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shall glorify me; the dragons, and the daughters of the ostrich: because I have given waters in the wilderness; and flowing streams in the desert; to give drink to my people, my chosen: 21. This people, whom I have formed for myself; who shall recount my praise,
COMMENTARY, Isaiah opens this prophecy with a description of the Messiah at the time of his first advent : but he is soon naturally carried forward into the days of the second advent, by the declaration, that the Saviour's force shall not be abated, nor broken, until he hath firmly seated judgment in the earth, and until the distant nations shall earnestly wait for his law. Such an introduction may serve as a key to all that follows; teaching us to refer the latter part of the prediction to the final restoration of Israel, and consequently teaching us to understand the Babylon which is then to be destroyed, not literally, but mystically.
Having pourtrayed the character of the Messiah, and having announced that he is now about to declare a new series of events, Isaiah solemnly calls upon the whole world to praise the Lord; and then proceeds to foretell, that, at the time of the gestoration of Israel, God shall go forth in great wrath to confound his enemies, even that impious Antichristian confederacy so largely described in other predictions, which should dare to oppose the return of the converted of his people. After he has long holden his peace, after a long cessation of the visible interpositions of his providence, after he has long been still and has refrained himself; he shall now, in the last days, lift up his voice, and destroy those who had madly taken up arms against him. At this dreadful period, at this time of the end, he shall lay waste symbolical mountains and hills; and shall wither all their herbs, and exhaust their rivers so that islands shall be formed in their beds: in other words, as it is similarly predicted by St. John when describing the same awful consummation of the present order of things under the seventh vial *, he shall overturn both the larger and smaller Antichristian powers, shall diminish their population, and shall dry up their resources. Then will he lead those, who have long been mysteriously blind in error, by a way that they have not known; and convert their intellectual darkness into light. Then shall the deaf hear the trumpet of the gospel; and the blind behold the up-raised banner of the Messiah. For who are the blind and deaf, but the ancient people of God? Hath not blindness happened alike to the whole of Israel? the ruler and the ruled, the teacher and the taught? Are they not a nation robbed and spoiled; a prey, and none delivereth? And yet who hath given Jacob for a spoil, and
* Rev, xvi. 20.
Israel Israel to the robbers; except the Lord against whom he hath sinned, the Most High whose law he hath transgressed? It is on this account that he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger: nevertheless, such is his judicial infatuation, that, although the fire burneth him, he layeth it not to heart, he understandeth it not.
But, while Israel is thus inveloped in thick darkness, the Lord, who, in the midst of apparent neglect, hath all along kept his eye upon him, who hath steadily though secretly been causing the jarring affairs of the world to subserve his own high purposes; the Lord will suddenly call aloud, and make his voice to be heard to the very ends of the world. The north shall give up the dispersed of his people; and the south shall not keep back. The seed of Jacob shall be brought from the east, and gathered from the west. The blind people shall wonderfully return, and they shall have eyes; the deaf, and they shall have ears. Upheld by the powerful arm of the Lord, they shall neither be overwhelmed by the rivers of invaders that have long spoiled their country, nor destroyed by the desolating fire of war. Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba, which were lately numbered among the conquests of Antichrist, shall now become, as it were, a ransom for Israel*; men shall be given for him,
* These countries, at least Egypt and Ethiopia, will be conquered by Antichrist at the era of the restoration of the
and nations for his life. In the midst of the assembled tribes of the earth, he shall be the chosen witness of the Lord; and all people shall acknowledge, that beside Jehovah, there is no Saviour.
To this prophecy, respecting the final restoration of Israel, Isaiah attaches a severe denunciation against Babylon ; that is to say, the mystic Babylon, or the Roman Antichristian confederacy, for so the context leads us to understand it.
When the great confederacy is broken, then will the ten tribes begin to ber estored ; and, from this and other similar predictions, there is reason to think, that their restoration will not be unattended by miracles. Since both here and elsewhere * it is compared to the Exodus froin Egypt, it is not unnatural to suppose that there will be a certain degree even of circumstantial resemblance between thein. . . .
Jezs, (Dan. xi. 42, 43.): It is proper to remark, that this. part of the prediction has been applied to the days both of Sennacherib and Shalmaneser ; but, as Bp. Lowth observes, without any clear proof from history. In fact, tke general tenor of the whole prophecy shews plainly, that it must be referred to the days of the second advent and the general resturation of Israel. See particularly Chap. xliii. Ver. 5, 6, 7.
· * Compare Isaiah xi. 15, 16.
The gathering both of Jews and Gentiles into the millennian church-The greatness of Israel The fall of Antichrist.
Isaiah xlix. 5. And now saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him; (for even Israel shall be gathered unto him *, and I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength :) 6. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel : I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. 7. Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to him whom man de
* Even Israel shall be gathered unto him.) I have adopted the marginal reading 1%, instead of the textual reading *; both because it appears to me to correspond much better with the declaration of Christ's office, and because it evidently was the received reading in the days of the Seventy. In vefse 4, our Lord complains of his fruitless labour among the Jews : here he asserts, that, notwithstanding the former unsuccessfulness of his ministry, his office was to bring back Jacob to bis God, and therefore that Israel should surely be gathered unto him. The Lxx translate the passage as follows, omitting the negative particle-18 ouvęyayaty Taxeiß nrfos avlov, xet lopana. See Bp. Lowth in loc.