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his leanness, unless it be on account of his conversion pot being universal * ; nor whom he can intend by the treacherous dealers, unless they be some nation remarkable in the last days, and even proverbial, for their perfidy and treachery. This passage therefore, which is so evidently connected with the restoration of the Jews, seems to me to confirm the opinion of Bp. Horsley, that some of them in an unconverted state will join the army of Antichrist, and seek to regain their own country by his instrumentality. Acting however merely from political motives, he will soon give them reason to bewail his wonted perfidy, and their own too easy faith in his promises t.
Meanwhile, as Daniel predicts that the restoration of the Jews shall take place in a time of unexampled trouble, so Isaiah here predicts, that it shall be at an era marked by astonishing revolutions and tremendous commotions. After describing a state of things, in which no man can promise himself either personal liberty or security, he proceeds, in the figurative language of prophecy, language in the present instance borrowed from the catastrophe of the deluge , to foretell an unspeakable degree of misery and confusion, which should fall upon the inhabitants of the earth on account of their transgressions 5. And this leads him to predict, in a manner perfectly analogous to
* It seems most natural to understand the leanness, of which Judah here complains, as meaning spiritual leanness; agreeably to that in the Psalms, “He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul.” Psalm cvi. 15.
+ The fides Gallica has immemorially been little less proverbial than the fides Punica. “ Francis familiare est ridendo fidem frangere” (Vopisc. Procop. C. xiii. P. 237. Ed. Bipont.). “Gens Francorum infidelis est. Si per. jeret Francus quid novi faciet, qui perjurium ipsum sermonis genus putat esse non criminis” (Salvian. de Gub. Dei I. iv. P. 82. Mag. Bib. Pat. 5.). “ Franci mendaces, sed hospitales” (Ibid. L.7. P. 116.). Such was the character of the ancient Franks, upon which Mr. Turner observes, union of laughter and crime, of deceit and politeness, has not been entirely unknown to France in many periods since the fifth century” (Hist. of the Anglo-Saxons, Vol. i. P. 56.). In the more stern and energetic language of the apostle, it is predicted, that in the last days, the peculiar days of Antichrist, the days of which Isaiah is now speaking, there should be truce-breakers, traitors, heady, high-minded. 2 Tim. iii. 3, 4.
• At the period of the deluge, the fountains of the great abyss were broken up, the fissures on high or in the shell of the earth were opened to give a free passage to the waters, and the very foundations of the globe trembled. See Catcott on the deluge. See likewise Mr. Lowth in loc.
$ Bp. Lowth applies this symbolical prediction to the destruction of the ecelesiqstical and civil polity of the Jews. But this had been already foretold by
his former prophecy, the final overthrow of Antichrist and his rebellious host. After many days (an usual scriptural phrase to denote the time of the end, or the conclusion of the great period of 1260 years,) the tyrant and his associates shall be gathered together into one place, here figuratively termed their prison, as criminals are gathered together into the vault of a dungeon.
This place we learn from other prophecies to be in the land of Palestine, and from St. John to be in the immediate neighbourhood of Megiddo *. By the total overthrow of the enemies of God, the political sun and moon will be confounded; the last of the four great monarchies will be dissolved ; the kingdom of the symbolical mountain will commence; and the Lord of hosts will reign in mount Zion and in Jerusalem.
Enraptured with the consolatory prospect, Isaiah now breaks forth into a song of triumph. He praises God for dashing in pieces the strong-holds of Antichrist, and for defending the poor and the needy from his violence. He adds, that, in consequence of these judgments, even the terrible ones themselves should fear the Lord ; thus hinting at that conversion of the relics of the Antichristian host, which in other parts of holy writ is more largely and definitely predicted. He declares, that, in this mountain, however unexpected such an event might be, even in mount Zion itself where the wilful tyrant had lately pitched the tabernacles of his hosts t; in this mountain the Lord shall make unto all people a spiritual feast of fat things t, and destroy the veil of ignorance G
Isaiah in the fir thirteen verses of the 24th chapter ; and he is now passing on to their restoration and conversion. Hence I think it more natural to refer it to the great convulsions which will usher in the final overthrow of Antichrist, to that period of unexampled distress in the midst of which the Jews will be restored. In fine, the political troubles here mentioned will terminate, according to Isaiah, in the reigning of the Lord of hosts on mount Zion and in Jerusalem ; whereas the overthrow of the Jewish polity had no such termination: for Jerusalem, instead of then becoming the city of God, began at that very period to be trodden down by the Gentiles.
