A commentary on the prophecy of Micah by Edward Pocock ...
Pococke, Edward, 1604-1691.
Page  12


VER. 1.
Wo to them that devise ini∣quity, and work evill upon their beds: when the morning is light, they pra∣ctice it, because it is in the power of their hand.

VVO unto them, &c.] How justly deser∣ved those judgments were, which be∣fore, and after are denounced against Israel and Iudah, the Prophet makes manifest, by a declaration of some of those sins, which the inhabitants of them were guilty of. As here first, because the powerful ones among them (for which a wo is denounced against them) did in thea night upon their beds, when they should havebcommand with their own hearts, (and examined their waies to see what they had done amiss, that they might amend it) devise iniquity and plot evil; not to conceal it, as a work of darkness,c but that they might be ready to act it as soon as the morning light should give them opportunity: and then did without delay practise it openly in the light, and faced of the Sun, without fear or shame, with all their might, as far as it was in the pow∣er of their hands; because there was none, who by executing justice did restrain them, but they were suffer'd to do what they could, and would. It may be observ'd that the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉El, which is render'd Power, doth also signi∣fy God, and that is the reason, why the An∣cient Vulg. Latin renders, because their hand is against God: but the like expression being else where used, as Gen. XXXI. 29. Deut. XXVIII. 32. Prov. III. 27. he renders it by having strength, or being able: and so that here it ought to be render'd, is the more general opinion of Interpreters; and that those, that interpret the words otherwise, as some othere Antient versions likewise do, interpret them wrong.

And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a Man and his house, even a Man and his heritage.

They covet fields, &c.] what they covet in their mind,f they strive to possess themselves of, by the force of their hands, whetherg their poorer neighbours lands, or houses, that ly con∣venient for them; which if they will not part with to them on their own terms, they spare not to use toward them allh fraudulent or vi∣olent courses, till they have gotten, what they have a mind to, from them: accordingf to the dealing of Ahab towards Naboth for his Vine-yard.

Therefore thus saith the Lord, behold, against this family do I devise an evill, from which ye shall not remove your necks, neither shall ye go haughtily: for this time is evill.

Against this family, &c.] i. e. This whole nation, the family, or posterity of Iacob, this wicked People, do I devise or intend an evill of punishment, for the evill of sin which they plot or devise; from which you shall not remove your necks, nor be able by any means to free your selves, but shall be pressed down with it, so that you shall not henceforward carry your selves proudly and haughtily with heads lifted up: for the time shall be so evill and calami∣tous, that you shall have no occasion, no heart, or power so to do.

In that day shall one take up a parable a∣gainst you, and lament with a doleful la∣mentation, and say, We be utterly spoil∣ed: he hath changed the portion of my people: how hath he removed it from me? turning away he hath divided our fields.

In that day shall one take up a parable against you.] One is here supplied, as in such manner of speech else where. So Gen. XLVIII. I. one told Ioseph, and ver. 2. and one told Iacob. So that it may be render'd to the same sense, as the Vulgar Latin hath it, There shall be taken up a parable, or, Men shall take up a parable, a dole∣ful song with parabolical and figurative ex∣pressions.

And lament with a doleful lamentation.] The Margin saith, that in the Hebrew it is, with a lamentation of lamentations. There are here three words in the Hebrew eloquently joyned of much like sound, or agreement between themselves, viz. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Nahah, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 Nehi, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 Nihjah. Of the rendring the two former of which, there is no doubt but the first, as a Verb, signifies shall lament, the second, as a Noun, Lamen∣tation; but concerning the third doubt is made, Some taking it as Noun Substantive, to sig∣nifie the same with the second, viz. Lamenta∣tion; and so the same signification repeated k will be but as much as to say a great, or dole∣ful Lamentation.l Others take it for an Epi∣thet added to the second, from another root of something different signification, which ours Dan. VIII. 27. renders, I fainted. Others was broken; and so 'twill be as much as broken, or grievous, and will still very well agree with that in the text of our English Bibles, a doleful La∣mentation.* Others take it as signifying, He that is then present or remaining, from the word iPage  13〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Hajah, that signifies, to be; and then 'twill express who it is that shall take up that pa∣rable and make that Lamentation, viz. he that shall then be, or remain: orm may it not as so be taken for an Epithet, and render'd a being lamentation, a lamentation that is, i. e. that hath being, or, is durable, or, is taken up in the world. Others from the same root and signification render it, It is so,n or it is done, and come to pass, shall he say, we be utterly spoiled, &c. oro as Others, shall lament with a lamentation for what is done, and say, &c. These then being the significations, which the word as here written is capable of, wheras the Latin renders A Song shall be sung with sweetness, 'tis manifest it ought to be understood no otherwise, then p that it should be a mournful Song, or ditty, ele∣gantly or musically compos'd, & sung in an arti∣ficial tune: not that it should be pleasant, as to the matter, which was a doleful lamentation: sweet it might be to the enemy, and pleasing, but to the sufferers no further, then as thereby by venting the grief of their heartsq they might somthing allay, and asswage it. 'Tis disputed who it is that is said, shall take up this parable and make this lamentation, or mourn∣ful Song.r Some say the false Prophets, see∣ing their promises of good to come to nothing, or to be turned clean contrary;s Others, those that were oppressed by the more potent, and spoiled, spoken of in the foregoing words; Others, the insulting enemy; Others, eve∣ry one, or all of them, on whom these cala∣mities should come. But the words being in the Original Text put indefinity, y 'twill be con∣venient so to take them, as that they, or, any that shall look on what they suffer'd, shall have occasion thus to say, as in their person, (for the words are spoken as in their person,) or according to Some, as we said, whosoever shall be then present, and with any concern look on, what hath befallen them.

We are utterly spoiled.]x Some will have it found, we are utterly spoiled of, or by our selves.

He hath changed the portion of my People.] i.e. Their land; i. e. God hath taken it from them, and given it to others, changed the owners thereof: which to express the Latin renders aThe part, or portion, of my People is changed, rather then as the Doway translation hath it more obscurely, part of my People is changed,b Some will have this to be read with an interro∣gation, as the following words are by way of admiration! How doth, (or, shall) he change the portion of my People? Or else, by the portion of my People, to be meant God, who is call'd the portion of Iacob, Ier. X. 16. and the meaning to be, Shall the portion of my People change them, for another People, whom he shall cause to pre∣vail over them?

