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Lamentation of the dispersed church-A promise of her restoration
and the overthrow of Antichrist., Micah vii. 1. 210n. Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grape gleanings of the vintage*: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desireth the first ripe fruit.-8. Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise ; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. 9. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness. 10. Then she that is mine enemy t shall see it, and shame shall cover her: which said unto me, Where is the Lord thy God? mine eyes shall behold her: now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets.
11. JEHOVAH. In the day that thy walls are built, in that day shall the decree be removed. 12. In that day thy fugitives shall come 1 from Assyria and the fortified
* The grape gleanings of the vintage.] Compare Isaiah xxiv. 13. and xvii, 6.
+ She that is mine enemy.] As the daughter of Zion is the speaker, we must suppose that her enemy is the daughter of Babylon. See Psalm cxxxvii. 8. This prophecy may primarily relate to the literal Babylonian captivity, but it. will be more amply fulfilled at the period of the yet future restoration of Israel. There is a strength of expression in it, which forbids us to limit it to the rst captivity.
# Thy fugitives shall come.] Our translators render Nigy gymy he shall come even unto thee, supposing to be a preposition. The words, so far as the bare letter of them goes, will undoubtedly bear such a translation : but to my own mind at least it conveys no very clear idea. For, since the dialogue is carried on between God and the daughter of Zion, and since God is here the speaker; to whom can we refer he shall come except to God? and in that case what are we to understand by the passage? It might be added, that there seems a degree of harshness in supposing God to speak of himself in the third person instead of the first. I conceive then, that any is not a preposition, but a singular masculine noun of number, regularly formed from any to
and ,פּרה from פרי ,שרה fiom שרי ,שבה is from שבי bass over or to pass atpay
other similar words. Consequently, as 30 signifies captivity in the sense of a multitude of captives, and as a boy signifies removal in the sense of a number of persons removed or transplanted from one country to another ; so, by analogy both of grammar and idiom, 999 will signify a passing away in the sense of a number of people passing away from their own country and becoming fugitives. Whence the meaning of you will be thy multitude of fugitives ; that is, Zion's multitude of fugitives, the dispersed Jews and Israelites. The primitive import
cities, and from the fortress even to the river, and from sea to sea, and mountain to mountain. 13. For the land
of muy is to pass over, upon, or away; in which sense it occurs in Job xxviii, 8, and in Jerem. xxxi. 4 ; where (I think with Mr. Parkhurst) what is translated thou shalt be adorned with thy tabrets ought rather to have been translated thou shalt pass oder (i.e. thou shalt trip along the path) with thy tabrets. This both accords with the next clause thou shalt go forth in the dances, and with the nature of the tabret itself, which is certainly no part of ornamental dress. Such being the primitive signification of ity, it easily, according to the genius of the Hebrew language, acquired transitively the sense of causing to pass over or upon the body, putting on, clothing oneself. When qy is derived from it in this secondary and acquired signification, it then naturally denotes an ornament; whereas the plural noun oyny, being derived from it in its prie mary or original signification, bears the directly opposite sense of filthy rags, that is, rags fit only to be thrown away, to be scattered to the winds and the weather. In a similar manner, the original signification of the root still being kept in view, hy will mean a multitude of fugitives from my to pass away, as 20 means a multitude of captives from 122 to carry away captive. The primitive import of the root seems, in the progress of the Hebrew lan. guage, to have been almost superseded by its secondary signification, in which it occurs much more frequently than in its primary : but, in the Chala dee dialect, the primary signification appears to have been most retained, in which the word perpetually occurs throughout the book of Daniel. It may not be amiss to observe, that the margin of our bibles refers us, for the better understanding of this passage, to Isaiah xi. 16. xix, 23. and xxvii. 13. in all of which the persons, who came from Assyria, are not God, but the fugitive Fews, The Chaldee paraphrast interprets it precisely in the same manner as myself. " Illo tempore congregabuntur transmigrationes ex Assur et civitatibus forti. tudinis." * The Syriac version likewise conveys the same idea. “ Dies est, quo tempus tuum veniat redeundi ab Assyria et ab urbibus munitis.” The Lxx must have translated from a very corrupt copy. Instead of gigy, they have read song, for their version is át WoNeis C8..
Mr. Parkhurst ingeniously, but perhaps not very judiciously, refines upon the text (Isaiah lxiv. 6.), where the plural word any occurs. He would translate it, We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses as a garment of ornaments, or an ornamental shewy garment, gaudy perhaps in the sight of men, but hypocritical, and covering a corrupt heart. I scruple not to say, that I much prefer the common version, a garment of filthy rags; or, as Buxtorf well translates in with reference to the primitive meaning of its root, Remotiones ; res inquinatæ et abominabiles, quæ removentur et abji. ciuntur. The Lxx render it poexos altro xoonusung, pannus mulieris remotae sive seorsim sedentis, nempe propter impuritatem menstrualem, still however preserving the original idea of the root. Hebrew poetry delights in the antithesis of the second clause of a verse to the first. Now the antithesis to an unclean thing is surely not an ornamental garment, but a garment of rags so filthy that they are meet only to be thrown away. The import of the passage is, that we must acknowledge ourselves to be unclean, and cast away all our deeds of righteousness, in point of dependence upon their merits for our salvation, as we would throw from us with loathing the most filthy and abominable rags. See the judicious Hooker's Discourse of Justification, Sect. 7. and 21. The two expressions of his to which I particularly refer are these ; “the little fruit which we have in holiness, it is, God knoweth, corrupt and unsound;” and “to name merits then is, to lay their souls upon the rack, the memory of their own deeds is loathsome unto them, they forsake all things wherein they have put any trust or confidence." I know not any better commentary on the text in question.
hath been desolate * because of its inhabitants †; for the fruit of their doings.
