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[247] Hosea i. 4. “For yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Israel upon the house of Jehu.” This prophecy was given in the days of Jeroboam, a king of the house of Jehu, not long before the destruction of that house; for Zechariah, Jeroboam’s son and successor, was the last that reigned of that family, and he reigned but six months. Jehu’s killing all that were of the house of Ahab, 771was both rewarded and punished; it was rewarded, because as to the matter of it, it was agreeable to God’s command; (see 2 Kings x. 30.;) but it was done in a wicked manner. He did not do it so much from a spirit of obedience as from an aim at his own advancement; for he little regarded God’s honour in it, as afterwards plainly appeared by his idolatry, the very sin for which he was bid to kill Ahab and destroy his family. God saw that he did it with a murderous heart, and so punishes it by the overthrow of his family. As Jehu with a murderous heart slew Ahab and all his family, so shall the posterity of Jehu be slain, and his family be overthrown in their turn. So the house of Baasha was rooted out, because he did the like to Jeroboam, 1 Kings xvi. 7. because Jehu performed the matter of God’s command, he was rewarded by continuing the crown of Israel in his family unto the fourth generation, but because he did it in a wicked manner, as his after-behaviour manifested, therefore it was continued no longer, but then taken away. His doing the matter of his duty was rewarded, but his doing it in a murderous manner was punished: which two things are not at all inconsistent.

[250] Hosea vii. 14. “And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds.” In their calamities which they suffered, they are compared to sick and wounded men, as chap. v. 16.; and many of them were doubtless literally sick, wounded men, in grievous pain on their beds, by reason of the continual wars that they had of late been embroiled in. They howled in pain and distress on their beds, and cried that God would help them. When he slew them, then they sought him, but it was all in hypocrisy, and probably they cried in their prayers under distress with a loud voice, as they used to cry to Baal and other idols, as if they must be awakened, or could be prevailed upon by the loudness of the noise they made; but God, to show his abhorrence of it, calls it howling.

“They assembled themselves for corn and wine, and they rebelled against me.” They assembled themselves to fast and pray for these blessings, when they were by divine judgments cut short in them, but they sought in such a manner that God looked upon it as rebellion, as the prophet Isaiah says, Isa. i. 17. “The calling of assemblies I cannot away with, it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.”

[252] Hosea x. 9, 10. “O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah; there they stood, the battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity did not overtake them. It is my desire that I should chastise them,” &c. When the Benjamites committed such wickedness in Gibeah, they stood and defended themselves, and were victors in the first and second battle that was fought against them, and at last the battle did not overtake them all, but six hundred made their escape; that wicked tribe was not extirpated, and they have stood and remained in their successors in their wickedness to this very day, until the generation of such wicked men in Israel has now at length so increased, that they have overspread not only one tribe, but all the tribes of Israel. That wicked tribe of Benjamin was not overtaken or rooted out by the battle in Gibeah. “But I have a design now that the battle shall overtake them, my desire is that I should chastise them,” as it follows in the next verse. When the Benjamites committed such wickedness in Gibeah, the other tribes had a desire to chastise them, by wholly rooting out that tribe; they seemed to be greatly engaged about it, but failed of it; there they stood and remained notwithstanding. “Now I have a desire to chastise them, I myself will take it in hand, and I will make more thorough work; I will root out all of them; none shall be able to stand against me.”

“And the people shall be gathered against them when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows.” That is, when they shall fortify themselves in their two furrows, where they have ploughed wickedness and sowed iniquity, ver. 13. i. e. in Dan and Bethel, the places of their two calves, or in the service of their two gods. In this field they bind themselves; they are resolute not to depart from these two furrows that they have ploughed; they remain there as if they were bound there; they are obstinate in their wicked works, in their two furrows. Their two ways of wickedness, or two wicked works, viz. their worshipping the two calves, are here compared to two furrows that they have ploughed, in analogy to the rest of the allegory in the following verses. In these wicked works they persist, and think to stand it out as the Benjamites did, out they shall not be able to defend themselves as they did, but the people shall be gathered against them as the tribes of Israel were gathered against the wicked Benjamites, and to more effect.

[253] Hosea x. 11. “I will make Ephraim to ride, Judah shall plough, and Jacob shall break his clods.” In the preceding words, God hath threatened that he would put a yoke on Ephraim’s fair neck, that she might be made to do harder work than treading out the corn, to wit, plough the field. Here the comparison is in part continued, and in part altered from the labour of the cattle in ploughing to that of the men that plough, wherein one man was wont to ride to guide the beast that drew the plough, another to hold the plough, and another to break the clods. God here says that he would cause Ephraim to ride, i. e. he should go foremost in this labour God had to call them to, and Judah should plough, i. e. Judah should follow in it as he that held the plough did him that rode, and then Jacob, i. e. the whole nation of Israel in all the tribes, should be in the same calamity, and reduced to the same slavery. As he that broke the clods in ploughing came last. See chap. xii. 1, 2.

[260] Hosea xii. 12, 13. “And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep. And by a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved.”

