Page images
PDF
EPUB

by some of its most unfavourable circumstances in point of nature and appearance. But to call it simply, “a land of deserts," seems not to help forward our idea of it. The proper sense of 0737) seems to be derived from the verb 270, to mix or mingle together ; and to be that of an extensive plain or open country, in which no one had an exclusive right of property, but the pasturage and sheepwalks were all promiscuous, and in common. Hence I apprehend the whole country of Arabia to have been denominated, being mostly, occupied in that manner. Such also I suppose to be the plains mentioned in Scripture, and called from their adjacency, the plains of Mamre, of Moab, of Jordan, of Jericho, &c. as being unappropriated, and of course uncultivated lands in the neighbourhood of those places. Accordingly to such land we usually give the name of the waste. Now the wilderness, through which the Israelites passed in their way out of Egypt, was to a vast extent a land of waste of this kind, totally unoccupied and unfit for the purpose of cultivation, and therefore absolutely incapable of subsisting without a miracle such a numerous people as for many years took up their abode in it. To this is added 1777141, which our Translators have rendered, “ and of pits,” but why they supposed the wilderness to be called a land of piis I do not well conceive. The LXX. have rendered the whole passage in so lax a manner, that nothing can be collected from thence. The Chald. and Syr. seem to have read 57890, desolation, or to have considered whatever word they found as having that import. But if anyw be the true reading, as all the collated MSS. agree in representing it, it undoubtedly signifies a pit, and may perhaps allude to the inclosure of the wilderness within craggy and high mountains, in respect of which Pharaoh is introduced as saying of the Israelites, “ The wilderness hath shut them in, or closed upon them, Exod. xiv. 3. So that if we render the words in question through a land of wide waste and a pit,” we may understand. by it a country incapable of providing for the people's subsistence from being a wide uncultivated waste ; but into which when they were once entered, they were fairly shut up as in a pit, where they and their families must have inevitably perished, if they had not had the assistance of providence to support them by the way, and finally to extricate them out of it.

Ibid. and the shadow of death] This image was undoubtedly borrowed from those dusky caverns and holes among the rocks, which the Jews ordinarily chose for their burying places : where Death seemed to hover continually, casting over them his broad shadow. Sometimes indeed I believe nothing more is intended by it, than to denote a dreariness and gloom like that which reigns in those dismal mansions. But in other places it respects the perils and dangers of the situation. Thus, Ps. xxiii. 4. “ Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” And again, Ps. xliv. 19. But over and above the foregoing allusions, the land of the shadow of death here seems to intend the grave itself, which the wilderness actually proved to all the individuals of the children of Israel that entered into it, Caleb and * Joshua only excepted, whose lives were preserved by a special providence.

its" ,אלהיו reads אלהים One MS . for .חהמיר read ההימיר tions for

.ההמירו גוים אלהיהם ,they had read

7.-a land of fruitful field] The article shews 1977, to be designed for an appellative; and a land of fruitful field is well contrasted with a land of waste.

9.--I will yet plead with you] That is, I will maintain by arguments the equity of my proceedings, and the injustice of yours.

10.-the countries of Chittim) By Dux it is certain that the Hebrews did not mean the same as we do by islands, that is, lands encom. passed with water all around ; and therefore we ought not so' to render this Hebrew word. It sometimes signifies only a country or region, as Isai. xx. 6. but usually perhaps distant ones, and such as had a line of sea coast. See Ch. xlvii. 4. Bochart, Phaleg. lib. iii. cap. 5. has made it appear with much probability, that the countries peopled by Chittim, the grandson of Japhet, are Italy and the adjacent provinces of Europe, which lie along the Mediterranean sea. And as these were to the west of Judea, and Kedar in Arabia to the east, the plain purport of this passage is, “ Look about you to the west and to the east.' 11. Hath a nation changed Gods?] Fifty five MSS. and ten Edi

. . ," “ Gods.” The LXX. Syr. and Vul. all agree in joining the affix ; but the two former express the subject and verb in the plural number, as if

, . But the present reading is unexceptionable.

12. The heavens are astonished, &c.] The verbs here may be either the 3d person plural of the preter tense, or the 2d person plural of the imperative. The LXX. prefer the former.

13.-broken cisterns] w niko n89.-The text here ap. pears to be corrupt. The LXX. and Chald. omit 1982, and, I should

, , . , a feminine noun, requires the adjective or participle of the same gender. Three MSS. omit n7x2; one substitutes 1972 instead of it; and for

. , . 14. Or if a child of the household] One MS. reads on with the conjunction. niz goby answers to the Latin word filiusfamilias, and stands opposed to a slave. The same distinction is made Gal. iv. 7. and an inference drawn from it in a similar manner. “ Wherefore thou art no more a servant, (a slave) but a son ; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ." As Christians now, so the Israelites heretofore were the children of God's household ; and if so, they seemed entitled to his peculiar care and protection.

