Page images

Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God." Or, if he delight in him,' & Oελe 'avrov; for Hesychius explains θελω, by ευδοκω, and ευδόκησαν, by ηγαπησαν ; and it frequently corresponds in the LXX. to the Hebrew yn, chaphatz, which has that signification, and in the very passage, (Ps. 22. 8.) from which this is a quotation.* "The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth."

§ 28. That his hands and his feet should be pierced, Zec. 13. 8; Ps. 22. 10. “For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet." The textual reading is, “, kaäri,' as a lion my hands and feet;' but several MSS. read ɔ, karoo, and others have No5, karoo, in the margin, which affords the reading adopted by our translators. So the LXX. wpvžav xɛipas μov Kaι Todag, and also the Vulgate, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic; and as it clearly applies to the crucifixion of Christ, whose hands and feet were pierced by the nails, (John 20. 23—27.) there seems scarcely the shadow of a doubt that this is the genuine reading; especially when it is considered, that the other contains no clear sense at all. The whole difference lies between, wav and yood, which might easily be mistaken for each other.*

§ 29. That his side should be pierced, Zec. 12. 10;-and that a bone of him should not be broken, Ps. 34. 20. " And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." (Zec. 12. 10.) That this relates to the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, and to his being pierced by the soldier's spear, we have the authority of the inspired apostle John in affirming; and this application agrees with the opinion of some of the ancient Jews, who interpret it of Messiah the son of David, as Moses Hadarson, on Gen. xxviii. though Jarchi and Abarbanel refer it to the death of Messiah the son of Joseph, whom they say was to be the suffering Messiah, while the former is to be the triumphant Messiah.* "Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came thereout blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true; and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye

* Comprehensive Bible, Note in loco.

might believe. For these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another Scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced." This was the more remarkable, as Lactantius says, (1. iv. c. 26.) that it was a common custom to break the legs of criminals upon the cross; which was done, we are told, at the instep with an iron mallet; and appears to have been a kind of coup de grace, sooner to put them out of pain.* It appears from this account, that the spear went through the pericardium, and pierced the heart; and that the water, or aqueous humour, proceeded from the former, and the blood from the latter. It affords the most decisive evidence that Jesus died for our sins; and thus the conduct of the soldiers was overruled to take away all pretences to the contrary, by which his enemies might have attempted to invalidate the reality of his resurrection; and to accomplish two most important prophecies.*

§ 30. That he should be patient under his sufferings, Isa. 53. 7; and that he should pray for his enemies, Ps. 109. 4; which was verified by the whole of our Lord's conduct under his ignominious treatment, and especially when he said, " Father forgive them; for they know not what they do." Luke 23. 34.

§ 31. That he should die with malefactors, Isa. 53. 9—12; fulfilled when He was crucified between two thieves, Matt. 27. 38-44; Mark 15. 27, 28; Luke 22. 37; 23. 32, 33, 39-43; John 19. 18, 31-35.

§ 32. That there should be an earthquake at his death, Zech. 14. 4; fulfilled, Matt. 27. 45, 51–54; Mark 15.33–38; Luke 23. 44, 45; and a remarkable darkness, Amos 5. 20; 8.9; Zech. 14. 6. See pp. 60, 114. § 33. That he should be buried with the rich, Isa. 53. 9. "And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth." Rather, as Bp. Lowth and others render, And his grave was appointed with the wicked; but with the rich man was his tomb;' regarding the beth, in

, bemothaiv, as a radical, and deriving it from a, bamoth, a high or elevated place, or a tumulus, the sepulchres among the Hebrews being generally erected on eminences.* This was fulfilled in the burial of our Lord by Joseph of Arimathea, Matt. 27. 57-60; Mark 15. 43—46. Luke 23. 50-53; with which the circumstances related by St. John (ch. 19. 39, 40) agree, his burial being that of a rich man. "And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury." Some have objected to the great quantity of spices employed on this occasion; but Josephus states, (1. xvii. c. 3. § 4.) that 500 servants bearing spices attended the funeral of Herod; and 80lbs. of opobalsam are said to have been used at the funeral of R. Gamaliel. Talmud Messec. Semach, c. 8.*


§ 34. That he should rise again from the dead, Ps. 16. 10; thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." The word hell, from the Saxon hillan or helan, to hide, or from holl, a cavern, though now used only for the place of torment, anciently denoted the concealed or unseen place of the dead in general; corresponding to the Greek αδης i. e. ο αιδης τόπος, the invisible place, and the Hebrew xw, sheol, from bx, shual, to ask, seek, the place and state of those who are out of the way, and to be sought for.* Ps. 30. 3; 41. 10; 118. 17; and Hos. 6. 2. in which, the resurrection on the third day is clearly predicted, see Acts 2. 25-32, and page 60, supra. § 35. That he should ascend into heaven, and sit on the right hand of God, Ps. 16. 11; 24. 7; 68. 18; 110. 1; 118. 19; for the fulfilment of these prophecies see Mark 16.19; Luke 24. 51; Acts 1. 2-9; Eph. 4. 8-10; Heb. 4. 14; 6. 20; 8. 1; 1 Peter 3. 22.

