John Ayre Thomas Hartwell Horne.

An introduction to the critical study and knowledge of the Holy ..., Volume 2 online

. (page 115 of 133)
Online LibraryJohn Ayre Thomas Hartwell HorneAn introduction to the critical study and knowledge of the Holy ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 115 of 133)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

invasion and sudden overthrow of Sennacherib.

5. (xviii.) contains one of the most obscure prophecies in the whole
book. Yitringa considers it as directed against the Assyrians: bishop
Lowth refers it to the Egyptians; and Bosenmiiller, and others, to the

6. (xix. XX.) Prophecy against Egypt, the conversion of whose inhabi-
tants to the true religion is intimated in xix. 18 — 25,

7. (xxi. 1 — 10.) A prediction of the taking of Babylon * by the Modes
and Persians. Yv. 11, 12. contain a prophecy concerning Dumah or
Idumsea, the laud of the Edomites, Mount Seir ; which is very obscure.
The last five verses respect Arabia, and were fulfilled within a year.

8. (xxii.) A prophecy concerning the capture of the valley of vision,
or Jerusalem (vv. 1 — 14.), the captivity of Shebna(l5 — 19.), and the pro-
motion of Eliakim (20 — 24.). The invasion of Jerusalem here announced
is eithfT that by the Assyrians, under Sennacherib, or by the Chaldseans,
under Nebuchadnezzar. Yitringa is of opinion that the prophet had boUi.
in view ; viz. the invasion of the Chaldieans, in vv. 1 — 5., and that of t^e
Assyrians, in vv. 8 — 11. Comp. 2 Kings xxv. 4, 5. and 2 Chron. xxxii.

9. (xxiii.) denounces the destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar*
(I — 17.), its restoration, and the conversion of the lyrians. See Acts
xxi. 1— 6.»

Part IV. contains a prophecy of the great calamities that should
befall the people of God^ his merciful preservation of a remnant
of them, and of their restoration to their country, oftlieir conversion
to the gospel, and the destruction of antichrist (xxi v. — xxxv.).

1. (xxiv. xxv. xxvi.) Probably delivered before the destruction of Moab
by Shalmaneser, in the beginning of Hezekiah's reign : Yitringa is singular
in referring it to the persecution by Antiochus Epipbanes; and bishop

> Bishop Newton has collected and iUastrated the varioas predictioDB of Isaiah and other
prophets against Babylon. See his Dissertation on the Prophecies, yoL i diss. x. See also
Vol I. pp. 28S, 289.

' On the accomplishment of the varioas prophecies against T^re, see bishop Newton's
PisscrtHtions, vol. i. diss, xu See also Vol. L pp. 284—286.

' Scoit, on Isai xxiil 18.

Digitized by


On the Book of the Prophet Isatah. 801

Lowth thinks it may have a view to all the three great desolations of the
country, especially to the last. In vv. 21 — 2Z. it is announced that God
shall revisit and restore his people in the last age ; and then the kingdom
of Grod shall be established in such perfection as wholly to eclipse the glory
of the temporary typical kingdom. The prophet breaks out into a sublime
song of praise (xxv.) ; this is followed by another hymn in xxvi. In v. 19.
the deliverance of the people of God is explained by images plainly taken
from the resurrection of the dead.

2. (xxvii.) treats on the nature^ measure, and design of God's dealings
with his people.

3. (xxviii.) A prophecy directed to Israel and Judah. The destruction
of the former by Shalmaneser is manifestly denounced in vv. 1 — 5. ; and
the prophecy *^ then turns to Judah and Benjamin, who were to continue
a kingdom after the final captivity of Israel."* In vv. 23 — 29. the wisdom
of Providence is illustrated by the discretion of the husbandman.

4. (xxix. — xxxiii.) predicts the invasion of Sennacherib (xxix. 1 — 4.),
the sudden deliverance by Grod's interposition, and the Eubsequent pros-
perous state of the kingdom under Hezekiah, with reproofs, and promises
of better times (18 — ^24., xxx. — xxxiii.).

