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"shall conceive and bring forth." The Hebrew word is a participle of the present tense; and, in strictness, therefore, should receive the first translation; the Septuagint and Vulgate express the latter. But, there is no real difference between the renderings. In reference to the representation, actually before his mental eye, the prophet beheld the virgin who had conceived and was bringing forth a son; in reference to the divine event, which, by inspiration, he felt to be foretold by it, he saw the virgin, who was, at the time fixed by the Almighty, to conceive and bring forth Between these references a translator might choose. If his aim were to preserve the poetical spirit of the original, he would prefer the former if he meant his translation to be an interpretation of his text, (and the Septuagint throughout is an interpretative version), he would prefer the latter.
III. It has been asked, how the prophecy can be referred, at the same time, to the Messiah, who was not to be born till centuries after the prediction, and to a child, who was not to attain his fourth year before the two kings, by whom Jerusalem was then besieged, were to be destroyed; and the birth of which child was to serve for a sign of Judah's deliverance from them. This admits an easy answer:-It was not the child, whom the prophet foretold, that was to be the sign of the immediate deliverance of Judah from the two kings, who then besieged her capital. The sign of her
deliverance from them, was, that the prophet, transported into future times, beheld in representation the Virgin-mother, and the Divine Birth; that he announced this representation to the people, and that, in the very words of God, he gave them a solemn and distinct assurance that their delivery from their immediate enemies was so very near that a child, such as was prophetically represented to him, would not reach the age of discretion, before the deliverance of Judah, from the two kings by whom she was immediately threatened.
In this manner, the child served as a sign from above of the immediate deliverance of Judah.
On the other hand, to use the words of Dr. Lowth, the prophecy is introduced in so solemn a manner, the sign is so marked, the name of the child is so expressive; the terms in which his order, his office, and his character are described are so magnificent, that the hearers could not apply them to a common child.-They could only apply them to the divine heir and restorer of the throne of David, the desired of nations, the promised Messiah. His glories from everlasting to everlasting had been often foretold: his virgin birth was then first revealed, and thus the divine representation was both a sign of the immediate deliverance of Judah, and of the future birth and reign of her divine Redeemer.
IV. It remains to observe, 1st, that, in the
by the word, until," the version of the Septuagint has been followed:-2dly, That the expression, "And his name shall be called," is an Hebraism synonimous with the words, “he shall be:" and 3dly, That the words, "And the "Government shall be on his shoulder," are explained by Isa. ch. xxii, v. 22, to import that the key of David, or some other ensign of royalty, hung from the shoulder of the child, whom the prophet saw, and announced him royal.
END OF VOL. IV.
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