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sage a practice of sealing up the eyes as a ceremony, or as a kind of punishment, used in the East, from which the image may possibly be taken. Observations, ii. 278.
Ibid. —with their hearts.] 12252, 'fifteen MSS, and two editions.
Ibid. --and I should heal.] 89781, LXX, Vulg. So likewise Matt. xiii. 14. John xii. 40. Acts xxviii. 27.;
Jl. —be left.] For Jawn, LXX and Vulg. read 7XVN.
13. —a tenth part] This passage, though somewhat obscure, and variously explained by various interpreters, yet, I think, has been made so clear by the accomplishment of the prophecy, that there remains little room to doubt of the sense of it. When Nebuchadnezzar had carried away the greater and better part of the people into captivity, there was yet a tenth remaining in the land, the poorer sort, left to be yine-dressers and husbandmen under Gedaliah, 2 Kings xxv. 12. 22.; and the dispersed Jews gathered themselves together, and returned to him, Jer. xl. 12. : yet even these, fleeing into Egypt after the death of Gedaliah, contrary to the warning of God given by the Prophet Jeremiah, miserably perished there. Again, in the subsequent and more remarkable completion of the prophecy, in the destruction of Jerusalem and the dissolution of the commonwealth by the Romans, when the Jews, after the loss of above a million of men, had increased from the scanty residue that was left of them, and had become very numerous again in their country; Hadrian, provoked by their rebellious behaviour, slew above half a million more of them, and a second time almost extirpated the nation. Yet after these signal and almost universal destructions of that nation, and after so many other repeated exterminations and massacres of them in different times and on various occasions since, we yet see, with astonishment, that the stock still remains, from which God, according to his promise frequently given by his Prophets, will cause his people to shoot forth again, and to flourish.
For da, above seventy MSS (eleven ancient) read ]; and so LXX.
The confederacy of Retsin king of Syria, and Pekah king of Israel, against the kingdom of Judah, was formed in the time of Jotham; and perhaps the effects of it were felt in the latter part of his reign: see 2 Kings xv. 37. and note on chap. i. 7–9. However, in the very beginning of the reign of Ahaz, they jointly invaded Judah with a powerful army, and threatened to destroy, or to dethrone, the house of David. The king and royal family being in the utmost consternation on receiving advices of their designs, Isaiah is sent to them to support and comfort them in their present distress, by assuring them, that God would make good his promises to David and his house. This makes the subject of this, and the following, and the beginning of the ninth chapters; in which there are many and great difficulties.
Chapter vii. begins with an historical account of the occasion of this prophecy; and then follows, ver. 4—16, a prediction of the ill success of the designs of the Israelites and Syrians against Judah; and, from thence to the end of the chapter, a denunciation of the calamities to be brought upon the king and people of Judah by the Assyrians, whom they had now hired to assist them. Chapter viii. has a pretty close connexion with the foregoing: it contains a confirmation of the prophecy before given of the approaching destruction of the kingdoms of Israel and Syria by the Assyrians; of the denunciation of the invasion of Judah by the same Assyrians : ver. 9, 10. give a repeated general assurance, that all the designs of the enemies of God's people shall be in the end disappointed, and brought to nought; ver. 11, &c. admonitions and threatenings, (I do not attempt a more particular explanation of this very difficult part), concluding with an illustrious prophecy (chap. ix. 1-6.) of the manifestation of Messiah; the transcendent dignity of his character; and the universality and eternal duration of his kingdom.
4. The Syriac omits 0789; Vulg. reads 078750: one or the other seems to be the true reading. I prefer the for
8, 9. Though the head of Syria be Damascus,
And the head of Damascus, Retsin;
And the head of Ephraim be Samaria;
And the head of Samaria, Remaliah's son.] “ Here are six lines, or three distichs, the order of which seems to have been disturbed by a transposition, occasioned
; וראש by three of the lines beginning with the same word
which three lines ought not to have been separated by any other line intervening; but a copyist, having written the first of them, and casting his eye on the third, might easily proceed to write, after the first line beginning with W877, that which ought to have followed the third line begin. ning with W877: then, finding his mistake, to preserve the beauty of his copy; added at the end the distich which should have been in the middle; making that the second distich which ought to have been the third. For the order as it now stands is preposterous: the destruction of Ephraim is denounced, and then their grandeur is set forth; whereas naturally the representation of the grandeur of Ephraim should precede that of their destruction. And the destruction of Ephraim has no coherence with the grandeur of Syria, simply as such, which it now follows; but it naturally and properly follows the grandeur of Ephraim, joined to that of Syria their ally.
