Page images

ment) as Ariel." See also Ch. xv. 8. xxii. 6. xxxi. 38. And that the wind spoken of was of God's appointment, coming not to him, but from him for a judicial purpose, is apparent from the words that follow.


Ibid. Now even I will proceed judicially with them] emphatical, and seems to have an eye to the charge brought by Jeremiah ver. 10. of God's having promised his people peace. Instead of which God declares, that even he himself, who was supposed to have made the promise, would notwithstanding proceed in a judicial way to punish them for their wickedness. See Note on Ch. i. 16.

[ocr errors]

13. shall he come up] That is, the person designed by the lion, and the destroyer of nations, ver. 7. namely the king of Babylon. Compare Isai. v. 26.—28.

14.— the devices of thine iniquity.] For hwn the ancient Bodleian MS. and four more read awn in the singular number, which indeed agrees better with n. But all the ancient versions render both the nominative and the verb in the plural; and therefore I am more inclined to think that is used in the singular according to an Hebrew idiom, which admits of a verb in the singular joined with a plural subject taken distributively. Buxtorf. Thes. Gram. Lib. ii. cap. 10.

15. For a voice declareth from Dan, &c.] In respect to the sense of this verse I think differently from the generality of Interpreters, who conceive N to mean the calamitous invasion of the Chaldean army, the news of which reached Jerusalem first from Dan, and afterwards fro mount Ephraim, in the order of their march thitherward. Others have supposed an allusion to the idolatry set up by Jeroboam in Bethel, a city of Ephraim, and in Dan, which proved the ruin of the kingdom of Israel in the end. But I rather think that s simply and properly denotes the iniquity or idolatry of Judah, as in the preceding verse, which is hereby intimated not to have been a secret or unknown transaction, but as public and notorious, as if it had been proclaimed upon the frontiers. Dan and Ephraim were tribes bordering upon the kingdom of Judah northwards. And as the crime was thus public, for this reason, as it should seem, it is directed in the next verse, that the neighbouring nations should be made acquainted with its punishment also, for the sake of example.

16.-watchers--] By "watchers" are meant besiegers, placing centinels round the city to prevent any from coming in or going out; and keeping the place in continual alarm by shouts of war.

17. Like keepers of fields] Mr Harmer cites from Sir John Chardin's MS. the following remark on this place. "As in the east, pulse,


roots, &c. grow in open and uninclosed fields, when they begin to "be fit to gather, they place guards, if near a great road, more, if dis


tant, fewer, who place themselves in a round about these grounds, as "is practised in Arabia " Ch. v. Obser. 15.

18. Such is thy calamity; for it is bitterness, &c.] In the preceding is rendered "a curse;" and such the evil or calamity brought


upon Jerusalem by her wickedness is here proved to be, as being attended with all those bitter and afflictive effects, which the nature of a curse implies.

19. My bowels, my bowels are pained] For is the Maso retes read, with the concurrence of eighteen MSS. and five Editions besides the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud. This however can hardly be right, as it is the future Hiphil of, to wait or hope for; a sense which by no means suits this place. But the MSS. exhibit other various readings. Two MSS. read bax. Twenty two MSS. and seven Editions in; Two MSS. ix. Four .. In one MS. n is upon a rasure; and one reads. From these variations the probability of an error may be concluded; and I am inclined to think that it lies principally in the first letter, which, by a mistake frequently made between the Characteristics, is put for T.

הגאלתי Isai. lxiii. 3. is an evident mistake for אגאלתי So .Ch הסף for אסף See also .החורש Ezek. xiv. 3. for האדרש and

viii. 13. and us for own, Ch. xxv. 3.-The true reading in this place I take to be, leaving the final to be prefixed as an article to p. Nor is this founded on mere conjecture only, for it seems evidently to have been the reading, from which the Syr. and Chaldee versions were made, saving only that they seem to have read after the verb. It is also plain that the LXX. though they render the verb in the first person singular, found a Vaz between that and the noun which follows, reading it, xx τα αισθητηρια. But pm, the initial & being changed as before proposed, becomes by a different combination of the letters, n'pn 13'nn-By the walls of the heart" is undoubtedly meant the pericardium, a membrane which sits loose about the heart, surrounding and guarding it like a wall. So that the passion of grief, we may observe, is here described as progressive in a climax. It first affects the bowels, next proceeds to the pericardium, approaching nearer to the heart. It then reaches the very heart itself, where becoming too big to be contained, it breaks forth in outward expression.

