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speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he 4 prophesieth. And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied ; neither shall they wear a rough gar5 ment to deceive: But he shall say, I [am] no prophet, I [am]
an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my 6 youth. And [one] shall say unto him, What [are] these wounds in thine hands? these marks, or pictures? An allusion to the custom of setting marks of idolatrous deities in their hands ; as the votaries of Bacchus had an ivy leaf painted on their hands. Then he shall answer, [Those] with which I was wounded [in] the house of my friends; these are not idolatrous marks, which I have made, but those of the master to whom I belong, or, which were made by my friends in infancy or childhood.‡
Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, the shepherd spoken of chap. xi. 4. and also Ezek. xxiv. 33. the Messiah, appointed by me to feed my flock, and against the man [that is] my fellow, my intimate friend and associate, the man that is near and dear to me, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, afflict, torment, and crucify him, and the sheep shall be scattered; his disciples shall forsake him, and the whole nation of the Jews shall be dispersed: and, or, nevertheless, I will turn mine hand upon the little ones, I will bring my poor feeble people 8 back again. And it shall come to pass, [that] in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off [and] die; but the third shall be left therein; referring to the many devastations made among the Jews for a considerable space of time after the death of Christ, and especially by the Romans. 9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It [is] my people; and they shall say, the LORD [is]. my God; after the Jewish nation have passed through many trials, they shall be taken into covenant again, and act and be treated as my peculiar people.
CHAP. XIV. Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy 2 spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather
This is urged in favour of persecution; but it is probable the Jews on their first conversion may not be sensible of the abolition of the mosaic law; till then they shall ap prehend themselves as under a law to punish idolatry with death, according to Deut. xiii. 6. and so it intimates, that they shall have so much zeal against those that would turn them from the living God, or their own Messiah, that they would not spare even their own children.
Before the conversion of the Jews there shall be false prophets and false Christs, who will put on the appearance of sanctity and strictness, like Elijah and John the Baptist; but these delusions shall then cease; and those who intended to turn them away from the Messiah, or to support idolatrous worship, shall some of them be made examples of, and others shall be ashamed to do it.
Though some suppose it refers to his being scourged as a false prophet, and his ac knowledging those as his friends who had reclaimed him from prophesying by this
all nations against Jerusalem to battle; the many nations who served under the Romans, including the greater part of the world then known; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half, or, a portion, of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city; or rather, shall be translated; even the residue of the people that shall not be cut off, that is, those who are not destroyed by the cruelty of the siege, shall go into captivity. These two verses refer to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
ET us by faith apply ourselves to this fountain opened for stand in need of it, as well as the inhabitants of Jerusalem. We are all guilty and polluted creatures, who want pardon and sanctification; and the blood of Christ was shed for this purpose. His wounded hands and feet, and pierced side, are the fountain from whence these blessings flow; the appointed means of forgiveness and cleansing; and there is salvation in no other. Hither then let us apply with humble faith and cheerful hope. If the sinners of Jerusalem, whose hands were imbrued in the blood of Christ, were not excluded from mercy; if this fountain was opened even for them who had murdered the Lord of life; surely the greatest offenders need not despair. It is a fountain that is inexhaustible, that flows, and shall for ever flow, for the benefit of all who apply to it. It is a fountain opened, and not sealed; and whosoever will, may come and take of these waters freely. This is an easy method of pardon and salvation; God does not demand any hard thing; only to wash, and be clean. Let us not reject the blessing nor quarrel with the method of obtaining it which God has appointed. All who are washed here, who are pardoned and sanctified through Christ, shall be made kings and priests unto God but our Lord may say to each of us, as he said unto Peter on another occasion, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part in me.
2. We are led to acknowledge the goodness of God in giving his Son for us, though so near and dear to him. Though his shepherd, his fellow, his companion, his delight, who lay in his bosom; yet he gave him up to sufferings and death; yea, he called on the sword to awake against him; not merely to terrify, but to smite him; and all this, for us men, and our salvation.' How great an evil must sin be, and how hateful to God, when he took such an expensive method to remove from us the punishment due to it! how ready must God be to pardon, sanctify, and save all penitent sinners! And if he spared not his own Son, bus
gave him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things?
3. We should earnestly desire to be found in the number of Christ's sheep. He is the good shepherd, who laid down his life for the sheep and he calls even us to hear his voice and follow him as such; and happy are those who do so; for he will give unto his sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any. pluck them out of his hands. They may sometimes be affrighted and scattered, persecuted and hunted as a prey, and seen as sheep without a shepherd: but God will turn his hand upon them; will preserve them from real evil, and recover them again to the fold. Christ will take care even of his little ones, the poorest and meanest among them: he will carry them in his arms, lay them in his bosom, and bring them safe to his green pastures and living streams in the heavenly world. Let this engage us to commit ourselves to his pastoral care, to obey his voice, and follow the footsteps of his flock. Then, whatever darkness, enemies, or dangers, may threaten us, we may boldly say, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; his rod and his staff shall comfort me.