6 (xxxiv. XXXV.) One distinct prophecy, consisting of two parts ; the
first containing a denunciation of the divine vengeance against the enemies of
the church ; the second describing its flourishing state, consequent upon the
execution of those judgments. This chapter is to be understood of gospel
times. The promises (xxxv. 5, 6.), were literally accomplished by our Saviour
and his apostle* In a secondary sense, bishop Lowth remarks, they may
have a further view, and respect yet future events.

Part V, comprises the historical part of the prophecy of Isaiah,

(xxxvi.) History of the invasion of Sennacherib, and of the miraculous
destruction of his army (xxxvii.). The answer of G^ to Hezekiah's prayer.
On the subject of these chapters, see below, p. 804. Chaps, xxxviii. and
xxxix. relate Hezekiah's sickness, recovery, and thanksgiving, with the
embassy of the king of Babylon*

Part VI. (xL — ^Ixvi.) comprises a series of prophecies^ delivered^ in
all probability, towards the close of HezekiaKs reign*

^* The chief subject is the restoration of the church. This is pursued
with the greatest regularity. ... As the subject, however, of this very
beautiful series of prophecies is chiefly of the consolatory kind, they are
ushered in with a promise of the restoration of the kingdom, and the return
from the Babylonian captivity, through the merciful interposition of God.
At the same time, this redemption from Babylon is employed as an image
to shadow out a redemption of an infinitely-higher and more important
nature." ' This part consists of twelve prophetic poems or discourses.

1. (xL xli.) A promise of comfort, with declarations of the omnipotence
and omniscience of Jehovah, and a prediction of the restoration of the Jews
by Cyrus.

2. The advent and office of the Messiah are foretold (xlii. 1 — 17.) ; for
rejecting whom the incredulity of the Jews is reproved (18 — 25.). A
remnant of them, however, shall be preserved, and ultimately restored
(xliii. 1 — 13.). The destruction of Babylon and the restoration of the

* See Smith, Sammary View of the Prophets, p. 66.

« Comp. Matt. xi. 5.,xv. 30., xxi. 14.; John v. 8, 9.; Acts iii. 2.,&c., Yiii. 7., xiv. 8—10.
" Smith, Sammary View of the Prophets, p. 64. Comp. bp. Lowth'ti remarks.
VOL. II, 3 P

Digitized by


802 Analysis of the Old Testament

Jews are again foretold, as also (perhaps^ their return after the Boman
dispersion (14 — ^20.); and they are admonished to repent (21 — 28.).

3. promises of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit^ intermingled with
an exposure of the folly of idolatry (xliv, 1 — ^20.). The prophet then
announces by name the instrument of their deliverance, Cyrus ^21 — 28.,
zlv. 1 — 5.)' ; and, after adverting to the happy state of the people of God
restored to their country, he proceeds to answer or prevent the cavib of
the unbelieving Jews, disposed to murmur and to arraign the wisdom and
justice of God's dispensations, in permitting them to be oppressed, and in
promising them deliverance instead of preventing their captivity (6 — ^25.).
Comp. Rom ix. 20, 21.

4. foretells the carrjring away of the idols of Babylon (xlvi. 1 — 5.):
the folly of worshipping them is then strikingly contrasted with the per-
fections of JehoviJi (6 — 13.); and judgments upon Babylon are further
denounced (xlvii.).

6. An earnest reproof of the Jews for their infidelity and idolatry
(xlviii. 1 — 19, 21, 22.) ; their deliverance from the Babylonian captivi^

6. The Messiah is here introduced in person, declaring the full extent
of his commission, which is, not only to restore the Israelites, but to be a
light to lighten the Gentiles, to bring them to be one church together with
the Israelites, and to partake of the same common salvation, procured for
all by the great Redeemer (xlix.).

7. The dereliction of the Jews for their rejection of the Messiah (1. 1 — 3.);
whose sufferings and exaltation are foretold (4 — 11.). 9he prophet ex-
horts the believing Jews, after the pattern of Abraham, to trust in Christ,
and foretells their restoration after the Babylonish captivity, as also their
ultimate conversion to Christianity (H., lii. 1 — 12.).

