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spoil appeareth to extend from the viii th to the xiiith chapter ; but this will more clearly appear in the sequel. To record, then, this prophecy, whatsoever it was, he chose these two sponsible witnesses; and this being done, he went unto the prophetess, and she conceived, and bare a son. It was all written and certified before any step was taken for the realization of it.
But it may be said, What connection have the conception and birth of this son with the prophecy concerning the spoil and the prey? That will appear by reading onward in the context: “ Then said the Lord unto me, Call his name Mahershalal-hash-baz; for, before the child shall have knowledge to cry My father and my mother, the riches of Damascus, and the spoil of Samaria, shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.” The connection, therefore, which this child hath with the prophecy of the spoil and the prey is, that the babe was set for the sign of spoil and prey: his birth was to be the sign of slaughter and destruction to a great kingdom; his birth was to be the sign of the destruction of the heathen conspirators, and likewise the apostate conspirators, against the Lord's anointed. Syria and Ephraim, the infidel and the apostate, had conspired against the house of David, the Lord's anointed; and that first confederacy was to be broken before the child should have knowJedge to cry " My father and my mother.” Well, therefore, was he called by the name “ Make speed to the spoil, he hasteneth the prey;” because about the time of his birth would the king of Assyria be mustering his host, and hasting to the prey of Damascus.
And forasmuch as that confederacy of an apostate and an infidel nation against the Lord's anointed might well prefigure, as indeed it was the beginning of, all the confederacies which have taken place since, the child which was set for the sign of its dissolution might well prefigure that Child of the Virgin, which, as we shall see, is set for the removal of all burdens and the destroying of all oppressors. This enlargement of the signification of the names of the Prophet's children we are forced to by the application which the Holy Spirit maketh of ver. 18, in the iid chapter of the Hebrews. Now, that the event did justify the prophecy, will appear by referring to the event, historically narrated in 2 Kings xv. and xvi. In the year 740 before Christ, Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, began to make his power felt against Israel, especially in the land of Gilead, beyond Jordan, and in Galilee, and Naphtali (xv. 29); and the same year (xvi. 9) he“ went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin.” These two actions of the king of Assyria did accomplish the words of the prophecy, that the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria should be taken away by him. He only drave a spoil from the borders of Samaria ; but he laid his hand upon the
riches of Damascus; where also he abode for a season, and was visited by king Ahaz, who there took the fashion of a heathen altar, and commanded this same Urijah, one of Isaiah's witnesses, to set up the similitude of it in the temple at Jerusalem. Now this judgment, complete as to Damascus, and incomplete as to Samaria, which had days of grace for three-scoreand five years (chaps. vii. viii.), was accomplished within two years from the time that they confederated against the house of David. Rezin had but time to possess himself of Elath, and Ahaz to send messengers to Tiglath-pileser, and Tiglath-pileser to march to Damascus, before the thing was accomplished, for which two years are allowed by the approved chronology (2 Kings xvi. 5-9). In two years, therefore, or less, from the time of giving the prophecy in the viith chapter, was the word accomplished against Damascus and Samaria. Now, two years is the shortest allowance of time in which a child not yet conceived shall be able to say " My father and my mother.” So much, again, for the exactness of time as an element of prophecy.
Before proceeding further on our way, I have two remarks to make. The first, that, seeing we have shewn that two years only could intervene from the event with which the viith chapter commenceth, and the time that the child should be able to say “My father and my mother,” it shews that a very small interval indeed, if any, and I am inclined to think none, must have occurred between the giving of the prophecy in chap. vii. and the giving of the prophecy in chap. viii.; and so are we the more justified in treating them in close succession, as we are now doing. Secondly, from the exact coincidence of the language of verse 4 in the viiith chapter, and verse 16 in the viith, both running in these words, “For before the child shall know," we are confirmed in our view, given in the preceding interpretation, of the latter passage, that it has nothing to do with İmmanuel, but with Shear-jashub, and him only: for both passages are signs of events instantly to come, and the last is surely spoken over the prophet's son; adding great weight to the sufficiency of our argument, in the foregoing interpretation. We now return to our interpretations.
Verse 5 : “ The Lord spake also unto me again, saying.” We are not to suppose that these words were spoken at a different time; but rather, I conceive, the expression to signify reiteration and enforcement of the matter already spoken ; of which reiteration and solemn enforcement, without any change of the matter, we have had several instances already : at chap. vii. 3, and again ver. 7, and again ver. 10; and we have another in ver. Il of this chapter ; and another in ver. 8 of the following ; and another in verse 10 of the xth chapter : all without any interruption, as I conceive, either of the time or of the substance
of the prophecy, which will shew itself to be one and unbroken ; as in the instance before us is made manifest in the very first words, ver. 6: “Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah, that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah's son, now therefore behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory; and he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow, and go over ; he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.” Here we have, first, the crime of God's people, for which they were punished by the hand of the Assyrian, who, being, in this and other strains of prophecy, a personification of all the oppressors who without intermission have scattered and peeled God's people, must be observed by us in his actings and in the cause of them; not merely in his own person, as Tiglathpileser, or Sennacherib, but likewise as the representative of a long line of oppressors, of all the nations, who succeeded him in the appointed work of bowing the stiff neck of God's rebellious people. Which principle of interpretation if any one hesitate to admit, I take leave to say, that it ariseth from his ignorance of the use made of the Assyrian in holy prophecy; and he will be sooner brought to acquiesce, by simply examining the Scriptures which I will refer him to--Isai. x. 24, xiv. 25, xxx. 31, xxxi. 8; Micah v. 5, 6—than by any arguments which I can use; for really these passages of Scripture are my arguments.
