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purpose of God; the prophet Micah, who was giving forth the

1 mystery in the language of the existent symbols, doth represent the city and church of Jerusalem, with her children, as being in a state of desolation and abandonment, until the time when she shall have completed the period of her bringing forth : “ Therefore will he give them up

until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth.” For further light upon this subject we again refer to our vijith Interpretation, vol. ii. p. 799.

“ Then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.”—This is an expression which hath much perplexed interpreters. Abendana, a Jewish interpreter, understands by" the remnant of his brethren " the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah; by the “children of Israel,” the ten tribes; and so brings out of the passage their re-union into one, according to the prophecy in Isaiah xi. (opened in No. V.); and the prophecy of Ezek. xxxvii. He hath the sagacity to discern that the word “ his” referreth to Messiah, as doubtless it doth. The objections to this interpretation are many : First, the word translated

remnant” is altogether different from the word used in all parts of the prophecy to denote the remainder of Israel, against the time of his gathering. In chaps. ii. 12; iv. 7; v. 7, 8; vii. 18—of which three of the places are in this strain, and two of them in the immediate context-the word is of another root and signification, being the first part of that name “Shearjashub, the remnant shall return," as we explained in No. II. (vol. i.) It is the word almost always used of the remnant, the part shorn (sheared) off. Indeed it is the origin from which we have our word sheer, both as a verb and an adverb, to signify a cutting or paring from the whole. Not so with the word' n' in the text; which indeed doth signify remnant, but remnant by superabundance and excellence, not by defect of a part. The verb is thus rendered by Pagnini : “ Remanere, relinqui, exuperare, superesse, &c. vel exuberare, superabundare, reliquum esse, seu remanere insuper, ultra vel præter aliquid, reliquum manere;" which being rendered into English is, " To remain, to be left, to exceed, to be over and above; to exuberate, to superabound; to be left, or to remain, above, beyond, or beside somewhat; to remain left.” And when a substantive noun, it is sometimes a noun of quantity, and signifies then, as the verb doth, that which remains over and above; sometimes of quality: and then says my authority; it signifies “ Prestantiam superiorem supra rem aliam ”-“superior excellence over some other thing -as it is used twice over of Reuben, to denote the superior dignity of the first-born : “ Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power” (Exod. xlix. 3). The word in the original for excellency, in both cases, is the same with the word in our text. In Psa. xxi. 24, with a preposition, it is translated“ plentifully;" as we would say, " to abundance ;” and by accommodation it comes to signify the nerves or sinews of the body, and riches and excellence of every kind. We object, therefore, that this word, whose proper form is superabundance and excess, should be applied to denote a shred, or remnant, when another word, three times in the context, and five times in the prophet, and almost uniformly throughout the prophets, is used for that purpose. And especially is this not to be permitted when it stands evidently in the sense of quality, to distinguish some one from the rest of his brethren: “ the excellency of his brethren ;" which is the title of the first-born. So that, being interpreted by the words pronounced upon Reuben, it might be said, “the first-born of his brethren, he who possesseth the birthright.”—Our second objection to this interpretation-namely, that the remnant of his brethren signifies the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah-is, that not they, but the ten tribes, are those who have to return; because not they but the ten tribes were driven out and cast far off (iv. 6,7; see vol.ii. pp. 792,793). But, besides this, the idea in Micah concerning the tribes, either the two or the ten, is not that of returning, but of being gathered : except in this place, the word return doth not once occur, but always assemble, gather, feed; because it is of Christ their Shepherd that he is prophesying, as the person who should accomplish it. Thirdly, 'I object to this interpretation because the one class (if class it be) is called " the remnant of his brethren,” and the other “ the children of Israel.” Now, whose brethren are those that return? are they the brethren of the children of Israel ? No; because it is his brethren, and not their brethren. And to whom, then, doth the his refer? There is only one singular person in the context: Ile who was smitten on the cheek; he who was born in Bethlehem; he whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting;

. he who would have gathered them, as a hen doth her chickens under her wings, but they would not; he whom they forced to give them up for a season by making away with him ; he is the person whose brethren are spoken of: he also, we may say, is the person who returneth; he is the person who is entitled, in right of the first-born, to be called, like Reuben, “ the excellence of his brethren;" and to him, and to no one else, I believe the expression in the text referreth. And of his return to the children of Israel it is that it is spoken in these words, which, being literally rendered, are as follows : " For this cause he shall give them up until she which travaileth hath travailed, and the Excellence of his brethren shall return unto the sons of Israel.” The language, I say it again, is, I think, taken from the history of Joseph, who went away from his brethren under the rod of ser

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vitude, but returned unto them with the dignity of the firstborn, which God had promised him in his dreams, for claiming which he was ignominiously cast out; which God himself fulfilled to him; and with which he is now invested at the right hand of Pharoah, the chief ruler of the earth. Wherefore also it is written in the Book of Chronicles (v. 1, 2): “Now the sons of Reuben the first-born of Israel (for he was the first-born; but forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birth-right was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birth-right; for Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birth-right was Joseph's).”