13. Against him lions shall roar] Lions in the figurative style of prophecy denote powerful princes and conquerors ; See Ch. l. 17. Such were Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt, and Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon ; whose successive hostilities against the kingdom of Judah seem here to be foretold. Fifty six MSS. and six Editions read Disa at large.

Ibid.-are burned-) Twenty MSS. and two Editions confirm the reading of the Masora, inx) for min xa. Three MSS. read 1373

.נשברות an easy corruption of ,נשברוס two MSS

. read נשברים

express the time past : but the context ,נתצו or ,נצתו and ,ושיתו

" are broken down ;" and this accords with the word used by the LXX. KATEIK&Puqav. See Ch. iv. 26. It may be observed, that the verbs yn),

, , shews that they must be understood of the future. Nor is it unusual for the prophets thus to speak of events foreseen by them, as if they had them already accomplished in their view.

16. The sons also of Noph, &c.] This no doubt alludes to the severe blow which the nation received in a capital part, when the good king Josiah was defeated by the Egyptians, and slain in battle; or when afterwards, upon the deposition of Jehoahaz, the glory of the monarchy was debased, by its being changed into a tributary and dependent kingdom, 2 Kings xxiii. 33, 34. Noph and Taphanhes were two principal cities of Egypt, otherwise called Memphis and Daphna Pelusiace. For ty one MSS. and six Editions read onsen hy according to the Maso

.ותחפנס retic emendation for

-and atfords a sense perfectly well suited to the con ,תוכחך and תיסין

18. To drink the waters of Sihor] At ver 13. it is said, that the people had “ forsaken JEHOVAH, a fountain of living waters ;" by a like figure they are here reproved for proceeding after the manner of the Egyptians and Assyrians to drink the waters of their rivers; that is, to have recourse for help to the Gods on whom those nalions placed their dependence. Sichor or Shichor is a name given to the Nile. See Bp. Lowth's Note on Isai. xxiii. 3. And 773

denotes the river Euphrates by way of eminence, often with the article my prefixed, and sometimes without it; as Ps. lxxx. 12. Isai. vii. 20. Mich. vii. 12.

19. Thine adversity-) So onyo signifies ver. 27. and 700 be. ing considered in the same light here becomes a proper subject for both

, text. 24. 20.-thou hast broken thy yoke, thou hast burst thy bands] The LXX. and Vulg. appear to have read myaw and mpnz instead of ngaw and inpna; and the context plainly shews that to have been

the right reading. For doubtless it was not God that relaxed the discipline: but it was the people themselves, that, like an unruly beast, “ broke the yoke, and burst the bands," spurning and casting off all manner of restraint. See Ch. One MS, reads 772w.

Ibid. I will not be under subjection) The Masoretes propose to read 5939% *), “ I will not transgress," atter the Chaldee : and are followed by fifteen MSS. and six Editions, Also nineteen MSS. and one Edition read 720X *y. But the LXX. Syr. and Vulg. confirm the received reading of the Text, which is clearly preferable.

Ibid. Will I prostitute myself] For 1799 ny I propose to read 7937x in one word, considering it as the first person future in Hithpahel from 779x, the sense of which may be deduced from the Arabic verb, bio, inclinatus fuit, submisit se. Accordingly the LXX. here render, die zu Snookes, And the Vulgate, which reads 77px nx in two words, adheres notwithstanding to the abovementioned sense of tyy, and renders, tu prosternebaris. This verb will be further considered in a note on Ch. xlvii. 12.

v. 5.

'21. A vine of Sorek] See Bp. Lowth's note on Isai. v. 2.

Ibid. How do I find thee changed] Literally, “ How art thou chang ed to me?" Tlws es grans Hos; LXX. MS. Pachom.

Ibid. Depart, Qvine of spurious growth). This passage has occasioned great perplexity ; but it does not seem to have occurred to any interpreter, that 70 is the imperative feminine of 70, and signifies, “ Depart, Get thee gone;", being addressed by God to the house of Israel under the character of a vine, which is discarded for having adulterated the good qualities of its original stock. 77933 properly signifies strange, of a different nature from the stock, whence it was taken. Compare the beautiful allegory in Isaiah, Ch.v. 1-7.

