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A digression concerning the 53d chapter of Isaiah, and the vindication of it from the perverse interpretation of Hugo Grotius.
This chapter is well by some termed “Carnificina Rabbinorum,” — a place of Scripture that sets them on the rack, and makes them turn 456themselves all ways possible to escape the torture which it puts their unbelieving hearts unto. Not long since a worthy and very learned friend told me, that speaking with Manasseh Ben Israel at Amsterdam, and urging this prophecy unto him, he ingenuously told him, “Profecto locus iste magnum scandalum dedit;” to whom the other replied, “Recte, quia Christus vobis lapis scandali est.” Hulsius, the Hebrew professor at Breda, professes that some Jews told him that their rabbins could easily have extricated themselves from all other places of the prophets, if Isaiah in this place had but held his peace, Huls. Theolog. Judaic. lib. i. part. ii. Dict. Sapp. de Tempor. Messiæ.482482 “Aliqui Judæi mihi confessi sunt, rabbinos suos ex propheticis scripturis facile se extricare potuisse, modo Esaias tacuisset.” Though I value not their boasting of their extricating themselves from the other prophecies, knowing that they are no less entangled with that of Dan. ix. (of which there is an eminent story in Franzius de Sacrificiis concerning his dispute with a learned Jew on that subject483483 Disput. decima, de sacrificiorum duratione, thes. 82–84, etc.), yet it appears that by this they are confessedly intricated beyond all hope of evading, until they divest themselves of their cursed hypothesis.
Hence it is that with so much greediness they scraped together all the copies of Abrabanel’s comment on this chapter, so that it was very hard for a Christian a long time to get a sight of it, as Constantine l’Empereur acquaints us in his preface to his refutation of it,484484 “Abrabinel tam avide a Judais passim conquiritur, at vix tandem ejus compos fieri potuerim. Nam eum Christiani superiorem putant; qui solide eorum argumenta,” etc. — Constant. l’Emper. Prolog. ad lectorem, præfix. Com. Abrab. in cap. liii. Esa. because they thought themselves in some measure instructed by him to avoid the arguments of the Christians from hence by his application of the whole to Josiah; and I must needs say he hath put as good, yea, a far better colour of probability upon his interpretation than he with whom I have to do hath done on his.
How ungrateful, then, and how unacceptable to all professors of the name of Jesus Christ, must the labours of Grotius needs be, who hath to the utmost of his power reached out his hand to relieve the poor blind creatures from their rack and torture, by applying, though successlessly, this whole prophecy to Jeremiah, casting himself into the same entanglements with them, not yielding them indeed the least relief, is easy to conjecture. And this is not a little aggravated, in that the Socinians, who are no less racked and tortured with this scripture than the Jews, durst never yet attempt to accommodate the things here spoken of to any other, though they have expressed a desire of so doing, and which if they could compass, they would free themselves from the sharpest sword that lies at the throat of their cause, seeing if it is certain that the things here mentioned may be applied to any other, the satisfaction of Christ 457cannot from them be confirmed. This digression, then, is to cast into the fire that broken crutch which this learned man hath lent unto the Jews and Socinians to lean upon, and keep themselves from sinking under their unbelief.
To discover the rise of that learned man’s opinion, that Jeremiah is intended in this prophecy, the conceits of the Jewish doctors may a little be considered, who are divided amongst themselves.
1. The ancient doctors generally conclude that it is the Messiah who is here intended. “Behold, my servant the Messiah shall prosper,” says the Chaldee paraphrast upon the place. And Constantine l’Empereur tells [us] from R. Simeon, in his book Salkout, that the ancient rabbins, in their ancient book Tanchuma, and higher, were of the same judgment.485485 “Porro libri istius, unde hæc sectio in Esaiam desumpta est, Author perhibetur D. Simeon, concionatorum princeps, qui Francofurti olim degebat. Hic e Judæorum vetustissimis scriptis, secundum bibliorum seriem, dicta et explicationes plurimas: magna diligentia et labore collegit: unde libri suo nomen וליט ac si peram dicas [mallet:] quia ut in pera reconduntur plurima.” — L’Emper. Rabbi Moses Alscheth is urged to the same purpose at large by Hulsius; and in his comment on this place he says expressly, “Ecce doctores nostri laudatæ memoriæ uno ore statuunt, et a majoribus acceperunt, de rege Messia sermonem esse, et doctorum L. M. vestigiis insistemus.” And one passage in him is very admirable, in the same place; saith he, “Dicunt doctores nostri L. M. omnium affiictionum quæ mundum ingressæ sunt, tertia pars Davidi et patriarchis obtigit, tertia altera seculo excisionis, ultima tertia pars regi Messiæ incumbet;” where he urgeth the common consent of their doctors for the sufferings of the Messiah. Of the same mind was R. Solomon, as he is cited by Petrus Galatinus, lib. viii. cap. xiv.; as the same is affirmed by the Misdrach Resh, cap. ii. 14; and in Bereshith Rabba on Gen. xxiv. as is observed by Raymundus Martinus, Pug. Fidei 3, p. dist. 1, cap. x. So that before these men grew impudent and crafty in corrupting and perverting the testimonies of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah, they generally granted him and only him to be here intended. It was not for want of company, then, that Grotius took in with the modern rabbins, who, being mad with envy and malice, care not what they say, so they may oppose Jesus Christ.
2. Many of the following Jewish doctors interpret this place of the whole people of the Jews. And this way go the men who are of the greatest note amongst them in these latter days, as R. D. Kimchi, Aben Ezra, Abrabanel, Lipman, with what weak and mean pretences, with what inconsistency as to the words of the text, hath been by others manifested.
3. Abrabinel, or Abrabanel, a man of great note and honour amongst them, though he assents to the former exposition, of applying the whole prophecy to the people of the Jews, and interprets 458the words at large accordingly, — which exposition is confuted by Constantine l’Empereur, — yet he inclines to a singular opinion of his own, that Josiah is the man pointed at and described; but he is the first and last that abides by that interpretation.
4. Grotius interprets the words of Jeremiah in the first place, not denying them, as we shall see, to have an accommodation to Christ. In this he hath the company of one rabbi, R. Saadias Gaon, mentioned by Aben Ezra upon the 52d chapter of this prophecy, verse 13. But this fancy of Saadias is fully confuted by Abrabanel; whose words, because they sufficiently evert the whole design of Grotius also, I shall transcribe as they lie in the translation of Hulsius: “Revera ne unum quidem versiculum video, qui de Jeremiah exponi posit: qua ratione de eo dicetur, ‘Extolletur et altus erit valde?’ Item illud, ‘propter eum obdent reges os suum,’ am ætas ilia prophetas habere consueverat. Quomodo etiam dici potest morbos nostros portasse, et dolores nostros bajulasse, et in tumice ejus curationem nobis esse, Deum in ipsum incurrere fecisse peccata omnium nostrum: quasi ipsi pœna incubuisset, et Israel fuisset immunis? Jam illud, ‘Propter peccatum populi mei plaga ipsis,’ item, ‘Dedit cum improbis sepulcrum ejus,’ ad ipsum referri nequit; multo minus illud, ‘Videbit semen, prolongabit dies,’ item, ‘cum robustis partietur spolium.’ In quibus omnibus nihil est quod de ipso commode affirmari possit. Unde vehementer miror, quomodo R. Hagaon in hanc sententiam perduci potuerit, et sapientes dari qui hanc expositionem laudant; cum tamen tota ista exponendi ratio plane aliena sit, et e Scriptura non facta.”
Now, certainly, if this Jew thought he had sufficient cause to admire that the blind rabbi should thus wrest the sense of the Holy Ghost, and that any wise man should be so foolish as to commend it, we cannot but be excused in admiring that any man professing himself a Christian should insist in his steps, and that any should commend him for so doing.
That, therefore, which here is affirmed in the entrance of his discourse by Abrabanel, namely, that not one verse can or may be expounded of Jeremiah, shall now particularly be made good against Grotius:—
He confesseth with us that the head of this prophecy and discourse is in verse 13, chap. lii. The words of that verse are, —
“Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.”
Of the sense of which words, thus he:—
“Ecce intelliget servus meus. Hæc omnia clarissime sibi revelata cognoscet Jeremias. Exaltabitur et elevabitur, et sublimis erit valde. In magno honore erit apud ipsos Chaldæos, Jer. xxxix., in fine, et xl.;” — “My servant Jeremiah shall have all these things clearly revealed 459to him, and he shall be in great honour with the Chaldeans.” So he.
