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1,IZ ^ 






I 



AN 

EXPOSITION ( JAN101912 



Old and New Testament: 



EACH CHAPTER IS SUMMED UP IN ITS CONTENTS ; THE SACRED TEXT INSERTED 

AT LARGE, IN DISTINCT PARAGRAPHS ; EACH PARAGRAPH REDUCED 

TO ITS PROPER HEADS ; THE SENSE GIVEN, 

AND LARGELY ILLUSTRATED ; 



PRACTICAL REMARKS AND OBSERVATIONS 

/ 

^ BY MATTHEW HENRY. 



EDITED BY 

THE REV. GEORGE BURDER, AND THE REV. JOSEPH HUGHES, A. M. 

WITH THE 

LIFE OF THE AUTHOR, 

BY THE 
REV. SAMUEL PALMER. 

iFftst American ISDttion: 

TO WHICH 13 PREFIXED, 

A PREFACE, 

BY ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER, D. D. 

PXOFZSSOR OF THEOLOOT IN THE SEMINARY AT PRINCETON, M. J. 



VOL. IV. 



PHILADELPHIA . 
ED. BARRINGTON & GEO. D. HASWELL, 

MARKET STREET. 



AN 



EXPOSITION, 



WITH 



PRACTICAL. OBSERVATIONS, 



UPON THE 



PROPHETICAL BOOKS 



or THE 



OLD TESTAMENT, 



^TAMELY, 


ISAIAH, 


JONAH, 


JEREMIAH, 


MICAH, 


LAMENTATIONS, 


NAHUM, 


EZEKIEL, 


HABAKKUK, 


DANIEL, 


ZEPHANIAH, 


HOSEA, 


HAGGAI, 


JOEL, 


ZECHARIAH, 


AMOS, 


AND 


OBADIAH, 


MALACHL 



THE 

PREFACE 

TO THE 

PROPHETICAL. BOOK8. 



'T'HOSE books of scripture are all profihetkal, of which here, in iveakness, and in fear, and in mu, 
trembling, we have endeavoured a methodical explication and a practical improvement. I call the 



muih 
fiem 
ftro/iheticali^because so they are for the main, though we have some histories, ^here and there brought 
in for the illustration of the prophecies,) and a book of Lamentations. Our Saviour often puts t/ie Law 
and the Profihets for the Old Testament The prophets, by waving; the ceremonial precepts, and not 



insisting on them, but only on the weightier matters of the law, plainly intimated the abolishing of that 
part of the law of Moses by the gospel; and by their many predictions of Christ, and the kingdom of his 
grace, they intimated the accomplishing and perfecting of that part of the law of Moses in the gospel. 



Thus the prophets were the nexus — the connecting bond between the law and the gospel, and are 
therefore fitly placed between them. 

These books, being prophetical, are, as such, divine, and of heavenly original and extraction. We 
have human laws, human histories, and human poems, as well as divine ones, but we can have no human 
prophecies. Wise and good men may make prudent conjectures concerning future events; {moral firog- 
nostications we call them;) but it is essential to true prophecy that it be of God. The learned Huetius* 
lays this down for one of his axioms. Omnia firofihetica facultas a Deo est — The firofihetic talent is en- 
tirely from God; and he proves it to be the sense both of Jews and heathen, that it is God's prerogative 
to foresee things to come, and that whoever had such a power, had it from Grod. And therefore the Jews 
reckon all prophecy to be given by the highest degree of inspiration, except that which was peculiar 
to Moses. When our Saviour asked the chief priests whether John's baptism were from heaven, or of 
men, they durst not say. Of men, because the people counted him a prophet, and, if so, then not of men. 

The Hebrew name tor a prophet is H'sj — a sfleaker, preacher, or orator, a messenger, or interfire'.er, 
that delivers God's messages to the children of men; as a herald to proclaim war, or an ambassador to 
treat of peace. But then it must be remembered, that he was formerly called nxi or npn, that is, c 
seer; (1 Sam. ix. 9.) for prophets, with the eyes of their minds, first saw what they were to speak, and 
then .spake what they had seen. 

Prophecy, taken strictly, is the foretelling of things to come; and there were those to whom God gave 
this power, not only that it might be a sign for the confinning of the faith of the church concerning the 
doctrine preached, when the things foretold should be fulfilled, but for warning, instruction, and comfort, 
in prospect of what they themselves might not live to see accomplished, but which should be fulfilled in 
its season; so, predictions of things to come long after, might be of present use. 

The learned Dr. Grewf describes prophecy in this sense to be, " A declaration of the divine pre- 
science, looking at any distance through a train of infinite causes, known and unknown to us, upon a sure 
and certain effect." Whence he infers, "That the being of prophecies supposes the non-being of con- 
tingents, for though there are many things which seem to us to be contingents, yet, were they so indeed, 
there could have been no prophecy; and there can be no contingent seemingly so loose and independent, 
but it is a link of some chain. " And Huetius gives this reason, why none but God can foretell things to 
come. Because every effect depends upon an infinite number of preceding causes, all which, in their or- 
der, must be known to him that foretells the effect, and therefore to God only, for he alone is omniscient. 
So TuUy argues; Qui teneat causas rerum futurarum, idem necesse est omnia teneat gux futtira sint ; 
quod facere nemo nisi Deus fiotest — He ivho knows the causes of future events, must necessarily know 
the events themselves; this is the firerogative of God alone. % And therefore we find that by this the God 
of Israel proves himself to be God, that by his prophets he foretold things to come, which came to pass 
according to the prediction, Isa. xlvi. 9, 10. And by this he disproves the pretensions of the Pagan deities, 
that they could not show the things that were to come to fiass hereafter, Isa. xli. 23. Tertullian proves 
the divine authority of the scripture from the fulfilling of scripture-prophecies, Idoneum, oftinor, testi- 
monium Divinitatis, Veritas Divinationis — I conceive the accomfilishment of firofihecy to be a satisfactory 
attestation from God.\ And beside the foretelling of things to come, the discovering of things secret by 
revelation from God is a branch of prophecy, as Ahijah's discovering Jeroboam's wife in disguise, an< 
Elisha's telling Gehazi what passed between him and riaaman. 

But § prophecy, in scripture-language, is taken more largely for a declaration of such things to the chil- 
dren of men, either by word or writing, as God has revealed to them that speak or write it, by vision, 
dream, or inspiration, guiding their minds, their tongue, and pens, by his Holy Spirit, and giving them 
not only ability, but authority, to declare such things in his name, and to preface what they say with. 
Thus saith the Lord. In this sense it is said. The prophecy of scripture came not in old time by the will 
of man, as other pious moral discourses might, but holy men sfiake and wrote as they were moved by the 
Holy Ghost, 2 Pet. i. 20, 21. The same Holy Spirit that moved upon the face of the waters to prod'ice 
the world, moved upon the minds of the prophets to produce the Bible. 

• Demonstrat. Evnng vag. 15. t Coimol. Sacra, ^i5. 4. cap. Q. t Circrn dc Divin ^'6 1 

P Apnl cap. 20. { Du Pin, Hiit. of the Canon, lib. I. cap. !. 



vi PREFACE. 

Now I think it is worthy to be observed, that all nations, having had some sense of Gnd and religior., 
have likewise had a nation of prophets and prophecy, have had a veneration f r them, ;ind a desire und 
expectation of acquaintance and communion with the gods they worshipped in that way. Witness their 
oracles, their augurs, and the many arts of divination they had in use among them, in all the ages, and all 
the countries, of the world. 

It is commonly urged as an argument against the Atneists, to prove that there is a God, That all na- 
tions of the world acknowledged some god or other, some Being above them, to be worshipped aijd prayed 
to, to be trusted in and praised; the most ignorant and barbarous nations could not avoid the knowledge 
of it; the most learned and polite nations could not avoid the belief of it. And this is a sufficient proof 
of the general and unanimous consent of mankind to this truth; though far the greatest part of men made 
to themselves gods, which yet were no gods. Now I think it may be urged with equal force against the 
Deists, for the proof of a divine revelation, that all nations of the world had, and had veneration for, that 
which they at least took to be a divine revelation, and could not live without; though in this also they be- 
came x'af« /n their imaginations, and their foolish heart nvas darkened. But if there were not a true 
Deity, and a true prophecy, there would never have been pretended deities and counterfeit prophecies. 

Lvcurgus and Numa, those two great lawgivers of the Spartan and Roman commonwealths, brought 
tlieir people to an observance of the laws by possessing them with a notion that they had them by divinf, 
revelation, and so making it a point of religion to observe them. And those that have been ever so httle 
conversant with the Greek and Roman histories, as well as with the more ancient ones of Chaldea and 
Egypt, cannot but remember what a profound deference their princes and great commanders, and not 
tlieir unthinking commonalty only, paid to the oracles and prophets, and the prognostications of their 
soothsayers, which, in all cases of importance, were consulted with abundance of gravity and solemnity; 
and how often the resolutions of councils, and the motions of mighty armies, turned upon them, though 
thev appeared ever so groundless and far-fetched. 

There is a full account given by that learned philosopher and physician, Casper Peucer,* of the many 
kinds of divination and prediction used among the Gentiles, by which they took on them to tell the for- 
tune both of states and particular persons. They were all, he says, reduced by Plato to two heads; Di- 
vinatio, Muvtik.!,, which was a kind of inspiration, or was thought to be so; the prophet or prophetess 
foretelling things to come by an internal Jlatus or fury; such was the oracle of Apollo at Delphos, and 
that of Jupiter Trophonius; which, with others like them, were famous for many ages, during the pre- 
valencv of^the kingdom of darkness, but (as appears by some of the Pagan writers themselves) they were 
all silenced and struck dumb, when the gospel (that truly divine oracle) began to be preached to the na- 
tions. The other kind of divination was that which he calls OiaMo-Tixii, which was a prognostication 
by signs, according to rules of art, as by the flight of birds, the entrails of beasts, by stars or mete- 
ors, and abundance of ominous accidents, with which a foolish world was miserably imposed upon. A 
large account of this matter we have also in the late learned dissertations of Anton. Van Dale, to which 
I refer the reader, f 

But nothing of this kind made a greater noise in the Gentile world than the oracles of the Sybils, and 
tlieir prophecies; their name signifies a divine counsel: Sibyllse, qu. Siobulce; Sios, in the ^olic dialect, 
being put for Theos. Peucer says. Almost every nation had its Sibyls, but those of Greece were most 
celebrated. They lived in several ages; the most ancient is said to be the Sibylla Delfihica, who lived 
before the Trojan war, or about that time. The Sibylla Erythrea was the most noted; she lived about 
the time of Alexander the Great. But it was the Sibylla Cumana of whom the story goes, that she pre- 
sented herself, and nine books of oracles, to Tarquinius Superbus, which she offered to sell him at so 
vast a rate, that he refused to purchase them, upon which she burnt three, and, upon his second re- 
fusal, the other three, but made him give the same rate for the remaining three, which were deposited 
with great care in the Capitol. But those being afterward burnt accidentally with the Capitol, a col- 
lection was made of the other Sibylline oracles, and those are they which Virgil refers to in his fourth 
Eclogue. 4: 

All the oracles of the Sibyls that are extant, were put together, and published in Holland not many 
years ago, by Servatius Gallxus, in Greek and Latin, with large and learned notes; together with all thai 
could be met with of the metrical oracles that go under the names of Jupiter, Apollo, Serapis, ^nd others, 
by Joannes Osop^us. 

The oracles of the Sibyls were appealed to by many of the Fathers, for the confirmation of the Chris- 
tian religion. Justin Martyr|| appeals with a great deal of assurance, persuading the Greeks to give credit 
to that ancient Sibyl, whose works were extant all the world over; and to their testimony, and that of Hy- 
daspis, he appeals concerning the general conflagration, and the torments of hell. Clemens Alexandri- 
nus§ often quotes the Sibyls' verses with gi-eat respect; so does Lactantius^f; St. Austin.** De Civitate 
Dei, has the famous acrostic at large, said to be one of the oracles of the Sibylla Erythrea, the first let- 
ters of the verses making '"ita-it Xfia-Tot Bit »i« Swt*^ — Jesus Christ the Son of God the Saviour. Di- 
vers passages they produce out of these oracles which expressly foretell the coming of the' Messiah, his 
being born of a virgin, his miracles, his sufferings, particularly his being bufFetted, spit upon, crowned 
with thorns, having vinegar and gall given him to drink, &c. 

Wliether these oracles were genuine and authentic or no, has been much controverted among the 
learned. Bironius and the Popish writers generally admit and applaud them, and build much upon 
them; so do some Protestant writers; Isaac Vossius has written a great deal to support the reputation 
of them, and (as I find him quoted by Van Dale) will needs have it that they were fonnerly a part of 
the canon of scripture; and a learned prelate of our own nation. Bishop Montague, pleads largely, and 
with great assurance, for their authority, and is of opinion that some of them were divinely inspired. 

But many learned men look upon it to be a pious fraud, as they call it; that those verses of the Sibyls, 
which speak so very expressly of Christ and the future state, were forged by some Christians, and im- 
posed u)5on tlie over-credulous. Huetius,f f though of the Romish church, condemns both the ancient 
and modern composures of the Sibyls, and refers his reader, for the proof of their vanity, to the learned 
Blondel. Van Dale and Gallxus look upon them to be a forgery. And the truth is, they speak so much 

• De PriBcipuia nivinationum Gencribus, .«. 1591. t De Ver& ae FalsS PropheliJ, A. 1696. } nd. Virg. XncM, lib. 6. 

II A<I GriTcos Cohortat. ;Hr(a ^«f m. ^ Apol. 2. p. mihi. 66. 1. IT Quoost. el Respons v 4^1 

•• AU5. d-s Civ. Dei, dS' 18. cap. 23. (t Demonstial. p. 748. 



PREFACE. VII 

ni- .reparticularly and plainly concerning our Saviour and the future state, than any of the projects of the 
(Xid Testament do, that we must conclude St. Paul, who was the apostle of the Gentiles, guilty net only 
of a very great omission, (that in all his preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles, and in ail his epistles to 
the Gentile churches, he never so much as mentions the prophecies of the Sibyls, nor vouches their au- 
thority, as he does that of the Old Testament prophets, in his preaching and writing to the Jews,) but 
likewise of a very great mistake, in making it the particular advantage which the Jews had above the 
Gentiles, that (o them were committed the oracles of God, (Rom. iii. 1, 2.) and that they were the chil- 
dren of the prophets, while he speaks of the Gentiles as sitting in darkness, and being afar off. We can- 
not conceive that heathen women, and those actuated by demons, should speak more clearly and fully ot 
Uie Messiah than those holy men did, who, we are sure, were moved by the Holy Ghost; or that the 
Gentiles should be instructed with larger and earlier disco\eries of the great salvation than that people 
of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ was to come. But enough, if not more than enough, of the pre- 
tenders to prophecy. It is a good remark wliich the learned Gallssus makes upon the great veneraticn 
which the Romans had for the oracles of the Sibyls, for which he quotes Dionysius Halicarnassaeus, OuSh 
BTf 'Pi.Miio/ f-jxaT^aa-n, BTi oirjsv xT»,uct UTS Ufor, i,< rd Si0uKhiii 6=(r?iTci — The Romans fireien'e nothing 
nuith such sacred care, nor do they hold any thing in such high estimation, as the Sibylline oracles. Hi si 
ftro vitreis suis thesauris adeo decertarunt, quid nos jiro genuinis nostris, a Deo ins/iiratis! — If they had 
such a value for these counterfeits, hoiu flrecious should the true treasure of the divine oracles be to us! 
Of these we come next to speak. 

Prophecy, we are sure, was of equal date with the church; ior faith comes, not by thinking and seeing, 
as philosophy does.but by hearing, by hearing the ivord of God, Rem. x. 17. In the antediluvian period 
Ad.im received divine revelation in the promise of the Seed of the woman, and, no doubt, communicated 
it, in the name of the Lord, to his seed, and was prophet as well as priest, to his numerous family. Enoch 
was a prophet, and foretold perhaps the deluge, however, the last judgment, that of the great day: Be- 
hold, the Lord comes, Jude 14. When men began, as a church, to call upon the name of the Lord, 
(Geii iv. 26.) or to call tliemselves by his name, they were blessed with prophets, for the flro/ihecy came 
in old time; (2 Pet. i. 21.) it is venerable for its antiquity. 

W^ien God renewed his covenant of providence (and that a figure of the covenant of grace) with Noah 
and his sons, we soon after find Noah, as a prophet, foretelling, not only the sen-itude of Canaan, but 
G.id's enlarging Japhet by Christ, and his dwelling in the tents of Shem, Gen. ix. 26, 27. And when, 
uprn the general re\'olt of mankind to idolatry, (as, in the former period, upon the apostacy of Cain;) God 
distinguished a church for himself by the call of Abraham, and by his covenant with him and his seed, he 
conferred upon him and the other patriarchs the spirit of prophecy; for when he reproved kings for their 
sikes, he said. Touch not mine anointed, who have received that unction from the Holy One; and do my 
firofthets no harm, Ps. cv. 14, 15. And of Abraham, he said expressly. He is a prophet; (Gen. xx. 7.) 
for it was with a prophetic eye, as a seer, that Abraham saiv Christ's day, (John viii. 56.) saw it at so 
great a distance, and yet with so great an assurance triumphed in it. And Stephen seems to speak of the 
first settling of a correspondence between him and God, by which he was established to be a prophet, 
when he says, The God of glory appeared to him, (Acts vii. 2.) appeared in glory. Jacob upon his death- 
bed, as a prophet, told his sons Kvhat should befall them in the last days, (Gen. xlix. 1, 10.) and spake \-ery 
particularly concerning the Messiah. 

Hitherto was the infancy of the church, and with it of prophecy; it was the dawning of that day; and 
that morning light owed its rise to the Sun of righteousness, though he rose not till long after; but it shone 
mere and more. During the bondage of Israel in Egypt, this, as other glories of the church, was eclipsed; 
but as the church made a considerable and memoratjle advance in the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, 
and the forming of them into a people, so did the Spirit of prophecy in Moses, the illustrious instrument 
employed in that great service; and it was by that Spirit that he performed that service; so it is said, Hos. 
xii. 13. By a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he presented through 
the wilderness to Canaan, by Moses as a prophet. It appears, by what God said to Aaron, that there 
were then other prophets among them, to whom God made known himself and his will in dreams and vi- 
sions, (Numb. xii. 6.) but to Moses he spake in a peculiar manner, mouth to mouth, even apparently, and 
not in dark speeches. Numb. xii. 8. Nay, such a plentiful effusion was there of the Spirit of prophecy at 
that time, (because Moses was such a prophet as was to be a type of Christ the great Prophet,) that srme 
of his Spirit was put upon seventy elders of Israel at once, and they prophesied. Numb. xi. 25. \A'hat 
they said, was extraordinary, and not only under the direction of a prophetic inspiration, but under the 
constraint of a prophetic impulse; as appears by the case of Eldad and Medad. 

When Moses, that great prophet, was lying down, he promised Israel that the Lord God would raise 
them up a Prophet of their brethren like unto him, Deut. xviii. 15, 18. In these words, says the learned 
Bishop Stillingfleet, * (though in their full and complete sense, they relate to Christ, and to him they are 
more than once applied in the New Testament,) there is included a promise of an order of prophets, which 
should succeed Moses in the Jewish church, and be the Aoj-i* ^Svti — the living orcr/fs among thcni, 
(Acts vii._ 38;) by which they might know the mind of God. For, in the next words, he lays down rules 
for the triid of _ prophets, whether what they said was of God or no. And it is observable, '.hat that pre- 
mise comes in immediately upon an express prohibition of the Pagan rites of divination, and the consulting 
of \vizards and familiar spirits; "You shall not need to do that," (said Moses,) " for, to vour much better 
satisfaction, you shall have prophets divinely inspired, by Whom you may know from God himself both 
whit to do, and what to expect." 

But as Jacob's dying prophecy concerning the sceptre in Judah, and the lawgiver between his feet, did 
not begin to be remarkably fulfilled till David's time, most of the Judges being of other tribes, so Moses's 
promise of a succession of prophets began not to receive its accomplishment till Samuel's time, a little be- 
fore the other promise began to emerge and operate; and it was an introduction to the other, for it was bv 
Samuel, as a prophet, that David was anointed king; which was an intimation that the prophetical office 
of our Redeemer should make way, both in the world, and in the heart, for his kingly office; and therefore 
when he was asked, jirt thou a king? (John xviii. 3". ) he answered, not evasively, biit very pertinently, / 
cime to bear witness to the truth; and so to nile as a king, purely by the power of ti-uth. 

• Oris. Sacr. D. 2. c 4. 



i-iii PREFACE. 

During the government of the Judges, there was a pouring out of the Spirit, but more as a Spirit of con- 
duct and courage for war, than as a Spirit of prophecy. Deborah is indeed called a firophetess, bccr.usi' 
of her extraordinary qualifications forjudging Israel; but that is the only mention of prophecy, that 1 ri 
member, in all the book oi Judges. Extraordinary messages were sent by angels, as to Gideon and Ma 
noah; and it is expressly said, that before the word of the Lord came to Samuel, (1 Sam. iii. 1.) it was 
ftrecious, it was very scarce, there was no open vision. And it was therefore with more than ordinary 
solemnity that the word of the Lord came first to Samuel; and by degrees notice and assurance were given 
to all Israel, that Samuel was established to be a firophet of the Lord, v. 20. 

In Samuel's time, and by him, the schools of the prophets were erected, by which propliecy was digni- 
fied, and provision made for a succession of prophets; for it should seem, that, in those colleges, hopeful 
young men were bred up in devotion, in a constant attendance upon the instruction the prophets gave fron) 
t iod, and under a strict discipline, as candidates, or probationers, for prophecy, who were called the sont 
■jf the profihets; and their religious exercises of prayer, conference, and psalmody especially, are c.ilkd 
Jirofihecyings; and their prefect, or president, is called their father, 1 Sam. x. 12. Out of these, God, 
ordinarily, chose the prophets he sent; yet not always: Amos was no prophet, or prophet's son, (Amos 
vii. 14. ) had not his education in the schools of the prophets, and yet was commissioned to go on God's er- 
rands, and (which is observable) though he had not an academical education himself, yet he seems to speak 
of it with great respect, when he reckons it among the favours God had bestowed upon Israel, that he 
raised ufi of their sons for firofihets, and of their young men for JVazarites, Amos ii. 11. 

It is worth noting, that when the glory of the priesthood was eclipsed by the iniquity of the house of 
Eli, the desolations of Shiloh, and the obscurity of the ark, there was then a' more plentiful effusion of the 
Spirit of prophecy than had been before; a standing ministry of another kind was thereby erected, and a 
succession of it kept up. And thus afterwards, in the kingdom of the ten tribes, where there was no legal 
priesthood at all, yet there were prophets and prophets' sons; in Ahab's time, we meet with a hundred ot 
them, whom Obadiah hid \>y fifty in a cave, 1 Kings xviii. 4. When the people of God, who desired to 
know his mind, wanted one way of instruction, God furnished them with another, and a less ceremonious 
one; for he left not himself without witness, nor them without a guide. And whei) they had no temple or 
altar, that they could attend upon with any safety or satisfaction, they had private meetings at the pro- 
phets' houses, to which the devout faithful worshipjiers of God resorted, (as we find the good Shunamite 
did, 2 Kings iv. 23. ) and where they kept their new-moons, and their sabbaths, comfortably, and to their 
edification. 

David was himself a prophet; so St. Peter calls him; (Acts ii. 30.) and though we read not of God's 
speaking to him by dreams and visions, yet we are sure that Mf Sfiirit of the Lord sfiake by him, and his 
nvord was in his tongue; (2 Sam. xxiii. 2.) and he had those about him, that were seers, that were his 
seers, as Gad and Iddo, that brought him messages from God, and wrote the history of his times. And 
now the productions of the Spirit of prophecy were translated into the service of the temple, not only in 
the model of the house which the Lord made David understand in writing by his hand upon him, (1 Chfon. 
xxviii. 19.) but in the worship performed there; for there we find Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, pro- 
phesying with harps and other musical instruments, according to the order of the king, not to foretell thmgs 
to come, but to give thanks, and to praise the Lord; (1 Chron. xxv. 1 — 3.) yet, in their psalms, they 
spake much of Christ and his kingdom, and the glory to be revealed. 

In the succeeding reiKns,both of Judah and Israel, we frequently meet with prophets sent on particulai 
errands to Rehoboam, Jeroboam, Asa, and other kings, who, it is probable, instructed the people in the 
things of God at other times, though it is not recorded. But prophecy growing into contempt with many, 
God revived the honour of it, and put a new lustre upon it, in the power given to Elijah and Elisha to 
work miracles, and the great things that God did by them, for the confirming of the people's faith in it, 
and the awakening of their regard to it, 2 Kings ii. 3. — iv. 1, 38. — v. 22. — vi. 1. In their time, and by their 
agency, it should seem, the schools of the prophets were revived, and we find the sons of the prophets, 
fellows of those sacred colleges, employed in carrying messages to the great men, as to Ahab, (1 Kings 
XX. 35.) and to Jehu, 2 Kings ix. 1. 

Hitherto, the prophets of the Lord delivered their messages by word of mouth; only we read of one 
writing which came from Elijah the prophet to Jehoram king of Israel, 2 Chron. xxi. 12. The histories 
of those times, which are left us, were compiled by prophets, under a divine direction; and when the 
Old Testament is divided into the Law and the Prophets, the historical books are, for that reason, rec- 
koned among the prophets. But, in the latter times of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, some of the pro- 
phets were divinely inspired to write their prophecies, or abstracts of them, and to leave them upon record, 
for the benefit of after ages, that the children which should be born might praise the Lord for them, and, 
by comparing the event with the prediction, might have their faith confirmed. And, probably, those later 
prophets spake more fully and plainly of the Messiah and his kingdom than their predecessors had done, 
and for that reason their prophecies were put in writing, not only for the encouragement of the pious Jews 
that looked for the consolation of Israel, but for the use of us Christians, upon whom the ends of^the world 
are come, as David's psalms had been for the same reason, that the Old Testament and the New might 
mutually give light and lustre to each other. Many other faithful prophets there were at the same time, 
who spake in God's name, who did not commit their prophecies to writing, but were of those whom God 
sent, rising up betimes, and sending them; the contempt of whom, and of their messages, brought ruin 
without remedy upon that sottish people, that knew not the day of their visitation. 

In their captuity, they had some prophets, some to show them how long; and though it was not by u 
prophet, like Moses, that they were brought up out of Babylon, as they had been out of EgT,'pt, but by 
Joshua the High Priest first, and afterward by Ezra the scribe, to show that God can do his work by or 
dinary means when he pleases; yet, soon after their return, the Spirit of prophecy was poured out plenti- 
fully, and continued (according to the Jews' computation) forty years in the second temple, but ceased in 
Malachi. Then (say the Rabbins) the Holy Sfiirit 7i>as taken frotn Israel, and they had the benefit only 
of the Bathkbl, the daughter of a voice, a voice from heaven,' which they look upon to be the lowest de- 
gree of divine revelation. Now herein they are witnesses against themselves for rejecting the true Mes- 
siah; for our Lord Jesus, and he only, was spoken to by a voice from heaven at his baptism, his transfigu 
ration, and his entrance on his sufferings. 

In John the Baptist prophecy revived, and therefore in him the gospel is said to begin, when the churc» 



PREFACE. . ix 

firitl had no prophets for above 300 years. We h:ivc not only the vox fiofiuU — the voice ofthejieofile, to pro\ e 
John a prophet, for all the people counted him so, Init x'Ojc Del — the voice of Cod too; for Christ calls 
him a prophet, M.itth. xi. 9, 10. He had an extraordinaiy commission from God to call people to re 
pent.ince, was Jilled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's ii-omb, and was therefore called the firoftliet 
of the Highest, because he vienl before the face of the Lord, to prefiare his nvay; (Luke i. 15, IG.) and 
though he did no miracle, nor gave any sign or wonder, yet this pro\ cd him a true prr phet, that all hf 
taid of Christ was true, John x. 41. Nay, and this proved him more than a prophet, than any of the 
othei- prophets, that whereas by other prophets Christ was disco\ered as at a great distance, by him he 
was discovered as already come, and he was enabled to say. Behold the jMmb of God. 

But after the ascension of our Lord Jesus there was a more plentiful effusion of the Spirit of prophecy 
than e\er before; then was the promise fulfilled, that God \\o\x\A ftoiir out his S/iirit ufion all jtesh, (and 
not as hitherto upon the Jews only,) and their sons and their daug-hters should firofihesy. Acts ii. 16, &c. 
The gift of tongues was one new product of the Spirit of prophecy, and given for a particular reason, 
that the Jewish pale being taken down, all nations might be brought into the church. These and other 
gifts of prophecy, being for a sign, are long since ceased, and laid aside, and we ha\e no encouragement 
to expect the revival of them; but, on the contrary, are directed to call the scriptures the more sure word 
of firo/ihecy, more sure than voices from heaven; and to them we are directed to talre heed, to search 
them, and to hold them fast, 2 Pet. i. 19. All God's spiritual Israel know that they are established to 
be the oracles of God, (1 Sam. iii. 20.) and if any add to, or take from, the book of that prophecy, they 
may read their doom in the close of it; God shall take blessings from them, and add curses to them. 
Rev. xxii. 18, 19. 

Now concerning the prophets of the Old Testament, whose writings are before us; observe, 

L That they were all holy men; we are assured by the apostle, that the firofihecy came in old time by 
holy men of God, (and men of God they were commonly called, because they were devoted to him,) 
who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. They were men, subject to like fiassions as ive are, 
(so Elijah, one of the greatest of them, is said to have been. Jam. v. 17. ) but they were holy men, 
men that in the temper of their minds, and the tenour of their lives, were examples of serious piety. 
Though there were many pretenders, that, without warrant, said, Thus saith the Lord, when he sent 
them not; and some that prophesied in Christ's name, but he never knew them, and they indeed were 
workers of iniquity; (Matth. vii. 22, 23.) and though the cursing, blaspheming lips of Balaam and Caia- 
phas, even then when they actually designed mischief, were overruled to speak oracles; yet none were 
employed and commissioned to speak as prophets, but those that had received the Spirit of grace and 
sinctification; for holiness becomes God's house. 

The Jewish doctors universally agree in this rule. That the Spirit of prophecy never rests upon any but 
a holy and wise man, and one whose passions are allayed;* or, as others express it, an humble man, and 
a man of fortitude; one that has power to keep his sensual, animal part in due subjection to religion and 
right reason. And some of themf give this rule; That the Spirit of prophecy does not reside where 
tliere are either, on the one hand, grief and melancholy, or, on the other hand, laughter and lightness of 
l)ehaviour, and impertinent, idle talk: and it is commonly observed by them, both from the musical in 
struments used in the schools of the prophets in Samuel's time, and from the instance of Elisha's calling 
f r a minstrel, (2 Kings iii. 15.) that the divine presence does not reside with sadness, but with cheerful- 
ness; and Elisha, they say, had not yet recovered himself from the sorrow he conceived at parting with 
Elijah. They have also a tradition, (but I know no ground for it,) that all the while Jacob mourned for 
J seph, the Shcchinah, or Holy Spirit, withdrew from him. Yet I believe, when David intimates that 
I)y his sin in the matter of Uriah he had lost the right Spirit, and the free Spirit, Ps. li. 10, 12. (which 
therefore he begs might be renewed in him, and restored to him,) it was not because he was under grief, 
l)ut because he was under guilt. And therefore, in order to the return of that right and free Spirit, he 
prays th it God would create in him a clean heart. 

II. That they had all a full assurance in themselves of their divine mission; and (though they could net 
always prevail to satisfy others) they were abundantly satisfied themselves, that what they delivered r.s 
from God, and in his name, was indeed from him ; and with the same assurance did the apostles speak of 
the word of life, as that which they had heard, and seen, and looked on, and which their hands had 
handled, 1 John i. 1. Nathan spake from himself, when he encouraged David to build the temple, but 
afterward knew he spake fi'om God, when, in his name, he forbade him to doit. 

God had various ways of making known to his prophets the messages they were to deliver to hispeople; 
it should seem, ordinarily, to have been by the mmistry of angels. In the Apocalypse, Christ is expressly 
said to have signified by his angel to his servant John, Rev. i. 1. It was sometimes done in a vision, when 
the prophet was awake; sometimes in a dream, when the prophet was asleep; and sometimes bv a secret 
nut strong impression upon the mind of the prophet. But Maimonidcs has laid down, as a maxim. That 
all prophecy makes itself known to the prophet that it is prophecy indeed; that is, savs another of the 
Rabbins, By the vigour and liveliness of the perception, wliereby he apprehends the thing propounded; 
(which Jeremiah intimates when he says, The ivord of the Lord was as a Jire in my bones, Jer. xx. 9.) 
and therefore they always spake with great assurance, knowing they should be justified. Isa. 1. 7. 

III. That in their prophesying, both in receiving their message from God, and in delivering it to the 
people, they always kept possession of their own souls, Dan. x. 8. Though sometimes their bodily 
strength was overpowered by the abundance of the revelations, and their eyes dazzled with the visionarv 
lia:ht, as in the instances of Daniel and John, (Rev. i. 17. ) yet still their understanding remained witii 
tliem, and the free exercise of their reason. This is excellently well expressed bv a learned writer cf 
our own;J " The prophetical Spirit, seating itself in the rational powers, as well as in the imagination, 
did never alienate the mind, but inform and enlighten it; and they that were actuated bv it, alwavs mair- 
t lined a clearness and consistency of reason, with strength and soUditv rf judgment. For,'' (says he after- 
w irds,§) " God did not make use of idiots or fools to reveal his will Ijy, but such whose intellectuals were 
entire and perfect; and he imprinted such a clear copy of his truth upon them, as that it became thei: 
own sense, being digested fully into their understandings, so that they were able to deliver and represent 
• t to others, as truly as any can point forth his own thoughts." God's messengers were speaking men, 
•c.nt speaking trumpets. 

* Sec Mr. Smith of Prophecy. I "ieraara Schnh. f. 2. f Smith of Projihec)', p. 190. J Pag. 'J66. 

Vol. IV. — B 



X PREFACE. 

The Fathers frequently took notice of this difference between the prophets of the Lord and the falsK 
prophets — ^that the pretenders to prophecy (who either were actuated by an e\ il spirit, or were urder 
the force of a heated imagination) underwent aUenations of mind, and delivered what thuy had to say ir 
llie utmost agitation and disorder, as the P}'thi:m prophetess, wlio dehvered her infernal oracles witV. 
many antic gestures, tearing her hair, and foaming at the mouth. And by this rule they condemned the 
Montanists, who pretended to prophecy, in the second century, tliat what they said was in a way of ec- 
stacy, not like rational men, but like men in a frenzy. Chrysostom,* having described tlie furious, violent 
motions of tlie pretenders to prophecy, adds, *0 Si rifccfHTk »;^ »T»t — Jl true /ii'o/i/iet does 710I do so, Sed 
mente sobria, ijf cotistanti animi slatu, iJ' intelligens gufe profert, omnia fironuncial — He understands 
nvhat he utters, and utters it soberly and calmly. And Jerom, ni his preface to his Commentaries upi n 
Nahum, observes, that it is called the book of the vision of J^'ahum ; A'on enim loquitur h Uo-Tays/, sed est 
liber intelligentis omnia (/use loquitur — For he speaks 7iot in an ecstacy, but as one laho understands exery 
thing- he says. And ■d^'dm,'f J\on ut amens loquitur propheta, nee in morem insanimtium feminarum 
dat sine mente sonum — The prophet speaks not as an insane person, nor, like women -,vrought into a fury, 
does he utter sound without sense. 

IV. Tliat they all aimed at one and the same thing, which was, to bring people to repent of their sins, 
and to return to God, and to do their duty to him. This was the ei'rand en which all God's messengers 
were sent, to beat down sin, and to revive and advance sei'ious piety; the buithen of every song was, 
Turn ye jiow ez'ery one from his evil way; amend your ways and your doings, and execute judgment 
between a man ana his neighbour, Jer. vii. 3, 5. See Zech. vii. 8, 9. — viii. 16. The scrpe and design 
of all their prophecies were, to enforce the precepts and sanctions tf tlie law of Moses, the moral law, 
which is of universal and peipetual obligation. Here is nothing of the ceremonial institutes, of the caraal 
ordinances, that were imposed only till the times of reformation, Heb. ix. 10. These were now waxing 
old, and ready to vanish away; but they make it their business to press the great and weighty matters of 
the X-^vf, judgment, mercy, and truth. 

V. That they all bare witness to Jesus Christ, and had an eye to him. God's raising up the horn of sal- 
vation for lis, in the house of his servant David, was consonant to, and in ])vu-buance of, what he spake by 
the mouth of his holy jirophets, ivhich have been since the world began, Luke i. 69, "0. I'hey proplu sied 
of the grace that should come to us, and it was the Spirit of Christ in them, one and the s;mie Spirit, that 
testified beforehand the silverings of Christ, and the glory that should follow, 1 Pet. i. 10, 11. Christ 
was then made known, and yet comparati^•ely hid, in the predictions of the prophets, ;.s before in the 
types of the ceremonial law. And the learned HuetiusJ observes it as really admirable, that so many 
persons in different ages, should consjjire with one consent, as it were, to foretell, some one particular, 
and others another, concerning Christ, all which had, at length, their full accomplishment in him. ./Jb 
ifisis mundi incunabiilis, per fjuatuor annorum millia, uno ore x'enturum Christum prozdixerunt viri 
complures, in ejusgue ortu, vita, virtutibus, rebus geslis, morte, ac tola denic/ue OU(,v',uis.prcemonH/randa 
consenserunt — From the earliest period of time for 4000 years, a great number of men have /nrdicted 
the adve?it of Christ, and presented an harmonious statement of his birth, life, character, actons, and 
death, and of that economy which he came to establish. 

VI. Tliat these prophets were generally hated and abused in their several generations bv those that 
hved with them. Stephen challenges his judges to produce an instance to the contrary; (I'hich of the 
iirophets have not your fathers persecuted? Yea, and, as it should seem, for this reason, because tliey 
showed before of the coming of the Just One, Acts vii. 52. Some there were, tliat trembled at the word 
of God in their mouths, but by the inost they were ridiculed and desjjised, and (as ministers are noAv bv 
profane people) made a jest of; (Hos. ix. 7.) the prophet was the fool in the play. JVherefore came this 
mad fellow unto thee? (2 Kings ix. 11.) said one of the captains concerning one of the sons of the prrphets! 
The Gentiles never treated their false prophets so ill as the Jews did their true prophets, but, on the 
contraiy, had them always in veneration. The Jews' mocking of the messengei's of the Loi-d, killing of 
the prophets, and stoning of them that were sent imto them, was as amazing, unaccc untaljle an instance of 
the enmity that is in the carnal mind against God, as any that can be produced. And this maki s their 
rejection of Christ's gospel the less strange, that the Spirit of prr)phecy, which, for many ages, was so 
much the glory of Israel, in every age met with so much opjjosition, and thtre were those that always 
resisted the Holy Ghost in the prophets, and turned that glory into shame. Acts vii. 51. But this was "it 
that was the measure-filling sin of Israel, that brought upon them both their first destruction by the Chal 
rleans, and their final :-uin by the Romans, 2 Chron. xxx\i. 16. 

VII. That though men slighted these prophets, God owned them, and put honour upon them. As 
they were men of God, his immediate servants, and his messengers, so he always showed himself the 
L^rd God of the holy prophets, (Rev. xxii. 6.) stood by them and strengthened them, and by his Spirit 
they were full of power; and those that slighted them, when thev had lost them, were made to kn(iW, tn 
tlieir confusion, that a prophet had been among them. What was srtid < f one of the primilive fathers rf 
the prophets, was true of them all, The Lord was with them, and d'd let none of their words fall to the 
ground, 1 Sam. iii. 19. What they said by way of warning and encouragement, for the enftircing tf their 
calls to repentance and refoi-mation, was to be understood conditionallv. When God spake by them 
either, on the one hand, to build and to plant, or, on the other hand, to pluck up and /;;/// down, the 
change of the people's way might produce a change of God's way, (Jer. xviii. 7 — 10.) such was Joi> h's 
prophecy of Nineveh's rain within forty days; or God might sometimes be better than his word in grant- 
ing a reprieve. But what they said by way of prediction of a particular matter, and ; s a sign, did alwjij-s 
come to pass exactly as it was foretold; yea, and the general predictions, sooner or later, took hold even 
of those that would fain have got clear of them ; (Zech. i. 6. ) for this is that which Gcd glories in, that he 
coTifirms the word of his seii'ants, p.nd performs the counsel of his messengers, Isa. xliv. 26. 

In opening these prophecies, I have endeavoured to give the genuine sense of them, as far as I could 
reach it, by consulting the best expositors, considering the scope and coherence, and c.nipar'.ng spiritual 
tilings with spiritual, the spiritual things of the Old Testament with those of the New, and especially bv 
prayer to God for the conduct and direction of the Spirit of truth. But, after all, tliere pre msny things 
liere dark and hard to be understood, concerning the certain meaning of which tljongh 1 could n't train 
myself, much less expect to give my reader, full satisfaction, yet 1 liave n't, with the unlearned snd in; 

• In 1 Cor. xii. 1. t PtoU'g. in Ilabac. J Deiionittat. F.vang. p. T.T7 



PREFACE. xi 

liable, wrested them to the destnictirn of any, 2 Pet. iii. 16. It is the prerogative of the Lamb of God to 
take this book, and to ofteyi all its seals. I have likewise endeavoured to accommodate tlicse prophecies 
to the use and service of those who desire to read the scripture, not only with understanding, hut with 
pious affections, and to their edificatic n in faith and holiness. And we shall find that whatever is given 
by the i7is/iiralion of God is firojilable, (2 Tim. iii. 16.) though not all alike profitable, nor all alike easy 
or improvable; but when the mystery of God sliall be finished, we shall see what we are now bound to 
believe, that there is not one idle word in all the prophecies of this book. What God has said, as well as 
what he does, ive knoiv not now, but we shall know hereafter. 

The pleasure I have had in .studying and meditating upon those parts of these prophecies which are 
plain and practical, and especially those which are evangelical, has been an abundant balance to, and re- 
compense for, the harder tasks we have met with in other parts that are more obscure. In many parts 
of tills field, the treasure must be digged for, as that in the mines; but in other parts the surface is covered 
witlf rich and precious products, with corn, and flocks, of which we may say, as we said of Noah, I'hesc 
same have comforted us greatly concerning our work, and the toil of our hands, and have made it verv 
pleasant and delightful; God grant it may be no less so to the readers! 

And now let me desire the assistance of my friends, in setting up my Eben-Ezer here, in a thankful 
acknowledgment that hitherto the Lord has helped me. I desire to praise God that he has spared mv 
life to fini.sh the Old Testament, and has graciously given me some tokens of his presence with me in car 
rymg on of this work; though, the more I reflect upon myself, the more unworthy I see myself of the 
honour of being thus employed, and the more need I see of Christ and his merit and grace. Remember 
me, my God, for good, and s/iare me according to the multitude of thy mercies. The Lord forgive 
what is mine, and accept what is his own! 

I pui-pose, if God continue my life and health, according to the measure of the grace given to me, and 
in a constant and entire dependence upon divine strength, to go through the New Testament in twc 
volumes more. I intimated in my preface to the first volume, that I had drawn up some expositions upon 
some parts of the New Testament; namely, The gospels of St. Matthew and St. John; but they are «o 
large, that to make them bear some proportion to the rest, it is necessary that they be much contracted, 
so that I shall be obliged to write them all over again, and to make considerable alterations, and therefore 
I cannot expect they should be published but as those hitherto have been, if God permit, a volume eve:y 
other year. I shall begin it now shortly, if the Lord will, and apply myself to it as closely as I can; ancl 
I earnestly desire the prayers of all that wish well to the undertaking, that if the Lord spare me to go on 
with it, I may be enabled to do it well, and so as that by it some may be led into the riches of the full as ■ 
surancc of understanding in the mystery of God, even of the Father, and of Christ, Col. li. 2. And if 
it shall please God to remove me by death before it is finished, I trust I shall be able to say not only. 
Welcome his blessed will, but, Welcome that blessed world, in which, though now we know but in fiari, 
and firophesy but infiart, that knowledge which is perfect will come, and that which is partial, will b- 
done away; (1 Cor. xiii. 8. — 10, 12.) in which all our mistakes will be rectified, all our doubts resolved 
all our deficiences made up, all our endeavours in preaching, catechizing, and expounding, supersedec 
and rendered useless, and all our prayers swallowed up in everlasting praises; in which, prophecy, now 
so much admired, shall fail, and tongues shall ceasr, and the knowledge we have now, shall vanish away, 
as the light of the moming-star does when the sun is risen; in which we shall no longer see through a 
glass darkly, but face to face. In a believing, comfortable, well-grounded expectation of that true and 
perfect light, I desire to continue, living and dying; in a humble and diligent preparation for it, let me 
spend my time, and in the full enjoyment of it, O that I may spend a glorious eternity ! 

M. H 

iuLT 18, ins. 



AN 



EXPOSITION, 



WITH 



PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS, 



or THE 



BOOK OF THE PROPHET 

ISAIAH. 



Prophet is a title that sounds very great to those who understand it, though, in the eye of the world, 
many of those who were dignified with it, appeared very mean. A prophet is one who has a great in- 
timacy with Heaven, and a great interest there, and, consequently, a commanding authority upon earth. 
Prophecy is put for all divine revelation, (2 Pet. i. 20, 21.) because that was most commonly, by 
dreams, voices, or visions, communicated to prophets first, and by them to the children of men, Numb, 
xii. 6. Once indeed God himself spake to all the thousands of Israel, from the top of Mount Sinai; but 
it was so intolerably dreadful, that they entreated God would, for the future, speak to them as he had 
done before, by men like themselves, whose terror should not make them afraid, nor their hands be 
heavy u/ion them. Job xxxiii. 7. God approved the motion; They have well said; (says he, Deut. v 
27, 28. ) and the matter was then settled by consent of parties, that we must never expect to hear from 
God any more in that way, but by prophets, who received their instructions immediately from God, 
with a charge to deliver them to his church. Before the sacred canon of the Old Testament began to 
be written, there were prophets, who were instead of Bibles to the church. Our Saviour seems to 
reckon Abel among the prophets, Matth. xxiii. 31, 35. Enoch was a prophet; and by him that was 
first in prediction, which is to be last in execution — the judgment of the great day; (Jude 14.) Behold, 
the Lord comes with his holy myriads. Noah was a preacher of righteousness. God said of Abraham, 
He is a firofihet. Gen. xx. 7. Jacob foretold things to come, Gen. xlix. 1. Nay, all the patriarchs are 
caXXeAfirofiheta; (Ps. cv. 15.) Do my firofihets no harm. Moses was, beyond all comparison, the most 
illustrious of all the Old Testament prophets, for with him the Lord sfiake face to face, Deut. xxxiv. 
10. He was the first writing prophet, and by his hand the first foundations of holy writ were laid; even 
those who were called to be his assistants in the government, had the Spirit of prophecy, such a plenti- 
ful effusion was there of that Spirit at that time, Numb. xi. 25. But after the death of Moses, for some 
ages, the Spirit of the Lord appeared and acted in the church of Israel more as a martial Spirit, than as 
a Spirit of prophecy, and inspired men more for acting than speaking; I mean, in the time of the Judges. 
We find the Spirit of the Lord coming upon Othniel, Gideon, Samson, and others, for the service of 
their country, with their swords, not with their pens; messages were then sent from heaven by angels, 
as to Gideon and Manoah, and to the people, Judges ii. 1. In all the book of Judges there is never once 
mention of a prophet, only Deborah is called a prophetess; then the word of the Lord was precious, 
there was no open vision, 1 Sam. iii. 1. They had the law of Moses, recently written; let them study 
that. But in Samuel prophecy revived, and in him a famous epocha, or period, of the church began; 
a time of great light in a constant uninterrupted succession of prophets, till some time after the captivity, 
when the canon of the Old Testament was completed in Malachi; and then prophecy ceased for near 
400 years, till the coming of the great Prophet and his forei-unner. Some prophets were divinely in- 
spired to write the histories of the church; but they did not put their names to their writings, thev only 
referred themselves for proof to the authentic records of those times, which were known to be drawn 
up by prophets, as Gad, Iddo, &c. David and others were prophets, to write sacred songs for the use 
of the church. After them, we often read of prophets, sent on particular errands, and raised up for 
special public services; among whom the most famous were Elijah and Elisha in the kingdom of Israel , 
but none of these put their prophecies in writing, nor have we any remains of them but some fl•agment^ 
in the histories of their times; there was nothing of their own writing, (that I remember,) but one epis- 
tle of Elijah's, 2 Chron. xxi. 12. But toward the latter end of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, it 
pleased God to direct his servants the prophets, to write and publish some of their sermons, or abstracts 
of theni. The dates of many of their prophecies are uncertain, but the earliest of them was in the days 
of Uzziah king of Judah, and Jeroboam the second, his contemporary, king of Israel, about 200 years 
before the captivity, and not long after Joash had slain Zechariah the son of Jehoiada, in the courts of 
the temple. If they begin to murder the prophets, yet they shall not murder their prophecies; they 
shall remain as witnesses against them. Hosea was the first of the writing prophets; and Joel, Amos, 
and Obadiah published their prophecies about the same time. Isaiah began some time after, and not 
long; but his prophecy is placed first, because it is the largest of them all, and has most in it of Him to 
whom all the prophets bare witness; and indeed, so much of Christ, that he is justly styled the Evan- 



M 



ISAIAH, 1. 



gelical Profihet, and by some of the ancients, a fifth Evangelist. We shall have the general title of 
this book, V. 1. and therefore shall here only observe some things, 

I. Concerning the prophet himself; he was (if we may believe the tradition of the Jews) of the roj J 
family, his father being (they say) brother to king Uzziah: however, he was much at court, especially 
in Hezekiah's time, as we find in his story; to which many think it is owing that his style is more cu- 
rious and polite than that of some other of the prophets, and, in some places, exceedingly lofty and 
soaring. Tlie Spirit of God sometimes served his own purpose by the particular genius of the prophet; 
for prophets were not speaking trumpets through which the Spirit spake, but speaking Twfn, by whom 
the Spirit spake, making use of their natural powers, in respect both of light and flame, and advancing 
them above themselves. 

II. Concerning the prophecy; it is transcendently excellent and useful; it was so to the church of God 
then, serving for conviction of sin, direction in duty, and consolation in trouble. Two great distresses 
of the church are here referred to, and comfort prescribed in reference to them; That by Sennacherib's 
invasion, which happened in his own time, and that of the captivity in Babylon, which happened long 
after; in the supports and encouragements laid up for each of these times of need we find abundance of 
the grace of the gospel. There are not so many quotations in the gospels out of any, perhaps not out 
of all, the prophecies of the Old Testament, as out of this; nor such express testimonies concerning 
Christ; witness that of his being bom of a virgin, (cA. 7.) and that of his sufferings, cA. 53. The begin- 
ning of tliis book abounds most with reproofs for sin, and threatenings of judgment ; the latter end of it 
is full of good words and comfortable words; this method the Spirit of Christ took formerly in the pro- 
phets, and does still; first to convince, and then to comfort; and those who would be blessed with the 
comforts, must submit to the convictions. Doubtless, Isaiah preached many sermons, and delivered 
many messages, to the people, which are not written in this book, as Christ did; and, probably, these 
sermons were delivered more largely and fully than they are here related: but so much is left on record 
as Infinite Wisdom thought fit to convey to us on whom the ends of the world are come; and these pro- 
phecies, as well as the histories of Christ, are written, that we might believe on the name of the Son of 
God, and that, believing, we might have life through his name; for to us is the gos/iel here preached, ai 
well as unto them who lived then, and more clearly. O that it may be mixed with faith! 

ISAIAH. 



CHAP. I. 

The first verse of this chapter is intended for a title to the 
whole book, and it is probable that this was the first ser- 
mon that this prophet was appointed to publish, and to af- 
fix in writing (as Calvin thinks the custom of the prophets 
was) to the door of the temple, as with us proclamations 
are fixed to public places, that all might read them; ( Hab. 
ii. 2.) and those who would, might take out authentic 
copies of them; the original being, after some time, laid 
up by the priests among the records of the temple. The 
sermon which is contamed in this chapter has m it, I. A 
high charge exhibited, in God's name, against the Jewish 
church and nation : I. For their ingratitude, v. 2, 3. 2. 
For their incorrigibleness, v. 5. S. For the universal 
corruption and degeneracy of the people, v. 4, 6, 21, 22. 
4. For the perversion of justice by their rulers, V. 23. II. 
A sad complaint of the judgments of God, which thev 
had brought upon themselves by their sins, and by which 
they were brought almost to utter ruin, V. 7.. 9. III. A 
just rejection of those shows and shadows of religion, 
which they kept up among them, notwithstanding this 
general defection and apostasy, v. 10.. 15. IV. An 
earnest call to repentance and reformation, setting be- 
fore them life and death; life if they complied with the 
call, and death, if they did not, v. 1 6 . . 20. V. A threat- 
ening of ruin to those who would not be reformed, v. 24, 
28. . 31. VI. A promise of a happy reformation at last, 
and a return to their primitive purity and prosperitv, v. 
23 . . 27. And all this is to be applied by us, not only to 
the communities we are members of, in their public in- 
terests, but to the state of our own souls. 

1 . fT^HE vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, 
I which he saw concerning Judah and 
Jerusalem, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, 
Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. 

Here is, 1. The name of the prophet, Isaiah; or 
Jesahiahu, for so it is in the Hebrew; which, in the 
New Testament, is read Esaias. His name signi- 
fies, the salvation of the Lord. A proper name for 
u proplict by whom God gives knowledge of salva- 
tion to his people, especially for this prophet, who 
prophesies so much of Jesus the Saviour, and the 
great salvation wrought out by him. He is said to 
be the son of Amoz; not Amos the prophet, the two 
names in the Hebrew differ more than in the Eng- 
lish; but, as the Jews think, of Amoz the brother, 
or son, of Amaziah king of Judah; a tradition as un- 



certain as that rule which they give, That where a 
prophet's father is named, he also was himself a 
prophet. The prophets, pupils and successors, are 
indeed often called their sons, but we have few in- 
stances, if any, of their own sons being their succes- 
sors. 

2. The nature of the prophecy; it is a vision, be- 
ing revealed to him in a vision, when he was awake, 
and heard the words of God, and saw the visions of 
the Almighty, as Balaam speaks, (Numb. xxiv. 4. ) 
though perhaps it was not so illustrious a vision at 
first, as that afterwards, ch. vi. 1. The prophets 
were called seers, or seeing-men, and therefore theii 
prophecies are fitly called visions. It was what he 
saw with the eyes of his mind, and foresaw as clear- 
ly by divine revelation, was as well assured of it, as 
fiiUy apprised of it, and as much affected with it, as 
if he had seen it with his bodily eyes. Note, (1.) 
God's prophets saw what they spake of, knew what 
they said, and require our belief of nothing but what 
they themselves believed and were sure of, John vi. 
69. — 1 John i. 1. (2.) They could not but speak 
what they saw; because they saw how much all 
about them were concerned in it. Acts iv. 20. — 2 
Cor. iv. 13. 

3. The subject of the prophecy; it was what he 
saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem, the country- 
of the two tribes, and that city which was their me- 
tropolis; and there is little in it relating to Ephraim, 
or the ten tribes, of whom there is so much in the 
prophecy of Hosea. Some chapters there are in 
this book, which relate to Babylon, Egypt, Tyre, 
and some other neighbouring nations; but it takea 
its title from that which is the main substance of it, 
and it is therefore said to be concerning Judah and 
Jerusalem; the other nations spoken of are such as 
the people of the Jews had concerns with. Isaiah 
brings to them in a special manner, (1.) Instruction, 
for it is the privilege of Judah and Jerusalem, that to 
them pertain the oracles of God. (2.) Reproof and 
threatening; for if in Judah, where God is known, 
if in Salem, where his name is great, iniquitv be 
found, they, sooner than any other, shall be reckon • 
ed with for it. (3.) Comfort and encouragement iii 
evil times; for the children of Zion shall Ije joy'-il 
in their king. 



ISAIAH, I. 



4. The date of the prophecy; he prophesied in 
the days of Uzzia/i, Jotliam, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. 
3y this it appears, fl.) That he propliesied long; 
especially if (as the Jews say) he was at last put to 
death by Mauasseh, to a cruel death, being sawn 
asunder; to which some suppose the apostle refers, 
Heb. xi. 37. From the year that king Uzziah died, 
[ch. v\. 1.) to Hezekiah's sickness and recovery, 
was 47 years; how much before, and after, he pro- 
phesied, is not certain; some reckon 60, and others 
80 years in all. It was an honour to him, and a 
happiness to his country, that he was continued so 
long in, his usefulness: and we must suppose both 
that he began young, and that he held out to old 
age; for the prophets were not tied, as the priests 
were, to a certain age, for the beginning or ending 
of their ministration. (2.) That he passed through 
a variety of times. Jotham was a good king, and 
Hezekiah a better, who, no doubt, gave encourage- 
ment to, and took advice from, this prophet, were 
patrons to him, and he privy-counsellor to them; 
but between them, and when Isaiah was in the 
prime of his time, the reign of Ahaz was \ ery pro- 
fane and wicked; then, no doubt, he was frowned 
upon at court, and, it is likely, forced to abscond; 
good men and good ministers must expect bad 
times in this world, and prepare for them. Then 
religion was run down to that degree, that the doors 
of the house of the Lord taere shut ufi, and idola- 
trous altars were erected in every corner of Jerusa- 
lem; and Isaiah, with all his divine eloquence and 
messages immediately from God himself, could not 
help it The best men, the best ministers, cannot 
do the good they would do in the world. 

2. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O 
earth ; for the Lord hath spoken : 1 have 
nourished and brought up children, and they 
have rebelled against me : 3. The ox know- 
eth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: 
but Israel doth not know, my people doth 
not consider. 4. Ah, sinful nation, a people 
laden with iniquity, a seed of evil-doers, 
children that are corrupters! they have for- 
saken the Lord, they have provoked the 
Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are 
gone away backward. 5. Why should ye 
be stricken any more? ye will revolt more 
and more. The whole head is sick, and 
the whole heart faint 6. From the sole of 
the foot even unto the head there is no 
soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, 
and putrefjing sores : they have not been 
closed, neither bound up, neither mollified 
with ointment 7. Your country is desolate, 
your cities are burnt with fire : your land, 
strangei-s devour it in your presence, and it 
is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. 8. 
And the daughter of Zion is left as a cot- 
tage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden 
of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9. Ex- 
cept the Lord of hosts had left unto us a 
very small remnant, we should have been 
as Sodom, and we should have been like 
unto Gomorrah. 

We will hope to meet with a brighter and more 
pleasant scene before we come to the end of this 
book : but truly here, in the beginning of it, every 



thing looks very bad, very black, with Judah and 
Jerusalem. What is the wilderness of the world, 
if the church, the vineyard, have such a dismal as- 
pect as this? 

I. The prophet, though he speaks in God's name, 
yet, despairing to gain audience with tlie children 
of his people, addresses himself to the heavens and 
the earth, and bespeaks their attention; {v. '. ) 
Hear, O heax'ens, and give ear, earth,' SoonLr 
will the inanimate creatures hear, who observe the 
law, and answer the end of their creation, than tliis 
stupid senseless people. Let the lights of heaven 
shame their darkness, and the fruitfulness of the 
earth their barrenness, and the strictness of each ti 
its time, their irregularity. Moses begins thus 
(Deut xxxii. 1. ) to which the prophet here refers 
intimating, that now those times were come, which 
Moses there foretold, Deut xxxi. 29. Or this is 
an appeal to heaven and earth, to angels, and then 
to the inhabitants of the upper and lower world; let 
them judge betiveen God and his vineyard: can 
either produce such an instance of ingratitude? Note, 
God will be justified when he speaks, and both hea- 
ven and earth shall declare his righteousness, Mic. 
vi. 2. Ps. 1. 6. 

II. He charges them with base ingratitude, a 
crime of the highest nature: call a man ungrateful, 
and you can call him no worse: let heaven and 
earth hear, and wonder at, 1. God's gracious deal- 
ings with a peevish provoking people as they were; 
" I have nourished and brought them up as chil- 
dren; they have been well fed and well taught;" 
(Deut. xxxiL 6.) "I have magnified and exalted 
them:" (so some;) " not only made them grow, but 
made them gi-eat; not only maintained them, but 
preferred them; not only trained them ujj, but rais- 
ed them high." Note, We owe the continuance of 
our lives, and comforts, and all our advancements, 
to God's fatherly care of us and kindness to us. 
2. Their ill-natured conduct toward him, who was 
so tender of them; " They have rebelled against 
me;" or (as some read it) " they have revolted from 
me; they have been deserters, nay, traitors, against 
my crown and dignity." Note, all the instances of 
God's favour to us, as the God both of our nature 
and of our nurture, aggravate our treacherous de- 
partures from him, and all our presumptuous oppo- 
sitions to him : children, and yet rebels! 

III. He attributes this to their ignorance and in- 
consideration: {v. 3.) The ox knows, but Israel does 
not Observe, 1. The sagacity of the ox and the 
ass, which are not only brute creatures, but of the 
dullest sort: yet the ox has such a sense of duty, as 
to know his owner, and to serve him, to submit to 
his yoke, and to draw in it; the ass has such a sense 
of interest, as to know his master's crib or manger, 
where he is fed, and to abide by it; he will go to 
that of himself, if he is turned loose. A fine pass 
man is come to, when he is shamed even in know- 
ledge and understanding by these sillv animals; and 
is not only sent to school to them, (Prov. vi. 6, 7.) 
but set in a form below them, (Jer. viii. 7.) taught 
more than the beasts of the earth, (Job xxxv. 11.) 
and yet knowing less. 2. The sottishness and stu- 
pidity of Israel. God is their Owner and Proprie- 
tor; he made us, and his we are, more than our cat- 
tle are ours; he has provided well for us; providence 
is our Mister's crib: yet many that are called the 
people of God, do not know, and will not consider 
this; but ask, " What is the jilmighty, that ive 
should sen'e him? He is not our owner; and what 
firojit shall lue have ifnvefiray unto him? He has 
no crib for us to feed at" He had complained [v. 
2. ) of the obstinacy of their wills; They have rebelled 
against me; here he lOins it up to its cause; " There 
fore they have rebelled, because they do not know, 
they do not consider." The understanding is dark 



16 



ISAIAH, I. 



ened, and therefore the whole soul is alienated from 
the life of God, Eph. iv. 18. Israel does not know, 
though their land was a land of light and know- 
ledge; in Judah is God known, yet, because they 
do not live up to what they know, it is, in effect, as 
if they did not know. Thev know; but their know- 
ledge does them no good, because they do not con- 
sider what they know; they do not apply it to 
their case, nor their minds to it. Note, (1.) Even 
••.mong those that profess themselves God's people, 
th;it have the advantages, and lie under the engage- 
ments, of his people, there are many that are very 
CAreless in the affairs of their souls. (2.) Inconsi- 
deration of what we do know, is as great an enemy 
to us in religion as ignorance of what we should 
know. (3.) Therefore men revolt from God, and 
rebel against him, because they do not know and 
consider their obligations to God, in duty, gratitude, 
and interest. 

IV. He laments the universal pravity and cor- 
ruption of their church and kingdom ; the disease 
of sin was epidemical, and all orders and degrees 
of men were mfected with it; Ah, sinful nation! v. 4. 
The prophet bemoans those that would not bemoan 
themselves; Alas for them, wo to them ! He speaks 
with a holy indignation at their degeneracy, and a 
dread of the consequences of it. See here, 

1. How he aggravates their sin, and shows the 
malignity that there was in it, x». 4. ( 1. ) The wick- 
edness was universal; they were a sinful nation, the 
generality of the people were vicious and profane; 
they were so in their national capacity, in the ma- 
nagement of their public treaties abroad, and in the 
administration of public justice at home, they were 
corrupt. Note, It is ill with a people when sin be- 
comes national. (2.) It was very great and heinous 
in its nature. They were laden with iniquity; the 
guilt of it, and the curse incurred by that guilt, lay 
very heavy upon them; it was a heavy charge that 
was exhibiten against them, which they could never 
clear themselves from; their wickedness was upon 
them as a talent of lead, Zech. v. 7, 8. And their 
sin, as it did easily beset them, and they were prone 
to it, was a weight upon them, Heb. xii. 1. (3.) 
They came of a bad stock, they were a seed of evil- 
doers; treachery ran in the blood, they had it by 
kind, which made the matter so much the worse, 
more pi-ovoking and less curable; they rose up in 
iheir fathers' stead, and trod in their fathers' steps, 
to fill ufi the measure of their iniquity; (Numb, 
xxxii. 14.) they were a race and family of rebels. 
(4.) They were themselves debauched, did what 
they could to debauch others; they are not only cor- 
rupt children, bom tainted, but children that are 
corrupters, that propagate vice, and infect others 
with it; not only sinners, but tempters, not OBly ac- 
tuated by Satan, but agents for him. If those that 
are called children, God's children, that are looked 
upon as belonging to his family, be wicked and vile, 
their example is of the most malignant influence. 
(5.) Their sin was a treacherous departure from 
God, they were deserters from their allegiance; 
Thet/ hax'e forsaken the Lord, to whom they had 
joined themselves; they are gone away backward; 
are alienated or separated from God, have turned 
tlie back upon him, deserted their colours, and quit- 
ted their service; when they were urged forward, 
they ran backward, as a bullock unaccustomed to 
the yoke, Hos. iv. 16. (6.) It was an impudent and 
ri\ring defiance of him; They hove provoked the 
Holy One of Israel unto anger, wilfully and design- 
odlv; they knew what would anger him, and that 
they did. Note, The backslidings of those that have 
professed religion, and relation to God, are in a spe 
cial m inner provoking to him. 

2. How he illustrates it by a comparison taken 
from a sick and diseased body, all overspread with 



leprosy, or, like Job's, with sore boils, v. 5, 6. (1.) 
The distemper has seized the vitals, and so threat- 
ens to be mortal. Diseases in the head and heart 
are most dangerous; now the head, the whole head, 
is sick, the heart, the whole heart, is faint; they 
were become corrupt in their judgment, the leprosy 
was in their head, they were utterly unclean; their 
affection to God and religion was cold and gone; the 
things ivhich remained were ready to die away, 
Rev. iii. 2. (2.) It has overspread the whole body, 
and so becomes exceedingly noisome; From thesolt 
of the foot even unto the head, from the meanest 
peasant to the greatest peer, there is no soundness, 
no good principles, no religion, (for that is the 
health of the soul,) nothing but wounds and bruises, 
guilt and corruption, the sad effects of Adam's fall; 
noisome to the holy God, painful to the sensible 
soul; they were so to David, when he complained, 
(Ps. xxxviii. 5.) My wound) stink, and are corrupt, 
because of my foolishness, Ps. xxXii. 3, 4. No at- 
tempts were made for reformation, or, if they were, 
they proved ineffectual; The wounds ha-ve not been 
closed, nor bound uji, nor mollified with ointment. 
While sin remains unrepented of, the wounds are 
unsearched, unwashed, the proud flesh in them not 
cut out, and while consequently, it remains unpar- 
doned, the wounds are not mollified or closed up, 
nor any thing done toward the healing of them, and 
the pi'eventing of their fatal consequences. 

V. He sadly bewails the judgments of God, which 
they had brought upon themselves by their sins, and 
their incorrigibleness under those judgments. 

1. Their kingdom was almost ruined, v. 7. So 
miserable were they, that botli their towns and their 
lands were wasted, and yet so stupid, that they 
needed to be told this, and to have it showed them; 
"Look, and see how it is; your country is desolate, 
the ground is not cultivated, for want of inhabitants, 
the villages being deserted, Judg. v. 7. And thus 
the fields and vineyards become like deserts, all 
grown over with thorns; (Prov. xxiv. 31.) your ci- 
ties are burned with fire, by the enemies that invade 
you;" (fire and sword commonly go together;) " as 
for the fruits of your land, which should be food 
for your families, strangers devour them; and, to 
your greater vexation, it is before your eyes, and 
you cannot prevent it; you starve, while your ene- 
mies surfeit on that which should be your mainte- 
nance. The overthrow of your country is as the 
overthrow of strangers; it is used by the invaders 
as one might expect it should be used by stran- 
gers." — Jerusalem itself, which was as the daugh- 
ter of Zion; (the temple built on Zion was a mother, 
a nursing mother, to Jerusalem ;) or Zion itself, the 
holy mountain, which had been dear to God as a 
daughter, was now lost, deserted, and exposed, as a 
cottage in a vineyard, which, when the %'intage is 
over, nobody dwells in, or takes any care of, and 
looks as mean and despicable as a lodge, or hut, 
in a garden of cucumbers; and every person is afraid 
of coming near it, and solicitous to remove his ef- 
fects out of it, as if it were a besieged city, v. 8. 
And some think it is the calamitous state of the 
kingdom, that is represented by a diseased body, v 
6. Probably, this sermon was preached in the reign 
of Ahaz, when Judah was invaded by the kings of 
Syria and Israel, the Edomites, and the Philistines, 
who slew many, and carried many away into cap- 
tivity, 2 Chron. xxviii. 5, 17, 18. Note, National 
impiety and immorality bring national desolation. 
Canaan, the glory of all lands, mount Zion, the 
joy of the whole earth, both became a reproach 
and a ruin; and sin made them so, that great mia- 
chief-maker. 

2. Yet they were not at all reformed, and there- 
fore God threatens to take another course with 
them; {v. 5.) " fVhy should ye be stricken any 



ISAIAH, J. 



more, with any expectation of doing you good by it, 
wlien \ou increase revolts as your rebukes arc in- 
creased? You ivill rn.'olt more and more, as you 
have done;" as Ahaz particularly did, who, in his 
distress, iresfiassed yet more againsi the Lord, 2 
Chron. -^xviii. 22. Thus the physician, when he 
sees the patient's case desperate, troubles him no 
more with physic; and the father resolves to cor- 
rect his child no more, when, finding him hardened, 
he determines to disinherit him. Note, (1.) There 
are those who are made worse by the methods God 
takes to make them better; the more they are 
stricken, the more they revolt; tlieir corruptions, 
instead of being mortified, are irritated and exas- 
perated, by their afflictions, and their hearts more 
hardened. (2. ) God sometimes, in a way of righ- 
teous judgment, ceases to coiTect those who have 
been long incorrigible, and whom therefore he de- 
signs to destroy. The reprobate silver shall be cast, 
not into the furnace, but to the dunghill, Jer. vi. 29, 
30. See Ezek. xxiv. 13. Hos. iv. 14. He that is 
filthy, let him be filthy still. 

VL He comforts himself with the consideration 
of a remnant that should be the monuments of di- 
vine grace and mercy, notwithstanding this general 
corruption and desolation, v. 9. See here, 1. How 
near they were to an utter extirpation; they were 
almost like Sodom and Gomorrah, in respect both 
of sin and ruin, grown almost so bad, that thei-e 
could not have been found ten righteous men among 
them, and almost so miserable, that none had been 
left alive, but their country turned into a sulphu- 
reous lake. Divine Justice said, JMake them as Jd- 
mah, set them as Zeboim; but Merc\' said, Hoiv shall 
I do it? Hos. xi. 8, 9. 2. What it was that saved 
them from it; The Lord of hosts left unto them a 
very small remnant, that were kept pure from the 
t ommon apostacy, and kept safe and alive from the 
common calamity. This is quoted by the apostle, 
(Rora. ix. 27. ) and applied to tliose few of the Jew- 
ish n.ation, who, in his time, embraced Christianity, 
when the body of the people rejected it, and in 
whom the promises made to the fLithcrs were ac- 
complished. Note, (1.) In the worst of times there 
is a remnant preserved from iniquity, and reserved 
. for mercy, as Noah and his family in the deluge, 
Lot and his in the destruction of Sodom. Divine 
grace triumphs in distinguishing bv an act of sove- 
reignty. (2.) This remnant is often a very small 
one, in comparison with the vast numbers of revolt- 
ing ruined sinners. Multitude is no mark of the 
true church; Christ's is a little flock. (3.) It is 
God's work to sanctify and save some, when others 
are left to perish in their impurity; it is the work 
of his power, as the Lord of hosts; except he had 
left us that remnant, there had been none left; the 
corrupters {v. 4.) did what they could to debauch 
all, and the devourers (x'. 7.) to destroy all; and 
they would have prevailed, if God himself had not 
interposed to secure to himself a remnant, who are 
bound to give him all the glory. (4.) It is good for 
a people that have been saved from utter i-uin, to 
look back, and see how near they were to it, just 
upon the brink of it, to see how much they owed to 
a few good men that stood in the gap, and that that 
was owing to a good God, who left them these good 
men. It is of the Lord's mercies that ive are not 
consumed. 

10. Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers 
of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our 
God, ye people of Gomorrah : 1 1 . To what 
purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices 
unto me? saith the Lord : I am full of the 
bumi-offerings of rams, and the fat of fed 
beasti -, and I delight not in the blood of 

Vol. IV -C 



bullocks, or of lambs, or of ncj|,o;ils. 12. 
When ye come to appear before mc, who 
hath required this at your hand to tiead my 
courts? 13. Bring no more vahi oblations: 
incense is an abomination unto me : the 
new-moons and sabbaths, the calling of as- 
semblies, I cannot away with : it is iniquity, 
even the solemn meeting. 14. Your new- 
moons and join' appointed feasts my soul 
hateth : they arc a trouble inito me ; I am 
weary tobear//;t7«. 15. And when ye spread 
forth your hands I will hide mine eyes from 
j'ou ; yea, when ye make many prayers Iwill 
not hear : your hands are full of blood. 

Here, 

I. God calls to them, (but calls in vain,) to hear 
his word, v. 10. 1. The title he gives them is veiy 
strange. Ye rulers of Sodom, and Ye people of Go- 
tnorrah. This intimates what a righteous thing it 
had been with God to make them like Sodom and 
Gomorrah, in respect of ruin; {v. 9.) because they 
had made themselves like Sodom and Gomorrah, 
in respect of sin. The men of Sodcm were ivicked, 
and sinners before the Lord exceedingly, (Gen. xiii. 
13. ) and so were the men of Judah ; when the rulers 
were bad, no wonder the people were so. Vice 
ovei-powered virtue, for it had the rulers,_the men 
of fig-ure, on its side; and it outpoUcd it, for it liad 
the people, the men of number, on its side: the 
streams being thus strong, no less a power than that 
of the Lord of hosts could secure a remnant, t. 9. 
The rulers arc boldly attacked here by the prophet, 
as i-ulers of Sodom, for he knew not how to give flat- 
tering titles; the tradition of the Jews is, that for this 
he was impeached long after, and put to death, as 
having cursed the gods, and spoken ex'il of the rnler 
of his people. 2. His demand upon them is very 
reasonable; "Hear the ivord of the Lord, and give 
ear to the law of our God; attend to that which God 
has to say to you, and let his word be a law to yen. " 
The following declaration of dislike to their sacri- 
fices, would be a kind of new law to them; though 
really it was but an explication of the old law; but 
special regai-d is to be had to it, as is required to the 
like, Ps. 1. 7, 8. " Hear this, and tremble; bear it, 
and take warning." 

II. He justly refuses to hear their prayers and ac- 
cept their services, their sacrifices and bumt-ofFer- 
ings, the fat and blood of them, (f. 11.) their atten- 
dance in his courts, {v. 12.) their oblations, their 
incense, and their solemn assemblies, {v. 13.) their 
new-moons, and their appointed feasts, (t. 14.) their 
devoutest addresses; (t'. 15.) they are all rejected, 
because their hands were full of blood. Now observe, 

1. There are many who are strangers, nay ene- 
mies, to the power of rehgion, and yet seem very 
zealous for the show and shadow and form of it. 
This sinful nation, this seed of evil-doers, these ru- 
lers of Sodom and people of Gomorrah, brought not 
to the altars of false gods, (they are not here charged 
with that,) but to the altar of the God of Israel, 
sacrifices, a multitude of them, as many as the law 
required, and rather more, not only peace-offerings, 
which they themselves had their share of, but burnt- 
offerings, which were wholly consumed to the ho- 
nour of God; nor did they bring the torn, and lame, 
and sick, but fed beasts, and the fat of them, the 
best of the kind: they did not send others to offer 
their sacrifices for them, but came tlumselves to 
appear before God; they observed the instiUitetT 
places, not in high-places, or groves, but in ■'Jod's 
own courts; and the instituted iime, the new-moons, 
and sabbaths, and appointed feasts, none of which. 



IK 



ISAIAH, 1. 



they omitted; nay, it sliould seem, they called tx- 
li-aordiiriry assemblies, and licld soUnm meetings, 
f jr religious worsliip, beside tliose that God had ap- 
pointect; \'et tliis was not all, they applied them- 
selves to 6 od not only with tlieir ceremonial observ- 
ances, hut witli the moral instancesof devotion; they 
prayed, they prayed often, made many prayers, 
thinking they should be heard for their much speak- 
ing; nay, they were fervent and importunate in 
prayer,' they spread forth their hands as men in 
earnest. Now we should have thought these, and 
no doubt they thought themselves, a pious, religious 
people; and yet they were far from being so, for, 
( 1. ) Their hearts were empty of true devotion; they 
came to a/ifiear before God, {v. 12. ) to be seen be- 
fore him; so the margin reads it; they rested in the 
■^ outside of the duties, they looked no further than to 
be seen of men, and went no further than that which 
men see. (2. J Their hands were full of blood; they 
were guilty ot murder, rapine, and oppression, un- 
der colour of law and justice. The people shed 
blood, and the rulers did not punish them for it; the 
rulers shed blood, and the people were aiding and 
abetting, as the elders of Jezreel were to Jezebel in 
shedding Naboth's blood. Malice is heart-murder, 
in the account of God; he that hates his brother in 
his lieart, has, in effect, his hands full of blood. 

2. When sinners are under the judgments of God, 
they will more easily be brought to fly to their de- 
\otions, than to forsake their sins, and reform their 
lives. Their country was now desolate, and their 
cities burnt; (t. 7. ) and this awakened them to 
bring their sacrifices and offerings to God more con- 
stantly than they had done, as if they would bribe 
God Almighty to remove the punishment, and give 
them leave to go on in the sin. IVhen he slew them, 
then they sought him, Ps. Ixxviii. 34. Lord, in 
trouble have they visited thee, ch. xxvi. 16. Many 
that will readily part with their sacrifices, will not 
be persuaded to part with their sins. 

3. The most pompous and costly devotions of 
wicked people, without a thorough reformation of 
the heart and life, are so far from being acceptable 
to God, that really they are an abomination to him. 
It is showed here in a great variety of expressions, 
that to obey is better than sacrijice; nay, that sacri- 
fice, without obedience, is a jest, an aflfront and pro- 
vocation to God. The comparative neglect which 
God here expresses of ceremonial observances, was 
a tacit intimation of what they would come to at last, 
when they would all be done away by the death of 
Christ; what was now made little of, would, in due 
time, be made nothing of. Sacrifice and offering, 
and prayer made in the virtue of that, thou ivouldest 
not; then said I, Lo, I come. Their sacrifices are 
here represented, 

(1.) As fruitle.ss and insignificant. Towhatpur- 
( p3sc is it.'' t>. 11. They are x'ain oblations, v. 13. 
In vain do they laorshifi me, Matth. xv. 9. It was 
all lost labour, and served not to answer any good 
intention; for, [l.'\ It was not looked upon as any act 
of duty or obedience to God; Who has required these 
: things at your hands? z'. 12. Not that God disowns 
nis institutions, or refuses to stand by his own war- 
rants; but in what they did they had not an eve to 
Him that required it, nor indeed did he require it 
of them, whose hands were full of blood, and who 
continued impenitent, [2.] It did not recommend 
them to God s favour; he delighted not in the blood 
of their sacrifices, for he did not look upon himself 
as honoured by it. [3.] It would not obtain any re- 
lief for them. They pray, but God will not hear, 
l)ec-.iuse they_ regard iniquity; (Ps. Ixvi. 18.) he 
would not deliver them, for though they make many 
prayers, none of them came from an upright heart. 
All their religious services turned to no account to 
them. Nay, 



(2. ; x\s odious and offensive, God chd not onlyot 
accept them, but he did detest and abhor them. 
"They are your sacrifices, they are none of mine; 
I am full of them, even surfeited witii them." He 
needed them not, (Ps. 1. 10.) did not desire them, 
had had enough of them, and more than enough. 
Their coming into his courts he calls treading them, 
or trampling upon them, their very attendance on 
his ordinances was construed into a contempt ot 
them. Their incense, though ever so fragrant, wad 
an abomination to him, for it was burnt ir. hypocrisy, 
and with an ill design. Their solemn assemolies h< 
could not away with, could not see them with any 
patience, nor bear the affront they gave him. Thi 
solemn meeting is iniquity; though the thing itself 
was not, yet, as they managed it, it was. It is a 
vexation, (so some read it,) a provocation, to God, 
to have ordinances thus prostituted, not only by 
wicked people, but to wicked purposes; " My soul 
hates them, they are a trouble to me, a burthen, an 
incumbrance; I am perfectly sick of them, and weary 
to bear them." He is never weary of liearing the 
prayers of the upright, but soon weary of the costly 
sacrifices of the wicked. He hides his eyes from 
their prayers, as that which he has an aversion to, 
and is angry at. 

All this is to show, [1.] That sin is very hateful 
to God, so hateful that it makes even men's prayers 
and their religious services hateful to him. [2.] 
That dissembled piety is double iniquity. Hypo- 
crisy in religion is of all things most abominable to 
the God of heaven. Jerom applies it to the Jews in 
Christ's time, who pretended a great zeal for the 
law and the temple, but made themselves and all 
their services abominable to God, Ijy filling their 
hands with the blood of Christ and his apostles, and 
so filling up the measure of their iniquities. 

1 6. Wash you, make you clean ; put away 
the evil of your doings from before mine 
eyes ; cease to do evil ; 17. Learn to do well : 
seek judgment, relieve the oppressed; judge 
the fatherless; plead for the widow. )8. 
Come now, let us reason togetiier, saith the 
Lord : Though your sins be as scarlet, they 
shall be as white as snow ; though they be 
red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19. 
If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat 
the good of the land : 20. But if ye refuse 
and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the 
sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath 
spoken it. 

Though God has rejected their services as insuffi- 
cient to atone for their sins, while they persisted in 
them, yet he does not reject them as in a hopeless 
condition; but here calls upon them to forsake their 
sins, which hindered the acceptance of their servi- 
ces, and then all would be well. Let them not say 
that God picked quarrels with tliem; no, he pro- 
poses a method of reconciliation. Observe here, 

1. A call to repentance and reformatirn ; " If you 
would have your sacrifices accepted, ;'nd your 
prayers answered, you must begin your work at the 
right end; Be converted to my lanv," (so the Chal- 
dee begins this exhortation,) "make conscience of 
second-table-duties, else expect net to l)e accepted 
in the acts of vour devotion. " As justice and charity 
will never atone for atheism and profaneness, so 
prayers and sacrifices will never atrne for fraud and 
oppression; for righteousness towai-d men is ;^s much 
a branch of pure religion, as religion toward God if 
a branch of universal righteousness. 
i 1. They must cease to do evil, must do no more 



ISAIAH, r. 



19 



■wrong, shed no more innocent blood; th d is the 
meaning; of washing them, and making thtm clean, 
V. 16. It is not only sorrowing for the sin tliey had 
committed, but breaking off the practice of it for the 
future, and mortifying all those vicious affections 
and dispositions which incline them to it. Sin is 
defiling to the soul; our business is to wash ourselves 
from it by repenting of it, and turning from it to 
God. We must put away not only that evil of our 
doinijs, which is before tlie eye of the world, by re- 
frainnig from the gross acts of sin, but that which is 
before (lod's e) es, the roots and habits of sin, that 
are in our hearts; those must be crushed and mor- 
tified. 

2. They must learn to do well. This was neces- 
sary to the completing of their repentance. Note, 
It is not enough that we cease to do evil, but we 
must learn to do well. (1.) We must be doing; not 
cease to do evil, and then stand idle. (2.) We must 
be doing good, tlie good which the Lord our God re- 
quires, and which will turn to a good account (3. ) 
^^'e must do it well, in a right manner, and for a 
right end; and, (4.) We must learn to do well, we 
must take pains to get the knowledge of our duty, 
be inquisitive con-erning it, in care about it, and ac- 
custom ourselves to it, that we may readily turn r.ur 
hands to our work, and become masters of this holy 
art of doing well. 

He urges them particularly to those instances of 
well-doing, wherein tliey had been defective; to se- 
cond-tablc-duties; "Seek judgment; inquire what is 
right, that ye mav do it: be solicitous to be found in 
the way of your duty, and do not walk at all adven- 
tures; seek opportunities of doing good. Relieve 
the o/ifiressed, those whom you yourselves have op- 
pressed; ease them of their burthens, c/i. Iviii. 6. 
You that liave power in your hands, use it for the 
relief of those wliom others do oppress, for that is 
your business; right those that suffer wrong; in a 
special manner concern yourselves for the fatherless 
and the widow, whom, because they are weak and 
helpless, proud men trample upon and abuse; do 
you appear for them at the bar, on the bench, as 
there is occasion ; speak for those that know not how 
to speak for themselves, and that have not where- 
withal to gratify you for vour kindness." Note, 
We are truly honouring God when we are doing 
good in the world; and acts of justice and charity are 
more pleasing to him than all burnt-offerings and 
sacrifices. 

II. A demonstration, at the bar of right reason, 
of the equity of God's proceeding with them; "Come 
now, and let vs reason together; [v. 18.) while your 
hands are full of blood, I will have nothing to do 
with you, though you bring me a multitude of sacri- 
fices: but if you wash you, and make you clean, you 
are welcome to draw nigh to me; come now, and let 
us talk the matter over. " Note, Those, and those 
only, that break off their league with sin, shall be 
welcome into covenant and communion with God; 
he says, Cotne now, who before God forbade them 
his courts. See Jam. iv. 8. Or rather thus; there 
were those among them who looked upon tliem- 
selves as offended by the slights God put upon the 
multitude of their sacrifices, as ch. Iviii. 3. IfTiere- 
fore have nue fasted, (saythev,) and thou seest not? 
Tliey i-epresented God as a "hard Master, whom it 
Wds impossible to please; " Come," says God, " let 
us debate the matter fairly, and I doubt not but to 
m:ike it out that my ways are equal, but yours are 
unei/ual." Ezrk. xviii. 25. Note, 1. Religion has 
re- son on its side: there is all the reason in the world 
p'lat we should do as God would have us to do. 2. 
Tlie God of heaven condescends to reason the case 
w'tli those who contradict him and find fault with 
ivs prrcecdings, for he will be justijied when he 
"tiraliS, Ps. li. 4. T'ic c'lse needs only to be stated, 



(as it is here very fairly,) and it will determine it 
self, (icd sliows here upon what terms they stood, 
(as he does Ezek. xviii. 21, 24. — xxxiii. 18, 19.) 
and then leaves it to tliem to judge whether they 
were not fair. 

(1.) They cannot in reasrn expect any mere than 
that, if they repent and reform, tluy should be re- 
stored to God's favour, notwithstanding their foi-mer 
provocations; "This ycu may expect," says God, 
" and it is very kind; who could have the face to de- 
sire it upon any other tenns.'" [1.] " It is very l;t- 
tle that is required, only that )ou be willing ^nd 
obedient, that you consent to obey;" so sc me retd 
it; " th..t you subject your wills to' the will of God, 
acquiesce in that, and gi\e up Yourselves in all 
tilings to be ruled by him that is infinitely wise and 
good." Hereisnopenance imposed for their former 
stubbornness, nor the ycke made heavier, or bound 
harder, on their necks; only, "Whereas hitherto 
you have been per^'erse and refractory, and would 
not comply with that wliich was for yoiir own good, 
now be tractable, be governable. " He does not say, 
" If you hn perfectly obedient," but, " If you be wil- 
lingly so;" for if there be a willing miiid, it is ac- 
cepted. [2. ] That is very great, which is promised 
hereupon. Mrst, That all their sins should be par- 
doned to them, and should not be mentioned against 
them; "Though they be as red as scarlet and 
crimson, though you lie under the guilt of blood, 
yet, upon your repentance, even that shall be for- 
given you, and you shall appear in the sight of God 
as white as snow." Note, The greatest sinners, if 
they truly repent, shall have their sins forgiven 
them, and so have their consciences pacified and 
purified. Though our sins have been as scarlet and 
crimson, a deep dye, a double dye, first in the wool 
of original corruption, and afterwards in the many 
tlireads of actual transgression, though we have 
been often dipped, by our many backslidings, into 
sin, and though we have lain long soaking in it, as 
the cloth does in the scarlet dye, yet pardoning 
mercy will thoroughly discharge the stain, and, be- 
ing by it purged as with hysso/i, we shall be clean, 
Ps. li. 7. If we make cursehes clean by repentance 
and refonnation,(7'. 16.) God will make us white bv 
a full remission. Secondly, That they should have 
all the happiness and comfort they could desire; 
"Be but willing and obedient and ijou shall eat the 
good of the land, the land of promise; you shall 
have all the blessings of the new covenant, of the 
heavenly C^anaan ; all the good of that land. " They 
that go on in sin, though they dwell in a good land, 
cannot with any comfort eat the good of it, guilt im- 
bitters all; but if sin be pardoned, creature-comforts 
become comforts indeed. 

(2. ) They cannot in reason expect any other than 
that, if they continue obstinate in their disobedience, 
they should be abandoned to ruin, and the sentence 
of the law should be executed upon them; what c;;n 
be more just? {v. 20.) " If you refuse and rebel, if 
you continue to rebel against the divine go\eniment, 
and refuse the tffers of divine grace, you shall br 
devoured with the sword; with the sword of your 
enemies, which shall be commissioned to destrcy 
you, with the sword of God's justice, his wrath, and 
vengeance, which shall be drawn against you; fcr 
this is that which the mouth of the Lord has sfiofcen, 
and which he will make good, for the maintaining 
of his own honour." Note, Those that will not be 
.governed by God's sceptre, will certainly and justly 
be devoured by his sword. '% 

" And now life and death, good and evil, are thus 
set before you; Come and let us reason together. 
WHiat have you to object against tlie eqiiity of this 
or against complying with God's terms?" 

21 . How is the fnithful citv become a hai 



•JO 



ISAIAH, 1. 



lot 1 it was full of judgment; righteousness 
lodged in it; but now murderers. 22. Thy 
silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with 
water: 23. Thy princes «re rebellious, and 
companions of thieves: every one loveth 
gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge 
not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of 
the widow come unto them. 24. Therefore 
saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts, the 
Miglity One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of 
mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine 
enemies : 25. And 1 will turn my hand upon 
thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and 
take away all thj' tin : 26. And I will re- 
store thy judges as at the first, and thy coun- 
seiloi-s as at the beginning: afterward thou 
shalt be called. The city of righteousness, 
Tl^iC faithful city. 27. Zion shall be redeem- 
ed with judgment, and her converts with 
righteousness. 28. And the destruction of 
the transgi-essors and of the sinners sAff// be 
together, and they that forsake the Lord 
shall be consumed. 29. For they shall be 
ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, 
and ye shall be confotinded for the gardens 
that ye have chosen. 30. For ye shall be 
as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a gar- 
den that hath no water. 31. And the strong 
shall be as tow, and the maker of it as a 
spark, and they shall both burn together, 
and none shall quench them. 

Here, 

I. The woful degeneracy of Judah and Jervisalem 
is sadly lamented. See, 1. What the royal city had 
been; a faithful city, faithful to God and the inte- 
rests of his kingdom among men; faithful to tlie na- 
tion and its public interests. It was full of judg- 
ment; justice was duly administered upon the thrones 
of judgment which were set there, the thrones of 
the house of David, Ps. cxxii. 5. Men were gene- 
rally honest in their dealings, and abhorred to do an 
unjust thing; righteousness lodged in it, was con- 
stantly resident in their palaces and in all their 
dwelhngs, not called in now and tlien to ser\'e a 
tam, l)ut at home there. Note, Neither holy cities, 
nor royal ones, neither places where religion is pro- 
fessed, nor places where government is administer- 
ed, are faithful to their trust, if religion do not dwell 
in them. 2. What it was now become : that beau- 
teous virtuous spouse was now debauched, and be- 
come an adulteress; righteousness no longer dwelt 
in Jerusalem, {terras Astraea relicjuit — Astrea left 
the earth,') even murderers were unpunished, and 
lived undisturbed there; nay, the princes themselves 
were so cruel and oppressive, that they were be- 
come no better than murderers; an innocent man 
inislit Ijetter guard himself against a troop of ban- 
<litti or assassins, than against a bench of such 
i i'lges. Note, It is a great aggi-avation of the wick- 
e;lness of any family or people, that their ancestors 
were famed for virtue and probity; and commonly 
tkose tliat thus degenerate, prove the most wicked 
*all others. Corrufitio ofitimi est pessima — That 
-r.hi(.h originally was the best, when corrupted, be- 
. jmcs the worst, Luke xi. 26. Eccl. iii. 16. See 
J:r xxiii. 15. -l/. 

This is illustrated, (1.) By similitudes; {v. 22.) 
Thy silver is become dross; this degeneracy of the 



magistrates, whose character is the reverse of that 
of their predecessors, is as great a reproach and in- 
jury to the kingdom, as the debasing of their coin 
would be, and the turning of their silver into dross. 
Righteous princes, and nghteous cities, are as silver 
for the treasur)'; i)ut unrighteous ones are as dross 
for the dunghill — How is the gold become dim ! Lam. 
iv. 1. Thy wine is mixed with water, and so is be- 
come flat and sour. Some understand both these 
literally; the wine they sold was adulterated, it was 
half water; the money they paid was counterfeit, 
and so they cheated all they dealt with. But it is 
rather to lie taken figuratively : justice was pervert- 
ed by their princes; and religion and the word of 
God were sophisticated by their priests, and made 
to serve what turn they pleased. Dross may shine 
like silver, and the wine that is mixed with water 
may retain the colour of wine, but neither is worth 
any thing. Thus they retained a show and pretence 
of virtue and justice, but had no true sense of either. 
(2.) By some instances; {v. 23.) "Thy princes, that 
should keep others in their allegiance to God, and 
subjection to his law, are themselves rebellious, and 
set God and his law at defiance." They that should 
restrain thieves, proud and rich oppressors, those 
worst of robbers, and those that designedly cheat 
their creditors, who are no better, they are them- 
selves companions of thieves, connive at' them, do as 
they do, and with greater security and success, be- 
cause they are prmccs, and have power in their 
hands; they share with the thieves they protect in 
their unlawful gain, (Ps. 1. 18. ) and cast in their lot 
among them, Prov. i. 13, 14. [1.] The profit of 
their places is all their aim; to make the best hand 
they can of them, right or wrong. They love gif^s, 
and follow after reward; they set their hearts upon 
their salary, the fees and perquisites of their offices, 
and are greedy of them, and never think they can 
get enough; nay, they will do any thing, though 
ever so contrary to law and justice, for a gift in se- 
cret. Presents and gratuities will blind their eyes 
at any time, and make them pervert judgment: 
these they love, and are eager in the pursuit of, 
Hos. iv. 18. [2.] The duty of their places is none 
of their care; they ought to protect those that are 
injured, and take cognizance of the appeals made 
to them; why else were they preferred? But they 
judge not the fatherless, take no care to guard the 
orphans, nor does the cause of the widow come unto 
them; because the poor widow has no bribe to give, 
with which to make way for her, and to bring her 
cause on. Those will have a great deal to answei 
for, who, when they should be the patrons of the 
oppressed, are their greatest oppressors. 

IL A resolution is taken up to redress these griev- 
ances; (t. 24.) Therefore saith the Lord, the Lord 
of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, who has power to 
make good what he says, who has hosts at command 
for the executing of his purposes, and whose power 
is engaged for Israel; Ah, I will ease me of mine ad- 
versaries. Obser\'e, 1. X^^icked people, especially 
wicked rulers that are cruel and oppressive, are 
God's enemies, his adversaries, and shall so be ac- 
counted of, and so dealt with. If the holy seed cor- 
rupt themselves, they are the ft es of his own house. 
2. They are a burthen to the God of heaven, which 
is implied in his easing himself of them ; the Mighty 
One of Israel, that can bear anv thing, nay, that up- 
holds all things, complains of his Ijeing wearied with 
men's iniquities, ch. xliii. 24. Amos ii. 13. 3. God 
will find out a time and a way to ease himself of 
this burthen, by avenging himself on those that thus 
bear hard upon his patience. He here speaks as 
one triumphing in the foresight of it; Ah, I will ease 
me. He will ease the earth of the tjurthen under 
which it groans, (Rom. viii. 21, 22.) will ease hi't 
own name of the reproaches with which it is loaded. 



ISAIAH, 11. 



'il 



He will be eased of his adversaries, by taking ven- 
geance <jn his enemies; iie will njiue tliem out of his 
mouth, and so be eased of tliem, Rev. iii. 16. He 
speiks witli pleasure of the day of vengeance beiiii; 
in his heart, ch. Ixiii. 4. If God's (jrofessing people 
confunii not to l\is image, as the Holy One of Israel, 
(j'. 4. ) tliey shall feel the weight of his hand as tlie 
Mighty One of Israel: his power, which was wont to 
be engaged for them, shall be armed against them. 

Two ways God will ease himself of this grievance: 

(1.) By reforming his chui'cli and restoring good 
judges in the room of those corrupt ones. Though 
the church has a great deal of dross in it, yet it shall 
not be thrown away, bvit refined; {zk 25.) '' I wilt 
purely /lurge away thy dross; I will amend what is 
amiss. Vice and profaneness shall be suppressed, 
and put out of countenance; oppressors displaced, 
and deprived of their power to do mischief. " When 
tilings are ever so bad, God can set them to rights, 
and bring about a complete reformation; when he 
Ijegins, he will make an end, will take away all 
the tin. 

Observe, [1.] The i-eformation of a people is 
God's own work; and, if ever it be done, it is he that 
brings it about; " I ivM turn my hand ujwn thee; I 
will do that for the reviving of religion, which I did, 
at first, for tlie planting of it." He can do it easily, 
with the tuni of his hand; but he does it effectually, 
for what opposition can stand before the arm of the 
Lord revealed.'' [2.] He does it by blessing them 
with good magistrates, and good ministers ot state; 
(x». 26.) " J nuill restore thy judges, as at the Jirst, 
to put the laws into execution against evil-doers; 
and th\' counsellors, to transact public affairs, as at 
the beginning;" either the same persons that had 
been turned out, or others of the same character. 
[3.] He does it by restoring judgment and righ- 
teousness among them, {y. 27.) by planting in men's 
minds principles of justice, ancl governing their lives 
by those principles. Men may do much by exter- 
nal restraints; but God does it effectually by the in- 
fluences of his Spirit, as a S/iirit of Judgment, ch. 
iv. 4. — xxviii. 6. See Ps. Ixxxv. 10, 11. [4.] The 
reformation of a people will be the redemption of 
them and their converts, for sin is the worst cap- 
tivity, the worst slavei-)'; and the great and eternal 
redemption is that by which Israel is redeemed from 
all his iniquities; (Ps. cxxx. 8.) and the blessed Re- 
deemer is he that turns away ungodliness from 
Jacob, (Rom. xi. 26.) and saves his people from 
their sins, Matth. i. 21. All the redeemed of the 
Lord shall be converts, and their conversion is their 
redemption. Her converts, or, they that return of 
her; so the margin. God works deliverance for us, 
by preparing us for it with judgment and righteous- 
ness. [5.] The reviving of a people's vii-tue, is the 
restoring of their honour; Afterward thou shalt be 
called the city of righteousness, the faithful city; 
First, Thou shalt be so; the reforming of the magis- 
tracy is a good step toward the reforming of the city 
and the country too. Secondly, Thou shalt have 
the praise of being so; and a greater praise there 
cannot be to any city, than to be called the city of 
righteousness, and to retrieve the ancient honour, 
which was lost, when the faithful city beca?ne a 
harlot, V. 21. 

(2.) By cutting off those that hate to be reform- 
ed, that they may not remain either as snares, or as 
scandals, to the faithful city. [1.] It is an utter 
ruin that is here threatened. Ihey shall be de- 
stroyed and consumed, and not chastened and cor- 
rected only. The extii-pation of them will be ne- 
cessary to the redemption of Zion. [2.] It is a uni- 
versal ruin, which will invohe the transgressors 
and the sinners togetlitr; the openly profane, that 
have finite cast off all religion, and the hypocrites, 
that live wicked lives under the cloak cf a religious 



profession — they sliall both be destroyed together; 
tor they are both alike an at)omination to God, both 
those that contradict religion, and thoSe that con- 
tradict themsehcs in theh' i)retensions to it. And 
they that foi'sake the Lord, to whom tliey had for 
mei'ly joined themselves, shall be consumed as the 
water in the conduit-pipe is soon consumed when it 
is cut off from the fountain. [3.] It is an inevitaljle 
ruin; there is no escaping it. 

First, Their idols shall not be able to help them; 
the oaks which they have desired, and the gardens 
which thev liave chosen; the images, the dunghill- 
gods, which they have worshipped in their gro\'es, 
and under the green trees, which they were fond cf, 
and wedded to, for which they forsook the true God, 
and which they worshipped pri\'ately in their own 
gardens, even then when idolatry was publicly dis- 
countenanced. This was the practice of the trans- 
gressors and the sinners; but they shall be ashamed 
of it, not with a show of repentance, but of despair, 
V. 29. They shall have cause to be ashamed of 
them ; for after all the court they have made to them, 
they shall find no benefit by them; but the idols 
themselves shall go into captivity, ch. xlvi. 1, 2. 
Note, They that make creatures their confidence, 
are but preiiaring confusion for themselves. You 
were fond of the oaks and the gardens; Ijut you 
yourselves shall be, 1. Like an oak without leaves, 
withered and blasted, and stripped of all its orna- 
ments. Justly do those wear no leaves, that bear 
no fruit; as the fig-tree that Christ cursed. 2. Like 
a garden without water, that is neither rained upcrU, 
nor watered with the foot, (Deut. xi. 10.) that has 
no fountains, (Cant. iv. 15.) and consequently, is 
parched, and all the fruits of it gone to decay. 
Thus shall they be, that trust in idols, or in an arm 
of flesh, Jer. xvii. 5, 6. But they that trust in God 
never find him as a wilderness, or as waters that 
fail, Jer. ii. 31. 

Secondly, They shall not be able to help them- 
selves;(i'. 31.) F.ven thestrong man shall be as tow; 
not only soon broken, and pulled to pieces, but easily 
catching fire; and his work, (so the margin reads 
it,) that by which he hopes to fortify and secure 
himself, shall be as a spark to his own tow, shall 
set him on fire, and he and his wot-k sliall burn to- 
gether. His own counsels shall be his ruin; his own 
sin kindles the fire of God's wrath, which shall bum 
to the lowest hell, and none shall quench it. When 
the sinner has made himself as tow and stubble, 
and God makes himself to him as a consuming fire, 
what can prevent the utter ruin of the sinner? 

Now all this is applicable, 1. To the blessed work 
of reformation, which was wrought in Hezekiah's 
time, after the abominable corruptions of the reign 
of Ahaz. Then good men came to be preferred, and 
the faces of the wicked were filled with shame. 2. 
To their return out of their captivity in Babylon, 
which had thoroughly cured them of idolatry. 3. 
To the gospel-kingdom, and the pouring cut of the 
Spirit, by which the New Testament church should 
be made a new Jerusalem, a city of righteousness. 
4. To the second coming of Christ, when he shall 
thoroughly purge his floor, his field, shall gather 
the wheat into his bam, into his garner, and burn 
the chaff, the tares, with unquenchable fire. 

CHAP. II. 

With this chapter bepins a new sermon, which is continu- 
ed in the two following chapters. The subject of thi* 
discourse is Judah and Jerusalem, v. I. In this chapie^, 
the prophet speaks, I. Of the plory of the christians, Je 
rusalem, the gospel-church in the laUer days, in the ac- 
cession of many to it, (v. 2, 3.) and the c^eat peace it 
should introduce into the world, (v. 4.) whence he infers 
the duly of the house of Jacob, v. 5. II. Of the shame 
of the Jews, Jerusalem, as it then was, and as it would 
be after its rejecting of the eospel, and being rejected oj 



ISAIAH, U. 



God. 1. Their sin was their shame, v. 6.. 9. 2. God 
b) his jud[,'ments would humble them, and put them to 
name, v. K) . . 17. They should themselves be ashamed 
of their confidence in their idols, and in an arm of flesh, 
V. 19 . . 22. And now «hich of these Jerusalems will we 
be the inhabitants of? Thifl. which is full of the knowledge 
of God, which ivill be our everlasting honour, or that 
which is full of horses and chariots, and silver and gold, 
and such idols, which will, in the end, be our shame. 

I . ^ S^HE woid tliat Isaiali the son of 
JL Amoz saw concerning Judah and 
lerusalem. 2. And it sliall come to pass 
m the last days, that the mountain of the 
Lord's house shall be established in the top 
of the mountains, and shall be exalted 
above the hills; and all nations shall flow 
unto it. 3. And many people shall go and 
say. Come ye, and let us go up to the moun- 
tain of the Lord, to the house of the God 
of Jacob ; and he will teach us of his ways, 
and we will walk in his paths: for out of 
Zion shall go forth the law, and the word 
of the Lord from Jerusalem. 4. And he 
shall judge among the nations, and shall re- 
buke many people ; and they shall beat their 
swords into ploughshares, and their spears 
into pruning-hooks : nation shall not lift up 
sword against nation, neither shall they 
learn war any more. 5. O house of Jacob, 
come ye, and let us walk in the light of the 
Lord. 

The particular title of this sermon, (i>. 1.) is the 
sime with the genernl title of the book; (c/^. i. 1.) 
only that what is there called the vision, is here 
called t/ie nvord iv/iic/i Isaiah saw, or the matter 
or thing, which he saw, the truth ot which he had 
as full an assurance of in his own mind, as if he had 
seen it with his bodily eyes. Or, this word was 
brought to him in a vision, he saw something, when 
he received this message from God. St. John turn- 
ed to see the -voice that spake with him, Rev. i. 12. 

This sermon begins with the prophecy relating 
to the last days, the days of the Messiah, when 
his kingdom should be set up in the world, at 
the latter end of the Mosaic economy. In the 
last days of the earthly Jerusalem, just before the 
destruction of it, this heavenly Jerusalem should be 
erected, Heb. xii. 22. Gal. iv. 26. Note, Gospel- 
limes are the last days. For, 1. They were long in 
coming, were a great time waited for by the Old 
Testament saints, and came at last. 2. We are not 
tc look for any dispensation of divine grace, but 
*hat we have in the gospel, Gal. i. 8, 9. 3. We 
are to look for the second coming of Jesus Christ at 
the end of time, as the Old Testament saints did 
tor his first coming; this is the last time, 1 John ii. 18. 

Now the prophet here foretells, 

I. The setting up of the Christian church, and 
'.he planting of the Christian religion in the world. 
Christianity shall then be the mountain of the Lord's 
house; where that. is professed, God will grant his 
j>resence, receive his people's homage, and grant 
mstruction and blessing, as he did of old in thetem- 
jile of Mount Zion. The gospel-church, incorpo- 
r ited by Christ's charter, shall then be the ren- 
dezvous of all the spiritual seed of Abraham. Now 
it is here promised, 1. That Christianity shall be 
openly preached and professed; it shall be firefiared 
(so the margin reads it) in the top of the mountains, 
in the view and hearing of all. Hence Christ's disci- 
ples are compared to a city on a hill, which cannot 



be hid, Matth. v. 14. They had mfiny eyes upon 
them. Christ himself s/iake openly to the world, 
John xviii. 20. What the apostles did, was net 
done in a corner. Acts xxvi. 26. It was the light- 
ing of a beacon, the setting up of a standard. Its 
being eveiy where spoken against, supposes that it 
was every where spoken of. 2. That it shall be 
firmly fixed and rooted; that it shall be established 
on the top of the everlasting mountains, built upon 
a rock, so that the gates of hell shall not prevail 
against it, unless they could pluck up mountains by 
the roots. He that dwells safely, is said to dwell 
on high, ch. xxxiii. 16. The Lord has founded the 
gospel-Ziori. 3. That it shall not only overcome 
all opposition, but overtop all competition; it shall 
be exalted above the hills. This wisdom of God 
in a mystery shall outshine all the wisdom of 
this world, all its philosophy, and all its politics. 
The spiritual worship which it shall introduce, 
shall put down the idolatries of the heathen; and 
all other institutions in religion shall appear mean 
and despicable, in comparison with this. See Ps. 
Ixviii. 16. Why leap ye, ye high hills? This is the 
hill which God desires to dwell in. 

II. The bringing in of the Gentiles into it; 1. 
The nations shall be admitted into it, even the un- 
circumcised, who were forbidden to ceme into the 
courts of the temple at Jerusalem; the partition- 
wall, which kept them out, kept them off, shall be 
tiken down. 2. All nations shall flow into it; hav- 
ing liberty of access, they shall improve their li- 
berty, and multitudes shall embrace the Christian 
faith. They shill flow into it, as streams of water; 
which denotes the abundance of converts that the 
gospel should make, and their speed and cheerful- 
ness in coming into the church. They shall not be 
forced into it, but shall naturallv flow into it. Thy 
people shall be witling; all volunteers, Ps. ex. 3. 
To Christ shall the gathering of the people be. Gen. 
xlix. 10. See ch. Ix. A, 5. 

III. The mutu:il assistance and encruragement 
which tills confluence of converts shall give to one 
another. Their j)irus affections and resolutirns 
shall be so intermixed, that they shall come in, 
in one full stream. As when the Jews from all 
jiarts of the country went up thrice a year to wor- 
ship at Jerusalem, they called on their friends in 
the road, and excited them to go along with them, 
so shall many of the Gentiles court their relations, 
friends, and neighbours, to join with them in em- 
bracing the Christian religion; (xk 3.) " Come, and 
let us go up to the mountain of the Lord; though it 
be up hill, and against heart, yet it is the mountain 
of the Lord, who will assist the ascent ef cur srul- 
toward him." Note, Those that are entering into 
covenant and communion with God themselves, 
should bring as many as they can along with them; 
it becomes Christians to provoke one anrthcr to 
good works, and to further the communion of saints 
by inviting one another into it: not, " Do vcu ^o up 
to the mountain of the Lord, and pray for us, and 
we will stay at home;" nor, "We will go, and do 
you as you will;" but, " Come, and let us go, let 
us go in concert, that we may strengthen one an- 
other's hands, and support one another's reputa- 
tion:" not, " We will consider of it, and advise 
about it, and go hereafter;" but, " Come, and let 
us go forthwith," Ps. cxxii. 1. Many shall savthis; 
those that have had it said to them, shall say it to 
others. The gospel-church is here called, not only 
the mountain of the Lord, but the house of the God 
of Jacob; for in it God's covenant with Jarrb and 
his praying .seed is kept up, and has its accrmplish- 
ment; for to us now, as unto them, he never said, 
Seek ye me, in vain, ch. xlv. 19. 

Now see here, 1. What they promise them- 
selves, in going up to the mountain of the I ■"■d. 



ISAIAH, IJ. 



23 



There kc ivill teach ui, of his ivays. Note, God's 
ways ;ire to l)e leanied in his church, in communion 
vith liis people, and in the use of instituted ordi- 
nances; the ways of duty, which he requires us to 
wallv in, the ways of grace, in which he wallcs to- 
wards us. It is God tliat teaclies his peo])le, by his 
word and Spirit. It is worth while to take pains to 
^o up to his holy mountain, to be taught his ways, 
tor those who are willing to take that pains, shall 
never find it labour in vain. Then shall lue knoiu, 
if nve folloiu on to knoiv, the Lord. 2. Wliat they 
firomise for themselves, and one another; " If he 
will teach us his ways, we will walk in his /laths; 
if he will let us know our duty, we will by his grace 
make conscience of doing it." Those who attend 
God's word with this humble resolution, shall not 
be sent away without their lesson. 

IV. The means by which this shall be brought 
about; Out of Zion shall go forth the law, the New 
Testament law, the law of Christ; as, of old, the 
law of Moses from mount Sinai, even the word of 
the Lord from Jerusalem. The gospel is a law, a 
law of faith; it is the word of the Lord; it went 
forth from Zion, where the temple was built, and 
from Jerusalem. Christ himself began in Galilee, 
Mitth. iv. 23. Luke xxiii. 5. But when he com- 
tiiissioned his apostles to preach the gospel to all na- 
tions, he ap])omted them to begin at Jerusalem, 
Luke xxiv. 47. See Rom. xv. 19. Though most 
of them had their home in Galilee, yet they must 
stay at Jerusalem, there to receive the firomise of 
the S/iirit, Acts i. 4. And in the temple on Mount 
Zion they preached the gospel, Acts v. 20. This 
honour was allowed to Jerusalem, even after Christ 
was crucified there, for the sake of what it had 
been. And it was by this gospel which took rise 
from Jerusalem, that the gospel-church was estab- 
lished on the tofi of the mountains. This was the 
rod of divine strength, that was sent forth out of 
Zion, Ps. ex. 2. 

V. The erecting of the kingdom of the Re- 
deemer in the world; He shall judge among the na- 
tions. He whose word goes forth out of Zlon, shall 
by that word not only subdue souls to himself, but 
rule in them, v. 4. He shall, in wisdom and justice, 
order and overrule the affairs of the world for the 
good of his church, and rebuke and restrain those 
that oppose his interest. By his Spirit working on 
men's consciences, he shall judge and rebuke, shall 
try men, and check them; his kingdom is spiritual, 
and not of this world. 