Ibid. I have heard] The received reading of the text is now, for which the Masoretes substitute mynw, with the concurrence of the ancient Versions, sixteen MSS. and three Editions, besides the Jerusalem Talmud. But the former nevertheless seems in my opinion to be more genuine, as the parallelism of the lines is thereby rendered more complete; the words, "I have heard," in the one, exactly corresponding with "my soul (hath heard") in the other.

23-26. Í beheld the earth-] The images, under which the prophet represents the approaching desolation as foreseen by him, are such as are familiar to the Hebrew poets on the like occasions. (See Lowth De Sac. Poesi Heb. Præl. ix. and his Note on Isaiah, Ch. xiii. 10.) But the assemblage is finely made, so as to delineate altogether a most striking and interesting picture of a ruined country, and to justify what has been before observed of the author's happy talent for pathetic description. The earth is brought back as it were to its primitive state

of chaos and confusion: the cheerful light of the heavens is withdrawn, and succeeded by a dismal gloom; the mountains tremble and the hills shake under dreadful apprehensions of the Almighty's displeasure; a frightful solitude reigns all around; not a vestige to be seen of any of the human race; even the birds themselves have deserted the fields, unable to find any longer in them their usual food. The face of the country in the once most fertile parts of it, now overgrown with briars and thorns, assumes the dreary wildness of the desart. The cities and villages are either thrown down and demolished by the hand of the eňemy, or crumble into ruins of their own accord for want of being inhabited.

27. And I will not make an end] That is, I will not desist from giving such marks of my indignation. See Ch. v. 10, 18.

28. Because I have spoken, and I do not repent-] I have followed the order of the words, as represented by the LXX; which is undoubtedly their natural order.

30. And against spoiling-] Twenty two MSS (seven of them ancient) and three Editions read n, according to the Masoretic emendation, for ngi. 717 cannot be the participle, as it is represented in the ancient versions; because if a participle, it should be feminine

1. I take it to be the infinitive verb used as a noun, and governed by the preposition N. "What wilt thou do, or how wilt thou guard thyself against spoiling?" The same kind of expression occurs, Ch. v. 31. only the is used instead of nx.

Ibid.-distendest thy eyes with paint-] This alludes to the custom of the eastern ladies, who esteeming large eyes beautiful, make use of stibium, a sort of black paint, which is laid upon the eyelids with a pencil, and being of an astringent quality, partly contracts the eyelids, and partly by the contrast of colour tends to enlarge the appearance of the white part of the eyes. See Bp. Lowth's Note on Isai. iii. 16.--The verb p properly signifies to rend or tear, and may denote the use of this process to excess, so as it were to tear open the eyes by way of enlarging them.

DR DURELL has remarked that the Ethiopians to this day paint their eyebrows with antimony mixed with moist soot. See Ludolphi Hist. Æthiop. Lib. vii. c. 7.

31.she spreadeth out her hands] Spreading out the hands is the gesture of one displaying the helplessness of her condition, and imploring the aid of others. See Lam, i. 17.

Ingemit, et duplices tendens ad sidera palmas,
Talia yoce refert-

Virgil. n. I. 97,

[ocr errors]


1.-her broad places] 'nam mean no doubt, the market places, and other spacious areas in the city, where citizens used to meet for doing business with each other.

2. Surely-] Ten MSS. (four of them ancient) and the first printed Edition of the whole Bible in Hebrew, read 1 instead of ; the same is also found in the Notes of the celebrated Edition known by the name of MINCHATH-SHAI. See Dr Kennicott's Dissert. Gen. §. 62. In three other MSS. the is upon a rasure. N is frequently used by this prophet; and is, I doubt not, the true reading here. however is sometimes used for Nevertheless; a sense not unsuitable to this place. See Ch. xvi. 14.