1. For the words themselves: יַשְׂכִּיל, with the Vulgar Latin, he renders “intelliget,” “shall understand.” The word signifies rather “prudence” for action with success, than any speculative knowledge by revelation. 1 Sam. xviii. 30, it is used of David behaving himself wisely in the business of his military and civil employment. Its opposite, saith Pagnine, is טָבַל, “quod incogitantiam significat in rebus agendis et ignavam levitatem,” — “which signifies incogitancy in the management of affairs and idle lightness.” Whence the word is usually taken for to “prosper” in affairs; as it is used of our Saviour, Jer. xxiii. 5, “A King shall reign” וְהִשְׂכַּיל, “and prosper.” Nor can it be otherwise used here, considering the connection of the words wherein it stands, it being the precedent to his being “highly exalted” who is spoken of; which rather follows his “dealing prudently” than his “receiving revelations.” So that in the very entrance there is a mistake in the sense of the word, and that mistake lies at the bottom of the whole interpretation.
2. I deny that God speaks anywhere in the Scripture of any one besides Jesus Christ in this phrase, without any addition, “My servant,” as here, “Behold, my servant.” So he speaks of Christ, Isa. xlii. 1, 19, and other places; but not of any other person whatever. It is an expression κατ ἐξοχήν, and not to be applied to any but to him who was the great servant of the Father in the work of mediation.
3. Even in respect of revelations, there is no ground why those made to Jeremiah should be spoken of so emphatically, and by way of eminence above others, seeing he came short of the prophet by whom these words are written. Nor can any instance be given of such a prediction used concerning any prophet whatever that was to be raised up in the church of the Jews, but of Christ himself only.
4. The exposition of the close of these words, “He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high”486486 “Eminentim notionem quavis formula expressit, quia illius eminentia erit sublimit excellentia.” — D. Kimchi. (the great exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ in his kingdom, when he was made a prince and saviour in a most eminent manner, being set forth in various expressions, no one reaching to the glory of it), is unworthy the learned annotator. “He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high;” — that is, the Chaldeans shall give him “victuals and a reward,” Jer. xl. 5; and after a while he shall be carried a prisoner into Egypt, and there knocked on the head. Such was the exaltation of the poor prophet! What resemblance hath all this to the exaltation of Jesus Christ, whom the learned man confesseth to be intended in these words?
460The sense, then, of these words is: Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the servant of the Father, Isa. xlii. 1, 19, Phil. ii. 7, 8, “shall deal prudently,” and prosper in the business of doing his Father’s will, and carrying on the affairs of his own kingdom, Isa. ix. 7, “and be exalted” far above all principalities and powers, having “a name given him above every name, that at the name of Jesus,” etc., Phil. ii. 9, 10.
The next verse is, —
“As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men.”
Of the accomplishment of this in and upon the Lord Jesus Christ there is no difficulty. The astonishment mentioned is that of men at his low and despicable condition as to outward appearance; which was such as that he said of himself “he was a worm, and no man,” Ps. xxii. 6. His condition was such and his visage such as all that knew any thing of him were astonished to the purpose. The marring of his visage and form, as it may point out all the acts of violence that were done upon his face, by spitting, buffeting, and the like, so it expresses his whole despised, contemned, persecuted estate and condition. But let us attend to our annotator:—
“Modò secunda, modò tertiâ personâ, de Jeremia loquitur, quod frequens Hebræis. Sicut multi mirati erant hominem tam egregium tam fœdè tractari, detrudi in carcerem, deinde in lacum lutosum, ibique et pædore et cibi inopiâ contabescere; sic contra, rebus mutatis, admirationi erit honos ipsi habitus;” — “He speaks of Jeremiah, sometimes in the second, sometimes in the third person; which is frequent with the Hebrews. As many wondered that so excellent a person should so vilely be dealt with, be thrust into prison, and then into a miry lake, and there to pine with stink and want of food; so on the contrary, affairs being changed, the honour afforded him shall be matter of admiration.”
1. To grant the first observation, as to the change of persons in the discourse, the word (שָׁמְמוּ, “shall be astonished”) here used signifies not every slight admiration, by wondering upon any occasion, or that may be a little more than ordinary, but mostly an astonishment arising from the contemplation of some ruthful spectacle. So Lev. xxvi. 32, “I will bring the land into desolation, and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it;” and the word is near twenty times used to the same purpose. This by way of diminution is made, “mirati sunt, admirationi erit.”
2. This astonishment of men is by Grotius referred both to the dejection and exaltation of Jeremiah, whereof there is nothing in the words. It is the amazement of men at the despicable condition of him that is spoken of only that is intended; but without intruding something of his exaltation, this discourse had wanted all colour or pretext.
4613. Was it so great a matter in Jerusalem that a prophet should be put in prison there, where they imprisoned, stoned, tortured, and slew them almost all, one after another, in their several generations, that it should be thus prophesied of as a thing that men would and should be amazed at? Was it any wonder at all in that city, whose streets not long before had run with the blood of innocent men, that a prophet should be cast into prison? Or was this peculiar to Jeremiah to be dealt so withal? Is it any matter of astonishment to this very day? Was his honour afterward such an amazing thing, in that for a little season he was suffered to go at liberty, and had victuals given him? Was not this, as to the thing itself, common to him with many hundred others? Were his afflictions such as to be beyond compare with those of any man, or any of the sons of men? or his honours such as to dazzle the eyes of men with admiration and astonishment? Let a man dare to make bold with the word of God, and he may make as many such applications as he pleaseth, and find out what person he will to answer all the prophecies of the Messiah. This not succeeding, let us try the next verse:—
“So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see, and that which they had not heard shall they consider.”
“Ita asperget gentes multas. In Hebræo, ‘Sic asperget,’ ut respondeat illi, ‘sicut,’ quod præcessit. Multos ex gentibus ab idolorum cultu avertet. Similitudo sumpta ab aspersionibus legalibus; unde et Chaldæis נָזָה est objurgare. At LXX. habent, Οὕτω θαυμάσονται ἔθνη πολλὰ ἐπ αὐτῷ, non male; nam mirari est aspergi fulgore alicujus;” — “In the Hebrew it is, ‘So he shall sprinkle,’ that it might answer to the ‘as’ that went before. He shall turn many of the nations from the worship of idols. A similitude taken from the legal washings; whence נָזָה with the Chaldees is to ‘rebuke.’ The LXX. render it, ‘So shall many nations wonder at him,’ not badly; for to wonder is as it were to be sprinkled with any one’s brightness.’
For the exposition of the words, —
1. We agree that it is, “So he shall sprinkle,” αν ἀπόδοσις, relating to the πρότασις, verse 14, “As many were astonished,” etc.; the great work of Christ and his exaltation therein being rendered in opposition to his humiliation and dejection, before mentioned. As he was in so mean a condition that men were astonished at him, so he shall be exalted, in his great work of converting the nations, to their admiration.
2. It is granted that the expression, “He shall sprinkle,” is an allusion to the legal washings and purifications; which as they were typical of real sanctification and holiness, so from them is the promise thereof so often expressed in the terms of “washing” and “cleansing,” Ezek. xxxvi. 25, the term being preserved and used in the New Testament frequently; the blood of Christ, whereby this work 462is done, being therefore called “the blood of sprinkling,” Heb. xii. 24, Eph. v. 25, 26. The pouring out of the Spirit by Jesus Christ, for the purifying and sanctifying of many nations, not the Jews only, but the children of God throughout the world, by faith in his blood, is that which is here intended. What the use of נָזָה in the Chaldee to this purpose is I know not.
3. The LXX. have very badly rendered the words, “Many nations shall wonder at him,” both as to words and sense; for, — (1.) As the words will not bear it, so, (2.) They make that the action of the nations towards Christ which is his towards them. They lose the whole sense of the words; and what they say falls in with what follows, and is clearly expressed. (3.) It is not helped by the explanation given to it by the annotator. The first expression is metaphorical, which the LXX. render by a word proper, remote from the sense intended, which the annotator explains by another metaphor; by which kind of procedure, men may lead words and senses whither and which way they please.
4. [As] for the accommodation of the words to Jeremiah, how did he sprinkle many nations, so as to answer the type of legal cleansing? Did he pour out the Spirit upon them? did he sanctify and make them holy? did he purge them from their iniquities? “But he turned many amongst the nations from the worship of idols.” But who told Grotius so? where is it written or recorded? He prophesied, indeed, of the desolation of idols and idolaters. Of the conversion of many, of any, among the heathen by his preaching, he being not purposely sent to them, what evidence have we? If a man may feign what he please, and affix it to whom he please, he may make whom he will to be foretold in any prophecy.
“Kings shall shut their mouths at him.” “Reges, ut Nebuchodonosor Chaldæorum, et Nechos Ægyptiorum, eorumque satrapæ, admirabuntur cum silentio, ubi videbunt omnia quæ dicet Jeremias ita adamussim et suis temporibus impleta;” — “Kings, as Nebuchodonosor of the Chaldees, and Necho of the Egyptians, and their princes, shall admire with silence, when they shall see all things foretold by Jeremiah come to pass exactly and to be fulfilled in their own time.”
