Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

honour and power, and I will commit thy government into his hand : and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,

and to the house of Judah; he shall take a tender care of the city 22 and country. And the key of the house of David will I lay upon

his shoulder, that is, he shall be lord steward of the household, .

bearing a key as the badge of his office; so he shall open, and 23 none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And

I will fasten him (as) a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for

a glorious throne to his father's house ; he shall be fixed in his 24 station, and be an honour to his family. And they shall hang

upon him all the glory of his father's house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons, that is, large and small vessels, (the allusion to a nail being still carried on,) his relations and de

pendants shall fare the better for him, and be advanced by him, 25 and he shall not be removed like his predecessors.

In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall ; and the burden that (was) upon it shall be cut off, that is, Shebna, and all his dcpendants : for the Lord hath spoken (it.]

REFLECTIONS.

1. E are again taught how vain all military preparations are,

without a dependence on God. The prophet mentions the particular methods that were taken to fortify and defend the city ; these were wise and right, and they are not blamed for taking them, but for trusting to them, and forgetting God; for not looking to him, as the strength of his people ; not having respect to him, who alone can give deliverance. There are too many wise counsellors and brave soldiers, that never look to their Maker; their measures may be prudent and vigorous, but, without God, they will all be in vain. It is peculiarly inexcusable for a people who live in a valley of vision, in a land of light and religious privileges, to trust to an arm of flesh. Let us guard againt this error, have continual respect to the LORD JEHOVAH, and pray that all who have the direction of our public concerns may do so too.

2. It is highly provoking to God for his professing people to follow diversions, and be making merry, when he calls to humiliation and devotion. When his judgments are abroad in the earth, when we are engaged in war, when our expenses are great, and our burdens heavy, it is then a time for humiliation and prayer ; his providence calls us to it; his word commands it. The intent of his judgments is to promote humiliation ; and that is a proper qualificatoin for his mercy, But alas ! how little of this appears ! Luxury, mirth, and diversions, dissipation of thought, forgetful, ness of God, and licentious principles prevail among us ; and there is reason to fear that for these things (which are peculiarly unseasonable and mischievous amidst public troubles and dangers) God Vol. V.

х

should bring ruin upon us. Let us, like the prophet, bewait such days of public trouble and perplexity ; and in the day of adversity consider; humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may e.ralt us in due time.

3. See in what slippery places great men stand. Shebna was the chief officer in Hezekiah's court, his prime minister ; he thought of no change, bis dependants thought of none; he concluded he should live and die in honour at Jerusalem, and be buried in his stately sepulchre. But he and his adherents were cast off, and he died in shame and obscurity. We see even in the present day such changes in courts ; which should cool our ardor for wealth and greatness, and lead us to seek the favour of the King of kings, and the honour that comes from him ; -for he will never cast off his faithful servants. Nor let us think ourselves secure in any private station, however comfortable ; we may be tossed to distant places, die, and be buried, we know not where. Let us then rejoice, as though we rejoiced not ; and seek an inheritance above, that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.

4. The hand of God should be owned in the change of placemen and courtiers. God made those changes in Hezekial's court, by disposing his mind to turn out Shebna, and to put Eliakim into his place ; and promotion still cometh from him. Though we imagine that it depends on the pleasure and fancy of princes, and those who influence them, it is He sets up and pulls down whom he pleasein. Let us think of this when we hear of such changes in favour of some whom we think are less favourable to the true interest of our country than we could wish. It should excite our earnest prayers, that God, who has the king's heart in his hand, would dispose him to make a wise choice of servants and officers, who shall be more intent on the public welfare than on aggrandizing their families, or advancing their dependants ; yea, who may be like Eliakim, fathers of their country, and take the tenderest care of the interest of the people. Many seek the ruler's favour, but every nian's judg. meni proceedeth from the Lord,

