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expresses in the strongest manner the great ease with which the Assyrians shall take the city and the whole kingdom, and the avidity with which they shall seize the rich prey without resistance. : 5. In that day-] Thus far the prophecy relates to the Israelites, and manifestly denounces their approaching destruction by Shalmaneser. Here it turns to the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, the remnant of God's people, who were to continue a kingdom after the final captivity of the Israelites. It begins with a favourable prognostication of their affairs under Hezekiah; but soon changes to reproofs and threatenings, for their intemperance, disobedience, and profaneness.
7.—to the gate of the enemy] That is, who pursue the fleeing enemy even to the very gates of their own city: “But we were upon them even unto the entering of the gate;" 2 Sam. xi. 23.; that is, we drove the enemy back to their own gates : see also 1 Sam. xvii. 52. À 9. Whom [say they would he teach—] The scoffers mentioned below, ver. 14. are here introduced as uttering their sententious speeches: they treat God's method of dealing with them, and warning them by his Prophets, with contempt and derision. What, say they, doth he treat us as mere infants just weaned ? doth he teach us like little children, perpetually inculcating the same elementary lessons, the mere rudiments of knowledge; precept after precept, line after line, here and there, by little and little ? imitating at the same time, and ridiculing, ver. 10. the concise prophetical manner. God by his Prophet retorts upon them, with great severity, their own contemptuous mockery; turning it to a sense quite different from what they intended. Yes, saith he, it shall be in fact as you say: ye shall be taught by a strange tongue, and a stammering lip; in a strange country: ye shall be carried into captivity by a people whose language shall be unintelligible to you, and which ye shall be forced to learn like children: And my dealing with you shall be according to your own words; it shall be command upon command for your punishment; it shall be line upon line, stretched over you to mark out your destruction; (compare 2 Kings xxi. 13.): it shall come upon you at different times, and by different degrees; till the judgments, with which from time to time I have threatened you, shall have their full accomplishment.
and derision warning them God's method og
Jerom seems to have rightly understood the general design of this passage, as expressing the manner in which the scoffers, by their sententious speeches, turned into ridicule the warnings of God by his Prophets; though he has not 80 well explained the meaning of the repetition of their speech in the 13th verse. His words are, on ver. 9.“ Solebant hoc ex persona Prophetarum ludentes dicere :” and on ver. 14. “ Quod supra diximus, cum irrisione solitos principes Judæorum Prophetis dicere, manda, remanda, et cætera his similia, per quæ ostenditur, nequaquam eos Prophetarum credidisse sermonibus, sed Prophetiam habuisse despectui, præsens ostendit capitulum, per quod appellantur viri illusores :" Hieron. in loc. · And so Jarchi interprets the word ditor in the next verse: “Qui dicunt verba irrisionis parabolice.” And the Chaldee paraphrases the Ilth verse to the saine purpose, understanding it as spoken, not of God, but of the people deriding his Prophets: “ Quoniam in mutatione loquelæ et in lingua subsannationis irridebant contra Prophetas qui prophetabant populo huic.”
12. This is the true rest-] The sense of this verse is : God had warned them by his Prophets, that their safety and security, their deliverance from their present calamities, and from the apprehensions of still greater approaching, depended wholly on their trust in God, their faith and obedience; but they rejected this gracious warning with contempt and mockery.
15. —a covenant with death] To be in covenant with, is a kind of proverbial expression to denote perfect security from evil and mischief of any sort: “For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field; And the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee."
Job v. 23. " And I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the.
field, And with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground.”
Hos. ï. 18. That is, none of these shall hurt them. But Lucan, speaking of the Psylli, whose peculiar property it was to be unhurt by the bite of serpents, with which their country abounded, comes still nearer to the expression of Isaiah in this place :
“ Gens unica terras
Pax illis cum morte data est.” - Pharsal, ix. 894,
And border safely on his realm the grave.” Rowe. 18. —shall be broken] For 793, which seems not to belong to this place, Chald. reads 790; which is approved by Houbigant and SECKER : see Jer. xxxiii. 21. where the very same phrase is used. See Prelim. Dissert. p. xxvii.
20. For the bed is too short-] A mashal, or proverbial saying, the meaning of which is, that they will find all means of defence and protection insufficient to secure them, and cover them from the evils coming upon them. Da, chap. xxii. 8. the covering, is used for the outworks of defence, the barrier of the country; and here in the allegorical sense it means much the same thing. Their beds were only mattresses laid on the floor; and the coverlet, a sheet, or in the winter a carpet, laid over it, in which the person wrapt himself. For Din), it ought probably to be ORNITO: Houbigant, SECKER.