That by this expression wonder and amazement is intended is agreed. As men, all sorts of men, before were astonished at his low condition, so even the greatest of them shall be astonished at the prosperity of his work and exaltation. The reason of this their shutting their mouths in silence and admiration is from the work which he shall do, — that is, “he shall sprinkle many nations,” — as is evident from the following reason assigned: “For that which hath not been told them shall they see;” which expresseth the means whereby he should “sprinkle many nations,” even by the preaching of the gospel to their conversion.
463[As] for the application hereof to Jeremiah:— 1. That the kings mentioned did so become silent with admiration at him and astonishment is ἄγραφον: and all these magnificent thoughts of the Chaldeans’ dealing with Jeremiah are built only on this, that looking on him as a man that had dissuaded the Jews from their rebellion against them, and rebuked all their wickedness, and foretold their ruin, they gave him his life and liberty. 2. The reason assigned by Grotius why they should so admire him is for his predictions; but the reason of the great amazement and astonishment at him in the text is his sprinkling of many nations: so that nothing, not a word or expression, doth here agree to him; yea, this gloss is directly contrary to the letter of the text.
The close of these words is, “That which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider;” of which he says, “They shall see that come to pass, foreseen and foretold by him, which they had not heard of by their astrologers or magicians.”
1. But what is it that is here intended? the desolation of Jerusalem? That was it which Jeremiah foretold, upon the account whereof he had that respect with the Chaldees which, through the mercy of God, he obtained. Is this that which is thus emphatically expressed, “That which they had not heard, that which they had not been told, this they should see, this they should consider?” That this is directly spoken of Jesus Christ, that he is the thing which they had not seen nor heard of, the apostle tells us, Rom. xv. 21. Strange that this should be the desolation of Jerusalem!
2. It is probable that the magicians and astrologers, whose life and trade it was to flatter their kings with hope of success in their wars and undertakings, had foretold the taking of Jerusalem, considering that the king of the Chaldees had used all manner of divinations before he undertook the war against it, Ezek. xxi. 21, 22. It is too much trouble to abide on such vain imaginations; nor doth Grotius take any care to evidence how that which he delivers as the sense of the words may so much as be typically spoken of Jesus Christ, or be any way accommodated to him.
The prophet proceeds, chap. liii., with the same continued discourse: Verse 1, “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” which words are thus illustrated by the annotator:—
“Vultis scire, inquit, quis ille sit futurus de quo cœpi agere, qui et meis prophetiis plenam habebit fidem, et ipse de maximis rebus quas potentia Dei peraget revelationes accipiet exactissimas, omnibus circumstantiis additis? dabo vobis geminas ejus notas undo cognosci possit. Hæ notæ in Jeremiam quidem congruunt prius, sed potius in sublimifisque, sæpe et magis κατά λέξιν, in Christum;” — “ ‘Will ye 464know,’ saith he, ‘who he shall be of whom I have begun to treat, who shall both fully believe my prophecies and shall himself receive most exact revelations of the great things that the power of God shall bring to pass, all the circumstances being added? I will give you two notes of him by which he may be known.’ These notes, in the first place, agree to Jeremiah, but rather to Christ.”
1. I suppose if we had not had the advantage of receiving quite another interpretation of these words from the Holy Ghost himself in the New Testament, yet it would not have been easy for any to have swallowed this gloss, that is as little allied to the text as any thing that can possibly be imagined. The Holy Ghost tells us that these words are the complaint of the prophet and the church of believers unto God. concerning the paucity of them that would believe in Christ, or did so believe, when he was exhibited in the flesh, the power of the Lord with him for our salvation being effectually revealed to very few of the Jews. So John xii. 37, 38, “But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: that the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?” So Rom. x. 16, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel; for Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?”
2. Let us now a little compare these several interpretations: “Who hath believed our report?” — “Lord, how few do believe on Christ, working miracles himself, and preached by the apostles.” “Jeremiah shall believe my prophecies,” saith Grotius. “To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” — “To how few is the power of God unto salvation made known by the Holy Ghost.” “Jeremiah also shall have clear revelations,” says Grotius. And this is counted learnedly to interpret the Scriptures! and every day are such annotations on the Scripture multiplied.
3. It is not, then, the prophet’s prediction of what he should do of whom he treats, what he should believe, what he should receive, whereof there is notice given in this verse; but what others shall do in reference to the preaching of him. They shall not believe: “Who hath believed?”
4. The annotator tells us these words do agree to Christ chiefly and magis, κατὰ λέξιν. This, then, must be the signification of them, according to his interpretation, in relation unto Christ, “He shall believe the prophecies of Isaiah, and receive revelations of his own.” For my part, I am rather of the mind of John and Paul concerning these words than of the learned annotator’s.
5. There is no mention of describing the person spoken of by “two notes;” but in the first words the prophet enters upon the description of Christ, what he was, what he did and suffered for us, which he pursues to the end of the chapter.
465Verse 2, “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”
An entrance is made in these words into the account that the prophet intends to give why so few believed in Christ, the Messiah, when he came, after they had looked for him and desired him so long, — namely, his great unsuitableness to their expectation. They looked for a person shining in honour and glory, raising a visible, pompous, terrene kingdom, whereof they should be made partakers. But Christ when he comes indeed grows up, both in his human nature and his kingdom, as a tender plant, — obnoxious to the incursions of beasts, winds, and storms, and treading-on of every one; yet, preserved by the providence of God, under whose eye and before whom he grew up, he shall prosper. And he shall be as a root preserved in the dry ground of the parched house of David and poor family of Mary and Joseph, — every way outwardly contemptible; so that from thence none could look for the springing of such a “Branch of the Lord.” And whereas they expected that he should appear with a great deal of outward form, loveliness, beauty, and every thing that should make a glorious person desirable, when they come to see him indeed in his outward condition, they shall not be able to discover any thing in the world for which they should desire him, own him, or receive him. And therefore after they shall have gone forth, upon the report that shall go of him, to see him, they shall be offended, and return and say, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? and are not his brethren with us?” This sword of the Lord, which lies at the heart of the Jews to this day, the learned annotator labours to ease them of, by accommodating these words to Jeremiah; which, through the favour of the reader, I shall no otherwise refute than by its repetition: “ ‘For he shall grow up before the Lord as a tender plant;’ — Jeremiah shall serve God in his prophetical office whilst he is young. ‘And as a root out of a dry ground;’ — He shall be born at Anathoth, a poor village. ‘He hath no form nor comeliness;’ — He shall be heavy and sad. ‘And when we shall see him,’ etc.; — He shall not have an amiable countenance.” Whom might not these things be spoken of, that was a prophet, if the name of Anathoth be left out, and some other supplied in the room thereof?
The third verse pursues the description of the Messiah in respect of his abject outward condition; which being of the same import with the former, and it being not my aim to comment on the text, I shall pass by.
Verse 4, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”
Having formerly given the sense of these words, and vindicated them from the exceptions of the Socinians I shall do no more but 466animadvert upon their accommodation to Jeremiah by Grotius. Thus, then, he, —
“Vere languores nostros ipse tulit. Ille non talia meritus mala tulit quæ nos eramua meriti. Hæc omnia air dicturos Judæos post captam urbem;’ — “He that deserved no such thing underwent the evils that we had deserved. All these things he saith the Jews shall say after the taking of the city.”
It is of the unworthy dealing of the Jews with the prophet in Jerusalem during the siege that he supposes these words are spoken, and spoken by the Jews after the taking of the city. The sum is, “When he was so hardly treated, we deserved it, even to be so dealt withal, not he, who delivered the word of God.”
But, 1. The words are, “He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” That by “our griefs and sorrows,” our sins and the punishment due to them are intended hath been declared. That the force of the words “bearing and carrying” do evince that he took them upon himself hath also been manifested. That he so took them as that God made them meet upon him, in his justice, hath likewise been proved. That by his bearing of them we come to have peace, and are freed, shall be farther cleared, as it is expressly mentioned, verses 5, 11. Let us now see how this may be accommodated to Jeremiah. Did he undergo the punishment due to the sins of the Jews, or did they bear their own sins? Did God cause their sins to meet on him then when he bare them, or is it not expressly against his law that one should bear the sins of another? Were the Jews freed, — had they peace by Jeremiah’s sufferings; or rather, did they not hasten their utter ruin? If this be to interpret the Scripture, I know not what it is to corrupt it.
2. There is not the least evidence that the Jews had any such thoughts, or were at all greatly troubled, after the taking of the city by the Chaldeans, concerning their dealings with Jeremiah, whom they afterward accused to his face of being a false prophet, and lying to them in the name of the Lord. Neither are these words supposed to be spoken by the Jews, but by the church of God.
