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lished.

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and of the remains of Ifrael,

587 Obadiah prophefied against the Edomites, who cruelly affifted in the deftruction of Jerufalem. 569 Nebuchadnezzar diftracted for 7 years together. Dan. iv. 555 Daniel had his vifion of the 4 empires. Dan. vii.

(m} Or Shallum.

(n) Or Eliakim, 2 Chron. xxxvi. 4.

(0) Hence began the feventy years captivity, foretold by Jeremiah, chap. xxv. 1, 12, xxix. 10. Otherwife called Coniah, and Jeconiah. Jer. xxii. 24, &c. Efth. ii, 6.

CH. XXXI. ́ ́ From the Founding of Salomon's Temple, &c.

133

538 He interpreted the hand-writing on the wall. Dan. v. 25. and was caft into the lion's den. Dan. vi.
536 Cyrus reftores the Jews, and puts an end to their 70 years captivity. Ezra i. 1.
Zerubbabel was then governor, and Joshua high prieft. Ezra iii. 2, 8. Hag. i. 1.
535 Jews begin to rebuild Jerufalem and the Temple. The Samaritans obftruct them.
534 Daniel's laft vifion. Dan. x. II, 12.

520 Haggai and Zechariah prophefy. Ezra v. 1. Hag. i. 1. Zech. i. 1.
515 The Temple rebuilt and dedicated. Ezra vi. 15, 16.

See the year before A. D. 606. Zech. iii. 1. iv. 6. Ezra iii. 1, &c. iv. I.

-462 Abafuerus, alias Artaxerxes, divorces Vahti, and afterward marries Efther. Efth. i. 1, &c. See Dr. PRIDEAUX'S

Connect. at the year before A. D. 465.

458 Ezra fent to be governor of Judea by Artaxerxes. Ezra vii.

453

Haman plots the destruction of the Jews. Efth. iii. 11.

445 Nehemiah fent governor to Judea, and rebuilds the walls of Jerufalem. Neh. ii. 1, &c.
444 Ezra is fuppofed to publifh his edition of the Holy Scriptures.

433 Nehemiah goes from Jerufalem to the Perfian court. Neh. v. 14. xiii. 6.

429

About this time Malachi prophefied, according to Dr. PRIDEAUX's Con. 428. 428 Nehemiah comes again to Jerufalem with a new commiffion. Neh. xiii. 6. 404 Socrates flourished.

296 Simon the Just, high-priest of the Jews.

Yrs. bef
A.D.

CHAP

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CHAP. XXXII.

The moral Causes of the Babylonish CAPTIVITY; and the Propriety of that Difpenfation.

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**HE whole Jewish nation, both Judah and Ifrael, had all along Ta ftrong and strange propenfity to idolatry, even after the erectxing of the temple, and the establishing of the worship of God there, in the moft grand and folemn manner. They erected altars to ftrange gods, frequented high-places and groves confecrated to idolatrous worship, and furnished them with idols and images for that purpose. 2 Chron. xiv. 3. 1 Kings xv. 11, 12, 13. And their morals were just as corrupt as their religion, even to the degree of fodomy itself. 1 Kings xv. 12.

What their peculiar temptations were, we know not. All the endeavours of good kings, and all the preaching of holy Prophets, fent by fpecial commiffion from God, were ineffectual to produce a reformation. The pious king Hezekiah was zealous and active in rooting out idolatry; but Manaffeb, his fon and fucceffor, restored it again in the highest and most flagitious degree of profanenefs and iniquity, even beyond that of the dark and ignorant nations. 2 Kings xxi. 110. He built up again the high-places, which Hezekiah his father had destroyed, &c. He was also a grievous perfecutor of all that would not conform to his idolatrous eftablishments, and fo fhed innocent blood very much. Amon, his fon followed his bad example. Fofiah, his grandíon, vigorously attempted a reformation. 2 Kings xxiii. 24, 25. But the people never came heartily into it. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 14, &c. All the chief of the priests, and the people tranfgreffed very much, after all the abominations of the heathen, and polluted the houfe of the Lord, which he had ballowed in Jerufalem. And the Lord God of their fathers fent to them by his messengers, rifing up betimes, and fending, because he had compaffion on his people, and on his dwelling-place; but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and mifufed his Prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arofe against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who flew their young men with the fword, in the house of their fanctuary; and had no compaffion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that flooped for age, he gave them all into his hand. And all the veffels of the house of God, great and fmall, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes, all thefe he brought to Babylon. And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerufalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and deftroyed all the goodly veffels thereof. And them that escaped from the fword, carried he away to Babylon; where they were fervants to him and his fons, until the reign of the kingdom of Perfia.

Obferve This dreadful calamity came upon them gradually. Firft, good king Jofiah was, in judgment upon the land, flain in battle by Pharach-Necho, 2 Kings xxiii. 23. who put Fehoabaz that fucceeded him into chains, fent him prisoner into Egypt, and put the land of Judah under a