4. Let us frequently and solemnly confirm our covenant with God through Christ, v. 9. and be often saying, in retirement, in the family, in the house of God, and at the table of Christ, The Lord is my God. And let us be careful that our life and conversation correspond with such a declaration; that we live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present evil world; that we give ourselves to reading, meditation, and prayer; and live in all holy obedience to his laws. Then God will own us as his covenant servants; he will say concerning us, This is my people, and I will be their God for ever and ever, and their guide even unto death.
5. Let us not think it strange if we are called to trials and sufferings. God often sees it good to bring his little remnant through the fire. But it is to refine them, as silver is refined in the furnace ; and to try them, as gold is tried. Whom the Lord loveth he chas teneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth; but he does not afflict them for his pleasure, but for their profit; that they may be partakers of his holiness; and these light afflictions, which are bat for a moment, he will support them under at present, and they shall finally work out for them a far more exceeding and an eternal weight of glory.
CHAP. XIV. 3, to the end.
God in this chapter threatens destruction to the enemies of his people; the descendants of those nations who fought under the Roman standard, and who will be confederated with Gog and Magog when this vengeance overtakes them, (Ezek. xxxviii. 39. and Rev. xx. 8, 9.) He will display his power in behalf of his people in a manner so astonishing and miraculous, (perhaps by a glorious appearance of the Messiah, v. 4.) that even they themselves, and much more their enemies, shall be struck with terror. Their prosperity shall then be permanent and unmixed, and they shall be made the instruments of converting other nations to the faith of the Messiah. The great increase and prosperity of the christian church, the new Jerusalem, is then described, (in terms accommcdated to Jewish ideas) and the most signal vengeance denounced against all his enemies. From that happy period God's name will be honoured in every thing, and his worship reverently observed in the minutest circumstances.
HEN shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which [is] before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, [and there shall be] a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half 5 of it toward the south. And ye shall flee [to] the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azel: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah : and the LORD my God shall come, [and] all the saints with thee; or rather, the valley of the mountain shall be filled up, for the valley of the mountain shall join to Azel, it shall be filled up as it was in the earthquake in the days of Uzziah, (see Josephus' Antiq. 9, 11.) By that earthquake mount Olive was actually cleft asunder on the west side, and part of it was broken off, and removed to the distance of half a mile, and stopped between two mountains, and so filled up the valley. Whether this is to be understood literally, or is a strong figurative expression for a remarkable appearance of 6 God, is uncertain. And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] 7 the light shall not be clear, [nor] dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night : but it shall come to pass, [that] at evening time it shall be light.†
• Many commentators have supposed that Christ will descend in person, and the moun. tains be removed; otherwise it is a figurative expression of an extraordinary commotion. Some think that this refers to the day of the gospel dispensation in general, under which, hitherto, light and darkness have generally been blended; and to its gradual clearing up toward the latter end.
6 And it shall be in that day, [that] living waters, the waters of divine truth, shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea: and half of them toward the hinder sea; a figurative expression referring to the wide effusion of divine knowledge from Jerusalem when restored: in summer and in winter shall it be; the waters shall neither be dried by heat, nor stopped by frost; nothing shall hinder the progress of divine 9 knowledge and truth. And the LORD shall be king over all the
earth in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one; all shall forsake idolatry, and worship the one living and true 10 God. All the land shall be turned as a plain, and he shall en
And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, without any apparent cause, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth; they shall be struck with blindness, lameness, and 13 dumbness. And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour; God will inspire them with a spirit of discord, so that they shall fall 14 upon one another. And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; shall fight with it, or for it; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and 15 apparel, in great abundance. And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague; God shall not only destroy the enemies themselves, but all the cattle and instruments they made use of.*
compass the whole land as a plain, from Geba, north of Jerusalem, to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and [from] the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses: expressions which describe the populousness of Jerusalem in the latter day; and as the city, in its former extent would not then contain the inhabitants, God promises to make room for them by smothing the neighbouring hills; a strong argument that the Jews shall return to 11 their own land, And [men] shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; no more curse there; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
And it shall come to pass, [that] every one [that is] left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts
This makes it probable that it will be by a pestilential disorder; and that the power of God shall be seen in preserving the Jews.