a staff have they smitten on the cheek
The Septuagint version and some manuscripts read here, “O daughter of Ephraim.” This guides us to the most probable interpretation, that the conquest of Hosea and the ten tribes is especially intended; though from what follows, it seems, we are to include all the calamities brought on both houses of Israel by the Assyrian invasions. The order “to assemble in troops” bids the country to prepare for war. In the midst of these warlike preparations, the Spirit of prophecy animadverts on the low condition of Bethlehem, the native city of David. At the time of these musters which are to meet the Assyrian attack, this town, it appears, was too small to send forth even the leader of a thousand men. How different the future destinies of Bethlehem!
2. And thou, Bethlehem Ephrata,
* “Art thou too little to be among the leaders of Judah " ARchb.p. Newcomb E.
From thee shall go forth to me,
It has been justly observed, that in this unequivocal prophecy of the Redeemer and future King of Israel, one going forth is spoken of as future, and another as past, which can suit none but Christ:—“God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the world, and man of the substance of his mother, born in the world.”
3. Therefore will he deliver them up until she that beareth hath brought forth,
And until the residue of their brethren shall be converted with the sons of Israel.
I have adopted Archbishop Newcombe's translation of these lines: according to this, the prediction is, that Israel, notwithstanding their high destinies foretold above, will be delivered into the hands of their enemies, until after the birth of the Messiah, and until after the conversion of the residue of their brethren, with the sons of Israel: “Even us whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles,” as we shall find hereafter. It is when “the fulness of the Gentiles is come in” that all Israel shall be saved. What follows will then refer to the promised kingdom at the second advent: —
4. And he shall stand and feed ‘ his flock’ in the strength of Jehovah,
In the majesty of the name of Jehovah, his God.
And they shall return: — for now shall he be great
5. And HE shall be “our' peace.
With the abovementioned translator, I divide the
passage in this place. “After the illustrious prophecy relating to the Messiah, in the three foregoing verses, the prophet passes on to the subversion of the Assyrian empire,” verses 5, 6: after this follow two predictions respecting “ the remnant” of Jacob, both of which are to be referred to the latter times:—
7. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, In the midst of many peoples;
As the dew from Jehovah,
Which looketh not to man,
Some are of opinion, that this symbolizes the preaching of the Gospel among the Gentiles by Jewish apostles and teachers. I rather agree with those who think that the passage describes the entire dependence of the remnant of Israel on a special Providence, which will protect them in all their dispersions, and which shall particularly manifest itself in their final deliverance. The metaphor I conceive to be taken, not from the fructifying effects of the dew and showers; but from the circumstance of the partial falling and uncertain continuance of the dew on the earth, and of those numerous drops that stand in consequence on the blades of grass and other vegetables. They come and are removed, they multiply and are diminished, without the knowledge or control of man, as it were, by a secret operation of Providence. So shall the remnant of Israel be among the nations. The places of their abode, their removals, their increase and decrease, shall be managed by the hand of God himself; so that it is beyond all the wisdom and all the power of man, to dispose of or to control this wonderful people. The other prediction describes the invincibleness of this small remnant in the midst of their mighty foes:—
8. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, In the midst of many peoples;
As the lion among the cattle of the forest,
Who, when he passeth through, treadeth down,
9. Thine hand shall be lifted up over thine adversaries, And all thine enemies shall be cut off.
But before this shall come to pass, the prophecy proceeds to show, Israel will be brought low, in order to purge them of idolatry and false worship.
THE last chapter of this prophet, of which we shall next take notice, begins with foreboding the great diminishing of the faithful in Israel; and it appears, from what follows, to be particularly applicable to the Jews of the first advent: for our Lord refers the prediction to the eventual consequences of his mission :-
4. It is’ the day of thy watchmen, thy visitation cometh, Now shall be their perplexity.
Or, “In the day of thy watchmen.” It may mean, at the very season when thy faithless watchmen should have