1. Israel are here put in mind of their former meanness, in the same two instances that they were commanded every year to remember and confess anew, when they offered the basket of first-fruits. Deut. xxvi. 5. “And thou shalt speak, and say, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt and sojourned there with a few.” God puts them in mind from what small beginnings he raised them. Their father served and kept sheep for their mothers. He came to Syria a poor fugitive, and lived there a servant. He came to Syria with nothing; he had nothing to endow a wife with, and therefore was forced to serve for a wife; and again they were poor slaves in a strange land in Egypt.

[2] They are put in mind of God’s great mercies of old to their forefathers in twice bringing them out of banishment, and out of servitude, vid. ver. 9. And he brought them out of Egypt, and led and preserved them in the wilderness; it was by a prophet, which shows their ingratitude in their despising and rejecting the prophets, the successors of Moses. Ver. 10.

[221] Amos i. 6 to 13. The injuriousness and cruelty of the Philistines, Tyrians, and Edomites, towards the children of Israel, that is here spoken of, and for which God’s judgments are, by the prophet, denounced against them, seem to have been acted at the time that those things were done that we read of in 2 Chron. xxi. 8, 9, 10, 16, 17.; and xxii. 1. The judgments spoken of concerning the Philistines, seem in part to have been fulfilled before the prophecy of Amos, in what we have an account of, 2 Chron. xxvi. 6, 7. when Uzziah, king of Judah, went forth and warred against the Philistines, and broke down the walls of Gath, and the walls of Jabneh, and the wall of Ashdod, and built cities about Ashdod, and among the Philistines, his God helped him, so that he was successful. Accordingly the words of the prophecy may be interpreted, “And I have sent a fire upon the wall of Gaza, and have cut off the inhabitants from Ashdod.” And as the prophets frequently speak of things to come in the same manner as if they were past or present; so it was further fulfilled in the time of Hezekiah, who smote the Philistines, even unto Gaza, and the borders thereof; from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced cities, 2 Kings xviii. 8.; or both in town and country, where they built little cottages; where they watched their flocks by night; and therefore the prophet Isaiah bids the Philistines not to rejoice, because the rod that smote them was broken, or Uzziah was dead, who had sorely afflicted them. 29, to the end. For Hezekiah should come out of his root, or be descended 772from him, who should more grievously gall them. And it was more fully completed when Sennacherib, king of Assyria, marched against Egypt; and the better to open his way into that country, he sent Tartan, one of his generals, before him, who fought against Ashdod, and took it.

Secondly. The prophet Amos prophesieth also against Tyre, for this reason, that God would send a fire upon the walls of Tyrus, which should devour the palaces thereof. This was also fulfilled when Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, made war upon Tyre, in the reign of Elulæus, their king, and having sent an army invaded the whole country of Phoenicia; and taking it very heinously to see the Tyrians to be the only people who disputed his authority, he sent a large fleet against them, which being beaten, the king of Assyria returns and sets guards along the river, and upon all springs and aqueducts, to keep the Tyrians from water, which distress continued for five years, when they were forced to relieve themselves by pits of their own digging. After this Nebuchadnezzar, continuing a long and terrible siege of thirteen years, made himself master of it, who, finding but little spoil therein to reward his soldiers for their great pains, was so inflamed with anger, that he rased the whole town to the ground, and slew all that he found therein; from which time it never more recovered its glory, but the city on the island became the Tyre which was afterwards so famous, and this was ever after a village called by the name of Old Tyre.

Lastly. The prophet, for the same reasons, foretells the destruction of Edom, that God would send a fire upon Teman, their capital city, which should devour the palaces of Bozrah, a city in the confines of Moab. This seems first to have been fulfilled when Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, came against Samaria; and having conquered the country of Moab, ravaged and destroyed the country of Edom, the neighbouring kingdom, the better to secure himself from any disturbance on that side. And also when Sennacherib, king of Assyria, went with his forces into Egypt; for the same reason that induced him to send Tartan into Ashdod, would induce him to overrun all Idumea, which lay directly in his way, and would open a freer communication with his own country. And after this the army of Nebuchadnezzar ransacked the country when Tyre was taken, and when he marched into Egypt, and his soldiers were hungry for want of plunder, as it had been foretold by the prophets Obadiah (throughout his prophecy) and Jeremiah, (chap. xlix. 7 to 23.) when the accomplishment thereof was near at hand. (Bedford’s Scripture Chronology, p. 633, 634.)

[97] Jonah i. and ii. As the ship and company were saved by Jonah’s being cast into the waters, and his intended and supposed death, so was the church, which is several times typified by a ship saved by Christ, being cast into and overwhelmed by sorrows and troubles, which are represented by water, and by his death. Jonah being swallowed of a whale, or leviathan, represents Christ being as it were swallowed by him that hath the power of death, the devil, the spiritual leviathan; but however, it was but a means of Christ’s being under better advantages to come at his heart, and to give him the more mortal wound. The whale thought to have made a sweet feast of Jonah, but he found him a dreadful medicine, he was sick of him at the heart and vomited him up again. Vide Jer. li. 44. So the devil thought Christ was his food, but he proved not his meat, but his poison. The devil has deeply regretted putting Christ to death, since he has seen what the effect of it is. As Jonah was three days and three nights buried in the sea, so was Christ in his grave three days and three nights.

