Page images

God never forsakes

A. M. cir. 3292.
B. C. cir. 712.

13 I have raised him Olymp. XVII.1. righteousness, and I will

up in

cir. annum

R. Roman., 4.

Numa Pompili, all his ways: he shall
my city, and he shall let go my
captives, not for price nor reward, saith the
LORD of hosts.


17 But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.

18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. 19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD 15 Verily thou art a God that hidest thy- speak righteousness, I declare things that are self, O God of Israel, the Saviour.




14 Thus saith the LORD, The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God.




[blocks in formation]

Verse 13. I have raised him up] This evidently refers to Cyrus, and to what he did for the Jews; and informs us by whom he was excited to do it.

Verse 14. The labour of Egypt-" The wealth of Egypt."] This seems to relate to the future admission of the Gentiles into the Church of God. Compare Psa. Ixviii. 32; lxxii. 10; chap. lx. 6-9. And perhaps these particular nations may be named, by a metonymy common in all poetry, for powerful and wealthy nations in general. See note on chap. lx. 1.

The Sabeans, men of stature" The Sabeans, tall of stature"] That the Sabeans were of a more majestic appearance than common, is particularly remarked by Agatharchides, an ancient Greek historian quoted by Bochart, Phaleg, ii. 26, ra dwuara sot Twy XaTOXOV των αξιολογωτέρα. So also the Septuagint understand it, rendering it avogss inλo, “tall men." And the same phrase, DN anshey middah, is used for persons of extraordinary stature, Num. xiii. 32, and 1

Chron. xx. 6.

those who trust in him.

A. M. cir. 3292.

B. C. cir. 712.

16 They shall be ashamed, and
also confounded, all of them: they Olymp. XVII. 1.
shall go to confusion together Numa Pompilii,
that are makers of idols.

cir. annum

R. Roman., 4.

Verse 15. Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself] At present, from the nations of the world.

d1 Cor. xiv. 25.-e Ver. 5.-
17; lvii. 17.-
Rom. xi. 26.- -
Chap. xlviii. 16.-

Chap. xliv. 11.
Chap, xlii. 5.-
-m Psa. xix. 8;

O God of Israel, the Saviour] While thou revealest thyself to the Israelites and savest them.

Verse 16. They shall be ashamed—“They ashamed"] The reader cannot but observe the sudden transition from the solemn adoration of the secret and mysterious nature of God's counsels in regard to his

formed it to be inhabited"] An ancient MS. has ‘> kı
Verse 18. He formed it to be inhabited-" For he

before now lashebeth; and so the ancient Versions.
Verse 19. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark
of the earth] In opposition to the manner in
which the heathen oracles gave their answers, which
were generally delivered from some deep and obscure
cavern. Such was the seat of the Cumean Sybil :-
Excisum Euboicæ latus ingens rupis in antrum.
VIRG, En. vi. 42.
"A cave cut in the side of a huge rock."
Such was that of the famous oracle at Delphi; of
which, says Strabo, lib. ix., çaoi d' eivai to plaνTELOV
are|αντρον κοίλον μετα βάθους, ου μαλα ευρύστομον. “The
oracle is said to be a hollow cavern of considerable
depth, with an opening not very wide." And Diodorus,
giving an account of the origin of this oracle, says

They shall make supplication unto thee-"They shall in suppliant guise address thee"] The conjunction vau is supplied by the ancient Versions, and confirm-place ed by fifteen MSS, of Kennicott's, (seven ancient,) thirteen of De Rossi's, and six editions, veelayich. Three MSS. (two ancient) omit the vau before 7x elayich at the beginning of the line.

Psa. xliv. 24; chap. viii.

Chap. xxvi. 4; ver. 25; Ver. 5.- Deut. xxx. 11; cxix. 137, 138.

people, to the spirited denunciation of the confusion of
idolaters, and the final destruction of idolatry; con-
trasted with the salvation of Israel, not from temporal
strongly marked by the repetition and augmentation of
captivity, but the eternal salvation by the Messiah,
the phrase, to the ages of eternity. But there is not
only a sudden change in the sentiment, the change is
equally observable in the construction of the sentences;
which, from the usual short measure, runs out at once

into two distichs of the longer sort of verse. See
Prelim. Dissert. p. 66, &c. There is another instance
of the same kind, and very like to this, of a sudden
transition in regard both to the sentiment and construc-
tion in chap. xlii. 17.