VI. The great peace which should be the effect 
of the success of the gospel in the world; {v. A.) 
They shall beat their swords into filoughshares ; 
their instniments of war shall be converted into im- 
plements of husbandry; as, on the contrary, when 
war is proclaimed, filoughshares are beaten into 
swords, Joel iii. 10. JVa'tion shall not then lift ufi 
sword against nation, as now they do, neither shall 
they learn war any more, for they shall have no 
more occasion for it. This does not make all war 
absolutely unlawful among Christians, nor is it a 
prophecy that in the days of the Messiah there 
shall be no wars. The Jew^ urge this against 
Christians, as an argument that Jesus is not the 
Messiah, because this promise is not fulfilled. But, 
1. It was in part fulfilled in the peaceableness of 
the time in which Christ was bom, when wars were 
in a great measure ceased; witness the taxing, 
Luke ii. 1.' 2. The design and tendency of the 
gospel are to make peace, and to slay all enmities. 
It has in it the most powerful obligations and in- 
ducements to peace; so that one might reasonably 
have expected it should have had this effect, and it 
would have had it, if it had not been for those lusts 
of men, from which come wars and fightings. 3. 
Jews and Gentiles were reconciled, and brought to- 



gether, by the gospel, and there were no more such 
wars between them as had been; for they became 
one sheefi-fotd under one shefiherd, Eph. ii. 15. 4. 
The gospel of Christ, as far as it prevails, disposes 
men to be peaceable, softens men's spirits, and 
sweetens them; and the liive of Christ, shed abroad 
in the heiirt, constrains men to love one another. 

5. The primitive Christians were famous for brr- 
therlv love; their very adversaries took notice of it. 

6. We have reason to hope that this promise shall 
yet have a more full accomplishment in the latter 
times of the Christian church, when the Spirit shall 
be poured out more pleutiluUy from on high. Then 
there sliall be on earth peace. Who shall live when 
God doeth this? But do it he will in due time, for 
he is not a man that he should lie. 

Lastly, Here is a practical inference drawn from 
all this; {v. 5.) O house of Jacob, come ye and let us 
walk in the light of the Lord. By the house of Ja- 
cob is meant either, 1. Israel according to the flesh. 
Let them be provoked by this to a holy emulation. 
Rom. xi. 14. "Seeing the Gentiles are thus ready, 
and resolved for God, thus forward to go up to the 
house of the Lord, let us stir up ourselves to go too. 
Let it never be said that the sinners of the Gentiles 
were better friends to the holy mountain, than the 
house of Jacob." Thus the zeal of some should 
provoke many. Or, 2. Spiritual Israel, all that are 
brought to the God of Jacob. Shall there be such 
great knowledge in gospel times, {v. 3.) and such 
great peace? {v. 4.) And shall we share in these 
privileges? Come, then, and let us live accordingly. 
Whatever others do, come, O cotne, let us walk in 
the light of the I^ord. (1.) Let us walk circum- 
spectly in the light of this knowledge. Will God 
teach us his ways? will he show us his glory in the 
face of Christ* Let us then walk as the children of 
the light and of the day, Eph. v. 8. 1 Thess. v. 8. 
Rom. xiii. 12. (2.) Let us walk circumspectly in the 
light of this peace. Shall there be no more war? 
Let us then go on our way rejoicing, and let this jov 
terminate in God, and be'our strength, Neh. viii. 10. 
Thus shall we walk in the beams of the Sun of 
righteousness. 

6. Therefore thou hast forsaken thy peo- 
ple, the house of Jacob, because they be 
replenished from the east, and are sooth 
sayers like the Philistines, and they pleast 
themselves in the children of strangers. 7. 
Their land also is full of silver and gold, 
neither is there any end of their treasures; 
their land is also full of horses, neither is 
there any end of their chariots. 8. Their 
land also is full of idols; they worship the 
work of their own hands, that which their 
own fingers have made. 9. And the mean 
man boweth down, and the great man hum- 
bleth himself: therefore forgive them not. 

The calling in of the Gentiles was accompanied 
with the rejection of the Jews; it was their fall, and 
the diminishing of them, that was the riches of the 
Gentiles; and the casting off of tliem, that was tht 
reconciling of the world; (Rom. xi. 12- -15.) and it 
should seem that these verses have reference to 
that, and are designed to justify God therein; and 
yet, probably, they are primarily intended for the 
convincing and awakening of the men of that gene- 
ration in which the prophet lived; it being usual 
with the prophets to speak of the things that then 
were, both in mercy and judgment, as types of the 
things that should be hereafter. Here is, 

I. Israel's doom; this is set forth in two words. 



-2't 



ISAIAH, II. 



ihe first and last of this paragraph; but they are two 
dreadful %vcrds, and which spc ;k, 1. Their case 
sad, very sad; (t. 6.) Therefore thou hunt for&aken 
Ihy fieofile. Miserable is tlie condition of lliat Jjco- 
ple whom God has forsaken, and great certainly 
must the pro\-ocation be, if he forsake those that 
have been his own people. This was the deplora- 
ble state of the Jewish church after they had re- 
jected Clirist; Migrenuis hinc — Let us go hence. 
Your house is left unto you desolate, Matth. xxiii. 
38. Whenever anv sore calamity came upon the 
Jews, thus far the Lord might be said to forsake 
them, when he withdrew his help and succour from 
them, else they had not fallen mto the hands of 
their enemies. But God never leaves any till they 
first leave him. 2. Their case desperate, wholly 
desperate; (v. 9.) Therefore forgive them not. 
This prophetical prayer amounts to a threatening, 
that they should not be forgiven: and so some think 
it may be read. And thou ivilt not forgive them. 
This refers not to particular persons, (many of 
whom repented, and were pardoned,) but to the 
body of that nation against whom an irreversible 
doom was passed, that they should be wholly cut 
off, and their church quite dismantled, never to be 
formed into such a body again, nor ever to have 
their old charter restored to them. 

II. Israel's desert of this doom, and the reasons 
upon which it is grounded; in general, it is sin; that 
is it, and nothing but that which provokes God to for- 
sake his people. The particular sins he specifies, are 
such as abounded among them at that tniie, which 
he makes mention of for the conviction of those to 
whom he then preached, rather than that Avhich 
afterward proved the measure-filling sin, their cru- 
cifying of Christ, and persecuting of his followers; 
tor the sins of every age contributed toward the 
making up of the dreadful account at last. And 
there was a partial and temporary rejection of 
them by the captivit)- in Babylon hastening on, 
which was a type of their final destruction by the 
Romans, and which the sins here mentioned brought 
upon them. 

Their sins were such as directly contradicted 
all God's kind and gracious designs concerning 
them. 

1. God set them apart for himself, as a peculiar 
people distinguished from, and dignified above, all 
other people; (Numb, xxiii. 9.) but they were re- 
filenished from the east; they naturalized foreign- 
ers, not firoselyted; and encouraged them to settle 
among them, and mingled with them, Hos. vii. 8. 
Their country was peopled with Syrians and Chal- 
deans, Moabites and Ammonites, and other eastern 
nations, and with them they admitted the fashions 
and customs of those nations, znd pleased themselves 
in the children of strangers, were fond of them, pre- 
ferred their country before their own, and thought 
that the more they conformed to them, the more 
polite and refined they were; thus did they profane 
their crown and their covenant. Note, Those are 
in danger of being estranged from God, who please 
themsehes with those who are strangers to him, 
for we soon learn the ways of those whose company 
we love. 

2. God gave them his oracles, which they might 
ask counsel of, not only the scriptures, and the seers, 
but the breast-plate of judgment; but they slighted 
these, and became soothsayers like the Philistines, 
introduced their arts of divination, and hearkened 
to those who, by the stars, or the clouds, or the 
flight of birds, or the entrails of beasts, or other 
magic superstitions, pretended to discover things se- 
cret, or foretell tilings to come; the Philistines'were 
noted for diviners, 1 Sam. vi. 2. Note, Those who 
slight true divinity, are justlv given up to lying di- 
vinations; and they will certainly be forsaken of 



I God, who thus forsake him and their own mercie* 
for lying vanities. 

3. God encouraged them to put their confidence 
in him, and assured them that he wiuld Ije tiieir 
Wealtli and Strength; but, disti-usting his power 
and promise, they made gold their hope, and fur- 
nished themselves with horses and chariots, and re 
lied upon them for their safety, v. 7. God had ex- 
pressly forbidden even their kings to multiply horses 
to themselves, and greatly to multiply silver and 
gold, because he would have them to depend upon 
himself only; but they did not think their interest in 
God made them a match for their neiglibours, unless 
they had as full treasures of silver ;uid gold, and as 
formid; ble hosts of chariots and horses, as they had. 
It is not having silver and gold, horses and chariots, 
that is a provocation to God, but, (1.) Desiring 
them insatiably, so that there is no end of the trea- 
sures, no end of the chariots, no bounds or limits 
set to the desire of them. Those shall never have 
enough in God, (who alone is all-sufficient,) that 
never know when they have enough of this world, 
which, at the best, is insufficient. (2.) Di. pending 
upon them, as if we could not be safe, and easy, and 
happy, without them, and could not but be so with 
them. 

4. God himself was their God, the sole Object of 
their worship, and he himself 'instituted ordinances 
of worship for them; but they slighted l)oth him 
and his instO^ons; (x". 8.) their land was full of 
idols, every city had its god, (Jer. xi. 13.) and, ac- 
cording to the goodness of their lands, they made 
goodly images, Hos. x. 1. They that think one 
Gcd loo little, will find two too many, and yet hun- 
dreds not sufficient; for they that love idols, will 
multiply them; so sottish were they, and so wretch- 
edly mtatuated, that they ivorshi/ifted the work of 
their own hands; as if that could be a god to tliem, 
which was not only a creature, but their creature, 
and that which their own fancies had devised, and 
their oiim ^fingers had made. It was an aggravation 
of their idolatry, that God had enriched them with 
silver and gold, and yet of that silver and gold they 
made idols; so it was, Jeshurun waxed fat, unci 
kicked, Hos. ii. 8. 

5. God had advanced them, and put honour upon 
them; but they basely diminished and disparaged 
themselves; (r. 9.) The meaii man boweth down to 
his idol; a thing below the meanest that have any 
spark of reason left them. Sin is a disparagement 
to the poorest, and those of the lowest rank. It be- 
comes the mean man to bow down to his superiors, 
but it ill becomes him to bow down to the stock of a 
tree, ch. xhv. 19. Nor is it only the illiterate and 
poor-spirited tluat do this, but e\en the great man 
forgets his grandeur, and humbles himself to wor- 
ship idols, deifies men no better than himself, and 
consecrates stones so much baser than himself. 
Idolaters are said to debase themselves eiien to hell, 
ch. Ivii. 9. What a shame is it, that great men 
think the service of the true God below tliem, and 
will not stoop to it; and yet will humble tliemselves 
to bow down to an idol ! Some make this a threaten- 
ing, that the mean men shall be brought down, and 
the great men humbled, by the judgments cf God, 
when they come with commission. 

10. Enter into the rock, and hide thee in 
the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the 
glory of his majesty. 11. The lofty loo s 
of man shall be humbled, and the haughti- 
ness of men shall be bowed down ; and the 
Lop.D alone shall be exalted in that day. 
1 2. For the day of the Lord of hosts shall 
be upon every one that ii proud and lofty. 



ISAIAH, 11. 



2j 



and ,ipon every one that is lifted up, and he I 
siiall be l)rought low ; 1 3. And upon all tiie 
oedais ofLc-banon, that are liigii and lifted 
up, and upon all the oaks of Baslian. 14. 
And upon all the high mountains, and upon 
all the hills that are lilted up. 1j. And 
upon every high tower, and upon every 
fenced wail, IG. And upon all tiie ships 
of Tarshisli, and upon all pleasant lectures. 
1 7. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed 
down, and tlie iiaughtiness of men shall be 
made low ; and the Lord alone siiall be 
exalted in that day. 18. And the idols he 
shall utterly abolish. 19. And they shall 
go into the holes of the rocks, and into the 
caves of the earth, for fear of the I^ord, and 
for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth 
to shake terribly the earth. 20. In that day 
a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his 
idols of gold, which they made each one for 
himself to worship, to the moles, and to the 
bats ; 2 1 . To go into the clefts of the rocks, 
and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for 
fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his ma- 
jesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the 
earth. 22. Cease ye from man, whose 
breath is in his nostrils ; for wherein is he to 
be accounted of? 

The prophet here goes on to show what desola- 
tions would be brought upon their land, when God 
had forsaken them ; which may refer particularly to 
their destruction by the Chaldeans first, and after- 
wards 1)V t!i" Romans; or it may have a general 
respect to the method God takes to awaken and 
humble proud sinners, and to put them out of con- 
ceit with tliat which they delighted in, and depend- 
ed on, more than God. 

We are here told, that, sooner or later, God will 
nnd out a way, 

I. To startle and awaken secure sinners, who cry 
peace to themselves, and bid defiance to God and 
his judgments; {v. 10.) " Enter into the rock; God 
will attack you witli such terrible judgments, and 
strike you with such terrible apprehensions of them, 
that you shall be forced to enter into the rock and 
hide you in the dust, for fear of the Lord. You 
shall lose all your courage, and tremble at the shak- 
ing of a leaf; your heart shall /azV you for fear, 
(Luke xxi. 26.) and you shall ^f when none fiur- 
sues," Prov. xxviii. 1. To the same purport, v. 19. 
They shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into 
the caves of the earth, the darkest, and the deepest, 
places; they shall call to the rocks and mountains 
to fall on them, and rather crash them than not co- 
ver them, Hos. X. 8. It was so particularly at the 
destriiction of Jerusalem by the Romans, (Luke xxiii. 
30.) and of the persecuting pagan powers. Rev. vi. 
16. And all, for fear of the Lord and of the glory 
of his majesty, looking upon him then to be a con- 
suming fire, and themselves as stubble before him, 
when he arises to shake terribly the earth, to shake 
the wicked out of it, (Job xxxviii. 13.) and to shake 
;dl those earthly props and supports which they 
have buoN'ed tlicmselvcs up with, to shake them 
from under them. Note, 1. With God is terrible 
majesty, and the glory of it is such as, sooner or la- 
ter, will oblige us all to flee before him. 2. Those 
that will not fear God, and flee to him, will be forced 

Vol. IV.— D 



to fear him, and flee from him to a refuge of lies, 
3. It is folly for those that are pursued by the 
wrath of God, to think to escape it, and to liide or 
to shelter themselves from it. 4. The things of the 
earth are things that will be shaken; they are sub- 
ject to concussions, and hastening towards a dissolu- 
tion. 5. The shaking of the earth is, and will be, a 
tei-rible thing to those who set their affections wholly 
on things of the earth. 6. It will be in vain to 
tliink of finding refuge in the caves of the earth, 
when the earth itself is shaken; thei-e will bene 
shelter then but in God, and in things above. 

11. To humble and abase proud sinnei-s, that look 
big, and think highly of tl\emselves, and scornfully 
r,f' all about them; (x'. 11.) The lofty looks of man 
shall be humbled; the eyes that aim high, the coun- 
tenance in which the pride of the heart shows itself, 
these shall be cast down in shame and despair. 
And the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, 
their spirits shall be broken, and they shall be 
crest-fallen, and those things which they were 
proud of they shall be ashamed of. It is repeated 
again, (t. 17.) The loftiness of man shall be bowed 
down. Note, Pride will, one way or other, have a 
fall. Men's haughtiness will be brought down, 
either liy the grace of G'xl convincing them of the 
evil of tl'ieir pride, and cUAhing them with humility, 
or by the providence of God dejiriving them of all . 
those things they were proud of, and laying them 
low. Our Saviour often laid it down for a maxim, 
that he who ejcalts himself shall be abased; he shall 
either abase himself in true repentance, or Ciod will 
abase him, and pour contempt upon him. Now 
here we are told, 

1. JVhii this shall be done; because the Lord alone 
will be exalted. Note, Therefore proud men shall 
be vilified, because the Lord alone will be magnified. 
It is for the honour of God's power to humble the 
proud; by this he pro\cs himself to be God, and 
disproves Job's pretensions to rival with him; (Job 
xl. 11. -ll.) Behold every one that is proud, and 
abase him; then wilt I also confess unto th.ee. It is 
likewise for the honour of his justice; proud men 
stand in competition with God, who is jealous for his 
own glory, and will not suffer men either to take 
that to themselves, or give it to another, which is 
due to him only; they likewise stand in opposition 
to God, they resist 'him, and therefore he resists 
them; for he will be exalted among the heathen, 
Ps. xlvi. 10. And there is a day coming in which 
he alone will be exalted, when he shall have put 
down all opposing rule, principality, and power, 1 
Cor. XV. 24. 

2. How this shall be done; by humbling judg- 
ments, that shall mortify men, and bring them 
down; {v. 12.) The day of the Lord of hosts, the 
dav of his wrath and judgment, shall be upon every 
one that is proud; and therefore he now laughs at 
their insolence, because he sees that his day is com- 
ing; this dav, which will be upon them ere they are 
aware, Ps. xxxvii. 13. This day of the Lord is 
here said to be upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that 
are high and lifted up. Jerom ofeservcs that the 
cedars are said' to praise God, (Ps. cxlviii. 9.) and 
are trees of the Lord, (Ps. civ. 16.) of his planting; 
(Isa. xli. 19.) and yet here God's wrath fastens up- 
on the cedars, which denotes (says he) tliRt some of 
every rank of men, some great men, will be saved, 
and some perish. It is brought in as an instance of 
tlie strength of God's voice, that it breaks the cedars; 
(Ps. xxix. 5.) and here the d:'y of the Lord is said 
to be rtpon the cedars, those of Lebanon, that were 
the straightest and stateliest; upcn the ofiks, those 
of Bashan, that were the str'-ngest and sturdiest; 
and (i'. 14.) upon the natural clevaticns and for- 
tresses, the high nieuntains, and the hills that are 
lifted up, that overtop the valleys, ;.nd setm tt 



20 



ISAIAH, Jl. 



push the skies; and {v. 15.) upon the artificial fast- 
nesses, every high tower, and every fenced nvall. 
Understand these, 

( 1. ) As representing the proud people themselves, 
that arc like the cedars and the oaks, in their own 
apprehensions firmly rooted, and not to be stirred 
by any storm, and looking on all around them as 
shrubs; these are the high mountains and the lofty 
hills, that seem to fill the earth, that are gazed on 
by ail, and think themselves immoveable, but lie 
most obnoxious to God's thunderstrokes; Feriunt- 
que summos fulmina moyites — The highest hills are 
most ex/iosed to lightning. And before the power 
of God's wrath these mountains are scattered, and 
these hills bow and inelt like wax, Hab. iii. 6. Ps. 
Ixviii. 8. These vaunting men, who are as high 
towers in which the noisy bells are hung, on which 
the thundering murdering cannon are planted, these 
fenced walls, that fortify themselves with their na- 
tive liardiness, and intrench themselves in their fast- 
nesses, they shall be brought down. 

(2. ) As particularizing the things they are proud 
of, in which they trust, and of which they make 
their boasts. The day of the Lord shall be upon 
those very things which they put their confidence in 
as their strength and security; he will take from 
them all their armour wherein they trusted. Did 
the inhabitants of Lebanon glory in their cedars, 
and those of Bashan in their oaks, such as no coun- 
try could equal? The day of the Lord should rend 
those cedars, those oaks, and the houses built of 
them. Did Jeinisalem glory in the mountains that 
were round about it, as its impregnable fortifica- 
tions, or in its walls and bulwarks? These should 
be levelled, and laid low in the day of the Lord. 

Beside those things that were for their strength 
and safety, they were proud, [1.] Of their trade 
abroad; but the day of the Lord shall be upon all 
the sliips of Tarsliish, they shall be broken as Je- 
hoshaph it's were, shall founder at sea, or be ship- 
wi-ecked in the harbour. Zebulun was a haven of 
ships, but should now no more rejoice in his going 
out. When God is bringing ruin upon a people, he 
sinks all the branches of their revenue. [2.] Of 
their ornaments at home; but the day of the Lord 
shall be upon all pleasant pictures, the painting of 
their ships, (so some understand it,) or the curious 
pieces ot painting they brought home in their ships 
from other countries, perhaps from Greece, which 
afterward was famous for painters. Upon every 
thing that is beautiful to behold, so some read it. 
Perhaps they were the pictures of their relations, 
and, for that reason, pleasant, or of their gods, 
which to the idolaters were delectable things; or 
they admired them for the fineness of their colours 
or strokes. There is no harm in making pictures, 
or in adorning our rooms with them, provided they 
transgress not either the second or the seventh com- 
mindmeiit. But to place our pictures among our 
pleasant things, to be fond of them and proud of 
them, to spend that upon them that should be laid 
out in charity, and to set our hearts upon them, as 
it ill becomes those who have so many substantial 
things to take pleasure in, so it provokes God to 
strip us all of such vain ornaments. 

III. To make idolaters ashamed of their idols, 
and of all the affection they have had for them, and 
the respect they have paid to them; (f. 18.) The 
idols he shall utterly abolish. When the Lord alone 
shall be exalted, {y. 17. ) he will not only pour con- 
tempt upon proud men, who, like Pharaoh, exalt 
themselves against him, but much more upon all 
pretended deities, who are rivals with him for di- 
vine honours; they shall be abolished, utterly abol- 
ished; their friends shall desert them, their enemies 
shall destroy them, so that, one way or other, an 
Utter riddance shall be made of them. See here, 1. 



The vanity of false gods; they cannot secure them, 
selves, so far are they from being able to secun; 
their worshippers. 2. The victory of the true Got! 
over them; tor great is the truth, and will prevaii. 
Dagon fell before the ark, and Baal befc re the Loi-d 
God of Elijah. The gods of the heathen shall be 
famished, (Zeph. ii. 11.) and by degrees shall pe- 
rish, Jer. X. 11. The rightful Sovereign shall tri- 
umph over all pretenders. 

And as God will abolish idols, so their worship- 
pers shall abandon them; cither from a gracii.us 
conviction of their vanity and falsehood, (as Ephr:,im, 
when he said. What have I to do any more with 
idols?) or from a late and sad experience of their 
inability to help them, and a woful despair of relief 
by them, v. 20. When men are themselves fright- 
ened by the judgments of God into the holes of the 
rocks and the caves of the earth, and find that they 
do thus in vain shift for their own safety, they shall 
cast their idols, which they had made their gods, 
and hoped to make their friends in the time of need, 
to the moles and to the bats, any whither out cf 
sight, that, being freed from the incumbrance of 
them, they may .^o into the clefts of the rocks, for 
fear of the Lord, v. 21. Note, (1.) Those that 
will not be reasoned out of their sins, sooner or later 
shall he. frightened out of them. (2. ) God can miJte 
men sick of those idols that they have been most 
fond of; even the idols of silver, and the idols of geld, 
the most precious. Covetous men make silver and 
gold their idols, money their god; but the time may 
come when they may feel it as much their burthen 
as ever they made it their confidence, and may find 
themselves as much exposed by it as ever they hop- 
ed they should be guarded by it, when it tempts 
their enemy, sinks their ship, or retards their flight; 
there was a time when the mariners threw the 
wares, and even the wheat, into the sea; (Jonah i. 
5. Acts xxvii. 38.) and the Syrians cast away their 
garments for haste, 2 Kings vii. 15. Or men may 
cast it away out of indignation at themselves for 
leaning upon such a broken reed. See Ezek. \ ii. 
19. The idolaters here throw away their idols, 
because they are ashamed of them, and of their own 
folly in trusting to them; or because they are afraid 
of having them found in their possession when the 
judgments of God are abroad; as the tliief throws 
away his stolen goods, when he is searched for or 
pursued. (3.) The darkest holes, where the moles 
and the bats lodge, are the fittest places for idols, 
that have eyes, and see not; and God can force men 
to cast their own idols there, {ch. xxx. 22.) when 
they are ashamed of the oaks which they have de- 
sired, ch. i. 29. Moab shall be ashamed of Che- 
mosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed of Beth-el, 
Jer. xlviii. 13. (4.) It is possible that sm may be 
both loathed and left, and yet not tndy repented of; 
loathed, because surfeited on; left, because there is 
no opportunity of committing it; yet not repented 
of out of any love to God, but only from a slavish 
fear of his wrath. 

IV. To make those that have trusted in an arm 
of flesh, ashamed of their confidence; Vy. 22.) 
" Cease ye from man. The providences of God con- 
cerning you shall speak this aloud to you, and there 
fore take warning beforehand, that you may pre- 
vent the uneasiness and shame of a disappointment; 
and consider," 1. How weak man is; His breath is 
in his nostrils, puffed out every moment, soon gone 
for good and all. Man is a dying creature, and may 
die quickly; our nostrils, in which our breath is, 
are of the outward parts of the body; what is there 
is like one standing at the door, ready to depart, 
nay, the doors of the nostrils are always open, the 
breath in them may slip away, ere we are aware, 
in a moment. Wherein is man then to be account 
ed of? Alas, no reckoning is to be made of him. 



ISAIAH, III. 



27 



for he is not what he seems to be, what he pretends 
to be, wliat we fancy him to i^e. Man is like to 
vanit)-, nay, he is vanity, he is altogetlier vanity, he 
is less, he is lighter, than vanity, when weighed in 
the balance of the sanctuary. 2. How wise there- 
fore they are that cease from man; it is our duty, 
it is our mterest, to do so. " Put not your trust in 
man, nor make even the gi'eatest and mightiest of 
men your confidence; cease to do so. Let not your 
eye be to the power of man, for it is finite and limit- 
ed, derived and depending; it is not from him that 
your judgment proceeds: let not him be your fear, 
let not him be your hope; but look up to the power 
of God, to which all the powers of men are subject 
and subordinate; dread his wrath, secure his favour, 
take him for your Help, and let your hope be in the 
Lord your God." 

CHAP. III. 

The prophet, in this chapter, goes on to foretell the desola- 
tions that were comings upon Judah and Jerusalem for 
their sins, both that by the Babylonians, and that which 
completed their ruin by the Romans; with some of the 
grounds of God's controversy with them. God threatens, 
1. To deprive them of all the supports, both of their life 
and of their government, v. 1 . . 3. II. To leave them to 
fall into confusion and disorder, v. 4, 5, 12. III. To 
deny them the blessings of magistracy, v. 6 . . 8. IV. To 
strip the daughters of Zion of their ornaments, v. 17 . . 24. 
V. To lay all waste by the sword of war, v. 25, 26. The 
sins that provoked God to deal thus with them, were, 
1. Their defiance of God, v. 8. 2. Their impudence, v. 
9. 3. The abuse of power to oppression and tyranny, V. 
13.. 15. The pride of the daughters of Zion, V. 16. In 
the midst of the chapter, the prophet is directed how to 
apply himself to particular persons. (1.) To assure good 
people thai it should be well with them, notwithstanding 
those general calamities, v. 10. (2.) To assure wicked 
people that, however God might, in judgment, remember 
mercy, yet it should go ill with them, v. 11. O that the 
nations of the earth, at tiiis day, would hearken to the 
rebukes and warnings ivhich this chapter gives ! 

'■ TT'^^' behold, the Lord, the Lord 
X. of hosts, doth take away from Jeru- 
salem, and from Judaii, the stay and the 
staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole 
stay of water. 2. The mighty man, and the 
man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and 
the prudent, and the ancient, 3. The cap- 
tain of fifty, and the honourable man, and 
the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, 
and the eloquent orator. 4. And I will 
give children to be their princes, and babes 
sliall rule over them. 5. And the people 
shall be oppressed, every one by another, 
and every one by his neighbour: the child 
shall behave himself proudly against the an- 
cient, and the base against the honourable. 
6. When a man shall take hold of his bro- 
tlier, of the house of his father, saying, Thou 
hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this 
ruin be under thy hand: 7. In that day 
shall he swear, saying, I will not be a healer: 
for in my house is neither bread nor cloth- 
ing: make me not a ruler of the people. 
3. For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is 
fallen ; because their tongue and their do- 
ings are against the Lord, to provoke the 
eyes of his glory. 

The prophet, in the cl'"'se of the foregoing chap- 
ter, hid given a necessary caution to all, net to put 



confidence in man, or any creature; he liad also 
given a general reason for that caution, taken from 
the frailty of human life, and the vanity and weak- 
ness of human powers: here he gives a particular 
reason for it — God was now about to ruin all their 
creature-confidences, so that they should meet with 
nothing but disappointments in all their expecta- 
tions from them, v. 1. The stay and the staff shall 
be taken away ; all their supports, of what kind so- 
ever, all the things they trusted to, and looked for 
help and relief from. Their church and kingdom 
were grown old, and going to decay, and they were 
(after the manner of aged men, Zech. viii. 4.) lean- 
ing on a staff; now God threatens to take away 
their staff, and then they must fall of course; to 
take away the stays both of the city and of the 
country, of Jenisalem and of Judah, which are in- 
deed stays to one another, and if one fail, the other 
feels from it. 

He that does this, is the Lord, the Lord of hosts; 
Adon, the Lord that is himself the Stay or Founda- 
tion; if that Stay depart, all other stays certainly 
break under us, for he is the Strength of them all. 
He that is the Lord, the Ruler, that has authority 
to do it, and the Lord of hosts, that has abihty to 
do it, he shall take away the stay and tlic st;'.ff. St. 
Jerom refers this to the sensible deca)' of t]ie Jew- 
ish nation, after they had crucified our Savitur, 
Rom. xi. 9, 10. I rather take it as a warning to 
all nations not to provoke God: for if they make 
him their Enemy, he can, and will, thus make them 
miserable. Let us view the particulars: 

I. Was their plenty a support to them.' It is so 
to any people; bread is the staff of life: but God 
can take aivay the -whole stay of bread, and the 
whole stay ofivater; and it is just with him to do so, 
when fulness of bread becomes an iniquity, (Ezek. 
xvi. 49.) and tha*. which was give n to be provision 
for the life, is made provisit.n for the lusts. He can 
take away the bread and the water, by withholding 
the rain, Deut. xxviii. 23, 24. Or, if he allow them, 
he can take away the stay of bread and the stay 
of water, by withholding this blessing, by which man 
lives, and not by bread only, and which is the staff of 
bread; (Matt. iv. 4.) and then the bread is not nour- 
ishing, the water not refreshing. Hag. i. 6. Christ 
is the bread of life and the water of life; if he be 
our Stay, we shall find that a good part not to be 
taken away, John vi. 27. ch. iv. 14. 

II. Was their army a support to them — their 
generals and commanders, and military men.' 
These shall be taken away: cither cut off by the 
sword, or so discouraged with the defeats they meet 
with, that they shall throw up their commissions, 
and resolve to act no more; or they shall be disabled 
by sickness, or dispirited, so as to be unfit for busi- 
ness; the mighty man, and the man of war, and 
even the inferior officer, the captain of fifty, shall 
be removed. It bodes ill with a people when their 
valour is lost, and their valiant men. Let not the 
strong man therefore glory in his strength, nor any 
people trust too much to their mighty men; but let 
the strong people glorify God, and the city of the 
terrible nations fear him, who can make them weak 
and despicable, ch. xxv. 3. 

III. Were their ministers of state a support to 
them — their learned men, tlieirpoliticians, theircler- 
gy, their wits and virtuosos? These also shculd be 
taken away; the judges, who were skilled in the laws, 
and expert in administering justice, and the pro- 
phets, whom they used to consult in difficult cases, 
the prudent, who were celebrated as men of sense 
and sagacity above othei's, and were assistants to th 
judges; the diviners, (so the word is,) those wh • 
used unlawful arts, who, though rotten stays, yei 
were stiycd on; but it may be taken, as we tea'' 
it, in a good sense; the ancients, elders in agf, ir. 



28 



ISAIAH, III. 



office, the honourable man, the gravity of whose 
aspect commands reverence, and whose age and 
experience make him fit to be a counsellor. Trade 
>s one great support to a nation, even manufactures 
and handicraft trades; and therefore when the old 
stay is to be broken, the cunning artificer too shall 
be taken away; and the last is tlie eloquent orator, 
the man skilful of speech, who in some cases may 
do good service, though he be none of the prudent 
or the ancient, by putting the sense of others in good 
language; Moses cannot speak well, but Aaron can. 
God threatens to take these away, 1. To disable 
them for the service of their country; making the 
judges fools, taking aivay the speech of the trusty, 
and the understanding of the aged. Job xii. 17, 8cc. 
Evcrv creature is that to us, that God makes it to 
be ; and we cannot be sure that those who have been 
serviceable to us, shall always be so. 2. To put an 
end to their days; for princes are therefore not to be 
trusted in, because their breath goeth forth, Ps. 
cxlvi. 3, 4. Note, The removal of useful men by 
death, in the midst of their usefulness, is a very 
tlireatening symptom to any people. 

IV. Was their government a support to them? 
It ought to be so, it is the business of the sovereign 
to bear up th? pillars of the land, Ps. Ixxv. 3. But 
it is here threatened that this stay should fail them. 
When the mighty men and the prudent are remov- 
ed. Children shall be their firinccs; children in age, 
who must be under tutors and governors, who will 
be clashing with one another, and making a prey of 
the young king and his kingdom; children in under- 
standing and disposition, childish men, such as are 
babes in knowledge, no more fit to rule than a child 
in the cradle, these shall rule over them, with all the 
folly, fickleness, and frowardness, of a child. And, 
ivo'unto thee, O land, when thy king is such a one! 
Eccl. X. 16. 

V. Was the union of the subjects among them- 
selves, their good order, and the good understanding 
and correspondence that they kept with one an- 
other, a stay to them? Where this is, a people may 
do better, tlinugh tlieir princes be not such as they 
should be; but it is here threatened that God would 
send an evil spirit among them too, (as Judg. ix. 
23.) which would make them, 1. Injurious and un- 
neighbnurly one towards another; (i>. 5.) The fteo- 
file shall be oppressed every one by his neighbour; 
and their princes being children, take no care to 
restrain the oppressors, or relieve tlie oppressed; 
nor is it to any purpose to appeal to them, (which 
is a temptation to every man to be his own avenger;) 
and then tlicy bite and devour one another, and will 
»oon l5e consumed one of another. Then Homo ho- 
mmi luftus — Man becomes a luolfto man. Jusquc da- 
tum sceleri — Wickedness receives the stamp of law. 
JVec hos/tes ab hospite tutus — The guest and the host 
are i?i danger from each other. 2. Insolent and dis- 

irderly towards their superiors. It is as ill an 
'imen to a people as can be, when the rising genera- 
tion among them are generally untractable, rude, 
and ungovernable, when the child behaxws himself 
proudly ngaiyist the ancient; whereas he should 
rife up before the hoary head, and honour the face 
oj the old man. Lev. xix. 32. When young people 
are conceited and pert, and carry it scornfully to- 
ward their superiors, it is not only a reproach to 
themselves, but of ill consequence to the public; it 
slackens the reins of government, and weakens the 
hands that hold them. It is likewise ill with a peo- 
ple when persons of honour cannot support their 
authority, but are afTi-ontcd by the base and beg- 
garly; when judges are insulted by the molj, and 
their powers set at defiance. Those have a great 
•ienl to answer for, who dn t'lis. 

VI. Is it some stay, some support, to hope that, 
tliough matters ma}- be now ill managed, yet others 



maybe raised up, who may manage better? Yet this 
expectation also shall be frustrated, for the case 
shall be so desperate, that no man of sense or sub- 
stance will meddle with it. 

1. The govenunent shall go a begging, x\ 5. 
Here, (1. ) It is taken for granted that there is no 
way of redressing all these grievances, and bringing 
things into order again, but by good magistrates, 
who shall be invested with power by common con- 
sent, and shall exert that power for the good cf the 
community. And it is probable that this was, in 
many places, the ti-ue origin of government; men 
found It necessaiy to unite in a subjection to one 
who was thought fit for such a trust, in order to the 
welfare and safety of them all; being aware that 
they must either be ruled or ruined. Here there- 
fore is the original contract; " Be thou our ruler, 
and we will be subject to thee, and let this ruin be 
under thy hand, to be repaired and restored, and 
then to be preserved and established, and the inter- 
ests of it advanced, ch. Iviii. 12. Take care to pro- 
tect us by the sword of war from being injured from 
abroad, and by the sword of justice from being in- 
jurious one to another, and we will bear faith and true 
allegiance to thee. " (2. ) The case is represented as 
very deplorable, and things were come to a sad pass; 
for, [1.] Children being their princes, every man 
will think himself fit to prescribe who shall be a ma- 
gistrate, and will be for preferring his own relations; 
whereas, if the princes were as they should be, it 
would be left entirely to them to nominate tlie rulers, 
as it ought to be. [2.] Men will find themselves un- 
der a necessity even of forcing power into the hands 
of those that are thought to be fit for it; a man shall 
take hold by violence of one to make him a ruler, 
percei\'ing him ready to resist the motion; nay, he 
shall urge it upon his brother; whereas commonly, 
men are not wdling that their equals should be their 
superioi's; witness the envy of Joseph's brethren. 
[3.] It will be looked upon as ground sufficient for 
the preferring of a man to be a niler, that he has 
clothing better than his neighbours; a very poor 
qualification to recommend a man to a place of trust 
in the government: it was a sign that the country 
was much impoverished, when it was a rare thing 
to find a man that had good clothes, or that cculd 
afford to buy himself an alderman's gown, or a 
judge's robe; and that the people were -very un- 
thinking, when they had so much respect to a man 
in gay clothing, with a gold ring, (Jam. ii. 2, 3.) that, 
for tfie sake thereof, they would make him their 
ruler. It had been some sense to have said, "Thou 
hast wisdom, integiity, experience; be thou rur 
ruler;" but it was a jest to say, Thou hast clothing; 
be thou our ruler. K poor wise man, though m 
vile raiment, delivered a city, Eccl. ix. 15. We 
may allude to this, to show how desperate the case 
of fallen man was, when our Lord Jesus was pleas 
cd to become our Brother, and, though he was not 
courted, offered himself to be our Ruler and Saviour, 
and to take this niin under his hand. 

2. Those who arc thus pressed to come into office, 
will swear themselves off, because, though they are 
taken to be men of some substance, yet they know 
themselves unable to bear the charges of the r ffice, 
and to answer the expectations of those that cliocse 
them, V. 7. He shall swear, (shall lift up the hand, 
the ancient ceremony used in taking an oath,) I will 
not be a healer, make not me a ruler. Note, Rulers 
must be healers, and good rulers will be so; they 
must study to unite their subjects, and not widen 
the differences that are among them; those only are 
fit for government, that arc of a meek, quiet, heal- 
ing spirit: they must also heal the wounds that are 
given to anv of the interests of their people, by suit 
able applications. But why will he not be a ruler.' 
Because in my house is neither bread nor clothing. 



ISAIAH, in. 



29 



(1.) If he said true, it was a sign that men's estates 
were sucUv ruined, when even those who made the 
best appearance, really wanted necessaries; a com- 
mon Case, and a piteous one; some, who, having 
lived fashionably, are willing to put the best side 
outward, are )et, if the truth were known, in great 
straits, and go with heavy hearts, for want of bread 
and clothing. (2.) If he'didnot speak truth, it was 
a sign that men's consciences were sadly debauched, 
when, to a\oid tlie expense of an office, they would 
load themselves with tlie gaiilt of perjury, and 
f which is the greatest madness in the world) would 
damn their souls to save their money. MMtth. xvi. 
26. (.3. ) However it was, it was a sigii that the case 
of the nation was veiybad, when noliody was willing 
to acccjjt a place in the government of it, as dcspuir- 
ing to h i\e cither credit or profit Ijy it, which are 
tlie tv,o thing's aimed at in men's common ambition 
of preterm Liit 

3. The reason why God brought things to this 
sad pass, e\en among his own people; (which is 
given either by the prophet, or by him that refused 
to be u ruler;) it was not for want of good will to his 
countrv", l)ut because he saw the case desperate, 
and p\'st relief, and it would be to no purpose to 
att -mpt it; {v. S.) Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah 
is fallen; and they may thank themselves, they have 
bfoii;;ht their destruction upon their own heads, for 
thrir tongu:; and their doings are against the 
Lord; in word and action they brake the law of 
God, and therein designed an affront to him; they 
wilfully intended to offend him, in contempt of his au- 
thority, and defiance of his justice: their tongue was 
against the Lord, for they contradicted his prophets; 
and their doings were no better, they acted as they 
talked; it was an aggravation of their sin, that God's 
eye was upon them, and that his glory was mani- 
fested among them; but they provoked him to his 
face, as if the more they knew of his glorj-, the 
greater pride they took in' slighting it, and turning 
it into shame. And this, this is it, for which Jerusa- 
lem is ruined. Note, the ruin both of persons and 
people is owing to their sins. If they did not pro- 
voke God, he would do them no hurt, Jer. xxv. 6. 

9. The show of their countenance doth 
witness against tliem, and they declare their 
sm as Sodom, they hide it not: Wo unto 
their soul ! For they have rewarded evil 
unto themselves. 10. Say j'e to the righte- 
ous, that it shrill he well with him ; for they 
shall eat the frtiit of their doings. 11. 
Wo unto the wicked ! Tt shall be ill iiith 
him ; for the reward of his liands shall be 
eiven him. 1 2. As for my people, children are 
their oppressors, and women rule over them. 
O my people, they which lead thee cause 
thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. 
1 3. The Lord standeth up to plead, and 
standeth to judge the people. 14. The 
Lord will enter into judgment with the 
ancients of liis people, and the princes 
thereof: for ye liave eaten up the vineyard ; 
tlie spoil of the poor is in your houses. 1 5. 
What mean ye that ye beat my people to 
pieces, and grind the faces of the poor ? 
saith the Lord God of hosts. 

Her; God proceeds in his controversy with his 
p ople. Observe, 
I. Ths grcund of his controversy; it was for sin 



that God contended with tlicni; if they vex them 
selves, let them look :■. little fuithtr, :iiid tluy wil) 
see that they must than/: themselves; JI'j unit, 
their souls ! For they have rewarded evil unto them- 
selves, jilas for their souls ! (so it may be read, 
in a way of lamentation,) for they have firocured 
evil to themselves, v. 9. Note, 1. Tlic condition 
of sinners is woful and very deplorable. 2. It is 
the soul that is dam iged and endangered by sin. 
Sinners may prosper in their outward estates, and 
yet at the same time there maybe a wo to their 
souls. 3. Whatever evil befalls sinners, it is of their 
own procuring, Jer. ii. 19. 

That which is here charged upon them, is, 

(1.) That the shame which should restrain them 
from their sins, w;'.s quite thrown off, and they were 
grown impudent, v. 9. This hardens men against 
repentance, and ripens them for rain, as much as 
any thing; The show oftlieir countenance doth witness 
against them, that their minds are vain, and lewd, 
and malicious; their eyes speak it plain, that thev 
cannot cease from sin, 2 Pet. ii. 14. One may look 
them in the face, and guess at the desperate wick- 
edness that there is in their \\<:a.vts; They declare 
their sin as Sodom; so impetuous, so imperious, are 
their lusts, and so imijatient of the least check; ; nd 
so perfectly are all the remaining sparks of virtue 
extinguished in them. The Sodomites declared 
their sin, not onlv by the exceeding greatness rf it, 
(Gen.xiii. 13.) so that it cried to heaven, (Gen. 
xviii. 20.) but by their shameless owning ct that 
which was most shameful; (Gen. xix. 5.) iind thus 
Judah and Jerasalem did: thty were so far frrm 
hiding it, that thev gloried in it, in the bold attempt 
they made upon virtue, and the victory they gained 
over their own convictions: they had a whore's 
forehead, (Jer. iii. 3.) and could not blush, (Jer. vi. 
15.) Note, Those that are grown impudent in sin, 
are ripe for ruin ; they that are past shame, (we sry,) 
are past grace, and then past hope. 

(2.) That their guides, who should direct them 
in the right way, put them out of the way, v. 12. 
"They who lead, (the princes, priests, and pro- 
phets,) mislead thee, they cause thee to cit." Ei- 
ther they preached to them that which was false and 
corrupt,' or if they preached that which was tnic 
and good, they contradicted it by their practices; 
and the people would sooner follow a bad example 
than a good exhortation: thus they destroyed the 
way of their paths, pulling down with one hand 
what thev built up with the other. Qui te beati- 
ficant — They that call thee blessed, cause thee to 
err; so sortie read it. Their priests applauded 
them, as if nothing was amiss among them; cried, 
Peace, peace, to them, as if they were in no dan- 
ger; and thus they caused them to go on in their 
errors. 

(.^.) That their judges who should have patron- 
ized and protected the oppressed, were themselves 
the greatest oppressors, v. 14, IS. The elders of 
the people, and the princes, who had learning, and 
could not but know better things, who had great 
estates, and were not under the temptation of neces- 
sity to encroach upon those about them, and who 
were men of honour, and should scorn to do a base 
thing, yet thev have eaten up the vineyard. God's 
vineyard, which they were appointed to be the 
dressers and keepers' of, they burnt; so the wrrd 
signifies; they did as ill bv it as its worst enemies 
could do, Ps.' Ixxx. 16. Or the vineyards of the 
poor; thev wrested them out of their possession, P5 
Jezebel did Naboth's; or devoui-ed the fruits of 
them, fed their lusts with that which should have 
been the necessary food of indigent families; the 
spoil of the poor was hoarded up in their houses; 
when God came to search for stolen goods, there 
he found it, and it was a witness against them. !• 



3(; 



ISAIAH, III. 



was to De had, and they might have made restitu- 
tion, but would not. God reasons with those great 
men; (v. 15.) " U7iat mean you, that ye oeat my 
fieofile in /lieces? What cause have you for it .' 
What good does it do you ?" Or, " What hurt have 
they done you ? Do you think you have power given 
you for such a purjjose as this .'" Note, There is 
nothing more unaccountable, and yet nothing which 
must more certainly be accounted for, than the in- 
luries and abuses that are done to God's people by 
tlieir persecutors and oppressors; " Ye grind the 
face of the fioor; ye put them into as much pain 
and terror as if they were ground in a mill, and as 
certainly reduce them to dust by one act of oppres- 
sion after another. Or, " Their faces are bruised 
and crushed with the blows you have given them; 
you have not only ruined their estates, but given 
tliem personal abuses." Our Lord Jesus was smit- 
ten 071 the face. Matt. xxvi. 67. 

II. The management of this controversy; 1. God 
himself is the Prosecutor; (x». 13.) The Lord 
stands ufi to filead, or he sets himself to debate the 
matter, and he stands to judge the peofile, to judge 
for those that were oppressed and abused; and he 
will enter into judgment with the princes, -v. 14. 
Note, The greatest men cannot exempt or secure 
themselves from the scrutiny and sentence of God's 
judgment, nor demur to the jurisdiction of the court 
of heaven. 2. The indictment is proved by the 
mtorious evidence of the fact; "Look upon the 
oppressors, and the shonv of their countenance 
witnesses against them; {v. 9.) look upon the op- 
pressed, and j'ou see how their faces are battered 
and abused," v. 15. 3. The controversy is already 
begun, in the change of the ministry; to punish 
those that had abused their power to bad purposes, 
God sets those over them, that had not sense to use 
it to any good purpose; Children are their oppres- 
sors, and women rule over them, {y. 12.) men that 
have as weak judgments, and sti-ong passions, as 
women and children: this was their sin, that their 
rulers were such, and it became a judgment upon 
them. 

III. The distinction that shall be made between 
particular persons, in the prosecution of this con- 
troversy; {y. 10, 11.) Say to the righteous. It shall 
be well vjith thee. Wo to the wicked, it shall be ill 
with him. He had said, {v. 9.) tliey have reward- 
ed evil to themselves; and to prove that, he here 
shows that God will render to every man accord- 
ing to his works. Had they been righteous, it 
had been well with them; but if it be ill with them, 
it is because tliey are wicked, and will be so. Thus 
God stated the matter to Cain, to convince him 
that he had no reason to be angry. Gen. iv. 7. Or 
it may be taken thus; God is threatening national 
judgments, whicli will ruin the public interests. 
Now, 1. Some good people might fear that they 
should be involved in that i-uin, and therefore God 
bids the prophets comfort them against those fears; 
" Whatever becomes of the unrighteous nation, say 
ye to the righteous man, that ye shall not be lost in 
the crowd of sinners, the .fudge of all the earth 
will not slay the righteous with the wicked; (Gen. 
xviii. 25.) no, assure him in God's name, that if 
■ihall be well with him. The property of the trouble 
shall be altered to him, and he shall be hid in the 
dau of the Lord's anger. He shall have divine 
supports and comforts, which shall aboimd as afflic- 
tions abound, and so it shall be well with him." 
Wlien the wliole stay of bread is taken away, vet 
in the day of famine they shall be satisfied, they 
ihall eat the fruit of their doings; they shall have 
the t 'stimony of their consciences for them, that they 
k' ])t themselves pure from the common iniquity, 
and therefore tlie common calamity is not the sanie 
iliini to them that it is to otners; they brought no 



fuel to the flame, and therefore are not themselves 
fuel for it. 2. Some wicked pe(ple might hope 
that they should escape that ruin, and therefore 
God bids the prophets shake their vain hcpts; 
" Wo to the wicked, it shall be ill with hmi"; (f. 
11.) to him the judgments shall have a sting, and 
there shall be wormwood and gall in the ajfiiction 
arid misery." There is a wo to wicked people, 
and though they may think to shelter themselves 
from public judgment, yet it shall be ill with them; 
it will grow worse and worse with them if tliey re- 
pent not, and the worst of all will be at last; for the 
reward of his hands shall be done to him, in the day 
when every man shall receive according to the 
things done in the body. 

16. Moreover, the Lord saith. Because 
the daughters of Zioii are hauglity, and 
walked witli stretched-forth necks and wan- 
ton eyes, walking, and mincing as they go, 
and making a tinkling with their feet : 17. 
Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab 
the crown of the head of the daughters of 
Zion, and the Lord will discover their 
secret parts. 18. In that day the Lord 
will take away the bravery of their 
tinkling ornaments about their feet, and 
their cauls, and t/icir round tires like the 
moon, 19. The chains, and the brace- 
lets, and the mufflers, 20. The bonnets, 
and the ornaments of the legs, and the 
head-bands, and the tablets, and the ear- 
rings, 21. The rings, and nose-jewels, 22. 
The changeable suits of apparel, and the 
mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping- 
pins, 23. The glasses, and the fine linen, 
and the hoods, and the vails. 24. And it 
shall come to pass, that instead of sweet 
smell, there shall be stink ; and instead of a 
girdle, a rent ; and instead of well-set hair, 
baldness; and instead of a stomacher, a 
girding of sackcloth! arid burning instead of 
beauty. 25. Thy men shall fall by the 
sword, and thy mighty in the wm: 26. 
And her gates shall lament and mourn : 
and she, being desolate, shall sit upon the 
ground. 

The prophet's business was to show all sorts of 
people what they had contributed to the national 
guilt, and what share they must expect in the na- 
tional judgments that were coming; here he re- 
proves and warns the daughters of Zion, tells the 
ladies of their faults; and Moses, in the law, having 
denounced God's wrath against the tender and deli- 
cate woman, (the prophets being a comment upon 
the law, Duut. xxviii. 56.) he here tells them how 
they should smart by the calamities that were coming 
upon them. Observe, 

1. The sin charged upon the daughters of Zion, 
V. 16. The prophet expressly vouches God's au- 
thority for what he said, lest it shruld be thought 
it was unbecoming him to take notice of sucli things, 
and should l)c ill-resented by the ladies; 7'/if Lord 
saith it. Wliether they will hcai", or whether they 
will forbear, let them know that God takes notice 
of, and is much displeased with, the fr.lly and var.itv 
of proud wfmen, and his law takes cornizaiice 



ISAIAH, III. 



SI 



even of their dress. Two things they here stand 

nciictfd for, h;;U'5litinfj.s iiiid wantf-niKss; directly 
contrary to that modesty, s/iainr faced twns, and so- 
Oriety, with whicli ivoineh ought to adorn lliem- 
seh'es, 1. Tim. ii. 9. Tliey discovered tlie disposi- 
tion of tlieir mind Ijy their gait and gesture, and tlie 
lightness of their carriage. They are hauirhty, for 
they Tjalkednvitlistretched-forth ?;fcX-s,thattliey may 
seem tall, or, as thinking nohody good enough to 
speak to them, or, to receive a look or a smile; 
their eyes are wanton; receiving, so the word is; 
with their amorous glances thev draw men into 
their snares; they affect a furmal starched way of 
going, that people may look at them, and admire 
them, and know tliey have been at the dancing- 
school, and have learned the minuet-step; they go 
mincing, or nicely tripping, not willing to set so 
much as the sole of their foot to the ground, for 
tenderness and delicacy; they make a tinkling ivith 
their feet, hav'ing, as some think, chains, or little 
bells, upon their shoes, that made a noise; they go 
as if they were fettered; so some read it; like a horse 
trammelled, that he may learn to pace. Thus 
Agag came delicately, 1 Sam. xv. 32. Such a nice 
affected mien is not only a force upon that which is 
natural, and ridiculous before men, men of sens ; 
but as it is an evidence of a vain mind, it is offensive 
to God. And two things aggravated it here, (1.) 
That these were the daughters of Zion the Jioly 
mountain, who should have behaved with the gravity 
that becomes women professing godliness. (2.) 
That it should seem, by the connexion, they were 
the wives and daughters of the princes who spoil- 
ed and oppressed the poor, (x'. 14, 15. ) that they 
might niamtain this pride and luxury of their fa- 
milies. 

2. The punishments threatened for this sin; and 
they answer the sin, as face answers to face in a 
glass, V. 17, 18. 

(1.) They walked with stretched-forth necks, but 
God will smite with a scab the crown of their head, 
which shall lower their crests, and make them 
ashamed to show their heads, being obliged by it to 
cut off their hair. Note, Loathsome diseases are 
often sent as the just punishment of pride, and are 
sometimes the immediate effect of lewdness, the 
flesh and the body being consumed by it. 

(2.) They cared not what they laid out in fur- 
nishing themselves with great variety of fine clothes; 
but God will reduce them to such poverty and dis- 
tress, that they should not have clothes sufficient to 
cover their nakedness, but their uncomeliness should 
be exposed through their rags. 

(3. ) They Avere extremely fond and proud of their 
ornaments; but God will strip them of those orna- 
ments, when their houses should be plundered, 
their treasures rifled, and they themselves led into 
captivity. The prophet here specifies many of the 
ornaments which they used, as particularly as if he 
had been the keeper of their wardrobe, or had at- 
tended them in their dressing-room. It is not at 
all material to inquire what sort of ornaments these 
respectively were, and whether the translations 
rightly express the original words; perhaps a hun- 
dred years hence the names of some of the orna- 
ments that are now in use in our land will be as lit- 
tle understood as some of those here are. Fashions 
alter, and so do the names of them; and vet the 
mention of them is not in vain, but is designed to 
expose the folly of the daughters of Zion; for, (1.) 
Many of these things, we may suppose, were very 
odd and ridiculous, and if they had not been in 
fxshion, would have been hooted at. They were 
fitter to be toys for children to plav with, than orna- 
ments fir grown people to go to mount Zion in. 
(2. ■) Tliose things that were decent and convenient, 
as the linen, hoods, and the veils, needed not to 



I have been provided in such abundance and '. a- 
I riety. It is necessary to have apparel, and that 
all should ha\e it according to their rank; l^v* what 
occasion was there for so many changeable suits 
of apparel, (i'. 22.) that they might iut be seen 
two days together in the same suit.'' " They must 
have (as the homily against excess of apparel 
speaks) one gown for the day, another for the 
night; one long, another short; one for the working- 
day, another for the holy-day; anrthcr rf this co- 
lour, another of that colour; one of cloth, another 
of silk or damask; one dress afore dinner, another 
after; one of the Sp<inish fashion, another Turkey, 
and never content with sufficient. " Which, as it is 
an evidence of pride and vain curiosity, so must 
needs spend a great deal, in gratifying a base lust, 
that ought to be laid out in works of piety and cha- 
rity; and it is well if poor tenants lie not racked, or 
poor creditors defrauded, to support it. (3.) The 
enumeration of tliese things intmiates what care 
they were in about them, how much their hearts 
were upon them, what an exact account they kept 
of them, how nice and critical they were about 
them, how insatiable their desire was of them, 
and how much of tlieir comfort was bound up in 
them. A maid could forget none of these orna- 
ments, though they were ever so many, (Jer. ii. 
32. ) but would report them as readily, and talk of 
them with as much pleasure, as if they had been 
things of the greatest moment. The prophet does 
not speak of these things as in themselves sinful; 
they may lawfully be had and used, Ijut as things 
which they were proud of, and should therefore be 
deprived of. 

4. They were verv nice and curious about their 
clothes; but God would make those bodies of theirs 
which they were at such expense to beautify and 
make easy, a reproach and burthen to them; {v. 
24.) Instead of sweet smell (those tablets, or boxes 
of perfume, houses of the soul or breath, as they are 
called, xt. 20. margin) there shall be stink, garments 
grown filthy, with being long worn, or from some 
loathsome disease, or plasters for the cure of it; in- 
stead of a rich embroidered girdle, used to make the 
clothes sit tight, there shall be a rent, a rending of 
the clothes for grief, or old rotten clothes rent into 
rags; instead of well-set hair, curiously plaited and 
powdered, there shall be baldness, tlie hair being 
plucked off or shaven, as was usual in times of great 
affliction, (c/;. xv. 2. Jer. xvi. 6.) or in great servi- 
tude, Ezek. xxix. 18. Instead of a *^cimac/;fr, or a 
scarf, or sash, a girding of sackcloth, in token of 
deep humiliation; and burning instead of beauty. 
Those that had a good complexion, and were proud 
of it, when they are carried into captivitv, shall be 
tanned and sun-burnt; and it is observed, that the 
best faces are soonest injured bv the weather. From 
all this let us learn, (1.) Not to be nice and curious 
about our apparel, nor to affect that which is gay 
and costly, or to be proud of it. (2. ) Not to be se- 
cure in tlie enjoyment of any of the delights of sense, 
because we know not how soon we may be stripped 
of thrill, nor what straits we may be reduced to. 

5. They designed by these ornaments to charm 
th" gentlemen, and win their affections, (Prov. vii. 
16, ir.) but til' re shall be none to be cnarmedby 
thtm; (t'. 25.) Thy men shall fall bii the sword, 
and thy mighty in the war. ^\\e /ire shall consume 
/hem, an:l then the maidens shall not he given in 
marriage; as it is, Ps. Ixxviii. 63. When the sword 
comes with commission, the mighty commonly fall 
first by it, because they are most forward to ven- 
ture. And when Zion's guards are cut off, no mar- 
vel that Zion's gates lament and mourn, {v. 26. ) the 
enemies having made themselves masters of them, 
and the city itself, being desolate, being emptied or 
sw;pt, shall sit ufion the ground, like a disconsolate 



32 



ISAIAH, IV. 



widow. If sin be harboured within the walls, la- 
nitntation and mourning are near her gates. 

CHAP. IV. 

In this chapter, we have, 1. A threatening of the paucity 
and scarceness of men, (v. 1.) which might fitly enough 
hare been added to tlie close of the foregoing chapter, to 
which it has a plain reference. II. A promise of the res- 
toration of Jerusalem's peace and purity, righteousness 
and safety, in the days of the Messiah, v. 2. . 6. Thus, 
in wrath, mercv is remembered, and gospel grace is a 
sovereign relie'f, in reference to the terrors of the law, 
and the desolations made by sin. 

1. A ND in that day seven women shall 
J\. take hold of one man, sajing, We 
will eat our own bread, and wear our own 
apparel : only let us be called by thy name, 
to take away our reproach. 

It was threatened (c/i. iii. 25.) that Ihe miglily 
men should fall by the sword in war; and it was 
threatened as a punishment to the women that af- 
fected gaiety, and a loose sort of conversation. Now 
here we have the effect and consequence of that 
great slaughter of men; 

1. That, though Providence has so wisely ordered 
that, communibus annis — on an average of years, 
there is nearly an equal number of males and fe- 
males bom into the world, yet through the devasta- 
tions made by war, there should -^arcely be one 
man in seven left alive. As there are deaths at- 
tending the bringing forth of cltildren, which are 
peculiar to the woman, who was first in the trans- 
gression, so, to balance that, there are deaths pecu- 
liar to men; those by the sword in the high places 
of the field, which perhaps devour more than child- 
bed does. Here it is foretold, that such multitudes 
of men should be cut off, that there should be sexien 
•women to one man. 

2. That, by reason of the scarcity of men, though 
marriage should be kept up, for the raising of re- 
cruits, and the preserving of the race of mankind 
upon earth, yet the usual method of it should be 
quite altered; that whereas men ordinarily, make 
their court to the women, the women should now 
take hold of the men, foohshly fearing (as Lot's 
daughters did, when they saw the ruin of Sodom, 
and perhaps thought it reached further than it did) 
that in a httle time there would be none left; (Gen. 
Xix. 31.) and that, whereas women naturally hate 
to come in sharers with others, seven should now, by 
consent, become the wives of one man; and that, 
whereas, by the law, the husband was obUgcd to 
provide food and raiment for his wife, (Exod. xxi. 
10.) which with manv would be the most powerful 
argument against multiplying wives, these women 
will be bound to find themselves, they will eat bread 
of their own earning-, and wear a/i/iurel of their 
own working; and the man they court shall be at no 
expense with them, only they desire to be called his 
wives, to take away the rejiroach of a single life. 
Thev are willing to Ije wi\es upon any terms, though 
ever so unreasonable; and perhaps the rather, be- 
cius^ in these troublesome times it would be a kind- 
ness to them to have a husband for their protector. 
St. Paul, on the contrary, in the time of distress, 
tliinks the single state preferable, 1 Cor. vii. 26. It 
Were well if this were not introduced here partly as 
a refl-:ction upon the daughters of Zion, that, not- 
withstvinding the humbling providences they were 
imder, {i:h. iii. 18.) they remained unhumbled, and, 
instead of repenting of their pride and vanity, when 
God was contending w'tli them for it, all their 
<-are was to get them nusbands — that modesty, 
vvliich is the greatest beaut)' of the fair sex, was for- 
gotten, and with them the reproach of vice was no- 
thing to the reproach of virginity; a sad symptom of 
the irrecoverable desolations of virtue. 



2. In that day shall the Branch of the 
LoKD be beautiful and glorious, and the 
fruit of the earth shall be excellent and 
comely for tiiem tiiat are escaped of Israel 
3. And it shall come to pass, that he that is 
left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jeru- 
salem, shall be called holy, even eveiy one 
that is written among the living in Jerusa- 
lem: 4. When tlie Loud shall have wash- 
ed away the tilth of the daughters of Zion. 

, and shall have pinged the blood of Jerusa 
lem from tiie midst thereof, by tlie spirit oJ 
judgment, and I13' the spirit of buining. ."5 
And the Lord will create upon eveiy dv^•el 

i ling-place of mount Zion, and upon her as 
semblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the 
shining of a flaming fire by night : for upon all 

I the glory shall be a defence. 6. And there 
shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day- 

j time from the heat, and for a place of refuge, 

! and for a covert from storm and from rain. 

I Bv the foregoing threatenings, Jci-usalem is 
brought into a very deplorable condition; every 
I thing looks melancholy: but here the sun breaks out 
from behind the cloud; many exceeding great and 
precious promises we have in these verses, giving 
assurance of comfort which may be discerned 
through the troubles, and of happy days which 
shall come after them. And these certainly point 
at the kingdom of the Messiah, and the great re- 
demption to be wrought out Ijy liim, under the 
figure and type of the restoration of Judah and Je- 
rusalem by the reforming reign of Hezekiah after 
.'Vhaz, and the return out of their ca])ti\ity in Baby- 
lon; to both which it may have some reference, but 
chiefly to Christ. 

It IS here promised, as the issue of all these 
troubles, 

I. That God will raise up a righteous Branch, 
which should produce fruits of righteousness; (n. 2.) 
In that day, that same day, at that very time, when 
Jerusalem shall be destroyed, and the Jewish nation 
extirpated and dispersed, the kingdom of the Mes- 
siah sliall be set up; and then shall be the reviving 
of the church, when every one shall fear the utter 
ruin of it. 

1. Christ himse/f shall be exalted; he is the 
Branch of the Lord, the Man, the Branch: it is one 
of his prophetical names, ?ny Seii'ant, the Bratich, 
(Zech. iii. 8. — vi. 12.)ihe Bra/ich of righteousness, 
(Jer. xxiii. 5. — xxxiii. 15.) a Branch out of tlie 
stem oj Jesse; {ch. xi. 1.) and that, as some think, 
is alluded to when he is called a .Vazarene, Matth. 
ii. 23. Here he is called the Branch of the Lord, 
because planted by his power, and flourishing to his 
praise. The ancient Chaldce Paraphrase here reads 
It, The Christ, or Messiah of the Lord. He shall 



be the Beauty, and Glory, and Joy. (1.) He shall 
himself be advanced to the joy set before him, and 
the glorv which he had with the Father before 'he 
world was. He tliat was a Reproach of men, •. nd 
whose visage was marred more than any man's, is 
now, in the upper world, beautiful and gloriras, as 
the sun in his strength, admired and adored b)- an- 
gels. (2. ) He shall be beautiful and glorious in the 
esteem of all believers, sh.all gain an interest in th- 
world, and a name among men, above every name. 
To them that believe he is precious, he is an Hn 
nour, (1 Pet. ii. 7.) the Fairest of ten thousand, 
(^Cant. V. 10.) and altogether gloriuis. Let us re 
joice that he is so, and let him be so to us. 



ISAlAH, IV. 



3J 



2. His gospel shall be embraced. The gospel is 
the fruit of the Bi-anch of the Lord; all tlie graces 
Jind comlorts ( f the gospel spring fri in Christ. But 
It is called the fruit oj tlw earth, because it sprang 
up in this world, and was c;dculatcd for the present 
state. And Clirist compares himself to a corn of 
•wheat, xbal falls into the ground, and dies, and so 
brings forth much fruit, John xii. 24. The success 
of the gospel is represented by the earth's yielding 
her increase, (Ps. Ixvii. 6.) and the planting of the 
Christian church is GoA'?, sowing it to himself in the 
earth, Hos. ii. 23. We may understand it of botli 
the persons, and the things, that are the products 
of the gospel; they shall be excellent and comely, 
shall appear very agreeable, and be very acceptable 
to them that are escaped of Israel, of that remnant 
of the Jews, which was saved from perishing with 
the rest in unbelief, Rom. xi. 5. Note, If Christ 
be precious to us, his gospel will be so, and all its 
truths and promises; his church will be so, and iiU 
that belong to it. These are the good frait of the 
earth, in comparison with which, all other things 
are but weeds. It will be a good evidence to us, 
that we are of the chosen remnant, distinguished 
from the rest that are called Israel, and marked for 
salvation, if we are brought to see a transcendent 
beauty in Christ and holiness, and the saints, the 
excellent ones of the earth. As a type of this blessed 
day, Jerusalem, after Sennacherib s invasion, and 
after tlie captivity in Babylon, should again flourish 
as a branch, and be blessed with the fruits of the 
earth: compare ch. xxxvii. 31, 32. The remnant 
shall again take root downivard, and bear fruit tt/i- 
ward. And if by the fruit of the eartli here we un- 
derstand the good things of this life, we may ob- 
serve, that those have peculiar sweetness in them to 
the chosen remnant, who, having a covenant-right 
to them, have the most comfortable use of them. 
If the Branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious 
in our eyes, even the fruit of the earth also will be 
excellent and comely, because then we may take it 
as the fruit of the promise, Ps. xxxvii. 16. 1 Tim. 
iv. 8. 

II. That God will reserve to himself a holy seed; 
(y. 3.) when the generality of those that have a 

Elacc and a name in Zion, and in Jerusalem, shall 
e cut off, as withered branches, by their own unbe- 
lief, yet some shall be left. Some shall remain, 
some shall still cleave to the church, when its pro- 
perty is altered, and it is become Christian; for God 
will not quite cast offhisfieofile, Rom. xi. 1. There 
is here and there one that is left: now, 1. This is a 
remnant according to the election of grace, (as the 
apostle speaks, Rom. xi. 5.) such as are written 
imong the living, marked in the counsel and fore- 
knowledge of God for life and salvation; written to 
life, (so the word is,) designed and determined for 
it unalterably ; for What I have written, I have 
written. Those that are kept alive in killing, dying 
times, were written for life in the book of Divine 
Providence: and shall we not suppose those who are 
rescued from a greater death, to be such as were 
•written in the Lamb's book of life? Rev. xiii. 8. As 
many as were ordained unto eternal life, believed, 
to the salvation of the soul. Acts xiii. 48. Note, All 
that were ivritten among the living, shall be found 
among the living, every one; for of all that were 
given to Christ, he shall lose none. 2. It is a rem- 
nant under the dominion of grace; for every one that 
IS written among the living, and is, accordingly, 
left, shall be called holy, shall be holy, and shall be 
accepted of God accordingly. Those only that are 
holy, shall be left, when the Son of man shall gather 
out of his kingdom, every thing that offends: and all 
that are chosen to salvation, are chosen to sanctifi- 
cation. See 2 Thess. ii. 13. Eph. i. 4. 

III. That God will reform his church, and will 

Vol. IV.— E 



rectify and amend whatever is i.miss in it, v. h. 
Then the remnant sh;.ll l)e called holy, when the 
Lord shall have washed away tluir filth, waslicd il 
from among them by cutting < ffthe \\'n:kcd /lersons, 
washed it from within tluni by i^urging cut the 
wicked thi?ig. They shall nr,t lie- called so, till 
the)' are in some measure made so. Gospel-time.s 
are times of reformation, (Heb. ix. 10.) typified by 
the reformation in the da\s <,f Hezekiah, and that 
after the capti\it\', to which this promise refers. 
Observe, 1. The places and persons to be rt ft rmed. 
Jerusalem, thougli tlie holy city, needed reforma- 
tion: and, being the ro)'al city, the reformation cf 
th;a would have a good influence upon the whole 
kingdom. The daughters of Zion also must be re- 
foi-med, the women m a particular manner, whom 
he had reproved; ch. iii. 16. Wlun they were 
decked iiUheir ornaments, the)" thought thei'iiselvcs 
wondrous Alean; but, being proud of them, the pro- 
phet calls them their filth, tor no sin is more abomi- 
nable to God than pride: or by the daughters <f 
Zion may be meant the country, towns, and villages, 
which were reUited to Jerusalem, asthe mother-citv, 
and which needed reformation. 2. The reforma- 
tion itself; the filtli shall be washed away, for wick- 
edness is filthiness, particularly bloodshed, for 
which Jerusalem was infamous, (2 Kings xxi. 16.) 
and which defiles the land more than any other sin. 
Note, The reforming of a city is the cleansing cf it; 
when vicious customs and fashions are suppressed, 
and the open practice of wickedness is restraint d, 
the place is made clean and sweet, which before 
was a dunghill; and this is not only for its credit and 
reputation among strangers, but for the comfort and 
health of the inhabitants themselves. 3. The Author 
of the reformation; The Lord shall do it: reforma- 
tion-work is God's work; if any thing be done to 
purpose in it, it is his doing. But h(.w? By the judg- 
ment of his providence the sinners were destroyed 
and consumed; but it is by the Spirit of his grace 
that they are reformed and converted. This is 
work that is done, not by might, or by power, but 
by the Sfiirit of the Lord of hosts, (Zech. iv. 6.) 
working both upon the sinners themselves that are 
to be reformed, and upon magistrates, ministers, 
and others that are to be employed as instruments 
of reformation. The Spirit herein acts, (1.) As a 
Spirit of judgment, enlightening the mind, convin- 
cing the conscience, as a Spirit of wisdom, guiding 
us to deal prudently, (Isa. Iii. 13. ) as a discerning, 
distinguishing Spirit, separating between the pre 
cious and the vile. (2.) As a Spirit of burning, 
quickening and invigorating the affections, aiid 
making men zealously affected in a good work. The 
Spirit works as fire, Matth. iii. 11. An ardent love 
to Christ and souls, and a flaming zeal against sin, 
will carry men on with resolution in their endea- 
vours to turn away ungodlinessfrom Jacob. See 
Isa. xxxii. 15, 16. 

IV. That God will protect his church, and all 
that belong to it: (xi. 5, 6.) when they are purified 
and reformed, they shall no longer lie exposed, but 
God will take a particular care of them: they that 
are sanctified are well fortified, for God will be to 
them a Guide and a Guard. 

1. Their tabernacles shall be defended, r. 5. (1.) 
Their dwelling-places; the tabernacles of their rest, 
their own houses, where they worship God, alone, 
and with their families. That blessing which is 
upon the habitationof the just, shall be a protection 
to it, Prov. iii. 33. In the tabernacles of the righ 
teous shall the voice of rejoicing and salvation be, 
Ps. cxviii. 15. Note, God takes particular cog 
nizance and care of the dwelling-phices ef his peo- 
ple, of every one of them, the poorest cottae;-.- as 
well as the stateliest palace. When iniquity n/iut 
far from She tabernacle, the Almighty shall be its 



.?4 



ISAIAH, V. 



Defence, Job xxii. 23, 25. (2.) Their assemblies 
1)1- t;ibernaclcs of nieetini; for rehgii us worbhiji. No 
■iiKiition is made of the temple, for the promise 
points at a time when not one stone of that shall be 
left upon anotlier; but all the congregations of Chris- 
tians, though but two or three meet together in 
Christ's name, shall be taken under the special pro- 
tection of Hea\en; they shall no more be scattered, 
no more disturbed, nor shall any weafion formed 
against them /iros/ier. >f ote, \\ e ought to reckon 
it a great mercy, if we have liberty to worship God 
in public, free from the alarms of the sword of war 
or persecution. 

Now this writ of protection is drawn up, [1.] In 
a similitude taken from the safety of the camp of 
Israel, w lien they marched thi-ough the wilderness. 
God will give to the Christian church as real proofs, 
though not so sensible of his care of them, 'as he gave 
to them then. The Lord will again create a cloud 
and smoke by day, to screen them from the scorch- 
ing heat of the sun, and the s/ii?nng of a /laming 
fire by night, to enlighten and wai'm the air, which, 
in the night, is cold and dark. See Exod. xiii. 21. 
Neh. ix. 19. This pillar of cloud and fire interoosed 
between the Isj-aelites and the Egyptians, Exod. 
xiv. 20. Note, Though miracles are ceased, yet 
God is the same to the New Testament church, 
that he was to Israel of old; the very same yester- 
day, to-day, and for ever. [2.1 In a simiUtude 
taken from the outside cover of rams' skins and 
badgei-s' skins, that was upon the cuilains of the ta- 
bernacle, as if every dwelling-place of mount Zion 
and exerv assembly were as dear to God as that ta- 
bernacle was; Vfion all the glory shall be a defence, 
to save it from wind and weather. Note, The 
church on earth has its glor>' ; gospel-truths and or- 
dinances, the scriptures and the ministiy, are the 
church's glory; and upon all this glory there is a de- 
fence, and ever shall be, for the gates of hell shall 
not /n-erail against the church. If God himself be 
the Glory in the midst of it, he will himself be a 
WaU of fire round about it, impenetrable, and im- 
pregnable. Grace in the soul is the glory of it, and 
those that have it, are ke/it by the fioiver of God as 
in a strong hold, 1 Pet. i. 5. 

2. Their tabernacle shall be a defence to them, 
T. 6. God's tabernacle was a pavilion to the saints, 
Ps. xxvii. 5. But when that is taken down, they 
shall not want a covert: the divine power and good- 
ness shall be a tabernacle to all the saints, God him- 
self will be their Hiding-place, (Ps. xxxii. ".) they 
shall be at home in him, Ps. xci. 9. He will him- 
self be to them as the shadonv of a great rock, {ch. 
xxxii. 2.) and his name a strong tower, Prov. xviii. 
10. He will be not only a Shadow from the heat in 
the day-time, but a Covert from storm and rain. 
Note, In this world we must expect change of 
weather, and all the inconveniences that attend it; 
we shall meet with storm and rain in this lower re- 
gion, and at other times the heat of the day, no less 
burthensome : but God is a Refuge to his people, in 
all weathers. 

CHAP. V. 

In this chapter, the prophet, in God's name, shows the 
people of tiod their Iransirressions, even the house of 
Jacob llieir sins, and the judgments which were likelv to 
be brought upon them for their sins: I. Bv a paraljle, 
under the similitude of an unfruitful vineyard, represent- 
ing the great favours God had bestowed upon them, 
their disappointing of his expectations from them, and 
the ruin they had thereby deserved, t. 1 . . ". II. By an 
enumeration of the sins that did aboimd among them, 
with a threaleningof punishments that should answer to 
the sins: 1. Covetousness, and greediness of worldly 
wealth, which shall be punished with famine, v. S . . 10. 
2. Rioting, reTellinir, and drunkenness, (v. 11, 12, 22.) 
which shall be punished with captivitv and all the mise- 
ries that attend it, t. 13. . 17. 3. Presumption in sin. 



and defying the justice of God, v. 18, 19. 4. Confound- 
ing the distinctions between virtue and vice, and so un- 
dermining the principles of religion, v. 20. 5. Self- 
conceit, v. 21. 6. Perverting justice; for wliich, and the 
other instances of reigning wickedness among llieni, a 
p'reat and general desolation is threatened, whicli should 
lay all waste, (v. 24, 25.) and whicii should be effected 
by a foreign invasion, (v. 26. . 30.) referring perhaps to 
the havoc made not rong after by Sennacherib's army. 

1. 1^ OW will I sing lo my well-beloved 
J-^ a song of m\- beloved touching his 
vineyard. My well-belo\ed hath a vine- 
yard in a veiy fruitful hill ; 2. And he ienced 
it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and 
planted it with the choicest vine, and built 
a tower in the midst of it, and also made a 
wine-press therein: and he looked that it 
should bring forth grapes, and it bioiight 
forth wild grapes. 3. And now, O inhabit- 
ants of Jertisalem, and menofJudah, judge, 
I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. 
4. \Miat could have been done more to my 
vineyard that T have not done in it? where- 
fore, when I looked that it should bring forth 
grapes, brought it forth wild grapes I 6. And 
now, go to: I will tell you what I w ill do to 
my vineyard: I will take away the hedge 
thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break 
down the wall thereof, and it shall be trod- 
den down : 6. And I will lay it w aste : it 
shall not be pruned nor digged ; but there 
shall come up briers and thorns : I \\ ill also 
command the clouds that they rain no rain 
upon it. 7. For the vineyard of the Lord 
of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men 
of Judah liis pleasant plant : and he looked 
for judgment, but behold oppression; for 
righteousness, but behold a ciy. 

See what variety of methods the great God takes 
to awaken sinners to repentance, by convincing 
them of sin, and showing them their misery and 
danger, by reason of it: to this purport he speaks 
sometimes in plain terms, and sometimes in para- 
bles, sometimes in prose, sometimes in verse, as 
here; " ^\"e have tried to reason with you, {ch. i. 
18.) now let us put your case into a poem, inscribed 
to the honour of mv Well-beloved. God the Fa- 
ther dicUites it to the honour of Christ his well-be- 
loved Son, whom he has constituted Lord of the 
vinevard. The pi-ophet sings it to the honour of 
Christ too, for he is his Well-beloved. The Old 
Testament prophets were friends of the Bridegroom : 
Christ is God s beloved Son, and cur belo\ ed Sa- 
viour: whatex er is said or sung of the church, must 
be intended to his praise, even that which (like this) 
tends to our shame. This parable is put into a song, 
that it might be the more moving and affecting, 
might be the more easily learned, r.nd exactly re 
membered, and the better transmitted to pcsterity; 
and it is an exposition of the song ef Moses, (Deut. 
xxxii.) showing, that what he then foretold, was 
now fulfilled. Jerom says, Christ, the \\'ell-belov 
ed, did, in effect, sing tliis moumful song, when he 
beheld Jerusalem, and ivefit over it, (Luke xix. 
41.) and had reference to it in the parable ot the 
vinevard; (Matth. xxi. 33.) only here the fault was 
in the vines, there in the husba'nihiun. Here is, 

I. The great things which Gc d had done for the 
Jewish church and nation: when all the rest of the 



TSAIAH, V. 



35 



vrorld lay in common, not cultivated by divine reve- 
lation, tllat was his vineyard, tlicy were his pecu- 
liar people; he owned tliem, set them apiirt for liim- 
self; the soil they were planted in was extraordi- 
nary; it was a x'ery fruilful hill, the horn of the son 
of oil; so it is in the niai-gin. There was plenty, a 
cornucopia; and there was dainty, they did there 
eat the tat, and dnnk the sweet, and so were fur- 
nished witli abundance of good things to honour 
God with in sacrifices and free-will-oft'erings. The 
advantages of lur situation wi 1 be brought into tlie 
account another day. Observe funher, what God 
did for this vineyard: 1. He fenced it; took it under 
his special protection, kept it night and day under 
his own eye, lest any should hurt it, ch. xxvii. 2, 3. 
If they had not themselves thrown down their fence, 
no inroad ciutd have been made upon them, Ps. 
cxpcv. 2. — cxxi. 4. 2. He gathered the stones out 
of it, that, as nothing from without miglit damage it, 
so nothing within might obstruct itsfruitfulness. He 
proffered his gi-ace to take away the stony heai-t, 
3. He planted it with the choicest vine, set up a 
pure religion among them, gave them a most excel- 
lent law, instituted ordinances very proper for the 
keeping up of their acquaintance with God, Jer. ii. 
21. 4. He built a tower in the midst of it, either 
for defence against vnolence, or for the dressers of 
tlie vineyard to lodge in; or rather, for the Owner 
of the vineyard to sit in, to take a \-iew of the vines, 
(Cant. vii. 12. ) a summer-house. The temple ivas 
this tower, about which the priests lodged, and 
where God promised to meet his people, and gave 
them the tokens of his presence among them, and 
pleasure in them. 5. He made a wine-press there- 
in, set up his altar, to which the sacrifices, as the 
fruits of the \ ineyard, should be brought. 

II. The disappointment of his just expectations 
from them; He looked that it should brin^ forth 
gra/ies, and a great deal of reason he had for that 
expectation. Note, God expects vineyard-fruit 
from those that enjoy vnneyard-privileges; not leaves 
only, as Mark xi. 13. A bare profession, though 
ever so gi'een, will not serve: there must be more 
than buds and blossoms; good purposes and good be- 
ginnings are good things, but not enough, there must 
be fruit; a good heart and a good life; vineyard-fruit; 
thoughts and affections, words and actions, agreea- 
ble to the Spirit, which is the fatness of the vine- 
yard, (Gal. V. 22, 23. ) answerable to the ordinances, 
which are the dressings of the vineyard, and ac- 
ceptable to God, the Lord of the vineyard, and fruit 
according to tlie season. Such fniit as this God ex- 
pects from us, gi-apes, the fruit of the \ ine, with 
which they honour God and man; (Judg. ix. 13.) 
and his expectations are neither high nor hard, but 
righteous and verv reasonable. Yet see how his 
expectations are frustrated; it brought forth wild 
grapes; not only no fruit at all, but bad fruit, worse 
than none; grapes of Sodom, Deut. xxxii. 32. 1. 
Wild grapes are the fruits of the corrupt nature; 
fruit according to the crab-stock, not according to 
the engrafted branch; from the root of bitterness, 
Heb. xii. 15. WTiere grace does not work, corrup- 
tion will. 2. V^'ild grapes are hv-pocritical per- 
formances in religion, that look like grapes, but are 
.sour or bitter; and are so far from being pleasing to 
Gid, that they are provoking, as theirs, ch. i. 11. 
Counterfeit graces are Avild grapes. 

III. An appeal to themselves, whether, upon the 
wh^lc, God must not be justified, and they con- 
demned, z\ iii. 4. And now the case is plainly 
St it -d, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men ofJu- 
dah, judfce, I firay you, betivixt me and my vine- 
yard. This implies that God was blamed about 
ih< m: there was a controversy between them and 
I'.'.m; but the equity was so plain on his side, that 
'ir could venture to put the decision of the contro- 



versy to their own consciences; " Let any inhabi- 
tant of Jei-usalem, any man f f Judah, that has but 
the use of his reason, and a common sense of equity 
and justice, speak his mind impartially in this mat- 
ter. " Here is a challenge to any man to show, 

1. Any instance wherein God had been wanting 
to them; ll'hat could have been done more to my 
■vineyard, that I have not done in it? He speaks f f 
the external means of fruitfulness, and such as might 
be expected from the dresser of a vineyard, frcm 
whom it is net required that he should change the 
nature of the vine. What ought to have been done 
more? (so it may be read.) They had ever)' thing 
requisite for instniction and direction in their duty, 
for the quickening of them toil, and putting of them 
in mind of it: no inducements were wanting to per- 
suade them to it, but all arguments were used, pro- 
per to work either upon hope or fear; and they had 
all the opportunities they could desire for the per- 
formance of their duty, the new-mcons, and the sab- 
baths, and solemn feasts; they had the scriptures, 
the lively oracles, a standing ministry in the priests 
and Levites, beside what was extraordinar>' in the 
prophets. No nation had statutes and judgments 
so nghteous. 

2. Nor could any tolerable excuse be offered for 
i their walking thus contraiy to God; " Wherefore, 

what reason can be given why it should bring forth 
wild grapes, when I looked for grapes?" Note, The 
wickedness of those that profess religion, and enjoy 
the means of grace, is the most unreasonable, unac- 
countable thing in the world, and the whole blame 
of it must lie upon the sinners themselves; If thou 
scomest, thou alone shalt bear it, and shalt not have 
a word to say for thyself in the judgment of the 
great day. God will prove his own ways equal, and 
the sinner's ways unequal. 

IV. Their doom read, and a righteous sentence 
passed upon them for their bad conduct toward God; 
Cy. 5, 6.) " And now go to; since nothing can be of- 
fered in excuse of the crime, or arrest of the judg- 
ment, I will tell ycu what I am now determined to 
do to my \ineyafd; I will be vexed and troubled 
with it no more; since it will be good for nothing, 
it shall be good for nothing; in short, it shall cease 
to be a vineyard, and be turned into a wilderness; 
the church of the Jews shall be unchurched, their 
charter shall be taken away, and they shall become 
lo-ammi — not my people." 1. " They shall no 
longer be distinguished as a peculiar people, but be 
laid in common; I ivill take away the hedge thereof, 
and then it will soon be eaten up, and become as 
bare as other ground." They mingled themselves 
with the nations, and therefore were justly scattered 
among them. They shall no longer be protected as 
God's people, but left exposed. God will not only 
suffer the wall to go to decay, but he will break it 
down, will remove all their defences from them; 
and then they become an easy prey to their ene- 
mies, who had long waited for an opportunity to do 
them a mischief, and will now tread them down, 
and trample upon them. 3. They shall no longer 
have the face of a vineyard, the form and shape of 
a church and commonwealth, but shall be levelled 
and laid waste. This was fiilfilled when Jerusaleir 
for their sakes was ploughed as afield, Mic. iii. 12 
4. No more pains shall be taken with them by ma 
gistrates or ministers, the dressere and keepers cl 
their vineyard; it shall not be praned or digged, but 
ever)' thing shall run wild, and nothing shall come 
up but biiers and tlioms, the products of sin and 
the curse, Gen. iii. 18. ^^'hen errors and coiTup- 
tions, vice and immorality, go without check or con- 
trol, no testimony borne against them, no rebukr 
given them, cr restraint put upon them, the vine 
\'ard is unpnmed, is not dressed or ridded; and thei 
it will soon be like the vinevard of the man void <•'. 



36 



ISAIAH, V. 



understanding, all gi-own over with thoms. 5. That 
wliich completes its wo, is, that the dews of heaven 
sVnll be withheld; he that has the key of the clouds, 
will command them that they rain no rain upon it; 
and that alone is sufficient to turn it into a desert. 
Note, God, in a way of righteous judgment, denies 
his grace to those that have long received it in vain. 
The sum of all is, that they who would not bring 
forth good fruit, should bring forth none. The curse 
of barrenness is the punishment of the sin of barren- 
ness; as Mark xi. 14. Tliis had its accomplishment, 
in part, in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chal- 
deans, its full accomplishment in the final rejection 
of the Jews, and has its frequent accomplishment in 
the departure of God's Spirit from those persons 
who have long resisted him, and striven against 
him, and the removal ^f his gospel from those places 
th it have lieen long a approach to it, while it has 
lieen an honour to thorn. It is no loss to God to lay 
his vineyard waste; for he cm, when he pleases, 
turn a wilderness into a fruitful field; and when he 
does thus dismantle a vineyard, it is but as he did 
by the garden of Eden, which, when man had by 
sin forfeited his place in, was soon levelled with 
common soil. 

V. Tlie explanation of this parable, or a key to 
it, (i'. T.) where we are told, 1. What is meant by 
the vineyard; it is the house of Israel, the body of 
the people, incorporated in one church and com- 
monwealth; and what by the vines, the pleasant 
plants, the plants of God's pleasure, which he had 
been pleased in, and delighted in doing good to; 
they are tlie men of Judah; these he had dealt gra- 
ciously with, and from them he expected suitable 
returns. 2. What is meant by the grapes that were 
expected, and the wild grapes that were produced; 
he looked for judgment and righteousness, that tlie 
people should be honest in all their dealings, and 
the magistrates should strictly administer justice; 
this might reasonably be expected among a people 
that had such excellent laws and rules of justice 
given them ; (Deut. iv. 8. ) but it was quite other- 
wise; instead of judgment there was the craelty of 
the oppressors, and instead of righteousness the cry 
of the oppressed; every thing was carried by cla- 
mour and noise, and not by equity, and according 
tn the merits of the cause. It is sad with a people, 
when wickedness has usurped the place of judg^ 
inent, Eccl. iii. 16. It is very sad with a soul, when, 
instead of the grapes of humility, meekness, pa- 
tience, love, and contempt of the world, which God 
looks for, there are the wild grapes of piide, pas- 
sion, discontent, malice, and contempt of God; in- 
stead of the grapes of praying and praising, the 
wild grapes of cursing and swearing, which are a 
great offence to God. Some of the ancients apply 
this to the Jews in Christ's time, among whom Gocl 
looked for righteousness, that they should have re- 
ceived and embraced Christ, but behold, a cry, that 
ciy. Crucify him, crucify him. 

8. Wo unto them that join house to 
house, that lay field to field, till there he no 
place, that they may be placed alone in the 
midst of the earth ! 9. In mine ears, said 
the Lord of hosts, Of a truth, many houses 
F/iall be desolate, even great and fair, with- 
out inhabitant. 10. Yea, ten acres of vine- 
\ ard shall yield one bath, and the seed of a 
hnmcr shall yield an ejihah. 11. Wo unto 
\\wm that rise up early in tlic morninn;^ that 
I hey may follow strons: drink; that continue 
i;;itil niglit,//// wine inflame them! 12. And 
t!^e haip and the viol, the tabret and pipe, 



and wine, are in their feasts : but they re- 
gard not the work of the Lord, neither con- 
sider the operation of his hands. 1 3. There- 
fore my people are gone into captivity, 
because they have no knowledge; and their 
honourable men are famished, and their 
multitude dried up with thirst. 14. There- 
fore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened 
her mouth without measure : and their gloi-y 
and their multitude, and their pomp, and he 
that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. 15 
And the mean man shall i)e brought doAvn, 
and the mighty man shall be humbled, and 
the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled' J 6. 
But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in 
judginent, and God, that is holy, shall be 
sanctified in righteousness. 1 7. Then shall 
the lambs feed after their manner, and the 
waste places of the fat ones shall stranger? 
eat. 

The world and the flesh are the two great ene- 
mies that we are in danger of being ovcipowered 
by; )'et we are in no danger, if we do not ourselves 
yiuld to them. Eagerness of the world, and indul- 
gence of the flesh, are the two sins against which 
the prophet in God's name, here denounces woes; 
these sins abounded then among the men of Judah, 
and were some of the wild grapes they brought 
forth, {v. 4.) for which God threatens to bring ruin 
upon them; they are sins which we have all need 
to stand upon our guard against, and dread the ccn- 
sequences of. 

I. Here is a wo to those who set their licarts 
upon the wealth of the world, and place their hap- 
piness in that, and increase it to themselves by indi 
rect and unlawful means, (f. 8.) who _/o/n house to 
house, and lay field to field, till there be no filace, 
no room for any body to live by thtm; could the)' 
succeed, they would be placed alone in the midst ci 
the earth, would monopolize possessions and pre- 
ferments, and engross all profits and employments 
to themselves. Not that it is a sin for tht se who 
have a house and a field, if they have wherewithal 
to purchase another; but their fault is, 1. That they 
are inordinate in their desires to enrich themselves, 
and make it their whole cure and business to raise 
an estate; as if they had nothing to mind, nothing to 
seek, nothing to do, in this world, but that. They 
never know when they have enough, but the mc i-e 
they have, the more they wculd have; and, like tht 
daugliters of the horseleech, they cry. Give, give; 
they cannot enjoy what they have, nor do good with 
it, being so intent on contriving and studying to 
make it more. They must have variety of houses, 
a winter-house, and a summer-house; and if am thtr 
man's house, or field, he convenient to theii's, as 
Nal)oth's vineyard to Ahab's, they must have that 
too, or they cannot be easv. Their fault is, 2. That 
they are herein careless of others, nay, and iiijurirus 
to them; they would live so as to let nobody live but 
themselves; so that their insatiable covctings be 
gratified, they matter not what becomes of all abrut 
them: what encroachments they make upon their 
neighbour's rights, what hardships the y put upon 
those that they have power o\er, or advantage 
against, or what base and wicked arts they u^e to 
heap u]) treasure to themselves. They would swell 
so big as to nil all space, and yet are still unsjitisfied, 
Eccl. V. 10. As Alexander, who, when he f;;pcied 
he had conquered the world, wept because In- lad 
n'^t anr.ther world to contpu r: DeJ'icicntr tcrrii. ncn 



ISAIAH, V. 



37 



imfilctur avarilia — If the whole earth tvere mono- 
fiolized, avar'ce would thirat for more. What, -ivill 
you be filaced aloue iti the midst of the earth? (so 
soiiK' rccid it.) Will yoii he so foolish as to desire 
it, wiu-n we have so much need of the service of 
others, and so much c. nifort in tlieir scciety? Will 
\'ou he so foolish as to ex])ect tliat the earih should 
be forsaken for us, (Job xviii. 4.) wlien it is by mul- 
titudes tliat the eaith is to be replenished.^ Aii jiroji- 
ter vos solos tania terra creata est? — Was the ivide 
world created merely for you? Lyra. 

Now that which is threatened, as the punishment 
of this sin, is, that neither the houses nor the fields 
tiic)' were thus greedy of, should turn to any ac- 
count, V. 9, 10. God whispered it to the prophet 
in his ear, as he speaks in a like case; {ch. xxii. 14.) 
It was revealed in mine ears by the Lord of hosts; 
(as God told Samuel a thing in his ear, 1 Sam. ix. 
15.) he thought he heard it still sounding in his ears; 
but he proclaims it as he ought to do, u/ioii the house- 
tofts, Matth. X. 27. (1.) That the houses they were 
so fond of, should be untenanted, should stand long 
empty, and so should yield them no rent, and go out 
of repair: Alaiiy houses shall be desolate, the people 
that should dwell in them being cut off by sword, 
famine, or pestilence, or carried into captivity; or, 
trade being dead, and poverty coming upon the 
country like an armed man, those that had been 
house-keepers, were forced to become lodgers, or 
shift for themselves elsewhere. Even great and fair 
houses, that would invite tenants, and (there being 
a scarcity of tenants) miglit be taken at low rates, 
shall stand empty without inhabitants. God creat- 
ed not the earth in vain: he formed it to be inhabit- 
ed, ch. xlv. 18. But men's projects are often frus- 
trated, and what they frame, answers not the in- 
tention. We have a saying. That fools build houses 
for wise men to live in; but sometimes it proves 
for no man to live in. God has mimy ways to empty 
the most populous cities. (2.) That the fields they 
were so fond of should be unfruitful; {y. 10.) Ten 
acres of vineyard shall yield only such a quantitv 
of grapes as will m.ike but one bath of wine, which 
was about eight gallons; and the .wed of an homer, 
a bushel's sowing of ground, shall yield but an 
eph ih, which was the tenth part of an homer; so 
that, through the barrenness of the ground, or the 
unseasonableness of the weather, they should not 
have more than a tenth part of their seed again. 
Note, Those that set their hearts upon the world, 
will justly be disappointed in their expectations 
from it. 

II. Here is a wo to those that doat upon the plea- 
sures and delights of sense, x>. 11, 12. Sensuality 
ruins men as certainly as worldliness and oppres- 
sion. As Christ pronounced a wo against those that 
are rich, so also against those that laugh now, and 
are full, (Luke vi. 24, 25.) and fare sumptuously, 
Luke xvi. 19. 

Observe, 1. Who the sinners are against whom 
this wo is denounced; (1.) They are such as are 
given to drink, they make it their business, have 
their hearts upon it, and overcharge themselves 
with it. They rise early to follow strong drink, as 
husbandmen and tradesmen do to follow their em- 
ployments; as if they were afraid of losing time 
from that which is the greatest mispendingof time. 
Whereas commonly they that are drunken, are 
drunken in the night, when they have despatched 
the day, these neglect business, abandon it, and give 
up themselves to the service of the flesh; for thev 
sit at th'-ir cups all day, and continue till night, till 
wine inflimethem — inflame their lusts; chambering 
and wantonness follow upon rioting and drunkenness 
— inflame their passions; for who but such have 
contentions and wounds without cause? Prov. xxiii. 
29 — 33. They make a perfect trade of drinking; 



nor do they seek the shelter of the night for this 
work of darkness, as men ashamed of it, luit couin 
it a fileasure to riot in the day-time. See 2 I'et. ii. 
13. (2.) They are such as arc given to mirth; they 
lia\'e their feasts, and they ai-e so merrily dispr sed, 
that they cannot dine or sup without nmsic, niusic.fil 
instruments of all sorts, like David, (.^mos vi. 5.) 
like Solomon; (Eccl. ii. 8.) the harp and the vie], 
the tabret and pipe, must accompany the wine, that 
every sense may be gratified to a ni'cetv: thev take 
the timbrel and' harfi. Job xxi. 12. The use of mu- 
sic is lasvful in itself; but when it is excessive, wlien 
we set our hearts upon it, mispcnd time in it, so 
that it crowds our spiritual and divine pleasures, 
and draws away the heart from God, then it tui-ns 
into sin to us. (3.) They are such as never give 
their mind to anv thing that is serious; they regard 
not the work of the Lord, they observe' not his 
power, wisdom, and goodness, in those ci-eatures 
which they abuse, and subject to vanit\', nor the 
bounty of his providence, in giving them those good 
things which they make the food and fuel of their 
lusts. God's judgiTients have already seized them, 
and they are under the tokens of his displeasure, but 
they regard not, they consider not the hand of God 
in all these things; his hand is lifted up, but they 
will not sec, because they will not disturb them- 
selves in their pleasures, nor think what God is do- 
ing with them. 

2. What the judgments are, which are denounc- 
ed against them, and in part executed. It is here 
foretold, 

(1.) That they should be dislodged; the land 
should spue out these dnmkards; {v. 13.) My fieo- 
file (so they called themselves, and were pi-oud of 
it) are therefore gone into cafitivity, are as sui-e t" 
go, as if they wore gone already, because then have 
no knowledge; how should thev have knowledge, 
when by their excessive drinking thev make sots 
and fools of themselves? They set up for wits, but, 
because they regard not God's controversy with 
them, nor take any care to make their peace with 
him, they may tiiily be said to have no knowledge; 
and the reason is, because they will have none; they 
are inconsiderate and wilful, and therefore dcstroyeti 
for lack of knowledge. 

(2.) That they should be impoverished, and come 
to want that which they had wasted and abused to 
excess; Even their glory are men of famine, subject 
to it, and slain by it; and their multitude are dried 
ufi with thirst: both the great men and the commcn 
people are readv to perish for want of bread and 
water; this is the effect of the failure of the com, 
{v. 10.) (or the king himself is sensed of the f eld, 
Eccl. V. 9. And when the vintage fails, the dnmk 
ards are called upon to weep, because the new wim 
is cut off from their mouth, (Joel i. 5.) and not so 
much because now they want it, as because, when 
they had it, they abused it. It is just with God to 
make men want that for necessity, which they have 
abused to excess. 

(3.) That multitudes should be cut off by famin< 
and sword; (u. 14.) Therefore hell has enlarged 
herself; Tophet, the common burying-place, ])rovei 
too little; so many are there to be buried, that thev 
shall be forced to enlarge it: the grave has opened 
her mouth without measure, never saying. It it 
enough, Prov. xxx. 15, 16. It may be understood 
of the place of the damned; luxury and sensuality 
fill those regions of darkness and Itnrror; there they 
are tormented, who made a god of their bellv, Luke 
xvi. 25. Phil. iii. 19. 

(4.) That tluy should be humbled and abased, 
and all their honours laid in the du?t. This will be 
dnne effectually by death and the grave; Their glory 
shall descend, not only to the earth, but into it; it 
shall not descend after them, (Ps. xlix. 17.) to stana 



33 



ISAIAPI, V. 



Jiem in any stead on the other side death, I)ut it 
shall die and tie Iniried with them; poor glory, 
which will thus wither! Did they glory in their 
numbers? Their multitude shall g-odownto the pit, 
Ezek. xxxi. 18. — xxxii. 32. Did they gloiy in the 
fig-ure they made.' Their pomp shall be at an end; 
their shouts with which they triumphed, and were 
attended. Did they glory in their mirth.' Death will 
turn it into mourning; he that rejoices and revels, 
and never knows what it is to be serious, shall go 
thither where there is weeping and wailing. Thus 
t'.ie mean man and the mighty man meet together 
in the gra\-e, and under mortifying judgments. Let 
a man be ever so high, death will bring him low, 
ever so mean, death will bring him lower; in the 
prospect of wliich, the eyes of the lofty should now 
be humbled, t. 15. It becomes those to look low, 
that must shortlv be laid low. 

3. What the frait of these judgments shall be. 

(1.) God shall be glorified, t. 16. He that is the 
Lord of hosts, and the holy God, sh ill be exalted 
and sanctified in the judgment and righteousness of 
these dispensations. His justice must be owned, in 
bringing those low that exalted themselves; and 
herem he is glorified; [1.] As a God of irresistible 
power: he will herein be exalted as the Lord of 
hosts, that is able to break tlie strongest, humble 
the proudest, and tame the most unrul\-. Power is 
not exalted but in judgment. It is the honour of 
God, that, though he has a mighty arm, yet judg- 
ment and justice are always the habitation of his 
throne, Ps. Ixxxix. 13, 14. [2.] As a God of un- 
spotted purity; he that is holy, infinitely holy, shall 
be sanctified, shall be owned and declared to be so 
in the righteous punishment of proud men. Note, 
When proud men are humbled, the great God is 
honoured, and ought to be honoured by us. 

(2.) Good people shall be relieved and succoured; 
[y. 17.) Then shall tlie lambs feed after their 7nan- 
ner; the meek ones of the earth, who follow the 
Lamb, who were persecuted, and put into fear by 
those proud oppressors, shall feed quietly, feed in 
the green pastures, and there shall be none to make 
them afraid. See Ezek. xxxiv. 14. When the ene- 
mies of the church are cut off, then have the church- 
es rest; they shall feed at their pleasure; so some 
read it. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit 
the earth, and delight themselves in abu?ida7!t peace. 
They shall feed according to their ordei- or cajjacity ; 
so others reads it; as they are able to hear the worcl, 
that bread of life. 

(3.) The country shall be laid waste, and be- 
come a prey to the neighbours; the waste places 
of the fat ones, the possessions of those rich men 
that lived at their ease, those shall be eaten l)v 
strangers that were nothing akin to them. In the 
captivity, the poor of the land were left for -vine- 
dressers and husbandmen; (2 Kings xxv. 12.) those 
,vere the lambs, that feed in the pastures of the fat 
ones, which were laid in common for strangers to 
eat. A\^ien the church of the Jews, those fat ones, 
was laid waste, their privileges were transferred to 
the Gentiles, who had been long strangers; and the 
lambs of Christ's flock were welcome to them. 

18. Wo unto them that draw iniquity 
with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with 
a cart-rope ! 1 9. That say, Let him make 
speed, and hasten liis \\'ork, tliat we may 
see it : and let the counsel of tlie Holy One 
of Israel draw niajh and come, that we may 
know it! 20. Wo unto them that call evil 
good, and good evil; that put darkness for 
lig'it, and ligiit for darkness; tliat put hitter 
for sweet, and >weet for bitter! 21. Wo 



unto thciii that are wise in their own eyes, 
and prudent in their own sight ! 22. Wo 
unto them that are might}- to drink wine, and 
men of strengtii to mingle strong drink: 23. 
^^'llich justify the wicked for reward, and 
fake awa}' tlie rigiiteousness of tlie righteous 
from him ! 24. Therefore as tiie fire dinour- 
eth tiie stubble, and the flame consunieth the 
ciialitj so their root sliall be as rottenness, and 
tiieir blossom shall go up as dust: because 
they have cast away the law of the Loud of 
hosts, and despised the word of tiie Holy One 
of Israel. 25. Therefore is the anger oithe 
Lord kindled against his people, and he 
hath stretched forth his hand against them, 
and hath smitten them : and the hills did 
tremble, and their carcases were torn in the 
niidst of the streets. For all this his anger 
is not tuined a^vay, but his hand is stretched 
out still. 26. And he will lift up an ensign 
to the nations from far, and will hiss unto 
them from the end of the earth: and, behold, 
tiicy shall come with speed swiftly. 27. 
None siiall be weary nor stumble among 
them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neitiier 
shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor 
the lalchet of their shoes be broken : 28. 
\\ hose arrows « re sharj), and all their bows 
bent, their horses' hoofs sliall be counlctl 
like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind: 
29. Their roaring shnlj he like a lion, tliey 
shall roar like young lions; yea, they shall 
roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall 
cany it away saf(\ and none shall deliver it 
■30. And in that day they shall roar against 
them like tlie roaring of the sea; and \i one 
look unto the land, behold darkness and sor- 
row ; and the light is darkened in the hea 
vens thereof. 

Here are, 

I. Sins described, which will bring judgments 
upon a people; and this perhaps is not onlv a charge 
drawn up against the men of Judah, who lived at 
that time, and the particular articles of that chai-ge, 
thougli it ma\- relate primarily to them; but it is ra- 
ther intended for warning to all people, in all ages, to 
take heed to these sins, as destr\icti\e Ijoth to par- 
ticular persons and to commimities, and exjjosing 
men to God's wrath and his righteous judgments. 

Those that are here said to be in a woful condi 
tion, 

1. Who are eagerly set upon sin, and violent in 
their sinful pursuits; (f. 18.) who draiv inic/uity 
with cords of -vayiity, who take as much pains to 
sin, as the cattle do, tliat draw in a team; who put 
themselves to the stretch for the gratifying of theii 
inordinate appetites, and to himiour a base lust, of 
fer violence to nature itself. They think themselves 
as sure of compassing their wicked projects, as if 
they were pulling it to them with strong cart-ropes: 
but they wdl find themselves disappointed, f n- thev 
will prove cords of vanity, which will bi-cak wlicii 
they come to any stress; for the righteous Lord u-ili 
cut in sunder the cords of the wicked, Ps. cxxix. 4. 
Job iv. 8. Prov. xxii. 8." Thev are by long custom 



ISAIAH, V. 



39 



and confirmed habits, so hardened in sin, that they 
caniiJt get clear of it: those that sin through infir- 
mity, are drawn away by sin; thuse that sin pre- 
sumptuously, draw it to tliem, in spite of the (ppo- 
sitions of Providence and the checks of conscience. 
Some by sin understand the punishment of sin; they 
'■uU (lod's judgments upon their own heads, as it 
were with cart-ropes. 

2. Who set the justice of God at defiance, and 
challenge the Almighty to do his worst; (v. 19.) 
T/iey say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work; 
this is the same language with that of the scoffei's 
of the last days, who sa}-, Where is the promise of 
his coming? And therefore it is, that, like them, 
the}- draw iniquity with cords of vanity, are violent 
and daring in sin, and walk after their own lusts, 2 
Pet. iii. 1, 3, 4. (1.) They ridicule the prophets, 
and banter them ; it is in scorn that they call God 
the Holy One of Israel, because the ])i-ophets used 
with great veneration to call him so. (2. ) They will 
not believe the revelation of God's wrath from hea- 
ven against their ungodliness and unrighteousness; 
unless they see it executed, they will not know it, 
as if the curse were brutumfuimen — a mere flash, 
and all the threatenings of the word bugbears to 
frighten fools and children. (3. ) If God should ap- 
pear against them, as he has threatened, yet they 
think themselves able to make their part good with 
him, and provoke him to jealous)-, as if they were 
stronger tlian he, 1 Cor. x. 22. "We have heard 
his word, but it is all talk; let him hasten his work, 
we shall shift for ourselves well enough." Note, 
Those that wilfully persist in sin, consider not the 
power of God's anger. 

3. Who confound and overthrow the distinctions 
between moral good and evil, who call evil good, 
and good ex'il, {x<. 20.) who not only live in the 
omission of that which is good, but condemn it, ar- 
gue against it, and, because they will not practise it 
themselves, run it down in others, and fasten invi- 
dious epithets upon it; they not only do that which 
is evil, but jnstify it, and applaud it, and recom- 
mend it to others as safe and good. Note, (].) Vir- 
tue and piety are good, for they are light and sweet, 
they are pleasant and right; but sin and wickedness 
are evil, they are darkness, all the fruit of ignorance 
and mistake, and will be bitterness in the latter end. 
(2. ) Those do a great deal of wrong to God, and re- 
ligion, and conscience, to their own souls and to the 
souls of others, who misrepresent these, and put false 
colours upon them, who call drunkenness good fel- 
lowship, and covetousness good husbandry, and, 
when they persecute the people of God, think they 
do him good service; and, on the other hand, who 
call seriousness ill-nature, and sober singularity ill- 
breeding, who say all manner of evil falsely con- 
cerning the ways of godliness, and do what they 
can to form in men's minds prejudices against them; 
and this in defiance of evidence as plain and con- 
vincing as that of sense, by which we distinguish, 
beyond contradiction, between light and darkness, 
and that which to the taste is sweet and bitter. 

4. Who, though they are guilty of such gross mis- 
takes as these, have a great opinion of their own 
judgments, and value themselves mightily upon 
their understanding; (i'. 21.) they are wise in their 
own eyes; they think themselves able to disprove 
and baffle the reproofs and convictions of God's 
word, and to evade and elude both the searches 
and the reaches of his judgments; that they can out- 
wit Infinite Wisdom, and countermine Providence 
itself. Or, it may lie taken more generally; (iod 
resists the proud, those i)aiticu!arly who are con- 
ceited of their own wisdom, and lean to their own 
understanding; such must become fools, that they 
may be truly wise, or else, at their end, they shall 
appear to be fools before all the world. 



5. Who gloried in it as a great accomphsnment, 
that thev were able to bear a great deal of strong 
liquor without being overcome I)y it; (ii. 22.) Who 
are mighty to drink wine, and use their strength 
and vig<;ur, not in the ser\ ice of their country, but 
in the service of their lusts. Let drunkards know 
from this bcrijiturc, that, (1.) Thev ungratefully 
abuse their bodily strength, wliich God has given 
them for good purooses, and by degrees cannot but 
weaken it. (2.) It will not excuse them from the 
guilt of drunkenness, that they can drink hard, and 
yet keep their feet. (3.) Those who boast of their 
drinking down others, glca-y in their shame. (4. ) 
How light soever men make of their drunkenness, it 
is a sin which will certainly lay them open to the 
wrath and curse of God. 

6. Who, as judges, perverted justice, and went 
counter to all the i-ules of equitv, v. 23. This fol- 
lowed upon the former; they drink, and forget the 
law, (Prov. xxxi. 5.) and err through wine, {ch. 
xxviii. 7.) and take bribes, that they may have 
wherewithal to maintain their luxury. Thev justify 
the wicked for reward, and find some pretence or 
other to clear him from his guilt, and shelter him 
from punishment; and they condemn the innocent, 
and take away their righteousness from them, over- 
mle their pleas, deprive them of the means of clear- 
ing up their innoccncy, and gi\'e judgment against 
them. In causes between man and man, might and 
money would at any time pre\'ail against right and 
justice; and he who was ever so plainly in the 
wrong, with a small bribe would cany the cause, 
and recover costs. In criminal causes, though the 
prisoner ever so plainly appeared to be guilty, yet, 
for a reward, they would acquit him; if he wei-c 
innocent, yet, if he did not fee them well, nay, if 
they were fee'd by the malicious prosecutor, or they 
themselves had spleen against him, they would con- 
demn him. 

II. The judgments described, which these sins 
would bring upon them. Let not those expect to 
live easily, who live thus wickedly; for the righte- 
ous God will take vengeance, v. 24 — 30. Where 
we may observe, 

1. How complete this ruin will be, and how ne- 
cessarilv and nnavoidablv it will follow upon their 
sins. He had compared this people to a vine, (t. 
7.) well-fixed, and which, it was hoped, would be 
flourishing and fruitful; but the grace of God to- 
wards it was received in vain, ;md then the root be- 
came rottenness, being dried up from bener.th, and 
the blossom would of course blow off as dust, as a 
light and worthless thing. Job xviii. 16. Sin weak- 
ens the strength, the root, of a people, so that the}- 
are easily rooted up; it defaces tlie beauty, the blos- 
soms, of a people, and takes awav the hopes of fi-uit. 
The sin of unfrnitfulness is punished with the plague 
of unfruitfuluess. Sinners make themselves as 
stubble and chaff, comliustible matter, proper fuel 
to the fire of God's wrath, which then, of course, 
devours and consumes them, as the fire devours the 
stnhhle, and nobody can hinder it, or cares to hin 
der it. Chaff is consumed, unhelped and unpitied. 

2. How just the ruin will be; Because they have 
cast away the law of the I^ord of hosts, and would 
not have him to reign over them ; and as the law of 
Moses was rejected and tlirown off, so the word of 
the Holy One of Israel bv his servants the prophets, 
putting them in mind of liis law, and calling them 
to obedience, was despised and disregarded. God 
does not reject men for every transgression of his 
law and word; but, when his word is despised, and 
his law cast away, what can they expect, but that 
Gi>d should utterly abandon them.^ 

3. Whence this ruin should come; (t. 25.) it is 
desti-uction from the Almighty. (1.) The justice 
of God appoints it; for that is the anger of the Lord 



■10 



ISAIAH, VI. 



which is kindled against /sis fieop/c, his ntccssary 
vindication <if the h^inuur nf his holiness ;ind autho- 
ritv. (2.)'rh'. power of God eftlcts it; he hath 
str'etclied fortli his hand against them; that hand 
wliich liad many a time been stretclied out for them 
against their enemies, is now stretched out against 
tliem, at full length, and in its full vigour; and iv/w 
hioii's the flower of his anger? Whether they are 
sensible of it or no, it is God that has smitten them, 
has blasted tlieir vine, and made it wither. 