Having ascertained to whom the title, “the Excellency of his brethren," appertaineth-even to him who is the subject of discourse both before and after, to him who, having given up the people for a season, doth against the times of refreshing return unto them again-we have next to inquire who are signified by “ his brethren." This derives its interpretation from the preceding clause, where the mother church is represented as in a state of bearing after his departure ; which we explained above of the children whom the church is now producing unto the Father by the operation of the Holy Ghost : “ He is not ashamed to call us brethren." (Heb.ii.) « For whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren(Rom. viii. 29). Now, this title of “ the First-born we know that he hath in virtue of his resurrection, because in the book of Revelation (i. 7) he doth entitle himself “ Firstbegotten of the dead : ” and we, who are children of the resurrection, inasmuch as we are begotten from above, are his brethren; and are therefore denominated “the church of the first-born” (Heb. xii. 23). Of those brethren who shall be declared his brethren by rising in the likeness of his resurrection he hath the precedency; he is “ the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power;" and with them, even with all his saints, he shall come unto the people of Israel. These are the children of whom the church is now in pain to be delivered ; who are caught up to God and to his throne; and who come with him to rule the earth with a rod of iron. It is Christ coming with all his saints, to deliver the children of Israel from their bondage. As it is written in the Prophet Zechariah of the day of Jerusalem's need : “ And the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.” As when Jacob returned on his way after Joseph's birth, and with the riches and increase consequent upon Joseph's birth,“ the angels of God met him; and when Jacob saw them he said, This is God's host; and he called the pame of that place Mahanaim,” i. e. two hosts : so against the


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day of Israel's return from the house of his present bondage, he shall be met by Him who is the Excellence of his brethren, and by the brethren whom he hath brought along with him from their graves. Whom when Zion beholdeth she shall say, “Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone;

these, where had they been?” (Isai. xlix. 21.)

If any one think that I find too much of Christ and the church in these prophecies, and that I put more into the language than it will bear, let him pause, and reflect whether he may not have formed in his own mind a hasty and mean idea of God's word; as if it were like the word of man, and not that manifold wisdom which Paul so constantly declares hath been opened to us by the Spirit,--the declaration of the purpose of the Father, so long hidden, “ that in the ages to come might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God." Until I learned to think better, I also was held in the error that the prophecies in particular, and the Old-Testament Scriptures in general, were but histories, and anticipations of events, with which we have little to do, save to glean out of them certain texts, to be used in accommodation to the times and persons in the midst of which we live. From this most unworthy and unholy idea of the Divine word having got delivered by the grace of God, I am desirous to deliver others; for so long as it remains, the faith of the inspiration of the Scriptures is a mere pretence. God forbid that I should fall into the opposite extreme, of wresting his word to any pre-conceived notions of my own! I seek to interpret it by the light of the New Testament, and especially of that great canon, that “ the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus;” by comparing spiritual things with spiritual

. But this interpretation is forced upon us not merely by the meaning of the word translated remnant, and which ought to have been translated excellence; but also by the plural form of the verb shall return. This is the second part of the symbolical name Shear-jashub, which, when used of the remnant, is in the singular number (Isai. x. 22); but here it is in the plural, though used of him who had been separated from his brethren, and now returns to them with the excellency of the birthright: most manifest, therefore, it is, that more than he must return-even all those brethren for whose birth he waited “ until she that travaileth hath brought forth, and the excellency of his brethren they shall return unto the sons of Israel.” In some of the versions it is "return with the sons of Israel;” but neither with nor unto doth express precisely the force of the Hebrew word, which properly signifies on— shall return upon the children of Israel”-answering nearly to the expression in chap. ii.

13, “And the Lord on the head of them.” The idea is taken, as I deem, from the cloud in which Jehovah dwelt resting upon the people as they marched through the wilderness. The people were the cherubim upon whom he rested, and by whom he wished to be borne on high; and perhaps there is an allusion to the blessing of Benjamin, already alluded to (Deut. xxxiii. 12), which, being literally rendered, is “the beloved of Jehovah shall dweli in safety upon him, and shall cover upon him, and shall dwell between his shoulders ;" where the main idea conveyed of Benjamin is, that Jehovah shall repose on him; that Jerusalem shall be his throne; and the children of Israel, with their four standards of the man, the calf, the lion, and the eagle, the reality of the cherubim with their four faces; upon which cherubim Christ shall come riding, as is declared in Psal. xviii. 10, and also Psal. xcix. 1. It may be thought nice, and perhaps be censured as injudicious, but I do nevertheless give it as my judgment, that the thing conveyed in the text is, that Christ with all his saints shall, when he returns again, come marching at the head of the sons of Israel, riding upon them as his mighty horse in the battle (Zech. x. 3). This is consistent with the analogy of all revelation concerning Christ's coming again, is the literal and grammatical translation of the original, and gives us a glance, according to Micah's rapid manner, of the splendid and glorious return of the Judge of Israel to those who rejected him, when they shall say, “ Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” There is contained in Scripture both a manifestation, or epiphany, and a personal appearance of Christ as the crucified, pierced man: the one being in the glory of the cloud, which I take to be his sign, and from which he will scatter destruction upon his enemies—"hail, fire, tempests, and furious storms”-into which he will gather his elect from under the four quarters of the heavens, and will then judge the nations: the other, his open and distinct discovery of himself as a man, as Jesus of Nazareth, appearing in the glory of the Son of man. The former of these, when with the heavenly host he shall accompany the earthly host of his people, and with a strong hand and fury poured out shall deliver them from the countries and bring them into their own land, is that which I take to be signified in this verse : whereas in that which we now enter upon it is his personal acting as the Son of David which is spoken of; and therefore it is introduced by these words," he shall stand ;” which I regard as equivalent to that expression in Zech. xiv. 4, “ And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east, and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the

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