It is said, when Jonah was cast into the sea, the sea ceased from her raging: so, when once Christ was swallowed up in God’s wrath, his wrath ceased from raging towards the church. The words of Jonah’s song, chap. ii. make the thing more apparent. He calls the belly of the fish, the belly of hell, or the belly of the grave, 2d and 4th verses. “I cried by reason of mine affliction, then said I, I am cast out of thy sight.” So Christ said, My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me? 546546    Matt. xxvii. 46. Ver. 3. “The floods compassed me about, all thy waves and thy billows passed over me,” (the words of the psalmist, Psal. xlii. 7. also Lam. iii. 4, 5.) to signify the great sorrow and distress that God brought upon him. Ver. 5. “The waters compassed me about, even to the soul,” (the words of the psalmist, for great trouble and anguish, Psal. lxix. 1.) Ver. 6. “Yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption,” agreeable to what is said of Christ, Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 547547    Acts ii. 27.

[274] Jonah ii. 6. “The earth with her bars was about me for ever.” It alludes to the bars of a prison, he speaks of himself as having as it were been in hell. Ver. 2. “Out of the belly of hell cried I;” which in Scripture is often spoken of as being in the bowels of the earth, and under the bottoms or foundations of the mountains. Deut. xxxii. 22. “A fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn to the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.” So here, “I went down to the bottom of the mountains.” So hell is spoken of as being under the bottom of the sea. Job xxvi. 5. “Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof. Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering.” (See Notes on this place.) Hell and destruction here seem to be synonymous terms. Hell is by a metonomy called destruction. So Psalm lxxxviii. 11. “Shall thy loving-kindness be declared in the grave, or thy faithfulness in destruction?” So Prov. xv. 11. “Hell and destruction are before the Lord;” and xxvii. 20. “Hell and destruction are never full;” and in other places. This prayer of Jonah was indited by the Spirit of God, and so is mystical; and the Holy Ghost in it has an eye to Christ, who, as it were, went to hell in our stead. Hell is here represented as a prison in the heart of the earth, that hath the earth with its rocks and other strong and immovable parts for its walls and bars; and therefore it is such a prison as cannot be broken through, but effectually for ever confines those that are prisoners there: and therefore it is said, “The earth with her bars were about me for ever;” i. e. it would have been so, were it not for the wonderful power of God’s delivering me, which was stronger than the walls and bars of this prison.

[501] Micah v. 2. “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto me, who is to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Here it may be noted concerning these two expressions in the verse, shall he come forth unto me, and that other, whose goings forth have been from of old, &c. that the verb come forth, in the former, and goings forth, in the latter, are words of the same root in the Hebrew.

Now in order to an understanding of this text, and a clear discovering of the great doctrine taught in it, it may be worth the while to observe particularly how these words, and words of that root, are used in the Hebrew Bible.

These words are often used to signify the proceeding or flowing forth of water, as from a fountain. Gen. ii. 10. “A river went out of Eden;” Deut. viii. 7. “Fountains that spring out of valleys;” Ezek. xlvii. 1. “Waters issued out from under the threshold;” ver. 8. “Waters issue;” so ver. 12.; Zech. xiv. 8. “Living waters shall go out of Jerusalem;” Num. xx. 11. “And the waters came out abundantly;” Judg. xv. 19. “And there came water thereout,” i. e. out of the jaw-bone, or out of Lehi; Isa. lviii. 11. “Like a spring of water,” in the Hebrew, “A going forth of waters;” so Psalm cvii. 33.Water springs,” in the Hebrew, ”Going forth of water;” so ver. 35.Water springs;” Isa. xli. 18. “The dry land, springs of water.”

They are often used to signify the rising of the sun or the rising of the light of the morning, or the proceeding of beams of light from a shining body, or luminary. Gen. xix. 24. “The sun was risen on the earth;” Ezek. vii. 10. “The morning is gone forth; Isa. xiii. 10. “The sun shall be darkened in his going forth;” Isa. lxii. 1.Go forth, as brightness;” Hos. vi. 5. “Thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth;” Psal. xix. 6. “His going forth is from the end of heaven;” Psal. lxv. 8. “The out-goings of the morning.”

773They are often used to denote the springing or sprouting of plants, or of something that grows like a plant. Job xiv. 2. “He cometh forth like a flower;” Isa. xi. 1. “And there came forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse;” 1 Kings iv. 33. “The hyssop that springeth out of the wall;” Deut. xiv. 22. “All that the field bringeth forth;” Heb. “All that goeth forth out of the field;” Job viii. 16. “His branch shooteth forth in his garden;” Dan. viii. 8. “There came forth four notable horns;” Exod. xxv. 32. “Six branches shall come out of the sides of it;” so ver. 33, 35. and chap. xxxvii. 18, 21. Isa. xlii. 5. “He that spreadeth forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it.”