* «I cannot find any explication of this verse, (Isaiah xxiv. 22.) so agree. able to the natural sense of the words, as that of a late learned writer upon the Revelation, chap. xix. 6, who explains it of the kings of the earth, who made war with Christ and his saints at Armageddon. Rev. xvi. 16. xix. 19." Mr. Lowth in loc. † Dan. xi. 45.
Compare Isaiah ii. 2-5. Ś “ The phrase-may denote the taking away all ignorance and prejudice from men's minds, which St. Paul compares to a veil (2 Cor. iä. 13, 14.); and 7 Isaiah lxvi. 7, 8, 9. # In the first edition of my Dissertation on the 1260 years, Vol. I. p. 83, I was led into an error relative to the passage here commented upon, by fol
which has long been cast over so large a portion of mankind, both Jews and Gentiles. Then will he swallow up death in victory; then will tears be wiped away from every eye; then will his people Israel be the glory, instead of the reproach, of the whole earth *.
In that day, the restored Jews may be supposed to life up their voices in joyful acclamations to the Lord; to praise him for overthrowing their enemies, and causing the nations to be ashamed of their former envy; to acknowledge his goodness for delivering them from those harsh lords who have had dominion over them ; to confess, that he wonderfully preserved and increased them, as he did of old in Egypt, though he had removed them to the very ends of the earth; and to own that their pangs and troubles, both during the period of their dispersion and at the boisterous era of their restoration, resembled those of a woman drawing near to the time of her delivery. They had long brought forth, as it were, only wind; but now a mighty people is born at once, is suddenly converted to the faith of Christ, and takes its rank among the chief of the nations t.
The prophet now speaks again in his own person, and declares, that, although the Jews should long experience the horrors of a political death, they should at length revive, and once more become an independent and regularly constituted government. The earth should cast out her dead; they should be gathered together from the four quarters of the habitable globe ; and they, that long dwelt in the dust of the allegorical grave, should awake and sing. In the midst however of God's judgments upon their enemies, he charges them to be still. He bids them wait, till the indignation be past ; till the Lord hath come out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; till he hath broken the power of Antichrist, who,like Leviathan in the natural sea, takes his pastime in the troubled sea of many nations, and rules uncontrolled over the mighty waters of the Latin empire I. the word covering is used in the same sense in the prophecy, Isaiah xxix. 10.” Mr. Lowth in loc. * Rev. xxi. 4.
When God hath amply taken vengeance of his enemies, then will the Jews, as formerly, once more become the vineyard of his church. His protecting.care had long been withdrawn from it; its hedge had been broken down ; it had been laid waste; it had been neither pruned nor digged; it had produced nought but briars and brambles ; the clouds had been withheld from refreshing it with
lowing Mr. Mede and Bp. Newton. I supposed with them, that the dragon, mentioned in Isaiah xxvii. 1. and in Ezek. xxix. 3, is such a dragon as that mentioned in the Apocalypse, namely a large serpent ; and I thence conclud. ed, that, like the apocalyptic dragon, it symbolizes the devil acting through the instrumentality of certain heathen powers. I am now convinced, that I was mistaken. The dragon or aquatic monster, described by Ezekiel, seems plainly, as Abp. Newcome properly observes, to be the crocodile, the constant symbol of Egypt; while the dragon or aquatic monster, mentioned by Isaiah, appears to be some large sea-fish or possibly a water-snake. In the passage of Ezekiel, Pharaoh is undoubtedly intended : but the passage of Isaiah, connected as it manifestly is with the restoration of the Jews and the destruction of Antichrist, cannot, with any degree of propriety, be applied to the ancient sovereigns of Egypt. In short, I conceive that the huge sea-monster Leviathan is used in the present prophecy to symbolize, not Satan, but Antichrist in the midst of his overgrown power, and while lording it like the apocalyptic harlot over many waters. Bp. Lowth translates the passage, Leviathan the rigid serpent, and Leviathan the winding serpent, and shall slay the monster that is in the sea. From these words he concludes, that three different animals are here mentioned :: “the crocodile, rigid, by the stiffness of the back-bone, so that he cannot readily turn himself when he pursues his prey; the serpent or dragon, flexible and winding ; the sea-monster, or the whale." Upon which his Lord. ship remarks, “ These are used allegorically, no doubt, for great potentates, enemies and persecutors of the people of God." I freely confess, that I prefer my own translation of the passage, and that I think it much more natural to consider the prophet as speaking of only one sea-monster. To annex the sense of rigid or stiff to the adjective nga seems to me very far-fetched. The primitive verb 1993 signifies to flee or shoot along : hence na denotes at once a fugitive and a bar, the latter, from the idea of a bar shooting through the rings, within which it is confined, in the act of barring a door. What then is the meaning of the adjective nga ? The Lexicographers tell us long and stiff, because a bolt is both long and stiff. But this is surely departing very far from the original sense of the root, and annexing to one of its derivatives a mere incidental idea which belongs to another of its derivatives. A bolt is called mma, not because it is long and stiff, but because it shoots through its rings. The second idea not the first, is that which connects it with its primitive. Hence it appears to me utterly incomprehensible upon any consistent principle of derivation, how the adjective ona, which springs from the radical verb nna to flee or shoot along, can signify long and stiff
. At least, if we annex such a meaning to it, there is certainly no common idea that connects the root with its derivative. On these grounds I have translated the passage, “Leviathan, the serpent that rapidly darteth along ;" namely, as a fish darts along through the water : and I am supported in my translation both by the Lxx, who render the words dqcxovla opon Devyorld, and by the Arabic version, which reads draconem serpentem fugientem. It may be observed, that Mr. Parkhurst, in the sense which he ascribes to the adjective nga, entirely departs from the excellent rule, which he himself had laid down in the Preface to his Hebrew Lexicon: “Wherever the radical letters are the same, the leading idea or notion runs through all the deflexions of the word, how
rain*: but now it is become a vineyard of desire; the Lord himself keepeth it; he watereth it every moment; he keepeth it night and day, lest any hurt it. He causeth Jacob to take root, and Israel to fill the face of the whole world with fruit. Severely as he hath smitten him for his manifold iniquities; yet he hath moderated his anger, he hath not smitten him with the stroke which he hath finally laid upon his persecutors, the stroke of utter excision. On the contrary, he hath debated with his ancient church in exact measure ; he hath meditated, as it were by rule, upon her chastisements, even when riding in the whirlwind and directing the storm. He declareth, that her sin shall be taken away, when she forsaketh her abominations.
In fine, at the very time when the affairs of Israel appear most desperate ; when his cities are desolate, and his habitations forsaken; when his land is a wilderness; and when even women stretch forth their hands, and pluck off his withered branches : then will the Lord begin a work, which shall rouse the slumbering attention of all the inhabitants of the earth. He will thresh, as it were with a threshing instrument, from the river Euphrates to the river of Egyptt. Both those mystic streams shall be dried up, in order that a way may be prepared for the kings from the rising of the sun. He will gather together the children of Israel, one by one, from the land of their dispersion. He will cause the great trumpet of the Gospel to be heard to the very extremities of the
ever numerous or diversified.” How can this be the case, if the adjective nga, to which he ascribes the signification of straight and rigid, be derived from the verb na to flee. What common leading idea runs through the primitive, which means to flee ; and its deflexion, if it signify straight and rigid? Mr. Lowth observes, like myself, that “the Hebrew word Beriah, which our English translates piercing, signifies likewise running away.” Mr. Lowth in loc.
* See Isaiah v. 6.
+ The river is here spoken by way of eminence, and is manifestly placed in contradiction to the river of Egypt : hence I apprehend, according to the usu. al phraseology of Scripture, that the Euphrates is intended. This idea per. fectly agrees both with the context of the present passage, and with other parallel prophecies. Compare Isaiah xi. 15, 16. xix. 5, 23, 24–Zechar. X. 10, 11, 12. From the same parallel prophecies I think we may likewise conclude, that by the river of Egypt we are here to understand the Nile, not the small river in the neighbourhood of Gaza which was the southern boundary of the dominions of Israel. See Gen. xv. 18. Numb. xxxiv. 5. Josh. xv. 4. 47.. See also Well's Geog. of the Old Test. Vol. 1. p. 158; and Mr. Lowth in loc.