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mised Seed, who, by the proofs of his own deity, shall overthrow the credit of these imaginary gods, in whom thou hast put thy trust.
_“ a virgin shall conceive”- “ Ergo niby non solum puella vel virgo, sed cum ŠTITQOEi virgo abscondita dicitur et secreta, quæ nunquam virorum potuerit aspectibus, sed magnâ parentum diligentiâ custodita sit. Linguâ quoque Punicâ, quæ de Hebræorum fontibus manare dicitur, virgo, Alma appellatur. Et ut risum præbeamus Judæis, nostro quoque sermone, Alma, sancta dicitur......Et quantum cum meâ pugno memoriâ, nunquam me arbitror apy in muliere nuptâ legisse, sed in eâ quæ virgo est, ut non solum virgo sit, sed virgo junioris ætatis, et in annis adolescentiæ. Potest enim fieri ut virgo sit vetula, ista autem virgo erat in annis puellaribus: vel certe virgo non puellula, et quæ adhuc virum nosse non posset, sed adhuc nubilis.” Hieronym. ad locum.
“ A certain virgin”- “A certain”- this is the force of the prefixed 17.
Verse 15. “ Butter and honey,” &c. This text clearly describes the truth of the human nature in the child to be miraculously born. His infancy shall. be nourished with the ordinary food of that tender
age, and he shall gradually grow in stature and discretion.
Verse 16. “ For before the child shall know the land which thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings."
66 For before this child shall know
To refuse the evil and choose the good,
The land shall become desolate,
By whose two kings thou art distressed." Bish. Lowth. This is certainly the most exact translation of the passage as it stands, if yp be the participle passive of the verb rp. But the land which Ahaz abhorred, according to the common translation, must be Samaria, or Syria, or both. But these were two distinct lands, under two distinct, though confederate, kings. The two kings, by whom Ahaz was distressed, according to Bishop Lowth’s translation, were the kings of these two distinct lands. But the words of the Prophet describe some one land which had two kings. Father Houbigant removes this difficulty by chang
into Dybo. Then he renders the passage thus; “ Sed puer nondum sciet respuere malum et eligere bonum, cum terra hæc de quâ tu nunc augeris propter duos reges, libera dimittetur. This
sense the words so amended will well bear; and it must be confessed that three MSS., of no great antiquity, (see De Rossi), and the version of the LXX, favour the emendation.
If this be the true sense, it is a promise to the king of Judah of the deliverance of his own land from the danger which threatened it from the kings of Samaria and Syria, before a certain child should begin to distinguish between good and evil. The Prophet says “ before this child.” This expression seems to refer to the child last mentioned, the Emanuel, the Son of the Virgin. But a prediction of deliverance from a present danger, before a child, not to be born for many centuries, should attain a certain age, would be a promise affording little comfort. It would rather give room to apprehend that the danger would continue till the birth at least of that child; and that till that period, however distant, the land of Judah would be harassed with incessant wars with the confederate kings of Samaria and Syria. For the reasonable conclusion from the terms of the promise would be, that the danger was to last till the time set in the promise for the deliverance should come. According to the common translation,
or to Bishop Lowth's translation, the same difficulty occurs about the child.
Expositors, therefore, have supposed that the child spoken of in this verse is a different child from that which was the subject of the last. Some tell us that Isaiah, when he uttered this 16th verse, pointed to his son Shearjashub; assuming, what they certainly cannot prove, that Shearjashub was at this time an infant in arms. But if the Prophet had pointed to any child, he would have said, not simply hy3n, but Mit 7y37. Father Houbigant, aware perhaps of this objection, makes no use of Shearjashub, but imagines that the child of this 16th verse, is a child not mentioned before; namely, the Prophet's son, Mahershalalhashbaz, not yet born, or begotten. But that the phrase “ this child,” introduced just after the mention of a particular child, should not rehearse that child, but signify another child not yet expressly mentioned, and to be mentioned hereafter in a very distant
part of the discourse, is a very unnatural supposition. I should sooner embrace the interpretation of those who understand why, not of any
individual infant, but generally of the whole infancy of Palestine at that time; as if the Prophet had said, Before our infant children arrive at an age to distinguish between good and evil, the land of Judea shall be delivered from its present dangers.
The learned Vitringa, who gives that translation of this 16th verse which Bishop Lowth has adopted, is clear in the opinion, that the “ this child” of this verse cannot be expounded of Shearjashub, or of Mahershalalhashbaz, or of any other child than the Emanuel of the 14th verse; and yet he understands this verse as a prediction of the overthrow of the kingdoms of Syria and Israel as a thing near at hand. To draw this signification of the proximity of the event, from what should seem to set it at so great a distance, the reference of it to the times of the Emanuel, he has recourse to this expedient. He says, that to the imagination of the Prophet, in ecstasy, the Emanuel was present as already born; and therefore in his mouth the words, “ Before this child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good,” describe only the ordinary interval between the birth of a child and the opening of its mental faculties, reckoned, not from the future birth of the Emanuel, but from the time when the prophecy was uttered, with which the birth of the Emanuel to the Prophet, in the ecstatic vision, seemed coinci.