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Assyria, the rod of God's anger, shall itself be brought low. i Woe unto them that decree 12 Wherefore it shall come to unrighteous decrees, and that pass, that when the Lord hath write grievousness which they performed his whole work upon have prescribed ;
mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I 2 To turn aside the needy from will punish the fruit of the stout judgment, and to take away the heart of the king of Assyria, right from the poor of my peo- and the glory of bis high looks. ple, that widows may be their 13 For he saith, By the strength prey, and that they may rob the of my hand I have done it, and fatherless!
by my wisdom; for I am pru3 And what will ye do in the dent: and I have removed the day of visitation, and in the de- bounds of the people, and have solation which shall come from robbed their treasures, and I far? to whom will ye flee for have put down the inhabitants help? and where will ye leave like a valiant man : your glory?
14 And my hand hath found 4 Without me they shall bow as a nest the riches of the peodown under the prisoners, and ple : and as one gathereth eggs they shall fall under the slain. that are left, have I gathered For all this his anger is not all the earth ; and there was turned away,
but his hand is none that moved the wing, or stretched out still.
opened the mouth, or peeped. 5 0 Assyrian, the rod of 15 Shall the ax boast itself mine anger, and the staff in against him that heweth theretheir hand is mine indignation with ? or shall the saw magnify
6 I will send him against an itself against him that shaketh hypocritical nation, and against it? as if the rod should shake the people of my wrath will I itself against them that lift it up, give him a charge, to take the or as if the staff should lift up spoil, and to take the prey, and itself, as if it were no wood. to tread them down like the 16 Therefore shall the LORD, mire of the streets.
the Lord of hosts, send among 7 Howbeit he meaneth not so, his fat ones leanness; and under neither doth his heart think so; his glory he shall kindle a burnbut it is in his heart to destroying like the burning of a fire. and cut off nations not a few. 17 And the light of Israel shall
8 For he saith, Are not my be for a fire, and his Holy One princes altogether kings? for a flame: and it shall burn
9 Is not Calno as Carchemish ? and devour his thorns and his is not Hamath as Arpad ? is not briers in one day; Samaria as Damascus ?
18 And shall consume the glo10 As my hand hath found the ry of his forest, and of his fruitkingdoms of the idols, and whose ful field, both soul and body: graven images did excel them and they shall be as when a of Jerusalem and of Samaria; standardbearer fainteth.
11 Shall I not, as I have done 19 And the rest of the trees of unto Samaria and her idols, so his forest shall be few, that a do to Jerusalem and her idols ? child may write them.
LECTURE 1109. God glorified in overruling man's evil for good. We read in the last chapter, how the Israelites were to be devoured at once by “the Syrians before, and the Philistines behind.” And because when thus chastised they would not turn to God, He would “cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush,” their great men and their false prophets, their rulers, and the misruled people. And further for their wickedness He would give them up to intestine strife, “no man shall spare his brother." See Ch. 9. 12, 14, 19.
And further amongst the wickedness which prevailed both in Israel and in Judah, we here find mention of injustice on the part of those who put the laws into execution. The poor, the widow, and the orphan, were robbed of their rights. And this oppression was one of the things which chiefly provoked the wrath of the righteous Judge of all the earth. Let the oppressor then take timely warning. Let all those who share in making or administering our laws watch that as far as in them lies no man be thereby wronged. For whither can those fee for help, whom God pursues for vengeance? And in the day of his retribution, what will avail them all the gain or glory they may have got by such gross
violation of his will ?