4. The consequences and continuance of this ruin. 
When God comes forth in wrath against a jjeople, 
the hills tremljle, fear seizes even their great men, 
who are strong and high; the earth shakes under 
men, and is ready to sink; and as this feels dread- 
ful, (what docs more so than an eaithquake?) so 
what sight can be more frightful than the carcases of I 
of men torn with dogs, or thrown as rfzi?^ (so the mar- 
gin reads) in the midst of the streets? This intimates 
that great multitudes should be slain, not only soldiers 
in the field of battle, but the inhabitants of their cities 
put to the sword in cold blood, and that the survi- 
vors sho\ild neither have hands nor hearts to buiy 
them. This is very dreadful, and vet such is the 
merit of sin, thai, for all this. Gait's anger is not 
turned aivay; that fire will buni as long as there 
nemains any of the stubble and chaff to be fuel for 
it: and his liand, which he stretched forth against 
his people to smite them, because they do not by 
praver take hold of it, nor by reformation submit 
themselves to it, is stretched out still. 

5. The instruments that should be employed in 
bringing this ruin upon them; it should be done by 
the incursion of a foreign enemy, that should lay all 
waste: no jiarticular enemy is named, and therefore 
we arc to take it as a prediction of all the several 
judgments of this kind which God brought upon the 
Jews, Sennacherib's invasion soon after, and the de- 
struction of Jerasalem by the Chaldeans first, and 
at last by the Romans; and I think it is to be looked 
upon also as a threatening of the like desolation of 
those countries which harbour and countenance 
tliose sins mentioned in the foregoing verses: it is 
an exposition of those woes. 

When God designs the ruin of a provoking peo- 
ple, 

(1.) He can send a great way off for instruments 
to be employed in it; he can raise forces from afar, 
and summon them from the end of the earth to at- 
tend his service, x<. 26. Those who know him not, 
are made of use to fulfil his counsel, when, by rea- 
son of their distance, they can scarcely be supposed 
to have any ends of their own to serve. If God set 
up his standard, he can incline men's hearts to en- 
list themselves under it, though perhaps they know 
not whv or wherefore. When the Lord of hosts is 
pleased to make a general muster of the forces he 
has at his command, he has a great army in an in- 
stant, Joel ii. 2, 11. He needs not sound a trumpet, 
or beat a drum, to give them notice, or to animate 
them; no, he does but hiss to them, or rather whis- 
tle to them, and that is enough; they hear that, and 
that puts courage into them. Note, God has all the 
creatures at his Ijcck. 

(2.) He can make them come into the service with 
incredible expedition; Behold, they shall come ivith 
sfteed siviftly. Note, [1.] Those who will do God's 
work must not loiter, must not linger, nor shall they 
when his time is come. [2.] Those who defy God s 
judgments, will be ashamed of their insolence when 
it is too late; they said scornfully, {y. 19.) Let him 
make s/ieed, let hiryi hasten his ivork, and they shall 
find, to tlieir terror and confusion, that he will; in 
one htur is the judgment come. 

(2.) He can carry them on in the service with 
amazing forwardness and fury. This is described 
here in very elegant and 1 ^fty expressic ns, v. 27 — 



30. [1.] Though their marches be very long, yet 
7mne among them shall be weary; so desirous shall 
tliey be to engage, thr.t they sha"ll forgit their wea- 
riness, and make no complaints of it. [2.] Thi ugh 
the way be rough, and perhaps cmbarrassid l)y the 
usual policies of war, yet none among them shall 
stumble, but all the difficulties in their way shall 
easily be got over. [3.] Though they be forced to 
keep constant watch, none shall slumber nor sleep, 
so intent shall they be upon their -^ork, in ^JrosI)ect 
of having the plunder of the city for their pains. 
[4.] They shall not desire any rest or relaxation; 
they shall not put off their clothes, nor loose the gir- 
dle'of their loins, but shall always have their belts 
on, and swords by their sides. [5.] They shall not 
meet with the lea'st hindrance to retard their march, 
or oblige them to halt; not a latchet of their shoes 
shall be broken, which they must stay to mend, as 
Josh. ix. 13. [6.] Their arms and ammunition 
shall all be fixed, and in good posture; their arrows 
shai-p, to wound deep, and all their Ijows bent, none 
unsti-ung, for they expect to be soon in action. [7.] 
Their horses and chariots of war are all fit for ser- 
vice; their horses so strong, so hardy, that their 
hoofs shall be like flint, far from being beaten or 
made tender, by their long march; and the wheels 
of their chariots not broken, or battered, or rut of 
repair, but swift like a whirlwind, turning round so 
strongly upon their axle-trees. [8. ] All the soldiers 
shall be bold and daring; {v. 29.) their roaring, or 
shouting, before a battle, shall be like a lion, who 
with his roaring animates himself, and terrifies all 
about him. Thev who would not hear the voice of 
God speaking to them by his prophets, but stepped 
their ears against their charms, shall be made to 
hear the voice of their enemies roaring against them, 
and shall not be able to tuni a deaf ear to it; they 
shall roar like the roaring of the sea in a storm; it 
j roars, and threatens to swallow up, as the lion roars, 
and threatens to tear in pieces. [9.] There shall 
not be the least prospect of relief or succour; the 
enemy shall come in like a flood, and there shall be 
none to lift up a standard against him; he shall seize 
the prey, and none shall deh ver it, n' ne shall be able 
to deliver it, nay, none shall so much as dare to at- 
tempt the deliverance of it, but shall give it up for 
lost. Let the distressed look which way they will, 
every thing appears dismal; for if God frown upon 
us, how can any creature smile.'' First, Lock round 
to the earth, to the land, to that land that used to 
be a land of light, and the joy of the whtlc earth, 
and behold, darkness and sorrow, all frightful, all 
mourning, nothing hopeful. Secondly, Look up to 
heaven, and there the light is darkened, where cne 
would expect to have found it. If the light is dark- 
ened in the heavens, how great is that darkness! 
If God hide his face, no marvel the heavens hide 
theirs, and appear gloomy. Job xxxiv. 29. It is rur 
wisdom, bv keeping a good conscience, to keep all 
clear between us and heaven, that we may have 
light from above, when clouds and darkness are 
round about us. 

CHAP. VI. 

Hllherto, it should seem, Isaiah had prophesied a." a can 
didate, having only a virtual and implicit commission 
but here we have him (if I may so speak) solrmnly or 
dained and set apart to the prophetical office by a inore 
express explicit commission, as his work fjrew more upon 
his hands: or, perhaps, bavins; seen little success of his 
ministry, he besran to thinlr of givinjj it up; and lliere- 
fore God saw fit to renew ma commission here in this 
chapter, in such a manner as might evrite and encour- 
ape his zeal and industry in the execution of il, though 
be seemed to labour in vain. In this chapter, wc have, 
1. A very awful vision which Isaiah saw orihe olory of 
God, (v. 1 . .4.) the terror it put him into, (v. 5.) and the 
relief piven him apainst that terror by an assurance of 
the pardon of his Vins, v. 6,7. II. A very uwfu! com- 



ISAIAIT, VI 



41 



ti.ission which Isaiah received to go as a prophet, in Ciod's 
name, (v. 8.) by his preacliinf; to liardLn the impenitent 
ill sill, and ripen them fur ruin; (v. 9. .12.) yt-l with a 
reservation ol mercy for a remnant, v. 13. And it was 
as to an evant'elieal prophet, thai these things were show- 
ed him, and said to him. 

I . XN tlie year tliat king Uzziah died I 
JL saw also tiic Lord sitting upon a 
tiiione, liigh and lifted up, and his train filled 
'l.e temple. 2. Above it stood the sera- 
phinis: each one had six wings; with twain 
he covered his face, and with twain he co- 
vered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 
3. And one cried unto another and said. 
Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the 
whole earth is full of his glory. 4. And the 
posts of the door moved at the voice of him 
that cried, and the house was filled with 
smoke. 

The vision which Isaiah saw when he was, as is 
said of Samuel, established to be a prophet of the 
Lord, (1 Sam. iii. 20.) was intended, 1. To con- 
firm his faith, tliat he might himself be abundantly 
satisfied of the truth of those things which should 
afterward be made known to liim. Thus God 
opened the communications of himself to him; but 
such visions needed not to be afterward repeated, 
upon every revelation. Thus God appeared at first 
as a God of glory to Abi-aham, (Acts vii. 2.) and to 
Moses, Exod. iii. 2. Ezekiel's prophecies, and St. 
John's, begin with vi.sions of the divine glory. 2. 
To work upon his afFections, that he might be possessed 
of such a reverence of God, as would both quicken 
him, and fix hmi, to his service. They who are to 
teach others the knowledge of God, ought to be well 
rxquainted with him themselves. 

The vision is dated, for the greater certainty of 
It; it was in the year that king Uzziah died, who had 
reigned, for the most part, as prosperously and well 
as any of the kings of Judah, and reigned very long, 
above fiftv years: about the time that he died, Isaiah 
saw this vision of God upon a throne; for when the 
breath of princes goes forth, and they return to their 
earth, this is our comfort, that the Lord shall reign 
for ever, Ps. cxlvi. 3, 4, 10. Israel's king dies, 
but Israel's God still lives. From the mortality of 
great and good men, we should take occasion to look 
up with an eve of faitli to the King eternal, immor- 
tal. King Uzziah died under a cloud, for he was 
shut up as a leper till the day of his death: as the 
live's of princes have their periods, so their glory is 
often eclipsed; but as God is everlasting, so his 
glory is everlasting. King Uzziah dies in a hospital, 
but the King of kings still sits upon his throne. 

What the prophet here saw is revealed to us, 
that we, mixing faith with that revelation, may in 
.t, as in a glass, behold the glory of the Lord: let us 
turn aside therefore, and see this great sight with 
humble reverence. 

I. See God upon his throne, and that throne high 
and lifted up, not only above other thrones, as it 
transcends them, but over other thrones, as it rules 
and commands them. Isaiah saw not Jehovah — 
the essence of God, (no man has seen that, or can 
see it, ) but Adonai — ^his dominion ; he saw the Lord 
Jesus; so this vision is explained, (John xii. 41.) that 
Isaiah now saw Christ's glory, and spake of him; 
which is an incontestable proof of the divinity of our 
Saviour. He it is, who, when, after his resurrec- 
tion, he sat down on the right hand of God, did but 
sit down where he was before, John xvii. 5. See 
the rest of the Eternal Mind; Isaiah saw the Lord 

Vol. IV.— F 



sitting, Ps. xxix. 10. Sec the sovereignty rt tlie 
Eternal Monarch; he sfts u])i n a thrrn-, a thrrne 
(if gl( ry, l)ef( re wiiich we must wurshi];, a tliiviie 
of government, under wliich we must Im- suhjtct, 
and a throne i f grace, to wliicli we may c nie bi.ld 
!y. This tlinnie is higli, and lifted up abov e all cent- 
petition and contradiction. 

II. See his temple, his church on earth, filled 
with manifestations of his ^Xn-y. His throne being 
erected at tlie door of the temple, (as princes sat in 
judgment at the gates,) his train, the skirts of his 
robes, filled the temple, the whole world; for it is 
all God's temple; and as the heaven is his throne, 
so tlie earth is his furtstocl; or, rather, the church, 
which is filled, enriched, and beautified, with the 
tokens of God's sjjecial presence. 

in. See the briglit and blessed attendants on his 
throne, in and by whom his glory is celebrated, and 
his government served; (t. 2.) Jbove tie throne, 
as it were hovering about it, or nigh to the throne, 
bowing before it, with an eye to it, the seraphim 
stood, the holy angels, who are called seraphim — 
burners; for he makes his ministers a Jlamingjire, 
(Ps. civ. 4.) they burn in love to God, and zeal for 
his glory against sin, and he makes use of them as 
instruments of his wrath, when he is a consuming 
Fire to liis enemies. \Vhether they were only two 
or four, or (as I rather think) an innumerable com- 
pany of angels, that Isaiah saw, is uncertain; see 
Dan. vii. 10. Note, It is the glory of the angels, tha» 
thev are seraphim, have heat proportionable to 
their light, have abundance, not only of di\ine 
knowledge, but of holy love. 

Special notice is taken of their wings, (and of no 
other part of their appearance,) because of the use 
they made of them; which is designed for instruc- 
tion to us. They had each of them sijc wings, not 
stretched upward, (as those whom Ezekiel saw, ch. 
i. 11.) but, 1. Four were made use of for covering, 
as the wings of a fowl, sitting, are; with the two 
upper wings, next the head, they covered their 
faces; and with the two \- west wings they covered 
tlieir feet, or lower parts. Tliis bespeaks their great 
humility and reverence in their attendance upon 
God, for he is greatly feared in the assembly of those 
saints, Ps. Ixxxix. 7. They not only cover their 
feet, those members of the body which are less ho 
nourable, (1 Cor. xii. 23.) but even their faces; 
though angels' faces, doubtless, are much fairer 
than those of the children of men, (Acts vi. 15. ) 
yet, in the presence of God, they cover them, be- 
cause they cannot bear the dazzling lustre of the 
divine glory, and because, being conscious of an in- 
finite distance from the divine perfection, they are 
ashamed to show their faces before the hol\- God, 
who charges even his angels with folly, if they 
should offer to \\e with him. Job iv. 18. If angels 
be thus reverent in their attendance on God, with 
what godly fear should we approach his throne! 
Else we do not the will of God as the angels do it. 
Yet Moses, when he went into the mount with God, 
took the vail from off his face, 2 Cor. iii. 18. 2. 
Two were made use of for flight; when they are 
sent on God's errands, they fly swiftly, (Dan. ix. 
21.) more swiftly with their own wings than if they 
flew on the wings of the wind. This teaches us to 
do the work of God with cheerfulness and expedi- 
tion. Do angels come upon the wing fr( m heaven 
to earth, to minister for our good, and shall net we 
soar upon the wing frrm earth to heaven, to share 
with them in their glory? Luke xx. 36. 

IV. Hear the anthem, or seng rf praise, which 
tlie angels sing to the honour of him that sits on the 
throne, v. 3. Observe, 1. Hriwthis song was sung; 
with zeal and fervency they crie-d aloud; and with 
unanimity they cried one to another, or with one 
another; they sang alternately, but in concert, and 



42 



ISAIAH, Vf. 



willuAit the least jan-ing voice to interrupt the har- 
mony. 2. What the song was; it is tlie same with 
that' which is sung by the four hving creatures, 
Rev. iv. 8. Note, (1.) Praising God always was, 
and will be, to eternity, the work of heaven, and 
the constant employment of blessed spirits above, 
Ps. Ixxxiv. 4. (2.) The church above is the same 
in its praises; there is no change of times, or notes, 
there. 

Two things the seraphim here give God the 
praise of; 

[1.] His infinite perfections in himself. Here is 
one of his most glorious titles praised; he is the 
Lard of /losls, of their hosts, of all hosts; and one 
of his most glorious attributes, his holiness, without 
which his being the Lord of hosts, or, (as it is in the 
parallel place, Rev. iv. 8.) ;/;e Lord God ylbnighty, 
could not be, so much as it is, the matter of our joy 
and praise; for power, without purity to guide it, 
would be a terror to mankind. None of all the di- 
vine attributes are celebrated in scripture so as this 
is; God's power was spoken twice, (Ps. Ixii. 11.) 
but his holiness thrice, Holy, holy, holy. This be- 
speaks, First, The zeal and fervency of the angels, 
in praising God; they even want words to express 
tliemselves, and therefore repeat the same again. 
Secondly, The particular pleasure they take in 
contemplating the holiness of God; this is a sub- 
ject they love to dwell upon, to hai-p upon, and are 
loath to leave. Thirdly, The superlative excel- 
lency of God's holiness above that of the purest 
creatures. He is holy, thrice holy, infinitely holy, 
originally, perfectly, and eternally, so. Fourthly, 
It may refer to the three persons in the Godhead, 
Holv Father, Holy Son, and Holy Spirit; (for it 
filliAvs, {v. 8.) Who •will go for us?) or, perhaps, 
to that which was, and is, and is to come; for tliat 
title of God's honour is added to this song. Rev. iv. 8. 
Some make the angels here to applaud the equity 
of that sentence which God was now about to pro- 
n uiice upon the Jewish nation. Herein he was, 

^ and is, and will be, holy; his ways are equal. 

■^ [2.] The manifestation of these to the children 
of men; the earth is full of his glory, of the glory 
of his power and purity; for he is holy in all his 
works, Ps. cxlv. 17. The Jews thought the glory 
of God should be confined to their land; but it is 
here intimated, that, in gospel-times, fwhich are 
pointed to in this chapter,) the glory of God should 
fill all the earth; the glory of his holiness, which is 
indeed the glory of all his other attributes; this, then, 
Jilled the temjile, {y. 1.) but, in the latter days, the 
earth shall be full of it. 

V. Observe the marks and tokens of terror with 
which t'ne temple was filled, upon this vision of the 
di\ ine glory, v. 4. 1. The house was shaken; not 
only the door, but even the jiosts of the door, which 
were firmly fixed, moved at the voice of him that 
cried, at the voice of God, who called to judgment, 
(Ps. 1. 4.) at the voice of the angel, who praised 
him. There are voices in heaven sufficient to drown 
all the noises of the many waters in this lower world, 
Ps. xciii. 3, 4. This violent concussion of the tem- 
ple was an indication of God's wrath and displea- 
sure against the people for their sins; it was an 
earnest of the destruction of it and the city, by the 
Babylonians first, and afterwards by the Romans; 
and it was designed to strike an awe upon us. Shall 
walls and posts tremble before God, and shall not 
we tremble.' 2. The house was darkened; it was 
^filled with smoke, which was as a cloud spread upon 
the face of his throne; (Job xxvi. 9.) we cannot take 
a full view of it, nor order our speech concerning it, 
by reason of darkness. In the temple above there 
will be no smoke, but every thing will be seen clear- 
ly; there God dwells in light, here he makes dark- 
ntm his pavilion, 2 Chron. vi, 1. 



5. Then said I, Wo is nie ! for 1 am un- 
done ; because I am a man of unclean lips, 
and I dwell in the midst of a people of un- 
clean lips: for mine eyes have seen the 
King, the Lord of hosts. 6. Then flew one 
of the seraphims unto me, having a liv^ coal 
in his hand, ivhkh he had taken with the 
tongs from off the altar; 7. And he laid // 
upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath 
touched thy lips, and thine iniquity is taken 
away, and thy sin purged. 8. Also I heard 
the voice of the Lord, saying. Whom shall 
I send, and who will go for us? Then ] 
said. Here am I; send me. 

Our curiosity would lead us to inquire further 
concerning the seraphim, their songs, and their ser- 
vices; but here we leave them, and must attend to 
what passed between God and his prophet; secret 
things belong not to us, the secret tilings cf the 
world of angels, but things revealed to and by the 
prophets, which concern the administration of God's 
kingdom among men. Now here we have, 

I. The consternation that the prophet was put 
into by the vision which he saw of the glory of God; 
{y. 5.) Then said I, Wo is me! I should have said, 
" Blessed art thou, who hast been thus highly fa- ■ 
voured, highly honoured, and dignified, for a time, 
with the privilege of those glorious beings that al- 
ways behold the face of our Father. Blessed were 
those eyes which saw the Lord sitting on his throne, 
and those ears which heard the angels' praisis." 
And, one would think, he should have said, " Hap- 
py am I, for ever happy; nothing now shall trouble 
me, nothing make me blush or tremble;" on the 
contrary, he cries out, " Wo is me, for I am wi- 
done. Alas for me! I am a gone man, /s/;a// 4?(rf/v 
die; (Judges xiii. 22. — vi. 22.) I am silenced, I am 
struck dumb, struck dead." Thus Daniel, when 
he heard the words of the angel, became dumb, and 
there was no strength, no breath, left in him, Dan. 
X. 15, 17. Observe, 

1. What the prophet reflected upon in himself, 
which terrified him; "lam undone, if God deal 
with me in strict justice, for I have made myself 
obnoxious to his displeasure, because I am a man 
of unclean lips." Some think he refers particularly , 
to some rash word he had spoken, or to his smful '*■ 
silence in not reproving sin with the boldness and ^ 
freedom that were necessary; a sin which God's 
ministers have too much cause to charge themselves 
with, and to blush at the remembrance of it. But 
it may be taken more generally; / a?n a simier; 
particularly, / have offended in word; and who is 
there that does not? Jam. iii. 2. We all have rea- 
son to bewail it before the Lord; (1.) That we are i 
of unclean lips ourselves; our lips are not consecra- 
ted to God; he has not had the Jirst-fruits of our 
lips, (Heb. xiii. 15.) and therefore they are counted 
common and unclean, uncircumcised lips, Exod. vi. 
30. Nay, they have been polluted with sin; we have 
spoken the language of an unclean heart; tliat evil 
communication corrupts good manners, and thereby 
many have been defiled. We are unworthy and 
unmeet to take God's name into our lips. With 
what a pure lip did the angels praise God ! " But," 
says the prophet, " I cannot praise him so, for /«?« 
a man of unclean lips." The best men in the world 
have reason to be ashamed of themselves, and the 
best of their services, when they come to compare 
with the holy angels. The angels had celebrated 
the purity and holiness of God; and therefore the 
prophet, when he reflects upon sin, calls it unclean- 



ISAIAH, VI. 



43 



neni-; for the sinfulness of sin is its contrariety to the 
iuily nature of God, and, upon that acxount, espc- 
ci.iily, it should appear both hateful and frightful 
to us. The impurity of our lips ought to l)e the 
grief of our souls, for by our words we shall be jus- 
tified or condemned. (2.) That we dwell among 
th'isc who are so too. We have reason to lament 
it, that not we ourselves only are polluted, but that 
til- nature and race of mankind are so, the disease 
i> hereditary and epidemical; which is so far from 
lessoning oin- guilt, that it should rather increase 
our grief, especially considering that we have not 
done what we might have done for the cleansing of 
th ■ pollution of other people's lips; nay, we have 
rather learned their way, and spoken their language, 
as Joseph in Egypt learned the courtier's oath. 
Gen. xlii. 16. " I dwell in the midst of a peo/ile, 
win by their impudent sinnings are pulling down 
desolating judgments upon the land, which I, who 
am a sinner, too justly may expect to be involved 
in." 

2. AVhat gave occasion for these sad reflections at 
this time; Mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord 
of Hosts. He saw God's sovereignty to be incon- 
t. stable, he is the King; and his power irresistible, 
he is the Lord of hosts: these are comfortable truths 
to GmI's people, and vet they ought to strike an 
awe upon us. Note, A believing sight of God's glo- 
rious majesty should affect us all with reverence 
and godly fear. We have reason to be abased in 
the sense of that infinite distance tliat there is be- 
twixt us and God, and our own sinfulness and vile- 
ness before him, and to be afraid of his displeasure. 
We are undone, if there be not a Mediator between 
us and this holy God, 1 Sam. vi. 20. Isaiah was 
thus humbled, to prepare him for the honour he 
was now to be called to as a prophet. Note, Those 
are fittest to be employed for Gnd, who are low in 
their own eyes, and are made deeply sensible of 
their own weakness and unworthincss. 

II. The silencing of the prophet's fears by the 
good words, and comfortable words, with which the 
angel answered him, v. 6, 7. One of the seraphim 
immediately flew to him, to purify him, and so to 
pacify him. Note, 1. God has strong consolations 
ready for holy mourners: they that humble them- 
selves in penitential shame and fear shall soon be 
encouraged and exalted ; they that are struck down 
with the visions of God's glory, shall soon be raised 
up again with the visits of his grace; he that tears 
will heal. 2. Angels are ministering spirits for the 
good of the saints, for their spiritual good. Here 
was one of the seraphim dismissed, for a time, from 
attending on the throne of God's glory, to be a mes- 
senger of his grace to a good man ; and so well pleas- 
ed was he with the oflice that he came flying to him. 
To our Lord Jesus himself, in his agony, there afi- 
peared an angel from heaven, strengthening him, 
Luke xxii. 43. 

Here is, (1.) A comfortable sign given him of the 
purging away of his sin. The seraph brought a 
live coal from the altar, and touched his lips with 
it ; not to hurt them, but to heal them ; not to cau- 
terize, but to cleanse them; for there were purifica- 
tions by fire, as well as by water, and the filth of 
J»rusalem was purged by the spirit of burning, ch. 
\y. 4. The blessed Spirit works as fire, Matth. iii. 11. 
The seraph, being himself kindled with a divine 
fire, put life into the prophet, to make him also 
7 aloiisly affected, for the way to purge the lips 
from the uncleanness of sin, is, to fire the soul with 
the love of God. This live coal was taken off from the 
altar, either the altar of incense, or that of burnt- 
offerings; for they had both of them fire burning on 
tlieni continually. Nothing is powerful to cleanse 
and comfort the soul, but what is taken from 
(.'hrist's satisfaction, and the intercession he ever 



lives to make in the virtue of that satisfaction. It 
must be a coal from his altar, that must put life 
into us, and be our peace; it will not be done with 
strange fire. 

(2.) An explication of this sign; Lo, this has 
touched thy lips, to assure thee of this, that thine 
iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. The 
guilt of thy sin is removed by pardoning mercy, the 
guilt of thy tongue-sins; thy cornipt disposition to 
sin is removed by renewing grace; and tliereforc no- 
thing can hinder thee from being accepted with 
God as a worshipper, in concert with the lioly an- 
gels, or from being employed for God as a messen- 
ger to the children of men." Those only who are 
thus purged from an evil conscience, are pixpared 
to serve the living God, Heb. ix. 14. The taking 
away of sin is necessary to our speaking with confi- 
dence and comfort, either to God in jjrayer, ovfrom 
God in preaching; nor are any so fit to display to 
others the riches and power of gospel-grace, as 
those who have themselves tasted the sweetness, 
and felt the influence of that grace; and those shall 
have their sin taken away, who complain of it as a 
burthen, and see themselves in danger of being un- 
done by it. 

III. The renewing of the prophet's mission, v. 8. 
Here is a communication between God and Isaiah 
about this matter. Those that would assist others 
in their correspondence with God, must not them- 
sehes be strangers to it; for how can we expect that 
God should speak by us, if we never heard him 
speaking to us, or that we should be accepted as the 
mouth of others to God, if we never spake to him 
heartily for ourselves? Observe here, 

1. The counsel of God concerning Isaiah's mis- 
sion. God is here brought in, after the manner rf 
men, deliberating and advising with himself; Whom 
shall J send? Jlnd mho will go for us? God needs 
not either to be counselled by others, or to consult 
with himself, he knows what he will do; but thus 
he would show us that there is a counsel in his whole 
will, and teach us to consider our ways, and parti- 
cularly, that the sending forth of ministers is a work 
not to be done but upon mature deliberation. 

Observe, (1.) Who it is that is consulting; it is 
the Lord; God in his glory, whom he saw upon the 
throne high and lifted up. It puts an honour ujion 
the ministry, that, when God would send a prophet 
to speak in his name, he appeared in all the glories 
of the upper world: ministers are the ambassadors 
of the King of kings; how mean soever thej' are, 
he who sends them is great; it is God in three per- 
sons. Who will go for us.' As Gen. i. 26. Let us 
make man — Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; they all 
concur, as in the creating, so in the redeeming, and 
governing, of man. Ministers are ordained in the 
same name into which all Christians ai-e baptized. 
(2.) What the consultation is; Whom shall I send? 
yind who will go? Some think it refers to the par- 
ticular message of wrath against Israel, v. 9, 10. 
Who will be willing to go on such a melancholy er- 
rand, on which they will go in the bitterness of their 
souls.' Ezek. iii. i4. But I rather take it more 
largely, for all those messages which he was intrusted 
to deliver, in God's name, to that people, in which 
that hardening work was by no means the primarv 
intention, but a secondary effect of them, 2 Cor. ii. 
16. Whom shall I send? Intimating that the busi- 
ness was such as required a choice and well-accom- 
plished messenger, jer. xlix. 19. God now appear- 
ed, attended with holy angels, and yet asks, MVion. 
shall I send? For he would send them a prophet 
from among their brethren, Heb. ii. 5. Koto, [1. | 
It is the unspeakable favour of God to ns, thnt he is 
pleased to send us his mind hv men like ourselve.'-. 
whose terror shall not make us afraid, and who i.n 
themselves concerned in the messages they brui% 



44 



ISAIAH, VI. 



Thev are workers together with God, who are sin- j 
iK-rs'and sufferers together with us. [2. ] It is a rare 
►hing to find ime wlio is fit to go for God, and to 
i^arrv his messages to the children of men; IV/iom 
shall I send? Who is sufficient? Such a degree of 
courage for God, and concern for the souls of men, 
as is necessary to make a man faithful, and withal 
such an insight into the mysteries of the kingdom of 
heaven, as is necessary to make a man skilful, are 
seldom to be met with. Such an interpreter of the 
mind of God is one of a thousand, Job xxxiii. 23. 
[J.] None are allowed to go for God but those who 
are sent by him; he will own none but those whom 
lie appoints, Rom. X. 15. It is Christ's work to put 
men into the ministrv, 1 Tim. i. 12. 

2. Tlie consent of 'Isaiah to it; Then said I, Here 
am /, send me. He was to go on a melancholy er- 
rand; the office seemed to go a begging, and eveiy 
body declined it, and yet Isaiah offered himself to 
the service. It is an honour to be singular in appear- 
ing for God, Judges v. 7. We must not say, " I 
would go, if I thought I should have good success;" 
but, "1 will go, and leave the success to God; here 
am I, send me." Isaiah had been himself in a me- 
lancholy frame, (x'. 5.) full of doubts and fears; but 
now th .t he had the assurance of the pardon of liis 
sin, the clouds were blown over, and he was fit for 
service, and forward to it. M'hat he says bespeaks, 
(1.) His readiness; " Here am I; a volunteer, not 
pressed into the service." Behold me; so the word 
IS. God savs to us. Behold me, (ch. Ixv. 1.) and. 
Here I am,' [ch. Iviii. 9.) even before we call; let 
us say so to him when he does call. (2. ) His reso- 
lution; "Here lam, ready to encounter the greatest 
difficulties. I have set my face as a Jiint." Com- 
pare this with ch. 1. 4—7. (3.) His referring him- 
self to God; "Send me whitlur thou wilt; make 
what use thou jjleasest of me. Send me; Lord, give 
me commission and full insti-uction; send me, and 
then, no douI)t, thou wilt stand by me." It is a 
great C' 'mfort to those whom God sends, that they 
go f ir God, and may therefore speak in his name, 
as liiving authority; and be assured that he will 
bear them out. 

9. And he said, Go, and tell this people, 
Hear ye indeed, but understand not ; and 
see ye indeed, but perceive not. 1 0. Make 
the heart of this people fat, and make their 
ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they 
see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, 
and understand with their heart, and con- 
vert, and be healed. 1 1 . Then said I, Lord, 
how long ? And lie answered. Until the ci- 
ties be wasted without inhabitant, and the 
houses without man, and the land be utterly 
desolate; 12. And tlie Lord have removed 
men far away, and there he a great forsaking 
in the midst of^ the land. 1 -3. But yet in it 
shall he a tenth, and it shall return, and 
shall be eaten : as a teil-tree, and as an oak, 
whose suljstance is in them when they cast 
their kavea, so the holy seed shall be the 
substance thereof. 

God takes Isaiah at his word, and here sends him 

on a strtnge errand — to foretell the ruin of his peo- 
ple, and even to ripen them for that r\iin; to preach 
i.h it which, b\' their aljuse of it, would be to them 
a savour of deatli unto death. And this was to be 
a t^•pe and figure of the state of tlie Jewish church 
iii 'hf> days of the Messian. when they should obsti 



nately reject the gospel, and should, thereupon, be 
rejected of God. These verses are quoted in part, 
or referred to, six times in the New Testament; 
which intimates, that, in gospel-times, these spirit- 
ual judgments would be most frequently inflicted; 
and though they make the least noise, and come 
not with observation, j'et they are of all other the 
most dreadful. 

Isaiah is here given to understand these fcur 
things: 

1. That the generality of the people to whom he 
was sent, would turn a deaf ear to his preaching, 
and wilfully shut their eyes against all the discove- 
ries of the mind and will of God he had to make to 
them; (x'. 9.) "Go, and tell this peofile, this foolish 
wretched people, tell them their own, tell them 
how stupid and sottish they are." Isiiiah must 
preach to them, and they will hear him indeed, but 
that is all; they will not heed him, they will not un- 
derstand him, thev will not take any pains, nor use 
that application of mind which is necessary to the 
understanding of him; they are prejudiced against 
that which is the true intent and meaning of what 
he says, and therefore thev will not understand him, 
or pretend they do not. They see indeed; (for the 
vision is made plain on tables, so that he who runs 
mav read it;) but they perceive not their own con- 
cern in it; it is to them as a tale that is told. Note, 
There are many who hear the sound of God's word, 
but do not feel the power of it. 

2. That forasmuch as they would not be made 
better by his ministi-y, they should be made worse 
by it; they that were wilfully blind, sliruld be judi- 
cially Winded; (xi. 10.) " They will not understand 
or perceive thee, and therefore thou slialt be instni- 
mental to make their heart fat, senseless, and sen- 
sual, and so to make their ears yet more heavy, and 
to shut their eyes the closer; so that, at length, their 
recovery and repentance will become utterly impos- 
sible; they shall no more see with their ejes the 
danger they are in, the ruin tlicy are upon the brink 
of, or the way of escape from it; they shall no more 
hear with their eai-s the warnings and instructions 
that are given them, nor understand with their 
heart the things that belong to their peace, so as to 

be converted from the error of their ways, and thus f 
be healed." Note, (1.) The conversion of sinners 
is the healing of them. (2.) A right understanding 
is necessary to conversion. (3.) God, sometimes, 
in a way of righteous judgment, gives men up to 
blindness of mind and strong delusions, because they 
would not receive the truth in the love of it, 2 
Thess. ii. 11,12. YLe Wvit is flthy, let him be filthy 
still. (4.) Even the word of God oftentimes proves 
a means of doing this. The evangelical prophet 
himself makes the heart of this people fat, not only 
as he foretells it, passing this sentence upon them, in 
God's name, and seals them under it, but as his 
preaching had a tendency to it, rocking some asleep 
in security, to whom it was a lovely song, and mak- 
ing others more outrageous, to whom it was such 
a reproach, that they were not able to bear it. Some 
looked upon the word as a privilree, and their con- 
x'ictions were smothered by it; (Jer. vii. 4.) others 
looked upon it as a provocation, and their connip- 
tions were exasperated by it. 

3. Th it the consequence of this would be their 
utter ruin, v. 11, 12. The prophet had nothing to 
object against tlie justice of this sentence, nor does 
he refuse to go upon such an errand, but asks, 
"Lord, hoiv long?" (an abrupt question;) "Shall 
it alwavs be thus? Must I and other prophets al- 
wa\-s labour in lain among them, and will things 
never be better?" Or, (as should seem by the an- 
swer,) " Lord, what will it come to at last? What 
will be in the end hcrerf?" In answer to which, he 
was told that it should issue in the final destruction 



ISA [AH, VII. 



of the Jewish church find nation. When tlie word 
of G.iit, especially t'.ie word of the gospel, has been 
tlius abused by them, they shall be unchurched, 
and, consequently, undone. Their cities shall be 
nn'nhabited, and their country-houses too; the land 
s'.i ill !)e uutiUed, denolate with desolation, as it is in 
tile ni u-gin; the people who should rc])lenish the 
li us;s and cultivate the ground, being all cut oft" by 
sw rd, famine, or pestilence, and those who escape 
witli tiieir lives being reminxd far away into cap- 
tiviiy, ^'.ithat there shall be a great and general for- 
s ;king in the midst of the land; that populous coun- 
tr\' sh ill become desert, and that glory of all lands 
s!> ill be abandoned. Note, Spiritual judgments often 
bria.; temporal judgments along with them upon 
pers lis and places. This was in part fulfilled in 
the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, 
when the land, being left desolate, enjoyed her sab- 
baths seventy j'cars; but the foregoing predictions 
being so expressly applied in the New Testament 
to the Jews in our Saviour's time, doubtless this 
points at the destraction of that people by the Ro- 
mans, in which it had a complete accomplishment; 
and the effects of it that ])eople and that land remain 
under to this day. 

4. That yet a remnant should be reserved to be 
the monuments of mercy, v. 13. This was so in 
the last destruction of the Jewish nation; (Rom. xi. 
5.) At this present time there is a remnant; for so 
it was written here. But in it shall be a tenth, a cer- 
tain number, but a very small number, in compari- 
son with the multitude that shall perish in their un- 
belief; it is that which under the law, was God's 
proportion; they shall be consecrated to God as the 
tithes were, and shall be for his service and honour. 
Concerning this tithe, this saved remnant, we are 
here told, (1.) That they shall return, {ch. vii. 3. 
— X. 21.) shall return from sin to God and duty; 
shall return out of captivity to their own land. God 
will turn them and they shall be tui'iicd. (2. ) That 
they shall be eaten, shall be accepted of God, as the 
tithe was, which was meat in God's house, Mai. iii. 
10. The saving of this remnant shall be meat to 
the faith and hope of those that wish well to God's 
kingdom. (3.) That they shall t)e like a timber- 
tree in winter, which has life, though it has no 
leaves; as a teil-tree, and as an oak, wdiose sub- 
stance is in them, even then when they cast their 
leaves: so this remnant, though they may be stript 
of their outward prosperity, and share with others 
in common calamities, yet they shall recover them- 
selves as a tree in the spring, and flourish again; 
though they fall, they shall not be utterly cast down: 
there is hofie of a tree, though it be cut doivn, that 
it will sprout again. Job xiv. 7. (4. ) That this dis- 
tinguished remnant shall be the stay and support of 
the public interests: the holi^ seed in the soul is the 
substance of the man; a principle of grace, reign- 
ing in the heart, will keep life there; he that is 
born of God, has his seed remaining in him, 1 John 
iii. 9. So the holy seed in the land is the substance 
of the land, keeps it from being quite dissolved, and 
bears zip the pillars of it, Ps. Ixxv. 3. See ch. i. 9. 
Some read the foregoing clause with this, thus: As 
the support at Shallecheth is in the elms and the 
oaks, so the holy seed is the substance thereof; as the 
trees that grow on either side of the causey (the 
raised way, or terrace-walk, that leads from the 
king's palace to the temple, (1 Kings x. 5.) at the 
gate of Shallecheth, 1 Chron. xxvi. 16.) support 
the causey by keeping up the earth, which would 
otherwise be ciiimbling away; so the small residue 
of religious, serious, praying, people, are the sup- 
port of the state, and help to keep things together, 
and save tliem from going to decay. Some make 
the holy seed to be Christ; the Jewish nation was 
therefore saved from utter niin, liecause out of it. 



46 

as concerning the flesh, Christ was to come, Rom. 
ix. 5. Destroy it not, for that Blessing is in it; (-.-i. 
Ixv. 8.) and when that blessing was c<;ni!-, it v-'ay 
soon destroyed. Now the considerati(.ii ( f this is 
designed for the support of the prophet in liis work. 
Though far the greater part should jjeiisli in their 
unbelief, yet to some his word should be a savi ur 
of life unto life. Ministers do not wholly lose their 
labour, if they be but instrumental to save one jioor 
soul. 

CHAP. VII. 

This ftapter is an occasional sermon, in which tlic pro 
phet sings both of mercy and judgment to ttiose ihatdld 
not perceive or understand cilher; he piped unto them, 
but they danced nol; mourned unto them, but tiiey uep 
not. Here Is, 1. The consternation that Aliaz »as i 
upon an attempt upon the confederate forces of Syria 
and Israel against .Jerusalem, v. 1, 2. 11. The assurance 
which God, Dy the prophet, sent him for his cncourafre- 
ment, that the attempt should" be defeated, and Jerusa- 
lem should be preserved, V. 3- -9. III. The confirma- 
tion of this by a sign which God gave to Ahaz, when he 
refused to ask one, referriufr to Christ, and our redemp- 
tion by him, V. 10. .16. I\'. A threatening of the {jreat 
desolation that God would bring upon Ahaz and his kinir- 
dom by the Assyrians, notwithstanding their escape from 
this present storm, because they went on still in their 
wickedness, v. 17. . 25. And this is written both for our 
comfort and for our admonition. 

1. A ND it came to pass in tlie days of 
1\_ Ahaz, the son of Jotham, the son of 
Uzziah king of Jndah, thai Rezin the l'\)\p. 
of Syria, and Pekah the son of ilemnhal!, 
king of Israel, went up towaids Jerusalem 
to war against it, but coukl not prevail 
against it. 2. And it was told the house cf 
David, saying, Syi"ia is confederated wilh 
Ephraim: and his heart was moved, and 
the heart of his people, as the trees of the 
wood are moved with the wind. ". Then 
said the Lord unto Isaiah, Go forth no\v !o 
meet Ahaz, thou and Shear-jashuli thy son. 
at the end of the conduit of the upper pool. 
in the highway of the fuller's field ; 4. And 
say unto him. Take heed, and be quiet; fear 
not, neither be faint-hearted, for the t\\o 
tails of these smoking firebrands, for (he 
fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of 
the son of Remaliah. 5. Because Syria, 
Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have 
taken evil counsel against thee, saying, 6. 
Eet us go up against Judah and vex it, and 
let us make a breach therein for us, and set 
a king in the midst of it, cveti the son of 
Tabeal: 7. Thus saith the Lord God, It 
shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass. 
8. For the head of Syria is Damascus, and 
the head of Damascus is Rezin ; and with- 
in threescore and five years shall Ephraim 
be broken, that it be not a people. 9. And 
the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the 
head of Samaria is Remaliah's son. If ye 
will not believe, surely ye shall not be es 
tablished. 

The prophet Isaiah had his commission renewcQ 
in the year that king'Qzziah died, ch. vi. 1. Jotham 
his son reigned, and reigned well sixteen years: a' 



46 



ISAIAH, Vll. 



that time, no doubt, Isaiah prop\iesied as he was 
commanded, and yet we have not in this book any 
of his prophecies dated in the reign of Jotham; but 
this wliich is put first, was in the days of Ahaz 
.he son of Jotham. Many excellent useful sermons 
he preached, which were not left and published 
uponi-ecord; for if all that was memorable had been 
written, the world could not have contained the 
books, John xxi. 25. Perhaps in the reign of Ahaz, 
a wicked king, he had not opportunity to preach 
so much at court as in Jotham s time, and therefore 
then he wrote the more, for a testimony against them. 
Here is, ff 

I. A very formidable design laid against Jerusa- 
lem by Rezin king of Syria, and Pekah king of Is- 
rael, two neighbouring potentates, who had of late 
made descents upon Judah severally; at the end of 
the reign of Jotham, the Lord began to send against 
Judah, Rezin and Pekah, 2 Kings xv. 37. But now, 
in the second or third year of the reign of Ahaz, 
encouraged by their former successes, they entered 
into an alliance against Judah; because Ahaz, though 
he found the sword over his head, began his reign 
with idolatry, God delivered him into the hand of 
the king of Syria and of the king of Israel, (2 
Chron. xxviii. 5.) and a great slaughter they made 
in his kingdom; {y. 6, 7.) flushed with this victory, 
they went up toward Jerusalem, the royal city, to 
war against it, to besiege it, and make themselves 
masters of it; but it proved, in the issue, that they 
could not gain their point. Note, The sin of a land 
brings foreign invasion upon it, and betrays the 
most advantageous posts and passes to the enemy. 
And God sometimes makes one wicked nation a 
scourge to another; but judgment ordinarily begins 
at the liouse of God. 

II. The great distress that Ahaz and his court 
were in, when they received advice of this design; 
It was told the house of David that Syria and 
Ephraim had signed a league against Judah, v. 2. 
This degenerate royal family is called the house of 
David, to put us in mind of that article of God's 
covenant with David, If his children forsake my 
law, I will chasten their transgression with the rod; 
but my loving-kindness will I not utterly take away; 
which is remarkably fulfilled in this chapter, Ps. 
Ixxxix. 30. News being brought that the two ar- 
mies of Syria and Israel were joined, and had taken 
the field, the court, the city, and the country, were 
thrown into consternation: the heart of jlhaz was 
7noved with fear, and then no wonder that the heart 
of his /leojile was so, as the trees of the wood are 
?rioved with the wind; they were tossed and shaken, 
and put into a great disorder and confusion, were wa- 
vering and uncertain in their counsels, hurried hither 
and tliithcr, and could not fix in any steady resolu- 
tion; they yielded to the storm, and gave up all for 
gone, concluding it in vain to make any resistance. 
Now that wliich caused this fright, was, the sense 
of guilt, and the weakness of their faith: they had 
made God their Enemy, and knew not how to make 
him their Friend, and therefore their fears tyran- 
nized over them ; while those whose consciences are 
kept void of offence, and whose hearts are fixed, 
trusting in God, need not be afraid of evil tidings; 
though the earth be removed, yet will not they fear; 
but the wicked flee at the shaking of a leaf Lev. 
xxvi. 36. 

III. The orders and directions given to Isaiah to 
/■o and encourage Ahaz in his distress; not for his 
own sake, (he deserved to hear nothing fixim God 
but words of terror, which might add affliction to 
his grief,) but because he was a son of David, and 
king of Judali. God had kindness for him for his 
f itli'.r's sake, who must not be forgotten, :ind frr his 
people's snke, who must not be aliandoned, but 
ivoiild be encouraged if Ahaz were. Observe, 



1. God appointed the prophet to meet Ahaz, 
though he did not send to the prophet to speak with 
him, nor desire him to inquire of the Lord for him; 
{v. 3.) Go to meet Ahaz. Note, God is often fciUnd 
of those who seek him not, much more will he be 
found of those who seek him diligently; he speaks 
comfort to many who not only are not worthy of it, 
but do not so much as inquire after it. 

2. He ordered him to take his little son with him. 
because he carried a sermon in his name. Shear 
jashub — i remnant shall return. The prophets 
sometimes recorded what they preached, in the 
significant names of their children, (as Hos. i. 4, 6, 
9.^ therefore Isaiah's children arc said to be for 
signs, ch. viii. 18. This son was so called, for the 
encouragement of those of God's people who were 
carried captive, assuring them that they should re- 
turn, at least a remnant of them, which is more 
than we can pretend to merit: yet, at this time, God 
was better than his word; for he took care not only 
that a remnant should return, but the whole num- 
ber of tliose whom the confederate forces of Syria 
and Israel had taken prisoners, 2 Chron. xxviii. 15. 

3. He directed him where he should find Ahaz; 
he was to meet with him not in the temple, or the 
synagogue, or royal chapel, but at the end of the 
conduit of the ufifier pool, where he was, probably, 
with many of his servants about him, contriving 
how to order the water-works, so as to secure thfm 
to the city, or deprive the enemy of the benefit of 
them, (fh. xxii. 9, 11. 2 Chron. xxxii. 3, 4.) or 
giving some necessary directions for the fortifying 
of the city as well as they could; and perhaps find- 
ing every thing in a very bad posture of defence, 
the conduit out of repair, as well as other things 
gone to decay, his fears increased, and he was now 
in greater perplexity than ever; therefore, Go meet 
him there. Note, God sometimes sends comforts to 
his people very seasonably, and, what time they are 
most afraid, encourages them to tnist in him. 

4. He put words in his mouth, else the prophet 
would not have known how to bring a message of 
good to such a bad man, a sinner in Zion, that 
ought to be afraid; but God intended it for the sup- 
port of faithful Israelites. 

(1.) The prophet must rebuke their fears, and ad- 
vise them by no means to yield to them, but keep 
their temper, and preserve the possession of their 
own souls; (t. 4.) Take heed, and be quiet. Note, 
In order to comfort, there is need of caution; that 
we mav be quiet, it is necessary that we take heed 
and watch against those things that threaten to dis- 
quiet us. " Fear not with this amazement, thi? 
fear, that weakens, and has torment; neither let thy 
heart be tender, so as to melt and fail within thee; 
but pluck up thy spirits, have a good heart on it, 
and be courageous; let not fear betray the succours 
which reason and religion ofl^cr for thy support." 
Note, Those who expect God should help them, 
must help themselves, Ps. xxvii. 14. 

(2.) He must teach them to despise their enemies, 
not in pride, or security, or incogitancy, (nothing 
more dangerous than so to despise an enemy,) but 
in faith and dependence upon God. Ahaz's fear 
called them two powerful politic princes, for either 
of which he was an unequal match; but if united, 
he durst not look them in the fare, or make head 
against them. " No," says the prophet, "they are 
two tails of smoking Jirehrands; thev are angry, 
thev are fierce, thev are fiirious, as firebrands, as 
fireb'lls; and thev' make one anrthrr wcrfe by 
being in a confederacy, as sticks of fire, put h'- 
gethcr, burn the more'violently : but they are only 
smoking firebrands; and where there is smoke there 
is some firr. but it mav not be si much iis was fear- 
ed; their thre-itening will vanish into Fmrkc : pi'a 
raoh king 'f Egujit is hut a noise, (Jer. >!vi. 17.'^, 



ISAIAH, VJI 



i1 



and Ri'zinking of Syria but a smoke; (and such arc 
all the enemies of God's c\\nvc\\, smol:ine'Jl(i:>r, that 
vviU soon be quv.-uched;) nuy, they arc but tails of 
sm ikinsj firebrands, in a manner burnt out already; 
their force is spent, they have consumed themselves 
with the heat of tlieir own anger, you may ])ut your 
foot on them, and tread them out." The two king- 
doms of Syria and Israel were now near expiring. 
Note, The more we have an eye to God as a con- 
suming Fire, the less reason we shall have to fear 
men, though they are ever so furious, nay, we shall 
he able to despise them as smoking firebrands. 

(3.) He must assure them tliat the present design 
of th;se liigh allies (so they thought themselves) 
against Jerusalem, should certainly be defeated, and 
come to nothing, v. 5 — 7. 

[1.] That very thing which Ahaz thought most 
formidable, is made the ground of their defeat — and 
tliat was the depth of their designs and the height 
of their hopes; " Therefore they shall be baffled 
and sent back with shame, because they have talcen 
tvil counsel against thee, which is an offence to God; 
these firebrands are a smoke in his nose, (cA. Ixv. 5. ) 
and therefore must be extinguished. " Pirst, They 
are very spiteful and malicious, and therefore they 
shall not prosper. Judah had done them no wrong, 
they had no pretence to quarrel with Ahaz; but, 
without any reason, Let us go ufi against Judah, 
and vex- it. Note, Those that are vexatious, can- 
not expect to be prosperous; they say. Those that 
love to do mischief, cannot expect to do well. Se- 
condly, They are vei^' secure, and confident of suc- 
cess; they will vex Judah by going up against it; 
vet that is not all, they do not doubt but to make a 
breach in the wall of Jerusalem, wide enough for 
them to march their army in at; or they count upon 
dissecting or dividing the kingdom into two parts, 
one for the king of Israel, the otlier for the kmg of 
Syria, who had agi-eed in one viceroy; a king to be 
set in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal; some 
obscure person ; it is uncertain whether a Syrian or 
an Israelite: so sure were they of gaining their 
point, that they divided the prey before they had 
caught it. Note, Those that are most scornful, are 
commonly less successful, for sm'ely God scorns the 
scorners. 

[2.] God himself gives them his word that the 
attempt should not take effect; (v. 7.) Thus saith 
the Lord God, the sovereign Lord of all, who brings 
the counsel of the heathen to nought, Ps. xxxiii. 10. 
He saith, " It shall not stand, neither shall come to 
iiass: their measures shall all be broken, and thev 
shall not be able to bring to pass their enterprise.*' 
Note, whate\cr stands against God, or thinks to 
stand without him, cannot stand long. Man pur- 
poses, but God disposes; and ivho is he that saith, 
and it cometh to /lass, if the Lord command it not, 
or countermand it? Lam. iii. 37. SeeProv. xix. 21. 

(4.) He must give them a prospect of the de- 
struction of these enemies, at last, that were now 
such a terror to them. [1.] They should neither 
of them enlarge their dominions, nor push their 
conquests any further. The head city of Syria is Da- 
mascus, and the head man of Damascus is Rezin; 
this he glories in, and this let him be content with, 
V. 8. The head city of Ephraim has long been 
Samaria, and the head man in Samaria is now 
Pekah tlic son of Rcmaliah; these sliall be made to 
know their own, their bounds are fixed, and they 
shall not pass them, to make themselves masters of 
the cities of Judah, much less to make Jerusalem 
their prev. Note, As God has appointed men the 
Imunds of their habitation,(Acts xvii. 26.) so he has 
appointed princes the bounds of their dominion, 
within which they ought to confine themselves, and 
■lot encroach upon their neighbours' rights. (2.) 
Ephraim. uOiich perhaps was the more malicious 



and forward enemy ot me two, lIiouW shortly ne 
quite rooted out, and should be so far from seizing 
otlier people's lands, that they should not be able to 
hold their own. Interpreters are nuich at a loss 
how to contemplate the sixty-five years within 
whicli L/ihraim shall cease to be a fwo/ile; for the 
captivity of the ten tribes was but eleven years after 
this; and some make it a mistake of the tr::nscri- 
ber, and think it should be read, ivithin six and 
five years, just eleven. But it is hard to allow that. 
Others make it to be sixty-five years from the time 
that the jirophet Amos first foretold the iiiin cf 
the kingdom of the ten tribes: and some late inttr- 
preters make it to look as far forward as the last 
desolation of that country by Esarhaddon, which 
was about sixty-five years after this; tlicn Ephraim 
was so broken, that it was no more a people. Now 
it was the greatest folly in the world fir them to 
be ruining their neighbours, who were thcmsdvos 
marked for ruin, and so near to it. See what a pro- 
phet told them at this time, when they were tri- 
umphing over Judah, (2 Chron. xxviii. 10.) ylre 
there not with you, even with you, sins against the 
Lord your God? 

(5.) He must urge them to mix faith with those as- 
surances which he had given them; (u. 9.) "If ye 
ivill not beliexie what is said to you, surely ye shall 
not be established; your shaken and disordered state 
shall not be established, your unquiet unsettled 
spirit shall not; though the things told you are very 
encouraging, yet they will not be so to you, unless 
you believe them, and be willing to take God's 
word." Note, The grace of faith is absolutely ne- 
cessary to the quieting and composing of the mind 
in the midst of all the tosses of this present time, 
2 Chron. xx. 20. 

10. Moreover, the Lord spake again 
unto Ahaz, sayine;, 11. Ask thee a sign 
of the Lord thy God: ask it either in the 
depth, or in the height above. 1 2. But 
Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I 
tempt the Lord 1.3. And he said. Hear 
ye now, O house of David; Is it a small 
thing for 5'ou to weary men, but will ye 
weary my God also ? 1 4. Therefore the 
Lord himself shall give you a sign : Behold, 
a Virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, 
and shall call his name Immanuel. 15. 
Butter and honey shall he eat, that lie may 
know to refuse the evil and choose the good: 
16. For before the child shall know to re- 
cuse the evil, and choose the good, the land 
that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of 
both her kings. 

Here, 

I. God, by the prophet, makes a gracious offer 
to Ahsz, to confirm the foregoing predictions, and 
his faith in them, by such sign or minicle as he 
should choose; (x'. 10, 11.) .^sk thee a sign of the 
Lord thy God. See here the divine faithfulness 
and veracitv; God tells us nothing but what he is 
able and ready to prove. See liis wonderful conde- 
scension to the children of men, in that he is so 
ivilling to shorj to the heirs of promi.se the imtnuta- 
hility of his counsel, Heb. \\. \7. He considers our 
frame, and that, living in a world of sense, we are 
apt to require sensible proofs, which therefore he 
has favoured us with in sacramental signs and seals. 
Ahnz was a bad man, yet God is called the Lord 
his God, because he was a child cf Abraham and 
[I David, and cf the covenants made with tliem. See 



48 



rSAIAH, VTI. 



now gi'Acinus God is even tn the evil and unthank- 
ful; Aii.LZ is bid to chriose his sign, ;',s Gideon about 
the flfcce; (Jndg. vi. 37.) let him ask for a sign 
either in the air, or earth, or water, for God's power 
is the same in each. 

II. Ahaz rudely refuses this gracious offer, and 
(which is not mannerly towards any superior) kicks 
at the courtesy, and puts a slight upon it; {v. 12.) 
I vjill not ask. The true reason why he would not 
ask for a sign, was, because, having a dependence 
upon tlie Assyrians, tlieir forces, and their gods, for 
help, he would not thus far be beholden to the God 
of Israel, or lay himself under obligations to him. 
He would not ask a sign for the confirming of his 
faith, because he resol. ed to persist in his unbelief, 
and would indulge his doubts and distrusts; yet he 
pretends a pious reason, I vjitl not temfit the Lord; 
as if it would be a tempting of God to do that which 
God himself invited and directed him to do. Note, 
A secret disaffection to God is often disguised with 
Uie specious colours of respect to him; and those 
who are resolved that they will not trust God, yet 
pretend that they will not tempt him. 

III. The prophet reproves him and his court, 
him and the house of David, the whole royal family, 
for their contempt of prophecy, and the little value 
they had for divine revelation; (7'. 13.) "/s it a 
small thing for you to weary men by your oppres- 
sion and tyranny, with which you make yourselves 
burthensome and odious to all mankind? But will 
you weary my God also, with the affronts you put 
upon him.'"' As the unjust judge that nehher feared 
God ?ior regarded man, Luke xviii. 2. Ye have 
wearied the Lord with your words, Mai. ii. 17. 
N( thing is more grievous to the God of heaven than 
to be distrusted; " Will ye weary my God? Will 
ye suppose him to be tired and unable to help you, 
or to be weary of doing you good? Whereas the 
youths may faijit and be weary, you may have tired 
all your friends, the Creator of the ends of the earth 
faints not, neither is weary'," ch. xl. 30, 31. Or 
thus; in affronting the prophets, you think you put 
a slight only upon men like yourselves, and consider 
not that you afTront God himself, whose messengers 
they are, and put a slight upon him, who will resent 
it accordingly. The prophet here calls God his 
God, with a great deal of pleasure; Ahaz would not 
say, He is i/iy God, though the prophet had invited 
him to say so, (t'. 11.) The Lord thy God; but 
Isaiah will say, "He is mine." Note, Whatever 
others do, we must avouch the Lord for ours, and 
abide by him. 

IV. The prophet, in God's name, gives them a 
sign; " You will not ask a sign, but the unbelief of 
man shall not make the promise of God of no effect; 
The Lord himself shall give you a sign, (v. 14.) a 
double sign:" 

1. "A sign in general of his good-will to Israel 
and to the house of David; you may conclude that 
he has mercy in store for you, and that you are not 
forsaken of your God, how great soever your pre- 
sent distress and danger are; for of your nation, of 
your family, the Messiah is to be born, and you 
cannot be destroyed while that Blessing is in you; 
which shall be introduced," (1.) "In a glorious 
manner; fnr whereas you have been often told that 
he should be born among you, I am now further to 
tell you that he shall be born of a virgin; which will 
signify both the divine power and the divine purity 
with which he shall be brought into the world; that 
he shall l)e an extraordinary person, for he shall not 
be born by ordinary generation, and that he shall he 
a holy thing, not stained with the common pollu- 
tions of the human nature, therefore incontestably 
fit to ha\x- the throne of his father David given 
him." Now this, though it was to be accomplished 
above 500 years after, was a most encouraging sign 



I to the house of D l^ id, (and to them, under tn.it 
title, this prophtcy is dirLCttd, v. 13. ; :.ik1 vn assu- 
rance tliat God wiuld net cas-t tluni 1 ff. Ephraim 

! did indeed envy Judah, {ch. xii. 13.) i-nd s< ught tht 
ruin of that kingdom, but could not prevail, toi' the 
sccjjtre should ne\er depart from Judah till the 
coming of Shiloh, Gen. xlix. 10. Thi se wIk m God 
designs for the great salvatirn, may tike that frr a 
sign to them, that they shall ni t be swallowed up by 
any trouble they may meet with in the way. (2.) 
The Messiah shall be iiitroduct d on a glorious er- 
rand, wrapped up in his glr-iii us nr.me; they shall 
call his name Imnnmuel — God with us, God-in cur 
nature, God at peace with ms, in covenant with us. 
This was fulfilled in their calling him Jesus — a Sa- 
viour; (M itth. i. 21 — 23.) for if he had not been 
Immanuel — God with us, he could not have been 
Jesus — a Saviour. Now this was a further sign of 
God's fa\'our to the house of David and the tribe 
of Judah; for he that intended to work this great 
salvation among them, no doubt would work out for 
them all those other salvations which were to be the 
types and figures of this, and as it were preludes to 
this. " Here is a sign for you, not in the depth, or 
in the height, but in the j)rephecy, in the promise, 
in the covenant made with David, which yen are 
no strangers to; the promised Seed shall be Im- 
manuel, God with us; let that word comfort you, 
{ch. viii. 10.) God is with tis, and {v. 8.) that your 
land is Immanuel's land. Let not the heart of the 
house of Dax'id be moved thus, {v. 2.) ncrlet Judah 
fear the setting up of the son of Tabeal, {w 6.) for 
nothing can cut off" the entail on the Son of David 
that shall be Immanuel." Note, The strongest con- 
solations, in time of trouble, are these which are 
borrowed from Clirist, our relation to him, 1 ur inte- 
rest in him, and our expectations of him and from 
him. 

Of this Child it is further foretold, {v. 15.) that 
though he shall not be born like ether children, but 
of a virgin, yet he shall be really and truly m^n, and 
shall be nursed and brought up like other children; 
Butter and honey shall he eat, as other children do, 
particularly the children of that land which flowed 
with milk and honey. Though he be conceived bv 
the power of the Holy Ghost, yet he shall not there- 
fore be fed with angels' food, but, as it becomes 
him, shall be in all things made like unto his bre- 
thren, Heb. ii. 17. Nor shall he, though born thus 
by extraordinary generation, he aniaii immediately, 
but, as ether children, shall atWance gradually 
tlirough the several states of infancy, childhood 
and youth, to that of manhood, and, growing in 
wisdom and stature, shall at lengtli wax strong ii. 
spirit, and come to maturity, so as to know how to 
refuse the evil and choose the good. See Luke ii. 
40, 52. Note, Children are fed when they are 
little, that they may be taught and instnicted when 
they are grown u]); they have their maintenance 
in order to their education. 

2. Here is another sign in particular of the speedi 
destruction of these potent princes that were now a 
terror to Judah, T. 16. "Before this child;" so it 
should be read; "this child which I have now in 
mv arms," (he means not Immanuel, but Shear-ja- 
shub his own son, whom he was ordered to take 
with him for a sign, v. 3.) "before this child shah 
know how to refuse the evil a7id choose the good," 
(and those who' saw what his present sttiture and 
forwardness were, would easily conjecture hr-w long 
th!it would be,) " before this child will be three or 
four years older, the land that thou abhorrcst, these 
confederate forces of Israelites and Syrians, when, 
thou hast such an enmity to, and standest in such 
dread of, shall be forsaken of both their kitigs, both 
Pekah and Rezin;" who were in so clese an alli- 
ance, that they seemed as if they were the kings 



ISAIAH. Vll. 



4*^ 



bit if one kingdom. This was hilly accomplished, 
for within two or three ) ears after this, Hosea con- 
spired ag.iinst Pekah, and slew him, (2 Kings xv. 
30.) .iiid before tli;it, the king of Assyria took Da- 
m.iscus, and slew Rezin, 2 Kings xvi. 9. Nay, 
t'leiv was a present event, wliich happened imme- 
diately, and which this child carried the prediction 
of ill his name, which was a pledge and earnest of 
• his further event. Shear-jashitb signifies. The 
remnant shall return, which doubtless points at the 
wonderful return of those 200,000 captives which 
Pekah and Rezin had carried away, who were 
brought back, not by might or power, but by the 
Spirit of the Lord of hosts. Read the story, 2 
Chron. xxviii. 8 — 15. The prophetical naming of 
this child ha\ing thus had its accomplishment, no 
doubt this, which was further added concerning 
him, should have its accomplishment likewise, that 
Syria and Israel should be deprived of both their 
kings. One mercy from God encourages us to hope 
for another, if it engages us to prepare for another. 

1 7. The Lord shall bring upon thee, and 
upon thy people, and upon thy father's 
house, days that have not come, from the 
day tiiat Ephraim departed from Judah; 
even the King of Assyria. 18. And it shall 
come to pass in that day, that the Lord 
shall hiss for the ily that is in the uttermost 
part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the+)ee 
that is in the land of Assyria: 19. And they 
shall come, and shall rest all of them in the 
desolate valleys, and in the holes of the 
rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all 
bushes. 20. In the same day shall the Lord 
shave with a razor that is hired, namdy, by 
I hem beyond the river, by the Icing of As- 
syria, the head, and the hair of the feet: 
and it shall also consume the beard. 21. 
And it shall come to pass in that day, that 
a man shall nourish a young cow and two 
sheep: 22. And it shall come to pass, for 
the abundance of milk that they shall give, 
he shall eat butter: for butter and honey 
shall every one eat that is left in the land. 
23. And it shall come to pass in that day, 
that every place shall be, where there were 
i thousand vines at a thousand silveriings, 
.t shall evPTi be for briers and thorns. 24. 
With arrows and with bows shall men 
come thither; because all the land shall 
become briers and thorns. 25. And on all 
hills that shall be digged with the mattock, 
there shall not come thither the fear of 
briers and thorns: but it shall be for the 
sending forth of oxen, and for the treading 
of lesser cattle. 

After the comfortable promises made to Ahaz as 
a branch of the house of David, here follow terrible 
threatenings against him, as a degenerate branch 
of that house; for though the loving-kindness of 
(rod shall not be utterly taken awav, for the sake 
of David and the covenant made with him, yet his 
iniquity shall be chastened with the rod, and his sin 
with stripes. Let those that will not mix faith with 
the promises of God, expect to hear the alarms of 
his threatenings. 
Vol .IV,— G 



I. The judgment tare.. tilled is very great, c. 17 
It is very gre.it, f ,r it is general; it sliall be bic ughi 
upon the prince himself, (high as he is, he shall no', 
be out of the reach of it,) and upon the peo])le, the 
wliole body of the nation, and upon the royal family, 
U/W71 all thy father's house; it shall be a judgmtn' 
entailed on posterity, and shall go along with the 
rojal blood. It is \eiy great, for it shall be unpre- 
cedented, days that have not come; so dark, so 
gloomy, so melancholy, as never were the like since 
the revolt of the ten tribes, when Ephraim departed 
from Judah, which was indeed a sad time to the 
house of David. Nrte, The longer men cc ntinue 
in sin, the sorer punishments they have reason to 
expect: it is the Lord that will bring these days 
upon them, for our times are in his hand; and who 
can resist or escape the judgments he brings? 

II. The enemy that should be employe'd as the 
instrument of this judgment, is the king of Assyria. 
Ahaz reposed strong confidence in that prince for 
help against the confederate powers of Israel and 
Syria, and minded the less what God said to him by 
his prophet for his encouragement, because he built 
much upon his interest in the king of Assyria, and 
had meanly promised to be his servant, if he would 
send him some succours; he had also made him a 
present of gold and silver, for which he drained the 
treasures both of church and state, 2 Kings xvi. 7, 
8. Now God threatens that that king of Ass\'ria, 
whom he made his stay instead of Gcd, should be- 
come a scourge to him. He was so speedily; for 
when he came to him, he distressed hini, but 
strergthejied him not: the reed not only brake un- 
der him, but ran into his hand, and pierced it, (2 
Chnm. xx\iii. 20.) and from thenceforward tlie 
kings of Assyria were, for a long time, grievine 
thums to Judah, and gave them a great deal of 
trouble. Note, The creature that we make rur 
hope, commonly proves cur hurt: the kuig of As- 
syria, not long after this, made himself master i f 
the ten tribes, carried them captive, and laid their 
country waste, so as fully to answer the predictir n 
here; and perhajis it may refer to that, as an expli- 
cation of V. 8. where it is foretold that Ephraim 
shall be broken, that it shall not be a people; and it 
is easy to suppose that the prophet, at v. 17. turn!, 
his speech to the king of Israel, denouncing God's 
judgments against him for invading Judah. But the 
expositors universally understand' it of Ahaz and 
his kingdom. Now observe, 

1. Summons given to the invaders; (z: 18.) The 
Lord shall nvhistle for thefy and the bee: See ch. 
V. 26. Enemies that seem as contemptible as a fly 
or a bee, and are as easily crushed; vet, when God 
pleases, they shall do his work as' effectually as 
lions and young lions. Though they are as far'dis- 
tant from one another as the rivers of Egypt rnd 
the land of Assyria, yet they shall punctually mett 
to join m this work, when God commands their at- 
tendance; for when God has work to do, he will no', 
be at a loss for instruments to do it with. 

2. Possession taken by them, v. 19. It should 
seem as if the country were in no condition to make 
resistance; they find 'no difficulties in forcing their 
way, but come and rest all of them in the desolate 
valleys, which the inhabitants had deserted, upon 
the first alarm, and left them a cheap and easy prey 
to the invaders: they shall come and rest in the low- 
grounds like swarms of flies and bees, and shall ren- 
der themselves impregnable bv taking shelter in the 
holes of the rocks, as bees ofteii do; arid show them- 
selves formidable bv appearing openly tip^n al! 
thorns and all bushes; so generally shall'the 1 md be 
overspread with them. These bees shall knit nprn 
the thorns and bushes, and there rest undisturbed. 

3. Great desolations made, and the countvv ge- 
nerally depopulated; (y. 20. The Lord tJiall' hcna 



o'.t 



ISAIAH, Vllf. 



ha 



ihc hair of the head, and heard, and feet; he shnll 
sweep all awa.y, as the leper, when he was cleauiaed, 
shaved off all his hair. Lev. xiv. 8, 9. This is dene 
•vith a razor which is hired; which Ciod has hired, 
as if he hud none of his own; but what he hires, and 
viiom he emplovs in any service for him, he will 

-ly for: see Ezek. xxix'. 18, 19. Or which Ahaz 
:ias hired for his assistance. God will inake that 
to be an instrument of his destruction, which he 
iiired into his service. Note, Many are beaten with 
that arm of flesh which they trusted to rather than 
to the arm of the Lord, and which they were at a 
great expense upon; when by faith and prayer they 
might have found cheap and easy succour in God. 

4. The consequences of this general depopulation: 

(1. ) The flocks of cattle shall be all destroyed; so 
tliat a man who had herds and flocks in abundance, 
!:h..ll be stripped of them all by the enemy, and shall 
with nmch ado save for his own use a young cow 
and two sheep; a poor stock, {y. 21.) yet he shall 
think himself happy in having any left. 

(2.) The few cattle that are left, shall have such 
a large compass of ground to feed in, that they shall 
give abundajice of milk, and yery good milk, such 
as shall produce butter enough, v. 22. There shall 
also be such want of men, that the milk of one cow 
and two sheep shall serve a whole family, which 
used to keep aljundance of servants, and consume a 
great deal, but is now reduced. 

(3.) The breed of cattle shall be destroyed; so 
that they who used to eat flesh, (as the Jews com- 
monly did,) shall be necessitated to confine them- 
selves to butter and honey; forthere shall bene flesh 
for them, and the country shall be so depopulated, 
that there shall be butter and honey enough for the 
few that are left in it. 

(4.) Good land, that used to be let well, shall be 
all overrun with briers and thorns; (t. 23.) where 
there used to be a thousand vines planted, for which 
the tenants used to pay a thousand shekels, or pie- 
ces of silver, yearly rent, there shall be nothing now 
but briers and thorns, no profit either for landlord 
or tenant; all being laid waste by the army of the 
invaders. Note, God can soon turn a fruitful land 
uito barrenness; and it is just with him to turn vines 
nto briers, if we, instead of bringing foith grapes 
CO him, bring forth wild grapes, eh. v. 4. 

(5. ) The instruments of husbandry shall be turned 
into instruments of war, x'. 24. The whole land 
leing become briers and thorns, the grounds that 
.Tien used to come to with sickles and pruning-hooks 
to gather in the fruits, they shall now come to with 
arrows and bo%vs, either to hunt for wild beasts in 
the thickets, or to defend themselves from the rob- 
bers, that lurk in the bushes seeking for prey, or to 
kill the seipents and venomous beasts that are hid 
there. This bespeaks a very sad change of the face 
of that pleasant land. But what melancholy change 
is there, which sin will not make with a people? 

(6.) There where briers and thonis were wont to 
be of use, and to do good service, even in the hedges, 
for the defence of the enclosed grounds, they shall 
be i)lucked up, and all laid in common. There 
shall l)e briers and thorns in abundance, there where 
thev should not lie, but none where there should be, 
IK 25. The hills that shall be digged with the mat- 
tock, for special use, from which the cattle used to 
be kept off with the fear of briers and thorns, shall 
now be thrown open; the hedges broken down for 
the boar out of the wood to waste it, Ps. Ixxx. 12, 
13. It shall be left at large for oxen to run in, and 
lesser cattle. 

See tl>e efTect of sin and the curse; it has made 
the earth a forest of thorns and thistles, except as it 
is forced into some order by the constant care and la- 
bour of man: ;*d see what folly it is to set our hearts 
Mpon possession of lands, be they ever so fruitful, 



! ever so pleasant; it they lie ever so little neglecteil 

j and uncultixated, or if they be abused by a wastefu' 

careless htir or tenant, or the country be laid waste 

by war, they will soon become frightful deserts. 

Heaven is a p;iradise not subject to such changes. 

CHAP. VIII. 

This chapter, and the four next that folloiv it, (to ch. 13.J 
are all one continued discourse or sermon; the scope oi 
which is, to show the great destruction that should now 
shortly be brought upon the kingdom of Israel, and the 
great (disturbance that should be given to the kingdom 
of Judah by the king of Assyria) and that both were for 
their sins; but rich provision is made of comfort for those 
that fear God, in those dark times, referring especially 
to the days of the Messiah. In this chapter we have, I. 
A prophecy of the destruction of the confederate king- 
doms of Syria and Israel by the king of Assyria, v. 1 . .4. 
II. Of the desolations that should be made by that proud, 
victorious prince, in the land of Israel and Judan, v. 
5 . . 8. III. Great encouragement given to the people of 
God in the midst of those destructions; they are assured, 
I. That the enemies shall not gain their point against 
them, v. 9, 10. 2. That if they kept up the fear of God, 
and kept down the fear of man, they should find God 
their Refuge, (v. II . . 14. } and, while others stumbled, 
and fell into despair, they should be enabled to wait on 
God, and should see themselves reserved for better times, 
V. 15- . 18. Lastly, he gives a necessary caution to all, 
at their peril, not to consult with familiar spirits, for 
Ihey would tnereby throw themselves into despair, but 
to keep close to the word of God, v. 19 . . 22. And these 
counsels, and these comforts, will still be of use to us in 
time of trouble. 

l.l^l'OREOVER tlie Lord said unto 
-LtX me, Take thee a great roll, and 
write in it \\ith a man's pen concerning 
Maher-shalal-hash-baz. 2. And I took unto 
me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the 
priest, and Zechariah the son of Jebere- 
chiah. 3. And I went unto the prophetess; 
and she conceived and bare a son. Then 
said the Lord tome. Call his name Maher- 
shalal-hash-baz: 4. For before the child 
shall have knowledge to cry. My father, and 
My mother, the riches of Damascus, and the 
spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before 
the king of Assyria. 5. The Lord spake 
also unto me again, saying, 6. Foi-asmuch 
as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah 
that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Re- 
maliah's son : 7. Now therefore, behold, 
the Lord bringeth up upon them the \\ a- 
ters of the river, strong and many, eveti the 
king of Assyria, and all his gloiy: and he 
shall come up over all his channels, and go 
ov^er all his banks : 8. And he shall pass 
through .ludah; he shall overflow and go 
over; he shall reach even to the neck: and 
the stretching otit of his wings shall fill the 
breadth of thy land, O Immanuel. 

In these verses we have a prophecy of the suc- 
cesses of the king of Assyria against Damascus, 
Sannaria, and Judah; that the two former should be 
laid waste by him, and the last greatly frightened. 
Here we have, 

I. Orders given to the prophet to write this pro 
phecy, and publish it to be seen and rer.d of all men, 
and to leave it upon record, that when the thine 
came to pass, they might know that God had sen' 
him; for that was one end of the prophecy, John 
xiv. 29. He must take a great roll, which would 



ISAIAH, VTU. 



61 



contain those five chapters, fairly written in words 
at length; he must write in it all that he had fore- 
told concerning tlie king of Assyria's invading tlie 
country; he must write it with a man's pen, in the 
usual way and style of \k'riting, s > as tliat it might 
be legible and intelligible l)y all. See Hab. ii. 2. 
U'rile Ihe vision and make it plain. They tliat 
speak, iuid write of tue things of God, should avoid 
Dbscurit)', and study to speak and write so as to be 
understood, 1. Cor. xiv. 19. They that write for 
men, should write with a man's pen, and not covet 
Che pen or tongue of angels. And, forasmuch as it 
is usual to put some short but significant compre- 
hensive title before books that are published, the 
propliet is directed to call his book Malier-shalal- 
hasli-baz — Make sjieed to the sjioil, hassten to the 
prey; intimating that the Assyrian army should 
come upon them with great speed, and make great 
spoil; by this title the substance and meaning of the 
book would be inquired after Ijy those that had read 
it, or heard it read. It is sometimes a good help to 
memory to put mucli matter in few words, which 
serve as handles by whicli we take hold of more. 

II. The care of this prophet to get this recoixi 
well attested; (f. 2. ) / took unto me faithful ivit- 
nesses to record; he wrote the prophecy in their 
sight and presence, and made them subscribe their 
names to it, that they might be ready, if afterward 
there should be occasion, to make oath of it, that the 
prophet had foretold the descent which the As- 
s) nans made upon that country so long before; lie 
n^mcs the witnesses for the greater certainty, that/ 
they might be appealed to by any; they were two in 
number; (for out of the mouth of two witnesses shall 
every word be established;) one was, Uriah the 
priest; he is mentioned in tlie story of Ahaz, but for 
none of his good deeds, for he humoured Ahaz with 
an idolatrous altar; (2 Kings xvi. 10, 11.) however, 
at tliis time, no exception lay against him, he was a 
f .ithful witness. See what full satisfaction the pro- 
phets took care to give to all persons concerned, of 
tile sincerity of their intentions, that we might know 
Avith a full assurance the certainty of the things 
wherein we have been instructed, and that we have 
not folloxMed cunningly-devised fables. 

III. Tlie making of the title of his book the name 
of his child, that it might be the more taken notice 
of, and the more effectually perpetuated, v. 3. His 
■\vife (because the wife of a prophet) is called the 
firojilietess; she conceived and bare a son, another 
son, who must carry a sermon in his name, as the 
former had done, {ch. vii. 3. ) but with this differ- 
ence, that spake mercy, Shear-jashub — The rem- 
nant shall return; but that being slighted, this 
speaks judgment, Maher-slmlal-hash-baz — In mak- 
ing sjieed to the sjioil he shall hasten, or he has 
hastened, to the jirey. The prophecy is doubled, 
even in this one name, for tlie thing was certain; / 
will hasten my word, Jer. i. 12. Every time the 
'"liild was c;illed by his name, or any part of it, it 
wiiuld serve as a memorandum of the judgments ap- 
proaching. Note, It is good for us often to put our- 
■.-Ives in mind of the changes and troubles we are 
li -lilc t 1 in tliis world, and which perhaps are at the 
door. When we look with pleasure on our chil- 
dren, it should be with the allay of this thought. 
We know not what they are yet reserved for. 

IV. The prophecy itself, which explains this 
mystical name; 

1. That Sj'ria and Israel, who were now in con- 
federacy against Judah, should in a very little time 
become an easy prey to tlie king of Assyria and his 
victorious army; {v. i.)" Before the chiUl, now newly 
born and named, ahouXdhiiyi; knowledge to cry, Afy 
father, and Aly mother," (which are usally some 
of the first things that children know, and some of 
the first worc'c tnat children speak,) "in about a 



year or two, the riches of Damascus, and the sjioil 
of Samaria, those cities that are now so secnie 
themseh es, and so formidable to their neighljours, 
shall be taken away before the king ofjlssi/ria, who 
shall ])lun(ler both city and country, and send the 
best effects of both into his own land, to enrich that, 
and as trophies of his victory." Nfite, Those 
that spoil others, must expect to be themselves 
spoiled, (f/j. xxxiii. 1.) for the Lord is righteous, 
and those that are troublesome shall be troubled. 

2. That for ismuch as there were many in Judah, 
that were secreth' in the interests of Syria and Israel, 
and were disaffected to the house of David, God 
would chastise them also by the king of Assyria, 
who should create a great deid of vexation to Judah, 
as was foretold, ch. vii. 17. 

Observe, (1.) \\'hat was the sin of the discon- 
tented party in Judah; (t'. 6.) This jieojile, whom 
the prophet here speaks to, refuse the waters cf 
Shiloah that go softly, despise their own country 
and the government of it, and love to ran it down, 
because it does not make so great a figure, and so 
great a noise in the world, as some other kings and 
kingdoms do. They refuse the comforts which 
God's prophets offer them from the word of Ciod, 
speaking to them in a still small voice, and make 
nothing of them ; but they rejoice in Rezin a?id Ne- 
maliah's son, who were the enemies of their coun- 
try, and were now actually invading it; they cried 
them up as brave men, magnified their policies and 
strength, applauded their conduct, were well-pleas- 
ed with their success, and were hearty well-wishers 
to their designs, and resolved to desert and go ovei 
to them. Such vipers does man\' a state foster !•■ 
its bosom, that eat its bread, and yet adhere to its 
enemies, and are ready to quit its interests, if they 
but seem to totter. 

(2.) The judgment which God would bring upon 
them for this sin. The same king of Assyria, that 
should lay Ephraim and Syria waste, should be a 
scourge and terror to those of their party in Judah, 
f. vii. 8. Because they refuse the waters of Shiloah, 
and will not accommodate themselves to the govern- 
ment God has set over them, but arc uneasy under 
it, therefore the Lord brings iijion them the waters 
of the river, strong and many, the river Euphrates; 
they slighted the land of Judah, because it had no 
river to boast of comparable to that; the river at Je- 
rusalem was a very inconsiderable one. "Well," 
says God, " if you be such admirers of Euphrates, 
you shall have enough of it; the king of Assyria, 
whose country lies upon that river, shall come with 
his glory, with his gi-eat army, which you cry up as 
his glory, despising your own king, because he can- 
not bring such an army as that into the field; God 
shall bring that army upon you. " If we value men, 
if we overvalue them, for their worldly wealth and 
power, it is just with God to make them by that a 
scourge to us. It is used as an argument against 
magnifying rich men, that rich men oji/iress its, 
Jam. ii. 3, 6. Let us be best pleased with the wa- 
ters of Shiloah, that go softh', for rapid streams are 
dangerous. It is threatened that the Assyrian army 
should break in upon them like a deluge, or inunda- 
tion of waters, bearing down all before it, should 
come up over all his channels, and overflow all 
his banks; it would be to no pui-pose to oppose 
or withstand them; Sennacherib and his aiTny 
should pass through Judah, and meet with so 
little resistance, that it should look more like a 
march through the country, than a descent nprn 
it; He shall reach n<en to the neck; he shall ad- 
vance so far as to lay siege to Jenisalcm, the 
head of the kingdom, and nothing but that shall be 
kept out of his hands; for that was the holy city 
Note, in the greatest deluge of trouble, God can, 
and will, keep^the head of his people above wa' r. 



ISAIAH, Vlll. 



»v.d so preserve their comforts and spiritual lives ;f 
liiiitthe waters that come into their souls, may reach to I 
til'; neck, (Ps. Ixix. 1.) but thtre shiiU llieir proud 
w.ivc'S Ije stayed. And here is another comfortable 
intimation, that though the stretching cut of the 
wings of the Assyrian, that bird of prey, though the 
right and left wing of his army, should fill the 
breadth of the land of- Judah, yet still it was Im- 
manuel's land. It is thy land, O Immanuel; it was 
to be Christ's land, for there he was to be born, and 
live, and preach, and work miracles. He was Zi- 
on's King, and therefore had a peculiar interest in, 
and concern for, that land. Note, The lands that 
Immanuel owns for his, as he does all those lands 
that own him, though they may be deluged, shall 
not be destrojed: for ivhen the enemy shall come in 
like a flood, Immanuel shall secure his own, and 
:-hall lifo ufi a standard against him, ch. lix. 19. 

9. Associate yourselves, O ye people, and 
ve shall be broken in pieces ; and give ear, 
all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and 
ye shall be broken in pieces ; gird yourselves, 
and ye shall be broken in pieces. 1 0. Take 
counsel togetiier, and it shall come to nought ; 
speak the word, and it shall not stand: for 
God is with us. 11. For the Lord spake 
thus to me with a strong hand, and in- 
structed me, that I should not walk in the 
way of this people, saying, 1 2. Say ye not, 
A confederacy, to all them to whom this peo- 
ple shall say, A confederacy : neither fear ye 
their fear, nor be afraid. 13. Sanctify the 
Lord of hosts himself; and let him he your 
foar, and let him be your dread. 1 4. And he 
shall be for a sanctuaiy: but for a stone of 
stumbling, and for a rock of offence, to both 
(he houses of Israel ; for a gin and for a anare 
to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15. And 
many among them shall stumble and fall, 
and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. 

The prophet here returns to speak of the present 
distress that Ahaz, and his court and kingdom, 
were in, upon account of the threatening confede- 
racy of the ten tribes, and the Syrians, against them. 
And in these verses, 

I. He triumphs over the invading enemies, and, 
in effect, sets them at defiance, and bids them do 
their worst; {y. ix. 10.) " O ye peofile, ye of far 
countries, give ear to what the prophet says to you 
in God's name. 

1. "We doubt not but you will now make your 
utmost efforts against Judah and Jerusalem ; you as- 
sociate yourselves in a strict alliance, you gird your- 
selves, and again you gird yourselves, you prepare 
for action, you address yourselves to it with resolu- 
tion, you gird on your swords, you gird up your 
loins, you animate and encourage yourselves and 
one another with all the considerations you can think 
nf, you take counsel together, call councils of war, 
and all heads are at work, about the proper method 
f !r making yourselves masters of the land of Judah, 
you speak the word, you cojne to resolutions con- 
ceniing it, and are not always deliberating, you de- 
termine what to do, and are very confident of the 
success of it, that the matter will be accomplished 
with a word's speaking." Note, It is with a great 
tleal of policy, resolution, and assurance, that the 
church's enemies carry on their designs against it; 
: i\i abundance of pains they take to roll a stone 
tl\.'.t will certainly return upon them. _ 



2. "This is to let you know that all your efforts 
will be ineffectual; you cannot, you shall not, gain 
your point, nor carry the day; you shall be broken 
in fiieces; though you associate yourselves, though 
you gird yourselves, thou you proceed with all the 
policy and precaution imaginable, yet, I tell ycu 
again and again, all your projects shall be baffled, 
you shall be broken in pieces; nay, not only your 
attempts shall be i-uined, but your attempts shall be 
your ruin; you shall be broken by those designs you 
have formed ag;unst Jerusalem ; your councils shall 
come to naught; for there is no wisdom or counsel 
against the Lord; your resohes will not be put in 
execution, they shall not stand; you speak the word, 
but nvho is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, if the 
hord commandeth itnot? What sets up itself against 
God, and his cause, and counsel, cannot stand, but 
must inevitably fall. For God is with us;" (this re- 
fers to the name of /mmanuf/ — Godmith us;) "the 
Messiah is to be bom among us, and a people de- 
signed for such an honour cannot be given up to ut- 
ter ruin; we have now the special presence of God 
with us in his temple, his oracles, his promises, and 
these are our defence. God is with us, he is on cur 
side, to take our part, and fight for us; and if God 
be for us, who can be against us?" Thus docs the 
daughter of Zion despise them. 

II. He comforts and encourages the people of God 
with the same comforts and encouragements which 
he himself had received: the attempts made upon 
them were very formidable; the house of David, the 
court and royal family, were at their wits' end, {c/i. 
vii. 2.) and then no mar\el if the people were in a 
consternation. 

Now, 1. The prophet tells us how he was him- 
self taught of God not to give way to such amazing 
fears as the people were disturbed with, nor to run 
into the same measures with them; (t'. 11.) " 77ie 
Lord spake to me with a strong hand, not to walk in 
the way of this people; not to say as they s:iy, nor 
do as they do, nor to entertain the same fi'iglitful 
apprehensions of things, nor to approve of their pro- 
jects of making peace upon any terms, or calling in 
the help of the Assyrians." God instructed the 
prophet not to go down the stream. Note, (1.) 
There is a proneness in the best of mtn to be 
frightened at threatening clouds, especially when 
fears are epidemical. We are all too apt to walk in 
the way of the people we live among, though it be 
not a good way. (2.) Those whom God loves and 
owns, he will instruct, and enable to swim against 
the stream of common cormptions, particularly of 
common fears. He will find ways to teach his own 
people not to walk in the way of other people, but 
m a sober singidarity. (3.) Corruption is some- 
times so active in the hearts even of good men, that 
they have need to be taught their duty with a strong 
hand, and it is God's prerogative to teach so, for he 
only can give an understanding, and oveipower the 
contradiction of unbelief and prejudice. He can 
teach the heart; and hei'ein none teaches like him. 
(4.) Those that are to teach others ha\c need 
to be themselves well instructed in their duty, and 
then they teach most powerfully, when they teach 
experimentally; the word that comes from the 
heart, is most likely to reach to tlie heart; and 
what we are ourselves by the gi-ace of God instruct- 
ed in, we should, as we are able, teach others also. 
2. Now what is it that he says to God's people? 
(1.) He cautions them against a sinful fear, v. 12. 
It seems, it was the way of this people at this time, 
and fear is catching; he whose heart fails him, 
makes his lircthren's heart to fail, like his heart: 
(Deut. XX. H.) therefore Snyyc not, ^1 confederacy, 
to all them to whom /his people shall say, .i covf'd-- 
racy: that is, [1.] "Be nrt ass< riatrd with llu m 
in the r: ntVdenu'ics they are projecting and f( re 



JSAiAH, VIII. 



casting fov. Do not join with those thut, for tlie 
securing of themselves, me for making a league 
with the Assyrians, thmugh unbelief, iind distrust 
of God and tlieir cause. Do not come into any sucli 
confederacy." Ni.te, It concerns us, in time cjf 
trouble, to w.itch against all such fears as put us 
upon t.iking any indirect courses for our own securi- 
ty. [2.] ■' Be uiit afraid of the confederacies they 
frighten themselves and one another with. Do not 
amuse yourseUes witli the apprehension of a con- 
federacy, upon every thing that stirs, nor, when any 
little thing is amiss, cry out presently, There is a plot, 
a plot. When they talk what dismal news there is, 
Syria in joined with E/ihraim, what will become of 
Us.' Must we fight, or must we flee, or must we 
yield.'' Do not you fear their fear. Be not afraid 
of the signs of heaven, as the heathen are, Jer. x. 
2. Be nut afraid of evil things on earth, but let 
your hearts be fixed. Fear not that which they 
fear, nor be afraid as they are. Be not put into such 
a fright as causes trembling and shaking;" so the 
word signifies. Note, When the church's enemies 
have sinful confederacies on foot, the church's 
friends should watch against the sinful fears of those 
confederacies. 

(2.) He advises them to a gracious, religious fear; 
But sanctify the Lord of liosls himself, -V. 13. Note, 
The believing fear of God is a special preservative 
against the disquieting fear of man; see 1 Pet. iii. 

14, 15, where this is quoted, and applied to suffer- 
ing Christians. [1.] We must look upon God as 
the Lord of hosts, that has all power in his hand, 
and all creatures at his beck. [2.] We must sanc- 
tify him accordingly, give him the glory due to that 
name, and carry it toward him as those that believe 
him to be a holy God. [3.] We must make him 
our Fear, the Object of our fear, and make him our 
Dread; keep up a reverence of his providence, and 
stand in awe of his sovereignty; be afraid of his dis- 
pleasure, and silently acquiesce in all his disposals. 
Were we but duly affected with the greatness and 
glory of God, we should see the pomp of our ene- 
mies eclipsed and clouded, and all their power re- 
strained and under check; see Neh. iv. 14. That 
they are afraid of the re/iroach of men, forget the 
Lord their Maker, ch. li. 12, 13. Compare Luke 
xii. 4, 5. 

(3.) He assures them of a holy security and se- 
renity of mind, in so doing; {y. 14.) " He shall be 
for a Sanctuary; make him your Fear, and vou 
shall find him your Hope, your Help, your De- 
fence, and your mighty Deliverer. He will sanctify 
and preserve you. He will be for a Sanctuary; ' 
[1.] " To make you holy; He will be your Sancti- 
fication;" so some read it'. If we sanctify God by 
our praises, he will sanctify us by his grace. [2. J 
"To make you easy; He will be your Sanctuary, 
to which you may flee for safety, and where you are 
privileged from all the arrests of fear; you shall 
find an inviolable refuge and security in him, and 
see yourselves out of the reach of danger." They 
that truly fear God, shall not need to fear any evil. 

III. He threatens the ruin of the urigodly and un- 
believing, both in Judah and Israel. They have no 
part nor lot in the foregoing comforts; that God, 
who will be a Sanctuary to those who trust in him, 
will be a Stone of stumbling, and a Rock of offence, 
to those who leave these waters of Shiloah, and re- 
joice in Rezin and Retnaliali's son, {v. 6.) who 
make the creature their fear and their hope, x'. 14, 

15. The prophet foresees that the greatest part of 
both the houses of Israel would not sanctify the Lord 
of hosts, and to them he would be for a din and a 
Snare; he would be a terror to them, as he would 
be a Support and Stay to those thnt trusted in him. 
Instead of profiting by the word of God, they should 
!)e offended at it; and the providences of God, in- 



stead of leading theirv to him, .vould drive them 
from him. W'hat was a savour of life unto life to 
others, would be a savour of death unto death to 
tliem. So that many amo7ig them shall stumble 
and fall; they shall fall both into sin and into ruin, 
they shall fall by the sword, sliall be taken prison- 
ers, and go into captivity. Note, If the things cf 
God be an offence for us, they will be an undoing to 
us. Some apply this to the unbelieving Jews, who 
rejected Christ, and to whom he became a Stone of 
stumbling, for the apostle quotes this scripture with 
application to all those who persisted in their unbe- 
lief of the gospel of Christ; (1 Pet. ii. S.) to them 
he is a rock of offence, because, being disobedient to 
the word, they stumble at it. 

16. Bind up the testimony, seal the law 
among my disciples. 17. And I will wait 
upon the Lord, that hideth his face from 
the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. 
18. Behold, I, and the children whom the 
Lord hath given me, are for signs and for 
wonders in Israel, from the Lord of hosts, 
which dwelleth in mount Zion. 19. And 
when they shall say unto j'ou. Seek unto 
them that have familiar spirits, and unto the 
wizards that peep and that mutter; should 
not a people seek unto their God? for the 
living to the dead? 20. To the law and to 
the testimony: if they speak not according 
to this «ord, it is because t/iere is no light in 
them. 21. And they shall pass through it 
hardly bestead and hungry : and it f»'iall 
come to pass, that, when they shall be hun- 
gry, they shall fret themselves, and curse 
their king and their God, and look upward. 
22. And they shall look unto the eartli ; and 
behold trouble and darkness, dimness of an- 
guish ; and thei; shall be driven to darkness. 

In these verses, we have, 

I. The unspeakable privilege which the people 
of God enjoy, in having the oracles of God consigned 
over to them, and being intrusted with the sacred 
writings; that they may sanctify the Lord of hosts, 
may make him their Fear, and find him their Sanc- 
tuary; Bind u/i the testimony, v. 16. Note, It is a 
great instance of God's care of his church and love 
of it, that he has lodged in it the valuable treasure 
of divine revelation. 1. It is a testimony and a law; 
not only this prophecy is so, which must therefore 
be preserved safe for the comfort of God's people in 
the approaching times of trouble and distress, but 
the whole word of God is so; God has attested it, 
and he has enjoined it. As a testimony, it directs 
our faith; as a law, it directs our practice; and we 
ought both to subscribe to the truths of it, and tr 
submit to the precepts of it 2. This testimony ana 
this law are bound up and sealed, for we mre not to 
add to them, or diminish from them; they are a 
letter from God to man, folded up and sealed; a 
proclamation under the broad seal. The binding 
up and sealing of the Old Testament signified, that 
the full explication of many of the prophecies of it 
was reserved for the New Testament times; (Dan 
xii. 4.) Seal the book till the time of the end; but 
what was then bound up and sealed, is now open 
and unsealed, and revealed unto babes, Matth. xi. 
25. Yet with reference to the other world, and the 
future state, still the testimony is bound up and 
sealed, for we know but in part, and prophecy bu< 



54 



ISAIAH, VIII. 



in part. X They are lodged as a sacred deposit in 
the hands of the disciples' of l/ie children of the 
I'.rofihets and the covenant. Acts iii. 25. This is 
the good thing which is committed to tht m, and 
wiiich thcv are charged with the custody of, 2 Tim. 
i. 13, 14. 'Those that had prophets for their tutors, 
must still keep close to the written word. 

!I. The good use which we ought to make of this 
pi-ivilegc. This we are taught, 

1. By the prophet's own practice and resolutions, 
:'. 17, is. He embraced the law and the testimony, 
•ind he had the comfort of it, in the midst of the 
111 my discouragements he met with. Note, Those 
ministers can best recommend the word of God to 
"thers, that have themselves found the satisfaction 
(f relying upon it. Observe, 

(1.) The discouragements which the prophet la- 
1) )ured under; he specifies two; [1.] Ihe frowns 
of God, not so much upon himself, but upon his 
|)eople, whose interests lay very n.ear his heart; 
"He hides his face from the house of Jacob, and 
seems, at present, to neglect, and lay them under 
the tokens of his displeasure." The prophet was 
himself employed in revealing God's wratli against 
tl\em, and yet grieved thus for it, as one that did 
^ not desire the woful day. If the house of Jacob for- 
sake the God of Jacob, let it not be thought strange 
that he hides his face from them. [2.] The con- 
tempt and reproaches of men, not only upon him- 
self, but upon his disciples, among whom the law 
and the testimony were sealed; / and the children 
which the Lord hath given me, are for signs and 
rJO?iders; we are gazed at as monsters or outlandish 
people, pointed at as we go along the streets. Pro- 
b,xbly the prophetical names that were given his 
children were ridiculed and bantered by the profane 
scoffers of the town. lam as a monder unto many, 
Ps. Ixxi. 7. God's people are the world's wonder, 
(Zech. iii. 8.) for their singularity, and because 
they run not with them to the same excess of riot, 
1 Pet. iv. 4. The prophet was herein a type of 
Christ; for this is quoted (Heb. ii. 13.) to prove 
that behevers are Christ's children; Behold, land 
the children which God hath given me. Parents 
must look upon their children as God's gifts, his 
gracious gifts; Jacob did so. Gen. xxxiii. 5._ Min- 
isters must look upon their converts as their chil- 
dren, and be tender of them accordingly, (1 Thcss. 
ii. 7.) and as the children which God has given 
tliem; for whatever good we are in.strumental of to 
others, it is owing to the grace of God. Christ 
looks upon believers as his children, which the 
Father gave him; (John xvii. 6.) and both he and 
they are for signs and wonders, spoken against, 
(Luke ii. 34.) every where spoken against. Acts 
xxviii. 22. 

(2. ) The encouragement he took, in reference to 
these discouragements. [1.] He saw the hand of 
God in all that which was discouraging to him, and 
kept his eye upon that. Whatever trouble the 
house of Jacob is in, it comes from God's hiding his 
f ice; nay, whatever contempt is put upon him or 
his friends, it is from the Lord of hosts; he has bid- 
den Shimei curse David, Job xix. 13 — xxx. 11. 
[2.] He saw God dwelling in moimt Zion, mani- 
testing himself to his people, and ready to hear 
their prayers, and receive their homage. Though, 
foi- the present, he hide his face from the house of 
Jacob, yet they know where to find him, and re- 
rover tlie sight of him; he dwells in Mount Zion. 
[3.] He therefore resolved to wait upon the Lord, 
; 11(1 tn look for him; to attend his motions, even 
while he hid his face, and to expect with an hum- 
l)le assurance his returns in a way of mercy. Those 
that wait upon God by faith and prayer, may look 
for him with hope and joy. When we have not 
srp<ible comforts, we must still keep up our observ- 



ance of God and obedience to him, and then wai^ 
awhile; at eveni7ig-ti?neit shall be light. 

2, By the counsel and advice which he gives to 
his disciples, among whom the law and the testi- 
mony were sealed, to whom were committed the 
lively oracles. 

(1.) He supposes they would be tempted, in the 
day of their distress, to consult them that had fa- 
miliar spirits, that dealt with the devil, asked his 
advice, and desired to be informed by him concern- 
ing things to come, that they might take their mea- 
sures accordingly. Thus Saul, when he was in 
straits, made his application to the witch of F.ndor, 
(1 Sam. xxviii. 7, 15.) and Ahaziah to the God ct 
Ekron, 2 Kings i. 2. These conjurors had fantastic 
gestures and tones; they peeped and muttered, 
they mufHed their heads, that they could neither 
see nor be seen plainly, but peeped and were peep- 
ed at: or both the words here used may refer to 
their voice or manner of speaking; they delivered 
what they had to say with a low, hollow, broken 
sound, scarcely articulate; and scmetimes in a pul- 
ing or mournful tone, like a crane, or aswallow, or 
a dove, ch. xxxviii. 14. They spake not with that 
boldness and plainness which the prophets of the 
Lord spake with, but as those who desire to amuse 
people rather than to instiiict them ; yet there were 
those who were so wretchedly s(.ttish as to seek to 
them, and to court others to do so, even the prophet's 
hearers, whoknew better things, whom therefore the 
pro])het warns not to say jl coifederacy with such. 
There were express laws agahist this wickedness, 
(Lev. xix. 31. — xx. 27.) and yet it was found in Is- 
rael, is found even in Christian nations; but let all 
that have any sense of religirn show it, by startling 
at the thought of it; Get thee behind me, Satan. 
Dread the use of spells and charms, and consulting 
those that by hidden aits prttcnd to tell fortunes, 
cure diseases, or discover things lest; for this is a 
heinous crime, and, in effect, denies the God that 
is above. 

(2.) He furnishes them with an answer to this 
temptation, puts words into tlieir mouths: " If any 
go about to ensnare you, give them this reply; 
Should not a people seek to their God? M'hat! 
for the living to the dead!" [1.] "Tell them it 
is a principle of religion, that a peo])le ought to 
seek unto their God; now Jehovah is our G(d, and 
therefore to him we ought to seek, and to consult 
with him, and not with them that have familiar 
spirits, ylll people nvill thus nvalk in the name of 
their God, Mic. iv. 5. They that made the hosts 
of heaven their gods, sought unto them, Jer. viii. 2. 
Should not a people under guilt, and in trouble, 
seek to their God for pardon and pc;:ct? Shfuld 
not a people in doubt, in want, and in danger, seek 
to their God for direction, supply, and protection? 
Since the Lord is our God, and we are his people, 
it is certainly our duty to seek him." [2.] "Tell 
them it is an instance of the greatest fi llv in the 
world, to seek for living men to dead idols. '' What 
can be more absurd than to seek to lifeless images 
for life and living comforts, or to expect thut our 
friends that are dead, when we deify them and prav 
to them, should do that for us which ruv li\ ing fricm.s 
cannot do? The dead hioiu not any thing, nf r is 
there with them any device or working, Ecrl. ix. 
5, 10. It is folly therefore for the li\ ing to make 
their court to them, with any expectatirn of relief 
from them. Necromancers consulted the dead, as 
the witch of Endor, and so proclaimed their ■ wn 
folly; we must live by the living, and not by the 
dead; what life or light can we look for from thtm 
that ha\-e no light or life themselves? 

(3.) He directs them to consult with the rracles 
of God; if the prophets that were among them diri 
not speak directly to every case, yet they had thi 



.SAIAH, IX. 



5o 



written word, and to that they must have recourse. 
Kotc, Those will never be drawn to consult wizards, 
that know how to make a good use of their Bibles. 
Would we know how we may seek to our God, and 
toyie to the knowledge of his mind? To the law 
and o the testimony. There you will see what is 
eood, and what the Lord requires of you. Make 
i.i>d's statutes your counsellors, and you will be 
counselled right. 

Observe, [1.] What use we must make of the 
liw and the testimony; we must speak according 
to that word; we must make this our standard, 
coi.form to it, take advice from it, make our ap- 
pea. ■, to it, and in every thing be overruled and de- 
tf rmned by it; consent to those wholesome healing 
■words, (1 Tim. vi. 3.) and speak of the things of 
Go I in the words which the Holy Ghost teaches. 
It is not enough to say nothing against it, but we 
must speak according to it. 

l2.] Why we must make this use of the law and 
the testimony; because we shall be convicted of 
the greatest folly imaginable if we do not. They 
that concur not with the word of God, prove there 
is no light, no morning-light, (so the word is,) in 
them; they have no right sense of things; they do 
not understand themselves, nor the difference be- 
tween good and evil, truth and falsehood. Note, 
Those that reject divine revelation, have not so 
much as human understanding; nor do they rightly 
admit the oracles of reason, who will not admit the 
oracles of God. Some read it as a threatening; "If 
they speak not according to this word, there shall 
be no light to them, no good, no comfort, or relief; 
but thev shall be driven to darkness and despair;" 
as it f<>llows here, {v. 21, 22.) What light had 
SjuI when he consulted the witch? 1 Sam. xxviii. 
IS, 20. Or what light can they expect, that turn 
away from the Father of lights? 

(4. ) He reads the doom of those that seek to fa- 
miliar spirits, and regard not God's law and testi- 
mony; tliere shall not only be no light to them, no 
comfort or prosperity, but they may expect all hor- 
ror and misery, T". 21, 22. [1.] The trouble they 
feared shall come upon them; they shall pass 
througli the land, or pass to and fro in the land, 
unfixed, unsettled, and driven from place to place 
by the threatening power of an invading enemy; 
they shall be hardly bestead whitlier to go for the 
necessary supports of life; either because the coun- 
try would be so impoverished, that there would be 
nothing to be had, or at least themseh es and their 
friends so impoverished, that there would be nothing 
to be had for them; so that they who used to be fed 
to the full shall be hungry. Note. Those that go 
aw jv from God, go out of the way of all good. [2. ] 
Tlie'y shall be very uneasy to themselves, bv their 
discontent and impatience under their trouble. A 
goorl man may be m want, but then he quiets him- 
self, and strives to make himself easy; but these 
people, when they shall be hungry, shall fret them- 
selves, and when they have nothing to feed on, 
tlieir vexation shall prey upon their own spirits; for 
fretfulness is a sin that is its own punishment. [3.] 
Tiiev sliall be very provoking to all about them, 
tia\-, to all above them; when they find all their 
nv.'isures b"oken, and themsehes at their wit's 
end, they will forget all the rules of duty and de- 
cency, and will treasonably curse their king, and 
blasphemously curse their God; and this more than 
in t'leir thought, and in their bed-chamber, Eccl. 
X. 20. They begin with cursing their king, for 
managing the public affairs no better, as if the fault 
•were his, when the best and wisest kings cannot 
secure success; but when they haxe broken the 
bonds of their allegiance, no man'el if those of theii' 
religion do not hold them long; they next curse 
t'.-eir God, curse him, and die; they quarrel with his 



providence, and reproach that, as if he had done 
them wrong; The foolishness of man perverts his 
way, and then his heart frets agaitist the Lord, 
Prov. xix. 3. See what need we have to keefi our 
mouth as with a bridle, when our heart is hot within 
us; for the language cf fretfulness is coiTim(nly 
very offensive. [4] They shall abandon them- 
selves to despair, and, which way soever they lork, 
shall see no probability of relief; they shall look up- 
ward, but heaven shall frown upon them, and look 
gloomy; and how can it be otherwise, when they 
curse their God? They shall look to the earth, 1)u't 
what comfort can that yield to those whom Gcd is 
at war with? There is nothing there but trcuble, 
and darkness, and dimness of anguish, every thing 
threatening, and not one pleasant gleam, not one 
hopeful prospect; but they shall be driven to dark- 
ness by the violence of their own fears, which re 
pi-esent every thing about them black and frightful. 
This explains what he had said, {v. 20.) that there 
shall be no light to them. Those that shut their 
eyes against the light of God's word, will justly be 
abandoned to darkness, and left to wander endless- 
ly, and the sparks of their own kindling will do 
them no kindness. 

CHAP. IX. 

The prophet, in this chapter, (according- to the directions 
given him ch. iii. 10, 11.) sailh to the righteous. It shall 
oe well icith thee^ but Wo to the icicked, it shall be ill 
xoith him. Here are, !. Gracious promises lo those 
that adhere to the law and to the testimony; ivhile those 
that seek to familiar spirits, shall be driven into dark- 
ness and dimnesSj they shaW see a ereat light, relief in 
the midst of their distresses, typical of gospel-jrrace. 
1. In the doctrine of the Messiah, v. 1 . . 3. 2. His vic- 
tories, V. 4, 5. 3. His Efovernment and dominion, as 
Immanuel, v. 6, 7. II. Dreadful threateninsrs asainst 
the people of Israel, who had revolted from^ and were 
enemies to, the house of David; that they should be 
brought to utter ruin, that their pride should brintr them 
down, ( V. 8 . . 10.) that their neighbours should make a 
prey of them, (v. II, 12.) that, for their impeniiency 
and hypocrisy, all their ornaments and supports should 
be cut off, (v. 13. . 17.) and that by the wrath of God 
against them, and their wrath one against another, they 
should be brought to utter ruin, v. 18.. 21. And this 
is typical of the final destruction of all the enemies of 
the son of David and his kingdom. 

1. NEVERTHELESS, the dimness 
X^ shall not be such as teas in her 

vexation, when at the first he lightly afffict- 
ed the land of Zebulun and the land of 
Naphtali, and afterward did more griev- 
ously afiBict her by the way of the sea, be- 
yond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. 

2. The people that walked in darkness 
have seen a great light : they that dwell in 
the land of the shadow of death, upon them 
hath the light shined. 3. Thou hast multi- 
plied the nation, atid not increased the joy: 
they joy before thee according to the joy in 
harvest, and as men rejoice when they di- 
vide the spoil. 4. For thou hast broken the 
yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoul- 
der, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day 
of Midian. 5. For every battle of the war- 
rior is with confused noise, and garments 
rolled in blood ; but this shall be witli burn- 
ing arid fuel of fire. 6. For unto us a 
Child is born, unto us a Son is given ; and 
the government shall be upon his shoulder '. 



ffy^- 



ISAIAH, IX. 



diid his name shall be called Wonderful, 
Counsellor, The might}' God, The everlast- 
ing Father, The Prince of Peace. 7. Of the 
increase of Am government and peace t/iere 
shall be no end, upon the throne of David, 
and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to 
establish it with judgment and with justice, 
from henceforth even foi- ever. The zeal 
of the Lord of hosts will perform this. 

The first words of this chapter plainly refer to the 
close of the foregoing chapter, where every thing 
looked black and melancholy: Behold, trouble, and 
darkness, and dimness; very bad, yet not so bad, but 
that to the tijiright there shall arise light in the dark- 
ness, (Ps. cxii. 4.) and at evening-time it shall be 
light, Zech. xiv. 7. Nevertheless, it shall not be 
such dimness (either not such for kind, or not such 
for degree,) as sometimes there has been. Note, 
In the worst of times, God's people have a ncx'er- 
theless to comfort themselves with, something to 
allay and balance their troubles; they are perse- 
cuted, but not forsaken, (2 Cor. iv. 9.) sorrowful, 
yet always rejoicing, 2 Cor. vi. 10. And it is a 
mattei- of comfort to us, when things are at the 
darkest, that he who forms the light, and creates 
the darkness, {ch. xlv. 7.) has appointed both their 
' bounds, and set the one over aganist the other. Gen. 
i. 4. He can say, " Hitherto the dimness shall go, 
so long as it shall last, and no farther, no longer. " 
Three things are here promised, and they all point 
ultimately at the grace of the gospel, which the 
saints then were to comfort tliemselves with the 
hopes of, in every cloudy and dark day, as we now 
are to comfort ourselves, in time of trouble, with 
the linpes of Christ's second coming, though that 
he now, as his first coming then was, a thing at a 
great distance. The mercy likewise which God 
has in store for his church, in the latter days, mav 
be a support to those that are mourning with her 
for l\er present calamities. We have here the pro- 
mise, 

I. Of a glorious light, which shall so qualify, and 
by degrees dispel, the dimness, that it shall not be, 
as it sometimes has been vot such as ivas in her 
vexation; there sliall not be such dark times as 
w-re formerly,, when, at first, he lightly afflicted 
the land of Zebulun and JVafxhtali, which lay re- 
mote, and most exposed to the inroads of the neigh- 
bouring enemies ; and, afterward, he more griev- 
ously afflicted the land by the way of the sea, and 
beyond Jordan, {v. 1.) referring, probably, to those 
days when God began to cut Israel short, and to 
imite them in all their coasts, 2 Kings x. 32. Note, 
1. God tries what lesser judgments will do with a 
pr-ople, before he brings greater. But, 2. If a light 
affliction do not do its work with us, to humble and 
reform us, we must expect to be afflicted more 
grievously; for when God judges he will overcome. 

Well, those were dark times with the land of 
Z^liuUin and Naphtali, and there was dimness of 
anguish in Galilee of the Gentiles, both in respect of 
ignorance, (they did not speak according to the law 
and testimony, and then there was no light in them, 
ch. viii. 20.) and in respect of trouble and the des- 

Cerate posture of their outward affairs; we have 
oth together, 2. Chron. xv. 3, 5. Israel has been 
without the true God and a teaching /iriest, and in 
those times there ii'as no fieace: but the dimness 
threatened {ch. viii. 22.) shall not prevail to such 
a degree; for, {v. 2.) The fieofile that walked in 
darkness have seen a great light. (1.) At this time, 
when the prophet lived, there were manv prophets 
in Judih and Isriel, whose pvophpcies were a great 
light b'ith for direction and comfort to the people I 



of God, who adhered to the law and the testimony, 
beside tl\e written word, they had prophecy; there 
were those that had showed them how I. ng, (Ps. 
Ixxiv. 9.) which was a great satisfactir.n to ''thtm, 
when, in respect of their outward troubks, they 
sat in darkness, and dwelt in the land of the shadow 
of death. (2.) This was to have its full accom- 
plishment when our Lord Jesus began to appear as 
a Prophet, and to preach the gospel in the land of 
Zebulun and Naphtali, and in Galilee of the Gen- 
tiles. And the Old Testament prophets, as they 
were witnesses to him, so they were types of him. 
When he came, and dwelt in the borders of Zebu- 
lun and Naphtali, then this prophecy is said to be 
fulfilled, Matth. iv. 13—16. Note, [1.] Those 
that want the gospel, walk in darkness, and know 
not what they do, or whither they go; and they 
dwell in the land of the shadow of 'death, in thick 
darkness, and in the utmost danger. [2.] When 
the gospel comes to any place, to anv soul, light 
comes, a great light, a shining light, 'which will 
shine more and more. It shculd be welcome to us, 
as light is to them that sit in darkness, and we 
should readily entertain it, both because it is of 
such sovereign use to us, and brings its own e^^ 
dence with it. Truly this light is sweet. 