They are often used to express the proceeding of a word, or voice, from him, whose word or voice it is: Gen. xxiv. 50. “The word proceedeth from the Lord;” Judg. xi. 36. “According to that which proceedeth out of thy mouth;” Esth. vii. 8. “As the word went out of the king’s mouth;” Jer. xliv. 17. “Whatsoever thing goeth forth from my mouth;” Dan. ix. 23.Came forth the word;” Isa. xlviii. 3. “They went forth out of my mouth;” Exod. xxx. 2. “Do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth;”Ezek. xxxiii. 30. “What is the word that cometh forth from the Lord;” Num. xxxii. 24. “Do that which proceedeth out of your mouth;” Josh. vi. 10. “Neither shall my word proceed out of your mouth;” 1 Sam. ii. 3. “Let not arrogancy, or hard speech, come out of your mouth;” Job xxxvii. 2. “The sound that goeth out of his mouth;” Isa. lv. 11. “My word that goeth out of my mouth;” Lam. iii. 38.Out of the mouth of the Most High proceedeth not evil and good;” Psal. lxxxix. 34. “Nor alter the thing which is gone out of my lips;” Heb. Alter the going forth of my lips.

They are very often used for proceeding by generation both from the father, and the mother.

They are very often used for proceeding from a father by generation: 2 Sam. xvi. 11. “My son, my son, which came forth out of my bowels;” Gen. xii. 14. “Out of whom came Philistim;” so 1 Chron. i. 12. 1 Chron. iii. 53. “Of them came the Zarethites;” Isa. xlviii. 1. “Are come forth out of the waters of Judah;” 1 Kings viii. 19. “Thy son that cometh forth out of thy loins;” so 2, 6, 9. the same words; Gen. xlvi. 26. “That came out of his loins;” so Exod. i. 5. “That came out of the loins of Jacob;” Judg. viii. 30. “Threescore and ten sons;” so in the Hebrew; Gen. xv. 4. “He that shall come forth out of thy bowels;” 2 Sam. vii. 12. “Thy seed which shall proceed out of thy bowels;” 2 Kings xx. 18. “And of thy sons which shall issue from thee;” Isa. xxxix. 7. “Thy sons which shall issue from thee;” Gen. xvii. 6. “Kings shall come out of thee;” Gen. xxxv. 11. “Kings shall come out of thy loins;” 2 Chron. xxxii. 21. “They that come forth out of his bowels;” Jer. xxx. 21. “Their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them;” so commonly the word, offspring, in our translation, is in the Hebrew a word of this root, that signifies as much as goings forth; Isa. xxii. 24. “all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the issue; Isa. xlviii. 19. “the offspring of thy bowels;” Isa. xliv. 3. “my blessing upon thine offspring;” so Isa. lxi. 9. Isa. lxv. 23. Job xxi. 8. Job xxvii. 14. and Job xxxi. 8.

They are often used for that proceeding which there is in the birth, from the mother; Gen. xxiv. 25, 26. “his brother came out;” Gen. xxxviii. 28. “this came out first;” so ver. 29. and ver. 30. Job xxxviii. 29.out of whose womb came the ice?” Eccles. v. 15. “as he came forth out of his mother’s womb;” and Job iii. 11. Job xx. 18. Job i. 21. Exod. xxi. 22. “so that her fruit depart from her;” Deut. xxviii. 57. “her young one that cometh out from between her feet;” Deut. xii. 12. “when he cometh forth out of his mother’s womb;” Job xxxviii. 8. “as if it had issued out of the womb.”

Now concerning these things, I would make the following observations:

I. The generation of mankind, their proceeding from their fathers or ancestors, or of a particular stock and family, is often compared in the Old Testament to the issue of waters from a fountain: so Isa. xlviii. 1. Psal. lxviii. 26. Gen. xxxiii. 28. and other places

II. The generation of mankind is often compared to the springing and shooting forth of plants: Isa. xliv. 3, 4. “I will pour my blessing upon thine offspring, and they shall spring up as among the grass, and as willows by the watercourses. Psalm lxxii. 15. “They of the city shall flourish as the grass of the earth;” so Job xiv. 2. “He cometh forth as a flower,” and many other places; and particularly is the birth of the Messiah often compared to the springing of a plant or branch; as in Isa. xi. 1. “There came forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse,” and many other places.

III. The birth of a prince is compared to the rising of a luminary; the birth of Christ in particular, in that prophecy of Balaam, “A Star shall rise out of Jacob.”

IV. It being thus, and the words used in this passage of Micah v. 2. which express the Messiah’s coming forth out of Bethlehem, and also his going forth from everlasting, being the same or from the same root with those that are so often used to signify the issuing of waters from a fountain, and the sprouting forth of plants, and the going forth of a luminary; and not only so, but also abundantly used expressly to signify generation, or a being born: hence it is most reasonable and natural to understand the coming forth and going forth of the Messiah, here spoken of, concerning his GENERATION.

V. Considering these things, and the word used when it is said that the Messiah shall come forth out of Bethlehem, is so often used to signify a person’s being born of his mother, and that to be born unto such a one, is a phrase used in the Scripture to signify that the person, to whom he is said to be born, is his father; hence when God says, “Out of Bethlehem shall the Messiah come forth unto me“ it is most natural to interpret it thus: “In Bethlehem shall the Messiah be born of a woman, who shall be his mother, but not as begotten of a man, or having any man for his father; but I only will be his Father; she shall not bear this child to any earthly father, but to me only.”