How hath he removed it from me!] That is, the portion of my People. Turning away he hath divided our Fields, viz.c God, or the enemy by his permission, or, as in the Margin, in stead of restoring, he hath divided (or, divideth) our fields. The words in the Original being in this verse very concise, are for that reason obscure; the latter words as to a verbal translation ly thus, how shall, or how doth he remove to me, to turn, or to return, our Fields he divideth: which words though then, when they were spoken, and when the Hebrew language was in common use, and the things spoken of before their eyes, known to all, they were doubtless well under∣stood, yet now that they may be put into ano∣ther language, and in it made plain and intel∣ligible, will require some change of order, or a supply of somthing understood. In that ren∣dring which is in the Textd of our Bibles, there is not much alteration, only to turn or re∣turn it expresseth by turning away, i. e. in or by turning away, and the sense is plain; except it be made a doubt, whether it be meant, turning away our Fields, or turning away himself from us. As to that in the margin, there is intimated, and briefly expressed in the word instead a supply of whate is by some in more words given, thus, when I expected, that he should have restor∣ed our fields, he hath divided them (to the ene∣my, or given them to the enemy that divideth them,) or, How is it, that he, (that is, the E∣nemy) taketh away that which is mine? Instead of restoring our fields, as we hoped, he divideth them among his own Soldiers or People. O∣thers yet somthing otherwise make their sup∣plies, f some making this their meaning, how doth he take away me, that is, my People spo∣ken of, or that he may turn over, or give up to the enemy our fields, that they may divide them, or he divideth them to others, or to the enemy; thinking it necessary to understand either to the enemy, or to stranger, or some such word. This is the interpretation and opinion of a lear∣ned Iew.g Another more ancient, and of great repute among them, gives this as the sense of this whole Lamentation; we are utterly spoiled, so that the enemy taketh away the fields [or lands] of my People from them. Ah and alas, how shamefully or grievously hath he remov'd us by driving us out, and divided our fields violent∣ly taking them from us! He notes that the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Leshobeb (which Ours interpret in the text, turning away, and in the margin, instead of restoring, and he renders by removing, or driving out,) is to be joyned to the foregoing words, and the following to be taken by them∣selves apart, and then the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Yamir, which Ours render, he hath changed, (though he saith it properly signifies so,) he taketh here to be in the same sense with the following Page  14 word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Yamish which Ours render removed it, (because changing is nothing but removing a thing from its place;) the note of exclamati∣on, how, he looks on, as an expression of the grievousness, shamefulness, or disgraceful∣ness of a thing, with admiration at the strangeness of it, here as in otherh places. Of such translations as are in the hands of Chri∣stians some ancient ones depart farther from the words in the Original, so that they cannot be easily reconcil'd; as the Greek which renders, we are made very miserable, the part or lot of my People hath been divided by cord, or mea∣suring line, and there was none that hinder'd him, that he might turn away, or, that he might re∣store, as the Arabick: and the Syriack as wide, the Robber shall spoil us, and shall with a measur∣ing line divide the part of my People, neither is there any that restoreth our part by a measuring line. Those that are in Latin, and more mo∣dern Languages, keep closer to the words, yet is there no small variety among them. The Ancientest Latin renders,ipart, or, the part, of my People is changed. How shall he depart from me, whereas he returneth, that will divide our regions! Others differ from it, and among themselves, yet all so as to look on the words to have in their root the same significations. But then in rendring them as here placed Actively or Passively, or applying them to different sub∣jects, or making their pauses or distinctions di∣versly, make some difference in the sense. When the reader shall have viewed them all, he will probably find good reason to like those rendrings in our English Bibles given, as well as any, and acquiesce in them having his liber∣ty given him of chusing either that in the Text or that in the margin. But it may be farther observ'd, that whereas the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Shobeb which is by Ours render'd in the Text, turning away, and in the margin restoring, and by most in one of these significations, hath also in the same manner written another signification in the Scripture, viz.k of Rebellious, Perverse, or Refractory. Some other learned Iews will have it here to be taken in that sense, and to be an Epithet of the spoiler, or enemy.l So one of them, taking these as the words of such as were oppressed and had their fields and houses by vi∣olence taken from them (as ver. 2.) gives the meaning thus (and is therein follow'd by a learnedmChristian) the great ones of the Land spoil us of our inheritance, and so are we spoiled by our selves; and for the iniquity of this violent oppression, my People shall change their portion, going captives into another land. How, that is, to what profit, doth he take away mine inheritance, seeing within few daies the perverse rebellious one, viz. the enemy, the King of Assy∣ria, that blasphemeth God, shall divide our fields, and give them all to his servants? This Inter∣preter would have the particle or letter, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉L. prefixed to 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Shobeb, and usually signify∣ing to, or for, here to signifie nothing, but to supply only the place of the particle of the No∣minative case to wit 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉H.n Another embracing the same signification of the word, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Sho∣beb, but taking the Lamentation to be utter'd by some false Prophet, who saw all things suc∣ceed contrary to what he promised, thus ex∣pounds the words, Shall we be utterly spoiled by our enemies? Will he change the portion of my People? How can it be that he should put and re∣move me from mine inheritance, seeing I am his People and inheritance, to give it to a perverse re∣bellious one, a people that blasphemeth God, which shall divide our fields? But if the words be ta∣ken indefinitly, and not particularly applied ei∣ther to the poor oppressed, or to the false Pro∣phets, but to any that shall take up this La∣mentation as in the person of the People, which seems better, then that word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Shobeb be∣ing taken in this last sense, all things will be regular without addition or alteration, and the plain meaning this, He divideth (or hath divi∣ded) our fields to a rebellious obstinate one, i. e. the Idolatrous enemy, the Assyrian: Or with an interrogation, Will he divide our fields to a re∣bellious one? And soo Some of them also, who take the word in another signification, put an interrogation at the end, Doth he divide our fields to restore them? Or, that they should be restored? i. e. Shall our fields which are divided to; or by the enemy, return or be restored to us again?p Others without an interrogation, in returning, or when he, (i. e. the enemy) returneth, he shall divide our fields. And so in those Interpretations that our translators give, and others.

Therefore thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the Congregation of the Lord.

Therefore, &c.] Here is not much difference about the signification of the words, but only about the person to whom they were spoken: q Some looking on them, as directed to the false Prophets, who were the cause of errour, and mischief to the People, that this should be for a punishment to them, that when the Lord should restore his People to their Country, they should have none of their posterity left to chal∣lenge any lot or part in the land, by cord or mea∣suring line again to be divided among them. r Others, as directed to the oppressors spoken of, ver. 2. as a threat to them, or a curse of the oppressed on them, that it should be for a just punishment to them, and so it will bes con∣tinued with the word therefore going before, ver. 3. Others take it as a curse denounced against the whole family before mentioned ver. 3. or the whole Kingdom of Israel, that tuPage  15 they should have no more any tribe return thi∣ther into that land,u which should by their Judges have it by lot and line divided to them, as it was of old in thex time of Ioshuah.y Some think this spoken of the Assyrians: but that seems not to accord so well with the context. The plainest way seems to look on it, as spo∣ken to the whole People, denouncing to them the irrecoverable loss of their Country, and that they should no more return to it to be therein the congregation of the Lord, which should divide it among themselves. A cord by lot, or a line and lot, or, a line with a lot, or for a lot, whereby to measure out a lot:z the same word that signifies a cord, is it-self used for a lot or portion.

Prophesie ye not, say they to them that Prophesie: they shall not Prophesie to them, that they shall not take shame.