His adversaries"] This line, to the great diminution of the beauty of the distich, is imperfect in the present expressed, as it is in the line following. The version text the subject of the proposition is not particularly of the Septuagint happily supplies the word that is lost : οἱ αντικειμενοι αυτῷ, "his adversaries," the original word was 18 tsaraiv.-L.


Unto the Lord


A. M. cir. 3292.
B. C. cir. 712.

20 Assemble yourselves and the ends of the earth: for I am Olymp. XVII. 1. come; draw near together, ye God, and there is none else.

cir. annum

Numa Pompilii,

R. Roman., 4.

that are escaped of the nations: "they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.

21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? Pand there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour: there is none beside me.



Look unto me, and be ye saved, all

O sancte Apollo, qui umbilicum certum terrarum obsides,
Unde superstitiosa primum sæva evasit vox fera.
Tuis enim oraculis Chrysippus totum volumen imple-
vit, partim falsis, ut ego opinor; partim casu veris, ut
fit in omni oratione sæpissime; partim flexiloquis et
obscuris, ut interpres egeat interprete, et sors ipsa ad
sortes referenda sit; partim ambiguis, et quæ ad dialect-
icum deferenda sint. Nam cum sors illa edita est opu-
lentissimo regi Asiæ, -

Croesus Halym penetrans magnam pervertet opum vim: hostium vim sese perversurum putavit; pervertit autem suam. Utrum igitur eorum accidisset, verum oraculum fuisset. De Divinat. ii. 56. Mountainous countries, and those which abounded in chasms, caves, and grottos, were the places in which oracles were most frequent. The horror and gloom inspired by such places were useful to the lying priests in their system of deception. The terms in which those oracles were conceived, (they were always ambiguous, or equivocal, or false, or illusory,) sometimes the turn of a phrase, or a peculiarity in idiom or construction which might be turned pro or con, contained the essence of the oracular declaration. Sometimes, in the multitude of guesses, one turned out to be true; at other times, so equivocal was the oracle, that, however the thing fell out, the declaration could be interpreted in that way; as in the


23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, " every tongue shall swear.

24 Surely, shall one say, In the LORD have I w righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.


25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and a shall glory.


belongeth salvation

A. M. cir. 3292
B. C. cir. 712.
Olymp. XVII. 1


Rom. xiv. 11; Phil. ii. 10.-
13; Psa. lxiii. 11; chap. lxv. 16.

Gen. xxxi. 53; Deut. vi.
Or, Surely he shall say of

Chap. xliv. 17, 18, 19; xlvi. 7; xlviii. 7; Rom. i. 22, 23. Chap. xli. 22; xliii. 9; xliv. 7; xlvi. 10; xlviii. 14.—p Ver. 5, 14, 18; chap. xliv. 8; xlvi. 9; xlviii. 3, &c.- Psa., In the LORD is all righteousness and strength.- w Jer. 27; Lxv. 5. Psa. !xv. 3; xcviii. 3.- Gen. xxii. 16; Jer. xxiii. 5; 1 Cor. i. 30. Heb. righteousnesses.——y Chap. xli. xlix. 13; li. 14; Amos vi. 8; Heb. vi. 13. 11- Ver. 17.-1 Cor. i. 31. “that there was in that place a great chasm or cleft in the earth; in which very place is now situated what is called the Adytum of the temple." Adurov; onλasov, n so añoxpupov μepos sau iɛpov. Hesych. "Adytum means a cavern, or the hidden part of the temple."

I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right "I am JEHOVAH, who speak truth, who give direct answers."] This also is said in opposition to the false and ambiguous answers given by the heathen oracles, of which there are many noted examples; none more so than that of the answer given to Crœsus when he marched against Cyrus, which piece of history has some connexion with this part of Isaiah's prophecies. Let us hear Cicero's account of the Delphic answers in general, and of this in particular: Sed jam ad te venio,

cir. annum

Numa Pompilii,
R. Roman., 4.

above to Crœsus, from the oracle at Delphi, which was: If Crœsus march against Cyrus, he shall overthrow a great empire: he, supposing that this promised him success, fought, and lost his own, while he expected to destroy that of his enemy. Here the quack demon took refuge in his designed ambiguity. He predicted the destruction of a great empire, but did not say which it was; and therefore he was safe, howsoever the case fell out. Not one of the predictions of God's prophets is conceived in this way.

Verse 21. Bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together] For y yoatsu or yivvaatsu, let, them consult, the Septuagint read ŋ yedau, let them know: but an ancient MS. has my yoedu, let them come together by appointment; which may probably be the true reading.