VI. And when these words are subjoined, “Whose goings forth were of old, from everlasting,” and the words goings forth are so very frequently used for generation of a father; hence it is most natural to interpret the text thus: “In Bethlehem shall the Messiah be born of his mother, who is begotten not by any man, but by me only as his Father; and this generation of him, by which I am his Father, will not be then a new thing; it is an eternal generation, it has been already of old, from everlasting.”

VII. It greatly confirms the supposition, that the goings forth, which are said to be of old, from everlasting, intend his eternal generation, or proceeding from the Father, that Christ, with respect to his proceeding from the Father, is represented as the Father’s glory and brightness, as though he proceeded from him, as brightness from a luminary; and as the Father’s Word: and that the original word used here, is so from time to time used to signify the going forth of light, or brightness, and abundantly for the proceeding of a word from him whose word it is.

[483] Habak. iii. 2. “Revive the work in the midst of the years; in the midst of the years make known, and in wrath remember mercy.” There was a certain number of years that were as it were the appointed day of the church’s trouble and calamity, and the day of God’s wrath, or anger. The prophet prays that though God’s anger were not wholly removed till the number of years was finished, and the day of wrath passed, yet that God would remember mercy in wrath, and grant some revival in the midst of the years, and not hide himself wholly from his people for so long a time, but make himself known to them, in some measure, before the expiring of the dark season. The prophet here in his prayer, speaking of the appointed years, has respect to the same appointed time that he speaks of in the foregoing chapter, ver. 2, 3. “And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision and make it plain, &c. for the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie,” &c. What he has a more immediate respect to, is the appointed time of deliverance from the Babylonish captivity. This whole book seems to relate to that captivity and the deliverance from it; that was a time of sore trouble to the church, from the captivity until the restoration of Jerusalem. The appointed time 774was seventy years; but God remembered mercy, and gave some revival in the midst of the years, by Daniel’s advancement, which was doubtless greatly for the ease and relief of the Jews, and then the destruction of Babylon and Cyrus’s decree were before the end of seventy years from the destruction of Jerusalem, though the temple was not rebuilt until the seventy years was ended; and religion revived among the people in the younger generation in the midst of those years. So is God wont to remember mercy in the midst of the years, in the times of the church’s oppression, as in the times of its sore distress by Antiochus’s tyranny and cruelty. They were helped with a little help by the Maccabees before the appointed time expired. Dan. xi. 32, 33, 34. So God remembered mercy to his church during the reign of antichrist, and granted a revival of his church before the time of his reign, and of the church’s captivity, was expired, and made himself known in the midst of the years, in the time of the reformation.

[208] Habak. iii. 11. “The sun and moon stood still in their habitation; at the light of thine arrows they went, at the shining of thy glittering spear.” By this it is evident that there was not only a dreadful storm of hail, but thunder and lightning with it, on the day that the sun and moon stood still, as we commonly have thunder and lightning in storms of hail, in the summer time. That by the light of God’s arrows, is meant the light of his lightning, is evident by Psal. cxliv. 6. “Cast forth lightning and scatter them, shoot out thine arrows and destroy them;” and especially Psal. xviii. 13, 14. “The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice, hailstones and coals of fire: yea, he sent forth his arrows and scattered them, and he shot out lightnings and discomfited them.” These lightnings are called God’s arrows; and the instance that David has reference to was parallel with this, for it was an instance wherein God fought against David’s enemies in a storm of hail, as he did against the enemies of Israel, when the sun and moon stood still; and it was probably when God came forth upon David’s enemies, before him, like the breach of waters at Baal-Perazim, that we read of, 2 Sam. v. 20. And that which God did for David there, is particularly mentioned as parallel with what God did for Israel at Gibeon, when the sun and moon stood still, Isa. xxviii. 21. If this needed any further confirmation it might be further confirmed by the last expression in that verse, “At the shining of thy glittering spear.” The radix of the word, that is translated glittering, which is pia, signifies to lighten; and the word itself, which is p-\3, properly signifies lightning; so that the literal translation of the words is, “At the shining of the lightning of thy spear.” And besides, we read, Josh. x. 10. that the Lord discomfited them before Israel; and Mr. Bedford observes that the word used in the original signifies to strike a terror by the noise of thunder. (Scripture Chronology, p. 510, margin.) Wherever the same word in the original is used, and it is said that God discomfited these or those; this seems to have been the case that God fought against them with thunder and lightning. So when Sisera and his host were discomfited, Judg. iv. 15. (see Notes on Judg. v. 20.) and so 1 Sam. vii. 10. 2 Sam. xxii. 15. Psal. xviii. 14.

