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things most worthy of seeing and hearing, yet by my prophet I 10 foretell that ye will not be affected with them. Make the heart of
this people fat, stupid and hardened, thal is, declare that it shall · be so ; be not wanting to instruct and reprove them, though this should be the consequence ; and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes ; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their cars, and understand with their heart, and convert and be healed, or pardoned. Thus Jeremiah is said to build and destroy kingdoms, and Ezekiel is said to destroy Jerusalem, because they forctold that they should be destroyed. Then said I, Lord, how long shall this judgment, this judicial blindness continue ? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate ; till uter
destruction come upon them as a nation : referring to their de12 siruction by the Romans, forty years after Christ's time ; And the
Lord have removed men far away, and (there be] a great forsaking in the midst of the land ; iill many flee away, and others
are carried captive by the Romans, so that very few are left. 13 But yet in it (shall be a tenth, or lythe of the inhabitants, and (it)
shall return 10 God, and shall be eaten, that is, be acceptable to him, as the tythe was eaten by the priest, and is called meat in his house : as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance (is) in them, when they cast (their leaves ; l like a tree that seems withered and dead in winter, yet is alive and shall spirout again : (so] the holy seed [shall be] the substance thereof; those who embrace ihe gospel shall preserve the nation from utter ruin, and at length it shall flourish again ; so that the Jews shall never be ene tirely cast ott, but in due time be numbered again among God's picofile.
1. T ET us make this grand description of the Lord Jehovah
La familiar to our minds. He is exalted above all cherubims; attended with an innumerable company of bright and holy beings. Observe with what humility and reverence they appear before him, covering their faces. With what ardour and zeal do they praise him ! with what activity and speed do they execute his commands! May we engage in religious services with the same disposition ! contemplate and adore him as superlatively holy ; and particularly think of him in this light when earthly kings die. In the year Uzziah died, who was upon the whole a good king, and reigned very long, Isaiah saw this vision. It was comfortable, in such circumstances, to reflect on the Lord as the King eternal and immortal ; and to think that he has committed all judgment to his Son, whose glory, as the image and representative of Jehovah, the prophet saw.
2. When we seriously consider the infinite purity and holiness of God, we may justly tremble before him. We are ready to think Isalah was very happy in such a sight as this ; but, exalted as his
genius and piety were, he cries out, Wo is me! for I am undone: We are all men of polluted lips ; have said many rash and unholy things; are unfit to appear before the Lord, and unworthy to be emploved as his servants ; therefore it becomes us to be afraid of his righteous displeasure, and to abase ourselves deeply before him. God is greatly to be feared, and to be had in reverence of all them that draw nigh unto him.
3. How honourable is it to be employed for God, and how cheerfully should we engage in his service! It should be the great de. sire of all christians, as the servants of God, more especially of ministers, to have their iniquity purged, their guilt removed, their inclinations to sin mortified, and to have a comfortable sense of pardon and peace. We should all be willing to work for God ; and though the times may be bad, and we may meet with many disa couragements in our christian work, and see little hope of success in our endeavours to do good, yet still our language should be, Here am I, Lord; send me. It is honour enough to be employed for God, though our work should be unsuccessful. But this is an additional comfort, that our work is with the Lord, and we shall by no means lose the reward.
4. What a deplorable condition is theirs, who hear the gospel, but are made worse by it. This is the case of the Jews ; and this pas. sage is quoted six times in the New Testament, and applied to them by Christ and his apostles. And it is the case of too many christians; they hear, but understand not ; will not apply their minds to consider and attend to their own concern in it; so that they continue in sin, and are not healed ; yea, they are given up to spiritual blindness, and their hearts grow harder by their misimprovement of the means of grace. Let us beware that this case be not ours. It is indeed a very discouraging circumstance to ministers, that it is so common a case ; but there is this to balance it, that there is a holy seed, a pious remnant, that will hear, learn, and improve ; and that while the word of God is to some a savour of death unto death, it is to others of life unto life, and they are a savour to God in both.
The design of this chapter is, to assure the house of David, or royal
family, that they should not be destroyed by the kings of Syria and Israel, who were confederate against them, but should be punished by the king of Assyria, in whom they trusted.
I AND it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham,
11 the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, [that] Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went
up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail 2 against it. And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria
is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, that is, the royal family, as the trees of 3 the wood are moved with the wind. Then said the LORD unto
Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, whose name signifies, 'the remnant shall return, at the end
of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's 4 field ; And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet ; fear not,
neither be faint hearted, for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son
of Remaliah ; do not give way to an rious fears, for these two 5 kings are but as two firebrands which are almost consumed. Be.
cause Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Renialiah, have taken evil, 6 counsel against thee, saying, Let 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, (even] the son of Tabeal ; thus pretending 10
the crown of Judah, and designing to overthrow the house of Duvid ; 7 Thus saith the Lord God, It shall not stand, neither shall it 8 come to pass. For the head of Syria [is] Damascus, and the head of Damascus [is] Rezin ; as Damascus is the head city of Syria, and Rezin is the head or king of Damascus, so they shall continue to be, and not advance themselves, and enlarge their terri.
tories, as they design ; and within three score and five years, 9 shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people. 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 established ; if ye will not trust what God says, and rely upon him for deliverance, but seek out for foreign support, you shall never prosper in any design for the securing your peace and comfort, as
it came to pass, 2. Chron. xxviii. 20. 10 11 Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, Ask
thee a sign of the LORD thy God, some miracle to confirm the
truth of this prediction ; ask it either in the depth, or in the height 12 above. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the
LORD ; bring secretly determined not to trust Providence, bus to seek help from the king of Assyria, therefore for political reasons
he would not ask a sign ; though he pretended religion and a re.. 13 gard 10 God as the reason. And he said, Hear ye now, ( house
of David ? [Is it] a small thing for you to weary men, but will
ye weary my God also ? This is not only a slight to me, but to 1,4 the patience and kindness of God. Therefore the LORD him
self shall give you a sign, a double sign, one, that the house of David should not be lotally destroyed, the other, that they should sfreedily be delivered ; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and
bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel ; an illustrious 15 prophecy of Christ. Nevertheless, Butter and honey shall he eat,
that he may know, or till he knows how, to refuse the evil, and choose the good, that is, he shall be bred up as other children are.