“Et nos putavimus eum quasi leprosum ac percussum d Deo et humiliatum. Nos credidimus Jeremiarn merito conjectum in carcerem et lutum, Deo illum exosum habente, ut hostem urbis, templi, et pseudo-prophetam,” Grotius; — “We believed that Jeremiah was deservedly cast into the prison and mire, God hating him as an enemy of the city and temple, and as a false prophet.” But, —
1. These words may be thus applied to any prophet whatever that suffered persecution and martyrdom from the Jews (as who of them did not, the one or the other?) for they quickly saw their error and mistake as to one, though at the same time they fell upon another, as our Saviour upbraideth the Pharisees. Nor, —
4672. Was this any such great matter, that the Jews should think a true prophet to be a false prophet, and therefore deservedly punished, as in the law was appointed, that it should thus signally be foretold concerning Jeremiah. But that the Son of God, the Son and heir of the vineyard, should be so dealt withal, this is that which the prophet might well bring in the church thus signally complaining of. Of him to this day are the thoughts of the Jews no other than as here recorded; which they express by calling him תָּלוּי.
The reason of the low condition of the Messiah, which was so misapprehended of the Jews, is rendered in the next verse, and their mistake rectified:—
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
I suppose it will not be questioned but that these words belong to our blessed Saviour, and that redemption which he wrought for us by his blood and death, Not only the full accomplishment of the thing itself as delivered in the New Testament, but the quotation of the words themselves to that end and purpose, 1 Pet. ii. 24, doth undeniably evince it. In what sense the words are to be understood of him we have formerly declared; that in that sense they are applicable to any other will not be pleaded. That they have any other sense is yet to be proved. To this, thus the annotator:—
“Ipse autem vulneratus est propter iniquitates nostras. In Hebræo, ‘At veto ipse vulneratus’ (id est, male tractatus est) ‘nostro crimine.’ In nobis culpa fuit, non in ipso. Sic et quod sequitur, ‘Attritus est per nostram culpam.’ Iniquissima de eo sensimus, et propterea crudeliter eum tractavimus: id nunc rebus ipsis apparet. Similia dixerunt Judsei qui se converterunt die Pentecostes, et deinceps,” Grot.; — “ ‘But he was wounded for our transgressions.’ In the Hebrew, ‘But he was wounded’ (that is, evilly entreated) ‘by our fault.’ The fault was in us, not in him. And so that which follows, ‘He was bruised by our fault.’ We thought ill of him, and therefore handled him cruelly. This, now, is evident from the things themselves. The like things said the Jews who converted themselves on the day of Pentecost, and afterward.”
The reading of the words must first be considered, and then their sense and meaning; for against both these doth the learned annotator transgress, perverting the former that he might the more easily wrest the latter.
1. “He was wounded for our sins, crimine nostro,” “by our crime;” that is, it was our fault, not his, that he was so evilly dealt with. And not to insist on the word “wounded,” or “tormented with pain,” which is slightly interpreted by “evil-entreated,” the question 468is, whether the efficient or procuring and meritorious cause of Christ’s wounding be here expressed.
2. The words used to express this cause of wounding are two, and both emphatical. The first is פָּשַׁע: “He was wounded מִפְּשָׁעֵינוּ, for our prevarications, our proud transgressing of the law.” “פָּשַׁע est rebellare, et exire a voluntate Domine vel præcepto, ex superbia,” R. D. in Michi. It is, properly, to rebel against man or God. Against man: 2 Kings iii. 7, “The king of Moab פָשַׁע, hath rebelled against me;” and chap. viii. 20, “In his days Edom פָּשַׁע, rebelled.” As also against God: Isa. i. 2, “I have brought up children, and they פַּשְׁעוּ, have rebelled against me.” Nor is it used in any other sense in the Scriptures but for prevarication and rebellion with a high hand, and through pride. The other word is עָוָה: “He was bruised מֵעֲוֹנוֹתֵינוּ, for our iniquities.” The word signifies a declining from the right way with perversity and frowardness. “עָוָה est inique vel perverse agere; proprie curvum esse vel incurvari.” So that all sorts of sins are here emphatically and distinctly expressed, even the greatest rebellion, and most perverse, crooked turning aside from the ways of God.
3. Their causality in reference to the wounding of him here mentioned is expressed in the preposition מִן, which properly is “de, ex, a, e,” “from,” or “for.” Now, to put an issue to the sense of these words, and thence, in a good measure, to the sense of this place, let the reader consult the collections of the use of this preposition in Pagnine, Buxtorf, Calasius, or any other. When he finds it with “sin,” as here, and relating to punishment, if he find it once to signify any thing but the meritorious procuring cause of punishment, the learned annotator may yet enjoy his interpretation in quietness. But if this be so, if this expression do constantly and perpetually denote the impulsive, procuring cause of punishment, it was not well done of him to leave the preposition quite out in the first place, and in the next place so to express it as to confine it to signify the efficient cause of what is affirmed.
This, then, being the reading of the words, “He was wounded or tormented for our sins,” the sense as relating to Jesus Christ is manifest: “When we thought he was justly for his own sake, as a seducer and malefactor, smitten of God, he was then under the punishment due to our iniquities, was so tormented for what we had deserved.” This is thus rendered by our annotator: “Jeremiah was not in the fault, who prophesied to us, but we, that he was so evilly dealt with. ‘He was bruised for our iniquities;’ that is, we thought hard of him, and dealt evilly with him;’ — which may pass with the former.
The LXX. render these words, Αὐτὸς δὲ ἐτραυματίσθη διὰ τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν καὶ μεμαλάκισται διὰ τὰς ἀνομίας ἡμῶν. Rightly! to be wounded διὰ τὰς ἁμαρτίας is to be wounded for and not by sin, no 469otherwise than that also signifies the impulsive cause. And the Chaldee paraphrast, not able to avoid the clearness of the expression denoting the meritorious cause of punishment, and yet not understanding how the Messiah should be wounded or punished, thus rendered the words: “Et ipse sedificabit domum sanctuarii nostri, quod violatum est propter peccata nostra, et traditum est propter iniquitates nostras;” — “He shall build the house of our sanctuary, which was violated for our sins” (that is, as a punishment of them) “and delivered for our iniquities.” So he. Not being able to offer sufficient violence to the phrase of expression, nor understanding an accommodation of the words to him spoken of, he leaves the words with their own proper significancy, but turns their intendment, by an addition to them of his own.
Proceed we to the next words, which are exegetical of these: “The chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Of these thus the annotator:—
“Disciplina pacis nostræ super Apud eum: id est, monitis nobis attulit salutaria, si ea recepissemus;” — “He gave us wholesome warnings, if we would have received them.”
But, — 1. There is in this sense of the words nothing peculiar to Jeremiah. All the rest of the prophets did so, and were rejected no less than he.
2. The words are not, “He gave us good counsel, if we would have taken it;” but, “The chastisement of our peace was upon him.” And what affinity there is between these two expressions, that the one of them should be used for the explication of the other, I profess I know not. Peter expounds it by, “He bare our sins in his own body on the tree,” 1 Pet. ii. 24.
3. The word rendered by us “chastisement,” and by the Vulgar Latin, which Grotius follows, “disciplina,” is מוּסַר, which as it hath its first signification “to learn,” so it signifies also “to correct,” because learning is seldom carried on without correction; and thence “disciplina” signifies the same. Now, what is the “correction of our peace?” Was it the instruction of Christ, — not that he gave, but that he had, — that we have our peace by? The word עָלָיו, he renders “apud eum,” contrary to the known sense of the word. עָלָה is “to ascend, to lift up, to make to ascend,” a word of most frequent use; thence is the word used rendered “super,” intimating that the chastisement of our peace was made to ascend on him. As Peter expresseth the sense of this place, Ὃς τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν αὐτὸς ἀνήνεγκεν ἐν τῷ σώματι αὑτοῦ ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον. — “He carried up our sins on his body on the tree;” they were made to ascend on him. The LXX. render the words ἐπ’ αὐτόν; the Vulgar Latin, “super eum;” and there is not the least colour for the annotator’s “apud eum.” Now, “the chastisement of our peace,” — that is, the punishment that was due that we might 470have peace, or whereby we have peace with God, — “was upon him,” is, it seems, “He gave us good counsel and admonition, if we would have followed it”!
4. Here is no word expressing any act of the person spoken of, but his suffering or undergoing punishment. But of this enough. “Et livore ejus sanati sumus. Livors ejus (id est, ipsius patientia), nos sanati fuissemus: id est, liberati ab impendentibus malis, si verbis ipsius, tanta malorum tolerantia confirmatis, habuissemus fidem. Hebræi potentialem modum aliter quam per indicativum exprimere nequeunt; ideo multa adhibenda attentio ad consequendos sensus;” — “ ‘With his stripes we are healed.’ With his wound, or sore, or stripe, that is, by his patience, we might have been healed, that is, freed from impendent evils, had we believed his words, confirmed with so great bearing of evils. The Hebrews cannot express the potential mood but by the indicative; therefore much attention is to be used to find out the sense.”
