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up of the whole argument by Elihu : who, having condemned the conduct of all the disputants, proceeds to contest several of Job's positions, and to shew that God frequently afflicts the children of men for the best purposes, and that in every instance our duty is submission ; and concludes with a grand description of the omnipotence of the Creator, (ch. xxxii.—xxxvii.); the termination of the controversy by the appearance of Jehovah to pronounce judgment; who addresses Job out of a whirlwind, in a most sublime and magnificent speech, in which are illustrated the omnipotence of God, and man's utter ignorance of his ways in the works of creation and providence, (ch. xxxviii.xli. ;) the submission of Job, which is accepted ; his restoration to his former prosperity; and the double increase of his substance, (ch. xlii.).
The Book of Psalms consists of hymns composed by various authors, at different times, and on various occasions. As, by HEMAN, on the affliction of Israel in Egypt, 88. By MOSES, on the shortening of man's life, 90. By DAVID, on his victory over Goliath, 9; on being advised to flee to the mountains, 11 ; on Saul's soldiers surrounding his house, 59 ; on being with the Philistines at Gath, 56; on leaving the city of Gath, 34; on being in the cave of Adullam, 142; on the priests murdered by Doeg, 17; on the persecution by Doeg, 52, 109, 35, 140; on the persecution by Saul, 64, 31; on the treachery of the Ziphites, 54; on his refusal to kill Saul, 57, 58; on being in the wilderness of Engedi, 63; on being driven out of Judea, 141; on being made king of Israel, 139; on the first removal of the ark, 68; on the second removal of the ark, 24, 132, 105, 96, 106 ; on Nathan's prophetic address, 2, 45, 22, 16, 118, 110; on the conquest of Syria and Edom by Joab, 60, 108; on the war with the Ammonites and Syrians, 20, 21; on his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah, 6, 51, 32, 38, 39, 40, 41, 103 ; on his flight from Absalom, 3; on the reproaches of Shimei, 7; on being by the Jordan, having fled from Absalom, 42, 43, 55, 4, 5, 62, 143, 144, 70, 71; on the conclusion of his wars, 18; on the dedication of Araunah's threshing floor, 30; after his advice to Solomon, 91; on a review of his past life, 145; occasions and dates unknown, 8, 12, 19, 23, 28, 29, 33, 61, 65, 69, 86, 95, 101, 104, 120, 121, 122, 124, 131, 133; on the coronation of Solomon, 72. By SOLOMON, on the removal of the ark into the temple, 47, 97, 98, 99, 100; on the dedication of the temple, 135, 136. By ASAPH, on Asa's victory over Israel, 78. By ASAPH and others, on the reign of Jehoshaphat, 82, 115, 46. By HEZEKIAH, on the blasphemous message of Rab-shakeh, 44. By ASAPH, on the destruction of Sennacherib's army, 73, 75, 76; on the burning of the temple at Jerusalem, 79, 74, 83, 94. By ASAPH, ETHAN, and others, during the Babylonian captivity, 137, 130, 80, 77, 37, 67, 49, 53, 50, 10, 13, 14, 15, 25, 26, 27, 36, 89, 92, 93, 123. By DANIEL, near the close of the captivity, 102. By the SONS of KORAH, on the decree of Cyrus for restoring the Jews, 126, 85. By various authors, on the return of the Jews from captivity, 107, 87, 111, 112, 113, 114, 116, 117, 125, 127, 128, 134. By the SONS of KORAH, on the foundation of the second temple, 84, 66. By EZRA or NEHEMIAH, on the opposition of the Samaritans, 129. By HAGGAI or ZECHARIAH, on the rebuilding of the temple, 138. By various authors, on the dedication of the second temple, 48, 81, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150. By EZRA, as manuals of devotion, 1, 119.*
* Comprehensive Bible, Introd. to Job.