It is here said that the sun and moon stood still, but went or walked at the light of God’s arrows, and at the shining of the lightnings of his spear; by which it seems that when the lightning began, the sun and moon began to move again, after they had stood still. The case seems to have been thus: as long as the sun and moon stood still, there was a serene air, that the children of Israel and their enemies might behold that great and wondrous miracle by which God then manifested his power, and glory, and wonderful mercy to his people. But then the storm began to arise, and appeared first at a distance with thunders and lightning, but approaching, and when the lightnings appeared, the sun and moon began to move, and then came the dreadful storm and destroyed the Amorites. The lightnings appearing and playing at a distance before the storm came, seems here to be compared to a man of war’s brandishing his weapons when coming to battle. The sun and moon, God’s creatures, had stood still to help Israel against their enemies; but when God himself appeared with brandished weapons coming to the battle, they withdrew, as conscious that now there was no further need of their help, seeing that God himself was coming, who needed not the help of his creatures, and did not need to have the sun and moon stand still to give him time: he could do his work in a short time. And though God’s fighting against the Amorites by hail, is mentioned before the sun and moon’s standing still, yet doubtless it was after: when the sun stood still, it was to give them opportunity to fight for themselves, but there would have been no need of that, if God was fighting for them. God did not appear thus to take the burden of the battle immediately on himself until they were weary. It is not God’s manner to appear, until after others have done their part. And then it must be either before or afterwards, that God fought by the storm of hail, and not in the time of the sun and moon’s standing still; for if so, the storm would have hid the miracle, and it is unreasonable to suppose that it was afterwards, or that there was any need of the sun’s standing still twelve hours together, to give opportunity for the children of Israel after God had taken the work into his own hands, and had so terribly destroyed them with hailstones. God does not need men to finish the work after he has taken it in hand, when he begins he will also make an end.

In all probability when God began with thunder, lightning, and hail, the children of Israel stood still, and rested while God fought for them: see Exod. xiv. 13, 14.; and also 2 Chron. xx. 17. It could be no otherwise than that by that time the children of Israel needed rest, having been in battle and pursuit for above eighteen hours, and having travelled all the night before, Josh. x. 9. and the latter part of the time in the scorching heat of the sun, (vide No. 209. on Josh. x. 12-14.) it having stood still over their heads for twelve hours together. And besides, this destruction by hail was doubtless after the children of Israel had done, and not when they were mixed with their enemies fighting with them; for, if so, they themselves would be exposed to the hail, and thunder, and lightning, as well as their enemies. (Vide Notes on Psal. lxviii. 8, 9.)

It is signified in the margin of our Bibles, that the words may be translated, “Thine arrows walked in the light, and thy glittering spear on the shining,” i.e. in the shining of the sun while it stood; but this is not so natural a translation, for by this way of rendering the words are thus, in the light thine arrows walked, and in the shining the glittering of thy spear. But this is not so natural a translation; for, 1. There seems to be an evident antithesis in the words between standing still and walking; and therefore they are to be attached to the same subject, viz. the sun and moon. 2. It is not a natural metaphor, to say, that a spear walked in the light; for a spear is not a weapon that is to do its execution flying through the air, though arrows are; and it is less natural speaking to say, that the glittering of the spear walks. 3. The shining spoken of seems evidently to relate to the word that next follows, viz. the glittering or lightning of the spear. 4. The prefix, that is translated at, is Lamed, and not Beth, and therefore is more properly rendered at than in. And besides this translation confutes itself, because without doubt the thing that respect is had to here, when mention is made of God’s appearing in battle himself, with his own weapons, on that day when the sun and moon stood still, is God’s fighting, as he did against the Amorites, and destroying them by the storm of hail. But then God’s arrows could not be said to walk in the light and shining of the sun, because the storm hid the shining of the sun; and besides that it is not probable that they did this execution, while the sun continued to stand still, because the storm would have hid the miracle.

[269] Zech. i. 8. “I saw in the night, and behold, a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle-trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled and white.” The grove of myrtle-trees signifies the church. It was a grove of myrtle-trees, down in a bottom, hid by the adjacent hills, so that you were not aware of it, until you were just upon it. This represents the low, dark, solitary, melancholy condition 775of the Jewish church at this time. They were overtopped by all their neighbours, buried in obscurity, as the woman in the wilderness, Rev. xii. 6. Being in a valley, is evidently used to signify being in mean, depressed, afflicted circumstances; Isa. xxxiii. 19. “And the city shall be low in a low place.” And being set on high, on a mountain, denotes a state of great honour and prosperity: Isa. ii. 2. “The mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains.” Hence Babylon, though built on a plain, is called a mountain. Jer. li. 25. The man upon the red horse, in the midst of this myrtle grove, is no other than Jesus Christ, the same that appeared to Joshua with his sword drawn in his hand, as Captain of the hosts of the Lord, Josh. v. 13, 14.; and to John, as captain of the armies of heaven, sitting on a white horse, clothed with a vesture dipped in blood, out of whose mouth went a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations, who should rule them with a rod of iron, and who treadeth the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God, having the armies of heaven following on white horses, Rev. xix.