I cannot but profess that, setting aside some of the monstrous figments of the Jewish rabbins, I never in my whole life met with an interpretation of Scripture offering more palpable violence to the words than this of the annotator. Doubtless, to repeat it, with all sober men, is sufficient to confute it I shall briefly add, —
1. The prophet says, “We are healed;” the annotator, “We might have been healed, but are not”
2. The healing in the prophet is by deliverance from sin, mentioned in the words foregoing, and so interpreted by Peter, 1 Ep. ii. verse 24, whereby we have peace with God, which we have; the healing in the annotator is the deliverance from the destruction by the Chaldeans, which they were not delivered from, but might have been.
3. חֲבוּרָה in the prophet is μώλωψ in Peter, but “patience” in the annotator.
4. “By his stripes we are healed,” is in the annotator, “By hearkening to him we might have been healed,” or delivered from the evils threatened. “By his stripes;” that is, “By hearkening to his counsel, when he endured evils patiently.” “We are healed,” that is, “We might have been delivered, but are not.”
5. As to the reason given of this interpretation, that the Hebrews have no potential mood, I shall desire to know who compelled the learned annotator to suppose himself wiser than the Holy Ghost, 1 Pet. ii. 24, to wrest these words into a potential signification which he expresseth directly, actually, indicativety? For a Jew to have done this out of hatred and enmity to the cross of Christ had been tolerable; but for a man professing himself a Christian, it is a somewhat strange attempt.
6. To close with this verse, we do not esteem ourselves at all beholding 471to the annotator for allowing an accommodation of these words to our blessed Saviour, affirming that the Jews who converted themselves (for so it must be expressed, lest any should mistake, and think their conversion to have been the work of the Spirit and grace of God) on the day of Pentecost used such words as those that the Jews are feigned to use in reference to Jeremiah. It is quite of another business that the prophet is speaking; not of the sin of the Jews in crucifying Christ, but of all our sins, for which he was crucified.
“Muners magna quidem misit sed misit in homo.”
Martial. lib. vi. Ep. 63.
Verse 6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Grotius: “Erraveramus jam a Manassis temporibus, alii ad alia idola; et permisit Deus ut ille nostro gravi crimine indignissima pateretur;” — “We have all erred from the days of Manasseh, some following some idols, others others; and God permitted that he by our grievous crime should suffer most unworthy things.”
Though the words of this verse are most important, yet having at large before insisted on the latter words of it, I shall be brief in my animadversions on the signal depravation of them by the learned annotator. Therefore, —
1. Why is this confession of sins restrained to the times of Manasseh, and not afterward? The expression is universal, כֻּלָּנוּ, “all of us,” and a man to his own way. And if these words may be allowed to respect Jesus Christ at all, they will not bear any such restriction. But this is the πρῶτον ψεῦδος of this interpretation, that these are the words of the Jews after the destruction of Jerusalem, which are the words of the converted Jews and Gentiles after the suffering of Jesus Christ.
2. Why is the sin confessed restrained to idolatry? Men’s “own ways,” which they walk in when they turn from the ways of God, and know not the ways of peace, comprehend all the evils of every kind that their hearts and lives are infected withal.
3. The last words are unworthy a person of much less learning and judgment than the annotator; for, —
(1.) The word הִפְגִּיעַ (of which before) is interpreted, without pretence, warrant, or colour, “permisit,” — God permitted. But of that word sufficiently before.
(2.) By “his suffering unworthy things through our fault” he understands not the meritorious cause of his suffering, but the means whereby he suffered, even the unbelief and cruelty of the Jews; which is most remote from the sense of the place.
(3.) He mentions here distinctly the fault of them that speak, and his suffering that is spoken of, “Permisit Deus ut ille nostro gravi 472crimine indignissima pateretur,” when in the text the fault of them that speak is the suffering of him that is spoken of: “Our iniquities were laid on him,” — that is, the punishment due to them.
(4.) His suffering in the text is God’s act; in the Annotations, the Jews’ only.
(5.) There is neither sense nor coherence in this interpretation of the words, “We have all sinned and followed idols, and God hath suffered him to be evilly entreated by us;” when the whole context evidently gives an account of our deserving, and the way whereby we are delivered, and therein a reason of the low and abject condition of the Messiah in this world. But of this at large elsewhere.
Verse 7, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” “Oblatus est quia ipse voluit, et non aperuit os suum. In Heb., ‘Oppressus et affiictus fuit, et non aperuit os suum.’ Sensum bene exprimunt LXX. Καὶ αὐτὸς διὰ τὸ κεκακῶσθαι οὐκ ἀνοίγει τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ. Etiam tunc cum in carcerem ageretur, et in locum lutosum, nihil fecit dixit ve iracunde.
“Sicut ovis, Ovis mitissimum animal.
“Et quasi agnus, cum quo ipse Jeremias se comparat, cap. xi. ver. 19.”
“ ‘He was offered because he would, and he opened not his mouth.” In the Hebrew, ‘He was oppressed and afflicted.’ The LXX. have well expressed the sense, ‘Because of affliction he opened not his mouth.’ Even then when he was thrown into the prison and mire, he neither did nor spake any thing angrily.
“ ‘As a sheep,’ a most mild creature. “ ‘And as a lamb,’ wherewith Jeremiah compares himself, chap. xi. verse 19.’
The process of the words is to give an account of the same matter formerly insisted on, concerning one’s suffering for the sins of others. That the words are spoken of the Lord Jesus, the Holy Ghost hath long since put it out of question, Acts viii. 32. And though there be some difficulty and variety in the interpretation of the first words, yet his patient suffering as the Lamb of God, typed out by all the sacrifices of the Jews, under the punishment due to our sins, shines through the whole.
1. For the words themselves, they are נִגַּשׂ וְהוּא נַעֲנֶה, which are variously rendered: Καὶ αὐτὸς διὰ τὸ κεκακῶσθαι, LXX; — “And he for (or because of) affliction.” “Oblatus est quia ipse voluit,” Vulg. Lat.; — ‘He was offered because he would.” “Oppressus estet ipse affiictus est,” Arias Montanus. “Exigitur et ipse affiigitur,” Junius; — “It was exacted, and he was afflicted.” Others, “It was exacted, and he answered,” which seems most to agree with the letter. נִגַּשׁ is sometimes 473written with the point on the right corner of ש, and then it signifies “to approach, to draw nigh;” and in the matter of sacrifice it signifies “to offer,” because men drew nigh to the Lord in offering. So Amos v. 25, הִגַּשְׁתֶּם לִי, “Have ye made to draw nigh your offerings and sacrifices?” or, “Have ye offered? Thus the Vulgar Latin read the word, and rendered it “Oblatus est,” — “He was offered.” With the point on the left corner, it is “to exact, to require, to afflict, to oppress.” To exact and require at the hands of any is the most common sense of the word. So 2 Kings xxiii. 35, “Jehoiakim exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land.” Thence is נוֹגֵשׂ “an exactor,” one that requires what is imposed on men, Zech. ix. 8, x. 4. Being used here in a passive sense, it is, “It was exacted and required of him,” — that is, the punishment due to our sins was required of Jesus Christ, having undertaken to be a sponsor; and so Junius hath supplied the words, “Exigitur pœna,” — “Punishment was exacted.” And this is more proper than what we read, “He was oppressed,” though that also be significant of the same thing. How the punishment of our sins was exacted or required of Jeremiah the annotator declares not.
The other word is נַעֲנֶה. The Vulgate Latin seems to look to the active use of the word, “to answer,” and therefore renders it “voluit,” “he would,” — he willingly submitted to it, or he undertook to do that which was exacted; and much may be said for this interpretation from the use of the word in Scripture. And then the sense will be, “It was exacted of him, or our punishment was required of him, and he undertook it with willingness and patience.” So it denotes the win of Christ in undergoing the penalty due to our sins; which he expresseth, Ps. xl. 8, Heb. x. 6, 7. Take it in the sense wherein it is most commonly used, and it denotes the event of the exacting the penalty of our sins of him: “He was afflicted.” In what sense this may possibly be applied to Jeremiah, I leave to the annotator’s friends to find out.
2. The next words, “He openeth not his mouth,” he applies unto the patience of Jeremiah, who did neither speak nor do any thing angrily when he was cast into prison. Of that honour which we owe to all the saints departed, and in an especial manner to the great builders of the church of God, the prophets and apostles, this is no small part, that we deliver them from under the burden of having that ascribed to them who are members which is peculiar to their Head. I say, then, the perfect submission and patience expressed in these words were not found in holy Jeremiah, who in his affliction and trial opened his mouth and cursed the day wherein he was born; and when he says that himself was as a lamb, and as an ox appointed to the slaughter, in the same place, and at the same time, he prays for vengeance on his adversaries, Jer. xi. 20; in those words not denoting his patience, but his being exposed to their cruelty.
474Verse 8, “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.”
The person speaking is here changed, as is manifest from the close of the verse, “For the transgression of my people,” who were the speakers before. These, then, are the words of God by the prophet; and they are not without their difficulties, concerning which the reader may consult commentators at large. Grotius thus:—
“De carcere et de judicio ablatus est. Id est, liberatus tandem. Judicium vocat hoc, quia specie judicii ipsi hæc mala imposita fuerunt. Vide Jer. xxxii. 3, liberatus autem per Babylonios.