8. predicts the humiliation of Christ, which had been intimated in L 5, 6.,
and obviates the offence which would be occasioned by it^ by declaring the
cause, and foreshowing the glory which should follow (lii. 13 — 15., liii.).

9. foretells the amplitude of the church, when Jews and Gentiles should
be converted (liv.).

10. An invitation to partake of the blessings of the gospel (lv.,lvi. I — 8.).

11. denounces calamities against the inhabitants of Judah; who are
sharply reproved. Bishop Lowth is of opinion that the prophet probably
has in view the destruction of their city and politv by the Chaldeans, and
perhaps by the Romans (Ivi. 9 — 12., Ivii. — lix. 15.).

12. chiefly predicts the general conversion of the Jews to the gospel,
the coming in of the fulness of the Gentiles, the restoration of the Jews,
and the happy state of the Christian church (lix. 16 — 21., Ix. — Ixvi.). In
Ix. and Ixi. the great increase and flourishing state of the church of Grod,
by the accession of the heathen nations to it^ are set fortli in such ample
and exalted terms, as plainly show that the full completion of the prophecy
is reserved for future times. The remarkable prophecy in Ixiii. 1 — 6.,
which some expositors refer to Judas Maccabseus, bishop Lowth applies
primarily to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish polity ; which in
the gospel is called the *' coming of Christ," and the ** days of vengeance "
(Matt. xvi. 28.; Luke xxi. 22.); but he thinks it may ultimately refer to
the yet unfulfilled predictions, which intimate a great slaughter of the
enemies of Grod and his people. The last two chapters of this prophecy
manifestly relate to the calling of the Gentiles, the establishment of the
Christian dispensation, and the reprobation of the apostate Jews, with their
destruction executed by the Romans.

> See Dr. A. Clarke, on Isnl xliv. «8,

Digitized by VjOOQ IC

On the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. 803

QKeil assigns chap. i. to the time of HezekialiJ The description
^ertainlj suits better with what may be supposed the state of the
5ormtry after Sennacherib's invasion ; and therefore the supposition
s probably just. The contents of the chapter are general ; and
:herefore it is placed as a fit introduction to the whole book.

Some have, without sufficient reason, placed chaps, ii. — v. in the
reign of Ahaz on account of iii. 12. KeJ refers it to the early part
if vlodiam's reign, or to his regency during his father's incapacity.'
Et may possibly have belonged to the later years of Jotham. Chap.
V. must be of nearly the same date. It has been imagined a little
later, perhaps in the beginning of the reign of Ahaz.

Chap. vi. is dated the year of Uzziah's death ; and there is no
ground for questioning the certainty of thi8. The vision recorded
seems to be the original designation of the prophet to his office.
T.fowth'8 opinion that it was after Uzziah died is of no weight.

Chaps, vii. — xiL are evidently of the reign of Ahnz ; the last five
Eleil supposes not less than three quarters of a year after the first.*

The section xiii. 1 — xiv. 27. must have been delivered some time
before the destruction of Sennacherib's army, which is predicted in
xiv. 24 — 27. There also appear to be references to the immediately-
preceding chapters (comp. xiv. 5, 6. with ix. 4., x. 5, 24.); so that
it may be taken as an amplification of the former declaration
against Assyria. Accordingly Keil, following Vitringa and Drcchsler,
places it soon after x. 5. — xii. 6., that is, in the earlier part of the reign
of Ahaz.*

Chap. xiv. 28 — 32 is fixed to the last year of Ahaz.
A probable date may be assigned to chaps, xv. xvL ; because Moab
is represented as in possession of several cities which had belonged
to the trans-Jordanic tribes. The Moabites, it is likely, found an
opportunity of seizing these after Tiglath-pileser's deportation of the
Israelites, 2 Kings xv. 29. chap. xvi. 14, again, may point to the time
of Shahnaneser's march against Samaria, 2 Kings xviii. 9.^ There is
no ground for believing xvi. 13, 14, a later addition.