3.- are not thine eyes towards the truth ] The eyes turned upon, or towards an object, denote not only a diligent inspection and nice discernment of it, but also an earnest expectation or looking after it. The phrase may here be taken in both senses, that God both seeth and discerneth the truth, and also expects it from others, especially from those, who call upon his name in attestation of it.


Ibid. but they have refused] The LXX. Syr. and Vulg. read with the conjunction in both places of this verse, where we find only in the Hebrew. In the first instance the seems requisite in order to support the antithesis; and there is a trace of it in one MS, which, by an evident mistake in the omission of the n, reads

But in the second instance the Asyndeton .ומאנו instead of ואנו

seems more according to the prophet's style. the in the latter place may have caught the he was writing the former.

Perhaps the omission of transcriber's eye whilst

4.--the meaner sort---] So properly signifies, and these are properly opposed to an in the next verse. The misconduct was not chargeable upon the lower orders of men only, who might have erred through ignorance; the great ones, who had better opportunities of knowing what was right, and what was wrong, were alike sharers in the offence.

Ibid.--have acted foolishly.-.-] 112. Perhaps we ought rather to read by transposition ; for acting foolishly or unadvisedly seems to be the sense here required; but from imports to be fixed or resolved upon a thing simply, without discrimination of good or bad choice. The ancient Bodleian MS. No. 1. and nine more, with three old Editions, read. Thirteen MSS. and three Editions do the like, Isai. xix. 13. Twelve MSS. besides one in the margin, and the

ונאלו .11 .Numb. xii נואלנו for נאלנו oldest printed Edition, read

is found in the Text, Ch. 1. 36. where sixteen MSS, and two Editions have substituted. It is possible, that as some of the most ancient copies read the word without the in the middle, the mistake may have been owing to ignorant transcribers, who thinking to ex

press the word at large, have unskilfully inserted the in the wrong place.


-a wolf of the plains-] In the margin of our Bibles mais rendered desarts; and those wide and extensive plains, or uninclosed commons, seem to be meant, which were used only for sheepwalks and pasturage, and are of course most likely to be infested with wolves. See Note on Ch. ii. 6. The wild beasts here spoken of are the king of Babylon and his troops. See Ch. iv. 7.

7.- can I pardon] Twenty eight MSS. and four Editions read in

.אסלות for אסלח ,conformity with the Masora

Ibid. the harlot's house] That is, the idol's temple; as adultery means idolatry.

[ocr errors]

8. They were libidinous as stallion horses] The general sense of the
words is here given. The subject admits not of a more particular ex-
may be rendered armati, armis instructi; being the
participle iu Hophal from 1 or 1, which in Chald. and Syr. signify,
armavit. This will sufficiently express what is meant by equi admis-
sari, in which all the ancient versions agree.
protrahere, extrahere.

ple present of


-is the partici משכים

own, protrahentes

10.---her branches --]
is thus rendered, Isa. xviii. 5. And
by "her branches" may be understood the lesser cities of Judah, which
are as it were branches of the capital; and which were of course des-
tined to share in her fate. See ver. 17. Ch. iv. 16. Or else the indivi-
duals of the city may be so called; as a city is sometimes considered in
the light of a parent, with respect to the citizens, who are called her
children or offspring. Compare Ch. xi. 16.---Hence also we may see
what is intended by the direction given in the preceding line, "and
make ye not an end;" that is, cease not to destroy, till ye have cut off
both root and branches. See Ch. iv. 27. The address is here made to
the enemies that were to be brought against Jerusalem and Judah,

ver. 15.

12. And have said, It is not He---] Nin Ni-" Not He;" that
is, either he hath not spoken, or, he will not do as the prophets have
threatened in his name. Or, they argued like the wicked, whò denied
God's moral government of the world, Ps. xciv. 7.

For they said, JEHOVAH will not see,
Neither will the God of Jacob regard.

13.---as wind---] "That passeth away, and cometh not again." Ps. lxxviii. 39. Such seems to be the meaning of those who represented the prophets to be "like wind;" they insinuated thereby, that after the sound of their words was once gone over, they should never hear any thing more of them.

Ibid. And they have no authority to say--] Literally, "And the word is not in them ;" meaning the word of prophecy, denouncing such and such calamities against the people.

14,--as wood] The ancient Bodl. MS. No. 1. and three more read

« PreviousContinue »