Page images
PDF
EPUB

valiant man: And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth ; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped.

Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith ; or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.

Therefore shall the LORD, the Lord of hosts send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.

And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day; and shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standard bearer fainteth.

And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them: but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.

The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.

For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.

For the LORD God of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined in the midst of all the land.

Therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, O my people, that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt.

For

For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger, in their destruction.

And tlie Lord of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him, according to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb: and as his rod was upon the sea, so shall he lift it up after the manner of Egypt.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that his bur. den shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS, This part of Isaiah's prophecy is supposed to have been written after the destruction of Samaria. It was calculated to encourage the king and people of Judah to put their trust and confidence in the LORD: and to comfort those who had escaped from Samaria, and taken refuge in the kingdom of Judah, with hopes that they should be saved with the rest of God's faithful people, from the wrath of the proud king of Assyria.

How vain are tyrants of their power, and of their conquests! and yet what is the mightiest of them but the Rod of God's anger, and the staff of his indignation?

SECTION. XCVIII.

HIEZEKIAH'S SICKNESS. From2 Kings, Chap. xx. Isaiah, Chap. xxxviii.

In those days, when Sennacherib king of Assyria came and encamped against the fenced cities of Judah, and thought to win them for himself, was Hezekiah sick unto death.

An:l the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thy house in order : for thou shalt die, and not live.

Then

Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying, I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.

And it came to pass afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou: shalt go up unto the house of the Lond.

And I will add unto thy days fifteen years : and I will deliver thee and this city, out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant Daviil's sake.

And Hezekiah-said unto Isaiah, what shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of the Lord the third day? And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the Lord, that the LORD will do the thing that he hath spoken ; shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees ?

And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees : nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees.

And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the Lord : and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz.

And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs and lay them for a plaister ; and they took and laid it on the boil, and Hezekiah recovered. And this is the writing of Hezekial king of Judah, when he had been sick, and was recovered of his sickness. I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the

gates

[ocr errors]

gates of the grave : I am deprived of the residue of my years.

I said, I shall not see the LORD, even the LORD, in the land of the living: I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world. Mine

age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd's tent: I have cut off like a weaver my life : he will cut me off with pining sickness : from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.

I reckoned till morning, that as a lion so will he break all

my bones : from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.

Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove; mine eyes fail with looking upward : O LORD, I am oppressed ; undertake for me.

What shall I say? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it: I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of

my

soul. O LORD, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit ; so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live.

Behold, for peace l'had great bitterness : but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of cor. ruption : for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back,

For the grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee : they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.

The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day : the father to the children shall make known thy truth.

The LORD was ready to save me : therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the LORD.

ANNO

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS:

The disease with which Hezekiah was afflicted was, as wemay reasonably suppose, designed as a farther chastisement for his stripping the Temple, and submitting to Sennacherib ; it was in its nature mortal, and above the power of human art to care ; the prophet Isaiah was sent to apprize him of his danger," that he might settle his worldly affairs, and prepare his mind for the awful change which he was soon to experience.

Besides the love of life, so natural to all men, Hezekiah had many reasons to make hin particularly desirous of it at that time. The Assyrian power threatened to overwhelm his kingdom, and he had as yet no son to succeed him, which was a circumstance of great affliction, as he was the last of the royal family of David. He saw ruin and desolation likely to fall on his country, and had reason to fear he was under the displeasure of God, as length of days was a part of the blessing which the Lord had promised to good kings; having these prospects before his eyes, he might well melt into tears at the thoughts of approaching death.

Asking of Israel, Ilezekiah might with propriety plead his adherence to the worship of the Lord, because the Lord had promised his favour on that condition. The sign which was granted to strengthen Hezekiah's faith was of a very extraordinary nature; it is needless to give a particular description of the miracle as it cannot be accounted for by natural means ; but however astonishing the relation of it may appear, it certainly was not too difficult for the ALMIGHTY to effect.

We may understand, from Hezekiah's own reflections, (which the prophet has transmitted to us) that his piety and humility were very great. His writing, as it is called, aftords a very lively picture of what passed in his

« PreviousContinue »