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pie. Let us, both in our social and private conduct, show that the gospel has this effect upon us ; and we should earnestly pray that it may have the same effect upon others, even upon all mankind; and that by the more plentiful effusion of the spirit in the latter day, God may again say, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.
CHAP. XX, XXI,
A type prefiguring the shameful captivity of Egypt and F.thiofita. This happened between the time that the Assyrian army took the dtftneed cities of Judah, and when they besieged Jerusalem, which was about three years.
1 TN the year that Tartan (mentioned with Babshakeh, 2 Kings JL xviii. 17.) came unto Ashdod, (when Sargon, that is, Sennar cherib,t\\e king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ash
2 dod, and took it; At the same time spake the Lord by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Co and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, which thou hast worn as a mourning habit for the sins and calamities of Judah and Israel, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked, that is, without an upper
3 garment, and barefoot. And the Lord said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years [for] a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia ; not three years, but three days, to represent three years; ar it may be rendered, for a three year's sign, that is, for a type or example of three
4 years; So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with [their] buttocks, or hind parts, uncovered, to
5 the shame of Egypt, who were a very proud people. And they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory; the nations that trusted in them, and who had great expectations from the Ethiopians and Egyptians, particularly
6 Israel, shall be ashamed of their weak allies. And the inhabitant of this isle, or country, shall say in that day, Behold, such [is] our expectation, whither we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria: and how shall we escape ? we have no way to escape, now the Assyrians have such success against thtse nations.
1 Chap. XXI. The burden of the desert, or plain, of the sea; that is, Babylon, which lay upon the rivers, and harl large lakes like seas about it. As whirlwinds in the south pass through, come suddenly, irresistibly, and carry all before them, [so] it cometh
* from the desert, which lay between Persia and JJabylon, from a
2 terrible land. A griveous vision is declared unto me ; the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, or, is dealt treacher
t ously with, and the spoiler spoileth, or, is spoiled j Babylon <a re
- paid in her own coin. Go up, O Elam : besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I made to cease, that is, the sighing of
3 the captive Israelites and others. Therefore are my loins filled with pain ; pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth. I was bowed down at the hearing
4 [of it ;] I was dismayed at the seeing [of it.] My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me : the night of my pleasure, when I
5 usrd to take my repose, hath he turned into fear unto me.• Prepare the table, watch in the watch tower, eat, drink; while you. prepare your table, and are feasting in luxury, ye shall hear a sudden cry; arise, ye princes, [and] anoint the shield, that they may be beautiful and serviceable, and the darts may easily slip off.
6 For thus hath the Lord said unto me. Go, set a watchman, who may discern the approaching danger, and let him declare what he
7 seeth. And he saw a chariot [with] a couple of horsemen, or horses, that is, the commanders in chief, Cyrus and Darius, a chariot of asses, or mules, that is, the Persians, [and] a chariot of camels, the Medes, who made use of them; (hey were both joined in thii expedition; and he hearkened diligently with much
8 heed : And he cried, A lion; or, the watchman cried as a lion, with a terrible voice, at the sight of the danger approaching, and said, My lord, I stand continually upon the watch tower in the day time, and I am set in my ward whole nights ; I am very
9 careful to observe what passes: And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, [with] a couple of horsemen. And he, that is, the commander in chief, answered and said, Babylon is fallen, shall nurely fall: and all the graven images of her gods he hath brok
10 en unto the ground. O my threshing, and the com of my floor; referring to the Israelites, who are refiresented as God's corn, in opposition 1o chaff and straw; they shall be oppressed yet preserved; that which I have heard of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you for your comfort.
11 The burden of Dumah, that is, of Idumea, or Kdom. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The Jidomites were alarmed with the approaching danger, and are here represented as eagerly address
12 ing the prophet. The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night; ye shall have peace and respite for a while, but a dark and dreadful night will follow: If ye will inquire, inquire ye: return, come ; if ye will inquire, inquire immediately, in good earnest ; and come, return to God, join yourselves to his people, and so escape the threataied destruction.
13 The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye
14 lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim.f The inhabitants of the land of Temah brought water to him that was thirsty,
15 they prevented with their bread him that fled. For they fled
• Some understand this of the prophet's concern for their calamities; T rather think ir is a description of the terror of Babylon, especially or- Belshaxaar, when the city was taken.
t These were the descendants of Abraham by Keturah. The king of Assyria might sft.i :k this people ; they used to pitch their tents in fruitful countries, but now they were iiad to wander hs forests, and to receive help from their neighbours.
from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow,
16 and from the grievousness of war. For thvis hath the Lord said untóme. Within a year, according to the years of an hireling1, and all the glory of Kedar, the son of Ishmael, another clan or trifie, shall fail; within a year all their ßocks and ¡tower shall
17 fail: And the residue of the number of archers, for which thie tribe mat famous, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the Lord God of Israel hath spoken [it.]
1. "ХХ/"^ here see the vanity" of creature dependencies: the exV V pectations of Ethiopia, and of Egypt, the glory of Israel, were all disappointed. The skill of archers, the most numerous forces, and great wealth, are no security to a nation when God determines to punish. Let us learn wisdom by these repeated examples. If we trust in man, and neglect God, or do not make him our chief confidence, he will suffer us to be disappointed, and he is just and kind in it. Truly in vain is salvation looked for from the hills and the multitude of mountains; our he Iji it only in l/if name of our God.