Though the church was in a low condition, yet Christ was present in the midst of it. He was riding as a man of war, as a man in haste, riding on the heavens for the help of his people, Deut. xxxiii. 26. He rode on a red horse, either naturally so, or dyed red with the blood of war, as this same victorious prince appears red in his apparel, by treading on his enemies, and besmearing his raiment with their blood, as in the forementioned place of Rev. and Isa. lxiii. 3. Red is a fiery colour, denoting what is said, ver. 14, 15. that he was jealous for Jerusalem, and for Zion, with great jealousy, and that he was very sore displeased with their enemies. Christ under the law appeared on a red horse, denoting the terror of that dispensation, and that he had yet his conflict before him, when he was to resist unto blood. But under the gospel he appears on a white horse, Rev. xix. denoting that he has now gained the victory, and rides in triumph, and hangs out the white, not the bloody, flag. Here also follows him an army on horseback, as in the 19th chapter of Revelation. Behind him were some on red horses, some speckled, some white, angels attending on the Lord Jesus Christ, ready to be employed by him, some in acts of judgment, others of mercy, others in mixed events. And probably they appeared in the order in which they are mentioned; the red first, and the speckled next, and the white last. The red that appeared first, noting God’s indignation, and just judgments against the church of Israel in their captivity, mentioned ver. 12. “Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years.” The speckled, that were partly red, partly white, noting God’s present dealings with them since their captivity, that were mixed. God had exercised great mercy towards them, in restoring them out of captivity to their own land, as it was far otherwise with them than it had been. But yet it was a time of great adversity with them, which is signified by the myrtle-trees being in a low place, and which was the occasion of the earnest intercession of him that stood among the myrtle-trees for them. Ver. 12. The white horses that were last, denote that glorious prosperity which God now promises to his church, that shall be the conclusion and issue of all those troubles. Ver. 13, 16, 17. The colour, white, sometimes is made use of to signify holiness, or purity, and sometimes mercy and prosperity; sometimes freedom or purity from the evil of sin, and sometimes freedom from the evil of affliction. So it is evidently used, Rev. vii. 14. “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

[102] Zech. xiv. 6, 7. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear nor dark. But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day nor night; but it shall come to pass that at evening-tide it shall be light.” That is, there shall no more be the successions of light and darkness, day and night, but it shall be one continued day, and it shall be light in the time of the night, or evening.

[396] Zech. xiv. 16, 17, 18, 19. “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of TABERNACLES. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain: there shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen, that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations, that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.” The feast of tabernacles here spoken of, is the glorious spiritual feast that God shall provide for all nations in the last ages of the world, and in the expected glorious state of the Christian church, which is spoken of, Isa. xxv. 6. This feast was on the seventh month of the year, which was a kind of a holy sabbatical month, as the seventh day of the week was a holy day, and the seventh year a holy year, and also the year of jubilee, at the end of seven times seven years. so this glorious state of the church is to be in the seventh age of the world, or seventh thousand years. The feast of tabernacles was the greatest feast in the month, it was to be kept on that month, after Israel were prepared for it by the feast of trumpets and the day of atonement, both in the same month. So way shall be made for the joy of the church of God in its glorious state on earth, by the preaching of the gospel, and deep repentance, and humiliation for its great sins and long-continued deadness and carnality.

The feast of tabernacles was the last feast they had in the whole year, before the face of the earth was destroyed by the winter. Presently after the feast of tabernacles was over, a tempestuous season began; see Acts xxvii. 9. “Sailing was now dangerous, because the feast was now already past.” So this feast of the church will be the last feast she shall have on earth; the last pouring out of the Spirit, before the lower world is destroyed. The feast of tabernacles was kept when they had gathered in the fruit of their land; Lev. xxiii. 39.; and is called the feast of ingathering, at the end of the year. So this great spiritual feast of the church shall occur after God’s ingathering of both his harvest and vintage spoken of Rev. xiv. It will be the time of his gathering in all his good fruits before winter, as it were; that is, before the destruction of the world, a time wherein the saints of the earth will come to their full ripeness.

The feast of tabernacles was kept in commemoration of God’s setting up his tabernacle among the children of Israel in the wilderness, but in that glorious time God will above all other times set up his tabernacle among men, in the midst of his spiritual Israel, as is prophesied, Ezek. xxxvii. 27. and proclaimed in Rev. xxi. 3. The world was created about the time of the feast of tabernacles. See No. 204. on Lev. xxiii. 34-36. So this is the creation of the new heavens, and new earth. The temple of Solomon was dedicated at the time of the feast of tabernacles; then God descended in a pillar of cloud, and dwelt in the temple; so this is the time wherein the temple of God should be erected, and beautified, and dedicated, and God shall come down from heaven to dwell in his church. The church of God shall as it were go up to the mountain of the hill of the Lord, as they did on that great occasion of Solomon’s dedicating the temple.

Christ was born, and came to tabernacle in flesh on the feast of tabernacles; so then shall Christ be born. The woman in travail shall then bring forth her son that is to rule all nations, and then mankind above all other times shall enjoy the benefit of the birth of Christ; Christ shall then be born in the souls of men.

There seems to be greater tokens of rejoicing in this feast than any other. The people dwelt in booths of green boughs, which represent the flourishing, beautiful, pleasant state the church shall be in, rejoicing in God’s grace and love (represented by the colour green). She shall yet dwell in tabernacles on this side heaven, her land of rest. Their branches of palm-trees represent the church’s flourishing as the palm-tree, and the glorious victory the church shall then have obtained. The willows of the brook they shall make use of, represent the flourishing state of the souls of God’s people, as a tree planted by 776the rivers of waters. Lev. xxiii. 40. Neh. viii. 15. The olive-branches represent the church’s fulness of the Spirit, the antitype of the oil of the olive. At the feast of tabernacles God’s people left their houses to dwell in booths, which represented two things that should be in the glorious times, viz. their great weanedness from the world, and their joy in God.

