Page images

And it shall be that he that is famished shall fret within


,אשר is often used for the pronoun כי

[ocr errors]

And blaspheme against his king and his God,

And shall look upwards."
22 " And towards the land he shall earnestly look.

But behold tribulation and darkness,
Weariness, distress, and a solid mist,
For weariness [is] not [incident] to him, who layeth the

distress upon her.” -" he that is famished" - synons, quisquis premitur fame. See Masclef. Gram. Heb. cap. xxv, num. vi, $ vii.

_"his king and his God,” Jesus Christ, the king of the Jews.

_" look upwards," look to heaven, for a sign from thence, which the unbelieving Jews demanded of our Lord.

" And towards the land he shall earnestly look.” With amazement and dismay, and anxious for the event, this stubborn famished Jew shall look to the land, the land of Judea, contemplate the state of his country.

_“ a solid mist;” literally, a thrusting mist, mist that strikes against you; darkness that might be felt.

[ocr errors]

" upon


upon the land.

From the beginning of the 19th verse to this place, it seems that God is the speaker. What follows, to the end of the 7th verse of the following chapter, the Prophet utters in his own person. Here there. fore the eighth chapter should end.

CHAP. ix, 1. _" when at first he lightly afflicted and afterwards did more grievously afflict “ Fuit superiore tempore aliquod levamentum terræ Zabulon et terræ Nepthalim, sed postremo tempore omnia gravissima erunt in viâ maris secus Jordanem in Galilæa Gentium.” Houbigant. The verb op, with the mention of some specific burthen, of service, affliction, or whatever else may be described under the image of a burthen, signifies to take off from that burthen, and make it lighter. But no in stance can be found, in which that verb, used transitively, signifies to lay on a light affliction, to afflict in a small degree, or to lay on a light burthen of any sort. Again, the verb 72), with the mention of some specific burthen, may signify to aggravate its weight. But the verb by itself never signifies to afflict grievously. Vitringa was in the same opinion : “ Voces impoz 79997 in scripturâ occurrere pro · levius et gravius affligere' non putem.” Vol. I, p. 233. Father Houbigant thinks ypa is used impersonally in Ho


phal, and, changing the Hiphil 79357 into the Hophal 73577, he says that verb is similarly used. The levamentum, in his view of the passage, was the shel. ter which the kingdom of Judah afforded to many individuals of the tribes of Zabulon and Napthali at the time of Tiglath-pileser's invasion of their terri. tory: the gravissima omnia, the calamities which that country suffered, when the rest of the ten tribes were finally captivated. But no other instance is to

הכבר and הקל be found in which the Hophal verbs

are used impersonally, the one to express alleviation, the other aggravation of a burthen of misery, with an accusative of the person relieved or afflicted. These verbs, therefore, unquestionably render the sense which Bishop Lowth, with Vitringa, affixes to

-debased,' —made glorious. And the whole passage may be thus translated :


6. As the former crisis debased

[ocr errors]

The land of Zabulon and the land of Napthali;
The latter, on the contrary, hath made glorious
The coast of the sea, the banks of Jordan, Galilee of the

Gentiles." 4. the former crisis," Tiglath-pileser's invasion ; “ the latter,” our Lord's appearance in the flesh.

Verse 3. “ Thou hast multiplied the nation, and


not increased the joy; they joy,&c. I see no 'necessity for any alteration of the text. The Prophet's discourse refers to a shifting scene exhibited to his imagination, of a country thinly inhabited, unfruitful, wrapped in mists, suddenly illuminated by a bright sun, filled with new inhabitants, at first struggling with great difficulties, and shortly attaining the height of prosperity; their enemies vanquished in battle, and the accoutrements and weapons of the slain burnt in heaps upon the field. This shifting scene is emblematical of the state of religious knowledge before the gospel, of the improvements made by the Christian revelation, of the variable fortunes of the church from its first establishment to its final triumph over all its enemies; of the troubles of its infancy, and the peace and prosperity of its later days. The Prophet's discourse is not a description of this scene composed by recollection after he was recovered from the trance, but short remarks upon the parts of it as they pass before him. “ Propheta est in raptu (says the learned Vitringa upon another passage) variasque coram oculis pictas habet ima. gines, quarum altera succedit alteri, quasque ipse ut vidit in ecstasi nobis pariter contemplandas exhibet.” Hence his discourse changes as the scene shifts ;

and when contrary images succeed, in this emblematical exhibition of futurity, his words, considered in themselves, will seem incoherent and contradictory. First, he sees a sudden light burst over the region of Galilee, and dispel the mists which for ages had enveloped it; figurative of the light of the gospel which first appeared in that country, and shed its splendour over the world walking in the darkness of spiritual ignorance. He sees the nation (of the true church) multiplied (by the influx of the Gentile converts), but the joy (at first) not increased; the nation so multiplied struggling for some time under the greatest difficulties. But in an instant these scenes of sorrow pass away, and a picture succeeds of national prosperity and public joy, and of victory obtained, not by the prowess of man, but the sen. sible and special interposition of God, like Gideon's victory over the Midianites.

Verse 4. _“ the yoke of his burden;" i. e. the yoke with which he was burthened. — "jugum quod ferebat.” Houbigant.

Verse 5. This verse must remain in some obscurity till the sense of the word 7xs is more clearly ascer. tained. Bishop Lowth’s “ caliga caligati” is certain

« PreviousContinue »