II. Of a glorious increase, and an universal joy 
arising from it; (x'. 3.) " Thou, O God, hast mul 
ti/ilied the nation, the Jewish nation, which thou 
hast mercy in store for; though it has been dimin- 
ished by one sore judgment after another, yet now 
thou hast begun to multiply it again. " Tfie num- 
bers of a nation are its strength and wealth, if the 
numerous be industrious; and it is God that in- 
creases nations. Job xii. 23. Yet it follows, " Thou 
hast not increased the joy; the carnal joy and mirth, 
and those things that are commonly the matter and 
occasion of that; but, notwithstanding that, they 
joy before thee, there is a great deal of serious spi- 
ritual joy among them, joy in the presence of God, 
with an' eye to him." This is verv applicable to 
the times of gospel-light, spoken of, v. 2. Then 
God multiplied the nation, the gospel-Israel. " And 
to him" (so the Masorites read it) " thou hast mag- 
nified the joy, to every one that receives the light." 
The following words favour this reading; thev joy 
before thee; they come before thee in holy ordi- 
nances with great joy; their mirth is net like that 
of Israel, under their vines and fig-trees, (thou hast 
not increased that joy,) but it is in the favour of God 
and in the tokens of his grace." Note, The gospel, 
when it comes in its light and power, brings joy 
along with it, and those who receive it aright, there- 
in do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice; therefore the 
conversion of the nations is prophesied of bv this, 
Ps. Ixvii. 4. Let the nations be glad, and sing for 
joy, Ps. xcvi. 11. 1. It is holy joy: "They joy be- 
fore thee;" they rejoice in spirit, (as Christ did, 
Luke x. 21.) and that is before God. In the eve 
of the world, they are always as sorrowful, and yet, 
in God's sight, always rejoicing, 2 Cor. vi. 10. ' 2. 
It is great joy, it is according to the joy in harvest, 
when those who sowed in tears, and have with long 
patience waited for the precious fruits of the earth, 
reap in joy; and as in war, men rejoice, when, after 
a liazardous battle, they divide the spoil. Tlie grs- 
pel brings with it plenty and victory; but those that 
would ha\e joy of it, must expect to go thrt ugli a 
hard work, as the husbandman, before he has the 
joy of harvest, and a hard conflict, as the seklier, 
before he has the j'oy of dividing the spoil; but the 
joy, when it comes, will be an abundant recom ■ 
pense for the toil. See Acts viii. 8, 39. 

III. Of a glorious liberty and enlargement; (r. 
4,5.) "They shall rejoice before thee, and with 
good reason, for thou hast broken the yoke rf hia 
burthen, and made him easy, for he shall no longer 



ISAIAH, IX. 



o7 



b^ ill servitude, and thou hast broken the staff of 
his sh'Uilder, and the rod of his oppressor, thit rr^d 
of the wicked which rested hing on the lot of tlie 
rigliteous;" as the Midianites' yoke was Ijroken 
from oft" the neck of Israel by the agency of Gideon. 
If (i.id makes former deliverances his patterns in 
working ior us, we ought to make them our en- 
couragements to hope in him, and to seek to him; 
(Ps. Ixxxiii. 9.) Do unto them as to the Midian- 
itfs. \Vliat temporal deliverance this refers to, is 
nnt clear, probably, the preventing of Sennacherib 
from making himself master of Jerusalem, which 
was done, as in the day of Midian, by the imme- 
diate hand of God; and wliereas other battles were 
usually won with a great deal of noise, and by the 
expense of much blood, this shall be done silentlj' 
and without noise; Under his g'onj God shall kin- 
dle a burning; {ch. x. 16.) a. _fire not blown shall 
consume him. Job xx. 26. But doubl';ess it lot ks 
further, to the blessed fi-uits and effects of that 
great light which should visit them that sat in dark- 
ness; it would bring liberty along with it, deliver- 
ance to the ca/itives, Luke iv. 18. 1. The design 
of the gospel, and the grace of it, is, to break the 
yoke of sin and Satan, to remove the burthen of 
guilt and corruption, and to free us from the rod 
of those oppressors, that we might be brought into 
the glorious liberty of the children of God. Christ 
brake the yoke of the ceremonial law, (Acts xv. 
10. Gal. v. 1.) and delivered us out of the hands 
of our enemies, that we might seTi'e him without 
frar, Luke i. 71, 75. 7- This is done by the Spirit 
working like fire, (Matth. iii. 11.) not as the battle 
of the warrior is fought, with confused noise; no, 
tlie weapons of our warfare are not carnal; but it is 
done with the spirit of judgment and the spirit of 
burning, cA. iv. 4. It is done as in the day of Mi- 
dian, by a work of God upon the hearts of men. 
Christ is our Gideon; it is his sword that doeth 
wonders. 

But who, where is he that shall undertake and 
accomplish these great things for the church.'' He 
tells us, {v. 6, 7.) they shall he done by the Messi- 
ah, Immanuel, that son of a virgin, whose birth he 
had foretold, (c//. vii. 14. ) and now speaks of, in the 

Crophetic style, as a thing already done: the Child is 
om; not only because it was as certain, and lie was 
as certain of it, as if it had been done already; but 
because the church, before his incarnation, reaped 
great benefit and advantage by his undertaking in 
the virtue of that first promise concerning the Seed 
of the woman. Gen. iii. 15. As he was the Lamb 
slain, so he was the Child bom, from the founda- 
tion of the world. Rev. xiii. 8. All the great things 
that God did for the Old Testament church, were 
done bv him as the eternal Word, and for his sake 
as the Mediator. He was the Anointed, to whom 
God had respect, (Ps. Ixxxiv. 9.) and it was for the 
Lord's sake, for tlie Lord Christ's sake, that God 
caused his face to shine upon his sanctuary, Dan. 
ix. 17. Therefore the Jewish nation, and particu- 
larly the house of David, were presenxd many a 
time from imminent ruin, because that blessing was 
in them. What greater security therefore could be 
given to the church of God then, that it should be 
preserved, and be the special care of Divine Provi- 
dence, than this, that God had so great a mercy in 
res M-ve for it.'' The Chaldee Paraphrase under.stands 
it of the Man that shall endure for ever, even Christ. 
.\nd it is an illustrious prophecy of him and of his 
kingdom, which doubtless they that waited for the 
consolation of Israel built much upon, often turned 
t^, and read with pleasure. 

(1.) See him in his humiliation; the same that is 
th ■ mighty God, is a Child born; the Ancient of 
I) ivs bf-comes the Infant of a span long; the ever- 
1 .st'nj Father is a Son civcn. Such was his condt- 

Vox.. IV -H 



[ scension in taking our nature upon him ; thus did he 

humble and empty himself, to t.xalt and fill us. He 

I is born into our world; the Ji'ord was made Jiesh, 

\ and dwelt among us. He is gi\en, freely given, to 

j be all tliat to us, which our case, in oui' fallen state, 

c dls for; Ciod so loved the world, that he gave him. 

He is born to us, he is gi\ en to us, us men, and not 

to the angels that sinned; it is spoken with an air 

of triumph, and the angel seems to refer to these 

words in the notice he gives to the shepherds of the 

Messiah's being come; (Luke ii. 11.) unto you is 

bom, this day, a Sax'iour. Note, Christ's being 

born and given to us, is the great f(jundation of our 

hopes, and fountain of our joys, in times of greatest 

grief and fear. 

(2.) See him in his exaltation; this Child, this 
Son, this Son of God, this Son of man, that is given 
to us, in a capacity to do us a great deal of kind- 
ness; for he is invested with the highest honour and 
power, so that we cannot but be happy if he be our 
Friend. 

[1.] Seethe dignity he is advanced to, and the 
name he has above every name. He shall be called 
(and therefore we are sure he is, and shall be,) 
JVonderful, Counsellor, &c. His people shall know 
him, and worship him, by these names; and as one 
that fully answers them, they shall submit to him, 
and depend upon him. 

First, He is Wonderful, Counsellor. Justly he is 
called IVonderful, for he is both God and man. 
His love is the wonder of angels and glorified saints; 
in his birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascensitn, 
he was wonderful. A constant series of wonders 
attended him, and, without controversy, great was 
the mystery of godliness concerning him. He is the 
Counsellor, for he was intimately acquainted with 
the counsels of God from eternity, and he gixes 
counsel to the children of men, in which he consults 
our welfare. It is by him that God has given us 
counsel, Ps. xvi. 7. Rev. iii. 18. He is the vV'isd( m 
of the Father, and is made of God to us \Msdom. 
Some join these together; He is the Wonderful 
Counsellor, a wonder or miracle of a counsellor; in 
this, as in other things, he has the pre-eminence; 
none teaches like him. 

Secondly, He is the mighty God; God, the mighty 
One. As he has wisdom, so he has strength, to go 
through with his undertaking; he is able to save to 
the utmost; and such is the work of the Mediator, 
that no less a power than that of the mighty God 
could accomplish it. 

Thirdly, He is the ezierlasting Father, or the Fa- 
ther of eternity; he is God, one with the Father, 
who is from everlasting to everlasting. His fatherly 
care of his people and tenderness toward them are 
everlasting. He is the Author of everlasting life 
and tenderness to them, and so is the Father of a 
blessed eternity to them. He is the Father of the 
world to come; so the LXX read it; the Father of 
the gospel-state, which is put in subjection to him, 
not to the angels, Heb. ii. 5. He was, from eternity. 
Father of the great work of Redemption: his heart 
was upon it; it was the product of his wisdcm, as 
the Counsellor; of his love, as the everlasting Fa 
thcr. 

Fourthly, He is the Prince of Peace: as a King, 
he preserves the peace, commands peace, nay, he 
creates peace, in his kingdi m. He is ( ur Peace, 
and it is his peace that both kee])s the hearts < f his 
people, and rules in them. He is not only a peace- 
able Prince, and his reign peaceable, but he is the 
Author and Giver of all pood, all that peace which 
is the present and future bliss of his subjects. 

[2.] See the dominion he is advanced to, and the 
throne he has, above every throne; (t. 6.) The go- 
vrrnment shall be u/ion his shoulder; his only: he 
shall not only wear *)it badge ef it upon his 



58 



ISAIAH, IX. 



•ihoulder, (the key of the house of David, ch. xxii. 
■32.; out he shall bum- the burthen of it. The Fii- 
ther sh.iU devulve it upon him, so that he shall have 
an incontestable right to go\'ern; and he shall un- 
dertake it, so that --10 doubt can be made of his go- 
verning well, for he shall set his shoulder to it, and 
will never complain, as Moses did, of his being over- 
charged; lam not able to bear all this peofile, 
Numb. xi. 11, 14. 

Glorious things are here spoken of Christ's go- 
verinnent, v. 7. 

First, That it shall be an increasing govei'nment; 
it shall be multiplied, the bounds ot his kingdom 
shall be more and more enlarged, and many shall 
be added to it daily; the lustre of it shall increase, 
and it shall shine more and more brightly in the 
world. The monarchies of the earth were each less 
illustrious than the other; so that what began in 
gold ended in iron and clay, and every monarchy 
dwindled by degrees: but the kingdom of Christ is 
a growing kingdom, and will come to perfection at 
last. 

Secondly, That it shall be a peaceable govern- 
ment, agreeable to his character as the Prince of 
Peace: he shall rule by love, shall rule in men's 
hearts; so that wherever his government is, there 
shall be peace; and as his government increases, 
the peace shall increase; the more we are subject 
to Clirist, the more easy and safe we are. 

Thirdly, That it shall be a rightful government; 
he that is the Son of David, shall reign upon the 
throne of David, and over his kingdom, which he is 
entitled to; God shall give him the throne of his fa- 
ther David, Luke i. 32, 33. The gospel-church, in 
which Jew and Gentile are incorporated, is the holy 
hill of Zion, on which Christ reigns, P.s. ii. 6. 

Fourthly, That it shall be administered with pru- 
dence and equity, and so as to answer the great end 
of government, which is the establishment of the 
kingdom; he shall order it, and settle it, with jus- 
tice and judgment; every thing is, and shall be, well 
managed, in the kingdom of Chi-ist, and none of his 
subjects shall ever have cause to complain. 

Fifthly, That it shall be an everlasting kingdom ; 
here shall be no end of the increase of his govern- 
ment, it shall be still growing; no end of the in- 
,rease of the peace of it, for the happiness of the 
•ubjects of this kingdom shall last to eternity, and 
' erhaps shall be progressive /;; infinitum — for ever. 
He shall reign from henceforth even for ever; not 
only throughout all generations of time, but even 
then when the kingdom shall be delivered up to 
God, even the Father, the glory both of the Re- 
deemer and the redeemed shall continue eternally. 

Lastly, That God himself has undertaken to bring 
all this about; The Lord of hosts, who has all power 
in his hand, and all creatures at his beck, shall per- 
form this, shall preserve the throne of David till 
this Prince of peace is settled in it; his zeal shall 
do it; his jealousy for his own honour, and the truth 
of his promise, and the good of his church. Note, 
The heart of God is much upon the advancement 
of the kingdom of Christ among men; which is very 
comfortable to all those that wish well to it; the 
zeal of the Lord of hosts will overcome all opposi- 
tion. 

8. The Lord sent a word into Jacob, 
cind it hath lighted upon Israel. 9. And all 
the people shall know, even Ephraim and 
the inhabitants of Samaria, that say in 
the pride and stoutness of heart, 10. The 
bricks are fallen down, but we will build 
with hewn stones; the sycamores are cut 
down, but we will change them into cedars. 



1 1 . Therefore the Lord shall set up the 
adversaries of Kezin against him, and join 
his enemies together; 12. The Syrians be- 
fore, and the Philistines behind; and they 
shall devour Israel with open mouth. For 
all this his anger is not turned away, but his 
hand is stretched out still. 13. For the peo- 
ple turneth not unto him that smiteth them, 
neither do they seek the Lord of hosts. 1 4. 
Therefore the Lord will cut oflfrom Isiael J 
head and tail, branch and rush, in one day. \ 
15. The ancient and honourable, he is the 
head ; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he 
is the tail. 1 6. For the leaders of this peo- 
ple cause them to err; and they that ure led 
of them are destroyed. 17. Therefore tiie 
Lord shall have no joy in their yotnig men, 
neither shall have mercy on their fatherless 
and widows: for eveiy one is a hypocrite 
and an evil-doer, and every mouth speaketii 
folly. For all this his anger is not turned 
away, but his hand is stretched out still. 
18. For wickedness burneth as the fire: 
it shall devour the briers and thorns, and 
shall kindle ui the thickets of the forest; 
and they shall mount up like the lifting up 
of smoke. 19. Through the wrath of the 
Lord of hosts is the land darkened, and the 
people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no 
man shall spare his brother. 20. And he 
shall snatch on the right hand, and be hun- 
gry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and 
they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat 
every man the flesh of his own arm : 21. 
Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Ma- 
nasseh: and they together shall he against 
Judah. For this his anger is not turned 
away, but his hand is stretched out still. 

Here are terrible threatenings, which are directed 
primarily against Israel, the kingdom of the ten 
tribes, Ephraim and Samaria, the ruin of which is 
here foretold, with all the woful confusions that were 
the prefaces to that ruin, all which came to pass 
withm a few years after; but they look further, to 
all the enemies of the throne and kingdom of (Christ 
the Son of David, and read the doom of all nations 
that forget God, and will not have Christ to reign 
over them. Observe, 

I. The preface to this prediction; (t. 8.) The 
Lord sent a word into Jacob; sent it by his servants 
the prophets; he warns before he wounds; he sent 
notice what he would do, that they might meet him 
in the wav of his judgments, but they would not 
take the hint, took no care to turn away his wrath, 
and so it lighted upon Israel; for no word of God 
shall fall to the ground. It fell upon them as a 
storm of rain and hail from on high, which they 
could not avoid. " It has lighted ufion them; it is 
as sure to come as if it were come already; and all 
the people shall know bv feeling it, what they would 
not know bv hearing of it." Those that are wil- 
lingly ignorant of the wrath of God re\ ealed from 
heaven against sin and sinners, shall be made to 
know it. 

II. The sins charged upon the pec i le of Israel, 



ISAUH, IX. 



59 



which provoked God to bring these judgments upon 
them. ' 

1. Their insolent defiance of the justice of God, 
thinking themselves a match for him; They say, in 
the /irktf and stoutness of their heart, " Let God 
himself do his worst, we will hold our own, and 
make our part good with him; if he ruin our houses, 
we will repair them, and make them stronger and 
finer than they were before; our Landlord shall not 
turn us out ot doors, thousjh we pay him no rent, 
but we will keep in possession. It the houses that 
were built of bricks, be demolished in the war, we 
will rebuild them with hewn stones, that sliallnotso 
easih- be thrown down. If the enemy cut down the 
sycamores, we will plant cedars in the room of them. 
We will make a hand of God's judgments, gain by 
them, and so outbrave them." Note, Those are 
ripening apace for ruin, whose hearts are unhum- 
bled under humbling providences; for God will 
walk contrary to those who thus walk contrary to 
him, and provoke him to jealousy, as if they were 
stronger than he. 

2. Their incorrigibleness under all the rebukes 
of Providence hitherto; {v. 13.) The fieofile turn 
not unto him that smites them; they are not wrought 
upon to reform their lives, to forsake their sins, and 
to return to their duty; neither do thexj seek the Lord 
of hosts; either they are atheists, and have no reli- 
gion, or idolaters, and seek to those gods that are 
the creatures of their own fancy, and the works of 
their own hands. Note, That which God designs, 
in smiting us, is, to turn us to himself, and to set us a 
seeking him; and if this point be not gained by lesser 
judgments, greater may be expected. God smites, 
that he may not kill. 

3. Their general corruption of manners and 
abounding profaneness. (1.) Those that should 
have reformed them, helped to debiiich them; {v. 
16.) The leaders of this jxeofile mislead them, and 
cause them to err, by conniving at their wicked- 
ness, and countenancing wicked people, and by set- 
ting them bad examples; and then no wonder if 
they that are led of them be deceived, and so destroy- 
ed; but it is ill with a people wlien their physicians 
are their worst disease. They that bless this fieofile, 
or call them blessed, (so the margin reads it,) tliat 
flatter them, and soothe them up in their wicked- 
ness, and cry Peace, fieace, to them, they cause them 
to err; and they that are called blessed of them, are 
swallowed ufi ere they are aware. We nave reason 
to be afraid of those that speak well of us when we 
do ill; see Prov. xxiv. 24. — xxix. 5. (2.) Wicked- 
ness was universal, and all were infected with it; 
(v. 17.) Every one is a hyfiocrite and evil-doer. 
If there be any that are good, they do not, they dare 
not, appear; for every mouth speaks folly and vil- 
lany ; every one is profane toward God, (so the word 
properly signifies,) and an evil-doer toward man; 
these two commonly go together; they that fear not 
God, regard not man; and then every mouth speaks 
folly, falsehood, and reproach, both against God 
and man; for out of the abundance of the heart the 
mouth sfieaks. 

III. Tlie judgments threatened against them for 
this wickedness of theirs; let them not think to go 
unpunished. 

1. In general, hereby they exposed themselves to 
the wrath of God, which should both devour as fire, 
and darken as smoke. (1.) It should devour as fire; 
(y. 18. ) Wickedness shall bum as thejire; the dis- 
pleasure of God, incurred by sin, shall consume the 
sinners, who have made themselves as briers and 
thorns befire it, and as the thickets of the forest; 
combustible matter, which the wrath of the Lord 
of hosts, the mighty God, will go through, and bum 
together. (2.) It should darken as smoke; the 
briers and thorns, when the fire consumes them, 



shall mount ufi like the lifting' ufi of smoke, so that 
the wliule land shall be darkened by it; they sludl 
be in trouljlc, and see no way out; {v. 19.) 7'/f 
fieofile shall be as the fuel of thejire. God's wratf 
fastens upon none but those that make themselvn 
fuel for it, and then they mount up as the smoke ( f 
sacrifices, being m.ade victims to divine justice. 

2. God would arm the neighbouring powers 
against them, v. 11, 12. At this time, the kingdom 
of Israel was in league with that of S) ria against 
Judah; but the Assyrians, who were adversaries to 
the Syrians, when they had conquered them, sliculd 
invade Israel; and God will stir them up to do it, 
and join the enemies of Israel together in alliance 
against them, who yet have particular ends of their 
own to serve, jind are not aware of God's hand in 
their alliance. Note, (1.) When enemies are set 
up, and joined in confederacy against a people, God's 
hand must be acknowledged in it. (2.^ 1 hose that 
partake with each other in sin, as Syria and Israel 
in invading Judah, must expect to share in the pu- 
nishment of sin. Nay, the Syrians themselves, 
whom they were now in league with, should be a 
scourge to them, (for it is no unusual thing for those 
to fall out, that have been united in sin,) they be- 
fore, and the Philistines behind; one attacking them 
in the front, the other flanking them, or falling upon 
their rear; so that they should be surrounded with 
enemies on all sides, who should devour them with 
ofien mouth, v. 12. The Philistines were not now 
looked upon as formidable enemies, and the Syrians 
were looked upon as fast friends; and yet these shall 
devour Israel. When men's ways displease the 
Lord, he makes even their friends to be at war with 
them. 

3. God would take from the midst of them those 
they confided in, and promised themselves help 
from, V. 14, 15. Because the people seek not God, 
those they seek to, and depend upon, shall stand 
them in no stead. The Lord will cut off head and 
tail, branch and rush, which is explained in the 
next verse. (1.) Their magistrates, that were ho- 
nourable by birth and office, and were the ancients 
of the people, these were the head, these were the 
branch which they promised themselves spirit and 
fruit from; but because these caused them to err, 
they shall be cut off, and their dignity and power 
shall be no protection to them, when the abuse of 
that dignity and power was the great provocation : 
it was a judgment upon the people to have their 
princes cut off', though they were not such as they 
should be. (2.) Their prophets, their false pro- 
phets, were the tail and the rash, the most despica- 
ble of all others. A wicked minister is the worst 
of men ; Corrufitio ofitimi est fiessima — That luhich 
is best, firoves, ivhen corrufited, to be the worst. 
The blind led the blind, and so both fell into the 
ditch; and the blind leaders fell first, and fell undei - 
most. 

4. That the desolation should be as general as the 
corruption had been, and none should escape it, i'. 
17. (1.) Not those that were the objects of com- 
placency : none shall be spared for love : The Lord 
shall have no joy in their young men, that were in 
the flower of their youth; nor will he say. Deal 
gently with the young mm for my sake; no, " Let 
them fall with the rest, and with them let the seed 
of the next generation perish." (2.) Not these that 
were the objects of compassion; none shall be spared 
for pity; He shall not have mercy on the fatherles.^ 
and widows, though he is, in a particular manner, 
their Patron and Protector: tliey liad corrupted 
their way like all the rest; and if the poverty and 
helplessness of their state was not an argument with 
them to keep them from sin, they could not expi rt 
it should be an argument with God to protect if eiu 
from judgments. 



GO 



ISAIAH, X. 



5. That they should pull one another to pieces, | 
and every one should help forward the common 
I'uin, and tliey should be cannibals to themselves 
and one another; JVo man shall s/tare his brother, if 
he come in the way of his ambition or covetousness, j 
or if he have any colour to be revenged on him; and i 
how can they expect God should spare them, when ' 
they show no compassion one to another? Men's 
passion and cruelty one against another provoke 
God to be angry with tliem all, and are an evidence 
that he is so. Civil wars soon bring a kingdom to 
desolation; such there were in Israel, when, for the 
transg-7-es/iion of the land, many ivere the princes 
'.hereof, Prov. xxviii. 2. In these intestine broils, 
men snatched on the right hand and yet ivere hun- 
gry still, and did eat the flesh of their own arm, 
preyed upon themselves for hunger, or upon their 
nearest relations that were as then- own flesh, v. 20. 
This bespeaks, (1.) Great famine and scarcity; 
when men had pulled all they could to them, it was 
so little, that they were still hungry, at least God 
did not bless it to them; so that they eat and have 
not enough, Haggai i. 6. (2.) Great rapine and 
plunder; Jusgue datum sceleri — Iniquity is estab- 
lished by laiv. The hedge of property, which is a 
hedge of protection to men's estates, shall be pluck- 
ed up, and every man shall think all that his own 
•which he can lay his hands on; Vivitur ex rafito; 
non honfies ab hosjiite tutus — They live on the spoil, 
and the rites of hospitality are all violated. And 
yet when men thus catch at that which is none of 
their own, they are not satisfied. Covetous desires 
are insatiable, and this curse is entailed on that 
which is ill got, that it will never do well. 

These intestine broils should be not only among 
particular persons and private families, but among 
tlie tribes; \v. 21.) Manasseh shall devour Ephraim, 
and Ephraim, Manasseh, though they be combined 
against Judah. They that could unite against Ju- 
dah, could not unite with one another; but that 
sinful confederacy of theirs against their neighbour 
that dwelt securely by them, was justly punished by 
this separation of them one from another. Or, Ju- 
dah having sinned like Manasseh and Ephraim, 
shall not only suffer with tliem, but suflier by them. 
Note, Mutual enmity and animosity among the tribes 
of God's Israel, is a sin that ripens them for ruin, 
and a sad symptom of ruin hastening on apace. If 
Ephraim be against Manasseh, and Manasseh 
against Ephraim, and both against Judah, they will 
all soon become a very easy prey to the common 
enemy. 

6. That though they should be followed with all 
those judgments, yet God would not let fall his con- 
troversy with them. It is tlie heavy burthen of 
this song; {v. 12, 17, 2\.) For all this, his anger is 
not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still; 
(1.) They do nothing to turn away his anger; they 
do not repent and reform, they do not humble them- 
selves and pray; none stand in the gap, none answer 
God's calls, nor comply with the designs of his pro- 
vidences, but they are hardened and secure. (2. ) 
His anger theiefore continues to burn against them, 
and his hand is stretched out still. The reason why 
the judgments of God are prolonged, is, because the 
Doint is not gained, sinners are not brought to re- 
pentance by them; the people turn not to him that 
"mites them, and therefore he continues to smite 
them; for when God judges, he will overcome; and 
the proudest, stoutest sinner shall either bend or 
break. 

CHAP. X. 

The pi^ophet, in this chapter, is dealinf^, I. With the proud 
oppressors of his people at home, that abused their pow- 
er, to pervert justice, whom he would reckon with for 
their tyranny, V. I . .4. II. With a threatening Invader 
of bis people from abroad, Sennacherib king of Assyria; 



concerning whom, observe, I. The commission given 
him to invade Judah, v.'6, 6. 2. His pride and insolence 
in the execution of that commission, v. 7 . . II, 13 14. 
3. A rebuke given to his haughtiness, and a threateiiing 
of his fall and ruin, when he had served the purposes for 
which God raised him up, v. 12, IS . . 19. 4. A promise 
of grace to the people of God, to enable them to bear up 
under the affliction, and to get good bv it, v. 20 . . 23. 5. 
Great encouragement given to them not to fear this 
tlireatening storm, but to hope that, though for the pre- 
sent all the country was put into a great consternation 
by it, it would end well, in the destruction of this formi- 
dable enemy, v. 24 . . 34. And this is intended to quiet 
the minds of good people, in reference to all the threat- 
ening efforts of the wrath of the church's enemies : if God 
be for us, who can be against us? None to do us any 
harm. 

1. "V%7^0 u"to them that decree uniight- 
▼ T eous decrees, and that write gi iev- 
ousness which they have prescribed : 2. To 
turn aside the needy from judgment, and to 
take away the right from the poor of my 
people, that widows may be their prey, and 
^^flMhey may rob the fatherless! 3. And 
what will ye do in the day of visftation, and 
in the desolation ivhich shall come from far ? 
to whom will ye flee for help ? and where 
will ye leave your glory ? 4. Without me 
they shall bow down under the prisoners, 
and they shall fall under the slain. For all 
this his anger is not turned away, but his 
hand is stretched out still. 

Whether they were the princes and judges of Is- 
rael, or Judah, or both, that this prophet denounced 
this wo against, is not certain: if those of Israel, 
these verses are to be joined with the close of tiic 
foregoing chapter; which is probable enrugh, be- 
cause the burthen of that prophecy {For all this, his 
anger is not turned away) is repeated here, v. 4» 
If those of Judah, they then show what was the par- 
ticular sin for which God brought the Assyriiiii 
army upon them — to punish their magistrates fi i 
mal-administration, which they could not legally be 
called to account for. To them he speaks wets, 
before he speaks comfort to God's own people. 

Here is, 1. The indictment drawn up against 
these oppressors, v. 1, 2. They are charged, (1.) 
With making wicked laws and edicts: they decree 
unrighteous decrees, contrary to natural equity and 
the law of God; and what mischiefs they prescribe, 
those under them write it, enrol it, and put it into 
the formality of a law. Wo to the superior powers 
that devise and decree these decrees! They are not 
too high to be under the divine check. And wo to 
the inferior officers that draw them up, and enter 
them upon record! They are not too mean to be 
within the divine cognizance; the writers that write 
the griex'ousness, principal and accessaries, shall 
fall under the same wo. Note, It is bad to do hurt, 
but it is worse to do it with design and delibcratif n, 
to do wrong to many, and to involve many in the 
guilt of doing wrong. (2.) With perverting justice 
in the execution of the laws that were made : no 
people had statutes and judgments so righteous as 
they had; and yet corrupt judges found ways to turn 
aside the needy from judgment, to hinder tliem from 
coming at their right, and recovering what was 
their due, because they were needy and poor, and 
such as they could get nothing by, nor expect any 
bribes from. (3.) With enriching themselves by 
oppressing those that lay at their mercy, whom they 
ought to ha\'e protected: they make widows' houses 
and est ites their prev, and they rob the fatherless 
of the little that is left them, because they have no 
friend to appear for them. Not to relieve them if 



ISAIAH, X. 



61 



thev luul wanted, nrt to right them if tliey were 
wronged, had been crime enough in men that had 
wealtli and ijower; but to rob tliem because on tlie 
side of tlie oppressors there was power, and the op- 
pressed had no comforter, (Eccl. iv. 1.) is such a 
pirce of Ijarbarity, as one would tliink, none could 
ever be guilty of, that had either the nature of a 
man, or the name of an Israelite. 

2. A challenge given them with all their pride 
and power to outface the judgments of God; {v. 3.) 
" // /lar ivill ye do! To ivhom ■will ye flee? You can 
tr^iiipk upon the widows and f.itherless; but ivhat 
•will lie do when God riseth ii/i?" Jol) xxxi. 14. 
Grc ;t men, who tyrannize over the poor, think they 
sh .11 never be called to account for it, shall never 
hear of it again, or fare the worse for it; but s/iall 
not God visit for these thi7igs? Jer. v. 29. \^'ill 
there not come a desolation upon those that have 
made others desolate.' Perhaps it may come from 
far, and therefore may be long in coming; but it will 
come at last; I'eprieves are not pai'dons; and, com- 
ing from far, from a quarter whence it was least 
expected, it will be the greater surprise, and the 
more terrible. Now what will then become of these 
unrighteous judges? Now they see their helfi in the 

fate. Job xxxi. 21. But to whom will they then 
ee for help.' Note, (1.) There is a day of visitation 
coming, a day of inquiry and discovery, a searching 
day, wliich will bring to light, to a true light, every 
man, and every man's work. (2.) Tlic day of •, i- 
sitation will be a day of desolation to all wicked peo- 
ple, when all their comforts and hopes will be lost 
and gone, and buried in ruin, and tliemselves left 
desolate. (3. ) Impenitent sinners \vill be utterly at 
a loss, and will not know what to do in the day of 
visitation and desolation. They cannot fly and hide 
themselves, cannot fight it out and defend them- 
selves; they have no refuge in which either to shel- 
ter themselves from the present evil, (To whom 
will ye flee for help?) or to secure to themselves 
better times hereafter; " Where will you leave your 
f^lory, to find it again when the stoi-m is over.'" The 
wealth they had got was their glory, and they had 
no place of safety in which to deposit that, but they 
should certainly see it flee away. If our souls be 
our glory, as they ought to be, and wc make them 
our chief care, we know where to leave them, and 
into whose hands to commit them, even those of a 
faithful Creator. (4.) It concerns us all seriously 
to consider what we shall do in the day of visitation, 
in a day of afl[\iction, in the day of death and judg- 
ment, and to provide that we may do well. 

3. Sentence passed vipon them, by which they are 
doomed, some to imprisonment and captivity; They 
shall bow down among the prisoners, or under them: 
those that were most highly elevated in sin, shall 
be most heavily loaded, and most deeply sunk in 
trouble; others to death, they shall fall first, and so 
shall fall under the rest of the slain; they that h '.d 
trampled upon the widows and fatherless, sh ill 
themselves be trodden down: {v. 4.) " This it w'll 
come to," says God, " without me; because you 
have deserted me, and driven me away from you." 
Nothing but utter ruin can be expected by those 
that live without God in the world; that cast him 
behind their back, and so cast themselves out of his 
protection. 

And yet, /or alt this, his anger is not turned away; 
which intimates not only that God will proceed in 
his controversy with them, but that they shall be 
in a continual dread of it; they shall, to their un- 
ipeakablc terror, see his hand still stretched out 
against them, and there shall remain nothing but a 
fearful looking-for of judgjnent. 

5. O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and 
(he staff" in their hand is mine indignation. 



6. 1 will send him against a hypocritical 
nation, and against the people of my VMaili 
will .1 give him a charge, to take the spoil, 
and to take the prey, and to tread them 
down like the mire of the stieets. 7. How 
beit he meaneth not so, neither dotli his 
heart think so; hut it is in his heart to de- 
stroy and cut offnations not a few. 8. For 
he saith. Are not my princes altogethei 
kings ? 9. Is not C'alno as Caichemish I ii 
not Hamath as Arpad ? is not Samaria as 
Damascus? 10. As my hand hath found 
the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven 
images did excel them of Jerusalem and of 
Samaria; 11. Shall I not, as 1 have done 
unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusa- 
lem and her idols? 12. Wherefore it shall 
come to pass, that, when the Lord hath 
'' performed his whole work upon mount Zion 
and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of 
the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and 
the glory of his high looks. 1 3. For he saith. 
By the strength of my hand I ha\e done it. 
and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and 
1 have removed the bounds of the people, 
and have robbed their treasures, and 1 have 
put down the inhabitants like a valiant man: 
14. And my hand hath found, as a nest, tlie 
riches of the people: and as one gatheieth 
eggs that ciTC left, have I gathered ail the 
earth; and there was none that moved the 
wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped. 15. 
Shall the axe boast itself against him tiiat 
heweth therewith ? or shall the saw magnify 
itself against him that shaketh it ? as if the 
rod should shake itself against them that 
lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itse/f. 
as if it ivere no wood. 16. TJierefore shall 
the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among 
his fat ones leanness; and under his glory 
he shall kindle a burning like the burning 
of a fire. 17. And the light of Israel shall 
be for a fire, and his Holy One for a tlanu : 
and it shall burn and devour his thorns anil 
his briers in one day; 18. And shall con- 
sume the glory of his forest, and of his fruit- 
ful field, both soul and body : and they shall 
be as when a standard-bearer fainteth. 1 9. 
And the rest of the trees of his forest shall 
be few, that a child may write them. 

The destruction of the kingdom of Israel byShal- 
maneser, king of Assyria, was foretold in the fore- 
going chapter, rmd it had its accompUshmcnt in 
the sixth vear of Hezekiah, 2 Kings x\ iii. 10. It 
was total 'and final, head and tail were all cut off. 
Now the correction of the kingdom of Judah by 
! Sennacherib, king of Assyria, is foretold in this 
■ chapter; and this prediction was fulfilled in the 
fourteenth year of Hezekiah, when that potent 
prince, encouraged by the successes of his prede- 
cessor against the ten tribes, ca?ne vfi against -ill 
the fenced cities of Judah, and took ttiem, a 'id 



C-2 



ISAIAH, X. 



laid sifge to Jerusalem, (2 King xviii. 13.) in con- 
sequence of which, we mny well suppose Hezekiah 
,ind his kingdom were greatly alarmed, though 
there was a good work of reforiiiation lately begun 
among them: but it ended well, in the confusion of 
the Assyrians, and the great encouragement of He- 
zekiali and his people in their return to God. 

Now let us see here, 

I. How God, in his sovereignty, deputed the king 
of Assyria to be his servant, and made use of him 
as a mere tool to serve his own purposes with; (x'. 5, 
6. ) " O Assyrian, know this, that thou art the rod of 
mine anfrer; and I will send thee to be a scourge to 
the fteofile of my wrath." Observe here, 1. How 
bad the character of the Jews is, though they ap- 
peared very good; they are a hypocritical nation, 
that made a profession of religion, and, at this time 
particularly, of reformation, but were not truly re- 
ligious, not truly reformed, not so good as they pre- 
tended to be, now that Hezekiah had brought good- 
ness into fashion. When rulers are pious, and so re- 
ligion is in reputation, it is common for nations to be 
hypocritical ; they are a profane nation; so some read 
it. Hezekiah had in a great measure cured them 
of their idolatry, and now they run into prof ine- 
ness; nay, hypocrisy is profaneness: none profane 
the name of God so much as those who are called 
bv that name, and call upon it, and yet live in sin. 
Being a profane hypocritical nation, they are the 
people of God's wrath; they lie under his wrath, 
and are likely to be consumed by it. Note, Hypocri- 
tical nations are the people of God's wrath: nothing 
is more offensive to God than dissimulation in re- 
ligion. See what a change sin made: they that had 
been God's chosen and hallowed people, above all, 
were now become the peojile of his wrath. See 
Amos iii. 2. 2. How mean the character of the As- 
syrian is, though he appeared very great; he is but 
the rod of God's anger, an instniment God is pleas- 
ed to make use of for the chastening of his people, 
that, being thus chastened of the Lord, they may 
not be condemned with the world. Note, The ty- 
r.mts of the world are but tools of Providence. Men 
are God's hand, his sword sometimes, to kill and 
slay, Ps. xvii. 13, 14. At other times, tliey are his 
rod to correct The staff in their hand, wherewith 
they smite his people, is his indignation; it is his 
wrath that puts the staff into their liand, and ena- 
bles them to deal blows at pleasure among such as 
thought themselves a match for them. Sometimes 
God makes an idolatrous nation, that serves him not 
at all, a scourge to an hypocritical nation, that serves 
him not in sincerity and truth. 

The Assyrian is called the rod of God's anger, 
because he is employed by him. (1.) From him his 
power is derived; Twill send him, I will give him 
a charge. Note, All the power that wicked men 
have, though they often use it against God, they al- 
ways receive from him. Pilate could have no pow- 
er against Christ, unless it were given him from 
above, John xix. 11. (2.) By him the exercise of 
that power is directed. The Assyrian is to take the 
spoil, and to tike the prey, not to shed any blood; 
we read not of any slain, but he is to plunder the 
country, rifle the houses, drive the cattle, and strip 
them of all their \vealth and ornaments, and tread 
them down like the mire of the streets. When God's 
professing people wallow in the mire of sin, it is just 
with God to suffer their enemies to tread upon them 
like mire. But %vhy must the Assyrian prevail thus 
igainst them? Not that they might be ruined, but 
'hat they might be thoroughly reformed. 

II. See how the king of Assyria, in his pride, 
magnifit.l himself as his own master, and pretend- 
ed to be absolute, and ab^ve all control; to act pure- 
ly according to his own will, and for his own honour. 
God ordained him for judgment, even the mighty 



God established him for correction, (Hab. i. 12.) to 
be an instrument of bringing his people to repent- 
ance; hoivbeit, he means not so, nor doen his heart 
think so, v. 7. He does not think that he is either 
God's servant, or Israel's friend; either that he can 
do no more than God will let him, or that he shall 
do no more than God will make to work for the 
good of his people. God designs to correct his peo- 

Ele for, and so to cure them of, their hypocrisy, and 
ring them nearer to him ; but was that Sennache- 
rib's design? No, it was the furthest thing from 
his thoughts: he means not so. Note, 1. The wise 
God often makes e\cn the sinful passions and pro- 
jects of men subservient to his own great and holy 
purposes. 2. \\^hen God makes use of men as in- 
.struments in his hand to do his work, it is very 
common for him to mean one tiling, and them to 
mean another; nay, for them to mean the quite con- 
trary to what he intends. What Joseph's brethren 
designed for hurt, God overruled for good. Gen. 1. 
20. See Mic. iv. 11, 12. Men have their ends, and 
God has his, but we are sure the counsel of the Lord 
shall stand. But what is it tlic proud Assyrian aims 
at? The heart of kings is unsearchable, but God 
knew what was in his heart: he designs nothing but 
to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few, and to 
make himself master of them. (1.) He designs to 
gratify his own cnielty; nothing will serve but to 
destroy, and cut off. He hopes to regale himself 
with blood and slaughter; that of p:irticular persons 
will not suffice, he must cut off nations. It is below 
him to deal by retail, he traffics in murder by whole- 
sale; nations, and those not a few, must have but one 
neck, which he will have the pleasure of cutting off. 
(2.) He designs to gratify his own covetousness and 
ambition, to set up for a universal monarch, and 
to gather unto him all nations, Hab. ii. 5. An in- 
satiable desire of wealth and dominion, is that which 
carries him on in this undertaking. 

The prophet here brings him in vaunting and 
hectoring; and by his general's letter to Hezekiah, 
written in his name, vaingloiy and arrogance seem 
to have entered very far into the spirit and genius 
of the man. His haughtiness and presumption are 
here described very largely, and his very language 
copied out, partly to represent him as ridiculous, 
and parti)' to assure the people of God that he 
would be brought down; for that maxim gene- 
rally holds ti-ue that pride goes before dcstnic- 
tion. It also intimates, that God takes notice, and 
keeps an account, of all men's proud and haughty 
words, with which they set heaven and earth at de- 
fiance. They that speak great swelling words of 
vanity, shall hear of them again. 

[1.] He boasts what great things he has done to 
other n;itions. First, He has made their kings his 
courtiers; {v. 8.) "My princes are altogether kings; 
those that are now my princes, are such as have 
been kings." Or, he means that he had raised his 
throne to that degree, that his sen'ants, and those 
that were in command under him, were as great, 
and li\'ed in as much pomp, as the kings of other 
countries. Or, those that were absolute princes in 
their own dominions, held their crowns under him, 
and did him homage. This was a vainglorious 
boast; but how great is our God whom we serve, 
who is indeed King of kings, and whose subjects are 
made to him kings! Rev. i. 6. Secondly, He has 
made himself master of their cities: he names se- 
veral, {v. 9.) that were all alike reduced by him; 
Calno soon yielded as Carchemish did; H:im'th 
could not held out any more than Aipad; and Sa- 
maria is become his, as well as Damascus. To sup- 
port his lioasts, he is obliged to bring the victories 
of his predecessor into the accrunt; for it was he 
that conqmred Samaria, not Sennacherib. T.'iird'nj, 
He liad beer, too hard for their idols, their tutt'.ai 



ISAIAH, X. 



63 



jods, and had found out the kingdoms ot their idols, 
and found out ways to make tliem his own, r. 10. 
Their kinj;doms took denominations from the idols 
they worshipped; the Moaljites are called the fieo- 
fiU of Chemosh, (Jer. xlviii. 46.) because they ima- 
gined their gods were their patrons and protectors; 
and therefore Sennacherib vainly imagines that 
every conquest of a kingdom was the conquest of a 
god. Fourthly, He had enlarged his own domi- 
nions, and removed the bounds of the people, (t. 
15.) enclosing many large territories within the li- 
mits of his own kingdom, and shifting a great way 
further the ancient landmarks which his fatliers 
had set; he could not bear to be hemmed in so close, 
hut must have more room to thrive. By his re- 
moving the border of the people, Mr. White un- 
derstands his arbitrary transplanting of colonies 
from pi ice to place, which was the constant prac- 
tice of tlie Assyrians in all their conquests; tins is a 
prabai)Ie interfjretation. Ffthly, He had enriched 
liimself with their wealth, and brought it into his 
own exchequer; I'have robbed their treasures. In 
that, he said truly. Great conquerors are often no 
better than great robbers. Lastly, He had master- 
ed all the opposition he met with; "/ hax'e put 
donvn the inhabitants as a valiant man: those that 
sat high, and thought they sat firm, I have hum- 
bled, find made to come down. " 

He boasts, 1. That he had done all this by his 
own policy and power; {y. 13.) By the strength of 
my hand, for I am valiant; arid by my wisdom, for 
I am prudent: not by the permission of providence, 
and the blessing of God: he knows not that it is God 
that makes him what he is, and puts the staff into 
his hand, but sacrifices to hii own net, Hab. i. 16. 
It is all gotten by my might, and the power of my 
hand, Deut. viii. 17. Downright atheism and pro- 
faneness, as well as pride and vanity, are at the bot- 
tom of men's attributing their prosperity and suc- 
cess thus to themselves and their own conduct, and 
raising their own character upon it. 2. That he 
had done all this with a great deal of ease, and had 
made but a sport and diversion of it, as if he had 
been taking birds' nests; {v. 14.) My hand has 
found as a nest the riches of the people; and when 
he had found them, there was no more difficulty in 
caking them than in rifling a nest, nor anv more re- 
luctance or regret within his own bi-east, in destroy- 
ing families and cities, than in destroying crows' 
nests: killing children was no more to him than 
killing birds. " As one gathers the eggs that are 
left in the nest by the dam, so easily have I gather- 
ed all the earth ;" (like Alexander, he thought he 
had conquered the world;) and whatever prey he 
seized, there was none that moved the wing, or 
opened the mouth, or peeped, as birds do when their 
nests are rifled; they durst not make any opposition, 
no, nor any complaint; such awe did they stand in 
of this mighty conqueror; they were so weak, that 
they knew it was to no purpose to resist; and he 
was so arbitrarv, that they knew it was to no pur- 
]OTse to complain. Striinge! that ever men, who 
were made to do good, should take a pride and a 
pleasure in doing wrong, and doing mischief to all 
about them without control; and should reckon that 
their gl'iry which is their shame! But ?Af/r day will 
come to fall, who thus make themselves the terror 
of the mighty, and much more of the feeble, in the 
land of the living. 

[2.] He threatens what he will do to Jerusalem, 
which he was now about to lay siege to, v. 10. 11. 
He would master Jerusalem and her idols, as he had 
subdued other places and their idols, particularly 
Simiria. First, He blasphemously calls the God 
-i'' Israel an idol, and sets him on a level with the 
f 'Ise eods of other nations, as if none were the true 
viod but Mithras, the siui. whom he worshipped. 



See how ignorant he was, and then we shall the less 
wonder that he was so prcjud. Secondly, He pre 
fers the graven images of other countries befire 
those of Jerusalem and Samaria, when he might 
have known that the worshippers of the God of Is 
rael were expressly forbidden to make any graven 
images, and if any did, it must be by stcaltli, and 
therefore they could not be so rich and pompfus as 
those of other nations. If he mean tlie ark and the 
mercy-seat, he speaks like himself, very foolishly, 
and as one that judged by the sight of the eye, aiid 
might therefore be easily deceived in matters of spi- 
ritual concern. Those who make external pomp 
and splendour a mark of the true cluirch, go by the 
same rule. Thirdly, Because he had conrjuertd 
Samaria, he concludes Jerusalem would tall of 
course; " shall not I do so to Jerusalem? Can I not 
as easily, and may I not as justly?" But it did not 
follow; for Jerusalem adhered to her God, whereas 
Samaria had forsaken him. 

III. See how God, in his justice, rebukes his 
pride, and reads his doom. We have heard what 
the great king, the king of Assyria, says, and how 
big he talks; let us now hear what the great God 
has to say by his servant the prophet, and we shall 
find that, wherein he deals proudly, God is above 
him. 

1. He shows the vanity of his insolent and auda- 
cious boasts; (y. 15.) Shall the are boast itself 
against hiin that hews therewith? Or, Shall the saw 
magnify itself against him that draius it ? So absurd 
are the boasts of this proud man. " O what a dust 
do I make!" said the fly upon the cart-wheel in the 
fable. "What destruction do I make among the 
trees!" says the axe. Two ways the axe may be 
said to boast itself against him that hat's with it; 
(1.) By way of resistance and opposition. Senna- 
cherib blasphemed God, insvdted him, threatened 
to serve him as he had served the gods of the na- 
tions; now this was as if the axe should fly in the 
face of him that hews with it. The tool striving 
with the workman is no less absurd than the clay 
striving with the potter: and as it is a thing not to 
be justified, that men should fight against God with 
the wit, and wealth, and power, which he gi\'es 
them, so it is a thing not to be suffered; but if men 
will be thus proud and daring, and bid defiance to 
all that is just and sacred, let them expect that God 
will reckon with them; the more insolent they are, 
the surer and sorer will their ruin be. (2.) By way 
of rivalship and competition. Shall the axe take to 
itself the praise of the work it is employed in.' So 
senseless, so absurd, was it for Sennacherib to say. 
By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by 
my wisdom, v. 13. It is as if the rod, when it is 
shaken, should boast that it guides the hand which 
shakes it; whereas when the staff is lifted up, is it 
not wood still? So the last clause may be read. If 
it he an ensign of authority, (as the nobles of the 
people carried staves, Numb. xxi. 18.) if it be an 
instrument of service, either to sup]iort a weak man, 
or to correct a bad man, still it is wood, and can do 
nothing but as it is directed by him that uses it. 
The psalmist prays that God would make the na- 
tions know that they were 'but men, (Ps. ix. 20.) the 
St iff to know that it is but wood. 

2. He foretells his fall and ruin. 

(1.) That when God hath done his work hu him, 
he will then do his work vf}on him, v. 12. For the 
comfort of the pcrjile of God, in refcrtnce to Sen- 
nacherib's invasion, though it was a dismal time 
with them, let them know, [1.] That God designed 
to do good in Zion and Jerusalem by his providence; 
there is a work to be done upon them, which God 
intends, and which he will perform. Note, When 
God lets loose the enemies of his church and peo- 
ple, :.nd ?ufF>;rs thtm for a time to prevail, it is in 



«4 



ISAIAH, X. 



crtler to the performin!;; of some great good work 
upon theni; and when that is done, tlien, and not till 
then, lie will work dtli\erance for them. When 
God brings his people into trouble, it is to try them, 
(Dan. xi. 35.) to bring sin to their remembrance, 
and humble them for it, and to awaken them to a 
sense of tlieir duty, to teach them to pray, and to 
love and help one anotlier; and this ?nust be the 
fruit, even the taking aivay of sin, ch. xxvii. 9. 
When these points are, in some measure, gained by 
the affliction, it sliall be removed in mercy, (Lev. 
xxvi. 41, 42.) otherwise not; for as the word, so the 
rod, shall accom/ilis/i that for which God sends it. 
[2.] Tliat when God had wrought this work of 
grace for his people, he would work a work of 
wrath and \cngeance upon their invaders; / ivi/l 
fiunixh the fruit of the stout heart of the king of 
Assyria. His big words are here said to come from 
his stout heart, and they are the fruit of it, for oiit 
of the abundance of the heart the mouth sfieaks; no- 
tice is taken too of the glory of his high looks, for 
a proud look is the indication of a proud spirit. 
The enemies of the church are commonly very high 
and haughty; but, sooner or later, God will reckon 
for that. He glories in it as an incontestable proof 
of his power and sovereignty, that he looks ufion 
firoud men, and abases them, Job xl. 11, &c. 

(2.) That how threatening soever this attempt 
was upon Zinn and Jerusalem, it should certainly be 
baffled and broken, and come to nothing, and he 
should not be able to bring to pass his enterprise, X'. 
16 — 19. Observe, 

[1.] Who it is that undertakes his destniction, 
and will be the Author of it; not Hezekiah, or his 
princes, or the militia of Judah and Jerusalem; 
(what can they do against such a potent force?) but 
God himself will do it, as the Lord of hosts, and as 
tliL' Light of Israel. First, We are sure he can do 
it, for he is the Lord of hosts, of all the hosts of 
heaven and earth; all the creatures are at his com- 
m md, he makes what use he pleases of them, and 
lays what restraints he pleases on them. He is the 
Lord of the hosts both of Judah and of Assyria, 
and can give the victory to which he pleases. Let 
us not fear the hosts of any enemy, if we have the 
Lord of hosts for us. Secondly, We have reason to 
hope he mill do it, for he is the Light of Israel, and 
his Holy One. God is Light; in him are perfect 
brightness, purity, and happiness. He is Light, for 
he is the Holy One; his holiness is his glory. He is 
Israel's Light, to direct and counsel his people, to 
favour and countenance them, and so to rejoice and 
comfort them in the worst of times. He is their 
Holy One, for he is in covenant with them ; his ho- 
liness is engaged and employed for them. God's 
holiness is the saints' comfort; they give thanks at 
the remembrance of it, and with a gi'eat deal of plea- 
sui'e call him their Holy One, Hab. i. 12. 

[2.1 How this destruction is represented. It shall 
be. First, As a consumption of the body by a dis- 
ease; The Lord shall send leanness among his fat- 
nesses, or his fat ones. His numerous army, that was 
like a body covered with fatness, shall be diminish- 
ed, and waste away, and become like .a skeleton. 
Secondly, as a consumption of buildings, or trees 
and bushes, by fire; Under his glory, that very thing 
which he !;lories in, he will kindle a burning, as the 
buitiing of a fire, which shall lay his army in laiins, 
as suddcnlv as a raging fire lays a stately house 
in ashes. Some make it an allusion to the fire kin- 
dled under the sacrifices, for proud sinners fall as 
sacrifices to divine justice. Observe, 1. How this 
fire shall be kindled, t, 17. The same God that is 
a rejoicing Light to them that serve him faithfully, 
will be a consuming Fire to them that trifle with 
him, or rebel against him; the Light of Israel shall 
l)c 1 Fire to the Assyrians, as the same pillar ol 



cloud was a light to the Israelites, and a teiTor to 
the Egyptians, in the Red sea. What cm opp; se 
what can extinguish, such a fire.' 2. \\'hat dcso 
lation it shall niaki ; It shall burn ayid devour its 
thorns and briers, liis officers and soldiers, which 
are of little worth, and vexations to God's Israel, as 
thorns and briers, whose end is to be burned, and 
which are easily and quickly consumed b)' a de- 
vouring fire; {ch. xxvii. 4.) IVho ivoutd set the bri- 
ers and thorns against me in battle'^ They will be, 
so far from stopping tlie fire, that they will inflame 
it; J ivoiild go through them and bum them toge 
ther; they shall be de\oured in one day, all cut off 
in an instant. When tliey cried not only Peace and 
safety, but Victi ry and triumph, then sudden de- 
struction came; it came surprisingly, and was C( m- 
pleted in a little time. Even the glory of his forest, 
{v. 18.) the choice troops of his army, the veterans, 
the troops of the household, the l)ravest regiments 
he had, that he was most proud of, and depended 
most upon, that he values, as men do their timber- 
trees, the glory of their forest, or their fruit-trees, 
the glory of their Carmel; those shall be put as bri- 
ers and tliorns before the fire; they shall be consum- 
ed both soul and body, entirely consumed, not only 
a limb burned, but life taken away. Note, God 
is able to destroy both soul and body, and there- 
fore we should fear him more than man, wh«i can 
but kill the body; great armies before him are but 
as great woods, which he can fell or fire when he 
pleases. 

And what would be the effect of this great slaugh 
ter.' The prophet teUs us, (1.) That the army 
would hereby be reduced to a very small number; 
The rest of the trees of his forest shall be few! very 
few shall escape the sword of the destroying angel, 
so few that there needs no artist, no muster-master, 
or secretary of war, to take an account of them, 
for even a child may soon reckon the numbers of 
them, and write the names of them. (2.) That 
those few who remained, should be quite dis])irited; 
They shall be as when a standard-bearer faints; 
when he either falls or flees, and his coli urs are 
taken by the enemy, this discourages the whrle 
army, and puts them all into confusirn. Upon the 
whole matter we must say, IVho is able to stand be- 
fore this great and holy Lord God? 

20. And it shall come to pass in tliat day, 
tliat the remnant of Israel, and such as are 
escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no 
more again stay upon him that smote them ; 
but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy 
One of Israel, in truth. 21. The remnant 
shall return, rrrn the remnant of Jacob, unto 
the mighty God. 22. For though thy peo- 
ple Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a 
remnant of them shall return: the consump- 
tion decreed shall overflow with lighteous- 
ness. 23. For the Lord God of hosts shall 
make a consumption, even determined, in 
the midst of all the land. 

The prophet had said, {v. 12.) that the Lord 
would fierforni his whole work upon Mount Zion 
and upon Jerusalem, by Sennacherib's invading of 
the land; now here we are told what that work 
should be. A two-fold work: 

1. The conversion of some, to whom this provi- 
dence should be sanctified, and yield the peaceable 
fruit of righteousness, though foi- the present it was 
not joyous, but grievous; these are but a remnant: 
{v. 22.) the remnant of Israel, {v. 20.) the remnant 
of Jacob, (ri. 21.) buta very few inccmpnrison with 



ISAIAH. X. 



Ot 



the vast imnibcrs of tbe people of Israel, wliicli | 
Weiv .IS the s.mcl of tlie se;i. Note, Converting- i 
wnrk is wi-uuglit but on a remnant, who are distin- I 
l^uislicil from the I'esl, and set apart for God. When | 
wo see bow populous Israel is, how numerous tlie ' 
members of tlie visible church are, as the sand of 
the sea, and yet consider tliat of those a remnant 
only shall be saved, that of the many that are called 
there are but few chosen, we shall surely strive to 
niter in at the strait gate, and fear lest we seetn to 
come sliort. The remnant of Israel are said to be 
such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, such as 
escaped the conniptions of the house of Jacob, and 
kept their integrity in times of common apostacy; 
and that was a tair escape. And therefore they es- 
cape the desolations of that house, and shall be pre- 
served in safety, in times of common calamity; and 
that also will be a fair and narrow escape. Their 
lives shall be given them for a firey; (Jer. xlv. 5.) 
the righteous scarcely are saved. 

Now, (1.) This i-emnant shall come off from all 
confidence in an arm of flesh, this providence shall 
cure them of that; they shall no 7nore again stay 
u/ion him that smote them, shall never depend upon 
the Assyrians, as they have done, for help against 
their other enemies, finding that they are themselves 
their worst enemies; Ictus /liscator safiit — Suffer- 
ings teach caution. They have now leamed, by 
dear-bought experience, the folly of leaning upon 
that staff as a stay to them, which may perhaps 
prove a staff to beat them ; it is a part of the co- 
venant of a returning people, (Hos. xiv. 3.) Jls- 
syria shall not save us. Note, By our afBictions 
we may learn not to make creatures our confidence. 

(2.) They shall come home to God, to the mighty 
God, (one of the names given to the Messiah, ch. 
ix. 6. ) to the Holy One of Israel. The remnant 
shall return; (that was signified by the name of the 
prophet's son, Shear-jashub, ch. vii. 3.) even the 
remnant of Jacob; they shall return after the rais- 
ing of the siege of Jerusalem, not only to the quiet 
possession of their houses and lands, but to God and 
to their duty; they shall repent and pray, and seek 
his face, and reform their lives. The remnant that 
escape, are a returning remnant; they shall return 
to God, and shall stay upon him. Note, Those only 
may with comtort stay upon God, that return to 
hini; then may we have a humble confidence in 
God, when we make conscience of our duty to him. 
They shall stay ufion the Holy One of Israel, in 
truth, and not in pretence and profession only. This 
promise of the conversion and salvation of a rem- 
nant of Israel now, is applied by the apostle, (Rom. 
ix. 27.) to the remnant of the Jews, which, at the 
first preaching of the gospel, received and enter- 
tained it: and sufficiently proves, that it was no new 
thing for God to abandon to i-uin a great many of 
the seed of Abraham, and yet preserve his pro- 
mise to Abraham in full force and virtue; for so it 
was now. The number of the children of Israel was as 
the sand of the sea, (according to the promise. Gen. 
xxii. 17.) and yet only a remnant shall be saved. 

2. The consumption of others; The I^ord God of 
hosts shall make a consumfition; {y. 23.) this is not 
meant (as that v. 18. ) of the consumption of the As- 
syrian army, but of the consumption of the estates 
and families of many of the Jews by the Assyrian 
army. This is taken notice of, to magnifj' the pow- 
er and goodness of God in the escape of the distin- 
guished remnant, and to let us know what shall be- 
come of those that will not return to God; they shall 
be wasted away by this consumption, this general 
decay in the midst of the land. Observe, (1.) It is 
a consumption of God's own making; he is the au- 
thor of it; the Lord God of hosts, whom none can 
resist, he shall make this consumption. (2.) It is 
decreed, it is not the product of a sudden resolve, but 

Vol. IV — 1 



was betore crdaiiied; it is iktermincd, net onlv tha' 
there sliall be such a crnsuniptinn, but it is ait oui, 
(so tlie word is,) it is ])artituhirly apjjointed, Iuav 
t.ir it shall extend, and how Irng it sliall continue, 
who shall be consumed by it, and who not. (3.) ji 
is an overHuwiiig consumptic.n, that shall everspread 
the land, and, like a mighty torrent or inundaticn, 
bear down all bcfoi-e it. (4.) Though it overflows, 
it is m;t at random, but in rightetiusness, which sig- 
nifies both wisdom and equity. God will justlv 
bi-ing this consuni|)tion upen a provoking people, 
l)ut he will wisely and graciously set bounds to it; 
Hitherto it shall come, and no further. 

24. Theiefoie thus saith the Lord God 
of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, 
be not afraici of the Assyrian; he shall smite 
thee with a rod, and shall lilt up his staff 
against thee, after the manner of Eg}'pt. 
25. For yet a very little while, and the in- 
dignation shall cease, and mine anger, in 
their destruction. ' 26. And the Lord of 
hosts shall stir up a scourge for him accord- 
ing to the slaugliter of Midian at the rock 
of Oreb: and as his rod iras upon the sea. 
so shall he lift it np after the manner of 
Egypt. 27. And it shall come to pass in 
that day, lliat his burden shall be taken 
away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke 
from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be 
destroyed because of the anointing. 28. 
He is come to Aiath, he is passed to Mi- 
gron; at Michmash he hath laid np his 
carriages: 29. They are gone over the pas- 
sage: they have taken up their lodging rt 
Gel)a; Ramah is afraid; Gibeah of Saul is 
fled. 30. Lift up thy voice, O daughter of 
Gallim ; cause it to be heard unto Laish, 
O poor Anathoth. 31. Madmenah is re- 
moved; the inhabitants of Gebim rather 
themselves to flee. 32. As jet shall lie re- 
main at Nob that day: he shall shake his 
hand agamst the mount of the daughter of 
Zion, the hill of Jerusalem. 33. Behold, the 
Lord, the Lord of hosts, shall lop the 
bough with terror: and the high ones of 
stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty 
shall be humbled. 34. And he shall cut 
down the thickets of the forests with iron, 
and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one. 

The prophet, in his preaching, distinguishes be- 
tween the precious and the vile; for God, in his prr- 
vidence, even in the same providence, does so; he 
speaks terror, in Sennachenb's invasirn, to the hy- 
pocrites, who were the people of God's nvratli, v. 
6. But here he speaks comfort to the sincere, wlio 
were the people of God's love. The Judgment was 
sent for the sake of the former, the deliverance was 
wrought for the sake of the latter. Here we have. 

I. An exhortation to God's people, not to he 
frightened at this threatening calamitv, nrr to Ik 
put into any confusion or consternatir.n by it; (i . 
24.) Let the sinners in Zion be afraid, ch. xxxiii. 
14. O my people that dwellest in 'Aion, he no' afraf. 
of the jissyrian. Note, It is against the mind an'! 
will of God, that his peopli-, whatever happens 



ftC 



ISAIAH, 



sli .uUl give wav to that fe;ir which li;;s t -nnent and 
amazement. Thcv that dwell in Zion, where God 
dwells, ,ind where 'his pceple attend him, and are 
employed in liis service, that are under the protec- 
tion cf tlie bulwarks that are round about Zion, 
(Ps. xlviii. 13.) need not be afraid of any enemy. 
Let their souls dwell at ease in God. 

II. Considerations offered for the silencing of their 
fear. 

1. The Assyrian shall do nothing against them 
but what God has appointed and determined; they 
are here told beforehand what he should do, that it 
may be no surprise to them, "He shall smite, thee 
by the divine pemiission, but it shall be only with a 
rod to correct thee, not with a sword to wound and 
kill; nay, he shall but lift ufi his staff against thee, 
threaten thee, and frighten thee, and shake the rotl 
at thee, after the manner of Egypt, as the Egyp- 
tians shook their staff against your fathers at the 
Ked sea, when they said. We ivill /im-sue,iue will 
overtake, (Exod. xv. 9.) but could not reach to do 
them any hurt. " Note, We should not be fright- 
ened at those enemies that can do no more than 
frighten us. 

2. The storm will soon blow over; {v. 25.) Yet a 
very little while, a little, little while, (so the word 
is,)'and the indignation shall cease, even mine an- 
ger, which is the staff in their hand, {v. 5. ) so that 
when that ceases, they are disarmed, and disabled 
to do any further mischief. Note, God's anger 
against his people is but for a moment; (Ps. xxx. 
5^) and when that ceases, and is turned away from 
us, we need not fear the fury of any man, for it is 
impotent passion. 

3. The enemy that threatens them, shall himself 
be reckoned with; God's anger against his people 
a/iall cease in the destruction of their enemies; when 
he turns away his wrath from Israel, he shall turn 
it against the Assyrian; and the rod with which he 
corrected his people, shall not only be laid aside, 
but thrown into the fire. He lift u/t 'his sCn^ against 
Zion, but God shall stir ufi a scourge for him; 
{v. 26J he is a terror of God's people, out God will 
be a Terror to him; the destroying angel shall be 
this scourge; which he can neither flee from, nor 
contend with. The prophet, for the encouragement 
of God's people, quotes precedents, and puts them 
in mind of what God had done formerly against the 
enemies of his church, that were very strong and 
formidable, but were brought to ruin. The des- 
truction of the Assyrian shall be, (1.) Jccording to 
the slaughter of Alidian, which was effected by an 
invisible power, but done suddenly, and it was a 
total rout. And as at the rock of Oreb, one of the 
princes of Midian, after the battle, was slain, so 
shall Sennacherib be in the temple of his god Nis- 
roch, after the defeat of his forces, when he thinks 
the bitterness of death is past. Compare with this, 
Ps. Ixxxiii. 11. Make their nobles like Oreb, and 
like Zeeh; and see how God's promises and his peo- 
ple's prayers agree. (2.) M his rod was upon the 
sea, the Red sea, as Moses's rod was upon that, to 
divide it, first for the escape of Israel, and then to 
close it again for the destruction of their pursuers, 
so shall his rod now be lifted ufi, after the manner 
of F.gi/fit, for the deliverance of Jerusalem and the 
destruction of the Assyrian. Note, It is good to 
observe a resemblance between God's latter and 
former appearances for his people, and against his 
and their enemies. 

4. They shall be wholly delivered from the power 
of the Assyrian, and from the fear of it; (y. 27.) 
they shall not only be eased of the Assyrian army, 
which now quartered upon them, and which was a 
grievous yoke and Ijurthen to them, but they shall 
no more pay that tribute to the king of Assyria, 
which, before this invasion, he had exacted from 



them, (2 Kings xviii. 14.) shall be no longer ai T.is 
service, nor lie at his mercy, as they have done; 
nor shall he ever again put the country under con- 
tribution. Some think it looks furtlie'r, to the de- 
liverance of the Jews cut of their captivity in Baby- 
lon; and further yet, to the redemption of believers 
from the tyranny of sin and Satan. The }'oke shall 
not only be taken away, but it shall be destro\td; 
the enemy shall no more recover his strength, to do 
the mischief he has done. And this, because of the 
anointing, for their sakes, who were partakers ff 
the anointing. (1.) For Hezekiah's sake, who was 
the anointed of the Lord, who had been an active 
reformer, and was dear to God. (2.) For David's 
sake; that is particularly given them as the reason 
why God would defend Jeitisalem from Sennache- 
rib, {ch. xxxvii. 35.) For my own sake, and for my 
sei-vant David's sake. (3.) For his people Israel's 
sake, the good people among them that had received 
the unction of divine grace. (4.) For the sake cf 
the Messiah, the Anointed of God, whom God had 
an eye to in all the deliverances of the Old Testa- 
ment church, and hath still an eye to in all the fa- 
vours he shows to his people; it is for his sake that 
the yoke is broken, and that we are made free 
indeed. 

III. A description both of the teiTor of the enemy, 
and the terror with which many were struck by it, 
and the folly of both exposed, v. 28, to the end. 
Where observe, 

1. How formidable the Assyrians were, and how 
daring and threatening they affected to appear 
Here is a particular description of his march, what 
course he steered, what swift advances he made; 
He is come to yliath, 8cc. This and the other place 
he has made himself master of, and has met with 
no opposition; At Michmash he has laid up his 
carriages, as if he had no further occasion for his 
heavy artillery, so easily was every place he came 
to reduced; or, the store-cities of Juiah, which were 
fortified for that pui-pose, were now become his 
magazines. Some remarkable pass, and an impor- 
tant one, he had taken, they are gone over the 
passage. 

2. How cowardly the men of Judah were, the de- 
generate seed of that lion's whelp; they are afraid, 
they are fled upon the first alarm, and did not offer 
to make any head against the enemy ; their apostacy 
from God had dispirited them, so that one chases a 
thousand of them. Instead of a valiant shout, to 
ammate one another, nothing was heard but lamen- 
tation, to discourage and weaken one another. And 
poor Anathoth, a priest's city, that should have 
been a pattern of courage, shrieks louder than any; 
(t. 30.) with respect to those that gathered them- 
selves together, it was not to fight, but to flee by 
consent, v. 31. This is designed either, (1.) Tc 
show how fast the news of the enemies progress 
flew through the kingdom; He is come to Aialh, says 
one; nay ,_ says another. He is passed to Migron, Sec. 
And yet,'perhaps, it was not altogether so bad as 
common fame represented it. But we must watch 
against the fear, not only of e^il things, but of q\\\ 
tidings, which often make things worse than really 
they are, Ps. cxii. 7. Or, (2.) To show what im- 
minent danger Jerusalem was in, when its enemies 
made so many bold ad\'ances towards it, and its 
friends could not make one bold stand to defend it. 
Note, The more daring the church's enemies arc, 
and the more dastardly those are that should appear 
for her, the more will God be exalted in his own 
strengtii, when, notwithstanding this, he works de 
liverance for her. 

3. How impotent his attempt upon Jcrusalen', 
shall be; He s'hall remain at A''ob, whence he may 
see mount Zion, and there he shall sliake his hanil 
against it; {y. 32.) he shall threaten it. and that shall 



ISAIAH, XI. 



f)7 



I 



be all; it shall be safe, and shall set hhn at defiance; 
the daughter of Jenisaleni, to be even with him, 
shall shake her head at him, ch. xxxvii. 22. 

4. How fatal it would prove, in tlie issue, to him- 
self; when he snakes his hand at Jerusalem, and is 
about to lay hands on it, then is God's time to ap- 
pear against him; for Zion is the place of which 
God has s lid, This is my rest for ever; tlierefore 
those who threaten it, affi'ont God himself. Tlien 
Ihe Lord shall lo/i the bough with terror, and cut 
down the thickets of the forests, V. 33,34. (l.)The 
ride of the enemy shall be humbled, and the 
oughs that are lifted up on high shall be lopped 
off, the high and stately trees shall be hewn down, 
the haughty shall be humbled; those that lift up 
themselves in competition with Ciod, or opposition 
to him, shall be abased. (2.) The power of the 
enemy shall lie broken; the thickets ot the forest he 
shall cut down. When the Assyrian soldiers were 
under their arms, and their spears erect, they looked 
like a forest, like Lebanon: but when in one night 
they all became as dead corpses, the pikes were 
laid on the ground, and Lebanon was of a sudden 
cut down by a mighty one, the destroying angel, 
who in a little time slew so many thousands of them : 
and if this shall be the exit of that proud invader, 
let not God's people be afraid of him. IVho art 
thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall 
die? -^ 

CHAP. XI. 

U is a very good transition in prophecy, (whether it be so 
in rhetoric or no,) and a very common one, to pass from 
the prediction of the temporal deliverances of the church 
to thai of the threat salvation, which in the fulness of 
time shall be wrought out by Jesus Christ, of which the 
other were types and figures to which all the prophets 
bare witness; and .«o the ancient Jews understand them. 
For what else was it that raised so great an expectation 
of the Messiali at the time he came. Upon occasion of 
the prophecy of the deliverance of Jerusalem from Sen- 
nacherin, here comes in a prophecy concerning Messiah 
the Prince : I. His rise out of the house of David, v. 1. 
II. His qualifications for his great undertaking, v. 2, 3. 
HI. The justice and equity of his government, v. 3. .5. 
IV. The peaceableness of his kingdom, V.6..9. V. 
The accession ofthe Gentiles to it, (v. 10.) and with them 
the remnant of the Jews, that should be united with them 
in the Messiah's kingdom, v. 11 . . 16. .Vnd of all this, 
God would now shortly give them a type, and some 
dark representation, in the excellent government of He- 
zekiah, the great peace which the nation should enjoy un- 
der him, after the ruin of Sennacherib's design, and the 
return of many of the ten tribes out of their dispersion 
to their brethren ofthe land of Judah, when they enjoyed 
that great tranquillity. 

1. 4 ND there shall come forth a rod out 
-i ». of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch 
shall grow out of his roots: 2. And the Spi- 
rit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spi- 
rit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit 
of counsel and might, the spirit of know- 
ledge, and of the fear of the Lord ; 3. And 
shall make liim of quick understanding in 
the fear ofthe Lord: and he shall not judge 
after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove 
after tiie hearing of his ears. 4. But with 
righteousness shall he judge the poor, and 
reprove with equity for the iiiieek ofthe earth : 
and he shall smite the earth with the rod of 
liis mouth, and with the breath of his lips 
shrill he slay tiic wicked. 5. And righteous- 
ness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faith- 
fulness tiie girdle of his reins. 6. The wolf 



also shall dwell witii the lamb, and the leo- 
pard shall lie down with the kid; and the 
calf, and the young lion, and the fatling to- 
gether; and a little child shall lead them. 
7. And the cow and the bear shall feed; 
their young ones shall He down together: 
and the lion shall eat straw like the o.\. 8. 
And the sucking child shall play on the hole 
of th(.' asp, and the weaned child shall put 
his hand on the cockatrice' den. 9. They 
shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy 
mountain : ibr the earth shall be full of the 
knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover 
the sea. 

The prophet had before, in this sermon, spoken 
of a Child that should be born, a Son that should be 
given, on wlu^se slioulders the government should 
be; intending this for the comfort of the people of 
God in times of trouble, as djing Jacob, many age.s 
before, had intended the prospect of Shiloh for the 
comfort of his seed in their affliction in Egypt. He 
had said, {ch. x. 27.) that the ijoke should be de- 
stroyed because of the anointing; now here he tells 
us on whom that anointing should rest. He foretells, 

I. Tliat the Messiah should, in due time, arise 
out of the house of David, as that Branch of the 
Lord, wliich he had said {ch. iv. 2. ) should be ex 
cellent and glorious; the word is A''etzer, whic 
some think is referred to, Matth. ii. 23. where it is 
said to be spoken by the prophets of the Messiah, 
that he should be called a Mazarene. Observe here, 

1. Wlieixe this Branch should arise: from Jesse. 
He should be tlie Son of David, with whom the 
covenant of roj'alty was made, and to whom it was 
promised with an oath, that ofthe fruit of his loins 
God would raise ufi Christ, Acts ii. 30. David is 
often called the son of Jesse, and Christ is called so, 
because he was to be not only the Son of Da\-id, 
but David himself, Hos. iii. 5. 

2. The meanness of his appearance. (1.) He is 
calleda Rod, and a Branch; both the words here 
used signify a weak, small, tender product, a tivig, 
and a sfirig; so some render them; such as is easily 
broken off. The enemies of God's church were 
just before compared to strong and stately boughs, 
{ch. x. 33.) which will not, without great labour, 
be hewn down; but Christ, to a tender' branch; {cli. 
hii. 2. ) yet he sliall be victorious over them. (2.) 
He is said to come out of Jesse, rather than David, 
because Jesse lived and died in meanness and obscu- 
rity; his family was of small account, (1 Sam. xviii. 
18. ) and it was in a way of contempt and reproach 
that David was sometimes called the son of Jesse, 
ch. xxii. 7. (3.) He comes forth out of the stem, oi 
stump, of Jesse; when the royal family that had 
bff-f -.s a cedar, was cut down, and only' the stump 
ot it left, almost levelled with the ground, and lost 
in the grass of the field, (Dan. iv. 15.) yet it shall 
sprout again, Job xiv. 7. Nay, it shall grow out of 
his roots, which are quite buried in tlie earth, and, 
like the roots of flowers in the winter, have no stem 
appearing above ground. The house of Dav id was 
reduced and brought very low at the time of Christ's 
birth, witness tlie obscurity and poverty of Joseph 
and Mary. The Messiah was thus to begin his 
estate of humili.ation, for submitting to which he 
should be hi'j;!dy exalted, and would thus give earlv 
notice that his Iciiigdom was nr t of this world. The 
Ch ildee Pariphrase reads this, There shall com.r. 
forth a king from the sons of Jesse, and the Mes- 
siah (or Christ) shall he anointed out of his sons' son.^ 

II. That ]v should be every way qualified fo. 
tliat great work to wliich he was designed; that tl■'^ 



C3 



ISAIAH, XI. 



IcMiUer Branch should be so watered with the dews 
of heaven, as to become a strong Rod for a scefitre 
to rule, V. 2. 

1. In general; the Spirit of the Lord shall rest 
u/ion him. The Holy Spirit, in all his gifts and 
graces, shall not only come, but rest and abide, upon 
liim; he shall have the Spirit not by measure, but 
without measure, the fulness of tlie Godhead dwell- 
ing in him. Col. i. 19. — ii. 9. He began his preach- 
ing with this, (Luke iv. 18.) The Spirit of the Lord 
is upon me. 

2. In particular; the spirit of government, by 
wliich he should be every way fitted for that judg- 
ment which the Father has committed to him, and 
given him authority to execute, John v. 22, 27. 
And not only so, but he should be made the Foun- 
t lin and Treasury of all grace to believers, that 
from his fulness tlicy might all receive the Spirit of 
g!-ace, as all the members of tiie body derive animal 
spirits from the head. (1.) He sliall have the spirit 
of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and know- 
ledge; he shall thoroughly understand the business 
he is to be employed in. No man knows the Fa- 
ther but the Son, Matth. xi. 27. What he is to 
make known to the cliildren of men concerning 
Gud, and his mind and will, he sl\alll)e himself ac- 
quainted with and apprised of, John i. 18. He shall 
know how to administer his spiritual kingdom in all 
the branches of it, so as effectually to answer the 
two great intentions of it, the glory of God, and tlie 
welfare of the children of men. The terms of the 
covenant shall be settled by him, and ordinances in- 
stituted, in wisdom: treasures of wisdom shall be 
in him; he shall be our Counsellor, and shall be 
made of God to us Wisdom. (2.) The spirit of 
courage, or might, or fortitude; the undertaking 
was very great, abundance of difficulty must be 
broken through, and therefore it was necessary that 
he should be so endowed that he might not fail, or 
be discouraged, ch. xlii. 1. He was famed tor cou- 
rage in his teaching the way of God in truth, and 
not caring for any man, Matth. xxii. 16. (3.) The 
Spirit of religion, or the fear of the Lord; not only 
he shall himself have a reverent affection for his Fa- 
ther, as his servant, {ch. xlii. 1.) and he was heard 
In that he feared, (Heb. v. 7.) but he shall have a 
zeal for religion, and shall design the advancement 
of it in his whole undertaking. Our faith in Christ 
was never designed to supei-sede and justle out, but 
1 1 increase and support, our fear of the Lord. 

III. That he should be accurate and critical, and 
very exact in the administration of his government, 
and the exercise of the power committed to him; 
[y. 3.) The Spirit wherewith he shall be clothed, 
ishall make him of quick understanding, in the fear 
if the Lord; of an acute smell or scent, so the word 
is, for the apprehensions of the mind arc often ex- 
[iressed by the sensations of the body. Note, 1. 
Those are most truly and valuably intelligent, that 
are so in the fear of the Lord, in the business of re- 
ligion, for that is both the foundation and top-stone 
of wisdom. 2. By this it will appear that we have 
the Spirit of God, if we have spiritual senses exer- 
cised, and are of quick understanding, in the fear 
of the Lord; those have divine illumination, that 
know their duty, and know how to go about it. (3.) 
Therefore, Jesus Christ had the Spirit without mea- 
sure, that he might perfectly understand his under- 
t dking; and he did so, as appears not only in the ad- 
mirable answers he gave to all that questioned with 
him, whicli proved him to be of quick understand- 
i:'g, in the fear of the Lord; but in the management 
of his whole undertaking. He has settled the great 
affair of religion so unexccptinnably well, (so as ef- 
f''Ctually to secure both God's honour and man's 
'lippiness,) that it must be owned, he tho-i uglily 
iriderstood it. 



rV. That he should be just and righteous in all 
the acts of his government, and there should appear 
in it as much equity as wisdom. He shall judge, as j 
he expresses it himself, and as he himself would be 
judged of, John vii. 24. 

1. Not according to outward appearance; (f . 3.) 
He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, with 
respect of persons, (Job xxxiv. 19.) and according 
to outward shows and appearances, nor reprove af- 
ter the hearing of his ears, by common fame and re- 
port, and the representations of others, as men oft 
do; nor does he judge of men by the fair words 
they speak, calling him Lord, Lord, or their plau- 
sible actions before the eye of tlie world, which they 
do to be seen of men; but he will judge by the hid- 
den man of the heart, and the inward principles 
men are governed by, of which he is an infallible 
Witness. Clirist will judge the secrets of men; 
(Rom. ii. 16.) will determine conceming them, not 
according to tlieir own pretensic ns and ajjpearan- 
ces, that were to judge after the sight of the eyes; 
not according to the opinion others have of them, 
that were to judge after the hearing of the ears; but 
we are sure that his judgment is according to truth. 

2. He will judge righteous judgment; (t. 5.)Iiigh- 
teousness shall be the girdle of his loins; lie shall 
be righteous in tlie administration of his govern- 
ment, and his righteousness shall be his girdle, it 
shall constantly compass him and cleave to him, it 
shall be his ornament and hc^nour; he shall gird him- 
self for eveiy action, shall gird on his sword for war 
in righteousness; his righteousness shall be his 
strength, and shall make him expeditious in his 
undertakings, as a man with his loins girt. In con- 
formity to Christ, his followers must have the gir- 
dle of truth, (Eph. vi. 14. ) and it will be the stability 
of the times. Particularly, 

(1.) He shall in righteousness plead foi- the peo- 
ple that are poor and oppressed; lie will be their 
Pi-otector; (t. 4.) with righteousness shall he judge 
thepoor, shall judge in fa\our and defence of'^thcse 
that have right on their side, though they are poor in 
the world, and because they are poor in spirit. It 
is the duty of princes to defend and delivei- the 
poor, (Ps. Ixxxii. 3, 4.) and the honour of Christ, 
that he is the poor man's King, Ps. Ixxii. 2, 4. He 
shall debate with evenness for the meek of the earth, 
or of the land; those that bear the injuries done them, 
with meekness and patience, are in a special man- 
ner entitled to the divine care anci protection. /, 
as a deaf man, heard not, for thou wilt hear. Pp. 
xxxviii. 13, 14. Some read it, He shall reprove 
or correct the meek of the earth with equity. If 
his own people, the meek of the land, do amiss, he 
will visit their transgression with the rod. 

(2. ) He shall in righteousness plead against his 
enemies that are ])roud and oppressoi-s; (xi. 4.) But 
he shall smite the earth, the man of the earth, that 
oppresses; (see Ps. x. 18.) the men of the world, 
that m/Hf/ earthly things on\y; (Ps. xvii. 14.) tlicse 
he shall smite witli tlie rod of his mouth, the word 
of his mouth, speaking terror and niin to them; his 
threatenings shall take hold of them, and be exe- 
cuted upon them; with the breath of his lips, by the 
operation of his Spirit, according to his word, and 
working with and by it, he shall slay the wicked. 
He will do it easily, with a word's speaking, as he 
laid those flat who came to seize liim, by saying, / 
am he, John xviii. 6. Killing terrors shall arrest 
thcii consciences, killing judgments shall niin them, i 
their power, and all their interests; and in the other I 
world everlasting tribulation will l)e lycompensed to 1 
those that trouble his poor peojile. The a]instle ap- 
plies this tn the destniction of the man of sin, wh( m 
lie calls that wicked one, (2 Thes. ii. 8.) whom the 
Lord will consume with the tpiril nf h:s woiiih. 
And the Chaldec here reads it, //■■ shall shrj l.'.at 



IS \ I AH. XI. 



69 



w:cked Romulus,* or Rrmc, as Mr. Hugh Bn.iigli- 
toii inulcrstands it. 

V. That there should be great peaee and tran- 
quillity under his government; this is an explica- 
tion of what was said, cli. ix. 6. tliat he should 
')e the Prince of Peace. Peace signifies two things: 

1. Unity and concord; these are intimated in 
these figurative promises, that even tlic ivolf shall 
dwell peaceably ivit/i the lamb; men of the most 
fiei'cc and furious dispositions, who used to bite and 
devour all about them, sliall have their temper so 
strangelv altered by the efficacy of the gospel and 
grace of' Christ, that they shall live in lo\e even 
with the weakest, and such as formerly they would 
have made an easy pre)' of. So far shall the sheep 
be fi'om hnrting one another, as sometimes tliey 
have done, (Ezek. xxxiv. 20, 21.) that even the 
wolves shall agree with them. Christ, who is our 
Peace, came to slay all enmities, and to settle 
lasting friendships among his followers, particu- 
lai-ly between Jews and Gentiles: when multitudes 
of both, being converted to tlie faith of Christ, 
united in one sheep-fold; then the wolf and the lamb 
dwelt together; the wolf did not so much as threat- 
en the lamb, nor was the lamb afraid of the wolf. 
Tl'ie leopard shall not only not tear the kid, but shall 
lie down with her: even their young ones shall lie 
down together, and shall be trained up in a blessed 
amity, in order to the perpetuating of it. The lion 
shall cease to be ravenous, and shall eat straiv like 
the ox, as some think all the beasts of prey did be- 
fore the Fall. The asp and the cockatrice shall 
cease to be venomous, so that parents will let their 
children play with them, and put their hands among 
them. A generation of vipers shall become a seed 
of saints, and the old complaint of Homo homini 
Ixifius — Man is a ivolf to man, shall be at an end. 
They that inhabit the holy mountain, shall live as 
amicably as the creatures did that were with Noah 
in the ark, and it shall be a means of their preser- 
vation, for they shall not hurt or destroy one ano- 
ther as they have done. Now, (1.) This is fulfilled 
in the wonderful effect of the gospel upon the minds 
of those tliat sincerely embrace it; it changes the 
nature and makes those that trampled on the meek 
of the earth, not only meek like them, but kind to 
them. When Paul, who had persecuted the saints, 
joined himself to them, then the nvolf dwelt with the 
lamb. (2. ) Some are willing to hope it shall yet have 
a further accomplishment in the latter days, when 
swords shall be beaten into filoughshares. 

2. Safety and security; Christ, the great Shep- 
herd, shall take such care of his flock, that those 
who would hurt them, shall not; they shall not only 
not destrov one another, but no enemy from with- 
out shall be permitted to give them any molesta- 
tion; the property of troubles, and of death itself, 
shall be so altered, that they shall not do any real 
hurt to, much less shall they be the destniction 
of, any that have their conversation in the holy 
mountain, I Pet. iii. 13. Who, or what, can harm 
us, // we be followers of him that is good y 
G id's people shall be delivered not only from e\'il, 
but from tin ''ear of it; even the sucking child shall 
without any terror /ilay iifton the hole of the as/i; 
blessed Paul does so when he says, IVho shall sepa- 
rate us from the love of Christ ? and O death! 
where is thy sting? 

Lastly, Observe what shall be the effect, and 
what the cause, of this wonderful softening and 
sweetening of men's tempers by the grace of God. 

1. The effect of it shall be, tractablcness, and a 
willingness to receive instruction; A little child shall 
lead them who formerl\' scon.ed to be controlled 
by the strongest man. Calvin understands it of 
Ihci: willing submision to the ministers of Ch-ist, 

* AvmiUtim.—Ea. 



who arc to instruct with meekness, and not lo usi- 
any coercive power, but to be as little chikhrn, 
Matt, xviii. 3. See 2 Crr. viii. 5. 

2. The cause of it shall be, tlie knowledge of (i<n\. 
The more there is of that, the more there is of a 
disposition to peace. They shall thus live in lo\ e, 
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the 
Lord, which shall extinguish men's heats and ani- 
mosities. The better acquainted we are with the 
Ciod of love, the more we shall Ije changed into the 
same image, and the l)etter affected shall we be to 
idl those that bear his image. The earth shall be 
as full of this knowledge as the channels of the sea 
are of water; so broad and extensive shall this 
knowledge be, and so far shall it spread; so deep 
and substantial shall this knowledge be, and so long 
shall it last. There is much more of the know- 
ledge of God to be got by the gospel of Christ, than 
could be got by the law of Moses; and whereas //jfj; 
in Judali only was God known, now all shall know 
/j/7H, Heb. viii. 11. But that is knowledge falsely 
so called, which sows discord among men: the right 
knowledge of God settles peace. 

10. And in that day there shall be a root 
of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of 
the people ; to it shall the Gentiles seek : 
and his rest shall be glorious. 11. And it 
shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord 
shall set his hand again the second time to 
recover the remnant of his people, which shall 
be leit, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and 
fiom Pathros, and from Cnsh, and from 
Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamatli, 
and from the islands of the sea. 12. And lie 
shall set up an ensign for the nations, and 
shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and 
gather together the dispersed of Judah from 
the four comers of the earth. 13. The 
envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the 
adversaries of Judah shall be cut off; 
Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah 
shall not ve.x Ephraim. 14. But they shall 
fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines 
toward the west ; they shall spoil them of 
the cast together : they shall lay their hanc» 
upon Edom and JVloab ; and the children 
of Amnion shall obey them. 15. And the 
Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the 
Egyptian sea; and with. his mighty wind 
shall he shake his hand over the river 
and shall smite it in the seven streams, and 
make ;hp?j go over dry-shod. 16. And there 
shall be a highway for the remnant of Jiis 
people, which shall be left from Assyria, 
like as it was to Israel in the day that he 
came up out of the land of Egypt. 

We have here a further prophecy of the enlarge- 
ment and advancement of the kingdom of the Mes- 
siah, under the tvpe and figure of the flourishing 
condition of the kingdom of Judah in the latter end 
of Hezekiah's reign, after the defeat of Senna 
clicrib. 

1. This prediction was in part accomplished 
when the great things God did for Hezekiah and 
his people, proved as an ensign, inviting the neii'h- 
bouring nations to them, to inquire of the wonderi. 



70 



ISAIAH, XI. 



done in the land, en which errand the king of Baby- 
lon's ambassadors cnie. To thLm the- Gentiles 
sjught; and Jerusalem, the rest or habitation of tlie 
Jews, was then glorious, v. 10. Thtn many nf the 
Israelites wlio belonged to the kingdom of the ten 
tribes, who, upon the destruction of tliat kingdom 
by tile king of Assyria, wert forced to flee for sliel- 
ter into all the countries about, and to some tliat lay 
very remote, even to the islands of the sea, were 
encouraged to return to their own country, and 
put tliemselves under the pjrotection and govern- 
ment of tlie king of Judah; the rather, because it 
was ar Assyrian army by which their country had 
been ruined, and that was now routed. This is 
said to be a recovery of them the second time, {v. 
11.) such an instance of tlie power and goodness of 
God, and such a reviving to tliem, as their first de- 
liverance out of Egypt was. Then the outcasts of 
Israel should be gathered in, and brought home, 
and those of Judah too, who, upon the approach of 
the Assyrian army, shifted for their own safety. 
Then the old feud between Ephraim and Judah 
shall be forgotten, and they shall join against the 
Philistines and their other cgmmon enemies, v, 13, 
14. Note, Those who have been sharers with each 
other in afflictions and mercies, dangers and deli- 
verances, in consideration thereof, ought to unite 
for their joint and mutual safety and protection; 
and then it is likely to be well with tlie church, when 
Ephraim and Judah are one against the Philistines. 
Then, whatever difficulties tlierc may be in the 
tvay of the return of the dispersed, the Lord shall 
find out some way or other to remove them; as, 
when he brought Israel out of Egypt, he dried up 
the Red sea and Jordan, {v. 15.) and led tliem to 
Canaan through the invincible emljarrassments of a 
vast howling wilderness, t. 16. The like will he 
do this second time, or that wliicli shall be equiva- 
lent; when God's time is come for the deliverance 
of his people, mountains of opposition shall become 
plain before him. Let us not despair, therefore, 
when the interests of tlie churcli seem to be brought 
very low; God can soon turn gloomy days into glo- 
rious ones. 

IL It had a farther reference to the days of the 
Messiah, and tlie accession of the Gentiles to his 
kingdom; for to that the apostle applies, v. 10. of 
which the following \-erses are a continuation. 
Rom. XV. 12. There shall be a root of Jesse; and 
he that shall rise to reig-n over the Gentiles, in him 
shall the Gentiles trust. That is a key to this pro- 
phecy, which speaks of Christ as the Root of 
Jesse, a branch out of his roots, (t. 1.) a root out 
of a dry ground, ch. liii. 2. He is the Root of Da- 
vid, (Rev. V. 5. ) the Root and Offspring ofjbavid, 
Rev. xxii. 16. 

1. He shall stand, or be setup, /or an Ensign of 
the/ieo/ile; when he was ci-ucified, he was lifted tift 
from the earth; that, as an Ensign or Beacon, 
he might draio the eyes and hearts of all men 
unto him, John xii. 32. He is set up as an Ensign 
in the preaching of the everlasting gospel, in which 
the ministers, as standard-bearers, display the 
banner of his love, to allure us to him, (Cant. i. 4.) 
the banner of his truth, under which we may enlist 
ourselves to engage in a holy war against sin and 
Satan. Christ is the ensign to whom the children 
of God that ".vere scattered abroad, are gathered to- 
gether, (John xi. 52.) and in whom they meet as 
uie Centre of their unity. 

2. To him shall the Gentiles seel:; we read of 
( treeks that did so; John xii. 21. JVe would see Jesus; 
and upon that occasion Christ spake of his being 
lifted up, to draw all men to him. The apostle, 
from the LXX, (or perhaps the LXX from the 
apostle, in the editions after Christ,) reads it, 
(Rom. XV, 12.) In him shall the Gentiles trust; 



they shall seek to him with a dependance on him. 

3. His res! shall be glorious. S( nie understand 
it of the death of Chris ; the triumjjhs of the cross 
made even tliat gUricus. Others ot his ascensi. n; 
when he sat do^vn to rest at the right hand of God. 
Or rather, it is meant c f the gos]5cl church, that 
Mount Zion, of whicli Christ has said. This is my rest; 
and in v.'hicli he resides. Tliis, though despised by 
tlie world, ha\ing upon it the beauty of holiness, is 
truly glorious; a. glorious high throne, Jer. xvii. 12. 

4. Both Jews and Gi utiles shall be gathered to 
him, V. 11. A remnant of both, a httle remnant 
in comparison, Avhich sliallbc recovered, as it were, 
with great difficulty and hazard. As formei-ly God 
delivered his people, and gathered thtm out <f all 
the countries whither they were scattered, (Ps. cvi. 
47. Jer. xvi. 15, 16.) so he will a second time, in 
another waj', by the powei'ful working of the Spirit 
of grace with the word. He shall set his hand to 
do it; he shall exert his power, the arm of the 
Lord shall be rei'ealed to do it. 1. There shall be 
a remnant of the Jews gathered in. The outcasts 
of Israel, and the dispersed of Judah, {v. 12.) many 
of whom, at the time of the bringing of them in to 
Christ, were Jeivs of the dispersion, the twelve 
tribes that were scattered abroad, (James i. 1. 1 
Pet. i. 1.) these shall fleck to Christ; and, proba- 
bly, more of those scattered Jews were brought into 
the church, in proportion, than those which re- 
mained in their own land. (2.) Many of the na- 
tions, the Gentiles, shall be brought in by the lifting 
up of the ensign. Jacob foretold concerning Shiloh, 
that to him shall the gathering of the people he. 
Those that were strangers and foreigners, shall be 
made nigh. The Jews were jealous of Christ's 
going to the dispersed among the Gentiles, and cf 
his teaching the Gentiles, John vii. 35. 

5. There shall be ahajipy accommodation between 
Judah and Ephraim, and both shall be safe frrm 
their ad\ersaries, and ha\e dominion over them, v. 
13, 14. The coalescence between Judah and Israel 
at that time, was a type and figure of the uniting 
of Jews and Gentiles in tl\e gosjiel-church, who 
had been so long at \'ariance. The house of Judah 
shall walk with the house of Israel, (Jer. iii. 18.) 
and become one nation; (Ezek. xxxvii. 22.) so the 
Jews and Gentiles are made of twain one new man, 
Eph. ii. 16. And lieing at peace one with ano- 
ther, those that are adversaries to them both, shall 
be cut off; for theij shall fly upon the shoulders of 
the Philistines, as an eagle strikes at her prey, shall 
spoil them on the west side of them: and then 
they shall extend tlieir crnquests eastward, ever 
the Edomites, Moabitcs, and Ammonites; the gos- 
pel of Christ shall he e-uccessful in all parts, and 
some of all nations shall become obedient to the 
faith. 

Lastly, Every thing that might hinder the pro- 
gress and success of the gosjiel, shall be taken cut 
of the way. As when God brought Israel rut ( f 
Egj'pt, he dried up the Red sea and Jordan before 
them, (f/j. Ixiii. 11, 12.) and as afterward when he 
brougjit up the Jews cut of Babylon, he prepared 
them their way; {ch. Ixii. 10.) so when Jews and 
Gentiles are to be brought together into the gospel- 
church, all obstructions shall be removed, (f. 15, 
16.) difficulties that seemed insuperable shall be 
strangely got over; the blind shall be led by a way 
that they knc^ not. Sn- ch. xlii. 15, 16. — xliii. 19, 
20. Converts shall be brought in chariots and in 
litters, ch. Ixvi. 20. Some think it is the further 
accession of multitudes to the church, that is ])oint- 
ed at in that obscure prophecy of the drying up of 
the river Euphrates, that the way of the kings of 
the east may be prepared, (Rev. xvi. 12.) which 
seems to refer to this here. Note, When God's 
time is come for the bringing of nations, or par- 



ISAIAH, Xli. 



71 



ticulai- persons, home to himself, d'n'ine grace will 
!•" vioturioiis over iiU opposition. At the presence 
fit the Lord, tlie sea shall flee, and Jordan be driven 
hack.: and those who set their faces heaven-ward 
■» dl find tliei-e are not such difficulties in tlie way as 
they thougiit there were, for there is a highway 
thither, ch. xxxv. 8. 

CHAP. XII. 

The salvation promised in the foresjoing chapter was com- 
pared to that of Israel, in the day thai he came up out of 
the land of Egypt; so that chapu-r ends. Now as Moses 
and the children of Israel saii<; a song of praise, to the 

flory of God, {Exod. xv. 1.) so shall the people of God 
o in that day, when the Root of Jesse shall stand for on 
Ensign of the people, and shall be the Desire and Joy of 
all nations. In that day, 1. Every particular believer 
shall sing a song of praise for his own Interest in that 
salvation; (v. 1. .3.) Thou shall say, Lord, I loill praise 
Ihee; thanksgiving-work shall be closet- uork. II. Many 
in concert sfiall join in praising God for the common 
benefit arising from this salvation; (v. 4.. 6.) Ye shall 
say, praise ye the Lord: Ihanksgivlnjj-work shall be con- 
eregation-work; and the praises ol God shall be pub- 
licly sung in the congregations of the upright, 

1 . 4 iVD in that day thou shalt say, O 
l\. Lord, I will praise thee : though 
thou wast angry with me, thine anger is 
tunned away, and thou comfortedst me. 2. 
Behold, God is my salvation ; I will trust, 
and not be afraid: for the Lord JEHO- 
VAH is my strength and mi/ song ; he also 
is become my salvation. 3. Therefore with 
joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of 
salvation. 

This is the former part of the hymn of praise 
whicli is prepared for the use of the church; of the 
Jewisli church, when God would work great deli- 
verances for them, and of the Christian church- 
when the kingdom of the Messiah should be set up 
in the world, in despite of the opposition of the 
powers of darkness; In that day thou shalt say, 
Lord, I nuill firaise thee. The scattered church, 
being united into one body, shall, as one man, with 
one mind and one mouth, th\is praise God, who is 
one, and his name one. In that day, when the 
Lord shall do these great things for thee, thou shalt 
say, O Lord, I ivitl firaise thee. That is, 

I. "Thou shalt have caiise to say so." The pro- 
mise is sure, and the blessings contained in it are 
very rich, and, when they are bestowed, will furnish 
the church with abundant matter for rejoicing, and 
therefore with abundant matter for thanksgiving. 
The Old Testament prophecies of gospel-times are 
often expressed by the joy and praise that shall then 
be excited; for the inestimable benefits we enjoy by 
Jesus Christ, require the most elevated and enlarg- 
ed thanksgivings. 

IL "Thou shalt have a heart to say so." All 
God's other gifts to his people shall be crowned 
with this; he will give them grace to ascribe all 
the glory of them to him, and to speak of them 
upon all occasions, with thankfulness to his praise. 
Thou shalt say, thou oughtest to say so. In that 
day, when many are brought home to Jesus Christ, 
and flock to him as doves to their windows, in- 
stead of envying the kind reception they find with 
Christ, as the Jews grudged the favour shown 
to the Gentiles, thou shalt say, O Lord, I ivill 
firaise thee. Note, We ought to rejoice in, and 
give thanks for, the grace of God to others as well 
as to ourselves. 

1. Believers are here taught to give thanks to 
God for the turning away of his displeasure from 
them, and the return of his favour to them; (v. 1.) 



Lord, I n'itl lirai.se thee, though thou tvast an^ry 
ii'ith me. Note, Even God's frowns must not put 
us out of tune for praising liim; though he be angry 
with us, tliough he slay us, yet we must put i.ur 
ti-ust in him, and give him thanks. Ciod has often 
just cause to be angry with us, Init wt- have nc\'er 
any reason to be angry with him, nor to speak 
otherwise than well of him; even when he blames 
us, we must praise him. Thou ivast angry with 
us, but thine anger is turned atvay. Note, (1.) 
God is sometimes angry with his own people, and 
the fi-uits of his :tnger do appear: they ought to 
take notice of it, that they mav hunil)le themselves 
imder his mighty hand. (2.) Though. God may for 
a time be angry with liis peoijle, vet his anger shall, 
at length, be turned away; it endures Ijut for a mo- 
ment, nor will he contend for ever. By Jesus Christ, 
the Root of Jesse, God's anger against mankind was 
turned away, for he is our Peace. (3.) Those 
whom God is reconciled to, he comforts: even the 
turning away of his anger is a comfort to them; yet 
that is not all, they that are at peace ivilh God, may 
rejoice in the hofie of the glory of God, Rom. v. 1, 
2. Nay, God sometimes brings his people into a 
wilderness, that there he may sfieak comfortably to 
them, Hosea ii. 14. (4.) The turning away of 
God's anger, and the return of his comforts to 
us, ought to be the matter of our joyful, thankful 
praises. 

2. They arc taught to triumph in God, and t'leir 
interest in him; {v. 2.) "Behold, and wonder; God 
is 7ny salvation; not only my Saviour, by whom I 
am saved, but my Salvation, in whom I am safe. 

1 depend upon him as my Salvation, for I have 
found him to be so. He shall have the glory of 
all the sahations that have been wrought for me, 
and from him only will I expect the salvations 
I further need, and not from hills and mountains: 
and if God be my Salvation, if he undertake my 
eternal salvation, I will ti-ust in him to prejjai'e 
me for it, and preserve me to it. I will trust 
him with my temporal concerns, not doubting but 
he will make all to work for my good. I will 
be confident, I will be always easy in mv own 
mind." Note, Those that have God for their Sal- 
vation, may enjoy themselves with a holy security 
and serenity of mind; let faith in God, as cur Sal- 
vation, be effectual. (1.) To silence our fears; we 
must trust, and not be afraid; not be afraid that the 
God we trust in will fail us; no, there is no danger 
of that; not be afraid of any creature, though ever 
so formidable and threatening. Note, Faith in God 
is a sovereign remedy against disquieting, torment- 
ing fears. (2.) To support our hopes. Is the Lord 
Jehovah our Salvation? Then he will lie our Strength 
and Song. \Ve have work to do and temptations to 
resist, we may depend upon him to enable us for 
both; to strengthen us with all might by his Spirit 
in the inner man, for he is our strength ; his grace is 
so, and that grace shall be sufficient for us. We 
have many troubles to undergo, and must expect 
griefs in a vale of tears; and we may depend upon 
liim to comfort us in all our tribulations, for he is 
our Song, he giveth songs in the night. If we 
make God our strength, and put our confidence in 
him, he will be our strength; if we make him our 
Song, and place our comfort in him, he will be our 
Song. Many good Christians haA-e God for theii 
Strength, who have him not for their Song; they 
walk in darkness, but light is sown for them: and 
they that have God for their Strength, ought to 
make him their Song, that is, to give him the glory 
of it, (see Ps. Ixviii. 35. ) and to take to themselves 
the comfort of it, for he will become their Salva- 
tion. Observ'e the title here given to God, Jah, Je- 
hovah; Jah is the contraction of Jehovah, and both 
sii',nify his eternity and unchangeableness; which 



ISAIAH, XUL 



•lie a great comfort to tUcse that tL-peiid upnn him 
rts their Strength and their Song. Some make Jah 
to sitiiifv the Son of (iiid made man; he is Jeliovah, 
and m liim we may glory as tur Strength, and Song, 
and Salvation. 

3. Thev are taught to derive comfort to them- 
selves from the love of God, and all the tokens of 
that love; (f. 3.) " Therefore, because the Lord 
Jehovah is- your Strength and Song, and will be 
vnur Salvation, you shall draw waler with joy." 
Kotc, The assurances God has given us of his love, 
and the experiences we have had of tlie benefit 
and comfort of his grace, should greatly encourage 
our faith in him and our expectations from him; 
" Out of the wells of Salvation in God, wlio is the 
Fountain of all good to his people, you shall draw 
water with joy. God's favour shall flow forth to 
you, and you shall have the comfort of it, and make 
iise of the blessed fruits of it." Note, (1.) God's 

Eromises revealed, ratified, and given out to us, in 
is ordinances, are wells of salvation; wells of the 
Saviour, so some read it; for in them the Saviour 
and salvation are made known to us, and made over 
to us. (2.) It is our duty by faitli to draw water 
out of these wells, to take to ourselves the benefit 
and comfort that are treasured up for us in them, as 
those that acknowledge all our fresh springs to be 
there, and all our fresh streams to be thence, Ps. 
Ixxxvii. 7. (3.) Water is to be drawn out of the 
wells of salvation with a great deal of pleasure and 
satisfaction. It is the will of God that we should 
rejoice befire him, and rejoice in him, (Deut. xxvi. 
11.) be joyful in his house of prayer, (Isa. Ivi. 7.) 
and keep his feasts with gladness. Acts ii. 46. 

4. And in that day shall ye say, Praise 
the Lord, call upon his name, declare his 
doings among the people, make mention 
that his name is exalted. 5. Sing unto 
the Lord; for he hath done excellent 
things : this is known in all the earth. 6. 
Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: 
for great is the Holy One of Israel in the 
midst of thee. 

This is the second part of this evangelical song, 
and to the same purport with the former; there be- 
lievers stir up themselves to praise God; here they 
invite and encourage one another to do it, and are 
contriving to spread his praise, and draw in others 
to join with them in it. Obsen'e, 

1. Who are here called upon to praise God; the 
inhabitants of Zion and Jerusalem, whom God had 
in a particular manner protected from Sennache- 
rib's violence, x: 6. Those that have received dis- 
tinguishing favours from God, ought to be most for- 
ward and zealous in praising him. The gospel- 
church is Zion, Christ is Zion's King; those that 
have a place and a name in that, should lay out 
themselves to diffuse the knowledge of Christ, and 
to bring many to him. Thou itihabitress of Zion; 
tlie word is feminine; Let the weaker sex be strong 
in the Lord, and out of their mouth shall praise be 
perfected. 

2. How they must praise the Lord: (1.) By 
jir^yer we must call upon his name: as giving thanks 
fir former mercy is a decent way of begging fur- 
ther mercy, so liegiring further mercy is graciously 
" icepted as a thankful acknowledgment of the mer- 
les we have received. In calling upon God's name 
"e give unto him some of the glorv that is due to 
.>'s name as our powerful and bountiful Benefactor. 
^2.) By preaching and writing we must not only 
speak to God, l5ut speak to others concerning him; 
not only call upon his name, but (as the margin 



I reads it) firoclaim his name; let others knew sottip 
thing more from us tlK.n they did befi re, concim 
ing God, and those things whereby he lias madr 
himself known. Declare his doini^i, his counsel'; 
so some read it; the work of redem])li n is ;icc(r(l- 
ing to the counsel of his will; and in that and othtp 
wonderful works that he has dene, we must take 
notice of his thoughts which are to us-ward, Ps. xl. 
5. Declare these among the people, among the hea- 
tlien, that they may be brought into communion with 
Israel and the God of Israel. When the apostles 
preached the gospel to all nations, beginning at Jem 
salem, then this scripture was fulfilled, that his do 
ing should be declared among the peojile, and that 
what he has done should be known in all the earth. 
(3.) By a holy exultation and transport, of joy, 
"Cry out and shout, welcome the gospel to your- 
selves, and publish it to others with huzzas and 
loud acclamations, as those that shout for victory, 
(Exod. xxxii. 18.) or for the coronation of a kingj" 
Numb, xxiii. 21. 

3. For what they must praise the Lord; (1.) Be- 
cause he has glorified himself. Remember it your- 
selves, and make mention of it to others, that his 
name is exalted, is become more illustrious and 
more conspicuous; in this every g(jod man rejoices. 
(2.) Because he has magnified his people; he has 
done excellent things for them, which make them 
look great and considerable. (3.) Because he is, 
and will be, great among them; great is the Holy 
One, for he is glorious in holiness; therefore great 
because holy; true goodness is tiue greatness; great 
as the Holy Oue of Israel, and in the midst of t'hetn; 
praised by them, (Ps. Ixxvi. 1.) manifesting him- 
self among tlicni, and appearing gloriously in their 
behalf. It is the honour and happiness of Israel, 
that the God who is in covenant with them, and in 
the midst of them, is infinitely great. 

CHAP. Xllf. 

Hitherto, the prophecies of this book related only to Ju- 
dah and Israel, and Jerusalem especially: but now the 
prophet bejjins to look abroad, and to read the doom of 
divers of the neighbourino; slates and kingdoms; for he 
that is Kinj of saints, is also King of nations, and ruler 
in the affairs of the children of men as well as in those 
of his own children. But the nations to whom these 
prophecies do relate, were all such as the people of God 
were some way or other conversant and concerned 
with; such as had been kind or unkind to Israel, and 
accordingly God would deal with them, either in favour 
or in wrath; for the Lord's portion is his people, and to 
them he has an eye in all the dispensations of his provi- 
dence concerning those about them, Deut. xxxii. 8, 9. 
The threatenings" we find here, against Babylon, Moab, 
Damascus, Egypt, Tyre, i^c. were intended for comfort 
to those in Israel that feared God, but were terrified and 
oppressed by those potent neighbours, and for alarm to 
those among them that were wicked. !f God would 
thus severely reckon with those for their sins that know 
him not, and made not profession of his name, how se- 
vere would he be with those that were called by his name, 
and yet live in rebellion against him! And perhaps the 
directing of particular prophecies to (he neighbouring 
nations, might invite some of those nations to the read- 
ing of the Jews' Bible, and so they might be brought to 
their religion. This chapter, and that which follows^ con- 
tain what God had to say to Babylon and Bubvlon's 
king, who were at present little known to Israel, but 
would in process of time become a greater enemy to 
them than any other had been, for which God would at 
last reckon with them. In this chapter, we have, I. A 
general rendezvous of the forces that were to be em- 
ployed against Babylon, v. 1. .5. 11. The dreadful bloody 
work that those forces should make in Babylon, v. 6. .IP. 
III. The utter ruin and desolation of Babylon, which 
this should end in, v. 19. .22. 

1 , ^TTHE burden of Babylon, which Isaiah 

JL the son of Amoz did see. 2. Lift 

ye up a banner upon the high mountain, 



ISAIAH, XITI. 



73 



exall tliL' voice unto tlicni, shako the hand, 
that ihey may go into the gates of the no- 
bles. 3. I have commanded my sanctified 
cc-.es, i have also called my mi£;hty ones for 
niiac an^er, even them tiiat rejoice in my 
h::;liness. 4. The noise of a multitude in 
•.lie mountains, like as of a great people; a 
tiimiiltiious noise of the kingdoms of na- 
tions gathered together: the Lord of hosts 
uiustereth the host of the battle. 5. They 
come from a far country, from the end of 
heaven, cve?i the Lord, and the weapons of 
his indignation, to destroy the whole land. 