Verse 22. Look unto me, and be ye saved, &c.] This verse and the following contain a plain prediction of the universal spread of the knowledge of God through Christ; and so the Targum appears to have understood it; see Rom, xiv. 11; Phil. ii. 10. The reading of the Targum is remarkable, viz., " ithpeno lemeymri, look to my WORD, & Aoyos, the Lord Verse 23. I have sworn by myself] bemeymri, by my WORD: and the word—a pithgam, or saying, to distinguish it from the personal substantial WORD meymra, mentioned before. See the Targum. The word is gone out of my mouth"Truth is gone forth from my mouth; the word"] So the Septuagint distinguish the members of the sentence, preserving the elegance of the construction and the clearness of the sense.


Verse 24. Surely, shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength" Saying, Only to JEHOVAH belongeth salvation and power"] A MS. omits

li, unto me; and instead of li amar, he said or shall say unto me, the Septuagint read, in the copy which they used, lemor, saying. For x yabo, HE shall come, in the singular, twelve MSS. (three ancient) read 18 yabeu, plural; and a letter is erased at the end of the word in two others: and so the Alex

[ocr errors]

The vanity of idols

and idolaters.

andrine copy of the Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate knowledged that all his success came from Jehovah.
read it. For tsedakoth, plural, two MSS. read And this sentiment is in effect contained in his decree
Apy tsidkath, singular; and so the Septuagint, Syriac, or proclamation, Ezra i. 2: "Thus saith Cyrus, king of
and Chaldee."
Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the
Probably these are the words of Cyrus, who ac-kingdoms of the earth," &c.



The idols of Babylon represented as so far from being able to bear the burden of their votaries, that they
themselves are borne by beasts of burden into captivity, 1, 2, This beautifully contrasted with the tender
care of God, in bearing his people from first to last in his arms, and delivering them from their distress,
3, 4.
The prophet then, with his usual force and elegance, goes on to show the folly of idolatry, and the
utter inability of idols, 5-7. From which he passes with great ease to the contemplation of the attributes
and perfections of the true God, 8-10. Particularly that prescience which foretold the deliverance of the
Jews from the Babylonish captivity, with all its leading circumstances; and also that very remote event of
which it is the type in the days of the Messiah, 11–13.


[blocks in formation]

Verse 2. They could not deliver the burden-"They could not deliver their own charge"] That is, their worshippers, who ought to have been borne by them. See the two next verses. The Chaldee and Syriac Versions render it in effect to the same purpose, those that bear them, meaning their worshippers; but how they can render massa in an active sense, I do not understand.

For lo, not, velo, and they could not, is the reading of twenty-four of Kennicott's, sixteen of De Rossi's, and two of my own MSS. The added › vau gives more elegance to the passage,

But themselves-" Even they themselves"] For


M. cit. 3292.

B. C. cir. 712.

made, and I will bear; even I
will carry, and will deliver you.
5 h To whom will ye liken me,
and make me equal, and compare
me, that we may be like?

naphsham, with more force.

Olymp. XVII. 1.

cir. annum

Numa Pompilii,

R. Roman., 4.

6 They lavish gold out of the bag, and
weigh silver in the balance, and hire a gold-
smith; and he maketh it a god: they fall
down, yea, they worship.

7 They bear him upon the shoulder, they
carry him, and set him in his place, and he
standeth; from his place shall he not remove;
one shall cry unto him, yet can he not
answer, nor save him out of his trouble.

Psa. cii. 27; Mal. iii, 6. - Psa. xlviii. 14; xxi. 18. b Chap. xl. 18, 25. Chap. xl. 19; xli. 6; xliv. 12, 19; Jer. x. 3. Jer. x. 5.- Chap. xlv. 20.


Moses, expostulating with God on the weight of the charge laid upon him as leader of his people, expresses that charge under the same image of a parent s carrying his children, in very strong terms: Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them? that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers;" Num, xi. 12.

Verse 7. They bear him upon the shoulder—and set him in his place.] This is the way in which the Hin

Verse 3. Which are borne by me from the belly-doos carry their gods; and indeed so exact a picture "Ye that have been borne by me from the birth"] is this of the idolatrous procession of this people, that The prophet very ingeniously, and with great force, the prophet might almost be supposed to have been contrasts the power of God, and his tender goodness sitting among the Hindoos when he delivered this pro effectually exerted towards his people, with the inabi- phecy.-WARD's Customs,

ki כי נפשם venaphsham, an ancient MS. has ונפשם

lity of the false gods of the heathen. He like an in-
dulgent father had carried his people in his arms, “as
a man carrieth his son," Deut. i. 31.
He had pro-
tected them, and delivered them from their distresses:
whereas the idols of the heathen are forced to be ear-
ried about themselves, and removed from place to
place, with great labour and fatigue, by their worship-
pers; nor can they answer, or deliver their votaries,
when they cry unto them.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