Keil would not have chaps, xvii. and xviii. separated : these with
xix. are about the same date, and xx. a little later. Gesenius and
Rosenmiiller assign xix. to Manasseh's reign, and interpret the pro-
phecy of the Egyptian dodecarchy and Psammeticus. But this is
without sufficient grounds.'

Chap. xxL may also be placed early in Hezekiah's reign ; while
xxii., according to Keil, must have been delilrered at a time between
the fell of Samaria and Sennacherib's invasion, which, vv. 8 — 11, is
spoken of as yet future ; whilst the threatening against Shebna, w.
15 — ^25. would seem to have been fulfilled in the exaltation of Elia-
kim before the invasion occurred.^ But these reasons are not very
satisfactory. For, if we compare xxiL 5. with xxxvii. 3., and xxii.
9 — 11. with 2 Chron. xxxii. 2 — 5., we shall see ground for believing
that the prophecy was delivered near upon the time of the invasion.®

> ^nldtimg, § 67. ' IMd. ' Ibid.

♦ EtnkitaDg, § 69. • Ibid. • Ibid. » Ibid.

' See Henderson, The Book of the Prophet Isaiah, Introd. to chap. xxiL

3F 2

Digitized by


804 Analysis of the Old Testament

Nor b the judgment pronounced on Shebna an objection. For,
though certainly Eliakim is (xxxvi. 3, 22., xxxviL 2,) said to be over
the household^ as Shebna had been described xxiL 15., yet in those yerj
places Shebna still holds high office, and does not appear as yet under
the disgrace predicted.

Keil places chap. xxiiL soon after the fall of Samaria, and sup-
poses that Shalmaneser's unsuccessful siege of Tyre is intended;
and xxiv. — xxvii. he believes to havo immediately succeeded.^
Chaps, xxviij. — xxxiii. refer to the Assyrian invasion, and must be
dated within the first fourteen years of Hezekiah's reign. And,
as in xxviii. 1 — 4. the destruction of Samaria is announced as im-
pending, and in xxxiii. 7, 8. Sennacherib's invasion is spoken of
as having actually occurred, these two chapters are pretty accu-
rately fixed, the first not later than Hezekiah's third year, the last
in his fourteenth. Some writers have tried to give more exact dates
to these series of predictions, but without much success.' Chaps,
xxxiv. and xxxv. may be assigned to the time of Sennacherib's ex-

Chaps, xxxvi.— xxxix. are historical. The account contuned in
them is nearly the same with that in 2 Kings xviii. 13 — xx. 19. It
is a question whether one of these was derived irom the other, or
whether each was taken from a third source. The last supposition
seems most probable. For there are particulars in each narrative
respectively, not found in the other, which may best be explained
by the existence- of a more copious histoiy from which each writer
drew his materials. Now Isaiah himself wrote annals of Uzziah
and Hezekiah, which seem to have been incorporated in ''the
book of the kings of Judah and Israel " (2 Chron. xxvL 22., xxxiL
32.). It is likely that he composed a history of all the kings with
whom he was contemporaneous ; and this history, it is dear, cannot
be the same book with his prophecies. Here the author of the
book of Kings would find his materials; and from this the four
chapters xxxvi. — xxxix. were most probably drawn, whether by
Isaiah himself, or by some later editor it is difficult to determine.
Keil decides it was the prophet.' But the death of Sennacherib is
related ; and it is hardly probable that Isaiah survived him.^

Chaps. xL — Ixvi., a series of connected prophecies, are assigned by
Keil to the later years of Hezekiah's reign.*

Mr. H. Browne gives a compendious view of the dates of the
various parts of Isaiah's prophecy. He differs in some particulars
from the statements made above. The last chapters, xL — IxvL, he
places in the reign of Manasseh.*

> Einleitung, § 69.

* See KeU, ibid. § 70.
' Einloitang, § 71.

* Dr. Hinckes, in an able disqaisidon on the Chronology of the Reigns of Saiigon and
Sennacherib ( Joarnal of Sacred Literature, July 1854.), states his belief that Sennacheribt
army was destroyed b.o. 701. in the twenty-fifth year of Uezekiah and third of Senna-
cherib : Hezekiiw, if this be established, died in the seTenth of Sennacherib, the eighth
year of whose reign was the first of Mana88eh*s.