14. Zion. Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old I.
15. JEHOVAH. According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt S will I shew unto them || marvellous things. 16. The nations shall see, and shall be confounded at all their might T: they shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf. 17. They shall lick the dust like a serpent; they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth.
210N. They shall be afraid of the Lord our God, and shall fear because of thee. 18. Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage** ? He retaineth
* The land hath been desolate.] So the context shews, that any ought to be rendered, not shall be.
+ Desolate because of its inhabitants. ] “The words import, that the gene. ral restoration of the Jews shall not be brought to pass till after their land hath lain desolate for some ages, as a testimony of God's displeasure against its ancient inhabitants for their sins, especially that heinous one of rejecting the Messiah.” Mr. Lowth in loc.
# Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old.] “ The expres. sions denote, that the Fews shall enjoy full and free possession of tbeir land after their return to it, with the same security and happiness, with which they possessed it in their most Aourishing state under the reigns of David and Solomon. Compare Zech. x. 10.” Mr. Lowth in loc.
According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt.] “ The words are an answer to the prayer in the foregoing verse; wherein God tells the daughter of Zion, that the wonders he will perform in bringing back his peoa ple into their own country'shall be as conspicuous as those which he shewed in their deliverance out of Egypt, and giving them the first possession of it." Mr. Lowth in loc. Compare Isaiah xi. 16.
s I will shew unto them.] The original word is, I will shew unto him, that is, the singular masculine noun of number way the multitude of fugitives. The genius of our language, and the manner in which I had translated ,7%, require, that I should here render the original plurally, not singularly. The Hebrew student will find a continued use of singular verbs and pronouns in reference to the plural word nations considered collectively, in Isaiah v. 26.-30. Our translators have sensibly rendered them all plurally. Other similar passages might without much difficulty be adduced.
| The nations shall see, and shall be confounded at all their might.] “ The heathen shall feel the same confusion as men do under a great disappointment, when they shall see that power and force defeated, which they had gathered together to oppose God's people, and hinder them from enjoying the quiet possession of their land" (Mr. Lowth in loc.). The passage relates to the overthrow of the Antichristian faction.
** The remnant of his heritage. ] “ The remnant of God's heritage are those Yews, which are reserved to be partakers of the benefits which shall be made not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy, 19. He will turn again : he will have compassion upon us: he will subdue our iniquities : and thou wilt cast all their iniquities into the depths of the sea. 20. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.
COMMENTARY The form of this prophecy seems to be dramatic: I conceive it to be a dialogue between the daughter of Zion and the Lord. The afflicted and desolate church of Israel bewails her state in the days of her dispersion, comparing it to the gathering in of the summer-fruits and the gleaning of the grapes in the vintage, so that no whole cluster can be seen, nothing being left except a few straggling berries. She looks forward however in hope to the next season; and her soul desireth the first ripe fruit of the approaching autumn, when the mystic vine, which now appears dry and sapless, shall again exult in its luxuri. ance, and be weighed down with the abundance of its clusters. Meanwhile she calls upon her enemy, the daugh. ter of Babylon, not to rejoice against her and to triumph over her; professing her belief, that, although the indig. nation of the Lord presses heavily upon her on account of her sins, she shall arise when she falleth, and shall behold the shame of her enemy.
God replies, that, in the day when her walls are built, the decree of her dispersion shall be far removed : that her long-lost sons shall come unto her from Assyria, from the utmost regions of the sea, from every fortress, from every mountain, from all the countries whither they have been scattered; and he adds, that her land has lain desolate as a just punishment for the wickedness of the inhabitants.
Encouraged by this gracious promise, the church of Israel prays her Lord to feed his people, the flock of his heritage, with his rod, as he was wont to do in the days of old. good to that nation upon their conversion and restoration here spoken of." Mr. Lowth in loc. 9
God returns for answer, that, as he formerly brought her up out of the land of Egypt, so will he yet shew unto her dispersed children marvellous things: and he declares, that the nations, which dare to oppose their return and to set themselves in array against the Almighty, shall be so humbled, that such as escape in the day of his wrath shall lick the dust like serpents, and like worms shall scarcely venture to crawl out of their holes.
The church of Israel, now fully satisfied respecting her future restoration, takes up the words of the Lord, and exclaims, that they shall surely be afraid of Jehovah her God, that they shall fear because of him. She then praises him for all his goodness: and expresses her entire conviction, that he will perform the oath which he had sworn unto her fathers.
The dispersion of the Jews The sacking of Jerusalem by the
Romans-The call of the converted Jews—Their triumphant settlement in their own land-The destruction of the mystic Nineveh—The prevalence of pure religion—The instrumentality of some great maritime nation in restoring the Jews.
Zephaniah i. 2. I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the Lord. 3. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea; and the stumbling-blocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the Lord. 4. I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem ; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the offerers by fire with the priests; 5. And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops. I will cut off both them that worship and swear by the Lord, even swear by their king*; 6. And them
* Their king.] Our translators take Debo to be the proper name of an idol, and therefore read Malcham : but I much prefer the rendering of the lxx 78 Bari news culwv, and that of the Latin version of the Arabic per regem suum, supposing their king to mean Jehovah. Such a translation seems to me both more accordant with the context, and more agreeable to the construc