5. The character of Eliakii naturally leads our thoughts to the Lord Jesus Christ, whom God hath exalted to the highest authority over his house and kingdom, Rex. iii. 7. He has the highest dignity in his heavenly court, and unlimited authority over his church below. He is a nail in a sure place, who shall never be removed, never lose his interest in his father's esteem. All true christians confide upon him, he is the support of their spiritual life, and their possessing eternal life depends on him ; they derive their honour from him; and they are for ever segired by him. No other nail will support them ; but he is able to bear the stress of all those concerns which by faith are hung upon him. Let us then trust in him ourselves, and be earnestly desirous that our offspring and their interest may be liung upon him also ; that we may be able to say in life and death, I know in whom I have believe ed, and am persuaded he is able to keep that I have committed to him will ihai day.

CHAP. XXIII.

[ocr errors]

This chafter is a prophecy of the destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnez

zar, after a siege of thirteen years ; the inhabitants all fled to sea with their best effects, so that there was only the naked city lef?, which he entirely destroyed; it was the most famous city for trade, merchandise, and naval strength, in the world. 1 "HE burden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships of Tarshisli, all trad

ing ships, especially those of Spain ; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in ; no house of business, or entertainment, no ships entering into the harbour : from the land of

Chittim it is revealed to them ; Greece and Italy have heard 2 that it is wasted. Be still, ye inhabitants of the isle, or penin

sula : thou whom the merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, 3 have replenished.* And by great waters the seed of Sihor, the

harvest of the river, [is] her revenue ; and she is a mart of na4 tions.t Be thou ashamed, O Zidon : for the sea hath spoken,

[even) the strength of the sea, saying, I travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up young men, (nor) bring

up virgins ; even Sidon is depopulated by this event, and sends 5 forth no more colonies, nor do any persons come 10 selile there. As

at the report concerning Egypt (so) shall they be sorely pained at the report of Tyre; all Egype shall be astonished at the downfal o Tyre, which Nebuchadnezzar shall quickly after conquer ; 6 this was to be his wages. Pass ye over to Tarshish; howl, ye 7 inhabitants of the isle. [Is) this your joyous (city,) whose an

tiquity [is] of ancient days ?f her own feet shall carry her afar 8 off to sojourn ; her inhabitants shall fly from home. Who hath

taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning (city,) whose

merchants (are) princes, whose traffickers (are) the honourable 9 of the earth ?|| The Lord of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the ,

pride of all glory, (and) to bring into contempt all the honoura 10 ble of the earth. Pass through thy land as a river, O daughter

of Tarshish ; 80 called because enriched by its trade at sea ; pass through thy territorica, to save thyself in foreign countries, as swift

as a river, for (there is) no more strength ; thou hast no power 11 lo resist the enemy. He, that is, God, stretched out his hand

over the sea, he shook the kingdoms : the LORD hath given a

commandment against the merchant (city,) to destroy the strong 12 holds thereof. And he said, Thou shalt no more rejoice, O thou

oppressed virgin, daughter of Zidon :** arise, pass over to Chit

• Tyre was a colony of Sidon.

+ The products of Egypt, especially corn, were brought thither and carried to other nations by the Tyrians.

In the time of Joshua (chap. xix. 29) it was called, the strong city Tyre. Many heathen writers speak of it as very ancient.

Tyre boasted of itself as the queen of cities ; and its trade brought immense wealth 10 its inhabitants.

Sidon was older than Tyre, and the mother of it ; it is mentioned in Genesis, in Jacob'. blessing, and called Greas Siden, in Joshua xix. 28.