The monarch of Assyria was the rod chiefly made use of by Jehovah to chastise bis offending people. And from the passage before us we may profitably learn, how God is pleased to overrule the evil which is in the hearts of sinful men, for forwarding his own righteous purposes. The Assyrian invader would little think of this prophetic commission to spoil and to lay low a people, who had provoked the wrath of the Most High. He would come in the pride of his own heart, counting up the cities he had already laid waste, and glorying in the thought, that he should with equal ease take possession of Samaria and Jerusalem. And because God foreknew that this would be the spirit of the invader's mind, therefore the prophet is inspired to foretel, that when this vain and haughty temper should have done its work, then it also should receive its punishment. God, who made use of it to chastise the “ hypocritical nation,” which pretended to serve Him by worshipping images, would in due season make it to know, that the instrument must not boast itself against the hand that uses it. He would in a very signal manner discomfit the host of the Assyrians “in one day;" a discomfiture set forth under the figures of making lean, and burning with fire, and hewing down the glory of a forest. It is then no excuse for wickedness, that it is overruled by God for a good end. The wisdom and goodness of God are thereby glorified. But the vanity, the cruelty, the covetousness, or the ambition of man, remain no less sinful in God's sight, no less liable to God's vengeance. There is no evil man can do which He cannot turn to a wise purpose ; none for which He will not call the doer to a strict account.
The remnant in Zion need not fear the Assyrian. 20 And it shall come to pass Egypt. in that day, that the remnant of 27 And it shall come to pass Israel, and such as are escaped in that day, that his burden of the house of Jacob, shall no shall be taken away from off more again stay upon him that thy shoulder, and his yoke from smote them; but shall stay upon off thy neck, and the yoke shall the LORD, the Holy One of Is: be destroyed because of the rael, in truth.
anointing 21 The remnant shall return, 28 He is come to Aiath, he is even the remnant of Jacob, unto passed to Migron; at Michmash the mighty God.
he hath laid up his carriages : 22 For though thy people Is- 29 They are gone over the rael be as the sand of the sea, passage they have taken up yet a remnant of them shall re- their lodying at Geba; Ramah turn: the consumption decreed is afraid ; Gibeah of Saul is shall overflow with righteous- fled.
30 Lift up thy voice, O daugh23 For the Lord God of hosts ter of Gallim : cause it to be shalt make a consumption, even heard unto Laish, O poor Anadetermined, in the midst of all thoth. the land.
31 Madmenah is removed ; 24 Therefore thus saith the the inhabitants of Gebim gather Lord God of hosts, O my peo- themselves to flee. ple that dwellest in Zion, be 32 As yet shall he remain at not afraid of the Assyrian: he Nob that day: he shall shake shall smite thee with a rod, and his hand against the mount of shall lift up his staff against thee, the daughter of Zion, the hill of after the manner of Egypt. Jerusalem.
25 For yet a very little while, 33 Behold, the Lord, the Lord and the indignation shall cease, of hosts, shall lop the bough and mine anger in their de- with terror: and the high ones struction.
of stature shall be hewn down, 26 And the Lord of hosts shall and the haughty shall be humstir up a scourge for him accord- bled. ing to the slaughter of Midian 34 And he shall cut down the at the rock of Oreb: and as his thickets of the forest with iron, rod was upon the sea, so shall and Lebanon shall fall by a he lift it up after the manner of mighty one.