* Einlcitang, § 72.

* Ordo Soclorum, chap. iv. Append, pp. 249—252.

Digitized by


Oil the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, 805

V. The later chapters of leaiah speak repeatedly of a *' servant
>f the Lord.** That this appellation is used in several senses^ " no
ine," says Henderson, ** familiar with ** this prophet's ** writings will
leny. He applies it to himself, chap. xx. 3. ; to Eliakim, xxiL 20. ;
the Jewish people, xlL 8, 9,, xliv. 1, 2, 21., xlv. 4., xlviii. 20.; and
a divine Legate, of whom a number of things are predicated, which
annot consistently be applied either to the Jews as a body, to their
)rophet8 collectively, or to any one of them in particular, xHL
[ — 7., xlix. 1 — 9., 1. 5 — 10., Hi. 13., liii. ; with which comp. Zech.
ii. 8."' If we put together a few traits of the character described,
NQ shall find that he was " called from the womb,** fitted and pre-
pared for the office in which he was to glorify God (xlix. 1 — 3.);
be was endued with the Spirit, that he might be the source of blessing
uid deliverance to the world, and inaugurate a new dispensation (xlin
1 — ^7.y, he was to be despised and to suffer, to be a sacrifice for sin,
though not his own (liii. 1 — 10.), he was to have, however, as the
fnut of his sufferings, a splendid recompence (liii. 11, 12.); his
exaltation being as great as his humiliation had been before (lii.

There have been many conjectures as to the interpretation of
these descriptions. Hengstenber^ mentions five different views';
and others might be added ; it wiU suffice, however, here to notice
these: (1.) The Jewish people is described* But in xlix. 6. the
" servant ** is distinguished fix)m the Jews, towards whom he is to
perform an office. Besides, they do not correspond to the character
portrayed xlii. 2, 3. Nor will it do to suppose that the better part
of the nation is meant ; the description liL liii. plainly indicating a
person. ^2.) Cyrus is intended. But it is evident that of Cyrus it
never could be said that he should ** not cry, nor lift up, nor cause
his voice to be heard in the street ^ (xlii. 2.) ; and as little that he
'* was brought as a lamb to the slaughter ^ (liii. 7.). (3.) The pro-
phet Isaiah himself. But liiL 11,12, describing the great exaltation
of this '^ servant '^ as a blessing to many nations, could never be applied
to Isfdah. (4.) The prophets collectively. But the conversion of the
heathen isnever attributed to them (zlii. 6.). (5.) The Messiah. This
i» the only satisfactory interpretation. Hengsten berg meets the objec-
tions which Gesenius has made to it, and which indeed appear to be
of little weight ; viz. that the Messiah must be excluded, ** since the
subject is not merely a teacher of the heathen, endowed with the
Spirit of God, but also the Deliverer of Israel.** This objection is
grounded on a literal understanding of Isai. xlii. 7. ^^ No reason
CMi be given why he should refer the second part to the deliverance of
^e people from exile, and not to the redemption of mankind from sin
and error.** The next objection is still more untenable : ** this servant
of Jehovah is not predicted as a future person, but is spoken of as one
olready present.^ A suflScient answer is that in prophetic vision
everything appeared as present The proof of the Messianic interpre-

The Book of the Prophet Isainh, with a Commentary, note on xlii. 1.
The Christology of the Old Testament (Arnold), on Isai. xlii, 1—9. pp. 207, &C., or
m li pp. 195^ ^c (Edinb. 1856.)- Comp. Keil, Kinleitung, § 72. pp. 275, &c