Prophesie ye not, say they to them that Prophe∣sie, &c.] There is in expounding this verse also great variety among Interpreters, the ground of which will be seen by considering the or∣der and import of the words in the Hebrew: in that there is one word thrice repeated with little difference in the form, as 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Al Tattiphu Yattiphun Lo Yattiphu, the prime signification of which word accord∣ing to its root, is to drop, or distil and flow, and to carse to drop or flow; and, from fluid things translated to speech, it signifies to instill words, to speak to, and particularly to Prophesie to, as much as to say to drop words one after another to, and in this sense 'tis manifestly here, as else∣where, oft used. In the first place 'tis put in the second person as a command given to some, do not ye speak, or Prophesie; in the second place in the third person, as spoken of what some did, or would, or, should do: and so in the last place also with a negative put before it, as shewing what they did not, or would not, or should not do: and signifie, put together, barely thus much, do not, or ye shall not, speak, or Pro∣phesie; they do, will or shall, say, or Prophesie; they shall not, or do not, speak, or Prophecy, without men∣tioning by whom these words are utter'd, or to whom directed. Concerning the signification therefore of the words, there is not much dis∣pute amongst Interpreters, but in applying them to the persons by whom they should be utter'd, and to whom directed, and of whom spoken, and for what reason, is much difference; and so the supplies, which they add to make the sense clear according to their mind, divers. Some take them to be partly the words of the People, partly the words of God, or the Prophet from God, but then differing in the parting them. Ours, as it appears by their adding say they to them that, make the first words to be the words of the People, loath to hear Gods judgments denounced against them for their sins, and therefore forbidding them that Prophesied, that is the Prophets of God, to speak or Prophecy to them such things as they did; and the next words they seem to take for Gods saying by way of concession to what they would have, they shall not prophecy to them: but then the latter words rendred, that they shall not take shame, are somwhat obscure, Whether do they mean, they shall not say to them, as their false Prophets did, that shame and confusion should not come upon them, though they continued in their evil waies; or that they may not take shame, and so repent of their wicked course, and prevent that confusion which shall fall upon them; or, that they themselves, viz. the Prophets may not take shame, i. e. be shame∣fully or contumeliously used: for this sense somea Interpreters give. In the margin we have another reading, prophesie not as they, viz. the false Prophets, prophesie, and then the words will be to be looked on as Gods words, and the following to be understood in the first sense with a change of the person, as if God forbad his Prophets to sooth them up in their sins. A b much approv'd Latin translation takes them all as the words of the People, and thus ren∣ders them, Instill not, say they, i. e. the People to the true Prophets, Let these, viz. the false Pro∣phets, instil, they do not instill or prophesie accord∣ing to them, i. e. as our Prophets, the false Pro∣pets, who say, that shame shall not cleave to the people, i. e. that they shall not be put to that shame, which Gods Prophets threaten to them. In which translation are many things supplied which make it somwhat harsh; from which c a late very learned Man so far differs, as to take them all for the words of God, or his Prophet, and those directed either to the false Prophets, to this sense, prophesie not; should they prophesie? they shall not prophesie to these, shame shall not de∣part from them, i. e. they shall not Prophesie, for shame is decreed to them, which shall not depart or be remov'd from them; or else to the true Prophets, to this purpose, prophesie not my prophets to this rebellious people; should they pro∣phesie to them? They shall not prophesie to them, least shame should be removed or depart from them, which ought not to be removed. He gives both these Expositions, but prefers the for∣mer. But it may be consider'd that as yet no mention hath been made of false Prophets. This learned Man also differs from the former, in that he takes the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Yissag, not to have the signification of apprehending, taking hold on, or overtaking; but of departing from, asd Some others also do, as particularly Drusius and an ancient Arabick translation out of He∣brew, which hath, prophesie not as they prophecy; they shall not prophesie to these: shame shall not depart from them: and indeed it hath both those Page  16 significations; but the most both of Christians and Jews take it in the former: so the ancient La∣tin Interpreter which to this sense renders the words, according to the Doway English tran∣slation, speak not speaking, which is of doubtful sense, whether they mean speaking, i. e. say∣ing speak not, or speak not by, or in speaking asi Some, and according tok Others should ra∣ther be render'd, speak not ye that speak, i. e. ye Prophets, it shall not drop upon these, confusi∣on shall not apprehend them. It, that is, say Some, the wrath by you denounced shall not fall on them (as if spoken by some that did not believe the Prophets) nor any such confusion. Others, your Prophesying shall not prevail on them, shall not work any shame in them: as if spoken by God or some man counselling the Prophets. This variety there is in the translations which are in the hands of Christians; and much more yet, for Some interpret the word, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Laelleh, which is render'd to them or these, as not to belong to per∣sons but to things, Thus, Prophecy not, or if they prophecy, let them not prophesiel such things, least they take shame,m Others, Prophesie not ye prophets of the Lord, they shall prophesie, viz. Isaiah, Osee, Ioel, Micah, &c. they shall not pro∣phesie, i. e. there shall come a time when the Prophets shall cease to Prophesie to you. What other modern translations or expositions any shall meet with, he may examine and judge, by comparing with these mention'd, and by what hath been said of the signification of the words. The Iews also in their expositions differ among themselves.n One of them and he one of the ancientest, thus gives his sense of these words, he saith that they did take in ill part, or detest the admonitions of the Prophets, and bid them to desist from speaking to them, and to leave of their admonitions by way of reproof from God of them for their rebellions, as else where he saith Amos. V. 10. they hate him that rebuk∣eth in the gate: this is that which he saith of them, prophesie ye not, i. e. that they forbad the Prophets to admonish and instruct them; which is like to what they, with whom Isaiah had to do, said to him, Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the holy one of Israel to cease from before us. Is. XXX. 11. But the Pro∣phets did not hearken to them, or leave to warn, admonish, and rebuke them, that is it which he saith of them, they do or will speak, or prophesie, i. e. they say to them prophesie, or speak not, but they do prophesie, or speak; then of what he saith 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Lo Yat∣tiphu Laelleh, they do not prophesie to these, the meaning is, but it is all one as if they did not Prophesy to these, not direct their ad∣monitions to them, for they do not in∣cline their ear to them. Then afterward he saith ver. 11. If a man walking in the Spirit and falshood, do ly saying, I will prophesie to thee of wine &c. he shall be the prophet of this people, i. e. to him will they hearken and give ear, to what he saith. The last words shame shall not, or doth not, apprehend them according to him import, that no reproofs of the Prophet work on them, else for shame they would cease from their rebellions.o Others of them take 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Yattiphun in the second place in somthing a different sense, viz. a more general, for speak∣ing or saying: and thenp One, taking what is spoken as the words of the poor oppressed, gives this meaning, Prophesie ye not, say they, i. e. those oppressed ones to the Prophets, they shall, or should, not prophesie to these (oppressors) for they will not take shame, not be mov'd to shame by any thing that the Prophets say to them. This he prefers before that of Others, whoq interpret them as if the wicked of the People should say to the Prophets, Prophesie ye not: Let them not Prophesie to these (wicked People,) that they be not put to shame (for their labour.)r Another of them thus renders the words, taking them as a farther description of those wicked ones, of which tis said, ver. 2. they covet fields, &c. that they also did say this to the Prophets, thus, prophesie ye not say they; they shall not, or, let them not prophesie (with change of the person repeating again their prohibition of them, as if they instantly and continually said it both to the Prophets and amongst them∣selves) shall not shame overtake these? i. e. will not they be ashamed of such doings? or ought not shame to be brought on such as these? This Interpretation keeps close to the words, but distinguisheth them otherwise then Others, do, who think the accent requires that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Laelleh, rendred, to these, be joined to the fore∣going words, not to the following; but he thinks that not necessary alwaies to be ob∣served: but if the accent be observed, then he saith the meaning will be, They that pro∣phesie not to these shall not take shame, that is, shall be free from that shame and contume∣ly which they would put on them. In this multitude of opinions and judgments, the Rea∣der will see it necessary to use his own, and that without danger of great error, none of these expositions being contrary to the Analo∣gy of Faith or found Doctrine. It may, see∣ing we are forced to be tedious, be farther ob∣served, that some ancient Versions take the word, which all these render speaking, or pro∣phesying, in an other sense, viz. to signifie weeping. So the Greek, Weep not with tears, neither let him weep over these: for he shall not put away shame. And so the Syriack and Ara∣bick, as to that word. And indeed weeping is not far from that notion of dropping, or flowing, which we said the root of the word hath. But no Modern Interpreters think it meet to follow them in this place.