22. Nitre] This is not the same that we call Nitre, or Saltpetre, but a native salt of a different kind, distinguished among naturalists by the name of Natrum, or the nitre of the ancients. It is found in abundance in Egypt and in many parts of Asia, where it is called soap-earth, because it is dissolved in water, and used like soap in washing,

23.-thy ways) The LXX. Syr. Chald. Vulg. all render "thy “ ways.” 74977, thy courses, or modes of proceeding. " See thy ways “ in the valley ;" that is, see how thou hast prostituted thyself, and practised the grossest idolatry in the valley ; alluding to those idolatrous acts which were practised in the valley of Hinnom. See Ch. vii. 31. Is. Ivii: 5, 6.

24. A fleet dromedary that hath taken to company with her] 17390n 079377, participem fecit viarum suarum. The sense of hown may be deduced from the Arabic verb, J, consortem, participem fecit. These words have been very improperly joined with the preceding verse. is manifest that op 952 must (for according to the rules of Syntax 7770, which is masculine, cannot) be the subject of the feminine verb 77DXw, and the antecedent of the feminine pronouns which follow. The impossibility of restraining one of those fleet animals, when hurried away by the impetuous call of nature, is represented as a parallel to that unbridled lust and eagerness, with which the people of Judah ran after the gratification of their passion for idolatry, which is called spiritual whoredom.

Ibid.-- In the desire of her soul] was 77182. Forty two. MSS. and six Editions read with the Masoretes, FwDI.

Ibid. When her heat is over-] 7771772. Our English versions, both ancient and modern, render, “ in her month," which in the mat. gin of the ancient Bible is explained, “ when she is with foal." But 1709972, from the verb win to renew, may be literally transtated, " in her renewal,” that is, when the heat is abated, and she begins to come about again to the same state as before the fit came on. The LXX. seem so to have understood it, s TH TATOWOLI QUTAS, when she is hum. bled.” And perhaps it was designed to insinuate to God's people by way of reproach, that they were less governable than even the brute beast, which, after having followed the bent of appetite for a little time,

MY

would cool again, and return quietly home to her owners; but the idolatrous fit seemed never to abate, nor to suffer the people to return to their duty-Or else it may mean, that when their affairs took a new turn, and became adverse, then would be the time when they being humbled would again have recourse to the true God, who alone could Gave them.

25. Keep back thy foot from being unshod] This is generally understood to be an advice to abstain from wearing out the shoes by running after idols incessantly, and from thirsting after their worship. But I rather take it to be a warning to beware of the consequences of pursuing the courses they were addicted to; as if it had been said, Take care that thou dost not expose thyself by thy wicked ways to the wretched condition of going into captivity unshod, as the manner is represented, Isai. xx. 4. and of serving thine enemies in hunger, and in thirst, and in want of the necessaries of life. Deut. xxviii. 48. Forty: MSS. and five Editions read with the Masora, 727721.

26. and their princes] Fifteen MSS. add the conjunction , and read, Dow; and so do the LXX and Syr.

27.--thou hast brought me forth] The Masoretes propose to read. nebo nx. “ Thou hast brought us forth.” But the received reading of the text seems preferable, as it is in uniformity with 28, “ father.”

30. Your own sword] The LXX. and Syr. read simply "the sword," without the pronoun.

But all the collated MSS. with the Chald. and Vulgate, read 32. The meaning is, that they were so far from turning God's chatisements to their own improvement, that on the contrary they put their prophets to death, who int God's name exhorted them to repentance. See 2 Chron. xxiv. 20, 21. xxxvi. 16. Neh. ix. 26. Matt. xxiii. 30-37. Acts vii. 52. 31.-Behold

ye the cause of JEHOVAH] 727 here is not to be rendered " the word,” but “ the cause" or "case" of JEHOVAH, respecting the controversy spoken of ver 29.987 is therefore used with

great propriety taking 927 in this sense ; but it would have been a kind of Carachresis

" See the word of JEHOVAH." Ibid.-a land of darkness-] Thé Vulgate and some other interpreters have rendered 175282 prx, terra serotina, a land backward or late in producing its fruits ; from the sense ascribed to mox, Exod. ix. 32. late or backward grain. But I prefer " a land of darkness ;" as darkness is often used to denote calamity and distress. See Ch. xii. 16. Isai. v. 30. viii. 22. The meaning of the passage is, Have I been wanting to you, whilst ye were under my guidance, in providing you with good things ? Or have I brought you into the gloom of trouble and dis£ress ? Some have supposed Tiborn to have had the sacred name of 17' added augendi significationem causa ; but I am apt to think either that the original reading was born; or that box is an adjective from

. Ibid. We are our own masters] $0.9997 may be rendered, and ir.

to say,

.מאפל the substantive

« PreviousContinue »