The Book of PROVERBS has properly been divided into five parts. The first part, which is a kind of preface, contains a series of admonitions, cautions, and excitements to the study of wisdom, from a teacher to his pupil; delivered in varied, elegant, polished, and sublime language; aptly connected in all its parts; embellished with beautiful descriptions and personifications; and decorated with all the ornaments of poetry, so that it scarcely yields in elegance and splendour to any of the sacred writings, (ch. i.-ix.): the second part consists of those proverbs or maxims which constitute that wisdom to which in the preceding part we were incited ; given in unconnected, general sentences, expressed with much neatness and simplicity, and truly “like apples of gold in pictures of silver,' (ch. X.—xxii. 16): in the third part, the tutor, for a more lively effect, drops the sententious style, and addresses his pupil as present, to whom he gives renewed and connected admonitions and exhortations to the study of wisdom, (ch. xxii. 17.—xxiv.): the fourth part is a collection of Solomon's proverbs, made by the men of Hezekiah,' (2 Chron. 31. 20, 21) and, like the second part, consists of detached, unconnected sentences, (ch. xxv.xxix.): the fifth part contains the wise expostulations, admonitions, and instructions delivered by Agur the son of Jakeh to his pupils Ithiel and Ucal, (ch. xxx.); and also the precepts of a mother, who is not named, to her son Lemuel, (ch. xxxi.) +
The Book of ECCLESIASTES is an enquiry into the CHIEF GOOD, or what can render a man happy; in discussing which Solomon first shows what is not happiness, and then what it is. Accordingly, the book has been very properly divided into two parts; in the former of which he shews, from his own experience, the vanity of all terrestrial objects and pursuits, of wisdom and knowledge, (apart from true religion,) of mirth and pleasure, of riches, magnificence, power, and wealth, interspersed with many counsels how the vanity or vexation of each may be abated, and frequent intimations that true wisdom is far preferable to all other acquisitions, and that a cheerful use of providential blessings is much better than covetousness, (ch. i.-vi. 9); and in the latter part, he shews that true happiness is only to be found in a religious and virtuous life, which constitutes the. truest wisdom, (ch. vi. 10.-xii.) Here, indeed, the royal Preacher sometimes pauses to shew the vanity of things incidentally mentioned ; yet this part is chiefly occupied in teaching us where and how to seek present
* Comprehensive Bible, Introd. to the Psalms, where a tabular view is given of the author,
comfort and final happiness ; inculcating a cheerful, liberal, and charitable use of temporal blessings, without expecting to derive from them any permanent or satisfactory delight; to be patient under unavoidable evils; not to aim at perilous, arduous, and impracticable changes; to fill up the station allotted us, in a peaceable, equitable, and prudent manner; to be humble, contented, and affectionate; and to do good abundantly, and persevere in so doing, for the pleasure arising from it, and from the expectation of a gracious reward.*
The Song of Solomon, as a poem, is allowed by the best judges to be finished in the highest style of elegance and beauty; and, from the earliest age of the church, it has been considered as a mystical allegory, in the form of a pastoral, in which are represented the reciprocal love of Jehovah and his church, under figures taken from the endearing relation and chaste affection which subsist between a bridegroom and his espoused bride,an emblem continually employed in the Scriptures. +
The Prophecies Isaiah have been divided into six parts. Part I. consists of four prophetic discourses delivered in the reigns of Uzziah and Jotham; in which the prophet inveighs against the crimes of the Jews, declares the judgments of God against them, and predicts a more auspicious time, and foretells the promulgation of the Gospel, and the coming of the Messiah to judgment, (ch. i.-vi.) Part II. concerns the reign of Ahaz, and consists of three prophetic discourses, in which the prophet speaks of the siege of Jerusalem by Pekah and Rezin, and of the birth of Immanuel, as a proof of the approaching deliverance of Judah; predicts the calamities which were to fall on the kingdoms of Syria and Israel; foretells the destruction of Sennacherib's army; and thence takes occasion to launch forth into a display of the deliverance of God's people by the Messiah, (ch. vi.—xii.) Part III. consists of eight prophetic discourses, probably delivered in the reign of Ahaz, in which he declares the fate of the Babylonians, Philistines, Moabites, Syrians, Egyptians, Tyrians, and other nations with whom the Jews had any intercourse, (ch. xiii.--xxiv.) Part IV. consists of five discourses, delivered in the reign of Hezekiah, containing a prediction of the great calamities which should befall the people of God, his merciful preservation of a remnant, and their restoration to their own country, their conversion to the Gospel, and the destruction of Antichrist, (ch. xxiv.—xxxvi.) Part V. contains the history of the invasion of Sennacherib, and the destruction of his army, (ch. xxxvi.—xxxix.) Part VI. consists of twelve discourses, probably delivered towards the end of Hezekiah's reign; in which the prophet predicts the return from the Babylonian captivity; exposes the folly of idolatry; and, personifying the Messiah, speaks of his sufferings, death, and burial; foretells his coming, the vocation of the Gentiles, the glory of the latter days, and the disgrace of all false prophets and teachers, &c. (ch. xl.—Ixvi.) |
* Comprehensive Bible, Introd. to Ecclesiastes. + Idem, Introd. to the Song of Songs.
I Idem, Introd. to Isaiah.
