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Of regarding all men as brethren.

This prophecy against Edom foreshews the entire overthrow of the nation, the spoiling of the country, and the slaughter of its inhabitants. And this is announced with solemnity by "a rumour from the Lord," as though an ambassador were sent by Him among the heathen, to summon them to Edom's desolation. Pride is one of the sins laid to the charge of the Edomites, pride and a vainglorious trust in their strong inaccessible dwellings; which being formed out of the solid rock, in the heights of the mountains, or in narrow and trackless clefts, seemed to bid defiance to the invasion of an enemy. But the Lord here warns them, that they shall notwithstanding be overtaken, and defeated, and slain, and spoiled, even by a nation which had been of their confederacy. The wisdom of their wise men shall be baffled, and the spirit of their mighty men dismayed. And their enemies, having once been their friends, would better know the way to their strong holds, and would be better able to beguile them to the destruction here denounced. Their principal sin was bearing malice against their brethren the Israelites. The instances of this malice here mentioned are their aiding and abetting when Jerusalem was besieged and taken, their looking on with indifference, nay even triumphing and exulting, when the people of the Lord went into captivity; and their going into the fallen city to partake of the spoil, and lying in wait to cut off those who fled, and delivering up those whom they had taken. For all these things they are warned, that as they had done, so should it be done unto them, as they had triumphed over Jerusalem in its fall, so should they, and all their heathen confederates, fall never to rise.

Of all the heathen enemies of the Israelites, the Edomites had the most to answer for, because of their kindred origin. Descended as they were from Esau, they ought to have felt a brotherly relationship, and to have cherished a brotherly affection towards their neighbours the children of Jacob. And the feud which had once existed between their parents, having been happily healed, ought to have been a perpetual warning and memorial to them both; a warning against mutual enmity, a memorial of mutual reconciliation. To such considerations they appear to have been wholly deaf; perhaps because of the distance of time, and the many generations intervening, since the death of Jacob and Esau. This however could not alter the fact, that they were all made of one blood. Neither ought any length of time, or any multitude of intervening generations, ever induce us to forget, that this is true also of ourselves as respects all the rest of mankind. All are brethren; all made of one blood. Let us watch then that we bear no malice one towards another. Let this be one consideration, amongst many, to make us kind, tender hearted and forgiving, namely, that we can say truly to every man we meet with, in any rank, or station, community, or clime, Thou art my brother.

The house of Jacob shall be delivered and restored.

17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.

19 And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and

they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.

20 And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south.

21 And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD's.


Of kindling faith and love in each other.

The destruction awaiting Edom is here forcibly contrasted with the renewed prosperity and glory in store for the house of Jacob. In some slight measure this prophecy may have been fulfilled on the return of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity. For by that time the country of Edom had been overrun, spoiled, and laid waste, by the armies of the Babylonians. And after that period the Jews themselves fought against the remnant of the children of Esau, and defeated them with a great overthrow. See 1 Macc. 5. 3-5, 65. Then was there some measure of "deliverance on mount Zion, and "holiness" to a certain extent; and the house of Jacob then in part regained possession of their lost territories. The captives restored from Babylon reoccupied the land, which had been before allotted to the captives redeemed out of Egypt. And they who in after times judged "the mount of Esau," who led the Jews to the defeat of the Idumeans, were valiant men who in a great emergency had been the means of saving their own country.

But there are expressions in this prophecy which may be justly thought to point to other times than these, and to a restoration of a very different kind, which God in his mercy here promises to the captive house of Jacob. "Upon mount Zion shall be deliverance." What can this be, short of the salvation wrought by God for his people, through Christ Jesus dying on the cross?" And there shall be holiness." This surely means somewhat more than that separation from the heathen, and refraining from the superstitions of idolatry, by which the Jews were distinguished on their return from the captivity of Babylon. What can it mean less, than the

character which God requires in all who shall be saved through Jesus Christ, namely, to be holy as He is holy, and pure as He is pure?" And the kingdom shall be the Lord's." To fulfil this, it was not enough, that the Jews, after the captivity, had no kings but only rulers and high priests. Do not the words rather lead us to the new dispensation of the kingdom of heaven; Christ crucified, and dead, and buried, and having risen from the grave, and ascended into heaven, being thenceforth King of saints, ruling by faith in the hearts of all, in all ages and all nations, who are really and truly his?