Now, then, thus enlarging our mind to the dimensions of the prophetic language, we have, in the 6th verse, the reason given why God foredoomed his people to these long millenaries of years, during which they have seen sorrow : they refused the waters of Shiloah, which go softly, and rejoiced in Rezin and Remaliah's son. The waters of Shiloah
Siloa's brook, that flow'd Fast by the oracle of God came into the city, and were gathered in a pool, called the Pool of Shiloa, or Siloam, for the use of the inhabitants of the city : and these waters did obtain unto themselves a very great degree of sacredness in the sight of the people, from the use which was made of them on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, when, with inexpressible joy of the assembled people, on that great day of the feast water was brought in a golden pitcher into the temple, and, being mixed with wine, was poured upon the sacrifice which lay upon the altar. To this most holy and joyful festivity allusion is made in the xiith chapter, which we have included in this one strain of prophecy, and which was always wont to be sung at the performance of that great typical act: " Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation:” not refuse them any more, but joyfully
use them, because then the Assyrian shall be broken, because then “the Holy One of Israel is in the midst of thee, O thou inhabitant of Zion” (xii. 3,6). I call that act, of bringing waters from the brook of Siloah and pouring them round the altar on the last day of the feast of tabernacles, a typical act, upon higher authority than my readers, however clear-headed, and opposed to all mystery, dare refuse. I mean, the authority of our blessed Lord; who thus spake, with allusion to, and consecration of, that high ceremony, and perhaps at the very time that the Levites were gone to fetch the water from the brook, through the water-gate, into the temple ; haply when the thousands and tens of thousands of Israel were bursting to give vent to their exceeding great joy: “ In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Sprit, which they that believe on him should receive ; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified” (John vii. 37-39). If, as is believed, the water of Siloa in the golden pitcher was offered in the temple with such solemnity to carry back the memory of the people to the stream that issued from the stony rock in the wilderness, and to solicit the blessing of rain on the approaching seed-time, then Christ's words, together with the comment of the Evangelist, do signify that his doctrine, through faith, should open in every man's heart a perennial fountain, overflowing with living, waters; that the Spirit should flow from his wounded-stricken side; should strike in every believer's heart a pool, and better than a pool, a fountain, of living waters : and so hath that pool its name, “Siloam (John ix. 7), which is, by interpretation, Sent:" and therefore was it used by our Lord as the outward sign for removing the blindness of that true believer, who would not deny Christ; because the Holy Spirit, sent from the Father and the Son, doth take away the blindness of unbelief, and create in us a faith which cannot be shaken, and will not deny Christ before men.
These comments of holy Scripture and established ordinances do give to the reason assigned for the rejection of his people, their * the waters of Shiloah, which go softly,” a largeness and a dignity which otherwise it hath not in itself. For no one will doubt that the expression is figurative; no one will say, either that the Jews disrelished that water of the brook Siloa, or that, if they did, it was such a guilty thing as to deserve such persevering wrath of God. But when the figure is opened up, not by our fancy or poetical invention, but by the customs of the Jews and the word of the Lord, it doth signify no less than their refusal of the waters of the Spirit-of which God sent them some droppings in
the prophets ; of which he sent them the containing Vessel, the unsmitten Rock, in the person of Jesus Christ ; of which he sent them copious and abundant showers in the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost—all which refusing and resisting, the Lord was constrained to bring up, in vindication of his most sacred word, one Assyrian after another; or, to speak not in historic succession, but in prophetic unity of time, The Assyrian; and to cast his rebellious people into that outer darkness and incapacity of belief in which they are at present found.
This general and continuing reason being given, the word of the Lord doth next condescend upon the particular reason for that beginning of judgment which was about to proceed : “Forasmuch as this people rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah's son.” I know not whether there had been a party in Jerusalem and Judah who inclined to these two fire-brands, or whether it refer to the people of Israel only, who had joined in this confederacy against king Ahaz, against the government of the house of David, against the gentle and softly-going course of Divine government: but certainly this confederacy was the reason wherefore the Lord brought up the king of Assyria in the pride of his glory; whose city was not served with the gentle, but the mighty and impetuous, waters of the river, strong and many; for Nineveh stood upon the Tigris, and Babylon upon the Euphrates, both of which form one river before they flow into the ocean. I suppose that the image is intended to convey the discontent which began now to grow among God's people towards their own peculiar and separate polity as the people of God; and their desire to connect themselves with the heathen nations round about; overawed by their greatness, influenced by their ambition, and desiring to depend upon their protection. Therefore, inclining unto confederacies, Ephraim with Syria, and Judah with Assyria, as is set forth in the history referred to above, 2 Kings xv. xvi., they forsook the " Fountain of living waters," and their hearts went after the mighty power that began to form around the great river Euphrates. “Therefore, saith the Lord, ye shall be filled with your heart's desire. The river in which you trusted shall come near you: he shall come over all his channels, and go over all his banks, and he shall pass through Judah : he shall overflow and go over : he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.” This figure, so far as the river is concerned, is taken from the inundation' of a country which the water hath drowned unto its capital city, which, like the head elevation of the country, standeth yet above the watery waste ; and therefore, in the Chaldee version, "reaching even to the neck,” is rendered “reaching to Jerusalem :" whereof if ye would see the particulars, you can read them in the xth chapter of this same