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fons, Isaac and Ismael, one by a free-wo- CHAP. man, and the other by a slave, God was pleased to make another limitation of the promised feed, by which Ismael was excluded. Yet, excluded as he was, the piety of Abraham procured for him also favour before God; and it was predicted, that he too should become a great nation. The promise was renewed to Ifaac in the very same terms in which it had been already made to Abraham ; “ In thy feed shall all "' nations of the earth be blessed."
5 To Jacob.
5. The fame circumstance of having two sons happened also to Isaac, and the promise of the Messiah became yet more confined and particular. So accurate and consistent is the word of God with itself, and so careful is the inspired penman to prevent even the least possibility of error, that now, for the third time, the promise is youchsafed to Jacob, in the self-fame form in which it had formerly been to his father and his grandfather ; “In thee, and “ in thy seed, shall all the families of the
earth be blessed."
6. To Judah.
6. The next limitation of the promise was made to Judah ; God speaking through
sect. the mouth of his father Jacob, as he I!. lay on his death-bed,
“ The sceptre shall “ not depart from Judah, nor a law
giver from between his feet, until Shi“ loh come: and unto him shall the ga. “ thering of the people be.”: Commentators indeed are much divided refpe&ting the literal meaning of the word Shiloh but they nearly all agree in supposing it to be a title of the Messiah. There is also some difficulty in ascertaining the precise idea of the terms fceptre and lawgiver ; but the latter part of the prophecy requires no comment : the admiffion of the Gentiles into a participation of the favour of God, along with the Jews, is clearly predicted in this passage, as well as in the preceding promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob'.
| The two best interpretations of this mysterious pro. phecy are perhaps those of Mr. Bryant and Dr. Blayney, Though they do not agree in the idea, which is to be affixed to the terms fceptre and lawgiver; yet, according to both their explanations, the prophecy is exactly fulfilled. Mr. Bryant lupposes, that the sceptre and lawgiver here spoken of do not allude to any earthly power, but to the theocracy, under which the children of Israel, and consequently the children of Judah, were placed. The latter is spoken of more particularly, because he is appointed by the providence of God to remain till the time of Christ. He continued, therefore, though under various civil governors, still to be subject to
7. We now come to the last limitation CHAP. of the promised seed, in the family' of Da- 'I.
the divine fceptré, until that fatal moment came, when the To David. real King of Judah appeared upon earth, and was rejected by his rebellious subjects. Pilate" saith unto the Jews,
Behold your king ! But they cried out, Away with him,
away with him, crucify him. Pilate faith unto them, “ Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered, « We bave no king but Cæfar.” Shiloh was how come, and that heavenly fceptre, which had never before departed from them in the midtt of all their calamities, left them ultimately by their own desire. Heretofore, prophets usually appeared among them in the days of their affiction : but fince they have ceased to be God's peculiar people ; fince the fceptre has departed from Judah, though their affliction has been longer and more grievous than ever it was before, yet no prophet or lawgiver has been manifested
them. Dr. Blayney, in a Sermon preached before the University, but I believe never published, offered the following expofition. The signification of the Hebrew word here translated fceptre, is rod. Each tribe had a peculiar rod, whence, by a common figure in rhetoric, it is put for the tribe itfelf, and as fuch is perpetually rendered tribe. The word 724 bis feet, is in the Samaritan Pentateuch 337 bis banners. In this sense therefore the passage will run ; “ Tribeship (i. e. « existence as a tribe) shall not depart from Judah, nor a « commander from his banners, until Shiloh come.” According to such an interpretation, the prophecy is every way fulfilled. Judah poffefled a distinct government as a tribe, till the time of Chrift; whereas the other ten tribes, which compofed the kingdom of Ifrael, were loft and confounded after the Babylonian captivity. But if tranflated sceptre, or kingly autbority, the prophecy is manifestly falfe ; for during the whole time of the judges, we do not find that they were
SECT. vid of the tribe of Judah. The passage, in
which this promise is generally supposed
elected from Judah in preference to the other tribes; and, when their authority ceased, the first king was a Benjamite. It is true, that his successors were of Judah; but the princes for the last century or two before Christ were of the Asmonean family, and the last monarch, Herod, was an Idumean. To this may be added, the interruption of regal power by the Babylonian captivity, and the perfecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, in each of which, the sceptre, if the word relates to a monarchical form of government, had as completely departed from Judah, as in his final conquest by the Romans.
The phrase, from between bis feet, is not used elsewhere in Scripture to express a man's progeny, but instead of it; tbe children which come out of bis loins. By the happy substitution of 1527 bis ftandards, for 1997 bis feet, according to the Samaritan Pentateuch, we find, that Judah was not to lose a chief invested with civil and military authority, till the coming of Christ. That each tribe had a peculiar chief and standard, appears from Numb. ii.
The chief difficulty arises from ascertaining the literal meaning of Sbilob. Some, by a flight alteration, would read ow), and translate it fent, a title frequently assumed by Christ. Others throw out the ', and read i3w, affirming it to be a contraction of three words w it is, 3 to, and N17 bim. According to this, the passage runs, “The feeptre shall not
depart, &c. until he comes, to whom it is," i. e. for whom it is reserved, namely, Christ, the supreme King of heaven and earth. Others translate it child, so called in Hebrew from 732', on account of the tranquillity of the child while in the womb; and thence more peculiarly applicable to the child Christ, who is elsewhere called the Prince of Peace. The LΧΧ. read τα αποκειμενα αυτω, perhaps it might be
to have been conveyed to the pious king, CHAP. is in the seventh chapter of 2 Samuel ; and it shall be given at large, on account of some difficulties which are contained in it, according to our present translation.
« Now, therefore, so shalt thou say to my
servant David, Thus faith the Lord “ of hosts, I took thee from the sheep-cote, “ from following the sheep, to be ruler
over my people, over Israel. And I was " with thee, whithersoever thou wenteft, 66 and have cut off thin'e enemies out of
thy sight, and have made thee a great
name, like unto the name of the great " men that are in the earth. Moreover, “ I will appoint a place for my people Ifa “ rael, and will plant them, that they may “ dwell in a place of their own, and move
no more; neither thall the children of “ wickedness afflict them any more, as be“ fore time, and as since the time, that “ I commanded judges to be over my peoople Israel, and have caused thee to rest “ from all thine enemies. Also the Lord " telleth thee, that he will make thee an
with more propriety é aproxesperos autw. Whatever be the literal meaning of this word, both Christians and Jews unanimously agree in referring it to the Meffiah.