The general title of this book was, T/ie visions 
(.f Isaiah the son of Amoz, ch. i. 1. This is that 
\\hich Isaiah did see, which was represented to his 
mind as clearly and fully as if he had seen it with 
his bodily eyes: but the particular inscription of 
this serm n, is, ihe burtheti of Babylon: 1. It is a 
burthen, a lesson they were to learn; so some un- 
derstand it; but they would be loath to learn it, and 
it would be a burthen to their memories, or a load 
which should lie heav\' upon them, and under which 
they should sink. Those that will not make the 
word of God their rest, {ch. xxviii. 12. Jer. vi. 
i6.) it shall be made a burthen to them. 2. It is 
the burthen of Babylon or Babel, which at this time 
was a dependent upon the Assyrian monarchy, (the 
metropolis of which was Nineveh,) but soon after 
revolted from it, and became a monarchy of itself, 
and a veiy potent one, in Nebuchadnezzar. This 
prophet afterward foretold the captivity of the 
Jews in Babylon, ch. xxxix. 6. Here he foretells 
the reprisals God would make upon Babylon for the 
wrongs done to his pe ople. 

In these verses a summons is given to those pow- 
erful and wai'like nations, whom God would make 
use of as the instruments of his wrath for the de- 
struction of Babylon: he afterward names them (v. 
17.) the 7l/fc/fs, who, in conjunction with the Per- 
sians under the command of Darius and Cyrus, 
were the ruin of the Babylonian monarchy. 

1. The place doomed to destruction is Babylon; 
it is here called the gates of the nobles, {v. 2.) be- 
cause in the abundance of noblemen's houses that 
were in it; stately ones, and richly furnished, which 
would invite the enemy to come, in hopes of a rich 
booty. The gates of nobles were strong and well 
guarded, and yet they would be no fence against 
those who came with commission to execute God's 
judgments. Before his power and wrath, palaces 
are no more than cottages; nor is it only the gates 
of the nobles, but the whole land, that is doomed to 
destinaction; {v. 5.) for though the nobles were the 
leaders in persecuting and oppressing God's people, 
yet the whole land concurred with them in it. 

(2. ) The persons brought together to lay Babylon 
waste, are here called, [1.] God's sanctified ones, 
{v. 3. ) designed for this service, and set apart to it 
l>y the puqjose and providence of God; disengaged 
from other projects, that they might wholly apply 
themselves to this; such as were qualified for that 
to which they were called; for what work God em- 
ploys men in, he does in some measure fit them for. 
It intimates likewise that in God's intention, though 
not in theirs, it was a holy war; they designed only 
the enlargement of their own empire, but God de- 
signed the release of hispeople, and a type of the 
destruction of the New Testament Babylon. Cyrus, 
the person principally concerned, was justly called 
a sanctified one, for he wais God's anointed, {ch. 
xlv. 1.) and a figure of him that was to come. It is 
\ P'tv but all soldiers, espcciiiUy those that fight t'le 

Vol. iv.-K 



Lord's battles, should be, in tlie striclest sense, 
saiictifii.-d ones; it is a wonder thni <lare '.)c profane 
ones, wlio carry tlieir lives in thiir hands. [2.] 
Tluv are cilled God's mighty ijiiis, because tliev 
had tlieir might from God, and were now to use it 
f r him. It is said of Cyrus, th;it in tliis cxpediti( n 
God held his right hand, ch. xlv. 1. God's sancti- 
fied ones are his mightv ones; whom God calls, he 
qualifies; and whom he makes holy, he makes 
stri'iig in spirit. [3.] They are said to rejoice in 
liis highness, to serve his glory and the purposes (^f 
it witli great alacrity. Though Cyrus did net knew 
God, nor actually design his honour in what he did, 
I yet Gnd used him as his servant; {ch. xlv. 4. Ihi.i e 
' stirnamed thee as my ser\'ant, though thou hast not 
known me;) and he rejoiced in those succi ssei b/ 
which God exalted his own name. [4.] They ai<- 
very numerous, a multitude, a great people; k-in'j 
doms of nations, {v. 4.) not rude and barbarous, 1/ ' 
modeled and regular troops, such as are furnish t' 
out by well-ordered kingdoms: the great God ha 
hosts at his command. [5.] They are far-fetched, 
they come from the end of heaven: the vast country 
of Assyria lay between Babylon and Persia. Cjod 
can make those a scourge and ruin to his enemies 
that lie most remote from them, and therefore are 
least dreaded. 

(3.) The summons given them is effectual, their 
obedience ready, and they make a very formidable 
appearance; ./I banner is lifted ufi u/ion the high 
mountain, v. 2. God's standard is set up, a flag ef 
defiance hung out against Babylon. It is erected 
on high, where all may see it; whoever will, may 
crme, and enlist themselves under it, and they shall 
be taken immediately into God's paj;. They that 
beat for volunteers, must exalt the voice in making 
proclamation, to encourage soldiers to come in; they 
must shake the hand, to beckon those at a distance, 
and to animate those that have enlisted themselves. 
And they shall not do this in vain; God has com- 
manded and called those whom Ire designs to make 
use of, (t. 3.) and power goes ahmg with his calls 
and commands, which cannot be resisted. He that 
makes men able to serve him, can, when he pleases, 
make them willing too: it is the Lord of hosts that 
musters the host of the battle, z'. 4. He raises them, 
brings them together, puts them in order, reviews 
them, has an exact account of them in his muster- 
roll, sees that they he all in their respective posts, 
and gives them tlieir necessary orders. Note, All 
the hosts of w:ir arc under the command of the Lrrd 
of hosts; and that which makes them tnily formida- 
ble, is, that when they come against Babylnn, the 
Lord comes, and brings them with him as the mea- 
fions of his indignation, v. 5. Note, Great princes 
and armies are but tools in God's hands, weapons 
that he is pleased to make use of in doing his wrrk, 
and it is his wrath that arms them, and gives them 
success. 

6. Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is 
at hand ; it shall come as a destruction from 
the Almighty. 7. Therefore shall all hands 
he faint, and every man's heart shall melt : 
8. And they shall be afraid: pangs and sor- 
rows shall take hold of them; they sh-iil be 
in pain as a woman that travailetli; they 
shall be amazed one at another; th( ir faces 
<;hall be as flames. 9. Behold, the dny of 
the Lord cometh, cruel both \\ ith wrath 
and fierce anirer, to lav the land desolate, 
and lie shall d( stroy the sinners thereof out 
of it. 10. For the stais of iicaven, and the 



74 



ISAIAH, X]ll. 



constellations tboreof, shall not give their 
light: the sun shall be darkened in his going 
forth, and the moon shall not cause her 
light to shine. 11. And I will punish the 
v^'orld for their evil, and the wicked for their 
iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of 
the proud to cease, and will lay low the 
haugjitiness of the terrible. 12. I will make 
a man more precious than fine gold; even a 
lYj.in tiian the golden wedge of Ophir. 1 3. 
Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the 
earth shall remove out of her place, in the 
wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day 
of his fierce anger. 14 And it shall be as 
the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man 
taketh up : they shall every man turn to his 
own people, and flee every one into his own 
land. 15. Every one that is found shall be 
thrust through; and every one that is joined 
unlo them shall fall by the sword. 16. Their 
children also shall be dashed to pieces be- 
fore their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, 
and their wives ravished. 17. Behold, I 
will stir up the Medes against them, which 
shall not regard silver; and as for gold, 
thejr shall not delight in it. 1 8. Their bowc 
also shall dash the young men to pieces ; 
and they shall have no pity on the fruit of 
the woml) ; their eye shall not spare chil- 
dren. 

We have here a very elegant and lively descrip- 
tion of the terrible confusion and desolation which 
should be made in Babylon by the descent wliich 
the Medes and Persians should make upon it. They 
that were now secure and easy, are bid to howl, and 
make sad lamentation. For, 

1. God is about to appear in wrath against them, 
and it is a feavful thing to fall into his hands; The 
I'ay of the Lord is at hand, {v. 6.) a little day of 
judgment, wlien God will act as a just Avenger of 
h;s own and his people's injured cause. And there 
are those who will have reason to tremble when 
that day is at hand; the day of the Lord cometh, v. 
9. Men have their day now, and they think to 
carry the day; but God laugl-.s at them, for he sees 
that his day is coming, Fs. xxxvii. 13. Furv is not 
with God, and yet his d;;y of reckoning with the 
Babylonians is said iohe cruel tvith nvrath and fierce 
anger. God will deal in severity with them for the 
severities they exercised upon God's people; with 
tlie froward, with tlie cruel, he will show himself 
froward, will show himself ciaiel, and give the 
blood-tliirsty blood to drink. 

2. Their hearts shall fail them, and they shall 
ha\'e neither courage nor comfort left; they shall 
not be able either to resist the judgment coming, or 
to Ijear up under it, either to oppose the enemy, or 
to support themselves, v. 7, 8. They that in the 
day of their peace were proud, and haughty, and 
*errible, {v. 11.) are, when trouble comes, quite 
dispirited, and are at their wits' end; all hands 
shall be faint, and unable to hold a weapon, and 
every man's heart shall melt, so that they shall be 
ready to die for fear. The pangs of their fear shall 
be like those of a woman in hard labour, and they 
shall be amazed one at another; in frightening them- 
selves, they shall fi-ighten one another; they shall 
tvonder tu see those tremble, that used to be bold 



and daring; or, they shall be amazed, looking onr 
at another as men at a loss, Gen. xlii. 1. Their 
faces shall be as flames, pule as flames, through _ 
fear; so some; or red as flames sometimes are, ■ 
blusiiing at their own cowardice; or their faces shall 1 
be as faces scorched with the flames, or as theirsi 
that labour in the fire, their visage blacker thaii a 
coal; 'or like a bottle in the smoke, Ps. cxix. 83. 

3. All comfort and hope shall fail them; t>. 10. 
The stars of heax<en shall not give their light, but 
shall be clouded and overcast; the sun shall' be dark- 
ened in his going forth, lising lii-ight, but lost again, 
a certain sign of foul weather. They shall be as 
men in distress at sea, when neither sun nor star; 
appear. Acts xxvii. W. It shall be as dreadful a 
time with them as it would be with the earth, if all 
the heavenly luminaiies were turned into darkness; 
a resemblance of the day of judgment, when the sun 
shall be turned into darkness. The heavens frown- 
ing thus, is an indication of the displeasure of the 
God of heaven; when things look dark on earth, 
yet it is weU enough if all be clear upward; but it 
we have no comfort thence, wherewith shall we be 
comforted.* 

4. God will visit them for their iniquity; and al: 
this is intended for tlie punishment of sin, and par- 
ticularly the sin of pride, v. 11. This puts worm- 
wood and gall into the affliction and misery, (1.) 
That sin must now have its punishment; though 
Babylon he a little world, yet, being a wicked world, 
it shall not go unpunished. Sin brings desolation en 
the world of the ungodly; and when the kingdoms 
of the earth are quarrelling with one another, it is 
the frdit of God's controversy with them all. (2.) 
That pride must now have its fall. The haughti- 
ness of the terrible must now be laid low, particu- 
larly of Nebuchadnezzar and his son Belshazzar, 
who had, in their pride, trampled upon, and made 
thcmsehes very terrible to, the people of God. ji 
man's firide ivill bring him lonv. 

5. There shall be so great a slaughter as will pro- , 
duce a scarcity of men; (v. 12.) I will make a man 
more firecious than ^ fine gold. You could not have 
a man to be employed in any of the affairs of state, 
not a man to be enlisted in the army, not a man to 
match a daughter to, for the building up of a family, 
if you would give any money for one. The troops 
of the neighbouring nations would not be hired into 
the service of the king of Babylon, because thev 
saw every thing go against him. Populous coun- 
tries are soon depopulated by war. And God can 
soon make a kingdom that has been courted and ad- 
mired, to be dreaded and shunned by all, as a house 
that is falling, or a ship that is sinking. 

6. There shall be a universal confusion and crn- 
sternation; such a confusion of their affairs, that it 
shall be like the shaking of the heavens, with dread- 
ful thunders, and the removing of the eaith, by no 
less dreadful earthquakes. All shall go to wreck 
and ruin /n the day of the wrath of the Lord of 
hosts; V. ]3. And such a consternation shall seize 
their spirits, that Babylon, which used to be like a 
roaring lion, and a ranging bear, to all about her, 
shall become as a chased roe, and as a shee/i that no 
man takes ufi, v. 14. The army they shall bring 
into the field, consisting of trooji's of divers nations, 
(as great armies usually do,) shall be so dispersed 
by their enemies' sword, that they shall turn ei'ery 
man to his own fieofile, each man shall shift for his 
own safety; the men of inight shall not Jind their 
hands, (Ps. Ixxvi. 5.) but take to their heels. 

8. There shall be a general scene of blood and 
horror, as is usu-1 where the sword dcNcurs. .Vo 
wonder that e\'er\' one makes the best of his way 
since the conqueror gives v.o quarter, hut puts all 
to the sword, and not those only tliat are found in 
arms, as is usual with us even in the mcst cruel 



ISAIAH, XIII. 



75 



siriiishtcrs: {v. 15.) Every one t/tat is fou/id alive, 
shuil he run through, as soon ;.s ever it appears tliat 
1r i^ a B-ibyloniaii. Nay, because the sword de- 
vours one as well as anoiXKi; every one that is joined 
to them, shall fall by the sitiord; those of other na- 
tions that come in to their assistance, shall be cut off 
witli tliem. It is dangero\is being in bad company, 
aiid helping those whom God is about to destroy: 
these particularly that join themselves to Babylon, 
must expect to share in her plagues, Rev. xviii. 4. 
And since the most sacred laws of nature, and hu- 
manitv itself, are silenced by the fury of war, (though 
the)- cannot be cancelled,) the conquerors shall, in 
the' most bartiarous brutish manner, dash the chil- 
dren to pieces, and ravish the tvixies. Jusque datum 
sceleri — Wickedness shall have free course, v. 16. 
Thcv had thus dealt with God's people, (Lam. v. 
11.) iuid now they shall be paid in their own coin. 
Rev. iii. 10. It was particularly foretold, (Ps. 
cx.xxvii. 9. ) that the little ones of Babylon should 
be dashed against the stones. How crael soever, 
and unjust, they were that did it, God was righteous 
who suffered it to be done, and to be done before 
tlieir eyes, to their great terror and vexation. It 
was just also that the houses which they had filled 
wit'i the spoil of Israel, should be spoiled and plun- 
dered. What is got by rapine, is often lost in the 
same manner. 

8. The enemy that God would send against them, 
sh uld be inexorable, probably being by some pro- 
\ocatlon or other more than ordinarily exasperated 
against them; or, however, God himself will stir up 
the Medes to use this severity with the Babylonians. 
He will not only serve his own purposes by their 
dispositions and designs, but will put it into their 
hearts to make this attempt upon Babylon, and 
suffer them to prosecute it with all this fury. God 
is nit the author of sin, but he would not permit it 
if lie did not know how to bring glory to himself out 
of it. These Medes, in conjunction with the Per- 
sians, shall make thorough work of it. For, 

(1.) They shall take no bribes, t'. 17. All that 
men have they would give for their lives, but the 
M'-des shall not regard silver; it is blood they thirst 
for, not gold; no man's riches shall with them be the 
ransom of his life. 

(2.) They shall show no pity, {y. 18.) not to the 
young men that are in the prime of their time, they 
shall shoot them through with their bows, and then 
dash them to pieces; not to the age of innocency, 
they shall have no pity on the fruit of the nvomb, nor 
spare little children, whose cries and frights one 
would think should make even marble eyes to weep, 
and hearts of adamant to relent. Pause a little here, 
and wonder, [1.] That men should be thus cruel 
and inhuman, and so utterly divested of all compas- 
sion; and in it see how corrupt and degenerate the 
nature of man is become. [2.] That the God of 
infinite mercy should suffer it, nay, and should make 
it to be the execution of his justice; which shows 
that though he is gracious, yet he is the God to 
whom \-engeance belongs. [3.] That little infants, 
who have never been guilty of any actual sin, should 
be thus abused; which shows that there is an origi- 
nal guilt, by which life is forfeited as soon as it is had. 

19. And Babylon, the gloiy of kingdoms, 
the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, 
shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and 
Gomorrah. 20. It sliall never be inhabited, 
neither shall it be dwelt in from generation 
to generation; neither shall the Arabian 
|)itch tent there, neither shall the shepherds 
make their fold there: 21. But wild beasts 
of the desert shall he there; and their houses 



shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls 
sliall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance 
there. 22. And the wild beasts of the islands 
sliall cry in their desolate houses, and dra- 
gons in their pleasant palaces; and her lime 
is near to come, and her days shall not be 
prolonged. 

The great lun'oc and destructinn wi\ich it was 
foretold should be made by the Medes and Persians 
in Babylon, here end in the final destruction of it. 

1. It is allowed that Babylon was a noljle city; it 
•was the glory of ki7igdoms, and the beauty of the 
Chaldees' excellency; it was that head of gold; 
(Dan. ii. S7, 38.) it was called the lady of king- 
doms, {ch. xlvii. 5.) \.\\^ praise of the whole earth, 
(Jer. li. 41.) like a pleasant r<ie; (so the word signi- 
fies;) but it shall be as a chased roe; {y. 14.) the 
Chaldeans gloried in the beauty and wealth of this 
their metropolis. 

2. It is foretold that it should be wholly destroy- 
ed, like Sodom and Gomorrah; not so miraculously, 
nor so suddenly, but as effectually, though gradual- 
ly; and the desti-uction should come upon them as 
that upon Sodom, when they were secure, eating 
and drinking, Luke xvii. 28. Babylon was taken 
when Belshazzar was in his revel; and though Cy- 
nis and Darius did not demolish it, yet by degrees 
it wasted away, and in process of time it went all 
to ruin. It is foretold here, {v. 20.) that it shall 
never be inhabited; in Adrian's time, nothing re- 
mained but the wall. And whereas it is prophesied 
concerning Nineveh, that great city, that when it 
should be deserted and left desolate, yet flocks 
should lie down in the midst of it; it is here said 
concerning Babylon, that the Arabians, who were 
shepherds, should not make their folds there; the 
country about should be so barren, that there would 
be no grazing there; no, not for sheep; nay, it shall 
be the receptacle of wild beasts, that affect solitude; 
the houses of Babylon, where the sons and daughters 
of pleasure used to rendezvous, shall be full of dole- 
ful creatures, owls and satyrs, that are themselves 
frightened thither, as to a place proper for them, 
and by whom all others are frightened thence. His- 
torians say that this was fidfilled to the letter. Ben- 
jamin Bar-Jona, in his Itinerary, speaking of Babel, 
has these words; " This is that Babel which was, 
of old, thirty miles in breadth; it is now laid waste; 
there are yet to be seen the ruins of a palace of Ne- 
buchadnezzar, but the sons of men dare not enter in, 
for fear of serpents and scorpions, which possess the 
place." Let none be proud of their pompous pa- 
laces, for they know not but they may become worse 
than cottages; nor let any think that their houses 
shall endure for ever, (Ps. xlix. 11.) when perhaps 
nothing may remain but the ruins and reproaches 
of them. 

3. It is intimated that this destniction should 
come shortly; {v. 22.) Her time is near to come. 
This prophecy of the desti-uction of Babylon was 
intended for the support and comfort of the people 
of God when they were captives there, and griev- 
ously oppressed; and the accomplishment of the 
prophecy was near 200 years after the time when it 
was delivered ; yet it followed soon after the time 
for which it was calculated. When the people of 
Israel were groaning under the heavy yoke of Baby 
lonish tyranny, sitting down in tears by the rivers 
of Babylon, and upbraided with the songs of Zion, 
when their insolent oppressors were most haughty 
and arrogant, (t'. U.) then let them know, for their 
comfort, that Babylon's time, her day to fall, was 
near to come, and the days of her prosperity shall 
not be prolonged, as they have been; when Grd 
begins with her, he will inake an end. Thus it is 



r6 



ISAIAH, XIV. 



s;iid of the destruction of the New Testament Baby- 
lon, whereof the former was a type; In one hour 
is her judgment come. 

CHAP. XIV. 

In this chapter, I. More weight is added to the burthen of 
Babylon, enough to sink it like a mill-stone; 1. It is Is- 
rael's cause that is to be pleaded in this quarrel with 
Babylon, v. 1 . . 3. 2. The king of Babylon, for the time 
being, shall be remarkably brought down and triumphed 
over, V. 4 . . 20. 3. The whole race of the Babylonians 
shall be cut off and extirpated, v. 21 . . 23. II. A con- 
firmation of the prophecj^of the destruction of Babylon, 
which was a thing at a distance, is here given in the pro- 
phecy of the destruction of the Assyrian army that in- 
vaded the land, which happened not long after, v. 24 . . 27. 
III. The success of Hezekiah against the Philistines is 
here foretold, and the advantages which his people 
•vould gain thereby, v. 28 . . 32. 

1 . T]^ OR tlie Lord will have mercy on Ja- 
X. cob, and will yet choose Israel, and 
set them in their own land : and the stran- 
gers shall be joined with them, and they 
shall cleave to the house of Jacob. 2. And 
the people shall take them, and bring them 
to their place; and the house of Israel shall 
possess them in the land of the Lord for 
servants and handmaids: and they shall 
take them captives, whose captives they 
were; and they shall rule over their op- 
pressors. 3. And it shall come to pass, in 
the day that the Lord shall give thee rest 
from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and 
from the hard bondage wherein thou wast 
made to serve. 

This comes in here as the reason why Babylon 
must be overthrown and ruined; because God has 
m jrcy in store for his people, and therefore, 1. The 
injuries done to them must be reckoned for, and re- 
venged upon their persecutors. Mercy to Jacob 
will be wrath and ruin to Jacob's impenitent, im- 
placable adversaries, such as Babylon was. 2. The 
yoke of oppression which Babylon had long laid on 
their necks, must be broken oflF, and they must be 
set at liberty; in order to this, the destruction of 
Babylon is as necessary as the destruction of Egypt 
and Pharaoh was to their deliverance out of that 
house of bondage. The same prediction is a pro- 
mise to God's people, and a threatening to their 
enemies, as the same providence has a bright side 
towards Israel, and a black and thick side toward 
the Egyptians. Observe, 

I. The ground of these favours to Jacob and Is- 
rael — the kindness God had for them, and the 
choice he had made of them; {v. 1.) The Lord 
wil/ have mercy on Jacob, the seed of Jacob now 
<:apti\'es in Babylon; he will make it to appear that 
ne has compassion on them, and has mercy in store 
for them, and that he will not contend for ever with 
them, but will yet choose them, will yet again re- 
turn to them, though he had seemed for a time to 
refuse and reject them; he will show that they are 
his chosen people, and that the election stands sure. 
However it may seem to us, God's mercy is not 
gone, nor does his promise fail, Ps. Ixxvii. 8. 

II. The particular favours he designed them. 

1. He would bring them back to their native soil 
and air again; The Lord will set them in their own 
land, out of which they were driven. A settlement 
in the Holy Land, the Land of Promise, is a fruit of 
God's mercy, distinguishing mercy. 

2. Many should be proselyted to their holy reli- 
gion, and should return with them, induced to do so 



by the manifest tokens of God's favourable presence 
witli them, the operations of God's grace in them, 
and his providence for them; Strangers shall bt 
joined with them, siijing, We will go with i/ou,fot 
we have heard that God is with you, Zech. "viii. 23. 
It adds much to the honour and strength of Israel, 
when strangers are joined with them, and there are 
added to the church many from without. Acts ii. 
47. Let not the church's children be shy of stran- 
gers, but receive those whom God receives, and 
own those who cleave to the house of Jacob. 

3. These proselytes should not only be a credit to 
their cause, but very helpful and ser\iceable to 
them in their return home; the peojjle among whom 
they live shall take them, take care of them, take 
pity on them, and shall bring them to their place, 
as friends, loath to part with such good company, 
as servants, willing to do them all the good offices 
they could. God s people, wherever their lot is 
cast, should endeavour thus, by all the instances of 
an exemplary and winning conversation, to gain an 
interest in the affections of those about them, and 
recommend religion to their good opinion. This 
was fulfilled in the return of the captives from 
Babvlon, when all that were about them, pursuant 
to Cyrus's proclamation, contributed to their re- 
move, (Ezra i. 4, 6.) not, as the Egyptians, be- 
cause they were sick of them, but because they 
loved them. 

4. They should have the benefit of their service 
when they were returned home, for many would of 
choice go with them in the meanest post, rather 
than not go with them; They shall /lossess them in 
the land of the Lord, for seri'ants and handmaids; 
and as the laws of that land saved it from being the 
purgatory of servants, providing that they sh(,uld 
not be oppressed, so the advantages of that land 
made it the paradise of those servants that had been 
strangers to the covenants of premise, for there was 
one law to the stranger, and to them that were born 
in the land. They whose lot is cast in the land of 
the Lord, a land of light, should take care that then 
servants and handmaids may share in the benefit of 
it; who will then find it better to be possessed in 
the Lord's land, than possessors in any other. 

5. They should triumph over their enemies; and 
they that would not be reconciled to them, shtuld 
be reduced and hnmbled by them; They shall takt 
them cafitix'es, whose cafitives they were, and shall 
rule over their o/i/iressors, righteously, but net re- 
vengefully. The Jews perhaps bought Babylonian 
prisoners out of the hands of the Medes and Per- 
sians, and made slaves of them : or this might have 
its accomplishment in the victories over their ene- 
mies in the times of the Maccabees. It is applica- 
ble to the success of the gospel, when those were 
brought into obedience to it, who had made the 
greatest opposition to it, as Paul; it is applicable 
also to the interest believers have in Christ's victo- 
ries over our spiritual enemies, when he led cap- 
tivity captive, to the power they gain over their 
own corruptions, and to the dominion the upright 
shall have in the morning, Ps. xlix. 14. 

6. They should see a happy period of all their 
grievances; (y. 3.) The Lord shall gir'e thee rest 
from tlnj sorrow, and thy fear, and from the hard 
bondage. God himself undertakes to work a bless- 
ed change; (1.) In their state; they shall have rest 
from their bondage; the days of their affliction, 
though many, shall hav e an end; and the rod of the 
wicked, though it lie long, shall not always lie, cr 
their lot. (2.) In their spirit; they shall have rest 
from their sorrow and fear, sense of their present 
burthens, and dread of worse. Sometimes fear puts 
the soul into a ferment as much as sorrow does, and 
those must needs feel themselves very easy, to whom 

i: God has given rest from both. They who are freed 



ISAIAH, XIV. 



fr '01 the bondage of sin, have a foundation laid for 
tiuj ixbt from sorrow and fear. 

4. That thou shall take up this proverb 
anaiiist the king of Babylon, and say, How 
liaili the oppressor ceased! the golden city 
etased! 5. The Lord hath broken tiie staff 
ol I he wicked, cnid the sceptre of the rulers. 
G. He \vlio smote the people in wrath with 
a continual stroke, he tiiat ruled the nations 
in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth. 
7. 'I'lie whole earth is at rest, and is quiet : 
thi y bn-'ak forth into singing. 8. Yea, the 
rir-Uees rtyoice at thee, «rt'7 the cedars of 
Lcltanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, 
no feller is come up against us. 9. Hell 
fiom beneath is moved lor thee to meet thee 
at thy coming : it stirreth up the dead for 
tliee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it 
hath raised up from their thrones all the 
kings of the nations. 10. All they shall 
speak, and say unto thee. Art thou also be- 
come weak as we ? art thou become like 
unto us ' 11. Thy pomp is brought down 
to the grave, and the noise of thy viols : the 
worm is spread under thee, and the worms 
cover thee. 1 2. How art thou fallen from 
heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how 
art thou cut down to the ground, which 
didst weaken the nations! 13. For thou 
hast said in thy heart, I will ascend into 
heaven, I will exalt my throne above the 
stars of God ; I will sit also upon the mount 
of the congregation, in the sides of the north : 
3 4. I will ascend above the heights of the 
clouds ; I will be like the Most High. 1 5. Yet 
thou shall be brought down to hell, to the 
sides of the pit. 1 6. They that see thee shall 
narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, 
saying. Is this the man that made the earth 
to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; 17. 
Thai made the world as a wilderness, and 
destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not 
the house of his prisoners ? 1 8. All the kings 
of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, 
ev<My one in his own house : 19. But thou 
art cast out of thy gmve like an abominable 
branch, and as the raiment of those that are 
slain, thrust through with a sword, that go 
down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase 
trodden under feet. 20. Thou shalt not be 
joined with them in burial, because thou 
hast destroyed thy land, n?id slain thy peo- 
ple : the seed of evil-doers shall never be 
renowned. 21. Prepare slaughter for his 
cliildren, for the iniquity of their fathers ; that 
they do not lise, nor possess the land, nor 
fill the face of the world with cities. 22. 
For I will rise up against them, saith the 
Loud of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the 
name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, 



saith the Lord. 23. I will also make it a 
possession for the bittern, and pools of w a- 
ter : and I will sweep it with the besom ol 
destruction, saith the Lord of hosts. 

The kings of Babylon, successively, were tlic 
great enemies and oppressors of God's people, and 
tlierefore the destruction cf Babylon, the fall of the 
king, and the ruin of his family, arc here ])aiticu- 
larly taken notice of and triumphed in; in the day 
that God has given Israel rest, tliey shall take u}i 
t/iis proverb against the Icing of Babylon, \^'e 
must not rejoice when our enemy falls, as ours; but 
when Babylon, the common enemy of God and his 
Israel, sinks, then rejoice over her, thou heaven, 
and ye holy a/iostles and projihets, Rev. xviii. 20. 
The Babylonian monarchy bade fair to be an abso- 
lute, universid, and pei-petual one, and, in these 
pretensions, vied with the Almighty; it is therefore 
very justly, not only brought down, but insulted 
over when it is down; and it is not only the last mo- 
narch, Belshazzar, who was slain on that night that 
Babylon was taken, (Dan. v. 30.) who is here tri- 
umphed over, but the whole monarchy, which sunk 
in him; not without special reference to Nebu- 
chadnezzar, in whom that monarchy was at its 
height. Now here, 

1. The fall of the king of Babylon is rejoiced in; 
and a most curious, elegant c( mpositicn is h re 
prepared, not to adorn his hearse or mrnument, but 
to expose his memory, and fix a lasting brand c f in- 
famy upon it. It gives us an account of the life ;!i'.l 
death of this mighty monarch, how he went doii'n 
slain to the flit, though he had been the terror cf the 
mighty in the land of the living, Ezek. xxxii. 27. 
in this parable we may observe, 

1. The prodigious height of wealth and ]v ivtr at 
which this monarch and monarchy amved. Baby- 
lon was a golden city, {x>. 4.) It is a Chaldee woi-d 
in the origuial, which intimates that she used to cull 
herself so; she abounded in riches, and excellt d all 
other cities, as gold does all other metals. S)ie is 
gold-thirsty, or an exactress of gold; so some re; d 
it; for how do men get wealth to themselves, but by 
squeezing it out of ethers.'' The New Jerus; km is 
the onlv tndy golden city. Rev. xxi. 18, 21. The 
kin^ ofllabylon, having so much wealth in his dr- 
minions, and the absolute command of it, by the 
help of that ruled the nations, {x: 6.) gave them 
law, read them their doom, and, at his ])le:isurt . 
weakened the nations, (x'. 12.) that thev might n- 1 
be able to make head against him. Such \ ast vic- 
torious aiTnies did he bring into the field, tht.t, 
which way soever he looked, he made the earth to 
tremble, and shook kingdoms; (xk 16.) all his ni iirh- 
bours were afraid of him, and were forced to sub- 
mit to him. No one man could do this by his < wn 
personal strength, but by the numbers he has at his 
beck. Great tyrants, by making some do whht 
they will, make others suffer what they will. How 
piteous is the case of mankind, which thus seems to 
be in a combination against itself, and its own rights 
and liberties, which could not be ruined but by its 
own strength. 

2. The wretched abuse of all this wealth and 
power, which the king of Babyli n was guilty of, in 
two' instances: 

(1.) Great oppression and cruelty; he is known 
by the name of the o/ifiressor, (v. 4.) he has the 
sceptre of the rulers, {xk 5.) has the ctnimand of all 
the princes about him ; but it is the staff ( f the wick- 
ed, a staff with which he supjjorts himself in his 
wickedness, and wickedly strikes all about him: 
He smote the people, not in justice, for their coi 
rection"nnd reformation, but in wrath, {v. 6.) v- 
gratify his own peevish resentments, and that with 
a continual stroke, pursued them with his forces, 



•'S 



ISAIAH, XIV. 



unc'i gave them no respite, no breathing time, no 
cessdtion of urms. He ruled the nations, but he 
ruled them in anger, every thing he said and did 
Was in passi. n; so that he who had the government 
r.f all about him, had no government of himself; he 
made the woiid as a laildeniess, as if he had taken 
a pride in being the plague of his generation, and 
a curse to mankind, [v. 17.) Great princes used to 
glory in building cities, but he gloried in destroying 
them; see Ps. ix. 6. 

Two particular instances are here given of his ty- 
ranny, worse than all the rest : [1.] That he was 
severe to his captives; (v. 17.) He o/iened not t/ie 
house of /lis prisoners; he did not let t/iem loose 
homeward; so the margin reads it; he kept them in 
close confinement, and never would suffer any to re- 
turn to their own land. This refers especially to 
the people of the Jews, and it is that which fills up 
the measure of the king of Babylon's iniquity, that 
he had detained the people of God in captivity, and 
would by no means release them; nay, and by pro- 
faning the vessels of God's temple at Jerusalem, did, 
in effect, say that they should never return to their 
former use, Dan. v. 2, 3. For this lie was quickly 
and justly turned out by one, whose first act was to 
open the house of God's prisoners, and send home 
the temple-vessels. [2.] That he was o/ipressive 
to his own subjects; {y. 20. ) Thou hast destroyed 
thy land, and slain thy fieo/de; and what did he get 
by" that, when the wealth of the land, and the mul- 
titude of the people are the strength and honour of 
the prince, who never rules so safely, so gloriously, 
as in the hearts and affectionsof the people? Butty- 
rants sacrifice their interests to their lusts and pas- 
sions; and God will reckon with them for their bar- 
barous usage of those who are under their power, 
■whom they think they may use as they please. 

(2.) Great pride and haughtiness; notice is here 
taken of his pomp, the extravagancy of his retinue; 
(f. 11.) he affected to appear in the utmost magni- 
ficence; but that was not the worst, it was the tem- 
per of his mind, and the ele\ation of that, that 
ripened him for ruin; {v. 13, 14.) Thou hast said 
in thy heart, like Lucifer, I will ascend into heaven. 
Hei-e is the language of his vainglory, borrowed 
perhaps from that of the angels who fell, who, not 
content with their first estate, the post assigned 
them, would vie with God, and become not only in- 
dependent on him, but equal with him : or perhaps 
it refers to the story of Nebuchadnezzar, who, when 
he would be more than a man, was justly turned 
into a brute, Dan. iv. 30. The king of Babylon 
here promises himself, [1.] That in pomp and pow- 
er he shall exceed all his neighbours, and shall ar- 
rive at the verv height of earthly glory and felicity; 
that he shall be as great and happy as this world 
can make him; that is the heaven ot a carnal heart, 
and to that he hopes to ascend, and to be as far 
above those about him, as the heaven is above the 
earth. Princes are the stars of God, which give 
some light to this dark world; (Matth. xxiv. 29.) 
but he will exalt his throne above them all. [2. J 
That he shall particularly insult over God's mount 
Zion, wliich Belshazzar, in his last drunken frolic, 
seemed to liave had a particular spite against, when 
Tie called iov the vessels of the temple at Jerusalem, 
to profane them; see Dan. v. 2. In the same hu- 
mour, he here said, I will sit upon the mount of the 
congregation, (it is the same word that is used for 
the holy convocations,) in the sides of the north; so 
Mount Zion is said to be situated, Ps. xlviii. 2. 
Perhaps Belshazzar was projecting an expedition to 
Jerusalem to triumph in the ruins of it, then when 
God cut him ofT. [3.] That he will vie with the 
God of Israel, of whom he had indeed heard glo- 
rious things, that he had his residence above the 
height of the clouds; " But thither," says he, " will 



Tascend, and be as great as he; I will be like him 
whom they call the Alost High." It is a gracious 
ambition to covet to be like the Most Holy, for he 
has said. Be ye holy, for I am holy; but it is a sin- 
ful ambition to aim to be like the Most High, for he 
has said. He who exalts himself, shall be abased; 
and the devil drew our first parents in to eat forbid- 
den fi-uit, by premising them that they she uld be 
as gods. [4.] That he shall himself be deified af- 
ter his death, as seme of the first founders of the 
Assyrian mtnarchy were, and stars had even their 
names from them, " But," (says he) " I will exalt 
my throne above them all." Such as this was his 
pride, which was the undoubted omen of his de- 
struction. 

3. The utter ruin that should be brought upon 
him: 

(1.) It is foretold that his wealth and power 
should be broken, and a fini.l period put to his pcmp 
and pleasure; he has been long an oppressor, but he 
shall cease to be so, v. 4. Had he ceased to be so 
by true repentance and reformation, according to 
the advice Daniel gave toNibuchadnezzar, it might 
have been a lengthening of his life and tranquillity. 
But those that will not cease to sin, God will make 
to cease. The golden city, which, one would have 
thought, might have continued for ever, is ceased; 
there is an end of that Babylon. The Lord, the 
righteous God, has broken the staff of that wicked 
prince, broken it over his head, in token of the di- 
vesting him of his office. God has taken his power 
from him, and disabled him to do any more mis- 
chief; he has broken the sceptres; for even those 
are brittle things, soon broken, and often justly. 

(2.) That he himself should be seized; He is per- 
secuted; {v. 6.) violent hands are laid upon him, and 
none hinders. It is the common fate cf tyrants, 
when they fall into the power of their enemies, to 
be deserted by their flatterers, whom they took for 
their friends. We read of another enemy like this 
here, of whom it is foretold that he shall come to hia 
end, and none shall help him, Dan. xi. 45. Tiberius 
and Nero thus saw themselves abandoned. 

(3.) That he should be slain, andg-o down to She 
congregation of the dead, to he free among them, as 
the slain that are no more remembered, Ps. Ixxxviii. 
5. He shall be iveak as the dead are, and like unto 
them, V. 10. His pomp isbrought down to thegrave, 
it perishes with him; the pomp of his life shall not, 
as usual, end in a funeral pomp. True glory, that 
is, true grace, will go up with the soul to heaven, 
but vain pomp will go down with the body to the 
grave, there is an end of it. The noise of his viols 
is now heard no more; death is a farewell to the 
pleasures, as well as to the pomps of this world. 
This mighty prince, that used to lie on a bed of 
down, and tread upon rich carpets, and to have co- 
verings and canopies exquisitely fine, now shall have 
the worms spread under him, and the worms cover- 
ing him, (_v. 11.) worms bred out of his own putre- 
fied bodv, which, though he fancied himself a god, 
proved him to be made of the same mould with 
other men. When we are pampering and decking 
our bodies, it is good to remember they will be 
worms' meat shortly. 

(4. ) That he should not have the honour of a bu- 
rial, much less of a decent one, and in the sepulchres 
of his ancestors; The kings of the nations lie in glo- 
ry; (f. 18.) either the dead bodies themselves, so 
embalmed as to be preserved from putrefaction, as 
of old among the Egyptians; c-r their effigies (as 
with us) erected over their graves. Tims, vs if they 
would def)' the ignominy rf death, thej' la\- in a 
poor, faint sort of glory, every one in his own house, 
his own burving-place; for the grave is the house 
appointed fi'.rall living, a sleeping-house, where the 
busy and troublesome will lie quiet, and the trru 



ISAIAH, XIV. 



79 



oled and weary lie at i-est. But this king of Baby- 
lon is cast out, and h.is no grave; (i'. 19.) his dead 
1)1 >dv is tin-own, like tliat of a beast, into the next 
ditch, or upon the next dungliill, like aii abomina- 
ble branch of some noxious, poisonous plant, which 
nobody will touch; or as the clotlies of^ malefactors 
put to death, and by the hand of justice thrust 
through with a sword, on whose dead bodies heaps 
of stones are raised, or they arc thrown into some 
deep (juarry, among the stones of the pit. Nay, the 
king ot Babylon's dead body sh;dl be as the carcases 
of those who are slain in a battle, who are trodden 
under feet by the horses and soldiers, and crushed 
to pieces: thus he shall not be joined with his ances- 
tcrs in burial, v. 20. To be denied decent burial 
is a disgrace, which, if it be inflicted for righteous- 
ness-sake (asPs. Ixix. 2.) may, as other similar re- 
jj roaches, be rejoiced in; (Matth. v. 12.) it is the lot 
^f the two witnesses. Rev. xi. 9. But if, as here, it 
be the just punisliment of iniquity, it is an intima- 
ti.jn that evil pursues impenitent sinners beyond 
death, greater evil than that, and that they shall 
rise to everlasting shame and contemfit. 

4. The many triumphs that should be in his fall. 

(1.) Those whom he had been a great tyrant 
nnd terror to, will be glad that tliey are rid of him; 
{v. T, 8.) Now that he is gone, the whole earth is 
at rest, and is quiet, for he was the great disturber 
of the peace; now they all break forth into singing, 
f ir -^ohen the wicked fierish, there is shouting; (Prov. 
xi. 10.) the fir-trees and cedars of Lebanon now 
think themselves safe, there is no danger now of 
tli.ir being cut down, to make way for his vast ar- 
mies, or to funiish him with timber. The neigh- 
bouring princes, and great men, who are compared 
to fir-trees and cedars, (Zech. xi. 2. ) may now be 
easy, and out of fear of being dispossessed of theii- 
rights, for the hammer of the whole earth is cut 
asunder and broken, (Jer. 1. 23.) the axe that 6oas<- 
ed itself against him that hewed with it, ch. x. 15. 

(2.) The congregation of the dead will bid him 
welcome to tliem, especially those whom he had 
barbarously hastened thither; (y. 9, 10.) " Hell 
from beneath is moved for thee, to meet thee at thy 
coming, and to compliment thee upon thy arrival at 
their dai-k and dreadful regions. " The chief ones 
of the earth, who, when they were alive, were kept 
in awe by him, and durst not come near him, but 
rose from their thrones, to resign them to him, these 
shall upbraid him with it; when he comes into the 
state of the dead, they shall go forth to meet him, 
as they used to do when he made his public entiy 
into cities he was become master of; with such a 
parade shall he be introduced into those regions of 
horror, to make his disgrace and torment the more 
grievous to him. They shall scoffingly rise from 
their thrones and seats there, and ask him if he will 
jjlease to sit down in them, as he used to do in their 
thrones on earth.'' The confusion that will then cover 
liim they shall make a jest of; " .4rt thou also be- 
come weak as we? Who would have thought it? It 
IS what thou thyself didst not expect it would e\er 
cime to, when thou wast in every thing too hard for 
us. Thou that didst rank thyself among the im- 
mortal gods, art thou come to take thy fate among 
lis poor mortal men? Where is thy pomp now, and 
Tvhere thy mirth? Honv art thou fallen from heaven, 
Q Lucifer, son of the morning," v. 11, 12. The 
king of B ibjlon has shone as bright as the morning- 
star, and fmcied that, wherever he came, he 
r>v lught day along with him; and is such an illus- 
trious prince as this fallen, such a star become a clod 
of clay? Did ever any man fall from such a height 
of honour and power into such an abyss of shame 
and misery? This has been commonly alluded to, 
(and it is a mere allusion,) to illustrate the fall of 
the angels, v/ho wcreasmoming-stai-s, Job xxxviii. 



7. But how arc they fallen! How art thou cut 
down to the ground, and levelled with it, that didst 
weaken the nations! God will I'eckon with tin se 
that invade the rights, and disturlj the ])eace, of 
mankind, for he is King of nations as well as saints. 

Now this I'cception of the king of Babylon into 
the regions of the dead, which is here described, 
surely is something more thai-, a flight of fanc)", and 
is desi^ied to speak these solid truths: [1.] That 
there is an invisible world, a world of spii-its, to 
which the souls of men remove at death, and in 
which they exist and act in a state of separation 
from the body. [2.] That separate souls have ac- 
quaintance and conserse with each other, though 
we have none with them; the parable of the lich 
man and Lazarus intimates this. [3.] That death 
and hell will be death and hell indeed to those that 
fall unsanctified from the height ol this 'world's 
pomps, and the fulness of its pleasures: Hon, re- 
member, Luke xvi. 25. 

(;i. ) Spectators will stand amazed at his, fall. 
When he shall be brought down to lull, to the sides 
of the flit, and to be lodged there, {v. 15.) they that 
see him shall narrowly look upon him, and consider 
him, they shall scarcely believe their own eyes; 
ne\'er was death so great a change to any man as it 
is to him. Is it possible that a man who a few 
hours ago looked so great, so pleasant, and was so 
splendidly adorned and attended, should now look 
so ghastly, so despicable, and lie thus naked and 
neglected? Is this the man that inade the earth to 
tremble, and shook kingdoms? Who would have 
thought he should ever have come to this? Psalm 
Ixxxii. 7. 

Lastly, Here is an inference drawn from all 
this; {v. 20.) The seed of evil-doers shall never 
be renowned. The princes of the Babylonian mo- 
narch were all a seed of evil-doers, oppressors of 
the people of God, and therefore they had this in- 
famy entailed upon them. They shall not be re- 
yiowned for ever; so some read it; they may look 
big for a time, but all their pomp will only i-ender 
their disgrace at last the more shameful; there is no 
credit in a sinful way. 

II. The utter ruin of the royal family is here fore- 
told, together with the desolation of the royal city. 

' 1. The royal family is to be wholly extirpated. 
The Medes and Persians that are to be employed 
in this destroying work, are ordered, when they 
have slain Belshazzar, to Jirefiare slaughter for his 
children, (f. 21.) and not to spare them; the little 
ones of Babylon must be dashed against the stones, 
Ps. cxxxvii. 9. These orders sound very harsh; 
but, (1.) They must suffer /br the iniquity of their 
fathers, whicli is often visited upon the children, to 
show how much God hates sin, and is displeased at 
it, and to deter sinners from it, which is the end of 
punishment. Nebuchadnezzar had slain Zedekiah's 
sons, (Jer. lii. 10.) and for that iniquity of his, his 
seed are paid in the same coin. (2.) They must 
be cut off now, that they may not rise ufi to possess 
the land, and do as much mischief in their day 
as their fathers had done in theirs; that they may 
not be as vexatious to the world by building cities 
for the support of their tyranny, (which was Nim- 
rod's policy. Gen. x. 11.) as their ancestors had 
been hy destroy ij>g c\x\qs. Pharaoh oppressed Israel 
in Egypt by setting them to build cities, Exod. i. 11. 
The providence of God consults the welfare of na- 
tions more thin we are aware of, Ijy cutting rfF 
some who, if they had lived, woidd have done mis- 
chief Justly may the enemies cut (ffthe children; 
For I wilt rise uji against them, sai'h the Lord cf 
hosts, V. 22. And if God reveal it as his mind that 
he will have it done, as none can hinder it, so mne 
need scruple to further it. Babvlon perhaps was 
proud of the numbers rf her roy:il family, but God 



80 



ISAIAH, XIV. 



had determined to cut off the name ana remnant of 
it, so that none should be left, to have both the sons 
and grandsons of the king slain; and yet we are sure 
he never did, nor e\er will do, any wrong to any 
of his creatures. 

2. The royal city is to be demolished and desert- 
ed, V. 23. It shall be a possession for solitaiy fright- 
ful birds, particularly the bitteni, joined with the 
cormorant and tlie owl, c/i. xxxiv. H. And thus 
tlie utter destruction of tl\e New Testament Baby- 
lon is illustrated, (Rev. xviii. 2.) it is become a cage 
of every unclean and hateful bird. Babylon lay 
low, so that when it was deserted, and no care taken 
to drain the land, it soon became pools of water, 
standing puddles, as unhealthful as unpleasant: and 
thus God will stveefi it with the besom of destruction. 
When a people have nothing among them but dirt 
and filth, and will not be made clean with the besom 
of reformation, what can they expect but to be 
swept off the face of the earth with the besom of 
destruction.'' 

24. The Lord of hosts hath sworn, say- 
ing, Surely as 1 have thought, so shall it 
come to pass; and as I have purposed, so 
shall it stand; 25. That I will break the 
Assyrian in my land, and upon my moun- 
tains tread him under foot: then shall his 
yoke depart from off them, anil his burden 
depart from off their shoulders. 26. This is 
the purpose that is purposed upon the whole 
earth; and this is the hand that is stretched 
out upon all the nations. 27. For the Lord 
of hosts hath purposed, and who shall dis- 
annul it? and his hand is stretched out, and 
who shall turn it back 1 28. In the year that 
king Ahaz died, was this burden. 29. Re- 
ioice not thou, whole Palestina, because tiie 
rod of Irim that smote thee is broken : for out 
of the serpent's root shall come forth a 
cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery fly- 
ing serpent. 30. And the first-born of the 
poor shall feed, and the needy shall lie down 
m safety : and I will kill thy root with famine, 
and he shall slay thy remnant. 31. Howl, 
O gate; cry, O city; thou, whole Palestina, 
art dissolved : for there shall come from the 
north a smoke, and none shall be alone in 
his appointed times. 32. What shall one 
then answer the messengers of the nation ? 
That the Lord hath founded Zion, and the 
poor of his people shall trust in it. 

The destruction of Babylon and the Chaldean 
empire was a thing at a great distance; the empire 
was not risen to any considerable height when its 
fall was here foretold : it was almost 200 years from 
this prediction of Bibylon's fall to the accomplish- 
ment of it. Now the people to whom Isaiah pro- 
phesied, might ask, " What is this to us, or what 
shall we be the better for it, and what assurance 
shall we hav( of it?" To both which questions he 
answers in these verses, by a prediction of the ruin 
both of the Assyrians and of the Philistines, the pre- 
sent enemies that infested them, which they should 
shortlv be eye-witnesses of, and have benefit by. 
These would be a present comfort to them, and a 
pledge of future deliverance, for the confirming of 
the faith of their posterity. God is to his peop'.e 



the same to-day that he was yesterday, and will oe 
hereafter; and he will for ever be the same tliat he 
has been, and is. Here is, 

1. Assurance given of the destruction of the As- 
syrians; (x>. 25. ) I 'it}ill break the Assyrian in my 
land. Sennacherib bnught a verj- f<:'rmidable army 
into the land of Judah, but there God broke it, 
broke all his regiments by the sword of a destroying 
angel. Note, Those who wrongfully invade (jod's 
land, shall find it is at their peril, and those who with 
unhallowed feet trample upon his holy mountains, 
shall themselves tliLre be trodden under foot. God 
undertakes to do it liimself, his people having no 
might against the great company that came against 
them; " I will break the Assynan; let me alone to 
do it, who h:Lve angels, hosts of angels at command." 
Now the breaking of the power (f the Assyrian 
would be the breaking of the yoke from off the neck 
of God's peo])le. His burthen shall depai-t from off 
their shoulders, the burthen of quartering that vast 
army, and paying contribution; therefore the Assy- 
rian must be broken, that Judah and Jenisalem 
may be eased. Let those that make themselves a 
yoke and a burthen to God's people, see what they 
are to expect. 

Now, 1. This prophecy is here ratified and con- 
firmed by an oath; {v. 24.) The Lord of hosts has 
sworn, that he might show the immutability of his 
Counsel, and that his people may have strong con- 
solation, Heb. vi. 17, 18. What is here said of this 
particular intention, is true of all God's purposes; 
A^ I hav tliought, so shall it come to pass; for he 
is one in mind, and who can turn him? Nor is he 
ever put upon new counsels, or oljligcd to take new 
measures, as men often are, when things occur 
which they did not fm-esee. Let those who are the 
called according to God's finr/iose, comfort them- 
selves with this, that as God has fiurfiosed, so shall 
it stand, and on that their stabiHty docs depend. 

2. The breaking of the Assyrian power is made 
a specimen of what God would do with all the pow- 
ers of the nations that were engaged against him and 
his church; {v. 26.) This is the purpose that is pur- 
posed ujion the whole earth, the whole world, so the 
LXX; all the inhabitants of the earth, so the Chal- 
dee; not only upon the Assyrian empire, (which 
was then reckoned to be in a manner all the world, 
as afterward the Roman empire was, (Luke ii. 1.) 
and with it many nations fell, that had dependence 
upon it,) but upon all those states and potentates 
that should at any time attack his land, his moun- 
t lins; the fate of the Assyrian shall be theirs, they 
.shall soon find that they meddle to their own hurt. 
Jerusalem, as it was to the Assvrians, will be to all 
peo/ile a burthensome stone; all that burthen them- 
selves with it, shall infallibly be cut to pieces by it, 
Zech. xii. 3, 6. The same hand of power and jus- 
tice that is now to be stretched out against the As- 
syrian for invading the people of God, shall be 
.•stretched out upon all the nations that do likewise. 
It is still true, and will be ever so. Cursed is he that 
curses God's Israel, Num. xxiv. 9. God will be an 
Enemy to his people's enemies, Exod. xxiii. 22. 

3. All the powers on earth are defied to change 
God's counsel; {v. 27.) " The Lord of hosts has 
purposed to break the Assyrian's yoke, and every 
rod of the wicked laid upon the lot of the righteous; 
and wlio shall disannul this purpose? Who can per- 
suade him to recall it, or find a plea to evade it? 
His hand is stretched out to execute this purpose; 
and who has power enough to turn it back, or to 
stav the course of his judgments?" 

II. Assurance is likewise given of the destruction 
of the Philistines and their power. Tliis burthen, 
this prophecy, that lay as a load upon them, to sink 
their state, came in the year that king Ahaz died; 
which was the first year of Hezekiah's reign; 



ISAIAH, XV. 



ai 



't' 28. ) wlien a good king came in tlie room of a bad 
one, then this acccptaljle message was sent among 
tliem. When we reform, then, and not till then, 
we may look for good news from heaven. Now here 
ve have, 

1. A rebuke no the Philistines for triumphing in 
the death of king Uzziah. He had been as a serpent 
to them, had bitten them, had smitten them, had 
brought them very low; (2 Chron. xxvi. 6.) he 
warred against the Philistines, broke down their 
loalls, and built cities among them; but when Uz- 
ziah died, or rather abdicated, it was told witli ]oy 
in Gath, and jiublished in the streets of Askelon. It 
is inhuman thus to rejoice in our neighbour's fall; 
but let them not be secure, for though, when Uzzi- 
a)i was dead, they made reprisals upon Ahaz, and 
took m;my of the cities of Judah, (2 Chron. xxviii. 
18.) yet out of the root of Uzziah should come a 
cockatrice, a more foi-midable enemy than Uzziah 
was, even Hezekiah, the fitiit of whose government 
should be to them a fiery flying serpent, for he 
should fall upon them with incredible swiftness and 
fury: we find he did so; (2 Kings xviii. 8.) He 
smote the Philistines even to Gaza. Note, If God 
remove one useful instrument in the midst of his 
usefulness, he can, and will, raise up others to carry- 
on and complete the same work that they were em- 
ployed in, and left unfinished. 

2. A prophecy of the destruction of the Philis- 
tines by famine and war. (1.) By famine; {v. 30.) 
when the people of God, whom the Philistines had 
wasted, and distressed, and impoverished, shall en- 
jov plent)' again, and the Jirst-born of their poor 
shaUfeed, (the poorest among them shall have food 
convenient,) then, as for the Philistines, God will 
kill their root with famine; that which was their 
strength, and with which they thought themselves 
established as the tree is by the root, shall be starved 
and dried up by degrees, as those die, that die by 
famine; and thus he shall slay the remnant: those 
that escape from one destruction, are but reserved 
for another; and when there are but a few left, those 
few shall at length 1)e cut off, for God will make a full 
end. (2.) By war; when the needy of God's people 
shall lie down in safety, (t. 30. ) not terrified with the 
alarms of war, but delighting in the songs of peace, 
then every gate and every city of the Philistines 
shall be howling and cijing, (t'. 31.) and there shall 
be a total dissolution of^ their state; for from Judea, 
which lay north of the Philistines, there shall come 
a smoke, a vast army raising a great dust, a smoke 
that shall b" the indication of a devouring fire at 
hand: and none of all that army shall be alone in his 
appointed times; none shall straggle or be missing 
when they are to engage; but they shall be vigor- 
ous and unanimous in attacking the common ene- 
my, when the time appointed for the doing of it 
comes. None of them shall decline the public ser- 
vice, as, in Deborah's time, Reuben abode among 
the sheepfolds, and Asher on the sea-shore, Judg. 
v. 16, 17. When God has work to do, he will won- 
derfullv endow and dispose men for it. 

III. The good use that should be made of all 
these events for the encouragement of the people of 
God; (i'. 32.) What shall one theti ayisnuer the mes- 
sengers of the nations? This implies, 1. That the 
great things God does for his people, are, and can- 
not but be, taken notice of by their neighbours; 
they among the heathen make remarks upon them, 
Ps. cxxvi. 2. 2. That messengers will be sent to 
inquire concerning them. Jacob and Israel had long 
been a people distinguished from all others, and 
dignified with uncommon favours; and therefore 
some, for good-will, others, for ill-will, and all, for 
curiosity, are inquisitive concerning them. 3. That 
It concerns us always to be ready to give a reason 
of the hope that we have in the providence of God, 

Vol. IV. — L 



as well as in liis grace, in answer to every one tha 
asks it, with inee/cncss and far, 1 Pet. iii. 15. And 
we need go no furtlier than the sacred traths of 
God's word, for a reason; for God, in all he does, 
is fulfilling the scripture. 4. The issue of God's 
dealings with his people sliall be so clearly and ma 
nifestly glorious, that anv one, every < ne, sliall lie 
able to give an account of them to those that inquire 
concerning them. Now tlic answer which is to be 
given to the messengers of the nations, is, (1. ) That 
God is, and will Ijc, a faithful Friend to his church 
and people, and will secure and advance their in- 
terests. Tell them that the Lord has founded Zion. 
This gives an account both of the work itself that 
is done, and of the reason of it. What is God 
doing in the world, and what is he designing in all 
the revolutions of states and kingdoms, in the ruin 
of some nations, and the rise of others? He is, in all 
this, founding Zion; he is aiming at the advance- 
ment of his churcli's interests; and what he aims at 
he will accomplish. The messengers of the nations, 
when tliey sent to inquire concerning Hezekiah's 
successes against the Philistines, expected to leani 
by what politics, counsels, and arts of war, he can-ied 
his point; they are told that they were not owing to 
any thing of that nature, but to the care God took of 
his church, and the interest he had in it. The Lord 
has founded Zion, and therefore the Philistines must 
fall. (2.) That his church has, and will have, a de- 
pendence upon him; The poor of his people shall 
trust in it, his poor pet pie who have been brought 
very low, even the poorest of them; they more than 
others, for they have nothing else to trust to; (Zeph. 
iii. 12, 13.) the poor receive the gospel, Matth. x'. 
5. They shall trust to this, to this great truth, 
that the Lord has founded Zion; on this they shall 
build their hopes, and not on an arm of flesh.' This 
ought to give us abund;mt satisfaction as to public af- 
fairs, that, however it goes with particular persons, 
parties, iind interests, the church, having God him- 
self for its founder, and Christ the Rock for its 
Foundation, canm-t l)ut stand firm; The poor of his 
people shall betake themselves to it; so some read 
it; shall join themselves to his church, and embark 
in its interests; they shall concur with God in his 
designs to establish his people, and shall wind up 
all on the same plan, and make all their little con- 
cerns and projects bend to that. They that take 
God's people for their people, must be willing to 
take their lot with them, and cast in their lot among 
them. Let the messengers of the nations know that 
the poor Israelites, who trust in God, ha\'ing, like 
Zion, their foundation in the holy mountains, (Ps. 
Ixxxvii. 1.) are like Zion, which carmot be removed, 
but abides for ever, (Ps. cxxv. 1.) and therefore 
they will not fear what man can do unto them. 

CHAP. XV. 

This chapter, and Ihat which follows it, are the burthen of 
Moab; a prophecy of some great desolation that was 
comino; upon tliat country, ivhich bordered upon this 
land of Israel, and had ollen been injurious and vexa- 
tious to it, though the Moabites were descended from 
Lot, Abraham's kinsman and companion, and though 
the Israelites, by the appointment of God, had spartil 
them, when they might lioth easily and justly have cut 
liiem offwith their neighbours. In this chapter, we have, 
I , Great lamentations made by the Moabites, and by the 
prophet himself for them, v. 1 . . 5. II. The great ca- 
lamities which should occasion that lamentation, and 
justify it, T. 6.. 9. 

1 . npHE burden of Moab. Because in 
JL the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, 
mid brought to silence; Iiecause in the nieht 
Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brouiilit to 
silence: 2. He is gone up to Bajith, and 



32 



ISAIAH, XV. 



to Dibon, the high places, to weep: Moab 
sliall howl over Nebo, and over Medeba; 
on all then- licads shall be baldness, and 
every beard cut off 3. Jn their streets they 
shall gird thenisplvcs with sackcloth: on the 
tops of their houses, and in their streets 
every one sliall howl, weeping abundantly. 
4. And Heshbon shall cry, and Elealeh: their 
voice shall be heard even unto Jahaz: there- 
fore the armed soldiers of Moab shall cry 
out; his life shall be grievous unto him. 5. 
My heart shall cry out for Moab; his fugi- 
tives shall flee unto Zoar, a heifer of three 
years old : for by the mounting up of Luhith 
with weeping shall they go it up ; for in the 
way of Horcinaini they shall raise up a cry 
of destruction. 

The country of Moab was of small extent, but 
very fruitful; it bordered upon the lot of Reuben on 
the other side Jordan, and upon the Dead sea. Na- 
omi went to sojuum there, when there was a famine 
in Canaan. This is the country which (it is here 
foretold) should be wasted and grievously harass- 
ed; not quite ruined, for we find another prophecy 
of its ruin, (Jer. 48. ) which was accomplished by 
Nebuchadnezzar. This prophecy here was to be 
fulfilled 'wU/iin three years, {ch. xvi. 14.) and there- 
fore was fulfilled in the devastations made of that 
country by the army of the Assyrians, which for 
many years ravaged those parts, enriching them- 
selves with spoil and plunder. It was done either 
by the army of Shalmaneser, about the time of the 
taking of Samaria in the fourth year of Hezckiah, 
(as is most probable,) or by the armv of Sennache- 
rib, which, ten years after, invaded Judah. 

We cannot suppose that the prophet went among 
the Moabites to preach them this sermon; but he 
delivered it to his own people, (1.) To show them, 
that though judgment begins at'the house of God, 
it shall not end there; that there is a Providence 
which governs the world and all the nations of it; 
and that to the God of Israel the worshippers of 
false gods were accountable, and liable to his judg- 
ments. (2. ) To give them a proof of God's care of 
them and jealousy for them; and to convince them 
that God was an Enemy to their enemies, for such 
the Moabites had often been. (3. ) That the accom- 
plishment of this prophecy, now shortly, {nvithin 
three years,) might be a confirmation of the pro- 
phet's mission, and of the truth of all his other pro- 
phecies, and might encourage the faithful to depend 
upon them. 

Now concerning Moab, it here foretold, 

1. That their chief cities should be surprised and 
taken in a night by their enemy, probably because 
the inhabitants, as the men of Laish, indulged them- 
selves in ease and luxury, and dwelt securely; 
(xi. 1.) Therefore there shall be great grief, be- 
cause in the night ylr of Moab is laid ivaste, and 
Kir of Moab; the two principal cities of that king- 
dom. In the night that they mere taken, or sack- 
ed, Moab was cut off. The seizing of them laid 
the whole country open, and made all the wealth 
of it an easy prey to the victorious army. Note, (1.) 
Great changes and very dismal ones may be made 
in a very little time. Here are two cities lost in a 
night, though that is the time of quietness: let us 
therefore lie down as those that know not what a 
night may bring forth. (2.) As the country feeds 
the cities, so the cities protect the country, and 
neither can say to the other, I have no need of thee. 



2. That the Moabites, being tiereoy put into thi 
utmost consternation imaginable, should have re 
course to their idols for relief, and pour out their 
tears before them; {y. 2.) He, that is, Mo.aK, cs 
pecially the king of Moab, is gone ti/i lo Bajiti., or 
rather, to the house or temple tif Chemosh; and 
Dibon, the inhabitants of Dibon, are gone up to the 
high places, where they worshipped their idols, 
there to make their complaints. Note, It becomes 
a people in distress to seek their God; and shall not 
we then thus walk in the name of the Lord our God, 
and call upon him in the tim'e of trouble, before 
whom we shall not shed such useless profitless tears 
as they did before their gods? 

3. That there should be the voice of universal 
gri'-'f, all the country over. It is described here 
elegantly and very affectinglv. Moab shall be a 
vale of tears; a little map of this world, v. 2. 
The Moabites shall lament the loss of Nebo and 
Medeba, two considerable cities, which, it is likelv, 
were plundered and burnt. They shall tear their 
hair for grief, to that degree, that 'on all their heads 
shall be baldness, and they shall cut off their beards, 
according to the customary expressions of mourning 
in those times and countries. When they go abroad, 
they shall be so far from coveting to appear hand- 
sortie, that in the streets they shall gird themselves 
ivith sackcloth; and perhaps being forced to use 
that poor clothing, the enemies having stripped 
them, and rifled their houses, and left them no other 
clothing. When they come home, instead of ap- 
plying themselves to their business, they shall go up 
to the tops of their houses, which were flat-roofed, 
and there they shall weep abundantly, nay, they 
shall howl, iii crying to their gods : those that 
cry 7iot to God ivith their hearts, do but howl 
ufion their beds, Hos. vii. 14. Amos viii. 3. They 
shall come down with weefiing; so the margin 
reads it; they shall come down from their high 
places and the tops of their houses, weeping as 
much as they did when they went up. Prayer to 
the true God is heart's-easc, (1 Sam. i. 18.) but 
prayers to false gods are not. Divers places are 
here named, that should be full of lamentation, (v. 
4.) and it is but a poor relief to have so many fel- 
low-sufferers, fellow-mourners; to a public spirit it 
is rather an aggravation, socios habuisse doloris — 
to have associates in wo. 

4. That the courage of their militia should fail 
them; though they were bred soldiers, and were 
well armed, yet they shall cry out, and shriek, for 
fear, and every one of them shall have his life 
become grievous to him; though it is a military life, 
which delights in danger, v. 4. See how easily 
God can dispirit the stoutest of men, and deprive a 
nation of benefit, by those whom it most depended 
upon for strength and defence. The Moabites shall 
generally be so overwhelmed Avith grief, that lite 
itself shall be a burthen to them. God can easily 
make weary of life those that are fondest of it. 

5. That the outcry for these calamities should 
propagate grief to all the adjacent parts, v. 5. (1.) 
The prophet himself has very sensible impressions 
made upon his spirit by the prediction of it: " My 
heart shall cry out for Moab; though they are ene- 
mies to Israel, they are our fellow-creatures, rf the 
same rank with us, and therefore it should grieve us 
to see them in such distress, the rather because we 
know not how soon it may be our own turn to drink 
of the same cup of trembling." Note, It becomes 
God's ministers to be of a tender spirit, not to de- 
sire the wofulday, but to be like their Master, who 
wept over Jei-usalem, even then when he gave her 
up to ruin; like their God, who desires not the 
death of sinners. (2.) All the neighbouring c/ties 
shall echo to the lamentations of Moal). The fu 
gitives, who are making the best of k^itir wav tc 



ISAIAH, XVI. 



8.3 



shift for their own safety, shall cany the cry to 
Zoar, the city to which tlieir ancestor Lot fled for 
shelter from Sodom's flames, which was spared for 
his sake. Tliey shall make as great a noise witli their 
cry, as a heifer of three year-i old does, wlien she 
goes lowing for her calf, as I Sam. vi. 12. They 
shall go u]) the hill of Luhith, as David went up the 
ascent of mount Olivet, many a weary step, and all 
in tears, 2 S.im. xv. 30. And in the way of Horo- 
niam, (a dual termination,) the way that leads to 
the two Beth-horons, the upper and the nether, 
which we read of. Josh. xvi. 3, 5. Thither the cry 
shall be carried, there it should be raised; even at 
tliat great distance, a cry of destruction, that shall 
be the cry; like, "Fire, fire, we are all undone." 
Grief is catching, so is fear, and justly, for trouble 
is spreading, and when it begins, wlio knows where 
it will end.' 

6. For the waters of Nimiim sliall be de- 
solate: for the hay is witliered away, the 
grass faileth, there is no green thing. 7. 
Therefore the al)undance they liave gotten, 
and that which they have laid up, shall 
tiiey carry away to the brook of the wil- 
lows. 8. For the cry is gone round about 
the borders of iMoab ; the howling thereof 
unto Eglaini, and tlie howling thereof unto 
Beer-elini. 9. For the waters of Dimon 
shall be full of blood : for I will bring more 
upon Dimon, lions upon him that escapeth 
of Moab, and upon the remnant of the land. 

Here the prophet further describes the woful and 
piteous lament itions that should be heard through- 
out all the country of Moab, when it should become 
a prey to the Assyrian army. By this time the cry 
is gone round about all the borders of Afoab, v. 8. 
Every corner of the country has received the alarm, 
and is in the utmost confusion upon it. It is got to 
Eglaim, a city at one end of the countrv; and to 
Beer-elirti, a city as far the other way. Where sin 
has been general, and all flesh have corrupted their 
wav, what can be expected but a general desolation.' 

Two things are here spoken of, as causes of this 
lamentation. 

1. The waters of .AHmrim are desolate, (v. 6. ) 
The country is plundered and impoverished, and 
all the wealth and substance of it swept away by 
the victorious army. Famine is usually the sad 
effect of war. Look into the fields that were 
well watered, the fruitful meado\vs that yielded 
delightful prospects, and more delightful pro- 
ducts, and there all is eaten up, or carried on by 
the enemy's foragers, and the remainder trodden to 
dirt by their horses. If an army encamp upon 
green fields, their greenness is soon gone. Look 
into the houses, and they are stripped too; (x'. 7. ) 
The abundance of wealth that t/iey had gotten with 
a great deal of art and industry, and that ivhich they 
have laid ufi with a great deal of care and confi- 
dence, shall they carry away to the brook of the 
willows. Either the owners shall carry it thither 
to hide it, or the enemies shall carry it thither to 
pack it up, and send it home, by water perhaps, to 
their own countrv. Note, (1.) Those that are 
eairer 1 1 get abundance of this world, and solicitous 
to lay up what they have gotten, little consider 
wh It may become of it, and in how little a time it 
may l)c all taken from them. Great abundance, 
l)v tempting the robbers, exposes the owners; and 
thcv wlio depend upon it to protect them, often find 
'it does but betray them. (2.) In times of distress, 
great riches are often great burthens, and do but 



increase the owner's care or the enemies' strength. 
Cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator — The penny- 
less traveller n'ill exult, when accosted by a robber, 
in having nothing about him. 

2. The waters of Dimon are turned into blood, 
{v. 9. ) The inliabitants of the country are slain in 
great numbers, so that the waters adjoining to the 
cities, whether rivers or pools, are discoloured with 
human gore, inhumanly slied like water. Dimon 
signifies bloody; tlie place shall answer to its name. 
Perhaps it was that place in the countrv of Moab, 
where the water seemed to the Moabites as blood, 
(2 Kings iii. 22, 23.) which occasioned their over- 
throw. But now, saj-s God, / will bring marc 
ufion Dimon, more blood than was shed, or thought 
to be seen, at that time. / will bring additions ujion 
Dimon, (so tlie word is,) additional plagues; I have 
yet more judgments in reserve for them; for all 
this, God's anger is not turned away. When he 
judges, he will overcome; and to the "roll of curses 
be added many like words, Jer. xxxvi. 32. See 
here wh;it is the yet more evil to be brought upon 
Dimon, upon Moab, which is now to be made a 
land of blood. Some flee, 'and make their escape, 
others sit still, and are overlooked, and are as a rem- 
nant of the land; but upon both God will bring 
lions, betists of prey; (which are reckoned one of 
God's four judgments, Ezek. xiv. 21.) and these 
shall glean up tliose that have escaped the sword of 
the enemy. Those that continue impenitent in sin, 
when they are preserved from one judgment, are 
but reserved for another. 

CHAP. XVI. 

This chapter continues and concludes the burthen ol 
Moab. In it, I. The prophet gives good counsel to the 
Moabiles, to reform what was amiss among them, and 
particularly to be kind to God's people, as the likeliest 
way to prevent the judgments before threatened, v. 
1..5. II. Fearing they would not take this counsel, 
(they were so proud,) he goes on to foretell the lament- 
able devastation of their country, and the confusion they 
should be brought to, and this within three years, v. 
6 . . 14. 

1. QEND ye the lamb to the ruler of the 
kJ land from Sela to the wilderness, 

unto the mount of the daugliter of Zion. 

2. For it shall be, t/iat as a wandering bird 
cast out of the nest, so the daughters of 
Moab shall be at the fords of Anion. 3. 
Take counsel, execute judgment, make thy 
shadow as the night in the midst of the 
noon-day ; hide the outcasts, bewray not 
him that wandcreth. 4. Let mine outcasts 
dwell with thee, Moab : be thou a covert 
to them from the face of the spoiler: for the 
extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth. 
the oppressors are consumed out of the land. 
5. And in mercy sliallthe throne be establish- 
ed , and he shall sit upon it in truth in 
the tabernacle of David, judging and seek- 
ing judgment, and hasting righteousness. 

God has made it to appear that he delights not in 
the ruin of sinners, by telling them what they mav 
do to prevent the ruin; so he does here to Moab. 

I. He ad\ises them to be just to the house of Da- 
vid, and to pay the tribute they had formerly co\ e- 
nanted to pay to the kings of his line; (v. 1.) Send 
ye the lamb to the ruler of the land. David made 
the Moabites tributaries to him; (2 Sam. viii. 2.) 
they became his servants, and brought gifts. After 
wards they paid their tribute to the kings of Israel. 



S4 



ISAIAH, XVI. 



J Kings iii. 4.) and paid it in lambs. Now tlie pro- 
phet requires them to pay it to Hezekiah. Let it 
be raised and levied from all parts of the country, 
from Sela, a frontier city of Moab on the one side, 
to the wildeniess, a boundary of the kingdom on 
the other side: and let it be sent, where it should 
be sent, to the mount of (he daughter of Zion, the 
city of David. Some take it as an advice to send a 
lamb for a sacrifice to God tlie Ruler of the earth, 
(so it may be read,) the Lord of the whole earth, 
Ruler of all lands; the land of Moab, as well as 
the land of Israel; "Senditto the temple built on 
mount Zion. " And some think it is in this sense 
spoken ironically, upbraiding the Moabites with 
their folly in delaying to repent, and make their 
peace with God; " Now you would be glad to send 
a lamb to mount Zion, to make tlie God of Israel 
your Friend; but it is too late, the decree has 
Ijrought forth, the consumption is determined, and 
t!ie daug-hters of Moab shall be cast out as a ivan- 
deriiig bh'd," v. 2. I rather take it as good advice 
seriously given, like that of Daniel to Nebuchad- 
nezzar then when he. was reading him his doom; 
(Dan. iv. 27.) Break off thy sins by righteousness, 
if it may be a lengthening of thy trantjiiitlity. And 
as it is applicable to the great gospel-duty of sulj- 
mission to Christ, as the Ruler of the land, and our 
Ruler, " Send him the lamb, the best you have, 
vourselves a living sacrifice. Wlien )ou come to 
God the great Ruler, come in the name of the 
Lamb, the Lamb of God. J^or else it shall be," 
(so we may read it, v. 2.) " that as a wandering 
bird cast out of the nest, so shall the daughters of 
Moab be. If you will not pay your quit-rent, your 
• ist tribute to the king of Judah, you shall be turned 
)ut of your houses: the daughters of Moab (the 
country-villages, or the women of your country) 
shall flutter about the fords of Arnon, attempting 
tliat way to make their escape to some other land, 
like a ivanderiiig bird thrown out of the nest half- 
fledged. " Those that will not submit to Christ, 
nor be gathered under the shadow of his wings, 
shall be as a bird that ivanders from her nest, that 
shall either be snatched up by the next bird of 
prey, or shall wander endlessly in continual frights. 
Those that will not yield to the fear of God, shall 
be made to yield to the fear of every thing else. 

II. He advises them to be kind to the seed of Is- 
rael; {y. 3.) "Take counsel, call a convention, 
and consult among yourselves what is fit to be done 
in the present critical juncture; and you will find 
it your best way to execute judgment, to reverse 
all the unrighteous decrees you have made, by 
which you have put hardships upon the people of 
God; and, in token of your re))entance for them, 
study now how to oblige them, and this shall be ac- 
cepted of God more than all burnt-offering and sa- 
crifice. " 

1. The prophet foresaw some storm coming upon 
the people of God, perhaps the good people of the 
ten tribes, or of the two and a half on the other 
side Jordan, whose country joined to that of Moab, 
and who, by the merciful providence of God, es- 
caped the fury of the Assyrian army, had their 
lives given them for a prey, and were reserved for 
better times, but were put to the utmost extremity 
to shift for their own safety. The danger and trou- 
ble they were in, were like the scorching heat at 
noon; the face of the spoiler was very fierce upon 
them, and the oppressor and extortioner were ready 
to swallow them up. 

2. He bespeaks a slielter for them in the land of 
Moab, when their own land was made disagreeable 
tothem. Tills judgment they must execute; thus 
wisely must they do for tliemselves, and thus kindly 
must they deal with the people of God. If they 
wr)\ild themselves continue in their habitations, let 



them now open their doors to the distressed dis- 
persed members of God's church, and be to them 
like a cool shade to those that bear the burthen and 
heat of the day. Let them not discover these that 
absconded among them, nor deliver them up to the 
pursuers that made search for them; "Bewray not 
him that wandereth, nor deliver him up," (as the 
Edomitcs did, Obad. xiii. 14.) "but hide the out- 
casts." This was that good work by which Ra- 
liab's faitli was justified, and proved to be sincere; 
(Heb. xi. 31.) " Nay, do not only hide thtm fur a 
time, but, if there l)e occasion, let them be natu- 
ralized; let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; 
find a lodging for them, and be thou, a covert to 
them. Let them be taken under the prt<tection of 
the go\ernment, though they are but poor, and 
likely to be a charge to thee." Note, (1.) It is often 
the lot even of those who are Israelites indeed, to 
be outcasts, driven out of licnse and harbour, by 
persecution or war, Heb. xi. 37. (2.) God owns 
them, when men reject and disown them. They 
are outcasts, but they are mine outcasts. The 
Lord knows them that are his, wherever he finds 
them, even there where no one else knows them. 
(3.) God will find a rest and shelter for hiscutc^sts; 
for though they are persecuted, they are not for- 
saken. He will himself be their Dwelling-Place, 
if they have no other, and in him they shall be at 
home. (4.) God can, when he pleases, raise up 
friends for his people, even among Moabites, when 
they can find none in all the land of Israel, that 
can and dare shelter them. The earth rften helps 
the woman. Rev. xii. 16. (5.) Those that expect 
to find favour when they are in trouble theniseUes, 
must show favour to those that are in trouble; and 
what service is done to God's outcasts, shall, no 
doubt, be recompensed one way or other. 

3. He assures them of the mercy God had in 
store for his people. (1.) That they should nut 
long need their kindness, or be troublesome to them, 
for the extortioner is almost at an end already, and 
the spoiler ceases. God's people shall not be long 
outcasts, they shall have tribulation ten days, (Rev. 
ii. 10.) and that is all. The spoiler would never 
cease spoiling, if he might have his will; but God 
has him in a chain. Hitherto he shall go, but no 
further. (2.) That they should, ere long, be in a 
cafiacity to return their kindness; (v. 5.) "Though 
the throne of the ten tribes be sunk and n\ei'turn- 
ed, yet the throne of David shall be established in 
mercy, by the mercy they received from God, and 
the mercy they show to others; and by the same 
methods may your throne be established if you 
please. " It would engage great men to be kind to 
the people of Ciod, if they would but observe, as 
they easily might, how often that brings the bless- 
ing of God upon kingdoms and families. "Make 
Hezekiali your friend, for you will find it your inte- 
rest to do so, upon the account both of the grace of 
God in him, and the presence of God with him. 
He shall sit upon the throne in truth, and tlien he 
does indeed sit in honour, and sit fast. Then he 
shall sit judging, and will then be a protector to 
those that ha^e been a shelter to the people of 
God." And see in him the character of a good 
magistrate. [1.] He shall seek judgment; lie sliall 
seek occasions of doing right to those that are wrong- 
ed, and shall punish the injurious even before they 
are complained of: or, he shall diligenth' search 
into every cause brought bcfure him, that he may 
find where the right lies. [2.] He shall hasten 
righteousness, and not delay to do justice, nor keep 
those long waiting, that make application to himfoi 
the redress of their grievances. Though he seeks 
judgment, and deliberates upon it, yet he does not, 
under pretence of that, stay the progress of the 
streams of justice. Let the'M'iabites take exam 



ISAIAH, XVI. 



35 



pl( b)' this, and then assure themselves that their 
state shall be established. 

6. We have heard of the pride of xMoab; 
he is very proud : even of his haughtiness, 
ind his pride, and his w ratli : but his Jjps 
shall not bp so. 7. Therefore shall Mo'ab 
howl for Moab, p\'erj' one siiall howl : for 
the foundations of Kir-hareseth shall ye 
mourn; surely thiij ore stricken. 8. For 
the fields of Heshbon languish, and the 
vine of Sibinah: the lords of the heathen 
have liroken down the principal plants 
thereof, they are come even unto Jazer, 
they wandered tlirough tlie wilderness; her 
branches are stretched out, they are gone 
over the sea : 9. Therefore I will bewail 
with the \^'eeping of Jazer the vine of Sib- 
mah : I will water thee with my tears, O 
Heshbon, and Elealeh ; for the shouting for 
thy summer-fruits, and for thy harvest, is 
fallen. 10. And gladness is taken away, 
and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the 
\ine\ards there shall be no singing, neither 
sliall there be shouting: the treaders shall 
tread out no wine in tlieir presses ; I have 
made their vintage^-^ouimg to cease. 11. 
Wherefore my bowels shall sound like a 
harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for 
I<ur-haresh. 12. And it shall come to pass, 
when it is seen that Moab is weary on the 
high place, that he shall come to his sanc- 
tuary to pray; but he shall not prevail. 13. 
This is the word that the Lord hath spoken 
concerning Moab since that time. 1 4. But 
now the Lord hath spoken, saying. Within 
three years, as the years of a hireling, and 
the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with 
all that great multitude ; and the remnant 
shall be very small and feeble. 

Here we have, 

1. The sins with which Moab is charged, v. 6. 
The prophet seems to check himself for going about 
to give good counsel to the Moabites, concluding 
they would not take the ad\ ice he gave them. He 
told them their duty, (whether they would hear, or 
whether they would forbear,) but despairs of work- 
mg any good upon them; he would have healed 
them, but they would not be healed. They that 
will not be counselled, cannot be helped. Their sins 
were, 1. Pride; this is most insisted upon; for per- 
haps there are more precious souls ruined bv pride 
than by any one lust whatsoever. The Moabites 
were notorious for this; We have heard of the firide 
of Moab; it is what all their neighbours ci-y out 
stiame upon them for; he is very pi-oud; the body 
of the nation is so, forgetting the baseness of their 
original, and the brand of infamy fastened upon them 
by that Law of God, which forbade a Moabite to 
enter into the coni^regation of the Lord for ever, 
Deut. xxiii. 3. We nave heard of his /lavghtinens 
and his firide; it is not the rash and rigid censure 
of one or two concerning them, but it is the charac- 
ter which all that know them will give of them; 
they are a proud people: and therefore they will 
not take good counsel when it is given them, they 



think themselves too wise to be advised; therefoi-c 
they will not take example by Hezekiah to do justly 
and love mercy; they scorn to make him their jjat- 
tern, for they think tliemseh es able to teach him. 
They are proud, and therefore will not be subject 
to God himself, nor regard the wai-niugs he gives 
them. The wicked, in the firide of his countenance, 
will not seek after God: they are proud, and there 
fore will not entertain and protect God's c utcasts, 
tliey scorn to have any thing to do with them: but 
this is not all, 2. We'havc heard of his wrath too, 
(for those that are veiy proud, are commonly ve— ■ 
passionate,) particularly his wrath against the peo- 
ple of God, whom therefore he will rather per.'j> 
cute than protect. 3. It is with his lies that he gai;, , 
the gratifications of his pride and his passion; bu' 
his lies shall not be so, he shall not compass his 
proud and angry projects, as he hoped he should, 
home read it. His haughtiness, his jiridc, and liii 
wrath, are greater than his strength. We know 
that if we lay at his mercy, we should find no mercv 
with him, but he lias not power equal to his malice, 
his pride draws down ruin upon him, for it is tb- 
prefiice to destruction, and he has not strength tc 
ward it off. 

II. The sorrows with which Moab is threatened; 
{v. 7.) Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab; all 
the inhabitants shall bitterly lament the ruin of 
their country, they shall complain one to another, 
every one shall howl in despair, and not one shall 
either see any cause, or have any heart, to encou- 
rage his friend. Observe, 

1. The causes of this sorrow. (1.) The destruc- 
tion of their cities; For the foundations of Kir-ha- 
reseth shall ye mourn; that great and strong city, 
which had held oiit against a mighty force, (2 Kings 
iii. 15.) should now be levelled with the ground, 
either burnt or broken down, and its foundations 
stricken, bruised and broken; so the word signifies-, 
they shall howl when they see their splendid citiei 
turned into ruinous heaps. (2.) The desolation oi 
their country. Moab was famous for its fields and 
vineyards; but those shall all be laid waste by the 
invading army, {v. 8, 10.) See, [1.] What a fniit- 
ful, pleasant country they had, as the garden of the 
Lord, Gen. xiii. 10. It was planted with choici 
and noble vines, with principal plants, which reach 
even to Jazer, a city in the tribe of Gad; the luxu- 
riant branches of their vines wandered, and wounil 
themselves along the ranges on whicli they were 
spread, even through the wilderness of Moab, there 
were vineyards there; nay, they were stretched out, 
and went even to the sea, the Dead sea; the best 
grapes grew in their hedge-rows. [2.] How merry 
and pleasant they had been in it; many a time they 
had shouted for their summer-fruits, and for their 
harvest, as the country people sometimes do with 
us, when they have cut down all their corn. Tliey 
had had joy and gladness in their fields and vine- 
yards, singing and shouting at the treading of their 
grapes; nothing is said of their praising God for their 
abundance, and gii'ing him the glory of it. If they 
had made it the matter of their thanksgiving, they 
might still have had it the matter of their rejoicing, 
but they made it the food and fuel of their lusts; 
see therefore, [3.] How they should i)e stripped ot 
all; the fields sliall languish, all the fruits of them 
being carried away, or trodden down; they cannot 
now enrich their owners as they have done, and 
therefore they languish. The soldiers, called here 
the lords of the heathen, shall break down all the 
plants, though they were princijjal plants, tht 
choicest that could be got Kow the shouting for 
the enjoyment of the summer-fniits is fallen, and is 
turned into howling for the loss of them; the joy ot 
harvest is ceased, there is no more singing, no more 
shouting, for the treadiijg out of wine: they have 



i6 



ISAIAH, XVII. 



not what they have had to rejoice in, nor ha\e they 
ii disposition to rejoice, tlie ruin of their country has 
marred tlieir mirtli. Note, First, God can easily 
change the note of those that arc most addicted to 
mirth and pleasure, can soon turn their laughter 
into mournnig, and their joy into heaviness. Se- 
condly, Joy in God is, upon this account, far bettei' 
than the iov of harvest, that it is what we cannot be 
robbed of, Ps. iv. 6, 7. Destroy the vines and the fig- 
trees, and you make all the mirth of a carnal lieart 
to cease, Hos. ii. 11, 12. But a gracious soul can 
rejoice in the Lord as the God of its salvation, even 
then when the fig-tree does not blossom, and there 
is no fruit in the vine, Hab. iii. 17, 18. In God 
therefore let us always rejoice with a holy triumph, 
and in other things let us always rejoice with a holy 
trembling, rejoice as though we rejoiced not. 

2. The concurrence of the prophet with them in 
this sorrow; "I will ivith weeping benvailJazer, and 
the vine of Sibmah, and look with a compassionate 
concern upon the desolations of such a pleasant 
country; I nvill water thee with my tears, Hesh- 
bon, and mingle them with thy tears;" nay, {v. 11.) 
it appears to be an inward grief; My bowels shall 
sound like a harp, for Moab; it should make such 
an impression upon him, that he should f^el an in- 
ward trembling, like that of the strings of a harp 
when it is played upon. It well becoines God's pro- 
phets to acquaint themselves with grief; the great 
Prophet did so. The afflictions of the world, 2s well 
as those of the church, should be afflictions to us. 
See ch. xv. 5. 

In the close of this chapter, we have, 

;i.) The insufficiency of the gods of Moab, the 
f^lse gods, to help them, x>. 12. Moab shall be soon 
weary of the high-place, he shall spend his spirits 
and strength in vam in praying to his idols; they 
cannot help him, and he shall be con\'inced that 
they cannot. It is seen that it is to no purpose to 
expect any relief from the high-places on earth, it 
must come from above the hills. Men are gener- 
ally so stupid, that they will not believe, till they 
are made to see, the vanity of idols and of all crea- 
ture-confidences, nor will come ofT from them, till 
they are made weary of them. But when he is 
wearv of his high-places, he will not go, as he 
should, to God's sanctuary, but to his sanctuary, to 
the temple of Chemosh, the principal idol of Moab; 
so it is generally understood; and he shall pray there 
to as little purpose, and as little to his own ease and 
satisfaction, as he did in his high-places; for, what- 
ever honours idolaters do their idols, they do not 
thereby make them at all the better able to help 
them; whether they are the Dii majorum Gentium 
— Gods of the higher order, or minorum — of the 
lower order, they are alike tlie creatures of men's 
fancy, and the work of men's hands. Perhaps it 
may be meant of their coming to God's sanctuary: 
when they found they could have no succours from 
their high-places, some of them would come to the 
temple of God at Jerusalem, to pray there, but in 
vain; he will justly send them back to the gods 
whom they have served, Judg. X. 14. 

(2.) Tlie sufficiency of the God of Israel, the only 
true God, to make good what he had spoken against 
them. 

[1.] The thing itself was long since determined; 
(!'. 13.) This is the word, this is the thing, that the 
Lord has sfioken concei-ning Moab, since the time 
that he began to be so proud and insolent, and abu- 
sive to God's people. The country was long ago 
doomed to ruin; this was enough to give an assur- 
ance of it, that it is the word which the Lord has 
i/ioken; and as he will never unsay what he has 
spoken, so all the power of hell and earth cannot 
gamsay it, or obstruct the execution of it. 
[2.] Now it Was made Ijnown when it should be 



done; the time was before fixed in the couns-l of 
God, but now it was revealed. The Lord has s/iukcn 
that it shall be within three years, v. 14. It is not 
for us to know, or covet to know, the times and the 
seasons, any further than God has thought fit to 
make them known; and so far we may and must 
take notice of them. See how God makes known 
his mind by degrees; the light of divine revelation 
shone more and more, and so does the light of divine 
gncc in the heart. 

Observe, First, The sentence passed upon Moab; 
77;? glory of Moab shall be contemned; it shall be 
contemptible, when all those tilings they have glo- 
ried in, shall come to nothing. Such is the glory Oi 
this world, so fading and uncertain, admired awhile, 
but soon slighted. Let that therefore which wiii 
soon be contemptible in the eyes of others, be al- 
ways contemptible in our eyes, in comparison with 
thenar more exceedirig weight of glorii. It was 
the glory of Moab that their country was very i)o- 
pulous, and their forces courageous, but when, is 
her glory, when all that great multitude is in a n.an- 
ner swept away, some by one judgment, and st'me 
l)y another, and the little remnant that is left shall 
be very small and feeble, not able to bear up un- 
der their c^vn griefs, much less to m.'rke head 
against their enemies' insults? Let not then fr re 
the strong glory in their strength, nor the many in 
their numbers. 

Secondly, The time fixed fi^r the c xecutirn of this 
sentence; Within three years, as the years of a hire- 
ling, at the three years' end exactly; for a servant 
that is hired for a certain term keeps count to a da\'. 
Let Moab know that lier niin is very near, and pre- 
pare accordingly. Fair warning is given, and with 
It space to repent, which if they had improved as 
Nineveh did, we have reason to think, the judg- 
ments threatened had been prevented. 

CHAP. xvn.. 

Syria and Ephraim were confederate afrainst .liidah, (oh. 
vii. 1, 2.) and thev bein^ so closely linked lo^elher in 
their counsels, this cliapler, thoiifih it be enlilled tlie 
burthen of Damasais, (which was the head city of .Sy- 
ria,) reads the doom of Israel loo. I. Tht destruction 
of the stronr^ cities both of Syria and Israel is here fore- 
told, (v. 1 . .5. ) and asrain, v. 9. .11. II. In the midst o( 
judgment mercy is rememhered to Israel, ard a praciotis 
promise made that a remnant should be pieser>cd from 
the calamities, and should <;el srood by ll:em, v. 6 , . S. 
Ill, The overthrow of the Assyrian army before .Jerusa- 
lem is pointed at, v. 12.. 14. In order of t:nio, Ibis chap- 
ter should be placed next after ch. ix. fcr the destruc- 
tion of Damascus here foretold, happened in the rciffn 
of Ahaz, 2 Kings xvi. 9. 

1 . nr^HE burden nf namascus. Behold 
JL Damascus is taken away from bci}ig 
a city, and it shall be a niinoiis heap. 2. 
The cities of Aioer are forsaken; they shall 
be for flocks whicii shall lie do>vn,and none 
shall make t/iem afiaid. ,3. The fortress 
shall also cease from E|)hiaini, and the kinfj- 
dom from Damascus, and the remnant of 
Syria: they shall be as the ir'on'of the chil- 
dren of Israel, saitli the Lor:D of hosts. 4. 
And in that day it shall come to pass, t/iril 
the glory of .Tacoh shall be made thin, and 
the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean. .5. 
And it shall be as when the harvest-man 
gathereth the corn, and 'papeth the ears 
with his arm ; and it shr '1 be as he that 
gathereth ears in the vant-y of Rephaim. 
We have here the burtl'^n cf Damascus; the 



ISAiAH, XVII. 



37 



rhaldee Paraphrase reads it, The burthen of the 
cufi of the curse to drink to Damascus in; and the 
ten tribes being in alliance, they must expect to 
pledge Damascus in this cup of trembling that is to 
go round. 

1. Damascus itself, the head city of S) ria, must 
be destroyed; the houses, it is likely, will be bunit, 
at least the walls and gates and fortifications demo- 
lished, and the inhabitants carried away captive, so 
that for the present it is taken away from being a 
city, and is reduced, not only to a village, but to a 
ruinous heap, v. 1. Such desolating work as this 
does sin make with cities. 

2. The country towns are abandoned by their in- 
habitants, frightened or forced away by their inva- 
ders; The cities of ytroer (a provmce of Syria so 
called) are forsaken, {v. 2. ) the conquered dare not 
dwell in them, and the conquerors have no occasion 
for them, nor did they seize them for want, but 
wantoimess; so that the places which should be for 
men to live in, are for flocks to lie down in, which 
they may do, and none will disturb or dislodge them. 
Stately houses are converted into sheep-cotes. It is 
strange that great conquerors should pride them- 
selves in being common enemies to mankind. But, 
how unrighteous soever they are, God is righteous 
in causing these cities to spue out their inhabitants, 
who by their wickedness had made themselv'es vile; 
it is better that y?ocl-« should lie donvn there, than 
that the\' should harbour such as are in open rebel- 
lion against God and virtue. 

3. The strong-holds of Israel, the kingdom of the 
ten tribes, will be brought to ruin; the fortress shall 
cease from Kfthraim, {y. 3.) that in Samaria, and 
all the rest. They had joined with Syria in invad- 
ing Judah very unnaturally; and now they that had 
been partakers in sin, should be made partakers in 
ruin, and justly. When the fortress shall cease 
from Efihraim, by which Israel shall be weakened, 
the kingdom will cease from Damascus, by which 
Syria will be ruined. The Syrians were the ring- 
leadei's in that confederacy against Judah, and there- 
fore they are punished first and sorest; and because 
they boasted of their alliance with Israel, now that 
Israel is weakened, they are upbraided with those 
boasts; The remnant of Syria shall be as the glory 
of the children of Israel; those few that remain of 
the Syrians, shall be in as mean and despicable a 
condition as the children of Israel are, and the 
glory of Israel shall be no relief or reputation to 
them. Sinful confederacies will be no strength, no 
stay, to the confederates, when God's judgments 
come upon them. 

See here what the glory of Jacob is, when God 
contends with him, and what little reason Syria will 
have to be proud of resembling the glory of^ Jacob. 

(1.) It is wasted like a man in a consumption, v. 
4. The glery of Jacob was their numbers, that they 
were as the sand of the sea for multitude; but this 
glory shall ^e made thin, when many are cut off, 
and few left. Then \.\\c fatness of their flesh, which 
was their pride and security, shall nvax leart, and 
the Ijody of the people shall become a perfect skel- 
eton, nothing but skin and bones. Israel died of a 
lingering disease, the kingdom of the ten tribes 
wasted gradually'. God was to them as a moth, 
Hos. V. 12. Such is all the glory of this world, it 
soon withers, and is made thin; but there is a far 
more exceeding and eternal weight of gloiy design- 
ed fir the spiritual seed of Jacob, which is not sub- 
ject to any such decay; fatness of God's house, 
which will not wax lean. 

(2.) It is all gathered and carried away by the 
Assyrian army, as the corn is carried out of the 
field by the husbandman, zk 5. The corn is the 
glory of the fields; (Ps. Ixv. 13.) but when it is 
reaped and gone, where is the glory? The people 



1 had by their sins made tliemseh es ripe fur i-uin, and 
their glory was as quickly, as easily, as justly, and 
as irresistibly, cut down and taken away, as the 
corn is out if the field by the husbandman. God's 
judgments are com[);ircd ti> the thrusting in of the 
sickle, when the harvest is ri/ie. Rev. xiv. 15. And 
the victorious army, like the cartful husbandmen 
in the valley of Repliaim, where the corn was ex- 
traordinary, would nc^t, if they could help it, leave 
an ear behind, would lose nothing that they could 
lay their hands on. 

6. Yet gleaning-grapes shall be left in it, 
as the shaking of an olive-tree, two or three 
berries in the top of the uppermost bough, 
four or five in the outmost fruitful branches 
thereof, saith the Loito God of Israel. 7. 
At that day shall a man look to his Maker, 
and his eyes shall have respe< t to the Holy 
One of Israel. 8. And he shall not look to 
the altars, the work of his hands, neither 
shall respect that which his fingers have 
made, either the groves or the images. 

Mercy is here reserved in a parenthesis, in the 
midst of judgment, for a remnant that should escape 
the common i-uin of the kingdom of the ten tribes. 
Though the Assyrians took all the care they cruld 
that none should slip out of their net, yet the meek 
of the earth were hid in the day of the Lord's an- 
ger, and had their lives given them for a prey, snd 
made comfortable to them by their retirement to 
the land of Judah, where they had the liberty of 
God's courts. 

1. They shall be but a small remnant, a very few 
which shall be marked for preservation; (v. 6.) 
Gleaning-gra/ies shall be left in it; the brdv of the 
people were carried into captivity, but here and 
there one was left behind, perhaps one of two in a 
bed, when the other was taken, Luke xvii. 34. The 
most desolating judgments in this world are shoit of 
the last judgment, which shall be universal, and 
which none shall escape. In times of the great< st 
calamity, some are kept safe, as in times of the 
greatest degeneracy some are kept pure. But tlie 
fewness of those that escape, supposes the captivity 
of tlie far greatest part; those that are left, are but 
like the poor remains of an olive-tree, when it has 
been carefully shaken by the owner; if there be two 
or three berries in the tofi of the tippermost bough, 
(out of the reach of them that shook it,) that is all. 
Such is the remnant according to the election of 
grace, very few in comparison with the multitudes 
that walk on in the broad way. 

2. They shall be a sanctified remnant; (t. 7, 8.) 
these few that are preserved, are such as, in the 
prospect of the judgment approaching, had repent- 
ed of their sins, and reformed their lives, and there- 
fore were snatched thus as brands rut of the burn- 
ing; or, such as, being escaped, and becoming refu- 
gees in strange countries, were awakened, partlv bv 
a sense of the distinguishing mercy of their deliver- 
ance, and partly by the distresses they were still in, 
to retuni to God. (1.) They shall look up to their 
Creator, shall inquire, Where is God my Maker, 
who giveth songs in the night, in such a night rf 
affliction as this? Job xxxv. 10, 11. They shall 
acknowledge his hand in all the events crnccming 
them, merciful and afflictive, and shall submit to 
his hand; they shall give him the glorv due to his 
name, and be suitablv affected with his providences; 
they shall expect relief and succour from him, and 
depend upon him to help them; their ft/f« shall have 
respect to him, as the eyes of a servant to tne hcni 
of his master, Ps. cxxiii. 2. Observe, It is our dufr 



83 



ISAIAH, XVII 



:il all times to have respect to God, to have our eyes 
ever toward liim, both as our Maker, the Author 
of our bein^, and the God of udui-e, and as the Holy 
One of Israel, a God iu ooNeuaiit with us, and the 
God of grace; particularly, when we are in afflic- 
tion, our eyes must be toward the Lord, to jituck 
our feet out of the net; (Ps. xxv. 15.) to bring us to 
this is the design of his providence, as he is our 
Maker, and the work of his grace, as he is the Holy 
One of Israel. (2. ) They shall look off from their 
idols, the creatures of their own fancy, shall no lon- 
ger worship them, and seek to them, and expect 
relief from them. For God will be alone regarded, 
or he does not look upon himself as at all regarded. 
He that looks to his Maker, must not look to the 
altars, the work of his hands, but disown them and 
cast them off; must not retain the least respect for 
that which his fingers have made, but break it to 
pieces, thougli it were . his own workmanship, the 
groves and the images; the word signifies images 
made in honour of tlie sun, and by which he was 
worsliippcd, the most ancient and most plausible 
idolatry, Deut. iv. 19. Job xxxi. 26. We have 
reason to account those happy afflictions, which part 
between us and our sins, and, by sensible convic- 
tions of the vanity of the world, tliat great idol, cool 
our affections to it, and lower our expectations 
from it< 

9. In that day shall his strong cities be as 
a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch, 
which they left, because of the children of 
Israel: and there shall be desolation. 10. 
Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy 
salvation, and iiast not been mindful of the 
Rock of thy strength; therefore shalt tliou 
plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with 
strange slips: 11. In that day shalt thou 
make thy plant to grow, and in the morning 
shalt thou make thy seed to flourish ; but the 
harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief 
and of desperate sorrow. 

Here the prophet returns to foretell the woful 
desolations that should be made in the land of Israel 
by tlie army of the Assyrians. 

1. That the cities should be deserted; even the 
strong cities, which should have protected the 
countiy, shall not be able to protect themselves; 
thcv shall be as a forsaken bough, and an ufifier- 
most branch, of an old tree, which is gone to decay, 
forsaken of its leaves, and appears on the top of the 
tree, bare, and dry, and dead; so shall their strong 
cities look, when the inhabitants have deserted 
them, and the victorious army of the enemy pillaged 
and defaced them; {v. 9.) they shall be as the ci- 
ties (so it may be supplied) which the Canaanites 
left, the old iiihabitants of the land, because of the 
children of Israel, when God lirought tliem in with 
a high hand, to take possession of that good land, 
cities which thev builded not As the Canaanites 
then fled before Israel, so Israel should now fly be- 
fore the Assyrians. And herein the word of God 
was fulfilled, that if they committed the same 
abominations, the land should sfiue them out, as it 
t/iued out the nations that were before them, (Lev, 
xviii. 28.) and that as, while they had God on their 
side, one of them chased a thousand, so, when they 
had made him their Enemy, a thousand of them 
should /fee at the rebuke of one; so that in the cities 
should be desolation, according to the threatenings 
in the law. Lev. xxvi. 31. Deut. xxviii. 52. 

2. That the country should be laid waste, x<. 10, 
11. Observe here, (1.) The sin that had provoked 
God to bring so great a destruction upon that plea- 



sant land; it was for the iniquity of them that dive., 
tlierein; " It is because thou hast forgotten the Goa 
of thy salvation, and all the great salvations he has 
wrought for thee, hast forgitten thy dependence ' 
upon liim and obligations to him, and hast not been 
mindfu of the liock of thy strength, not ( nly who 
is himselt a strong Rock, but has been thy Strength 
man}' a time, or thou hadst been sunk and broken 
long since." Note, The God of our salvation is the 
Hock of our strength; and our forgetfulness and un- 
niindfulness of hmi are at the bottom of all sin; 
therefore we have perverted our way, because we 
have forgotten the Lord our God, aiid so we undo 
ourselves. (2.) The destruction itself, aggravated 
by the great care they took to imjjrove their land, 
and to make it vet more pleasant. [1.] Look upon 
it at the time of the seedness, and it was all like a 
garden and a vineyai'd; that pleasant land was re- 
plenished with pleasant plants, the choicest of its 
own growth; nay, so nice and curious were the in- 
habitants, that, not content with them, they sent to 
all the neighbouring countries for strange slips, the 
more valuable for being strange, uncommon, far- ", 
fetched, and dear-bought, though perhaps they had ' 
of their own not inferior to them. This was an in- 
stance of their pride and vanity, and (that ruining 
error) their affectation to be like the nations. Jl'heat, 
and honey, and oil, w.re their staple commodities; 
(Ezek. xxvii. 17.) but not content with these, they 
must have flowers and greens with strange names 
imported from other nations, and a great deal cf 
care and pains must be taken by hot-beds to make 
these plants to grow, the soil must be forced, and 
they must be covered with glasses to shelter them, 
and early in the morning the gardeners must be up 
to make the seed to flourish, that it may excel tliose 
of their neighbours. The ornaments of nature are 
not to be altogether slighted, but it is a folly to be 
over-fond of them, and to bestow more time, and 
cost, and pains, about them than they deserve, as 
many do. But here this instance sctms to be put in 
general for thf ir gi-eat industry in cultivciting their 
ground, and their expectations from it accordingly; 
they doubt not but their plants will grow :;nd flour- 
ish. But, [2. ] Look upon the same ground at the 
time of harvest, and it is all like a wilderness, a dis- 
mal melancholy place, even to the spectators, much 
n\ore to the owners; for the harvest shall be a heap, 
all in confusion, in tlie day of grief and of desperate • 
sorrow. The harvest used to be a time of joy, of 
singing and shouting; (ch. xvi. 10. ) but this harvest 
the hungry eat up, (Job v. 5.) which makes it a 
day of grief, and the more, because the plants were 
pleasant and costly, {v. 10.) and their expectations 
proportionably raised. The harvest had some- 
times been a day of grief, if the crop were thin, and 
the weather unseasonable; and yet in that case 
there was hope that the next would be lietter: but 
this shall be desperate sorrow, for they shall see 
not only this )'ear's products carried off, but the 
property of the ground altered, and their conquer- 
ors lords of it The margin reads it. The lian'est 
shall be removed, (into the enemy's country or camp, 
Deut. xxviii. 33. ) ;;; the day of inheritance, (when 
thou thoughtest to inherit it,) and there shall be 
deadly sorrow. This is a good reason why we 
should not lay up our treasure in these things which 
we may so quickly be despoiled of, but in that good 
part wliich shall never be taken away from us. 

1 2. Wo to the multitude of many people, 
which make a noise like the noise of the 
seas ; and to the rushing of nations, that 
make a rushing like the rushing of mighty 
waters! 13. The nations shall rush like the 
rushing of many waters : but God shall re- 



ISAIAH. XVIII. 



OD 



l)uke them, and tliey shall flee far off, and 
sliall be chased as the chaff of the luouu- 
taius before the wind, and like a rolling 
tliinii- before the wiiirlwind. 14. And, be- 
hold, at evening-tide trouble ; and before tlie 
morning he is not. This is the portion of 
them that spoil us, and the lot of them that 
rob us. 

Tlicse verses read the doom of those that spoil 
and rob tlie people of God; if the Assyrians and Is- 
raelites invade and plunder Judah — if the Assyrian 
armv take God's people captive, and lay their 
coun'try waste, let them know that ruin will be their 
lot and portion. 

Thev are here brought in, 

1. Triumpliing over the people of God. They 
rely upon their numbers; the Assyrian army was 
made up out of divers nations, it is the multitude of 
many fieolile, {v. 12.) by which weight they hope 
to carry the cause; they are very noisy, like the 
roaring' of the seas; they talk big, hector and 
threaten, to frigliten God's people from resisting 
them, and all their allies from sending in to their 
aid. Sennacherib and Rabshakeh, in their speeches 
and letters, made a mighty noise, to strike a terror 
upon Hezekiah and his people; the nations that fol- 
lowed them, rnade a rushing like the rushing of 
many waters, and those mighty ones, that threaten 
t<i bear down all Ijtfore them, and carry away every 
thing tliat stands in their way: thefioods have lifted 
u/i their voice, have lifted up their U'ax<es; such is 
the tumult of the people, and the heathen, when 
thev rage, Ps. ii. 1. — xciii. 3. 

2. Triumphed over by the judgments of God. 
They think to CM-ry their point by dint of noise; but 
wo to them, {v. 12.) for he shall rebuke them; 
God shall, one whom they little think of, have no 
regard to, stand in no awe of; he shall give them a 
check with an invisible hand, and then they shall 
flee afar off. Sennacherib and Rabshakeh, and tlie 
remains of tlieir forces, shall run away in a fright, 
and shall be chased by their own terrors, as the 
chaff of the mountains which stand bleak before the 
wind, and like a rolling thing before the whii-lwind, 
like thistle-down; so the margin; they make them- 
selves as chaff before the ivind, (Ps. xxxv. 5.) and 
then the angel of the Lord, (as it follows there,) the 
sime angel that slew many of them, shall chase the 
i-est. God will make them like a wheel, or rolling 
tiling, and then fiersecute them with his tem/iest, and 
make them afraid with his storm, Ps. Ixxxiii. 13, 
15. Note, God can dispirit the enemies of his 
church when they are most courageous and confi- 
dent, and dissipate them when they seem most 
closely consolidated. This shall be done suddenly; 
(t'. 14. ) .^/ evening-tide they are veij troublesome, 
and threaten trouble to the people of^ God; but be- 
t )rc the morning he is not, at sleeping time they are 
c 'St into a deep sleep, Ps. Ixxvi. 5, 6. It was in 
the night that the angel routed the Assyrian army, 
(iod cui in a moment break the power of his 
church's enemies, then when it appears most for- 
midable; and this is written for the encouragement 
of ihe people of God in all ages, when they find 
th mselves an unequal match for their enemies; for 
rh K is the fiortion of them that spoil us, they shall 
th. mselves be spoiled. God will plead his church's 
c luse ; and they that meddle, do it to their own hurt. 

CHAP. XVIII. 

Whatever country it is that is meant here by the land ska- 
tlowin^ icith tenia's, here is a wo denounced against it, 
for Ood has, upon his people's account, a quarrel wilh it. 
1. They threaten God's people, v. 1, 2. II. All the 
neig'hbours are hereupon called to take notice what will 
be the issue, v. 3. III. Though God seem unconcerned 

Vol. IV.— M 



in the distress of his people for a time, he will at .eii^rth 
appear apiainst tlieir enemies, and will remarkably cut 
ihern ofl", V. 4. .6. IV. This shall redound very much lo 
Ihe glory of Uod, v. 7. 

I.^'S^T^O to the land shadowing with 
▼ T wings, which is beyond the rivers 
of Ethiopia : 2. That sendeth ambassadors 
by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes upon 
the waters, saying. Go, ye swift messengers, 
to a nation scattered and peeled, to a peo- 
ple terrible from their beginnuig hitlierto; a 
nation meted out and tiodden down, who^e 
land the rivers have spoiled! 3. All ye in- 
habitants of tlie world, and dwellers on the 
earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign 
on the mountains; and when he bloweth a 
trumpet, hear ye. 4. For so the Lord said 
unto me, I will take my. rest, and I will con- 
sider in my dwelling-place like a clear heat 
upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the 
heat of harvest. 5. For afore the harvest, 
when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape 
is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut 
ofT the sprigs with pnniing-hooks, and take 
away OHf/ cut dovvii tiie branches. 6. They 
shall be left together unto the fowls of the 
mountains, and to ihe beasts of the earth : 
and the fowls sliall summer upon them, and 
all the beasts of the earth sliall winter upon 
them. 7. In that time slmll the present be 
brought unto the Lord of hosts of a people 
scattered and peeled, and from a people ter- 
rible from their beginning hitlierto; a nation 
meted out and trodden under foot, whose 
land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of 
the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount 
Zion. 

Inteipreters are very much at a loss where to find 
this land that lies beyond the rivers of Cush: some 
take it to be Egypt, a maritime country, and full of 
rivers, and which courted Israel to depend upon 
them, but proved broken reeds; but against this it 
is strongly objected, that the next chapter is distin- 
guished from this by the iitle of the burthen o/" 
Egyfit. Others take it to be Ethiopia, and read it, 
wYiich lies 7iear, or about, the rivei'sof lit/iio/iia, not 
that in Africa, which lav in the south of Egypt, but 
that which we cull Arabia, which lay east of Ca- 
naan, which Tirhakah was now king of He thought 
to protect the Jews, as it were, under the shadow of 
his wings, b)' gi\ ing a powerful diversion to the king 
of Assyria, when he made a descent upon his coun- 
try, at the time that he was attacking Jerusalem, 2 
Kings xix. 9. But, though by his ambassadors he 
bid defiance to the king of Assyria, and encouraged 
the Jews to depend upon him, God, by the projjlict, 
slights him, and will not go forth with him; he may 
take his own c^-urse, but God will take another 
course to protect Jerusalem, while he suffers the 
attempt of Tirhakah to miscarrv, and his Arabian 
army to be ruined; for the Assyrian shall become a 
present or sacrifice to the Lord of hosts, and to the 
place of his name, bv the hand of an i.ngel, not hy 
the hand of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, v. 7 This 
is a verv prob ible exposition of this chapter. 

