Page images

11. Assemble yourselves and come, all ye nations, around, Ay, collect yourselves there where Jehovah is about to lay

low thy mighty one.'
12. Let the nations be roused, and come up

Unto the valley of Jehoshaphat.
For there will I sit to judge

The whole of the nations around.
13. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.

Come, get ye down,' for the press is full,

The vats overflow; surely their wickedness was great! 14. Multitudes! multitudes ! in the valley of Executed Justice;' Surely the day of Jehovah is near, in the valley of Executed


The vision seems to view the assembled nations gathering on the ominous spot, and predicts that the judgment decreed is just going to be executed. We have learned before, whose armies these are, and what is the great revolution, so often foretold, which is to take place at the same time:

The sun and the moon are darkened,
And the stars withdraw their shining.

This is effected, as has been often so remarkably expressed before, by the uttering of Jehovah's voice.

[blocks in formation]

age, with its trodden wino-press, is the symbol of judgment.

Or, « of decision of judg. ment.” Compare Arab. “ secuit, acie secante usus est, functus est aliqua re studio intentissimo,” &c.


3 The corn-harvest, it will appear hereafter, is a symbol of gathering out the elect: the vint

* Isaiah, xxxiv. 4 ; li. 16; Ixv. 17, &c.

The term “ roar" sounds not well in our language; but in the circumstances in which the Hebrew language was formed, it expresses by no means any thing low or coarse: it contains evidently an allusion to the threatening noise of the lion when he is up in search of his prey, or is in the act of springing upon it. In this point of view, it is a striking metaphor of divine vengeance just ready to burst forth on the assembled multitudes in the valley of Jehovah's judgment.

16. And Jehovah shall roar from Zion,

And will utter his voice from Jerusalem ;
And the heavens and the earth shall shake;
But Jehovah will be a refuge for his people,

And a strong hold for the sons of Israel.
17. And ye shall know that I am Jehovah, your Elohim,

Dwelling in Zion, the hill of my sanctuary.
And Jerusalem shall be holy,
And strangers shall pass through her no more.

We have here, then, a clear prediction of the personal reign of Jehovah, the Messiah, over the nation of Israel, where he fixes the throne of his kingdom, his sanctuary anuong men. The abundant fertility of soil in these happy days is again described :

18. And it shall come to pass in that day,

That the mountains shall distil wine,
And the hills shall pour forth milk;
And all the channels of Judah shall pour forth water,
And there shall yo forth a fountain from the house of

And shall water the valley of Shittim.

This seems both a description of the restored fruitfulness



of the land of Judah, now so desolate ; and an assignment of the cause, of one cause at least, from which it will arise. A new supply of water will be afforded from all its channels, or ancient courses, which are described at this time by travellers as so remarkably deficient. Especially, a new fountain is to be created by miraculous power, on some spot near to where the temple stands - a fountain which will water all the desolated country, from Jerusalem towards the east; and not only flow into the Jordan, and the Dead Sea; but burst its way beyond, and flow into the champaign country of Moab. For there, from a comparison of Joshua, ii. 1; and Numbers, xxv. 1; we find the valley of Shittim, as some explain it, of “ acacia trees :" and comparing this again with what was mentioned in former prophecies concerning the watering of the Arabian desert, * who can but conjecture that this is the very stream, that is to produce this wonderful change in that now desolate part of the earth ?

[ocr errors]

19. Egypt shall be a desolation,

And Edom shall be a desolated wilderness;
For their violence against the sons of Judah,
Whose innocent blood they shed in their land.

A question may arise here, Are Egypt and Edom to be taken literally for the countries so called; or spiritually of the Roman empire, of which both these nations, as we have seen, were types ? I am inclined to suppose the latter; because we know from former prophecies, that the Roman world is, at this time, to be made a desolation; and because it should seem, from Isaiah, chap. xix., that the situation of Egypt, at this era, will be very different

* Isaiah, xxxv. 7.

from the description here given : and as for Edom, it is at present, and ever has been, a desolate wilderness, comparatively speaking. The prophecy ends :

20. But Judah shall dwell for ever,

And Jerusalem from generation to generation;
And I will purify' them of the blood shed by them, which I

had not purified;
And Jehovah will dwell in Zion.

What this guilt of blood is, that rests to the very last on accursed Judah and Jerusalem, we cannot be at a loss to discover: and the comparison of the oracles that have already glanced at this fact will be very interesting to read; Isaiah, iv. 4; Psalm li. 14. They," with wicked hands," “ crucified the Lord of glory!" and with their own lips imprecated his innocent blood upon themselves, and upon their children.

Experyavit, extersit."-Simon.




We now enter upon the second division of the Jewish prophets; which we have connected together under the title of the era of the Babylonian captivity. Zephaniah preceded a short time this period, which is more properly filled by the prophets Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, with whom Habakkuk was contemporary: including a space of about one hundred years, from 640 to 534 before Christ.


Remarks on the Three First Chapters of Zephaniah.

The prophet Zephaniah prophesied in the reign of Josiah, “ from before Christ 640 to 609;" so that from the time of Isaiah, to the prophets of the captivity, we have almost an uninterrupted series. The oracles delivered by this prophet confirm, in several places, what has been before foretold of the restoration of the Jews, the punishment of their adversaries, and the manifestation of Christ's kingdom, as a few extracts will show:

14. The great day of Jehovah is near,

It is near, and hasteth much.

« PreviousContinue »