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most to anticipate the Gospel history, so clearly do they foreshew the Divine character of CHRIST, vii. 14, (compare Matt. i. 18-23, and Luke i. 27-35); vi. ix. 6; xxxv. 4; xl. 5, 9, 10; xlii. 6-8; lxi. 1, (compare Luke iv. 18;) lxii. 11; lxiii. 1-4, His miracles, xxxv. 5, 6, His peculiar qualities and virtues, xi. 2, 3 ; xl. 11; xlii. 1-4; His rejection, vi. 9-12; (compare Matt. xiii. 14;) viii. 14. 15; liii. 3, and sufferings for our sins, 1. 6; liii. 4-1 1; His death and burial, liii. 89; and victory over the grave, xxv, 8: liii. 10-12; and, lastly, His final glory, xlix. 7, 22, 23; lii. 13-15; and the establishment and increase, ii. 2-4; ix. 7; xlii. 4; xlvi. 13, and perfection of his kingdom, ix. 2-7 ; xi. 4-10; xvi. 5; xxix. 18-24; xxxii. 1; xl. 4, 5; xlix. 913; li. 3-6; lii. 6-10; lv. 1-3; lix. 16-21; lx.; lxi. 1-5; lxv. 25, each specifically pointed out, and pourtrayed with the most striking and discriminating characters. It is impossible, indeed, to reflect on these, and on the whole chain of his illustrious prophecies, and not to be sensible that they present the most incontestible evidenc in support of christianity." Gray.
Isaiah's mission respected principally the kingdom of Judah, and his predictions of the chastisements of the Jews, both of Judah and Israel, (the latter, frequently under the name of Ephraim) run through the whole book; mingled with exhortations to repentance, and holiness of life, and promises of pardon and peace on those conditions.
The sons of Isaiah were, in themselves, and in their names, types and pledges of God's assurances, viii. 18. Shear-Jashub, i. e. "a remnant shall return," was a pledge of the deliverance promised (vii. 3-13.) from the calamities then threatened by the kings of Israel and Syria, and of a return from the captivity predicted by the prophet, (vi. 11-13); as the child Immanuel, i. e. "God with us," (vii. 14, &c.) was of deliverance from spiritual enemies, by JESUS, who should "save his
people from their sins,” (Matt. i. 21.); and his second' son, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, i. e. "run swiftly to the spoil," "hasten to the prey," was a pledge of the destruction of Samaria and Damascus by the Assyrians, ch. viii.
Isaiah also predicted the destruction and desolation of Babylon, (xiii., xiv. 4-244 xxi. 1-10; xliii. 14; xlvii.) the punishment of Assyria, (x. 5-26; xxx. 31; xxxi. 8; xxxvii. 21-29); Moab (xv. xvi.); Syria, (xvii. 1-3;) the Æthiopians, (xviii. xx.); Egypt, (xix. xx.); Edom. (xxi. 11-17.); and Tyre, xxiii,
6. MICAH, began his ministry, B. C. 754; he preached against the prevailing sins both of Judah and Israel, during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah in the former, and of Pekah and Hosea, in the latter kingdom, and threatened their punishment by the sword, famine, pestilence, and captivity. He predicted, in clear terms, the invasion of Israel, by Shalmaneser, (which happened, B. C. 727) (ch. i. 6-8,) and that of Judah, by Sennacherib, B. C. 711, (ver. 9-16,) the triumphs of those monarchs over Israel and Judah; the captivities and dispersion, (ch. v. 18.) and deliverance of Israel (ii. 12; iv. 10; v. 9); the cessation of prophecy, (iii. 6, 7); the destruction of Assyria, (v. 5, 6);† and
* The date of this event will be found in Table VI., where it forms the last article of Sacred History.
+ Some imagine that Micab foretels, in this prophecy, the victories to be obtained by the leaders of the Medes and Babylonians, who took Nineveh, B. C. 606. Others, suppose him to speak of the seven Maccabees with their eight royal successors, from Aristobulus to Antigonus. It may, perhaps, bear a reference to some higher triumph." See Ezek. xxxviii., xxxix. Gray's Key to Old Testament.
See Hales's Anal. vol, ii. p. 640, 641.
of other enemies, the representatives of the enemies of the Christian church, (vii. 8-10); the birth of the EVERLASTING RULER at Bethlehem Ephratah, ch. v. 2, (compare Matt, ii. 6; John vii. 42); the establishment and exaltation of CHRIST's kingdom over all nations, (iv. 1, 2, 7; Luke i. 33; and Micah v.); the influence of the Gospel, (iv. 1-8, compare Isai. ii. 2-4); and the destruction of Jerusalem, iii. 12.