But fi-om a hint of Dr. I^iglitfort's in his Harmo- 
il ny of the Old Testament, I incline to understand this 



90 



JSAIAH, XVIII. 



cli-LlJter as a prophecy against Assyvi,.; und so a 
<-.'ilUiiiu ition ot the prophecy in tin- tliree last vlvs'js 
I'f the foregoing chapter, with which therefore this 
should be joined. That was against the arm\- of 
the Assyrians, which rushed in upon Judah, this 
against the land of Assyria itself, which lay be)-ond 
the rivers of Arabia, the rivers of Euphrates and 
Tigris, which bordered on Arabia Deserta. And 
m calling it the land shadowing with wings, he 
seems to refer to what he himself had said of it, {ch. 
viii. 8.) that the stretching out of his wings shall Jill 
thy land, O Immanuel. The prophet might per- 
haps desci'ibe the Assyrians by such dark expres- 
sions, not naming them, for the same reason that 
St. Paul, in his prophecy, speaks of the Roman em- 
pire liy a periphrasis, He who now letteth, 2 Tliess. 
li. 7. Here is, 

I. The attempt made by this land (whatever it is) 
upon a nation scattered and fieeled, v. 2. Swift 
messengers are sent by water to proclaim war 
against them, as a nation marked by Providence, 
and meted out, to be trodden under foot. Whether 
tliis be the Ethiopians waging war with the Assy- 
rians, or the Assyrians with Judah, it teaches us, 1. 
That a people which have been terrible from their 
beginning, have made a figure, and borne a mighty 
sway, may yet become scattered and peeled, and 
mav be spoiled even by their own rivers that should 
enrich both the husbandman and the merchant. 
Nations which have been formidable, and have 
kept all in awe about them, may, by a concurrence 
of accidents, become despicable, and an easy prey 
to their insulting neighbours. 2. Princes and states 
th^t are ambitious of enlarging their territories, will 
still have some pretence or other to quarrel with 
those whose countries they ha\e a mind to; " It is 
a nation that has been terrible, and therefore we 
must be revenged on it; it is now a nation scattered 
and peeled, meted out and trodden down, and there- 
fore it will be an easy prey for us." Perhaps it is 
not brought so low as they represent it. God's»peo- 
ple are trampled on as a nation scattered and peel- 
ed, Imt whoever think to swallow them up, find 
them still as temble as they have been from their 
beginning; they are cast down, but not deserted, 
not desti'oyed. 

II. The alarm sounded to the nations about, by 
which they are summoned to take notice of what 
God is about to do, x>. 3. The Ethiopians and As- 
syrians have their counsels and designs, which they 
have laid deep, and promise themselves much from, 
and, in prosecution of them, send their ambassadors 
and messengers from place to place; but let us now 
inquire what the great God says to all this: 1. He 
lifls ufi an ensign upon the mountains, and blows a 
trumfiet, by which he proclaims war against the 
enemies of his church, and calls in all her friends 
and well-wishers into her service. He gives notice 
that he is aliout to do some great work, as Lord of 
hosts. 2. All the world is bid to take notice of it; 
all the dwellers on earth must see the ensign, and 
hear the trumpet, must observe the motions of the 
Divine Providence, and attend the directions of the 
divine will. Let all enlist under God's banner, 
and be on his side, and hearken to the trumpet of 
liis word, which gives not an uncertain sound. 

III. The assurance God gives to his prophct,by him 
to bi given to his people; though he might seem for 
a time to sit by as an unconcerned spectator, yet he 
■woidd certainly and seasonably appear for the com- 
fort of his people, and the confusion of his and their 
enemies; {v. 4.) So the Lord said unto me. Men will 
nave their saying, but God also will have his; and 
as we may be sure his word shall stand, so he often 
whispers it in the ears of his servants the prophets. 
When he says, "I will take my rest," it is not as 
f he were weary of governing the world, or as if 



he either needed or desired to retire frrm it. and 
repose himself; but t intimates 1, That the gre.'t 
God has a perfect, u adisturbed, enjoyment cf him- 
self, in the midst of all the tosses and changes ri 
this world; the Lord sits even upon the floids un- 
shaken; the Eternal Mind is always easy. 2. That 
sometimes he may seem to his people as if he toi k 
not wonted notice of what is done in this lower world ; 
they are tempted to think he is as one asleep, or as 
one astonished; (Ps. xliv. 23. Jer. xiv. 9.) but cvtn 
then he knows very well what men do, and wh-^t he 
himself will do. 

(1.) He will take care r>f his people, and be a Shel- 
ter to them; he will regard his dwelling-place,his eye 
and his heart are, and shall be, upon it for goi d crnti- 
nually. Zion is his rest for ever, where he will dwe'l ; 
and he will loolc after it; so some read it; he will lift 
up the light of his countenance upon it, will consi- 
der over It what is to be done, and will be sure to do 
all for the best; he will adapt the comforts and re- 
freshments he provides for them, to the exigencies 
of their case; and they will therefore be 3cce])t<ible, 
because seasonable. [1.] Like a clear heat after 
rain, (so the margin,) which is very reviving and 

Eleasant, and makes the herbs to flourish. [2.] 
like a dew and a cloud in the heat of harvest, which 
are very welcome, the dew to the ground, and the 
cloud to the labourers. Note, There is that in 
God, which is a shelter and refreshment to his 
people in all weathers, and arms them against the 
mconveniencies of every change. Is the weathn 
cool.'' There is that in his favour, which will warm 
them. Is it hot? There is that in his favcur, which 
will cool them. Great men have their winter-hruse 
and their summer-house; (Amos iii. 15.) but they 
that are at home with God, have both in him. 

(2.) He will reckon with his and their enemies, 
V. 5, 6. When the Assyrian army promises itself 
a plentiful harvest in the taking of Jerusah m, and 
the plundering of that rich city, when the bud f f 
that project is perfect, before the harvest is g;',ther- 
ed in, while the sour grape of their enmity to He- 
zekiah and his people is ripening in the flower, and 
the design is just ready to put in execution, G( d 
shall destroy that army as easily as the husbandman 
cuts off the sprigs of the vine with pnining-hor ks, 
or, because the grape is sour, and good for nothing, 
and will not be cured, takes away, and cuts down, 
the branches. This seems to point at the overthrow 
of the Assyrian army by a destroying angel; when 
the dead bodies of the soldiers were scattered like 
the branches and sprigs of a wild vine, which the 
husbandman has cut to pieces. And they shall be 
left to the fowls of the mountains, and 'the beasts of 
the earth, to prey upon, both winter and summer; 
for as God's people are protected all seasons of the 
year, both in cold and heat, (ii. 4.) so their enemies 
are at all seasons exposed; birds and beasts of prey 
shall both summer and winter upon them, till the\- 
are quite rained. 

IV. The tribute of praise which should be brcueht 
to God from all this, v. 7. In that time, when this 
shall be accomplished, shall the present be brought 
unto the Lord of hosts. 1. Some understand this rf 
the conversion of the Ethiopians to the faith ff 
Christ in the latter days; of which we have the spe- 
cimen and beginning in Philip's baptizing the Ethi- 
opian eunuch, Acts viii. 27. They that were a peo- 
ple scattered and peeled, meted out, and trodden 
down, (t>. 2.) shall be a present to the Lord; and 
though they seem useless and worthless, they shall 
be an acceptable present to him who judges of men 
by the sincerity of their faith and love, n( t bv the 
pomp and prosperity of their out\faid condition. 
Therefore the gospel was ministered to the Gen 
tiles, that the offering ufi of the Gentiles might be 
acceptable, Rom. xv. 16. It is prophesied (P" 



TSAIAH, XIX. 



9> 



Ixviii. j).) that £t/iio/iia should soon stretch out her 
hands unto God. 2. Others understand it of the 
spoil of Sennacherib's army, out of which, as usual, 
[jresents were brought to the Lord of hosts. Numb, 
xxxi. 59. It was the present of a people scattered 
and peeled. (1.) It was won fi-om the Assyrians, 
wlio were now themselves reduced to such a condi- 
tion as they scornfully described Judah to be in, v. 
■i. They that unjustly trample upon others, shall 
tlicmsclves be justly trampled upon. (2. ) It was of- 
fered by the people of God, who were, m disdain, 
called a /leo/ile scattered and peeled. God will put 
honour upon his people, though men put contempt 
upon them. lastly, Observe, the present that is 
brought to the Lord of hosts, must be brought to the 
filace of the name of the Lord of hosts; what is offer- 
ed to God, must be offered in the way that he has ap- 
pointed; we must be sure to attend him, and expect 
him to meet us, there where he records his name. 

CHAP. XIX. 

As Assyria was a breaking rod to Judah, with which it was 
smitten, so Egypt was a broken reed, with which it was 
cheated; and therefore God had a quarrel ivilh them 
both. We have before read the doom of the Assyrians, 
noiv here we have the burthen of Egypt, a prophecy con- 
cerning that nation; I. That it should be greatly weak- 
ened and brought low, and should be as contemptible 
among the nations as now it was considerable, rendered 
so by a complication of judgments which God would 
bring upon them, v. 1 . . 17. II. That at length God's 
■loly religion should be brought into Egypt, and set up 
there, in part by the Jews that should fly thither for re- 
fuge, but more fully by the preachers of the gospel of 
Christ, through whose ministry churches should be plant- 
ed in Egypt in the days of Ihe Messiah, (v. 18.. 25.) 
which would abundantly balance all the calamities here 
threatened, 

THE burden of Egypt. Behold, the 
Lord lideth upon a swift cloud, and 
shall come into Egypt; and the idols of 
Egj'pt shall be moved at his presence, and 
t!ie heart of Egypt shall "melt in the midst 
of it. 2. And I will set the Egyptians against 
the Egyptians : and they shall fight every 
one against his brother, and every one 
against his neighbour; city against city, 
and kingdom against kingdom. 3. And the 
spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst there- 
of; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: 
and they shall seek to the idols, and to the 
charmers, and to them that have familiar 
spirits, and to the wizards. 4. And the 
Egyptians will I give over into the hand of 
a cruel lord ; and a fierce "king shall rule 
over them,saith the Lord, the LoRDof hosts. 

5. And the waters shall fail from the sea, 
and tiie river shall be wasted and dried up. 

6. And they shall turn the rivers far away, 
and the brooks of defence shall be emptied 
and dried up : the reeds and flags shall wi- 
Iher. 7. The paper-reeds by the brooks, by 
the mouth of the brooks, and every thing 
sown by the brooks, shall wither, be driven 
away, and be no more. 8. The fishers also 
shall mourn, and all they that cast angle 
into the brooks, sliall lament, and they that 
spread nets upon the waters shall languish. 
"<. Moreover, they that work in fine flax, 



and weave net-works, shall be confounded. 
10. And they shall be broken in the purposes 
thereof, all that make sluices and ponds for 
fish. 1 1 . Surely the princesof Zoan are fools, 
the counsel of the wise counsellors of Plia- 
raoh is l)ccome brutish : how say ye unto 
Pharaoii, I am the son of the wise, the son 
of ancient kings? 1 2. Where are they / where 
are thy wise men? and let them tell thee 
now, and let them know what the Lord of 
hosts hath purposed upon Egypt. 13. The 
princes of Zoan are become fools, the prin- 
ces of Noph are deceived; they have alsc 
seduced Egypt, even they that are the staj 
of the tribes thereof. 14. The Lord hath 
mingled a perverse spirit in the midst there- 
of: and they have caused Egypt to err in 
every work thereof, as a drunken man stag- 
gereth in his vomit. 15. Neither'shall there 
be any work for Egypt, which the iiead or 
tail, branch or rush, may do. 16. In that 
day shall Egypt be like unto women ; and 
it shall be afraid and fear, because of the 
shaking of the hand of the Lord of hosts, 
which he shaketh over it. 1 7. And the land 
of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt : every 
one that maketh mention thereof shall be 
afraid in himself, because of the counsel of 
the Lord of hosts, which he hath deter- 
mined against it. 

Though the land of Egypt had of old been a house 
of bondage to the people of God, where they had 
been ruled with rigour, yet among the unbelie\ ing 
Jews there still remained much of the humour of 
their fathers, who said. Let us make a captain, and 
return into Egypt. Upon all occasions they trusted 
to Egypt for help, {cli. xxx. 2.) and thither they 
fled, in disobedience to God's express command, 
when things were brought to the last extremity in 
their own country, Jer. xliii. 7. Rabshakeh up- 
braided Hezekiah with this, ch. xxxvi. 6. While 
they kept up an alliance with Egypt, and it was a 
powerful ally, they stood not in awe of the judg- 
ments of God; for against them they depended upon 
Egypt to protect them. Nor did they depend upon 
the power of God, when at any time they were in 
distress; but Egypt was their confidence. To pre- 
vent all this mischief, Egvpt must be mortified, 
and many ways God here tells them he will take to 
doit. 

I. The gods of Egypt shall appear to them to be 
what they always really were, utterly unable to help 
them; {y. 1.) The Lord rides upon a cloud, a sivifl 
cloud, and shall come into £gypt! as a judge goes 
in state to the bench to try and condemn the male- 
factors, or as a general takes the field with his troops 
to crush the rebels, so shall God come into Eg\ pt 
with his judgments; and when he comes, hf will 
certainly overcome. In all this burthen of Esry pt 
here is no mention of any foreign enemy invading 
them; but God himself will come against them, and 
raise up the causes of their destruction from amf ng 
themselves. He comes upon a cloud, above the 
reach of opposition or resistance. He comes apace, 
upon a snvift cloud; for the ir judgment lingers not, 
when the time is come. He rides upon the ivings 
of tlie -wind, and far excelling the greatest pomp 
and splendour of earthlv princes; he makes the clouds 



99 



ISAIAH, XIX. 



his chariots, Ps. xviii. 9. — civ. 3. When he comes, 
I he idols of Egypt shall be moved, shidl be removed, 
.11 his presence, and perhaps be made to fall, as 
D.igcm did before the ark. Isis, Osiris, and Apis, 
those celebrated idols of Egypt, being found unable 
to i-elieve their worshippers, shall be disowned and 
rejected by them. Idolatry had got deeper rooting 
in Egypt tlian in any land besides, even the most 
absurd idolatries; and yet now the idols shall be 
moved, and they shall be ashamed of them. When 
the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, he executed 
judgments upon the gods of the Egyptians; (Numb, 
xxxiii. 4. ) no marvel then if, when he conies, they 
begin to tremble. The Egyptians shall seek to the 
idols, when they are at their wits' end, and consult 
(he charmers and wizards; {v. 3.) but all in vain; 
they see their ruin hastening on them notwith- 
standing. 

II. The militia of Egypt, that had been famed 
for their valour, shall be quite dispirited and dis- 
heartened. No kingdom in the world was ever in 
a better method of keeping up a standing army than 
the Egyptians were; but now their heroes, that used 
to be celebrated for courage, shall be posted for 
cowards; the 'heart of Egypt shall melt in the ?nidst 
of it, like wax before the fire; {v. 1.) the spirit of 
Egypt shall fail, (y. 3.) They shall have no inclina- 
tion, no resolution, to stand iip in defence of their 
country, tlieir liberty, their property; but shall 
tamely and ingloriously jield all to the invader and i 
oppressor; The Egyptians shall be like tvomeji; 
(v. 16.) they shall be frightened, and put into con- 
tusion, by the least alarm; even those that dwelt in 
the heart of the country, in the midst of it, and | 
therefore furthest from danger, will be as full of , 
friglits as those that are situate on the frontier. Let 
not the bold and brave be proud or secure, for 
God can easily cut off the spirit of princes, (Ps. 
Ixxvi. 12.) and talce away their hearts. Job xii. 24. j 

III. The Egyptians shall be embroiled in endless 
dissensions and quarrels among themselves. There ! 
shall be no occasion to bring a foreign force upon I 
them to destroy them, they shall destroy one ano- ' 
ther; {v. 2.) I will set the Egyptians against the 
Egyptians. As these divisions and animosities are 
their sin, God is not the Author of them, they come 
from men's lusts; but God, as a Judge, pennits 
them 1 ir their punishment, and by their destroying 
differences corrects them for their sinful agree- 
ments. Instead of helping one another, and acting 
each in his place for the common good, they shall 
fight every one against his brother and neighbour, 
whom he ought to love as himself; city against city, 
and kingdom against kingdom. Egypt was then 
divided into twelve provinces, or dynasties; but 
Psammetichus, the governor of one of them, by set- 
ting them It variance with one another, at length 
made himself master of them all. A kingdom, thus 
divided against itself, would soon be brought to deso- 
lation. En quo discordia civis perduxit miseros! 
— O the wretchedness brought upon a people by their 
disagreements among themselves! It is brought to 
this by a perverse spirit, a spirit of contradiction, 
which the Lord would mingle as an intoxicating 
di-aught made up of several ingredients, for the 
Egyptians, xk 14. One party shall be for a thing, 
for no other reason than because the other is against 
it; that is a perverse spirit, which, if it mingle with 
the public counsels, tends directly to the ruin of the 
public interests. 

IV. Their politics shall be all blasted, and turned 
into foolishness; when God will destroy the nation, 
he will destroy the counsel thereof, {v. 3.) by taking 
away wisdom from the statesmen, (Job xii. 20.) or 
..^ptting them one against another, as Hushai and 
Ahithophcl, or, by his pro\idence, breaking their 
measures even then when they seemed well laid; so 



that the princes of Zoan are fools, they make foi'ls 
of one another, every one betrays his own fnlly, and 
Divine Providence makes fools of them all, x-. 11. 
Pharaoh had his wise counsellors, Egjpt was fa 
mous for such; but their counsel is all become bi-u- 
tish, they ha\'e lost all their forecast, one wtuld 
think they were become idiots, and were bereaM d 
of common sense. Let no man glory then in hi§ 
own wisdom, nor depend u])on that, cr ujion the 
wisdom of those about him; tor he that gives under- 
standing, can, when he pleases, take it away. And 
from them it is most likelj- to be taken away, that 
boast of their policy, as Pharaoh's c< unsellors heie 
did, and, to recommend themselves to places ( f 
public trust, boast of their great undt rstanding. " I 
am the son of the wise, of tlie God of wisdom, rt 
wisdom itself," says one; "My father was an emi- 
nent privy-counsellor of note, in his day, for wis- 
dom: or of the antiquity and dignity of their f::mi- 
lies; "I am" (says another) "the son of ancient 
kings. " The nobles of Egypt boasted much of their 
antiquity, producing fabulous records of their suc- 
cession for above 10,000 years. This humour pre- 
vailed much among them about this time, as ap- 
pears by Herodotus; their common boast being, thai 
Egypt was some thousands of years more ancient 
than any other nation. " But where are thy wisi 
men? {v. 12.) Let them now show their wisdom 
by foreseeing what ruin is coming upon their nation, 
and preventing it, if they can. Let them with all 
their skill know what the Lord of hosts has fiurposea 
upon Egypt, and arm themsehts accordingly. 
Naj-, so far are they from doing this, that they 
themselves are, in effect, contriving the ruin of 
Egypt, and hastening it on, v. 13. The princes of 
Noph are not only deceived themselves, but they 
have seduced Egypt, by putting their kings upon 
arbitrary proceedings:" (by which both themselves 
and their people were soon undone;) " the govemrrs 
of Egypt, that are the stay and corner-stones of the 
tribes thereof, are themselves undermining it." It 
is sad with a people when those that undertake frr 
their safety are helping forward their destruction, 
and the pliysicians of the state are her worst dis- 
ease; when the things that belong to the public 
peace, are so far hid from the eyes of those that are 
entrusted with the public counsels, that in e^ery 
thing they blunder, and take wrong mpasur«s; so 
here, (t. 14.) They have caused Egypt to err in 
every work thereof; every step they took, was a 
false step; they always mistook either the end or the 
means, and their counsels were all unsteady and un- 
certain, like the staggerings and stammerings of a 
drunken man in his vomit, who knows not what he 
says, nor where he goes. See what reason we have 
to prav for our privy-counsellors and ministers of 
state, who are the great supports and blessings of the 
state, if God give tliem a spirit of wisdom, but quite 
contrary, if he hide their heart from unders-tanding. 
V. The rod of government shall be turned into 
the serpent of tyranny and oppression; (x'. i.) ''The 
Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel 
lord; not a foreigner, but one of their own, one thft 
shall rule over them by an liereditary right, hut 
shall he a fierce king, and rule them with rigour:" 
either the twehe tvrants that succeeded Sethon, or 
rather Psammetichus that recovered the monarchy 
again; for he speaks of one cniel lord. Now the 
barbarous usage which the Egyptian taskmaster;- 
gave to God's Israel long ago, was remembered 
against them, and they were paid in their own coii' 
by another Pharaoh. It is sad with a people wher 
the powers that should be for edification are foi 
destruction, and they are ruined by those by whom 
they should be ruled, when such as this is the man- 
ner of the king; as it is described, in terrorem — in 
1 order to impress alarm. 1 Sam. viii 11. 



ISAIAH, XIX. 



93 



\'I. Egj'pt was famous for its river Nile, which 
was its wealth, an 1 strength, and beauty, and was 
id iHzed by them. Now it is here threatened, that 
tlic waters shall fail fro/n the sea, and the river shall 
be wasted arid dried 2i/i, v. 5. Nature shall nut 
herein favour them as she has done. Egypt was 
uever watered with the rain of heaven, (Zecli. xiv. 
\H. ) and tlierefore the fruitfulness of their country 
{kpeuded wholly upon the overflowing of their ri\'er; 
it that therefore' be dried up, tlieir fruitful land will 
sojii be turned into l)arrenness, and their har\-ests 
cease; livei'y thing sowyi by the brooks will wither 
of course, will be driven away, and be no more, v. 
7. If the paper-reeds Ijy the brooks, at the \'cry 
m luth of them, wither, much more the corn, which 
lies at a greater distanc , but derives its moisture 
from them. Yet tliis is not all; the drying up of 
their rivers is tlie destruction, 1. Of their fortihci- 
tions, for they are brooks of defence, (t. 6.) making 
the country difficult of access to an enemy; deep 
rivers are the strongest lines, and most hardl)' 
forced. Pharaoh is said to be a great dragon lying 
in the midst of his rivers, and guarded by them, 
bidding defiance to all about him, Ezek. xxix. 3. 
But these shall be cmjitied and dried up, not by an 
enemy, as Sennacherilj with the sole of his foot 
dried ufi mighty rivers, {ch. xxxvii. 25. ) and as C\- 
rus, who took B.ib\len b)' drawing Euphrates into 
many streams, but by the providence of God, which 
sometimes turns water-sjiriyigs into dry ground, 
Ps. cvii. 33. 2. It is the destruction of their fish, 
which in Egypt was much of their food, witness that 
base reflection which tlie children of Israel made, 
(Numb. xi. 5.)lVe remember the fish which we did 
eat in Jigy/it freely. The drying up c^f the rivers 
will kill the fish, (Ps. cv. 29.) and that will i-uin 
those who make it their Ijusiness, (1.) to catch fish, 
whether by angling or nets; [y. 8.) they shall la- 
ment and languish, for their trade is at an end. 
There is nothing which the children of this world 
do more heartily lament, than the loss of that which 
they used to get money by: Ploratur lacrymis am- 
issa fiecunia veris — Those are genuine tears, which 
are shed over lost inoney. (2. ) To kec-p fish, that 
it may be ready when it is called for. There were 
those that made sluices and ponds for fish, {y. 10.) 
but they shall be broken in the purposes thereof; 
their business will fail, either for want of water to 
fill their ponds, or for want offish to replenish their 
waters. God can find ways to deprive a country 
even of that which is its staple commodity. The 
Egyptians may themselves remember the fish they 
have formerly eaten freely, but now cannot have 
for money. And that which aggravates the loss of 
these adv'antages by the river, is, that it is their own 
doings; (x'. 6.) They shall turn the rivers far away. 
Their kings and great men, to gratify their own 
fancy, will drain water from the main river to their 
own houses and grounds at a distance, preferring 
their private conveniencies before the public, and 
so by degrees the force of the river is sensibly weak- 
ened. Thus many do themselves a greater preju- 
dice at last than they think of; [1.] Who pretend to 
be wiser than nature, and to do better for them- 
selves than nature has done. [2.] Who consult their 
own particular interest more than the common 
good. Such may gratify themselves, but surely 
they can never satisfy themselves, who, to serve a 
turn, contribute to a public calamity, which they 
•.hemselvcs, at long run, cannot avoid sharing in. 
Herodotus tells us that Pharaoh-Necho, (who reign- 
ed not long after this,) projecting to cut a free pas- 
sage by water from Nilus into the Red sea, em- 
ployed a vast number of men to make a ditch or 
channel for that pui^pose; in which attempt he im- 
jjaired the river, lost a lumdred and twenty thousand 
-)f his people, and yet left the work unaccomplished. 



VII. Egypt was famous for the linen manufac 
ture; but that trade shall be ruined. Solomtn'? 
merchants traded with Egypt for linen yam, ; 
Kings x. 28. Tlieir country produced the best flax, 
and the best hands to work it; but they that work 
in fine flax, shall l)e confounded, {v. 9.) either fi r 
want of flax to work on, or for want of a demami 
for that which they have worked, or of opportunity 
to export it. The decay of trade weakens and 
wastes a nation, and by degrees brings it to ru;n. 
The trade of Egypt must needs sink, for {v. 15. ) 
There shall not lie any work for Egypt to be cm- 
ployed in; and when there is nothing to be dene, 
there is nothing to be got. There shall be an uni- 
versal st( p put to business, no work which either 
head or tail, branch or rush, may rfo; nothing tr r 
liigh or kiw, weak or strong, to do, no hire, Zech. 
viii. 10. Note, The flourishing of a kingdom de- 
pends much upon the industry of the people; and 
then things are likely to do well, when all hands are 
at work; when the head and top branch do not dis- 
dain to labour, and the labour of the tail and rush is 
not disdained. But when the learned professions are 
unemployed, the principal merchants have no stocks, 
and the handicraft tradesman nothing to do, povt rty 
comes upon a people as one that travelleth, and us 
an armed man. 

VIII. A general consternation shall seize the 
Egyptians; they shall be afraid, and fear, [v. 16.) 
which will be both an evidtnce of a universal dtca\, 
and a means and presage of utter ruin. Two things 
will put them into this fright; 1. What they hear 
from the land of Judah; that shall be a terrrr 
to Egvpt, x>. 17. When they hear of the des< la- 
tions riiade in Judah by the army of Sennacherib, 
considering both the near neighbourhood, and tlie 
strict alliance that was between them and Judah, 
they will conclude it must be their turn next to be- 
come a prey to that victorious army. When their 
neighbour's house was on fire, they could net Ijut 
see their own danger; and therefore every one of the 
Egyptians, that makes mention of Judah, shall be 
afraid in himself, expecting the bitter cup sh( rtly 
to be put into his hands. 2. What they see in tliei^- 
own land. They shall fear, {v. 16.) because of the 
shaking of the hand of the Lord of hosts, and {v. 7. ) 
because of the counsel of the Lord of hosts; which, 
from the shaking of his hand, they shall conclude he 
has determined against Egypt as well as Judah. F( i 
if judgment begin at the house of God, where will it 
end? If this be done in the green tree, what shall be 
done in the dry? See here, (1.) How easily God c; n 
makethose a terror to themseh es, that have been n( t 
only secure, but a teiTor to all about them. It is but 
shaking his hand over them, or laying it upon srmc 
of their neighbours, and the stoutest hearts tremble 
immediately. (2.) How well it becomes us to fear 
before God, when he does but shake bis hand over 
us, and to humble oursehes under his mighty hand, 
when it does but threaten us, especially when we 
see his counsel detei-mined against us; for wiio en 
change his counsel.'' 

1 8. In that day shall five cities in the Ian 1 
of Egypt speak the langnage of Canaan, and 
swear to the Lord of hosts: one shall he 
called, The city of destruction. 19. In that 
day there shall be an altar to the Lnn n in 
the midst of the land of Egj'pt, and a pillar 
at the border thereof to the Lord. 20. A nd 
it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto 
the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt: for 
they shall cry unto the Lord because of the 
oppressors, and he shall send them a sa- 



94 



ISAIAH, XIX. 



viour, and a great one, and he slmll deliver 
them. 21. And the Lurd shall be known 
to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the 
Loan in that day, and shall do sacrifice and 
oblation ; yea, they shall vow a vow unto 
the Lonn, and perform it. 22. And the 
Lord shall smite Egypt; he shall smite and 
heal it: and they shall return even io the 
Lord, and he shall be entreated of them, 
and shall heal them. 23. In that day shall 
there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria ; 
and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, 
and the Egyptian into Assyria; and the 
Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. 
24. In that day sliall Israel be the third with 
Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in 
the midst of the land ; 25. Whom the Lord 
of hosts shall bless, saying. Blessed be Egypt 
my people, and Assyria tiie work of n\y 
hands, and Israel mine inheritance. 

Out of the thick and threatening clouds of the 
foregoing prophecy, here the sun of comfort breaks 
forth, and it is the sun of righteousness. Still God 
has mercy in store for Egypt, and he will sho>v it, 
not so much by reviving their trade, and replenish- 
ing their river again, as by bringing the true religion 
among them, calling them to, and accepting them 
in, the worship of the one only living and true God; 
and these blessings of grace were much more valua- 
ble than all the blessings of nature, wherewith Egypt 
was enriched. We know not of any event in which 
this prophecy can be thought to have its full accom- 
plishment, sliort of the conversion of Egypt to the 
faith of Christ, by the preaching (as is supposed) of 
Mark the Evangelist, and the founding of many 
Christian churches there, wliich flourished for many 
ages. Many prophecies of this book point to the 
days of the Messiah; and why not this.' It is no 
unusual thing to speak of gospel-graces and ordi- 
nances in the language of the Old Testament insti- 
tutions. And in these prophecies, those words, in 
that day, perhaps, have not always a reference to 
what goes immediately before, but have a peculiar 
significancv pointing at that day which had been so 
long fixed,' and so often spoken of, when the day- 
spring from on high should \-isit this dark world. 
Yet it is not improbable, which some conjecture, 
that this prophecy was in part fulfilled when those 
Jews who fled from their own country to take shel- 
ter in Egypt, when Sennacherib in\aded their land, 
brought' their religion along with them, and, being 
awakened to gi-eat seriousness by the troubles they 
were in, made an open and zealous profession of it 
there, and were instrumental to bring many of the 
Egyptians to embrace it; which was an earnest and 
specimen of the more plentiful harvest of souls that 
should be gathered in to God Ijy the preaching of 
the gospel of Christ. Joscphus indeed tells us, that 
Onias, the son of Onias the High Priest, living an 
outlaw at Alexandria in Eijj'pt, obtained leave of 
Ptolemy Philometer, then king, and Cleopatra, his 
queen, to build a temple to the God of Israel, like 
that at Jerusalem, at Bubastis in Egypt, and pre- 
tended a warrant for doing it from this prophecy 
ill Isaiah, that there shall be an altar to the Lord in 
the land of Egypt; the service of God, Josephus af- 
firms, continued in it about 333 years, when it was 
shut up by Paulinus, soon after the destruction of 
Jerusalem bv the Romans: see .^xf/;/i. Jntin. I. 13. 
c. 6. and dc Bell. Judaic. I. 7. c. 30. But tluit tem- 
ple was all along looked upon by 'l.r- Dions I-ws 



as so great an irregularity, and an -.iffront to the 
temple at JerusaleiTi, that we caiim^t suppose this 
pr.)phecy to be fulfilled in it. 

Observe how the conversion of Egypt is here de- 
scribed. 

I. They shall speak the language of Canaan, the 
holy language, the scripture-language; they shall 
not only understand it, but use it; (v. 18.) they sliall 
introduce that language among tliem, laid converse 
freely with the people of G.)d, and not, as they used 
to do, by an inter/ireter, Gen. xlii. 23. Ni^te, Con- 
verting grace, by changing the heart, changis the 
language; for out of the abundance of the heart the 
mouth sfieaks. Five cities in Egypt shall speak thip 
language; so many Jews shall come to reside in 
Egypt, and they shall so multiply there, that they 
shall soon replenish five cities; one of which shall 
be the city of Heres, or of the sun, Heliopolis, 
wliere the sun was worshipped, the most infamous 
of all the cities of Egypt tor idolatry; even there 
shall be a wonderful rctormation — they shall speak 
the language of Canaan. Or it may be taken thus, 
as we render it. That for every five cities that shall 
embrace religion, there shall be one (a sixth part 
of the cities of Egypt) that shall reject it, and that 
shall be called a city of destruction, because it re- 
fuses the method of salvation. 

II. They shall swear to the Lord of hosts; not 
only swear by him, giving him the honour of ap- 
pealing to him, as all nations did to the gods they 
worshipped; but they shall by a solemn oath and 
vow devote themselves to his honour, and bind 
themselves to his service. They shall swear ti 
cleave to him with purpose of heart, and shall wor- 
ship him not occasionally, but constantly. They 
shall swear allegiance to him as their King, to 
Christ, to whom all judgment is committed. 

III. They shall set up the public worsliip of God 
in their land; (v. 19.) There shall be an altar to 
the Lord in the tnidst of the land of Egxjpt, an altar 
on which they shall do sacrifice arid oblation; {v. 
21.) therefore it must be understood spirituallv. 
Christ, the great Altar, who sanctifies every gift, 
shall be owned there, and the gospel-sacrifices of 
prayer and praise shall be offered up; for by the 
law of Moses there was to be no altar for sacrifice 
but that at Jerusalem. In Christ Jesus all distinc- 
tion of nations is taken away; and a spiritual altar, 
a gospel-church, in the midst of the land of Egypt, 
is as acceptable to God as one in the midst of the 
land of Israel; and spiritual sacrifices of faith and 
love, and a contrite heart, please the Lord better 
than an ox or bullock. 

IV. There shall be a face of religion upon the ra- 
tion, and an open profession made of it, discemible 
to all who come among them; not only in the heart 
of the count!-)', but even in the borders of it, there 
shall be a pillar, or pillars, inscribed, to Jehovah, 
to his honour, as before there had been such pillars 
set up in honour of false gods. As soon as a stranger 
entered upon the borders of Egypt, he might soon 
perceive what God they worshipped. Those that 
serve God must not be ashamed to own him, but be 
forward to do any thing that may be for a sigii and 
for a witness to the Lord of hosts, that even in the 
land of Egypt he had some faithful woi'shippers, 
who boaste'd of their relation to him, and made his 
name their strong tower, or bulwark, en their bor- 
ders, with which their coasts were fortified against 
all assailants. 

V. Being in distress, they shall seek to God, and 
he shall be found of them; and this shall hi: a sign 
and a witness for the Lord of hosts, that he is a God 
hearing prayer to all flesh that come to hiw, v. 20. 
See Ps. Ixv. 2. When they cry to God by reason 
of their f,pi)ressors, the cruel lords that shall rule 
over them, (y 4.) he .ih'ill be entreated of t'leni; 



ISAIAH, XX. 



95 



(v. 22.) whereas lie had told his people Israel, who 
had made it their own choice to have such a king, 
that they should cry to him by reason of' their king, 
and lie vjoiild not hear them, 1 Shiii. viii. 18. 

VI. 'I'hcv shiiU have an interest in the great Re- 
('ecmer. When tliey were under the oppression of 
rruel Inds, perhaps God sometimes raised them up 
mighty deliverers, as he did for Israel in the days 
of the judges; and by them, though he had smitten 
the land, he healed it again; and, upon their return 
to God in a way of duty, he returned to them in a 

vay of mercy, and repaired the breaches of their 
ottering state; for repenting Egyptians shall find 
the same favour with God that repenting Ninevites 
lid. But all these deliverances wrought for them, 
\s those for Israel, were but figures of gospel-salva- 
-ion. Doubtless, Jesus Christ is the baviour, and 
.he Great One, here spoken of, whom God will 
send the glad tidings of to the Egyptians, and by 
whom he will deliver them out of the hands of their 
enemies, that they may serve him without fear, 
Luke i. 74, 75. Jesus Christ delivered the Gentile 
nations from the service of dumb idols, and did 
himself both purchase and preach liberty to the 
captives. 

VII. The knowledge of God shall prevail among 
them, 1'. 21. 1. They shall have the means of 
knowledge; for many ages, in Judah only was God 
known, for there only were the lively oracles found; 
but now the Lord, and his name and will, shall be 
known to Egyfit. Perhaps this may in part refer 
to the translation of the Old Testament out of He- 
brew into Greek by the LXX., which was done at 
Alexandria in Egypt, by the command of Ptolemy 
king of Egypt; and it was the first time that the 
scriptures were translated into any other language: 
l)y the help of this, (the Grecian monarchy having 
introduced their language into that country,) the 
Lord was known to Egyfit, and a happy omen and 
means it was of his he\n%further known, v. 1. 2. 
They shall have grace to improve those means; it 
is promised not only that the Lord shall be known 
to Egypt, but that the Egyfitians shall know the 
Lord; they shall receive .and entertain the light 
granted to them, and shall submit themselves to the 
power of it. The Lord is known to our nation, and 
yet I fear there are many of our nation that do not 
know the Lord. But the promise of the new cove- 
nant is, that all shall know the Lord from the least 
even to the greatest; which promise is sure to all 
the seed. The effect of this knowledge of God is, 
that they shall vow a vow to the Lord, and perform 
it. For those do not know God aright, who cither 
are not willing to bind themselves to the Lord, or 
do not make good these obligations. 

VIII. They shall come into the communion of 
saints; being joined to the Lord, they shall be added 
to the church, and be incorporated with all the 
saints. 

1. All enmities shall be slain. Mortal feuds there 
had been between Egypt and Assyria, they often 
made war upon one another; but now there shall be 
a highway between Egyfit and Assyria, {v. 23. ) a 
happy correspondence settled between the two na- 
tions; they shall trade with one another, and every 
tiling that passes between them shall be friendly. 
The Egyfitians shall serve, shall worship, the true 
God with the Assyrians; and therefore the Assy- 
rians shall come into Egypt, and tlie Egyptians into 
Assyria. Note, It becomes those who have com- 
munion with the same God, through the same Me- 
diator, to keep up an amicable correspondence with 
one another. The consideration of our meeting at 
the same throne of grace, and our serving with each 
other in the same business of religion, should put 
an end to all heats and animosities, and knit our 
hearts to each other in holy love. 



2. The Gentile nations shall not only unite with 
each other in the gospel-fold under Christ the great 
Shepherd, but they shall all be united with the 
Jews. When Egypt and Assyria become partners 
in sening God, Israel shall make a third with tliem, 
{\<. 24.) they sliall become a three-fold cord, not 
easily broken; the ceremonial law, which had long 
been the partition-wall between Jews and Gentiles, 
shall be taken down, and then they shall become 
one sheefi-fold, under one shefihcrd. Thus united, 
they shall be a blessing in the inidst of the land, 
whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, v. 24, 25. (1.) 
Israel shall be a blessing to them all, because of 
them, as concerning thejlesh, Christ came; and they 
were the natural branches ef the good olive, to whom 
did originally pertain its root and fatness, and the 
Gentiles were but grafted in among them. Rem. 
xi. 1". Israel lay between Egypt and As.syria, and 
was a blessing to them, both by bringing them to 
meet in that word of the Lord, which went forth 
from Jerusalem, and that church which was first 
set up in ttie land of Israel: Qui conveniujit in ali- 
guo tertio, inter se conveniunt — They who meet in 
a third, meet in each other. Israel is that third in 
whom Egypt and Assyria agree, and is therefore a 
blessing; for those are real and great blessings to 
their generation, who are instrumental to unite those 
that have been at variance. (2.) They shall all be 
a blessing to the world; so the Christian church is, 
made up of Jews and Gentiles; it is the beauty, 
riches, and support, of the world. (3. ) They shall 
all be blessed of the Lord: [1.] They shall all be 
owned by him as his. Though Egypt was formerly 
a house of bondage to the people of God, and As- 
syria an unjust invader of them, all this shall now 
be forgiven and forgotten, and they shall be as wel- 
come to God as Israel. They are all alike his peo- 
ple, whom he takes under his protection: they are 
formed by him, for they are the work of his hands; 
not only as a people, but as his people. They are 
formed for him, for they are his inheritance, pre- 
cious in his eyes, and dear to him, and from whom 
he has his rent of honour out of this lower world. 
[2.] They shall be owned together by him as jointly 
his; his in concert; they shall all share in one and 
the same blessing. Note, Those that arc united in 
the love and blessing of God, ought, for that reason, 
to be united to each other in charity. 

CHAP. XX. 

'^his chapter is a prediction of the carryinjr away of multi- 
tudes both of the Egyptians and Ihe Ethiopians into cap- 
tivity by the kins of Assyria. Here is, I. The sign by 
which this was foretold, which was, the prophet's going, 
for some lime, barefoot and almost naked, like a poor 
captive, v. I, 2. II. The explication of that sitrn, with 
application to Ecypt and Ethiopia, v. 3 . . S. HI. The 
good use which the people of God should make of this, 
which is, never to trust in an arm of flesh, because thus 
it will deceive them, v. 6. 

I.ITN the year that Tartan came unto 
JL Ashdod, (when Sargon the king of 
Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ash- 
dod, and took it; 'i. At the same time spake 
the Lord by Isaiah the son of Amoz, 
saying. Go, and loose the sackrioth from off 
thy loins, and put off tliy shoe from thy foot. 
And he did so, walking naked and barefoot. 
3. And the Lord said, l>ike as my servant 
Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot 
three years for a sign and wonder uptjn 
Egypt and upon Ethiopia; 4. So shall the 
king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians 
prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, 



96 



ISAIAH, XX. 



young and old, naked and barefoot, even 
with their buttocks uncovered, to tire shame 
of Egypt. 5. And they shall be afraid and 
ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and 
of Egypt their glory. 6. And the inhabitant 
of this isle shall say in that day. Behold, 
such is our expectation, wliithor we flee 
for help to be delivered from the king of As- 
syria : and how shall we escape ? 

God here, as King nf n.itjons, brings a sore calam- 
ity upon Egypt and Ethiopia, but, as King of saints, 
brings good to his pcdplt" out of it. Observe, 

I. Tlie date of tliis prophecy; it was in the year 
that Ashdod, a strong city of the Pliilistines, (but 
which some think was lately recovered from them 
by Hezckiah, when he smote the Philistines even 
unto Gaza, 2 Kings xviii. 8.) was besieged and 
taken by an army of the Assyrians; it is uncertain 
what year of Hezekiah that was, but the event was 
so remarkable, that they who lived then, could by 
that token fix the time to a yetir. He that was now 
king of Assyria, is called Sargon, which some take 
to be the same with Sennacherib; others think he 
was his immediate predecessor, and succeeded Shal- 
maneser. Tartan, who was general, or commander- 
in-chief, in this expedition, was one of Sennacherib's 
officers, sent by him to bid defiance to Hezekiah, 
in concurrence with Rabshakeh, 2 Kings xviii. 17. 

n. The making of Isaiah a sign, by his unusual 
dress, when lie walked abroad. He had been a sign 
to his own people of the melancholy times that were 
come, and coming, upon them, by the sackcloth 
which for some time he had worn, of which he had 
a gown made, which he girt about him. Some 
think he put himself into that habit of a mourner, 
upon occasion of the captivity of the ten tribes; 
others think sackcloth was what he commonly wore 
as a prophet, to show himself mortified to the world, 
and that he might learn to endure hardness; soft 
clothing better becomes those that attend in king's 
palaces, (Matth. xi. 8.) than those that go on God's 
errands. Elijah wore hair-cloth, (2 Kings i. 8.) and 
John Baptist, (Matth. iii. 4.) and those that pre- 
tended to be prophets, supported their pi'etensions 
by wearing rough garments; (Zech. xiii. 4.) but 
Isaiah has orders given him to loose his sackcloth 
from his loins, not to exchange it for better clothing, 
but for none at all, no upper garment, no mantle, 
cloak or coat, but only that which was next to him; 
his shirt, we may suppose, waistcoat, and drawers; 
and he must put off his shoes, and go barefoot; so 
that, compared with the dress of others, and what 
he himself usually wore, he might be said to go 
naked. This was a great hardship upon the pro- 
phet, it was a blemish to his reputation, and would 
expose him to contempt and ridicule; the boys in 
the streets would hoot at him ; and they who sought 
occasion against him, would say. The prophet is in- 
deed a fool, and the sfiiritual man is mad, Hos. ix. 
7. It might likewise be a prejudice to his health, 
he was in danger of catching a cold, which might 
throw him into a fever, and cost him his life; but 
God bade him do it, that he might give a proof of 
his obedience to God in a most difficult command, 
and so shame the disobedience of his people to the 
most easy and reasonable precepts. When we are 
in the way of our duty, we may trust God both with 
our credit and with our safety. The hearts of that 
people were strangely stupid, and would not be af- 
fected witli what they heard only, but must be 
taught by signs, and therefore Isaiah must do this 
for their edification: if the dress was scandalous, yet 
the design was glorious, and what a prophet of the 
Lord needed not to be ashamed of. 



III. The exposition of this sign, v. 3, 4. It was 
intended to signify that the Egyirtians i.iid the Ethi- 
opians should be led away captives hv the king of 
Assyria, thus stripped, rr in rags and very shabby 
clothing, as Isaiah was. Grd calls him his servant 
Isaiah, because in this matter particularly he had 
approved himself God's willing, f.iithful,' obedient 
servant; and for this very thing, which perhaps 
others laughed at him for, Grd gloried in him. To 
obey is better than sacrifice; it pleases Grd, and 
praises him more, and shall be more praised by him. 
Isaiah is said to hive wa'ktd naked and barefoot 
three years, whenever in that time he appeared as 
a prophet: Ijut S( me refer tlie three years, net to 
the sign, but to tlie thing signified; he has ivalkcd 
naked and barefoot; there is a step to the original: 
provided he did so once, there was enough to give 
occasion to all about him to inquire what was the 
meaning of his doing so; or, as some think, he did it 
three days, a day for a year; and this f < r a three 
years' sign and wonder, for a sign of that which 
shall be done three years hence, or which shall be 
three years in the doing. Three campaigns suc- 
cessively shall the Assyrian armv make, in spelling 
the Egyptians and Ethiopians, and carrying them 
away captive in this barbarous m:'nnei" n'^t cnly 
the soldiers taken in the field of battle, but the in- 

i habitants, young and old; and it being a verv piterus 
sight, and such as must needs move compassion iii 
those that had the least degree of tcndemess left 
them, to see those who had gone all their davs well- 
dressed, now stripped, and scarcely having rags to 
cover their nakedness; that circumstance of their 
captivity is particularly taken notice cf, and fore- 
told, the more to affect them to whom thisprrphecv 
was delivered. It is particularly said to be the 
shame of Egypt, (t. 4.) because the Egyptirms were 
a proud people, and therefore when tliey did fall 
into disgrace, it was the more shameful to them: 
and the higher they had lifted up themselves, the 
lower was their fall, both in their own eyes and in 
the eyes of others. 

IV. The use and application ef this, t'. 5, 6. 

1. All that had any dependence upon, or ccrres- 
pcndence with Egypt and Ethiopia, should now be 
ashamed of them, and afraid of having any thing to 
do with them. Those countries that were in dan- 
ger of being overnin by tlie Assyrians, expected 
that Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, with his numtr 
ous forces, should put a stop to the progress of their 
victorious arms, and be a barrier to his neighbours; 
and with yet more assurance they gloried that 
Egypt, a kingdom so famous for policy and prowess, 
would do their business, would oblige them to raise 
the siege of Ashdod, and retire with precipitatirn: 
but, instead of this, by attempting to opprse him, 
they do but expose themselves, and make their 
country a prey to him. Hereupon, all about them 
are ashamed that ever they promised tliemsclves 
any advantage from two such weak and cowardly 
nations, and more afi-aid now than ever they were 
of the growing greatness of the king of Assyria, be- 
fore wiiom Egypt and Ethiopia proved but as briers 
and thorns put to stop a consuming fire, which do 
but make it burn the more strongly. Note, Those 
who make any creature their expectation and glory, 
and so put it in the place of God, will, sooner or 
later, be ashamed of it, and their disappointment in 
it will but increase their fear. See Ezek. xxix. 6, 7. 

2. The Jews in particular should be convinced of 
their folly in resting upon such broken reeds, and 
should despair of any relief from them; (t'. 6.) The 
inhabitants of this Isle, the land of Judah, situated 
upon the sea, though not surrounded by it; ot this 
country, so the margin: everyone shall nov/ have 
his eyes opened, and shall say, " Beho'd, such is onr 
expectation, so vain, so foolish, and this is thai 



ISAIAH, XXI. 



97 



ivhioh it will come to; we have fled for help to the 
Eg) ptiaiis aiid Ethiopians, and have hoped b)' them 
to be delivered from the king of Assyria; but now 
that tliey are broken thus, how shall we escape, 
that are not able to bring such armies into the field 
as they did?" Note, (1.) Those that confide in 
creatures will be disappointed, and will be made 
ashamed of their confidence, _/br vain is the helfi of 
man, and in vain is salvation hoped for from the 
hills, or the height and multitude of the mountains. 
(2.) Disappointment in creature-confidences, in- 
stead of driving us to despair, as here, (How shall 
we escape?) should drive us to God, to whom if we 
flee for help, our expectation shall not be frustrated. 

CHAP. XXI. 

In this chapter we have a prophecy of sad times coming, 
and heavy burthens; I. Upon Babylon, here called the 
desert of the sea, that it should be destroyed by the Medes 
and Persians with a terrible destruction, which yet God's 

Eeople should have advantage by, v. 1 . . 10. II. Upon 
lumah, or Idumea, v. 11, 1'2. III. Upon .\rabia, or Ke- 
dar, the desolation of which country was very near, v. 13. . 
17. These and other nations which the princes and peo- 
ple of Israel had so much to do with, the prophets of Is- 
rael could not but have something to say to : foreign af- 
fairs must be taken notice of as well as domestic ones, 
and news from abroad inquired after as well as news at 
home. 

1. ^THHE burden of the desert of the sea. 
JL As vvhirlwirids in the south pass 
through; so it cometh from the desert, from 
a terrible land. 2. A grievous vision is de- 
clared unto me ; The treacherous dealer 
dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoil- 
eth. Go up, O Elam: besiege, () Media: 
all the sighing thereof have I made to cease. 
3. Therefore are my loins filled with pain ; 
pangs have taken hold upon me, as the 
pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was 
bowed dowii at the hearing of it; I was dis- 
mayed at the seeing of it. 4. My heart 
panted, fearfulness affi-ighted me: the night 
of my pleasme hath he turned into fear unto 
me. 5. Prepare the table, watch in the 
watch-tower, eat, drink : arise, ye princes, 
and anoint the shield. 6. For thus hath the 
Lord said unto me. Go, set a watchman, 
let iiim declare what he seeth. 7. And he 
saw a chaiiot with a couple of horsemen, a 
chariot of asses, «?««? a chariot of camels ; and 
he hearkened diligently with much heed. 8. 
And he cried, A lion : My lord, I stand con- 
tinually upon the watch-tower in the day- 
time, and I am set in my ward whole nights; 
9. And, behold, here cometh a chariot of 
men, tnth a couple of horsemen. And he 
answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is 
fallen; and all the graven images of her gods 
he hath broken unto the giound. 10. O my 
threshing, and the com of my floor: that 
which I have heard of the Lord of hosts, 
the God of Israel, have I declared unto you. 

We had one burthen of Babylon before, (cA. 13.) 
here Ave have another prediction of its fall; God 
saw fit thus to possess his people with the belief of 
this event by line upon line; because Babylon some- 
'.imes pretended to be a friend to them, (as ch. 

Vol. IV.— N 



xxxix. 1.) and God wruUl hereby warn them nut to 
trust to that friendship, and sometimes was really 
an eneni)' to them, and Ciod would hereby warn 
them not to be afraid of that enmity. Babylon is 
marked for ruin; and all that believe God's pro- 
phets, can, through that glass, see it tottering, see 
it tumbUng, e\en then when with an eye of sense 
they see it flourishing, and sitting as a queen. 

Bab\lon is here called the desert (;r /ilai/i of the 
sea, for it was a flat country, and full i f L.kes, or 
loughs, (as they call them in Ireland,) like little 
seas, and was abundantly watered with the many 
streams of the rixer Euphrates. Babylon did but 
lately begin to be famous, Nineveh having outshined 
it while the monarchy was in the Assyrian hands; 
but in a little time it became the lady of kingdoms; 
and before it arrived at that pitch of eminence 
which it was in Nebuchadnezzar's time, God, by 
this prophet, plainly foretold its fall, again and 
again, that his people might not be terrified at its 
rise, nor despair of relief in due time when they 
were its prisoners. Job. v. 3. Ps. xxxvii. ^5, 36. 
Some think it is here called a desert, because, 
though it was now a populous city, it should in time 
be made a desert. And therefore the destruction cf 
Babylon is so often prophesied of by tliis e\'angelical 
prophet, because it was typical of the destruction 
of the man of sin, the great enemy of the New Tes- 
tament church, which is foretold in the Bex'elation 
in many expressions borrowed from these proplie- 
cies, which therefore must be consulted and collated 
by those who would understand the prophecy (f 
that book. Here is, 

I. The powerful irruption and descent which the 
Medes and Persians should make upon Babylon; (v. 
1, 2.) They will come from the desert, from a ter- 
rible land. The northern parts of Media and Per- 
sia, where their soldiers were mostly bred, was 
waste and mountainous; tenible to strangers that 
were to pass through it, and producing soldiers that 
were very formidable. Elam, (Persia) issunmirned 
to go up against Babylon, and in conjunction with 
the forces of Media, to besiege it; when God has 
work of this kind to do, he will find, though it be in 
a desert, in a terrible land, proper instruments to 
be employed in it. These forces come as whirl- 
winds from the south, so suddenly, so strongly, and 
so terribly: such a mighty noise shall they make, 
and throw down every thing that stands in their 
way. As is usual in such a case, some deserters 
will go over to them, the treacherous dealers nvill 
deal treacherously. Historians tell us of Gadatas 
and Gobryas, two great officers of the king of Baby- 
lon, that went o\er to Cyrus, and, being well ac- 
quainted with all the avenues of the city, led a party 
directly to the palace, where Belshazzar was slain: 
thus with the help of the treacherous dealers the 
sfioilers spoiled. Some read it thus. There shall be 
a deceiver of that deceixier, Babylon, and a spoiler 
of that spoiler. Or, which comes all to one. The 
treacherous dealer has found one that deals treache- 
rously, and the spoiler one that spoils, as it is ex- 
pounded, ch. xxxiii. 1. The Persians shall p,-v the 
Babylonians in their own coin; they that by fraud 
and \iolence, cheating and plundering, unrighteous 
wars and deceitful treaties, have made a ])rey cf 
their neighbours, shall meet with their match, and 
by the same methods shall themselves be made a 
prev of. 

II. The different impressions made hereby upon 
those concerned in Babylon. 

1. To the poor oppi-essed captives it would be 
welcome news; for they had been told long ago that 
Babylon's destroyer would be their deliverer; and 
therefore when they hear that Elam and Media arc 
coming up to besiege Babylon, all their sighir/g vjill 
be made to cease; they shall no longer mingle their 



98 



ISAIAH, XXI. 



fears with Euphrates' streams, but resume their ; 
aai-ps, and smile when they remember 'Zion, wliich, 
before, they wept at the thought of. For tlie sigh- 
■iig of the needy the (iod of pity will arise in due 
lime; (Ps. xii. 5.) he will break the yoke from off 
their neck, will remove the rod of the wicked from 
off their lot, and so make tlieir sighing to cease. 

2. To the proud oppressors it would be a grievous 
vision, (t. 2. ) particularly to the king of Bab);lon 
for the time benig, and it should seem that he it is 
who is here brougUt in, sadly lamenting his inevita- 
ble fate; {v. 3, 4.) Thertjore are my loins Jilted 
with {lain, fiangs have taken hold upon me, &c. 
which was literally fulfilled in Belsliazzar, for that 
very night in which his city was taken, and himself , 
slain, upon the sight of a hand writing mystic cha- ; 
racters upon the wall, his countenance ivas changed, ' 
and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of i 
his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against 
another, Dan. v. 6. And yet that was but the be- j 
ginning of sorrows; Daniel's decyphering of the 
writing could not but increase his terror, and the 
alarm which immediately followed, of the execu- ' 
tioners at the door, would be the completing of it. 
And those words. The night of my Jiltasure has he 
turned into fear to me, plainly refer to that aggra- 
vating circumstance of Belshazzar's fall, that he 
was slain on that night when he was in the height 
of his mirth and jollity, with his cups and concu- i 
bines a1)out him, and a thousand of his lords revel- I 
ling with him; that night of his pleasure, when he 
promised himself an undisturbed, unuUayed enjoy- 
ment of the most exquisite gratifications of sense, 
with a particular defiance of God and religion in the 
profanation of the temple-vessels — that was the 
night that was turned into all this fear. Let this 
give an effectual cheek to vain mirth and sensual 
pleasures, and forbid us ever to lay the reins on the 
neck of tliem — ^that we know not what heaviness 
the mirth may end in, nor how soon laughter may 
be turned into mourning; but this we know, that for 
all these things God shall bring us into judgment; 
let us therefore mix trembling always with our joys. 

III. A representation of the posture in which 
Babylon should be found when the enemy should 
surprise it; all in festi\al gaiety; {-v. 5.) "Prepare 
tlie table with ajl manner of dainties, set the guards, 
let them watch in the watch-tower, while we eat 
and drink securely, and make merry; and if any 
alarm should be given, the princes shall arise, and | 
anoint the shield, and be in readiness to give the ' 
enemy a warm reception." Thus secure are they, 
and thus do they gird on the harness with as much 
joy as if they had put it off. 

IV. A description of the alarm which should be 
given to Babylon, upon its being forced by Cyrus 
and Darius. The Lord, in vision, showed the pro- 
phet the watchman set in the watch-tower, near 
the palace, as is usual in times of danger; the king 
ordered those about him to post a sentinel in the 
most advantageous place for discovery, and accord- 
ing to the duty of a watchman, let him declare what 
he sees, v. 6. We read of a watchman thus set to 
receive intelligence, in the story of David, (2 Sam. 
xviii. 24. ) and in the story of Jehu, 2 Kings ix. 17. 
This watchman here discovered a chariot with a 
couple of horsemen attending it, in which we may 
suppose the commander-in-chief to ride; he then 
saw another chariot drawn by asses or mules, which 
were much in use among the Persians, and a chariot 
drawn by camels, which were likewise much in use 
among the Medes; so that (as Grotius thinks) these 
two chariots signify the two nations combined against 
B ibylon; or rather, these chariots come to bring ti- 
dings to the palace; compare Jer. li. 31, 32. One 
post shall run to meet another, and one messenger 
10 meet another, to shorn the king of Babylon that 



his city is taken at one end, while he is revelling a»' 
the otiier end, and knows nothing of the matter. 
This watchman, seeing these chariots at some dis 
tance, hearke7]ed diligently with much heed, to re- 
cei\e the first tidings. And {v. 8. ) he cried, A lion; 
this word, coming out of a watchman's mouth, n<( 
doubt ga\e them a certain sound, and every body 
knew the meaning of it, though we do not know it 
now. It is likely that it was intended to raise at- 
tention; he that has an ear to hear, let him hear, as 
when a lion roars: or he cried as a lion, very loud 
and in good earnest; the occasion being very urgent. 
And what has he to say? 1. He professes his con- 
stancy to his post assigned him ; "I stand, my lord, 
continually upon the watch-tower, and have never 
discovered any thing material, till just now; all 
seemed safe and quiet." Some make it to be a com- 
plaint of the people of God, that they had long ex- 
pected the downfall of Babylon, according to the 
prophecy, and it was not yet come; but withal a re- 
solution to- continue waiting, as Hab. ii. 1. I will 
stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, 
to see what will be the issue of the present provi- 
dences. 2. He gives notice of the disco^•erles he 
had made; {y. 9.) Here comes a chariot of men, 
with a couple of horsemen; a vision representing the 
enemy's entry into the city with all their force, or 
the tidings brought to the royal palace of it. 

V. A certain account is at length given of the 
overthrow of Babylon. He in the chariot answered 
and said, (when he heard the watchman speak,) 
Babylon is fallen, is fallen; or, God answered thus 
to the prophet inquiring concerning the issue of 
these affairs; " It is now come to this, Babvlon is 
surely and irrecoverably fallen; Babylon's business is 
done now. ^11 the graven linages of her gods he 
has broken unto the ground." Babylon was the 
mother of harlots, of idolatry, which was one of the 
grounds of God's quarrel with her; but her idols 
shall now be so far from protecting her, that some 
of them shall be broken down to the ground, and 
others of them, that were worth carrying away, 
shall go into captivity, and be a burthen to the 
beasts that carried tliem, ch. xlvi. 1, 2. 

VI. Notice is given to the people of God, who 
were then captives in Babylon, that this prophecy 
of the downfall of Babylon was particularly intend- 
ed for their comfort and encouragement, and they 
might depend upon it, that it should be accomplish- 
ed in due season, x<. 10. Observe, 1. The title the 
prophet gives them in God's name, O my threshing, 
and the corn of my floor; the prophet calls them 
his, because they were his countrymen, and such as 
he had a particular interest in and concern for; but 
he speaks it as from God, and directs his speech to 
those that were Israelites indeed, the faithful in the 
land. Note, (1.) The church is God's floor, in 
which the most valuable fruits and products of this 
earth are, as it were, gathered together and laid up. 
(2.) Tnie believers are the com of God's floor; hy 
pocrites are but as the chaff and straw, which tate 
up a great deal of room, but are of small value, with 
whicii the wheat is now mixed, but from which it 
shall be shortly and for ever separated. (3. ) The 
corn of God's floor must expect to be threshed by 
afflictions and persecutions. God's Israel of old v/as 
afflicted from her youth, often under the plouglier's 
plough, (Ps. cxxix. 3.) and the thresher's flail. (4.) 
Even then God owns it for his threshing, it is his 
still; nay, the threshing of it is by his appointment, 
and under his restraint and direction. The thresh- 
ers could have no power against it, but what is given 
them from above. 2. The assurance he gives them 
of the truth of what he had delivered to them, 
which therefore they might build their hopes upon, 
That which I have heard of the Lord of hosts, the 
God of Israel, that, and nothing else, that, and no 



ISAIAH, XXI 



9b 



fiction of fancy or my own, hax'e I declared unto 
you. Note, In all events concerning tlie church, 
past, present, and to come, we must have an eye to 
God, both as the Lord of hosts and as tlie God of 
Israel, who has power enough to do any thing for 
his church, and grace enough to do every thing that 
is for her good. Let us also diligently notice the 
words of his prophets, as words received from the 
I.,ord. As they dare ntit smother any tiling wliich 
he has intrufted them to declare, so they dare not 
declare any tiling as from him, which he has not 
made known to them, 1 Cor. xi. 23. 

1 1 . The burden of Diiniah. He calleth 
to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the 
night I watchman, what of the niglit ? 12. 
The watchman said, The morning cometh, 
and also the night : if ye will inquu'e, in- 
quire ye: return, come. 

This prophecy concerning Dumali is very short, 
and with.il dark and hard to be understood. Some 
think that Dumah is a part of Arabia, and that the 
inhatiitants descended from Dumah the sixth son 
of Ishmael, as those of Kedar {v. 16, 17. ) from Ish- 
m lel's second son, Gen. xxv. 13, 14. Others, be- 
cuise mount Siir is liere mentioned, by Dumah un- 
derstand Idumea, the country of the Edomites. 
Some of Israel's neighbours are certainly meant, 
whose distress is foretold, not only for warning to 
them to prepare them for it, but for warning to Is- 
rael not to dejjend upon them, or any of the nations 
aljout them, for relief in a time of danger, but upon 
God only. W^e must see all creature-confidences 
failing Us, and feel them breaking under us, that 
we may not laj- more weight upon them than they 
will bear. But though the explication of this pro- 
phecy be difficult, Ijecause we have no history in 
which we find the accomplishment of it, yet the ap- 
plication will be easy. VVe have here, 

1. A question put by an Edomite to the watch- 
man. Some one or other calls out of Seir, 
somebody that was more concerned for the public 
safety and welf ire than the rest, who were gene- 
rally' careless and secure; as the man of Macedonia, 
in a vision, desired Paul to come over and help 
them, (Acts xvi. 9.) so this man of mount Seir, in a 
vision, desired the prophet to inform and intract 
them. He calls not many; it is well there are any, 
that all are not alike onconcei-iied about the things 
that belong to the public peace. Some out of Seir 
ask advice of (iod's prophets, and are willing to be 
taught, when many of God's Israel heed nothing. 
The question is serious, mat of the jiiglit? It is 
put to a proper person, the watchman, whose office 
it is to answer such inquiries: he repeats the ques- 
tion, as one in care, as one in earnest, and desires to 
have an answer. Note, (1.) God's prophets and min- 
isters are appointed to be watchmen, and we are to 
look upon them as such. They are as watchmen 
in the city in a time of peace, to sec that all be safe, 
to knock at every door by personal inquiries; (" Is 
it locked? Is the fire safer") to direct those that 
are at a loss, and check those that are disorderly. 
Cant. iii. 3. — v. 7. They are as watchmen in the 
cimp in time of war; (Ezek. xxxiii. 7.) they are to 
take notice of the motions of the enemy, and to give 
notice of them, to make discoveries, and then 
give warning; and in this they must deny them- 
selves. (2.) It is our duty to inquire of the watch- 
nivn, especially to ask again and again, IVhat of 
the nlic/ity For watchmen wake when others sleep. 
[1.] What time of the night.' After a long sleep m 
sill ".n security, is it not time to rise, high time to 
:'wake out of sleep? Rom. xiii. 11. We have a 
great deal of work to do, a long journey to go; is it 



not time to be stirring? "Watchman, what o'clock 
is it? After a long dark night is there any hopes of 
the day dawning.'"' [2.] What tidings of the night? 
What from the night? So some. " What vision 
has the prophet had to-night? We are readv to 
receive it. " Or rather, "What occurs to-night? 
What weather is it? What news?" We must ex- 
pect an :Jai-m, and never be secure; the dai/ of 
tlif hord will come as a thief in the flight; we must 
prepare to receive the alarm, and resolve to keep 
our ground, and then take the first hint of danger, 
and to our arms presently, to our spiritual wea- 
pons. 

2. The watchman's answer to this question. The 
watchman was neither asleep nor dumb; though it 
was a man of mount Seir that called to him, he was 
ready to give him an answer; The morning comes. 
He answers, (1.) By way of prediction; "there 
comes first a morning of light, and peace, and op- 
portunity, you will enjoy one day of comfort more; 
but afterward comes a night of trouble and cala- 
mity." Note, In the course of God's providence, it 
is usual that morning and night are counter- 
changed, and succeed each other. Is it night? 
Yet the morning comes, and the day-spring knows 
his place, Ps. xxx. 5. Is it day? Yet the night 
comes also: if there be a morning of youth and 
liealth, there will come a night of sickness and old 
age; if a morning of prosperity in the family, in the 
public, yet we must look for changes. But God 
usually gives a morning of opportunity before he 
sends a night of calamity, that his own people may 
be prepared for the storm, and others left inex- 
cusable. (3.) By way of excitement; If ye lui/l in- 
quire, inquire ye. Note, It is our wisdom to im- 
pro\e the present morning in preparation for the 
night that is coming after it; " Inquire, return, 
come. Be inquisitive, be penitent, be willing and 
obedient." The manner of expression is very ob- 
servable, but we are put to our choice what we will 
do; "Ifyc will inquire, iijquire ye; ifnot, itisat 
your peril; you cannot say but you have a fair offer 
inade you." We are also urged to be at a point; 
" If you will, say so, and do not stand pausing; what 
you will do, do quickly, for it is no time to trifle." 
Those that return and come to God, will find tliey 
have a gre;it deal of work to do, a^ but a little time 
to do it in, and therefore they "ave need to be 
busy. 

1 3. The burden upon Arabia. In the forest 
in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling com- 
IDaniesof Dedanim. 14. The inhabitants of 
the land of Tenia brought water to him that 
was thirsty, they prevented with their bread 
him that fled. 1 5. For they fled from the 
swoitIs, from the drawn s^^'ord, and fiom 
the bent bow, and from the grievousness of 
war. 16. For thus hath the Lorp said 
unto me. Within a year, according to the 
years of a hireling, and all the glory of 
Kedar shall fail : 1 7. And the residue of 
the number of ai'chers, the mighty men of 
the children of Kedar, shall be diminish- 
ed : for the Lord God of Israel hath spo- 
ken it. 

Arabia was a large country, that lay eastward 
and southward of the land of Canaan; much of it 
was possessed by the posterity of Abraham. The 
Dedanim here mentioned, (r. 13.) descended from 
Dedan, Abraham's son by Keturah; the inhabitants 
of Tenia and Kedar descended from Ishmael, Gen. 



100 



ISAIAH, XXII. 



Kxv. 3, 13, 15. The Arabians generally lived in 
tents, and kept cattle, were a hardy people, inured 
to labour; probably the Jews depended upon them 
us a sort of a wall between tliem and the more war- 
like eastern nations; and tlierefore, to alarm them, 
they shall hear the burthen of Arabia, and see it 
sinking under its own burthen. 

1. A destroying army shall l)e brought upon 
them, with a sword, with a drawn nivord, with a 
bow ready bent, and with all the grievousness of 
war, V. 15. It is probable th it the king of Assyria, 
in some of the marches of his formidable and victo- 
rious army, took Arabii in his way, and meeting 
with little resistance, made an easy prey of them. 
The consideration of the grievousness of war should 
mike us thankful for tlie blessings of peace. 

2. The poor country people will hereby be forced 
to flee for shelter wherever tliey can find a place; 
so that the traxwliing- com/tanies of Dedanim, which 
used to keep the high-roads with their caravans, 
shall be obliged to quit them, and lodge in the forest 
in Arabia, (t'. 13.) and shall not have the wonted 
convenience of tlieir own tents, poor and weather- 
beaten as they are. 

3. They shall stand in need of refreshment, being 
ready to perish for want of it, in tlieir flight from 
the invading army; " O ye inhabitants of the land of 
Tema," (wlio probibly, were next neighbours to the 
companies of Ucdanim,) "bring ye water" (so the 
margin reads it) " to him that is thirsty, anAfirevent 
with your bread those that Jtee, for they are objects 
of your compassion : they do not wander for wan- 
dering sake, nor are they reduced to straits by any 
extravagance of their own, Ijut they flee from the 
sword." Tema was a country wliere water was 
sometimes a scarce commodity, (as we find. Job vi. 
19.) and we may conclude it would be in a particu- 
lar manner acceptable to these poor distressed re- 
fugees. Let us learn hence, (1.) To look for dis- 
tress ourselves; we know not what straits we may 
be brought into before we die. Those that live in 
cities, may be forced to lodge in forests; and those 
may know the want of necessary food, who now eat 
bread to the full. ■ Our mountain stands not so strong 
but that it may be moved, rises not so high but that 
it may be scaled. These Arabians would the bet- 
ter bear these calamities, because in their way of 
living th'sy liad iwfcd themselves to hardships. (2.) 
To look with compassion upon those that are in dis- 
tress, and with all cheerfulness to relieve them, not 
knowing how soon their case may be ours; " Bring 
water to them that are thirsty, and not only give 
bread to those that need and ask it, but prevent 
those with it that have need, give it them unask- 
ed. " They that do so, shall find it remembered 
to their praise, as (according to our reading) it is 
here remembered to the praise of the land of Tema, 
that they did bi-ing water to the thirsty, and re- 
lieved even those that were on the falling side. 

4. All that which is the glory of Kedar shall van- 
ish away and fail. Did they glory in their numer- 
ous herds and flocks.' They shall all be driven 
away by the enemy. It seems, they were famous 
above other nations for the use of the bow in battle; 
but their archers, instead of foiling the enemy, 
shall fall themselves; and the residue of their num- 
ber, when they are reduced to a small number, 
shall be diminished; (x'. 17.) their mighty, able- 
bodied men, and men of spirit too, shall become 
very few; for they being most forward in the de- 
fence of their country, were most exposed, and fell 
first, eitlier by the enemies' sword, or into the 
enemies' hand. Note, Neither the skill of archei\s, 
(though they be ever so good marksmen,) nor the 
courage of mighty men, can protect a people from 
tlie judgments of God, when they come with com- 
mission; they rather expose the undcrt;diers. That 



is poor glory, which will thus quickly come to 
nothing. 

5. All this shall be done in a little time; " Within 
one year, according to the years of a hireling, (with- 
in one year, precisely reckoned,) this judgment 
shall come upon Kedar." If this fixing of the time 
be of no great use to us now, (because we find not 
either when the prophecy was delivered, or when it 
was accomplished,) yet it might be of great use to 
the Arabians then, to awaken them t.) repentance, 
that, like the men of Nineveh, they might prevent 
the judgment, when tliey were thus told it was just 
at the door. Or, when it begins to be fulfilled, the 
business shall be done, be begun and ended in one 
year's time. God, when he pleases, can do a great 
work in a little time. 

6. It is all ratified by the truth of God; {xk 16.) 
" Thus hath the Lord said to ?ne; you may take my 
word for it, that it is his word;" and we may be 
sure no word of his shall fall to the ground. And 
again, (v. 17.) The Lord God of Israel hath sfloken 
it; as the God of Israel, in pursuance of his gra- 
cious designs concerning tliem; and we miy be sure 
the Strength of Israel will not lie. 

CHAP. XXII. 

We are now come nearer home, for this chapter is the 
burthen of the valley of vision, Jerusalem; other places 
had their burthen for the sake of Iheir being concerned 
some way or other with Jerusalem, and were reckoned 
ivith either as spiteful enemies, or deceitful friends, to 
the people of God; but now let Jerusalem hear her 
doom. This chapter concerns, I. The cily of Jerusalem 
itself, and the neighbourjiood depending upon it. Here 
is, I. A prophecy of the grievous distress they should 
shortly be brought into, by Sennacherib's invasion of the 
country, and laying siege to the city, v. I. .7. ti. A re- 
proof given them for their miscontfuct in that distress, 
in two things, (I.) Not having an eye to God in the use 
of the means of their preservation, v. 8 . . 11. (2.) not 
humbling themselves under his mighty hand, v. 12. . . 14. 
II. The court of Hezekiah, and the officers of thai court: 
1. The displacing of Shebna, a bad man, and turning 
him out of the treasury, v. 15. . 19, 25. 2. The preferring 
of Eliakim to his place, who should do his country bet- 
ter service, v. 20. . . 24. 

1. ri^HE burden of the valley of vision. 
JL What aileth thee now, that thou 
art wholly gone up to the house-tops ? 2. 
Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, 
a joj'ous city : thy slain men are not slain 
with the s\\'or(l, nor dead in battle. 3. 
All thy rulers are fled together, they are 
bound by the archers : all that are found in 
tiiee are liouiid together, lahich have fled 
from far. 4. Therefore said I, Look away 
from me ; 1 will \\'eep bitterly, labour not 
to comfort me ; because of the spoiling of 
the daughter of my people. 5. For it is 
a day of trouble, and of treading down, 
and of perplexity by the Lord God of hosts 
in the valley of vision, breaking down the 
walls, and of crying to the mountains. 
6. And Elam bare the ((uiver with cha- 
riots of men and iioisemen, and Kir unco- 
vered the shield. 7. And it shall come to 
pass, that thy choicest valleys shall be full 
of chariots, and the hoi-semen shall set 
themselves in array at the gate. 

The title of this prophecy is very observable; it 
is the burthen of the valley 'of vision, of Judah and 



ISAIAH, XXII. 



101 



Jerusalem; all so agree. Fitly enough is Jerusa- 
kni Grilled a xta/U-y; for the niountiiins were round 
abnut it; and the land of Judah abounded witli fruit- 
ful valleys. And by the judgments of God, though 
thev h id been as a towering mountain, they should 
be brought low, sunk, and depressed, and become 
d u-k and dirty, as a valley. But most emphati- 
c dlv it is called a xfa/ley of vision, because there 
God was known, and his name great; there the 
propliets were made acquainted with his mind hy 
visions, and there the people saw tlie goings of tlieir 
God and King in his sanctuary. Babylon, being a 
sti anger to Gud, though rich and great, was called 
thi- dfit'rt ofl/iesea; but Jerusalem, being intrusted 
witli his oricles, is a valley of vision; blessed are 
their eyes, for they see, and they have seers by office 
among them. Wlierc Bibles and ministers are, 
there is a valley of vision, from which is expected 
fruit accordingly; but here is a burthen of the val- 
ley of vision, and a heavy burthen it is. Note, 
Church-privileges, if they be not improved, will 
not secure men from the judgments of God; You 
only have I known of all the families of the earth, 
therefore mill I punish you. The valley of vision 
has a p irticular bm-then; Thou Ca/iernaum, Matt. 
xi.. 2:3. The higher any are lifted up in means 
a!id mercies, the heavier will their doom be if they 
abuse them. 

Now the burthen of the valley of vision here, is 
that which will not quite ruin it, but frighten it; for 
it refers not to the destruction of Jerusalem by Ne- 
buchadnezzar, but to the attempt made upon it by 
Senn icherib, which we had the prophecy of, (ch. 
10. ) and sliall meet with the history of, ch. 36. It is 
here again prophecied of, because the desolation of 
many of the neighbouring countries, which were 
foretold in the foregoing chapters, were to be brought 
to pass by the Assyrian army. Now let Jerusalem 
know, that when the cup is going round, it will be 
nut into her hand, and though it will not be to her a 
fatal cup, yet it will be a cup of trembling. Here 
is foretold, 

1. The consternation that the city should be in 
upon the approach of Sennacherib's army. It used 
to be full of stirs, a city of great trade, people hur- 
rying to and fro about their business, a tumultuous 
city, populous and noisy ; where there is great trade, 
there is great tumult. It used to be a joyous re- 
velling city, made such by the busy part, and the 
merry Jiart, of mankind; places of concourse are 
jilaces of noise. " But wliat ails thee now, that the 
shops are quitted, and there is no more walking in 
the streets and exchange, but thou art wholly gone 
ufi to the house-to/is, {v. 1.) to bemoan thyself in 
silence and solitude, or to secure thyself from the 
enemy, or to look abroad, and see if any succours 
come to thy relief, or which way the enemies' mo- 
tions are." Let both men of business and sports- 
men rejoice as though they rejoiced not, for some- 
thing may happen quickly, which they little think 
of, that will be a damp to their mirth, and a stop to 
their business, and send them to watch as a sparrow 
alone ujmn the house-top, Ps. cii. 7. 

But why is Jerasalem in such a fright? Her slain 
men are not slain with the sword, {%'. 2.) but, (1.) 
Slain with famine; so some; for Sennacherib's army 
having laid the country waste, and destroyed the 
fi-uits of the earth, provisions must needs be very 
scarce and dear in the city, which would be the 
death of many of the poorei sort of people, who 
would be constrained to feed on that which was 
anwholesome. (2.) Slain with fear; they were put 
into this fright, though they had not a man killed, 
but were so disheartened themselv s, that they 
seemed as effectuallv stabbed with fear as if they 
had been nm through with a sword. 

2. The inglorious flight of the rulers of Judah, 



who fled from far, from all parts of the country, to 
Jerusalem, {v. 6.) fled together, as it were by con- 
sent, and were found in Jeiaisalem, having left theil 
respective cities, which they should have taken care 
of, to be a prey to the Assyrian army, which, meet- 
ing with no opposition, when it came ufi against 
all the defenced cities of Judah, easily tool' them, ch. 
xxxvi. 1. These rulers were bound from the bow; 
so the word is; they not only quitted their own ci- 
ties like cowards, l^ut, when they came to Jerusa- 
lem, were of no service there, but were as if their 
hands were tied from the use of the bow, by the 
extreme distraction and confusion they were in; 
they trembled, so that they could not draw a bow. 
See how easily God can dispirit men, and how cer- 
tainly fear will do it, when the tyranny of it is yield- 
ed to. 

3. The great grief which this should occasion to 
all serious, sensible people, among them; which is 
represented by the prophet's laying the thing to 
heart himself; he lived to sec it,'and was resolved 
to share with the children of his people in their 
sorrows, v. 4, 5. He is not willing to proclaim his 
sorrow, and therefore bids those about him to look 
away from him; he will abandon himself to grief, 
and indulge himself in it, will weep secretly, but 
weep bitterly, and will have none ^o about to com- 
fort him, for his grief is not obstmate, and he is 
pleased with his pain. But what is the occasifm of 
his grief? A poor prophet had little to lose, and had 
been inured to hardship, when he walked naked 
and barefoot; but it is for the spoiling of the datigh- 
ter of his people. Note, Public grievances should 
be our griefs. It is a day of trouble and of tread- 
ing down, and of perplexity; our enemies trouble 
us, and tread us down, and our friends are perplex- 
ed, and know not what course to take, to do us a 
kindness; the Lord God of hosts is now contending 
with the valley of vision; the enemies with their 
battering-rams are breaking down the walls, and 
we are in vain crying to the mountains, (to keep off 
the enemy, or to fall on us and co\er us,) or looking 
for help to come to us over the mountains, or ap- 
pealing, as God does, to the mountains, to hear our 
controversy, (Micah vi. 1.) and to judge between 
us and our injurious neighbours. 

4. The great numbers and strength of the enemy, 
that should invade their country' and besiege their 
city, V. 6, 7. Elam, the Persians, come with their 
quiver full of arrows, and with chariots of fighting 
men, and horsemen; Kir, the Medes, muster up 
their arms, unsheath the sword, and uncover the 
shield, and get every thing ready for battle, everj' 
thing ready for the' besieging of Jerusalem : then 
the choice valleys about Jerusalem, that used to be 
clothed with flocks, and covered over with corn, 
shall be full of chariots of war, and at the gate of 
the city the horsemen shall set themselves in array, 
to cut off all provisions from going in, and to force 
their way in. What a condition must the city be 
in, that was beset on all sides with such an arniv? 

8. And he discovered the covering of Ju- 
dah, and thou didst look in that day to the 
armour of the house of the forest. 9. Ye 
have seen also the breaches of the city of 
David, that they are many; and ye gather- 
ed togetlier the waters of the lower pool : 
10. And j'e have numbered the houses of 
Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken 
down to fortify the wall. 1 1 . Ye made alsf 
a ditch between the two walls for tne water 
of the old pool : but ye have not looked unto 
the maker thereof, neither had respect unto 



102 



ISAIAH, XXII. 



him that fashioned it long ago. 12. And in 
that day did the Lord God ot" hosts call to 
weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, 
and to girding with sackcloth: 13. And, 
Ijeiiold, joy and gladness, slaying oxen and 
killing sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine : 
let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall 
(lie. 14. And it was revealed in mine ears 
by the Lord of hosts. Surely this iniquity 
shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith 
the Lord God of hosts. 

What is meant by the covering of Judah, which, 
in the beginning of this paragraph, is said to be dis- 
covered, is not agreed. The fenced cities of Judah 
were a covering to the country; but those being ta- 
ken by the army of the Assyrians, they ceased to 
l)e a shelter; so that the whole country lay exposed 
to be plundered. The weakness of judah, its na- 
kedness, and inability to help itself, now appeared 
more than ever; and thus the covering of Judah 
was discovered. Its magazines and stores, which 
had been locked up, were now laid open for the 
public use. Dr. Lightfoot gives another sense of it, 
that by this distress into which Judah should be 
brought, God would discover their covering, uncloak 
their hypocrisv, would show all th it was in their 
heart, as is said of Hezekiah upon another occasion, 
2 Chron. xxxii. 31. Now they discovered Ijoth 
their carnal confidence, {v. 9.) and their carnal se- 
curity, X'. 13. Thus, by one means or other, t/ie 
utU/uity of Efihraim will be discovered, and the sin 
of Sainaria, Hos. vii. 1. 

They were now in a great fright, and in this fright 
they discovered two things much amiss: 

I. A great contempt of God's goodness, and his 
power to help them. They made use of the means 
tliey could think of for their own preservation; and 
it is not that that they are blamed for, but, in doing 
this, they did not acknowledge God. Observe, 

1. How careful they were to impi'ove all advan- 
tages that might contribute to their safety. When 
Sennacherib had made himself master of all the 
defenced cities of Judah, and Jeiiisalem was left as 
a cottage in a vineyard, they thought it was time to 
look about them; a council was immediately called, 
% council of war; and it was resolved to stand upon 
their defence, and not tamely to surrender. Pur- 
suant to this resolve, they took all the pi-udent mea- 
sures they could for their own security. We tempt 
God, if, in times of danger, we do not the best we 
can for ourselves. (1.) They inspected the maga- 
zines and. stores, to see if thev were well stocked 
with arms and ammunition. They looked to the ar- 
wour of the house of the forest, which Solomon built 
in Jerusalem for an armoury, (1 Kings x. 17.) and 
thence they delivered out what they had occasion 
for. It is tlie wisdom of princes, in time of peace, 
to jjrovide for war, that thev may not have arms to 
seek when they shculd use them, and perhaps u])on 
a sudden emergency. (2.) Thev viewed the forti- 
fications, the breaches of the city of David; they 
walked round the walls, and observed where they 
were gone to decay, for want of seasonable repairs, 
or Ijrokcn by some former attempts made upon 
them. These breaches were many; tlie more shame 
f r the house of David, that thev suffered the city 
of David to lie neglected. Thev had, probablv, 
often seen those breaches; but now thev saw them 
to consider wliat course to take about them. Tliis 
good we should get l)y public distresses, we should 
be awakened by tliem to refiair our breaches, and 
amend what is amiss. (S.) Thev made sure of 
w.it^-r for the city, and did what they could to de- 



prive tlie besiegers of it; Ye gathered together the 
vjalers of the lower pool, of which there w:!s, pro- 
b;ibly, no great store, ;ind of whicli, therefore, they 
were tlie more concerned to be good husbands. See 
what a mercy it is, that, as nothing is more neces- 
sary to the support of liuman life than water, so 
nothing is more chea]5 and common; but it is Ijad 
indeed when tliat, as here, is a scarce conimcdity. 
(4.) 'X\\ef numbered the houses of Jerusalem, that 
every house might send in their quota < f men for 
the public ser\ice, or contribute in money to it; 
which they raised by a poll, so much a heat!, or so 
much a house. (5.) Because private property ought 
to give way to the public safety, tliose liruses that 
stood in their way, when the wall was to be fortified, 
were broken down; which, in such a case of neces- 
sity, is no more an injury to the owner, than blow- 
ing up houses in case of fire. (6.) They made a 
ditch between the outer and inner wall, for the 
greater security of the city; and tliey contrived to 
draw the water of tlie old pool to it, that they 
might lia\e plenty of water themselves, and might 
deprive the besiegers of it; for, it seems, that was 
the project, lest the Assyrian army should come and 
find much water, (2 Chron. xxxii. 4.) and so should 
be the better able to prolong the siege. If it be 
lawful to destroy the forage of a country, much 
more to divert the streams of its waters, for the 
straitening and starving of an enemy. 

2. How regardless they were of God in all these 
preparations; but ye have not looked unto the 
Maker thereof; of Jerusalem, (the city yru are so 
solicitous for the defence of,) and of all the ad\'an- 
tages which nature has furnished it with f.'r its de- 
fence; the mountains rovnd about it, (Ps. cxxv. 2.) 
and the rivers, which were such as the inhabitants 
might turn which way soever they pleased for their 
convenience. Note, (1.) It is God th;'t made his 
Jerasalem, and fashioned it lon.g ago, in his coun- 
sels. The Jewish writers, upon this place, sav. 
There were seven things which God made before 
the world; meaning which he had in his eye when 
he made the world, the garden of Eden, the law, 
the just ones, Israel, the throne of glory, Jerusa- 
salem, and Messiah the Prmce. Tlie gospel-church 
has God for its Maker. (2.) Whatever service we 
do, or endeavour to do, at any time, for God's Je- 
rusalem, it must be with an eve to him as the 
Maker of it; and he takes it ill if we do not. It is 
charged upon them here, that they did not look to 
God. [1.] They did not design his glory, in what 
they did. They fortified Jerusalem because it was 
a rich city, and their own houses were in it; not be- 
cause it was the holy city, and God's house was in 
it. In all our cares for the defence of the church, 
we must look more at God's interest in it than at 
our own. [2. J They did not depend upon him for 
a blessing upon their endeavours, saw no need of it, 
and tlierefore sought not to him for it, Ijut thought 
their own powers and policies sufficient f ( r them. 
Of Hezekiah himself it is said, that lie trusted in 
God, (2 Kings xviii. 5.) and particularly upon this 
occasion; (2 Chron. xxxii. 8.) but there were those 
about him, it seems, who were great statesmen and 
soldiers, but had little religion in them. [3.] They 
did not give him thanks frr the advanta.ges they 
had in fortifving their citv from the waters of the 
old fool, which were fashioned long ago, as Kislion 
is called an ancient rix)er, Judg. v. 21. Whatever in 
nature is at anv time serviceable to us, we must 
therein acknowledge the troodness of the God of 
nature; who, when he fashioned it long ago, fitted 
it to be so, and according to whose ordinance it C07i- 
tiniies to this day. Everv creature is that to us that 
God makes it to be; and therefore, whatever use it 
is of to us, we must look at him that fashioned It, 
bless him for it, and use it for him. 



ISAIAH, XXII. 



10?. 



II. A great contempt of God's wrath and justice 
m conttiiding with them, v. 12 — 14. Where ob- 
serve, 

1. Wliat was God's design in bringing tliis cala- 
laniity upon them; it was to Immble them, bring 
them to repentance, and make them serious. In 
til It day of trouble, and treading down, and per- 
plexity, the Lord did thereby call to weeping, and 
mourning, and all the expressions of sorrow, e\en 
to baldness tmd girding- ivith sackc/ot/i ; and all this, 
to lament their sins, by which they had brought 
those judgments upon tlieir land, to enforce their 
prayers, by which they might hope to avert the 
judgments' that were oreakmg in, and to dispose 
themselves to a reformation of their lives by a holy 
seriousness, and a tenderness of heart, under the 
word of God. To this God called them by his 
pro])hets' explaining his providences, and by his 
providences awakening them to regard what his 
prophets said. Note, When God threatens us with 
his judgments, he expects and requires that we 
humble ourselves under his mighty hand; that we 
tremble when the lion roars, and in a day of adver- 
sity consider. 

2. How contrary they walked to this design of 
God; (t. 13.) Behold, joy and gladness, mirth and 
feasting, all the gaiety and all the jollity imagina- 
ble: they were as secure and pleasant as they used 
to be, as if they had no enemy in their borders, or 
were in no danger of falling into his hands. When 
they had taken the necessary precautions for their 
security, then they set all deaths and dangers at 
defiance, and resolved to be merry, let come on 
them what would. They that should have been 
eating among the mourners, were among the wine- 
bibbers, the riotous eaters of flesh; and observe 
wh:it they said. Let us cat and drink, for to-mor- 
row we shall die. This may refer either to the par- 
ticular danger they were now in, and the tair warn- 
ing which the prophet gave them of it, or to the 
general shortness and uncertainty of Imnian life, 
and the nfearness of death at all times. This was 
the language of the profane scoffers who mocked 
the messengers of the Lord, and misused his pro- 
fihets. (1.) They made a jest of dying; " The pro- 
phet tells us we must die shortly, perhaps to-mor- 
row, and therefore we should mourn and repent 
to-day; no, rather let us eat and drink, that we 
may be fattened for the slaughter, and may be in 
good heart to meet our doom; if we must have a 
short life, let it be a merry one." (2.) They ridi- 
culed the doctrine of a future state on the other 
side death; for if there were no such state, the 
apostle grants there would be something of reason 
in what they said, 1 Cor. xv. 32. If, when we die, 
there were an end of us, it were good to make our- 
selves as easy and merry as we could, while we live; 
but \i for all these things God shall bririg us into 
judgment, it is at our peril if we walk in the way 
of our heart and the sight of our eyes, Eccl. xi. 9. 
Note, A practical disbelief of another life after this, 
is at the bottom of the carnal security and brtitish 
sensuality, wliich are the sin and shame and ruin of 
so great a part of mankind, as of the old world, 
who were eating and drinking till the flood came. 

3. How much God was displeased at it; he sig- 
nified his resentment of it to the prophet, revealed 
it in his ears, to be by him proclaimed upon the 
house-top; Surely this iniquity shall not be fiurged 
from you till ye die, -v. 14. It shall never be ex- 
piated with sacrifice and offering, any more than 
the iniquity of the house of Eli, 1 Sam. iii. 14. It 
IS a sin against the remedy, a baffling of the utmost 
means of conviction, and rendering them ineffec- 
tual; and therefore it is not likely thev should ever 
repent of it, or nave it pardoned. The Chaldee reads 
tt, It shall not be forgiven you till you die the second 



death. Those that walk conti-ary to God, he will 
walk contrarv to them; with the froward he will 
show himself froward. 

15. Tlius saith the Lord God of liosts, 
Go, get tliee unto this treasurer, even unto 
Shebna, which is over the house, and sat/, 
IG. What hast tliou here, and wliom hast 
thou here, that thou iiast liewed ihee out 
a sepulchre liere, as he that hevveth hiui 
out a sepulclire on liigh, a?id tliat grav- 
etli a habitation for himself in a ro('k .' 1 7 
Behold, the Lord will carry thee away 
witii a mighty captivity, and will surely 
cover thee. 18. He will surely violently 
turn and toss thee like a ball into a large, 
country: there shall thou die, and there 
the chariots of thy glory shall be the shame 
of thy lord's house. 1 9. And I will drive 
thee from thy station, and from thy state 
shall he pull thee down. 20. And it shall 
come to pass in that day, that I will call 
my servant Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah: 

21. And I will clothe him with thy robe, 
and strengthen him with thy girdle, and 1 
will commit thy government into his hand ; 
and he shall be a father to the inhabitants 
of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. 

22. And the key of the house of David will 
I lay upon his shoulder: so he shall open, 
and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and 
nom shall open. 23. And I will fasten him 
as a rail in a sure place ; and he shall be 
for a glorious tiirone to his fatlier's house. 
24. And they shall hang upon him all the 
glory of his father's house, tlie ofispring and 
the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from 
the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels 
of flagons. 25. In that day, saith the Lord 
of hosts, shall the nail thai is fastened in the 
sure place be removed, and be cut down, 
and fall ; and the burden that teas upon it 
shall be cut off: for the Lord hath spoken it. 

W'e have here a prophecy concerning the displa- 
cing of Shebna, a great officer at court, and the pre- 
feri'ing of Eliakim to the post of honour and trust 
that he was in. Such changes are common in the 
courts of princes, it is therefore strange that so much 
notice should be taken of it by the prophet here : but 
by the accomplishment of what was foretold concei'n- 
ing these particular persons, God designed to con- 
firm his woi'd in the mouth of Isaiah concerning 
other and greater events; and it is likewise to show, 
that, as God has burthens in store for those nations 
and kingdoms abroad that are open enemies to his 
church and people; so he has for those particular 
persons at home, that are false friends to them, and 
betray them. It is likewise a confirmation in gene- 
ral of the hand of Divine Providence in all events 
of this kind, which to us seem contingent, and to de- 
pend upon the wills and fancies of princes: firomo- 
tion comes neither from the east, nor from the west, 
nor from the south; but God is the Judge, Ps. Ixxv. 
6, 7. It is probable that this prophecy was deli- 
vered at the same time with that in the former part 
of the chapter, and began to be fulfilled before 



1C4 



ISAIAH, XXII. 



S-niiac!ifrib's invas'nm; for now Shebna was over the 
houar, hutUit-n Eliakim was,(r/j.xxxvi.3.)andSheb- 
ti-i co'.nini; t'.owii gradiiilly, w, is only scribe. Here is, 
I. TiiL- prophfcy of Slicbn I's disgrace; he is call- 
ed this treasurer, being intrusted witli_ the manage- 
ment of tlie revenue-; and he is likewise said to be 
otrr the house; for such was his boundless ambition 
and covetousncss, tl\at less than two places, and 
those two of the greatest importance at couit, would 
not content liini. It is common for self-seeking men 
thus to Rrasp at more than they can manage; and 
so the business of their places is neglected, while 
the pomp and j^rofit of them wholly engage the 
mind. It does not appear what were the paiticu- 
1 tr instances of Shebn.i's mal-administration, for 
which Isiiah is here sent to prophesy against him; 
but the Jews say, " He kept u;) a traitorous corres- 
]>ondence with the king of Assyria, and was in treaty 
with liim to deliver the city into his hands." Hnw- 
eier it was, it should seem that he was a foreigner, 
(foi- we never read of the name of his father,) and 
that he was an enemy to the tnie interests of Judah 
and Jii'usalem; it is probable that he was first pre- 
ferred by Ahaz. Hezekiali was himself an excel- 
lent prince; but the best masters cannot always be 
sure of good ser\'ants: we have need to pray for 
princes, that they may be wise and happy in the 
choice of those they trust. These were times of 
reformation, yet Shebna, a bad man, complied so 
fT as to kee)) his places at court; and it is probable 
that m inv otiiers did like him, for which reason 
S.nnacherib is said to have been sent against a hy- 
pocritical nation, ch. x. 6. In this message to Sheb- 
u I, we h ive, 

1. A reproof of his pride, vanity, and security; 
(i'. Ifi.) " il'hat hast thou here, and nvhom hast thou 
h're? ^^^h^t a mighty noise and bustle dost thou 
make! What estate hast thou here, that thou wast 
barn to? mom hast thou here, what relations that 
thou art allied to? Art thou not of mean and ob- 
scure im';^m\\, /ilius /lo/iuli — an utter /ilebeian, that 
comest we know not whence? What is the meaning 
of tliis then, tli it thou hast built thee a fine house, 
hast gra\'ed thee a habitation?" So very nice and 
curious was it, tliat it seemed rather to be the work 
of an engraver tlun of a mason or carpenter. And it 
seemed engraven in a rock; so firmly was it founded, 
and so impregnable was it, " Na\', thou hast hewed 
thee out a sepulchre;" as if he designed thathis pomp 
should survive his funeral. Though Jerusalem was 
not the filace of his fathers' se/iuichres, (as Nehe- 
miah called it with a great deal of tenderness, Neh. 
ii. 3.) he designed it should be the place of his own; 
and therefore set up a monument for himself in his 
life-time, set it up on high. Tliey that make stately 
mon\iments for their pride, forget that, how beauti- 
ful soever they appear outwardly, within they are 
full of dead men's bones: but it is pity that the 
grave-stone should forget the grave. 

2. A prophecy of his fall, and the sullying of his 
glorv. 

(1.) That he shmdd now (|uickly be displaced and 
degraded; (z'. 19.) I mi/I drive thee from thu sta- 
tion. High places are slippery places; and those 
are justlv depri\ed of their honour, that are proud 
of it, and puffed up with it; and deprived of their 
power, that do hurt with it. God will do it who 
s'lows himself ti be God, by looking ufion firoud 
mfn, and abasing them, Joli xl. 12. To this, v. 25. 
refers. The nail that is 7iO'W fastened in the sure 
filare, She1)n i, whothinks himself immoveably fixed 
in h's office, shall he removed, and cut down, and 
fall. Those are mistaken, w!io think anv place in 
this world a sure place, or themselves as nails fas- 
t--ned in it; f^rth"re isnothing herebutuncertaintv. 
NA'hen the nail falls, the burthen that was upon it is 
cut off: when Shebna was disgraced, all that had a 



dependence upon him fell into contempt too. Thosf 
that are in higli ]jlaces will have many hanging upi ii 
them, as favourites whom they are ])rr,ud cf ana 
trust to; but tliex' are burthens upon them, and jur- 
haps with their weight break the nail, and both fall 
together, and by deceiving ruin one another — the" 
common fate of gi-eat men and their flatterers, who 
expect more from each other than either performs. 

(2.) That after awhile he should not only be dri- 
ven from his station, but driven his country; The 
Lord nvill carry thee away with the captivity of a 
mighty man, t. 17, 18. Some think the Assyrians 
seized him, and took him away, because he had 
promised to assist them, and did not, but appeared 
against them; or, perhaps, Hezekiah, finding out 
his treachery, banished him, and forbade him ever 
to return; or, he himself, finding that he was be- 
come obnoxious to the people, withdrew into sc'.ne 
other country, and there spent the rest of his days 
in meanness and obscurity. Grotius thinks he was 
stricken with a leprosy, which was a disease com- 
monly supposed to come from the immediate hand 
of God's displeasure, particularly for the punish- 
ment of the proud, as in the case of Miriam and 
Uzziah; and by reason of this disease, he was 
tossed like a ball out of Jerusalem. Those who, 
when they are in power, turn and toss others, will 
be justly turned and tossed themsehes, when their 
day shall come to fall. Many who have thought 
themselves fastened like a nail, may come to be 
tossed like a bidl; for here have we no continuing 
city. Shebna thought his place too strait for him, 
he had no room to thrive; God will therefore send 
him into a large country, where he shall have room 
to wander, but never find the way back again; for 
there he shall die, and lay his bones there, and not 
in the sepulchre he had hewn out for himself. And 
there the chariots which had been the chariots of 
his glory, in which he had rattled about the streets 
of Jerusalem, and which he took into banishment 
with him, should but serve to upbraid him with his 
former grandeur, to tlie shame of his lord's house, 
of the court of Ahaz, that had advanced him. 

II. The prophecy of Eliakim's ad\ ancement, v. 
20, &c. He is God's servant, has approved him- 
self faithfully so in other employments, and there- 
fore God will call him to this high station. Those 
that are diligent in doing the duty of a low sphere, 
stand fairest for preferment in God's books. Elia- 
kim does not undermine Shebna, or make an inter- 
est against him, nor does he intrude into his oflBce: 
but God calls him to it; and what God calls us to, 
we may expect he will own us in. 

It is here foretold, 

1. That Eliakim should be put into Shebna's 
place of lord chamberlain of the household, lord 
treasurer, and prime minister of state. The pro- 
phet must tell Shebna this; (t. 21.) "He shall have 
thy robe, the badge of honour: and thy girdle, the 
badge of power; for he shall have thv government. " 
To liear of it would be a great mortification to Sheb- 
na, much more to see it. Great men, espcciallv if 
proud men, cannot endure their successors. God 
undertakes the doing of it, not only because he 
would put it into the heart of Hezekiah to do it, and 
his hand must be acknowledged, guiding the hearts 
of princes in placing and displacing men, (Prov. 
XXI. 1.) but because the powers that are subordi- 
nate as well as supreme, are ordained of God. It is 
God that clothes princes with tlieir robes, and there- 
fore we must submit ourselves to them for the 
Lord's sake, and with an eye to him, 1 Pet. ii. 13. 
And since it is he that commits the government into 
their hand, they must administer it according to his 
will, for his glorv; they must judge for him, by 
whom thev judge, and decree justice, Prov. viii. 15. 
.\nd they rriay depend upon him to furnish them for 



ISAIAH, XXIIl. 



105 



what he calls them to: according to the promise 
here, I will ctolhe him; und then it fiUows, I will 
strengttwn him. Tliose that arc calkd to places of 
trust and power, should seek unto God for grace to 
^ ible them to do the duty of their places, for that 
',u-'ht t> be their chief cire. 

Eliakiin's advancement is further described by 
tie lavinj; of the key of the house of David ufion 
his shoulders, v. 22. Probablv, he canned a g<4den 
kev upin his shoulder as a badge <>f his office, or 
had one embroidered upon his cloak or robe, to 
which this alludes. Being over the house, and hav- 
ing the key delivered to him, as the seals are to the 
lord keeper, he shall o/ien and none shall shut, shut 
and none shall o/ien. He liad access to the house 
of the /irecious things, the silver and the gold, and 
the sfiices; to the house of the armour and the trea- 
sures, (_ch. xxxix. 2. ) and disposed of the stores there 
as he thought fit for the public ser\ice. He put 
whom he pleased into the inferior offices, and turned 
out whom he pleased. Our Lord Jesus describes 
his own power as Mediator by an allusion to this, 
(Rev. iii. 7.) that he has the key of David, where- 
with he ofiens and no man shuts, he shuts and no 
man o/iens: his power in the kingdom of heaven, 
and in the ordering of all the affaire of that king- 
dom, is absolute, irresistible, and uncontrollable. 

2. Th^t he should be fixed and confirmed in that 
office: he shall have it for life, and not durante bene- 
filadto — during pleasure; {v. 23.) / -imll fasten 
him as a nail in a sure filace, not to be removed or 
cut down. Thus lasting shall the honour be, that 
comes from God, to all those who use it for him. 
Our Lord Jesus is as a nail in a sure place: his 
kingdom cannot be shaken, and he himself is still 
tlie same. 

3. That he should be a great blessing in his office: 
and that is it that crowns the favours here conferred 
upon him. God malces his name great, for he shall 
be a blessing, Gen. xii. 2. 

(1.) He shall be a blessing to his country; {v. 21.) 
He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem 
and to the house of Judah. He shall take care not 
onlv of the affaire of the king's household, but of 
all the public interests in Jerusalem and Judah. 
Note, Kulere should be fathers to those that are 
under their government; to teach them with wis- 
dom, rule them with love, and correct what is amiss 
with tenderness; to pi-otect them and provide for 
them, and be solicitous about them, as a man is for 
his own children and family. It is happy with a 
people, when neither court', nor city, nor country, 
has any separate interests, but all centre in the 
same, so that the couitiers are true patriots, and 
whom the court blesses, the countiy has reason to 
bless too; and when those who are fathers to Jeru- 
salem, the royal citv, are no less so to the house of 
Judah. 

(2.) He shall be a blessing to his family; (-y. 23, 
24.) He shall be for a glorious throne to his father's 
house: the consummate wisdom and virtue which 
recommended him to this gi-eat trast made him the 
honour of his family, which, probably, was very 
considerable before,' but now became much more 
so. Children should aim to be a credit to their pa- 
rents and relations. The honour men reflect upon 
their families bv their pietv and usefulness, is more 
t-i be valued than that which they derive from their 
families bv their names and titles. 

Eliakim' being preferred, all the glory of his fa- 
ther's house was hung upon him ; they all made their 
murt to him, and his brethren's sheaves bowed to 
his. Obser\e, the glory of this world gi^ es a man 
nnintrinsic worth or excellency; it is but hung upon 
him as an appurtenance, and it will soon drop from 
him. Eliakim was compared to a nail in a sure 
hlare; in pursuance of whicli comparison, all the 

Vol. IV.— O 



I relations of his family, which, it is likely, were nu- 
merous, and tli.it was the glory of it, are said to 
have a dcpendenc upon him; as in a h'use the \ts- 
sels that have handles to them, are hung up uprn 
nails and pins. It intimates likewise, tliat he shall 
generousl\- take care of them all, and bear the 
weight of that care i all the vessels, not only the fla- 
gons, but the cups, the vessels of small quantity, 
the meanest that belonged to his family, shall be 
provided for by him. See what a burthen they bring 
upon tliemselv'es, tliat undertake great trusts; they 
little think how m my and hi.w much will hang upon 
them, if they resolve to be faithful in the discharge 
of their trast. Our Loi-d Jesus having the key of 
the house of Da\id, is as a nail in a sure place, and 
all the glory of his fn'.her's house hangs upon him, 
is derived nom hiin, and depends upon him; even 
the meanest that belong to his church, are welcome 
to him, and he is able to bear the stress of them all. 
That scul c;.nnot perish, nor that concern faU to the 
ground, though ever so weighty, that is by faith 
hung upon Christ. 



CHAP. XXIIL 

This chapter is concerning Tyre, an ancient wealthy city, 
situated upon the sea, and for many ages one of the most 
celebrated cities for trade and merchandise in those parts 
of the world. The lot of the tribe of Asher bordered 
upon it; (Jo'ihua six. 29.) it is called Me strong city Tyre. 
AVe seldom find it a dangerous enemy to Israel, but some- 
times their faithful ally, as in the reigns of David and 
Solomon; for trading cities maintain their grandeur, not 
by conquests of their neighbours, but by commerce with 
them. In this chapter is foretold, I. The lamentable 
desolation of Tyre, which was performed by Nebuchad- 
nezzar arid the Chaldean army, about the time that they 
destroyed Jerusalem; and a hard task they had of it, as 
appears, Ezek. xxix. 18. where they are said to have 
served a hard seiTtce against Tyre, and yet to have no 
wages, V. 1..I4. II. The restoration of Tyre after 70 
years, and the return of the Tyrians out of their captivity 
to their trade again, v. I0..I8. 

1 . rr^HE l)urden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships 

JL of Tarsliish; for it is laid waste, so 
that there is no house, no entering in : from 
the land of Chittini it is revealed to them. 

2. Be still, ye inhabitants of the isles; thou 
whom the "merchants of Zidon, that pass 
over the sea, liave replenished. 3. And by 
great watei-s tiie seed of Sihor, the har%est 
of the river, is her revenue; and she is a 
mart of nations. 4. Be thou ashamed, O 
Zidon; for the sea hath spoken, even the 
strength of the sea, sanng, I travail not, nor 
bring forth children, neither do I nourish up 
young men, nor bring up virgins. 5. As 
at the report concerning Egypt, so shall they 
be sorely pained at the report of Tyre. 6. 
Pass ye over to Tarshisii ; howl, ye inha- 
bitants of the isle. 7. Is tliis your joyous 
citi/, whose antiquity /s of ancient days? her 
own feet siiall carry her afar off to sojourn. 
8. Who hath taken tliis counsel against 
Tyre, the crowning cih/, whose mercliants 
are princes, whose traffickers rire tlie hon- 
ourable of the eartli? 9. Tlic Lord of 
hosts hath purjiosed it, to stain tlie pride of 
all glon-, ninl to bring into contempt all the 
honourablcof the earth. 10. Pass through 
thy land as a river. O daughter of Tarsliish 



106 



ISAIAH, XXIII. 



there is no more strength. 11. He stretched 
out his liand over tlie sea ; he sliook the 
kingdoms: tiie Lord hatli given a com- 
mandment against the merchant-c%, to de- 
stroy tiie strong holds tiiereof. 1 2. And he 
said, Thou shall no more rejoice, O tiiou 
oppressed virgin, daughter of Zidon ; arise, 
pass over to Chittim ; there also shalt thou 
have no rest. 1 3. Behold, the land of the 
Chaldeans: this people was not /i//the As- 
syrian founded it for them that dwell in the 
wilderness : they set up the towers thereof, 
they raised up the palaces thereof; arid he 
brought it to ruin. 14. Howl, ye ships of 
Tarsiiish : for your strength is laid waste. 

Tyre being a sea-port town, this prophecy of its 
overthrow fitly begins and ends with, Howl, ye ships 
of Tarshis/t; for all its business, wealth, and honour 
depended upon its shipping; if that be ruined they 
are all undone. Observe, 

I. Tyre flourishing. This is taken notice of, that 
her fall m;n' appear the more dismal; 1. The mer- 
chants of Zidon, who traded at sea, had at first re- 
filenis/ied her, v. 2. Zidon was the more ancient 
city, situate upon the same sea-coast, a few leagues 
more to the north, and Tyre was at first only a co- 
lony of that; but the daughter had outgrown the 
mother, and was become much more considerable. 
It may be a mortification to great cities to think 
how they were at first replenished. 2. Egypt had 
helped very much to raise her, v. 3. Sihor was the 
river of Egypt, by that river, and the ocean into 
which it ran, the Egyptians traded with Tyre: and 
the harvest of that river was her revenue. The 
riches of the sea, and the gains by goods exported 
and imported, are as much the harvest to trading 
towns, as that of hay and corn is to the country ; and 
sometimes the harvest of the river proves a better 
revenue than the harvest of the land. Or, it may 
be meant of all tlie products of the Egyptian soil, 
which tlie men of Tyre traded in, and which were 
the harvest of the river JSfi/e, owing themselves to 
the overflowHig of that river. 3. She was become 
the mart of the nations; the great emporium of that 
part of the world. Some of every known nation 
might be found there, especially at certain times of 
the year, when there was a general rendezvous of 
merchants. This is enlarged upon by another pro- 
phet, Ezek. xxvii. 2, 3, &c. See how the hand of 
the diligent, by the blessing of God upon it, makes 
rich. Tyre became rich and great by industry, 
though she had no otlier ploughs going than those 
that plough the waters. 4. She was a joyous city, 
noted for mirth and jollity, v. 7. Those that were 
so disposed, might find there all manner of sports 
and diversions, all the delights of the sons and daugh- 
ters of men; balls, and plays, and operas, and every 
thing of that kind, that a man had a fancy to. This 
made them secure and proud, and they despised the 
country people, who neither knew nor relished any 
joys of that nature: and this made them very loath 
to believe and consider what warnings God gave 
them by his servants; they were too merry to mind 
them. Her antiquity likewise was of ancient days, 
and she was proud of that, and that helped to make 
her secure; as if because she had been a city time 
out of mind, and her antiquity had been of ancient 
days, therefore she must continue a city time with- 
out end, and her continuance must be to the days 
of eternity. 5. She was a crowning city, (w. 8.) 
that crowned herself Such were the power and 
oomp of her magistrates, that they crowned those 



who had dependence on her, and dealings with Ik r 
It is explained in tlie following words; Her mer 
chants are princes, and live like princes, for the 
ease and state they take; and her traffickers, wliat- 
ever country they go to, are the honourable of tin; 
earth, who are respected by all. How slighth- so- 
ever some now speak of tradesmen, it seem:>i for- 
merly, and among the wisest nations, there were 
merchants, and traders, and men of business, that 
were the honoui-able of the earth. 

II. Here is Tyre falling. It does not appear that 
she brought trouble upon herself by provoking her 
neighbours with her quarrels, but rather by tempt- 
ing them with her wealth: but if that was it that 
induced Nebuchadnezzar to fall upon Tyre, he was 
disappointed; for after it had stood out a siege (f 
13 years, and could hold out no longer, the inhabit- 
ants got away by sea, with their families and goods, 
to other places where they had an interest, and left 
Nebuchadnezzar nothing but the bare city. See a 
history of Tyre in Sir Walter Raleigh's History i f 
the World, lib. ii. cap. 7, sect. 3, 43. page 283. 
which will give much light to the prophecy, and 
that in Ezekiel concerning Tyre. 

See how the destruction of T\re is here forctrld: 

1. The haven should be spoiled, or, at least, ne- 
glected: there shall be no convenient harbour for the 
reception of the ships of Tarshish, but all laid waste, 
(y. 1.) so that there shall be no house, no dock fi r 
the ships to ride in, no inns or public houses for the 
seamen, no entering into the port; perhaps it w:.s 
choked with sand, or blocked up by the enemy; i r. 
Tyre being destroyed and laid waste, the ships th;.t 
used to come from Tarshish and Chittim into that 
port, shall now no more enter in; for it is revealed 
and made known to them, they have received the 
dismal news, that Tyre is destroyed and laid waste: 
so that there is now no more business for them there. 
See how it is in this world; those that are spoiled 
by their enemies are commonly slighted by their 
old friends. 

