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HOLY BIBLE. ,
OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS.
CAREFULLY PRINTED FROM THE MOST CORRECT COPIES OF THE PRESENT
MARGINAL READINGS AND PARALLEL TEXTS:
A COMMENTARY AND CRITICAL NOTES;
DESIGNED AS A HELP TO A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE SACRED WRITINGS:
BY ADAM CLARKE, LL.D., F.S.A., &c.
A NEW EDITION, WITH THE AUTHOR'S FINAL CORRECTIONS.
FOR WHATSOEVER THINGS WERE WRITTEN AFORETIME WERE WRITTEN FOR OUR LEARNING; THAT WE, THROUGH
PATIENCE AND COMFORT OF THE SCRIPTURES, MIGIIT IAVE HOPE.- Rom. xv. t.
THE OLD TESTAMENT.
VOLUME IV. -ISAIAH TO MALACHI.
PUBLISHED BY T. MASON & G. LANE,
FOR THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, AT THE CONFERENCE OFFICE, 200 MULBERRY-STREET
BOOK OF THE PROPHET ISAIAH.
ON the term prophet, and on the nature and several kinds of prophecy, I have already
discoursed in different parts of this work. See the notes on Gen. xv. 1, xx. 7, and the preface to the four Gospels, and Acts of the Apostles. A few things only require to be recapitulated. naba signifies not only to foretell future events, but also to pray and supplicate ; and ] nabi, the prophet, was by office not only a declarer of events still future, but the general preacher of the day; and as he frequently foresaw the approach of disastrous times, such was the wickedness of the people, he employed his time in counselling sinners to turn from the error of their ways, and in making strong prayer and supplication to God 10 avert the threatened judgments : for such predictions, however apparently positive in their terms, were generally conditional ; strange as this may appear to some who, through their general ignorance of every thing but the peculiarities of their own creed, suppose that every occurrence is impelled by an irresistible necessity.
To his own conduct, in reference to such matters, God has been pleased to give us a key (see Jer. xviii.) which opens all difficulties, and furnishes us with a general comment on his own providence. God is absolute master of his own ways; and as he has made man a free agent, whatever concerns him in reference to futurity, on which God is pleased to express his mind in the way of prophecy, there is a condition generally implied or expressed. As this is but seldom attended to by partial interpreters, who wish by their doctrine of fatalism to bind even God himself, many contradictory sentiments are put in the mouths of his prophets.
In ancient times those who were afterwards called PROPHETS were termed SEERS; 1 Sam. ix. 9. on haroeh, the seeing person ; he who perceives mentally what the design of God is. Sometimes called also nin chozeh, the man who has visions, or supernatural revelations ; i Kings xxii. 17; 2 Kings xvii. 13. Both these terms are translated seer in our common Version. They were sometimes also called men of God, and messengers or angels of God. In their case it was ever understood that all God's prophets had an extraordinary commission, and had their message given them by immediate inspiration.
In this the heathen copied after the people of God. They also had their prophets and seers; and hence their augurs and auguries, their haruspices, priests, and priestesses, and their oracles ; all pretending to be divinely inspired, and to declare nothing but the truth; for what was truth and fact among the former, was affected and pretended among the latter.
Many prophets and seers are mentioned in the sacred writings; but, fragments and insulated prophecies excepted, we have the works of only sixTEEN; four of whom are termed the former or larger .prophets, and twelve; the latter or minor prophets. They have these epithets, not from priority of time, or from minor importance, but merely from the places they occupy in the present arrangement of the books in the Bible, and from the relative size of their productions..
The Jews reckon forty-eight prophets, and seven prophetesses; and Epiphanius, in a fragment preseryed by Cotelerius, reckons not fewer than seventy-three prophets, and ten prophetesses ; but in both collections there are many which have no Scriptural pretensions to such a distinguished rank.