2. See how soon the carnal mirth of men may be turned into sorrow. Another seasonable lesson for us. When the Babylonians were preparing the table, eating, drinking, and making merry, God was preparing slaughter and destruction for them. How suddenly did confusion and misery come on this sensual, riotous people ! Thus if we transgress the bounds of temperance and prudence, the night of our pleasure may be turned in'ofcar. Though we escape every other enemy, death may come upon us unawares, and the end of our mirth may be heaviness. Let us therefore never be off our guard, but be peculiarly watchful in seasons of temptation, and remember, that for all these things God viili tiring us into judgment.
S. God's people are dear to him, and he intends their benefit, even when he corrects them. The church is bis husbandry. His people are the corn of his floor, valuable in themselves, and dear to • him. He may see good to thresh or bruise them by afflictions, but ft is to purify them. Hypocrites are as chaff, worthless and contemptible; he takes no concern about them, suffers them to go on in ease and prosperity : but at length thni shall be burned with unyrtrnchableflrc. Let us then be patient in tribulation, and wait upon Cod to make all issue in our salvation.
4. In every time of danger it is our duty immediately to return to God. Ministers are appointed as watchmen, in the name of God to give men warning ot the danger they are in, and the destruction that is before them; and it is their duty to attend to the warning, to inquire the will of God, and immediately comply with the intimations of it. They must return to him and their duty, if they desire to escape destruction; if they linger, it is at their peril; for though every thing may now look bright and pleasing as the morning, yet the night cometh when no man can work, and they will sink into blackness of darkness for ever; therefore, today, while it is called today, let us hear his voice and not harden our hearts.
The title of this chapter, as it stands in our Bible, is a mistake : the former part relates to the invasion of Judea by Sennacherib in Hezc kiah's time; the latter to some changes in his court.
1 r | 1 H E burden of the valley of vision, that is, of Jerusalem,
JL most of which was in a valley surrounded with mountains. Jt is called the valley of vision, because there God was known; it had the scriptures and the prophets, and other means of seeing, that is, knowing the will of God. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the house tops, to observe the motion of the ene
2 my, or look out for help -? Thou that art, that is, hast been, full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city, full of trade, hurry, and diversions: thy slain [men are] not slain with the sword, nor
3 dead in battle, but dead with fear. All thy rulers are fled together, that is, the rulers of the fortified cities that Sennacherib had
~ taken, they are bound by the archers: all that are found in thee are bound together, [which] have fled from far; they are taken prisoners by the archers and bound like captives, though they are
4 fled far away. Therefore said I, Look away from me: I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, let me alone to indulge my grief, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.
5 For [it is] a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord God of hosts in the valley of vision ; there are dangers without and troubles within, but all are from the Lord of hosts; breaking down the walls of the cities they had taken; or rather, some of the walls or houses about Jerusalem, to fortify it the better; and of crying to the mountains; calling to those who guarded the passes of the mountains to know what intelligence they had of the enemy, or to exhort them to defend their posts vig
6 orously. And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men [and] • horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield; that is, the Persians
and Medes, who were subject to the king of Assyria, or allies in
7 this war. And it shall come to pass, [that] thy choicest vallieu shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves
t in array at the gate. And he discovered the covering of Judah, and thou didst look in that day to the armour of the house of the forest; referring to Sennacherib's taking the fenced cities,' which were a covering to the country; and especially to his bring furnished with arms out of the armuury that Solomon hud built,
9 and where he put his shields, 1 Kings, ic. IT. Ye have seen also the breaches of the city of David, that they sire many ; the fort and castle of the city, and repaired them; and ye gathered ten gether the waters of the lower pool; probably conveyed them under ground to furnish themselves with water, and deprive the
10 enemy of it. And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall; that is, numbered the houses, either to lay a tax on thrm, or to see which
11 might be flulled down, in order the better to defend the walls. Ye made also a ditch between the two walls, to strengthen the city, for the water of the old pool, and conveyed water thither for its security: but ye hdve not looked Unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago; in all this ye have forgotten Jehovah, who afifiointed this place for your capital.
12 And in that day did the Lord God of hosts call, by the language of his providence, and the voice of his prophet, to weeping and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth; to
-IS fasting and all the marks of deep humiliation: And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine : let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die; instead of humiliation, there was nothing but mirth and feasting, and a stupid despair, grounded upon licentious principles, a disbt
14 lief or a contempt of a future slate. And it was revealed in mine ears by the Lord of hosts, that I might publish it, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord God of hosts; that is, it shall never be purged, ye shall perish in these your iniquities. Then follows a prophecy of some changes in Hezekiah's court.
15 Thus saith the Lord God of hosts, Go, get thee unto this treasurer, [even] unto Shebna, which [is] over the house,• [and
>6 say,] What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here, what estate, family, or relations? that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here, [as] he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, [and] that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock? a grand sepulchre, like a palace, to keep up thy memory to succeed
it ing times, as if sure of continuing in thy post? Behold, the Lord will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee; or, the I,ord, who covered thee with an excellent covering, and clothed thee gorgeously,shall surely cover thee with disgrace, as criminals when ltd to execution, were covered, as if
i 8 unworthy to see the light. He will surely violently turn and toss thee [like] a ball into a large country : there shalt thou die, in afar country i and obscurity, and there the chariots of thy glory, in which thou hast been used to ride in state, [shall be] the shame of thy lord's house, that is, of Ahaz, who probably advanced him
19 to this dignity. And I will drive thee from thy station, and from
20 thy state shall he pull thee down, that is, God shall do it. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Elia
21 kim the son of Hilkiah: And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, he shall have thy
• So ne suppose him to havr bcpn A fnreienrr, as his father is not mentioned; and the Jewssay, that he kept up a traiterous correspondence with the Assyrians.