23. Listen ye, and hear my voice-] The foregoing discourse, consisting of severe reproofs, and threatenings of dreadful judgments impending on the Jews, for their vicés, and their profane contempt of God's warnings by his messengers, the Prophet concludes with an explanation and defence of God's method of dealing with his people, in an elegant parable or allegory; in which he employs a variety of images, all taken from the science of agriculture. As the husbandman uses various methods in preparing his land, and adapting it to the several kinds of seed to be sown, with a due observation of times and seasons; and, when he hath gathered in his harvest, employs methods as various in separating the corn from the straw and the chaff by different instruments, according to the nature of the different sorts of grain: so God, with unerring wisdom, and with strict justice, instructs, admonishes, and corrects his people; chastises and punishes them in various ways, as the exigence of the case requires; now more moderately, now more severely; always tempering justice with mercy; in order to reclaim
the wicked, to improve the good, and, finally, to separate the one from the other.
25. For his God instructeth him] All nations have agreed in attributing agriculture, the most useful and the most necessary of all sciences, to the invention and to the suggestions of their deities. “ The Most High hath ordained husbandry,” saith the Son of Sirach; Eccl'us vii. 15. “ Namque Ceres fertur fruges, Liberque liquoris · Vitigeni laticem mortalibus instituisse.” Lucretius, v. 14.
'O 8 OTIOS avdgwTOIOI
He (Jupiter) to the human race
27, 28. Four methods of threshing are here mentioned, by different instruments; the flail, the drag, the wain, and the treading of the cattle. The staff, or flail, was used for the infirmiora semina, says Hieron. the grain that was too tender to be treated in the other methods. The drag consisted of a sort of frame of strong planks, made rough at the bottom with hard stones or iron: it was drawn by horses or oxen over the corn-sheaves spread on the floor, the driver sitting upon it. Kempfer has given a print representing the manner of using this instrument: Ameen. Exot. p. 682. fig. 3. The wain was much like the former, but had wheels with iron teeth or edges like a saw. “Ferrata carpenta rotis per me. dium in serrarum modum se volventibus:" Hieron. in loc.; by which it should seem that the axle was armed with iron teeth, or serrated wheels, throughout. See a description and print of such a machine used at present in Egypt for the same purpose—it moves upon three rollers armed with iron teeth or wheels, to cut the straw-in Niebuhr's Voyage en Arabie, tab. xvii. p. 123. In Syria they make use of the drag, constructed in the very same manner as above described: Niebuhr, Description de l'Arabie, p. 140. This - not only forced out the grain, but cut the straw in pieces for fodder for the cattle; for in the eastern countries they
have no hay. See Harmer's Observ. i. p. 425. The last method is well known from the law of Moses, which “ forbids the ox to be muzzled when he treadeth out the corn;" Deut. xxv. 4.
28. —but the bread-corn-] I read On59, on the authority of Vulg. and Symmachus ; the former expresses the conjunction i, omitted in the text, by autem ; the latter by os.
Ibid. --hoofs—] For 9"V70, horsemen, read 1070, hoofs : so Syr. Sym. Theod. Vulg.
The subject of this and the four following chapters is the invasion of Senacherib; the great distress of the Jews while it continued; their sudden and unexpected deliverance by God's immediate interposition in their favour; the subsequent prosperous state of the kingdom under Hezekialı; interspersed with severe reproofs, and threats of punishment, for their hypocrisy, stupidity, infidelity, their want of trust in God, and their vain reliance on the assistance of Egypt; and with promises of better times, both immediately to succeed, and to be expected in the future age. The whole making not one continued discourse, but rather a collection of different discourses upon the same subject; which is treated with great elegance and variety. Though the matter is various, and the transitions sudden, yet the Prophet seldom goes far from his subject. It is properly enough divided by the chapters in the common translation.
: 1. Ariel-] That Jerusalem is here called by this name is very certain; but the reason of this name, and the meaning of it as applied to Jerusalem, is very obscure and doubtful. Some, with the Chaldee, suppose it to be taken from the hearth of the great altar of burnt-offerings, which Ezekiel plainly calls by the same name; and that Jerusalem is here considered as the seat of the fire of God, 58 78, which should issue from thence to consume his enemies : Compare chap. xxxi. 9, Some, according to the common derivation of the word, 5 '78, the lion of God, or the strong lion, suppose it to signify the strength of the place, by which it was enabled to resist and overcome all its enemies. Tives de φασι την πολιν ούτως ειρησθαι επει, δια Θεου, λεοντος δικην εσπαραστε