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had a great army well appointed and disciplined. He was no less attentive to the arts of peace; and very much encouraged agriculture, and the breeding of cattle. Jotham maintained the establishments and improvements made by his father; added to what Uzziah had done in strengthening the frontier places; conquered the Ammonites, who had revolted, and exacted from them a more stated and probably a larger tribute. However, at the latter end of his time, the league between Pekah king of Israel and Retsin king of Syria was formed against Judah; and they began to carry their designs into execution.
But in the reign of Ahaz his son, not only all these advantages were lost, but the kingdom of Judah was brought to the brink of destruction, Pekah king of Israel overthrew the army of Ahaz, who lost in battle 120,000 men ; and the Israelites carried away captives 200,000 women and children; which however were released, and sent home again, upon the remonstrance of the prophet Oded. After this, as it should seem, (see Vitringa on chap. vii. 2), the two kings of Israel and Syria, joining their forces, laid seige to Jerusalem; but in this attempt they failed of success. In this distress Ahaz called in the assistance of Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria ; who invaded the kingdoms of Israel and Syria, and slew Retsin : but he was more in danger than ever from his too powerful ally; to purchase whose forbearance, as he had before bought his assistance, he was forced to strip himself and his people of all the wealth he could possibly raise, from his own treasury, from the temple, and from the country. About the time of the siege of Jerusalem the Syrians took Elath, which was never after recovered. The Edomites likewise, taking advantage of the distress of Ahaz, ravaged Judea, and carried away many captives. The Philistines recovered what they had before lost; and took many places in Judea, and maintained themselves there. Idolatry was established by the command of the king in Jerusalem, and throughout Judea; and the service of the temple was either intermitted, or converted into an idolatrous worship.
Hezekiah, his son, at his accession to the throne, immediately set about the restoration of the legal worship of God, both in Jerusalem and through Judea. He cleansed and repaired the temple, and held a solemn passover. He improved the city, repaired the fortifications, erected magazines of all sorts, and built a new aqueduct. In the fourth year of his reign Shalmaneser king of Assyria invaded the kingdom of Israel, took Samaria, and carried away the Israelites into captivity; and replaced them by different people sent from his own country: and this was the final destruction of that kingdom, in the sixth year of the reign of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah was not deterred by this alarming example from refusing to pay the tribute to the king of Assyria, which had been imposed on Ahaz. This brought on the invasion of Senacherib in the fourteenth year of his reign; an account of which is inserted among the prophecies of Isaiah. After a great and miraculous deliverance from so powerful an enemy, Hezekiah continued his reign in peace: he prospered in all his works, and left his kingdom in a flourishing state to his son Manasseh; a son in every respect unworthy of such a father.
1. The vision of Isaiah—] It seems doubtful, whether this title belong to the whole book, or only to the prophecy contained in this chapter. The former part of the title seems properly to belong to this particular prophecy : the latter part, which enumerates the kings of Judah under whom Isaiah exercised his prophetical office, seems to extend it to the whole collection of prophecies delivered in the course of his ministry. Vitringa (to whom the world is greatly indebted for his learned labours on this Prophet; and to whom we should have owed much more, if he had not so totally devoted himself to Masoretic authority) has, I think, very judiciously resolved this doubt. He supposes, that the former part of the title was originally prefixed to this single prophecy; and that, when the collection of all Isaiah's prophecies was made, the enumeration of the kings of Judah was added, to make it at the same time a proper title to the whole book. As such it is plainly taken in 2 Chron. xxxii. 32. where the book of Isaiah is cited by this title: “ The vision of Isaiah the Prophet, the son of Amots.”
The prophecy contained in this first chapter stands single and unconnected, making an entire piece of itself. It contains a severe remonstrance against the corruptions prevailing among the Jews of that time; powerful exhortations to repentance; grievous threatenings to the impenitent; and gracious promises of better times, when the nation shall have been reformed by the just judgments of God. The expression upon the whole is clear; the connexion of the several parts easy; and, in regard to the images, sentiments, and style, it gives a beautiful example of the Prophet's elegant manner of writing; though perhaps it may not be equal in these respects to many of the following prophecies.
2. Hear, O ye heavens—] God is introduced as entering upon a solemn and public action, or pleading, before the whole world, against his disobedient people. The Prophet, as herald or officer to proclaim the summons to the court, calls upon all created beings, celestial and terrestrial, to attend, and bear witness to the truth of his plea, and the justice of his cause. The same scene is more fully displayed in the noble exordium of Psalm l. where God summons all mankind, from east to west, to be present to hear his appeal; and the solemnity is held on Sion, where he is attended with the same terrible pomp that accompanied him on Mount Sinai :“ A consuming fire goes before him,
And round him rages a violent tempest: · He calleth the heavens from above, And the earth, that he may contend in judgment with his people."