Accordingly, from the first year of Ahız, when this confederacy was formed, and this prophecy delivered, it was just sixty five years to the twenty second year of Manasseh, wher the king of Assyria carried away the last of the ten tribes, and planted colonies of other nations in their stead, and probably took Manasseh captive at the same time. It was broken from Heing a kingdom by the former Assyrian kings, but not broken fron being a people till nowa
The land shall continue its fruitfulness, and be capable of nourish.
ing its inhabitants, till he is born ; and as he is to be born of the 16 house of David, this is a sign that that house shall not fall. For be
fore the child, that is, this child that is now in my hand, Sheariashub my son, v. 3, shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest, the land that thou carest for with great concern, the land of Judah, of which they have now got possession, shall be forsaken of both her kings ; the king of Syria and the king of Israel, shall both be destroyed by the king of Assyria, and the two hundred thousand captives they have taken shall be restored by the influence of God upon their minds ; arcording to the meaning of the name of the prophet's son, Sce 2 Kings xv. 29, 30. xvi. 9.
Nevertheless God will send a more terrible enemy upon them, 17. because Ahaz will not trust God, but seek help from Assyria : The
Lord shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy
father's house, days that have not come, from the day ihat · Ephraim departed from Judah ; [even) the king of Assyria, to 18 whom you have sought for help. And it shall come to pass in
that day, [that] the Lord shall hiss for the fly that [ia] in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that (is) in the land of Assyria ; the multitude of their enemies shall be
like swarms of flies or bees, from which no rank, and no place shall 19 be secure.* And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in
the desolate vallies, and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all
thorns, and upon all bushes ; overspread and make havock of the 20 whole country. In the same day shall the LORD shave with a
· razor, that is hired, the Assyrians, whom thou hast hired to defend : thee, (namely,] by them beyond the river Euphratcs, by the
king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet : and it shall
also consume the beard ; he shall make a great and general di21 struction. And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] a man
shall nourish a young cow, and the sheep, so few caitle shall be 22 left ; And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk (that)
they shall give, by reason of their having so much room to feed, on account of the country being depopulated, that he shall eat butter : for butter and honey shall every one cat that is left in the land ; they shall have no ficsh 10 eat, neither corn, wine, nor
cil, the produce of cultivation, but only milk and honey, the gifts of 23 nature. And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] every
place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, or shekels, that is, so much a year, it shall [even] be
for briars and thorns ; it shall be wasted, and overrun with briars 24 and thorns. With arrows and with bows shall (men) come
thither, to destroy wild beasts or hunt for food ; because all the 25 land shall become briars and thorns. And [on) all hills that
shall be digged with the mattock, that is, the choicest grounds that were used to be tilled, and where the vineyards used to be
The Assyrians had conquered Egypt before this, and had many Egyptians in their army.
but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of lesser cattle ; there shall be no hedge to defend them, but the cattle shall graze upon them, that is, there shall be a general desolation of all the country.
1. W E are here shown the necessity and advantage of faith
VV in God in troublesome and dangerous times. It is our duty to take heed, to be quiet, to rule our spirits, to command our passions, and have faith in God ; that is, to maintain a firm belief of his overruling Providence, and guard against that fear which hath torment. His words are true, his declarations are faithful ; he knows how to deliver from the most formidable enemies ; let us therefore commit our way to the Lord, tru&t also in him ; and thus
2. Let us bless God that this sign is come to pass, and that this glorious prophecy of Christ is fulfilled ! He was born of the Virgin Mary ; his name was called Immanuel. God is with us, dwelling in human nature, and at peace with us. We should thanksully receive him as the Messiah, who is to reign over the house of David, and whose kingdom is everlasting. We should diligently seek an interest in him, and all lesser deliverances should lead our thoughts to this great deliverer, who is God's salvation to the ends of the earth.
3. Though God may not entirely cast off his people, yet he may see it needful to correct them. Though Judah should be delivered from the designs of Syria and Israel, yet they should be punished by the king of Assyria ; though the house of David should not totally be ruined, yet great calamities should come upon the land. God often deals thus with his people. Though he does not quite forsake them, or give them up to ruin, yet he visits their iniquity with a rod, and their transgression with stripes. We should therefore maintain a holy caution and fear of sin, and glorify God by a faithful obedience to all his commands,
This and several following chapters are prophecies of the troubles of Juduh by the Assyrians ; intermingled with firophecies of the Messiah, for the encouragement of the believing Jews.
IMTOREOVER the Lord said unto me, Take thee a great
I roll, and write in it with a man's pen, in the common way of writing, and in a plain, legible manner, for the use of all, 2 concerning Mahershalalhashbaz, the name of his child. And I
took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and