2. The inhabitants are struck with astonishment. 
Tyre was an island; the inhabitants of it, who had 
made a mighty noise and bustle in the world, had 
revelled with loud huzzas, shall now be still and 
silent; {v. 2.) they shall sit down as mourners, so 
overwhelmed with grief, that they shall not be able 
to express it. Their proud boasts of themselves, 
and defiances of their neighbours, shall be silenced. 
God can soon quiet those, and strike them dumb, 
that are the noisy, busy people of the world. Be 
still; for God will do his work, (Ps. xlvi. 10. Zech. 
ii. 13. ) and you cannot resist him. 

3. The neighbours are amazed, blush, and are in 
pain for them; Zidon is ashamed, {v. 4.) by whom 
Tyre was at first replenished, for the rolling waves 
of the sea brought to Zidon this news from Tyre; and 
there the strength of the sea, a high spring-tide, pro- 
claimed, saying, " / travail not, nor bring forth 
children, now as I have done. I do not now bring a 
ship loads of young people to Tyre, to be bred up 41 
there in trade and business, as I used to do;" which 
was the thing that had made Tyre so rich and popu- 
lous. Or, the sea, that used to be loaded with fleets 

of ships about Tyre, shall now be as desolate as a 
sorrowful widow that is bereaved of all her chil- 
dren, and has none about her to nourish and bring 
up. Egypt indeed was a much larger and more 
considerable kingdom than Tyre was; and yet Tyre 
had so large a correspondence, upon the account of 
trade, that all the nations about shall be as much in 
pain, upon the report of the ruin of that one city, as 
they would have been, and, not long after, were, 
upon the report of the ruin of all Egypt, v. 5. Or. 
as some read it, JVhen the report shall reach to the 
Egyptians, they shall be sorely pained to hear it oj 
Tyre; both because of the loss of their trade with 



ISAIAH, XXIII. 



107 



that city, and because it wSs a threatening step to- 
w;\rd their own ruin; wlien their neighbour's house 
was on tire, their own was in danger. 

4. The merchants, as many as could, should trans- 
mit their cflFectsto other places, and abandon Tyre, 
where they had raised their estates, and thouglit 
they had made tliem sure; (v. 6.) " Ye that have 
liin^ been in/iabilanls of tliis isle," (for it lay off 
in the sea about half a mile from tlie continent,) 
" it is time to howl now, for ye must pass over to 
Tarshish. The best course Vou can take, is to 
make the best of your way to Tarshish, to the sea," 
(to Tarsessus, a city in Spain; so some,) "or to 
some other of your plantations." Those that think 
their mountain stands strong, and cannot be moved, 
will find that here they have no continuing city. 
The mountains shall defiart, and the hills be re- 
moved. 

5. Those that could not make their escape, must 
expect no other than to be carried into captivity; 
for it was the way of conquerors, in those times, to 
take those they conquered to be bondmen in their 
own country, and send of their own to be freemen 
in theirs; {v. 7.) Her own feet shall carry her afar 
off to sojourn; she shall be hurried away on foot 
into c.iptivity, and many a weary step they shall 
take toward their own misery. Those that have 
lived in the greatest pomp and splendour, know not 
what hardships they may be reduced to before they 
die. 

6. Many of those that attempted to escape should 
be pursued, and fall into the hands of the enemy. 
Tyre shall fiass through her land as a ri-i>er, {v. 
10.) running down, one company after another, into 
tlie ocean or abyss of misery. Or, tliough they 
hasten away as a river, with the greatest swiftness, 
ho])ing to outrun the danger, yet there is no more 
strength, they are quickly tired, and cannot get for- 
ward, but fall an easy prey into the hands of the 
enemy. And as Tyre has no more strength, so her 
sister Zidon has no more comfort; (t'. 12.) " Thou 
shall no more rejoice, oflpressed virgin, daughter 
of Zidon, that art now ready to be ovei-powered by 
the victorious Chaldeans; thy tuni is next, there- 
fore arise, fiass over to Chittim; flee to Greece, to 
Italy, any whither, to shift for thy own safety ; yet 
there also shall thou have no rest; thine enemies 
shiJl disturb thee, and thine own fears shall disquiet 
thee, there where thou hopedst to find some repose. " 
Note, We deceive ourselves, if we promise our- 
selves rest any where in this world. Those that are 
uneasy in one place, will be so in another; and when 
God's judgments pursue sinners, they will overtake 
tliem. 

But whence shall all this trouble come.' 
(1.) God will be the Author of it; it is a destruc- 
tion from the Almighty. It will be asked, {y. 8.) 
" Vvho has taken this counsel against Tyre? Who 
has contrived it? Who has resolved it? Who can 
find in his heart to lay such a stately, lovely city in 
ruins? And how is it possible it should be effected? 
To this it will be answered; 

[1.] God has designed it, who is infinitely wise 
and just, and never did, nor ever will do, any wrong 
to any of his creatures; (y. 9.) The Lord of hosts, 
that has all things at his disposal, and gives not ac- 
count of any of his matters, he has purposed it; it 
shall be done according to the counsel of his will; and 
that which he aims at herein, is, to stain the firide of 
all glory, to pollute it, profane it, and throw it to be 
trodden upon; and to brmg into contempt, and make 
despicable, all the honourable ones of the earth, that 
they may not admire themselves, and be admired 
by others, as usual. God did not bring those cala- 
mities upon Tyre in a way of sovereignty, to show 
an arbitrary and irresistible power; but he did it to 
punish the Tynans for their pride. Many other 



sins, no doubt, reigned among them; idolatry, sen- 
suality, and oppression; but tlie sin of pride is fast- 
ened upon, as that which was the particular ground 
of God's controversy with Tyre, tor he resists the 
proud. All the world observing, and being sur- 
prised at, the desolation of Tyre, we have here an 
exposition of it. God tells the world what he meant 
by it: First, He designed to convince men of the 
vanity and uncertainty of all earthly glory; to show 
them what a withering, fading, perishing thing it 
is, even then when it seems most substantial. It 
were well if men would be thoroughly taught this 
lesson, though it were at the expense of so great a 
destruction. Are men's learning and wealth, their 
pomp and power, their interest in, and influence 
upon, all about them, their gloiy? Are their stately 
houses, rich furniture, and splendid appearances, 
their glory? Look upon the ruins of Tyre, and see 
all this glory stained, and sullied, and buried in the 
dust. The honourable ones of heaven will be for 
ever such; but see the grandees of Tyre, some fled 
into banishment, others forced into captivity, and 
all impoverished; and you will conclude that the 
honourable of the earth, even the most honourable, 
know not how soon they may be brought into con- 
tempt. Secondly, He designed hereljy to prevent 
tlieir being /irourf of their glory, their being puffed 
up, and confident of the continuance of it. Let the 
ruin of Tyre be a warning to all places and persons 
to take heed of pride, for it proclaims to all the 
world, that he who exalts himself shall be abased. 

[2.] God will do it, who has all power in his 
hand, and can do it eflFectually; {y. 11.) He stretch- 
ed out his hand over the sea; he has done it, wit- 
ness the dividing of the Red sea, and the drowning 
of Pharaoh in it. He has often shaken the king- 
doms that were most secure; and he has now given 
commandment concerning this merchant-city, to 
destroy the strong holds thereof. As its beauty 
shall not intercede for it, but that shall be stained; 
so its strength shall not protect it, but that shall be 
l^roken. If any think it strange that a city so well 
fortified, and that has so many powerful allies, 
should be so totally ruined, let them know that it is 
the Lord of hosts that has given a commandment 
to destroy the strong holds thereof; and who can 
gainsay his orders, or hinder the execution of them' 

(2.) The Chaldeans shall be the instruments of 
it; {v. 13.) Behold the land of the Chaldeans; how 
easily they and their land were destroyed by the 
Assyrians. Though their own hands founded it, set 
up the towers of Babylon, and raised up its palaces, 
vet he, the Assyrian, brought it to ruin; whence the 
Tyrians might infer, that as easily as the old Chal- 
deans were subdued by the Assyrians, so easily shall 
Tyre be vanquished by those new Chaldeans. Babel 
was built by the Assyrian, for them that dwell in 
the wilderness. It may be rendered, ybr the shi/is. 
The Assyrians founded it for ships, and ship-men 
that traffic upon those vast rivers Tigris and Eu- 
phrates to the Persian and Indian seas; for men oj 
the desert; for Babylon is called the desert of the 
sea, ch. xxi. 1. Thus Tyi-us was built upon the 
sea for the like purpose. But the Assyrians (savs 
Dr. Lightfoot) brought that to niin, now lately, in 
Hezekiah's time, and so shall Tyre, hereafter, be 
brought to ruin by Nebuchadnezzar. If we looked 
more upon the failing and withering of others, we 
should not be so confident as we commonly are of 
the continuance of our own flourishing and standing. 

1 5. And it shall come to pass in that day, 
that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, 
according to the days of one king: after the 
end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as a 
harlot. 16. Take a harp, go about the citv, 



lOfi 



ISAIAH, XXIII. 



thou harlot that hast been forgotten : make 
sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou 
mayest be remembered. 17. And it shall 
come to pass, after the end of seventy years, 
that the Lord will visit Tyre, and she shall 
turn to her hire, and shall commit fornica- 
tion with all the kingdoms of the world 
upon the face of the earth. 18. And her 
merchandise and her hire shall be holiness 
to the Lord : it shall not be treasured nor 
laid up; for her merchandise shall be for 
them that dwell before the Lord, to eat 
sufficiently, and for durable clothing. 

Here is, 

I. The time fixed for the continuance of the de- 
solations of Tyre, which were not to be perpetual 
desolations; Tyre shall be forgotten 70 years, v. 15. 
So long it shall lie neglected, and buried in obscuri- 
ty. It was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar much 
about the time that Jerusalem was, and lay as long 
as it did in its ruins. See the folly of that proud 
ambitious conqueror. What the richer, what the 
stronger, was he for making himself master of Tyre, 
wlien all the inhabitants were driven out of it, and 
he had none of his own subjects to spare for the re- 
plenishing and fortifying of it? It is strange what 
pleasure men could take in destroying cities, and 
making their memorial fierish ivith them, Ps. ix. 6. 
He trampled on tlie pride of Tyre, and therein serv- 
ed God's purpose; but with greater pride, for which 
God soon after humbled him. 

II. A prophecy of the restoration of Tyre to its 
glory agani; Jfter the end of 70 years, according 
to the years of OTie Icing, or one dynasty, or family, 
of kings, that of Nebuchadnezzar; when that ex- 
pired, the desolations of Tyre came to an end. 
,\nd we may presume that Cyrus at the same time, 
wlien he released the Jews, and encouraged them 
to rebuild Jerusalem, released the Tyrians also, and 
encouraged them to rebuild Tyre. Thus the pros- 
perity and adversity of places, as well as persons, 
are set the one over against the other; that the most 
glorious cities may not be secure, nor the most ruin- 
ous despair. It is foretold, 

1. That God's providence shall again smile upon 
this ruined city; (v. 17.) The Lord will visit Tyre 
in mercy; for though he contend, he will not con- 
tend for ever. It is not said. Her old acquaintance 
shall visit her, the colonies she has planted, and the 
trading cities she has had correspondence with; they 
have forgotten her; but. The Lord shall visit her 
by some unthought-of turn; he shall cause his in- 
dignation toward her to cease, and then things will 
run, of course, in their former channel. 

2. That she shall use her best endeavours to re- 
cover her trade again. She shall sing as a harlot, 
that has been some time under correction for her 
lewdness: but, when she is set at liberty, (so violent 
is the bent of corruption,) she will use her old arts 
of temptation. The Tyrians being returned from 
their captivity, and those that remained recovering 
new spirits thereupon, they shall contrive how to 
force a trade, shall procure the best choice of goods, 
undersell their neighbours, and be obliging to all 
customers; as a harlot that has been forgotten, 
when she comes to be spoken of again, recommends 
herself to company by singing and playing; takes a 
harp, goes about the city, perhaps m the night, se- 
renading, makes sweet ' melody, and sings many 
songs. These are innocent and allowable diver- 
sions, if soberly and moderately and modestly used; 
but those that are attached to them should not be 
over fond of them, nor ambitious to excel in them ; 



because, whatever they are now, anciently they 
were some of the baits with which harlf'ts used to 
entice fools. Tyre shall now by degrees come to be 
the mart of nations again ; she shall return to her 
hire, to her traffic, and shall commit fornication; 
she shall have dealings in trade (for she carries en 
the similitude of a harlot) with all the kingdoms of 
the world, that she had formerly traded with hi 
her prosperity. The love of worldly wealth is a spi- 
ritual whoredom, and therefore covetous pco;)le 
are called adulterers and adulteresses, (James i\. 4. ) 
and covetousness is spiritual idolatry. 

3. That,having recovered hertrade again, she shall 
make a better use of it than she had done formerly; 
and this good she should get by her calamities, {v. 
18.) Her merchandise, and her hire, shall be holiness 
to the Lord. The trade of Tyre, and all the gain of 
her trade, shall be devoted to God and to his honour, 
and employed in his service. It shall not be trea- 
sured and hoarded up, as formerly, to be the matter 
of their pride, and the support of their carnal confi- 
dence; but it shall be laid out in acts of piety and 
charity. Wha. thev can spare from the mainten- 
ance of themselves and their families, shall be for 
them that dwell before the Lord, for the priests, the 
Lord's ministers that attend in his temple at Jeru 
salem ; not to maintain them in pomp and grandeur, 
but that they and theirs may eat sufficiently, mcy 
have food convenient for them, with as little as may 
be of that care which would divert them from their 
ministration; and that they may have, not rich and 
fine clothing, but durable clothing, that which is 
strong and lasting; clothing for old men; so seme 
read it; as if the priests, though they were young-, 
must wear such plain, grave clothing as old mtn 
used to wear. Now, (1.) This supposes that reli- 
gion should be set up in New Tyre, that they should 
come to the knowledge of the true God, and into 
communion with the Israel of God. Perhaps their 
being fellow-captives with the Jews in Babylon, 
(who had prophets with them there,) disposed them 
to join with them in their worship there, and tunied 
them from idols, as it cured the Jews of their idola- 
try; and when they were released with them, and, 
as they had reason to believe, for their sakes, when 
they were settled again in Tyre, they would send 
gifts and offerings to the temple, and presents to 
the priests. We find men of Tyre then dwell- 
ing in the land of Judah, Neh. xiii. 16. Tyre and 
Sidon were better disposed to religion in Christ's 
time, than the cities of Israel, for if Christ had gone 
among them, they would have repented, Matth. xi. 
21. And we meet with Christians at Tyre, (Acts 
xxi. 3. ) and, many years after, did Christianity flour- 
ish there. Some of the rabbins refer this prophecy 
of the conversion of Tyre to the days of the Mes- 
siah. (2. ) It directs those that have estates, to make 
use of them in the service of God and religion, and 
to reckon that best laid up, which is so laid rut. 
Both tlie merchandise of the tradesman, and the 
hire of the day-labourers, shall be devoted to God. 
Both the merchandise, (the employment we follow,) 
and the hire, (the gain of our employment,) must 
be holiness to the Loi'd; alluding to the motto en- 
graven on the frontlet of the High-Priest, (Exod. 
xxxix. 30.) and to the separation of tiie tithe under 
the law. Lev. xxvii. 30. See a promise like this 
referring to gospel-times, Zech. xiv. 20, 21. Wc 
must first give up ourselves to be holiness to the 
Lord, before what we do, or have, or get, can be 
so. When we abide with God in our particular call 
ings, and do common actions after a godly sort, when 
we aljound in works of piety and charity, are liberal 
in relieving the poor, and supporting the ministry, 
and encouraging the gospel, then our merchandise 
and our hire are holiness to the Lord, if we sin 
cerely look at his glory in it. And it need not 



ISAIAH, XXIV. 



109 



ic treasured and laid up on earth; for it is trea- 
sured and laid up in heaven, in bags that ivax not 
old, Luk.c xii. 3o. 

CHAP. XXIV. 

It is agreed that here beeins a new sermon, which is con- 
tinued to the end of ch. xxvii. And in it, the prophet, 
accordinir to the directions he hud received, does, in 
many precious promises, say to the righteous. It shall be 
well tcith them; and, in many dreadful llireateninjrs, he 
says, Wo to the wicked^ it shall he ill loith them; (ch. iii. 
10, 11.) and these are interwoven, iliat they may illus- 
trate each other. This chapter is, mostly, threatening; 
and as the jud'jinents threatened are very sore and griev- 
ous ones, so the people threatened with those judgments, 
are very many. It is not the burthen of any particu- 
lar city or kingdom, as those before, but the burthen 
of the whole earth. The word indeed signifies only the 
laiul, because our own land is commonly to us as ail the 
earth. But it is here explained by another ivord that it 
is not so confined, it is the world, v. 4. So that it must, 
at least, take in a whole neighbourhood of nations. 1. 
Some think (and very probably) that it is a prophecy of 
the great havoc that Sennacherib and his Ass^Tian army 
should now shortly piake of many of the nations in that 
part of the world. ^Others make it to point at the like 
devastations which, about 100 years after, Nebuchad- 
nezzar and his armies should make in the same coun- 
tries; going from one kingdom to another, not only to 
conquer them, but to ruin them, and Lay them waste; for 
that ivas the method which those eastern nations took 
in their wars. The promises that are mixed with the 
threatenings, are intended for the support and comfort 
of the people of God in those very calamitous times. 
And since here are no particular nations named, either 
fcy whom, or on whom, those desolations should be 
brought, I see not but it may refer to both these events. 
Nay, the scripture has many fulfillings, and we ought to 
give it its full latittide; and therefore I incline to think 
that the prophet, from those and the like instances which 
he had a particular eye to, designs here to represent in 
general the calamitous state of mankind, and the many 
miseries which human life is liable to, especially those 
that attend the wars of the nations. Surely the prophets 
were sent, not only to foretell particular events, but to 
form the minds of men to virtue and piety, and fur that 
end their prophecies were written and preserved, even 
for our learning, and therefore ought not to be looked 
upon as of private interpretation. Now, since a thorough 
conviction of the vanity of the world, and its insutficiency 
to make us happy, will go far toward bringing us to 
God, and drawing out our affections towards another 
world, the prophet here shows what vexation of spirit 
we must expect to meet with in these things, that we 
may never take up our rest in them, nor promise our- 
selves satisfaction any where short of the enjoyment of 
God. In this chapter, we have, 1. A threatening of 
desolating judgments for sin; (v. 1..I2.) to this is 
added an assurance, that, in the midst of them, good 
people should be comforted, (v. 13.. 16.) II. A further 
threatening of the like desolations, (v. 16. .22.) to which 
is added an assurance, that, in the midst of all, God 
should be glorified. 

l.TDEHOLD, the Lord maketli thn 
X3 earth empty; and maketh it waste, 
ant^ turneth it upside down, and scattereth 
abroad the inliabitants thereof. 2. And it 
shall t)e, as with the people, so with the 
priest ; as with the servant, so witli his mas- 
ter ; as with the maid, so with her mistress ; 
as with the buyer, so with the seller ; as 
^vitIl tlie lender, so with the borrower ; as 
\\\i\\ the taker of usuiy, so with the giver of 
usury to him. 3. The land shall be utterly 
emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord 
hath spoken this word. 4. The earth 
moumeth, and fadeth away; the world 
languisheth, and fadeth away ; the haughty 
people of the earth do languish. .5. The 



earth also is defiled under the inhabitants 
thereof, because they have transgressed the 
laws, changed the ordinance, broken tiie 
everlasting covenant. 6. Therefore hatli 
the ciu-se devoured the earth, and they tliat 
dwell therein are desolate : therefore the 
inhabitants of the eartli are burned, and few 
men left. 7. The new wine mournclli, the 
vine languishetli, all tin; mcrrj'-hearted do 
sigh. 8. The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the 
noise of them that rejoice (^ndeth, the joy of 
the harp ceaseth. 9. They shall not drmk 
wine with a song; strong drink sliall be bitter 
to them that drink it. 1 0. Tiie city of confu- 
sion is broken down ; every house is shut up, 
that no man may come in. 1 1. There is a 
cr3'ing for wine in tiie streets; all joy is dark- 
ened, the mirth of the land is gone. 1 2. In 
the city is left desolation, and the gate is smit- 
ten with destruction. 

It is a very dark and melancholy scene that this 
propliecy presents to our \'iew; turn our eves wliich 
way we will, every thing looks dismal. The deso- 
lations are here described in a great variety of t x- 
pressions to the same purport, and all aggravating. 

I. The earth is stripped of all its ornaments, ar.d 
looks as if it were taken off its basis; it is made 
empty and waste, {v. 1. ) as if it were reduced to its 
first chaos, Tohit and Boliu, nothing but confusion 
and emptiness again, (Gen. i. 2.) witli out form and 
void. It is true, earth sometimes signifies the land, 
and so the same word Eretz is here transl;;ted; {v. 
3.) The land shall be utterly e?nfiticd, and utterly 
spoiled; but I see not why it should not there, as 
well as I'. 1. be translated the earth; for mrst com- 
monly, if not always, where it signifies sr me one 
particular land, it has something joined to it, or, at 
least, not far from it, which does so appropriate it; 
as, the land (or earth) of Egypt, or Canaan ; or this 
land, or ours, or yours, or the like. It might indeed 
refer to some particular country, and an ambiguous 
word might be used to wan-ant such an application; 
for it is good to apply to ourselves, and our own 
lands, what the scripture says in general, of the va- 
nity and vexation of spirit that attend all things here 
below; but it should seem designed to speak what 
often happens to many countries, and will do while 
the world stands, and what may, we know not how 
soon, happen to our own, and what is the general 
character of all earthly things, tliey are empt\- f t 
all solid comfort and satisfaction, a little thing m;i'kes 
them waste. We often see numerous families, and 
plentiful estates, utterly emptied, and utterly s])i ti- 
ed, by one judgment or other, or perhaps on'h- bv a 
gradual and insensible decay. Sin has turned the 
eaith upside down; the earth is become quite a dif- 
ferent thing to man from wliat it was when God 
made it to be his habitation. Sin has also scatterei 
abroad the inhabitants thereof; the rebellion at Ba- 
bel was the occasion of the dispersion there. How 
many ways are there in which the inhabitants both 
of towns and of private houses are scattered abroad, 
so that near relations and old neighbours know no- 
thing of one another! To the same purport, v. 4. 
The earth mourns, and fades away; it disappoints 
those that placed their happiness in it, and raised 
their expectations high from it, and proves not what 
they promised themselves it woidd be; The whole 
world languishes and fades away, as hastening to- 
ward a dissolution. It is, at the best, like a floWer, 
which withers in the hands of those that please 



no 



ISAIAH, XXIV. 



themselves too much with it, and lay it in their bo- 
soms. And as the earth itself grows old, so they that 
dwell therein are desolate; men carry crazy, sickly 
bodies along with tliem, are often solitary, and con- 
fined by affliction, x>. 6. When the earth languishes, 
and is not so fi-uitful as it vised to be, tlien they 
that dwell therein, that make it their home, and 
rest, and portion, are desolate; whereas they that 
Dy faith dwell in God, can rejoice in him, even when 
tlie fig-tree does not blossom. If we look abroad, 
and see in how many places pestilences and bum- 
ing fevers rage, and what multitudes are swept 
away by them in a little time, so that sometimes the 
living scarcely suffice to bury the dead, perhaps we 
shall understand what the prophet means, when he 
says, T/ie inhabitants of the earth are burned, or 
consumed, some by one disease, others by another, 
and there are but few men left, in comparison. 
Note, The world we live in is a world of disappoint- | 
ment, a vale of tears, and a dying world; and the 1 
children of men in it are but of few days, and full I 
of trouble. | 

II. It is God that brings all these calamities upon I 
the earth; the Lord that made the earth, and made 
it fruitful and beautiful, for the service and comfort 
of man, now makes it empty and waste; (y. 1.) 
for its Creator is, and will be,' its Judge; he has an 
incontestable right to pass sentence upon it, and an 
irresistible power to execute that sentence. It is 
the Lord that has spoken this word, and he will do 
the work; [v. 3.) it is his curse that has devoured 
the earth, (v. 6. ) the general curse which sin brought 
upon the ground for man's sake, (Gen. iii. 17. ) and 
all the particular curses which families and coun- 
ti-ies bring upon themselves by their enormous wick- 
edness. See the power of God's curse, how it makes 
all empty, and lays all waste; those whom he 
curses, are cursed indeed. 

III. Persons of all ranks and conditions shall 
share in these calamities; (t'. 2.) It shall be, as with 
the fieofile, so with the priest, &c. Tliis is ti-uc of 
many of the common calamities of human life; all 
are subject to the same diseases of body, sorrows of 
mind, afflictions in relations, and the hke; there is 
one event to those of very different stations; time and 
chance liappen to them all. It is in a special manner 
true of the destroying judgments which God some- 
times brings upon sinful nations; when he pleases, 
he can make them universal, so that none shall es- 
cape them, or be exempt from them; whether men 
liave little or much, they shall lose it all. Those of 
the meaner rank smart first by famine; but those 
of the higher rank go first into captivity, wliile the 
poor of the land are left. It should be all alike, 1. 
With high and low; .Is ivith the people, so with the ' 
priest, or pi-ince. The dignity of magistrates and 
ministers, and the respect and reverence owing to 
both, shall not secure them; the faces of elders are 
not honoured. Lam. v. 12. The priests had been 
as corrupt and wicked as the people; and if their 
character serve not to restrain them from sin, how 
can they expect it should serve to secure them from 
judgments.^ In both, it is like people, like priest, 
Hosea iv. 8, 9. 2. M^ith bond and free; As with 
the senmnt, so with his master; as with the maid, 
so with her mistress; thev have all corrupted their 
way, and therefore will all be made miserable when 
the earth is made waste. 3. With rich and poor; 
those that have money beforehand, that are pur- 
chasing, and letting out money to interest, will fare 
no better than those that are so impoverished, that 
they are forced to sell their estates, and take up 
money at interest. There are judgments short of 
the gi-eat day of judgment, in which rich and poor 
meet together. Let not those that are advance^ 
in the world, set their inferiors at too grei'.t a dis- 
tance, because they know not how soon they may 



I be set upon a level with them. Tlie rich man's 
' wealth is liis strong city, in his own conceit; but it 
does not always prove so. 

IV. It is sin that brings these calamities upon the 
earth; Therefore the earth is made empty, :'iid 
fades away, because it is defiled under the inhabi- 
\ tants thereof; {v. 5.) it is polluted by the .sins of 
' men, and theretore it is made desolate'by tlic judg- 
ments of God. Such is the filtliy nature of sin, that 
it defiles the earth itself under the sinful inhabitants 
thereof, and it is rendered unpleasant in the eves of 
God and good men. Sec Lev. xviii. 25, '27, 28. 
Blood, in particular, defiles the land. Numb. xxxv. 
33. The earth never spues out its inhabitants, till 
they have first defiled it by their sins. Wh)', what 
have they done.' 1. They have transgressed the 
laws of their creation, not answered the ends of it: 
the bonds of the law of nature have been broken by 
them, and they ha\'e cast from them tlie cords of 
their obligations to the God of nature. 2. They 
have changed the ordinances of revealed religion, 
those of them that have had the benefit of that. 
They have neglected the ordin<mces; so some read 
it; and have made no conscicnc(?of observing them; 
they have passed over the laws, in the commission 
of sin, and have passed by the ordinance, in the 
omission of duty. 3. Herein they have broken the 
everlasting covenant, which is a perpetual bond, and 
will be to those that keep it a perpetual blessing. It 
is God's wonderful condescension, that he is pleased 
to deal with men in a co\'enant-way; to do them 
good, and thereby oblige them to do him service. 
Even those tliat had no benefit by God's covenant 
with Abraham, had benefit by his covenant with 
Noah and his sons, which is called an everlasting 
covenant, his covenant with day and night; Ijutthey 
observe not the precepts of the sons of Noah, they 
acknowledge not God's goodness in the day and 
night, nor study to make him any grateful returns, 
and so break the everlasting covenant, and defeat 
the gracious desigTis and intentions of it. 

V. These judgments shall humljle men's pride, 
and mar their mirth: when the earth is made empty. 

1. It is a great mortification to men's pride; (x». 
4.) The haughty people of the earth do languish; 
for they have lost that which supported theirpride, 
and for which they magnified themselves: those that 
have held their heads highest, God can make hang 
the head. 

2. It is a great damp to men's jollity; this is en- 
larged upon much; (y. 7 — 9.) All the merry-hearted 
do sigh; such is the nature pf carnal mirth, it is but 
as the crackling of thorns under a pot, Eccl. vii. 6. 
Great laughters commonly end in a sigh: they that 
make the world their chief joy, cannot rejoice e\'er- 
more. When God sends his judgments into the 
earth, he designs thereby to make those serious 
that were wholly addicted to their pleasures; I^et 
your laughter be turned into mourning. M'hen the 
earth is emptied, the 7ioise of them that rejoice in it, 
ends. Carnal joy is a noisy thing; but the noise of it 
will soon be at an end, and the end of it is heaviness. 

Two things are made use of to excite and express 
vain mirth, and the jovial crew is here deprived of 
both; (1.) Drinking; the new wine mourns, it is 
grown sour for want of drinking; for, how proper 
soever it may be for the heavy heart, (Prov. xxxi. 
6.) it does not relish then as it does to the merrv- 
hearted: the vine languishes, and gives little hopes 
of a vintage, and therefore the merry-hearted do 
sigh; for they know no other gladness than that < f 
their corn and wine and oil increasing, (Ps. iv. 7. 
and if you destroy their vines and their fig-trees, you 
make all their mirth to cease, Hos. ii. 11, 12. They 
shall not now drink wine with a .mng, as thcv usci, 
to 'lo, and with huzzas; but rather drink it with a 
s'.gh: nay, Strong drink shall be bitter to them thai 



ISAIAH, XXIV. 



Ill 



drink it, bet ause they cannot but mingle their tears 
with it; or, through sickness, they liave lost the re- 
lish oi it God has many ways to imbitter wine and 
sti-ong drink to them that love them, and have the 
highest gust of them: distemper of body, anguish of 
mind, the ruin of the estate or country, will make 
the strong drink bitter, and all the delights of sense 
t;steless and insipid. (2.) Music; The mirth of 
lubrets ceases, and the joy of the harji, ivhich used 
to he at their feasts, eh. v. 12. The captives in Ba- 
l)vl<in hang their liarps on the willow trees. In 
short, all joy is darkened, there is not a pleasant 
Ijok to be seen, nor has any one power to force a 
smile; all the mirth of the land is gone, (y. 11.) and 
if it were tliat mirth which Solomon calls madness, 
tiiere is no great loss of it 

VI. The cities will in a particular manner feel 
from tliese desolations of the country; {-u. 10.) The 
citii of confusion is broken, is broken doivn; so we 
read It; it lies exposed to invading powers, not only 
l)\- the breaking down of its walls, but by the con- 
fusion that the inhabitants are in; every house is 
shut up; perhaps by reason of the plague, which has 
burned or consumed the inhabitants, so that there 
are few men left, v. 6. Houses infected are usually 
shut up, that no man may come in: or, they are 
shut up because they are deserted and uninhabited. 
'I'liere is a crying for wine, for the spoiling of the 
vintage, so tliat there is likely to be no wine. In 
the city, in Jerusalem itself, that had been so much 
frequented, there shall be left nothing but desola- 
tion; grass shall grow in tlie streets, and the gate is 
smitten with destruction; {y. 12.) all that used to 
pu.-is and repass through the gate, are smitten, and 
:dl tlie strength of tlie city is cut off. How soon can 
Gud make a city of order a city of confusion, and 
then it will soon be a city of desolation ! 

1 3. When thus it shall be in the midst of 
the land among the people, there shall be as 
the shaking of an olive-tree, and as the 
gleaning-grapes when the vintage is done. 
1 4. They shall lift up their voice, they shall 
sing for the majesty of the Lord, they shall 
cry" aloud from the sea. 1 5. Wherefore 
glorify ye the Lord in the fires, even the 
name of the Lord God of Israel in the isles 
of the sea. 

Here is mercy remembered in the midst of wrath; 
in Judah and Jerusalem, and the neighbouring coun- 
tries, when they are overrun by the enemy, Sen- 
nacherib or Nebuchadnezzar, there shall be a rem- 
nant preserved from the general ruin, and it shall 
be a devout and pious remnant. And this metliod 
God usually observes, when his judgments are 
abroad; he does not make a full end, ch. vi. 13. Or, 
we may take it thus; Though the greatest part of 
mankind have all their comfort ruined Ijy the emp- 
tying of tlie earth, and the making of that desolate, 
\et tliere are some few who understand themselves 
better, wlio have laid up their treasure in heaven, 
and not in things below, and therefore can keep up 
their comfort and joy in God, even then ivhen the 
earth mourns and fades away. 

Oljserve, 1. The small number of this remnant: 
(r. 13.) when all goes to ruin, there shall be as the 
shaking of an olive-tree, and the gleaning-grapes, 
here and there one, who shall escape the common 
calamity, (^s Noah and his family, when the old 
world was drowned,) that shall be able to sit down 
upon a heap of the ruins of all their creature-com- 
forts, and even then rejoice in the Lord, (Hab. iii. 
16 — 18.) who, when all faces gather blackness, can 
lift u/i their heads with joy, Luke xxi. 26, 28. These 



few are dispersed, and at a distance from earh 
other, like thegleanings of the olive-tree; and they 
are concealed,' hid under the leaves. The Lord 
only knows them that are his, the world does not. 

2. The great devotion of this remnant, whicli is 
the greater for their having so nai-rowh' esc;ipcd 
this great destruction; {v. 14.) They stiall lift ufi 
their voice, they shall sing. (1.) They shall sing 
for joy in their deliverance; when the mirth of car- 
nal worldlings ceases, the joy of the saints is as lively 
as ever; when the merry-hearted do sigh because 
the i<ine languishes, the upright-heaittd do sing 
because the covenant of grace, the fountain of their 
comforts, and the foundation of tlieir hopes, ne-\'cr 
fails; they that rejoice in the Lord, can rejoice in 
tribulation, and by faith may l)e in triumplis, when 
all about them are in tears.' (2. ) They sliall sing 
to the glory and praise of God; shall sing not only 
for the mercy, out for tlie majesty, <f the Lt.rd'; 
their songs are awful and serious, and in tlieir spi- 
ritual joys they have a re\ erent regaixl to the great- 
ness of God, and keep at an humble distance, when 
they attend him with their praises. Tlie majesty 
of the Lord, whicli is matter of terror to wicked 
people, furnishes the saints with songs of praise. 
They shall sing for the magnificence, or transcen- 
dent excellency, of the Lord, showed both in his 
judgments and in his mercies; for we must sing, and 
sing unto him, of both, Ps. ci. 1. Those who have 
made, or are making, their escape from the land 
(that being emptied and made desolate) to the sea 
and the isles of^the sea, shall from thence cry alcjud; 
their dispersion shall help to spread the knowledge 
of God, and they shall make even remote shores to 
ring with his praises. It is much for the honour cf 
God, if those who fear him rejoice in him, and 
praise him, even in the most melanchol)- times. 

3. Their holy zeal to excite others to the same 
devotion; (u. 15.) they encourage their fellow-suf- 
ferers to do likewise. (1.) Those who are in the 
fires, in the furnace of affliction, those fires by which 
the inhabitants of the earth are burned, v. 6. Or, 
in the valleys, the low, dark, dirty places. (2.) 
Those who are in the isles of the sea, whither they 
are banished, or are forced to flee for shelter, and 
hide themselves remote from all their friends; they 
went through fire and water; (Ps. Ixvi. 12.) yet in 
both let them glorify the Lord, and glorify him as 
the Lord God of Israel. They who through grace 
can glory in tribulation, ought to glorify God in tri- 
bulation, and give him thanks for their comforts, 
which abound as their afflictions do abound. We 
must in every fire, even the hottest, in every isle, 
even the remotest, keep up mir good thoughts of 
God; when, though he slay us, yet we trust in him, 
though, for his sake, we are killed all the day long, 
yet none of these things move us, then we glorify 
the Lord in the fives: thus the three children, and 
the martyrs that sang at the slake. 

16. From the uttermost part of the earth 
have we heard songs, even glory to the righ- 
teous. But I said, My leanness, my lean- 
ness, wo unto me ! the treacherous dealers 
have dealt treacherously; j^ea, the treacher- 
ous dealers have dealt very treacherously. 
1 7. Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are 
upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. 1 8. 
And it shall come to pass, tliaf he who fleeth 
from the noise of the fear shall fall into the 
pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst 
of the pit shall be taken in the snare : for the 
windows fi-om on high are open, and the 



U'i 



ISAIAH, XXIV. 



foundations of the earth do shake. 1 9. The 
eartli is utterly broken down, .the earth is 
clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceed- 
ingly. 20. The earth sliall reel to and iVo 
lii<e a drunkard, and shall be removed like a 
cottage ; and the transgression thereof shall 
be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not 
rise again. 21. And it shall come to pass 
in tliat day, that the Lord shall punish the 
host of the high ones that are on high, and 
the kings of the earth upon the earth. 22. 
And they shall be gathered together as pri- 
soners are gathered in the pit, and shall be 
shut up in the prison, and after many tlays 
sliall they be visited. 23. Then the moon 
shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, 
when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount 
Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his an- 
cients, gloriously. 

These verses, as those before, plainly speak, 

I. Comfort to saints; they may be di-iven, by the 
common calamities of the places where they live, 
into the uttermost parts of the earth, or perh.ips 
tliey are forced thither for their religion; but there 
the'v are singing, not sighing; from thence have we 
heard songs," and it is a comfort to us to hear them, 
to hear that good people carry their religion along 
with them, even to the most distant regions, to hear 
that God visits them there, and gives encourage- 
ment to hope that from thence he will gather them, 
Deut. XXX. 4. And this is their song, even glory to 
the righteous: the word is singular, and may import 
the righteous God, who is just in all he has brought 
upon us; this is glorifying the Lord in the fires: or, 
the meaning may be,' These songs redound to the 
glory or beauty of the righteous that sing them. We 
do the greatest honour imaginable to ourselves, 
when we employ ourselves in honouring and glorify- 
ing God. This may have reference to the sending 
of the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth, as 
far off as this island of ours, in the days of the Mes- 
siah, the glad tidings of which are echoed back in 
songs heard from thence, from churches planted 
there, even glory to the righteous God, agreeing 
with the angels' song. Glory be to God hi the high- 
est, and glory to all righteous men; for the work of 
redemption was ordained before the world for our 
glory. 

II. Terror to sinners; the prophet, having com- 
forted himself and others with the prospect of a saved 
remnant, returns to lament the miseries he saw 
breaking in like a mighty torr»nt upon the earth; 
" But I said, My leanness, my leanness, ivo unto 
me, {v. 16.) the very thought of it frets me, and 
makes me lean." He foresees, 

1. The prevalency of sin, that iniquity should 
abound; {v. 16.) The treacherous dealers have dealt 
treacherously ; this is itself a judgment, and that 
which provokes God to bring other judgments. (1. ) 
Men are false to one another; there is no faith in 
nrui, but a universal dishonesty. Truth, that sa- 
cred bond of society, is departed, and there is no- 
thing but treachery in men s dealings. See Jer. ix. 
], 2. (2.) They are all false to their God; as to 
him, and their coVL'nant with him, the children of 
men are all treacherous dealers, and have dealt 
very treacherously with their God, in departing 
from their allegiance to him : this is the original, and 
this the aggravation of the sin of the world; and 
when men have been false to their God, how should 
they be true to any other? 



2. The prevalency of wrath and judgment for 
that sin: 

(1.) The inhabitants of the earth will be pursuec 
from time to time, from place^to place, by cne mis- 
chief or other; (x'. 17,18.) Fear, and the jiit, and 
the snare; fear of the pit, and the snare, arc upon 
tliem, wherever they are; for the sons of nun know 
not what evil they may suddenly be snared in, Eccl. 
ix. 12. These three words seem to be chosen fcr 
the sake of an elegant parcncmasia, or, as we now 
scornfully call it, a jingle of w<irds; Pachad, and 
Pachath, and Pach; but tlic meaning is plain, (t. 
18.) th-it evil pursues sinners, (Prov. xiii. 21.) th:it 
the curse shiU overtake the disobedient, (Deut. 
xxviii. 15.) that those who are secure, because they 
have escaped cne judgment, know not how sorh 
another may arrest them. What this prophet 
threatens all the inhabitants of the earth with, an- 
other makes part of thejudgment of Moab, Jer. xlviii. 
43, 44. But it is a common instance of the calami- 
tous state of human life, that, wht n we seek to ;iVoid 
one mischief, we fall mto a worse, and that the end 
of one trouble is often the beginning of another; so 
that we are least safe when we are most stcure. 

(2.) The earth itself will be shaken to ])ieces; it 
will be literally so at last, when all the work's therein 
shall be burnt up, and often, fi«,Tiratively so, before 
that period; The iviiidows from on high arc open 
to pour down wrath, as in the univers; 1 deluge ; upon 
the tvicked God shall rain snares, (Ps. xi. 6. ) and, 
the fountains of the great deep Ijcing broken up, the 
foundations of the earth do shake of course, the 
frame of nature is unhinged, and all is in ccnfusirn. 
See how elegantly this is expressed; {y. 19, 20.) 
The earth is utterly broken doT.m, it is clean dissolv- 
ed, it is moved exceedingly, mo\ed out of its place; 
God shakes heaveji and earth. Hag. ii. 6. Seethe 
miser)' of those who lay up their treasure in the 
things of the earth, and mind those things; they 
place their confidence in that which shall shortly 
be utterly broken down and dissolved; the earth 
shall reel to and fro like a drunkard; so unsteady, 
so uncertain, are ;ill the motions of these things. 
Worldly men dwell in it as in a palace, as in a cas- 
tle, as in an impregnable tower; but it shall be re- 
moved like a cottage, so easily, so suddenl)-, and 
with so little loss to the great Landlord. The pull- • 
ing down of the earth will be but like the pullini; 
down of a cottage, which the country is willing to 
be rid of, because it does but harbour beggars; and 
therefore no care is taken to rebuild it, it shall fall 
and not rise again; but there shall be new heavens 
and a new earth, in which shall dwell nothing but 
righteousness. 

But what is it that shakes the earth thus, and 
sinks it? It is the transgression thereof that shall be 
heavy upon it. Note, Sin is a burthen to the whr le 
creation; it is a heavy burthen, a burthen under 
which it groans now, and will sink at last. Sin is 
the ruin of states, and kingdoms, and families; they 
fall under the weight of that talent of lead, Zech. 
V. 7, 8. 

(3.) God will have a particular controversy with 
the kings and great men of the earth; (v. 21.) He 
will {nmish the host of the high ones; hosts of 
princes are no more before God than hosts of com- 
mon men; what can a host of high ones do with 
their combined force, when the Most High, the 
Lord of hosts, contends with them to abase their 
height, and scatter their hosts, and bi-eak all their 
confederacies? The high ones, that are on high, 
that arc puflFed up with their height and grandeur, 
that think themselves so high that they are out of 
the reach of any danger, God will visit upon them 
all their pride and cruelty, with which thev have 
oppressed and injured their neighbours and subjects, 
and it shall now return upon their own heads. The 



JSAIAH. XXV. 



113 



kit gs of tVie earth shall now be reckoned with upon ^ 
Ihe'eartli, to show that verily there is a God that 
judges in the earth, and will render to the proudest 
ot kini^s according to the fruit of their doings. Let 
those that are trampled upon by tlie high ones of 
the earth, comfort themselves with this, that, 
though they cannot, dare not, must not, resist them, 
\-et tliere is a God that will call them to an account, 
that will triumph over them upon their own dung- 
hill; and the earth they are kmgs of, is, in the eye 
of God, no better. Tliis is general only; it is par- 
ticularly foretold, (y. 22.) that they shall be ga- 
thered together as firisoners; convicted, condemned 
I^risoners are gathered in the pit, or dungeon, and 
there they shall be shut up under close confinement; 
the kings' and high ones, who took all possible liber- 
ty themsehes, and took a pride and pleasure in 
stiutting up others, shall now be themselves shut 
up. Let not the free man glory in his freedom, any 
more than the strong man in his strength, for he 
knows not what restraints he is reserved for; but 
after }nany days they shall be visited. Either, [1.] 
They shall be visited in wrath; it is the same word, 
in another form, that is used, v. 21. The Lord 
shall punish them; they shall be reserved to the 
day of execution, as condemned prisoners are, and 
as fallen angels are reserved in chains of darkness 
to thejudgynent of the great day, Jude 6. Let this 
account for the delays of divine vengeance; sen- 
tence is not executed speedily, because execution- 
day is not yet come, and perhaps will not come till 
after many days; but it is certain, that the wicked 
is reserved for the day of destruction, and is there- 
fore preserved in the mean time, but shall be 
brought forth to the day of wrath. Job xxi. SO. Let 
us therefore judge nothing before the time. [2.] 
They shall be visited in mercy, and be discharged 
from their imprisonment, and shall again obtain, if 
r not theii; dignity, y^ their liberty. Nebuchadnez- 
zar in his conquests made many kings and princes 
his captives, and kept them intfie dungeon in Baby- 
lon, and, among the rest, Jehoiachim kingof Judah; 
but, after many days, when his head was laid, his 
son visited them, and granted (as should seem) some 
reviving to them all in their bondage; for it is made 
. an instance of his particular kindness to Jehoiachim, 
that he set his throne above the throne of the rest of 
the kings that nvere with him, Jer. lii. 32. If we 
apply it to the general state of mankind, it denotes 
a revolution of conditions; those that were high are 
punished, those that were punished are relVeved, 
after many days; that none in this world may be 
secure, though their condition be ever so prosperous, 
nor any despair, though their condition be ever so 
deplorable. 

3. Glory to God in all this, v. 23. When all 
this comes to pass, when the proud enemies of God's 
church are humbled and brought down, (1.) Then 
it shall appear, beyond contradiction, that the Lord 
reigns; which is always true, but not always alike 
evident. When the kings of the earth are punished 
fortlieir tyranny and oppression, then it is proclaim- 
ed and proved to all the world, that God is King of 
kings, Kin? above them, by whom they are con- 
querable, King over them, to whom they are ac- 
countable; that he reigns as Lord of hosts, of all 
hosts, of their hosts; that he reigns in mount Zion, 
and in Jerusalem; in his church, for the honour and 
welfare of that, pursuant to the promises on which 
that is founded, reigns in his word and ordinances; 
that he reigns before his ancients, before all his 
samts, especially before his ministers, the elders of 
nis church, who have their eye upon all the out- 
goings of his power and providence, and, in all these 
events, observe his hand. God's ancients, the old 
disciples, the experienced Christians, that have of- 
ten, when they have been perplexed, gone into the 
Vol. IV.— P 



sanctuary of God in ^ion and Jei-usalem, and ac- 
qu.iiited themselves with his manifLStaticns of him- 
self there, they shall sec nu I'e than others of God's 
dominion and sovereignty in these operations ot his 
pro\ idence. (2. ) '1 hen it shall appear, beyond 
comparison, that he reigns gloriously, in such bnght- 
ncss and lustre, that the moon shall be confounded, 
and the sun ashamed, as the lesser lights are eclips- 
ed and exting\ushed by the greater. Great men, 
who thought themselves to have as bright a lustre ' 
and as vast a dominion, as the sun and moon, shall 
be ashamed when God appears above them, much 
more when he appears against them: tlien shall 
their faces be filled with shame, that they may seek 
God's name. The eastern nations worshipped the 
sun and moon; but when God shall appear so glo- 
riously for his people against his and their enemies, 
all these pretended deities shall be ashamed that 
ever they received the homage of their deluded 
worshippers. The glory of the Creator infinitely 
outshines the glory of the brightest creatures. In 
the great day, when the Judge of heaven and earth 
shall shine forth in his glory, the sun shall by his 
transcendent lustre be tur?ied into darkness, and 
the moon into blood. 

CHAP. XXV. 

After the threatening^ of wrath in the foregoinp chapter, 
we have here, I. Thankful praises for ivhat God hud done, 
■which the prophet, in the name of the church, offers up 
to God, and teaches us to offer the like, v. I . .5." II. 
Precious promises of what God would yet furlher do fof 
his church, especially in the grace of the gospel, v. 6 . . 8, 
III. The church's triumph in God over her enemies 
thereupon, v. 9 . . 12. This chapter looks as pleasantly 
upon the church as the former looked dreadfully upon 
the world. 

1. 4^ LORD, thou art my God; I will 
'LJ' exalt thee, I will praise thy name: 

for thou hast done wonderful things; thy 
counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. 

2. For thou hast made of a city a heap ; of 
a defenced city a ruin : a palace of strangers 
to be no city; it shall never be built. 3. 
Therefore shall the strong people glorify 
thee, the city of the terrible nations shall 
fear thee. 4. For thou hast been a strength 
to the poor, a strength to the needy in his 
distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow 
from the heat, when the blast of the terrible 
ones is as a storm against the wall. 5. Thou 
shalt bring down the noise of strangers as 
the heat in a dry place ; even the heat with 
the shadow of a cloud : the branch of the 
terrible ones shall be brought low. 

•■It was said, in the close of the foregoing chajiter, 
that the I^ord of hosts shall reign gloriously; now, 
in compliance with that, the prophet here speaks 
of the glorious majesty of his kingdom, (Ps. cxlv. 
i2. ) and gives him the' glory of it; and however it 
might have an accomplishment in the desti-uction 
of I5abylon, and the deliverance of the Jews out of 
their captivity there, it seems to look further, to the 
praises that should be offered up to God by the 
gospel-church, lor Christ's victories over our spiri- 
tual enemies, and the comforts he has pi'ovid' d for 
all believers. Here, 

I. The prophet determines to praise God him- 
self: for they that would stir up others, should in 
the first place stir up themselves, to praise God; 
{v. 1.) " O Lord, thou art my God, a God it cove- 



114 



ISAIAH, XXV. 



innt with me." When God is pun-.s'iiiv-; tlif kings 
of the earth ujton the earth, and making tliem 
tremble bL-fore liim, a poor prophet cin .e;o to him, 
and with an humble boldness, say, Lord, thou art 
my (irjd; and therefore / rJiU exalt thee, I will 
firaiae thy name. Those that have the Lord for 
their God, are obliged to praise him; {or therefore 
he took us to be his p;-ople, that we migh: :/e jnto 
him for a name, and for a firaise, Jer. xiii. 11. In 
praising God, we exalt him; not tliat we can make 
him higher than he is, but we niust viiake him to 
appear to ourselves and others higher than he does. 
See Exod. xv. 2. 

II. He pleases himself with the thought that 
others also shall be brought to praise God; {x>. 3.) 
" Therefore, because of the desolations thou has! 
made in the earth by thy providence, (Ps. xlvi. 8. ) 
and the just vengeance tl'iou hast taken on thine and 
thy church's enemies, therefore shall the strong 
people glorify thee in concert, and the city" (the 
metropolis) "of the terrible nations" (or the cities 
of such nations) "shall fear thee." This may be 
understood, 1. Of those people that have been 
strong and terrible against God; those that have 
been enemies to God's kingdom, and have fought 
against the interests of it with a great deal of 
strength and terror, shall either be converted, and 
glorifv God by joining with his people in his service, 
or, at least, convinced, so as to own themselves con- 
quered. Tliose that had been tlie terror of the 
mighty, shall be forced to tremble before the judg- 
ments of God, and call in vain to rocks and moun- 
tains to hide them. Or, 2. Of those that shall be 
now made strong and terrible for God and by him, 
though before they were weak and trampled upon. 
He shall so visibly appear for them, and with them, 
that fear God, and glorify him, that all shall ac- 
knowledge them a strong people, and sh dl stand in 
awe of them. There was a time when manu of the 
fieofile of the land became Jews, for the fear of the 
Jews fell u/ion them, (Esther viii. 17. j and when 
they "that knew their God, were strong, and did 
exploits, (Dan. xi. 32.) for which they glorify 
God. 

III. He observes what is, and ought to be, the 
matter of this praise: we and others must exalt God, 
and praise him, for, 

1. He has done wonders according to the counsel 
of his own will, xk 1. We exalt God by admiring I 
what he has done as truly wonderful; wonderful | 
proofs of his power, beyond wliat any creature could [ 
perform ; and wonderful proofs of his goodness, be- | 
ynnd what such sinful creatures as we are could ex- 
pect. These wonderful things, which are new and 
surprising to us, and altogether unthought of, are, ' 
according to his counsels of old, devised by his wis- ' 
dom, and designed for his own glory, and the com- 
fort of his people. All the operations of providence 
are according to God's eternal counsels, (and those 
faithfulness and truth itself,) all consonant to his at- 
tributes, consistent with one another, and sure to be 
accomplished in their season. 

2. He has in particular humbled the pride, and 
broken the power, of the mighty ones of the earth; 
{xK 2.) " Thou hast made of a city, of many a city, 
a hea/i of rubbish ; of many a defenced city, that 
thought itself well guarded 'by nature and ail, and 
the multitude and courage of its militia, thou hast 
made a ruin. "'. 'What created strength can hold out 
against Omnipotence? "Many a city, so richly 
huilt, that it might be called a fialace, and so much 
frequented and visited by persons of the best rank 
from all parts, that it might be called a palace of 
strangers, thou hast made to be no city; it is levelled 
with the ground, and not one stone left upon another, 
audit shall never be built again." Tliis has been 
t'le ease of many cities in divers parts of the world, 



and in onr : ivn nation p^rtlcu^-.rly ; cities that flour- 
iblitd once, are gone to decay, and lost, and it is 



o? 



scai-ccly known (except by urns or coins digged u 
out of the earth) where they stood. How many o 
the cities of Israel have long since been heaps and 
ruins! God hereby teaches us, that here we have 
no continuing city, and must therefore seek one to 
come, which will never be a ruin, or go to decay. 

3. He has seasonably relieved and succoured his 
necessitous and distressed people; (i>. 4.) Thoit 
hast been a Strength to the poor, a Strength to the 
needy. As God weakens the strong that ai-e proud 
and secure, so he strengthens the weak that ari- 
humble and serious, and stay themselves upon liim. 
Nay, he not only makes them strong, but he is 
himself their Strength; for in him they strengthen 
themselves, and it is his favour and grace that are 
the strength of their hearts. He is a Strength to 
the needy in his distress, then when he needs strength, 
and when his distress drives him to God. And as 
he strengthens them against their inward decays, so 
he shelters tliem from outward assaults: he is a Re- 
fuge from the storm of rain or hail, and a Shadow 
from the scorching heat of the sun in summer. God 
is a sufficient Protection to his people in all weathers, 
both hot and cold, wet and dry; the armour of 
righteousness serves both on the right hand and on 
the left, 2 Cor. vi. 7. Whatever dangers or troubles 
God's people may be in, effectual care is taken that 
thev shall sustain no real hurt or damage, ^^'hen 
perils are most threatening and alarming, God will 
then appear for the safety of his people; when the 
blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the 
wall, which makes a great noise, but cannot over- 
throw the wall. The enemies of God's poor are 
terrible ones; they do all they can to make them- 
selves so to them; their rage is like a bUist of wind, 
loud, and blustering, and furious; but, like the wind, 
it is under a divine check; foi^God holds the winds' 
in his fists; and God will be such a Shelter to his 
people, that thev shall be alile to stand the shock, 
keep their ground, and maintain their integrity and 
peace. A storm, beating on a ship, tosses it, but 
that which beats on a wall never stirs it, Ps. Ixxvi. 
10. — cxxxviii. 7. 

4. That he does, and will, shelter those that trust 
in him, from the insolence of their proud oppressors; 
(v. 5.) Thou shall, or thou dost, bring down the 
noise of strangers, thou shalt abate and still it, as 
the heat in a dry place is abated and moderated by 
the shadow of a cloud interposing; the branch, or 
rather the song or triumph, of the terrible ones 
shall be brought low, and they shall be made to 
change their note, and fall their \oice. Observe, 
here, (1.) The oppressors of God's people are call- 
ed strangers; for they forget that those they oppress 
are made of the same mould, of the same blood, 
witli them. They are called terrible ones; for so 
they affect to be, rather than amiable ones; they 
would rather be feared than loved. (2. ) Their in- 
solence toward the people of God is noisy and hot, 
and that is all; it is but the noise of strangers, who 
think to carry their point by hectoring and bullving 
all that stand in their way,' and talking big. Pha- 
raoh king of Egypt is biit a noise, Jer. xlvi. 17. It 
is like tlie heat of the sun scorching in the middle 
of the day; but where is it, when the sun is set? 
(3.) Their noise and heat, and all their triumph, 
will be humbled and brought low, when their 
hopes are baffled, and all their honours laid in the 
dust. The branches, even the top branches, of 
the terrible ones, will be broken off, and thrown to 
the dunghill. (4.) If the labourers in God's vine- 
vard be at any time called to bear the burthen and 
heat of the day, he will find some way or other to 
refresh them, "as with the shadow of a cloud, that 
they may not be pressed above measure. 



ISAIAH, XXV. 



llf. 



6. And in this mountain shall the Lord 
of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat 
things, a feast of wines on tiie lees ; of fat 
things full of niairovv, of wines on the lees 
well refined. 7. And he will destroy in this 
mountain the face of the covering cast over 
all people, and the vail that is spread over 
all nations. 8. He will swallow np death 
in victory; and the Lord God will wipe 
away tears from olf all faces ; and the re- 
buke of his people shall he take away from 
off all the earth : for the I-oud hath spo- 
ken it. 

If we suppose (as many do) that this refers to the 
great joy that should be in Zion and Jerusalem, 
either when the army of the Assyrians was routed 
by an angel, or when the Jews were released out of 
their captivity in Babylon, or upon occasion of some 
otlier equally surprising deliverance; yet we cannot 
avoid making it to look further, to the grace of the 
gospel, and the glory which is the crown and con- 
summation of that gTace;for it is at our resurrection 
tlirougli Clirist that the saying here written sfiall be 
brought to pass; then and not till then, (if we may 
beUeve St. Paul,) it shall have its full accomplish- 
ment; death is swallowed ii/t in victory, 1 Cor. xv. 
54. This is a key to the rest of the promises here 
connected together. And so we have here a pro- 
phecy of the salvation and the grace brought unto 
us by Jesus Christ, into which (he ftrofihets inquired, 
and searched diligently, 1 Pet. i. 10. 

1. That the grace of the gospel should be a royal 
feast fur all people; not like that of Ahasuenis, 
which was intended only to show the grandeur of 
the master of the feast; (Esther i. 4.) for this is in- 
tended to gratify the guests, and therefore, whereas 
all there was for show, all here is for substance. 
The preparations made in the gospel for tlie kind 
reception of penitents and supplicants with God, are 
often in the New Testament set forth by the sim'ili- 
tude of n feast; as Mattli. xxii. 1, &c. wliich seems 
to be borrowed from this here. (1.) God himself 
ii the Master of the feast, and, we may be sure, he 
prepares like himself, as becomes him to give, 
rather than as becomes us to receive. The Lord of 
hosts makes this feast. (2. ) The guests invited are, 
all people. Gentiles as well as Jews. Go Jtreach the 
gospel to every creature. There is enough for all, 
and whoever will, may come, and take freely, even 
those that are gathered out of the highways and the 
hedges. (3.) The place is mount Zion; thence the 
preaching of the gospel takes lisc, the preachers 
must Ijegin at Jerusalem. The gospel-church is the 
Jerusalem that is above, there flus feast is made, 
and to it all the invited guests must go. (4.) The 
provision is very rich, and every thing is of the best; 
It is a feast which supposes abundance and variety; 
it is a continual feast to believers, it is their own 
"luilt if it be not. It is a.feast of fat things and full 
of marrow; so relishing, so nourishing, are the com- 
forts of the gospel to all those that feast upon them, 
ind digest them. The returning prodigal was en- 
••ertained with the fatted calf; and David has that 
pleasure in communion with God, with which his 
soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness. It is a 
feast of -vines on the lees; the strongest-bodied wines, 
that haVe been kept long upon the lees, and then are 
well refined from them, so that they are clear and 
fine. There is that in the gospel, which, like wine 
soberly used, makes glad the heart, and raises the 
spirits, and is fit for those that are of a heavy 
heai't, being under convictions of sin, and mourning 
for it, that tliev may drink, and forget their misery, 



(for that is the proper use of wine, it is a cordial for 
those that need it, Prev. xj:xi. 6, 7.) mav be cf 
good cheer, knowing that their sins are f(irgiven, 
and may be vigorcvis in their spiritual woik and 
warfare, as a strong man refreshed with wine. 

2. That the world should be freed from that dark- 
ness of ignorance and mistake, in the mists of which 
it has been so long lost and buried; {v. 7.) Hewil' 
destroy in this mountain the face of the covering, 
(the covering of the face,) with whicli all people aif 
covered, (hoodwinked or blindfolded,) so that they 
cannot see their way, nor go abiut their work, and 
by reason of which tliey wander endhi-sly. 'i'heii 
faces are covered as nun condemned, or as desd 
men. There is a vail .spread over all notions, iu 
they all sat in darkness; and no marvel, when tht 
Jews themselves, among whom God was known, had 
a vail ti/ion their hearts, 2 Cor. iii. 15. But this vail 
the Lord will destroy, by the light of his gospel shin- 
ing in the world, and the power of his spirit cpen- 
ing men's eyes to receive it. He will raise these tc 
spiritual life, that had long been dead in trespasses 
and sins. 

S. That death should be conquered, the power of 
it broken, and the property ot it altered; He wilt 
swallow up death in victory, v. S. (1.) Christ will 
himself, in his resurrection, triumph over death; 
will break its bands, its bars, asunder, and cast away 
all its cords. The grave seemed to swallow him up, 
but really he swallowed it up. (2.) The happiness 
of the saints shall be out of the reach of death, 
which puts a period to all the enjoyments of this 
world, imbitters them, and stains the beauty of 
them. (3.) Believers may triumph over death, and 
look upon it as a conquered enemy; O death, where 
is thy sting? (4.) When the dead bodies of the 
saints shall be raised at the great day, and their mor- 
tality swallowed up of life, then death will be for 
ever swallowed up of victory ; and it is the last enemy. 

4. That grief shall be banislied, and there shall 
be perfect and endless joy; The Lord God will wifit 
away tears from off all faces. Those that mourn 
for sin, shall be comforted, and havetheir conscien- 
ces pacified. In the covenant of grace there shall 
be that provided, which is sufficient to balance all 
the sorrows of this pi-esent time, to wipe away cur 
tears, and to refresh us. Those particularly that 
suffer for Christ, shall have consolations abounding 
as their afflictions do abound. But in the joys of 
heaven, and no where short of them, "will fully be 
brought to pass this saying, asthat before, for there 
it is that God shall wipe away all tears. Rev. vii. 
ir. — xxi. 4. And therefore there shall be no more 
sorrow, because there shall be 7!0 more death. The 
hope of this should now wipe away all excessive 
tears, all the weeping that hinders sowing. 

5. That all the reproach cast' u])on religion and 
the serious professors of it, shall be for ever rolled 
away; The rebuke of his fieople, which they have 
long lain under, the calumnies and misrepresenta- 
tions by which they have been blackened, the inso- 
lence and cruelty with which their persecutors have 
trampled on them and trodden them down, shall be 
taken away. Their righteousness shall be brought 
forth as the light, in the view of all the world, wlio 
.shall be convinced they are not such as they have 
been invidiously characterized : and so their salva- 
tion from the injuries done them as such, shall be 
wrought out. Sometimes in this world God dots 
that for his people, vi\\\c\\tokes away their reproach 
from among }nen. However, it will be done ef- 
fectually at the great dny, for the Lord has spoken it, 
who can, and will, make it good. Let us patiently 
bt-ar sorrow and shame now, and improve both; ffir 
shortly both will be done away. 

9. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, 



ISAIAH, XXVI. 



UG 

this is our God; we have waited for him, 
and he will save us: this is the Lord; we 
have waited for him, we will be glad and re- 
joice in his salvation. 10. For in this moun- 
tam shall the hand of the Lord rest, and 
Moab shall be trodden down under hmn, 
even as straw is trodden down for the dung- 
hill. 1 1 . And he shall spread forth his hands 
in the midst of them, as he that swimmeth 
spreadeth forth his hands to swim; and he 
shall bring down their pride together with 
the spoils of thtir hands. 12. And the for- 
tress of the high fort of thy walls shall he 
bring down, lay low, and bring to the 
ground, even to the dust. 

Here IS 

I. The welcome which the church shall give to 
these blessings promised in the foregoing verses; 
(t'. 9. ) It shall be said in that day, with a humble, 
licly triumph and exultation, Lo, this is our God, 
we have waited for him! Thus will the deliverance 
of the church out of long and sore troubles be cele- 
brated; thus will it be as life from the dead. With 
such transports of joy and praise will those entertain 
the glad tidings of the Redeemer, who looked for 
him, and for redemption in Jerusalem by him: and 
with such a triumphant song as this, will glorified 
saints enter into the jot/ of the Lord. 1. God him- 
self must have the glbrv of all; " Lo, this is our 
God, this is the Lord. This which is done, is his 
doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes. Herein he 
has done like himself, has magnified his own wis- 
dom, power, and goodness. Herein he has done for 
us Uke our God, a God in covenant with us, and 
■whom we serve." Note, Our triumphs must not 
terminate in what God does for us, and gives to us; 
hut must pass through them to himself, who is the 
Author and Giver of them; This is our God. Have 
any of the nations of the earth such a God to trust 
to? No, their rock is not as our Rock: there is none 
like unto the God of Jeshurun. (2.) The longer jt 
has been expected, the more welcome it is. " This 
is he whom we have waited for, in dependence upon 
his word of promise, and a full assurance that he 
would come m the set time, in due time, and there- 
fore we were willing to tarry his time. And now 
we find it is not in vain to wait for him; for the 
mercy comes at last, with an abundant recompense 
for the delay. " ( 3. ) It is matter of joy unspeakable ; 
" We will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. We 
that share in the benefits of it will concur in the joy- 
ful thanksgivings for it." (4.) It is an encourage- 
ment to hope for the continuance and perfection of 
this salvation; We have waited for him, and he will 
save us, will carry on what he has begun; for, as 
for God, our God, his work is perfect. 

II. A prospect of further blessings for the se- 
curing and pei-petuating of these. 

1. The power of God shall be engaged for them, 
and shall continue to take their part; in this moun- 
tain shall the hand of the Lord rest, v. 10. The 
church and people of (Sod shall have continued 
proofs of God's presence with them, and residence 
among them, his hand shall be continually over 
them, to protect and guard them, and continually 
stretched out to them, fpr their supply. Mount 
Zion is his rest for ever; here he will dwell. 

2. The power of their enemies, that is engaged 
againsit them, shall be broken. Moab is here put for 
:ill the adversaries of God's people, that are vexa- 
-ious to them; thev shall all be trodden down, or 
'hreshed, <for thenW^ey beat out the corn by tread- 



ing it,) and shall be thrown out as straw to the dung- 
hill, being good for nothing else. God having canaea 
his hand to rest ujwn this mountain, it shall not be a 
hand that hangs down, or is folded up, feeble and 
inactive; but he shall spread forth his hands, in the 
midst of liis people, like one that swims; which inti- 
mates that he will employ and exert his power for 
them vigorously, that he will be doing for them on 
all sides; that he will easily and effectually put by 
the opposition that is given to his gracious intentions 
for them, and thereby further and push forward his 
good work among thtm; and that he will be ccntin- 
ually active on their behalf, for so the swimmer is. 
It is foretold, particularly, what he shall do for 
them; (1.) He shall bring down the pride of their 
enemies (which Moab was notcricusly guilty of, ch. 
xvi. 6.) by one humbling judgment after another, 
stripping them of that which tliey are proud if. (2. ) 
He shall bring down the spoils ot their hands, shall 
take from them that which they have get by spoil 
and rapine; he shall bring down the arms of their 
hands, which are lifted up against Gcd's Israel; he 
shall quite break their power, and disable them to 
do mischief. (3.) He shall ruin all their fortifica- 
tions, V. 12. Moab has his walls, and his high forts, 
witli which he hopes to secure himself, and from 
which he designs to annoy the people of God; but 
God shall bring them all down, lay them low, bring 
them to the ground, to the dust; and so they who 
trusted to them will be left exposed. There is no 
fortress impregnable to Omnipotence; no fort so 
high, but the arm of the Lord can overtrp it, and 
bring it down. This destmction of Moab is typical 
of Christ's victory over death, (spcken oft'. 8.) his 
spoihng principalities and powers in his cross, (Col. 
ii. 15. ) his pulling down of Satan's strong holds by 
the preaching of his gospel, (2 Cor. x. 4.) and his 
reigning till all his enemies be 7nade his footstool, 
Ps. ex. 1. 

CHAP. XXVI. 

This chapter is a song of holy joy and praise, in which the 
•Teat things God had engaged, in the foregoing chapter, 
to do for his people against his enemies and Ihcir ene- 
mies, are celebrated: it is prepared to be sung when that 
prophecy should be accomplished; for we must be for- 
ward to meet God with our thanksgiving, when he is 
coming towards us with his mercies. Now the people 
of God are here taught, I. To triumph in the safety and 
holy security both of the church in general, and of every 
particular niember of it, under the divine protection, v. 
1 . . 4. 11. To triumph over all opposing powers, v. 5, 
6. III. To walk with God, and wait for him, in the 
worst and darkest times, v. 7 . . 9. IV. To lament the 
stupidity of those who regarded not the providence of 
God, either merciful or afflictive, v. 10, 11. V. To en- 
courage themselves, and one another, with hopes that 
God would still continue to do them good, (y. 12, 14.) 
engaging themselves to continue in his service, v. 13. 
VI. To recollect the providences of God that had respect- 
ed them in their Itiw and distressed condition, and their 
conduct under those providences, v. 15 . . 18. VII. To 
rejoice in hope of a glorious deliverance, which should 
be as a resurrection to them, (v. 19. ) and to retire in the 
expectalionof it, 20, 21. And this is written for the sup- 
port and assistance of the faith and hope of God's people 
in all ages, even those upon whom the ends of the world 



are come. 



1 . XN that day shall this song be sung in 
X the land of Judah ; We have a strong 
city : salvation will God appoint for walls 
and bulwarks. 2. Open ye the gates, thai 
the righteous nation which keepeth the truth 
may enter in. 3. Thou \^'ilt keep him in 
perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on (hee; 
because he trustcth in thee. 4. Trust ye in 
the Lord forever: for in the Lord JEHO 
VAH is everlasting strength. 



ISAUH, XXVI. 



II- 



To the prophecies of gospel-grace very fitly is a 
song annexed, in wliich we niny give God the glory, 
and take to ourselves the comtnrt, of that grace; In 
that day, the gospel-day, which the day ot the \'ic- 
tories and enlargements of the Old Testament 
churcli was typical of, (to some of which perhaps 
• tliis has a primary reference,) in that day, this song 
shall be sung; there shall be persons to sing it, and 
cause and hearts to sing it; it shall be sung in the 
land of Judah, which was a figure of the gospel- 
church; for tlie gospel-covenant is said to be made 
ti<ith the house of Judah, Heb. viii. 8. 

Glorious things are here said of the church of God: 

1. That it is sti'ongly fortified against tiiose that 
are bad; {v. 1.) JTe have a strong city; it is a city 
incorporated by the charter of the everlasting cove- 
nant, fitted for the reception of idl that are made 
free b)' that charter, for their eniploymcnt and en- 
tertainment; it is a strong city, as Jerusalem was, 
while it was a city compact together, and had God 
himself a \Vall of fire round about it; so strong, that 
none would have believed that an enemy could ever 
have entered into the gates of Jerusalem, Lam. iv. 
12. The church is a strong city, for it has walls 
and bulwarks, or counterscarps, and those of God's 
own appointing; for he has, in his promise, appoint- 
ed salvation itself to be its defence. Those that are 
designed for salvation will find that to be their pro- 
tection, 1 Pet. i. 4. 

2. That it is richly replenished with those that 
are good, and they are instead of fortifications to it; 
for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, if they are such as 
they should be, are its strength, Zech. xii. 5. The 
gates are here ordered to be opened, that the right- 
eous nation, which keeps the truth, may enter in; 
(t. 2.) they had been banished and driven cut by 
the iniquity of the former times, but now the laws 
that were made against them are repealed, and they 
ha^•e liberty to enter in again. Or, There is an act 
for a general naturalization of all the righteous, 
whatever nation they are of, encouraging them to 
come and settle in Jerusalem. When God has 
done great things for any place or people, he ex- 
pects that thus they should render according to the 
jenefit done unto them; they should be kind to his 
people, and take them under their protection, and 

r.,to their bosom. Note, (1.) It is the character of 
riv;hteous men, that they keep the tniths of God; a 
'nm belief of which will have a commanding influ- 
ence upon the regularity of the whole conversation. 
Good principles, fixed in the head, will produce 
good resolutions in the heart, and good practices in 
the life. (2. ) It is the interest of states to counte- 
nance such, and court them among them, for they 
bring a blessing with them. 

3. That all who belong to it are safe and easy, and 
have a holy security and sereniU' of mind in the as- 
surance of God's favour. (1. ) This is here the mat- 
ter of a promise; {v. 3.) Thou nvilt keefi him in 
peace, peace, mfierfect peace, inward peace, outward 
peace, peace with God, peace of conscience, peace 
\t all times, under all events; this peace shall he be 
put into, and kept in the possession of, whose mind 
IS stayed upon God, because it trusts in him. It is 
the character of every good man, that he trusts in 
God; puts himself under his guidance and govern- 
ment, and depends upon him that it shall be greatly 
to his advantage to do so. They that trust in God, 
must have their minds stayed upon him; must trust 
him at all times, under all events, must firmly and 
faithfully adhere to him, ^vith an entire satisfaction 
-n him. Such as do so, God will keep in perpetual 
peace, and that peace shall keep them. When evil 
tidings are abroad, they shall calmly expect the 
event, and not be disturbed by frightful apprehen- 
sions arising from them, whose hearts ure Jijced, 
trusting in the Lord, Ps. cxii. 7. (2.) It is the mat- 



ter of a precept; {v. 4.) " Let us make ourselves 
easy By trusting in the I^ord for ever; since God 
has promised peace to those that stay themselves 
upon him, let us not lose the benefit of that promise, 
but repose an entire confidence in him. Trust in 
him for e\'er, at all times, when you have nothing 
else to trust to; trust in him fo)-that peace, that per 
tion, which will be" fur ever." Whatever we trust 
to the world for, it will be but for a moment; all we 
expect from it, is confined within the limits of time; 
but what we trust in God for, will last as long as we 
shall last. For in the Lord Jehovah, Jah, Jehovah, 
in him who was, and is, and is to. come, there is a 
rock of ages, a firm and lasting foundation for faith 
and hope to build upon; and the house built on that 
rock will stand in a storm. They that trust in God 
shall not onlj' find in him, but rccei\e from him, 
ex'erlastiiig' strength, strength that will carry them 
to everlasting life, to that blessedness which is for 
ever; and therefore let them trust in him for evf c, 
and never cast away or change their confidence. 

5. For he bringeth down tliem that dwell 
on high ; the lofty city he layeth it low: he lay- 
eth it low, even to the ground; he bringeth it 
even to the dust. 6. The foot sJiall tread it 
down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps 
of the needy. 7. The way of the just is up- 
rightness : thou, most upright, dost weigh the 
path of the just. 8. Yea, in the way of thy 
judgments, O Lord, have we waited for 
thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, 
and to the remembrance of thee. 9. With 
my soul have I desired thee in the night ; 
yea, w'lih my spirit \\ ithih me \\W\ I seek 
thee early : for when thy judgments are in 
the earth, the inhabitants of the world will 
learn righteousness. 10. Let favour be 
showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn 
righteousness : in the land of uprightness 
will he deal unjustly, and will not behold 
die majesty of the Lord'. 11. Lord, 
lohen thy hand is lifted up, they will not 
see: hit they shall see, and be ashamed 
for their envy at the people; yea, the fire 
of thine enemies shall devour them. 

Here the prophet further encourages us to trust in 
the Lord for ever, and continue waiting on him, for, 

I. He will make humble souls that trust in liim, 
to triumph over their proud enemies; (v. 5, 6.) 
they that exalt themselves shall be abased, for he 
brings down them that dwell on high; and wherein 
they dwell proudly, he is, and will be, above them; 
even the lofty city, Babylon itself, or Nineveh, he 
lays it low, ch. xxv. 12. He can do it, be it ever 
so well fortified. He has often done it; he will do 
it, for he resists the proud, it is his glory to do it, 
for he proves himself to be God by looking on the 
proud, and abasing them. Job xl. 12. But, on the 
contrary, they that humble themselves shall be 
exalted; for the feet of the poor shall tread upon 
the lofty cities, v. 6. He does not sav. Great 
armies shall tread them down; but, When God 
will have it done, even the feet of the poor shall do 
it; (Mai. iv. 3. ) Ye shall tread down the wicked: 
come, set your feet on the necks of these kings. 
See Ps. cxlvii. 6. Rom. xvi. 20. 

II. He takes cognizance of the way of his peo- 
ple, and has delight in it; {v. 7.) The way of 



118 



ISAIAH, XXVI. 



the just is evenness; so it may be read: it is their 
endeaviiar and constant care to walk with God in 
•m even, steady course of obedience and holy con- 
versation; My foot stands in an even place, goes 
m an even path, Ps. xxvi. 12. And it is thiir hap- 
piness, that God makes their way plain and easy 
before them; Thou, most upright, dost level, or 
make even the path of the just, by prex-enting or 
removing tliose things that would be stumbling- 
l)locks to them, so that nothing shall offend them, 
Ps. cxix. 165. God weighs it; (so we read it;) he 
considers it, and will give them grace sufficient for 
them, to help them over all the difficulties they 
may meet with in tlieir way. Thus with the up- 
right, God will show himself upright. 

III. It is our duty, and will be our comfort, to 
wait for God, and to keep up holy desires toward 
him, in the darkest and most discouraging times, v. 
8, 9. This has always been the practice of God's 
people, even then when God has frowned upon 
them; 1. To keep up a constant dependence upon 
him; " In the way of thy judgments we have still 
waited for thee; when thou hast corrected us, we 
have looked to no other hand than thine to relieve 
us;" as the servant looks only lo the hand of his 
master, till that he have mercy upon him, Ps. 
cxxiii. 2. We cannot appeal from Gad's justice, 
but to his mercy. If God's judgments continue 
long, if it be a road of judgments, (so the word sig- 
nifies,) yet we must not be weary, but continue 
waiting.' 2. To send up holy desires toward him; 
our troubles, how pressing soever, must never put 
us out of conceit with ourrefigion, nor turn us away 
from God; but still the desire of out soul must be 
to his na?ne, and to the remembrance of him; and 
in the night, the darkest, longest night of affliction, 
with our souls must rue desire him. (1. ) Our great 
concern must be for God's name, and our earnest 
desire that that may be glorified, whatever be- 
comes of us and our names. This is that which we 
must wait for, and pray for; " Father, glorify thy 
name, and we are satisfied." (2.) Our great com- 
fort must be in the remembrance of that name, of 
all that whereby God has made himself known. 
The remembrance of God must be our great sup- 
tjort and pleasuVe; and though sometimes we be 
unmindful of him, yet still our desire must be to- 
ward the remembrance of him, and we must take 
pains with our own hearts to have him always in 
mind. (3.) Our desires toward God must be in- 
ward, ■ fervent, and sincere. With our soul we 
must desire him, with our soul we must pant after 
liim, (Ps. xlii. 1.) and with our spirits within us, 
with the innermost tliought, and the closest appli- 
,cition of mind, we must seek him. \ We make no.^ 
'thing of our religion, whatever our profession be,' 
\if we do not make heart-work of it. (4. ) Even in 

the darkest night of affliction, our desires must be 
toward God, as our Sun and Shield; for however 
God is pleased to deal with us, we must never think 
the worse of him, nor cool in our love to him. (5.) 
If our desires be indeed toward God, we must evi- 
dence it by seeking him, and seeking him early, as 
those that desire to find him, and dread the 
thoughts of missing him. They that would seek 
God, and find him, must seek betimes, and seek 
him earnestly. Though we come ever so early, 
we shall find him ready to receive us. 

IV. It is God's gracious design, in sending abroad 
his judgments, thereby to bring men to seek him 
and serve him; When thy judgments are upon the 
earth, laying all waste, tlien we have reason to ex- 
pect that not only God's prnfpssine: people, but 
even the inhabitants of the world nuill learn right- 
eousness; will have "their mistakes rectified and 
their lives reformed, will be brought to acknow- 
ledge God's righteousness in punishing them; will 



repent of their own uni-ighteousncss in offending 
God, and so be brought to walk in right paths. 
They will do this; judgments are designed to bring 
them to this, they have a natural tendency to pro- 
duce this effect; and though many continue obsti- 
I nate, yet some, even of the inhabitants of llie world, 
will profit by this disciphne, and will learn right- 
eousness; surely they will, they are strangely stujjid 
if they do not. Note, The intention of affliction is, 
to teach us righteousness; and blessed is the mail 
whom God chastens, and thus teaches; Ps. xciv. 12. 
Discite justitiam, moniti, et non temnere divos — 
Let this rebuke teach you to cultivate righteousness, 
and cease from despising the gods. Virg. 

V. Those are wicked indeed, that will not be 
wrought upon by the favourable methods God takes 
to reduce and reform them; and it is necessary 
that God should deal with tliem in a severe way by 
his judgments, which shall jjrevail to humble those 
that would not otherwise be humbled. Obsei've, 

1. How sinners walk contrary to Ged, and refuse 
to comply with the means used for their refoi-ma 
tion, and to answer the intentions of them, v. 10. 

(1.) Favour is .showed to them; they reccivt 
many mercies from God, he causes his sun to shine, 
and his rain to fall, upon tlitm, nay he pros])ers 
them, and into their hands he brings plentifully; 
they escape many of the strokes of God's judg- 
ments, which others, less wicked than they, have 
been cut off by; in some particular instances, they 
seem to be remarkably favoured above their neigh- 
bours, and the design of all this is, that they may be 
won upon to love and serve that God who tlius fa- 
vours them ; and yet it is all in vain, they will not 
learn righteousness, will not be led to repentance 
by the goodness of God; and therefore it is requi- 
site that God should send his judgments into the 
earth, to reckon with men for abused mercies. 

(_2.) They live in a land of uprightness, wliere 
religion is professed, and is in re])utation, where 
the word of God is preached, and where they have 
many good examples set them : in' a land of even- 
ness, where there are not so many stumbling-blocks 
as in other places; in a land of correction, where 
vice and profaneness are discountenanced and pun- 
ished; yet there they will deal unjustly, and go on 
frowardly in their evil ways. They that do wick- 
edly, deal unjustly both with God and man, and 
with their own souls; arid those that will not be re- 
claimed by the justice of the nation, may expect 
the judgments ot God upon them. Nor can they 
expect a place hereafter in the land of blessedness, 
who now confomi not to the laws and usages, noi 
improve the privileges and advantages of the land 
of uprightness. And why do they not.'' It is be- 
cause they will not behold the majesty of the Lord; 
will not believe, will not consider, what a Gi d of 
terrible majesty he is, whose laws and justice they 
persist in the contempt of. God's majesty appears 
in all the dispensations of his providence;' but they 
I'egard it not, and therefore study not to answer the 
ends of those dispensations. Even when we re- 
ceive of the mercy of the Lord, we must still be- 
hold the majesty of the Lord, and his goodness. 

(3.) God lifts up his hand, to give them warning, 
that they may, by repentance and prayer, make 
their peace with him; but they take no notice of it, 
are not aware that God is angr>' with them, or 
coming forth against tliem; they will not see, and 
none so blind as those who will not see, who shut 
their eyes against the clearest conviction of i;uilt and 
wrath ; who ascribe that to chance, or common fate, 
whicli is manifestly a divine rebuke; who regard 
not the threatening sym])toms of their own ruin, but 
cry peace to themselves, when the righteous Goi) 
is waging war with them. 

2. How God will at length be too hard for them; 



ISAIAH, XXVI. 



\VJ 



for wlren he judges, he will overcome; T/tey nvill 
not see, but Ihey shall sec; they shall be made to 
see, whether they will or no, that God is angry 
with them. Atheists, sconiers, and the secure, 
will shortly feel, what now they will not believe. 
That it IS a fearful thing to fall into the hands of 
the living God. They will not see the evil of sin, 
and particularly the sin of hating and persecuting 
the people of God; but they shall see, by the to- 
kens of God's displeasure against them for it, and 
the deliverances in which God will plead his peo- 
ple's cause, that what is done against them lie takes 
as done against himself, and will reckon for it ac- 
cordingly. They shall see that they have done God's 
people a great deal of wrong, and therefore shall 
be ashamed of their enmity and envy toward them, 
and their ill usage of such as deserved better treat- 
ment. Note, Those that bear ill will to God's peo- 
ple, have reason to be ashamed of it, so absurd and 
unreasonable is it; and, sooner or later, they shall 
be ashamed of it, and the remembrance of it shall 
fill them with confusion. Some read it. They shall 
see, and be confounded for the zeal of the fieople, 
by the zeal God will show for his people; when 
tliey shall be made to know how jealous (iod is for 
the honour and welfare of his people, they shall be 
confounded to think that they might have been of 
that people, and would not. Their doom there- 
tore is, that, since they slighted the happiness of 
(iod's friends, the_^?-f of his enemies shall devour 
.■hem, that fire which is prepared for his enemies, 
and with whicli they shall be devoured, the fire de- 
signed for the devil and his angels. Note, Those 
that are enemies to God's people, and envy them, 
God looks upon as his enemies, and will deal with 
them accordingly. 

1 2. Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us : 
for thou also hast wrought all our works in 
us. 13. O Lord our God, other lords be- 
sides thee have had dominion over us ; bnt 
by thee only will we make mention of thy 
name. 1 4. The?/ are dead,tiiey shall not live ; 
t/iei/ are deceased, they shall not rise: there- 
fore hast thou visited and destroyed them, 
and made all their memory to perish. 15. 
Thou hast increased the nation, O Lord, 
thou hast increased the nation : thou art glo- 
rified ; thou hadst removed it far vnto all 
the ends of the earth. 16. Lord, in trou- 
ble have they visited thee ; they poured out 
a prayer tv/ieji thy chastening was upon 
them. 17. Like as a woman with child, 
that draweth near the time of her delivery, 
is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs ; so 
have we been in thy sight, O Lord. 18. 
^^'e have been with child, we have been in 
pain, we have as it were brought forth 
wind; we have not wrought any deliver- 
ance in the earth, neitlier have the inhabit- 
ants of the world fallen. 19. Thy dead 
inrii shall live, together with my dead body 
shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that 
dwell in dust : for thy dew is as the dew of 
herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. 

Tlie prophet, in these verses, looks back upon 
wh It God had done with them, both in mercy and 
ludgni-nt, and sings unto God of both; and then 



looks forward upon what he hoped God would do 
for them. Observe, 

I. His reviews and reflections are mixed. When 
he looks back upon the state of the church, he finds, 

1. That God had in many instances been very 
gracious to them, and h d done great things fcr 
them; {v. 12.) T/iou ha.^t ivroiight all our tvorks 
in us, or for us. NVhatcver goi d work is done by 
us, it is owing to a good v.crk wixught by the 
grace of God in us; it is lie tliat jnits good thoughts 
and affections into our hearts, if at any time they be 
there, and that nvorks in us both to will and to do of 
his good fileasure. yicti agimus — Being acted ufion, 
nve act. And if any kindness be showed us, or any 
of our affairs be prosperous and successful, it is 
God that works it for us; and every creature, every 
business, that are any way serviceable to our com- 
fort, it is he that makes them to be so; sometimes 
he makes that to work for us, which seemed to 
make against us. 

In particular; {y. 15.) Thou hast increased the 
nation, Lord, so that a little one has become a 
thousand; in Egypt they multiplied exceedingly, 
and afterward in Canaan; so that they filled the 
land; and in this thou art glorified; for the multi- 
tude of the people is the honour of the prince: 
and therein God was gloi-ified as faithful to his co- 
venant with Abraham, that he would make him a la 
ther of many nations. Note, God's nation is a grow 
ing nation, and it is the glory of God that it is so. Tin 
increase of the church, that holy nation, is therefore 
to be rejoiced in, because it is the increase of these 
that make it their business to glorify God in this 
world. 

2. That yet he had laid thein under his rebukes. 
(1.) The neighbouring nations had sometimes oji- 

pressed them, and tyrannized over them; {v. 1:3.' 
"0 Lord our God, thou who hast the sole riglit to 
rule us, whose subjects and servants we are, to thee 
we complain, (for whither else shrruld we go with 
our complaints)) that other lords, beside thee, have 
had dominion over us." Not only in the day 
of the Judges, but afterwards, God frequently sold 
them into the hand of their enemies; or rather, by 
their iniquities they sold themselves, ch. lii. 3 — 5. 
When tliey had been careless in the service of God, 
God suffered their enemies to have dominion over 
them, that they might know the difference between 
his service and the service of the kingdo7ns of the 
countries. It may be understood as a confession of 
sin, their serving other gods, and subjecting them- 
selves to the superstitious laws and customs of their 
neighbours, by which other lords (for they called 
their idols Baals, lords,) had dominion over them, 
beside God. But now they promise that it shall be 
so no more; " From henceforth by thee only ivillive 
make mention of thy name; we will worship thee 
onlv, and in that way only which thou hast instituted * 
and appointed." The same may be our penitent 
reflection, Other lords, beside God, have had donii- 
ninn over us; every lust has been our lord, and we 
h..ve been led captive by it; and it has been long 
enough, and too long, that we have, thus wronged 
Ijoth God and ourselves. The same therefore mus' 
b'' our pious resolution, that from henceforth Wv 
will make mention of God's name only, and by him 
only; that we will keep close to God and to cur 
dutv, and ne\'er desert it. 

(2.) They had sometimes been carried into cap- 
tivity before their enemies; (t». 15.) "The nation 
which at first thou didst increase, and make to take 
root, thou hast now diminished, and plucked U]), and 
removed to all the ends of the earth, driven out to 
the utmost parts of heaven " asistlireatencd, Deut. 
XXX. 4. — xxviii. 64. But observe, betwixt the men- 
tion of the increasing of them, and that of the re ., 
moving of them, it is said, Tliou art glorified; foi i 



120 



ISAIAK, XXVI 



rhe judgments God inflicts upon his people for theii 
si s, are for his lionour, as well as the mercies he 
bestows upon tliem in performance of liis pi'omisc. 
(3. ; Ho remembers that when they were thus 
oppressed, and carried captive, they cried unto 
God; which was a good e\'idence that tliey neither 
had quite forsaken liim, nor were quite forsaken of 
l>im, and tliat there were merciful nitentions in the 
judgments they were under; {v. 16.) Lord, in (rou- 
ble haxie they visited thee. This was usual witli the 
people of Israel, as we find frequently in the story 
of the Judges; when other lords had dominion ox'er 
them, they humbled themselves, and said, The Lord 
is riffhteous, 2 Chron. xii. 6. See here, [1.] The 
need we have of afflictions; they are necessar)' to stir 
up prayer; when it is said, In trouble they have vi- 
sited thee, it is implied that in their peace and pros- 
perity they were strangers to God, kept at a distance 
from him, and seldom came near him; as if, when 
the world smiled upon them, they had no occasion 
for his favours. [2.] The benefit we often have by 
afflictions; they liring us to God, quicken us to our 
duty, and show us our dependence upon him. Those 
that before seldom looked at God, now visit him; 
they come frequently, they become friendly, and 
make their court to him. Before, prayer came drop 
by drop, but now they pour out a prayer; it comes 
now like water from a fountain, not like water from 
a still. Tlicy poured out a secret speech; so the mar- 
gin: praying is speaking to God, but it is a secret 
speech; for it is the language of the heart, otlierwise 
it is not praying. Afflictions bring us to secret 
prayer, in which we may be more free and parti- 
cular in our addresse:; to him, than we can be in 
Cublic. In affliction, those will seek God early, who 
efore sought him slowly, Hos. v. 15. It will make 
men fervent and fluent in prayer; " They poured 
out a prayer, as the drink-offerings were poured out, 
when thy chastening was upon them." But it is to 
he feared, when the chastening is off them, they 
will by degrees return to their former carelessness, 
as they had often done. 

(4.) He complains that their struggles for their 
own liberty had be.en very painful and perilous, but 
that thev had not been successful, x'. 17, 18. 

[1.] They had the throes and pangs they dread- 
ed; "We have been like a woman in labour, that 
cries out in her pangs. We have with a great deal 
of anxiety and toil endeavoured to help ourselves, 
and oui- troubles have been increased by those at- 
tempts;" as when Moses came to deliver Israel, the 
tale of bi'icks was doubled. Their prayers were 
quickened by the acuteness of their pains, and be- 
came as strong and vehement as the cries of a wo- 
man in sore travail; so have ivt been in thy sight, 
Lord. It was a comfort and s itisfaction to them, 
in their distress, that God had his eye upon them, 
that all their miseries were in his sight; he was no 
stranger to their pangs or their prayers; Lord, all 
my desire is before thee, and my groaning is not 
hid from thee, Ps. xxxviii. 9. Whenever they came 
to present themselves before the Lord with their 
complaints and petitions, they were in agonies like 
those of a woman in travail. 

[2.] They came short of the issue and success 
thev desired and hoped for; "IVe have been with 
child; we have had great expectation of a speedy 
and happy deliverance, have been big with hopes, 
and, when we have been in pain, have comforted 
ourselves with this, tliat the joyful birth would make 
us forget our misery, John xvi. 21. But alas, nve 
have as it ivere brought forth wind; it has proved 
a false conception, our expectations have been frus- 
trated, and our pains have been rather dying pains 
than travailing ones; we have had a miscarrying 
woiTiii and dry breasts. All our efforts have proved 
p.iccesslcss; we have not wrought any deliverance 



in (he earth, for oui selves or foi our friend« snd 
allies; but rather have made our own case and 
theirs worse; ?ieither have the inhabitants oj the 
world, whom we have been contesting with, fallen 
before us, either in their power or in tlieir hopes; 
but they are still as high and arrogant as ever." 
Note, A righteous cause may be strenuoush' plead- 
ed both by prayer and endeavour, both with Cjod 
and man; and yet for a great while may suffer, and 
the point not be gained. 

II. His prospects and hopes are very pleasant. In 
general, "Thou wilt ordain peace for us, {v. 12.) 
all that good which the necessity of our case calls 
for." What peace the church has, or hopes for, it 
is of God's ordaining. And we may comfort our- 
selves with this, 'That what trouble soever may foi 
a time be appointed to the people of God, peace 
will at length be ordained for them ; for the end of 
those men is peace. And if God by his Spirit vjork 
all our works in us, he will ordain peace for us; foi 
the work of righteousness shall be peace. And tha' 
is true and lasting peace, such as the world can nei- 
ther give nor take away, which God ordains; for tc 
those that have it, it shall be unchangeable as the 
ordinances of the day and of the night. And frcm 
what God has done for us, we may encourage our- 
selves to hope that he will yet furthci' do us good. 
" Thou hast heard the desire of the humble, and 
therefore wilt; (Ps. x. 17.) and when this peace is 
ordained for us, then by thee only will we make 
mention of thy name; {v. 13.) we will give the glory 
of it to thee only, and not to any other. And we will 
depend upon thy grace only to enable us to do so. ' 
We cannot praise God's name, but by his strength. 

Two things in particular the prophet here com- 
forts the church with the prospect of. 

1. The amazing ruin of her enemies; {v. 14.) 
They are dead, those other lords that have had do- 
minio7i over us; their power is irrecovcralily broken, 
they are quite cut off and extinguished; and they 
shall not li\-e, shall ne^'er be able to hold up the 
head any more. Being deceased, they shall not rise, 
but, like Haman, when they have begun to fall be- 
fore the seed of the Jews, they shall sink like a 
stone. Because they are sentenced to this final ruin, 
therefore, in pursuance of that sentence, God him- 
self has visited them in wrath, as a righteous Judge, 
and has cut off both the men themselves, {he has 
destroyed them,) and the remembrance of them; 
they and their names are buried together in the 
dust. He has made all their memory to perish: 
they are either forgotten, or made mention of with 
detestation. Note, The cause that is maintained in 
opposition to God and his kingdom among men, 
though it may pros])er awhile, will certainly sink 
at last, and all that adhere to it will perish with it. 
The Jewish doctors, comparing thi? with v. 19. . 
infer, that the resurrection of the dead belongs to 
the Jews only, and that tliose of other nations shall 
not rise. But we know better; that all who are in 
their graves, shall hear the voice of the Son of God; 
and that this speaks of the final destniction ot 
Christ's enemies, which is the second deatli. 

2. The suiprising resurrection of her friends, v. 
19. Though the church rejoices not in the Ijirth of 
the man-child, of which she travailed in pain, but 
has as it were brought forth wind, {v. 18. ) yet the 
disappointment shall be balanced in a way equiva 
lent; Thy dead men shall live; those who were 
thought to be dead, who had received a sentence of 
death witiiin themsches, who were cast out as if 
tliey had been naturally dead, they shall appear 
again in their former vigour. A spirit of life from 
God shall enter into the slain witnesses, and they 
shall prophesy again. Rev. xi. 11. The dry bones 
shall live, and become an exceeding great army, 
Ezek. xxxvii. 10. Together with ?ny dead body 



ISAIAH, XXV]. 



121 



thrill thrxi arise. If we believe the resurrection 
if tlie de.icl, of our dead bodies at the last day, 
lis Job did, and the prophet here, that will fa- 
■:ilit,ite our belief of the promised restoration of the 
cliurca's lustre and strength in this world. When 
(iod's time is come, how low soever she may be 
broui^ln, tliey shall arise, even Jerusalem, the city 
a' (Jod, but now lying like a dead body, a car- 
case to which the eagles are gathered together. 
God owns it still for his, so does the prophet; but it 
shall arise, shall be rebuilt, and flourish again. And 
thei'efore, let the poor, desolate, melancholy re- 
mains of its inhabitants, that dwell as in dust, awake 
and sing, for they shall see Jerusalem, the city o/" 
their solemnities, a quiet habitation again, ch. xxxiii. 
20. The dew of God's favour shall be to it as the 
evening dew to the herbs, that were parched with 
the lieat of the sun all day, it shall revive and refresh 
them. And as the spring-dews, that water the 
earth, and make the herbs that lay buried m it, to 
put forth and bud, so shall they flourish again, and 
the earth shall cast out the dead, as it casts the 
herbs out of their roots. The eaith, in which they 
seemed to be lost, shall contribute to their revival. 
When the church and her interests are to be res- 
tored, neither the dew of heaven, nor the fatness of 
the earth, shall be wanting to do their parts towards 
it. Now this (as Ezekiel's vision, which is a com- 
ment upon it) may be fitly accommodated, (1.) To 
the spiritual resurrection of those that were dead in 
sin, by the power of Christ's gospel and grace. So 
Dr. Lightfoot applies it, Hor. Hebr. in Jo/i. xii. 24. 
riie Gentiles shall live, with my body shall they 
arise; they shall be called in after Christ's resur- 
rection, shall rise with him, and sit with him in 
heavenly places; nay, they shall arise my body; 
(savs he;) they shall become the mystical body of 
Christ, and shall rise as part of him. (2.) To the 
last resurrection; when dead saints shall live, and 
rise together with Christ's dead body; for he rose 
as the First-Fruits, and believers shall rise by virtue 
of their union witli him, and their communion in his 
resuiTection. 

20. Come, my people, enter thou into thy 
chambers, and shut thy dooi-s about thee : 
hide thyself as it were for a little moment, 
until the indignation be overpast. 21. For, 
behold, the Lord cometh out of his place 
to punish the inhabitants of the earth for 
their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose 
her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. 

These two verses are supposed not to belong to 
t!ic song, which takes up the rest of the chapter, 
but to begin a new matter, and to be rather an in- 
troduction to the following chapter than the conclu- 
sion of this. Or, whereas, in the foregoing song, 
the people of God had spoken to him, complaining 
(>f their grievances, here he returns an answer to 
their complaints. In which, 

1. He invites them into their chambers; (y. 20.) 
"Come, my people, come to me, come with me;" 
(lie calls them no whither but where he himself 
will accompany them;) "let the storm that dis- 
perses others, bring you nearer together. Come, 
and entei' into thy chambers; stay not abroad, lest 
vou be caught in the storm, as the Egyptians in the 
hail," Exod. ix. 21. (1.) "Come into chambers 
of distinctioyi ; come into your own apartments, and 
continue not any longer mixed with the children of 
Bibylon. Come out from among them, a7id be ye 
s-fiarate," 2 Cor. vi. 17. Rev. xviii. 4. If God has 
set a)iart them that are godly for himself, they 
ou5;lit to set themselves apart. (2.) " Into chambers 
->i defence; in which, by the secrecy, of them, oi the 

Vol. IV.— Q 



strength, you ma\ be safe in the worst of times." 
The attributes of God are the secret of his taberna- 
cle, Ps. xx\ ii. 5. His name is a strong tower, into 
which we may run for shelter, Prov. xviii. 10. We 
must, by faith, find a way into these chambers, and 
there hide ourselves with a holy security and seren- 
ity of mind, we must put ourselves under the divine 
protection. Come, as Noah into the ark, for he 
shut the doors about him; when dangers are threat- 
ening, it is good to retire, and lie hid, as Elijah did 
by the brook Cherith. (3.) Into chambers of c/ex'o- 
tion; "Enter into thy closet, and shut thy door, 
Matth. vi. 6. Be private with God ; enter into thy 
chamber, to examme thyself and commune with 
thy own heart, to pray, and humble tliyself before 
God." Tills work is to be done in times of dis- 
tress and danger; and thus we hide ourseh'es; we 
recommend ourselves to God to hide us, and he 
will hide us either under heaven or in heaven. Is- 
rael must keep within doors, when the destroying 
angel is slaying the first-born of Egypt, else the 
blood on the door-posts will not secure them. So 
must Rahab and her family, when Jericho is de- 
stroyed. Those are most safe, that are least seen. 
Qui bene latuit, bene vixit — He has lived well, who 
has sought a proper degree of concealment. 

2. He assures them that the trouble would be over 
in a very short time; tliat they should not long be in 
any fright or peril; "Hide thyself for a moment, 
the smallest part of time we can conceive, like an 
atom of matter; nay, if vou can imagine one moment 
shorter than anotfier, it is but for a little moment, 
and that witli a (/nasi too, as it were, for a little mo- 
ment, less tlian }ou think of; when it is over, it will 
seem as nothing to j-ou, you will wonder how soon 
it is gone. You shall not need to lie long in con- 
finement, long in concealment; the indigmation will 
presently be overpast; the indignation of the ene- 
mies against you, their persecuting power and rage, 
which force you to abscond; when the wicked rise, 
a man is hid. This will soon be over, God will cut 
them off, will break their power, defeat their pur- 
poses, and find a way for your enlargement. " When 
Athanasius was banished Alexandria by an edict 
of Julian, and his friends greatly lamented it, he 
bid them be of good cheer; A^ubicula est cjucs cito 
pertransibit — // is a little cloud that will soon blow 
over. You shall have tribulation ten days; that is 
all. Rev. ii. 10. This enables God's suffering peo- 
ple to call their afflictions light, that they are but 
for a moment. 

3. He assures them that their enemies should be 
reckoned with for all the mischief they had done 
them by the sword, either of war or persecution, T. 
21. The Lord will punish them for the blood they 
have shed. Here is, (1.) The judgment set, anci 
process issued out; The Lord comes out of his place, 
to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their ini- 
quity, in giving such disturbance to all about them. 
There is a great deal of iniquity among the inhabi- 
tants of the earth; but, though they all combine in 
it, though hand join in hand to cany it on, yet it 
shall not go unpunished. Beside the everlasting 
punishment into which the wicked shall go hereaf- 
ter, there are often remarkable punishments rf 
cruelty, oppression, and persecution, in this world. 
When men's indignation is overpast, and they have 
done their worst, let them then expect God's indig- 
nation, im- he sees thathisdayiscoming, Ps. xxxxii. 
13. God comes out of his place, to pjtnish; he 
shows himself in fn extraordinary manner from 
heaven, the firmament of his power, from the sanc- 
tuary, the residence of his grace; he is raised up out 
of his holy habitation, where he seemed before to 
conceal himself; and now he will do something 
great, the product of his wise, just, and secret coun- 
sels; as a prince that goes to take the chair, or take 



122 



ISAIAH, XXVII. 



the field, Zech. ii. 13. Some observe, that God's 
place is the mercy-seat, there he delights to be; 
when he punishes, he comes out of his place, for he 
has no pleasure in the death of sinners. (2.) The 
criminals convicted by the notorious evidence of the 
tact; Tlie earth shall disclose her blood; the innocent 
blood, the blood of the saints and martyrs, which has 
been shed upon the earth like water, and has soaked 
into it, and been concealed and covered by it, shall 
now be brought to light, and brought to account; for 
God will make inquisition for it, and will give those 
that shed it blood to drink, for they are worthy. 
Secret murders, and other secret wickednesses, 
shall be discovei'ed, sooner or later. And the slain 
which tlie earth has long covered, she shall no 
longer cover, but they shall be produced as evidence 
against the murderers. The voice of Abel's blood 
cries from the earth, Gen. iv. 10, 11. Those sins 
which seem to have been buried in oblivion, will be 
called to mind, and called over again, when the day 
of reckoning comes. Let God's people therefore 
wait awhile with patience, for, behold, the Judge 
stands before the door. 

CHAP. XXVII. 

In this chapter, the prophet goes on to show, I. What great 
thing's God would do for his church and people, which 
should now shortly be accomplished in the deliverance 
of Jerusalem from Sennacherib, and the destruction of 
the Assyrian army; but it is expressed generally, for the 
•encouragement of the church in after ages, with refer- 
ence to the power and prevalency of her enemies. I. 
That proud oppressors should be reckoned with, v. 1. 2. 
That care should be taken of the church, as of God's 
vineyard, v. 2, 3. 3. That God would let fall his con- 
troversy with the people, upon their return to him, v. 4, 
S. 4. That he would greatly multiply and increase them, 
V. 6. 5. That as to their afflictions, the property of them 
should be altered; (v. 7.) they should be mitigated and 
moderated, (v. 8.) and sanctified, v. 9. 6. That though 
the church might be laid waste, and made desolate, for a 
time, (v. 10, 11.) yet it should be restored, and the scat- 
tered members should be gathered together again, v. 12, 
13. II. All this is applicable to the grace of the gospel, 
and God's promises to, and providences concerning, the 
Christian church, and such as belong to it. 

l.TN that day the Lord, with his sore, 
JL and great, and strong sword, shall 
punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even 
leviathan that crooked serpent ; and he shall 
slay the diagon that is in the sea. 2. In 
that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of 
red wine. 3. I the Lord do keep it; 1 will 
water it every moment; lest any hurt it, I 
will keep it night and day. 4. Fury is not 
in me : who would set the briers and thorns 
against me in battle? I would go through 
them, I would burn them together. 5. Or 
let him take hold of my strength, that he 
may make peace with me; and he shall 
make peace with me. 6. He shall cause 
them that come of Jacob to take root : Is- 
rael shall blossom and bud, and fill the face 
of the world with fruit. 

The prophet is here singing of judgment and 
mercy. 

I. Of judgment upon the enemies of God's church; 
(i'. 1.) tribulation to them that trouble it, 2 Thess. 
i. 6. When the Lord comes out of his place, to 
fiunish the inhabitants of the earth, (^ch. xxvi. 21.) 
he will be sure to punish leviathan, the dragon that 
is in the sea; every proud, oppressing tyrant, that 
is the terror of the mighty, and, like the leviathan, 
is so fierce, that none dare stir him up, and his heart 



as hard as a stone, and when he raises up himself 
the mighty are afraid, Job xli. 10, 24, 25. Th-. 
church has many enemies, but crmmonly some om 
that is more formidable than the rest. So Senni. 
cherib was, in his day, and Nebuchadnezzar in hii 
and Antiochus in his; so Pharaoh had been firnie? 
ly, and he is called leviathan, and the dragon, P 
Ixxiv. 14. ch. li. 9. Ezek. xxix. 3. The Mew Tes- 
tament church has had its leviathans; we read of a 
great red dragon ready to devour it. Rev. xii. 3. 
Those malignant persecuting powers are here com- 
pared to the leviathan, for bulk and strength, and 
the mighty bustle they make in the world; to 
dragons, for their rage and fury; to serpents, pier- 
cing serpents, penetrating in their counsels, quick in 
their motions, which, if they once get in their head, 
will soon wind in their whole body; crossing like a 
bar, so the margin, standing in the way of all their 
neighbours, and obstructing them; to crooked ser- 
pents, subtle and insinuating, but perverse rnd mis- 
chievous. Great and mighty princes, if they op- 
pose the people of God, are, in God's acccunt, r,s 
dragons and serpents, and plagues of mankind ; and 
the Lord will punish them in due time. They are 
too big for men to deal with, and call to an account, 
and therefore the great Ciod will take the doing of 
it into his own hands. He has a sore, and great, 
and strong sword, wherewith to do execution iipcn 
them, when the measure of their inicjuity is full, 
and their day is come to fall. It is emphatically 
expressed in the original; "The Lord ivith his sword, 
that cruel one, and that great one, and that strong 
one, shall punish this unwieldy, this unruly crimi- 
nal, and it shall be capital punishment; he shall slay 
the dragon that is in the sea; for the wages of his 
sin is death. This shall not only be a preventirn 
of his doing further mischief, as the slaying of a wild 
beast, but a just punishment for the mischief he has 
done, as the putting of a traitor or rebel to death. 
God has a strong sword for the doing of this; va- 
riety of judgments, sufficient to humble the prr ud-" 
est, and break the most powerful, of his enemies; 
and he will do it when the day of execution comes. 
In that day, he will punish; his day which is coming 
Ps. xxxvii. 13. This is applicable to the spiritua 
victories obtained by our Lord Jesus o\'er the powers 
of darkness. He not only disarmed, spoiled, and 
cast out, the prince of this world, but, with his 
strong sword, the virtue of his death, and tlie preach- 
ing of his gospel, he does, and will, destroy him that 
had the flower of death, that is, the dexul, that great 
leviathan, that old serpent, the dragon. He shall 
be bound, that he may not deceive the nations, and 
that is a punishment to him. Rev. xx. 2, 3. And, 
at length, for deceiving the nations, he shall be cavt 
into the lake of fire. Rev. xx. 10. 

II. Of mercy to the church; in that same day, 
when God is punishing the leviathan, let the church 
and all her friends be easy and cheerful; let those 
that attend her, sing to her for her comfort, sing her 
asleep with these assurances; let it be sung in her 
assemblies. 

1. That she is God's vineyard, and is under his 
particular care, -v. 2, 3. She is, in God's eye, a vine- 
yard of red wine. The woi'ld is as a fruitless, 
worthless wilderness; but the church is enclosed as 
a vineyard, a peculiar place, and of value, that has 
great care taken of it, and great pains taken with it, 
and from which precious fruits are gathered, where- 
with they honour God and man. It is a vineyard 
of red wine, yielding the best and choiQest grapes; 
intimating the reformation of the church, that it 
now brings forth good fruit unto God, wliereas be- 
fore it brought forth fruit to itself, or bi-ought forth 
wild grapes, ch. v. 4. 

Now God takes care, (1.) Of the jrfety of this 
vineyard; / the Lord do keep it. He speaks this. 



ISAIAH, XXVII. 



123 



as glorying in it, that he is, and has undertaken to 
be, thi; Keeper of Israel: those that bring forth 
fruit to God, are, and shall be always, under his 
l)rotection. He speaks this, as assuring us that they 
sliall be so; I the Lord, that can do in'erij thing; but 
cannot lie nor deceix'e, I do kee/i it, lest anij hurt it; 
I will kee'fi it night and day. God's vineyard in 
this world lies much exposed to injury; there are 
numy that would hurt it, would tread it down, and 
Liy it waste; (Ps. Ixxx. 13.) but God will suffer no 
real hurt or damage to be done it, but wliat he will 
bring good out of it. He will keep it constantly, 
night and day; and not without need, for the ene- 
mies are restless in their designs and attempts against 
it, and, both night and day, seek an opportunity to 
do it a mischief. God will keep it in the night of 
affliction and persecution, and in the day of peace 
and prosperity, the temptations of wliich are no less 
dangerous. God's people shall be preserved, not 
only from the pestilence that ivalketh in darkness, 
but from the destruction that ivasteth at noon-day, 
Ps. xci. 6. This vineyard shall be well fenced. 
(2.) Of the fruitfulness of this vineyard; / luill 
mater it every moment, and yet it shall not be over- 
watered. The still and silent dews of God's grace 
and blessing shall continually descend upon it, that 
it may liring forth much fruit. We need the con- 
stant and continual watenngs of the dixine grace; 
for if that be at any time withdrawn, we wither, 
and come to nothing. God waters his vineyard by 
the ministry of the word, that is, by his servants the 
propliets, whose doctrine shall drop as the dew. 
Paul plants, and ApoUos waters, but God gives the 
increase; for without him the watchman wakes, 
and tlie husbandman waters, in vain. 

2. That though sometimes he contends with his 
people, j'et, upon their submission, he will be re- 
conciled to them, V. 4, 5. Fury is not in him to- 
ward his vineyard; though he meets with many 
things in it that are offensive to him, yet he does 
not seek advantages against it, nor is extreme to 
mark what is amiss in it. It is true, if he find in it 
bries and thorns instead of vines, and they be set in 
battle against him, (as indeed that in the vineyard, 
which is not for him, is against him,) he will tread 
them down, and burn them; but otherwise, "If I 
,am angry with my people, they know what course 
' to take; let them humble themselves, and pray, and 
seek my face, and so take hold of my strength with 
a sincere desire to make their peace with me, and I 
will soon be reconciled to them, and all shall be 
well! " God sees the sins of his people, and is dis- 
pleased with them; but, upon their repentance, he 
turns away his wrath. 