Psal. I. 3, 4. By the same bold figure, Micah calls upon the mountains, that is, the whole country of Judea, to attend to him: Chap. vi. 1. 2. “ Arise, plead thou before the mountains,
And let the hills hear thy voice.
And he will plead his cause against Israel." With the like invocation Moses introduces his sublime song; the design of which was the same as that of this prephecy, “ to testify, as a witness, against the Israelites," for their disobedience, Deut. xxxi. 21. “ Give ear, () ye heavens, and I will speak: | And let the earth hear the words of my mouth."
Deut. xxxii. 1. . This in the simple yet strong oratorical style of Moses is, “I call heaven and earth to witness against thee this day:
life and death have I set before thee; the blessing and the curse : choose now life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed;" Deut. xxx. 19. The poetical style, by an apostrophe, sets the personification in a much stronger light. · Ibid.—that speaketh] I render it in the present time, pointing it 127. There seems to be an impropriety in demanding attention to a speech already delivered.
Ibid. I have nourished—). The LXX havę syevunoa, I have begotten. Instead of 5572, they read 7750; a word little differing from the other, and perhaps more proper : which the Chaldee likewise seems to favonr; “vocavi eos filios." See Exod. iv. 22. Jer. xxxi. 9.
3. The ox knoweth—] An amplification of the gross insensibility of the disobedient Jews, by comparing them with the most heavy and stupid of all animals, yet not so insensible as they. Bochart has well illustrated the comparison, and shown the peculiar force of it. “He sets them lower than the beasts, and even than the stupidest of all beasts; for there is scarce any more so than the ox and the ass. Yet these acknowledge their master; they know the manger of their lord: by whom they are fed, not for their own, but for his good; neither are they looked upon as children, but as beasts of burthen; neither are they advanced to honours, but oppressed with great and daily labours: While the Israelites, chosen by the mere favour of God, adopted as sons, promoted to the highest dignity, yet acknowledged not their Lord and their God; but despised his commandments, though in the highest degree equitable and just.” Hieroz. i. col. 409.
Jeremiah's comparison to the same purpose is equally elegant; but has not so much spirit and severity as this of Isaiah: “ Even the stork in the heavens knoweth her season; And the turtle, and the swallow, and the crane, observe the
time of their coming : But my people doth not know the judgment of Jehovah."
Jer. viii. 7. Hosea has given a very elegant turn to the same image, in the way of metaphor or allegory: “ I drew them with human cords, with the bands of love : And I was to them, as he that lifteth up the yoke upon their
cheek; And I laid down their fodder before them.”
Hosea xi. 4. Salomo ben Melech thus explains the middle part of the verse, which is somewhat obscure: “I was to them at their desire, as they that have compassion on a heifer, lest she be over-worked in ploughing; and that lift up the yoke from off her neck, and rest it upon her cheek, that she may not still draw, but rest from her labour an hour or two in the day.”
Ibid. But Israel—] The LXX, Syriac, Aquila, Theodotion, and vulgate, read 10), adding the conjunction; which, being rendered as an adversative, sets the opposition
The very propeo answe
Ibid. Me.] The same ancient versions agree in adding this word; which very properly answers, and indeed is almost necessarily required to answer, the words possessor and lord preceding. Iogana dɛ ME oux syvw, LXX. “Israel autem ME non cognovit,” Vulg. Iogana de Mor ouu syvw, Aq. Theod. The testimony of so scrupulous an interpreter as Aquila is of great weight in this case. And both his and Theodotion's rendering is such as shews plainly, that they did not add the word Mor to help out the sense; for it only embarrasses it. It also clearly determines what was the original reading in the old copies, from which they translated. It could not be 'JYT), which most obviously answers to the version of LXX and Vulg. for it does not accord with that of Aquila and Theodotion. The version of these latter interpreters, however injudicious, clearly ascertains both the phrase, and the order of the words, of the original
Hebrew : it was has אותי The word .וישראל אותי לא ידע
been lost out of the text. The very same phrase is used by Jeremiah, chap. iv. 22, 1985 ning by: and the order of the words must have been as above represented; for they have joined 5x70 with nix, as in regimine: they could not have taken it in this sense, Israel MEUS non cognovit, had either this phrase, or the order of the words, been different. I have endeavoured to set this matter in a clear light, as it is the first example of a whole word lost out of the text; of which the reader will find inany other plain examples in the course of these Notes.
The LXX, Syr. Vulg. read wyn, “and my people;" and so likewise sixteen MSS.
4. degenerate] Five MSS (one of them ancient) read innvo without the first "; in Hophal, corrupted, not