Page  17 The Syriack joins the last words to the fol∣lowing verse, Let that shame overtake you which is spoken or denounced to the house of Iacob.

O thou that are named the house of Ia∣cob, Is the Spirit of the Lord straitned? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?

O thou that art named the house of Iacob, &c.] The meaning of these words as consequent on the former will be in a brief Paraphrase thus, O thou that art named the house of Iacob, but dost not in thy doings make good that name, Is the Spirit of the Lord straitned? Is his mer∣cy, his will or power of promising by his Pro∣phets good things and effecting them, now re∣strained more then formerly, when he did both, that now thou receivest only threatning messa∣ges by his Prophets? Are these his doings? was he wont thus to deal? or, Are these punishments and judgments that he denounceth, his con∣stant workds, or those that he delighteth to do? Do not my words do good to him that walketh up∣rightly? Doth he not promise good things and give them to him that is upright and walketh in good waies? Do ye not perceive by his diffe∣rent dealings, in that he wrought wonderful things for you while you walked in obedience to him, and now forsaketh you and giveth you up to evil, now that ye forsake him and rebel against him, that the cause, of this change is from your selves, and that he alwaies doth good, but to them that strive to do good, and walk in his right waies? And even now if ye would by these menaces of the Prophets be wrought on to amend your waies, for which they are intended, would not these also be for good to you, and a means of saving you from that destruction which you for that end are warned of by them? The words so understood, are plainly inferr'd from the foregoing words, as an answer to them who forbad the Prophets to speak to them such harsh things as they did, as if either they deliver'd not to them rightly Gods message, or had not receiv'd a full measure of his Spirit, or that 'twere in their power to speak otherwise then God bad them speak: and so their folly is discover'd, in that they laid it not to heart, that the cause why such severe things were by Gods Prophets de∣nounded to them contrary to such gracious pro∣mises, which had been made formerly to the true house of Iacob, was not from any ill mind in the Prophets, nor any change in God, who still continued to do good to them that conti∣nued to walk uprightly in his waies; but from themselves, who were so changed, that they retain'd nothing of Iacob but the bare name, and by their wickedness made themselves un∣capable of receiving better messages, or that God should deal better with them. And this seems the plainest meaning of the words. O∣thers differently interpret them, as Some, who in rendring the words agree, but then give the meaning thus,uIs the Spirit of the Lord strait∣ned, so as that you should silence his Prophets? as if he were not able to direct them what to say, or should not have liberty to cause them to prophecy and denounce what he pleaseth? or should not have power by them to pro∣nounce against you evill things and to bring them to pass?xAre these his works? These things which you do such works as he requires from you, or is pleased with; or, Are these such works as become the house of Iacob? and do my words no good with him that walketh aright? are they not pleasing to him, promising to him good, & instructing and correcting him for his good? That they are not such to you is through your own fault,y Others, Is the Spirit of the Lord straitned, that he cannot now send Pro∣phets as well as formerly, tho you enjoin silence to them?z Others differ in rendring the first words. Some thus, Is this said among you, O house of Iacob? Or, as Some, Is it thus said? Ought it thus to be said? or, What is this that is said, O house of Iacob? or, What is the saying of the house of Iacob? & then go on in the expound∣ing the following words,aIs the Spirit of the Lord straitned, as that, if you silence these Prophets, he cannot send others with as severe messages? Are these evils denounced the works of God, or, are they not the effects of your Sins? Butb a learned Iew will not have the words so read Interrogatively, because then the following should be without an Interrogation, as expressing what he wonders to hear them say, viz. The Spirit of the Lord is shortned: yet the Chaldee Paraphrast seems so to take it, ren∣dring, Is it right which the house of Iacob say? And the author of the Vulgar Latin seems to take it as founding, (as the Tugurine version hath it) Is it not said by the house of Iacob? Or, without an Interrogation, That which is said by the house of Iacob, is, &c. While he renderscthe House of Iacob hath said: and then the fol∣lowing words are looked on as the words of the house of Iacob, and expounded to this sense, Why do ye, O Prophets, threaten such hard things to us? Is the Spirit of the Lord straitned, his mercy restrained, that he will not do good to us?d Are these his thoughts and works? viz. to prosecute revenge so as to destroy us his People, and forget to be good to us? and then the next words, as the words of God in answer to them, That he is good, and his promises good, and he will do good, but to those that are good, not to such wicked ones as they are.e A later learned divine dif∣fereth from these foregoing, in the rendring of the last words, instead of, Do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly? reading it, Are Page  18 not my words good? viz. these words that I the Prophet speak, that he walketh with the upright: or, Shall not my words please you? they would please you if you were upright, for he, that is God, walketh with the upright. The cause of this difference he taketh from a Grammatical nice∣ty, because, saith he, if those words 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Hayashar Holec were to be rendred him that walketh uprightly, the Article or not of Em∣phasis 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Ha should be joynd with the Par∣ticiple 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Holoc and that put before the o∣ther Noun thus 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Haholec Yashar. But the first exposition is not liable to this excep∣tion, for in that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Yashar is not taken as a Noun, but a Verb, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Ha put before it sig∣nifieth which; as manifestly elsewhere it is, put with a Verb in that sens,f as Iosh. X. 24. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Hehalecu, which went with him, and 1 Chron. XXVI. 28. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Hahicdish rendred which Samuel the seer had dedicated, and so Ezek. XXVI. 17. And so the literal rendring will be, he that is upright walking, or, going on in the wales of God, the plain sence of which is, him that walketh uprightly: or, if it be taken as a Noun it is salved by understanding 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Derec way, i. e. that walketh in the right way: so Aben Ezra, and R. David Kimchi. The Ancient M. S. Arab version, which we cited, renders the whole thus, It is said among the house of Iacob, Is the power of the Lord shorned? Were these his Properties? Do not my words do good to him that is upright, walking after obedience to God? Abarbinel and Arias Montanus following him, take them to be the words of God to the People, who wondred that the Prophet should cease from reproving the oppressors. The first exposition seemeth the plainest.

Even of late my People is risen up as an Enemy: ye pull off the robe with the gar∣ment, from them that pass by securely, as Men averse from warr.