The attributes and

8 Remember this, and show Olymp. XVII. 1. yourselves men; bring it again

A. M. cir. 3292.
B. C. cir. 712.

cir. annum

R. Roman., 4.


Numa Pompilii, to mind, O ye transgressors.
9 Remember the former
things of old: for I am God, and there is none
else; I am God, and there is none like me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
and from ancient times the things that are not
yet done, saying, 4 My counsel shall stand,
and I will do all my pleasure:

11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, Chap. xliv. 19; xlvii. 7. -n Deut. xxxii. 7.- D Chap. xlv. 5, 21. Chap. xlv. 21. - Psa. xxxiii. 11; Prov. xix. 21; xxi. 30; Acts v. 39; Heb. vi. 17. Chap. xli. 2, 25.


Pindar has treated with a just and very elegant ridicule the work of the statuary even in comparison with his own poetry, from this circumstance of its being fixed to a certain station. "The friends of Pytheas," says the Scholiast," came to the poet, desiring him to write an ode on his victory. Pindar demanded three drachms, (minæ, I suppose it should be,) for the ode. No, say they, we ean have a brazen statue for that money, which will be better than a poem. However, changing their minds afterwards, they came and offered him what he had demanded." This gave him the hint of the following ingenious exordium of his ode:

[blocks in formation]

perfections of God.

A. M. 3292.

the man that executeth my 4. C. ir. 7122
counsel from a far country: yea,
"I have spoken it, I will also
bring it to pass; I have pur-
posed it, I will also do it.

Olymp. XVII. 1.
Numa Pompilii,

cir, annum

R. Roman., 4.

12 Hearken unto me, yestout-hearted, that are far from righteousness:


13 I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.


But fly, my verses, and proclaim

To distant realms, with deathless fame, ✅

That Pytheas conquered in the rapid race."
Jeremiah, chap. x. 3-5, seems to be indebted to
Isaiah for most of the following passage :-
"The practices of the people are altogether vanity:
For they cut down a tree from the forest;

Heb. the man of my counsel. Chap. xliv. 28; xlv. 13. Num. xxiii. 19.- -r Psa. lxxvi. 5. w Rom. x. 3.- X Chap. li. 5; Rom. i. 17; iii. 21. ———————y Hab. ii. 3.- Chap. lxii. 11.

The work of the artificer's hand with the axe;
With silver and with gold it is adorned;

With nails and with hammers it is fastened, that it
may not totter.

Like the palm-tree they stand stiff, and cannot speak;


They are carried about, for they cannot go :
Fear them not, for they cannot do harm;
Neither is it in them to do good."


Verse 8. Show yourselves men] www hithoshashu. This word is rather of doubtful derivation and signification. It occurs only in this place and some of the ancient interpreters seem to have had something different in their copies. The Vulgate read INT hithbosheshu, take shame to yourselves; the Syriac whithbonenu, consider with yourselves; the Septuagint drevažers perhaps 12 hithabbelu, groan or mourn, within yourselves. Several MSS. read wi hithosheshu, but without any help to the sense.

Verse 11. Calling a ravenous bird from the eastCalling from the east the eagle"] A very proper em→ blem for Cyrus, as in other respects, so particularly because the ensign of Cyrus was a golden eagle, AETOX Xpudoug, the very word y ayit, which the prophet uses here, expressed as near as may be in Greek letters. XENOPH. Cyrop. lib. vii. sub. init. Kimchi says his father understood this, not of Cyrus, but of the Messiah.

[blocks in formation]


The destruction of Babylon is denounced by a beautiful selection of circumstances, in which her prosperous is contrasted with her adverse condition. She is represented as a tender and delicate female reduced to the work and abject condition of a slave, and bereaved of every consolation, 1-4. And that on account of her cruelty, particularly to God's people, her pride, voluptuousness, sorceries, and incantations, 5-11. folly of these last practices elegantly exposed by the prophet, 12-15. It is worthy of observation that almost all the imagery of this chapter is applied in the book of the Revelation, (in nearly the same words,) to the antitype of the illustrious capital of the Chaldean empire, viz. Babylon the GREAT.