§ 36. That his betrayer should die suddenly and miserably, Ps. 55. 15, 23; 109. 17; and that the potter's field should be bought with the purchase money, Zech. 11. 13, literally fulfilled, as recorded in Matt. 27. 3— 10; Acts 1. 16-20 ;† and see p. 121.

(21.) Prophecies concerning the Israelites or Jews, such as the following:

§ 1. That they should be exceedingly multiplied above other nations. And Moses declared to them, (Deut. 1. 10.) "The Lord your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude." This was the promise made by God to Abraham, (Ge. 15. 5, 6.), which Moses considers now as amply fulfilled. Many suppose this expression to be hyperbolical; and others, no friends to revelation, think it a vain empty boast, because the stars, in their apprehension, amount to innumerable millions. But, as this refers to the number of stars which appear to the naked eye, which only amount to about 3010, in both hemispheres, the number of the Israelites far exceeded this; for, independently of women and children, at the last census, they amounted to more than 600,000.*

§ 2. That their land should enjoy her Sabbaths while they were in captivity, Lev. 26. 33-35. "And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it." This was fulfilled during the Babylonish captivity: for, from Saul to the captivity are about 490 years, during which period there were 70 sabbaths of years, neglected by the Hebrews. Now, the Babylonish captivity lasted 70 years, and during that time the land of Israel rested.*

* Comprehensive Bible, Note in loco.

+ Idem, see Index of Subjects, in Prophecy,

§ 3. That the Babylonish captivity should continue seventy years, Jer. 25. 11. "And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years." This prophecy was delivered in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, and began to be accomplished immediately; and it was exactly seventy years from this time to the proclamation of Cyrus for the return of the Jews.*

[ocr errors]

§ 4. That their king, Zedekiah, should be taken captive to Babylon, Ezek. 12. 13. "My net also will I spread upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare and I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there." This was to intimate, that though he escaped out of the city, the Chaldeans should overtake him, and carry him to Babylon. Jeremiah had predicted, that his eyes should see the eyes of the king of Babylon,' (ch. 32. 4, 5.) and here Ezekiel foretold, that he should not see Babylon, though he should die there; and Josephus says that he thought the two prophecies so inconsistent with each other, that he believed neither: yet both were exactly fulfilled, and the enigma of Ezekiel explained, when Zedekiah was brought to Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah, where he had his eyes put out, and was then carried to Babylon, and there died. 2 Kings 25.7.*

§ 5. That they should never more after that period, be guilty of idolatry, Ezek. 23. 27. "Thus will I make thy lewdness to cease from thee, and thy whoredom brought from the land of Egypt: so that thou shalt not lift up thine eyes unto them, nor remember Egypt any more." These severe judgments shall effectually deter you from idolatry, and make you abhor the least approaches to it. This often repeated prediction has received a most wonderful accomplishment. For neither the authority, frowns, examples, nor favour of their conquerors or powerful neighbours, nor their own fears, hopes, interests, or predilection for the sensual worship of idols, could prevail with them to run into gross idolatry, either during the captivity, or ever afterwards, to the present day, a period of 2414 years!*

§ 6. That they should be conquered by the Romans, Deut. 28. 49–51. "The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young and he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed : which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee." Though the Chaldeans are frequently described under the figure of an eagle, yet these verses especially predict the desolations brought on the Jews by the Romans who came from a country far more distant than Chaldea; whose conquests were as rapid as the eagle's flight, and whose standard bore this very figure; who spake a language to which the Jews were then


entire strangers, being wholly unlike the Hebrew, of which the Chaldee was merely a dialect; whose appearance and victories were terrible; and whose yoke was a yoke of iron, and the havoc which they made tremendous.*

§ 7. That they should endure the most dreadful distress in the siege, Deut. 28. 52—57. “And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land; and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee. And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the Lord thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee: so that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave: so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates. The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, and toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear : for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates." The Roman armies at length besieged, sacked, and utterly desolated Jerusalem; and during this siege, the famine was so extreme, that even rich and delicate persons, both men and women, ate their own children, and concealed the horrible repast lest others should tear it from them. Josephus (De Bell. Jud. 1. vii. c. 2.), gives a dreadful detail respecting a woman named Mary, who, in the extremity of the famine, during the siege, killed her sucking child, roasted, and had eaten part of it, when discovered by the soldiers!+Women snatched the food out of the very mouths of their husbands, and sons of their fathers, and (what is most miserable) mothers of their infants.' (Josephus, De Bell, 1. v. c. 10. § 3.) In every house, if there appeared any semblance of food, a battle ensued, and the dearest friends and relations fought with one another; snatching away the miserable provisions of life.' (l. vi. c. 3. § 3.) A woman distinguished by birth and wealth; after she had been plundered by the tyrants (or soldiers) of all her possessions,-boiling her own sucking child, ate half of him, and concealing the other half, reserved it for another time!' (1. vi. c. 3. § 4.)*

§ 8. That they should be left few in number, Deut. 28. 62. “And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the Lord thy

* Comprehensive Bible, Note in loco.

+ Idem, Note on Lev. 27. 29.

« PreviousContinue »