Even of late, Marg. Yesterday.] The anci∣ent Latin translatour makes of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Veeth∣mul the word so translated two words, or one compounded of two, and renders it And on the contrary. Nor is he alone in this,g An an∣cient and learned Iew so also takes it to be, tho they differ in their applying it to the fol∣lowing words: the Latin rendring the whole verse thus (according to the Doway English tran∣slation thereof) And on the contrary my People is risen up as an adversary: from above the Coat you have taken away the Cloke, and them that passed simply you turned into Battel, or Warr: but that learned Iew to this sense, And against my People he, that is, the potent oppressour before spoken of, or, every one of you, hath set uphan Enemy. It is, saith he, in sense all on as if he had said, ye have set up an Enemy, one person being put for another, as sometimes elsewhere, i. e. ye cause to have power over them, and you set in wait for them such who shall evill intreat them, and spoil them, according to what is elsewhere aid, chap. III. ver. 3. Who eat the flesh of my People, and flay their skin from them, and Psal. XXII. 18. they part my Gar∣ments among them. Then, he saith, over against you (i. e. wherever ye go, whoever ye come towards, or whomsoever ye meet with) ye strip or spoil of his garment and robe, so that of them that pass by securely, there are those who are like Men returning from Warr, viz. in as bad a condition, by your ill dealing spoiled and rob∣bed. This exposition is given by that ancient Grammarian of great note among them upon particular examination of the words, and it gives a good meaning, viz. Against my People ye set an Enemy: who ever ye meet with 〈◊〉 strip of his garment and covering, so that of them who pass on securely there are those who are become asiMen turning from Warr. Yet is he not, that I find, followed by others, who generally take 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Ethmul for one word, and to signify Yesterday, or, of late, or, before now; and then in expoun∣ding the other words they differ among them∣selves. One exposition given by some learned Iews, runs thus,kBut Yesterday, or before now, my People i. e. Israel behaving themselves as my People, stood up against the Enemy, were able to resist and prevail against him, but now having forsaken God, you are so far from this, that at the sight of a garment at a distance, taking it for the Enemies colours or ensign, or for an Enemy coming to set on you, you strip off your clothes, and cast from you your garments, that you may fly the lighter. And if you espy and but passing se∣curely and quietly on the way, you presently flee for fear of them with all speed, as Men that re∣turn flying from Warr, or the Battel, for fear of the Enemie pursuing them. And so may it be compared with what is said, Levit. XXVI. 36. The sound of a shaking leaf shall chase them, and they shall flee as fleeing from a sword, and they shall fall where none pursueth;l or, you taking them for such as return from War, take fear and flee before them.m A learned Christian also embraceth this interpretation; only that the latter words he expounds, that those that pass on quietly in their way, seem such as return from War, i. e. You for fear casting away your garments, the traveller that mindeth no such thing, finding them in the way, cometh home with them as if he returned loaden with spoils from the Warr. To this al∣so may our translatours seem to point in their Marginal reading, viz. over against a garment.n Another Exposition is this, That God having Page  19 before declared that his words do good, that he promiseth and giveth good things to him that walketh uprightly, sheweth now how incapable they are of hearing or receiving good from him, by describing their waies contrary to his: as if he should say, But not to you (whom yet he termeth my People) who are become as enemies to me, resisting or setting your selves against my Commandments both before and till now; viz. in that you do wrong and violence for a robe or garment, which injuriously ye take away from them that pass on in the waies, thinking themselves secure, as if they fled in the time of war, and were gotten out of the reach of the Enemy; or, who are glad when they are escaped out of your hands alive, after you have taken those goods they had, as they use to do who are fled out of wars. And this exposition is con∣firmed by what follows after in verse 9. The Women of my People ye cast out, &c; as if he said, These injuries ye do abroad in the waies; but within the Cities ye do them in a∣nother way, destroying Houses through whore∣dom. To the same scope tend generally the modern translations, as taking the words for a description of the perverseness, violence and ra∣pine of that People, though among themselves they somthing differ in expounding and apply∣ing them.o Some, They that were Yesterday or heretofore, my People, now rise up in hostile manner against me: ye take away the mantel from above their coat, i. e. ye strip the poor both of their upper and under garment; they that pass by peaceably are to you as those that return from War, i. e. are taken in War and brought captives, whom ye may use as you please. Others, Ye∣sterday of late, or, before now, my People is ri∣sen up as an Enemy; against me say Some,p O∣thers among themselves and against one another, re∣ferring it to the quarrels of one of the two Kingdoms Iudah and Israel against the o∣ther, and the injuries and violences done in each of them by the oppression and rapine of the rich and potent against the poor and weaker:q Others, before now, a good while since, my people hath raised up, or made, me their God an Enemy unto them by those their doings, the mention of which follows, Ye pull of the robe with the garment.r Others, differently distin∣guishing the words, He that was before my People, as if he were an Enemy, riseth up against a gar∣ment; ye pull of the robe from them that pass confi∣dently, or securely, i. e. if ye see any in a garment that likes you, ye rise up in an hostile manner to take it away;s Others, when there is a robe ye pull of the Garment, i. e. tho ye have a garment of your own, not for need but through meer injuriousness you pull of the robe or clothes from them that pass by securely astMen averse from War, not intending to enter into conten∣tion, or meaning to wrong any; Others not much differently, being quiet from VVar, thinking now all things quiet and safe; Others, whereas ye are removed from Wars; Others, returning from the battle or War, having escaped thence, and so now no farther fearing any Enemy;u Others, as men returning (i. e. you being as Souldi∣ers returning) from war bloudy and insolent.x A modern learned Divine thinks the words may thus be render'd, But of late he, i. e. God, hath given up my People to the Enemy. Toge∣ther with the mantel take away the robe from those that pass on securely and return from war; cast out the Women of my People &c. as if they were Gods commission and command unto the enemy. But this seems harsh. Diodati renders thus, More∣over heretofore my People lifted themselves up a∣gainst the Enemy, but now ye laying wait against, or, for garments, spoil of their mantle passengers which were in security being in quiet from War. To some of these forementioned I suppose will be reduceable what other modern translations any shall meet with. Some more ancient, as the Greek, Syriack, and printed Arabick, are so wide from them, that they will not easily be adjusted either with any of them or with the original Hebrew. The Chaldes useth his liberty as a Paraphrast. Among all none seems to give to the words their force better then that first of the Iewish Grammarian. It will not be needful nicely to enquire into the difference between the two words, one of which is rendred Robe the o∣ther Garment. The firsty〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Salmah seems to denote a looser garment cast over the rest, the second 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Eder a closer more fitted to the Body. If we compare these words with those of our SaviourzMat. V. 40. where is first named Coat the under, and after Cloak the up∣per Garment, and Luke VI. 29. where on the contrary first Cloak, then Coat, this will look much like a proverbial Speech, and the name∣ing of them both, whether one or the other first or last, wil signify the greedy violence of the ene∣my stripping the poor Man not in part but of all that he hath. A manuscript Arab Translation thus renders, Yesterday my People resisted their E∣nemy, but now over against a Garment, or at sight of a garment ye pull of (the Garment) from (perhaps he means their clothes because of, or for fear of) those that pass by securely being turned back from war. Or otherwise perhaps his meaning may be, Heretofore, they made war with their Ene∣mies, but now at sight of a garment they fall to stripping those that pass by, &c. they from being valiant Souldiers in War, are turned on∣ly Thieves and Robbers in time of peace.

Page  20

The VVomen of my People have ye cast out from their pleasant Houses, from their Children have ye taken away my Glory for ever.

