« PreviousContinue »
Gog, instead of Agag, be correct, a connexion is pointed out between this and some subsequent prophecies, which we shall have to notice. I shall only here beg the reader's attention to the last two lines. Surely, to say the least of them, they clearly announce that there is no favour to mankind, but in connexion with Israel; and that all that oppose themselves to this people, must be destroyed !
Lastly; The prophet, under the impulses of the Spirit, calls the king of Moab to him, “ to advertise him what this people shall do to his people in the latter days." After the same exordium, as in his last prophecy, he proceeds : 17, I can see him, but it is not yet;
I can behold him, but it is not near;
And destroy all the children of Seth. The Targum of Onkelos is, “ I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but he is not near. When a king shall arise from the house of Jacob, and the Messiah be anointed from the house of Israel, he shall slay the princes of Moab, and rule over all the children of men.” 18. And Edom becometh a possession,
A possession also becometh Seir; 19. And Israel acquireth strength,
And Jacob closeth up his enemies,
· Transposing raw, and di- (Comp. pije)
,ורום יעקב ,viding the letters thus
As this may be possibly, though I think with little probability, supposed to refer only to the victories and conquests of the early kings of Israel, I shall not dwell upon this part of the prophecy: but proceed to some intimations which are given concerning the affairs of Israel in the last days, at the close of the prophecy, which seem more exclusively connected with our subject. “ And looking upon Amalek, he took up his parable and said:
“ Amalek is the head of the nations,
But in his last end he perisheth a spoil.”
This is supposed to have been fulfilled in the expedition of Saul, recorded 1 Sam. xv. 7. Compare Exodus, xvii. 14.
“ And looking on the Kenite, he took up his parable and said :
Strong is thy dwelling,
Nevertheless the Kenite is a prey,
Understanding this of the Kenites, who were found by Saul among the Amalekites, and whom he dismissed, we may understand the prophecy to predict their gradual consumption among the Israelites, when dislodged from their strong hold, until the period of the captivity of the ten tribes.
On the foreboding of this great judgment to fall on Israel as a chastisement of the Almighty, the prophet exclaims :
Alas! who shall survive the destruction from God?
The passage is justly considered as obscure, and has given rise to various interpretations. If the above be correct, by the oppression from the hand of Chittim, we are to understand those judgments inflicted on the Israelites by the Europeans, both Macedonians and Romans. But as Ashur, and as Heber had been depressed, so should at last thę mightier European foe. By Heber, from the connexion, I understand the Persians. The term signifies, “ He who passes from the other side," more especially “ He who comes from the other side of the river” – “ the Euphrates." This was the situation both of Nineveh and Babylon, but more particularly of the Medes and Persians. To them, therefore, I conclude the term Heber to apply, and that Ashur denotes both the Assyrian empires, that of Nineveh and that of Babylon.
From the Arab. Alicia See Sim. Lex. Or. verhaps. it might be better, with Dr. Geddes, after the reading of the LXX, and a Samaritan MS. to render Who shall escape from the hand
The Vulgate renders “ Fenient in crieribus de Italia, superabunt
Assyrios, vastabuntque Hebræos, et ad extremum etiain ipsi peribupt."
Translating w impersonally. 3 Both the Macedonians and the ancient inhabitants of Italy were descended from Kittim, o'nd, the son of Javan. - See Wells' Geog. Part I. cap. III. sect. ü.
Bishop Horsley, though he does not give the same explanation of these lines, very justly designates them
a complicated exhibition of the infinitely varied business of the whole world, from the prophet's own time to the fall of the Roman empire.”
The prophecies of Balaam, therefore, confirm the former prophecies respecting the high destinies of Israel in the dispensations of God; and they seem to discover to us that the last foe that falls for Israel's sake is EUROPEAN
THE PROPHECIES OF THE ERA OF DAVID.
In pursuing our chronological survey of the Scriptures, for the purpose of collecting the information they have, from time to time, imparted respecting the glorious advent of the Saviour, we now enter, after a long interval of three hundred years *, " from Moses to Samuel,” upon a new era of prophecy, which may be justly considered as the era of David: since by him chiefly were delivered those oracles we are going to consult.
The Spirit of prophecy began, in this age, however, with a more lowly instrument than the son of Jesse. In proceeding to make known to the church some further mysteries of the coming of the great Redeemer, Hannah, the mother of Samuel, is first the subject of the divine inspiration. Samuel was a child obtained by a mother's prayer, after long waiting, and many disappointments of her hope. In these circumstances, she seems to be regarded, in the view of Heaven, as a type of the “mystic Eve,” who has, at length, gotten her“ promised seed” from Jehovah. In this character she is inspired to prophesy, and she pursues a theme that suits neither herself nor Samuel; but which bears a very strong resemblance to the words afterwards put in the mouth of the virgin mother of our Lord t.
* From 1451 before Christ to about 1165.
t The ancient Jews referred this hymn of Hannah to the times of the Messiah."-DEAN ALLIX.