heavy tribute. 2 Kings xxiii. 33. Jehoiakim fucceeded, a wicked prince like his predeceffors. In his third year, Nebuchadnezzar took Jerufalem, and carried away part of the veffels of the house of God, and many of the people into captivity. Particularly, he gave order to Appenaz the mafter of his eunuchs, that he fhould make choice out of the children of the royal family, and of the nobility of the land, fuch as he found to be of the fairest countenance, and the quickest parts, to be carried to Ba bylon, and there made eunuchs in his palace, Daniel i. 1-4. whereby was fulfilled Ifaiah's prediction above an hundred years before. Ifaiah xxxix. 7. Among thefe youths were Daniel, Hananiah, Mihael and Azariah. Dan. i. 6, 7. Moreover the king was made a tributary, and the whole land reduced into vaffalage under the Babylonians. A fevere vifitation, but had not the proper effect upon Jehoiachin, the next king, who was as corrupt as his father. 2 Kings xxiv. 8, 9. He had been but three months on the throne, when Nebuchadnezzar again befieged and took Jerufalem, with the king and all the royal family; all the most va. luable things in the temple, and in the king's treasures, with all the mighty men of valor, all the crafts-men and fmiths, he took away, leaving none in the land, but the pooreft fort. 2 Kings xxiv. 12, 13, 14. Among the rest, Ezekiel, (chap. i. 1, 2.) and Mordecai (Efth. ii. 5, 6.) were now carried captives. Yet ftill there was no amendment of the religion or morals of the nation. Zedekiah, the next and last king, was as bad as his predeceffors. 2 Kin. xxiv. 18, 19. And in about eleven years, Nebuchadnezzar, after a long and close fiege, took Jerusalem, brake down its walls, burnt the city and temple, carried away all the facred utenfils, and all the people, except a few of the very pooreft to till the ground, and reduced the whole land of Judea, in a manner, to utter defolation for the fins thereof.

The propriety of this difpenfation will appear, if we reflect,

I. That the lenity of God appeared in bringing this terrible overthrow upon them fo gradually, after a fucceffion of judgments from lefs to greater, for the space of twenty-two years; which fhould have been a warning to them, and by experience have convinced them, that the threatenings denounced by the Prophets would certainly be executed.

II. That it was a juft punishment of their fins; particularly of their idolatry, whereby they forfook God, and therefore God juftly forfook them, and delivered them into the hands of their enemies, as Mofes had foretold. Lev. xxvi. 30-36.

III. This dreadful calamity was the most effectual means to work their reformation, which was the end propofed by the Divine Wisdom. Now, in their captive, difconfolate ftate, they had time, and their calamities had a natural tendency to give them a difpofition, to reflect upon the long feries of iniquity and perverfness, which had brought them under the heavieft of God's judgments. Now their own wickedness corrected them, and their backslidings reproved them; now they must know and fee, that it was an evil thing, and bitter, that they had forfaken the Lord their God, and that his fear had not been in them. Ifaiah ii, 19. In the land of their Captivity the fermons of the Prophets, declaiming with the highest authority against their profane and vicious practices, would be ftill founding in their cars, and their abject, wretched condition, the confequence of

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fuch

CH. XXXII. fuch practices, would fink them deep into their hearts, and furely give them an utter deteftation of what they very well knew was the cause of all their grievous fufferings,

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They had fuffered themfelves to be shamefully infatuated by their falfe prophets, who had prophefied to them in Baal, as the most infallible oracle. Jer. 11. 8. They were prophets of the deceit of their hearts, xxiii. 26. They had encouraged a rabble of diviners, dreamers, enchanters and forcerers, who had moft impudently impofed upon their credulity, affuring them, in the name of the Lord too, that they fhould not ferve the king of Babylon, Jer. xxvii. 9. xxviii. 4. xxix. 8, 9; that he should not come againft them, nor against the land; xxxvii. 19 They belied the Lord, and faid, it is not He, neither shall evil come upon us; neither fhall we fee fword, nor famine, Jer. v. 12. but I will give you affured peace in this place. xiv. 13. Thus they caufed the people to err; and their kings, princes, and priests concurred to ftrengthen the delufion. Jer. ii. 26. v. 31. xxxii. 32. By the way, thefe prophets and priests were men of very wicked lives. Zeph. iii. 4. Jer. xxiii. 11. They commited adultery, walked in lies, ftrengthened the hands of evil doers, and prevented their returning fim wickedness, Jer. xxiii. 14; they perfecuted and murthered the juft, in the midst of ferufalem. Lam. iv. 13. From them profaneness went forth into all the land, Jer. xxiii. 15. which by their means was become full of adulterers, and mourned because of fwearing, verfe 10. See a more particular defcription of the wickedness of the land, Ezek. xxii. 6-13.

But now, where were all their falfe prophets, with all their bold pretenfions, and flattering promifes? The delufion is now quite at an end, and they find themselves moft miferably deceived. Their eyes are opened, and they are thoroughly convinced, they were a fet of the vileft impoftors, who had deluded them into the moft wretched circumstances. The prophets were now become wind, Jer. v. 13, an everlasting reproach, a perpetual fhame, which could not be forgotten, xxiii. 40. And in proportion as these deceivers were detefted, the true Prophets, who would have drawn them to juft regards of God and his holy law, would be esteemed and honored.

Doubtless the lying prophets and priests had filled their heads with specious pretences for their idolatrous practices; and affured them, they were ftill the beloved people of God, invested in all the diftinguishing privileges of his church and peculiar people, and fecure under his protection; with great oftentation and confidence crying out, The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are thefe [men or buildings] fer. vii. 4. But now they found all their fophiftry to be lying words, and could no longer take affurance from their peculiar privileges, or their magnificent temple, when their temple and city were both deftroyed, and themselves caft out into an heathen land, where they were fo long, and fo fhamefully ftript of all their peculiar honors. In fhort, no method could have been devifed more proper to give this people a * fixed deteftation of idolatry, and the vile arts by which they were feduced into it. And it had this effect. They never more fell into idolàtry, but retain the greatest abhorrence of it unto this day.

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IV. The law of God, writen by Mofes, as the rule of their conduct in

all affairs civil and religious, and the ground of their happiness, they had

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