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cu diverstad of Jernich la
increasing through the several places as he advanced; expressed with great brevity, but finely diversified. The places here mentioned are all in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem ; from Ai northward, to Nob westward of it; from which last place he might probably have a prospect of Mount Sion. Anathoth was within three Roman miles of Jerusalem; aecording to Eusebius, Jerom, and Josephus: Onomast. Loc. Hebr. et Antiq. Jud. x. 7. 3. Nob probably still nearer. And it should seem from this passage of Isaiah, that Senacherib's army was destroyed near the latter of these places. In coming out of Egypt, he might perhaps join the rest of his army at Ashdod, after the taking of that place, which happened about that time, (see chap. xx.); and march from thence near the coast by Lachish and Libnah, which lay in his way, from south to north, and both which he invested, till he came to the north-west of Jerusalem; crossing over to the north of it, perhaps by Joppa and Lydda, or still more north through the plain of Esdraelon.
29. They have passed the strait-] The strait here mentioned is that of Michmas, a very narrow passage between two sharp hills or rocks, (see I Sam. xiv. 4, 5.), where a great army might have been opposed with advantage by a very inferior force. The author of the book of Judith might perhaps mean this pass, at least among others: “ Charging them to keep the passages of the hill country ; for by them there was an entrance into Judea, and it was easy to stop them that would come up; because the passage was strait, for two men at the most :" Judith iv. 7. The enemies having passed the strait without opposition, shows that all thoughts of making a stand in the open country were given up, and that their only resource was in the strength of the
Ibid. —their lodging-] The sense seems necessarily to require, that we read 125 instead of 927. These two words are in other places mistaken one for the other. Thus Isa. xliv. 7. for 125 read 135, with the Chaldee ; and in the same manner Psal. Ixiv. 6. with Syr. and Psal. lxxx. 7. on the authority of LXX and Syr. beside the necessity of the sense.
30. Hearken unto her, O Laish; answer her, O Anathoth!] I follow in this the Syriac version. The Prophet plainly alludes to the name of the place; and with a peculiar propriety, if it had its name from its remarkable echo. ISAIAH
“ ninay, responsiones : eadem ratio nominis, quæ in na nay, locus echûs ; nam hodienum ejus rudera ostenduntur in valle, scil. in medio montium, ut referunt Robertus in Itiner. p. 70. et Monconnysius, p. 301.” Simonis Onomasticon Vet. Test.
out is the suhis image powerfu the sto with hand onsisting of
The Prophet had described the destruction of the Assyrian army under the image of a mighty forest, consisting of flourishing trees, growing thick together, and of a great height-of Lebanon itself, crowned with lofty cedars; but cut down and laid level with the ground by the axe, wielded by the hand of some powerful and illustrious agent. In opposition to this image he represents the great person, who makes the subject of this chapter, as a slender twig, shooting out from the trunk of an old tree, cut down, lopped to the very root, and decayed; which tender plant, so weak in appearance, should nevertheless become fruitful and prosper. This contrast shows plainly the connexion between this and the preceding chapter; which is moreover expressed by the connecting particle. And we have here a remarkable instance of that method so common with the Prophets, and particularly with Isaiah, of taking occasion, from the mention of some great temporal deliverance, to launch out into the display of the spiritual deliverance of God's people by the Messiah : for that this prophecy relates to the Messiah, we have the express authority of St Paul, Rom. xv. 12. “ Conjungit Parasciam hanc, quæ respicit dies futuros Messiæ, cum fiducia, quæ fuit in diebus Ezekiæ :” Kimchi in ver. 1. Thus, in the latter part of Isaiah's prophecies, the subject of the great redemption, and of the glories of Mes siah's kingdom, arises out of the restoration of Judah by the deliverance from the captivity of Babylon, and is all along connected and intermixed with it.
4. By the blast of his mouth] For VI, by the rod, Houbigant reads nawa, by the blast of his mouth, from
ws, to blow. The conjecture is ingenious and probable ; and seems to be confirmed by the LXX and Chaldee, who render it, by the word of his mouth; which answers much better to the correction than to the present reading. Add to this, that the blast of his mouth, is perfectly parallel to the breath of his lips in the next line.
5. —the cincture-] All the ancient versions, except that of Symmachus, have two different words for girdle in the two hemistichs. It is not probable that Isaiah would have repeated 77,8, when a synonymous word so obvious as
gian occurred. The tautology seems to have arisen from the mistake of some transcriber. The meaning of this verse is, that a zeal for justice and truth shall make him active and strong in executing the great work which he shall undertake. See note on chap. v. 27.
6–8. Then shall the wolf-] The idea of the renewal of the golden age, as it is called, is much the same in the oriental writers with that of the Greeks and Romans: the wild beasts grow tame; serpents and poisonous herbs become harmless; all is peace and harmony, plenty and happiness :
“ Occidet et serpens, et fallax herba veneni
“ Nec magnos metuent armenta leones."
Virg. “ Nec vespertinus circumgemit ursus ovile,
Nec intumescit alta viperis humus.”
