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sorrow ; they shall be greatly disappointed in their most sanguine expectations, as the husbandman, when, after great pains, the hara vest is ruined. We have then a prophecy of the destruction of the
Assyrian army, to the end of the next chapter. 12 Wo to the multitude of many people, 10 the many allies and
auxiliaries of the Assyrians, (which) make a noise like the noise of the seas ; and to the rushing of nations, (that) make a rush
ing like the rushing of mighty waters ! who come violently, as if 13 they would destroy my people at once. The nations shall rush
like the rushing of many waters ; but (God,) who is able to do it, but whom they do not think of, shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind. And behold at evening tide trouble ; [and] before the morning he (is) not; referring to the destruction of the Assyrians in one night. This [is] the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us ; of other enemies as well as those.
CHAP. XVIII.* Wo to the land shadowing with wings, that stretches out its long wings or armies, which [is] beyond the 2 rivers of Ethiopia, or, which passes to the river of Ethiopia. That
sendeth ambassadors by the sea, as well as by land, even in vessels of bulrushes, or reeds, upon the waters, (saying,] Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, thus scornfully and contemptuously shall they speak of the Jews, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto ; a nation meted out and
trodden down, whose land the rivers, that is, the Assyrians, (ch. 3 xvii. 12.) have spoiled! All ye inhabitants of the world, and
dwellers on the earth, see ye when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains ; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye ; observe
the prediction and the accomplishment ; see what God will do. 4 For so the LORD said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will
consider in my dwelling place, or, regard my set dwelling place, like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest ; Though I seem to be asleep and unconcerned, yet
I will defend my dwelling place, will make it a safe and delightful 5 repose, and continually watch over it. For afore the harvest,
when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away (and) cut down the branches ; when their schemes are
ripening, and they think themselves sure of success, the Assyrians shall 6 be utterly destroyed. They, that is, all the enemies of God's people,
shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to
the beasts of the earth : and the fowls shall summer upon them, 7 and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them. In that
time shall the present be brought unto the LORD of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto ; a nation meted out and trodden under
The learned are much divided in opinion who this chapter refers to. Some think the. Egyptians; others, Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia or Arabia, who came to help the Israelites against the Assyrians, but were destroyed by them. I rather think it refers to the Assyrians.
foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, the mount Zion. Here the prophet retorts upon the Assyrians : ambassadors shall be sent to congratulate Hezekiah on the destruction of their army ; presents shall be sent from Egypt and Ethicpia, whom the Assyrians had conquered, to the mount Zion : or it may mean, thai the plunder of the Assyrian camp should be brought there.
1. TT is very happy when aMiction promotes reformation. The
1 Israelites had forsaken God, therefore he brought the Assyrians upon them. Some, foreseeing the trouble, repented and returned to God, and put away their idols. Providence intends, by national and personal troubles and dangers, to cure us of sin, of spiritual idolatry, of the love of money, of pleasure, and of trusting in man. They are designed to bring us to look to our Maker, the Holy One of Israel ; to acknowledge his providence ; to humble ourselves before him and pray to him : and it is a merciful affliction that brings us to this, then shall we become objects of the divine care and favour, and he will provide for our security and happiness. Though there be but few of this character, they shall not be lost, but be as a brand plucked out of the burning.
2. We here see the source of sin and misery : it is forgetting God, being unmindful of him as our strong defence, and the author of all our mercies and deliverances ; and the consequence will be, disappointment where we most expected comfort and relief. Let us beware then lest we forget the Lord our God. To be continually mindful of him is a most important duty ; it is the support of all other duties, and will be the source of serenity and joy amidst all the changes of this mortal life.
3. Let us not think God has forsaken his church, though he may sometimes suffer it to be in adversity and danger; though he seems to say, I will take my rest, and appears like one asleep, or as an unconcerned spectator. Let us not entertain the thought that he is so because he does not immediately appear ; he will regard his dwelling place, take care of his own interest, and his people shall find a safe and delightful repose in him. Let us never indulge unbelieving fears and suspicions, for the Lord is a God of judgment ; his church is built upon a rock, and the gates of hell shall never prevail against it. One or another of its strongest earthly pillars may fall, but God will raise up others, and add to the church daily of such as shall be saved.
This chapter refers to the calamities broughe upon the Egyptians by
intestine commotions. The Israelites were fond of an alliance with them, therefore their distress and inability to help their allies is here foretold; but it is difficult to determine to what period of their history this prophecy refers. I THE burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a
swift cloud, as a judge, and shall come into Egypt : 'and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, shall be carried captive, and not be able to help their worshippers, and the
heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it, the people shall lose 2 all their courage. And I will set the Egyptians against the
Egyptians : and they shall fight every one against his brother,
and every one against his neighbour ; city against city, [and] 3 kingdom against kingdom. And the spirit of Egypt, that is,
their courage and wisdom, for both of which they were famous, shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof:
and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to 4 them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards. And the
Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord ; and a
fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the Lord of 5 hosts.t And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river
shall be wasted and dried up, that is, the Nile which they worship
ped, and on the rising of which in spring, and overflowing their land, 6 their harvest depended, as they had little or no rain. And they
shall turn the rivers far away ; [and] the brooks of defence shall ✓ be emptied and dried up : the reeds and flags shall wither. The
paper reedsf by the brooks, by the mouth, or side, of the brooks,
and every thing sown by the brooks, shall wither, be driven 8 away, and be no more. The fishers also shall mourn, and all
they that cast angle into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish : Egypt was famous
for Ash, and its inhabitants lived much upon it, as they scrupled to 9 kill many animals for food. Moreover they that work in fine flax,
and they that weave net works, shall be confounded : it was also
famous for flax and fine linen, for which Solomon traded with the 10 Egyptians. And they shall be broken in the purposes thereof,
all that make sluices [and] ponds for fish ; that is, they that were useil to get their living by keeping fish in ponds, shall fail of their
gain that way; all which intimates a general decay of trade and Il prosperity. Surely the princes of Zoan, that most ancient city, (Numb, xiii. 22.) (are] fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors
. After the death of Sathon there were two years anarchy ; then
rere two years anarchy ; then selve persons seized the kingdom, and divided it anong themselves. At length is unmetichus, one of the twelve, by the help of the Greeks drove out the other eleven, and reigned alone.