“Generationem ejus quis enarrabit? Quis numerare poterit dies vitæ ejus? Id est, erit valde longsevus.
“Quia abscissus est de terra viventium, nempe, cum actus fuit primum in carcerem, deinde in lacum illum cœnosum, et rursum in carcerem.”
“ ‘He was taken from prison and judgment.’ That is, he was at length delivered. He calls it ‘judgment,’ because these evils were imposed on him with a pretence of judgment. But he was freed by the Babylonians.
“ ‘Who shall declare his generation?’ Who shall be able to number the days of his life? That is, he shall live very long.
“ ‘For he was cut off out of the land of the living,’ namely, when he was thrown into the prison, and then into the miry pit, and then into prison again.”
He adds, “ ‘Propter sœlus populi mei percussi eum.’ In Heb. est, plaga ipsi, supple evenit, populi summo encore ac crimine, ut et ante dictum est;” — “ ‘For the wickedness of my people I have stricken him.’ In the Hebrew it is, ‘Stroke on him,’ that is, befell him, through the great error and fault of the people, as is before said.” So far he.
The sense of these words being a little tried out, their application will be manifest. 1. The first words are not without their difficulty: מֵעֹצֶר, “from prison,” say we. The word is from עָצַר, “prohibere,” “cœrcere,” to “forbid,” to “restrain,” and is nowhere used for a prison directly. The LXX. have rendered it, Ἐν τῇ ταπεινώσει ἡ κρίσις αὐτοῦ ἤρθη, — “In his humility (or humiliation), his judgment (or sentence) was taken away,” referring one of the words to one thing, and another to another. The Vulgar Latin, “angustia;” Arias Montanus, — “clausara;” Junius, “per coarctationem,” rendering the preposition “by,” not “from.” The word is rendered by us “oppression,” Ps. cvii. 39. It is, at the utmost, in reference to a prison, “claustrum,” a place where any may be shut up, but may as well be rendered “angustia” with the Vulgar Latin, better “coarctation” with Junius, being taken for any kind of strait and restraint. And, indeed, properly our Saviour was 475not cast into a prison, though he was all night under restraint. If the intendment of the words be about what he was delivered from, under which he was, and not what he was delivered from that he should not undergo it, וּמִמִּשְׁפָּט, and “from judgment,” there is no difficulty in the world. Only, whose judgment it is that he was taken from is worth inquiry, whether that of God or man. לֻקָּח, “he was taken;” “ablatus est,” the Vulgar Latin, “he was taken up.” לקָחַ is “capere, accipere, ferre, tollere,” a word of very large use, both in a good and in a bad sense; — “to be taken up,” it will scarcely be found to signify; “to be taken away,” very often.
Now, the sense of these words is, that either Christ was taken away, that is, killed and slain, by his pressures, and the pretended judgment that was passed on him, or else that he was delivered from the straits and judgment that might have come upon him. Although he was so afflicted, yet he was taken away from distress and judgment. Junius would have the former sense; and the exegesis of the word “taken away” by the following words, “He was cut off from the land of the living,” seems to require it. In that sense the words are, “By durance, restraint, affliction, and judgment,” — either the righteous judgment of God, as Junius, or the pretended juridical process of men, — “he was taken away” or slain. If I go off from this sense of the words, of all other apprehensions, I should cleave to that of eternal restraint or condemnation, from which Christ was delivered in his greatest distress, Isa. i. 7, 8, Heb. v. 7. Though his afflictions were great and his pressures sore, yet he was delivered from eternal rester and condemnation, it being not possible that he should be detained of death.
Applying all this to Jeremiah, says Grotius, “He was delivered from prison and judgment by the Babylonians.” That לֻקָּח is “delivered,” and that he was delivered by the Babylonians from judgment, after that judgment had passed on him and sentence been executed for many months, is strange. But let us proceed to what follows:—
2. “Who shall declare his generation?” — “Who shall speak it, or be able to speak it?” דּוֹרוֹ, “his generation.” דוֹר is “ætas, generatio, seeculum.” Gr. γενεά Τὴν γενεὰν αὐτοῦ τίς διηγήσεται; — “Who shall expound his generation?” or declare it; that is, “Though he be so taken away by oppression and judgment, yet his continuance, his generation, his abiding, shall be such as ‘quis eloquetur?’ who shall speak it?” It shall be for ever and ever; for he was to be “satisfied with long or eternal life,” and therein to “see the salvation of God.”
This is, says Grotius, “Who can declare the generation of Jeremiah, he shall live so great a space of time?” He began his prophecy when he was very young, chap. i. 5, even in the thirteenth year of Josiah, and he continued prophesying in Jerusalem until the 476eleventh year of Zedekiah, about forty years, and how long he lived after this is uncertain. Probably he might live in all sixty years, whereas it is evident that Hosea prophesied eighty years or very near. Now, that this should be so marvellous a thing, that a man should live sixty or seventy years, that God should foretell it as a strange thing above twice so many years before, and express it by way of admiration that none should be able to declare it, is such an interpretation of Scripture as becomes not the learned annotator. Let the learned reader consult Abrabanel’s accommodation of these words to Josiah, and he will see what shifts the poor man is put to to give them any tolerable sense.
3. “For he was cut off out of the land of the living.” Ὅτι αἴρεται ἀπὸ τῆς ἡ ζωὴ αὐτοῦ — “His life was taken from the earth;” to the sense, not the letter. נִגְזַר, “cut off,” as a branch is cut off a tree. גָזַר is “abscindere, succidere, extidere,’ to cut off. “The land of the living” is the state and condition of them that live in this world; so that to be “cut off from the land of the living” is a proper expression for to be slain, as in reference to Christ it is expressed by another word, Dan. ix. 26. “The meaning of this is,” says Grotius, “Jeremiah was cast into prison and into the miry lake. ‘He was cut off out of the land of the living;’ that is, he was put into prison twice, and taken out again.” If this be not to offer violence to the word of God, I know not what is. The learned man confesses that this whole prophecy belongs to Christ also, but he leaves no sense to the words whereby they possibly may be applied to him. How was Christ cast into prison and a miry pit, and taken out from thence by the way of deliverance?
4. “For the transgression of my people was he stricken.” Of the sense of this expression, that Christ was stricken, or that the stroke of punishment was upon him, for our sins, or the sins of God’s people, I have spoken before. Grotius would have it “by the sin;” that is, the “people sinned in doing of it;” that is, in putting Jeremiah into prison. The whole context evidently manifests, and the proposition in the relation wherein it stands to sin and punishment necessarily requires, that the impulsive and meritorious, not the efficient cause, be denoted thereby.
Verse 9, “And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.”
“Et dabit impios pro sepultura, et divitem loro morte sua. Illi ipsum etiam interficere voluerant, ut legimus Jer. xxvi.. At Deus ipsius vice viros potentes quidem, sed improbos, sacerdotes nempe mortem Jeremiæ machinatos, morti dedit per Chaldæos 2 Reg. xxv. 18–21. Nihil illis divitiæ suæ profuerunt, quibus redimi se posse speraverant. Eo quod iniquitatem non fecerit, neque 477dolus fuerit in ore ejus. Quanquam nihil aliud dixerat quam quod Deus ei mandaverat;” — “ ‘And he shall give the wicked for his grave (or burial), and the rich for his death.’ They would have slain him, as we read Jer. xxvi.. But God gave them that were very powerful, indeed, but wicked, even the priests that designed his death, up to death by the Chaldeans, 2 Kings xxv. 18–21. Their riches, whereby they hoped to redeem themselves, profited them nothing. ‘Because he had done,’ etc. Although he had not said any thing but what God commanded him.”
It is confessed that the first words are full of difficulty, and various are the interpretations of them, which the reader may consult in expositors. It is not my work at present to comment on the text, but to consider its accommodation by Grotius. The most simple sense of the words to me seems to be, that Christ, being cut off from the land of the living, had his sepulchre among wicked men, being taken down from the cross as a malefactor, and yet was buried in the grave of a rich man, — by Joseph of Arimathea in his own grave; the consent of which interpretation with the text is discovered by Forsterus and Mercerus, names of sufficient authority in all Hebrew literature. The sense that Grotius fixes on is, that “God delivered Jeremiah from death, and gave others to be slain in his stead, who had contrived his death.” But, —
1. Of deliverance from death here is no mention; yea, he who is spoken of was בְּמֹתָיו, “in mortibus ejus,” in his deaths, or under death and its power. So that it is not, “Others shall die for him,” but, “He being dead, under the power of death, his grave, or burial, or sepulchre, shall be so disposed of.”
2. There is not any word spoken of putting others to death, but of giving or placing his grave with the wicked. Nor were those mentioned in 2 Kings xxv. 18–21, that were slain by the king of Babel, as it doth any way appear, of the peculiar enemies of Jeremiah, the chief of them, Seraiah, being probably he to whom Jeremiah gave his prophecy against Babylon, who is said to be a “quiet prince,” Jer. li. 59–64.