[ocr errors]

tim ; there also thou shalt have no rest; the Sidonians shall find 13 no rest in the countries to which they fee.* Behold the land of

the Chaldeans; this people was not, (till] the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness : they set up the lowers

thereof, they raised up the palaces thereof; [and] he brought 14 it to ruin.t Howl, ye ships of Tarshish, or Tartessus, in Spain, a

place which they much frequented : for your strength is laid waste. 15

And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king, or family of kings, namely Nebuchadnezzar, his son and grandson : after

the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot, that is, 16 be restored and rebuilt. Take an harp, go about the city, thou

harlot that hast been forgotten ; make sweet melody, sing many

songs, that thou mayest be remembered ; she shall endeavour to 17 allure others to traffick with her as before.ll And it shall come to

pass after the end of seventy years, that the Lord will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornica

tion, that is, shall traffick, with all the kingdoms of the world upon 18 the face of the earth. And her merchandise and her hire shall

be holiness to the LORD ; she shall make a better use of her wealth than before : it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the LORD, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing ; it shall be brought to Jerusalem for the use of the priests, a prophecy that many should be converted to the Jewish religion, and which had probably a further reference to their embracing the gospel, as many of them did. We have an account in Acts xxi. 4. of some disciples there, and Pauls interview with them ; and we read in'ancient ecclesiastical history of many converts, and some martyrs there.

REFLECTIONS.

SEE

'1. EE here an instance of the awful and melancholy change

that may be brought on the most wealthy and powerful state. It is a thought that often occurs ; yet there is none that is more necessary to be attended to. The rich, populous, and flourishing city of Tyre was destroyed, and its inhabitants forced to flee. This joyous city, full of mirth and diversions, was overwhelmed with sorrow and sadness. We may learn hence the vanity of the world ; and let those who live in wealth and splendor observe how soon it may sink and wither, and they lose their all, and be glad to fly any where for rest. Since wealth increases luxury and debauch

• Some of them Nebuchadnezzar conquered, and their own colonies were in an unsettled state, when Tyre was destroyed.

Babylon was a place of no note or eminence at the time of this prophet; the people lived in tents till the Assyrians built that city for their reception; yet the Chaldeans, or Bab. ylonians, should bring Tyre to ruin, though a strong, magnificent, and wealthy city,

Probably when Cyrus delivered the Israelites, he released the Tyrians, and many of them settled near the old city, which was then to return to her former state of prospero ity and traffick.

1 A rich city may be compared to an harlot on that account ; but perhaps here is an allusion to their lewdness, and debauchery, and their being skilled in the arts of fraud and luxury.

ery, we have need to be particularly watchful. But the principal ground of God's controversy with Tyre was its pride, v. 9. Men are very apt to increase in pride as their substance increases ; and therefore it is needful to charge those who are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, since this instance shows how soon they may make themselves wings and fly away.

2. We learn how to employ our substance to the best advantage, namely, to consecrate it to God. Let the merchandise of the trades. man, and the hire of the labourer, be holiness to the Lord, devoted to him, and employed for him in works of piety and charity, in relieving the necessitous, and supporting and encouraging the gospel. We see by v. 18, that when it is treasured and laid up it is not hotiness to the Lord; neither is it so when it is extravagantly spent. As God gives us our substance, it becomes us to employ it for him, then it will turn to the best account. By being rich in good works, ready to distribute, and willing to communicate, we shall lay up in store a good foundation against the time to come.

CHAP. XXIV.

This chapter contains a general description of the miseries brought up

on Israel and the neighbouring nations, first by Sennacherib, king of Assyria, and then by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.

1

it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattere th abroad the inhabitants thereof; there shall be a general confusion, as al 2 first when the earth was without form. And it shall be, as with

the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress ; as with the buyer, so with the seller ; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to

him ; there shall be a general desolation, and all ranks and orders 3 shall be involved in the same calamity. The land shall be utterly,

emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this 4 word. The earth mourneth [and] fadeth away, the world lan

guisheth (and) fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do

languish ; who have most to lose, and are least able to bear suffer5 ings. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof;

because they have transgressed the laws, changed, or neglected,

the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant ; either the Mo6 saic law, or the covenant with Noah. Therefore hath the curse

devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate by fire, sword, or pestilence : therefore the inhabitants of the earth 7 are burned, and few men left. The new wine mourneth, the

vine languisheth, and is spoiled by the enemy, all the merry heart8 ed do sigh. The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them

« ÖncekiDevam »