Page images

In the ninth verse a herald or singer is called, to declare aloud the tidings to all the cities of Judah, that her God approaches ; which is succeeded by a most striking and beautiful description of the character and offices of the Messiah, as the avenger of his enemies, and the tender shepherd of his chosen people.

At the twelfth verse the presumptuous self-worshipper is addressed in the language of scorn ; and the vanity of bis attempts to compete with the Almighty is made manifest. The question is then asked, “ To what will ye liken God?" and the worshipper of graven images is convicted of utter folly, by the weakness of those who make them, and the omnipresence and omnipotence of Jehovah. Another resemblance to the Deity is then demanded; and the worshipper of the host of heaven is directed to turn his adoration from the stars to Him who created them.

After this declaration, and these evidences of the Almighty power, Jacob, whose doubts and misgivings are reproved, is again addressed as the chosen people, and assured that the Lord Jehovah neither fainteth nor is weary, and that all things are under His supreme guidance and providence; and the chapter concludes with assurances of the most consolatory and encouraging description to those who place their trust in Him.

Note 2. Chapter xli. Page 7.

Let them approach, and coming things foresee ;

Declare to us eyents that soon shall be-
Or deeds of later ages let them show."

This command, addressed in contempt to the idols of the nations, appears, according to Bishop Louth's translation, to bear a remarkable interpretation. Not merely prophecies, but double prophecies are alluded to; "The things that first shall happen," and “The things that will come to pass in latter times.” That such is a prevailing characteristic of the greater part of the prophecies of Isaiah may easily be perceived; as the sign to Ahaz, and the prediction of the deliverance of the Jews by Cyrus from their Babylonish captivity, serve not merely as types, but also as veils to the real and deeper object of the prophecy—the coming of the Messiah ; that indeed they might see hear of Cyrus and Hezekiah as predicted, but not perceive and understand that the spiritual kingdom of our Lord was the ultimate object of the prediction.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Note 3. Chapter xlii. Page 9.

He shall not quench the dimly-burning flax."

The expression “smoking ilax," is by Louth rendered “ dimlyburning." It is a beautiful allusion to a small and scarcely lighted lamp.

Note 4. Chapter xliii. Page 15.

Yea, even as a torch whose light is gone."

The word here rendered "torch” is literally “tow,” which bears the same relation to a torch that the flax does to a lamp.

Note 5. Chapter xlix. Page 35.

Lo, on my palms I have engraven thee."

According to Bishop Louth, this is an allusion to a practice common to the Jews at that time, of making marks on their hands or arms by means of punctures on the skin, which were made to

represent some symbol or delineation of the city or temple of Jerusalem, as a proof of their affection and zeal. Such punctures were made indelible by fire, or by rubbing in some powder that would permanently stain the skin. Maundrell mentions, that the pilgrims at the holy sepulchre are thus marked with what are called the ensigns of Jerusalem. A somewhat similar practice appears to be alluded to in Chapter xliv. in the words “This to Jehovah shall inscribe his hand." Thus the slave was marked with the name of his master, and the soldier with that of his commander. The early Christians seem to have imitated this practice, as many of them marked their wrists or their arms with the sign of the cross, or with the name of Christ.

[blocks in formation]

Thy daughters shall be carried at the side."

The mode of carrying young children which is here alluded to, is to this day practised in the east-the infant being seated on the hip of the bearer, and sustained in this position by his arm encircling the body of the child.




« PreviousContinue »