The Women of my People have ye cast out from their pleasant Houses, &c.] The different Ex∣positions given of these words are reduceable to these two,a First, that they did by violence cast out the Wives or Widows of those poor Men whom they oppressed and spoiled of their possessions & inheritance, or had slain, or driven away from their houses, wherein they had liv∣ed with their Husbands and Children with comfort and content; and likewise by the same means took away from their Children the glory of God for ever, i. e.b those rights and privi∣ledges which God in his law had given them, or that glorious inheritance, which God had given them for a perpetual possession, and brought them to so low and contemptible a condition, that the honour of being Gods Children and People did no more appear in them: Or as Others, by depriving them of their substance and patrimony, by enjoying of which they should have had occasion to give praise and glory to me perpetually, you cause them being deprived thereof to curse you, & murmur against me. Others, by hindring them being robbed and spoiled from such honourable mar∣riages, whereby they might have left ac poste∣rity to my glory:d Others, by seduceing them to Idolatry, and causing them to follow it, ye have caused my glory to cease among them for e∣ver, e that glory which I should have had from them, so that they think no more of worshipping me. My glory saith one, i. e.f my Temple, which by your sins ye have caused to be de∣stroyed. But what had those of the ten Tribes to do with the Temple? The same hath another exposition, ye have caused that no Children be left to praise me. Or may it not be? My glory from them, the glory that I should receive from them, or the glory that they should receive from me.g Some render the last words, and that for ever, i. e. this ye conti∣nually do.h A learned Iew interpreting the for∣mer part of the verse, as we have said, distin∣guisheth the words differently, and otherwise reads the latter part thus, The women of my People have ye cast out from their pleasant houses together with their Children, (that ye might take and posses their houses and their Inheritance:) shall ye take (possess, or retain) my glory for ever? i. e. with such your evil doings shall ye con∣tinue in my chosen land my glory the glory of all Lands? No: as ye have cast out others from their pleasant houses, so will I cast you out from my land, Arise ye and depart, &c. The second way, which other expositors follow, is by interpreting what is said, the women of my People have ye cast out, &c.i concerning di∣vorce and parting betwixt Man and Wife, which some expound of the causeless divorces by which those lawless Men spoken of did cast their own Wives out of their houses in which they had lived long with content, and those Wives not strangers or captives but of their own kindred and Nation which God called his own People, and so took from them his glo∣ry, the glory of his Covenant between Man and Wife, which redoundedl to the Children born in lawful wedlock, and was taken away by the re∣scinding and breaking that Covenant: or in that they lost those priviledges, which from the good agreement of their Parents would have redoun∣ded to them.m Others, of such divorces which they caused between other Men and their Wives, by committing lewdness and Adulte∣ry with them, or byn giving their husbands occasion to suspect them, while without their leave they violently went into the Houses of the poor (who are called by God his People) where their Wives were, to rob and spoil them, so that the Husbands there finding them, suspected their Wives of lewdness with them, & so they caus'd them to divorce them and put them away out of their houses, in which they took delight, and so from their little Children, whom by this means they deprived of his glo∣ry, o i. e. that grace and that sanctity which resided among them while they lived in obedi∣ence to God, to which condition they should never again be restored by reason of that their separation and dispersion, which these wicked Men were cause of. Or by gloryp Some will have meant that conjunction between Man and Wife by God instituted for those ends, which rightly observed are, as all his works and ordi∣nances, his glory for which and by which Men praise him. The Greek version of this verse and Printed Arabick are far different from all other, and from the words in the Hebrew. A manuscript Arabick translation (I suppose Rab. Saadias) the women of my People ye thrust out of the Houses of their delightfulness (or where∣in they shewed themselves delightful and plea∣sing to their husbands;) from their Children ye take my Glory for ever.

Arise ye and depart, for this is not your rest, because it is polluted, it shall de∣stroy you even with a sore destruction.

Arise ye and depart, &c.] According to this rendring the sense is plain,q Prepare you for Page  21 departure and removal from this land for it may not be, or, is not convenient that it should be a resting place to you after such wickednesses committed by you in it; but it shall destroy you, because it is polluted by you, and that with a sore destruction: and the words well bear this ren∣dring. It is perhapsr the best: yet do some dif∣ferently render, especially the latter words. The ancient Vulgar Latin hath to this sense, Arise and go, because you have no rest here; for the un∣cleanness thereof it shall be corrupted with a sore putre faction; so the Doway Version hath it. The greatest difference in this from▪ Ours is, that the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Tameah, which Ours renders as a Verb is polluted, is in it taken for a Noun,s as it is by others also, and rendred uncleanness; and the Verb 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Techabbel, which Ours render actively, shall destroy you, in it is rendred in∣transitively or passively, as Some think it ought here to be taken, shall be corrupted or destroyed: which they might be the more induced to do, because otherwise you is to be understood, for there is nothing to signify it expressed in the Original. And for that reason may it be also, thatu Others render, Because pollution cor∣rupteth, or, as another, because of pollution, which corrupteth even with a great corruption; otherwise the meaning in both is much one, and respect is had to the same signification of the root or Verb 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Chabal, which hath, beside this of destruction or corruption, other significations also, which some chuse to follow: as namely 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Chebel signifieth a Cord, and the author of that well approved Tigurin Latin translation fol∣lowing this, renders, because it is polluted and cor∣rupted and the cord too much stretched: but he might have done well farther to have explained his meaning: he is not for ought I find followed by any other. It signifies also a company, and in this signification a noted Rabbin (Salomon Iarchi) taking it, expounds the words, that it may be polluted it gathers companies, which com∣panies being met declare their counsels: and for confirmation of his taking it in this signification he alledgeth the authority of the Chaldee,* who paraphraseth the words: Arise and be gone, this land is not an house of rest to the wicked: that they may pollute it they do corruptly; that you may de∣file it ye gather in companies to it, or against it. But neither is this by many followed. It hath the signification lastly of grievous pains and pangs, such as of a woman in travel, and the Verb, to conceive and e in pains or pangs of tra∣vel, with pain to bring forth; and this here hath place in the opinion of some learn'd Iews.x One of them, taking the Verb 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Techabbel in the first signification, and the Noun▪ 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Chebel in this last, interprets the words thus, Because it is polluted by you it shall destroy you, and there shall be sore pains, viz, to it, i. e. to you its inha∣bitants; y or, saith he, the Verb also may be taken in the last sense, and then interpreted, be∣cause it is polluted by wheredom, viz. spiritual, (that is, Idolatry) and carnal, pains shall come upon it, and those pains or pangs sharp, or grie∣vous. And so doth the manuscript Iewish A∣rab translation render them, Arise and be gone, this is not a resting place for you; because it is polluted it shall be in pangs, and the pangs shall be sharp. And the meaning thus will be good and agreeable to the Scripture way of de∣nouncing punishments to a sinful Nation, viz. that the land defil'd by their Idolatries and a∣bominable lewdness and all manner of wicked∣ness, shall be pained as it were a woman in tra∣vel and in pangs, desirous to be eased of them her burden, and not be at quiet till she be delivered of them, and they cast forth of her. By the pains and sorrows attributed to the land are noted those evils thatz shall sease on the In∣habitants thereof. The like expressions see Ier. XIII. 2. and XLIX. 24. Psalm XLVIII. 6. Hos. XIII. 13. Isa. XIII. 8. with many other. As for the meaning of the judgment here denounced, either according to the first or this last interpretation it may be compared with Lev. XVI. 11. 25, 28. and chap. XX. 22. the meaning is, that this land, which God had given them for a rest, and they promised to themselves for a sure resting place, now being by them contrary to his command defiled, should no longer bear them, but as a foul Stomack corrupting what it hath in it, vio∣lently vomit and cast them forth, or, as a Wo∣man at her full time desirous to be eased of her burden, should be grievously pained, till it were rid of them, as being weary of them.