3. It is well that it is granted that pro is as much as vice, “for one, in one’s stead;” which the learned annotator’s friends will scarce allow.
4. The application of these words, “He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth” (which are used to express the absolutely perfect innocency of the Son of God), to any man, who as a man is or was a liar, is little less than blasphemy; and to restrain them to the prophet’s message from God is devoid of all pretence or plea.
Verse 10, “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.”
478“Tamen Deo Visum est eum conterere et infirmare; id est, attenuare fame, illuvie, squalore. Verba activa apud Hebræos sæpe permittendi habent significatum. Causa sequitur cur id Deus permiserit, Si posuerit pro delicto animam suam, videbit semen longasvum. Verteris recto, ‘ut cum semetipsum subjecerit pœnis, videat semen, diuque vivat.’ Hebræis pœna etiam injuste irrogata אָשָׁם dicitur, quia infligitur si non sonti, certe quasi sonti: sic חָטַא sumi apparet, Gen. xxxi. 39; Zach. xiv. 19. Vixit diu Jeremias in Egypto;” — “ ‘Yet it seemed good to God to bruise and weaken him;’ that is, to weaken him, and bring him down by hunger, filth, etc. Active verbs among the Hebrews have often the signification of permitting. The reason follows why God suffered this, ‘If he make his soul,’ etc. You shall rightly read it, ‘that when he hath submitted himself to punishment, then he may see his seed and live long.’ Amongst the Hebrews punishment, [even though] unjustly inflicted, is called אָשָׁם, because it is inflicted on him that is guilty,487487 Or rather, “if not on him that is guilty, at least on one supposed to be guilty.” —Ed. or supposed so: so it is evident that חָטַא is taken, Gen. xxxi. 39; Zech. xiv. 19. Jeremiah lived long in Egypt.”
The words and sense are both briefly to be considered. 1. חָפֵץ, “voluit,” — “The Lord would bruise him.” “Delectatus est,” Jun. “It pleased the Lord,” say we. The Greek renders this word βούλεται, properly, although in the following words it utterly departs from the original. The word is not only “velle,” but “voluntatem seu complacentiam habere,” — to take delight to do the thing, and in the doing of it, which we will to be done, Num. xiv. 8; Judges xiii. 23. Our translation refers it to the purpose and good pleasure of God; so is the word used Jonah i. 14, and in sundry other places. The noun of the same signification is used again in this verse, חֵפֶץ, and is translated “The pleasure:” “The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper,” — that is, the thing which pleases him, and which he hath purposed to do. The purpose and pleasure of the Lord in giving Christ up to death, Acts ii. 23, and iv. 27, 28, is doubtless that which the prophet here intends; which also, as to the execution of it, is farther expressed Zech. xiii. 7.
2. It pleased the Lord דַּכְּאוֹ, “eum contundere, conterere, frangore,” to bruise or break him; in answer to what was said before, verse 5, “He was wounded, he was bruised,” etc.
That which is said, to accommodate all this to Jeremiah, is, that by all this is intended that God permitted it to be done to him. But, —
1. The word חָפֵץ is nowhere used in that sense, nor will anywhere bear that interpretation. And though some active verbs in the Hebrew may be interpreted in a sense of permitting or suffering the thing to be done which is said to be done, yet that all may so be interpreted 479when we please, without a cogent reason for such an interpretation, [and] that this verb, signifying not only to will, but to will with delight and purpose, should be so interpreted, and that in this place, not admitting of such a gloss in any other place, is that which was needful to be said by the learned annotator, but with what pretence of reason or truth I know not.
2. As to Christ, to whom he confesseth these words properly belong, the proper sense of the word is to be retained, as hath been showed; and it is very marvellous the improper sense of the word should be used in reference to him to whom it nextly belongs, and the proper in reference to him who is more remotely and secondarily signified.
For the second passage, “When (or if thou shalt) he shall make his soul an offering for sin,” or, as it may be read, “When his soul shall make an offering for sin,” it may relate either to God giving him up for a sacrifice, — his soul for his whole human nature, — or to Christ, whose soul was [offered], or who offered himself, as a sacrifice to God, Eph. v. 2. Which way soever it be taken, it is peculiar to Christ; for neither did God ever make any one else an offering for sin, nor did ever any person but Christ make himself an offering, or had power so to do, or would have been accepted in so doing. To suit these words to Jeremiah, it is said that אָשָׁם in the Hebrew signifies any punishment, though unjustly inflicted.
I will not say that the learned annotator affirms this with a mind to deceive, but yet I cannot but think that as he hath not given so he could not give one instance out of the Scripture of that use of the word which he pretends. This I am sure of, that his assertion hath put me to the labour of considering all the places of Scripture where the word is used in the full collections of Calasius, and I dare confidently assure the reader that there is no colour for this assertion, nor instance to make it good. The Greeks have rendered it περὶ ἁμαρτίας, “an offering for sin,” as is expressed, Rom. viii. 3, Heb. x. 6, 8: so the word is used Lev. v. 16, vii. 1. But, —
1. This doth not satisfy, “If this word may not be so interpreted which is here used, yet another, which is not here used, may be so interpreted; and therefore that which is here used must have the same sense!” Nor, —
2. Can he prove that חֵטְא [חַטָּאָה] hath any other signification but either of sin, or punishment, or satisfaction. In the first place instanced in, Gen. xxxi. 39, Jacob says that for that which was taken away out of the flock of Laban, he expiated it, he made satisfaction for it, as the law afterward required in such cases should be done, Exod. xxii. 12; and in that place of Zech. xiv. 19, it is precisely punishment for sin. But this word is not in our text.
480Take, then, the word in any sense that it will admit of, to apply this expression to Jeremiah is no less than blasphemy. To say that either God or himself made him a sacrifice for sin is to blaspheme the one sacrifice of the Son of God.
For the next words, “He shall see his seed,” Grotius knows not how to make any application of them to Jeremiah, and therefore he speaks nothing of them. How they belong to Christ is evident, Ps. xxii. 30, Heb. ii. 8. That “he shall prolong his days” is not applicable to Jeremiah, of whom the annotator knew not how long he lived in Egypt, hath been formerly declared. Christ prolonged his days, in that notwithstanding that he was dead he is alive, and lives for ever.
The last clause, concerning the prospering of the good pleasure, the will and pleasure, of the Lord, in the hand of Jesus Christ, for the gathering of his church through his blood, and making peace between God and man, hath little relation to any thing that is spoken of Jeremiah, whose ministry for the conversion of souls doth not seem to have had any thing eminent in it above that of other prophets; yea, falling in a time when the wickedness of the people to whom he was sent was come up to the height, his message seemed to be almost totally rejected.
Verse 11, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”
The event and glorious issue of the suffering of Christ, in respect of himself and others, with the reason thereof, is briefly comprised and expressed in this verse.
“In scientia sua. Per eam quam habet Dei cognitionem.
“Justificabit ipse justus servus meus multos. Exemplo et institutione corriget multos etiam ex gentibua Hæc est maxime propria verbi יַצְדּיק significatio, et Græci δικαιοῦν, ut apparet Dan. xii. 3, Rev. xxii. 11, et alibi sæpe.
“Et iniquitates eorum ipse portabit. Id est, auferet, per μετωνυμίαν, quia qui sordes aliquas auferunt solent eos collo supposito portare. Abstulit Jeremias multorum peccata, ita ut diximus, eos corrigendo.” “ ‘He shall see, and be satisfied.’ He shall see long, unto satiety. The like phrase of speech you have in the Hebrew, Gen. xxv. 8, etc.
“ ‘By his knowledge.’ By that knowledge which he hath of God.
“ ‘He shall justify many.’ By his example and institution he shall convert many even from among the heathen. This is the most 481proper sense of the word יַצְדִּיק, and of δικαιοῦν in the Greek, as appeareth, Dan. xii. 3, Rev. xxii. 11, etc.
“ ‘For he shall bear their iniquities;’ that is, take them away, by a metonymy, because those that take away filth used to take it on their necks and bear it. Jeremiah took away the sins of many, as was said, by correcting or amending them.”
The intelligent reader will easily perceive the whole Socinian poison about the death of Christ to be infolded in this interpretation. His “knowledge” is the knowledge that he had of God and his will, which he declares; to “justify” is to amend men’s lives; and to “bear sin” is to take it away. According to the analogy of this faith, you may apply the text to whom you please, as well as to Jeremiah. But the words are of another import, as we shall briefly see:—
1. These words, מֵעֲמַל נַפְשׁוֹ, which the Vulgar Latin renders “pro eo quod laboravit,” ad verbum, “propter laborem animæ suæ,” which express the object of the seeing mentioned, and that wherewith he was satisfied, are not taken notice of. The “travail of the soul” of Christ is the fruit of his labour, travail, and suffering. This, says the prophet, he “shall see,” that is, “receive, perceive, enjoy,” as the verb רָאָה in many places signifies; verbs of sense with the Hebrews having very large significations. יִשְׂבָּע, “saturabitur,” he shall be “full and well-contented,” and pleased with the fruit that he shall have of all his labour and travail. This, saith Grotius, is, “He shall see to satiety,” whereby he intends he should “live very long,” as is evident from the places whither he sends us for an exposition of these words, Gen. xxv. 8, etc., in all which mention is made of men that were old and full of days.