LECTURE 1110. It is for Christ's sake that we are spared to repent. The Assyrian invader, commissioned as he was to spoil the kingdom of the ten tribes, is forbidden by prophecy to lay his hand upon Jerusalem. And the remnant of Israel, which would be left in Zion at the time of the invasion, are here bidden not to be afraid of the Assyrian," are assured that “the Lord of hosts"
would inflict a very signal chastisement on him, and are encouraged by a most lively prophetic description of his sudden arrest and destruction in the midst of his victorious career. This is one of the cases in which prophecy is so explicit, as to seem like history written beforehand. As we read in the prophetic vision of this remnant no longer trusting in their heathen neighbours, but staying upon the Holy One of Israel, we readily call to mind the behaviour of Hezekiah when invaded by Sennacherib, taking the defiance of his adversary, and spreading the letter before the Lord, with prayer for his assistance. In that remnant returning to their God, in that consumption overflowing with righteousness, we see the revival of true religion, and the passover kept in sincerity and truth, within the straitened realms of Hezekiah, when the kingdom of Samaria had been completely overthrown. And when we read of a miracle to be wrought after the manner of Egypt, and think of the death of the firstborn of the Egyptians, what could better prepare us for that awful stroke of divine power, inflicted on the host of Sennacherib, when so great a multitude were found in the morning “all dead corpses ?" 2 Kings 19. 35. “The slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb," was remarkable for the death of the princes of Midian ; and is probably here mentioned with reference to the dreadful end of Sennacherib, slain as he was afterwards by his own sons, « in the house of Nisroch his god.” 2 Kings 19. 37. And after the account of the invader's progress from one place to another in Judea, the sudden mention of a terrible lopping of boughs, and humbling of haughty ones, points at once to the extinction of the army, and to the flight of its presumptuous leader. But whence the difference in the chastisements of the Lord ? Why is Samaria given up and Judah saved ? When Aiath and Migron, Anathoth, and Madmenah, Gebim, and Nob are taken, why does the voice of prophecy proclaim to the victorious invader, hitherto shalt thon go and no further? Why does it promise to the remnant about to be besieged in Jerusalem, that the yoke of their oppressor shall be broken? It is “ because of the anointing.” A mysterious expression; yet pregnant with important meaning. Because of the promise made to David, God's anointed, because of all the kings of David's line, and yet more because of Him for whose sake David reigned, and in whom his reign continues evermore; for his sake, for Christ's sake, “ because of the anointed,” Judah and Jerusalem are spared somewhat longer; for his sake we his people have yet a season to repent. May we use the time God gives us, for his glory, and for our own eternal gain, by turning to Him with all our hearts, and serving Him truly with all our power!
The Messiah, his kingdom, and its glory. i And there shall come forth shall stand for an ensign of the a rod out of the stem of Jesse, people; to it shall the Gentiles and a Branch shall grow out of seek: and his rest shall be glohis roots :
rious. 2 And the spirit of the Lord 11 And it shall come to pass in shall rest upon him, the spirit that day, that the Lord shall of wisdom and understanding, set his hand again the second the spirit of counsel and might, time to recover the remnant of the spirit of knowledge and of his people, which shall be left, the fear of the LORD;
from Assyria, and from Egypt, 3 And shall make him of quick and from Pathros, and from understanding in the fear of the Cush, and from Elam, and from LORD: and he shall not judge Shinar, and from Hamath, and after the sight of his eyes, nei- from the islands of the sea. ther reprove after the hearing 12 And he shall set up an enof his ears :
sign for the nations, and shall 4 But with righteousness shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, lie judge the poor, and reprove and gather together the diswith equity for the meek of the persed of Judah from the four earth : and he shall smite the corners of the earth. earth with the rod of his mouth, 13 The envy also of Ephraim and with the breath of his lips shall depart, and the adversashall he slay the wicked. ries of Judah shall be cut off:
5 And righteousness shall be Ephraim shall not envy Juthe girdle of his loins, and faith- dah, and Judah shall not vex fulness the girdle of his reins. Ephraim.
6 The wolf also shall dwell 14 But they shall fly upon the with the lamb, and the leopard shoulders of the Philistines toshall lie down with the kid; and ward the west; they shall spoil the calf and the young lion and them of the east together: they the fatling together; and a lit- shall lay their hand upon Edom tle child shall lead them. and Moab; and the children of
7 And the cow and the bear Ammon shall obey them. shall feed; their young ones
15 And the LORD shall uttershall lie down together: and the ly destroy the tongue of the lion shall eat straw like the ox. Égyptian sea; and with his
8 And the sucking child shall mighty wind shall he shake play on the hole of the asp, and his hand over the river, and the weaned child shall put his shall smite it in the seven hand on the cockatrice' den. streams, and make men go over
9 They shall not hurt nor de- dryshod. stroy in all my holy mountain : 16 And there shall be an highfor the earth shall be full of the way for the remnant of his peoknowledge of the LORD, as the ple, which shall be left, from waters cover the sea.
Assyria; like as it was to Is10 And in that day there racl in the day that he came up shall be a root of Jesse, which out of the land of Egypt.