Yes, this is the kingdom here foretold, this the holiness here proclaimed, this the deliverance here promised, open alike to Jew and Gentile, to all the house of Jacob, to all the Israel of God. And if it be also stated that God's chosen people shall be a fire and a flame to burn up and to consume those whom He rejected, we may apply this to the zeal, with which true Christians every where exert themselves to make others alike faithful and devout. The progress of the Christian faith is represented in Scripture by a variety of images, all concurring to represent it as a work of gradual conversion, wrought under God's blessing by the agency of those, who have first themselves undergone the blessed change. The leaven, hidden in the meal, works first on the part next to it, and that again on the surrounding particles. The grain of mustard seed, that grows into a tree, puts forth at first but a small shoot, whence another springs upward, and another thence, until the whole tree is formed. A fire may spread speedily or slowly, according to the vigour of the flames and the nature of the materials they meet with. But in any case, as it spreads, the material first lighted causes that which is next kindled to produce the like flame and heat, and to be a means of kindling in like manner any fuel that lies within its reach. Such has been the progress of the Gospel; swift when the flame of faith and love burnt vigorously, slow when the embers of devotion in the church have seemed all but cold and dead. Who shall say, how rapidly the good work might spread, if it should please God to communicate a spark from heaven to the dispersed tribes of his ancient people, and to make them, as we have reason for thinking that He will, the means of communicating to the churches of the Gentiles, "life from the dead?" Rom. 11. 15. Who can doubt that the most obstinate must yield, and the most cold kindle, at such a revival of faith and love, as would then glow in all quarters of the world?

Oh may God light up in our hearts that fervour of devotion, which is fitted to communicate light and heat to all who dwell around us; which promotes at once our own happiness, and the welfare of our brethren, and the glory of our Lord!

Jonah fleeth from God's presence. His peril, and preservation.

1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

3 But Jonah rose up-to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.

5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.

6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.

10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.

11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous."

12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.

13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.

14 Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee.

7 And they said every one to 15 So they took up Jonah, and his fellow, Come, and let us cast cast him forth into the sea: and lots, that we may know for whose the sea ceased from her raging. cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.

8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?

16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.

17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.


How the prophet is a type of Christ and also of Christians. This book of prophecy relates wholly to Jonah's mission to Nineveh; so much so, that unlike nearly every other prophetic book it contains no direct reference to Christ or to the Gospel. But as if to make up for this, Jonah was himself a type of Christ; his being swallowed up by the fish, and cast up alive on the third day, being typical of Christ's death and resurrection. " So shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth;" Matth. 12. 40; these are our Lord's own words. And they leave us no room to doubt, that these remarkable events in Jonah's life foreshewed that which was to happen to Jesus Christ.


We find proof in this chapter, and we shall find more at the conclusion of this book, that a prophet, even though he be also a type of Christ, is after all no more than man. What inconsistency, for one honoured with a prophetic commission, to set off on a long voyage, by way of flying "from the presence of the Lord!" As if the Lord were not present whithersoever he went! What hardness of heart, for one bound on such an errand as this, to sleep when the ship was sinking, and when even the heathen mariners were crying "every man to his god!" "What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God!" these ought rather to have been the words of the prophet to the shipmaster, than of the shipmaster to the prophet. "I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land;" this profession of a true faith would have become Jonah far better, if his fear had led him to obey God instead of running away from his presence. But all this, though gross inconsistency, savours rather, we may hope, of pitiable frailty, than of thoroughly wilful sin. For on the other hand we see much of honesty, and true courage, and generous self denial, in Jonah's answers to the questions put to him. And if the mariners gave proof of both humanity and piety, in sparing Jonah as long as they durst, and committing their cause in prayer to God, the prophet, for his part shewed no common concern for the lives of others, in devoting his own to destruction for their sakes; and he manifested no common respect for the word of God, in faithfully reporting that which was revealed to him, even when the sentence ran thus: "Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you." Happy Jonah, notwithstanding his infirmities, to be in this also like unto our Lord, that he offered up himself to save his brethren! Happy, that notwithstanding all his sins, God was pleased to spare his life, and to prepare for him, even in the depth of the sea, and in a monster of the deep, the means of unlooked for safety! So may we find it in that day, when the grave, that now yawns for us, shall swallow us up, so may we find it to our joy, instead of darkness, light, instead of death, life eternal !

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