3f 3

Digitized by


806 Analysis of the Old Testament

tatioQ is well and succinctly stated by Dr. Henderson* *' First the
passage (xliL 1. &c.) is di^^ectly applied to our Saviour by the in*
spired evangelist, Matthew, chap. xiL 17—21 ; and part of the
first verse is verbally adopted in the divine testimony to his Mes-
siahship at the Jordan, iii. 17., and on the mount of transfiguration,
xvii. 5. ; Mark ix. 7. ; Luke ix. 35. To which add the reference
. made to the sixth verse by Simeon in his inspired testimony, Luke
tL 32. Secondly, this inteqnretation is that of the Chaldee para-
phrast, and is advocated by Elmchi and Abarbanel, notwithstanding
the narrowness of their hereditarv notions. The latter writer
scruples not to assert that all those who do not interpret the prophecy
of the Messiah have been struck with blindness, Dm^D. Tlurdly,
the totality of character exhibited in the passage is such as to render
it inapplicable to any but our Lord.''*

It is true, as already said, that the phrase is not applied exclusively to
Messiah. Dr. Alexander says very well that we hSiive here exhibited
^* the Messiah and his people, as a complex person, and as the mes-
senger or representative of Grod among the nations."' Sometimes
therefore Christ, sometimes his people are more especially pointed
to. Thus in xlii. 18 — 25., ** the church or body of Christ, as dis-
tinguished from its Head, and representing him imtil he came, is
chiuged with imfaithfulness to theur great trust, and this unfaithful-
ness declared to be the cause of what it sufiered."' The same writer
calls attention to the analogy of Deut xviii., where the ** prophet **
intended is not Christ in an exclusive sense, but rather as the
Head of that prophetic body to whom his Spirit was imparted.
The same may be said of the phrase '^Abraham's seed," in the
New Testament. ^^ He whom Paul describes as the seed of Abra-
ham, and Moses as a prophet like unto himself, in a personal but not
an exclusive sense, is described by Isaiah as the servant of Jehovah,
in his own person, but not to the exclusion of his people, so far as
diey can be considered his co-workers or his representatives.
Objections founded on the want of agreement between some of tiiese
descriptions and the recorded character of Israel are connected with
a superficial view of Israel considered simply as a nation and like
other nations, except so far as it was brought into external and for-
tuitous connection with the true religion . . . Israel is some-
times described as he was meant to be ; sometimes as he actually was
, . . If it be asked how the different applications of this honour-
able tide are to be distinguished, so as to avoid confusion or capri-
cious inconsistency, the answer is as follows : Where the terms are
in their nature applicable botii to Christ as the Head and to his
church as the body, there is no need of distinguishing at all between
them. Where sinAil imperfection is ii^P^^ "^ what is said, it must
of course be applied to the body only. Where a freedom firom such
imperfection is implied, the language can have a direct and literal
reference only to the Head, but may be considered as descriptive of
the body, in so far as its idea or design is concerned, though not in

' Tho Book of tho Prophet Isaiah, &c. note on xliL 1.

" The rrophecics of Isaiah, Earlier and Later, chap, xliu p. 623. ' IbicL

Digitized by


On the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. 807

reference to its actual condition. Lastly, when anything is sdd
implying Deity or infinite merit, the appUcation to the Head be-
comes not only predominant but exclusive."

In many, therefore, of die various interpretations given there is
truth, but not the whole truth. The offices and excellencies borrowed
in description from inferiors and typical personages have their full
signification in One to whom they point ; who ** is more than a pro-
phet, for the isles wait on his law ; more than a priest, for he offers
up himself; more than a king, for through his glory he makes kings
to tremble. Not mere prophet, mere priest, mere king, is the servant
of the Lord, who is none of them exclusively, but is all together ;
and they are only three emanations of his individual glory." ^ Nor is
it just an ideal to which the prophet has ascribed personality ; the
notion is ftiUy realized in Him who in the fulness of the time per-
sonally appeared in the world, and gathered round him the true Israel,
connected with him and conformed to him, one living body, of which
he is the Head and they the members.

YL It is a question on what principle the prophecies of Isaiah
have been arranged as we now find diem, and another whether they
were collected and arranged by Isaiah himself.

Of course, those who deny that all the prophecies of this book pro-
ceed from Isaiah do not believe that the arranging or editing (so to

Online LibraryJohn Ayre Thomas Hartwell HorneAn introduction to the critical study and knowledge of the Holy ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 115 of 133)