Kagxagodwv olveodai idWv auzos oux edɛanoel.” Theoc, I have laid before the reader these common passages from the most elegant of the ancient poets, that he may see how greatly the Prophet on the same subject has the advan tage upon the comparison; how much the former fall short of that beauty and elegance, and variety of imagery, with which Isaiah has set forth the very same ideas. The wolf and the leopard not only forbear to destroy the lamb and the kid, but even take their abode and lie down together with them. The calf, and the young lion, and the fatling, not only come together, but are led quietly in the same band, and that by a little child. The heifer and the she-bear not only feed together, but even lodge their young ones, for whom they used to be most jealously fearful, in the same place. All the serpent kind is so perfectly harmless, that the sucking infant, and the newly weaned child, puts his hand on the basilisk's den, and plays upon the hole of the aspic. The lion not only abstains from preying on the weaker animals, but becomes tame and domestic, and feeds on straw like the ox. These are all beautiful circumstances, not one of which has been touched upon by the ancient poets. The Arabian and Persian poets elegantly apply the same ideas, to show the effects of justice impartially administered, and firmly supported, by a great and good king : “ Rerum dominus Mahmud, rex potens; Ad cujus aquam potum veniunt simul agnus et lupus.”
Ferdusi. “ Justitia, a qua mansuetus fit lupus fame astrictus, Esuriens, licet hinnuleum candidum videat,” Ibn. Onein.
Jones, Poes. Asiat. Comment. p, 380. The application is extremely ingenious and beautiful; but the exquisite imagery of Isaiah is not equalled.
7. Together-] Here a word is omitted in the text, 171', together; which ought to be repeated in the second hemistich, being quite necessary to the sense. It is accordingly twice expressed by the LXX, and Syr.
10. The root of Jesse, which standeth—] St John hath taken this expression from Isaiah, Rev. v. 5. and xxii. 16. where Christ hath twice applied it to himself. Seven MSS have Towy, the present participle. “ Radix Isæi dicitur jam stare, et aliquantum stetisse, in signum populorum :" Vitringa. Which rightly explains either of the two readings.
11. JEHOVAH] For '978, thirty-three MSS, and two
- 11–16. And it shall come to pass in that day-] This part of the chapter contains a prophecy, which certainly remains yet to be accomplished. See Lowth on the place.
13. And the enmity of Judah-] 0'778. “ Postulat pars. posterior versus, ut intelligantur inimicitiæ Judæ in Ephraimum:-et potest O'773 inimicitiam notare, ut diun) pænitentiam, Hos. xi. 8:” SECKER.
15. smite with a drought-] The Chaldee reads 2007; and so perhaps LXX, who have sgniewoel, the word by which they commonly render it. Vulg. desolabit. The LXX, Vulg. and Chald. read 17'7777, “shall make it passable,” adding the pronoun, which is necessary.
Here is the plain allusion to the passage of the Red Sea. And the Lord's shaking his hand over the river with his vehement wind, refers to a particular circumstance of the same miracle ; for “ he caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land :" Exod. xiv. 21. The tongue; a very apposite and descriptive expression for a bay, such as that of the Red Sea : it is
used in the same sense, Josh. xv. 2. 5. xviii. 19. The Latins gave the same name to a narrow strip of land running into the sea : “ tenuem producit in æquora linguam :" Lucan, ii. 613.
Herodotus, i. 189. tells a story of his Cyrus, (a very different character from that of the Cyrus of the Scriptures and Xenophon), which may somewhat illustrate this passage ; in which it is said, that God would inflict a kind of punishment and judgment on the Euphrates, and render it fordable, by dividing it into seven streams. “ Cyrus being impeded in his march to Babylon by the Gyndes, a deep and rapid river which falls into the Tigris, and having lost one of his sacred white horses that attempted to pass it, was so enraged against the river, that he threatened to reduce it, and make it so shallow, that it should be easily fordable even by women, who should not be up to their knees in passing it. Accordingly, he set his whole army to work; and, cutting three hundred and sixty trenches, from both sides of the river, turned the waters into them, and drained them off.”
This hymn seems, by its whole tenor, and by many expressions in it, much better calculated for the use of the Christian church, than for the Jewish in any circumstances, or at any time, that can be assigned. The Jews themselves seem to have applied it to the times of Messiah. On the last day of the feast of tabernacles, they fetched water in a golden pitcher from the fountain of Siloah, springing at the foot of Mount Sion without the city: they brought it through the water-gate into the temple, and poured it, mixed with wine, on the sacrifice as it lay upon the altar, with great rejoicing. They seem to have taken up this custom, for it is not ordained in the law of Moses, as an emblem of future blessings, in allusion to this passage of Isaiah, “ Ye shall draw waters with joy from the fountains of salvation:" expressions, that can hardly be understood of any benefits afforded by the Mosaic dispensation. Our Saviour applied the ceremony, and the intention of it, to himself, and to the effusion of the Holy Spirit, promised, and to be given, by him. The sense of the Jews in this matter is plainly shown by the following passage of the Jerusalem Talmud : “ Why is it