If a Man walking in the Spirit and fals∣hood, do ly, saying, I will Prophesie unto thee of Wine and strong Drink, he shall even be the Prophet of this People.

If a Man walking in the Spirit, and falshood do ly, saying, &c.] Or, as in the Margin, walk with the wind, and ly falsly. These interpreta∣tions are all one in sense; for if 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Ruach be render'd Spirit, then will it be, a Man that pretends to the Spirit of Prophesie, whereas he hath it not, but follows his own false Spirit, which is no better then wind and vanitie,a and the word signifies as well wind, as Spirit: so that the meaning will be,b if any falsly pretend∣ing to the Spirit of Prophesie and inspiration from God, but indeed walking with the wind,tPage  22 and following what is vain, and false, shall forge a lie, and say, he hath commission to pro∣phesie unto them of wine and strong drink, i. e. to bid them drink and be merry and to enjoy them∣selves, not fearing those evils, which the true Prophets denounced to them,c or that they shall have plenty of wine, and all good things or, shall say, I will Prophesie to thee for wine, and strong drink, i. e.d If thou wilt give me a Cup of Wine, I will Prophesie and foretel good things to thee, not Destruction and Calamity, as those do that tell thee, they are sent with such sad messages from God, Even he shall be the Prophet of this People, him will they readily accept of for such a Prophet as they would have, and hearken unto him, whereas they will not hearken unto, or endure the true Prophets, who reprove them, and denounce Gods judgments against them, if they will not re∣pent of their sins, and turn from them, but si∣lence them, as verse 6. and see, Isa. XXX. 10. This way of expounding these words is so evi∣dently agreeable to them in the Original, that to enquire after others would rather make them obscure, then add light to them. For as for that rendring of the Vulgar Latin:ewould God I were not a Man having the Spirit, and that I did speak a lie? it can hardly be fitted to the words in the Original. The particle 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Lu, doth indeed signifie would God as well as if. But then, what ground is there to add the ne∣gative I were not? it would in this sense rather found, would God I were a Man, &c. Again by what interpretation can this be made a wish befitting the Prophet? He might perhaps wish, that no such severe message had bin sent by him, as of destruction to those his People, out of his compassion to them; but to wish that what by Gods command he spake, were a lie, would be an injury, not to himself only, but to the Spirit by which he spake, the Spirit of truth, with whom falshood is not to be men∣tioned, much less either in word or wish at∣tributed to him. If he had only wished, that himself by his suffering might have redeemed them, it had been an act of charity; but not to wish that God had sent a lie by him. S. Paul saith he could wish himself, even accursed from Christ for his Brethrens sake, Rom. IX. 3. i. e. suffer any evil to save them, and win them to Christ, but not that the Gospel or Do∣ctrine that he taught them were a lie, rather then that they might suffer for refusing it.

I I will surely assemble, O Iacob, all of thee, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel, I will put them together as the Sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold; they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of Men.

The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it, and their King shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them.

I will surely assemble O Iacob, all of thee, &c.] Very different opinions are there concerning the Scope and meaning of these two verses, Some taking them as a denunciation of judge∣ment and utter destruction to them, as both be∣fore and after is threatned by the Prophet from the Lord: Others as a promise of mer∣cy and restauration after dispersion, as 'tis usual in the Prophets to mingle promises of mercy with threatnings of judgment. Others thirdly make them the words of the false lying Prophets mentioned in the foregoing verse, bidding them not believe the true Pro∣phets threatning them with severe judge∣ments, but telling them, that however they threatned the contrary, it should be well with them. The first of these waies is taken by divers learned Men, bothfIews and Christians; and the words must then be expounded to this purpose, That God threatens, that he will gather together the whole posterity of Ia∣cob, and the remnant of Israel, (for many of them had already been destroyed, or carried away captives) i. e. all that remained both of the ten Tribes, and also the two other of Iudah, and Benjamin, in great multitudes, as flocks of Sheep in Bozrah, a place noted for a∣bundance of Sheep; that as a flock are gathe∣red into their fold, and there shut up, so they should be gathered into their Cities and Towns, that they might be taken toge∣ther, and there, by reason of the multitude of them that were shut up, besieged, and distressed to∣gether, (h or by reason of the Enemies that in such great number surround them,) should make great noise, and be much troubled, as a great flock of Sheep shut up in a fold, are disturbedi when any comes in upon them: viz. because the breaker, i. e. the Souldiers of the Enemy, who should break down their walls, should come upon them, and make free passage for themselves, by breaking open their gates, to pass in and out; or for themselves to enter, and to lead them out to cap∣tivity: and their King, viz. the Enemies King, should pass before his Army to lead them on; and not only so, but the Lord himself in the head of them, to give them vi∣ctory over those whom he hath given up to be destroyed by them: and so this Pro∣phesie may be looked on as fulfilled in the Page  23 taking of Samaria by the King of Assyria, 2 Kings XVII. 6. and of Ierusalem by Nebuchad∣nezzar, 2 Kin. XXV. 1. &c. Others, who yet look upon it as then fulfilled, do differently expound the last verse, to wit, thatk by the breaker should be understood the Enemy, but then that for fear of him they should make breaches themselves in their walls to get out at, and pass out at the gates, to escape if they could by flight, their King himself leading them the way, (asl of Zedekiah 'tis said, 2 Kings XXV. 4.) but being taken should be carried cap∣tive, and they after him; and all this because the Lord was in the head of them, i. e. the ene∣mies, to execute the judgments that he had denounced against that People. But this seems harsh to interpret them, in before them, first of the Israelites, then in the same continued sen∣tence, on the head of them, of the Enemies. O∣thers therefore expound it, shallmbe on the head of them, i. e. over them for evill, and to execute his vengeance on them, and to see that they shall not escape. Others, and the Lord shall in the head, or beginning, i.e. before, for∣sake them, and withdraw his presence, by which he was wont to protect and defend them; whichn a learned Iew notes to be a far fetch'd interpretation.