+ This is understood of different persons, but is generally supposed to refer to Psamameticbus.
This was the papyrus. a large reed that grew on the hanks of their river and bronks, the broad leaves of which the Egyptians wrote uponi, 23 we do on paper, which frin hence : took its name.
of Pharaoh is become brutish : how say ye ûnto Pharaoh, I 12 [am] the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings ?* Where
(are) they? where [are) thy wise (men ?) thy politicians and
astrologers ? and let them tell thee now, and let them know what 13 the LORD of hosts hath purposed upon Egypt. The princes of
Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph, or Memphis another ancient city, are deceived ; they have also seduced Egypt, [even
they that are] the stay of the tribes thereof; the governors, who 14. are the corners or support of it. The Lord hath mingled a per
verse spirit in the midst thereof : and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken (man) staggereth in
his vomit ; they shall be unsettled in their councils, and follow 15 those that are most mischievous. Neither shall there be (any]
work for Egypt, which the head or tail, branch or rush, may.do;
their trade shall be lost, and there shall be no work for the high or 16 the low, they shall have no means to help themselves. In that day
shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and feat because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which
shaketh over it ; that is, the threatening's he denounces, and the 17 judgments he is bringing upon them. And the land of Judah
shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the
LORD of hosts, which he hath determined against it. 18 In that day shall five, that is, many, cities in the land of Egypt
speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts, engage themselves by covenant to become subject to them; one
shall be called, The city of destruction ; of Heres, or the sun, i9 that is, Heliopolis.t In that day shall there be an altar to the ! Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the bor
d'er thereof to the LORD ; the worship of God shall be set up there; and gospel worship is often described by expressions taken from the
Jewish worship: a pillar shall be set up to let every one know at 20 their first entrance what religion they are of. And it shall be for
a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the op
pressors, and he shall send them a saviour and a great one, and 21 he shall deliver them.ll And the LORD shall be known to Egypt,
The Egyptians pretended to extraordinary antiquity, and traced up the lists of their kings higher than any other nation, quite to Hain.
+ This probably refers to their apprehension of danger when Sennacherib destroyed the feuc-d cities of Judah, before he besroved Jerusalem ; though others refer it to the long siege of Ashdod by Psammetichus, which stopped the course of his victories, and gave him great vexation. There are various opinions among the learned what the next verse refers to : som: s.wy, to the conversion of many of the Egyptians to the religion of the Jews, by their settleinent among them; but it more probably refers to their conversion by the gospel
t After the siege abovementioned, the learned say there was an alliance between Egypt, Assyrii, ard Judah ; and the Jews had' actually five cities in the land, where they were al Jowed the free exercise of their religion. But that this was fact is not sufficiently evident ; sud I rather prefer the former interpretation.
Dr. Newton understands this of Alexander the Great, whose successor was Ptolemy the Great, and Soter, or saviour, probably in reference to Christ. Alexander favoured the Jews, settled many in Egypt, allowed them to be governed by their own laws and customs ;
there the Greek translation of the Bible, called the Septuagint, is generally supposed to kave been made.
and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation ; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the
LORD, and perform [it ;) they shall have the means of knowledge 22 and improve them. And the LORD shall smite Egypt : he shall
smite and heal [it :) and they shall return (even) to the LORD, and he shall be entreated of them, and shall heal them ; their
afflictions shall do them good, and disfiose them to receive the goi23 pel. In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to As
syria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians; though Egypt was the house of their bondage, and the As
syrians the invaders of Judah, yet their enmity shall cease, and they 24 shall join in serving the Lord. In that day shall Israel be the
third with Egypt and with Assyria ; the land of Israel which is between Egypt and Assyria, shall be the centre of union to the three nations which had been so often at variance, (even] a blessing in
the midst of the land, or, of the carth, as from thence the gospel 25 shall spread : Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying,
Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance. God will join them all in his blessing ; he will make them a blessing to all about them ; they shall be all alike in covenant with him. Accordingly the gospel was early plan:ed among them, and many flourishing christian churches were there.
BSERVE how easily God can throw a populous and
flourishing nation into confusion and misery ; set the people one against the other, and raise a perverse spirit in the midst thereof; infatuate the wisest counsellors, and strike a panic and terror through all. He can by this means destroy their trade and commerce, and take away all their comforts. To do this, he needs but shake his hand over them. Who would not fear so great a Being, and wait on him for the continuation and increase of national prosperity ? We have need to pray that he would give a spirit of wisdom to our ministers, conduct and courage to our commanders and soldiers, and continue our unanimity, that we may not feel these dreadful evils.
2. See what a happy change the gospel makes in the state of nations, when it is cordially received. God would show favour to Egypt ; and this is described, not by replenishing their rivers, multiplying their fish, increasing their trade, and establishing their concord ; but by the spread of true religion among them ; banishing idolatry and sin ; disposing men to receive the gospel ; to give themselves to the Lord, and worship him according to his institution. We may learn from this passage, what improvement we are to make of the gospel ; to be thankful for Christ, that Saviour and great one ; publicly and boldly to profess our relation and regard to him, and cultivate that peace and love which he requires of his peos