(1.) But to “live to satiety,” is to live till a man be weary of living, which may not be ascribed to the prophet.
(2.) This of his “long life” was spoken of immediately before, according to the interpretation of our annotator, and is not probably instantly again repeated.
(3.) The long life of Jeremiah, by way of eminency above others, is but pretended, as hath been evinced. But, —
(4.) How came this word, “to see,” to be taken neutrally, and to signify “to live?” What instance of this sense or use of the word can be given? I dare boldly say, Not one. “He shall see unto satiety;” that is, “He shall live long.”
(5.) The words “videbit, saturabitur,” do not stand in any such relation to one another or construction as to endure to be cast into this form. It is not “videbit diu ad satietatem,” much less “vivet ad satietatem,” but “videbit, saturabitur.”
(6.) The word “shall see” evidently relates to the words going before, “the travail of his soul.” If it had been, “He shall see many 482years, or many days, and be satisfied,” it had been something; but it is, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied.”
2. “By his knowledge,” בְּדָעְתּוֹ, “In (or by) his knowledge;” “In scientia sua,” Vulg. Lat.; “Cognitione sui,” Jun. The LXX. wholly pervert all the words of this verse, except the last, as they do also of the former. That by the “knowledge” here mentioned is meant the knowledge of Christ taken objectively, and not the knowledge of God taken actively, as our annotator supposes, is evident from the fruit that is ascribed hereunto, which is the justification of them that have that knowledge: “By his knowledge,” — that is, the knowledge of him, — “they shall be justified,” Phil. iii. 8. So, “Teach me thy fear,” that is, “The fear of thee;” “My worship,” that is, “The worship of me.” No “knowledge of God” in the land. But the use of this is in the next words.
3. “My righteous servant shall justify many.” That this term, used thus absolutely, “My righteous servant,” is not applied to any in the Scripture besides Jesus Christ, hath been declared; especially where that is ascribed to him which here is spoken of, it can be no otherwise understood. יַצְדִּיק, “shall justify,” that is, shall absolve from their sins, and pronounce them righteous. Grotius would have the word here to signify, “to make holy and righteous by instruction and institution,” as Dan. xii. 3, and δικαιοῦν, Rev. xxii. 11. That both these words are to be taken in a forensical signification; that commonly, mostly, they are so taken in the Scriptures; that scarce one and another instance can be given to the contrary; that in the matter of our acceptation with God through Christ they can no otherwise be interpreted, — have been abundantly manifested by those who have written of the doctrine of justification at large: that is not now my present business, This I have from the text to lay in the way of the interpretation of the learned annotator.
The reason and foundation of this justification here mentioned is in the following words, which indeed steer the sense of the whole text:—
4. “For he shall bear their iniquities.” Now, what justification of men is a proper effect of another’s bearing their iniquities? Doubtless the acquitting of them from the guilt of their sins, on the account of their sins being so borne, and no other. But, says our annotator, “To bear their sins is to take them away,” by a figurative expression. If this may not be understood, I suppose every one will confess that the annotator hath laboured in vain as to his whole endeavour of applying this prophecy unto Jeremiah. If by “bearing our iniquities” be intended the undergoing of the punishment of those iniquities, and not the delivering men from their iniquities, the whole matter here treated of can relate to none but Jesus Christ; and to him it doth relate in the sense contended for. Now, 483to evince this sense, we have all the arguments that any place is capable to receive the confirmation of its proper sense by. For, —
(1.) The word, as is confessed, signifies properly to “bear” or “carry,” and not to “take away,” nor is it ever otherwise used in the Scripture, as hath been declared; and the proper use of a word is not to be departed from and a figurative one admitted without great necessity.
(2.) The whole phrase of speech of “bearing iniquity” is constantly in the Scripture used for bearing or undergoing the punishment due to sin, as hath been proved by instances in abundance, nor can any instance to the contrary be produced.
(3.) The manner whereby Christ “bore the iniquities of men,” as described in this chapter, namely, by being “wounded,” “bruised,” “put to grief,” will admit of no interpretation but that by us insisted on. From all which it is evident how violently the Scripture is here perverted, by rendering, “My righteous servant shall justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities,” by “Jeremiah shall instruct many in godliness, and so turn them from their sins.”
Verse 12, “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
A farther fruit of the travail of the Lord Christ, in his conquest over all oppositions, in the victory he obtained, the spoils that he made, expressed after the manner of the things of men, with the causes and antecedents of his exaltation, is summarily comprised in these last words. Hereof thus Grotius:—
“Dispertiam ei plurimos. Dabo ei partem in multis; id est, multos servabunt Chaldæi in ejus gratiam, vide Jer. xxxix. 17.
“Et fortium dividet spolia; id est, Nabuzardan magister militum, capta urbe, de præda ipsi dona mittet, Jer. xl. 5. Oblatum etiam ipsi a Chaldeis terræ quantum vellet.
“Pro eo quod tradidit in mortem animam suam. In Hebræo, ‘Quia effudit in mortem animam suam.’ Id est, periculis mortis semet objecit colendo veritatem quæ odium parit. Vide historiam ad hanc rem oppositam, Jer. xxvi. 13. Sic τιθέναι ψυχήν dici pro periculo mortis semet objicere diximus ad, Johan. x. 11.
“Et cum sceleratis reputatus est. Ita est tractatus quomodo scelerati solent in carcere, catenis, et barathro.
“Et ipse peccata multorum tulit, pessime tractatus fuit per multorum improbitatem, uti sup. ver. 5.
“Et pro transgressoribus rogavit. יַפְגִּיעַ est deprecari. Sensus est: eo ipso tempore cum tam dura pateretur a populo, non cessavit ad Deum preces pro eis fundere, vide Jer. xiv. 7,” etc.
484“ ‘I will divide him a portion with the great,’ or many; that is the Chaldeans shall preserve many for his sake, Jer. xxxix. 17.
“ ‘He shall divide the spoil with the strong;’ that is, Nebuzaradan, the chief captain, the city being taken, shall send him gifts of the prey, Jer. xl. 5. As much land also as he would was offered him by the Chaldeans.
“ ‘Because he poured out his soul unto death;’ that is, he exposed himself to the danger of death by following truth, which begets hatred. See Jer. xxvi. 13. Τιθέναι ψυχήν is spoken for exposing a man’s life to danger of death, John x. 11.
“ ‘He bare the sin of many,’ or was evilly treated by the wickedness of the many.
“ ‘And made intercession for the transgressors.’ He prayed for the people,” etc.
To run briefly over this exposition, —
1. “I will divide him a portion with the great.” That is, “The Chaldees shall save many for his sake.” How is this proved? Jer. xxxix. 17, 18, where God says he will save Ebedmelech, because he put his trust in him! Such is the issue commonly when men will wrest the Scripture to their own imagination, — such are their proofs of what they affirm.
2. “He shall divide the spoil with the strong.” That is, “The city being taken, the captain of the guard gave him victuals and a reward, and set him at liberty, as we read, Jer. xl. 5.”
3. “Because he poured out his soul unto death.” That is, “He ventured his life by preaching the truth, although he did not die.” For, —
4. “He bare the sin of many,” that is, “By the wickedness of many he was wronged;” though this expression in the verse foregoing be interpreted, “He shall take away their sins,” and that when a word of a more restrained signification is used to express “bearing” than that here used. At this rate a man may make application of what he will to whom he will.
Upon the sense of the words, and their accomplishment in and upon the Lord Jesus Christ, I shall not insist. That they do not respect Jeremiah at all is easily evinced from the consideration of the intolerable wresting of the words and their sense by the learned annotator to make the least allusion appear betwixt what befell him and what is expressed.
To close these animadversions, I shall desire the reader to observe, —
1. That there is not any application of these words made to the prophet Jeremiah, that suits him in any measure, bat what may also be made to any prophet or preacher of the word of God that met with affliction and persecution in the discharge of his duty, and was delivered by the presence of God with him; so that there is no 485reason to persuade us that Jeremiah was peculiarly intended in this prophecy.
2. That the learned annotator, though he professes that Jesus Christ was intended in the letter of this scripture, yet hath interpreted the whole not only without the least mention of Jesus Christ or application of it unto him, but also hath so opened the several words and expressions of it as to leave no place or room for the main doctrine of his satisfaction, here principally intended. And how much the church of God is beholding to him for his pains and travail herein the reader may judge.
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