This may very well be construed as a summary 
of the doctrine of the gospel, with which the church 
IS to be watered every moment. (1.) Here is a 
quarrel supposed between God and man; for here 
is a battle fought, and peace to be made. It is an 
old quarrel, ever since sin first entered; it is, on 
God's part, a righteous quarrel, but, on man's part, 
most unrighteous. (2.) Here is a gracious invita- 
tion given us to make up this quarrel, and to get 
these matters in variance accommodated; "Let 
him that is desirous to be at peace with God, take 
hold on his strength, on his strong arm, which is 
lifted up against the sinner, to strike him dead; and 
let him bv supplication keep back the stroke; let 
him wrestle with me, as Jacob did, resolving not to 
let me go without a blessing; and he shall be Israel 
— a /irince ivith God." Pardoning mercy is called 
the power of our Lord; let him take hold on that. 
Christ is the jirm of the Lord, ch. liii. 1. Christ 
crucified is the flower of God; (1 Cor. i. 24.) let 
him by a hvely faith take hold on him, as a man 
that is sinking catches hold of a bough, or cord, or 
plank, that is in his reach; or as the malefactor took 



hold on the horns of the altar, believing that there 
is no other name by which he can be saved, by 
which he can be reconciled. (3.) Here is a three- 
fold cord of arguments to persuade us to do this. 
[1.] Time and space are given us to do it in, for 
tury is not in God; he does not carry it towards us 
as great men carry it towards their inferiors, when 
the one is in fault, and the other in a fury. Men in 
a fury will not take time for consideration; it is, 
with them, but a word and a blow. Furii us men 
are soon angry, and implacable when they are 
angry; a little thing provokes them, and no little 
thing will pacify them: but it is not so with God; 
he considers our frame, is slow to anger, docs not 
stir up his wrath, nor always chide. [2.] It is in 
vain to think of contesting with him. If we jjersist 
in our quarrel with him, and think to make our 
part good, it is but like setting briers and thorns be- 
fore a consuming fire, which will be so far from 
giving check to the progress of it, that they will but 
make it bum the more outrageously. We are not 
an equal match for Omnipctence. Wo unto him 
therefore that strives with his Maker! He knows 
not the power of his anger. [3.] This is the only 
way, and it is a sure way, to reconciliation; "Let 
him take this course- to make peace with me, and 
he shall make peace; and thereby good, all good, 
shall come unto him." God is willing to be recon- 
ciled to us, if we be but willing to be reconciled to 
him. 

3. That the church of God in the world shall be 
a growing body, and come at length ft) be a great 
body; (x'. 6.) In times to come, (so some read it,) i?i 
after-times, when these calamities are ovei-past; or, 
in the days of the gospel, the latter days, he shall 
cause Jacob to take root, deeper root than ever yet; 
for the gospel-church shall be nioi-e firndy fixed 
than ever the Jewish church was, and shall s-pread 
further. Or, He shall cause them of Jacob, that 
come back out of their captivity, or, as we read it, 
them that come of Jacob, to take root doivnivard, 
and bear fruit ufiivard, ch. xxxvii. 31. They shall 
be established in a prosperous state, and then they 
shall blossom and bud, and give hopeful prospects 
of a great increase; and so it shall prove, for they 
shall Jill the face of the -world nvith fruit. Many 
shall be brought into the church, proselytes shall be 
numerous; some out of all the nations about, that 
shall be to the God of Israel for a name and a praise: 
and the converts shall be fniitful in the finits of 
righteousness; the preaching of the gospel brought 
forth fruit in all the world, (Col. i. 6.) fruit that 
remains, John xv. 16. 

7. Hath he smitten him, as he smote those 
that smote him ? or is he slain according to 
the slaughter of them that are slain by him ? 
8. In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou 
wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough 
wind in the day of the east wind. 9. By 
this, therefore, shall the iniquity of .Tacob be 
purged; and this is all the fruit to take away 
his sin; when he maketh all the stones of 
the altar as chalk-stones that are beaten in 
sunder, the groves and images shall not stand 
up. 10. Yet the defenced city ahall be de- 
solate, and the habitation forsaken, and left 
like a wilderness: there shall the calf feed, 
and there shall he lie down, and consume 
tlie branches thereof 1 1. When the boughs 
thereof are withered, they shall be broken 
off: the women come and set them on fire 



124 



ISAIAH, XXVII. 



for it is a people of no understanding: tiiere- 
fore lie tliat made tliein will not liave mercy 
on them, and he that formed tliem will show 
them no favour. 1 2. And it shall come to 
pass in that day, that the Lord shall beat 
off from the channel of the liver unto the 
stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered 
one by one, O ye children of Israel. 1 3. And 
it shall come to pass in that day, that the 
great trumpet shall bo blown, and they shall 
come which were ready to perish in the land 
of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of 
Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the 
holy mount at Jerusalem. 

Here is the prophet again singing of mercy and 
judgment, not, as before, judgment to the enemies, 
and mercy to the church; but judgment to the 
churcli, and mercy mixed with that judgment. 

I. Here is judgment threatened even to Jacob and 
Israel; they shall blossom and bud, v. 6. But, 1. 
They shall be smitten and slain ; {v. 7. ) some of them 
shall. If God finds any thing -amiss among them, 
he shall lay them under tlie tokens of his displea- 
sure for it. Judgment shall begin at the house of 
God, and those whom God has known of all the 
families of the earth, he will punish in the first place. 
2. Jerusalem, their defenced city, shall be desolate, 
V. 10, 11. G6d having tried a variety of methods 
with them for their reformation, whicli, as to many, 
have proved ineffectual, he will for a time lay their 
country waste, whicli was accomplished when Jeru- 
salem was destroyed by the Chaldeans; then that 
habitation was for a loiig time forsaken. If lesser 
judgments do not do the work, God will send 
greater; for, when he judges, he will overcome. 
Jerusalem had been a defenced city, not so much by 
•art or nature, as by grace and the divine protection; 
but when God was provoked to withdraw, her De- 
fence was departed from her, and tlien she was left 
like a wilderness. And in the pleasant gardens of 
Jei-usalem cattle shall feed, shall lie down there, 
and there shall be none to disturb them or drive 
them away, there they shall be Irvant and cou- 
c/iant,* and they shall eat the tender branches of 
the fruit-trees; which perhaps further signifies that 
the people should become an easy prey to their ene- 
mies; when the boughs thereof are withered as they 
grow upon the tree, being blasted by winds and 
frosts, and not pruned, they shall be broken ofT for 
fuel, and the women and children shall come and 
set them on fire. There shall be a total destruction, 
for the very trees shall be destroyed. And this is a 
figure of the deplorable state of the vineyard, {v. 
2.) when it brought forth wild grapes; {ch. v. 2.) 
and oui- Saviour seerns to refer to this, when he says 
of the branches of the vine which abide not in him, 
that they ;u-e cast forth and withered, and men ga- 
ther them, and cast them into the f re, and they are 
burned, (John xv. 6,) which was in a particular 
manner fulfilled in the unbelieving Jews. 

The similitude is explained in the following words; 
It is a /leo/ile of no understanding, brutish and sot- 
tish, and destitute of the knowledge of God, and 
that have no relish or savour of divine things, like a 
withered branch that has no san in it; and this is at 
the bottom of all those sins for which God left 
them desolate, their idolatry first, and afterward 
their infidelity. Wicked people, however in other 
things they may be wits and politicians, in their 
greatest concerns are of no understanding; and their 

* A liiw-phrRHe, applicable when cattle have been bo lonp in .in- 
other man's ground, that they have Iain down, and are risen up to 
feed — Eb. 



ignorance being wilful, that shall not only net be their 
excuse, but it shall be the ground of tlieir condem- 
nation; for therefo!-e he that made them, that gave 
them their being, will not have mercy on them, nor 
save them from tlie ruin they bring upon them- 
selves; and he that formed them into a people, form- 
ed them for himself, to show forth his praise, seeing 
they do not answer the end of their formation, but ^ 
hate to be reformed, to be new-formed, will reject 
them, and show them no favour; and then they are 
undone: for if he that made use of his power, do 
not make us happy in his favour, we had better ne- 
ver have been made. Sinners flatter themselves 
with hopes of impunity; at least that they shall not 
be dealt with so severely as their ministers tell 
them, because God is merciful, and because he is 
their Maker: but here we see how weak and insuf- 
ficient those pleas will be; for if they be of no un- 
derstanding, he that made them, though he made 
them, and hates nothing that he has made, and 
though he has mercy in store for those who so far 
understand themselves as to apply themselves to 
him for it, yet on them he will have no mercy, and 
will show them no favour. 

II. Here is a great deal of mercy mixed with 
this judgment; for there are good people mixed 
with tliose that are corrupt and degenerate, a rem- 
nant according to the election r f grace, on whom 
God will have mercy, and to whom he will show 
favour: and these promises seem to point at all the 
calamities of the chuicli, for which God would gra- 
ciously provide these allays. 

1. Though they should be smittrn and slain, yet 
not to that degree, and in that manner, that their 
enemies shall be smitten and slain; (■;'.■ 7.) God 
has smitten Jacob and Israel, and he is slain; many 
of them that understand among the fieofile, shall 
fall by the sword and byjlame many days, Dan. xi. 
33._ But it shall not be as those are smitten and 
slain, (1.) Who smote him formerly, who were the 
rod of God's anger, and the staff in liis hand, which 
he made use of for the correction of his people, 
and to whose turn it shall come to he reckoned with 
even for that: the child is spared, but the rod Is 
burned. (2. ) Who shall afterward be slain by him, 
when he shall get the dominion, and repay tlicm in 
their own coin; or slain for his sake in the pleading 
of his cause. God's people and God's enemies are 
here represented, [1.] As struggling with each 
other; so the seed of the woman and the seed of 
the sei-pent have been, are, and will be: in this 
contest there are slain on both sides. God makes 
use of wicked men, not only to smite, but to slav his 
people; for they are his sword, Ps. xvii. 13. But 
when the cup of trembling comes to be put into 
their hand, it will be much worse with them than 
ever it was with God's people in their greatest 
straits: the seed of the woman has only his heel 
bruised, but the sei-pent has his head crushed and 
broken. Note, Though God's persecuted people 
may be great losers, and great sufferers, for awhile, 
yet they that oppress them, will prove to be greater 
losers, and greater sufferers, at last, here or liercaf- 
ter; for God will render double to them. Rev. xviii. 6. 
[2.] As sharing together in the calamities of this 
present time, they are both smitten, both slain, and 
both by the hand of God; for there is one event to 
the righteous and to the wicked; but is Jacob smitten 
as his enemies are? No, by no means; to him tlie 
property is altered, and it becomes quite another 
thing. Note, However it may seem to us, there is 
really a vast difference between the afflictions and 
deaths of good people, and the afflictions and deaths 
of wicked people. 

2. Though God will debate with them, yet it shall 
be in measure, and the affliction shall be mitigated, 
moderated, and proportioned to their strength, not 



ISAIAH, XXVIII. 



125 



.0 their deserts, v. 8. He will deal out afflictions 
to them, as the wise physician prescribe^ medicines 
to his patient, just such a quantity of each ingredi- 
ent, or orders liow mucli blood shall be taken when 
a vein is oijcned: thus God orders the troubles of 
his jjcople, not siiffcriris^ them to be temjxted above 
vihat t/wtj are able, 1 Cor. x. 13. He measures out 
their afflictions by a little at a time, that they may 
not be pressed above measure; for he knows their 
frame, and corrects in judgitient, and does not stir 
up all liis wrath. When the affliction is shooting 
forth, when he is sending it out, and giving it its 
coninussi( n, tlien he debates in measure, and not in 
extremity; he ci nsiders what we can bear, then 
when he b;gius to correct; and when he proceeds 
in liis controversy, so that it is the day of his 
east-wind, which is not only blustering and noisy, 
but blasting and noxious, yet he stays his rough 
wind, checks it, and sets bounds to it, does not 
sufF;.-r it to blow so hard as it was feared; when 
he is winnowing his com, it is witli a gentle gale, 
that shall only blow away the cliafF, but not the 
good corn. God has tlie winds at his command, 
and eveiy affliction under his check; Hitherto it 
shall ffo, but no further. Let us not despair 
•when thing.s are at the worst; be the winds ever so 
rougli, ever so high, God can say unto them, Peace, 
be still. 

3. Though God will afflict them, yet he will 
make their afflictions to work for the good of their 
souls, and correct them as the father does the child, 
to drive out the foolishness that is bound up in their 
hearts; {v. 9.) Bij this therefore shall the iniquity 
of Jacob be fiurged. This is the design of the af- 
fliction, to this it is adapted as a proper means, and, 
by the grace of God working with it, it shall have 
this blessed effect; it shall mortify the habits of sin; 
by this those defilements of the soul shall be purged 
away; it shall break them off from the practice ot it; 
this is all the fi-uit, this is it that God intends, this is 
all the harm it will do them, to take away their sin; 
than which they could not have a greater kindness 
done them, though it be at the expense of an afflic- 
tion. Therefore, because the affliction is mitigated 
and moderated, and the rough wind stayed, there- 
fore we may conclude that he designs their refor- 
mation, not their destruction: and because he deals 
thus gently with us, we should therefore study to 
answer his ends in afflicting us. The particular sin 
which the affliction was intended to cure them of, 
was, the sin of idolatry, the sin which did most 
easily beset that people, and to which they wore 
.strangely addicted. Efxhraim is joined to idols. 
But by the captivitv in Babylon they were not only 
weaned from this sin, but set against it. Ephraim 
shall sail. What have I to do any more with idols? 
Jacob then has his sin taken away, his beloved sin, 
when he makes all the stones of the altar, of liis idol- 
atrous altar, the stones of which were precious and 
sacred to him, as chalk-stones that are beateJi i?i sun- 
der; he not only has them in contempt, and values 
them no more than chalk-stones, but he conceives 
an indignation at them, and, in a holy revenge, beats 
them asunder as easily as chalk-stones are broken 
to pieces: the groves and the images shall not stand 
before this penitent, but they shall be thrown down 
too, never to be set up again. This was according to 
the law for the demolishing and destroying of all the 
monuments of idolatrv; (Deut. vii. 5.) and accord- 
ing to this promise, since the captivity in Babylon, 
no people in the world have such a rooted aversion 
to idols and idolatry as the people of the Jews. 
Note, The design of affliction is to part between us 
and sin, especially that which has been our own 
iniquity; and then it appears that the affliction has 
done us good, when we keep at a distance from the 
Dccasions of sin, and use all needful precaution that 



we may not only not relapse into it, but not so much 
as be tempted to it, Ps. c.xix. 6". 

4. Though Jerusalem shall be desolate and for- 
saken for a time, yet there will come a day when 
its scattered fiiends Shall resort to it again out of all 
the countries whither they were dispersed; {v. 12, 
13. ) tliough the body of the nation is abandoned as 
a people of no understanding, yet those that are in- 
deed children of Israel shall be gathered together 
again as the sheep of the flock, when the shepherds 
that scattered tliem are reckoned with, Ezek. xxxiv. 
10 — 12. Now observe concerning these scattered 
Israelites, (1.) From whence thev shall be fetched; 
The Lord shall heat thern off-ds fruit ficni the tree, 
or beat them out as corn out of the ear; he shall 
find them cut, and separate them from those whom 
they dwelt among, and with whom they seemed to 
be incorporated, from the channel of the river 
Euphrates nortli-east, unto Nile the stream of 
Egypt, which lay south-west; those that were driven 
into the land of Assyria, and were captives there in 
the land of their enemies, where they were ready to 
perish for want of necessaries, and ready to despair 
of deliverance; and those that were outcasts in the 
land of £ffy/it, whither many of those that were 
left behind, after the captivity into Babvlon, went, 
contrary to God's express command, (Jer. xliii. 6, 
7.) and there lived as outcasts: God has mercy in 
store for them all, and will make it to a]ipear, that 
though they are cast out, the)' are not cast off. (2.) 
In what manner they shall be brought back; " Ye 
shall be gathered one by one, not in multitudes, net 
in troops forcing your way; but silently, and as it 
were by stealth, dropping in, first one, and then 
another." This intimates that the remnant that 
shall be saved, consists but of few, and those saved 
with difficulty, and so as by fire, scarcely saved; 
they shall not come for company, but as God shall 
stir up every man's spirit. (3.) By what means 
they shall be gatliered togther; The great frum/iel 
shall be blown, and then they shall come. Cynis's 
proclamation of libertj' to the captives is this great 
trumpet, which awakened the Jews that were asleep 
in their thraldom to bestir themselves; it was like 
the sounding of the jubilee-trumpet, which publish- 
ed the year of release. This is applicable to the 
preaching of the gospel, by which sinners are gather- 
ed in to tiie grace of God, such as were outcasts and 
ready to perish; those that were afar off are made 
nigh; the gospel proclaims the acceptable year of the 
Lord. It is applicable also to the archangel's trum- 
pet at the last day, by which saints shall be gather- 
ed to the glory of God, that lay as outcasts in their 
graves. (4.) For what end they shall be gathered 
together; to worship the Lord in the holii motint at 
Jerusalem. When the captives rallied again, and 
returned to their own land, the chief thing they had 
their eye upon, and the first thing they applied 
themselves to, was, the worship of (iod:' tlie holv 
j temple was in ruins, but they had the holy mount, 
I the place of the altar, Gen. xiii. 4. Liberty to wor- 
I ship God is the most valuable and desirable liberty; 
and, after restraints and dispersions, a free access 
to his house should be more welcome to us than a 
: free access to our own houses. Those that are ga- 
' thered by the sounding of the gospel-trumpet, are 
brought in to worship God, and added to the church , 
; and the great trumpet of all will gather the saints 
; together, to seri'e God day and night in his temple. 

CHAP. XXVIII. 

j In this chapter, I. The Ephraimites are reproved and 
threatened for their pride and drunkenness, their secu- 
rity and sensuality, v. 1 • .8. But, in the midst of this, 
here is a gracious promise of God's favours to the rem- 
nant of his people, v. 5, 6. II. They are likewise re- 
proved and threatened for their dulncss and stupidity, 
unaptness to profit by the instructions which the pro- 



26 



ISAIAH, xxvm. 



phets gaVe them, in God's name, v. 9.. 13. III. The 
rulers "of Jerusalem are reproved and Uireatcned for 
their insolent contempt of God's judsjments, and setting 
them at defiance; and, after a gracious promise of Christ 
and his jjrace, they are made to know that the vain 
hopes of escaping the judgments of God, with which 
the)' flattered themselves, would certainly deceive them, 
V. 14..2'2. IV. All this is confirmed by a comparison 
borrowed from the method which the husbandman takes 
with ills ground and grain, according to which they must 
expect God would proceed with his people, n'honi he had 
lately called his tkreshing and the corn of his Jloor, ch. 
xsi. 10. V. 23.. 29. This is written for our admonition, 
and is profitable for reproof and warning to us. 

1. "^ISTO to the crown of pride, to the 
T T drunkards of Ephraiin, wliose glo- 
rious beauty is a fading flower, which are 
on die Iiead of the fat valleys of them that 
are overcome with winel 2. Behold, the 
Lord hath a mighty and strong one, wkic/i, 
as a tempest of hail, atid a destroying storm, 
as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, 
shall cast down to the earth with the hand. 
3. The crown of pride, the drunkards of 
Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet. 4. 
And the glorious beauty which is on the 
head of the fat valley shall be a fading 
flower, a7id as the hasty fruit before the sum- 
mer: which, H^heii he that looketh upon it 
seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it 
up. 5. In that day shall the Lord of liosts 
be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem 
of beauty, unto the residue of his people; 
6. And for a spirit of judgment to him that 
sittcth in judgment, and for strength to them 
that turn the battle to the. gate. 7. But 
they also have erred through wine, and 
tlirough strong drink are out of the way: the 
l^riest and the prophet have erred through 
strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, 
they are out of the way through strong drink ; 
they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. 
8. For all tables are full of vomit and filthi- 
ness, so that there is no place clean. 

Here, 

1. Tlic prophet warns the kingdom of the ten 
tribes, of the judgments that were coming upon 
them for their sins, which were soon after executed 
by the king of .\ssyria, who laid their country waste, 
and carried the people into captivity. Ephraim 
had his name from fruitfulness, their soil being very 
fertile, and the products of it abundant, and the 
best of the kind; they had a great many flat valleys, 
(ti. 1, 4. ) and Samaria, which was situated on a hill, 
was, as it were, on the head of the fat valleys; their 
country was rich and pleasant, and as the garden 
of the Lord: it was the glory of Canaan, as that 
was the glory of all lands: their harvest and vin- 
tage were the glorious beauty on the head of their 
valleys, which were covered over with corn and 
vines. Now observe, 

1. What an ill use they made of their plenty; 
what God gave them to serve him with, they per- 
verted, and abused, by making it the food and fuel 
of their lusts. 

(1.) They were puffed up with pride by it; the 
goodness with which God crowned their years, 
which should have been to him a crown of praise, 
*as to them a crown of pride. They that are rich 



in the world, are "nt to be high-minded, 1 Tim. vi. 
17. Their knn; -""lo wore the cruwii, was prcud 
that he ruled over so rich a cciuutry; S inii.ria, their 
royal city, was notorious for pride." Perhajjs it was 
usual at their festivals, or revels, to v.\..y !;arlands 
made up of flowers and ears of corn, which they 
wore, in honour of their fruitful country. Pride was a 
sin that generally prevailed among tin m, and there- 
fore the prophet, in his name wlio resists the prcud, 
boldly proclaims a JVo to the crown of jirlde. If 
those who wear crowns be proud of tlicni, ht them 
not think to escape this wo. What men are prcud 
of, be it ever so mean, is to them as a crown; he 
that is proud thinks himself as great as a king; but 
wo to those who thus exalt then^stlvcs, for they 
shall be abased; their pride is the preface to their 
desti-uction. 

(2.) They indulged themselves in sensuality; 
Ephraim was notorious for drunkenness, and excess 
of^i'iot; Samaria, the head of the fat valleys, was full 
of those that were overcome with wine; were bro- 
ken ivith it, so the margin. See how f olishly 
drunkards act, and no marvel, when, in the very 
commission of the sin, they make fools and brutes 
of themselves; they yield, [1.] To be conquered by 
the sin; it overcomes them, and brings them into bon- 
dage, (2 Pet. ii. 19.) they are led captive by it, and 
the captivity is the more shameful and inglorious, 
as it is voluntary. Some of these wretched slaves 
have themselves owned that there is not a greater 
drudgery in the world than hard drinking. They 
are overcome not with the wine, but with tlie love 
of it. [2.] To be ruined by it; thev are broken by 
wine; their constitution is broken by it, and their 
health ruined; they are broken in their callings and 
estates, and their families are brought to niin by it; 
their peace with God is broken, and their souls in 
danger of being eternally undone, and all this for 
the gratification of a base lust. Wo to these di-unk- 
ards of Ephraim! Ministers must bring tlie gene- 
ral woes of the word home to particular ph'res and 
persons. We must say. Wo to drunk-ards; tlieir con- 
dition is a woful condition, their brutish pleasures 
are to be pitied, and not en\ied; they shall not in- 
herit the kingdom of God, (1 Cor. vi. 10.) the 
curse is in force against them, Deut. xxix. 19, 2C 
Nay, we must go furtlur, and say, IVo to the 
drunkards of such a place; that they m.ay hear and 
fear; nay, and, IVo lo this or that person, if he be a 
drunkard. There is a particular wo to the di-unk- 
ards of Ephraim, for they are of God's professing 
people, and it becomes them worse than any other 
thev know better, and therefore should gi\e a bet- 
ter example. Some make the crown rf pride to 
belong to the drunkards, and to mean the garlands 
with which they were crowned, that got the victory 
in their wicked drinking-matches, and drank down 
the rest of the company; they were proud of their 
being mighty to drink wine; but wo to them who thus 
glory in their shame. 

2. The justice of God in taking away their plenty 
from them, which they thus abused. ' Their glori- 
ous beauty, the plenty they were prcud of, is but a 
fading flower, it is meat that perishes. The most 
substantial fruits, if God blast them, and blow upon 
them, are but fading flowers, v. 1. God can easily 
take aiuay their com in the season thereof (Hos. ii. 
9.) and recover locum vastatum — ground that has 
been alienated and is run to waste, those goods of 
his, which they prepared for Baal. God has an 
officer ready to" make a seizure for him, hf>s one at 
his beck, a mighty and strong one, who is able to 
do the business, even the king of Assyria, who shall 
cast down to the earth with the hand, siiall easily 
and effectuallv, and witli the turn of a hand, de- 
stroy all that which they are prcud of, and pleased 
with, v. 2. He shall throw it down to the ground, 



ISAIAH, XXVIII. 



127 



fi. be broken to pieces with a strong hand, with a 
(nnl tliat they cannot oppose. Then the crown of 
pride, and the drunkards of Kfihrnim, shall be trod- 
fier under foot; {y. 3.) they shall lie exposed to 
contempt, and shall nit be able to reco\'er them- 
selves. Drunkards, in tlieir folly, are apt to talk 
proudly, and vaunt themselves most then when 
they most shame themselves; but they render them- 
s;l\'es the more ridiculous by it. The beauty of 
tlieir valleys, which they gloried in, will be, (1.) 
Like a fading flower; (as betore, v. 1.) it will wither 
of itself, and has in itself the principles of its own 
corruption; it will perish in time by its own moth 
and rust. (2.) Like the hasty fruit, which, as soon 
as it is discovered, is plucked and eaten up; so the 
wealth of this world, beside that it is apt to de- 
c ly of itself, is subject to be devoured by others, as 
sreedilv as the first ripe fruit, which is earnestly 
desired, Mic. vii. 1. Thieves break through and 
steal. The harvest which the worldling is proud 
of l/ie hungry eat u/i; (Job. \'. 5.) no sooner do they 
see the prey, but they catch at it, and swallow up 
all thev can lay their hands on. It is likewise easi- 
1\- devoured, as that fruit which, being ripe before 
it is grown, is very small, and is soon eaten up; and 
there being little of it, and that of little worth, it is 
not reserved, but used immediately. 

n. Henext turns himself to the kingdom of Judah, 
whom he calls the residue of his fieoflle, {v. 5.) for 
they were but two tribes to the other ten. 

1. He promises them God's favours, and that 
they should be taken under his guidance and pro- 
tection, when tlie beauty of Ephraim shall be left 
exposed to be trodden down and eaten up, x'. 5, 6. 
In that day, when the Assyrian army is laying Israel 
waste, and Judah might think that their neigbour's 
house being on fire, their own w.is in danger, in that 
day of treading down and per])lexity, then God will 
be to the residue of his people :dl they need, and 
can desire; not only to the kingdom of Judah, but 
to those of Israel, who had kept their integrity, and, 
as was, probably, the case with some, betook them- 
selves to the land of Judah, to be sheltered by good 
king Hezekiah. When the Assyrian, that miglity 
one, was in Israel as a tempest of hail, noisy and 
battering, as a destroying storm bearing down all 
before it, especially at sea, and as a flood of mighty 
waters overflowing the country, (i'. 2.) then in that 
day will the Lord of hosts, of all hosts, distinguish 
by peculiar favours liis people who have distin- 
guished themselves by a steady and singular adhe- 
rence to him, and that which they most need he 
will himself be to them. This very much enhances 
the worth of the promises, that God, covenanting to 
be to his people a God all-suflicient, undertakes to 
be himself all that to them that they can desire. 
(1.) He will put all the credit and honour upon 
tliem, which are requisite, not only to rescue them 
from contempt, but to gain them esteem and repu- 
tation. He will be to them for a crown of glory, and 
for a diadem of beauty. They that wore the crown 
of pride looked upon God's people with disdain, and 
trampled upon them, and thev were the song of the 
drunkards of Ephraim; but God will so appear for 
them by his providence, as to make it evident that 
they have his favour toward them, and that shall 
be to them a crown of glory; for what greater glory 
can any people have, than for God to own them as 
his own? And he will so appear in them, by his 
grace, as to make it evident tint they have his image 
renewed on them, and that shall be to them a diadem 
of beauty : for what greater beauty can an.y person 
have than the beauty of holiness? Note, Those that 
have God for their God, have him for a Crown of 
glory, and a Di; \em of beauty; for they are made 
to him kings and priests. (2.) He will give them 
all the wisdom and grace necessary to the due dis- 



charge of the duty of their place. He will h.nisclf 
be a Spirit of judgment to them that sit in judg- 
ment; tlie privy-counsellors shall be guided by wis- 
dom and discretion, and the judges govern by jus- 
tice and equity. It is a great mercy to any people, 
when those that are called to places of ]K.wer and 
pubhc trust are qualified for their pi ,ccs: when 
those that sit in judi!;ment have a .spirit of judg- 
ment, a spirit of government. (3.) He will give 
tliem all the courage and boldness requisite to cairy 
tliem resolutely through the difiiculties au'l ( pprsi- 
tions they are likely to meet with. He will be for 
strength to them that turn the bittle to tlie gate, to the 
gates of the enemy whose cities they be!^in;e, or to 
their own gates, when they sally out upfji the ene- 
mies that besiege them. The strength of the sol- 
diery depends as much upon God as the wisdom of 
the magistracy; and where God gives both tlicse, he 
is to that people a Crown of glory. This may well 
be supposed to refer to Christ, and so tlie Chaldee 
Paraphrase understands it; in that day shall Mes- 
siah be a Crown of glory; Simeon calls him the 
Glory of his people Israel: and he is made of God 
to us \Visdom, Righteousness, and Strcngtli. 

2. He complains of the corruptions that were 
found among them, and the many corrupt ones; 
{■V. 7. ) But they also, many of them of Judah, have 
erred through wine. There are drunkards of Je- 
rusalem, as well as dninkards of Ephraim; and 
therefore the mercv of God is to be so much the 
more admired, that he has not lilasted the glory of 
Judah, as he has done that of Ephraim. Sparing 
mercy lavs us under peculiar obligations, when it is 
thus distinguishing. Ephraim's sins are found in 
Judah, and yet not Eplir lim's ruins. They have 
erred through wine; their drinking to excess is it- 
self a practical error; thev think to raise tlieir fancy 
by it, but they ruin their judgment, and .so put a 
cheat upon themselves; they think to preserve their 
health by it, and help digestion, but they spoil their 
constitution, and hasten diseases and deaths. And 
it is the occasion of a great many errors in princi- 
ple; their understanding is clrndcd, and con- 
science debauched, by it; and therefore, to support 
themselves in it, they espouse cornipt notions, and 
form their minds in favour of tlieii- lusts. Proba- 
bly, some were drawn in to worship idols by their 
love of the wine and strong drink, which there was 
plenty of at their idolatrous festivals; .and so they 
erred through wine, as Israel, for love of the daugh- 
ters of Moab, joined themselves to Baal-peor. 

Three things are here observed as aggravations 
of this sin; 

(1.) That those were guilty of it, whose business 
it was to warn others against it, and to teach them 
better, and therefore who ought to have set a better 
example; The priest and the prophet are swal- 
lowed up of wine; their office is quite drowned and 
lost in it. The priests, as sacrificers, were obliged 
by a particular law to be temperate, (Lev. x. 9.) 
and, as rulers and magistrates, it was not for them 
to drink wine, Prnv. xxxi. 4. The prophets were 
a kind of Nazarites, (as appears by Amos ii. 11.) 
and, as reprovers by office, were concemed to keep 
at the utmost distance from the sins they reproved 
in others; yet there were many of them ensnared in 
this sin. What! a priest, a prophet, a minister, and 
yet drunk! Tell it not in Gath. Such a scandal are 
they to their coat. 

(2. ) That the consequences of it were very per- 
nicious, not only by the ill influence of their exam- 
ple, but the prophet, when he was drunk, erred in 
vision; the false prophets plainly discovered them- 
selves to be so, when they were in drink. The 
priest stumbled in judgment, and forgat the law; 
(Prov. xxxi. 5.) he reeled and staggered as much 
in the operations of his mind as in tlie motions of 



138 



ISAIAH, XXVIIl. 



his body. What wisdom or justice can be expect- 
ed from tliose tliat sacrifice reason, and virtue, and 
conscience, and all that is valuable, to such a base 
lust as the love of strong di'ink is? Happy art thou, 
O land, when thy /irinces eat afta drinli; for 
strength, and not for drunkennens! Eccl. X. 17. 
(3.) That the disease was epidemical, and the 
gener.ility of those that kept any thing of a table, 
were infected witli it; .411 tables are full of vomit, 
■V. 8. See what an odi()Us thing the sin of drunk- 
enness is, what an affront it is to human society; it 
is rude and ill-mannered, encugh to sicken the 
beholders; for tlie tables where they eat their 
meat, are filthily stained with tlie marks of this sin, 
whicli the sinners declare as Sodom; their tables 
are full of vomit. So that the victor, instead of 
being proud of his crown, ought rather to be asham- 
ed of it. It bodes ill to any people, when so sottish a 
sin as drunkenness is, becomes national. 

9. Whom shall he teach knowledge? and 
whom shall he make to understand doc- 
trine ? them that are weaned from the milk, 
and drawn from the breasts. 10. For pre- 
cept must be upon precept, precept upon 
precept ; line upon line, line upon line ; 
here a little, and there a little : 11. 
For with stammering lips, and another 
tongue, will' he speak to this people. 1 2. 
To whom he said. This is the rest luhere- 
tvith ye may cause the weary to rest ; and 
this is tlie refreshing : yet they would 
not hear. 13. But the word of the Lord 
was unto them, precept upon precept, pre- 
cept upon precept : line upon line, line 
upon line ; here a little, a?id there a little ; 
that they might go, and fall backward, 
and be broken, and snared, and taken. 

The prophet here complains of the wretched 
stupidity of this people, that they were unteacha- 
ble, and made no improvement of the means of 
grace which they enjoyed; they still continued as 
they were, their mistakes not rectified, their hearts 
not renewed, nor their lives reformed. 

I. What it was that their prophets and minis- 
ters designed and aimed at; it was to teach them 
knowledge, the knowledge of God and his will, 
and to make them understand doctrine, z). 9. This 
is God's way of dealing with men, to enlighten 
men's minds first with the knowledge of his truth, 
and thus to gain their affections, and bring their 
wills into a compliance with his laws; thus he en- 
ters in by the door, whereas the thief and robber 
c'imb u]) another way 

II. What method they took, in pursuance of this 
design; they left no means untried, to do them good, 
but taught them as children are taught, little chil- 
dren that are beginning to learn, that are taken' 
from the breast to the book; (v. 9.) for among the 
Jews it w.;s common for mothers to nurse their 
children till they were three years old, and almost 
ready to go to school. And it is good to begin be- 
times with children, to teach them, as they are ca- 
pable, the good knowledge of the Lord, and to in- 
struct them, even when they are but newly weaned 
from the milk. 

The prophets taught them as children are taught, 
for, 

1. They were constant and industrious in teach- 
ing them ; they took great pains with them, and with 
great prudence, teaching them as they needed it, 
and were able to bear it; (y. 10.) Frecefit ufion 



precept. It must be so, or, as some read it, It h.ii 
been so. They have been taught, as children are 
taught to read,' by precept iipon precept, and taught 
to write, by line upon line; a little here, and a little 
there, a little of one thing, and a little of another, 
that the variety of instructions might be pleasing 
and inviting; a little at one time, and a little at ano- 
ther, that they might not have their memories over- 
charged; a little fi-om one prophet, and a little from 
another, that every one might be pleased with his 
friend, and him he admin d. >.'(^tc. For our insti\ic- 
tion in the things of (iod, it is requisite that we have 
precept iipnn precept, and line iijxn lir.e: that one 
precept and line should be follcnvcd, and so enforced, 
by another; the precept of justice must beuptm the 
precept of piety, and the precept of charity upon 
that of justice. Nay, it is necessary that the same 
precept and the same line should be often repeated, 
and inculcated upon us; that we may the better un- 
derstand theni, and the more easily recollect then 
when we have occasion for tb.em. Teachers shoul'' 
accommodate themselves to the capacity of the 
learners, give them what they most need, and can 
best bear, and a little at a time, Dent. vi. 6, 7. 

2. They accosted them in a kind manner, v. 12. 
God, by his prophets, said to them, "This way 
that we are directing you to, and directing you in, 
it is the rest, the only rest, •wherenvith yon mav cause 
the iveary to rest; and this will be the refreshing of 
your own souls, and will bring rest to your country 
from the wars and other calamities w'ith which it 
has been long harassed." Note, God, by his word, 
calls us to nothing but what is really for our own ad- 
vantage; for the service of God is the only tme rest 
for those that are weary of the scrxice of sin, and 
there is no refreshing but under the easy yoke of 
the Lord Jesus. 

III. What little effect all this had upon the peo- 
ple: they were as unapt to leam as young children 
newly weaned from the milk, and it Was as impos- 
sible to fasten any thing upon them; {i<. 9.) nay, 
one would choose rather to teach a child of two 
years old than undertake to teach them: for they 
have not only (like such a child) no capiicity to re- 
ceive what is taught them, but they are pi'ejudiced 
against it. As children, they ha\ e iieed of milk, 
and cannot hear strong meat, Heb. w 12. 1. They 
would not hear, {v. 12.) no, not that which' woulcl 
be rest and refreshing to them ; they had no mind to 
hear it; the word of God commanded their serious 
attention, but could not gain it; they were where it 
was preached, but they turned a deaf ear to it, or, 
as it came in at one ear, it went out at the other. 2. 
They would not heed; it was unto them precept 
upon precept, and line upon line; (t. 13.) they 
went on in a road of external performances, they 
kept up the old custom of attending upon the pro- 
phet's preaching, and it was continually sounding in 
their ears; but that was all, it made no impression 
upon them ; they had the letter of the precept, but 
no experience of the power and spirit of it; it was 
continually beating upon them, but it beat nothing 
into thf m. Nay, 3. It should seem, they ridiculed 
the prophet's preaching, and bantered it; the word 
of the Lord was unto them Tsau latsau, kau lakau; 
in the original it is in rhyme; they made a song of 
the prophet's words, and sang it when they were 
merry over their wine; David was the song of the 
di-unkards. It is great impiety, and a high affront 
to God, thus to make a jest of sacred things; to 
speak of that vainly which should make us serious. 

IV. How severely God would reckon with them 
for this: 

1. He would deprive them of the privilege of plain 
preaching, and speak to them with stammering lips 
and another tongue, -v. 11. They that will not un- 
derstand what is plain and level to their capacity 



ISAIAH, XXVIII. 



129 



but despise it as mean and trifling, are justly 
amused with tlvat which is above them. Or, God 
will send foreign armies among them, whose lan- 
guage they understand not, to lay their countr)' 
waste. Those tliat will not hear the comfortable 
voice of God's word, shall be made to hear tlie 
dreadful voice of his rod. Or, these words may be 
taken as denoting God's gracious condescension to 
their capacity in his dealing with them; he lisped 
tj them in their own language, as nurses do to tlieir 
children, witli stammering lips, to humour them; 
he changed his voice, tried first one way, and tlien 
another; the apostle quotes it as a favour, (1 Cor. 
xiv. 21.) applymg it to the gift of tongues, and com- 
plaining tliat yet for all this they would not hear. 

2. He would bring utter ruin upon them ; by tlieir 
profane contempt of God and his word the_\' are but 
hastening on tlieir own ruin, and ripening themselves 
for it; it is that they may go and fall backward, 
ma\- grow worse and worse, may depart furtlier and 
further from God, and proceed from one sin to an- 
other, till they be quite broken, and snared, and 
taken, and i-uined, v. 13. They hax-e here a little, 
and tliere a little, of the word of God; they think it 
too much, and say to the seers, See not; but it proves 
too little to convert them, and will prove enough to 
condemn tlieni. If it be not a savour of Ife unto 
life, it will be a savour of death unto death. 

14. Wherefore hear tlie word of the 
Lord, ye scornful men, tliat rule this peo- 
ple which is in Jerusalem: 15. Because 
ye have said. We have made a covenant 
with death, and with hell we are at agree- 
ment; when the overflowing scourge shall 
pass through, it shall not come unto us: for 
we have made lies our refuge, and under 
falsehood have we hid ourselves. 16. There- 
fore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay 
in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried 
stone, a precious corner-.s/oMe, a sure foun- 
dation: he that believeth shall not make 
haste. 1 7. Judgment also will I lay to the 
line, and righteousness to the plunmiet; and 
the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, 
and the waters shall overflow the hiding- 
place. 18. And your covenant with death 
shall be disannulled, and your agreement 
with hell shall not stand; when the over- 
flowing scourge shall pass through, then ye 
shall be trodden down by it. 1 9. From the 
time that it goeth forth it shall take you : for 
morning by morning shall it pass over, by 
day and by night; and it shall be a vexa- 
tion only to understand the report. 20. For 
the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch 
himself o« //,• and the covering narrower than 
that he can wrap himself ?« it. 21. For the 
Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, 
he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, 
that he may do his work, his strange wqrk; 
and bring to pass his act, liis strange act. 
22. Now, therefore, be ye not mockers, lest 
your bands be made strong: for I have heard 
from the Lord God of hosts a consump- 
tion, even determined, upon the whole earth. 

The prophet, having reproved those that made a 

Vol. IV.— R 



jest (f the ivo7-d of Gcd, here goes on to reprf.ve 
those that made a jest of Xht: judgments cf (ii d, and 
set them at defiance; for he is a jealous God, and 
will not suffer either liis ordinances or his provi- 
denci s to be brought into centem])t. He addresses 
liimselt to the scornful men who ruled in Jerusalem, 
who were the magistrates of the city, v. 14. It is 
bad with a people, wlien their tlirones of judgment 
become the seats of the scornful, when rulers are 
scorners; but that the rulers of Jerusalem should lie 
men of such a character, that tliey should make 
light of God's judgments, and scorn to take m tice 
ot the tokens of his displeasure, is very sad. Who 
will l)e mourners in Zion, if they are sconiers.'' 
Observe, 

I. How these scornful men lulled themselves asleep 
in carnal security, and even challenged God Al- 
mighty to do his worst; (t. 15.) Ye have said. We 
have yriade a covenant ivith death and the grave. 
They thought themselves as sure of their lives, even 
then when the most destroying judgments were 
abroad, as if they had made a bai-gain with death, 
upon a valuable consideration, not to take them away 
bv any \ iolence, but by old age. If we be at peace 
with God, and haA e made a covenant with him, 
we have in effect, made a covenant with death, 
and it shall come in the fittest time, that, whenever 
it comes, it shall be no terror to us, nor do us anv 
real damage; death is ours, if we be Christ's: 
(1 Cor. ii. 22.) but to think of making death our 
friend, or being in league with it, while by sin we 
are making God our Enemy, and are at war with 
hini, is the greatest absurdity that can be. It was 
a fond conceit which these scorners had, " Jl'hen 
the overjionving scourge shall pass through rur 
country, and others shall fall under it, yet'it shall 
not come to us, nor reach us, though it extend far, 
not bear us down, though it is an overflowing 
scourge." It is the greatest folly imaginable fr'r 
impenitent sinners to think that either in this Avrrld 
or the other they shall fare better than their neigh- 
bours. But what is the ground rf their confidence.'' 
Why, truly, We hax<e made lies ojir refuge. Eitlier, 
1. Those things which the prophets told them, 
would be lies and falsehood to them, and would de- 
ceive, though they themselves looked upon them 
as substantial fences. The protection of their idols, 
the promises with which their false prophets soothed 
them, their policy, their wealth, their interest in the 
people; these they confided in, and not in God; nay, 
these they confided in against God. Or, 2. Those 
things which should be lies m\(\ falsehood to the 
enemy, who was flagellum Dei — tlie scourge of 
God, the oveiflowing scourge; thev would secure 
themselves by imposing upon the enemy with their 
stratagems of war, or their feigned submissions in 
treaties of peace. The rest of the cities of Judah 
were taken because they made an obstinate defence, 
but the rulers of Jerusalem hope to succeed better, 
they think themselves greater politicians than those 
of the country towns; they will compliment the 
king of Assyria with a promise to surrender their 
city, or to become tributaries to him, with a pur- 
pose at the same time to shake off his yoke as scon 
as the danger is over, not caring though they be 
found liars to him; as the expression is, Deut. 
xxxiii. 29. Note, Those put a cheat upon them- 
selves, that think to gain their point Ijy putting 
cheats upon those they deal with. Those tliat pur- 
sue their designs by trick and fraud, by mean snd 
paltry shifts, may perhaps compass them, but can- 
not_ expect comfort in them. Honesty is the best 
policy. But such refuges as these are then driven 
to that depart from God, and throw themselves cut 
of his protection. 

II. How God, by the prophet, awakens them outcf 
this sleep, and shows them the folly of their security. 



130 



ISAIAH, XXVIIT. 



1. He tells them upon what grounds t)uy might 
be secure: he does not disturb tiiuir filsj confi- 
dences, till lie hiis first showed them a firm bottom 
on which they may npose thcmsclvLS, {t. 16.) Be- 
hold I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone. This 
foundation is, (1.) The promises of God in general; 
his word, upon which he has caused his people to 
hope; his covenant with Abraham, that he would 
be a God to him and his; this is a foundation, a 
foundation of stone, firm and lasting, for faith to 
build upon; it is a tried stone, for all tlie saints have 
stayed themselves upon it, and it never failed them. 
(2.) The promise of Christ in particular, for to him 
this is expressly applied in the New Testament, 
1 Pet. ii. 6 — 8. He is that Stone which is become 
the Head of the corner. The great promise of the 
Messiah and his kingdom, which was to begin at 
Jerusalem, was sufficient to make God's people 
easy in the worst of times; for they knew well that 
till he was come, the sce/itre should not dcfiart from 
Judah. Zion shall continue while this Foundation 
is yet to be laid there. Thus saith the Lord Jeho- 
vah, for the comfort of those that dare not ?nake 
lies (heir refuge; "Behold, and look upon me, as 
one that has undertaken to lay in Zion a Stone." 
Jesus Christ is a Foundation of God's laying; this is 
the Lord's doing. He is laid in Zion, in the chuirh, 
in the holy hill. He is a tried Stone; a trying Stone, 
so some; a Toucli-stone that shall distinguish be- 
twixt time and counteH'eit. He is a precious Stone, 
for such are \.\\ti foundations of the A''cw Jerusalem; 
(Rev. xxi. 19.) a Corner-stone, in whom the sides 
of the building are united; the Head-stone of the 
corner. And he that belicx'cs these jiromises, and 
rests upon them, shall not mahe haste, shall not run 
to and fro in a hurr}', as men at their wits' end, 
shall not be shifting hei'e and there for his own safety, 
nor be driven to his feet by any terrors, as the wick- 
ed man is said to be, (Job xviii. 11.) but with a fixed 
heart shall quietly wait the event, sa\ing, Welcome 
the will of God. He shall not make haste, in his 
expectations, so as to anticipate the time set in the 
divine counsels, but, tliough it tarry, will wait the 
appointed hour, knowing that he that .shall come, 
•will co?ne, and mill not tarry. He that l)elieves 
will not make more haste tlian good speed, liut be 
satisfied that God's time is the best time, and wait 
with patience for it. The apostle, from the LXX. 
explains this, (1 Pet. ii. 6.) He that believes on him 
shall not be confounded; his expectations sliall not 
be frustrated, but far outdone. 

2. He tells them that upon the grounds which 
they now built on, they couUl not be safe, but their 
confidences would certainly fail them; (y. 17.) 
Judgment mill I lay to the line, and righteou/mcss 
to the plummet. This denotes, (1.) The building 
up of his church; having laid the foundation, {v. 16. ) 
he will raise the structure, as builders do, by line 
ai\d plummet, Zech. iv. 10. Righteousness shall be 
the hne, and judgment the plummet. The church, 
being founded on Christ, shall be formed and re- 
formed by the scripture, the standing i-ule of judg- 
ment and I'ighteousness. Judgment shall return 
unto righteousness, Ps. xciv. 15. Or, (2.) The pun- 
ishing of tlie church's enemies, against whom he 
will proceed in strict justice, according to the threat- 
enings of the law; he will give them their deserts, 
and bring upon them the judgments they have 
challenged, but in wisdom too, and by an exact 
rule, that the tares may not be plucked up with the 
wheat. And when God comes thus to execute 
judgment, 

[1.] These scornful men will be made ashamed 
of the vain hopes with which they had deluded 
themselves: 

J^irst, They designed to make lies their refuge; 
but it will indeed prove a refuge of lies, which.Z/jc 



hail shall sivee/i away, that tempest of hall spokf p 
cf, 1'. 2. They that make lies their refuge build 
upon the sand, and the building will fall, vi'hen the 
sterm comes, and bury the builder in the ruins of it. 
They that make any thing their hiding-place but 
Chi-ist, the waters shall ovei-flow it, as every shel- 
tei- but the aik was overtopped and overthrown by 
the waters of the deluge. Such is the hope of the 
hypocrite, this will come of all his confidences. 

Secondly, They boasted of a covenant with death, 
and an agreement with the grave: but it shall be 
disannulled, as made without his consent that has 
the keys and sovei'eign command of hell and death. 
Those do but delude themselves, that think by any 
wiles to evade the judgments of God. 

Thirdly, They fancied that when the overflowing 
scourge should pass through the land, it should not 
come near them; but the prophet tells them that 
then, when others were falling by the common ca- 
lamity, they should not only share in it, but should 
be trodden down by it; "Ye shall be to it for a 
treading down, it shall triumph over you as much 
as over any other, and you shall become its easy 
prey." 

1 hey are further told, (i-. 19.) 1. That it shall 
begin with them; they shall be so far from escaping 
it, that they shall be the first that shall fall by it; 
From the time it goes forth, it shall take you, as if 
it came on fiur/iose to seize you. 2. That it shall 
pursue them close; " Morning by morrmig shall it 
/lass over; as duly as the day returns, you shall 
heai- of some desolation or other made by it; for di- 
vine justice will follow its blow; you shall never be 
safe or easy, by day or by night; there shall be a 
jjestilcnce walking in darkness, and a destruction 
wasting at noon-day." .". That there shall be no 
avoiding it; "The understanding of the report of 
its a])proach shall not give you any opportunity to 
make }our escape, for there shall be no waj' of es- 
ca])e open; but it shall be only a vexation, you shall 
see it coming, and not see how to help yourselves." 
Or, "The very report of it at a distance will be a 
terror to you; what then will the thing itself be?" 
Evil tidings are a terror and vexation to sconiers, 
but he whose heart is fixed, trusting in God, is not 
afraid of them; whereas, when the overJloivi7ig 
scourge comes, then all the comforts and confidences 
of scorners fail them, n. 20. (1.) That in which 
they thought to rejiose themselves, reaches not to 
the'length of their expectations; The bed is shorter 
than that a man can stretch himself ti/ion it, so that 
he is forced to cramp and contract himself. (2.) 
That in which they thought to shelter themselves 
proves insufficient to answer the intention; JVie co 
ziering is narrower than that a man can wra/i him- 
self i?i it. Those that do not build upon Christ, as 
their Foundation, but rest in a righteousness of their 
own, will prove in the end thus to have deceived 
themselves, they can never be easy, safe, or waim; 
the bed is too short, the covering is too narrow; 
like our first parents' fig-leaves, the shame of their 
nakedness will still appear. 

[2.] God will be glorified in the accomplishment 
of his counsels, v. 21. When God comes to contend 
with these scorners, First, He will do his work, 
and bring- to pass his act, he will work for his own 
honour and glory, according to his own puipose; 
the work shall appear, to all that see it, to be the ^ 
work of God as the righteous Judge of the earth »; 
Secondly, He will do it now against his ])eo])le, a.i 
formerly he did it against their enemies; by which 
his justice will appear to be impartial; he will now 
rise u/i against Jerusalem, as, in David's time 
against the Philistines in mount Perazim, (2 Sam. v. 
20.) and as, in Joshua's time, against the Canaanites 
in the vallev of Gibeon. If those that profess them- 
selves members of God's church, by their pride and 



ISAIAH, XXVIll. 



13t 



scomfulness make themselves like Philistines and 
Canaanites, they must expect to be dealt with as 
such. Thirdly, This will be his strange work, his 
strange act, his foreign deed: it is work that he is 
backward to, he rather delights in showing niei-cj',« 
and does not afflict ivillingly: it is work that he is 
not used to; as to his own people, he protects and 
favours them ; it is a strange work indeed, if he turn 
to be their enemy, and fight against them; {ch. Ixiii. 
10. ) it is a work that all the neighbours will stand 
amazed at; (Deut. xxix. 24.) and therefire the 
ruins of Jerusalem are said to be. a« astonishment, 
Jer. XXV. 18. 

Lastly, We have the use and application of all 
this; {v. 22.) " Therefore fie ye not mockers; dare 
not to ridicule either the reproofs of God's word, or 
the approaches of his judgments." Alocking the 
messengers of the Lord vi us Jerusalem's measure- 
filling sin. The consideration of the judgments of 
God that are coming upon hypocritical professors, 
should effectually silence mockers, and make them 
serious; " Be ye not mockers, test your bands be 
made strong; both the bands by which you are 
bound under the dominion of sin," (for there is little 
hope of the conversion of mockers,) " and the bands 
by which you are bound over to the judgments of 
God." God has bands of justice strong enough to 
hold those that break ail the bonds of his law in 
sunder, and cast away all his cords from them. Let 
not these mockers make light of divine threaten- 
ings, for the prophet (who is one of those with whom 
the secret of the Lord is) assures them that the 
Lord Gild of hosts has, in his hearing, determined 
a consumfition upon the whole earth; and can tliey 
think to escapei" Or shall their unbelief in\'alidate 
the threatening? 

23. Give ye ear, and hear my voice; 
hearken, and hear my speech. 24. Doth 
tlie piougliman plough all day to sow ? doth 
he open and break the clods of his ground ? 
25. When he hath made plain the face 
thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, 
and scatter the cummin, and cast in the 
principal wheat, and the appointed barley, 
and the rye, in their place ? 26. For his God 
doth instruct him to discretion, and doth 
teach him. 27. For the fitches are not 
threshed witli a threshing instrument, neither 
is a cart-wheel turned about upon the cum- 
min; but the fitches are beaten out with a 
staff, and the cummin with a rod. 23. 
Bread-cor?;, is bruised ; because he will not 
ever be threshing it, nor break it with the 
wheel of his cart, nor bruise it mith his horse- 
men. 29. This also cometh forth from the 
Lord of hosts, lohich is wonderful in coun- 
sel, and excellent in working. 

This parable, which (as many of our Saviour's 
paribles) is borrowed from the husbandiran's call- 
mg, is ushered in with a solcnjn preface demanding 
attention. He that has ears to hear, let him hear, 
hear and understand, x>. 23. 

I. The parable here is plain enough, that the hus- 
bandman applies himself to the business of his call- 
ing witli a great deal of pains and prudence, secun- 
dum artem — according to rule, and, as his judg- 
ment directs him, observes a method and order in 
his work. 1. In his ploughing and sowing; Does 
(he filoughman plough all day to soiu? Yes, he 
does, and he filoug/i-s in hofie, and sows in hofie, 1 



Cor. ix. 10. Does he open and break tlte clods? Yes, 
he does, that it may be fit to receive the seed. And 
when he has thus made filain the face thereof, does 
he not sow his seed, seed suitable to the soil? For 
tlie husbandman knows what gi'ain is fit for clayey 
ground, and what for sandy ground, and accordingly 
he sows each in its place; ivheat in the principal 
place, (so the margin reads it;) for it is the principal 
grain, and was a stanle-conimodity of Canaan, 
(Ezek. xxvii. 17.) and oarley in ttie appointed place. 
The wisdom and goodness of the Go<l of nature are 
to be observed in this, that, to oblige his creatures 
with a grateful variety of productions, he has suited 
to them an agreeable variety of earths. 2. In his 
threshing, v. 27, 28. This also he proportiens to 
the grain that is to be threshed out; the filches and 
tliecummin, being easily got out <.f tliuir husk or ear, 
are only threshed with a staff and a rod; l)ut the 
bread-corn requires more force, and therefore that 
must be bruised with a threshing instrument, a 
sledge shod with iron, tliat was drawn to and fro 
over it, to beat out the corn; and yet he will not be 
ever threshing it, nor any longer than is necessary 
to loosen the com from the chaff; he will not break 
it, or crush it into the ground with the ivheel of his 
cart, nor bruise it to pieces ivith his horsemen; the 
grinding of it is reserved for another operation. Ob- 
serve, by the way, what pains are to be taken, not 
only for the earning, but for the preparing of our 
necessary food; and yet, after all, it is meat that 
perishes. Shall we then grudge to labour much 
more for the meat which endures to everlastiyig life? 
Bread-corn is bruised; Christ was; it pleased the 
Lord to bruise him, that he might be the Bread of 
life to us. 

11. The interpretation of the parable is not so 
plain. Most inteipreters make it a further answer 
to those who set the judgments of God at defiance; 
"Let them know that as the husbandman will not 
be always ploughing, but will at length sow his seed, 
so God will not lie always threatening, but will at 
length execute his threatenings, and bring upon sin- 
ners the judgments they have deserved; but in wis- 
dom, and in proportion to their strength, that they 
may not be ruined, but reformed, and brought to 
repentance, by them. " But I think we may give 
this parable a greater latitude in the exposition of it 
1. In general; that God, who gives the husband- 
man this wisdom, is, doubtless, himself infinitely 
wise. It is God that instructs the husbandman to 
discretion, as his God, -u. 26. Husbandmen have 
need of discretion, wherewith to order their aflfairs, 
and ought not to undertake that business unless they 
do in some measure understand it; and they should 
by observation and experience endeavour to improve 
themselves in the knowledge of it. Since the king 
himself is served of the field, the advancing of the 
art of husbandry is a common service to mankind, 
more than the cultivating of most other arts. The 
skill of the husbandman is from God, as every good 
and perfect gift is. This takes off something of the 
weight and terror of the sentence passed on man for 
sin, that when God, in execution of it, sent man to 
till tlie ground, he taught him how to do it most to 
his advantage, else, in the greatness of his folly, he 
might have been for ever tilling tlie sand of the 
sea, labouring to no puipose. It is he that give; 
men capacity for this business, an inclination to it, 
and a delight in it; and if some were not by Provi- 
dence cut out for it, and made to rejoice, as Issachar, 
that tribe of husbandmen, in their tents, notwith- 
standing the toil and fatigue of this business, we 
should soon want the supports of life. If some are 
more discreet and judicious in managing these or 
any other affairs than others are, God must be ac- 
knowledged in it; and to him Imsbandmen must 
seek for direction in their business; for they, above 



132 



ISAIAH, XXIX. 



other men, have an immediate dependence upon 
the divine providence. As to the other instance of 
the husbandman's conduct in threshing his corn, it 
is said. This also comes forth from the Lord of hosts, 
V. 29. Even tlie plainest dictates of sense and reason 
must be acknowledged to come forth from the Lord 
of hosts. And if it is from him that men do things 
wisely and discreetly, we must needs acknowledge 
him to be wise in counsel, and excellent in working. 
God's working is according to his will, he never 
acts against his own mind, as men < ftLU do, and 
there is a counsel in his whole will; he is therefore 
excellent in working, because he is wonderful in 
counsel. 

2. God's church is his husbandry. 1 Cor. iii. 9. 
If Christ is the true Vine, his Father is the Hus- 
bandman, (John XV. 1.) and he is continually, by his 
word and ordinances, cultivating it. Does the 
filoughman filou^h all day, and break the clods of 
his ground, that it may receive the seed, and does 
not God by his ministers break up the fallow gi-ound ? 
Does not the ploughman, when the ground is fitted 
for the seed, cast in tlie seed in its proper soil? He 
does so, and so the great God sows his word by tlie 
hand of his ministers, (Matth. xiii. 19.) who are to 
divide the word of tnith, and give every one their 
portion. Whatever the soil of the heart is, there is 
some seed or otlier in the word proper for it. And 
as the ivord of God, so the rod of God, is thus 
wisely made use of. Afflictions are God's thresh- 
ing instruments, designed to loosen us from the 
world, to part between us and our chaff, and to pre- 
pare us for use. And as to these, God will make 
use of them as there is occasion; but he will propor- 
tion them to our strength, they shall be no heavier 
than there is need. If the rod and the staff will an- 
swer the end, he will not make use of his cart-wheel 
and his horsemen. And where these are necessary, 
as for the bruising of the bread-corn, (which will 
not otherwise be got clean from the straw,) yet he 
will not be ever threshing it, will not always chide, 
but his anger shall endure but for a moment; nor 
will he crush under his feet the prisoners of the earth. 
And herein we must acknowledge him wonderful 
in counsel, and excellent in working. 

CHAP. XXIX. 

This wo to Ariel, which we have in this chapter, is the 
same with the burthen of the valley of vision, (ch. 22. I.) 
and (it is very probable) points at the same event — the 
besieging of Jerusalem by the Assyrian army, which was 
cut oifT there by an angel; yet it is applicable to the de- 
struction of Jerusalem Dy the Chaldeans, and its last de- 
solations by the Romans. Here is, 1. The event itself 
foretold, that Jerusalem should be greatly distressed; 
(v 1. .4, 6.) but that their enemies, who distressed them, 
should be baffled and defeated, V. 5, 7, 8. II. A reproof^ 
to three sorts of sinners; 1. Those that were stupid and 
regardless of the warnings which the prophet gave them, 
V. 9. .12. 2. Those that were formal and hypocritical in 
their religious performances, v. 13, 14. 3. Those politi- 
cians that atheistically and profanely despised God's pro- 
vidence, and set up their own projects in competition 
with it, v. 15.. n. III. Precious promises of grace and 
mercy to a distinguishing remnant whom God would 
sanctify, and in whom he would be sanctified when their 
enemies and persecutors should be cut off, v. 18 . . 24. 

I . WTO to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where 
T T David dwelt ! add ye year to year ; 
let them kill sacrifices. 2. Yet I will dis- 
tress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and 
sorrow : and it shall be unto me as Ariel. 

3. And I will camp against thee round 
about, and will lay siege against thee with 
a mount, and I will raise forts against thee. 

4. And thou shalt be brouglit down, and 
«h lit speak out of the ground, and thy speech 



shall be low out of tlie dust, and thy voice 
shall be as of one that hath a familiar spiiit 
out of the ground, and thy speech shall whis- 
per out of the dust. 5. Moreover, the mul- 
titude of thy strangers sliall be like small 
dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones 
s/iall be as chaff tiiat passeth away ; yea, it 
shall be at an instant suddenly. 6. Thou 
shalt be visited of the Lord of hosts with 
thunder, and witli earthquake, and great 
noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame 
of devouring fire. 7. And the multitude of 
all the nations that fight against Ariel, even 
all that fight against her and her munition, 
and that distress her, sliall be as a dream of 
a night-vision. 8. It shall even be as when 
a hungry 7nan dreameth, and, behold, he 
eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is emp- 
ty : or as when a thirsty 7Jian dreameth, and 
behold, he drinketh ; but he awaketh, and, 
behold, /le is faint, and his soul hath appe- 
tite : so shall the multitude of all the nations 
be, that fight against mount Zion. 

That it is Jei^usalem which is here called Ariel, is 
agreed, for that was the city where David dwelt; 
that part of it which was called Zion, was in a par- 
ticular manner the city of David, in which both the 
temple and the palace were; but why it is so called is 
very uncertain; probably, the name and the reason 
were, then, well known. Cities, as well as persons, 
get surnames and nicknames. Ariel signifies the 
lion of God, or the strong lion; as the lion is king 
among beasts, so was Jerusalem among the cities, 
giving law to all about her; it was the city of the 
great King, (Ps. xlviii. 1, 2.) it was the head city 
of Judah, wlio is called a lion's whelp, (Gen. xlix. 
9.) and whose ensign was a lion; and he that is the 
Lion of the tribe of Judah, was the glory of it. Jeru- 
salem was a teiTor sometimes to the neiglibcuring 
nations, and, while she was a righteous city, was 
bold as a lion. Some make Ariel to signify the altar 
of burnt-offerings, which devoured the beasts offer- 
ed in sacrifice, as the lion does his prey. Wo to 
that altar in the city where David dwelt; that was 
destroyed with the temple by the Chaldeans. I ra- 
ther take it as a wo to Jcnisalem, Jcnisalem; it is 
repeated here, as it is Matth. xxiii. 37. that it might 
be the more awakening. Here is, 

I. The distress of Jerusalem foretold; though Je- 
rusalem be a strfmg city, as a lion, though a holy 
city, as a lion of God, yet, if iniquity be found there, 
wo be to it. It was the city where David dwelt, it 
was he that brought that to it, which was its glory, 
and which made it a type of the gospel-church, and 
his dwelling in it was typical of Christ's residence 
in his church. This is mentioned as an aggravation 
of Jerusalem's sin, that in it were set both the testi- 
mony of Israel, and the thrones of the house of David. 
1. Let Jerusalem know that her external per- 
formance of religious services will not serve as an 
exemption from the judgments of God; (i'. 1.) "Add 
ye year to year; go on in the road of your annual 
feasts, let all your males appear there three times 
a year before the Lord, and none empty, according 
to the law and custom, and let them never miss any 
of these solemnities; let them kill the sacrifices, as 
they used to do, but, as long as their lives are unre- 
formcd, and their hearts unhumbled, let them not 
think thus to p;icifv an offended God, and to turn 
away his wrath." Note, Hypocrites may be found 



TSAUH, XXIX. 



T33 



in a constant track of devout exercises, and tread- 
ing around in tln.'m, and \vitl\ these tliey may flatter 
tlieniselves, but can never please God, or make 
their peace with him. 

2. Let h^r know that God is coming forth against 
her in displeasure, that she shall be visited of t/ie 
Lord uf hosts, {v. 6.) her sins shall be inquired into, 
and punished; God will reckon for them with terri- 
ble judgments, with the frightful alarms and rueful 
desolations of war, which shall be like thunder and 
earthquakes, storms and tempests, and devouring 
fire, esl)ecially upon tlie account of the great noise. 
When a foreign enemy was not in the borders, but 
in the bowels, of their countrj', roaring and ravag- 
ing, and laying all waste, especially such an army 
as that of the Assyrians, whose commanders being 
so very insolent, as appears by the conduct of Rab- 
shikeh, the common soldiers, no doubt, were much 
more rude; they might see the Lord of those hosts 
visiting them with thunder and storm. Yet this be- 
ing here said to be a threat noise, perhaps it is inti- 
mated that they shall be worse frightened than hurt. 
Particularly, 

( 1. ) Jerusalem shall be besieged, straitly besieged. 
He does not say, / mill destroy ylriel, but, / will 
d/ktress Ariel; and she is therefore brought into dis- 
tress, that, being thereby awakened to repent and 
reform, she may not be brought to destruction; {y. 
3.) I nvill camp, against thee round about. It was 
the enemy's army that encamped against it; but God 
says that he will do it, for tliej' are his hand, he 
does it by them. God had often, and long, by a 
host of angels, encamped for them round about 
them, for their protection and deliverance; but now 
he was turned to be their Enemy, and fought against 
them. The siege laid against them was of his lay- 
ing, and the forts raised against them were of his 
raising. Note, When men fiijht against us, we 
must, in them, see God contendmg with us. 

(2.) She shall be in grief to see the country laid 
waste, and all the fenced cities of Judah in the ene- 
mies' hand; There shall be heaviness and sorrow, 
(t». 2.) mourning- and lamentation; so these two 
words are sometimes rendered. Those that are 
most merry and jovial, are, commonly, when they 
come to be in distress, most overwhelmed with 
heaviness and sorrow; their laughter is then turned 
into mourning. " All Jerusalem shall then be unto 
me as Ariel, as the altar, with fire upon it, and slain 
victims about it:" so it was, when Jenisalem was 
aestroyed by the Chaldeans; and many, no doubt, 
were slain, when it was besieged by the Assyrians. 
The whole city shall be an altar, in which smners, 
tailing by the judgments that are abroad, shall be 
as victims to divine justice. Or thus; There shall 
he heaviness and sorrow; they shall repent, and 
reform, and return to God, and then it shall be 
to me as Ariel. Jerusalem shall be like itself, 
shall become to me a Jerusalem again, a holy city, 
Kh. i. 26. 

(3.) She shall be humbled and mortified, and 
made submissive;- {v. 4.) " Thou shall be brought 
down from the height of arrogancy and insolence to 
which thou art come; the proud looks and the proud 
language shall be brought down by one humbling 
providence after another." Those tliat despised 
God's judgments, shall be humbled by them ; for the 
proudest sinners shall either bend or break before 
him. They had talked big, had lifted ufi the horn 
on high, and had sfioken with a' stiff nec/c; (Ps. 
lx,Kv. 5.) but novf thou shalt s/teak- out of the ground, 
out of the dust; as one that has a familiar spirit, 
whispering out of the dust. This intimates that they 
should be faint and feeble, not able to speak up, nor 
to say all they would say; but, as those who are 
sick, or whose spirits are ready to fail, their speech 
jhall be low and interrupted; and that they should 



be fearful, and in consternation, forced to speak low 
as being afraid lest their enemies six uld overheai 
them, and take advantage against them ; and that 
they should be tame, and i bliged to submit to the 
conquerors. When Hczvkiah Mibmitted to the 
king of Assyria, saying, I have offended, that which 
thou jiuttcst on me I will bear, (2 Kings xviii. 14.) 
then his speech was low, out of the dust. God can 
make those to crouch, that have been most daring, 
and quite dispirit them. 

II. The destruction of Jerusalem's enemies is 
foretold, for the comfort of all that were her friends 
and well-wishers in this distress; {v. 5, 7.) " Thou 
shalt be brought down, (v. 4.) to speak out of the 
dust; so low thcu shalt be reduced. But" (so it 
may be rendered) " the multitude of thy strangers 
and thy terrible ones, the numerous armies of the 
enemy, shall themselves be like small dust, not able 
to speak at all, or so much as whisper, but as chaff 
that passes away. Thou shall be abased, but they 
shall be quite dispersed, smitten and slain aftci- an- 
other manner, (cA. xxvii. 7. ) they shall pass away, 
yea, it shall be at an instant, suddenly ; the enemy 
shall be surprised with the destruction, and you 
with the salvation." The army of the Assyrians 
was by an angel laid dead upon the spot, in an in- 
stant, suddenly. Such will be the destruction of the 
enemies of the gospel-Jerusalem; in one hour is 
their judgment come. Rev. xviii. 10. Again, {v. 6.) 
Thou shalt be visited; or, as it used to be rendered, 
She shall be xnsited with thunder and a great noise. 
Thou shalt be put into a fright which thcu shalt 
soon recover. But {y. 7. ) the multitude of the na- 
tions that fight against her, shall be as a dream of 
a night'Visio7i; they and their prosperity and suc- 
cess shall soon vanish past recall. The multitude 
of the nations WipAjight against Zion, shall be as a 
hungry man, who dreams that he eats, but still is 
hungry; that is, 1. Whereas they hoped to make a 
prey of Jerusalem, and to enrich themselves with 
the plunder of that opulent city, their hopes shall 
prove vain dreams, with which their fancies may 
please and sport themselves for awhile, but they 
shall be disappointed. They fancied themselves 
masters of Jei-usalem, but shall never be so. 2. 
They themselves, and all their pomp, and power, 
and prosperity, shall vanish like a dream, when 
one awakes; shall be of as little value, and as short 
continuance, Ps. Ixxiii. 20. He sliall_y7!/ away as a 
dream. Job xx. 8. The army of Sennacherib van 
ished and was gone quickly, though it had filled the 
country as a dream fills a man's head; especially as 
a dream of meat fills the head of him that went to 
bed hungry. 

Many understand these verses as part of the 
threatening of wrath, when God co.nes to distress 
Jerusalem, and lay siege to her. (1.) The multi- 
tude of her friends, whom she relies upon for help, 
shall do her no good; for though they are terrible 
ones, they shall be like the small dust, and shall 
pass away. (2.) The multitude of her enemies 
shall never think they can do her mischief enough; 
but, when they have devoured her much, still they 
shall be but like a man who dreams he eats, hungry, 
and greedy to devour her more. 

9. Stay yourselves and wonder ; cry ye 
out, and cry: they are drunken, but not 
with wine ; they stagger, but not with strong 
drink. 10. For the Lord hath poured out 
upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath 
closed your eyes : the prophets and your 
rulers, the seers, hath he covered. 1 1 . And 
the vision of all is become unto you as the 
words of a book that is sealed, which vten 



134 



ISAIAH, ^XIX. 



deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read 
this, I pray thee: and he saitJi, I cannot; 
for it is sealed. 12. And tlie book is deliv- 
ered to him that is not learned, saying. Read 
, this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not 
learned. 13. Wherefore the Lord said, 
Forasmuch as tliis people draw near me 
with their mouth, and with their lips do 
honour me, but have lemoved their heart 
far from me, and their fear toward me is 
taught by the precept of men : 1 4. There- 
fore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvel- 
lous work among this people, even a mar- 
vellous work and a wonder; for the wisdom 
of their wise men shall perish, and the un- 
derstanding of their prudent jnen shall be 
hid. 15. VVo unto them that seek deep to 
hide their counsel from the Lord, and their 
works are in the dark, and they say. Who 
seethus? and whoknowethus? 16. Surely 
your turning of thmgs upside down shall be 
esteemed as the potter's clay : for shall the 
work say of him that made it, He made 
me not? or shall the thing framed say of 
him tliat framed it, He had no understand- 
ing? 

Here, 

I. The prophet stands amazed at the stupidity 
of the greatest part of the Jewish nation. They 
had Levites, who taught the good knowledge of the 
Lord, and had encouragement from Hezekiah in 
doing so, 2 Chron. xxx. 22. They had prophets, 
who brought them messages immediately from God, 
and signified to them what were the causes, and 
what should be the effects, of God's displeasure 
against them. Now one would think, surely this 
great nation, that has all the advantages of divine 
revelation, is a wise and understanding fieo/ile, 
Deut. iv. 6. But alas! it was quite otherwise, r>. 9. 
The prophet directs himself to the sober thinking 
part of them, calling upon them to be affected with 
the general carelessness of their neighbours. It 
may be read, "They delay, they put off their re- 
pentance, but wonder ye that they should be so sot- 
tish; they sport themselves with their own deceiv- 
mgs, they riot and revel, but do ye cry out, lament 
their folly, cry to God by prayer for them. The 
more insensible they are of the hand of God gone 
out against them, the more do you lay to heart these 
things. " Note, The security of sinners in their sin- 
ful ways is just matter of lamentation and wonder 
to all serious people, who should think themselves 
concerned to pray for those that do not jjray for 
themselves. But what is the matter? What are 
we thus to wonder at? 

1. We may well wonder that the generality of 
the people are so sottish and brutish, and so infatu- 
ated, as if they were intoxicated; They are drunken, 
but not -Jiith wine; (not with wine only, with that 
they were often drunk;) and they erred through 
wine, ch. xxviii. 7. They were drunk with the 
love of pleasui'cs, witl\ prejudices against religion, 
and with the corrupt principles they had imbibed; 
like drunken men, they know not what they do or 
say, or whither they go. They are not sensible of 
the divine rebukes they arc under. They fiave 
beaten me, and I felt it not, says the drunkard, 
Prov. xxiii. 35. God speaks to them once, yea 
V.vice; but, like men drunk, they perceive it not. 



they understand it not, but forget the law. They 
stagger in their counsels, are unstable and unsteady, 
and stumble at every thing that lies in their way. 
Tliere is such a thing as spiritual drunkenness. 

2. It is yet more strange that God himself has 
floured out upon them a spirit of deep sleep, and has 
closed their eyes, {-v. 10.) that he who bids them 
awake, and open their c) cs, should yet lay them to 
sleep, and shut their eyes; but it is in a way cf 
righteous judgment, to punish them for their loving 
darkness rather than light, their loving sleep. 
When God by his prophets called them, they said, 
Yet a little sleep, a little slumber; and therefore he 
gave them up to strong delusions, and said. Sleep 
on now. This is applied to tlie unbelieving Jews, 
who rejected the gospel of Christ, and were justly 
hardened in their infidelity, till wrath came upon 
them to the uttermost; (Rom. xi. 8.) God has gi-ven 
them the spirit of slumber. And we have reason to 
fear it is the woful case of many who live in the 
midst of gospel-light. 

3. It is very sad that this should be the case of 
those who were their prophets, and i-ulcrs, and 
seers; that they who should be their guides, are 
themselves blindfolded; and it is easy to tell what 
the fatal consecjuences will be when he blind lead 
the blind. This was fulfilled when, in the latter 
days of the Jewish church, the chief priests, and 
the scribes, and the elders of the people, were the 
great opposers of Christ and his gospel, and brought 
themselves under a judicial infatuation. 

4. The sad effect of this was, that all the means 
of con\ iction, knowledge, and grace, which they 
enjoyed, were ineffectual, and did not answer the 
end; {y. 11, 12.) " The vision of all Mf prophets, 
true and false, is becoine to you as the words of a 
book, or letter, that is sealed u/i; you cannot discern 
the truth of the real visions, and the falsehood of 
the pretended ones." Or, ever)' vision particularly 
that this prophet had seen for them, and published 
to them, was become unintelligible; they had it 
among them, but were never the wiser for it, any 
more than a man (though a good scholar) is for a 
book delivered to him sealed up, and which he 
must not open the seals of. He sees it is a book, 
and that is all, he knows nothing of what is in it. 
So they knew that what Isaiah said was a vision 
and prophecy, but the meaning of it was hid from 
them; it was only a sound of words to them, which 
they were not at all alarmed by, or affected with: 
it answered not the intention, for it made no im- 
pression at all upon them. Neither the leanied nor 
the unlearned were the better for all the messages 
God sent them by his servants the firophets, nor 
desired to be so. The ordinaiy sort of people ex- 
cused themselves from regarding what the prophets 
said, with their want of learning and a liberal edu- 
cation; as if they were not cencemed to know and 
do the will of God, because they were not bred 
scholars; It is nothing to me, I am not learned. 
Those of better rank pretended that the prophet 
had a peculiar way of sjieaking, which was obscure 
to them, and which, though they were men of let- 
ters, they had not been used to; and, Si 7wn vis in- 
telligi, debes negligi — If you wish not to be under- 
stood, you deseri'e to be neglected. Both these are 
groundless pretences; for God's prophets have been 
no unfaithful debtors either to the wise or to the 
unwise, Rom. i. 14. Or, we may take it thus; the 
book of prophecy was given to tliem sealed, so that 
thev could not read it, as a just judgment upon 
them ; because it had often been delivered to them 
unsej'.lcd, and they would not take pains to learn the 
language of it, and then made excuse for their not 
reading it, because they were not learned. " But 
observe, The vision is become thus to you, whose 
minds the god of this world has blinded; but it a 



JSAIAH, XXIX. 



135 



not so in itself, it is not so to all; the same vision 
which to you is a savour of death unto death, to 
ethers is, ami shall be, a savour of Ufe unto life." 
Knowledge is easy to him that understands. 

II. The prophet, in God's name, threatens those 
that were formal and hypocritical in their exercises 
of devotion, T'. 13, 14. Observe heic. 

1. The sin that is here charged upon them^<iis- 
senibling with God in their religious perfoi-maiices, 
V. 13. He that knows the heart, and cannot be im- 
posed upon with shows and pretences, charges it 
upon them, whether their hearts condemn them for 
it, or no. He that is greater than the heart, and 
knows all things, knows that tliough they draw 
nigh to him with their mouth, a7id honour him ivith 
their tips, yet they are not sincere in it. To wor- 
ship Goil is to make our approaches to him, and to 
present our adorations of him; it is to draw nigh to 
him as those that have business with him, with an 
intention therein to honour him. This we are to do 
with our mouth and with our lips, in speaking of 
him, and in speaking to him; we must render to 
him the calves of our lijis, Hosea xiv. 2. And if 
the heart be full of his love and fear, out of the 
abundance of that the mouth will speak. But there 
are many whose religion is lip-labour only. They 
say that which expresses an approach to God and 
an adoration of him, but it is only from the teeth 
outward. For, (1.) They do not apply their 
m'uids to the service; when they pretend to be 
speaking to God, they are thinking of a thousand 
impertinences; They have removed their hearts far 
from me, that they might not be employed in 
pra\er, nor come within reach of the word. When 
work was to be done for God, which required the 
heart, that was sent out of the way on purpose, with 
the fool's eyes into the ends of the earth. (2. ) They 
do not make the word of God the rule of their wor- 
ship, nor his will their reason; Their fear toward 
me is taught by the precept of men. They wor- 
shipped the God of Israel, not according to his ap- 
pointment, but their own inventions; the directions 
of their false prophets or their idolatrous kings, or 
their usages of the nations that were round about 
thein; the tradition of the elders was of more value 
and validity with them th m the laws which God 
commanded Moses. Or, if they did worship God 
in a way conformable to his institution, in the days 
of Hezekiah, a great reformer, they had more an 
eye to the precept of the king than to God's com- 
mand. This our Saviour applies to the Jews in his 
time, who were formal in their devotions, and wed- 
ded to their own inventions, and pronounces con- 
cerning them, that in vain they did worship God. 
Matt. XV. 8, 9. 

2. It is a spiritual judgment with which God threat- 
ens to punish them for their spiritual wickedness; 
{v. 14.) I will add to do a marvellous work. They 
did one strange thing, they removed all sincerity 
from their hearts; now God will go on and do ano- 
ther, he will remove all sagacity from their heads; 
the wisdom of their wise men shall perish. They 
played the hypocrite, and thought to put a cheat 
upon God, and now they are left to themselves to 
play the fool; and not only to put a cheat upon 
themselves, but to be easily cheated by all about 
them. Those that make religion no more than a 
pretence, to serve a turn, are out in their politics; 
and it is just with God to deprive tiiose of their un- 
derstnndmg, whopart with their uprightness. This 
w IS fulfilled in the wretched infatuation which the 
Jewish nation were manifestly under, after they had 
rejected the gospel of Christ; they removed their 
hearts far from God, and therefore God justly re- 
moved wisdom far from them, and hid from their 
eyes the things that belonged even to their tempo- 
ral peace. Tliis is a marvellous work; it is surpris- 



ing, it is astonisliing, that wise men should of a 
sudden lose their wisdom, and be given up to strong 
delusions. Judgments on the mind, though least 
taken notice of, are to be most wondered at. 

III. He shows the folly of those that thought to 
act separately and secretly frcm God, and were 
carryuig on designs indejiendent upon God, and 
which they projected to conceal from his all-seeing 
eye. 

Here we have, 1. Their pclitics described; {v. 
15.) They seek deep to hide their counsel from the 
Lord, that he may not know either what they do, 
or what they design; they say, "Who sees us.' No 
man, and therefore not God himself." The con- 
sultations they had about their own safety, they kept 
to themselves, and never asked God's advice con- 
cerning them; nay, they knew they were displeas- 
ing to him, but thought they could conceal them 
from him; and if he did not know them, he could 
not baffle and defeat them. See what foolish, fruit- 
less pains sinners take in their sinful ways; they 
seek deep, they sink deep, to hide their counsel 
from the Lord, who sits in heaven, and laughs at 
them. Note, A practical disbelief of God's omni- 
science is at the bottom both of the carnal worships 
and of the carnal confidences of hypocrites; Ps. xciv. 
7. Ezek. viii. 12.— ix. 9. 

2. The absurdity of their politics demonstrated ; 
(y. 16.) "Surely your turning of things upside 
down thus, your various projects, turning your af- 
fairs this and that way to make them shape as ycu 
would have them; or, rather, your inverting the or- 
der of things, and thinking to make God's provi- 
dence give attendance to your prtjects, and that 
God must know no more than you think fit, which 
is perfectly turning things upside down, and bcgin- 
ing at the wrong end, it shall be esteemed as the pot- 

I ter's clay; God will turn and manage you, and all 

( your counsels, with as much ease and as absolute a 
power, as the potter forms and fashions his clay." 
See how God despises, and therefore what little 
reason we ha\'e to dread, those contrivances of men, 
that are carried on without God, particularly these 
against him. They that think to hide their coun- 
sels from God; (1.) They do, in effect, denv him to 
be their Creator. It is as if the woik should say cf 
him that made it, " He made me not, I made mv- 
self." If God made us, he certainly knows us, as 
the psalmist shows, Ps. cxxxix. 1, 13 — 15. So that 
they who say that he does not see them, m ight as well 

j say that he did not make them. Much of the wick- 
edness of the wicked arises from this, thev forget 

: that God formed them, Deut. xxxii. 18. Or, (2.) 
Which comes all to one, they deny him to be a wise 
Creator; The thing framed saith of him that framed 
it, He had no understanding: for if he had under- 
standing to make us so curiously, especially to make 
us intelligent beings, and \.o put understanding into 
the inward part, (Job xxxviii. 36.) no doubt he has 
understanding to know us, and all we say and do. 
As they that quarrel with God, so they that think 
to conceal themselves from him, do, in effect, charge 
him with folly; but he that formed the eye, shall ht 
not see? Ps. xciv. 9. 

1 7. 7s it not yet a very little while, and 
Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, 
and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a 
forest? 18. And in that day shall the deaf 
hear the words of the book, and the eyes of 
the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out 
of darkness. 19. The meek also shall in- 
crease their joy in the Lord, and the poor 
among men shall rejoice in the Holy One 
of Israel. 20. For the terrible one is brought 



136 



ISAIAH, XXIX. 



to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and 
all that watch for iniquity are cut off: 21. 
That make a man an offender for a word, 
and lay a snare for him tliat reproveth in 
the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of 
nought. 22. Therefore thus saith the Lord, 
who redeemed Abraham, concerning the 
house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be 
ashamed, neither shall his face now wax 
pale. 23. But when he seeth his children, 
the work of my hands, in the midst of him, 
they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify 
the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the 
God of Israel. 24. They also that erred 
in spirit shall come to understanding, and 
thev that murmured shall learn doctrine. 

Tlicy that thought to hide their counsels from 
the Lord, were said to turn things upside down, (v. 
16.) and the)' intended to do it unknown to God; 
but God liere tells them that he will turn things up- 
side down his way; and let us see whose word shall 
stHud, his or theirs. They disbelieve Providence; 
" Wait awhile," says God, " and you shall be con- 
vinced by ocular demonstration, tliat there is a God 
who governs the world, and that he governs it, and 
orders all the changes that are in it, for tlie good of 
his church." The wonderful revolution here fore- 
told may refer primarily to the happy settlement 
of the affairs of Judah and Jerusalem after the de- 
feat of Sennacherib's attempt, and the repose wliich 
srood people then enjoyed, when they were delivered 
fnm the alarms of the sword both of war and per- 
secution. But it may look further, to the rejection 
of the Jews at the first planting of the gospel, (for 
their hypocrisy and infidelity were here foretold, 
1'. 13.) and the admission of the Gentiles into the 
church. 

In general, it is a great and sui-prising change 
that is here foretold, v. 17. Lebanon, that was a 
forest, is turned into a fruitful field; and Carmel, 
th it was a fruitful field, shall become a forest It 
is a counter-change. Note, Great changes, both 
for the better, and for the worse, are often made in 
a very little while. It was a sign given them of the 
defeat of Sennacherib, that the ground should be 
more than ordinarily fruitful; (c/i. xxxvii. 30.) Ye 
s/iall eat this year such as grows of itself: food for 
mm shall be (as food for beasts is) the spontaneous 
product of the soil; then Lebanon became a fniitful 
n -Id, so fruitful, that that which used to be reckon- 
ed a fruitful field, in comparison with it, shall be 
boked upon but as a forest. M'hen a great harvest 
ofsoids was gathered in to Christ from among the 
Gentiles, then the wildemess was turned into a fruit- 
ful field, and the Jewish church, that had long been 
a fruitful field, became a desolate and deserted fo- 
rest, ch. liv. 1. 

In particular, 1. Those that were ignorant shall 
liecrme intelligent, v. 18. Those that understand 
not this prophecy, (but it was to them as a sealed 
book, V. 11.) shall, whcn.it is accomplished, under- 
stand it, and shall acknowledge, not only the hand 
of God in the event, but the voice of God in the pre- 
diction of it. The deaf shall then hear the -.eords of 
the hook: the fulfilling of prophecy is the best ex- 
position of it. The poor Gentiles shall then have 
divine revelation brought among them; and those 
that sat in darkness shall see a great light; those that 
were blind shall see out of obscurity; for the gospel 
was sent to them to often their eyes, Acts xxvi. 18. 
Observe, In order to the making of men fruitful 
in good affections and actions, the course God's 



grace takes with them is, to open their under 
standings, and make them hear the w '-ds of God's 
book. 

2. Those that were erroneous shall become ortho- 
dox; (tj. 24.) They that erred in s/iiril, that were 
under mistakes and misapprehensions concerning 
the words of the book, and the meaning of them, 
they shall come to understanding, to a right under- 
standing of things; the Spirit of ti'uth shall rectify 
their mistakes, and lead them into all truth. This 
should encourage us to pray for those that have err- 
ed, and are deceived, that God can, i'.nd often does, 
bring such to understanding. They that nuirmured 
at the truths of God as hard sayings, and loved to 
pick quarrels with them, shall learn the true mean- 
ing of these doctrines, and then they will be better 
reconciled to them. They that erred concerning 
the providence of God, as to public affairs, and 
murmured at the disposals of it, when they shall 
see the issue of things, shall better understand them, 
and be aware of what God was designing in all, 
Hosea xiv. 9. 

3. Those that were melancholy shall become 
cheerful and pleasant; (xk 19.) The meek also shall 
increase their joy in the Lord. Those who are poor 
in the world, and poor in spirit, who, being in afflic- 
tion, accommodate themselves to their affliction — 
are purely passive, and not passionate, when thoy 
see God appearing ivr them, they shall add, or re- 
/ieat,Joy in the Lord. This intimates, that even 
in their distress they kept up their joy in the Lord, 
but now they increased it. Note, 'rhey who, when 
they are in trouble, can truly rejoice in God, shall 
soon have cause given them greatly to rejoice in 
him. When joy in the world is decreasing and fad- 
ing, joy in God is increasing and getting ground. 
This shining light shall shine more and more; for 
that which is aimed at is, that this Joy may be full. 
Even the floor among men may rejoice in the Holy 
One of Israel, and their poverty needs not deprive 
them of that joy, Heb. iii. 17, 18. And the meek, 
the humble, the patient, and dispassionate, shall 
gi'ow in this joy. Note, the grace of meekness will 
contribute very much to the increase of our holy 

py- 

4. The enemies that were formidable shall be- 
come despicable. Sennacheril^, that terrilile one, 
and his great army, that put the country into such 
a consternation, shall be brought to nought, (t. 20.) 
shall be quite disabled to do any further mischief. 
The power of Satan, that terrible one indeed, shall 
be broken by the prevalency of Christ's gospel ; and 
they that were subject to bondage, through fear of 
him that had the power of death, shall be deliver- 
ed, Heb. ii. 14, 15. 

5. The persecutors that were vexatious shall be 
quieted; and so those they were troublesome to «hall 
be quiet from the fear of them. To complete the 
repose of God's people, not only the terrible one 
from abroad sliall be brought to nought, but the 
scorners at home too shall be consumed and cut off 
by Hezekiah's refoi-mation. Those are a happy 
people, and likely to be so, who, when God gives 
them victory and success against their terrible ene- 
mies aljroad, take care to suppress vice and pro- 
faneness, and the spirit of persecution, those more 
dangerous enemies at home. Or, Thev shall bi 
consumed and cutoff by the judgments of God, shall 
be singled out to be made examples of Or, They 
shall insensibly waste away, being put to confusioii 
by the fulfilling of those predictions which they 
had made a jest of 

Observe, What had been the wickedness of these 
scorners, for which they should be cut off; they had 
been persecutors of God's people and prophets, pro- 
bably of the prophet Isaiah particularly, and there- 
foi-e he complains thus feelingly of them, an 1 ol 



rSAIAH, XXX. 



137 



their subtle malice. Some, as informers and per- 
Si-cut irs, otiicrs, us judges, did uU tliey could to 
t-ikc away his lite, or, at least, his liberty. And 
this is V ery applicable to the chief priests and Pha- 
risees, who persecuted Clirist and his apostles, and 
fur th it sni they and thi-ir nation of scomers were 
cut off and consumed. (1.) They ridiculed the pro- 
phets and the serious pi-ofessors of religion; they 
despised them, and did their utmost to Ijriiig them 
into contempt; they were scorners, and sat in the 
seat of the scornful. (2. ) They lay in wait for an 
occasion against them; by their spies they watch 
for inicjuity, to see if they can lay hold on any thing 
that is s lid or done, that may be called an iniijuity. 
Or, They themselves watcli for an opportunity to 
do mischief, as Judas did to betray our Lord Jesus. 
(3.) They took advantage against them for the least 
slip of the tongue; and if a thing were ever so little 
Slid amiss, it served them to ground an indictment 
upon. They made a man, though he were ever so 
wise and good a man, though he were a man of God, 
an offender for a word, a word mischosen or mis- 
placed, wlien they could not but know that it was 
well-meant. They cavilled at every word that the 
projjhets spake to them by way of admonition, 
though ever so innocently spoken, and without any 
design to affront them. They put the worst con- 
struction upon what was said, and made it criminal 
by strained innuendos. Those who consider how apt 
we are to speak unadvisedly, and to mistake what 
we hear, will think it very unjust and unfair to 7nake 
a man an offender for a word. (4.) They did all 
they could to bring those into trouble, that dealt 
f litlifully with them, and told them of their faults. 
Those that re/irox'e in the gates, reprovers by office, 
that were bound by the duty of their place, as pro- 
phets, as judges, and magistrates, to show people 
their transgressions, they hated these, and laid 
snares f:)r them, as the Pharisees' emissaries, who 
were sent to watch our Saviour, that they might 
en f angle him in his talk, (Matth. xxii. 15.) that 
they might have something to lay to his chai-ge, 
which might render him odious to the people, or 
obnoxious to the government; so fiersecuted they the 
profihets: and it is next to impossible for the most 
cautious to place their words so warily, as to escape 
such snares. See how base wicked people are, who 
bear ill-will to those who, out of good-will to them, 
seek to save their souls from death: and see what 
need rejirovers have both of courage to do their 
duty, and of prudence to avoid the snare. (5. ) They 
perxert judgment, and will never let an honest man 
carry an honest cause; They turn aside the just for 
a thing of nought; they condemn him, or give the 
c mse against him, upon no evidence, no colour, or 
prttence, whatsoever. They run a man down, and 
misreiiresent him, by all the little arts and tricks 
they can devise, as they did our Saviour. We must 
not tliink it strange if we see the best of men thus 
treated; the disci file is not greater than his Master. 
But wait awhile, and God will not only bring forth 
their righteousness, but cut off and consume these 
' ^corners. 

6. Jacob, who was made to blush by the reproaches, 
and m^de to tremble by the threatenings, of his ene- 
mies, shall now be relieved both against his shame 
and against his fear, by the rolling away of those re- 
proaches, and the defeating of those threatenings; 
(t'. 22. ) Thus the Lord saith, ivho redeemed Abra- 
ham; called him out of Ur of the Chaldees, and so 
r'-scned him from the idolatry of his fathers, and 
p'ucked him as a brand out of the fire. He that 
r-rle -med Abraham out of his snares and troubles 
will redeem all that are by faith his genuine seed, 
flit of theirs. He that began his care of his church 
in t'le redemption of Abraham, when it and its Re- 
deemer were in his loins, will not now cast off the 

Vol. IV.— S 



care of it. Because the enemies of his people are 
so industrious buth to bl.ieken them, and tu frighten 
them, therefore he will appear for the house of Ja- 
cob, and tliey shall not be ashamed as they have 
been, but shall have wherewith to answer those 
that reproach them, nor shall their faces now "d/ax 
fiale; but they shall gatlier courage, and look their 
enemies in the face without change of countenance, 
as they have reason to do, who have the God of 
Abraham on their side. 

7. Jacob, who tin ught his family would be ex- 
tinct, and the entail of religion quite cut off, shall 
ha\'e the satisfaction of seeing a numerous progeny 
devoted to God for a generatiin, ii. 23. (1.) He shall 
see his children; multitudes of believei-s and pray- 
ing people, the sjiiritual seed of faithful Abraham 
and wrestling Jacob. Having his yuiver full of 
these arrows, he shall not be asliamcd, {y. 22.) but 
shall speak with his enem\- in the gate, Ps. cxxvii. 
5. Christ shall 7iot be ashamed, \ch. 1. ~.) iov he 
shall see his seed; (ch. liii. 10. ) he sees some, and 
foresees more, in the midst of hitn, flocking to the 
church, and residing there. ' (2.) His children are 
the work of God's hands; being formed by him, 
they are formed /or him, his workmajtshi/i, created 
unto good works. It is some comfort to parents, to 
think that their children are God's creatures, the 
work of the hands of his /irovidence. But it will be 
much more a comfort to them, to see their childi-en 
his new creatures, the ivork of the hands of Ms 
grace. (3. ) He and his children shall sanctify the 
name of God as their God, as the Holy One of 
Jacob, and shall fear and worship the God of Israel. 
This is opposed to his being ashamed, and waxing 
pale; when he is delivered from his contempts and 
dangers, he shall not magnify himself, but sanctify 
the Holy One of Jacob. If God make our condition 
easy, we must endeavour to make his name glorious. 
Parents and children are then ornaments and com- 
forts indeed to each other, when they join in sancti- 
fying the name of God. When parents give up 
their children, and children give up themselves, to 
God to be to him for a name and a praise, then 
the forest will soon become a fruitful field. 

CHAP. XXX. 

I The prophecy of this chapter seems to relate (as that in 
the chapter before) to the approaching danger of Jeru- 
salem and desolations of Judah by Sennacherib's inva- 
sion. Here is, I. A just reproof to those "ho, in that 
distress, trusted to the E<;yptians for help, and were all 
in a hurrv to fetch succours from Egypt, v. 1. .7. II. A 
terrible threatening against those wno slighted the good 
advice which God by his prophets gave them for the re- 
pose of their minds in that distress, assuring them that 
whatever became of others, the judgment would certain- 
ly overtake them, v. 8. . 17. III. A gracious promise to 
those who trusted in God, that Ihey should not only sec 
through the trouble, but should see' happy days aller it, 
times of joy and reformation, plenty of the means o(^ 
grace, and therewith plenty of outward good things, 
and increasing joys and triumphs; (v. 18 . .26. ) many of^ 
these promises are very applicable to gospel grace. IV. 
A prophecy of the total rout and ruin of the Assyrian 
army, which should bean occasion of great jo}', afid an 
introduction to those happy times, v. 27 . . 33. 

1. "\1^0 to the rebellious children, saith 
T V the Lord, that take counsel, but 
not of me; and that cover with a covering, 
but not of my Spirit, tJiat they may add sin 
to sin: 2. That walk to go down into 
Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth , 
to strengthen themselves in the strength of 
Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of 
Egypt I 3. Therefore shall the strength of 
Pharaoh be vour shame, and the trust in 



138 



ISAIAH, XXX. 



the shadow of Egypt your confusion. 4. 
For his princes were at Zoan, and his am- 
bassadors came to Hanes. 5. They were 
all ashamed of a people that could not profit 
tli^ln, nor be a help nor profit, but a shame, 
and also a reproach. 6. The burden of the 
beasts of the south : Into the land of trouble 
and anguish, from whence come the young 
and old lion, the viper and fiery flying ser- 
pent, they will carry their riches upon the 
shoulders of young asses, and their treasures 
upon the bunches of camels, to a people 
that sliall not profit them. 7. For the Egyp- 
tians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: 
therefore have I cried concerning this, Their 
strength is to sit still. 

It was often the fault and folly of the people of the 
Jews, that, when they were insulted by their neigh- 
bours on one side, they sought for succour from their 
neighbours on the other side, instead of looking 
up to God, and putting their confidence in him. 
Against the Israelites they sought to the Syrians, 
2 Chron. xvi. 2, 3. Against the Syrians they sought 
to the Assyrians, 2 Kmgs xvi. 7. Against the As- 
syrians they sought to the Eg>'ptians, and Rabsha- 
keh upbraided them with it, 2 Kings xviii. 21. Now 
observe here, 

1. How this sin of theirs is described, and what 
there was in it that was provoking to God. When 
they saw themselves in danger and distress, (1.) 
They would not consult with God. They would do 
things of their own heads, and not advise with God, 
though they had a ready and certain way of doing 
it by Urim or prophets. They were so confident 
of the prudence of their own measures, that they 
thought it needless to consult the oracle; nay, they 
were not willing to put it to that issue; "They take 
counsel among themselves, and one from another; 
but they do not ask counsel, much less will thev 
take counsel of me. They cover ivll/ia covering-,'' 
(they think to secure themselves with one shelter 
or other, which may serve to cover them from the 
violence of the storm,) "but not of my Sfiirit;" 
(not such as God by his Spirit, in the mouth of his 
prophets, directed them to;) " and therefore it will 
prove too short a covering, and a refuge of lies." 
(2. ) They could not confide in God. They did not 
think it enough to have God on their side, nor were 
they at all solicitous to make him their Friend, but 
they strengthened themselves in the strength of 
Pharaoh; they thought him a powerful ally, and 
doubted not but to be able to cope with the Assy- 
rian, while thev had him for them. The shadow 
of Egypt (and it was but a shadow) was the cover- 
ing in which they wrapped themselves. 

2. What was the evil of this sin; (1.) It bespoke 
them rebellious .children; and a wo is here de- 
nounced against them under that character, v. 1. 
They were, in profession, God's children; but, not 
tnisting in him, they were justly stigmatized as re- 
bellious; for if we distrust God's providence, we do, 
in effect, withdraw ourselves from our allegiance. 
(2.) They added sin to sin. It was sin that brought 
them into distress; and then, instead of repenting, 
they tresfiasned yet against the Lord, 2 Chron. 
xxviii. 22. .\nd they that abused God's mercies 
to them, in making them the fuel of their lusts, 
abused their afflictions too, in making them an ex- 
cuse for their distrust of God; and so they make 
bad worse, and add sin to sin; and they that do so, 
as thev make their own chain hea\'5', so it is iust 
with God to make their plagues wonderfvil. Now 



that which aggravated it was, [1.] That they took 
so much pains to secure the Egyptians for "them; 
They walk, or go down to Egypt, tra\ el up and 
down to find an advantageous road thither; but 
they have not asked at my mouth, never considered 
whether God would allow and approve of it or no. 
[2. J That they were at such a vast expense to do 
it, V. 6. They load the beasts of the si uth (liorses 
fetched from Egypt, which lay south from Judea,) 
with their riches; fancying, as it is common with a 
people in a fright, that they were safer anv wliere 
than where they were. Or, they sent their riches thi- 
ther, as bribes toPharaoh's courtiers, to engage them 
in their interests, or as pay for their armv. fifd 
would have helped them gratis; but if they will 
have it from the Egyptians, they must pay dearly 
for it, and they seem wiUing to do so. The riclies 
that are so spent will turn to a bad account. They 
carried their effects to Egypt through a h.nd (so ;'t 
may be read) of trouble and anguish; that vast 
howling wilderness which lay between Cana; n and 
Egypt, whence come the lion and fiery serpent. 
Dent. viii. 15. They would \enture through that 
dangerous wilderness, to bring what they liad to 
Egypt. Or, it may be meant of Egyjjt itself, 
which had been to Israel a house of bondage, ;;nd 
therefore a land of trouble and anguish, and which 
abounded in ravenous and venomous creatures. 
See what dangers men run into, that forsake God; 
and what dangers they will i-un into, in pursuance 
of their carnal confidences, and their expectations 
from the creature. 

3. What would be the consequence rf it; (1.) 
The Egyptians would receive their ambassadors, 
would speak kindly to them, and be willing to treat 
with them; (t. 4.) His princes were at Zoan, at 
Pharaoh's court there, and had their audience of 
the king, who encouraged them to depend upon 
his friendship, and the succours he would send 
them. But, (2.) They would not answer their ex- 
pectation, they could not profit them, v. 5. Fi r 
God says. They shall not profit them; {v. 6.) and 
every creature is that to us, (and no more,) which 
he makes it to be. Either, the forces they were to 
furnish them with, could not be raised in time; or, 
when they were raised, they were net fit for ser- 
vice, and they would not venture any of their vete- 
ran troops in the expedition; or, the march was so 
long, that they could not come up when they had 
occasion for them; or, the Egyptians Wfuld not be 
cordial to Israel, but would secretly incline to the 
Assyrians, upon some account or other; The 
Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose, 
V. 7. They shall hinder and hurt, instead of help- 
ing. And therefore, (3.) These people, that were 
now so fond of the Egyptians, would at length be 
ashamed of them, and of all their expectations 
from them, and confidence in them; (v. 3.) " The 
strength of Pl.araoh, which was your pride, shall 
be your shame; all your neighbours will upbraid 
you, and you will upbraid yourselves, with your 
folly in trusting to it. And the shadow of Egypt, 
that land shadowing with wings, (_ch. xviii. 1.) that 
was your confidence, shall be your confusion; it 
will not only disappoint you, and be the matter of 
your shame, but it will weaken all your other sup- 
ports, and be an occasion of mischief to ycu." 
God afterward threatens the ruin of Egypt for this 
very thing, because they had dealt treacherrusly 
with Israel, and been a staff of a reed to them, 
Ezek. xxix. 6, 7. The princes and ambassadors 
of Israel, that were so forward to court an alliance 
with them, when they come among them, shall see 
so much of their weakness, or rather of their base- 
ness, that they shall all be ashamed of a /leople that 
could not be a help or profit to them, hut a shame 
and reproach, v. 5. Those that trust in God, and 



ISAIAH, XXX. 



139 



> his i)ower, providence, and promise, are never 
.niide ashamed of their hupe: but they that put 
confidence in any creature, will, sooner or later, 
find it a reproach to them. God is true, and may 
be trusted; but every man a liar, and must be sus- 
pected. The Creator is a Rock of ages, the crea- 
ture a broken reed; we cannot expect too little 
from man, or too much from God. 

4. The use and application of all this; {v. 7. ) 
Tht-nfore have I cried concerning Ms matter, this 
project of theirs. I have published it, that all 
miglit lake notice of it. I have pressed it as one in 
earnest. T/ieir utrength is to sit stilt, in an humble 
dependence u])on God, and his goodness, and a 
quiet suljmission to his will; and not to vary about, 
and agitate themselves about obtaining help from 
this and tlie other creature. If we sit stdl in a 
dav of distress, hoping and quietly waiting for the 
salvation of tbe Lord, and using only lawful, regu- 
lar methods for our own preservation, this will be 
the strength of our souls, both for services and suf- 
ferings, and it will engage divine strength for us. 
We weaken ourselves, and provoke God to with- 
draw from us, when we make flesh our arm, for 
then our heart departs from the Lord. When we 
ha\ e tired ourselves by seeking for help from crea- 
tures, we shall find it the best way of recruiting 
ourselves, to repose in the Creator; Here I am, let 
him do with me as he jUeases. 

8. Now go, write it before them in a ta- 
ble, and note it in a book, that it may be 
for the time to come for ever and ever; 9 
Tiiat this is a rebelhous people, lying chil- 
dren, children that will not liear the law of 
tlie Lord: 10. Which say to the seers, 
See not : and to tlie prophets, Prophesy not 
nnto us right things; speak unto us smooth 
things, prophesy deceits : 11. Get ye out 
of the way, turn aside out of the path, 
cause the Holy One of Israel to cease 
from before us. 12. Wherefore thus saith 
the Holy One of Israel, Because ye de- 
spise this word, and trust in oppression and 
perverseness, and stay thereon : 1 3. There- 
fore this iniquity shall be to you as a 
breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high 
wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at 
an instant. 1 4. And he shall break it as 
the breaking of the potter's vessel that is 
broken in pieces ; he shall not spare : so 
that there shall not be found in the burst- 
ing of it a sherd to take fire from the 
hearth, or to take water uiithal out of the 
pit. 15. For thus saith the Lord God, 
the Holy One of Israel, In returning and 
rest shall ye be saved ; in quietness and in 
confidence shall be your strength ; and ye 
would not. 1 6. But ye said, No ; for we 
will flee upon horses; therefore shall ye 
flee: and. We will ride upon the swift; 
therefore shall they that pursue you be 
swift. 1 7. One thousand shall flee at the 
rebuke of one ; at the rebuke of*^five shall 
ye flee ; till ye be left as a beacon upon the 
top of a mountain, and as an ensign on a 
liill. 



Here, 

I. The preface is very awful; the prophet must 
not onl)' preach this, but he must ivrite it, {v. 8.) 
write it in a table, to be hung up, and exposed to 
public view; he must carefully note it, not in loose 
papers which might be lost or torn, but in a bc( k, 
to be preserved for posterity in fierfictuujn ret me- 
moriam — -for a standing- testimony against tliis 
wicked generation; let it remain not only to tlie 
next succeeding ages, but for ever and e\ er, while 
the world stands; and so it shall, for the boikcf 
the scriptures, no doubt, shall continue, ;.nd be 
read, to the end of time. Let it be written, 1. To 
shame the men of the present age, who would net 
hear and heed it when it was spoken; let it be 
written, that it may not be lost; their children may 
pi-ofit by it, though they will not. 2. To justity 
God in the judgments he was about to biing upm 
them; people will be tempted to think he was 
too hard upon them, and over severe, unless they 
know how very bad they were, how very provok- 
ing, and what fair means God tried with them be- 
fore he brought it to this extremity. 3. For warn- 
ing to others not to do as they did, lest they fare as 
they fared; it is designed for admonition to those of 
the remotest place and age, even those upon nvhom 
the ends of the ivorldare come, 1 Cor. x. 11. It may 
be of use for God's ministers not only to preach, 
but to write; for that which is W7-itten remams. 

II. The character gi\en cf the profane and 
wicked Jews is very sad; he must, if he will draw 
them in their own colours, write this concerning 
them, (and we are sure he does not bear false wit- 
ness against them, nor make them worse than they 
were, for the judgment of God is according to 
truth,) That this is a rebellious peo/ile, z'. 9 The 
Jews were, for aught we know, the only professing 
people God had then in the world, and yet many 
of them were a rebellious people. 1. They rebel- 
led against their own convictions and covenants; 
for they are lying children, that will not stand to 
what they say, that promise fair, but perform no- 
thing; when he took them into covenant with him, 
he said of them. Surely they are my people, chil- 
dren that will not lie; {ch. Ixiii. 8.) but they proved 
otherwise. 2. They rebelled against the divine 
authority; they are children that will not hear the 
law of the Lord, nor heed it, but will do as they 
have a mind, let God himself say what he will to 
the contrary. 

III. The charge drawn up against them is very 
high, and the sentence passed upon them very 
dreadful. 

Two things they here stand charged with, and 
their doom is read for both, a fearful doom. 

1. They forbade the prophets to speak to them 
in God's name, and to deal faithfully with them. 
This their sin is described, ti. 10, 11. They set 
themselves so violently against the prophets to hin- 
der them from preaching, or, at least, from dealing 
plainly with them in their preaching, did so banter 
them and browbeat them, that tkey did, in effect, 
say to the seers, See not. They had the light, but 
they loved darkness rather. It was their privilege, 
that they had seers among them, but they did wliat 
thev could to put out their eyes; that they had pro- 
phets among them, but they did what they could to 
stop their mouths; for they tormented them in their 
wicked ways. Rev. xi. 10. Those that silence 
good ministers, and discountenance good preaching', 
are justly counted, and called, rebels against God. 
See what it was in the prophets' preaching, witi 
which they found themselves aggrieved. (1.) Tht 
prophets told them of their faults, and waniec. 
them of their misery and danger by reason of sin, 
and they could not bear that. They must speak to 
them smooth thingsj must flatter' them in theii 



140 



ISAIAH, XXX. 



sins, and say that they did well, and there was no 
harm, no ])cril, in the course of life they lived in. 
Let a thing be ever so right and true, if it be not 
smooth, they will not hear it. But if it be agreeable 
to the good opinion they have of themselves, and will 
confirm them in that, though it be ever so false, and 
ever so great a cheat upon them, they will have it 
prophesied to them. Those deserve to be deceived, 
that desire to be so. (2. ) The prophets stopped them 
in their sinful pursuits, and stood in their way like 
the angel in Balaam's road, with the sword of 
God's wrath drawn in their hand; so that they 
could not proceed without teiTor. And this they 
took amiss; when they went on frowardly in the 
way of their hearts, they said to the prophet, 
" Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the 
fiatlis. What do you do in our way? Cannot you 
"let us alone to do as we please?" Those have their 
hearts fully set in them to do evil, that bid their 
faithful monitors to stand out of their way. For- 
bear, lohy shouldest thou be smitten? 2 Chron. xxv. 
16. (3.) The prophets were continually telling 
them of the Holy One of Israel, what an Enemy he 
is to sin, and how severely he will reckon with sin- 
ners; and this they could not endure to hear of. 
Both the thing itself, and the expression of it, were 
too serious for them ; and therefore if the prophets 
will speak to them, they will make it their bargain 
that they shall not call God the Holy One of Israel; 
for God's holiness is that attribute which wicked 
people most dread. Let us no more be troubled 
with that state-preface (as Mr. White calls it) to 
your impertinent harangues. Those have reason 
to fear perishing in their sins, that cannot bear to 
be frightened out of them. 

Now what is the doom passed upon them for 
this.' We have it T. 12, 13. Observe, [1.] Who 
if is that gives judgment upon them; Thus saith the 
Holy One of Israel. That title of God which they 
particular!)' excepted against, the prophet makes 
use of. Fiiithful ministers will not be di-iven from 
using sucli expressions as are proper to awaken 
sinners, though they be displeasing. We must tell 
men that God is the Holy One of Israel, and so 
they shall find him, whether they will hear, or 
whether they will forbear. [2.] What the ground 
of the judgment is; because they desjiise this word; 
either in general, every word that the prophets 
said to them, or, this word in particular, which 
speaks God the Holy One of Israel, they despise 
this, and will neither make it their fear, to stand in 
awe of it, nor make it their hope, to put any confi- 
dence in it; but, rather than they will be beholden 
to the Holy One of Israel; will trust in ofifiression 
and perversenessi m the wealth they have got, and 
the interests they have made, by fraud and vio- 
lence, or in the sinful methods they have taken for 
their own security, in contradiction to God and his 
will. On these they stay, and therefore they justly 
should fall. [3.] What the judgment is, that is 
passed upon them ; "This iniquity shall beta you 
as a breach rea4y to fall. This confidence of 
yours will be like a house built upon the sand, 
which will fall in the storm, and bury the builder 
in the ruins of it. Your contempt of that word of 
God, which you might build upon, will make every 
thing else you trubt to, like a wall that bulges out, 
which, if any weight be laid upon it, comes down, 
nay, which often sinks with its own weight." The 
ruin they would hereby bring upon themselves, 
should be. First, A surprising rum; the breaking 
shall come suddenly, at an instant, when they do 
not expect it; which will make it the more fright- 
fill; and when they are not prepared or provided 
for it, which will make it the more fatal. Second- 
ly, An utter ruin, universal and irreparable; "You 
and all your confidences shall be not only weak as 



the potter's clay, {cb. xxix. 16.) but broken to 
pieces as the potter's vessel. He that has the rod 
of iron shall break it, (Ps. ii. 9. ) and he shall not 
spare, nor have any rei;,ard to it, nor be in care