7. NAHUM, began his ministry, B. C. 720. His name signifies" a comforter," and was descriptive of his office, which was to console Judah and threaten destruction to Sennacherib, by whom it was menaced; it also signifies "repentance," (which is, indeed, preparatory to comfort) and the prophet exhorts the people to keep their solemn fasts, ch. i. 15. He renews (ii. iii.) the threatenings of Jonah against Nineveh, which were accomplished in the destruction of that city by Nabopolassar and Cyaxares, B. C. 606. 8. ZEPHANIAH, began his ministry, B. C. 640. He threatens Judah for its idolatries and apostasies, (ch. i.) and exhorts to repentance, (ii. 1-3); he predicts the chastisement of the Philistines, (ii. 4-7); the Moabites and Ammonites (ver. 8-11;) the Ethiopians, (ver. 12); and Assyrians ver. 13-15. Having proposed these warnings to the Jews, the prophet, (ch. iii.) comforts them with the promise of salvation by MESSIAH. 9. JEREMIAH. He was appointed, "sanctified, and ordained a prophet unto the nations," even before his birth, (i. 4, 5) and called to the prophetic office at the age of fourteen, when he was still, in his own estimation, "a child," (ver. 6) and would have excused himself, on the ground of inability, till overborne by the assurance of special support and assistance from God, ver. 7-19. He began his ministry, B. C. 624, in a time of great
* Edom, or Babylon: compare Lam. iv. 21.
wickedness, the book of the law having been wanting
upwards of sixty years. His name signifies " he shall exalt Jehovah ;" and his whole life was devoted to the promotion of God's glory. He is the second (Isaiah being the first) of the four great prophets.† He foretold the fate of Shallum, (xxii. 11-12) Jehoiakim, (ver. 13-19.) Jehoiachin (called Jeconiah and Coniah, by Jeremiah) ver. 24-30, and Zedekiah, (xxi. xxxiv.) the Babylonish captivity; the precise time of its duration; and the return of the Jews. ch. xxv. 11; xxix. 10. He described the destruction of Babylon, (ch. xxv. 12-13,) and the downfall of many nations, (ver. 19-25) in predictions, of which, the gradual and progressive completion kept up the confidence of the Jews for the accomplishment of those prophecies which he delivered relative to the MESSIAH and his period, ch. xxiii. 5, 6. He foreshewed the virtue of his atonement; the spiritual character of his covenant; and the inward efficacy of his laws;" ch. xxxi. 31-36; xxxiii. 8. Gray. After the murder of Gedeliah, (B. C. 586) Jeremiah was removed into Egypt, where he prophesied (xliii. to the end of the book) till his death: the time, and manner of which, are uncertain. It is not known at what time the book, entitled "the Lamentations of Jeremiah," was written ; some suppose it was upon the occasion of the death of Josiah, (B. C. 608), and that the prophet continued to lament all the miseries which the people suffered till the captivity; "the whole book lets us see from what a
* It had been laid aside by Manasseh, when he introduced idolatry into his kingdom, (2 Chron. xxxiii. 1-7) and being hid by some pious person, was not discovered till the 18th year of Josiah. 2 Kings xxii. 8.
+ Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, were called the four great prophets, to distinguish them from the other twelve, called minor prophets, not from any inferiority in their writings, but from the comparative brevity of their works.
height of dignity, to what a depth of misery, sin may bring nations, how much soever interested in God, and likewise directs us in our duty, in such states of affliction and misery, if we would obtain mercy." Poole's Annot.
10. HABAKKUK, began his ministry, B. C. 612.* He was contemporary with Jeremiah, whose prediction relative to the afflictions of his country he confirmed; declaring, that the sins then prevailing in Judea, (i. 1-4.) shall be punished by the Chaldeans, (ver. 5-10,) who shall impute their victory to their false god, ver. 11.† The prophet (ver. 12-17) expresses his astonishment at this providence of God, by which, the wicked [Chaldeans] are suffered to devour those who [however faulty] are [still] more righteous than themselves. In the second chapter, God explains this; reproving the prophet for hasty judgment, and enjoining patient waiting to the end, when the wicked shall be punished, and "the just shall live by his faith," ver. 2-4; the drunkenness, pride, rapacity, and ambition of the Chaldeans, (ver. 5, 9-12, 18, 19,) shall be punished by the nations who have formerly been oppressed by them, ver. 6-8; (this pointed to the Medes and Persians, who, when grown in power, should conquer Babylon) and, finally," the earth, [the existing universal empire of Babylon] shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD," shewn in his judgments upon Babylon, the oppressor of his people, ver. 14-20. The prophet concludes with a beautiful prayer and hymn of praise to God, in which, he declares his resolution to trust in Him under all circumstances, however outwardly discouraging. The name of the prophet, being translated,
* According to some, he flourished earlier, in the reign of Manasseh. See Poole's Annot.
+ This verse is, by some, supposed to point to the insanity of Nebuchadnezzar. See Dan. iv.