The second Exposition, viz. that in these words is a gracious promise of restauration to Israel after their dispersion, is preferredo by many learned Men both Jews and Christi∣ans; with this difference, that the Iews (the modern at least) understand it as a temporal restoring of the Kingdom of Israel; the Chri∣stians of a Spiritual deliverance by Christ, and the calling them into his Kingdom, and ga∣thering them into his Church, together with the called of the Gentiles, as one flock into one fold under one Shepherd. See Ioh. X. 16. The words being so taken, we need not (saithp a learned Iew) look after any connexion with the foregoing, or following, it being not un∣usual to have gracious promises so mingled with threatnings of judgments, where seems no coherence betwixt them. Or else the con∣nexion may be made thus,q saith another, God having before threatned severe things a∣gainst the People, both in this and the former chapter, as that their inheritance should be laid wast, and they cast out of it, be destroyed, and carried away captives; least they should ut∣terly despair of deliverance or Salvation, inter∣mingles this merciful promise of a gracious re∣stauration, that he will again after the dis∣persion with which he hath threatned them, ga∣ther them together in as great multitudes, as the sheep of Bozrah, & as flocks are gathered together into their fold; so that there shall be a great noise by reason of their concourse, as if their place were too strait and narrow for them. Isa. XLIX. 19, 20. And then a flourishing, or migh∣ty growing King,r according to one sense of the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Porets, or, a breaking King, shall break through all Impediments (ac∣cording to another signification of that word) and beat down the Enemies; so that they fol∣lowing him shall, breaking through all difficul∣ties of gates shut against them, pass in and out as they please, their King going before them, and the Lord being on the head of them, as leader of the Vauntgard, i. e. to protect, and help them by his providence and mighty wonders, and to hinder the Enemies from hurt∣ing them. Thus a learned Iew, understanding the words literally; who in the mean while notes, though these words be of the preter per∣fect Tense, have broken up, have passed, are gone out, yet that they are to be understood as in the future, shall break up, shall pass, shall go out; as such change of Tenses is not unfrequent. And sos do others of 〈◊〉, who follow the same way, take it as 〈◊〉•••phecy 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Le∣atid, belonging to the time to come, i. e. to the times of the Messiah, which they deny yet to be come, and vainly expect, promising to themselves great carnal felicity therein. Thet Christian Interpreters, who look upon these words as a Prophecy of good things, do look, as taught in the Gospel, after a more Spiritu∣al meaning, interpreting them as made good by Christ's calling, and gathering together, into his Church, his fold, the Israel of God, his dispersed flock, who were before as Sheep going astray; in which they should grow into great numbers, like the flocks of Bozrah. The comparing with these words the x. chap. of Ioh. to the 18. verse, will serve much for the illustration of them in this sense understood. And in what numbers they came at first into the Church, the History of the first times, as Act. II. 41. and chap. IV. 4. and elsewhere, and of succeeding times all the world over, testifies. They usually understand by the breaker, and by their King, the same per∣son, viz. Christ, to whom that title of breaker may well agree, for his breaking down all obsta∣cles, the middle wall of partition betwixt Iews and〈◊〉Eph. II. 14.u breaking open the gates 〈◊〉 Hell it self, so that neither he him∣self could be detained by them, nor hisx be hin∣der'd by them, from following him into the Kingdom of Heaven, the gates of which, having conquered Death, and triumphed over all Ene∣mies, he set open to them, so that they might without hindrance go in and out, and find pa∣sture, Ioh. X. 9. he going before them, and his sheep following him, ib. ver. 4. and the Lord protecting them. It may be observed too, that if the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Haporets, be taken in Page  24 that other sense mentioned, as it may signifie one that increaseth, or groweth to power, it may likewise aptly be attributed to Christ the King of the Church, who is called the Branch, Zech. III. 8. and VI. 12. and of whom it is said, that of the encrease of his government there shall be no end, Isa. XI. 7. and the rod of the stemm of Iesse, and a branch that should grow out of his roots, Isa. XI. 1. and a root of Iesse, whose rest should be glorious, by whom God would set his hand again, to recover the remnant of his People; and that he should set up an ensign for the nations, to assemble the outcasts of Israel, and ga∣ther together the dispersed of Iudah, ib. ver. 10, 11, 12. To him that was promised to be as such, and was exhibited as such, and hath made good in himself what was promised, well may the title of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Haporets, in this, or indeed in both senses agree. But if any think, that by 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Haporets, the breaker, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Malcam, their King, should be meant two di∣stinct persons, let him hear, what the Ancient Iews (as citedy by the modern) say, for exposition of this place. Haporets, the Breaker, that is Elias, and Malcam, their King, that is the Branch, the Son of David; and then ob∣serve, what our Saviour himself hath taught us, that Iohn Baptist was that Elias which was to come, Mat. XI. 14. and Mat. XVII. 12, 13. and what the Angel saith of him, Luke I. 16, 17. that many of the Children of Israel he should turn unto the Lord their God, and that he should go before him in the Spirit and pow∣er of Elias, without fear, and with courage, as he,z rebuking Sin, and removing it out of the way, to turn the hearts of the Fathers to the Children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a People prepared for the Lord: and how the Prophecy of Isaias is ap∣plied to him preaching repentance, viz. that he was, as he saith also of himself, Ioh. I. 23. the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Pre∣pare ye the way of the Lord, make his pathes straight: every valley shall be filled, and every Mountain and Hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough waies shall be made smooth, Luke III. 4, 5. and what our Saviour saith, This is he, of whom it is said, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee; and that from the daies of Iohn the Baptist, the Kingdom of Heaven suffered violence, and the vio∣lent took it by force. Mat. XI. 10, 12. men breaking as it were, and passing through the gate, by his preaching repentance laid open, that they might go in and out: and it will be easy to apply to him this title of the breaker: & so shall we have in the words, a most illustri∣ous Prophecy of Christ, and his forerunner Iohn the Baptist, which it will be no reason to let go, seeing the Iews themselves so readily yield it to us. Especially, when the words most nicely examined, will be more punctual∣ly appliable to this exposition then any o∣ther that is brought, observing only to look for these promises to be Spiritually perform∣ed, which the Iews expect only as Carnal; and because they have not yet had any such temporal deliverance, think the Prophecy not yet fulfilled. Neither is it by divers Christ∣ans looked upon as yet compleatly fulfilled, but, in another regard, viz. because it respects Christs calling, and gathering of his, not only here, into the fold of the Church militant, the Kingdom of Grace,a but hereafter into the Church triumphant, the Kingdom of Glory, in the Heavenly Jerusalem. This needs not be looked on as a new exposition, but a com∣pletion of the former, which it necessarily pre∣supposeth. The third way of expounding the words is, of a learnedbIew, who taketh the for∣mer of the 2 verses, to be the words of that lying Prophet, spoken of in the foregoing verse, as if he should say to them, Drink and be merry, and fear not, for the Lord hath put into my mouth to say unto you, that he will surely ga∣ther together all that are dispersed of you, and you shall be in your Cities in great mul∣titudes, as flocks of Sheep in their proper folds and pastures; and thus the false Pro∣phet leading them the way, they follow like Sheep one after another, when one of them hath gone out of a gap, and even their King likewise doth the like, the Lord, at their first breaking out from his obedience, removing his presence, and providence from them. Thus he is explained, by anotherc of his Nation, who yet rejects his opinion, because these words were spoken before the dispersion of the Israelites by Captivity; so that if they had been a promise from their false Prophets, they should rather have told them, that they should not be scattered, nor go at all into cap∣tivity, as the true Prophets denounced, and not have prophesied to them of a return after captivity. Yet, dod Some Christians interpre∣ters also so far follow him, as to think the for∣mer of the two verses, to contain the words of the false Prophets, but so as retorted by God upon them; that whereas they promised them, that they should be gathered together, he would indeed so gather them, but not for good, as they falsly promised them, but for evill, and a general destruction. It may be here observ'd, that whereas the most take Bozrah for the proper name of a place, noted for abundance of flocks, mentioned Isa. XXXIV. 6. and Ier. XLVIII. 24. yet by Others, it is not taken for a proper name, but translated ein a Sheep Cote, or fold, taking it to be in Page  25 signification like 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Mibzar, a fence, or, place of defence;f Others, in tribulation, or Streights. Why Abarbanel and Montanus should take Bozrah for Rome, there is no reason, tho it might be of old a place for feed∣ing Sheep.