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15 severity because thine iniquities are great. Why criest thou for
thine affliction ? why dost thou lament' and expostulate with me ? thy sorrow [is] incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity :
(because) thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto 16 thee. Therefore, or ra hèr, yet surely, all they that devour
thee shall be devoured ; and all thine adversaries, every one of
them, shall go into captivity ; and they that spoil thee shall be a 17 spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey. For I
will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD ; because they called thee an outcast, [saying,
This sis) Zion, whom no man seeketh after. 18 Thus saith the Lord ; Behold, I will bring again the captiva
ity of Jacob's tents, alluding to their formerly dwelling in tents, and have mercy on his dwelling places; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, or hill, and the palace shall remain
after the manner thereof, that is, the temple, God's palace, shall 19 be reestablished upon iis former plan. And out of them, the tem
ple and private houses, shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry, that is, cheerfulness and thankfulness :
and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few ; I will also 20 glorify them, and they shall not be small, or brought low. Their
children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me ; their children shall inherit their fa. thers' honours and estates, the church and the commonwealth shall
be restored as before,* and I will punish all that oppress them. 21. And their nobles, or, noble One, that is, the Messiah,t shall be
of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them ; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me; they shall have no foreign governor, but ap. proach to God, consult him, and be judged by his law : for who [is] this that engaged his heart to approach unto me ? saith the
LORD ; without God's favourable interposition who could do so ? 22 And ye shall be my people again, and adhere to my instituted
worship, and I will be your God, 10 protect and bless you. Yet
in the mean time, 23 Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a
continuing whirlwind : it shall fall with pain upon the head of
the wicked who will not repent, and it shall be a continual whirl. 24 wind, not like a common one, which is violent but short. The
fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have done [it,] and until he have performed the intents of his heart : in the latter days ye shall consider it ; when there shall be a general conversion of the Jews, then they shall fully understand the meaning of such firophecies as these.
. Some understand it of their children being taken into covenant with God by baptism, on their conversion, as they formerly were by circumcision.
+ The word signifies, the mighty One, and seems rather to refer to Christ. who should draw near to God as a priest, as well as it king. Then follows a note of aclmiration, it is wonderful it should be so! Who is so entirely devoted to my service, and can approach to me * 25 mediator, but He?
1. IT is both our duty and happiness to serve the Lord. To ac
I knowledge God as our creator, preserver, and happiness ; and, by his appointment, to serve Jesus Christ, to whom he hath given the throne of David ! We are to reverence and honour him as a king ; to submit to his laws, and trust in his protection : and our deliverance from the power of spiritual enemies, is an unanswerable reason why we should serve him in holiness and righteous. ness all our days.
2. See the unreasonableness of anxious fear in God's servants, even when their circumstances are most distressing, v, 10. Israel is rebuked for their fears, (though they were punished with severity, and their wound seemed incurable) because they had so many promises to trust in. Under pressing dangers, or long and heavy affliction, we are ready to despair ; but God hath promised support and relief : and he is able to grant them, when earthly helps fail, and when, to human appearance, there is no hope. Our afflictions will have an happy issue ; let us then trust in the Lord for ever.
3. Let us rejoice in the mediation of Jesus Christ, our great high priest : he is not only our governor, but our intercessor also : he draws near to God on our behalf ; God has appointed and caused him to do so, that we might have strong consolation : he engaged his own heart to do it ; voluntarily and resolutely undertook this service. As we hope for the benefit of his mediation, let us engage our hearts likewise ; and while in his name we come boldly to the throne of grace, let us approach it with seriousness, reverence, and godly fear.
CHAP. XXXI. 1—26.
In this chapter gracious promises to Israel are continued ; but it is hard 10 say, whether they refer to their return from captivity, or 10 gospel times : perhaps the former part of the chapter may refer to their return from Babylon, and the latter to their conversion in the last days.
1 A T the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of
11 all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. 2 Thus saith the Lord, The people (which were] left of the
sword of Pharaoh, found grace in the wilderness ; [even) Israel, when I went to cause him to rest ; I led them through
the quilderness, and conducted them to their rest in Canaan, how 3 therefore can they doubt of my favour? The Lord bath appeared
of old unto me, (saying,] Yea, I have loved thee Israel with an everlasting love : therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee; what I did for thy fathers was founded on covenant love,
4 therefore I will continue to be gracious to thee. Again I will
build thee, and thou shalt be built, ( virgin of Israel ; I will restore thee to thy former state, and thou shalt be reformed from idolatry, and become pure again like a virgin : thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of
them that make merry ; thou shalt have all marks of civil and 5 religious joy. Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains
of Samaria : the planters shall plant, and shall eat (them) as
common things ; their vines shall yield such plenty of fruit that 6 every one may eat of it without restriction.* For there shall be a
day, [that] the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim, which was near Samaria, where there used to be the greatest of position to the worship at Jerusalem, shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God; an allusion to centinels or watchmen calling the people together on particular occasions, especially at 7 festivals. For thus saith the LORD ; Sing with gladness for
Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations, when ye see the beginning of deliverance : publish ye, praise ye, and say, 0 LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel ; complete this good
work ; or rather, Thou hast saved them, and we praise thee for 8 thy faithfulness. Behold, I will bring them from the north coun
try, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, (and) with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together ; those that are least able to
travel shall be inclined and enabled to come : a great company 9 shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with
supplications will I lead them ; godly sorrow for past sins shall mingle itself with all their joy : I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble ; I will provide for them, and protect them in their journey :
for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim (is) my firstborn, and 10 I will restore them to their former state. Hear the word of the
LORD, O ye nations, and declare [it] in the isles afar off, and
say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as Il a shepherd [doth] his flock. For the Lord hath redeemed Ja
cob, and ransomed him from the band of [him that was] stronger 12 than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of
Zion, and shall flow together in great muliitudes, like the streams of a river, to the goodness of the LORD, to share in the good! things of the Lord, in the common supplies of life, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd ; and their soul shall be as a watered garden ; the influences of divine grace shall complete their joy ; and they shall not
sorrow any more at all ; they shall have no such trouble again for 13 a long time, as they have lutely erperienced. Then shall the vir
• There was a law, that when a vine was planted the fruit should not be touc.me for three years, the proutce of the fourth was conseciated to God, and in tlie tiith it might be catan as a co.ninon thing.