The Prophecies of JEREMIAH were delivered at various times, and on particular occasions, during forty or forty-three years, under Josiah, Jehoiakim, Jechoniah, and Zedekiah, as well as after the destruction of Jerusalem, and also in Egypt. These prophecies, the circumstantial accomplishment of which is often specified in the Sacred Writings, are of a very distinguished, determinate, and illustrious character. He foretold the fate of Zedekiah, and the calamities which impended over his country; representing, in the most descriptive terms, and under the most expressive images, the destruction which the invading army should produce; and bewailing, in pathetic expostulation, the spiritual adulteries which had provoked Jehovah, after long forbearance, to threaten Judah with condign punishment, at a time when the false prophets deluded the nation with promises of assured peace,' and when the people, in impious contempt of the word of the Lord,' defied its accomplishment. He also predicted the Babylonish captivity, and the precise period of its duration; the destruction of Babylon, and the downfall of many nations; the gradual and successive completion of which predictions kept up the confidence of the Jews, for the accomplishment of those prophecies which he delivered relative to the Messiah and his period; his miraculous conception, (ch. xxxi. 22); his divinity and mediatorial kingdom, (xxiii. 5, 6. xxxiii. 14—18.); and particularly the new and everlasting covenant which was to be established with the true Israel of God upon the sacrifice of the Messiah, (ch. xxxi. 31–36. xxxiii. 8, 9, 26.)*
The Prophecy of Ezekiel opens with an account of Ezekiel's first vision, his call to the prophetic office, his commission, instructions, and encouragements for executing it, (ch. i.-iii.); after which he foretells the impending captivity and dreadful calamities of the remnant of Judah and Jerusalem, for their idolatry, impiety, and profligacy, and the Divine judgments to be inflicted on the false prophets and prophetesses who had deluded and hardened them in their rebellion against God, (ch. iv.--xxiv.); predicts the destruction of the Ammonites, (ch. xxv. 1–7), Moabites, (ver. 8—11), Edomites, (ver. 12—14), and Philistines, (ver. 15—17); announces the ruin and desolation of Tyre and Sidon, (ch. xxvi.—xxviii.); the fall of Egypt, and the base degeneracy of its future inhabitants, (ch. xxix.-xxxii.); exhorts the Jews to repentance and reformation, and consoles them with promises of their future deliverance under Cyrus, but principally of their final restoration and conversion under the kingdom of the Messiah, and the destruction of their enemies, (ch. xxxiii.—xxxix.); and describes his prophetic vision of the New city of Jerusalem and the temple, and the directions concerning the division of the Holy Land, (ch. xl. xlviii.)t
The Book of DANIEL may be divided into two parts. Part I. is chiefly historical, and contains an account of the captivity and education of Daniel
Comprehensive Bible, Introd, and Concluding Remarks to Jeremiah.
and his companions, (ch. i.); Nebuchadnezzar's prophetic dream, with its interpretation, (ch. ii.); the miraculous deliverance of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, from the fiery furnace, (ch. iii.); the punishment of Nebuchadnezzar's pride and arrogance, by the loss of his reason and throne for seven years, (ch. iv.); the impiety and portended fate of Belshazzar, (ch. v.): the miraculous preservation of Daniel in the lion's den, (ch. vi.) Part II. is strictly prophetical, and comprises an account of Daniel's vision of the four beasts, respecting the four great monarchies of the world, the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Macedonian, and Roman, (ch. vii.); his vision of the ram and he-goat, in which is foretold the destruction of the Medo-Persian empire, typified by the ram, by the Macedonians, or Greeks, under Alexander, represented by the he-goat, (ch. viii.); his prediction of the seventy prophetic weeks, or 490 years, which should elapse from the date of the edict to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple, to the death of the Messiah, (ch. ix.); his last vision, in which he is informed of various particulars respecting the Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires, the kingdom of the Messiah, and the rise, tyranny, and fall of Antichrist, (ch.x.-xii.)*
The Book of Hosea consists of fourteen chapters, in which the prophet, under the figure of a wife proving unfaithful to her niarriage vows, and bearing children who follow her example, represents the shameful idolatry of the Israelites, which provoked God to cast them off; though the evil will be hereafter amply repaired, (ch. i.); he exhorts them to repent, and forsake idolatry, threatening them with captivity and a series of afflictions for their wickedness, (ch. ii. 1—13.); promises them a future restoration and abundant prosperity, (ch. ii. 14—23.); and, under the figure of taking back his wife on amendment, he represents the gracious purposes of Jehovah towards them, in their conversion and restoration, (ch. iii.); he then inveighs against the bloodshed and idolatry of the Israelites, admonishing Judah to beware of their sins, (ch. iv.); and denounces the divine judgments against priests, princes, and people, and exhorts them to repentance, (ch. v.-vi. 3.); his exhortations proving ineffectual, God complains of their obstinate iniquity and idolatry, (ch. v. 4.-vii. 10.); denounces that they shall be carried captive, notwithstanding their reliance on Egypt, (ch. vii. 11.-viii.); further threatens their captivity and dispersion, (ch. ix, x.); reproves them for their idolatry, and promises their return to their own country, (ch. xi.); he again renews his threatenings on account of their idolatry, and after a terrible denunciation of Divine punishment mingled with promises of restoration froin captivity, (ch. xii. xiii.); he exhorts them to repentance, furnishes them with a beautiful form of prayer adapted to their situation, and foretells their reformation from idolatry, and the subsequent restoration of all the tribes from their dispersion, and their conversion to the Gospel, (ch. xiv.) †
The Book of Joel consists of three chapters ; in which the prophet, in consequence of a dreadful famine caused by locusts and other noxious
* Comprehensive Bible, Introd. to Daniel.
+ Idem, Introd. to Hosea.