The arrangement then of the whole sentence seems originally to have been thus: • Though the head of Syria be Damascus;
And the head of Damascus, Retsin:
Dr Jubb. 8. threescore and five years] It was sixty-five years from the beginning of the reign of Ahaz, when this prophecy was delivered, to the total depopulation of the kingdom of Israel by Esarhaddon, who carried away the remains of the ten tribes which had been left by Tiglath Pileser and Shalmaneser, and who planted the country with new inhabitants. That the country was not wholly stripped of its inhabitants by Shalmaneser, appears from many passages of the history of Josiah ; where Israelites are men-' tioned as still remaining there, 2 Chron. xxxiv, 6, 7. 33. and xxxv. 18. 2 Kings xxiii. 19, 20. This seems to be the best explanation of the chronological difficulty in this place, which has much embarrassed the commentators: see Usserii Annal. V. T. ad an. 3327 ; and Sir I. Newton, Chronol. p. 283.
« That the last deportation of Israel by Esarhaddon was in the sixty-fifth year after the second of Ahaz, is probable, for the following reasons: The Jews, in Seder Olam Rabba,
and the Talmudists, in D. Kimchi on Ezek. iv. say, that Manasseh king of Judah was carried to Babylon by the king of Assyria's captains, 2 Chron. xxxiii. 11. in the twentysecond year of his reign; that is, before Christ 676, according to Dr Blair's Tables. And they are probably right in this. It could not be much earlier, as the king of Assyria was not king of Babylon till 680; ibid. As Esarhaddon was then in the neighbourhood of Samaria, it is highly probable that he did then carry away the last remains of Israel, and brought those strangers thither who mention him as their founder, Ezra iv. 2. But this year is just the sixtyfifth year from the second of Ahaz, which was 740 before Christ. Now the carrying away of the last remains of Israel, (who till then, though their kingdom was destroyed forty-five years before, and though small in number, yet might keep up some form of being a people by living according to their own laws), entirely put an end to the people of Israel, as a people separate from all others: for from this time they never returned to their own country in a body, but were confounded with the people of Judah in the captivity; and the whole people, the ten tribes included, were called Jews.” Dr JUBB.
9. If ye believe not— “ This clause is very much illustrated, by considering the captivity of Manasseh as happening at the same time with this predicted final ruin of Ephraim as a people. The near connexion of the two facts makes the prediction of the one naturally to cohere with the prediction of the other. And the words are well suited to this event in the history of the people of Judah: “ If ye believe not, ye shall not be established ;” that is, unless ye believe this prophecy of the destruction of Israel, ye Jews also, as well as the people of Israel, shall not re. main established as a kingdom and people; ye also shall be visited with punishment at the same time: As our Saviour told the Jews in his time, “ unless ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish;” intimating their destruction by the Romans; to which also, as well as to the captivity of Manasseh, and to the Babylonish captivity, the views of the Prophet might here extend. The close connexion of this threat to the Jews, with the prophecy of the destruction of Israel, is another strong proof that the order of the preceding lines above proposed is right.” Dr JUBB.
Ibid. If ye believe not in mem] The exhortation of
Jehoshaphat to his people, when God had promised to them, by the Prophet Jahaziel, victory over the Moabites and Ammonites, is very like this both in sense and expression, and seems to be delivered in verse : “ Hear me, O Judah : and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem!
Believe in JEHOVAH your God, and ye shall be established :
Believe his prophets, and ye shall prosper.” 2 Chron. xx. 20. Where both the sense and construction render very probable a conjecture of Archbishop Secker on this place, that instead of ') we should read '). “ If ye will not believe in me, ye shall not be established.” So likewise Dr Durell. The Chaldee has, “ If ye will not believe in the words of the Prophet;" which seems to be a paraphrase of the reading here proposed. In favour of which it may be further observed, that in one MS 'J is upon a rasure; and another
,בי which would properly follow ;ולא reads לא for the last
.כי but could not follow
11. Go deep to the grave~] So Aquila, Sym. Theodot. Vulg.
14. JEHOVAH] For 1978, twenty-five MSS (nine ancient) read 1777. And so ver. 20. eighteen MSS.
14–16. When he shall know-] “ Though so much has been written on this important passage, there is an obscurity and inconsequence which still attends it, in the general run of all the interpretations given to it by the most learned. And this obscure incoherence is given to it by the false rendering of a Hebrew particle, viz. 5 in inyo. This has been generally rendered, either “ that he may know,” or “ till he know.” It is capable of either version, without doubt. But either of these versions makes ver. 15. incoherent and inconsistent with ver. 16. For ver. 16. plainly means to give a reason for the assertion in ver. 15., because it is subjoined to it by the particle', for. But it is no reason why a child should eat butter and honey till he was at an age to distinguish, that before that time the land of his nativity should be free from its enemies. This latter supposition indeed implies what is inconsistent with the preceding assertion ; for it implies, that in part of that time of the infancy spoken of, the land should not be free from enemies, and consequently these species of delicate food could not be attainable as they are in times of peace. The other version, " that he may know,” has no meaning at all: for what sense is there in asserting, that a child shall eat butter and honey,