Thus the two great feasts of the Jews that followed the passover, represent the two great seasons consequent on the death of Christ, which was at the passover of the communication of the benefits of Christ’s redemption to his church on earth; one that which was in primitive ages of the Christian church, which began in the day of Pentecost, on which the Holy Ghost was not only given in the ordinary sanctifying, saving influences, but also given in extraordinary gifts of inspiration for the revealing the mind and will of God, and establishing the standing rule of the faith, worship, and manners of the Christian church, which answered to the giving of the law at mount Sinai, which was on the feast of Pentecost: the other is that which shall follow the destruction of antichrist, which answers to the setting up the tabernacle in the wilderness, and the gifts, sacrificings, and rejoicings that were on that occasion, which was on the same day of the year that the feast of tabernacles was. These three great feasts. do prefigure those three grand events that are brought to pass for the church of God in the progress of the work of redemption, and the death of Christ to purchase salvation for the church, and those two great outpourings of the Spirit to apply it. See Note on Ezek. xlv. 25.

[106] Mal. ii. 15. “And did he not make one? Yet had he the residue of the Spirit.” He made them one flesh, their bodies are each other’s; but the rest, (or residue,) which is the Spirit, God reserves for himself. A man is one body with his wife, but one Spirit with Christ. 1 Cor. vi. 16, 17. The phrase in this sense is not different from what is common, as Deut. xxi. 8. thy people of Israel; the city of London; the city of Jerusalem: and besides, it does not appear by the original but the words are in opposition and not in regimen. It might have been translated the residue, the Spirit; or if we interpret it as in the margin, the excellency of the Spirit, then the meaning is, that though God needed them, and therefore they ought to be most nearly united in affection, yet he reserved to himself the soul’s best love, the best of the heart.

[321] Mal. iv. 1, 2. “For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” The day here spoken of is the day of the coming of Christ; the day spoken of in the first, second, and third verses of the foregoing chapter; “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me. And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in; behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts; but who may abide the day of his coming, and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, 548548    Mal. iii. 1, 2, 3. ” &c. This day shall burn as an oven, with respect to the wicked. Christ, who will then come, the Sun of righteousness, whose coming or rising will usher in that day, and who then will be as a refiner’s fire, will search and burn up the wicked as stubble, and dry and dead plants, so that it shall leave them neither root nor branch; but with respect to those that fear God’s name, his beams shall not be scorching, but healing, of a benign, healthful nature, as the warm, pleasant sun-beams are to living plants and animals, which make them to grow and flourish, so that they grow up as calves of the stall. He will be as a refiner’s fire; will then only refine the sons of Levi, and others that fear God’s name; they are as gold and silver that are not consumed, but refined, in the fire; but he will consume the wicked, that are as dross. Christ shall then prune and purge the faithful branches; but as for those that are dead, barren, dry branches, they shall be cut off, and cast into the fire, and burnt. The Sun of righteousness that shall come in that day, when he is risen, shall be as the pillar of cloud and fire was of old, which gave light to the Israelites, and was a defence unto them, was their sun and shield, but consumed and destroyed the Egyptians.

Thus it will be at Christ’s last coming, the light and glory of his appearance will be intolerable to the wicked, it shall be like the fire of a furnace to their souls, and shall make the day like an oven to them, and his coming shall actually be attended with a dreadful conflagration of the fiercest glowing heat in which they shall be burnt. But the appearance of his glory shall be exceeding pleasant, and joyful, and healthful to the saints. The sight of this glory shall perfectly heal them; shall drive away all remains of sin, and make them perfectly holy; shall drive away all corruptibility and ill qualities of their bodies, and they shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye into a state of glorious health, strength, perfection, activity, and incorruptibility; it shall perfectly heal all trouble and sorrow, and shall for ever banish all such things, however the church of God shall then be found in a very distressed state. So it was at Christ’s first coming, that coming was infinitely for the benefit of the elect, but to the unspeakable misery of the wicked many ways, as might be shown. It brought on a glorious state of the church, but a most fearful destruction of unbelievers, as in the destruction of Jerusalem, and the whole land. So it was at Christ’s coming in Constantine’s time, and so it will be at his coming at the destruction of antichrist.

[133] Mal. iv. 2. “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings:” that is, in his beams; it is very much like other metaphors that were common amongst those eastern people. The sun rises to fly through the heavens, and the bright beams by which it is encompassed are the wings.

[68] Mal. iv. 6. “Turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” By fathers, are meant all sorts of fathers, parents, rulers, and teachers; the hearts of these shall be turned to the children, that is, they shall faithfully rule, and guide, and teach them, take care of them, and consult their true good; and the hearts of the children shall be turned to their fathers, that is, they shall be obedient, shall hearken to their teachers, &c.; so it is applicable, Luke i. 17. “the disobedient to the wisdom of the just.”


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