+ This is customary still among the Turks, where the priests proclaim from the tops of their churches, that the hour of prayer is come.
gin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together : for I will turn their mourning into joy,and will comfort them, and make
them rejoice from their sorrow ; all ages and ranks shall agree in 14 signs of universal joy. And I will satiate the soul of the priests
with fatness, they shall have plenty of sacrifices and offerings, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD ; both the firiests and the people shall rejoice in the 'abundance of di.
vine blessings. 15 Thus saith the LORD ; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamen
tation, [and] bitter weeping ; Rachel weeping for her children,
refused to be comforted for her children, because they (were] 16 not.* Thus saith he LORD ; Refrain thy voice from weeping,
and thine eyes from tears : for thy work, thy tender concern for
thy children, shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall 17 come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope
in thine end, or, 10 thy posterity, saith the LORD, that [thy] chil
dren shall come again to their own border. 18 I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself (thus ;]
Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, I received instruction, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke :) or rather, though I was before as a bullock that would not bear it : turn thou me,
and I shall be turned ; for thou (art) the LORD my God; I need 19 thy gracious influence to bring me to a better temper. Surely af.
ter that I was turned, and felt the influence of thy grace, I repented ; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon (my]. thigh, expressed great grief and humiliation : I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my
youth, the burden of my former sins. To this fienilent language 20 God graciously replies, (Is] Ephraim my dear son ? or, Is he
not my dear son ? (is he] not a pleasant child ? for since I spake against him, by threatenings and judgments, I do earnestly remember him still : therefore my bowels are troubled for him ; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD; I retain my
former parental kindness, and will certainly deliver and bless him. 21 Set thee up way marks, make thee high heaps, that is, tall poles,
finger posts, or pillars for direction, to make their way plain ; set thine heart toward the highway, (even] the way (which] thou wentest : turn again, o virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities.
How long wilt thou go about, () thou blacksliding daughter, fluctuating between doubt and hope ? for the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man; or, a woman shall put to the rout a strong man ;t that is, God will give the Israelites extraordinary strength, so that, though weak as wo
• At the time of the captivity there was an assembly of the enemy at Ramnah. ch. xl. i. the captives were brought thither, and from thence carried to Babylon; and as Rchel was buried near that place, the prophet, liy an eles ant tigure, represents her as looking out of her grave und bewailing the captivity of her descendants. This is applied and accoinmodated in the New Testament to the slaughter of the infants in this ner hbourhood. Scc Ma..ii. 17, 18.
men, they shall be able to resist and overcome all opposition. 23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel ; as yet, or,
hereafter, they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity ; The LORD bless thee, 0 habitation of justice, [and] mountain of ho
liness ; they shall become a reformed, upright, and honourable 24 people. And there shall dwell in Judah itself, and all the cities
thereof together, husbandmen, and they [that] go forth with 25 flocks; the countries and cities shall be inhabited. For I have sa
tiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful
soul ; I will comfort them under their sorrows, and supply them 26 with all good. The next are the prophet's own words. Upon this
I awaked, and beheld ; and my sleep was sweet unto me ; these things God revealed to me in a vision ; I awaked, reflected upon them, and found them very comfortable to my soul; I was muck refreshed with these gracious intimations of deliverance.
W E are here taught, that it is good in times of trouble to
V look back to former instances of God's care and kindness. The Israelites in their captivity are directed to consider what God had done for their fathers, to prevent them from being disheartened by the difficulties that were in the way of their return.
Thus should we think how often God hath supported his church and interest, and particular saints in times of distress ; how often we have found grace, even when in the wilderness, and been drawn by his loving kindness. Let this recollection and experience encourage our hope, that he who hath delivered and doth deliver, will still deliver.
2. When God has designs of mercy for a sinful people, he stirs up a spirit of penitence, prayer, and reformation. Thus it is foretold that the Israelites should return wiih werping and supplication, and that Jerusalem should be called The habitation of justice, and The mountain of holiness : and we may hope for the continuance of divine favours, and the restoration of prosperity, if God's goodness dispose us to repentance, fill us with shame and sorrow for our iniquities ; if we earnestly call upon his name, and live quiet and peace. able lives in all godliness and honesty.
3. The common bounties of Providence are to be enjoved and acknowledged as the fruits of divine goodness. When our wheat, and wine, and flocks are increased, it becomes us to adore the goodness of God therein ; to acknowledge it with seriousness at our meals ; to flow together to the solemn assembly, and there sing his praises. Especially should we praise him for that rivine influence which makes the souls of men like a watered garden. Thus shall we be satisfied with his goodness ; taste his love in all cur comforts ; find them doubly pleasant ; and bu in little danger of abus. ing them. VOL. V.
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