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such artificial colouring. This portion of Isaiah strikes me as affording a remarkable contrast in this particular between the style of sacred and profane poetry. In prophecy, the curtain (if the expression may be allowed) is often suddenly dropped upon the action that is going on before it is finished, and the subject is continued in a shifted scene, as it were, of vision. This I take to be a natural conse. quence of the manner in which futurity was represented in emblematical pictures to the imagination of the prophet; and the breaks and transitions are more or less sudden according to the natural turn of the writer's mind. For prophecy was a business in which the intellect of the man under the control of the inspiring spirit had an active share, and accord. ingly the composition owes much of its colouring (but nothing more) to the natural genius and taste of the writer. And hence it is that such a variety of style is found in the works of the different authors of the Old Testament, all equally inspired. In Isaiah the transitions are remarkably sudden and bold; and yet this suddenness and boldness of transition is seldom, I think, if ever in him a cause of obscurity. In the present instance, the scene of messengers sent upon a message is suddenly closed with
this second verse, before the messengers set out, be fore even the message is given to them. But the new objects which are immediately brought in view evidently represent under the usual emblems of sacred prophecy other parts of the same entire action, and declare with the greatest perspicuity the purport, the season, and the effect of the message. An ensign or standard is lifted up on the mountains; a trumpet is blown on the hills: the standard of the cross of Christ; the trumpet of the gospel. The resort to the standard, the effect of the summons, in the end will be universal. A pruning of the vine shall take place after a long suspension of visible interpositions of Providence, just before the season of the gathering of the fruits. Fowls of prey and wild beasts shall take possession of Jehovah's dwelling place. But at that very season, when the affairs of the church seem ruined and desperate, a sudden reverse shall take place. The people to whom the message is sent, shall be conducted in pomp, as a present to Jehovah, to the place of his name, to Mount Zion.
Verse 3. " See ye--hear ye"- These imperatives should be future indicatives. So the original, words are taken by the Vulgate, the Syriac, the Chaldee, by Calvin, Junius and Tremellius; the English Geneva, and by Vitringa. The prophecy announces a display of God's
and providence which should be notorious to the whole world, and particularly, I think, alludes to a renewed preaching of the gospel with great power and effect in the lat
Verse 4. “ For so the Lord,” &c.
This verse seems to describe a long suspension of the visible interpositions of Providence in the affairs of this world and in favour of his people, under the image of that stillness and stagnation of the atmosphere which takes place in the extreme heats of the latter end of summer.
_“I will consider in my dwelling place;" rather, with the margin, “ I will regard my set dwelling place;" or, with Bishop Lowth, “ I will regard my fixed habitation.” It is very extraordinary that these verbs, “I will take my rest -I will consider,' are imperatives of the second person singular in the Syriac; but they have not that form in the original; nor so taken will they give any sense consistent with the context.
The sentiment is, that notwithstanding a long cessation of extraordinary manifestations of God's power, his providence is not asleep; he is all the while regarding the conduct and the fortunes of his people; he is not forgetful of his promises to his chosen people, but, though often by a silent and secret operation, is at all times directing every thing to their ultimate prosperity, and to the universal establishment of the true religion.
_" like a clear heat upon herbs;" or, according to the margin and Bishop Lowth, 6 after rain,"
wy. But the word 718 never signifies rain; for the text cited by Kimchi (Job xxxvii, 11) as an instance of this sense is not at all to the purpose. The physiology of the book of Job lies much too deep for Kimchi's penetration. Nor does the word in the singular number ever signify herbs. The sort of heat described in this passage never follows rain, but frequently precedes it. The particle denotes only close proximity: applied therefore to time, it may as well
may as well express the moment just before as the moment just after. The word 718 in Job xxxvii, 3, certainly signifies lightning: it will bear the same sense in the 11th verse of the same chapter. It signifies lightning in Hab. iii, 4, and Hos. vi, 5. And the sense of lightning will very well apply in this place; for the heat which the prophet describes is of that sort which precedes a thunder-storm.
-"a cloud of dew." This still heat is often accompanied with a moisture of the atmosphere, and always with a clouded sky.
-" in the heat of harvest." For ons, “ in the heat,” several respectable MSS. of Kennicott's col. lation, and others of De Rossi's, have us, “ in the day of harvest;” and this sense is certainly expressed in the versions of the Syriac, the LXX, and Vulgate. But the received reading gives so clear and strong à sense, that I prefer it.
Verse 5. _" and take away and cut down.”
“ cut down,” inn. The word occurs in this place only. Instead of a verb in Hiphil, from the root 770, I would take it as à noun substantive, the náme of some lopping instrument, with 7 prefixed, and the nominative case of the verb 990m. This both simplifies the construction and, by introducing a noun corresponding with him, produces a parallel. ism between this and the preceding hemistich, which otherwise is wanting. The word is so taken in the Great Bible: -" and he shall cut downe the in