Prophecy concerning the

cir. annum

B. C. cir. 712 COME down, and sit in the
Olymp. XVII. 1. dust, O virgin daughter of
Numa Pompilii, Babylon; sit on the ground: there
is no throne, O daughter of the
Chaldeans for thou shalt no more be called
tender and delicate.

R. Roman., 4.

2 Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.


3 Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man."


4 As for our Redeemer, the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.


[blocks in formation]

destruction of Babylon.

shalt no more be called, The lady A. M. cir. 3292.
of kingdoms.

B. C. cir. 712.
Olymp. XVII. 1.
cir, annum

6 I was wroth with my peo- Numa Pompilii, ple, I have polluted mine inher- R. Roman., 4. itance, and given them into thine hand: thou didst show them no mercy; upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke.

7 And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it.

8 Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children:

Molendum in pistrino; vapulandum; habendæ compedes. TERENT. Phorm. ii. 1. 19. Hominem pistrino dignum. Id. Heaut. iii. 2. 19. To grind in the mill, to be scourged, to be put in the stocks, were punishments for slaves. Hence a delinquent was said to be a man worthy of the mill. The tread-mill, now in use in England, is a revival of this ancient usage. But in the east grinding was the work of the female slaves. See Exod. xi. 5; xii. 29, (in the version of the Septuagint ;) Matt. xxiv. 41; Homer, Odyss. xx. 105-108. And it is the same to this day. "Women alone are employed to grind their corn;" Shaw's Algiers and Tunis, p. 287. They are the female slaves, that are generally employed in the east at those hand-mills for grinding corn; it is extremely laborious, and esteemed the lowest employment in the house;" Sir J. Chardin, Harmer's Observ. i., p. 153. The words denote that state of captivity to which the Babylonians should be reduced.

Make bare the leg. uncover the thigh] This is repeatedly seen in Bengal, where there are few bridges, and both sexes, having neither shoes nor stockings, truss up their loose garments, and walk across, where the waters are not deep. In the deeper water they

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

iSee 2 Sam. xxiv. 14; 2 Chron.
Chap. xliii. 28.- Deut. xxviii. 50.-
Chap. xlvi. 8.- - Deut. xxxii. 29.
Rev. xviii. 7.

NOTES ON CHAP. XLVII. are obliged to truss very high, to which there seems Verse 1. Come down, and sit in the dust-"Descend, a reference in the third verse: Thy nakedness shall and sit on the dust"] See note on chap. iii. 26, and be uncovered. on chap. lii. 2.

Verse 3. I will not meet thee as a man-" Neither

Verse 2. Take the mill-stones, and grind meal—will I suffer man to intercede with me."] The "Take the mill, and grind corn"] It was the work of verb should be pointed, or written, y aphgia, in slaves to grind the corn. They used hand-mills: wa- Hiphil. ter-mills were not invented till a little before the time of Augustus, (see the Greek epigram of Antipater, which seems to celebrate it as a new invention, Anthol. Cephala, 653;) wind-mills, not until long after. It was not only the work of slaves, but the hardest work; and often inflicted upon them as a severe punishment :

xxviii. 9; Zech. i. 15.
Ver. 5; Rev.xviii. 7.
Ver. 10; Zeph. ii. 15.


Verse 4. Our Redeemer-" Our Avenger"] Here a chorus breaks in upon the midst of the subject, with a change of construction, as well as sentiment, from the longer to the shorter kind of verse, for one distich only; after which the former subject and style are resumed. See note on chap. xlv. 16.

Verse 6. I was wroth with my people] God, in the course of his providence, makes use of great conquerors and tyrants as his instruments to execute his judgments in the earth; he employs one wicked nation to scourge another. The inflicter of the punishment may perhaps be as culpable as the sufferer; and may add to his guilt by indulging his cruelty in executing God's justice. When he has fulfilled the work to which the Divine vengeance has ordained him, he will become himself the object of it; see chap. x. 5-12. God charges the Babylonians, though employed by himself to chastise his people, with cruelty in regard to them. They exceeded the bounds of justice and humanity in oppressing and destroying them; and though they were really executing the righteous decree of God, yet, as far as it regarded themselves, they were only indulging their own ambition and violence. The Prophet Zechariah sets this matter in the same light: "I was but a little angry, and they helped forward the affliction;" chap. i. 15.-L.

Verse 7. So that thou didst not-"Because thou didst not"] For y ad, read by al; so two MSS., and one edition. And for acharithah," the latter end of it," read acharithecha," thy latter end;" so thirteen MSS., and two editions, and the Vulgate. Both the sixth and seventh verses are wanting in one of my oldest MSS.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »